After a hectic Week 1 in which there were eight return touchdowns on special teams and several records were tied, this season shows a lot of promise.
First off, let’s cover the record breaking performances: Cam Newton’s debut with 412 passing yards, Wes Welker’s 99-yard reception – definitely the shot heard ‘round the fantasy world’ on Monday night – Randall Cobb’s incredible return touchdown for 108 yards to start the season off and Sebastian Janikowski’s monstrous 63-yard field goal.
Other outstanding performances include Ted Ginn’s two return TDs to get the Niners a win and Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers all living up to their elite expectations. The Baltimore Ravens pummeling the Pittsburgh Steelers into submission was an added bonus, with the Buffalo Bills’s performance being a close second. These were the themes of Week 1: blowouts and overpowering offensive performances.
Let’s start off with the Steelers, who felt the wrath of a vengeful flock of Ravens. Their offense exhibited an incredibly poor performance with seven turnovers and their defense was left in the dust by giving up 35 points, the most they have given up in over a decade. This game, which was one of the most enticing heading into the season, definitely left Steelers fans scratching their heads and Ravens fans excited about possibly getting the AFC North title back to Baltimore. But those thoughts are perhaps a tad premature.
The Bills made a commotion with a 41-7 decisive victory over the AFC West Champion Chiefs as Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mr. Harvard, came through by going 17-for-25 with 4 TDs. Then we have the Falcons who were simply overplayed on offense, defense and special teams, with Matt Forte and Jay Cutler leading a balanced attack and Brian Urlacher getting a pick to lead the way for the Bears defense.
Another surprise included the injury-ridden New York Giants suffering a loss to the Washington Redskins. This game was ugly from start to finish and did not showcase the talent of either team too well. New Redskins starter Rex Grossman, however, handled himself well even in situations of heavy pressure, getting the ball to his open receivers whenever possible.
Both Cam Newton and Kevin Kolb showed signs of promise for their respective teams as each played well enough to come out with a victory. The St. Louis Rams not only lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, but they also lost many key players on their roster to some sort of game-ending injury.
Finally, I would like to give a special thanks to the Saints and Packers for kicking off the season right with a fantastically exciting game. The atmosphere was clearly playoff-esque, with incredible plays left and right and sustained suspense up until the very last play of the game.
Do I think this trend of heavy offense will continue? I doubt it. With the problems involving the lockout and training camp, there was much less preparation for defenses to open the season. Also, defenses generally tend to watch enough tape to understand the tendencies of the offenses they will be facing as the season progresses, and which players they must key into. So even though the first week seemed very exciting, it was still somewhat sloppy for many teams – hey there, Steelers – and I expect to see things change within the next few weeks.
To those fans who are excited or disappointed from the turnout of the first slate of games, remember this: The beauty of football is that even though each game is very significant, the season is a long one, and it is way too soon to make any real predictions just yet. Only time will separate the hopefuls and the teams that are Super Bowl-ready.
Contact Albert Raminfard at [email protected]