Football happened yesterday, and it was wonderful. As always, the NFL surprised us with upsets, replacement refs and late-game drama. There’s much to discuss heading into Week 2, so here are some things to keep an eye on moving forward.
1. Robert Griffin III is electrifying, so long as he doesn’t break in half.
19/26, 320 passing yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 42 yards rushing. Not a bad line for a rookie QB’s first game. Griffin’s ability to maneuver behind the line of scrimmage was on display all game, as was his cannon arm. Though he did play against the Saints’ defense and a large portion of his yards (and one TD) came on an 88-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon, he still gets a check plus.
RGIII won’t face another (somewhat) tough defense until Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, so expect the good times to continue in Week 2 vs. St. Louis. Then again, Mike Shanahan is looming and could do Mike Shanahan things.
2. Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning.
On the Broncos’ final drive, which ended in a short Matt Prater field goal to put Denver up 25-19, Manning and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu engaged in a pre-snap chess match. Manning won, as expected, as Polamalu continously threatened to blitz and Manning’s hard count forced Polamalu to tip his hand. Though nothing came out of the sequence, with Denver merely calling a timeout as the play clock wound down, you know Peyton Manning is back when Chris Collinsworth just can’t keep it in his pants due to the poetic on-field genius of Manning. Manning’s arm looked pretty good too, as he had no trouble zinging the ball all over the field and getting up after a few bone-crunching hits.
3. The San Francisco 49ers might not be the 2008 Tennessee Titans.
In 2008, The Tennessee Titans went 13-3 in the regular season with Kerry Collins’ corpse leading the way at quarterback. The Titans lost in the divisional round to the Baltimore Ravens 13-10, as everyone expected, and Tennessee went on to an 8-8 record in 2009, missing the playoffs as the world righted itself.
That was the feeling of this 2012 San Francisco 49ers team – could they actually repeat such a stellar 2011 campaign with Alex Smith (gulp) at quarterback? The defense against Green Bay was every bit as good as it was last season, stifiling the most prolific offense from 2011 and holding on for a 30-22 victory. Aaron Rodgers still threw for 303 yards because Aaron Rodgers, but it was the 49ers that controlled the pace of the game throughout the afternoon.
4. The preseason means nothing.
The New York Jets’ preseason offensive woes were no secret around the NFL, so their 48-point outburst against Buffalo was nothing less than shocking. Though a large part of the blame should be shouldered by Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose three interceptions set up the Jets offense on multiple occasions. The Steelers in Week 2 should bring a rude awakening, and we’ll see whether Mark Sanchez’s success will be short-lived or a sign of massive Rex Ryan overconfidence.
This also happened, and it seems important to mention for no other reason than FAT GUY FALL.
5. Andy Reid will be fired this season.
The Eagles won, you might say, but not before Andy Reid decided that airing it out 56 times with interception-happy Michael Vick was better than feeding the ball to LeSean McCoy. Reid’s disdain for running the ball is well documented, but when your star running back carries the ball seven times in the first half, you have some play calling issues.
The defense did play well, which is always a good sign early in the season, limiting Browns Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden to a miserable 12/35 for 118 yards and 4 INTs. Good thing he’s turning 29 in a month so he has plenty of time to develop before osteoporosis sets in. But Reid can’t seem to get his Eagles’ teams over the hump, no matter how talented they are. And if they miss the playoffs again this season, or at least don’t make a deep postseason run, Reid might be looking for another job.
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