Week one of the National Football League is almost in the books and time to throw around the pigskin of hindsight.
What have you done lately
Seven first-place teams from last season ventured on to the gridiron yesterday, and six found the new season not so welcoming. In fact five (Atlanta, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Seattle) of last year’s top shelf flavors lost by a combined score 178-50.
Actually, can we really count the Seahawks as a first-place team? Is it the return of Coach Fredo?
Most conspicuous among the losers was Indianapolis. The Colts fell 34-7 in a game which wasn’t even that close. Indy coach Jim Caldwell won’t have to worry about being asked to speak for any investment firms. If his financial plan is anything like his game plan, he might want to think about diversifying the portfolio. Pull out one piece, and the Colts made a Humpty Dumpty-like tumble. The Colts were 1-of-11 on third-down conversions.
Pittsburgh losing is one thing. The Steelers getting punched in the mouth?
The Baltimore Ravens out-rushed the Steelers 170-66. 170-66? And a final score of 35-7?
Yes, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steeler receivers out-gained the Ravens through the air 280-224, but at the cost of three interceptions. All the while Joe Flacco had a mechanical-type game going 17-29 for 224 yards and ZERO picks.
In a battle of former Pac 10 coaching rivals Jim Harbaugh, in his first pro game on the sideline, out-dueled Pete Carroll. Remember when Pete questioned Harbaugh and the Cardinal running up the score? After trailing by 16 at half, Carroll rallied the troops and pulled within two only to let Tedd Ginn gain 157 yards on two touches.
Atlanta’s Falcons, a sexy Super Bowl pick, looked rather flightless against the Bears. Matt Ryan threw for 319 yards but ZERO touchdowns in a 30-12 loss.
The Philadelphia Eagles were the only 2010 first-place team to earn a victory besting another first-place team, the St. Louis Rams 31-13. For those keeping score at home Joe Flacco (29) threw fewer passes than Vick (32). Flacco (17) completed more than Vick (14) and for more yards 224-187. But yes Vick out-rushed Flacco 98-0. No real reason to compare the two other than Flacco and Vick play the same position in the same league.
If you had a Rip-Van-Winkle-like snooze for the last 15 years or so and woke up mid-afternoon yesterday, you might think the K-Gun was alive and kicking in Western New York. The Buffalo Bills hammered the Kansas City Chiefs (who finished in first place last year) in a fashion not seen in these parts since Jim Kelly was under center. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 133 passer rating is at the top of the heap and led the Bills to a 41-7 triumph. Not since 1992 have the Bills scored 40 or more in the opener. Fitzpatrick’s leading receiver? Tight end Scott Chandler. Holy Pete Metzelaars! It’s been a while since the Bills had a threat for a tight end.
If nothing else, Chan Gailey proved he can pick a game-one quarterback. Not always the easiest of tasks to master. Gailey did have some added motivation. The guy on the opposite sideline, Todd Haley, fired him in 2009.
Haley has a history of friction with his offensive coordinators. With Charlie Weis running the offense last year the Chiefs went 10-6. Haley and Weis parted ways in the off-season. Yesterday, Chief QB, Matt Cassell managed 119 yards in the air. Kent Dorfman could represent KC as its mascot because all that offense can do is “Flounder.”
After going 0-4 in the pre-season, and fans making much ado about it, Haley better take a page from the Bills of old and circle the wagons. Either that or his office will be like the Hotel Yorba – “where all they got inside is vacancy.”
We’re so pretty. Oh so pretty…
It’s only September and Tony Romo’s carriage turned into a pumpkin. Usually, the not-so-apparent heir to the lineage of “Dandy” Don Meredith, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman reserves these performances for late in the season. Pretty boy got things off to a rousing start playing a significant role in the Cowpokes 27-24 loss to the New York Jets – this after Dallas took a 24-10 lead early in the fourth. Romo turned over the ball twice in the final ten minutes. Throw in a delay of game penalty and an illegal procedure infraction, and the ‘Pokes handed over a victory.
Romo is not the only one to blame. The Cowboys ran the ball just 26 times while slinging the skin on 36 occasions. If your playbook calls for more passes than runs, you might want an efficient passer under center…especially when you have the lead.
Stop Making Sense
Opening weekend gives us the annual two games on Monday Night. Why does this only happen once a year? An east-coast game at 7 p.m. and a west-coast game at 9 p.m.. Is that really complicated?
Your thoughts on the first weekend of play?