Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thoughts from the NFL, Week 1: First Impressions

It's a new season, and it's time for my thoughts about what I saw in Week 1 from around the National Football League.

 * According to a report, members of the Redskins front office went to the Bahamas to celebrate making a trade with St. Louis in order to get the no.2 man in the draft, Robert Griffin III. I'm betting they're booking another trip after RGIII's fantastic debut against a Saints squad that went through a tumultuous off-season that included losing Sean Payton for one year along with star linebacker Jonathan Vilma, GM Mickey Loomis gone for half the season, and losing two no.2 draft picks in the second round for next year. To say that Griffin performed spectacular vs. New Orleans is an understatement: At the Superdome (I refuse to call it by it's new name, Mercedes-Benz stadium) Griffin tore it up, throwing for 320 yards and two TD's on a Saints defense that hardly got any pressure on him. this was a performance that was so good, that it's hard to believe he's a rookie in this league.

* As the old saying goes, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." This statement pretty much describes the New England Patriots to a "T". Tom Brady and Bill Belichick carved up the Titans on Sunday and proved that they're still at the top of the pack (even against a young team like Tennessee) and Oakland giving away yards like a neighbor gives out candy by the handful to kids on Halloween. While Brady went 23 of 31 for 236 yds and two scores, the offensive firepower surrounding no.12 proved to be too much for the Titans' D to handle: TE's Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Henandez combined for 119 yards over 12 catches, Brandon Lloyd made an impressionable appearance with 5 touches and 69 yards and Stevan Ridley had a monster afternoon, racking up 21 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown. In short: this is the Patriots team we all remember.

 * Whereas New England was raking up points, Oakland was impersonating the 2010 Chargers' Special Team woes, having two punts blocked, both ending up giving San Diego 6 points, via Nate Kadeing. Worse yet, their biggest weapon through the game, RB Darren McFadden, combined for 97 total yards and no TD's. To put this into perspective: McFadden rushed for 32 yards over 15 carries and ran for 86 yards in the air over the 13 times Carson Palmer threw him the pigskin. Not. One. Single. Score. Hell, it wasn't until the last minute of regulation when the Raiders put up 7 on the board, and by that time, the Bolts hung 12 points over the course of the 2nd half (and this was done without so much of a rushing attack, mind you!). The final score was 22-14, but don't be fooled: the Raiders looked like the Raiders of old: a team with waaaay too much swagger that they couldn't back up.

*As good as the Pats looked beating up a relatively young Tennessee Titans football team, Joe Flacco, the new no-huddle offense, and Baltimore's ever-terrific defense looked downright scary against the Bengals, who, coming off making a post-season appearance last year, just didn't stand a chance on Monday night. For months, Baltimore's been pounding home the opinion that Flacco is a top-tier quarterback, in the same breath as Eli, Brees, Rodgers and Brady. Personally, I don't think he's there quite yet, but Monday night's did impress greatly: 21 of 29 passing, 299 yds, and two TD's, all with their hyped no-huddle offense. Along with their always sturdy Defense, the Ravens, along with the Texans, well be the teams to beat in the AFC.

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