Jets Win Big
After the offensive starting unit failed to score a touchdown in each of the four preseason games this year, there was a lot to talk about in regards to Mark Sanchez and the offensive not really clicking. Yes, Tim Tebow, no matter how successful he plays in New York, will always be a story-line and a headliner going into games. The Jets seemed to have been in trouble coming into Week 1 of the NFL season as they were set to matchup against the Buffalo Bills and their stout new defensive line. The Bills threw a lot of money on some key defensive players this offseason; highlighted by former #1 overall pick Mario Williams, and they appeared to be a lofty competitor for the Jets in Week 1. After going 0-4 in the preseason, the Jets needed a 'gimme' game to start off the season and to help quell any sentiments that the prematurely glorified 'savior,' Tim Tebow, should come to the rescue and take NYC to the promise land.
The Bills did nothing to hinder the Jets attack in the season opener. The New York Football Jets had a gem of a game. Even though within the first five minutes, Mark Sanchez had a mind scratching, insult provoking, blunder of an interception, the Jets were always in control of the contest against their AFC East opponent. Mark Sanchez had the type of game that makes any rumors about Tim Tebow starting more and more irrelevant. If Sanchez plays the way he did on Week 1, the Jets will be a hard team to face.
Sanchez exploded going 19-27 in the passing game. He threw for 266 yards with three touchdowns and only that one horrific interception. It was evident that he has established some chemistry with rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill out of Georgia Tech. Hill caught the ball five times, recording 89 yards and snatching down two touchdowns.
The Jets must have been hiding all of their tricks for the regular season. Also, they are probably also saving Tim Tebow for tighter games where grounding and pounding becomes the apparent style of play.
Tony Romo and the Cowboys Feeling the Urgency
Tony Romo's start of the season against the defending champion New York Giants could have gone either of two ways:
The Cowboys could have lost. Romo could have collapsed under pressure, or better yet, gave up a lead in the fourth quarter and the boo birds would be out early while the dialogue would begin regarding how the Cowboys cannot seal the deal and beat the elite teams in the league.
The Cowboys could have done exactly what they did, stun the world and beat the defending champions of the football world while catapulting Tony Romo into the MVP discussion.
Romo had an extremely efficient game going 22-29 through the air while notching 307 yards passing, three touchdowns and only one interception. He outplayed Superbowl MVP Eli Manning. Manning went 21-32, one touchdown and no interceptions. Romo now has a signature win under his belt. Even though it was only Week 1, this could have been the most important game of Romo's career. Romo's December collapses have been highly chronicled and the pundits use that information to keep the Romo is an elite quarterback rhetoric to a minimum. This win can do a lot for the Cowboys confidence down the road and I look to see them having a much improved season in 2012.
The Cowboys are looking, even though it is still a bit premature since it is only Week 1 of the NFL season, like a very talented, tough, and gritty NFC team. Since the NFL started showcasing the defending champions as the opening game of the season, the defending champs are undefeated, 8-0. The Cowboys bucked the trend. They were the first team ever to go in and win on opening night while the defending champs are celebrating the successes of the past year.
Eagles Struggle, Vick Redeems himself, Comes Through Big Late
The team coming into Week 1 of the NFL season under the most scrutiny, other than the QB controversy-laden Jets, were the Philadelphia Eagles. Eagles Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie came out before the start of the season to publicly proclaim that the longest tenured head coach in the league, Andy Reid, is on the hot seat and the team needs to improve immensely from last year or he will not be retained as coach in 2013.
The Eagles were thought to have a guaranteed win against the Browns on Sunday and were expected to win handily. That was far from the case. The 100 million dollar man, Michael Vick had an extremely poor showing in the first game of the year. He had four interceptions and he made the Browns defense look like the number one defense in the League. Vick threw for 317 yards on 29-56 passing.
It was his second touchdown of the game that saved the day and their proverbial behinds from all of the talking heads crucifying the Eagles on the early morning talk shows. Vick threw a four-yard pass to tight end Clay Harbor with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles the lead, 17-16. The Cleveland Browns could not come back and the Eagles avoided a humiliating loss.
This is supposed to be a huge year for the Eagles. After starting the season 4-8 last season, the Eagles need to bounce back. They are now on a 5 game winning streak dating back to last year. Lets see if they can build some momentum off last season and after coming back late in the Browns game and start to win some important games this year.
There is no room for error with these Eagles.
The time is now.
The Patriot Way: 'Slide Him In and Let Him Deliver'
Does anything seem to surprise you anymore when discussing the Patriots and their otherworldly success over the past 12 seasons? Tom Brady is the arguably the greatest quarter back of all time. He is just off his 5th Superbowl appearance and if it were not for a dropped reception from Wes Welker, his 4th ring. Coach Bill Belichick is second to none in NFL history. Even the legendary Vince Lombardi could not scoff at Belichick's resume.
But they keep doing it. They keep adding the additional piece that can help them contend at the highest of levels. They always seem to lose a free agent, and their replacement, usually someone just trying to buy their time and hiding in the weeds, always seems to step in and contribute at a high level.
The Patriots ranked 20th in the League last season in rushing at 110.2 yards per game. They lost Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis to the Bengals in the offseason. 'The Law Firm' (BJGE) rushed for 1,008 yards with 13 touchdowns two seasons ago. Last year, his production dipped to 667 yards rushing with 11 touchdowns for the season.
There is a new sheriff in town.
Hello Stevan Ridley. Yes, you are not a rookie.
Yes, you started two games last season.
Yes, you recorded 441 yards and a touchdown.
But you were the second or third running back on the roster.
Now, Stevan Ridley, you are the featured back for the AFC defending champion New England Patriots. The number one back for the Pats had 21 rushes for 125 yards. Ridley finished with 152 total yards from scrimmage.
I know people try to tell me that I get caught up in the moment, but I have been high on Ridley for two years now. He had moments last season, and this year, he truly looked like a featured back in this league and the Patriots may have found a gem on their roster.
For a team that lost in the Superbowl, the Patriots look much improved both offensively and defensively.
Look for them to have a dominant year this season.
Robert Griffin III -- I am a witness
We are all witnesses.
When making my picks for the season openers, I knew one of the top two overall picks, Andrew Luck from the Colts and RGIII from the Redskins, was going to have a monster game, a welcome to the NFL type of moment. I picked the Colts to overthrow the Bears in the opener and I thought the malice and the anger of the Saints after their tumultuous offseason would light fuel to the fire and RGIII would be a rag doll on the turf at the hands of the Ex-Greg Williams' led defense.
But oh, was I ever so terribly wrong.
Andrew Luck threw for 309 yards, third most yards ever for a rookie quarterback making their debut, behind Cam Newton, with 422 yards, and Robert Griffin III threw for 320 yards. Luck threw three interceptions.
Ok fine, a rookie going up against the vaunted Bears defense in their first start will rarely yield positive results. Cannot fault Luck here. He will be a star in this league for years to come.
But the man who lit up NFL Sunday, RGIII shown the brightest.
Griffin III put on a show. He created a masterpiece, and he used the Saints as his canvas. It was nothing I have ever seen before.
People can point to Cam Newton lighting up the Cardinals with 422 yards, but the Panthers ultimately lost the game.
The storyline coming into Week 1 was how will the Saints come out and play after having such a turbulent offseason with bounty gate looming in the rear view mirror.
From the jump, RGIII carried the Redskins.
He threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns.
The best stat of the day: NO INTERCEPTIONS.
RGIII played an incredibly heady game. Running when he had the chance and avoiding hard hits at all costs.
He put on a show like no rookie QB has ever done in their debut.
He beat one of the most dangerous teams in his opening game, 40-32.
The Redskins did not score 30 points in a game once last year. They scored 40 with RGIII under center in only his first appearance.
RGIII is the hottest story in the NFL after Week 1.
Did the Colts make a mistake with regards to drafting Luck over the Heisman Trophy winner? Lets find out, but if you asked me today, since I get caught in the moment, I would say yes!
Follow Misha Hyman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/justalkinsports