The first week of football started with a bang and there were no signs of fatigue from the lockout.
The first game of the season was played in Green Bay. The New Orleans Saints squared off against the Super Bowl champion Packers. The game started as a blowout but ended up being one of the best games of the week.
Two of the league’s best quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees threw for over 700 yards and had a total of six touchdowns. Brees helped the Saints overcome an early 14 point deficit and pulled within seven points with two minutes remaining in the game.
New Orleans had the ball at the one yard line when rookie, Mark Ingram got stuffed at the goal line as time expired giving the win to Green Bay, 42-34. A big player for the Packers was Greg Jennings who “put the team on his back” with 89 yards and a touchdown. It is probably because the Saints got rid of Darren Sharper, “the hardest hittin’ safety in the league” this off season.
It was a great game to watch and I am glad that I did not tune into the “Jersey Shore” instead of watching this masterpiece.
Another big game was the played in Baltimore. The Ravens faced the arch rival Pittsburg Steelers. The Ravens surprised many and were up by 22 when the Steelers got the ball in the third quarter. The game was over from that point and Baltimore ended up blowing out their rival, 35-7.
Ben Roethlisberger played horrible. He had a total of five turnovers, three being interceptions. One has to think that his mind was somewhere else, most likely a gentlemen’s club. Roethlisberger’s defense also did not help him. They allowed a total of 385 yards, 170 of which were from rushing. That is almost three times Pittsburg’s average from a year ago.
Joe Flacco had 224 passing yards with three touchdowns. He is starting to quiet his critics. One of the main reasons for his success is because of from Anquan Boldin, who had a huge game. The Raven’s defense also came up big. Ed Reed stood out with his two interceptions and six tackles. It looks like Baltimore may be the team to beat in the AFC North.
The next major division battle occurred between the Redskins and Giants. New York came into the game as the favorites and left Washington feeling confused and belittled. Rex Grossman, yes that is not a typo, led the Redskins to victory, 28-14. He threw for over 300 yards and had two touchdowns. Tim Hightower fit right into Mike Shanahan’s system and ran all over the Giants.
Eli Manning’s immaturity showed again and he proved why he is not “in the same category as Tom Brady.” He had two major turnovers one of which was returned for a touchdown. His play has people in New York wondering if he will ever become an elite NFL player. Look at the bright side; at least he played this week unlike his brother.
Another nail biter happened on Sunday night. The Ryan brothers faced off in New York. Rex’s Jets fell behind early 10-0. Tony Romo was playing surprisingly well and when Dallas went up by 14 in the fourth quarter, it look as if the Cowboys were going to cruise to victory.
That was until New York blocked a punt and returned it to the house tying the game at 24. The Cowboys still had a chance to win but Romo’s true colors showed when he threw an ill-advised pass that was picked off. That interception set up a Jet field goal and they then took their first lead of the game with 27 seconds remaining.
It was a great victory for Ryan and the Jets. Plaxico Burress surprised many, well at least me and had 72 yards with a spectacular touchdown catch. It looks like the Jets may be for real again this year, or the Cowboys are just choke artist. I am going to go with the latter.
The first week did not disappoint and next week looks like we are going to have an extremely suspenseful season.
Joe Beaudoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org