Stadiums, bars, and couches were packed all over the country as fans paid tribute to their fallen heroes from ten years ago and enjoyed the first Sunday during the professional football season. Besides wagering, the one thing that makes the NFL so appealing is that it is unpredictable. In baseball, it is obvious that the Red Sox and Yankees will perennially compete for the division crown. In the NFL, on any given Sunday…. Ok, enough with the Al Pacino flashback.
The Buffalo Bills took the Kansas City Chiefs out to the woodshed during week one. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t put up big time yardage, but he did attain four touchdowns and spread the ball around with efficiency. Four receivers had more than sixty yards each in yardage. They were Stevie Johnson, David Nelson, and Scott Chandler. The thirty-four point victory on the road showed that good players don’t necessarily need to have name recognition from the masses.
The Indianapolis Colts are reeling from the loss of Peyton Manning. Nobody expected that fill-in Kerry Collins would have the same efficiency, but production falling off the edge of a cliff was not in the cards either. Indianapolis trailed the Houston Texans by about five touchdowns at halftime. There is plenty of blame to go around with a score like that. That is when Colts coach Jim Caldwell pulls out the old Pop Warner strategy of breaking the game in segments. Focusing solely on the next quarter gives players tunnel vision, instead of getting them overwhelmed by the big picture.
The Redskins showed the Giants that supremacy is up for grabs in the NFC East. The two touchdown margin of victory for Washington made the Jets sentimental favorites for the fans in the night game because of the anniversary. Rex Grossman was efficient and effective even though he wasn’t provided with much support on the ground. Tim Hightower had a high amount of carries, but had under a three yard average for each. Sometimes just the threat of a run keeps the defense on their heels just long enough for a receiver to blow by.
There are numerous Cam Newton haters around the country. I was one of them before his appearance against the Cardinals. He threw for monster yardage and nearly led his team to victory on the road in Phoenix. I will be the first one to admit that I held a grudge against Newton because I didn’t feel like he should have been able to play in the title game against Oregon. He looked clueless in his strategy session with Jon Gruden. Newton is a world class athlete who should continue to improve as his understanding of the game increases. He has some capable targets in tight end Greg Olsen and receiver Steve Smith.
The Monday Night Football doubleheader begs the question about spreading out the schedule. We are in the time of dvr, but there is a lot of lost revenue by cramming all the games into the same time slots. One would think Roger Goodell’s analysis is coming soon on the topic.