At long last, the NFL season has arrived. Now that Week 1 is officially in the books, we can all take some Tums, digest those hot wings and try to process the 3 days of football that kept us glued to the TV for hours on end.
The NFL kicked off the season with a rematch of last year’s NFC title game, featuring the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints vs a banged up Minnesota Vikings squad. Brett Favre was in for a long night, as his receiving core had more injuries than the Gloucestershire Annual Cheese Roll. With all the migraines and hip replacements, the only reliable receiver the Vikings had left was TE Visanthe Shiancoe. Along with Pierre Thomas of the Saints, Shiancoe was one of the few players in the game to wrack up significant fantasy points. In a lackluster 14-9 game, the Who Dat Nation came out with the W even with kicker Garrett Hartley going 0-2 on FG attempts (including a chip shot from 32 yards out that my little sister could have made). If you’re the proud owner of Adrian Peterson or Brees in your fantasy league, you had some work left to do.
With the Thursday night opener leaving football fans a bit deflated, Sunday’s 13 games couldn’t come soon enough. Whether you got to the bar at 12:45 so you could get your combo platter order in before the rush or you spent the day at home on the couch with your laptop, you were ready for a long day of football. Sunday’s games didn’t disappoint. We had blowouts, upsets, close games, nail biters, controversial calls. You name it, these games had it.
The most notable upsets had to be the Seahawks over the 49ers in dominating fashion and Houston’s 10 point triumph over the Colts. The 49ers looked absolutely lost the entire game, and Coach Singletary had every right to call out QB Alex smith and “star” WR Michael Crabtree in the locker room. I’m not going to repeat what he and RB Frank Gore allegedly called the two players, but let’s just say it’s sorta like another way to call a cat a kitten. Seattle is by no means a good team, and their dominance over a team that many picked to win the NFC West just goes to show you- don’t believe the hype.
Houston’s upset over the Colts was much different from the Seattle/San Fran game. This wasn’t an overhyped team sucking its way to a brutal beating from a below average squad. Anyone who watched this game witnessed a Texans team coming of age and breakout fantasy stud in Arian Foster obliterating an undersized Indianapolis defensive line to the tune of 238 total yards and 3 TDs. Even a monster 433 yard, 3 TD performance from NFL MVP Peyton Manning couldn’t save the Colts from Foster’s offensive onslaught. Although this game was full of fantasy studs (including Austin Collie, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark in a losing effort) Foster’s explosion left owners of QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson weeping. With the run game working like Bo Jackson in Tecmo Super Bowl, Schaub completed a paltry 9 of 17 passing attempts connecting with Andre 3000 only 3 times for 33 yards.
Our first major controversial call of the season came in Total Sports Blog’s Game of the Weak (see what I did there?) featuring the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears. Fans of these two teams lately haven’t been this disappointed since they found out Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny weren’t real. Only a true fan could sit through this entire game, but if you did you were in for a treat. Second-and-ten with 31 seconds left, backup Lions QB Shaun Hill hits WR Calvin Johnson in the end zone for a spectacular one-handed TD grab… but not so fast. It seems that Megatron failed to maintain possession throughout the catch, using the ball as a crutch to prop himself up after he thought he had the game winning score. The play is overturned, the Lions suck their way to another loss, and the Bears get a win they didn’t deserve. Yea, I said it.
Monday Night Football featured a double header this week, with the Jets vs the Ravens and KC vs the Chargers. The under in the Jets/Ravens matchup could have possibly been the safest bet of all time. The Jets defense lived up to the hype, although the 125 yards on 14 penalties proved to be the difference in their 10-9 loss. A lot of analysts are picking 1 of these two teams to go to the Super Bowl, but if either of them are going to make it they definitely must improve. Although they did connect for 100+ yards, Flacco under-threw or missed the mark to Anquan Boldin on several occasions. As for the Jets, don’t get me started on how much of a liability “The Sanchize” is. Total Sports Blog columnist Scott Ilowite hit the nail on the head when he said in this year’s NFL preview:
“Mark Sanchez scares the crap out of me. In the pre-season, he showed me absolutely nothing. Zero. I love everything about Rex and I wish Hard Knocks was a weekly show, but I don’t see how Sanchez will be able to win a game for them if he’s needed to.”
If the Jets are going to make it to the post season, yet alone the Super Bowl, they are going to need a lot more out of their starting QB. The guy seemed too scared to throw downfield, as if Ed Reed was going to jump off of the bench and take one to the house for a pick-6. This game definitely brought Jets fans down to earth, who now realize they may not be in for the storybook season they were hoping for.
In the later game, KC surprised everyone by knocking off the Chargers 21-14 in their season opener. Although the stormy weather may have had something to do with the outcome of this game, one thing is for sure- the Chiefs are young and have some scary athletic players. Jamaal Charles is a legitimate threat at running back, and return men Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas can potentially take any kick to the house. I don’t think they quite have what it takes to make the playoffs, but they have the ability to knock off some quality teams if taken lightly. On the opposing side, you have to respect Chargers QB Philip Rivers. Along with Antonio Gates, he seemed like one of the few San Diego players that came prepared for a battle. The rant he went on after his center botched a second snap was one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen since Antoine Dodson told me to hide my kids and my wife. In a solid effort (298 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) Rivers nearly tied the game on the final drive. I’ll be looking forward to the December 12 rematch between these two teams.
That about wraps up the NFL Week 1 action. I’ll end this recap with Hook’s Must Adds, Must Drops, and other players to keep an eye on going into Week 2
Must Add- Brandon Jackson RB GB, Austin Collie WR IND, Mark Clayton WR STL, Mike Thomas WR JAC, Legedu Naanee WR SD, and for all Kevin Kolb owners Michael Vick QB PHI
Must Drop- Ryan Grant RB GB (out for the year), Julian Edelman WR NE, Marshawn Lynch RB BUF, Kevin Boss TE NYG
Keep an eye on-Jermaine Gresham TE CIN, Brandon Lloyd WR DEN, Nate Washington WR TEN, Marcedes Lewis TE JAC, Mohamed Massaquoi WR CLE.