NFL 2010–Week 1 Recap

After 7 long months, the National Football League has returned. Screw hyperbole. I only have one hobby on Earth, so let’s get down to football.

Here is the NFL 2010 Week 1 Recap.

Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints was the Thursday night game. This NFC Title Game rematch was tough and competitive. Unlike the game 7 months ago where the offenses lit up the scoreboard, this game was about defense. Brett Favre was at the helm, but it was the Saints with the championship banner being draped in front of a raucous crowd as Sean Payton prepared to guard against complacency.

The game started out like it would be a pinball machine, as if the Saints offense did not even have an offseason. From the Saints 23, Brees fired 28 yards to Marquis Colston, 12 yards to more, and 29 yards to Devry Henderson for the touchdown. Only 5 plays and 2 minutes covered the 77 yards as the Saints rapidly led 7-0.

Brad Childress, who is bald and Catholic, played it very conservatively early on. Knowing that Gregg Williams would be sending the house against a near 41 year old quarterback, 3 straight running plays started things off. This was followed by a punt, and it looked like the route was on.

It was not. The game turned into a defensive slugfest. At the start of the second quarter, the Vikings finally took over from their own 11 and got going when Favre hit Adrian Peterson for 11 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the 30, Favre hit Dugan for 8 yards. On 3rd and 11, Favre hit Vincent Shiancoe for 14 yards. Peterson did the rest on the ground, but the drive stalled at the Saints 23. Ryan Longwell connected from 41 yards to get the Vikings to within 7-3 to complete a staggering 9 1/2 minute, 15 play drive.

Brett Favre has always been the Gunslinger, and “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” is not just a theme song. It is how he played in the second quarter as we saw the best and worst of # 4. From the Minnesota 31, Favre threw an ill advised pass into traffic with a man already crunching his body. It was every bit as bad as the pass that decided the NFC Title Game. You could fry an egg off of Coach Chilly’s head when it was intercepted, giving the Saints golden (and black) field position. The defense held, and Garret Hartley came in for a 46 yard field goal. Hartley was the hero in the NFC Title Game, but this kick was wide, no good.

Then we saw why Favre should keep playing, as he saved his best for the 2 minute drill. After a couple of short passes, Favre went deep to Shiancoe for 33 yards and then hit Shiancoe for the 20 yard touchdown on the next play. The extra point was blocked, but the Vikings led 9-7 at halftime in front of a surprised crowd.

In the third quarter, the Vikings punted and the Saints took over on their own 26. Pierre Thomas picked up 11 yards to get the team moving. Runs and short passes had the Saints at the Minnesota 35, where Brees hit Colston for 14 yards. Brees hit Thomas for 15 more. Thomas then picked up 5 yards, and from the one, Thomas took it in to complete the 11 play, 74 yard, 7 minute drive and have the Saints back on top. Again, the defenses took over.

Neither team could move the ball for the rest of the third quarter, but a field position game moved in favor of the Saints. At the start of t he fourth quarter they moved from their own 40 to the Minnesota 14, taking 6 minutes off the clock. Yet Hartley missed another field goal, this one from 32 yards out. Favre moved the Vikings from the Minnesota 22 to the New Orleans 44, but on 3rd and 11 fired incomplete. With 5:40 to go and 2 timeouts (1 was used on a challenge that should have been a benefit to Minnesota, but a controversial call on a catch ruled incomplete was upheld.), Childress decided to punt.

The Saints took over on their own 12. On 3rd and 1 from the 21, Brees hit Colston for 7 yards. With 2:17 to go, the Saints faced a 3rd and 7 on their own 31. This game was almost all defense, but Jared Allen and the Vikings could not get a stop when it counted. Brees hit Henderson for 9 yards to keep the clock moving. At the 2 minute warning, the Saints had 2nd and 6. Thomas barreled for 10 yards, as Favre never got back on the field. Drew Brees took some kneel downs, and the Saints again had a very hard fought victory.

Both of these teams could meet again in the NFC Title Game. It would be a game worth watching, as both last year’s NFC Title Game and this year’s season opener certainly were. Once again, the NFL began the season with a fine football game. 14-9 Saints

Cleveland Browns @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers–Not since the days of orange creamsicle pants have the Buccaneers been this pathetic. They might however still be better than the Browns. The Browns will improve once Walrus Mike Holmgren has some time. The Jake Delhomme era got off to a good start in Cleveland as he hit Massaquoi for a 41 yard touchdown to put the Browns up 7-0. A field goal had the Buccaneers within 7-3.

In the second quarter Hillis ran it in from 10 yards out to have the Browns up 14-3. The Browns were in control when Delhomme was intercepted by Ronde Barber. In his younger years Barber would have scored, but the old man ran out of gas at the 3 yard line after a 66 yard return. Josh Freeman hit Williams for the touchdown to get the Buccaneers to within 14-10 at the break. The second half was ugly, and had a nightmarish familiarity for Jake Delhomme.

Delhoome hit Moore for a 49 yard completion to the Tampa Bay 28. After a penalty, Delhome hit Moore again for 16 yards to the 22. Yet from the 15, Hillis fumbled and the Bucs recovered. The teams exchanged punts in a forgettable third quarter for anyone who loves and respects football.

With 8 1/2 minutes in regulation, the field position game of punts had the Buccaneers at the Browns 47.  On 3rd and 10 Josh Freeman hit Stroughter for 14 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the 33, Freeman hit Michael Spurlock for the touchdown as the Buccaneers had the 3 point lead with 6:45 to play.

The Browns took over after a penalty on the kickoff at their own 6 yard line. Delhomme went deep and was intercepted. The Buccaneers took over at the Cleveland 39. On 3rd and 2, Cadillac Williams barrleed for 20 yards to the 11. Yet on 3rd and 1 from the 2, looking to salt the game away, the Cadillac broke down and fumbled. The Browns took over at their own 3 with 2:16 left.

Delhomme threw several incomplete passes after one first down and with only 56 seconds left, the Buccaneers had the ball 1st and 10 at the Browns 5. Cleveland had all 3 timeouts. On 4th and 1 from the 5 with 39 seconds left, Raheem Morris decided not to kick the field goal. Rather than run the ball, Freeman was sacked for a 6 yard loss. Delhomme had 34 seconds left. He got the Browns no further than the 33 before time ran out.

The only question will be whether Holmgren fires Eric Mangini and Delhomme first or if the Glazer family decides to can Raheem Morris. Morris got some breathing room with this ugly win, as Jon Gruden remains in the Monday Night Football booth. This was not Buc ball. It was even worse. Yet the pirates of pewter pants are 1-0 with the win. 17-14 Buccaneers

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills–These teams were denying in Week 1 that they were fighting to avoid last place as Tuna Bill Parcells was glad he turned over responsibility of the Dolphins to Jeff Ireland. A 32 yard field goal had the Dolphins leading a thriller 3-0 after the opening quarter.

In the second quarter Chad Henne led an 11 play, 5 minute, 65 yard drive that culminated in Ronnie Brown leaping over fro one yard out to put the Dolphins up 10-0.  Ryan Lindell kicked a 51 yard field goal as the Bills trailed 10-3 at halftime. A field goal by Carpenter gave the Dolphins a 13-3 lead with 9 1/2 minutes remaining on a redundantly dreary day in Buffalo.

Trent Edwards went deep to Roscoe Parrish for  a 31 yard touchdown to get the Bills to within 13-10 with 5 1/2 minutes to play.  A game of terrible offense was decided by special teams. A perfect punt pinned the Bills at their own 1 with 1:48 to play. On 4th and 10 from their 1, a decision was made to take an intentional safety and rely on the defense. They needed a touchdown anyway, and this seemed safer than the 99 yard pass attempt.

The strategy was reasonable as the Bills got the ball back at their own 20 with 29 seconds to play. 3 incomplete passes and a penalty led to 4th and 15. With 8 seconds left, Trent Edwards completed the next pass for 9 yards. Canada refuses to take this team for obvious reasons. Tony Sparano saw his guys gut out an ugly win. 15-10 Dolphins

Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots–The Bengals have loaded their roster with talented egomaniacs, while the Patriots epitomize shutting up and doing your job. The quiet champions struck first when Tom Brady hit Wes Welker for a 9 yard touchdown pass to put the Patriots up 7-0. Another touchdown pass to Welker had the Patriots cruising, and a 59 yard interception return by Gary Guyton had the Patriots up 24-0.  A 54 yard field goal put the Bengals on the board, but as Boomer Esiason commented, “the Bengals have 2 reality stars but only 3 points.”

This game rapidly became contenders vs pretenders. When Tate ran the second half kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown, the Patriots had a 31-3 lead and a statement to the rest of the league. They would not be going away quietly. As for the Bengals, we learned that talk is cheap.

Palmer mounted a furious rally, starting with an 11 play, 80 yard drive that led in a 1 yard touchdown to Gresham to make it 31-10. After a New England punt, a 12 play, 73 yard drive ended with Palmer hitting Chad Ochocinco Johnson for a 28 yard touchdown. Johnson chest thumped as the Bengals trailed 31-17.

Tom Brady got the Patriots back on track with a 14 play, 69 yard drive that took over 7 1/2 minutes of the clock. A one yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski on a tackle eligible put the game out of reach at 38-17. A 14 play drive by Palmer ended in Cedric Benson scoring from one yard out, but the Bengals got no closer.

Palmer finished 34 of 50 for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns, with one interception. Brady was 25 of 35 for 258 yards and 3 touchdowns. More importantly, the Patriots had the win as the evil hoodie Bill Belichick reminded us that the Patriots are never ever gone. Marvin Lewis had nothing to say, but I am sure his team did. 38-24 Patriots.

Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans–Would the Colts have a rampage after their Super Bowl debacle? Would the Texans finally take the next step? Would Jim Caldwell make a facial expression? The Colts coach is all personality. A pair of field goals had the Texans up 6-0. When Matt Schaub threw a touchdown pass, the Texans had a 13-0 lead.

With everything going Houston’s way, Schaub was intercepted by Bullitt, who returned it to the Houston 35. Peyton Manning hit Reggie Wayne from 15 yards out and the Colts were right back in it down 13-7. A field goal before the half had the Texans clinging to a 13-10 lead at intermission.

The Texans knew the way to win was to keep Manning off the field. A 15 play, 66 yard drive consumed 8 minutes. Foster took it in from one yard out and the Texans led 20-10. With 10:40 left in the game Manning went deep to Austin Collie, who got belted and fumbled at the 9 yard line as the Texans took over again. In a stunning turn of events, the Texans went 91 yards in only 4 plays, with Arriun Foster running the last 25 yards to have the Texans up 27-10.

For those who remember last year, the Texans led 27-10 in the 4th quarter and Manning brought the Colts back 31-27 for the win. In this game Manning hit Dallas Clark for a 10 yard touchdown as the Colts got within 27-17 with 5 minutes to play.

Yet the star of the day was Arriun Foster. He gashed the Colts for 231 yards, with the final 8 of them making it 34-17. Manning came right back and quickly hit Collie for a 73 yard touchdown as the Colts got to within 10 points with 1:16 to play. It was not enough as the Texans survived. Would the Colts go 2-14? Would the Texans go 14-2? Did Gary Kubiak show more emotion than Jim Caldwell? No, no, and yes. The upset had the Texans leading the division and the Colts in last place. 34-24 Texans

Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars–A pair of average teams played a below average game badly early on, as Josh McDaniels and Jack Del Rio wanted to avoid the coaching hot seat. After a scoreless first quarter, David Garrarrd threw a short touchdown pass to have the Jaguars up 7-0. Kyle Orton came right back with a long bomb and then a short touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney to tie the game 7-7.

In the third quarter with the Jaguars leading 14-7, Jack Del Rio decided to gamble on 4th and inches from the Jacksonville 40. Maurice Jones-Drew was belted backwards as the  Broncos had excellent field position. It was not pretty, but Knowshon Moreno made it over from one yard out to tie the game 14-14 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter.

A kickoff return past midfield set up Josh Scobee from 45 yards out as the Jaguars retook the lead 17-14 after three quarters. The game was suspended temporarily before the start of the fourth quarter due to lightning.  NFL Head of Officiating Mike Perriera eventually resumed play, and with 11 1/2 minutes remaining in bad weather, Josh Prater nailed a 54 yard field goal to tie the game 17-17.

The Jaguars came right back, and with 8 minutes left Garrard hit Osgood for the 30 yard touchdown to put Jacksonville back in front 24-17. Orton moved the Broncos within striking distance, but a touchdown pass to tie the game was ruled out of bounds. Replay showed the receiver only got one foot down. 5 minutes remained, but the Broncos had to give the ball back. Denver had one last chance, but Orton was intercepted with 90 seconds to play to end Denver’s chances. 24-17 Jaguars

Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers–This game was all defense as the teams went to the locker rooms tied 3-3 at halftime and 6-6 after 3 quarters. Jeff Reed, who earlier missed from 55, barely connected from 34 to put the Steelers on top 9-6 with 9 minutes to play.

Matt Ryan was then hit, and a fumble was returned for a touchdown. Yet Mike Smith, who looks like an average non-descript white guy named Mike Smith, challenged that it was an incomplete pass. On further review, the arm was going forward and the Falcons continued. With 3 minutes to go Atlanta had 4th and 2 at the Pittsburgh 9. After initially deciding to go for it, Smith opted for the field goal and the game was tied 9-9.

The Falcons got the ball back, but with 1:40 to play, Ryan was intercepted by his Roal Hairness Troy Palomalu as the Steelers took over at the Atlanta 30. Mike Tomlin took no chances, and another field goal attempt was to give the Steelers the win. This time the kick was no good, and the game remained tied.

In overtime, a game of defense was decided by one offensive play. From midfield, Rashard Mendenhall ran all the way for the touchdown. Just like that, the game was over. Ben Roethlisberger who? Dixon was 18 of 26 for 236 yards. Ryan was 27 of 44 for 252 yards. Both quarterbacks were picked off once. This was Pittsburgh football, with hard running and defense being decided by one play. 15-9 Steelers, OT

Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans–For more on the game of the day, just go to

The Raiders fumbled the opening kickoff. In a sign that maybe the team would not be cursed, they recovered it. After punting, the Raiders allowed Vince Young to run for 20 yards on the first play. Yes, he ran for it. Yet this defense is much improved, and a hit on Young caused a fumble that was recovered by Richard Seymour.

Jason Campbell had little success passing early on. A snap over his head was saved when he recovered it. On 3rd and 15 he fired incomplete. However, a personal foul for hitting his knees led to an automatic first down. Sebastian Janikowski came in for a 39 yard field goal was no good, but in another lucky break, a defensive penalty allowed Seabass to hit it from 34. The Raiders led 3-0 on the road.

The lead did not las long. Vince Young fired a pass that was broken up, but a questionable defensive pass interference penalty had the Titans in business. Vince Young went for the bomb, and hit a wide open Nate Washington for an easy 56 yard touchdown. The Titans led 7-3.

The Raiders took over at their own 20 as Darren McFadden picked up gains of 7 and 3 for a first down. Campbell then went back to pass and got sacked for the 3rd time. He did his best JaMarcus Russell imitation by fumbling. It was picked up and run in for a Titans touchdown to make it a 14-3 game. While the Raiders offensive line was giving up everything to Jeff Fisher’s defense, offensive line guy Tom Cable challenged the ruling that Campbell was down before the ball came out.

The referee split the difference, and gave the Titans the ball at the spot of recovery, the Oakland 23 as the game remained 7-3. This time the defense stepped up as Michael Huff blew up a running play in the backfield. Rob Bironas hit a 43 yard field goal and the Raiders trailed 10-3.

The Raiders took over and benefitted from an offsides penalty. On 2nd and 5 McFadden took a reverse to the Oakland 35. Campbell’s next pass was batted in the air. It would have been intercepted but Campbell himself leapt up and batted it down like a volleyball incomplete. Campbell then overthrew a wide open Louis Murphy. On 3rd and 10 Campbell scrambled and appeared to be running for a first down. Yet near the marker he went for the quarterback give up slide instead of going head first, leaving him a yard short. Shane Lechler punted again.

The Titans took over deep in their own territory, but a 3rd and 1 run around the end had Tennessee at their own 30. Vince Young evaded a sack and ran for 16 yards to the Oakland 47. The defense then held and the Titans punted. The Raiders took over at their own 9. 3 plays later the Raiders punted and Tennessee took over at their own 40.

Vince Young completed a pass and Chris Brown gashed the defense for a run to the Raiders 30. On 3rd and 1 from the 21, Young ran an option and pitched out to Chris Johnson for 5 yards. On the next play, Javon Ringer ran straight up the middle untouched for a 15 yard touchdown as the Titans led 17-3 with 3:45 left in the half.

On the next offensive series Campbell avoided a sack and threw short to McFadden, who dropped it. Campbell was then sacked and fumbled, although the Raiders fell on it to set up 3rd and a million. Lechler punted deep, the only bright spot in this debacle.

Debacle was the appropriate word as Chris Johnson took a handoff on a draw play, and raced for a 76 yard touchdown to have the Titans up 24-3 and remind everybody that preseason means nothing. The Raiders are still a mess.

With 90 seconds left in the half, Campbell hit McFadden over the middle. A horsecollar tackle added another 15 yards as the Raiders were just past midfield. Campbell hit McFadden for another 16 yards. On 2nd and long McFadden took the draw play for another first down as the Raiders called timeout with 51 seconds left in the half at the Tennessee 21. An offensive 5 yard penalty followed by a fumbled snap had Oakland going backwards. McFadden got the Raiders to 2nd and 11. Campbell went to the end zone to Louis Murphy, but the ball was tipped away. A dumpoff pass to Cartwright set up 4th and 2 with 19 seconds left in the half. Cable opted for the field goal, and Seabass connected from 30 yards out as the Raiders trailed 24-6 at the break.

The Raiders started the second half by being called for a facemask penalty on the kickoff. However, Chris Johnson lost 8 yards on a reverse gone bad. The Titans punted as the Raiders took over at their own 19. Campbell threw a screen pass to Louis Murphy that somehow lost 5 yards. Yet on 3rd and 12, Campbell scrambled up the middle. He slid again, but this time well past the marker for a 19 yard gain. Campbell then hit Figurs for 11 more yards to the Oakland 44. On 2nd and 16 Campbell hit Zach Miller for 27 yards to the Tennessee 35. The drive stalled after a gadget play backfired and Seabass missed from 53 yards out.

Any hope for the Raiders was snuffed out when Young completed a 3rd and 11 pas for 27 yards to the Oakland 20. Chris Johnson took it up the middle for the score to have the Titans rolling 31-6. Campbell was intercepted on the next series, and it was returned inside the 5. A short touchdown pass from Young had the Titans up 38-6.

The Raiders scored a touchdown during garbage time, which for the Silver and Black technically was the entire game. JaMarcus Russell cannot be blamed for this one. Winning against a good team on the road is tough, but the Raider Nation should be disgusted with the 8th straight season of pathetic efforts. 38-13 Titans

Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants–These teams could both be very good or very average, as coaches Jon Fox and Tom Coughlin come off of underachieving seasons that saw Jake Delhomme shipped to Cleveland. Matt Moore is the new leader in Carolina, and he and Eli Manning both threw 3 interceptions in this turnover plagued game.

After a Carolina punt, Manning fired complete to Godfrey. Problem…he plays defense for Carolina. From the New York 18, Moore completed a pass to Grant in the end zone. Problem…he plays defense for the Giants, equaling a touchback.

A punt return of 43 yards set up Carolina at the Giants 29, On 3rd and 4 form the 5, Deangelo Williams only made it halfway, and Jon Fox had John Kasay kick the chip shot 21 yard field goal to put the Panthers up 3-0.

Eli Manning brought the Giants right back, and on 3rd and 16 from the Giants 40, Manning hit Mario Manningham for 31 yards. Manning then hit Hakeem Nicks for a 26 yard touchdown to put the Giants up 7-3.

A strong kickoff had the Panthers at their own 45 as the second quarter got underway. Carolina reached the Giants 34, and Kasay nailed a 52 yard field goal to have the Panthers within 7-6. Manning then came out and fired a pass to Anderson. Problem: He plays defense for the Panthers, as they took over at their own 48. The teas ended up exchanging punts as Carolina took over at their own 36  with 4 minutes left in the half.

On 3rd and 6 from the 40 Moore completed a 13 yard pass to Goodson, with roughing the passer tacking on 15 more yards. Kasay nailed his 3rd field goal, a 43 yarder with 1:46 left in the half to have the Panthers up 9-7.

The Giants faced 3rd and 3 on their own 27 when defensive pass interference moved the ball 20 yards. Manning then hit Nicks for 25 yards to the Carolina 28. This was good news because Nicks does not play defense for Carolina. On 3rd and 4 from the 19 Manning hit Nicks for the touchdown as the Giants led 14-9 with only 45 seconds left in the half.

Another strong kickoff return had the Panthers at midfield. On 3rd and 2 from the 42, Moore hit Steve Smith for 10 yards, Goodson for 13 more, and Smith again for the 19 yard touchdown with only 3 seconds on the clock as the Panthers led 16-14 at intermission. The Giants also have Steve Smith, but he also plays offense, preventing another mistaken interception.

The Giants took the second half kickoff and Manning moved them 60 yards in 11 plays over 6 minutes. Yet on 4th and 1 from the 13 Coughlin decided not to gamble. Lawrence Tynes nailed the 32 yard field goal as the Giants retook the lead 17-16. Carolina tried to punt afterward, but the snap was fumbled and the Giants took over at the Carolina 38. On 2nd and 13 Manning hit Manningham for 25 yards. Manning then hit Nicks for the 5 yard touchdown as the Giants led 24-16.

Another Carolina punt had Big Blue starting at their own 48. From the Carolina 40, Manning went deep to Ahmad Bradshaw for 39 yards down to the one. Brandon Jacobs has been unhappy as the backup, and he did not help his cause by losing 3 yards. Bradhaw the starter scored the 4 yard touchdown as the Giants led 31-16.

Moore quickly led the Panthers from their 20 to a 3rd and goal at the Giants 4. Moore then completed a pass in the end zone to Thomas. Problem…Thomas plays defense for the Giants, and the touchback thwarted that drive. Manning then completed another pass to Godfrey, which was still a problem because Godfrey still plays defense for Carolina.

Carolina had golden field position at the Giants 12, and Moore fired complete in the end zone to Phillips. You guessed it…problem…Phillips plays defense for the Giants, which meant another touchback. The Giants failed to move the ball, and their attempt to punt was blocked by Hardy, who does play special teams for the Panthers.

The Panthers took the free kick at their own 39. Moore was not intercepted. Instead fumbled, and the Giants took over at the Carolina 29.  Manning was not intercepted this time. He handed the ball to Bradshaw, who fumbled at the Carolina 14. The Panthers took over at their own 10. Luckily the game was almost over, and nothing else would change.

Eli Manning did finish with 3 touchdown passes and 372 yards passing. As for the Panthers, they could take solace knowing Jake Delhomme had a miserable day in his new city. This second half meltdown was every bit as bad as the Carolina playoff loss to Arizona 2 years ago that started the downward spiral of this once good franchise. 31-18 Giants

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears–It is not fair in Week 1 to say some games should not be played. I will wait until Week 2 out of open-mindedness. It is also surprising to say that this game will be talked about for some time to come, but shockingly enough it will be, for all the wrong reasons.

Jay Cutler started strong, leading the Bears 64 yards in 11 plays in 6 minutes. Yet the drive stalled at the 3 yard line and Robbie Gould connected from 20 to have the Bears up 3-0.

Matthew Stafford calmly led a pair of drives that Jason Best capped off with touchdown runs of 7 and 4 yards to have the Lions leading 14-3 in the second quarter. Yet one play later Cutler hit Matt Forte for a pass that went for an 89 yard touchdown to have the Bears within 14-10.

Matthew Stafford started out hot, going 11 for 15 for 83 yards. Then he got injured and did not return for the second half. Just before the half, Stafford was sacked and fumbled, setting up the Bears at the Detroit 37. Gould hit a 31 yard field goal before halftime to have the Bears within 14-13.

Shawn Hill, the San Francisco castoff, was awful in the second half. Both offenses were dreadful and the third quarter was scoreless. With 10:45 left in the game, Hill went back to pass from his own 9 yard line. He was sacked and fumbled, giving the Bears 1st and goal at the Lions 1.

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz gave us the Greatest Show on Turf a decade ago. He has less to work with in Chicago, but there is some talent. Matt Forte failed to score twice and an incomplete pass between those runs had 4th and goal at the 1. Forte got the carry, and nothing else. The Lions defense stormed off the field in celebration after the goal line stand.

In a game neither offense wanted to win, the Lions failed to gain a first down and the Bears took over after a punt at the Lions 41. The Bears gained 3 yards and Lovie Smith decided to punt and play field position rather than try a 55 yard field goal. The strategy worked, and the Bears took over their next drive at their own 44. Cutler hit Forte for a 28 yard touchdown with only 1:32 to play. The 2 point conversion failed, but the Bears had a 5 point lead.

The Lions took over at their own 17 with one final chance. While the Lions have all world receiver Calvin Johnson, it was their other Johnson catching a 24 yard pass to get the drive going. Hill hit Tony Scheffler for 8 yards and Calvin Johnson for 10 and 16 yard gains as the Lions reached the Detroit 25 with 31 seconds left. Then all heck broke loose.

Hill went to the end zone for Calvin Johnson, who made a gorgeous one handed catch for what appeared to be the winning touchdown. After the play ended, Johnson put the ball on the ground. The referee called the pass incomplete, and an irate Jim Schwartz challenged the play. The replay clearly showed Johnson catching the ball with one hand, his knee hitting the ground, his hand placing the ball on the ground with full possession control, and then letting it go to celebrate. The replay review upheld the pass as incomplete, as a stunned Detroit team faced 3rd and 10.

Hill went to Calvin Johnson 2 more times, both incompletions. The Bears had the win, but the Lions can say with certainty that they were robbed. Jim Schwartz showed tremendous character after the game saying, “The day I stand up here and start blaming officials for a loss is the day I should not be doing this any more.” The Lions dropped to 2-31 over their last 33 games, but this one was hard to stomach for any NFL lover outside of Chicago. 19-14 Bears

Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams–The Rams went downhill went Kurt Warner was traded, although Marc Bulger had some success under Mike Martz. Warner has retired from the Cardinals and they were expected to immediately go downhill under Matt Leinart. Instead Ken Whisenhunt decided to save the season and get rid of Leinart. In St. Louis, the 50 million dollar Sam Bradford era begins. In Arizona, underrated Derek Anderson is the starter.

Yet a pair of teams that once had explosive offenses started out playing defense as this was far removed from the Greatest Show on Turf or in the Desert. After a scoreless opening quarter, Jay Feely connected on a 22 yarder for the Cardinals and Josh Brown answered with a 46 yarder to tie the game 3-3. Brown had another kick blocked.

Anderson rapidly moved the Cardinals 76 yards, and Tim Hightower ran it in from one yard out to put the Cardinals up 10-3. Yet Sam Bradford showed he is for real, quickly moving the Rams back 63 yards the other way. From the Arizona one yard line with time for one play before the half, Bradford rolled out and hit Robinson for the score as the teams went to the locker rooms deadlocked 10-10.

In the third quarter Josh Brown tacked on another chip shot yard field goal. The 25 yarder had the Rams up 13-10. At this point the game became a comical farce. From the Arizona 40, Anderson was hit and fumbled. The defender picked it up and rumbled to the end zone. WHile he was not showboating like Leon Lett, Steve Breaston did his best Steve Tasker, catching up and chopping the ball out at the one yard line for another fumble. The Cardinals recovered in the end zone for a touchback, starting 20 yards behind the previous play but with a new first down.

While Breaston made a great defensive play, his job is still to play offense as a wide receiver. Anderson hit him for a 35 yard gain, with 15 more tacked on for roughing the passer to have the Cardinals on the move at the St. Louis 13 as the teams began the final quarter. A short pass to Larry Grant killed the drive when Grant was hit and fumbled the ball at the five yard line. The Rams faced 3rd and 14 at their own 1. Steve Spagnuolo had total confidence in rookie Bradford, allowing him to throw in that dangerous situation. Bradford completed a 20 yard pass, although the Rams eventually punted.

Derek Anderson then had the Cardinals moving with a long pass to Max Komar, who got belted but hung on.  Another deep pass over the middle went to Steve Breaston, who took it all the way to the Rams 15. After a penalty, Anderson then hit Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone for a 21 yard touchdown to put the Rams up 17-13 with 6:13 to play. 613 is a magical number in Jewish culture, which would be relevant if Larry Fitzgerald were Jewish.

With 4 minutes left, Bradford hit Mark Clayton, who apparently is not the same fellow who caught passes from Dan Marino 25 years ago. Yet Clayton took the pass all the way to the Arizona 32. At the 2 minute warning the Rams were just outside of the Red Zone. Bradford fired to the end zone but the pass was broken up.

With 90 seconds to play, Bradford finally looked like a rookie, as his pass was intercepted by Kerry Rhodes. Rhodes should have gone the distance the other way, but he seemed to get tired, running into his own man after a 65 yard return. Nevertheless, with 1:21 left the Cardinals seemingly had the game locked up. All they had to do was run out the clock. Instead Tim Hightower fumbled, and the Rams recovered. The second coming of Joe Pisarcik lurked in the Desert.

Bradford had 3 timeouts, and fired complete to the Arizona 34. His next pass was dropped.  His 50th pass was complete at the Arizona 47 yard line. 20 seconds remained.With 10 seconds left the Rams took their 2nd timeout as they faced 4th and 1 at the 38. They ran the ball to pick up their first down at the 33 as the Rams used their last timeout with 5 seconds remaining. Bradford heaved it to the end zone, but the Hail Mary was intercepted by Adrian Wilson.

Despite 3 interceptions, Bradford will be a superstar in this league. However, on this day the Cardinals survived a thriller in St. Louis. Derek Anderson passed for 297 yards himself. 17-13 Cardinals

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles–A couple of years ago Mike McCarthy decided to get rid of Brett Favre and go with Aaron Rodgers. The Packers are a trendy pick to reach the Super Bowl this year. This offseason Walrus Lite Andy Reid  shipped Donovan McNabb out of town. For the first time since he took over the team in 1999, he will have a new quarterback in Kevin Kolb.

The Eagles did take a 3-0 lead after the first quarter on a 45 yard field goal by reliable David Akers, but after that reality set in. Mason Crosby hit a 49 yard field goal to tie the game 3-3. Rodgers then led an 11 play, 5 1/2 minute, 76 yard drive that culminated in a 6 yard pass to Donald Driver to give the Packers the 10-3 lead.

Late in the half Green Bay went into the locker room with momentum when Crosby nailed a 56 yard field goal for a 13-3 lead. As for the Eagles, things went from bad to worse when Kolb was knocked out of the game with a concussion, leading to Michael Vick starting the half.

Vick began by running for a 23 yard gain, showing his electricity. Yet the drive was fumbled away after that, and Rodgers continued the Green bay clinic. 10 plays, 62 yards, and almost 5 minutes later, Kuhn ran it in from 3 yards out to have the Eagles cruising at 20-3.

The Eagles finally got going as Vick quickly took the Eagles 60 yards. McCoy took it in from 2 yards out as the Eagles cut the gap to 20-10. It was short lived as the Packers took over near midfield and Rodgers fired a 32 yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings to have the Packers rolling at 27-10. Vick responded by quickly leading the Eagles 79 yards. A 17 yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Macklin had the Eagles within 27-17 with a full 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Vick was not done as a short pass to McCoy led to a long gain to the Green Bay 10 yard line. The drive stalled, but a short Akers field goal had the Eagles within 27-20 with 5:43 remaining.

The Packers offense, after flying high earlier, was stuck in neutral. Vick had the Eagles moving again, as he scrambled to midfield. After a sack, Vick fired a laser to set up a 4th and 1 at the Green Bay 42 at the 2 minute warning. Vick lined up in the shotgun, tried to run it himself up the middle, and got belted by the Green Bay defense short of the first down. With no timeouts remaining, the Packers ran out the clock to preserve the win. Is there a quarterback controversy in Philadelphia? We know there is not one in Green Bay. 27-20 Packers

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks–The Seahawks were supposed to be a mess, as Pete Carroll would bring his cheerleading style to the NFL again with a team not expected to beat USC. The 49ers entered the season with the potential to be incredibly overrated as Alex Smith stayed, Shawn Hill was sent packing, and Mike Singletary did his best Ray Rhodes impression in past seasons by scowling without the wins to back it up. This was the year the 49ers would take the next step.

The 49ers began with a pair of short drives that benefitted from good field position that both bogged down at the Seattle 6 yard line. A pair of 23 yard Joe Nedney field goals, one in each quarter, had the 49ers up 6-0. That concluded the 49ers highlights for the day.

Old Man Matt Hasselbeck led a 64 yard drive that he capped off himself with a 1 yard sneak to have the Seahawks up 7-6. A San Francisco turnover had the Seahawks at the San Francisco 13. One play later Hasselbeck hit Butler for the touchdown to make it 14-6 Seattle at halftime.

In the third quarter  Smith was intercepted by Trufant, who returned it 32 yards for a score as the Seahawks cruised to a 21-6 lead. Later in the quarter Hasselbeck moved Seattle 60 yards, with a 3 yard touchdown pass to Deion Branch ending any suspense as Pete Carroll grabbed the pompoms and cued the marching band before realizing that outside of DC, no NFL team had a marching band. Nonetheless, the Seahawks led 28-6. Those who decided not to turn the game off and do anything else were rewarded, if by rewarded one means watching Seattle tack on another field goal to end this blowout. 31-6 Seahawks

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins was the Sunday night game. Meglomaniacal owners Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder kicked off Sunday Night Football in DC. New Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan and new quarterback Donovan McNabb are the upside, with Albert Hayneworth being the downside. As for the Cowboys, they are expecting to play in the Super Bowl at the Jerry Jones metropolis at the end of the year.

Tony Romo had the Cowboys moving early with 3 first downs before the drive stalled. McNabb completed his first pass with a roughing the pass penalty tacked on. McNabb showed he still has legs, as he ran for 17 yards and a 1st down to the Dallas 28. McNabb then hit Chris Cooley for 14 more. The drive stalled, but a 29 yard field goal had the Redskins up 3-0.

Romo moved the ball again, spreading it around, with a questionable defensive personal foul against London Fletcher moving Dallas to the Washington 12. Michelin Man Wade Phillips went to the bag of tricks, but a halfback option pass was incomplete as the opening quarter ended. The second quarter had the Cowboys facing 3rd and 2 at the 4. A completed pass was just short of the marker, but offensive pass interference pushed Dallas back as Mike Shanahan decided not give Dallas 4th and 1. Romo fired incomplete, and a 34 yard field goal was no good, as Dallas wasted the opportunity.

The rest of the first half was completely forgettable until the very last play. The Cowboys trailed 3-0 and had the ball at their own 30. The choices were to take a knee or go for the Hail Mary. Romo went back to pass, and decided to throw a short pass to Tashard Choice as the clock hit zeroes. Choice was hit and fumbled. Deangelo Hall picked up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown in front of a shocked Dallas bench. A dreadful game out of nowhere had the crowd cheering as the Redskins led 10-0 at halftime.

The Redskins had virtually no first half offense, but in the second half moved in position for a 36 yard field goal. The kick was good, but Dallas jumped offsides. Shanahan took the points off the board and soon regretted that decision as McNabb was intercepted in the end zone.  However, the Cowboys continued to self-destruct as illegal contact meant the Redskins had 1st and goal at the 5. The Cowboys dodged the bullet as 3 incomplete passes meant a much shorter field goal attempt. The snap was fumbled, and the game remained 10-0.

Romo began from the Dallas 22 by avoiding a sack and finding Miles Austin at midfield. Yet on 4th and 2 from the Washington 42, Wade Phillips opted to punt.  The field position strategy worked as the Redskins remained lifeless on offense. A short field after a punt followed by some tough running by Marion Barber led to a 4 yard touchdown pass from Romo to Austin as the Cowboys were within 10-7 with less than 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

A very forgettable game on almost level came down to the Redskins facing 4th and 7 at the 32 with 1:56 to play. Shanahan initially sent in the punt team, but then decided on a 49 yard field goal. Despite the earlier botched attempt, this kick was just long enough, hitting the camera above the crossbar. It bounced backward, but for obvious reasons counted as good as the Redskins had a 6 point lead.

The Cowboys took over at the 20. Romo fired passes as Defensive Coordinator sent the house. With 18 seconds left, the Cowboys faced 4th and 10 from the Washington 43. Romo fired over the middle to Austin, with a defender running faster than a Kardashian to catch him. With 12 seconds left, Dallas was at the 13 with one timeout left. Romo fired to the end zone incomplete twice, giving Dallas one last shot with 3 seconds left. Even ugly games can end beautifully.

Not this one. It ended as ugly as possible. Romo stumbled, avoided a sack, and threw for a touchdown to a wide open Roy Williams for the winning touchdown. Williams was out of football for 2 years. This could have been the feel good moment of the year. Williams celebrated on the ground as teammates mobbed him.

Yet in this game of blunders, the touchdown was nullified by offensive holding. Games cannot end on a defensive penalty, but they can on an offensive one. Just like that the Cowboys lost, as Jerry Jones threatened to demolish Fedex Field before realizing it was something he does not own yet. 13-7 Cowboys

Baltimore Ravens @ New York Jets was the first Monday night game. This was the battle of Hard Knocks with the trash talking pitting the biggest mouths from Rex Ryan to Ray Lewis. For those who love bravado, attitude, and bone crushing defense to back it up, this was it. As expected, this game was a low scoring bare fisted slobberknocker.

After a Baltimore turnover deep in their own territory, the Jets were 12 yards from the end zone. They managed to only pick up half of it before settling for a Nick Folk field goal from 23 yards out. In the second quarterthe Jets again began in Baltimore territory, but again ran into a Baltimore buzzsaw in the red zone. Folk connected from 28 yards out to have the Jets up 6-0.

Joe Flacco finally moved the Ravens late in the half, leading an 11 play, 76 yard drive. Willis McGahee ran it in from one yard out to give the Ravens a 7-6 halftime lead. The way this game was being played, that could have actually stood.

In the third quarter Flacco continued to move the Ravens, taking them 85 yards. However, this time it was the Jets who stiffened on defense as Billy Cundiff hit a 25 yard field goal to have the Ravens up 10-6.

Mark Sanchez was having a tough game, completing 5 of 10 passes for only 30 yards through much of three quarters. Joe Flacco had 191 yards passing around that point but also had an interception. The punting game for the Jets twice pinned the Ravens at the one yard line, as yardage did not come easy. With 12 minutes in regulation, the field position favored the Jets when a punt return had Gang Green at the Ravens 35. A 3rd and 5 pass was dropped, but Folk hit a 47 yard field goal that started outside but hooked just inside as the Jets closed to within 10-9 with 10 1/2 minutes left.

The teams traded defensive blows when it all came down to the Ravens facing 3rd and inches inside the Jets 40 wit 2:30 minutes to play. Flacco got zero surge, but when the ball was spotted the Ravens somehow had a first down by less than the nose of the football.

Yet the Jets had all 3 timeouts, and John Harbaugh went ultra conservative. 3 running plays lost yardage, took the Ravens out of field goal range, and gave the Jets after a punt the ball at their own 18 with 1:37 to play and one timeout. With 57 seconds left the Jets took their final timeout on 1st and 10 from their own 30. A metaphor for the entire game came on 2nd down when a pass over the middle led to Justin Keller getting blasted by Ray Lewis for an incomplete pass. Another incomplete pass set up 4th and 10 with 41 seconds left. Sanchez then threw a 9 yard pass to a wide open receiver who caught it near the sidelines and went out of bounds  short of the first down as the Jets found a new way to add to their history of futility by losing creatively.

Yes the Jets fought hard, but were dominated statistically. Also, those who despise the West Coast offense like I do will once again remind coaches that in situations like the 2 minute drill, you must throw the ball past the marker. The Jets talked a great game, but the Ravens got the gutty win. 10-9 Ravens

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs was the second Monday night game. The Chiefs are supposed to be pathetic while the consistently overrated Chargers are just Norvelous. This was supposed to be a tuneup for the Chargers, and early on it seemed that way when Philip Rivers led the lightning bolts into Kansas City territory. On 3rd and 7 from the 28,  penalty pushed the Chargers back 5 yards. Norv Turner opted against the 50 yard field goal and Mike Scifre punted. On the next San Diego drive, Rivers led the Chargers 60 yards, capping the drive with a 3 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates to put San Diego up 7-0.

Out of nowhere the game turned.  Jamal Charles busted through the line for a 56 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7.  In the second quarter Matthews ran 15 yards before getting stripped of the ball at the San Diego 28. Carr returned it for the Chiefs to the Chargers 12. Matt Cassel hit Moeaki for the 2 yard touchdown to put the Chiefs in front 14-7. Later in the quarter Scifres punted to McLuster, and the play was a McLusterf*ck for San Diego as McLuster returned it 94 yards for a score to have the Chiefs leading a stunner 21-7.

The Chiefs went very conservative in the second half, which hurt them against the potent Chargers offense. San Diego took over from their own 9  yard line and needed only 5 plays as Rivers went deep to a wide open Naanee for a 59 yard touchdown as the Chiefs clung to a 21-14 lead after three quarters.

San Diego took over at their own 10 and continued moving. A 23 yard run by Mike Tolbert had the Chargers past midfield. On 3rd and 9 from the 32, Rivers threw a pass that was perfectly defended. San Diego decided to go for it on 4th and 9 with 7 minutes left rather than kick the 49 yard field goal. Rivers threw high and incomplete as the Chiefs tried to mount any offense to eat up the clock.

The Chiefs continued to try and play it as safe as possible, and on 3rd and 3 a draw play was blown up in the backfield. The Chargers took over with 5 minutes left on their own 17. Rivers needed only 2 passes and terrible tackling by the Chiefs to reach the Chiefs 23. With 1:56 left the Chargers faced 4th and 4 from the 17. Rivers hit Naanee at the 4 yard line.

San Diego let the clock run as the Chiefs for some bizarre reason did not take their timeouts on defense, figuring that if the Chargers tied the game the timeouts would look lovely in the locker room. San Diego took a timeout with 45 seconds left facing 3rd and goal. Rivers overthrew a wide open receiver in the back of the end zone. Rivers took another timeout on 4th and goal at the 6 with 39 seconds left. The Chiefs also took a timeout. Rivers fired to the end zone incomplete and the Chiefs had the upset victory. Matt Cassel was 10 of 22 for 68 yards passing, but a defensive touchdown and a punt return score made the difference. The Chargers remain Norvelous. 21-14 Chiefs


One Response to “NFL 2010–Week 1 Recap”

  1. steveegg says:

    I remember a similar situation happening to the Bears when Walter Payton left the ball on the ground after being tackled. In that case, even though Payton was clearly down, the refs ruled that it was a fumble, and the other team (could even have been the Lions) got possession.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.