Notes on Sunday's Week 1 Afternoon Games
-- by Adam Hocking
Patriots 23, Bills 21
This isn’t an uncommon sight as New England is often in strange games with Buffalo, but they did their New England thing, cobbled it together, and won with a late field goal. EJ Manuel wasn’t spectacular for Buffalo, but the moment wasn’t too big, and he clearly belongs on an NFL field.
Bears 24, Bengals 21
The Bears played pretty well against a team that many have winning their division and making a deep playoff run. Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham combine for 10 catches on 10 targets. That is good production that bodes well for the Bengals season, and I still think they will win eleven or so games. Is AJ Green challenging Calvin Johnson for the title of best receiver (9 catches, 162 yards, 2 scores)?
Dolphins 23, Browns 10
A matchup between teams that every pundit has at picked at least one of to surprise people this year. This day it was Miami on the road in a very big win for them. Any road win for a young team that will struggle to make the playoffs is big. Mike Wallace: 1 catch, 15 yards; get it going big fella.
Lions 34, Vikings 24
Hard to know if you can extrapolate much from this matchup but Reggie Bush was great with nearly 100 yards both running and catching. Matthew Stafford was prolific, and the presence of Bush allowed him to target Megatron just six times. Balance will be very good for this offense. Defensively, after Adrian Peterson opened the day blasting a 78 yard run the Lions tightened the screws and shut AP down.
Colts 21, Raiders 17
Not a spectacular game by Indy but this is what you will get from Andrew Luck. You will win the games you should, and that’s exactly what Peyton Manning did in compiling playoff season after playoff season.
Saints 23, Falcons 17
The Saints bring balance to the force after almost exclusively throwing the ball last year. Sean Payton is back and so is the commitment to the run game (29 attempts for just 78 yards but good balance).
Jets 18, Buccaneers 17
The Bucs have more talent than the Jets, enough talent to be a playoff team even, but they haven’t meshed this early in the season, and I don’t think it’s a guarantee they mesh much at all during the year. The Jets get a luckyish penalty to set up a game-winning field goal in a game they should have lost. Geno Smith was really pretty good given his supporting cast and the media microscope: 24/38, 256 yards, 1TD, 1INT, including 7-18 on third down and 6 rushes for 47 yards. I think Jets fans would eagerly take that each time out this year. Oh no, Mike Greenberg has hope, clear the air waves for some Jets heavy talk.
Titans 16, Steelers 9
Oof…really Pittsburgh? Maybe you will be worse than I thought. Jake Locker, just 11-20, and Chris Johnson pounded 25 times for just 70 yards. An ugly game, the teams combined for 57 rushes and 144 yards, well under 3 yards per carry.
Seahawks 12, Panthers 7
Russell Wilson was really good, throwing for 320 yards a touchdown and no picks. And though the offense wasn’t great, the defense was for Seattle. Any win Seattle gets away from home is butter because they may go undefeated at home.
Chiefs 28, Jaguars 2
The Chiefs: much improved. The Jags…um…they get to play in London this year.
Rams 27, Cardinals 24
I’m glad to see the Rams win this game I guess because I don’t yet see them as a true division rival to the 49ers, but I think they are solidly the third-best team in the division and could make the playoffs if they were in, say, the NFC East. Did you see the play Tyrann Mathieu made on Jared Cook? That’s why he may be the steal of the draft. Those are superstar plays that cannot be taught.
Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Slant_route.png