NFL Week 1 Fallout
Here we are at the end of Week 1 of the NFL season, and we learned several things.
Things learned the first: special teams are essential to win the game.
In the Denver-Buffalo game with 14 seconds left in regulation and no times out left, the Broncos offense rushed off the field and the kicking unit came in. By the time the holder got the ball, there was only one second left in the game. Bronco kicker Jason Elam erased his past two transgressions (missed field goals) to kick the game winning 42-yard field goal. There was no margin of error for the Broncos, and because of the perfect execution the Broncos won the game 15-14.
That was the good, here’s the ugly. In the Philadelphia-Green Bay game, the Eagles had two fumbled punt returns: one in the first quarter that was recovered in the end zone for a Packer touchdown, and one with less than a minute remaining in the game that set up the game winning field goal for the Packers. Those two fumbles cost the Eagles the game 16-13.
Things learned the second: make sure you are fundamentally sound.
Everyone knows football is a violent sport. Despite all the precautions taken to keep players safe, the nature of the sport causes many injuries. None were more severe this week than the injury to Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett.
On the second half opening kick off, Everett made a helmet-to-helmet tackle of Denver’s Domenik Hixon. Everett fell to the ground unable to move. After being taken to the emergency room it was confirmed he suffered a fractured dislocation of the cervical spine. Basically his neck broke.
I haven’t seen the hit nor do I want to see it, so I can’t say for sure if he meant to tackle head first. But one of the first lessons of Tackling 101 is always lead with your shoulders not your head. Nevertheless it’s still very sad, and I hope he makes a full recovery.
But there was a whole rash of injuries in Week 1 of the season. Taking a look at this injury list, and it’s just shocking the number of injuries incurred. I don’t know what to account it to, but let’s hope it’s not this bad this season.
Other NFL Nuggets
Pittsburgh over Cleveland 34-7: It's no surprise, Cleveland is horrible. The Brady Quinn era will start in week 3.
Carolina over St. Louis 27-13: I didn't expect Panther QB Jake Delhomme to be quite that good. If he plays this well and WR Steve Smith stays healthy, they will be contenders in the NFC South.
Minnesota over Atlanta 24-3: Minnesota's another team I didn't expect to play that well this week. Fortunately they have a soft schedule heading into their bye in week 5.
New England over New York Jets 38-14: If the Patriots had this set of receivers last year, we would still be asking whether Peyton Manning could win the big one.
Washington over Miami 16-13: What an ugly game. Neither of them will be any good this season so why bother?
Tennessee over Jacksonville 13-10: The Titans used their superior running game to stomp all over the Jags to close out the game. These two teams are big question marks for me though.
Houston over Kansas City 20-3: Was this the Texans impersonation of a good team, or are they actually capable of being a good team this year?
Detroit over Oakland 36-21: Where was this vaunted Raider defense that's been talked about all off season? Oakland's better than this.
San Diego over Chicago 14-3: If the Bears offense is going to look like that this season, I really need to get a prescription of blood pressure medication.
Seattle over Tampa Bay 20-6: I completely forgot this game was played.
Dallas over New York Giants 45-35: This was supposed to be the score to the Saints-Colts game on Thursday. Giants QB Eli Manning is supposedly out for a month with a dislocated shoulder. To boot the Giants also lost key defensive players to injury in last night's game. Hello cellar, good bye coach Tom Coughlin.
I'll be back tomorrow with a wrap up of the Monday night games and a top 5/bottom 5 list.
AP Photo by Don Heupel