San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was one of 2013 Week 1’s standouts as he dominated the Green Bay Packers again – this time with his arm instead of his legs — in a thrilling late game that had everyone watching
The first weekend of the 94th NFL season titled: “Back to Football” is finally over. NFL nation just couldn’t get enough of America’s Game as Week 1 stretched over three game days (September 5th, September 8th, and September 9th). Once again, all 16 games of the NFL’s Kickoff Weekend were sold out allowing for no local TV blackouts.
Overall the first week of the 2013 NFL season brought Surprises, Non-surprises, Cheers (see Game Balls), and Tears (See Lloyd’s Lackey) that only NFL drama can provoke. The wins and losses no doubt will create a buzz of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” around the water cooler and on sports radio, but remember the NFL season is a 16-game marathon.
What I love about Week 1 is experts, fans, and some members of the media start making year-long assertions based on “one week” of real NFL games. Some of the comments/feedback that I have received from fans – we know how they tend to go overboard in nature — after only one week of play that I consider premature and in some cases “laughable” include the below 6-Pack:
1) The Eagles fast-break offense led by QB Michael Vick, RB LeShaun McCoy, and WR DeSean Jackson is going to break the NFL’s record for plays in a game (95)
2) After his great play in Week 1, you can hand Broncos QB Peyton Manning the MVP award.
3) The Cowboys, Niners, Eagles, Chiefs, Saints, Colts and Broncos are all instant playoff contenders after Week 1 wins.
4) The NY Jets are the team to beat in the AFC East after taking apart the “mighty” Tampa Bay Bucs.
5) Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is in for a “Sophomore Slump” 2013 season after looking tentative/rusty for portion of his team’s 33-27 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
6) Let’s just fast-forward to Super Bowl XLVIII with the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers facing each other.
C’mon some of these conclusions may prove to be true, but one week doesn’t show enough to paint such a broad picture. Sure Week 1 is important for setting the tone for the entire season— the last 47 Super Bowl Champions started out a combined 38-8-1 in Week 1 of their championship season. Since 1978, when the NFL adopted the 16-game schedule — excluding the abbreviated season of 1982 — of the 506 teams that were victorious in Week 1 of the season 266 went to the playoffs. In 2012, eight of the 12 playoff teams – Baltimore, Denver, New England, Minnesota, Washington, Atlanta, San Franciso and Houston – were victorious on Kickoff Weekend.
But remember in the parity-laden NFL, everything can change very quickly. Last year after four weeks eventual playoff qualifiers the Falcons and Texans were 4-0, but so were the Cardinals who finished with a record of 5-11. Also after four weeks, the following eventual playoff caliber teams: Ravens, Niners, Vikings, and Bengals all had a nice 3-1 record, but so did four eventual non-playoff teams (Eagles, Cowboys, Bears, and Chargers).
I like to tell fans wait until Halloween (between Weeks 7 and 8) before making season –long conclusions…. Please don’t jump off your respective teams bandwagons just yet. Since realignment in 2002, 78 of the 132 playoff teams (59 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2. Seven of the past twelve Super Bowl champions began their seasons with a 1-1 or 0-2 record including the 2012 Baltimore Ravens (2-0). Plus last year three of the NFL’s 12 playoff teams started 2-0 (Falcons, Texans, and Niners) and the other nine were 1-1 (Ravens, Broncos, Seahawks, Colts, Packers, Redskins, Patriots, and Bengals) before righting themselves – there were no 0-2 playoff teams in 2012.
Just ask the 2007 NY Giants how they felt after blowing a lead in Week 1 and losing to the hated Cowboys in Dallas. After their week one loss, Giants didn’t lose another road game all season on their way to being Super Bowl champs. Teams – and their fans — can’t get too caught up in thinking things are going to be biscuits and gravy or a disaster throughout the entire season, based on Week 1. The main thing right now is for teams to focus week-in and week-out on the team that they are facing. In 2012 after Week 4, the Philadelphia Eagles looked like playoff contenders as they started 3-1 only to limp home with a record of 4-12.
To save your sanity, cut the NFL season into four quarters and you will know more than enough by the end of the second quarter of the 17-week schedule, when games really start to matter most.
2013 NFL Week 1 Games
Thursday, September 5
Denver (1-0) over Baltimore (0-1), 49-27… NFL Opener on Thursday Night… Manning ties Kapp by throwing 7 TDs in single game… Game delayed 33 minutes for lightning
Sunday, September 8
New Orleans (1-0) over Atlanta (0-1), 23-17… Great NFC South battle comes down to last play as Saints safety Roman Harper gets GW-INT
New York Jets (1-0) over Tampa Bay (0-1), 18-17… Geno Smith wins one ugly for J-E-T-S…. Dumb mistake late hit by Bucs LB Laonte David sets up GW – FG
Kansas City (1-0) over Jacksonville (0-1), 28-2… This one wasn’t even close for a second… Reid gets first win as KC head coach…JAX is horrible and Gabbert was 16-35 for 121 yds, 2 INTs,and 0 INTs
Indianapolis (1-0) over Oakland (0-1), 21-17… What a performance by OAK QB Terrelle Pryor in loss… Antoine Bethea game-ending INT for Colts… Luck gets 8th comeback win in 17 starts
Tennessee (1-0) over Pittsburgh (0-1), 16-9… Steelers lose for 1st time in 10 years in opener…PIT loses Pouncey and Foote… Steelers only run 15 times to 62 for TEN… Roethlisberger sacked 5 times
New England (1-0) over Buffalo (0-1), 23-21… This was a “close” one… Gostowski kicks 48-yd GW FG… Brady now 21-2 for career vs. Bills… Amendola fights back (groin, 10 rec for 104), Edleman shines (2 TDs)
Chicago (1-0) over Cincinnati (0-1), 24-21… Good game by 2 contenders… Bears force turovers including 2 INTs by Tillman… AJ Green awesome (9 rec, 162 yds, 2 TDs)… Rey Maluega has crucial late personal foul
Miami (1-0) over Cleveland (0-1), 23-10… Weeden awful (3 INTs)… CLE hasn’t won in opener since 2004…Hartline big game (9 rec, 114 yds, 1 TD)… Cameron is a stud (9 rec, 108 yds, TD and a great catch)
Detroit (1-0) over Minnesota (0-1), 34-24… Peterson very good (78-yd TD on first run and 3 total TDs)… Megtron gets jobbed on potential TDs again… Reggie Bush shines (191 total yards)… Suh has chop block penalty
Seattle (1-0) over Carolina (0-1), 12-7… Wilson shines late (7 for 8, 114 yds, 1 TD, and 158.3 rating in 4th quarter)… DeAngelo Williams bad fumble late for Panthers… SEA now 5-7 at 1 PM in ET
San Francisco (1-0) over Green Bay (0-1), 34-28… What a game in a rematch of 2012 NFL Divisional Round… Kaepernick this time does it with his arm (27-39, 412 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs)… Refs blow offsetting call… Boldin is amazing (13 rec, 208 yds, 1 TD)
St. Louis (1-0) over Arizona (0-1), 27-24 … Cook gets caught near goalline by Honey Badger and fumbles… Cardinals were up double-digits at one time… Rams had 4 sacks… Zuerlein hits 48-yd GW FG… Palmer bad sack/fumble late
Dallas (1-0) over New York Giants (0-1), 36-31… Sooo Many Turnovers in a sloppy SNF game… NYG have 6 turnovers… David Wilson fumbles and gets pulled… Eli has work to do (27-42, 450 yds, 4 TDs, 3 INTs)… Cruz shines after big contract (5 rec, 113 yards, 3 TDs)
Monday, September 9
Philadelphia (1-0) over Washington (0-1), 33-27… Eagles make it a track meet early as they jump out to a 33-6 lead (77 plays overall)… D-Jax shines (over 100 yds and 1 TD)… L. McCoy was running (31 rushes for 184 yards — career highs — and 1 TD)… RG3 looks rusty at first… Eagles pressure RG3 over and over (3 turnovers and safety)… Trent Cole and Michael Vick show their veteran leadership
Houston (1-0) over San Diego (0-1), 31-28 …. Tough MNF nightcap as Chris Berman had the call… Chargers were explosive as Rivers found WR Eddie Royal over and over… Arian Foster was bottled-up.. Big lead by Chargers squandered… Cushing with a Pick-6…24 unanswered points by Houston clmaxed on a 41-yd GW FG by kicker Randy Bullock
***8 home teams won (DEN, NO, STL, DAL, DET, CHI, IND and NYJ)
***How each division fared in Week 1 — NFC East (2-2); NFC North (2-2); NFC West (3-1) NFC South (1-3); AFC East (3-1); AFC West (2-2); AFC South (3-1); AFC North (0-4)
“Next Man Up” around the NFL
Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan (concussion)
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (ACL, MCL– out)
Steelers LB Larry Foote (torn biceps — out)
Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert (lacerated hand, 15 stitches)
Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (lower leg)
Giants LB Dan Connor (burner)
Falcons WR Roddy White (ankle)
Patriots WR Danny Amendola (groin)
Cowboys QB Tony Romo (ribs)
Titans RB Shonn Greene (knee)
Broncos QB Peyton Manning — After a close first half, Manning (27-42, 462 yards, 7 TDs, and 0 INTs) showed why the NFL dearly missed him during his lost 2011 season. After a full training camp and not playing much in the preseason, the 37-year old legend looked like his record setting self as he did something the 94-year old league hadn’t seen since 1969. Manning brought back the name of former Minnesota Vikings QB Joe Kapp — “The Walking Boss” from the old Longest Yard movie – into conversation as he tied the former tough guy quarterback with 7 TDs in a single game. Peyton reminded me of Patriots QB Tom Brady in 2007.
Honorable Mention: Patriots WR Danny Amendola (fought through groin); Eagles offensive trio Vick/McCoy/D-Jax (explosive in a track meet win over Redskins); Niners WR Anquan Boldin (unstoppable as he caught passes for over 200 yds); Niners QB Colin Kaepernick (looked like real deal in beating Packers); Lions RB Reggie Bush (looks reborn as he showed breakaway speed and hands); Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (3 total TDs in his chase of 9,000 yards); Bears CB Charles “Peanut” Tillman (2 INTs); Chiefs DE Tamba Hali (Pick-6); Texans LB Brian Cushing (Game-Changing Pick-6) and Saints DC Rob Ryan (defense aggressive in divisional win)
Tampa Bay Bucs LB Lavonte David — With the Bucs hanging onto a 2-point lead late, David hit NY Jets rookie QB Geno Smith well out of bounds on a crucial 3rd down play (37 yards overall on play). The miscue allowed the J-E-T-S to move the ball into position for Nick Folk’s 48-yard GW FG. Poor David had to hear the wrath almost immediately from fiery LB’s Coach Bryan Cox.
Dishonorable Mention: Jacksonville Jaguars (pitiful in a 28-2 home loss); NY Giants (sloppy as they had 6 turnovers); Jaguars OL Brad Meester (pulled down the pants of KC DE Tyson Jackson); Bucs QB Josh Freeman (15-31 for 210 yards,, 1 TD, 1 INT); Steelers (horrible in a home loss); Browns (pitiful in loss to Miami); San Diego Chargers (blew a huge 21-point lead)
16 Teams ….1-0 — Lions, Patriots, NY Jets, Niners, Cowboys, Colts, Chiefs, Seahawks, Rams, Dolphins, NY Jets, Saints, Titans, Broncos, Eagles, Chargers
16 Teams…..0-1 (AKA… Teddy Bridgewater or Jadevon Clowney Sweepstakes) — Bills, Panthers, Cardinals, Packers, Bucs, Falcons, Raiders, Jaguars, NY Giants, Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Redskins, Ravens, Vikings, Texans
AFC North — All (0-1), Steelers, Bengals, Browns, Ravens… All took it on the chin in “close” losses
AFC South — Titans (1-0), Colts (1-0), Texans (1-0) and Jags (0-1)… 3 good physical teams and a team that probably couldn’t win in the SEC
AFC West — Broncos (1-0), Chiefs (1-0), Chargers (0-1), and Raiders (0-1)… This division is Peyton and the Broncos to lose, but Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders looked scrappy
AFC East — Patriots (1-0), NY Jets (1-0), Dolphins (1-0), and Bills (0-1)… Patriots pulled it out vs. tough home Bills… Still New England’s division to lose
NFC North — Lions (1-0), Bears (1-0), Vikings (0-1), and Packers (0-1)… Should be a good “tight” race, but GB played tough against a very good Niners
NFC South — Saints (1-0), Falcons (0-1), Panthers (0-1), and Bucs (0-1)… Well it looks like with Bounty-Gate behind them that the Saints are in first place
NFC West — Seahawks (1-0), Rams (1-0), Niners (1-0), and Cardinals (0-1)… Only the lowly Cards were losers in Week 1… Should be a competitive division
NFC East — Cowboys (1-0), Eagles (1-0), Giants (0-1), and Redskins (0-1) … Two head-to-head Prime Time divisional match-ups led to a top and bottom in this expected competitive division
How 2012 NFL Playoff Teams are Faring
**Remember for 17 straight seasons there have been at least 4 new playoff teams**
*** Overall the 12 teams were a combined (6-6) in Week 1
Looking Ahead to Week 2 Games
Thursday Sept. 12
New York Jets (1-0) at New England Patriots (1-0) 8:25PM ET (NFLN)
Sunday Sept. 15
Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1) 1:00PM ET (CBS)
Carolina Panthers (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1) 1:00PM ET (FOX)
Tennessee Titans (1-0) at Houston Texans (1-0) 1:00PM ET (CBS)
Washington Redskins (0-1) at Green Bay Packers (0-1) 1:00PM ET (FOX)
St. Louis Rams (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1) 1:00PM ET (FOX)
Miami Dolphins (1-0) at Indianapolis Colts (1-0) 1:00PM ET (CBS)
San Diego Chargers (0-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) 1:00PM ET (CBS)
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) 1:00PM ET (FOX)
Minnesota Vikings (0-1) at Chicago Bears (1-0) 1:00PM ET (FOX)
New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) 4:05PM ET (FOX)
Detroit Lions (1-0) at Arizona Cardinals (0-1) 4:05PM ET (FOX)
Denver Broncos (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1) 4:25PM ET (CBS)
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-1) 4:25PM ET (CBS)
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-0) 8:30PM ET (NBC)
Monday Sept. 16
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) 8:40PM ET (ESPN)