Monday, September 09, 2013

NFL Week One - Ten Observations

Ten observations from Week One of the 2013 NFL season -

1 - ONCE AGAIN GREEN BAY LOSES A GAME WHERE IT HAD TO LEAD A COMEBACK - It has been known for several years that the Packers are not a team to stage a comeback with Aaron Rodgers as quarterback. It showed up again at San Francisco as Colin Kaepernick played like a real quarterback - a pocket passer - and put up 412 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-28 Niners win. The game lead tied or changed eight times and Rodgers did lead a touchdown drive halfway through the fourth quarter, but the Niners retook the lead and Rodgers flamed out needing to lead a comeback - again.

2 - THE AFC NORTH ISN'T AS GOOD AS ADVERTISED - All four AFC North teams lost. The only real surprise was Cincinnati, which blew a lead in Chicago. Baltimore's roster unheaval in the offseason left people wondering what would result this year; we now saw the result in a collapse of the Ravens game with the loss of one punt returner. The Steelers had lost nine of their previous seventeen games so this loss to the Titans was no shock.

3 - THE PATRIOTS OFFENSE NEEDS TIME UNDER FIRE - There were numerous shaky performances league-wide, and none more surprising given expectations coming out of the preseason than New England. The revamped receiver corps looked stout in preseason; in Buffalo though the Bills defense proved stouter than thought and the poor performance of preseason breakout start Kembrell Thompkins was disconcerting. Danny Amendola then erupted for the game winning drives. Already some have called for signing back Brandon Lloyd or Deion Branch, but if the Patriots do sign a veteran to help out Donte Stallworth still has legs and ability to break tackles. Even with that, time under fire will gel this group.

4 - THE BUCS BLOW IT AGAINST THE JETS - There are several reasons why the Bucs have never taken the next step after a promising 2010 season, and one of them showed up in the Lavonte David penalty at the end of the fourth quarter; it gave the Jets the life needed for the winning field goal. Undisciplined play always hurts. The Bucs got a decent performance out of Josh Freeman but the fact he was outplayed in the preseason is a bad sign for him down the road.

5 - THE TITANS CAN GO PLACES THIS YEAR - It remains perplexing that Jake Locker's accuracy remains an issue (11-20 for just 125 yards) for the talent is there to get better; it showed in solid preseason play and should show in this season down the road. The big improvement for the Titans is Gregg Williams on their staff; the Titans defense sacked Roethlisberger five times and forced two turnovers.

6 - THE RAIDERS MAY ACTUALLY IMPROVE THIS YEAR - Terrelle Pryor's two interceptions were ugly, and ruined an otherwise inspired performance that gave the Colts as big a scare as seen in awhile.

7 - WES WELKER IS NOT DANNY AMENDOLA - It keeps getting cited about the Patriots letting Wes Welker walk in free agency and instead going with injury-prone Danny Amendola. Welker in his debut game at Denver caught four of Peyton Manning's first five receptions and the offense went nowhere; they stopped throwing to him for awhile and the offense then got in gear (the first three Denver touchdown drives saw Welker make one catch); Welker then got five more catches and two scores. Nowhere did Welker do anything more than ride the wave and put up some volume stats; in contrast Danny Amendola took over the game in Buffalo when there wasn't anyone else to get the ball.

 8 - THE GIANTS ARE WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT - In the fourth quarter at Dallas Eli Manning threw three touchdowns - but one of them was a Cowboys pick-six. The Giants committed six turnovers and coach Tom Coughlin was throwing running back David Wilson under the bus after the game.

9 - MARK SANCHEZ IS DONE - Mark Sanchez was whining before the game that he expects the Jets to look for a reason to put him on IR. It just shows what a waste of space he is.

 10 - CAROLINA AGAIN IS OFF TO A BAD START - Despite limiting the Seahawks to just twelve points, the Panthers lost to a notoriously poor road team. Why the Panthers cannot get off to fast starts is puzzling.

And so it is on to Week Two.

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