Week 1 of the 2007 NFL season was like a great buffet dinner -- there was something for everyone.
First and foremost, there was plenty of scoring. Last year, only one team scored more than 30 points in Week 1. This year, six teams topped 30 points, including two that scored more than 40.
And it wasn't just the offenses doing the scoring. We saw touchdowns on interception returns, fumble returns and kickoff returns.
Here are some key developments from Sunday:
Browns QB situation
Charlie Frye got the opening-day start for Cleveland, but he also got a pretty fast hook in the Browns' 34-7 loss to the Steelers. After completing 4 of 10 passes for 34 yards and an INT, Frye was replaced by Derek Anderson with 6:42 left in second quarter. I think you'll see Anderson -- who was 13-for-28 for 184 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT -- start this week against Cincinnati. Of course, the big question is when rookie Brady Quinn gets into the mix. Cleveland's bye comes in Week 7, but that's followed with a trip to St. Louis. History says it is very tough for a rookie quarterback to make his first NFL start on the road, so don't be surprised if Quinn makes his debut at home against Miami on Oct. 14 -- a week before the bye. If not, then Oct. 28 at St. Louis could be the day.
|Doug Benc / Getty Images|
|Tennessee's Chris Brown rushed for 175 yards in a win over the Jaguars, and he can thank his quarterback for creating that opportunity.|
Jacksonville was fourth in the NFL in rushing defense last season and Tennessee was 30th. So if you heard that one team won the rushing battle yesterday by a total of 282-72, you'd figure it had to be the Jaguars, right? Wrong. Led by Chris Brown's 175 yards, Tennessee rushed for a team-record 282 yards in a 13-10 win over Jacksonville. That success can be directly attributed to quarterback Vince Young. Defenses are so concerned with keeping Young from making big plays rushing to the outside, that gives Brown and LenDale White the ability to do some damage inside. That said, Tennessee's success on the ground is not as surprising as the Titans' defense containing Jacksonville's ground game. That's the part I have a hard time explaining. It could be the absence of starting center Brad Meester, whom we identified in our season previews as one of the underrated players in the AFC South.
In Minnesota's 24-3 win over Atlanta, Adrian Peterson became the third running back since 2000 to gain 100 yards in his NFL debut (LaDainian Tomlinson and Cadillac Williams were the first two). Not only did he rush for 103 yards, but he also took a swing pass 60 yards for the touchdown that broke open a close game to that point. Peterson is definitely going to be a force in this league and will make the teams that passed on him in the draft regret that decision. As for Chester Taylor, who started the game for Minnesota but left with an injury, he might as well be Wally Pipp.
Pats are loaded
Sure, Randy Moss was the big story coming out of New England's 38-14 road win over the Jets, but let's not overlook the play of the offensive line. The pass protection was so good that Tom Brady had enough time to change his baby's diapers and still get off a clean pass. With all that time, Brady completed 22 of 28 attempts -- and one of the incompletions was a Wes Welker drop that would have been a first down. Meanwhile, there wasn't any question in my mind the Patriots would feed the ball to Moss -- but let's go on the record with this right now: With the Chargers focusing on stopping Moss next Sunday night, it will be Donte Stallworth's turn to have a big game.
The Eagles' 16-13 loss in Green Bay was a perfect example of how critical every preseason roster move can be. Jeremy Bloom fielded 22 punts in preseason for the Eagles and never fumbled, but he was one of Philadelphia's final cuts. Two different players tried to fill that role in Green Bay -- the first muffed a punt that gave Green Bay the game-tying touchdown. The second fumbled to put the Packers in position for their game-winning field goal. While the focus is on Philadelphia's mishaps on special teams, kudos to Green Bay for rolling the dice and going with a rookie kicker -- Mason Crosby didn't show any rookie jitters in making the game-winning kick.
Another rookie on the line
For Washington fans, the excitement of an overtime win over Miami was tempered by the news that standout right tackle Jon Jansen broke his right ankle and could be lost for the season. Jansen was replaced by Stephon Heyer, an undrafted rookie. That normally would be cause for great concern, But I think we're seeing this sort of thing more and more, especially with players from major college programs that run pro-style offenses. Coming from a school like Maryland, where they are pretty advanced in pass protection, at least gives Heyer a decent chance to step in and fill the void. Jansen is a big loss, but I do think it can be overcome. So far, so good: The Redskins averaged 4.7 yards per carry against a Miami defense that allowed 3.5 per carry last season.
Among the many surprises Sunday, this might be the biggest: In the Bears-Chargers game, a pair of former Top 5 draft picks -- Cedric Benson and LaDainian Tomlinson combined for 67 yards rushingâ¦ Kudos to last year's top draft pick, Houston DE Mario Williams, who had two sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown in the 20-3 win over Kansas Cityâ¦ Rams RB Steve Jackson fumbled twice Sunday -- equaling his total from all of lastr seasonâ¦ The Falcons didn't have much to show from a 24-3 loss in Minnesota. For what it's worth, though, Atlanta did hold the ball for 33 minutesâ¦ For a game that went to overtime, it's pretty odd that Miami and Washington ended regulation with five timeouts remaining -- the Dolphins only used one in the second half and Washington used noneâ¦ Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz spread the wealth, as eight different players caught passes for Detroit, but it looks like rookie Calvin Johnson will be the real dealâ¦ The Bears had better find someone who can run the ballâ¦ One thing is certain after watching the Giants and Cowboys move up and down the field Sunday night -- both teams need safetiesâ¦ Two games were decided by 42-yard field goals in the final secondsâ¦ Despite all the scoring, five games were completed in less than three hours, and four in under 2:50.