From upsets to peak performers to great finishes, Week 1 had it all

The 2007 NFL season began in earnest and in grand fashion with an opening Sunday that offered a little bit of everything.

There were upsets, such as the Tennessee Titans' 13-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Green Bay Packers' 16-13 triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles.

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There were big-time performances by big-time players, such as Randy Moss' show-stopping debut with the New England Patriots and Tony Romo's dazzling nightcap in Irving, Texas.

There were impressive individual efforts by rookies, such as Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

There were exciting finishes, such as Denver's kicking unit rushing onto the field for Jason Elam's 42-yard field goal as time expired in the Broncos' 15-14 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Even Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams, the top overall pick of the 2006 draft who had a disappointing and injury-slowed rookie season, came up with the kind of game he was routinely expected to have a year ago.

A rundown of the day's noteworthy accomplishments:


Tennessee 13, Jacksonville 10: Who said the Titans left themselves without a reliable running back after cutting Travis Henry? Well, I did. Many others did as well. Chris Brown has us reconsidering. He rushed for 175 yards on 19 carries against one of the traditionally stronger defenses in the league. Vince Young had a tough time passing against the Jaguars, but he did run for the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter and combined with Brown and LenDale White for a Titans-record 282 rushing yards.

The Titans had presumably lost too many key players in the offseason to be competitive in the AFC South. The Indianapolis Colts might prove too tough for any team in the league, let alone the rest of the division. The Jaguars were supposed to be a force and the Houston Texans were supposed to be improved. Now, the Titans have served notice that they have no intention of dwelling in the basement.

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio made a bold move by cutting their starting quarterback, Byron Leftwich, a week before the start of the season and handing the job to David Garrard. But the loss doesn't reflect badly on the decision. Garrard played well, completing 17-of-30 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown.

Green Bay 16, Philadelphia 13: So much for the Eagles establishing themselves as a serious Super Bowl contender.

This was a game they had to win. As difficult as it might be to beat the Packers at Lambeau Field, the Eagles supposedly are the better team. They certainly didn't play that way. The biggest disappointment was the performance of Donovan McNabb, who completed only 15-of-33 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown while throwing an interception. McNabb was said to be mostly recovered from the major knee injury he suffered late last season, so that shouldn't have been an issue.

It wasn't as if the Packers were all that superior in any particular phase. Their defense was solid. However, Brett Favre threw for 206 yards and had an interception, and rookie running back Brandon Jackson had only 40 yards on 15 carries. The Eagles rallied from a 10-0 hole in the first quarter to tie the game 10-10 at halftime. But they never were able to gain the upper hand, and instead self-destructed. They had two muffed punts, the second of which set up rookie Mason Crosby's winning field goal from 42 yards with two seconds left.

Detroit 36, Oakland 21: The Lions are a popular pick as a surprise team to emerge as a playoff contender. This win will only reinforce that notion … and Jon Kitna's prediction that the team will win at least 10 games this season.

No, the Raiders aren't exactly a stern test, but their defense is supposed to be good and winning at Oakland isn't easy. The Lions showed that they have every bit of the offensive firepower that they were expected to gain with the addition of rookie receiver Calvin Johnson to an already dangerous group of pass-catchers. Showing more comfort in his second year in Mike Martz's scheme, Kitna threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns. Although he was intercepted twice, he did his best work in the fourth quarter, connecting with Shaun McDonald for the go-ahead score with 4:15 left. Johnson had a touchdown among his four receptions for 70 yards in a passing attack that involved eight different receivers.

Tatum Bell, taking over for injured Kevin Jones, did a solid job in rushing for 87 yards and a touchdown that put the game away. And the Lions got some clutch work from their defense, especially end Dewayne White, who forced a pair of late turnovers. The Raiders have a legitimate starter in former Lion Josh McCown, who threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns. McCown was intercepted twice and lost a fumble, but he showed he can be highly productive in the offense of rookie coach Lane Kiffin.

Carolina 27, St. Louis 13: Panther fans were understandably nervous with Jake Delhomme's shaky performance through the preseason. Delhomme also struggled a year ago, leading to speculation that he might be yanked at some point this season in favor of his new understudy, former Texan David Carr. Not so fast. Delhomme was impressive against the Rams, throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns.

Of course, the outcome might have been different had St. Louis' seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Pace not suffered a sprained shoulder that forced him out of the game late in the first half. Without Pace's protection, Marc Bulger was heavily pressured against the Panthers' strong pass rush and ended up throwing for only 167 yards and a touchdown. Carolina's defense also did a number on running back Steven Jackson, who was held to a mere 58 rushing yards and lost two fumbles.


» Randy Moss caught nine passes for 183 yards and a touchdown to help the Patriots pound the New York Jets, 38-14. The performance means that he still has the ability to be a game-breaking force and is extremely comfortable with his new surroundings. Despite sitting out the preseason, he clearly did enough in practice to develop timing and chemistry with Tom Brady.

» Speaking of Brady, he threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns. Apparently, that was his answer to Peyton Manning's 288-yard, three-touchdown night against the New Orleans Saints. Moss was Brady's favorite target against the Jets, but another newcomer, Wes Welker, also played a prominent role with six receptions for 61 yards and a score.

» One more from the Patriots: Ellis Hobbs' 108-yard return of the second half kickoff tied a league record for the longest play in league history shared by the Chicago Bears' Nathan Vasher (2005) and Devin Hester (2006).

» Romo had the perfect response for anyone who doubted whether he could be a consistently effective starter or his frame of mind after his botched hold on a field-goal attempt cost the Cowboys a chance to beat Seattle in the playoffs last January. He threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns in the Cowboys' 45-35 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night. The influence of new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was apparent, as Romo was dialed into his receivers and comfortable in running an aggressive passing attack that allowed the Cowboys to hold off the equally prolific Eli Manning (who threw for 312 yards and four scores) and the persistent Giants.

» So far, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is living up to expectations of a breakout season now that he has returned to good health and has an offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, who is willing to turn him loose as a passer. Big Ben threw four touchdowns in Pittsburgh's 34-7 humiliation of the Cleveland Browns. So far, Tomlin is the only rookie coach to notch a win in Week 1.

» In helping the Texans to a 20-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Williams showed what kind of a player he can be when he feels good. He had two sacks among five tackles and returned a fumble for a touchdown.


» In the Vikings' 24-3 triumph over the Atlanta Falcons, Peterson rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries and had a 60-yard reception of a Tarvaris Jackson pass for a touchdown. On the catch, Peterson bobbled the ball but displayed excellent focus in holding onto the ball and taking it the distance.

» Bills running back Marshawn Lynch ran for 90 yards and a touchdown in Buffalo's heartbreaking, 15-14 loss to Denver. He carried multiple Bronco defenders into the end zone on his 23-yard touchdown run and displayed superb power and explosiveness.

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