It was a wild and crazy opening week in the NFL.
There was lots of scoring, many turnovers, some shocking results and some unknown players shining. Here are some of those really memorable events that stood out to The Freak:
Looks like the defences controlled option quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and RG III by keeping them in the pocket and making them use their arms rather than their legs.
Mike Vick, on the other hand, was the most active of the bunch outside of the pocket, but doesn’t have the size to take this punishment every game.
Perhaps defensive co-ordinators have figured out a scheme to control these mobile quarterbacks, or maybe the coaches know their season will be a train wreck if their quarterback is hurt, and is telling him to stay in the pocket?
There were more safeties – four – last week than you would almost see in a whole season.
This just in, the old guys – Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning – can still play at a very high level.
More teams continue to use big athletic tight ends down the seam as the Broncos’ Julius Thomas, the Rams’ Jared Cook and even a Kellen Winslow sighting in New York all had big games. The size and speed of these players are a matchup nightmare for defences.
For those in NFL elimination pools, you must have been holding your breath as two of the biggest favourites on the board, Patriots and Colts, pulled out last-second wins against two big underdogs.
The poor Packers got cheated of a victory last season by the replacement officials against Seattle. They may have been robbed of a victory against the 49ers – this time with the regular officials.
There were off-setting dead-ball penalties on the play in question, and by rule it should have been a loss of down for the 49ers. That would have meant a field-goal attempt. Instead, they replayed the down and scored a touchdown. The Packers lost by six points, but take away the extra four points off the scoreboard and Green Bay probably plays their last drive differently.
Packer fans can complain as much as they want, but their coaching staff didn’t argue the call. They weren’t up on the rules as well, which is unacceptable at this level.
The bonehead play of the week goes to Tampa linebacker Lavonte David, who hit Jets quarterback, Geno Smith late out of bounds to give New York an extra 15 yards to kick the winning field goal.
Without the penalty the Jets would have had to try a “Hail Mary” pass. If the Bucs miss the post-season by one game, they will look back at this play as the one that cost them.
Ndamukong Suh is a great talent, but continued cheap hits with a dirty low-cut block against the Vikings on a play where the block was not needed on an interception touchdown. The touchdown was called back. Luckily, this stupid move didn’t cost Detroit the game.
The Giants’ first three series ended with an interception, fumble and interception.
The Sure Thing
The Freak witnessed Josh Freeman throw eight picks in two games live last season. Sunday, he didn’t look any better on television against the Jets. Tampa hosts divisional rival New Orleans, which beat one of the NFC’s best teams last week, the Falcons. The Saints will put up at least 24 points that Freeman and his offence won’t be able to match. Saints march to 2-0.
Chip Kelly introduced the NFL to his fast-paced college offence (53 plays alone in the first half) that had some very intriguing formations and designs that must have confused Washington’s defence. Winning a road game on Monday Night Football gives the Eagles all the confidence they need in hosting the Chargers. Speaking of confidence, San Diego’s must be shot after blowing a 21-point lead to Houston. The long trip east will only further complicate things for the Chargers. Vick and the Eagles will go to 2-0.
In the Browns and Ravens’ game, you only need to know three things – the Browns are still the Browns, it’s the opener for the champs and fans will be fired up to see the Ravens for the first time since the Super Bowl. Result is obvious – Baltimore wins.
Don’t mortgage the house picks
Minnesota has a big problem at quarterback as Christian Ponder just doesn’t have the arm strength to play in the NFL. Ponder’s arm looked weak in an indoor game versus the Lions, so what will happen playing outdoors in the Windy City? The Bears’ game plan is simple – eight guys in the box, limit AP’s big runs and you win. Chicago’s defensive backs will have a field day with Ponder’s arm. Take Da Bears!
Green Bay’s defence did a solid job last week against the 49ers. RGIII didn’t look very sharp, and now heads to Lambeau. Rodgers will pick apart Washington’s defence, and the chants of “RGIII, RGIII, RGIII” will begin to fade. Cheeseheads go home happy
Cincy played a solid road game in Chicago, but a big fumble deep in Bears’ territory cost them the game while the Steelers looked awful at home. Bengals are an upcoming team and the Steelers are going the other way. Cincy beats Pitt on Monday night.
It felt good picking the Titans-Steelers’ upset last week, hope you cashed in!
Is The Freak reading this correctly – the Lions are a road favourite?
The happiest player in the league must be receiver Larry Fitzgerald as Arizona finally has an NFL-calibre quarterback behind centre.
Detroit beat the one-dimensional Vikes, which is nothing to write home about. The Cards will give them a surprise on Sunday in the desert as Carson Palmer and Fitzy have another big day. Take Zona.
Last week: 6-for-7 (85.7 per cent).
John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.