Monday Morning Quarterback, Week 1
New York GiantsDallas Cowboys
A sigh of relief for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as Tony Romo came out of the gates ready to play and the Cowboys recorded the upset. Romo was very sharp, completing 22-of-29 passes for 307 yards with three TD passes. Two of those scoring throws went to unheralded Kevin Ogletree.
There was solid quarterback play on the part of Eli Manning, but he did not create the magic that Giants fans are used to seeing in the fourth quarter of clutch games. Manning had solid numbers – he completed 21-of-32 passes for 213 yards with a touchdown – but he could not rally the Giants back in the fourth quarter. That was due to a New York defense that could not stop the Cowboy offense.
Chicago BearsIndianapolis Colts
Rookie sensation Andrew Luck did not set the world on fire in his first game but he certainly looked like he belonged in the NFL with a poised showing. Much is expected from Jay Cutler this season and he shook off early difficulties to complete 21-of-35 passes for 333 yards with 2 touchdowns.
Luck did not recognize all the coverages the Bears showed him and that’s why he threw three interceptions. Cutler threw an awful interception that was returned four yards for a touchdown by Jerrell Freeman early in the first quarter.
Cleveland BrownsPhiladelphia Eagles
After an inconsistent game at best, Michael Vick led Philadelphia on a 91-yard, game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Vick completed the drive by hitting Clay Harbor with an eight-yard TD pass with 1:16 remaining.
Prior to his game-winning touchdown pass, Vick threw four interceptions and did not look like a championship signal caller. Cleveland rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden was a miserable 12-of-35 for 118 yards with four interceptions and does not appear to be the answer.
Detroit LionsSt. Louis Rams
While Matthew Stafford appeared to be weighed down by high expectations throughout the majority of the game, he led the Lions on a nine-play, 80-yard drive late in the fourth quarter. He culminated that possession by connecting with Kevin Smith on a five-yard TD pass with 10 seconds left to give the Lions the victory.
Stafford was his own worst enemy throughout much of the game, throwing three interceptions. St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford does not have the kind of arm strength that is going to win many games for the Rams.
Tennessee TitansNew England Patriots
The Patriots won their ninth straight opener as Tom Brady was on top of his game, completing 23-of-31 passes for 236 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Jake Locker completed 23-of-32 passes for the Titans.
Brady suffered a broken nose when he was hit by Kamerion Wimbley. Locker suffered a shoulder injury and had to come out of the game after attempting to tackle Patriots safety Patrick Chung on a fumble return.
Kansas City ChiefsAtlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan came out of the gates on fire for the Falcons, completing 23-of-31 passes for 299 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Ryan also ran for a touchdown as the Falcons were able to do whatever they wanted on the offensive side of the ball.
Matt Cassel was not bad for the Chiefs, completing 21-of-33 passes for 251 yards with one touchdown. However, he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble and after a strong first half was unable to match what Ryan did for the Falcons.
Minnesota VikingsJacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts with 20 seconds remaining and then completed a two-point conversion to give the Jaguars a three-point lead. Not to be outdone, young quarterback Christian Ponder was completely cool in leading the Vikings into field goal position. Minnesota tied the game and then won it in overtime.
Both quarterbacks were surprisingly sharp in their throws, but Ponder lost a fumble in the third quarter that led to a Jacksonville field goal, while Gabbert fumbled a snap that the Vikings recovered in the third quarter and led to an Adrian Peterson touchdown.
New Orleans SaintsWashington Redskins
It’s hard to imagine a better start for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Heisman Trophy winner completed 19-of-26 passes for 320 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for a score and looked both poised and explosive in running the Washington offense.
Drew Brees did not get the job done effectively in his first start. Throwing 52 times, Brees only completed 24 passes. While he threw for 332 yards, he threw two interceptions and did not deliver the kind of razor-sharp passing performance that have become his signature.
New York JetsBuffalo Bills
The Jets overcame a shaky preseason with an explosive first game. Mark Sanchez was accurate and confident in completing 19-of-27 passes for 266 yards with three touchdowns and just one interception.
Ryan Fitzpatrick may have thrown three touchdown passes, but he didn’t throw his first one until the Bills were down 41-7 in the second half. He threw three interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown by Antonio Cromartie.
Houston TexansMiami Dolphins
Matt Schaub was not his usual gun-slinging self, but he completed 20-of-31 passes for 266 yards with a touchdown and did not throw an interception. Ryan Tannehill was fairly sharp at the start of his first game as a rookie starter for the Dolphins.
Instead of coming out of the gate firing on all cylinders, Schaub looked tentative in his first start since fracturing his right foot last season. Tannehill was sacked three times and threw three interceptions and looked like he was in over his head by the middle of the second quarter.
Green Bay PackersSan Francisco 49ers
Faced with the daunting task of going up against the Packers and defending MVP Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith had a brilliant start by completing 20-of-26 passes for 211 yards. He threw touchdown passes to Randy Moss and Vernon Davis and did not throw an interception.
Rodgers never looked comfortable against the 49ers’ rock-solid and hard-hitting defense. His numbers were decent – 30-of-44 for 303 yards and 2 TDs – but his fourth-quarter interception set up a key touchdown for the 49ers.
Arizona CardinalsSeattle Seahawks
Much-maligned Kevin Kolb came into the game in the fourth quarter and completed 6-of-8 passes including the game-winning touchdown pass to Andre Roberts. Rookie Russell Wilson showed a strong arm in completing 18-of-34 passes in his first start.
Arizona starting quarterback John Skelton was taken off the field on a cart as a result of an ankle injury. Wilson had a chance to give the Seahawks a late victory, but he threw three straight incomplete passes from the 4-yard line.
Tampa Bay BuccaneersCarolina Panthers
It wasn’t a game loaded with highlight-film plays, but the Bucs got the Greg Schiano era started with a win and Josh Freeman stood tall in competing 16-of-24 passes for 138 yards. He did not throw an interception and he threw a TD pass to Mike Williams.
Panther quarterback Cam Newton faced significant heat from Tampa Bay and it showed in his performance. He threw two interceptions, was sacked three times and gained just four rushing yards on five attempts.
Denver BroncosPittsburgh Steelers
The feeling in Denver is a lot like New Year’s Eve and Christmas combined as Peyton Manning was sensational in his first game in a Broncos uniform. Manning completed 19-of-26 passes for 255 yards with two touchdowns, shook off all the rust and displayed plenty of arm strength in leading the Broncos to the impressive win.
Ben Roethlisberger was solid throughout most of the game, but when he got the ball late in the fourth quarter with the Steelers down by six points, he threw an interception that Tracy Porter returned for a touchdown that salted the game away for Denver.