NFL Nation: 2010 Week 1 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Packers 27, Eagles 20

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
9:05
PM ET
What it means: The Kevin Kolb era is off to a rough start -- especially when he gets knocked out of the game with a concussion. There's no shame in losing to the Green Bay Packers, but the Eagles did it in awful fashion. Don't let that fourth-quarter comeback fool you. That was a miserable showing for the Eagles, and they came away with what appears to be a devastating injury. They lose a valuable player if Leonard Weaver is out for the season with a knee injury.

Tomorrow's talker: You know everyone will be talking about quarterback Michael Vick's performance Monday. He passed for 175 yards and ran for 103. He made one really poor decision not to run the ball into the end zone, but he certainly gave the offense some much-needed punch. Kolb had a rough first half with only 24 passing yards, but I thought he was handcuffed by his head coach. It almost felt like Andy Reid was being too tentative with his young quarterback. If you're going to trade your franchise quarterback to a division rival, you better be ready to trust his replacement.

What I liked: Nate Allen had some rough moments but he had his first interception in the second half, which gave the Eagles some hope. Trent Cole and Juqua Parker combined for three sacks on Aaron Rodgers. But the downside to that is that Brandon Graham was really quite in his debt.

Big revelation: The Eagles are about to find out how much depth they have. With Jamaal Jackson leaving the game with an elbow injury, reserve center Mike McGlynn may get a chance to start next week against the Lions. And it's unlikely we'll see middle linebacker Stewart Bradley (concussion).

What's next: Philly has some soul searching to do. They may catch a break if Matthew Stafford (shoulder) can't play, but the Lions won't be a gimme. Again, this couldn't have gone much worse.

Wrap-up: Packers 27, Eagles 20

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
7:59
PM ET
Let's hit some quick thoughts on the Green Bay Packers' Week 1 victory.

What it means: The Packers are tied with the Chicago Bears atop the NFC North. Just as important, they collected a key conference win. Those always come in handy when it comes time for tiebreakers and playoff seeding. Seriously, it's never too early to consider that.

Hero: Who said linebacker Clay Matthews needed training camp? After a hamstring injury cost him a month of practice, Matthews rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter Sunday. Appearing gassed as Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick ran all over the field, Matthews nevertheless made two huge plays on the Eagles' final drive. His sack on second down put the Eagles in a third-and-13 situation, and his plunge through the Eagles' offensive line stopped Vick on a quarterback draw on fourth down with 1:54 remaining. Inside linebacker Nick Barnett also got nice push on the play. Overall, Matthews was credited with seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Nice return.

Unsung hero: After much discussion last week, Jordy Nelson averaged 31 yards on five kickoff returns. His 51-yarder set up the Packers' final touchdown, a 32-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings.

Tomorrow's talker: Many of you will rightly be celebrating Matthews' return. But I think it's at least worth wondering if Vick's 103-yard rushing performance was a fluke based on a unique set of individual skills or if the Packers are going to be vulnerable to open-field running this season. I tend to side with the former, even though I'm sure the Packers prepared for how the Eagles' offense might change if Vick replaced starter Kevin Kolb. It was pretty clear the Packers' defense was tired at the end of the game, but ultimately they had enough energy to stop the Eagles' comeback. Just something to keep in your back pocket.

What's next: The Packers will host the Buffalo Bills in their home opener at Lambeau Field next Sunday.

Wrap-up: Seahawks 31, 49ers 6

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
7:39
PM ET
What it means: The NFC West appears more wide open than anticipated. Yes, it's only one game, but this outcome served notice on a few fronts, whereas a convincing San Francisco 49ers victory would have affirmed suspicions. The Seattle Seahawks weren't exactly prolific on offense, particularly early. But the Seahawks appeared better coached and better quarterbacked than the 49ers and that was significant (even though Alex Smith did not play poorly for the most part).

Big Revelation: The Seahawks are not a disaster after overhauling their roster and losing left tackle Russell Okung to an ankle injury. Winning this game was huge for Seattle's confidence in its first game under coach Pete Carroll. It provides needed validation for Carroll's approach and allows players to buy in fully without blind faith. In short, Seattle now appears in position to win a couple more games over the next several weeks -- something I didn't see happening because I thought the 49ers' advantages in talent and continuity would make life difficult for Seattle, shaking the Seahawks' confidence.

Goat: 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree dropped one pass and appeared to run the wrong route on another. Both miscues resulted in interceptions. Meanwhile, Seattle's receivers -- including reclamation project Mike Williams -- exceeded expectations. Tight end Vernon Davis had called out Crabtree during practice and the assumption was that Davis wanted Crabtree to show more urgency in returning from a strained neck. There's plenty of urgency now.

Goat II: That would be me, your NFC West guy. I'll stand up tall and take full responsibility for predicting an 0-6 start for Seattle. The reasoning was defensible, in my view, but the lesson seems clear. The unknown isn't always a bad thing. The Seahawks said they upgraded personnel at most positions and I'd say the evidence supported them at least for one day. Specifically, Carroll had said he hoped the home crowd would help the pass-rush become effective, and that happened in this game. Chris Clemons gave Joe Staley trouble.

Critical Call: The 49ers went for it on fourth-and-1 from the 6 early in the game, and ceded momentum on the road when Smith missed fullback Moran Norris. A pass to the fullback on fourth-and-1? OK, but it had better work. It did not.

What's next: The Seahawks take confidence on the road against a flawed Denver Broncos team. The 49ers are home against the defending Super bowl champion New Orleans Saints on Monday night. It's not a stretch to think Seattle could be 2-0 and the 49ers 0-2 in another eight days. Take that, Sando.

Wrap-up: Giants 31, Panthers 18

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
7:37
PM ET
What it means: It's a great way to open New Meadowlands Stadium and it helps dim the memories from that embarrassing loss to the Carolina Panthers in the 2009 finale. But the New York Giants began last season 5-0, so no one is going to jump to conclusions. You can't call a season-opener a "must-win" but this one sort of had that feel. The Giants need to establish an identity early in the season, and that second half should provide a nice foundation. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks served notice he is ready to challenge the top receivers in the NFC East in terms of big-play ability.

Tomorrow's talker: The headline to me was the play of the Giants' defensive line. Mathias Kiwanuka came off the bench and had two sacks. Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Kiwanuka took over the game in the second half and Matt Moore didn't have a chance. It made me remember those 2007 and 2008 teams. New defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has changed the mindset of this defense. I think he has brought energy to the entire team and it's good to see the defensive line responding to him in such a big way.

What I liked: That running back Ahmad Bradshaw didn't show any frustration when the Panthers were shutting him down. He kept plugging away until he finally broke a big one. Then he pounded the ball into the end zone on third down. Brandon Jacobs isn't going to embrace this situation, but Bradshaw can't worry about that. It's obvious he's now the feature back.

Big revelation: Safety Kenny Phillips proved a lot this game. Playing in his first real game since microfracture surgery, Phillips had an interception and also made a really nice shoestring tackle on DeAngelo Williams to prevent a touchdown in the first half. The Giants are stacked at safety, which is a huge change from last season.

What's next: The Giants travel to Indianapolis to play against an angry football team. Peyton Manning put up huge numbers, like he usually does, but the Colts still lost to the Houston Texans. Indy can't afford to start the season 0-2, so the Giants will encounter a desperate team. I'm anxious to see what Fewell can come up with to disrupt the elder Manning. He'll be a little tougher to rattle than Moore.

Wrap-up: Buccaneers 17, Browns 14

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
7:08
PM ET
Here are some thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

What it means: It means the Browns continue their trend of losing season openers. Cleveland is 1-11 in Week 1 since returning to the NFL in 1999, and every year it prevents the team from getting off to a good start. The Browns, perhaps more than any other division team, needed an early win for their confidence but failed to do it against Tampa Bay, which struggled mightily last season.

What I liked: Cleveland's running game averaged 4.5 yards per carry, and I'm a little surprised the Browns didn't go to it more often. Starting tailback Jerome Harrison rushed for 52 yards on nine carries (5.8 yards per attempt) and Peyton Hillis added 41 yards and a touchdown. Cleveland led 14-3 in the second quarter, yet the team's pass-to-run ratio was 38-23.

What I didn't like: I didn't like the Browns’ turnovers. Cleveland doesn't have the talent to make up for a lot of mistakes and needs to play smarter and more efficient to win. Instead, the Browns were sloppy and turned the ball over three times. Cleveland quarterback Jake Delhomme threw two interceptions against Tampa Bay, and it comes at a time when he was starting to quiet some doubters after a solid preseason. Obviously, many doubts remain.

What's next: I usually don't call anything a must-win in Week 2. But if the Browns want to make any noise this season, they must beat the Kansas City Chiefs next week. Cleveland is in the easiest part of its schedule and already came up short in a winnable game against Tampa Bay. An 0-2 start against the Bucs and Chiefs in back-to-back weeks would be a nightmare scenario for the Browns.

Wrap-up: Patriots 38, Bengals 24

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
6:40
PM ET
Here are thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' loss to the New England Patriots to open the season:

What it means: It's just one game, but the Bengals started the season poorly. Cincinnati had an awful first half as New England jumped to a three-touchdown lead. The Bengals were in catch-up mode the rest of the game. Coming off a division title, Cincinnati was hyped in the offseason, but this team clearly must play better.

What I liked: I liked how the offense woke up in the second half, which could provide momentum for next week. The Bengals looked out of synch early but scored 21 points after intermission with quarterback Carson Palmer tossing the football around. As expected against New England's young secondary, receiver Chad Ochocinco had a monster game with 12 receptions for 159 yards and a touchdown. Terrell Owens recorded seven receptions for 53 yards in his Bengals debut.

What I didn't like: For a defense that finished No. 4 overall in 2009, there is no excuse to give 31 points in the opener. I took off a touchdown, because Palmer threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the first half. New England pretty much had its way with Cincinnati's defense. Tom Brady (three touchdowns) was terrific and his running game averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

What's next: Cincinnati's loss sets up a huge division matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. With the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) already in the win column, the Bengals do not want to fall to 0-2, especially with next week's game against a division rival. The Ravens start their 2010 season Monday against the New York Jets.

Wrap-up: Titans 38, Raiders 13

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
6:35
PM ET
What it means: A 1-0 start a year after starting 0-6 will be a big hit in Nashville, where Chris Johnson showed a slow preseason meant nothing.

Trending: As they did in the preseason, the Titans got a lot of plays from a lot of guys on defense. Will Witherspoon, Jason Babin, Derrick Morgan and Jacob Ford had sacks and Babin and Ford also forced fumbles. Dave Ball had two passes defensed. Jason Jones had a tackle for loss. Ryan Mouton forced a fumble. That’s a lot of production.

What I liked: Third down. On offense, Tennessee converted 53 percent. On defense the Titans allowed conversions only 21 percent of the time. Vince Young was efficient with two touchdowns, no picks and a 142.8 quarterback rating (but a fumble) and Johnson was Johnson (27 carries, 142 yards, two touchdowns).

Unsung hero: Punter Brett Kern averaged 44.5 net yards on four punts, helping produce an average drive start for the Raiders that was 11 yards worse than Tennessee’s.

What’s next: The Titans host Pittsburgh in Game 2 of Ben Roethlisberger's suspension.

Wrap-up: Giants 31, Panthers 18

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
6:35
PM ET
What it means: The Panthers are a team that can go either way, and a loss like this could start a downhill spiral. The performance of Carolina’s defense in the preseason got some hopes up, and the Panthers did intercept Eli Manning three times. But Carolina still surrendered 31 points, and that’s not going to get you many wins in John Fox’s style of football.

What’s next: Opening the new stadium against the Giants would have been a real challenge for any team. We’ll get a better read on what the Panthers are all about next week when they host Tampa Bay. If they lose that one, things could get out of control for the Panthers and truly make Fox a lame duck.

Tomorrow's Talker: Is it time to turn things over to rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Starter Matt Moore was intercepted three times, and it’s been assumed he’s on a short leash since the day the Panthers drafted Clausen. Fox’s track record suggests that he likely will give Moore at least a few more starts. But Moore absorbed a vicious hit late in the game and reportedly was taken to a New Jersey hospital for observation while the team flew back to Charlotte. We’ll see what the diagnosis is on Moore, but it might be unrealistic to expect him to be ready next week.

What I didn't like: Carolina’s play calling. Yeah, I know the Panthers want to emphasize the passing game a little bit more and I’m all for that. But, when you’ve got DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart and you’re in the red zone, shouldn’t you let them run? Five carries for Stewart are about 10 too few.

Wrap-up: Buccaneers 17, Browns 14

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
6:18
PM ET
What it means: The Buccaneers are tied with New Orleans for first place in the NFC South, just like everyone expected. But, seriously, this was a big win for the Buccaneers, who have been losing fans since losing early and often last season. A win over Cleveland is not going to start selling out Raymond James Stadium, but it’s a good start for the Bucs. They played good defense and Josh Freeman threw two touchdowns and showed he might be the “franchise quarterback’’ the Bucs have been saying he is.

What’s next: Tampa Bay goes to Carolina next week and is home at Pittsburgh the week after that before a Week 4 bye. Let’s not get carried away just yet, but a 2-1 or 3-0 start suddenly looks possible. Pittsburgh will still be without Ben Roethlisberger and there’s a chance Carolina might have to turn to rookie Jimmy Clausen next week because starter Matt Moore is in a New Jersey hospital right now after taking a big hit late in the loss to the Giants. Freeman could be the best quarterback on the field for Tampa Bay’s first three games.

Big Revelation: Ronde Barber’s got some gas left in the tank. Even though the veteran cornerback, who some have said no longer should be starting, didn’t make it into the end zone his 65-yard return on an interception set up Freeman’s first touchdown pass. This defense is very young and getting better, but keeping a veteran like Barber around gives the defense someone with a track record for making big plays and a steady influence on the rest of the defense.

Unsung Hero: Micheal Spurlock. Most of the preseason talk about Tampa Bays’ receivers centered on rookies Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn. Williams did produce a touchdown catch. But it was Spurlock who came through with a 33-yard touchdown catch that put the Bucs ahead to stay.

Wrap-up: Jaguars 24, Broncos 17

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
5:57
PM ET
What it means: The Jaguars move to 1-0 and create some early season buzz in Jacksonville by dispatching Denver. It’s a big result for a home favorite with so much attention focused on ticket sales.

Tomorrow's talker: Maybe special-teams ace Kassim Osgood can play receiver after all. He certainly looked the part on the 24-yard touchdown catch from David Garrard in the middle of the fourth quarter that provided the winning margin. He knocked into defensive back Renaldo Hill and took the defender's helmet off while completing the catch.

What I liked: David Garrard's efficiency. He had three touchdowns throws (two to Marcedes Lewis), six hookups with Mike Thomas for 89 yards, no interceptions and a 138.9 quarterback rating. A very solid opening day showing.

Big revelation: Any red zone issues for the Jaguars will be muted if they can score two touchdowns a game from outside the 20-yard line the way they did against the Broncos.

What’s next: The Jaguars travel to San Diego, looking to prove they’ve gotten better at performing following a cross-country trip.

Wrap-up: Patriots 38, Bengals 24

September, 12, 2010
9/12/10
5:06
PM ET
What it means: The Patriots asserted themselves as a team to be reckoned with after a summer that generated a lot of uncertainty, especially on defense. The game was a potential shootout given the Patriots' pass-rush problems and inexperience at cornerback. The Bengals made the score interesting with a second-half surge, but the Patriots comfortably led 24-3 at halftime.

Big revelation: Wes Welker's surgically repaired knee didn't prevent him from having a big day. He caught eight passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. He had only four touchdowns on 123 receptions last year. That's the kind of afternoon that will help him get over the psychological part of his recovery.

Unsung hero: With uneasiness at safety following Brandon McGowan's season-ending injury, sophomore Patrick Chung stepped up. He made 12 tackles, including one for loss.

Trending: Stephen Gostkowski missed field goals from 47 yards and 56 yards in the second quarter. The misses didn't hurt, and both attempts were long. But how he rebounds is something to keep an eye on.

What's next: The Patriots will play the New York Jets on Sunday at the new Meadowlands stadium.

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