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NFL morning after: Week One is so much fun

Anquan Boldin of the San Francisco 49ers falls as he is being tackled by Jerron McMillian of the Green Bay Packers during their NFL season home opener football in San Francisco Reuters

Football is back. Can you believe it?

Can you believe the day’s two biggest favorites, the Patriots and Colts, had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to beat the Bills and Raiders?

Can you believe the Giants turned the ball over three times in the first six minutes on Sunday night?

Can you believe that Adrian Peterson ran for a 78-yard touchdown the first time he touched the ball — and then gained just 15 yards on 17 carries the rest of the way?

Can you believe that Tyrann Mathieu needed only one quarter as an NFL player to make exactly the kind of ball-hawking play he was famous for at LSU, stripping Jared Cook to save a touchdown?

Can you believe that the beleaguered Jets actually won their opener, in the most ridiculous manner possible, with a Buccaneers penalty setting up the game-winning field goal?

Can you believe that three different games started with safeties and had scores of 2-0 in the first quarter?

Can you believe Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, with 112 rushing yards, is currently the NFL’s leading rusher?

This is why Week One of the NFL season is so much fun: We go from no football at all for seven months to 10 games at once, and about a hundred things you never expected all happening simultaneously. About two hours after kickoff of the early games on Sunday, I was so exhausted just trying to follow it all that I wasn’t sure if I’d make it for the nine hours or so of football that were still ahead of us.

But I made it, just like you did, just like millions of Americans who have been desperate for the return of the NFL, who spent all day Sunday on their couches obsessing about football and wondering how we survived these long months without it.

Here’s what went through my mind as I watched it all unfold:

Is it too much to ask that the officials know the rules? Referee Bill Leavy admitted after the 49ers beat the Packers that he and his crew had wrongly given the 49ers a free play, calling it third down after offsetting penalties when it should have been fourth down. The 49ers used that extra down to score a touchdown, and the Packers have every right to be furious about it. It’s one thing for an official to miss a call because he didn’t have a good angle to see it. It’s much worse for the officials to get a ruling like that wrong, even after they had time to review and discuss it.

Ndamukong Suh needs to get a grip. The season just started, but Suh was in midseason form when it came to costly penalties for illegal hits: Suh drilled Vikings center John Sullivan in the knee after DeAndre Levy intercepted a pass, drawing a penalty that cost the Lions a touchdown on Levy’s return. There was absolutely no reason for Suh to hit Sullivan (Levy was already well past him), and it was yet another example of Suh hurting his team while trying to hurt an opponent. Suh had a good game for most of the day: He pressured Christian Ponder into an interception, and he was a big part of a stout defensive effort that saw the Lions bottle up Adrian Peterson for most of the game. But a good game most of the day isn’t good enough. Suh needs to cool it, and if he can’t, Lions coach Jim Schwartz needs to bench him.

The Jaguars may be worse than last year. And last year they were 2-14. Jacksonville simply couldn’t do anything against the Chiefs, who looked like a much better team than a year ago with new coach Andy Reid running the show. I don’t even know what to say about the Jaguars, but I will note that they were the first team in NFL history to lose a game by the score of 28-2. So, there’s that.

Anquan Boldin was the best player in the NFL on Sunday. Boldin is a perfect fit in the 49ers’ offense, and they desperately needed him to step up when No. 1 receiver Michael Crabtree went down. Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome has a great track record of making the right personnel calls, but after a Week One in which Boldin caught 13 passes for 208 yards and the Ravens got whipped by the Broncos, I wonder if Newsome is thinking he should have found a way to make room for Boldin under the Ravens’ salary cap, instead of trading him to San Francisco.

Calvin Johnson had a touchdown overturned on the Calvin Johnson rule. Johnson made a leaping catch at the 1-yard line, stuck the ball across the goal line, then fell to the ground and had the ball wobble when he hit the ground. The official on the field ruled it a touchdown. The referee looked at the replay and changed the call to incomplete pass. Johnson has been here in Week One before, having an apparently game-winning touchdown catch overturned in the opener against the Bears three years ago. He’s probably getting sick of the rule that bears his name.

Kellen Winslow lives! Kellen Winslow caught exactly one pass all year in 2012. You could be forgiven if you thought Winslow was done. But he’s not done, not by a long shot. Winslow had seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown and was the Jets’ best offensive playmaker in their win over the Buccaneers. Winslow’s bad knee will never allow him to be the kind of player he looked like he’d be coming out of college, but he still has something left, and he’ll be a great security blanked for rookie quarterback Geno Smith.

Danny Amendola did what Danny Amendola does. The Patriots’ new go-to receiver did both of the things people thought he’d do: He caught a bunch of passes (10 for 104 yards) and he got hurt (missing some time with a strained groin). If Amendola can stay healthy, he’s going to be a great fit for Tom Brady and Co. But given Amendola’s history, that’s a big “if.”

The Saints are in first place in the NFC South. Last year, the Saints’ defense was a debacle. Through one game this year, the Saints are 1-0 and the rest of the NFC South is 0-1, and the New Orleans defense looked good in the opener against Atlanta. Sean Payton is back, and the Saints are back.

Have you ever heard of Cid Edwards? Edwards was a good-but-not-great running back for the Cardinals, Chargers and Bears in the 1960s and 1970s. He never had 1,000 yards in a season, never made a Pro Bowl, never was an important player on a playoff team. So why am I bringing up Cid Edwards today? Because in 1972, in his first game with the Chargers, Edwards had 100 receiving yards and 97 rushing yards. No other NFL player had ever reached 100 receiving yards and 90 rushing yards in his first game with a new team until Sunday, when Reggie Bush had 101 receiving yards and 90 rushing yards in his first game with the Lions. Bush is a perfect fit in the Lions’ offense, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him lead the league in yards from scrimmage this season.

All Larry Fitzgerald needs is a competent quarterback. Fitzgerald doesn’t need a good quarterback — which is a good thing, because I’m not sure that Carson Palmer, at age 33, still qualifies as a good quarterback. But Palmer is at least a competent quarterback, and you couldn’t even say that for any of the other quarterbacks the Cardinals have had since Kurt Warner retired (Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley, Brian Hoyer, Derek Anderson and Max Hall). Now that Fitzgerald has someone competent throwing him the ball, expect him to resume putting up big numbers. Fitzgerald scored two touchdowns on Sunday after scoring only four touchdowns all season last year.

We have 16 more of these Sundays. Yesterday was a lot of fun. We have a lot more fun ahead of us.

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48 Responses to “NFL morning after: Week One is so much fun”
  1. swagjag says: Sep 9, 2013 7:00 AM

    It’s too early to say the Jags might be worse than last year. But good God it sure looked that way. Khan’s genius should be able to parlay this into a “Quarterback For a Day” fan experience.

  2. thekiy says: Sep 9, 2013 7:32 AM

    I’m sick of hearing about Suh’s block. It was above the knee, and he was ahead of the guy. It wasn’t too low, or from behind. I’m not even sure it should have been a penalty.

    It’s only being talked about because it’s Suh.

  3. goraidersgospurs says: Sep 9, 2013 8:01 AM

    pryor is coming for that rushing title!!!

  4. southpaw2k says: Sep 9, 2013 8:17 AM

    11. The AFC North looked absolutely awful outside of A.J. Green this weekend.

    And boy, am I glad I got him on my fantasy team.

  5. bucrightoff says: Sep 9, 2013 8:17 AM

    That might have been the worst loss in Bucs franchise history. Freeman has got to go.

  6. attyken says: Sep 9, 2013 8:19 AM

    I do not know if Khan is a football genius. His quarterback decisions …especially leaving Gabbert as QB is questionable. I like the Gus Bradley hire. The biggest problem I can’t get over is that Khan looks like Sad dam Hussein.

  7. lionsmove2losangeles says: Sep 9, 2013 8:31 AM

    Week 1 assured nick fairley’s proclamation of being the best DT tandem. And I was glad to see our o-line hold up against the “great” Vikings d-line. Wonderful job by reiff on mullet man.

  8. getyourownname says: Sep 9, 2013 8:31 AM

    Love to see Boldin do well, he deserves it. But remember it wasn’t just Ozzie who thought he is on the downslope, all the pundits and talking heads last year kept saying how he was slow and could not get separation. Truth is a lot of how a player looks is the offensive scheme and Cameron was never able to use Boldin properly.

  9. bobbyhoying says: Sep 9, 2013 8:42 AM

    I found all the 2 – 0 scores pretty amazing.

  10. logicalvoicesays says: Sep 9, 2013 8:55 AM

    Football is so bland when RGIII and the Redskins aren’t on the field. Thank god it’s MNF tonight and the league can see what QUALITY is as the Eagles receive the first Burgundy and Gold Beatdown. #GodBlesstheRedskins

  11. commonsenseisnotcmonman says: Sep 9, 2013 8:57 AM

    Trying to keep my KC excitement in check, a 28-2 win is good against anybody (especially after last year), but until I see a little more I’m not sure how good this team really is yet.
    Alex Smith might be the next coming of Trent Green, minus the concussions hopefully.

  12. jamezz23 says: Sep 9, 2013 8:58 AM

    Suhs penalty is questionable, he was in front and it was not below the knee, but was it uncalled for? Yes. He was way out of the play and suh couldn’t resist. That should warrant a flag every time, just because he hit someone that didn’t factor in the rest of the play. Yes I know, the NFL is getting soft

    Go lions!

  13. thetruthcampaign says: Sep 9, 2013 9:00 AM

    I agree that Suh’s block should not have been a penalty. He didn’t need to throw it, and maybe that’s why it was interpreted as a penalty hit, but yes, it was from the front-side and started at the hip. GO LIONS. Delmas is the guy who needs to cool it.

  14. dcapettini says: Sep 9, 2013 9:04 AM

    Logicalvoicesays: If it so “Bland”, why comment on it? Will you promise one week of silence if the 4skins lose tonight?

  15. iamapatsfan says: Sep 9, 2013 9:07 AM

    At least Amendola came back after he was injured. And he played a pretty integral role in getting th Pats a way-too-tough win, although the Bills always play the Pats tough early in the season. It’s generally their second game that is lopsided.

    One thing that stood out for me… Several Offenses were clearly not clicking. The Pats, Giants, Ravens, all generally strong O’s on premier teams, we’re barely scratching along. Maybe the smaller amounts of practices and practice types in the new CBA catching up to players and teams?

    For the Pats, though, it was obvious Thompkins and Amendola didn’t know the schemes and Thompkins especially looked like a rookie. It was brutal and a little funny to watch Brady put his hands on his helmet like 5 or 6 times while Thompkins would be getting back up with his hands out wide in a “what do want from me?” look. Well, it was funny because the Pats won in the end, anyway.

  16. sullijo1 says: Sep 9, 2013 9:11 AM

    I’m putting the over/under for Jags wins at 0.5. Thumbs up for under, thumbs down for over.

    I guess they did play without their starting TE and WR, but is that really going to matter??

  17. dogman9 says: Sep 9, 2013 9:23 AM

    In a word…GENO!

  18. pathealy1849 says: Sep 9, 2013 9:29 AM

    Why does no one care that Clay Matthews punched Joe Staley in the face 3-4 times as they were engaged on the sideline? Is this legal now? There were actually three personal fouls on this play – Matthews’ original foul on Kaepernick, Staley’s foul for grabbing Matthews, and Matthews again for punching Staley. However, the refs somehow managed to miss Matthews punching Staley, and they didn’t make that call. What should have happened is this: Staley and Matthews should both have been penalized for fouls on each other, which would have offset, and Matthews’ original foul on Kaepernick would have been enforced. 1st and 10 Niners from the GB 3 or so, with the same likely result (Niners TD). So the refs messed it up, but not in the Niners’ favor.

  19. southpaw2k says: Sep 9, 2013 9:29 AM

    sullijo1 says:
    Sep 9, 2013 9:11 AM
    I’m putting the over/under for Jags wins at 0.5. Thumbs up for under, thumbs down for over.

    I guess they did play without their starting TE and WR, but is that really going to matter??

    ————————————————–

    Before the season started, I thought the Raiders had a real shot at going 0-16 this year, and that if they didn’t beat the Jaguars in Week 2, they didn’t have another winnable game on their schedule until December. Ironically, now I think it’s the Jaguars who have a better chance at going 0-16 this season if they don’t beat Oakland on Sunday.

  20. motionaway says: Sep 9, 2013 9:30 AM

    Can you believe the Bears’ Jay Cutler lead his team to a 2nd half come from behind victory over the Bengals?

  21. 2difshoe says: Sep 9, 2013 9:30 AM

    “Suh drilled Vikings center John Sullivan in the knee after DeAndre Levy intercepted a pass, drawing a penalty that cost the Lions a touchdown on Levy’s return. There was absolutely no reason for Suh to hit Sullivan (Levy was already well past him)”

    ———————————————————–

    Cause that what newly picked ” Captains ” do !
    This guy is a easily the dirtiest player in the NFL and considered Detroit’s team leader. Detroit is going nowhere and when this happens, they know where to pinpoint the problem….somewhere Forrest Gump is shaking his head !

  22. neofootball says: Sep 9, 2013 9:34 AM

    Clay Matthews with the cheapest hit I’ve seen in a long time.

  23. johnnyjagfan says: Sep 9, 2013 9:39 AM

    Worst Jags game of my lifetime. I didn’t see any improvement in the OL. Where was MJD? Glad we have Anger to punt. Only bright spot after the safety.

  24. raiderlyfe510 says: Sep 9, 2013 9:49 AM

    Proud of my Raiders. If they continue to believe in each other and buy in to the coaching staff’s program this could be a special year.

  25. toddc612 says: Sep 9, 2013 9:52 AM

    I actually think my Vikings will have competition with the Jags for worst team in the NFL.

    Call it ego.. call it being stubborn.. but the Vikings management somehow, someway, still doesn’t understand that Ponder is not a capable NFL quarterback. Funny, because the fans, the media, and certainly the other teams know otherwise.

    A plea — stop the debacle now and put in a different quarterback. Probably won’t happen until week 8, when it’s far, far too late.

  26. 20bust11 says: Sep 9, 2013 9:55 AM

    In 2 words. Go Geno.
    If that’s the best the Jets have, they’re done.
    Ryan, and Sanchez should’ve been gone years ago, and Geno wouldn’t even be picked up by Jacksonville, if he was cut tomorrow.
    The Jets had better save this, thank God for the penalty win, because they are pathetic.
    If you need help to beat a team that can’t score 20 points, you’re in trouble.
    Does anyone really believe the Jets can get a division win?

  27. strokinmyego says: Sep 9, 2013 9:58 AM

    Week one is way to early to make any judgments about any teams. The NFL season is a marathon not a sprint. Who’s ahead now doesn’t mean anything. The last three Super Bowl champions were 10-6, 9-7, and 10-6.

    I want my team playing its best in December and January. Not September.

  28. murlikoushik says: Sep 9, 2013 10:02 AM

    I never realized Clay Matthews is a dirty player until I saw the play where he hits the QB out of bounds. I feel the NFL must ban such players. We don’t need the crappy stuff in the NFL.

    I am thrilled that the Pack had its butt kicked. Their defense sucks. And A-Rod is as much of a blot to football as his namesake in baseball.

  29. isphet71 says: Sep 9, 2013 10:04 AM

    bucrightoff says:
    Sep 9, 2013 8:17 AM
    That might have been the worst loss in Bucs franchise history. Freeman has got to go.

    ——–

    You must not have lived through the 80s. Or the 70s. Or basically any point during the creamsickle-jersey era.

    You thought THAT was a debacle? Dust off your dad’s old VHS recordings. The Bucs were ATROCIOUS for like… decades. Makes yesterday’s loss by only a few points look like their Super Bowl victory.

  30. eagleswin says: Sep 9, 2013 10:19 AM

    Is it too much to ask that the officials know the rules?

    ——————-

    Now that there’s no replacement refs to complain about, the answer is a resounding YES. The regular refs made plenty of game changing mistakes before the replacement refs happened and they’ll make plenty of mistakes now that the replacement refs are gone.

    The difference? The media will now refuse to go on and on and on and on about every mistake and whine about how failing to know the rule is going to get a player injured.

    I listened to at least one announcer yesterday praise a referee crew for “getting it right” after overturning their incorrect call on a challenge.

    If they had got it right the first time they wouldn’t have to overturn it on challenge.

    At least we know Ed Hochuli doesn’t think the refs need more training or incentive to get calls right the first time.

    He’s got a part time job that he doesn’t need to pay the bills and the power to block other refs from doing his job.

  31. broncobeta says: Sep 9, 2013 10:24 AM

    pathealy1849 says:
    Sep 9, 2013 9:29 AM
    Why does no one care that Clay Matthews punched Joe Staley in the face 3-4 times as they were engaged on the sideline? Is this legal now?

    ———————————-

    I am not a Packers fan in any shape or form, but to call that a punch is super lame. Almost as lame as people whining about it.

    Matthews aggressively pushed Staley by the facemask, which is not a punch. If either of these guys were throwing punches someone would have been hurt.

  32. lionsfan41582 says: Sep 9, 2013 10:27 AM

    I like how everyone makes a big deal about anything Suh does. He plays hard. The hit was exactly how def’s are taught to play. during an interception hit the other team. he didn’t try to take out his knees he hit him in the hip i’ve watched the play a dozen times now. He hit him from the side no the back and he knew Suh was there you could see him brace for the hit. All you cry babies crying about Suh would give anything to have him on your team so shut up and quit crying.

  33. realfootballfan says: Sep 9, 2013 10:28 AM

    Always the best week before injuries start destroying the parity-filled NFL teams’ depth.

  34. mnrube23 says: Sep 9, 2013 10:32 AM

    Just a question if there is a pass that is 10 yards out of bounds that is not catch-able. Also with passes that are not catch-able there can be no pass interference. So why was it called that way at the Lions game? I was very upset that this was called. Plus that roughing the pass was very week but I understand that call. Last but not least THANK YOU Lions for getting us one game closer to T.Bridgewater!

  35. 8man says: Sep 9, 2013 10:39 AM

    Danny Amendola may want to watch some tape of Welker. Welker runs low to the ground when he is in traffic, minimizing the hits.

  36. truths4all says: Sep 9, 2013 11:11 AM

    Don’t be so sure that Larry Fitzgerald will keep getting quality passes from Carson Palmer. As unmasked by the Rams, Cardinals Left Tackle Levi Brown is anything, but the Elite Left Tackle Bruce Arians keep insisting he is. Brown demonstrated that he absolutely cannot handle speed rushers without help and Arians keeps Brown working isolated most of the time. Hence, Carson Palmer will get hurt sooner than later which means Larry Fitzgerald will not have quality passes coming his way soon.

    Bruce Arians noy says he has no one to replace Brown, but certainly he could try Eric Winston there and use Massie in Winston’s old spot of right tackle. If not and if the Cards do not give Brown help 90% of the time, Palmer will be reduced to being ineffective as he was in the second half of yesterday’s game or even worse, out because Brown’s man knocks him out of a game or more.

  37. bucrightoff says: Sep 9, 2013 11:33 AM

    Its the worst loss because if this is a team thats supposed to make the playoffs, losing to the Jets, likely the worst or 2nd worst team in the league…makes the Bucs the worst team in the league. It was a disgraceful loss.

  38. hammertoe11 says: Sep 9, 2013 12:20 PM

    Jets got very, very lucky in their opening game.
    Giants owners Should think about replacing the head coach and Eli. That game was awful.

  39. beardinals says: Sep 9, 2013 12:30 PM

    Carson Palmer was clearly better than competent. It’s already been established that his lone INT was becasue Larry went the wrong way.

    Now for some protection for him….

  40. aunome says: Sep 9, 2013 1:03 PM

    Boncobeta, if you think that was a “push to the face” I encourage you to watch it again and NOT from the angle behind Staley. I have it on DVR- it’s a PUNCH and it followed Staley’s VERBAL chewing out for a violent late hit on a quarterback. Mathews should have been ejected and there should have NEVER been offsetting penalties. Watch the play carefully next time.

  41. nativeraider says: Sep 9, 2013 1:20 PM

    beardinals says: Sep 9, 2013 12:30 PM

    Carson Palmer was clearly better than competent. It’s already been established that his lone INT was becasue Larry went the wrong way.

    Now for some protection for him….

    Its so funny how all the sudden Palmer is out of Oakland, now hes “competent”. Just goes to show it wasn’t Palmer that people hated but the Raiders…

  42. johnelwayishorsefaced says: Sep 9, 2013 2:53 PM

    Bench Suh? That’s hilarious.
    I guess his penalty didn’t hurt us too much considering we won by 10 points. I assume you would agree regardless of how badly you obviously hate the Lions.

  43. deweyaxewound says: Sep 9, 2013 3:45 PM

    Can you believe the once woeful Chicago o-line DID NOT GIVE UP A SINGLE SACK against a very good Cincy d-line?

    Now THAT’S improvement!

    p.s. Charles Tillman – two picks.
    Even with last year’s ProBowl selection, he continues to be way underrated. In fact, I’d take Tillman over Revis, Baily, or any other so-called “shutdown corner” etc. any day of the week….and yep – twice on Sundays.

    One last Bears-related note, since no one in the media is talking about it: Robbie Gould hit a 58 yarder before the half, which was a record-setting FG for him, for the franchise, and for Soldier Field. It not only kept the Bears in the game going into the half (14-10), those 3 points ultimately made the difference in the outcome of the game.

    Cutler leads a comeback, defense creating turnovers at key times, huge special teams play – for the Bears, this first win was truly a “team win”. Here’s to more to come under Trestman!

  44. rammajamma says: Sep 9, 2013 4:03 PM

    If the Honey Badger, Fitzgerald and the Cards were all that and a pizza than the Rams must be the knife cutting up the slices.

  45. rammajamma says: Sep 9, 2013 4:09 PM

    Like Danny Amendola, Steven Jackson also did what we expected him to do, a big 50 yard run, but then 27 for the rest of the game, inneffective at the goal line, and dropped TD pass which would have been the game winner.

  46. jimbrashear says: Sep 9, 2013 4:46 PM

    @murlikoushik – You must not follow football too much. Anyone wondering WHY Clay Matthews hit Colin Kaepernick should follow football more closely before spouting off that Matthews is a dirty player.

    1. Colin K made trash talk comments to the Packers in their last meeting in the playoffs, disrespecting them.

    2. He trash talked them to the media.

    3. He trash talked them before the game.

    4. After the game was over last time they met, Kaepernick laughed at Matthews – didn’t even shake his hand.

    He straight up disrespected the guy… so yeah – not a shock he got hammered. Plus Matthews DID TELL the whole world earlier this week if he had a chance he was taking it. K knew it was coming.

    FINALLY – this is very out of the ordinary for Matthews. He doesn’t normally do this… which to me lends credibility to the fact he felt like it was personal.

  47. supamac says: Sep 9, 2013 4:47 PM

    toddc612 says: Sep 9, 2013 9:52 AM

    I actually think my Vikings will have competition with the Jags for worst team in the NFL.

    Call it ego.. call it being stubborn.. but the Vikings management somehow, someway, still doesn’t understand that Ponder is not a capable NFL quarterback. Funny, because the fans, the media, and certainly the other teams know otherwise.

    A plea — stop the debacle now and put in a different quarterback. Probably won’t happen until week 8, when it’s far, far too late.

    —————————

    Trade for Tebow !

  48. mf1849 says: Sep 10, 2013 8:29 PM

    logicalvoicesays says: Sep 9, 2013 8:55 AM

    Football is so bland when RGIII and the Redskins aren’t on the field. Thank god it’s MNF tonight and the league can see what QUALITY is as the Eagles receive the first Burgundy and Gold Beatdown. #GodBlesstheRedskins

    What was that again?

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