Here’s what the rest of the league did Week 1:
Viking 9 – Saints 14
Brett Favre was rusty and the New Orleans Saints imposed their will on last year’s #1 overall rush defense to win the NFL opener at home. Favre clearly missed Sidney Rice, and struggled to develop chemistry with anyone other than tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. The Saints took Shiancoe out of the game in the second half, and began to pound away at the Vikes with running back Pierre Thomas after only giving him two carries in the first half.
Bottom line: A bunch of post Super Bowl victory polaroids Browns fans can’t relate too; a bunch of painful replays of that Favre interception Browns fans can relate to.
Lions 14 – Bears 19
The NFL game of the week, for a bad reason. Referees overturn Calvin Johnson’s go ahead touchdown catch with 30 seconds left in the game after he jumped to both feet without securing the ball. Even Bears fan is saying poor Lions. Adding injury to insult, the Lions lost Matthew Stafford to a separated shoulder. Running back Matt Forte had a more productive day catching the ball than any wide receiver Week 1, with 151 yards through the air and two TDs.
Bottom line: Clevelanders know the words, “At least we’re not Detroit!”
Bengals 24 – Patriots 38
The Patriots get a special teams touchdown, an interception returned for a score, and two TDs from Wes Welker in his return from offseason knee surgery en route to crushing the AFC North champion Bengals. The game was never close as Cincinnati was down 31-3 at one point. Chad Ochocinco had a nice game for the Bengals and his fantasy owners in the loss, with 159 yards and a TD.
Bottom line: Bengals are playing a first place schedule this year and got smashed 30 minutes into it.
Panthers 18 – Giants 34
Eli Manning hit Hakeem Nicks for three TDs while Jake Delhomme replacement Matt Moore coughed up three interceptions in the Panthers’ road loss. I’ll make this slop game #1 with six total interceptions and three total fumbles lost. Jimmy Clausen saw some action in garbage time but didn’t complete either of his passes. Now more than ever, the Panthers are a running team, and everyone knows it.
Bottom line: Giants are the only team in their division who looked good Week 1.
Falcons 9 – Steelers 15
Slop game #2. The Steelers win in overtime on a Rashard Mendenhall TD; the only one scored in the game. Troy Polamalu is back healthy and makes a great defense the best in the league. Steelers third string QB Dennis Dixon throws for 236 yards and no scores while Ben Roethlisberger cools his pants on the sideline.
Bottom line: Without Big Ben, the Steelers are who we thought they were, and the Falcons let them off the hook.
Broncos 17 – Jaguars 24
Mercedes Lewis scores two touchdowns and David Garrard finishes with the highest Week 1 QB rating at 138.9. This one was close all the way through, with the Broncos coming from behind to tie the game three different times. Tim Tebow gives the Jacksonville crowd their moneys worth with two rushes for two yards.
Bottom line: With the win, every team in the AFC South is 1-0 except one… the Colts?!
Colts 24 – Texans 34
If you were to tell me Peyton Manning threw for 433 yards against the Texans, I would have said, Colts win. Yet it was the Texans who dominate behind Arian Foster’s huge day of 231 yards and three TDs. The Texans remind everyone in the league what the blueprint for dealing with the Colts looks like: If you pound the ball at them relentlessly, it doesn’t matter how big a day Peyton has.
Bottom line: The Texans get that monkey off their back, now let’s see if they’ve prepared to play anyone else.
49ers 6 – Seahawks 31
C’mon man! With Kurt Warner retired the NFC West was wide open for the 49ers to take, and they respond with the thud heard round the world. The Seahawks run off 31 points in a row to get new head coach Pete Carroll his first win of 2010. The Seattle defense held Frank Gore to a paltry 38 yards on 17 carries. Pete Carroll is the new “Hoodie.”
Cardinals 17 – Rams 14
Slop game #3. Sam Bradford throws 55 passes in his NFL debut, but comes up short of the upset win as the day belongs to Browns’ stepchild Derek Anderson. DA throws the go-ahead TD to Larry Fitzgerald with just over six minutes left to play and the Cardinals survive. New Rams’ arrival Mark Clayton had a big day with 10 catches for 119 yards, but also had a few keys drops.
Bottom line: DA throws no interceptions and is the hero the same day Jake Delhomme is the goat in Cleveland. Ouch.
Packers 27 – Eagles 20
Wheeeeee, quarterback controversy! After convincing his bosses to trade Donovan McNabb within the division, Kevin Kolb looked overwhelmed under center and was forced to leave the game with a concussion. Enter Michael Vick, who jolted a 27-10 cruiser into a 27-20 nail biter for the Packers. Clay Matthews, Jr. is a one man wrecking crew for Green Bay, who lost running back Ryan Grant for next week’s game against Buffalo with an ankle injury.
Bottom line: Aaron Rogers and company are good enough to play poorly on the road and still win, unlike you know who.
Cowboys 7 – Redskins 13
Slop game #4. The Cowboys play the part of the Browns and beat themselves to get the Donovan McNabb era off to a successful start in DC. Games in this division are the toughest to call in the league, and the Redskins’ totally overhauled team is the new wrench in the deal. With a holding penalty negating the game winning TD, and a fumble returned for a TD on the last play of the half, Tony Romo and crew have some explaining to do.
Bottom line: Is it just me, or is the trade of McNabb for a 2nd rounder already a steal for Washington?
Ravens 10 – Jets 9
God I hate both these teams. Slop game #5 was a slugfest between two similar squads in every sense: hard hitting, soft passing, large mouthing. If you enjoy those fun, high scoring affairs then turn away. John Gruden must have said “Here comes the all-out blitz,” fifteen times from the booth. In the end Joe Flacco makes just enough plays with new toy Anquan Boldin for the Ravens to squeeze it out. The Jets helped, by racking up 125 yards on 14 penalties, and gave the Ravens six extra first downs time after time on 3rd and long.
Bottom line: New York’s team is overrated. Shocking.
Chiefs 21 – Chargers 14
Uh oh. The Chiefs and Romeo Crennel 2.0 come screaming into Cleveland after defeating the defending AFC West champion San Diego Chargers at home. The Chiefs electric talent was on full display, including a 94 yard punt return TD from Dexter McCluster, and a 56 yard TD blast from running back Jamal Charles. Philip Rivers was able to hit Antonio Gates for a TD over Kansas City first round pick Eric Berry, but was ultimately shut down by the Chiefs young defense and hungry Arrowhead crowd.
Bottom line: Are the Chiefs the fastest team in the NFL now? The Browns get them on a short week, and on the road. Must win.