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By Ross Jones and Sid Saraf, FOXSports.com Ladies and gentlemen, NFL football is back and it was exciting. Comebacks, upsets and blowouts, the first week had it all. Let's get into what we learned from Week 1:
Cowboys 36, Giants 31 — Six turnovers doom Giants, Cowboys capitalize … kinda If the game’s first play was any signal of what was to come, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin would’ve employed a much more conservative game plan.
Eli Manning dropped back, eyed his target and threw a screen pass to
David Wilson. Just one problem:
DeMarcus Ware was standing directly in front of the second-year running back and he picked it off. The Giants accounted for six turnovers in a 36-31 loss to the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The win for
Dallas is encouraging as they had yet to beat their rival at Jerry’s World. It wasn’t all pretty. In fact, they almost let a 17-point third quarter lead wash away as the Giants drove down the field in the fourth quarter for a possible go-ahead score. Fortunately for Dallas, Manning would throw a pick-six to cornerback
Brandon Carr to seal the game. Manning wasn’t the only quarterback who battled a bit of adversity.
Tony Romo left the game briefly after being sacked late in the second quarter. The team said Romo just had the wind knocked out of him, but the quarterback was writhing in pain on the sideline. Romo would return and throw a 4-yard touchdown to his tight end
Jason Witten for the second time and the Cowboys offense was clicking. Although the Giants had some hiccups on offense,
Victor Cruz earned every penny of his offseason extension by hauling in three touchdown catches. Cruz finished with five receptions, 118 yards and 3 TDs.
49ers 34, Packers 28 — San Francisco is as good as advertisedColin Kaepernick utilized all his weapons and the 49ers hung on for the win in an offensive shootout Sunday. Although Kaepernick is traditionally known for making defenses pay on the ground using the read option, the third-year quarterback punished the Packers D through the air, throwing for 412 yards.
Anquan Boldin, who was acquired in a trade from the
Ravens this offseason, had a career game with 13 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown. As good as the Packers were against the run and defending veteran
Frank Gore, they did not have an answer for Kaepernick.
Seahawks 12, Panthers 7 – Any road win is a good oneSeattle had a daunting task, traveling cross-country for a 1 p.m. ET start. It showed. Don’t let
Russell Wilson’s 320 passing yards fool you: The Seahawks struggled to move the ball all game.
Marshawn Lynch was bottled up for only 43 rushing yards on 17 carries, but Seattle came through late. A beautiful pass from Wilson to
Jermaine Kearse with 10:13 left in the fourth quarter held up as the Seahawks managed to move to 1-0 on the season.
Carolina was driving for the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter as running back
DeAngelo Williams took a handoff down to the Seattle 8-yard line. But defensive back
Earl Thomas punched the ball loose and the Seahawks recovered. For the Panthers, it was a frustrating loss after a solid first half that was punctuated by
Cam Newton’s TD pass to
Patriots 23, Bills 21 – This is why Tom Brady and the Patriots are so good
With their backs up against the wall on the road in front of an inspired fanbase, the Patriots looked defeat in the eye and smirked. You didn’t really think the Patriots’ tumultuous offseason would affect them, did you? Although the Patriots were 2 of 5 in the red zone, they still managed to take over the game when it mattered most. Tom Brady got the Patriots in field-goal range with 5 seconds remaining after converting on key third downs.
Stephen Gostkowski would nail the 35-yard field goal, but the Orchard Park faithful left encouraged by the toughness the Bills showed. EJ Manuel, making his first career start, sparked the offense by completing 18 of 27 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Bears 24, Bengals 21 – Marc Trestman makes the difference. Well, maybe.Jay Cutler hooked up with
Brandon Marshall for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, but it was a sloppy performance in
Chicago. Although the Bengals were up 11 in the third, the Bears would create a turnover and capitalize. Chicago’s defense picked up where it left off from a season ago by forcing three turnovers.
Saints 23, Falcons 17 -- Saints reward Sean Payton in return
Following a season of Bountygate nonsense, the Saints finally got back to business by beating their division foe.
Drew Brees seemed to be on point Sunday as he completed 26 of 35 passes for 357 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back
Darren Sproles continues to be one of the Saints’ most productive players on offense, hauling in 6 passes for 88 yards and getting some carries in the backfield.
Chiefs 28, Jaguars 2 – Kansas City, meet your new QB Alex Smith
Alex Smith got off to a hot start, throwing two touchdowns in the first quarter, and the Chiefs never looked back. Kansas City’s offseason acquisitions on defense had their impact felt, but it was the usual suspects who caused the most damage. Second-year defensive tackle
Dontari Poe was in the backfield, racking up a sack and a half, but
Justin Houston was a menace, bringing down the quarterback three times.
Jets 18, Buccaneers 17 – Geno Smith proved some doubters wrong
Face it, a lot of people (us included) had some bad things to say about the Jets’ rookie quarterback coming into this game. His body language is bad, he looked clueless in the preseason and blah, blah, blah. But when the game was on the line, Smith made some nice plays against the Buccaneers. All in all, he had a decent game, throwing for 256 yards on 24 of 38 passing with a touchdown and an interception. He also managed to lead the Jets with 47 rushing yards. So, where do we go from here? Well, there will be growing pains. The Jets play again on Thursday against the Patriots and then face tough matchups against the Bills,
Titans and Falcons. We’ll have to re-evaluate at that point and see where this team is at. But for now, Geno can take pride on a job well done.
Colts 21, Raiders 17 – Oakland might have itself a quarterback
Sure, while all eyes are on
Andrew Luck’s eighth career fourth-quarter comeback and two touchdown passes, it was his counterpart who raised eyebrows on Sunday.
Terrelle Pryor, who beat out
Matt Flynn for the starting QB job in the preseason, did some great things in Week 1. He broke the Oakland rushing record for a quarterback, running for 112 yards on 13 carries. He also completed 19 of 29 throws for 217 yards and a touchdown. If you take away his two interceptions in the red zone, the Raiders could have walked out of this game with a win. Sure, close isn’t good enough, but the team has to be encouraged by what it saw.
Dolphins 23, Browns 10 – You can’t shoot yourself in the foot at home
The Browns had six first-half possessions against the Dolphins. Here are the results of the first five: interception, punt, interception, punt, interception. Amazingly, the Browns still managed to go into halftime with a one-point lead thanks to
Brandon Weeden (who threw all three picks) throwing a touchdown pass to tight end
Jordan Cameron. Things quickly fell apart after halftime. The Dolphins took control and ran away with the win. The Browns converted just 7 percent of their third-down opportunities and had just 47 rushing yards as a team. But it’s the turnovers that were the real killer as those wasted opportunities came back to haunt them at the end.
Lions 34, Vikings 24 – Reggie Bush could be the difference
When the Lions acquired Reggie Bush in the offseason, critics said the veteran running back isn’t a between-the-tackles type of runner and would never mesh well with the people in
Detroit. Well, all of that doesn’t matter, as Bush had a monster game for Detroit by leading the offense in both rushing and receiving.
Titans 16, Steelers 9 – Gregg Williams is making a differenceTennessee’s new defensive coordinator has been through hell and back, through his own involvement in Bountygate. But Williams is in a new situation now and seems to be having a big impact. The Titans held the Steelers to just 195 total yards, forced two turnovers and sacked
Ben Roethlisberger five times as they managed to walk away with a somewhat stunning victory. It’s even more impressive when you consider that
Pittsburgh had won its last 10 home openers. Tennessee didn’t do anything spectacular on Sunday, save for one stat: It won the time-of-possession battle, holding the ball for 34:01, compared with just 25:59 for Pittsburgh. Quarterback
Jake Locker only threw for 125 yards, but what’s important is that he didn’t turn the ball over. Running back
Chris Johnson carried most of the offensive load, rushing for 70 yards on 25 carries.
Rams 27, Cardinals 24 — Maybe a change of scenery was good for Jared Cook
The Rams have become a sneaky wild card pick with their offseason acquisitions, and their new tight end Jared Cook made the most of his opportunities in his debut.
Sam Bradford hooked up with Cook seven times for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it was kicker
Greg Zuerlein who made the big difference. Zuerlein booted a 48-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining and made four of them altogether. This could be the year that the Rams take the next step into postseason contender.
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