Monday, September 10, 2007

'Skins, Chargers Grit Out W's!

Week one of the NFL season is almost in the books, and it's become clear after only one week that some things have stayed the same, while others have changed a lot. As I figured, the New England Patriots had no problem at all handling the New York Jets. Tom Brady threw for 297 yeards and three touchdowns, including one to the newly acquired Randy Moss in a 38-14 Patriot romp. Moss had a HUGE day for the Patriots, catching nine balls for 183 yars. He's quickly looking like a huge fantasy bargain if you managed to get him in your draft. The other "no brainer" pick for me amongst the morning games was in Cleveland, where the Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Browns. The "Dog Pound" had nothing to bark about as Ben Roethlisberger threw four touchdown passes and the Browns turned the ball over five times in a 34-7 Steeler romp.

I had hoped to devote a lot of my attention to the St. Louis Rams game against the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars game against the Tennessee Titans. Unfortunately, neither of these games was all that exciting to watch, so my viewing went elsewhere... Just as last year, the Rams potent offense could do nothing against the Panther defense, losing a 27-13 decision as jake Delhomme torched the Rams defense for three touchdown passes. Only Torry Holt had any sort of fantasy worthy numbers for the Rams, scoring once with 73 yards receiving. Meantime, the Jaguars potent running offense was stymied against the Tennessee Titans as they inexplicably only ran the ball 18 times, while throwing it 30 times! Perhaps if they had gone to their strong running game a bit more (Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor), they would have been able to pull the game out. As it was they lost to the Titans by a 13-10 score. The Titans actually had more running plays (49) than the Jaguars had total plays (48) in the game.

There were three very exciting games amongst those played in the morning... The Green Bay Packers won a very sloppily played game against the Philadelphia Eagles by a 16-13 score as the Packers took advantage of a muffed punt with less than a minute to go, scoring on a 42 yard Mason Crosby field goal with just two seconds to go.

In Buffalo, the Bills had a game get away from them, but more importantly one of their players was seriously hurt in an on field helmet-to-helmet collision at the beginning of the third quarter. Tight End Kevin Everett was taken off the field on a stretcher after tackling Broncos kickoff returner Domenik Hixon. Everett had a "lenghty surgery" last night and only has had "sparse movement" in his extremeties according to his agent. One can only hope and pray that he can somehow regain full movement. The game still went on, and it ended dramatically as Jay Cutler drove the Broncos down to the Buffalo 25 yard line with 12 seconds to play. The Broncos quickly got their kicking team on the field, and snapping the ball with barely a second to spare, Jason Elam hit the 42-yard field goal to give the Broncos a 15-14 win.

In our nation's capital, the Redskins took on the Miami Dolphins and got into a see-saw defensive battle. After a scoreless first quarter, Shane Suisham gave the Redskins a 3-0 lead with a 31-yard field goal a little less than three minutes into the second quarter. As the half ended, the Dolphins would take the lead as Trent Green would pass to Justin Peete for a 1 yard score. Clinton Portis promised all of us that he was good to go for opening day, and judging by yesterday it appears he indeed was just fine. Portis opened the second half scoring with a 19-yard touchdown run a little more than three minutes in to give the Redskins a 10-7 lead. On the day, Portis ran the ball 17 times for 98 yards. The rest of the way, the game turned into a battle of field goals... Jay Feely kicked one for the Dolphins with 3:37 to go in the third quarter to make it a 10-10 game. The Redskins would come back to take the lead on a Suisham 44 yard field goal with 5:30 to go in the game. The Dolphins came right back though as Feely answered with a 36 yard field-goal with 1:55 to go. The game would go to overtime... the Redskins won the coin toss, and as it turned out that would be very important. The Redskins simply just ran all over the Dolphins in the overtime period. After a touchback on the kickoff, Portis quickly gained twenty yards on two carries to get the ball to the 40 yard line. After two short gains, Jamie Campbell hit TE Chris Cooley with a 10 yard pass to convert a key third down and seven. Ladell Betts then gained ten more yards on the very next play to move the ball to the Miami 37. Three plays later, Portis would pick up nine yards on a third down and four play to move the ball to the Miami 22. The conservative Joe Gibbs decided then and there to try and win the game for the Redskins. Suisham was brought in and nailed the 39-yard field-goal straight through the uprights for a 16-13 Redskins win!


As for the afternoon games, there was only one game that really interested me - the game featuring the San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears... It was a game pitting one of the NFL's best defenses against one of the best offenses... As in baseball, where good pitching tends to stop good hitting, the good defense had control over the good offense for most of the day. The Chargers were unable to move the ball effectively in the first half, managing only 70 yards in eight first half drives. Their lone first half foray into the red-zone resulted in a the Bears' Alex Brown blocking a 33-yard Nate Kaeding field goal attempt a little more than 10 minutes into the first quarter. The Bears then went three-and-out with their next possession, but Charger quarterback made his lone mistake of the day as he was intercepted by Brown on a pass inteneded for all-pro receiver Antonio Gates. The Bears then drove the ball down to the Charger 10 yard line before settling for a 27-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.

The Bears also managed to keep the NFL's Most Valuable Player in check the entire day, making many fantasy owners a lot unhappy. LaDainian Tomlinson only managed 25 yards rushing on 17 carries on the day... Fortunately for the Chargers, they were able to adapt to the Bears defense just enough to come out on top. With L.T. being effectively taken out of the game, the Chargers decided to make Gates the focal point of the attack - which made me very happy, seeing that he's on a good number of my fantasy teams! Gates caught nine passes on the day for 107 yards including the Chargers first points of the game. Those that see the Chargers a lot know that L.T. not only can run and catch the ball, but he also can throw it. Sure enough, the Chargers were driving and on a play which looked to be a running play to the right, L.T. instead threw the ball to a wide open Gates for a touchdown and a 7-3 Charger lead with less than a minute to go in the third quarter. For Tomlinson, it was his seventh career touchdown passing.

From there it was simply a matter of the Chargers just not making any more mistakes... the Bears offense looked, well pardon the pun, but just plain "gross, man"... as Bears QB Rex Grossman could never move the ball effectively against the Chargers stingy defense. On the day Grossman was only 12-for-23 with 145 yards, throwing an interception and getting sacked three times. The key error though wasn't Grossman's, but rather running back Adrian Peterson's. Peterson fumbled the ball away just into Charger territory with 13:45 to go in the game. From there, the Chargers quickly moved the ball down the field, going 57 yards in eight plays, capped by a very nifty 7-yard touchdown run by Tomlinson with 9:09 to go in the game. The Bears could only garner a single first down in their next possession... After punting the ball away, the Chargers took over with just a little more than six minutes to play... The clearly tired Bears defense was unable to stop the Chargers as the home team ran out the clock with a twelve play drive...


They definitely decided to save the most exciting game for last though... as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the New York Giants in a 45-35 shootout! Tony Romo and Eli Manning each threw four touchdown passes, each going well over 300 yards passing... Romo was someone I strongly recommended picking up on draft day, and boy did he more than live up to my hype, as he threw for 345 yards on only 24 attempts! Terrell Owens caught only three balls on the day for 87 yards, but two of them were scoring passes. Tight-end Jason Witten also had a big day, catching six balls for 116 yards and a score. The fantasy star of the game though was Plaxico Burress as he caught eight passes for 144 yards and three scores...


Tonight, two games are on the slate as the Baltimore Ravens take on the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers take on the Arizona Cardinals. Are you ready for some football???


No comments: