A Shock and Awe Opening Week in the NFL

Week one in the NFL brought some amazing rookie performances, a few shocking results, but as always, the best entertainment a fan could ask for.  With the official start of the season, the universe finally seems back in balance!

Are these “shock and awe” moments fleeting flukes that will fade away as the season progresses?  Or are they indicative of what lies ahead for the rest of the season?  Here’s our take on some of this week’s memorable moments.

Cam Newton’s  422 Yard Opening Game Performance

Carolina Panthers QB and Heisman winner Cam Newton silenced his critics with an astounding game against Arizona Sunday.  He threw for 422 yards and made his way into the record books with the most yards by a rookie QB in an opening performance.  Newton looked composed and in control and seems to have made a natural transition from the Auburn spread offense to NFL play.

Was this performance a fluke or is Cam the real deal?  There’s no doubt Newton is a fierce competitor and his drive to win will undoubtedly bring him success this season.   But before we get too carried away in Cam-mania, the reigning Super Bowl Champion Packers will bring a reality check this week.  Sure, Green Bay’s defense gave up over 400 yards to the Saints last week, but that was against veteran (and former Super Bowl MVP) Drew Brees.  Green Bay’s 3-4 defense is somewhat similar to Arizona’s, but the Packers bring Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson on Sunday and it’s likely Cam will face a far greater challenge than he did against the Cardinals.  Still, there’s no denying that Cam’s opening day was a stellar one that will be remembered for years to come.

Tony Romo’s Baffling 4th Quarter Pass

Tied at 24 with 59 seconds left in the game, Dallas QB Tony Romo tossed a soft pass that was intercepted by NY Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.  The decision to throw that kind of ball, with mere seconds left in the game and the team within field goal range, is mind boggling.  Revis returned the INT 34 yards to set up the winning field goal for the Jets.   That interception, coupled with a 4th quarter fumble, was enough for the Jets to come back after trailing 24-10 early in the 4th quarter.  While Romo performed well for most of the game, throwing for 342 yards and 2 TDs, it is the mishaps, fumbles and inexplicable decisions he often makes that cause fans to question his leadership and ability to win the “big games”.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Steel Curtain Looks Rusty

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers certainly didn’t look like a team who played in the Super Bowl last year.  They suffered a humiliating 35-7 defeat by their conference rival, the Baltimore Ravens.

Don’t throw in the Terrible Towel just yet.  While the Steelers got off to a shaky start, it is a long season and one bad opening game does not determine a team’s fate.  Big Ben threw 3 INTs and fumbled twice (and as he is my starting Fantasy QB, I will admit I was not a happy camper on Sunday), but I doubt it is an indication of any gloom and doom to come.  I expect the Steelers to make a big statement this weekend against the Seattle Seahawks.  Seattle’s defense is vulnerable against the run AND the pass, so expect Big Ben and RB Rashard Mendenhall to make their own “shock and awe” moments this weekend!

Our Favorite NFL Player – Michael Vick – Leads the Eagles to Victory

Vick’s showed his dual abilities against the Rams by throwing for 187 yards and 2 TDs and rushing for 97.  Thanks to DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, my fantasy team earned an impressive 41 points and  helped me win my first game of the season. Fly, Eagles, Fly!!

With Vick’s propensity to use his legs comes the risk of injury.  Against the Rams, he was sacked three times, while taking 11 other hits.  This week he faces the Falcons who will undoubtedly bring the pressure.  Last week Atlanta had 5 sacks against the Bears.  They have something to prove after their embarrassing 30-12 loss and would love nothing more than to silence the naysayers with a strong performance against their former QB.

If Vick can stay healthy and absorb the punishment he will be receiving all season long, the Eagles can be a serious Super Bowl contender.  Vick’s athleticism and risk taking make him a thrill to watch, but those same attributes can also lead to both his and the Eagles downfall should he get taken out on one of the inevitable hits coming his way.

So with the first week wrapped up and in the record books, we are well on our way to a season full of more “shock and awe” moments.  Join us as we share our (often random) thoughts on the latest developments both on and off the field!

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