There were games with playoff like intensity, games with sloppiness that are indicative of Week 1 Football, blow outs, and upsets! This is a new weekly column here at My Mind on Sports that will cover the best and worst moments of every Sunday. There will be another weekly article that Reviews the entire NFL Week of action as well, that being said let’s get started with the very first edition of “Thoughts from Sunday.”
Saints 23 Falcons 17
The first word associated with these two teams would be offense, today it’s about the defense. In a matchup of high powered offenses, both team’s defenses made their mark. Specifically New Orleans, the Saints found themselves down Ten at one point. Their defense made the stops necessary to allow their offense to get rolling, their secondary made the biggest play late in the game(Rookie Safety Kenny Vaccaro). Their pass rush was exceptional, they were constantly in Atlanta’s backfield causing Matt Ryan to move off his spot which greatly affected the Falcons offensive timing. Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan was the ringleader in terms of the pressure on Ryan, tallying 6 Quarterback hurries. As for Atlanta’s defensive effort, their top draft picks Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant played fairly well, they made a few mistakes, but were very solid in their debut. Alford had a great interception when covering Marques Colston and Trufant had 5 tackles along with breaking up a pass. The most impressive performance from the Falcons defense was from Kroy Bierman, while it may not show in the box score, Bierman was moved all around the defensive front. He was even asked to cover Jimmy Grahm several times and did so with great success. New addition Osi Umenyiora had an impact on yesterday’s game as well, generating Five QB hurries.
Titans 16 Steelers 9
The Tennessee Titans got off to a great start this season, all in thanks to their defense. The unit stymied the Pittsburgh offense until garbage time where the Steelers were able to eek out a Touchdown. They were led by Defensive Tackle Jurrell Casey, it’s not often a DT gets singled out so he must of deserved it. Casey was a monster yesterday as made several plays in the Steelers backfield, finishing with Two sacks and three tackles. It always starts up front for a defense, the strong play of the defensive line had a trickle down effect as they entire defense was swarming to the football and making plays. Pittsburgh was dealt a heavy blow yesterday, early in the game Center Maurice Pouncey was injured and has been ruled out for the season according to several reports. The offensive line was already a concern heading into the season and the loss of Pouncey coupled with their deplorable performance yesterday only compounds that concern. Delanie Walker looked good in his debut in Titans blue, moving into a more prominent role after playing in the shadow of Vernon Davis in San Francisco. Walker displayed his abilities as well as his versatillity, he should continue to do well this season for Tennessee. Keep an eye on their defense as it looks to have put last year behind them and start this year with a new lease on life.
Bears 24 Bengals 21
In the game of football there are 22 players on the field at a time, eleven to a side. This game led most to believe that there were just two people on the three people on the field at a time; the QB, the Wideout, and the Defensive back. It was Andy Dalton and AJ Green versus a DB, than Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall versus a DB. Literally, both duos went crazy yesterday. Green finished with nine catches for 162 yards and two TDs while Marshall caught eight passes for 104 yards and one TD. These receivers are the number one option in their team’s passing attacks, opposing defensive coordinators go into games devising plans to limit their impact on the game. Neither of them cared much for the defense in front of them as they both did as they pleased. The difference being turnovers in this one, the Bengals turned the ball over three times including two interceptions. The Bears turned the ball over just once, Charles “Peanut” Tillman got beat several times by AJ Green but also came up with both interceptions. Marc Trestman got the win in debut as an NFL Head Coach.
49ers 34 Packers 28
This was an old fashioned shoot-out featuring Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s high octane offense versus Colin Kaepernick and the 49er’s new found explosive offense. Everyone knows what happened the last time these two teams played, when “Kap” ran for 181 yards and the 49ers ran for 300 plus yards as a team in a Playoff Victory. The Packers were adamant that those numbers wouldn’t be replicated, Clay Matthews and company kept the 49ers read-option at bay. The problem….the 49ers weren’t counting on the read-option to beat Green Bay, Kap stayed in the pocket and carved up the Green Bay Defense. Rodgers gave the 49ers defense fits as expected, he and Jordy Nelson were seeing things through the same set of eyes yesterday. Nelson finished with seven catches for 130 yards and one TD. Randall Cobb got loose as well, hauling in seven passes for 108 yards and one TD as well. While both defenses held the oppositions running game in check for most of the game, the 49ers defense offered more resistance versus Rodgers than Green Bay’s defense mustered against Kap. This game had a Playoff feel to it even thought it was just week one, San Francisco benefited from huge days from newly acquired Anquan Boldin and mainstay Vernon Davis. Boldin’s return to the NFC West was eerily reminiscent of his debut as a Cardinal nearly ten years ago, he finished with 13 catches for 208 yards and 1 TD. Davis role is a bit different this year, he is no longer required to stay underneath and run the typical Tight End routes. He was often running vertical routes yesterday, putting pressure on the Green Bay Safeties, giving Kap an opportunity to hit him deep or take advantage of the space left underneath. It’s only the first week, but their were two “high powered” offenses in this game.
Cowboys 36 Giants 31
This is going to be short and to the point, the debut of Monte Kiffin’s Cowboy Defense was a hit! Dallas set the tone on the very first play from scrimmage when DeMarcus Ware intercepted a screen pass. Re-Read that for a second, a defensive end picked off a screen pass. That was just the first of six turnovers on the evening for the Giants, three fumbles lost and three interceptions. Brandon Carr and Will Allen pulled in the other two interceptions, the Cowboys did a great job trying to generate turnovers. Obviously every defense goes into the game wanting to create turnovers, there is a big difference in the defense that “want” to cause turnovers and the defenses that “generate” turnovers. This could be the start of something big for Dallas, in the past few seasons their defense has struggled to play well let alone generate turnovers. If Kiffin has indeed changed the mentality of this defense, they will continue to generate turnovers, they won’t get six a game but they will cause their fair share.
Reggie Bush: 21 carries for 90 yards along with 4 catches for 101 yards 1 TD
Anquan Boldin: 13 catches for 208 yards and 1 TD
AJ Green: 9 catches for 162 yards and 2 TDs
Justin Houston: 3 sacks, 5 tackles
Robert Quinn: 3 sacks, 3 tackles, 2 forced fumbles
Colin Kaepernick: 27 of 39 for 412 yards, three TDs, 0 INTs
Charles Tillman: 7 Tackles, 2 Interceptions