Wow! That’s all you can say about Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season.
12 games were decided by one possession or less. Seven teams went on the road and claimed victory. In a league that claims parity, the NFL certainly delivered in Week 1.
Game Of The Round:
So many options, but only one caught my eye from start to finish: 49ers defeating Packers 34-28.
Green Bay and San Francisco both came into their Week 1 showdown as perennial powerhouses in the NFC. Both showed you why, going punch-for-punch throughout all four quarters.
Every time San Francisco scored a touchdown Green Bay answered with a touchdown of their own. It was like a heavyweight title bout from the opening gate with each team scoring seven points in the first three quarters.
A couple of big plays in the 4th quarter gave San Francisco the victory, but it wasn’t easy. One of those immense plays, possibly the biggest of the game, was when quarterback Colin Kaepernick hit new acquisition Anquan Boldin for 43 yards on a 2nd and five at San Francisco’s 25-yard line.
San Francisco would ultimately score a touchdown on a one-yard run from Frank Gore to cap the drive off. The drive came directly after Green Bay took their first lead of the game.
If there were any questions in regards to Colin Kaepernick, I think those naysayers will remain quiet for the time being. Kaepernick finished with 412 yards passing including leading his team to a game-winning, 4th quarter comeback. He is the real deal.
Performance Of The Round:
Peyton Manning takes the cake in this category. Manning became the first quarterback since the AFL-NFL merger to throw seven touchdowns in a game, and he did so against the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on opening night of the 2013 NFL season.
It was a legendary performance under the brightest lights as the Broncos defeated Baltimore, 49-27. Manning finished with a whopping 462 yards passing without throwing an interception.
Manning is on pace for 112 touchdown passes this season. Think about that.
Biggest Upset Of The Round:
J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS! The New York Jets had a terrible offseason. They got rid of Tim Tebow, everybody’s favorite character to rag on or cheer for.
Mark Sanchez was injured during the preseason in the second half of a game that DIDN’T MATTER.
Geno Smith, a rookie quarterback from West Virginia, looked terrible throughout the preseason; including four turnovers in one of the games.
So what do the Jets do? They throw Geno Smith into the fire as a rookie giving him the start in the opener against Tampa Bay at home.
The outlook on the Jets season was so terrible; bookies favored Tampa Bay by 3.5 points on the road in Week 1. Let me say it again: bookies favored a team that was under .500 last season on the road. Bookies generally don’t favor away teams in the opening week of the NFL season, but they do when you’re the New York Jets.
When the game kicked off, it looked like those bookies were going to be right. New York was down double digits in the second quarter, 14-5. It looked like the Jets were about to fold the tent until the final Jets possession in the 2nd quarter.
Smith capitalized on a Josh Freeman interception, driving 31 yards on a short field, finishing it off with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow.
Because of the Freeman turnover, something he has struggled with throughout his career, New York had some essence of life.
Great defense accompanied by two fourth quarter field goals from Nick Folk gave the Jets an 18-17 victory.
Take that, bookies.
Injuries From The Round:
Injuries are a part of the game. You can’t get around it. Players get injured every game and some are worse than others. But when that same team suffers three season-ending injuries from two starters and one other major contributor in one game, you know that team is in trouble this season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers campaign couldn’t have started any worse. Not only did they lose to the Tennessee Titans, they lost their starting center and 3-time Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey, starting linebacker Larry Foote, and running back specialist Larod Stephens-Howling to season-ending injuries.
Pittsburgh’s offense never recovered from the loss of Pouncey in the opening stages of the first quarter. They looked lost, and backup center Kelvin Beachum looked atrocious in his place.
Pouncey and Stephens-Howling’s injuries were both torn ACL’s; Foote is out with a ruptured biceps.
Pittsburgh will play AFC North foe Cincinnati on Monday Night Football in Week 2. They could very well be 0-2.
What To Look Forward To Next Round:
There are two games you should pay close attention to in Week 2. First, we have the Manning brothers going head to head as Peyton Manning and the Broncos travel to New York to play Eli Manning and the Giants.
New York is staring at 0-2 right in the face.
Another game features the new “best rivalry in the NFL” with Seattle and San Francisco. Both teams have unbelievable defenses with loads of playmakers. Both running games, Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks and Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore of the 49ers, rival the best in the game.
Head coaches Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh haven’t gotten along since their USC and Stanford days so that only adds to the drama.
But what makes this showdown over-the-top appealing is the venue. Seattle has the top home field advantage in the entire NFL. The stadium is the loudest in the league, and they pride themselves on being the 12th man.