Monday Morning Quarterback: The Good, The Bad Of Week 1
Denver BroncosBaltimore Ravens
The season certainly got off with a bang for Peyton Manning as he riddled the Baltimore defense by throwing for 462 yards and a record-tying seven touchdowns. Manning may not have done himself any favors, because he’s set an impossible standard to follow for the next 15 games.
Joe Flacco had a solid game by most standards as he threw for 362 yards and two touchdowns, but he couldn’t come close to keeping up with Manning and he also threw two interceptions.
New England PatriotsBuffalo Bills
Tom Brady did not have a stellar game, in large part because his most familiar receivers were not available. However, he threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns and led the Patriots’ game-winning drive in the final seconds.
E.J. Manuel had an acceptable game for a rookie making his debut. He threw two touchdown passes and he did not suffer an interception, but he only threw for 150 yards and had a difficult time sustaining Buffalo’s offense.
Seattle SeahawksCarolina Panthers
Russell Wilson did not have his best game in the season opener, but he did travel cross-country and lead the Seahawks to a tough road win over an improving team. Wilson threw the game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and threw for 320 yards.
Cam Newton had an up-and-down year in 2012, and he wanted to get off to a stellar start. While he was going up against a very tough Seattle defense, Newton had to find a way to throw for more than 125 yards and he was basically ineffective on the ground.
Chicago BearsCincinnati Bengals
With expectations for an improved offense at a very high level in Chicago, Jay Cutler made the key throws late in the game to help the Bears get a win over a very tough Cincinnati team. Cutler threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall in the fourth quarter.
Andy Dalton is the triggerman for a team that is considered to be in contention for the AFC championship this year. While he did not have a bad game as he threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns, he threw two interceptions to Chicago’s Charles Tillman.
Miami DolphinsCleveland Browns
Ryan Tannehill may not be one of the elite quarterbacks in the game, but he is an improving signal caller. Tannehill kept his cool in the Dolphins’ opener in Cleveland as he threw for 272 yards and a sharp TD pass to Brian Hartline. Tannehill’s play was one of the key reasons the Dolphins were able to come away with the win.
It was basically all on Brandon Weeden because he did not get any help from the Browns’ running game. Weeden completed just 26-of-53 passes for 289 yards with one TD and three costly interceptions.
Minnesota VikingsDetroit Lions
Matthew Stafford is under pressure to lead the Lions into the playoffs this year and he got off to a good start, throwing for 357 yards and two touchdowns. He kept his cool after the Vikings jumped on top and drove the Lions to a key victory.
The Vikings have gambled that Christian Ponder would improve off his halting 2012 performance, but the early returns are not good. He threw one TD pass and three interceptions against the Lions and he looked ineffective.
Indianapolis ColtsOakland Raiders
Andrew Luck did not have a stellar statistical game for the Colts, but he showed his leadership and his ability to come through in the clutch against the Raiders. Luck threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns and he did not throw an interception. He also ran for the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Very little to complain about with Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who kept the Raiders in the game with his athleticism and surprising poise. He threw for 217 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw two interceptions including one in the final seconds that clinched the game for the Colts.
Kansas City ChiefsJacksonville Jaguars
Alex Smith got off to a sharp start in his debut with the Chiefs. He wasn’t spectacular as he threw for 173 yards and two touchdowns, but he did not throw any interceptions. You got the feeling that Smith was just getting his feet wet and he is capable of putting more impressive numbers together for the Chiefs.
Blaine Gabbert does not seem to be the answer for the Jaguars. He was unable to sustain any kind of offense as he completed 16-of-35 passes for 121 yards. He threw two interceptions, including one that was tipped and returned for a touchdown by Chiefs defensive lineman Tamba Hali.
New Orleans SaintsAtlanta Falcons
After the Saints’ disappointing 2012 season, Drew Brees wanted to get back on track in the opener against the Falcons, and he threw for 357 yards and two touchdowns. The Saints served notice that they will be a formidable opponent for any team visiting the Superdome.
Matt Ryan did not have a bad game as he threw for 304 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. However, when Ryan had a chance to win the game on the final series, he was unable to direct the Falcons into the endzone.
New York JetsTampa Bay Buccaneers
Geno Smith’s pro debut not only resulted in a near-miraculous last-second win, it also included respectable numbers. Smith threw for 256 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran for 47 yards, including a key sprint on the final drive that set up Nick Folk’s game-winning field goal.
Josh Freeman thought he had directed the Bucs to a late win when he helped set up Rian Lindell’s 37-yard field goal, but the Tampa Bay defense could not sustain it. Freeman completed less than 50 percent of his passes and was inconsistent.
Tennessee TitansPittsburgh Steelers
The Titans came up with a rare victory in Pittsburgh, and quarterback Jake Locker has to feel good about that. However, he did little to help the offense other than avoiding throwing any interceptions.
Ben Roethlisberger was ineffective, throwing one meaningless TD pass in the game’s final moments. Roethlisberger lacked consistency and accuracy, throwing for just 191 yards. Locker threw for just 125 yards and he did not have a TD pass.
San Francisco 49ersGreen Bay Packers
Colin Kaepernick is the real deal. While he made his bones last year as an athletic quarterback, he threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns without an interception against a very physical and nasty Green Bay defense and outdueled Aaron Rodgers.
There was not much to complain about with Rodgers’ performance as he threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns. However, he came out second-best to Kaepernick and he can’t seem to find the winner’s circle any time he sees the 49ers.
St. Louis RamsArizona Cardinals
A solid opening game for Sam Bradford, who makes up in know-how and determination what he lacks in arm strength and overall talent. Bradford threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns and he seemed to develop an excellent rapport with tight end Jared Cook, who caught seven passes for 141 yards and two scores.
Carson Palmer had a solid game for the Cardinals, throwing for 327 yards and two touchdowns along with one interception. However, the Cardinals were outscored 14-0 in the fourth quarter and Palmer has to take some responsibility for his team’s inability to sustain offense in the final 15 minutes.
Dallas CowboysNew York Giants
Tony Romo took some hellacious shots from the Giants’ physical defense, but he continued to battle and he threw the ball with touch and accuracy as the Cowboys finally came up with the home win over their longtime rivals. Romo threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
Eli Manning threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns and he tried to get the Giants back in the game, but he threw three costly interceptions and he could not help the Giants overcome the big hole he helped dig.