NFL Recap of Weeks One and Two

Lenny Neslin

The opening week of the NFL was highlighted by a few shocking upsets, some impressive performances, and a decimating injury. The Giants knocked off division foe, Redskins, in a 16-7 victory to kickoff the season. The highly touted Chargers were upset by the Panthers, by a score of 26-24 at San Diego. The Bears shut down the Colts’ high-powered offense in a 29-13 win at Indy. The Patriots barely escaped the Chiefs with a 17-10 victory despite losing Tom Brady just halfway through the first quarter of the season.
Tom Brady, who set the NFL single season record in touchdowns last year with 50 and was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, was knocked out for the entire season on a low hit by Bernard Pollard, causing Brady to tear his ACL in his left knee. Brady’s replacement, Matt Cassell, did just enough to beat the Chiefs, but do not expect him to lead the Pats to a 17-0 regular season that Brady accomplished last year.
Brett Favre, who retired and then came out of retirement in the offseason, carried the Jets to a 20-14 victory over the Dolphins. The man who lost his starting spot due to the signing of Favre, (Chad Pennington) helped the Dolphins come close to beating the Jets. On the flipside, for the first time since 1992- Brett Favre was not there to start as the Packers quarterback. Aaron Rodgers had a solid NFL and prime-time debut, beating the aggressive division-rival Vikings by a score of 24-19 on Monday Night Football.
Willie Parker only had two rushing touchdowns last season, but that wasn’t going to stop him this year. Parker rushed for 3 TD’s and 138 yards en route to helping the Steelers trounce the Texans, 38-17. Donovan McNabb had a monster game passing for 361 yards, 3 TD’s, and no interceptions as the Eagles cruised over the sluggish Rams 38-3. Last but not least, LaDainian Tomlinson’s 4-year backup, Michael Turner, who went to Atlanta in the offseason, had the biggest week of all by rushing for a team record 220 yards and adding on two TD’s.
Week 2 in the NFL featured a couple jaw-dropping games as well as some outstanding individual performances. The New York Giants improved to a record of 2-0 by slaughtering the Rams in the Rams home-opener, 41-13. The Patriots won their second consecutive low-scoring affair behind quarterback Matt Cassell, beating the likes of Brett Favre and the Jets. The Broncos squeaked by the Chargers in a nail-biter, with a controversial call in the waning seconds, by a score of 39-38. The Eagles valiant effort wasn’t enough to beat the Cowboys on Monday Night Football, losing 41-37.
It would be an understatement if you called the Chargers-Broncos game an offensive fiesta. Between the two teams, they combined for 942 total yards. Philip Rivers lead the Chargers, passing for 377 yards and 3 TD’s and Jay Cutler lead the Broncos, passing for 350 yards and 4 TD’s. The Broncos edged out the victory on a gutsy call by head coach Mike Shanahan to go for the 2-point conversion. Cutler made his coach look good by hitting receiver, Eddie Royal in the middle of the end zone.
The Packers and Cardinals both improved to 2-0 as quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner, respectively, controlled their opponents. Warner hooked up with stud receiver Anquan Boldin for 140 yards and 3 TD’s. Rookie Darren McFadden had a breakout game as he figuratively and literally ran over the Chiefs with 164 rushing yards and a TD. Broncos receiver, Brandon Marshall, caught 18 passes, second most all-time in a single game, for 166 yards and a TD.