Week 1 of the 2011 NFL Season is in the books. It was an exciting week, filled with the usual surprises, many of those surprises coming within the AFC East. Buffalo pounding the Chiefs in Kansas City was high on the list. I felt the Bills had a good chance to win the game because of how the Chiefs played during the preseason, but to win by 34? Are the Bills that good or does Kansas City stink like I thought they would? In week 2 we will get a better gauge as the Chiefs visit the Lions, who beat a Tampa Bay team I thought would take a step back this year as well. The Bills host Oakland, who is coming off a win against Denver on Monday Night. Getting to see Oakland and Kansas City play Buffalo early is good for Miami, as they play them later on this season. Hopefully these teams will prove to not be as tough as thought by some at the beginning of the season.
The Sunday Night game provided both excitement, and disgust, as Dallas showed the nation how to move the ball against a highly touted Jets defense. Then the pressure of the 4th quarter thing happened to Tony Romo again. He did throw for 342 yds in the losing effort, I’m willing to bet that tape is being eaten up by Miami Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll. A blocked punt the just so happened to bounce right back to Trufant as he made his way 18 yds for a TD. That play was the turning point, Romo’s throw directly to Revis was the dagger. The Jets were able to pull off the win, in a surprisingly high scoring game. It will be interesting to see where Dallas and Miami sit come Thanksgiving when the two teams meet in Dallas.
The Miami Dolphins were also a surprise. Yes they lost, yes they are 0-1, yes they gave up 517 yds to Tom Brady. I know, I watched the whole thing, and despite losing by 14, it really wasn’t as bad as the score would indicate.
I was surprised by the play of both the offense, and the defense. I didn’t think the offense would play that well, and I didn’t think the defense would play that bad. Tom Brady had all day to throw the ball. The secret to beating the Patriots (it’s really not a secret) is to put pressure on Tom Brady. Sack him a few times, hit him hard, throw him around, like the Lions did in preseason, and Brady becomes really average. Give him all day to throw the ball, and he’ll throw for 500 yds and frustrate the crap out of you. Granted, 99 of those yds came on the bad play of recently departed Benny Sapp, who became the second member of the Miami Dolphins to get fired after a Monday Night loss to the New England Patriots. He should have been cut, that was just awful, I wish him well at his next job, but I feel much better now that Will Allen is back in his spot. I still don’t think Miami would have won if Allen was playing, but it wouldn’t have felt as embarrassing.
The defense had other issues going on as well. They couldn’t keep up with the New England offense. They were gassed, and gassed early, and showed just how out of shape they are. That blame goes to the coaches, and in part the lockout. Sure, we heard of the offseason workouts led by Chad Henne, but did anyone hear of the defense working out? They are out of shape big time, and that may not be fixable in less than a week. Hopefully Houston won’t come out in a no huddle Sunday. There were also communication issues as well. Miami seemed confused at times, and they admitted to not getting the play calls in enough time to get lined up correctly. How could they? Brady was throwing the ball up and down the field on them. He found every hole possible in the Miami defense, but not everyone is Tom Brady. Look for this defense to make corrections. They are much too talented, and are a lot better than what they showed. I feel confident saying that will be the worst performance they will have all year. If that holds true, from what we saw in the offense, this team will win enough games to be in the playoff hunt in December.
Chad Henne looked 100% better than he did last year. He threw with confidence, took chances, and for the first time, he looked like the leader of that football team. He was making audibles at the line, throwing the ball deep, and moved the ball well against the New England defense. This offense lived up to the talk, it was exciting and aggressive. But……..it seems the redzone problem from last year is still not fixed. 4th and goal from the 1 and a fade to Hartline was the best option? That was bad, Miami has to be able to punch the ball in when they are that close. They need a power running game and quick! Where was Larry Johnson? Why didn’t they give Lex a chance? Why didn’t Henne just sneak it in? A fade to Hartline…..really? Hello, Marshall is 6’4! Just toss it up to him for crying out loud.
Reggie Bush played well, but it became evident that New Orleans used him the way they did for a reason. It was only week 1, but I’m not sure he can get the amount of carries he did on Monday night week to week. They need another back to turn to. Thomas is practicing again, as is Charles Clay. Hopefully one of them, or Johnson, or Hilliard, will be given an opportunity to carry the rock on Sunday. If they can fix that problem, this offense will score points this season.
I’m really optimistic about the weeks ahead. Miami has some tough games ahead, as they face Houston, @ Cleveland, and @ San Diego before they enter their bye week. If they can be 2 -2 by then, their schedule lightens up and they have a chance to set themselves up to have a nice record by Thanksgiving. Hopefully Miami can buck the trend of never beating the Texans this Sunday. They are coming off a complete beat down of the Indianapolis Colts and head to Miami feeling pretty good about themselves as they should. The Texans have an explosive offense, but it won’t be as good as New England’s. Their defense should be tougher as well. It will be a tough matchup for Miami, but they have played them close in the past, but they have to correct the problems they had in the opener if they hope to finally get a home win.
On to the rankings! There are some movers and shakers this week, as a lot of teams in the bottom half moved around.
32 – Seattle (28). The 12th man may be put on IR this season.
31 – Carolina (31). Teams now have film on Cam.
30 – Indianapolis (22). Manning could win MVP without playing.
29 – Cleveland (26). Colt has bullets, but no targets.
28 – Cincinnati (32). Couldn’t put them below Cleveland since they just beat them!
27 – Kansas City (25). They wish Charlie would have skipped school.
26 – Jacksonville (29). I know they won, but just wait.
25 – Tennessee (21). How funny was Hasselback waiving Johnson by him so he could let him get gang tackled!
24 – San Francisco (30). With the injuries to the Rams, they may have a shot in this division.
23 – Denver (18). 2 drunk guys chanting “Tebow” become national news.
22 – Oakland (25). Still dominating their division.
21 – Minnesota (24). They may start ‘Pondering’ a switch at QB soon.
20 – Tampa Bay (18). Not winning 10 this year.
19 – Buffalo (20). I think Kansas City is bad.
18 – St. Louis (15). Injuries are really going to hurt this team.
17 – New York Giants. See St. Louis above.
16 – Arizona (16). Interesting to see how they play on the road.
15 – Washington (23). This offense is going to work.
14 – Miami Dolphins (11). Defense needs to show up this week.
13 – Chicago (19). Could continue to rise.
12 – Dallas (12). Tony cost them the game, and he said he did.
11 – Detroit (14). This team could win 10.
10 – Atlanta (9). What a wake up call they got!
9 – New York Jets (10). Keep finding ways to win.
8 – Pittsburgh (3). I feel sorry for Seattle.
7 – Houston (7). Baltimore’s win was more impressive.
6 – New Orleans (4). They had chances to win that game.
5 – Baltimore (8). What a statement!
4 – Philadelphia (6). Took them a while to get going.
3 – San Diego (2). Can they continue to avoid a slow start?
2 – New England (5). Not sure if anyone can stop that offense.
1 – Green Bay (1). Haven’t missed a beat.
Enjoy your week 2.
Topics: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Chad Henne, Charles Clay, Chicago Bears, Chris Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Daniel Thomas, Darrell Revis, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Larry Johnson, Lex Hilliard, Matt Hasselback, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Reggie Bush, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Bucaneers, Tennessee Titans, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Washington Redskins