NFL Football 2012: 5 Things We Learned from the Early Week 1 Games

Barry Leonard@@barryleonardjrAnalyst IIISeptember 9, 2012

NFL Football 2012: 5 Things We Learned from the Early Week 1 Games

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    The first full day of games is the best day of the year for NFL fans. The training camps are finished and there are no more meaningless preseason games to suffer through.

    There were several interesting story lines heading into the Week 1 games. How would the rookie quarterbacks fare? Would players such as Jamal Charles, who is returning from injury, be as effective as before? Would the dysfunctional Jets be able to put together an offense?

    Some of these questions have been answered from the first wave of games.  

    This list looks at five things that we have learned already from the completed games.

    Note: The Wednesday night Cowboys vs. Giants game and all of the Sunday 1 p.m. (EST) games were considered for the list.

Tony Romo Is Capable of Being an Elite Quarterback

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    On a huge, prime time stage in Week 1, Tony Romo showed that he has the ability to be considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

    Romo led the Cowboys to a 24-17 victory over the rival New York Giants in a hostile road environment.

    In the game, Romo threw for 307 yards, three touchdowns and, most importantly, only one interception. Romo was sharp in the pocket and also showed his ability to scramble and extend the play.

    Romo has always had talent; however, he has shown in the past that he has trouble avoiding the big turnovers.

    Of course, it is Tony Romo, so he could just as easily have a mistake-ridden game next week.

    However, a performance like this will certainly build his confidence. No one will say it yet, but more games like this, and Romo will find his place near the top of the list of current NFL quarterbacks.

RG III Is as Good as Advertised

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    One of the top story lines heading into Week 1 was "How will Robert Griffin transition to the NFL game?"

    Everyone got their answer in Week 1.

    Griffin looked more than sharp in his NFL debut with the Washington Redskins against the New Orleans Saints. RG III led the Redskins to an improbable road victory at the Superdome.

    The Redskins defeated the Saints 40-25

    Griffin threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns. That is the second most yards thrown by a rookie in his debut. Cam Newton threw for 422 yards in his debut in 2011. Griffin also added 30 yards on the ground. Most importantly, Griffin did not have any turnovers.

    With his Week 1 performance, Griffin proved that the hype that followed him out of Baylor is real.

Mark Sanchez Is the Jets Best Quarterback

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    After hearing discussions all offseason about Tim Tebow, March Sanchez came out in Week 1 and proved that he is, without question, the starting quarterback in New York.

    Sanchez looked great at home against the Buffalo Bills, leading the Jets to a 48-28 victory. Sanchez threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception.

    Meanwhile, Tim Tebow only had 10 rushing yards and did not attempt a pass.

    A game like this should quiet the Sanchez critics and end the "Should Tebow be the starting quarterback?" conversations.

    There is no guarantee that Sanchez can keep this up, but Week 1 was a great start.

The Atlanta Falcons Will Compete for the NFC Title

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    The Atlanta Falcons started slowly at Kansas City, but pulled away in the second half. Atlanta, who had a 20-17 lead at halftime, turned it on in the second half and ended up beating the Chiefs 40-17.

    The Falcons were lead by quarterback Matt Ryan, who threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Second-year receiver Julio Jones pulled in six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

    There's no doubt that this Atlanta team can put up points, and in a hurry. If the defense can step up in 2012, the Atlanta Falcons could find themselves sitting at the top of the NFC come the end of the season.

Tom Brady Is Still Really Good

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    This just in, Tom Brady is really good.

    As if there were any doubt, Brady has started the 2012 season off in typical Brady fashion.

    Brady led the Patriots to a 34-13 victory over the Tennesse Titans. Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

    New England continues to rely on Brady to help the team win, although running back Stephan Ridley rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown.  He showed that although former offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is no longer in New England, the tight ends are still the focal point of the offense. Brady hit both Aaron Hernadez and Rob Gronkowski.

    In case anyone was thinking Brady's age might start to creep up on him, guess what, it's not.