Tuesday Morning Running Back Week 1: Return of the Brady
As year three of this column begins, the big story leading up to opening weekend in the NFL in my neck of the woods was the return of the Patriots' leader. Yes, the golden boy with the golden arm was finally going to be under center for the Pats for the first time in over a year in a meaningful game.
Unfortunately, the hype was greater than the sum of its parts, and Tom Brady found that both he and his offense were out of sync for the majority of the game. However, with the help of a gift fumble by the Bills' Leodis McKelvin, the Brady Bunch saved their best drive of the night for last, and Tom Terrific fired a strike to tight end Ben Watson in the back of the end zone for an improbable 25-24 victory few saw coming.
Heck, even I flipped to Leno once the clock struck ten.
But I should have remembered Brady is a miracle worker. After all I've been watching him for eight years. By the time I flipped back, the deed was done.
The moral of this story is, he who gives Brady a chance to win will almost certainly pay for his misfortune in the end.
The rest of the weekend in the NFL can be summed up in one word: adjustment.
Eleven head coaches made their debuts, the Jets and Lions had to adjust their offenses to fit rookie quarterbacks and we fans had to adjust to not hearing the booming voice of John Madden in the broadcast booth for the first time in 30 years.
Now, as I've been to prone to say before I give my opinions on the rest of the games on the NFL schedule, on to the bullet points!
- Let me ask you a hypothetical question: What was more shocking in the Saints/Lions game? The fact Drew Brees threw six touchdowns passes or the fact Jeremy Shockey caught two of them to earn his first two scores as a Saint?
- Kudos to Jets QB Mark Sanchez for throwing for 278 yards in his first game as a professional. The last rookie QB to even throw for 200 yards in his debut was a fella named Peyton Manning in 1998. What ever happened to him?
- Did you see Jets coach Rex Ryan on the field with Joe Namath before the game? Rumor has it Namath guaranteed Ryan a victory in his debut as a coach and that he asked Ryan to kiss him.
- Not much to say about the Ravens/Chiefs game, except that Mark Clayton was the offensive star of the game with 300 yards receiving.
- I am convinced that only the Bengals can routinely lose games on tipped passes that go for touchdowns. I wouldn't be surprised if they lose next week on a fumble in the end zone when they're down by four in the fourth and there's no time on the clock.
- Panthers QB Jake Delhomme has turned the ball over 11 times in his last two starts. That's hardly the mark of a quarterback who signed a $5 million contract extension over the summer.
- Cracked ribs are a painful injury to play through. Therefore, I don't expect Donovan McNabb to be on the field this Sunday for the Eagles.
- The real reason Brett Favre came back was that he knew Adrian Peterson would run the majority of the Vikings defense. That was clearly evident in the Vikings' win over the Browns.
- Who would have ever thought Tony Gonzalez would have 11,000 receiving yards as a tight end? Congratulations to him.
- So much for life with T.O., as Tony Romo had the best day statistically for the Cowboys.
- The key to the 49ers' win over the Cardinals was that the Niners defense never allowed Kurt Warner to become comfortable. By the time they did, the game was out of reach.
- In yet another example of why the preseason doesn't matter, the Rams had a perfect preseason but didn't score a point in their opening game at Seattle.
- New Seahawks running back Julius Jones ran for 117 yards and a touchdown in his first game as a Seahawk. I would think he'd be on more fantasy teams next week.
- There was a lot of pressure on new Giants defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan to keep the defense at the same high-performing level they were at under Steve Spagnoulo. All they did was harass Jason Campbell all day to prove they are still an elite defense.
- Jay Cutler played better in the second half, but he was far from the man the Bears brought in to be the franchise quarterback.
- Aaron Rodgers, on the other hand, made a beautiful throw to Greg Jennings that caught the Bears defense off guard for a touchdown. Score one for the Pack!
- I'm sure Hines Ward is the most relieved man in Pittsburgh right now. His end zone fumble on Thursday night was much ado about nothing.
- You can fault the Chargers for allowing the Raiders to keep it close, but Phillip Rivers ran a heck of a two-minute offense last night, allowing his team to eek out a victory.
- Thank you for reading the first edition of the third year of Tuesday Morning Running Back. I hope you come back for more candid opinions next week.
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