NFL Weekly Whip-Around: Lessons Learned in Week One

Bryan HollisterAnalyst ISeptember 15, 2009

PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 29: Safety Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches the action during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field on August 29, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Well, folks, week one of the NFL season is in the books.

The defending Champion Pittsburgh Steelers two-stepped towards both defending their title and avenging a silly loss to the Tennessee Titans last year; Monday Night Football celebrated its 40th year on the air with a rare double feature; and overall the competition across the board indicated that the league's push towards parity is being achieved.

While it's only the first week of a very, very long season, there was still plenty to be learned.

We learned, for example, that it looks extremely strange watching the Indianapolis Colts play at home...outside.

For the slower ones among us, we learned that Troy Polamalu is a beast. Three weeks resting a knee injury will only stoke his fire that much more.

On that note, we learned that in all probability, the football gods are Steelers fans; otherwise, he would have completely blown the MCL and be out for the season.

We learned that the Titans's LenDale White's forsaking of tequila to cut wieght in the offseason didn't appear to benefit him much.

We discovered that if you give a top tier quarterback a short field and a zone to throw against, he will hurt you, damn near every time.

I offer Ben Rothlisberger, Phillip Rivers, and Tom Brady's game-winning drives as evidence. All three defenses dropped into zones after rushing them all day, and all three of these guys responded with deadly efficiency.

Defensive coordinators pay attention: you need to learn that ZONE PREVENT DEFENSES ARE WORTHLESS. Remove them from your playbooks.

After Monday night's performance, we learned that sometimes it IS worth staying up past midnight to watch an Oakland Raiders game. 

Hopefully Leodis McKelvin learned that when your team is ahead in the fourth quarter with just over two minutes to go, and you field a kickoff two yards deep in the end zone, you take a bloody knee

We learned that Drew Brees is quite possibly headed towards being the most prolific touchdown passer in the history of the game.

We learned that Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt might have been sandbagging just a bit in the preseason. With few exceptions, he looked very comfortable in his new uniform.

If you're Brandon Stokely, you learned that the old saying, "That's the way the ball bounces" is the best old saying EVER.

Bears fans learned WHY Jay Cutler was dangled as trade bait in the off-season. His skill is apparent, but his petulance has a tendency to grate on you after a while.

After watching JaMarcus Russell run downfield and throw not one, but two blocks on a single running play, we learned that he may have missed his calling. Get him a tight end number and line him up off tackle. He's 6'6" and 260 pounds, for crying out loud. He could be a frigging linebacker.

Most of all, I think it is safe to say that we all learned how much we truly missed NFL football. Yeah, we've had four weeks of pre-season action, but none of that compares to the thrill when the score actually counts for something.

Whether you are a fan of the NFC or the AFC; whether you follow a team from a large market or small; whether your team is a perennial contender or a constant basement dweller, it's all the same in week one:

Football is back, and oh how we missed you.

See you next week.