After one Sunday of NFL football it is already obvious that this is going to be an exciting season filled with great plays, dumb plays, and of course controversy. The first Sunday didn't fail to disappoint in any of those categories, and here are a few things we learned from todays game:
1. The Texans are Contenders
The Texans who own what is quite possibly the toughest schedule in football got off to a great start today. After being 1-15 against the Colts since coming into the league, the Texans came out and took it to the defending AFC South Champions. The most impressive part about this win is that it came from a running attack, Matt Schaub through for just over a 100 yards and Andre Johnson only had 33 yards in the air. However Arian Foster exploded against the Bob Sander-less Colts, running for 231 yards and 3 TD's. While the Texan's still have 15 games to play before we find out if they make their first ever playoff appearance, they showed today they can contend.
2. All Eyes Will be on Randy Moss in New England
Moss, who still hasn't gotten the contract extension he so desperately wants followed a 5 reception 59 yard game with a press conference to remember. Moss said "I think that from a business standpoint, this will be my last year with the Patriots, and I'm not retiring." The question this leaves us with is will the real Randy Moss show up for the remainder of the season, or will it be the Moss that played for the Raiders in 2005 and 2006. Moss said "I'm not here to cause any trouble, I'm here to play out the last year on my contract" but Pats fans must wonder how long that will last. Will one frustrating game send him spiraling into the Moss that quit on plays game after game with Oakland?
3. The NFC East and West are the Most Wide Open Divisions in Football
In the West, the trendy pick to win the division, the 49ers, got run off the field by a rejuvenated Seahawks team. Pete Carrol had his team completely out class the Mike Singletary run 49ers in every aspect of the game, making you wonder who the true favorite is. Meanwhile the Cardinals, the defending NFC West Champs showed how vulnerable they will be while struggling to squeak out a win against the lowly Rams who are led by a Rookie QB in Sam Bradford. The Cardinals lost 4 fumbles and looked sloppy throughout with QB Derek Anderson completing just 22 of 41 passes.
Meanwhile in the NFC East the struggles looked all the same. The Redskins offense was at times non existent, but thanks to their defense they beat the Cowboys 13-7. Tony Romo and crew just never could get it going, continuing to struggle in the Red Zone scoring on just 1 of their 3 trips. In reality the Cowboys beat themselves with penalties (holding to end the game) and bonehead plays (the fumble to end the 1st Half). Meanwhile the Giants struggled in the 1st half against the Panthers before getting it together in the 2nd, in large part to Hakeem Nicks having 3 TD Catches. The Eagles looked good in the 2nd half also, the weird thing is that it was only because Mike Vick played Quarterback then. However the Eagles lost by a Touchdown to the Packers, and now Philly has what could become a Quarterback controversy.
4. Michael Vick is Still Good
I know its only one game, but Vick showed he can still be a successful quarterback in the NFL. After going only 5 for 10 and 24 yards Kevin Kolb was pulled with a concussion giving us a fresh glimpse of the Michael Vick experience. Vick came into the game, turning around a struggling Eagles offense and leading them back into the game. Vick went 16 for 24 throwing for 175 yards and a Touchdown while running for 103 yards on only 11 carries. Vick carried the Eagles back into the game, showing that he can still make plays in the NFL while making his own case for the Eagles starting spot. Although Andy Reid said that Kevin Kolb will start if he is healthy, if he struggles in the least Vick will most likely get a crack at earning a starting Quarterback spot.
5. Playing Until the Whistle Matters at the Highest Level of the Game
If only Calvin Johnson would have held onto the ball until the Referee blew his whistle and signaled for a Touchdown, the Lions would have started 1-0 and the Bears would be 0-1. But that didn't happen, Johnson dropped the ball before standing up and after further review the Touchdown was taken away in the most controversial play of the day.Make no mistake though, the Referee got the call right.
Oh and what if the Redskins defense had given up on the tackling of Tashard Choice at the end of the first half. DeAngelo Hall probably would have never picked up the ball and run it back for a Touchdown giving the 'Skins a 10-0 lead going into half and propelled them to a 13-7 win over the division favorite Cowboys. Make no doubt, playing until the whistle makes all the difference.
A wild and wacky weak one showed us plenty of surprises and expect a few more as the Jets and Ravens face off tomorrow along with the Chargers and Chiefs. Whether the NFL reaches a new Labor Agreement or not doesn't matter for the next 6 months, because this season will be plenty entertaining.