10 Biggest Surprises from Week 1 of NFL Action

J FCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2011

10 Biggest Surprises from Week 1 of NFL Action

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    The NFL is a league of the unexpected. So-called experts can make predictions for the season and make their picks week by week, but the games rarely play out as planned.

    In its first week back, the National Football League was full of surprises, as some underdogs quieted critics and a few hyped up squads didn't live up to their expectations right off the bat.

    Here are 10 big surprises from Week 1, but don't be shocked if they don't become a trend.

10. Brady Finally Threw a Regular Season Pick

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    Tom may have torched the Dolphins for a career high 512 yards passing and four TDs, including a 99 yard strike to Wes Welker, on Monday night, but he also threw his first interception in 359 consecutive regular season passing attempts.

    It was bound to happen eventually, as his luck finally ran out.

    The Fins' lineman, Jared Odrick, deflected the pass at the line and came down with the ball to end Brady's incredible streak.

9. Rex's Redskins Gash Giants

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    Rex Grossman predicted that the Redskins would be the NFC East champions before it was even certain that he would be the starting QB in the nation's capital.

    The nine-year veteran did get the start on Sunday and began his conquest of the division, as he led the 'Skins to victory with over 300 yards passing and two tremendous touchdowns.

    The injury-depleted Giants were favored in the matchup, but the home team came away happy.

8. Henne Has Career Game

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    Miami's Chad Henne has fallen under a lot of criticism since becoming the starter at quarterback, but he finally had a breakout performance, and against the Patriots nonetheless.

    Henne threw for a career high 416 yards and rushed for 59, leading the Dolphins in both categories on the night. Bill Belichick didn't even see that one coming.

7. Falcon's Flop in Chicago

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    What was supposed to be a loaded and explosive offense after the addition of rookie receiver Julio Jones managed to put up a mere 12 points against a stingy Bears defense.

    Most of the nation was hoping for a close battle between the NFC's top seeds from a year ago, but turnovers killed at Atlanta and Chicago dominated the day.

    I wonder how many people are going back on their Super Bowl picks after the Falcons' flop.

6. Kick Returns Not a Non-Play

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    For everyone complaining about the kickoff moving up five yards, thank the three men who disproved the theory that return TDs would be few and far between in 2011.

    The Packers' Randall Cobb scored on a 108 yard record-tying return on opening night, and Ted Ginn and Percy Harvin also ran back kicks on Sunday.

    It was a pleasant surprise to see that kickoff returns for touchdowns aren't a lost art in the NFL.

5. Janikowski's Big Boot

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    The Raiders were looking to add a few more points to their lead going into halftime against the Broncos on Monday Night Football, so they sent Sebastian Janikowski into the game to attempt a 63-yard field goal.

    Janikowski has nailed long field goals in the past, but when this one sailed through the uprights, he had tied Jason Elam for the all-time record.

4. Indianapolis Blown out Without Peyton

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    Everyone knew the Colts would struggle without their MVP quarterback, Peyton Manning, but who saw such a brutal defeat coming their way?

    The Texans terrorized the team that has owned the AFC South for years, and it took Indy nearly four quarters to put any points on the board.

    The loss was more than just a pain in the neck for Kerry Collins' Colts, who appear to have more problems than simply the loss of their star QB.

3. Ravens Ravage Rival Steelers

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    So much for an intense battle between the two AFC North rivals. Sure, there was a lot of pushing and shoving, but the game itself was not so heated.

    The Steelers offense was ice cold and turned the ball over seven times as the Ravens routed them in Baltimore.

    Pittsburgh looked nothing like the Super Bowl runner ups and were mightily embarrassed by their biggest obstacle in getting back to the big game. 

2. Buffalo Bills Beat Up Chiefs in Kansas City

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    No one expected the Buffalo Bills to come out on top of the biggest point differential in Week 1, especially since they were playing a Chiefs team that had made the playoffs in 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium.

    However, what was even more surprising was Ryan Fitzpatrick's league-leading passer rating of 133.0 when the clock hit zeros and his team had won 41-7.

    My guess is that this doesn't mean the Bills are playoff contenders, but more likely that the Chiefs are definitely not.

1. Cam Newton's Record-Breaking Debut

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    Overrated. Cocky. Destined to fail. Everyone had their own opinions on the rookie quarterback after he took the reins in Carolina.

    He may not have led the Panthers to victory on Sunday, but he sure showed that he can play on the next level.

    Cam Newton tied a rookie record by passing for 422 yards and also scored three touchdowns, including a rushing score.