The Absolute Worst of the NFL, Week 1 Edition
The National Football League finally returned following a tumultuous offseason that included a lockout, which threatened to delay the 2011 NFL season before it even began.
Following the first week of action, 14 games have been played, and a number of fans have learned a lot about their teams that they didn't expect.
The following 12 slides will highlight the absolute worst of the worst in Week 1, in no particular order.
Worst Choke, Team: Dallas Cowboys
In the Ryan Bowl, the Dallas Cowboys blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead for the first time in franchise history, and they did so in dramatic fashion.
After Plaxico Burress caught his first NFL touchdown in three seasons to cut the Jets' deficit to 24-17, Tony Romo connected with Jason Witten for a 64-yard pass and then tried to score on a scramble. But he fumbled the ball, and the Jets recovered at the 1-yard line.
A few minutes later, the Jets blocked a punt, and cornerback Isaiah Trufant, fresh off the team's practice squad, scooped up the ball and scored the game-tying touchdown with five minutes to play.
Each team had the ball again, and when Dallas got the ball back with a minute remaining, Romo promptly threw an interception to Darrelle Revis, who returned the ball into field-goal range. Nick Folk's 50-yard field goal with 24 seconds remaining gave the Jets a 27-24 lead.
The New York defense stopped Romo and the Cowboys, and the Jets collected a huge victory on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Worst Choke, Player: Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
There's just something about Tony Romo in the fourth quarter that makes me think that he might truly be the most un-clutch quarterback in the NFL.
First, he fumbled the ball away at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys holding on to a 24-17 lead and on the verge of taking a 31-17 lead.
Then he had an opportunity to win it for the Cowboys at the end, but he was intercepted by Darrelle Revis, which led to the game-winning field goal for the Jets.
In typical Tony Romo fashion, he didn't just commit one costly turnover late in the game. He committed two.
Worst Offensive Debut: Donovan McNabb, Minnesota Vikings
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In his first game with the Minnesota Vikings, quarterback Donovan McNabb turned in one of the most embarrassing performances of his NFL career.
He completed seven of 15 passes for 39 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The interception came on his first pass as a Minnesota Viking.
Incredibly, the Vikings only lost by seven points.
Worst First-Play Debut: Juan Castillo, Philadelphia Eagles
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On their first offensive play of the season, the St. Louis Rams handed the ball off to star running back Steven Jackson, who darted 47 yards for a touchdown (and yes, my heart momentarily stopped beating).
It was the first-ever play for Juan Castillo, the defensive coordinator for the Eagles, who has not coached a defense since the 1989 season (and that was a high school team).
Luckily, the Eagles defense settled down and didn't allow a touchdown for the remainder of the game.
Worst Play Call: New Orleans Saints
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On the final play of the game, the New Orleans Saints had the ball on the 1-yard line, needing a touchdown (and a two-point conversion) to tie the game and force overtime.
Despite driving down the field on the strength and accuracy of Drew Brees' arm, the Saints elected to run the ball up the middle with Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mark Ingram.
The Packers stuffed Ingram and won the game.
Worst Performance Against a Rival: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
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The Baltimore Ravens made a statement with their convincing 34-7 victory over the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers. In particular, they harassed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who tossed a trio of interceptions and lost a pair of fumbles.
The five turnovers (plus two more by the Steelers) led to the biggest victory ever for Baltimore over Pittsburgh.
Worst Luck with Injuries: St. Louis Rams
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Not only did the St. Louis Rams lose by 18 points to the Philadelphia Eagles, but they suffered injuries to five key players as well.
Quarterback Sam Bradford experienced numbness and will be evaluated for nerve damage in his finger. Running back Steven Jackson left the game after just two carries with a right quadriceps injury.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola suffered a gruesome dislocated elbow and will likely miss the remainder of the season.
Tackle Jason Smith (high ankle sprain) and cornerback Ron Bartell (stinger) also left the game with injuries.
Worst Performance by a Recent Contract Extension Signee: Chris Johnson
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Just days after signing a four-year, $53 million contract extension, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson turned in a dismal performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season opener.
Johnson rushed nine times for 24 yards, with a long run of nine yards.
Not surprisingly, the Jaguars won 16-14.
Worst Performance by a Good Team Against a Bad Team: Kansas City Chiefs
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The Kansas City Chiefs captured the AFC West division title last season behind a solid season by Matt Cassel and a brilliant season by running back Jamaal Charles.
This season, they don't seem to be capable of repeating the challenge. Against the Buffalo Bills in today's game, they suffered a 41-7 loss, their worst-ever loss on opening day.
Worst Performance by a Team Without Its Star Player: Indianapolis Colts
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How can one player possibly be so important to a single team in the National Football League?
Without Peyton Manning this season, the Indianapolis Colts are finished. They don't have a chance in the world. And they proved it on Sunday by losing to the division rival Houston Texans 34-7.
Can Manning become the first player in league history to win the MVP in a season in which he didn't even play?