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NFL: Tom Brady, Ed Reed and the 10 Best Individual Performances from Week 1

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 14, 2011

NFL: Tom Brady, Ed Reed and the 10 Best Individual Performances from Week 1

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    In Week 1, Tom Brady threw for the fifth-most passing yards in NFL history, Ed Reed picked off two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice in one half and Darren McFadden torched the Denver Broncos for 150 yards on the ground.

    Those are just three of the best individual performances from the NFL's opening weekend, which included some stellar team play from some of the league's more under-the-radar squads.

    Join Bleacher Report as we take a look back at the 10 best individual outputs from 2011's first week of action.

Ted Ginn, Jr.

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    San Francisco 49ers return specialist Ted Ginn, Jr. put away the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, scoring on back-to-back kick and punt returns with less than four minutes to play.

    Ginn added to the Niners' lead late in the fourth quarter with a 102-yard kick return touchdown and followed it up with a 55-yard punt return touchdown just moments later.

Brian Urlacher

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    Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher was all over the field on Sunday, helping the Bears blow out the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field, 30-12.

    Urlacher recorded an interception and a fumble return touchdown to go along with his 10 tackles in the win.

Tom Brady

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    Tom Brady and the Pats kicked off 2011 with a rout of division rival Miami.

    Sure, it sounds like any other season opener for New England. But this one was different.

    Brady turned the Dolphins into canned tuna fish Monday night, throwing for 517 yards and four touchdowns—by far the most impressive quarterbacking performance from Week 1.

Steve Smith

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    Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith had the biggest day of any NFL wideout in Week 1.

    Smith caught just eight balls from rookie No. 1 draft pick Cam Newton (more on him later), but he turned those eight plays into nearly 180 yards and two touchdowns.

    Smith averaged more than 22 yards per reception in Week 1 and moved the chains or scored on all but one catch.

Ed Reed

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    Baltimore's ball-hawking safety, Ed Reed, exposed Ben Roethlisberger not once, but twice in the second half of Sunday's AFC North rivalry game, snagging two of the quarterback's passes out of the humid Maryland air.

    Reed added six tackles to his outstanding stat line, as well as a brutal pass defended on Pittsburgh wide out Hines Ward.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

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    With all due respect to Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, their Thursday night performances have come to be expected, and Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the nod over the last two Super Bowl MVPs in our list because of the out-of-nowhere factor.

    Fitzpatrick was one of only two passers (Tom Brady is the other) to throw for four touchdowns in Week 1, and he led the Bills to the biggest win of the weekend—a 41-7 thrashing of the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Darren McFadden

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    Oakland Raiders do-it-all back Darren McFadden lit up the Broncos for 150 rushing yards Monday night, helping lift the Silver and Black to their first season-opening win in eight seasons.

    McFadden failed to reach the end zone, but averaged just under seven yards per carry on 22 attempts in Week 1.

Cam Newton

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    Who would have thought—two Panthers among the 10 best players in Week 1?

    Cam Newton threw for 422 yards against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon, tying the NFL record for the most passing yards by a rookie in his debut.

Sebastian Janikowski

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    Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski didn't just make all three of his field goal attempts in Week 1, but he hammered home an NFL record-tying 63-yarder at the halftime whistle Monday night.

    Janikowski is just the third place kicker in NFL history (Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam) to connect from such distance.

Terrell Suggs

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    Baltimore's "T-Sizzle," better known as Terrell Suggs, made sure the Baltimore Ravens left their home field with a win in Week 1, destroying Ben Roethlisberger early on with a devastating hit that forced the ball lose and led to a Ravens recovery.

    Suggs didn't stop there, though.

    By the time the game was done, he had five tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles to his name, taking the spotlight away from fellow teammate Ed Reed's superb day.

    Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter @_Pat_Clarke

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