NFL Week 1 Report Card for Every Team That Has Played Thus Far

Gareth DerbyCorrespondent ISeptember 12, 2011

NFL Week 1 Report Card for Every Team That Has Played Thus Far

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    Welcome to an overarching recap of the games of Week 1 of the 2011 NFL season, bearing in mind that Monday Night Football matchups featuring the New England Patriots against the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders against the Denver Broncos haven't occurred yet.

    Have a read and it might pique your interest for the Monday night games.

    I've graded each team unit-by-unit, although I've left the trenches out of it for the most part apart from how it may have affected the run or pass game.

    Disagree with the ratings and ready to spew venom? Have at it in the comments.

New Orleans Saints

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    Quarterback: Drew Brees definitely had the yardage, throwing 419 yards and three touchdowns. However, that was inflated by the fact the Saints were behind all game. A-

    Running back: Pierre Thomas was effective, running for 31 yards off his five carries at a more than respectable 6.2 yards per carry. However, he had his touches vultured by the rookie Mark Ingram, who had some painful stuffs and generally showed a less than ideal lack of vision in struggling for 40 yards off his 13 touches, a miserly 3.1 yards per carry and a long of nine. Darren Sproles was dynamic catching out of the backfield with seven receptions for 75 yards. B

    Wide receiver: Devery Henderson was the standout (somehow) with 100 yards off six receptions with a long of 29 for a touchdown. Marques Colston was productive with 81 off seven but had a costly fumble. Robert Meachem was overall fairly productive and had a highlight-reel catch for a touchdown but went missing for long stretches. B

    Tight end: Jimmy Graham was useful, reeling in four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown, and he was very physical on the coverage, somehow avoiding offensive pass interference.

    Front seven: In a word, unimpressive. They allowed James Starks to run at 4.8 yards per carry and Ryan Grant to run at 4.4 yards per carry, allowed two rushing touchdowns and generally didn't get a lot of pressure on Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers. C

    Secondary: Rodgers picked on Patrick Robinson all day, and that contributed to the scoreboard quickly and on multiple occasions. Roman Harper had a sack and six tackles but was overall found wanting in coverage, which didn't help when the Packers went aerial. Malcolm Jenkins, however, was fantastic and laid the wood coming up from deep onto crossing routes. B

    Special teams: Darren Sproles. Two kickoff returns, 38-yard average. Two punt returns, 46-yard average, a long of 72 yards for a touchdown. Either Green Bay's kick coverage was asleep or Sproles is as dynamic a returner as exists in the league. Considering his receiving, I'd go with the latter. However, the Saints special teams as a whole lose points for allowing giant returns in kind. B

    Overall: B. Not awful, but not good enough to dislodge the Super Bowl incumbents.

Green Bay Packers

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    Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers was, well, Aaron Rodgers. Methodical in the pocket, read the field, threw guys open. The most efficient quarterback on the field by 12 percentage points, hitting 77.8 percent of his throws at 8.9 yards per attempt and gunning in 312 yards and three touchdowns. A

    Running back: James Starks may have usurped Ryan Grant's No. 1 role, or at the very least cut heavily into his snap count. Starks ended up with 12 rushes for 57 yards at 4.8 yards per carry and a touchdown; Grant had nine rushes for 40 yards at 4.4 yards per carry. John Kuhn ran in a touchdown on the goal line too. A-

    Receiver: Rodgers really spread it out, with Greg Jennings and Jody Nelson both dragging in a touchdown at a shade under 13 yards per reception each. Donald Driver chipped in, and Randall Cobb had a highlight 32-yard touchdown on a blown route that Rodgers threw open anyway. A

    Tight end: Jermichael Finley was physical and snagged three receptions for 53 yards, an impressive 17.7 yards per reception. However, he seemed to go AWOL for long stretches. B

    Front seven: Struggled to contain Pierre Thomas, but when Mark Ingram was in, B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett stood up and sealed off the rookie before he could spot a cutback lane. A.J. Hawk had half a sack and created some pressure up the middle, but Clay Matthews was invisible. Erik Walden and Jarius Wynn had a sack each, with Walden's being most impressive. B

    Secondary: Some injury scares aside, there are issues apparent when Brees throws for 400 yards against a unit. To be fair, the team could play some off coverage because it was ahead all game, but it won't be pleased that it gave up some long plays, especially the touchdown to Devery Henderson. B-

    Special teams: Lose points for being absolutely unable to stop Sproles, but win some back with a 108-yard kick return for a touchdown by rookie phenom Randall Cobb. B

    Overall: A. They beat a very good team to go 1-0.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger was mediocre, throwing for 280 yards at an underwhelming 54 percent completion ratio. He was also sacked four times, lost two fumbles, threw three interceptions and threw a solitary touchdown. Bad day at the office. C

    Running back: Rashard Mendenhall had a tough day, gaining 45 yards from 12 rushes and losing a fumble. That looks even worse when you realize over half his yardage came on one carry, an indication of just how dominant the Ravens were. C

    Receiver: Mike Wallace was a tough matchup, gaining 107 yards from eight receptions. Hines Ward showed up too, getting five receptions for a healthy 67 yards. Emmanuel Sanders showed up with a touchdown. B+ 

    Tight end: Heath Miller had a slow day with three receptions for 42 yards. He was also partly responsible for the soft run game. B-

    Front seven: LaMarr Woodley had a sack and broke up a pass, and the other three linebackers topped the tackle chart, but they lose points for being run on by all comers and not getting pressure. C-  

    Secondary: Did they know they were playing? D

    Special teams: A bright spot was Danny Sepulveda, the punter, with almost 53 yards per punt over his four. He also dropped two within the 20, and a third went for a touchback. B

    Overall: C+ Not a good way to lose their recent dominance over the Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens

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    Quarterback: Joe Flacco got over his personal hump in a big way, throwing for 224 yards and three touchdowns. He does lose a touch for inaccuracy, as he only hit on 59 percent of his passes. B+

    Running back: Ray Rice is a beast. He rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown at 5.6 yards per carry and reeled in four receptions for 46 yards and another touchdown. Ricky Williams showed he's still NFL-worthy, grinding out 56 yards from 12 carries at 5.3 yards per carry and one reception for four yards. A

    Receiver: Only Anquan Boldin caught a pass out of the wide receiver corps, and he had four of them for an adequate 74 yards and a touchdown. However, as Ravens receivers tend to do, they helped open lanes for the run game, so they earn a little there. B

    Tight end: The Ravens must have taken a leaf out of the New England Patriots 2010 book, because they used the tight ends to punish the Steelers. Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta combined for over a hundred yards and touchdown. A

    Front seven: Terrell Suggs was a monster, as he always is against Pittsburgh, sacking Roethlisberger three times. Haloti Ngata forced a fumble and recovered two and was a beast up the middle. Ray Lewis had a pick and directed the defense as he always does. A+

    Secondary: Ed Reed was a standout, raking in two interceptions, breaking up another two passes and mustering six tackles. Credit to Lardarius Webb, too, for a half-sack and two pass breakups. Cary Williams had another pass broken up and a healthy five tackles.

    Special teams: Gave as good as they got; kicker Billy Cundiff scored points without missing any shots. B

    Overall: A

Atlanta Falcons

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    Quarterback: Not a good day for Matt Ryan. He threw a massive 47 attempts, hitting on 31 of them and amassing 319 yards. However, he was sacked five times, threw a pick and put the ball on the deck, including one where the Bears recovered for a touchdown. C-

    Running back: Michael Turner had an up-and-down day. He hit 100 yards off 10 carries and another 40 yards off three receptions, but he lost the ball at a critical time. Putting the ball down is a cardinal sin, and it costs him. B

    Receiver: Roddy White was the most popular target, getting eight receptions for 61 yards. Rookie Julio Jones showed up, getting five receptions for 71 yards with a long of 32, showing off his NFL class. A- 

    Tight end: Tony Gonzalez rounded off the main targets with five receptions for 72 yards, including a 30-yard pass, and he always contributes to spring runners free. A-

    Front seven: Sean Weatherspoon was a highlight, making 10 tackles and batting down a pass. John Abraham got two sacks, and Kroy Biermann had a sack and a 50-yard pick-six. However, they let the running backs get into passing lanes far too often. B 

    Secondary: Brent Grimes batted down three passes, and Dunta Robinson had six tackles, but otherwise didn't make a good impression. B-

    Special teams: Didn't let Devin Hester get away for anything big but were subpar in punting and let the Bears punt pretty well. Do get bonus points for kicking a 48-yard field goal. B+

    Overall: B Defense saves some face here, but not a good game.

Chicago Bears

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    Quarterback: Jay Cutler has had better days, and he's had worse. He was sacked five times and threw a pick but also had a remarkable 9.8 yards per attempt on the way to 312 yards. Two touchdowns to his one pick earns him a B+.

    Running back: Matt Forte has had more effective days rushing the ball, as his 4.3 yards per carry attests, but his receiving was top-notch, snagging five passes for 90 yards and one touchdown with a long of 56. A-

    Receiver: Cutler spread it around fairly effectively, targeting Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Roy Williams three or four times each. Each broke 50-plus yards, but with no standouts. B 

    Tight end: Mike Martz tight ends are blockers, but Kellen Davis got into the passing action, getting two receptions for 23 yards. B

    Front seven: Brian Urlacher was at his best, getting eight tackles, a fumble recovery, a fantastic diving pick and a touchdown. Relative unknown Henry Melton chipped in with a pair of sacks, as did Julius Peppers, and new signing Amobi Okoye had a sack on Urlacher's day. A

    Secondary: Charles Tillman forced a fumble, broke up two passes and had six tackles. Major Wright had four tackles, and Tim Jennings had eight tackles. Solid but unspectacular. B+

    Special teams: Unremarkable day for Devin Hester, a good day for punter Adam Podlesh. Robbie Gould was 100 percent to get his 12 points. A-

    Overall: A- Did enough, although Martz won't be happy about the sacks.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Quarterback: A good debut for rookie Andy Dalton was ruined by injury, as he had a 66.7 percent rate for his 81 yards and a touchdown, albeit on shorter passes. Bruce Gradkowski came on and threw for another 92 yards and a touchdown at a substandard 41 percent. B

    Running back: Cedric Benson was a machine, churning out 121 yards and a touchdown on the ground at a very healthy 4.8 clip. Brian Leonard had 15 yards rushing and another 29 receiving off four total touches. A

    Receiver: A.J. Green showed why he was so highly rated, with his first NFL reception in anger going for a 41-yard touchdown. Jerome Simpson snaked four receptions for 40 yards. B

    Tight end: Jermaine Gresham was productive, showing he'll be a favorite target of Dalton, as he snagged six receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown. A

    Front seven: Michael Johnson broke up two passes and handled a pick, and the front seven chipped in with a lot of tackling, but no major plays from the bunch. It did restrict a productive Browns run game to under four yards a carry. B

    Secondary: Hyper-productive in unusual ways. Two sacks by safeties, six passes broken up. A very good day for the secondary.

    Special teams: Brandon Tate showed the form that got him cut by the Patriots. Bengals struggled to contain Josh Cribbs. C+


Cleveland Browns

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    Quarterback: Colt McCoy had a tough day, although it was not all of his own creation. He threw for 213 yards off 40 attempts and hit two touchdowns for his one interception. McCoy looked athletic on play-action rollouts and bootlegs but suffered a bit from lack of receivers. B-

    Running back: There were no standouts from the Cleveland lot, all running at a sedentary 3-and-a-bit yards-per-carry. Bleh. C

    Receiver: Mohamed Massaquoi had a nice reception of 56 yards over a busted coverage, but overall this unit was quiet. C 

    Tight end: Benjamin Watson was productive, receiving three receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown, including a 34-yard reception. Not to be outdone, Evan Moore had three for 35 and a touchdown too. A

    Front seven: Cedric Benson ran for 125 yards over the top of the front seven, so it can't be a good day at the office, although D'Qwell Jackson was a sole bright spark. C+

    Secondary: As good as advertised, Joe Haden had a sack and broke up five passes. B

    Special teams: Josh Cribbs showed up, including taking back a kickoff 51 yards and a punt 21. 140 yards returning bettered the run game by 40 yards. A-

    Overall: C Only the tight ends, Josh Cribbs, Joe Haden and D'Qwell Jackson remembered they had a game this week.

Indianapolis Colts

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    Quarterback: Kerry Collins isn't Peyton Manning. Collins threw a touchdown and no interceptions but was sacked three times, missed half his throws and gave two fumbles. C

    Running back: Joe Addai is still underrated and underutilised, running a healthy 4.9 yards per carry on his eight. Rookie Delone Carter had seven runs for 25 yards. B

    Receiver: Reggie Wayne is trying to carry the team, taking seven receptions 106 yards and scoring a touchdown. Pierre Garcon was the only other receiver who caught a pass. B+ 

    Tight end: Dallas Clark is really more of a slot receiver, but he took in four receptions for 39 yards, a solid if underwhelming effort by his standards. B-

    Front seven: Robert Mathis had a sack, Pat Angerer was always around the ball, Gary Brackett had a pick and Kavell Conner broke up two passes, but it's unlikely many Colts fans would be happy overall. B 

    Secondary: Melvin Bullitt had a pick, but Matt Schaub's ease of passing at 70-plus percent will trouble the coaches. C 

    Special teams: Pass. Pat McAfee punted well, but then the punt coverage unit let in a touchdown. C-

    Overall: C+

Houston Texans

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    Quarterback: Matt Schaub was productive, throwing at 70 percent for 220 yards. He'll be upset about throwing two picks, but his touchdown and the overall result will comfort him. B-

    Running back: Ben Tate almost made fans forget that other guy. Twenty-four carries, 116 yards and a touchdown, although he lost a fumble. B

    Receiver: Andre Johnson looked like a man among boys in the Colts secondary and played better than his 95 yards off seven receptions, plus a touchdown. Jacoby Jones wasn't too bad either. A- 

    Tight end: Heard of James Casey? Me neither. But a solid three-reception, 29-yard game nonetheless. B

    Front seven: Mario Williams twice got to Kerry Collins, Antonio Smith once, and forced turnovers. B

    Secondary: Nothing too wrong, nothing too right. B

    Special teams: Jacoby Jones ran in a punt for a touchdown almost untouched. B+


Tennessee Titans

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    Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck threw the ugliest touchdown pass of all time and ends up with vaguely respectable numbers because of it. Not convincing, but the fact he was being battered didn't help. B-

    Running back: Chris Johnson got paid just in time to underwhelm. An awful 2.7 yards per carry on nine carries. D

    Receiver: Kenny Britt is a talent, racking up 136 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions, including an 80-yard strike. Wow. Ably backed up by Nate Washington, who had six receptions for 67 yards. A+ 

    Tight end: No biggie. Two short receptions to tight ends. C

    Front seven: Barrett Ruud is a tackling machine with 14 stops. The rest didn't trouble the statisticians overly. B

    Secondary: Jason McCourty showed a nice bit of speed around the corner to get a sack, and Chris Hope and Michael Griffin tallied a few tackles each. B

    Special teams: Marc Mariani didn't get much of a chance, and the punters exchanged much the same numbers. Average. B


Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Quarterback: Luke McCown wasn't awful, throwing 175 yards at 70 percent, no picks, no touchdowns. B

    Running back: Maurice Jones-Drew was back to form after offseason surgery, getting 97 yards off 24 carries for four yards per carry and a touchdown. B+

    Receiver:  An "eh" day, with Jason Hill and Mike Thomas having 50-odd yards of production each. B 

    Tight end: Marcedes Lewis had a pair of useful receptions for 28 yards total, although the game situation perhaps made them more valued than the yardage. A

    Front seven: The front seven made sure Matt Hasselbeck didn't feel comfortable all day and restricted Chris Johnson to almost nothing. A

    Secondary: A handful of passes broken up and a pick to Dwight Lowery kept Hasselbeck's production down and would've looked a lot better if a lobbed basketball pass had come down to a defender instead of Kenny Britt.

    Special teams: Strangled Marc Mariani and returned fairly well themselves, kicked their own attempts B+


Buffalo Bills

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    Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for four touchdowns, zero interceptions and 208 yards on 25 attempts. 'Nuff said. A

    Running back: Fred Jackson might be the most unappreciated running back in the league, with 112 yards at 5.6 yards per carry. A

    Receiver: Fitzpatrick spread the wealth, hitting David Nelson and Steve Johnson five times each for 60 yards, Johnson with a touchdown. B 

    Tight end: Scott Chandler was productive with five receptions, 63 yards and two touchdowns. Keep an eye on him. A

    Front seven: Got to Matt Cassel twice but let the Chiefs running backs run pretty effectively. C+ 

    Secondary: Drayton Florence had a pass broken up and a pick returned for 30 yards, and the secondary generally made a nuisance of themselves. B

    Special teams: One of Brian Moorman's best days, with five punts for a 51-yard average. B+


Kansas City Chiefs

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    Quarterback: Poor Matt Cassel. Restricted to throwing almost exclusively underneath, he only managed one touchdown to his one interception and only had 119 yards despite his 22 completions. C+

    Running back: A mixed bag. Jamaal Charles had 5.6 yards per carry on his 10 carries but crucially fumbled. Dexter McCluster had 42 off his four carries but also fumbled. Turnovers killed in this game, so C.

    Receiver: Steve Breaston, Dwayne Bowe and Keary Colbert might as well have gone home early. C 

    Tight end: With no Tony Moeaki, the Chiefs used Leonard Pope as a target, throwing to him three times for 24 yards. B

    Front seven: Let Fred Jackson get away on them, which ultimately spelled their demise. C 

    Secondary: For a team loaded with such talent in the secondary, they got taken to school by the Bills receivers and could find no answer to the tight end. C

    Special teams: Nothing to write home about from such a capable unit. B

    Overall: C+ Subpar, although the run game had its moments.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Quarterback: Eh. Michael Vick was subpar with the arm, only throwing 44 percent of his passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Ran well, though, picking up 98 yards. B

    Running back: It was LeSean McCoy's day with 122 yards and two touchdowns. A+

    Receiver: DeSean Jackson took advantage of busted coverage to take six receptions 102 yards, including a touchdown. Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin chipped in. A- 

    Tight end: Brent Celek was there, but they didn't seem to need him. B

    Front seven: A worry. Let Steven Jackson roll in on his first carry for a 47-yard touchdown and let Carnell Williams get 4.8 yards per carry seemingly at will. Only lucky Jackson got injured early. However, devastating pass-rush, with three linemen picking up five sacks between them. B 

    Secondary: A dropped gimme pick by Asante Samuel, bad pass interference by Nnamdi Asomugha. Bailed out somewhat by great pass-rush.

    Special teams: Rookie Alex Henery kicked all his attempts. B


St. Louis Rams

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    Quarterback: Sam Bradford was hurt and had his finger X-rayed, but threw pretty well despite getting battered. A.J. Feeley came on and underwhelmed. Lucky not to be picked. C+

    Running back: Showed an ability to run on the Eagles, with Steven Jackson taking in a long run for a touchdown before pulling up sore, and Carnell Williams ran pretty comfortably at 4.8 yards per carry. A

    Receiver: Danny Amendola was another injury during the game, and Brandon Gibson took up some of the slack, but overall the receiving game suffered from a banged-up quarterback and a banged-up wide receiving corps. C

    Tight end: Billy Bajema had a pair of receptions for 21 yards, including a 19-yarder B

    Front seven: Let McCoy run riot, and also let Vick break the pocket and run too often. C 

    Secondary: Quintin Mikell came into the box and got a hit on his old teammate Vick—otherwise almost invisible. C+

    Special teams: Nothing much to report. B

    Overall: C

Detroit Lions

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    Quarterback: Matthew Stafford just showed his NFL credentials, throwing for 305 yards at a mammoth 9.2 yards per attempt. Rounded it off with three touchdowns and a pick, the pick being the receiver's fault, as it popped into the air. A+

    Running back: Jahvid Best was solid but unexplosive, trundling along for 72 yards at 3.4 yards per carry. Both Best and Maurice Morris were very useful targets in the passing game. B+

    Receiver: Calvin Johnson is unstoppable: six receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns. The only thing slowing him down is the fact Stafford spread receptions to Nate Burleson and the tight end and running backs. A 

    Tight end: Brandon Pettigrew did everything expected of a tight end, snaffling four receptions for 57 yards. A

    Front seven: A pair of sacks, and absolutely shut down the run game of the Buccaneers. A 

    Secondary: Let Josh Freeman pass on them a bit, so lose points there. B

    Special teams: The one issue the Lions would not be happy with is allowing a kick return of 78 yards, just C+.

    Overall: A Legit, if they can keep the pace up.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Quarterback: Josh Freeman had to pass more often than he'd like, with 43 attempts, and also had to carry the load rushing. While not outstanding, did nothing to dent his reputation B+

    Running back: Nonexistent, running a paltry three yards per carry. Unsurprising that the Buccaneers abandoned the run pretty quickly. C

    Receiver: Mike Williams had a spectacular grab for a touchdown on his four receptions for 50 yards, and Preston Parker was decent but for his lost fumble. B+ 

    Tight end: A standout, Kellen Winslow took six receptions for 66 yards. A-

    Front seven: Decent enough, as they restricted the Lions run game despite it having some effective running backs. B 

    Secondary: Aqib Talib had an opportunistic pick-six after a flubbed catch by the receiver, but was otherwise at the mercy of the Lions. Had no answer for Calvin Johnson. C+

    Special teams: Good. Michael Koenen was outstanding, punting five times for a 52-yard average, and Sammie Stroughter took back his one kick return 72 yards. A


Carolina Panthers

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    Quarterback: Who saw this coming from Cam Newton? A 65 percent completion rate, NFL rookie record of 422 yards on debut, one interception to two touchdowns throwing, one rushing. A

    Running back: Didn't help Newton out much, only getting a three yards per carry average between them and generally being average. C

    Receiver: Steve Smith looked five years younger, latching onto eight receptions for a whopping 178 yards and two touchdowns. Ably supported by Brandon LaFell. A 

    Tight end: Newton loves his tight ends, throwing to Greg Olsen four times and Jeremy Shockey thrice, totaling 130 yards between them. A

    Front seven: Allowed Beanie Wells to bounce out a long run or two, and total 90 yards, so a bit of a worry. B 

    Secondary: A few passes broken up, but generally didn't give Kevin Kolb a hard time or make him work particularly hard for his 130 passer rating. C

    Special teams: Rough. Allowed a game-winning touchdown on a punt return. D


Arizona Cardinals

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    Quarterback: Kevin Kolb threw for 300-plus yards and two touchdowns, and while he may appear to have been outproduced, he quietly had a good game B+

    Running back: Beanie Wells ran well, ratcheting up 5 yards per carry and a touchdown. B+

    Receiver: Early Doucet who? The latest Arizona wide receiver to show talent, with 105 yards from three receptions with a touchdown and a 70-yarder. Outplayed Larry Fitzgerald, who had 62 yards off three receptions. A 

    Tight end: Four receptions to the tight end position for a touchdown and 100 yards. A

    Front seven: Restricted the impressive Panthers running back corps to limited production and deserves credit. B+ 

    Secondary: Ouch. Got carved up by a rookie quarterback with the knocks of Cam Newton. Too many blown coverages. D

    Special teams: Game-winners. Patrick Peterson stood up after a rough day in the secondary and was physical on his long punt return. A+

    OverallB Patchy, but won.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Quarterback: Donovan McNabb barely played quarterback. With 39 yards throwing, you'd think that nobody told the Vikings that forward passes were allowed this year. One pick, one touchdown, unremarkable, but did run pretty well. C

    Running back: Adrian Peterson ran well, with 98 yards off 16 rushes, a long of 46. Spelled well by Toby Gerhart, who may be pushing for more reps even with Peterson running so well. A

    Receiver: Michael Jenkins got a touchdown, but with so little passing were almost invisible. B- 

    Tight end: As above, but actually invisible. C

    Front seven: Well done to shut down Ryan Mathews, but couldn't cover Mike Tolbert in passing game. B 

    Secondary: Got their hands on the ball, and Antoine Winfield picked one off. However, Philip Rivers passed for 335 yards and two touchdowns on a day McNabb threw for 10 percent of that. B

    Special teams: Percy Harvin took back the opening kickoff for a touchdown, which is as good a start as you can hope for. Successfully shut down the Chargers return game. A


San Diego Chargers

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    Quarterback: Philip Rivers nearly threw his own arm off, with 48 attempts with a net of 330 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He had to make up for the stunted run game and did well. B+

    Running back: Average. Three yards and a cloud of dust from a group that is usually explosive, although that explosiveness suited them well in the receiving game. B+

    Receiver: Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson had strong games and good receptions but were overshadowed by the running backs and tight end. B 

    Tight end: Antonio Gates is back to form after his first real injury-plagued season in 2010. A

    Front seven: McNabb looked horribly uncomfortable, and Shawn Phillips got a pick, but Peterson and Gerhart were productive. B 

    Secondary: Antoine Cason got his hands on the ball, and the secondary should be credited for McNabb's issues. A

    Special teams: Had to rely on Mike Scifres because their kicker tore something on opening kickoff. B+


Seattle Seahawks

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    Quarterback: Not Tarvaris Jackson's worst game, with 197 yards at a meager 5.3 yards per carry with two touchdowns and one pick. B-

    Running back: After his playoff heroics, Marshawn Lynch was back to earth with only 2.5 yards per carry. C 

    Receiver: Doug Baldwin and Mike Williams showed up with four receptions each, Baldwin receiving a 55-yarder to a total of 83 yards and a touchdown. B+

    Tight end: Zach Miller did what was expected, but nothing special. B

    Front seven: Shut down Frank Gore, who rushed 22 times only 59 yards. A good result. A 

    Secondary: The 49ers completed 75 percent of their passes but didn't get a touchdown in the air. Neither here nor there. B

    Special teams: Oh nooooo. Ted Ginn Jr. beasted, taking back a kick and a punt each for touchdowns. You just can't do that. F

    Overall: C+

San Francisco 49ers

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    Quarterback: Ho-hum. Alex Smith threw for a respectable 75 percent completion rate and a useful 124 yards but didn't trouble the scorers. B+

    Running back: Frank Gore forgot to pack his good cleats, as he ran 22 times for a mediocre 59 yards. Even worse when you consider his longest rush was 16 yards.

    Receiver: Probably the reason Alex Smith didn't get into the end zone—Braylon Edwards was average, Josh Morgan serviceable and Michael Crabtree nonexistent. C

    Tight end: Vernon Davis performed particularly well, being a good outlet and weapon. B+

    Front seven: Shut down Marshawn Lynch to an awful 2.5 yards per carry. A 

    Secondary: Not bad, not great. Trufant broke a pass up. B

    Special teams: Oh yes. Ted Ginn Jr. beasted, taking back a kick and a punt each for touchdowns. A+

    Overall: B Capitalized on the mistakes of the opposition.

New York Giants

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    Quarterback: Contrary to his own beliefs, Eli Manning is not Tom Brady. Manning threw for 256 yards at an average 56 percent, with one pick and a rushing touchdown. B-

    Running back: Brandon Jacobs outstripped Ahmad Bradshaw's production rate pretty easily, although Bradshaw scored. B

    Receiver: Hakeem Nicks had a great game, getting 122 yards on seven receptions on lofted passes by Eli. Manning threw it up, Nicks played fetch. B+

    Tight end: Jake Ballard had an impressive game, the undrafted free agent getting 56 yards off his two receptions, including a 41-yard gain. B+

    Front seven: Despite the scary pass-rush, did little to slow Rex Grossman down. Jason Pierre-Paul did get to Grossman, twice, and forced a fumble, but it was after the horse had bolted. B+ 

    Secondary: Too many yards given up for kudos. B

    Special teams: Gave as good as they got. B

    Overall: B Average, but nothing awful.

Washington Redskins

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    Quarterback: Rex Grossman did enough to show why the Redskins preferred him to John Beck, at least for this week, by throwing for 300 yards and two touchdowns. A-

    Running back: Tim Hightower seems to have run better than his stats would suggest, as he only managed 50 yards and a touchdown off 24 rushes. B

    Receiver: Grossman spread the wealth, Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney both doing well. B+

    Tight end: Outstanding by Fred Davis, who took his five snags for 105 yards with a long of 28 yards, showing excellent consistency. B

    Front seven: The front seven limited the damage by the Giants running backs and got to Eli, which is a job well done. B 

    Secondary: The unit didn't allow a touchdown pass to Eli, which is all you could ask of the unit. B

    Special teams: Average, gave as good as they got, although New York's Steve Weatherford won the battle of the punters. B+

    Overall: B

Dallas Cowboys

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    Quarterback: So close, so Romo. Tony Romo threw for an impressive 352 yards and two touchdowns but threw a senseless pick directly at Darrelle Revis and then had a costly fumble. B-

    Running back: Felix Jones ran poorly, gaining 44 yards off 17 attempts at a miserly 2.6 yards per carry, and lost a fumble to boot. C 

    Receiver: Miles Austin and Dez Bryant both scored, and Romo picked both those guys out multiple times. B+

    Tight end: A standout day for Jason Witten, with six receptions for 110 yards. A

    Front seven: Shut down Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson in the run game but allowed them back into it in the passing game. B 

    Secondary: Too many blown coverages for comfort and made the Jets receivers look better than they were playing. B

    Special teams: Had a punt blocked by a completely unguarded Joe McKnight and were punished accordingly at a critical time. F

    OverallC+ The play was good except for when it counted.

New York Jets

28 of 28

    Quarterback: Mark Sanchez had one of his most productive days in the green uniform, throwing for 335 yards, two touchdowns and a pick, although 80 of those yards were dump-offs to the running backs. B-

    Running back: Although unimpressive rushing the ball, both Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson contributed in the passing game to great effect. B+

    Receiver: Plaxico Burress scored, Santonio Holmes was a pair of secure hands and Derrick Mason chipped in, but overshadowed by the running backs in the passing game. B+

    Tight end: Dustin Keller chipped in with five receptions, 61 yards and a touchdown. B+

    Front seven: The Jets mustered a pass-rush and got to Romo a few times, although that might be more indicative of the offensive line woes of Dallas. B+

    Secondary: Darrelle Revis was Darrelle Revis and was gifted an interception by Romo. Antonio Cromartie had an interception wrestled out of his hands by a receiver for a touchdown, which hurt. B+

    Special teams: Joe McKnight had his biggest play for the Jets in blocking a slow punt after seemingly sliding through the line untouched. Big play in the context of the game. A

    Overall: B+ Capitalized on Cowboys errors.