What We Learned in Week 1 in the NFL:
- Last minute finishes in early games
- 49ers and Packers in mid-season form
- Dirty hits in Week 1
- Al Michaels still can’t pronounce Mundy
- AFC North goes winless in Week 1
- Steelers flat and broken in loss to Titans
We’ve waited so long for it and it’s finally here. If Week 1 in the NFL was a meal, the main course definitely didn’t disappoint, well unless you’re a Steelers fan but we’ll get to that in a bit. Now the Thursday night “appetizer” of the Broncos blowing out the Ravens was pretty entertaining, but some last second finishes for the Sunday slate of games sure did hit the spot. Unfortunately, the Steelers caused Steeler Nation to exhibit signs of Tourettes syndrome so to make us feel better, let’s dish out some cheap shots.
The early games provided quite a bit of excitement with some down-to-the-wire finishes which included a Patriots win over Buffalo after they trailed the entire fourth quarter, aside from the final 5 seconds. The Patriots marched down the field and with 5 seconds left on the clock Stephen Gostkowski hit a 35-yard field goal to give the Patriots the win. The Pats looked shaky and were outplayed by E.J. Manuel and the Bills until Brady went to work on that final drive and set his team up for the victory. The Jets got another last-second win thanks to a 48-yard Nick Folk field goal with 2 seconds remaining in their game. Now the speculation will continue as if Geno Smith has now done enough to win that starting job in New York, especially if you want to overlook the fact that the Bucs just aren’t a good team either.
True to form, Ndamukong Suh started his season off in his own special play with a personal foul penalty which cost the Lions a potential touchdown when he chop-blocked Vikings center John Sullivan during an interception return by DeAndre Levy. This week while 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was whining about potential hits against his quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Packers LB Clay Matthews was announcing his intentions to hit Kaepernick hard if given the chance. Well he got the chance on Sunday when Kaepernick was running towards the endzone in an attempt to get a first down and Matthews launched himself at Kaep and hit him pretty nasty out of bounds. Of course the immediate overreaction response was people calling for Matthews to be ejected for the hit, as if it was the first one in NFL history where a quarterback was running out of bounds and a linebacker hit him late. During the online outrage for Matthews and his apparently unheard of hit, a fight broke out on the field and while Matthews was flagged for the late hit, the 49ers were also flagged with a dead ball foul for the retaliation and the penalties off-set. Instead of it being 4th down, the refs decided to call a “do-over” at that point and give the 49ers their 3rd down back. Former VP of NFL officials, Mike Pereira, pointed out the oversight on Twitter. Classic.
Back to the SF/GB melee, QB #7 was short of the first down. Dead ball fouls offset. Should have been 4th and 2. Might have cost GB 4 points.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) September 8, 2013
The Giants must have felt bad for the fact that they’ve pretty much owned the Cowboys in their spiffy new stadium since it opened in 2009, going 4-0 so far so they decided to be generous in their first meeting of this season. Eli and the Giants coughed up the ball 6 times in the Cowboys first win over the Giants at home in Jerry’s World (aka AT&T Stadium). If you thought that Tony Romo wasn’t going to participate in the turnover fest a little himself, you’d be mistaken. Last night we all got reminded how NBC SNF commentator Al Michaels can’t pronounce Ryan Mundy’s last name to save his friggin life. “Monday”-how Michaels pronounced it, caught an interception from Romo and returned it to the 1 yard line. You’ll remember Mundy from last season with the Steelers when he got beat out for his starting position by special teams player Will Allen while Polamalu was injured. Oh, Allen, now with the Cowboys, caught an interception last night as well. Great for them.
While the Ratbirds were already 0-1 afgter their Thursday night drubbing from Denver, the rest of the AFC North didn’t do any better at the end of the day on Sunday. The entire division starts off at 0-1 after Cincy lost their road game against the Bears and the Brownies got beat by Miami at home. Also, the Steelers lost their bid for an 11th straight home opener victory. Good news for the Steelers, who looked all kinds of awful in their game, that they haven’t dug themselves into a hole yet. Well not as much as a week 1 loss could put any team in a whole. The Steelers offense were shut-out for the first 58 minutes of their game. Awesome.
The Steelers began their season in a bizarre fashion that had a horribly familiar feel to it. Titans kick returner Darius Reynaud picked up the opening kickoff from the 1-yard line to then down it in the endzone, giving the Steelers a safety before ever touching the ball. The Steelers then marched down the field in an impressive fashion only to have Isaac Redman cough up the ball in a bad exchange with Ben Roethlisberger where the Titans recovered in the endzone, resulting in a touchback. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the ugliest part of that first series. Not even 5 minutes into the 2013 regular season, the Steelers were dealt their very fist potential season-crushing injury when David DeCastro was blocked into Maurkice Pouncey’s right leg. Pouncey was carted off the field and taken to the hospital where an MRI revealed a torn ACL and MCL. When all was said and done the Steelers lost Foote, Stephens-Howling, and Cortez Allen to injuries. Foote and Pouncey’s injury are season-ending, with reports coming out now that Stephens-Howling’s injury is another ACL tear.
The Steelers got zero offensive production for the remainder of the day as Redman went on to fumble another time, Ben threw an interception, and the offensive line gave up 5 sacks on Ben. The Titans kept it relatively close and the Steelers defense actually showed signs of the past when Troy Polamalu had one of his signature perfectly-timed sacks of Locker, jumping over the line straight to the quarterback at the snap of the ball. LaMarr Woodley also had a sack in the game. Rookie LB Jarvis Jones made a very good impression with a bone-crushing hit on Titans RB Chris Johnson, who had 70 yards for the day. Starting LB Jason Worilds recorded zero solo tackles.
It should be interesting to see what kind of personnel changes will come down this week as the Steelers need to do some scrambling to shore up this still unbalanced and unprepared O-line, fill the RB corps with able-bodied non-fumbling players, and provide depth to the inside linebackers now that Foote is gone. This is just week 1. Thankfully, the Steelers have an extra day of preparation this week as they will take on Cincinnati on the road on Monday night. Unfortunately, Ben might just be decapitated in that game with the way things looked yesterday.
What are your week 1 thoughts Steeler Nation?
Topics: Ben Roethlisberger, Clay Matthews, Colin Kaepernick, Eli Manning, Geno Smith, Isaac Redman, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Foote, Maurkice Pouncey, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Folk, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ryan Mundy, Steelers, Stephen Gostowski, Tennesee Titans, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Will Allen