Fantasy Football News

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Week One Taught us...

This is why we play the game.

Well, technically I should probably say "why we watch the game," because us fans and followers aren't the ones actually doing the hitting on the field. But either way the No. 1 thing I have learned after Sunday's game action is that it doesn't matter what a team looks like on paper. If the players aren't in unison, and they don't execute on the field, things won't pan out the way they are expected to.

Take Pittsburgh for example, like I just said in my previous post, Roethlisberger's offense didn't show up ready to play and Baltimore took full advantage.

There were plenty of other unexpected happenings this past weekend, and I am here to shed some light on them via a bulleted list for easier reading:

*If you don't put pressure on the opposing quarterback, and give him a nice little jab or two every once in a while, he will get too comfortable and tear your secondary apart. Piece-by-piece.

and vice versa

*Forcing turnovers, and turning them in to points will give you full advantage in this league.

(I kind of just pointed out the obvious in those first two bullets, but I thought it would be a good idea to reiterate the idea, in case someone hasn't been paying attention as of late).

*Special teams is not dead. Fans, including myself, have been rather critical of Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision to move the kick-off up five yards and eliminate the running start of the kick-off team this offseason. But as we witnessed Thursday night and Sunday, the kick return hasn't been fully eliminated from the game.

It actually seems as though that aspect of the game has been as strong as ever after the first week of play. There have been more touchbacks, but we have seen a couple of kick return touchdowns already, and returners have been steadily returning kicks from deep within the end zone.
Rookie Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb (108 yards) and San Fran's Ted Ginn Jr. (102 yards) were among the returners to break free for touchdowns. Don't be surprised if we see several more this season.

*Injuries have started to affect teams already.

That's right, there have been big-time players already ailing and several could be lost for the season. Carolina's Jon Beason, Pittsburgh's Willie Colon, San Diego's Nate Kaeding and Kansas City's Eric Berry are among the list of players who have been lost for the season.

St. Louis may not have Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson for next Monday's matchup with the New York Giants, and Sam Bradford is a question mark, as well. Not to mention the lingering questions surrounding Peyton Manning's timetable for return.

What does this tell us? Your team could be hugely affected by an injury at any point during the season. Something else many were already aware of, but you never truly think about the possibility until it directly affects your team.
*Tom Brady is as strong as ever.

Miami's Chad Henne brought the Phins back in to the game late Monday night with two second-half touchdown passes, and he actually had a solid game going 30 for 49 with 416 yards, two TDs and just one interception. But, as we could clearly see watching the game on television, Tom Brady's Pats were in near-perfect form.

Albeit they were playing a Dolphin defense that allowed 38 or more points to New England in both match-ups last season. But either way, Brady owned the secondary Monday night throwing for 517 yards and four touchdowns (including a 99-yard TD pass to Wes Welker).

If that doesn't tell you the Pats are in mid-season form, then I truly don't know what it will take to realize this.

*Sebastian Janikowski still has the strongest leg in the game.

Monday's second game, between Oakland and Denver, featured a total of 25 penalties between the two teams. Oakland passed for just 99 yards and Denver managed 38 yards on the ground with three turnovers. Clearly an ugly game on both sides.

But luckily one bright spot came out of this one. Oakland's 33-year old kicker Sebastian Janikowski attempted a record-tying 63-yard field goal with seconds remaining on the first half clock. Not only did he get a great snap and hold, but he also split the uprights with a couple of feet to spare. The field goal ties Jason Elam and Tom Dempsey for longest-ever. What a kick.

What made it even more special? Oakland ended up winning by a field goal, 23-20. Thank goodness for Sebastian. If it weren't for him, this already long, gruesome game would have gone in to overtime. No one would have liked that too much.
*It could be another one of those seasons for Dallas.

Amidst all these "Tony Romo is a choker" talks, Mr. Romo goes and does this? Ow.

Ten seconds in to the fourth quarter, Dallas' running back Felix Jones runs the ball in from a yard out to give the 'Boys a 10-point lead. Mark Sanchez proceeds to answer Dallas' score with a touchdown of his own, a 26-yard pass to the returning Plaxico Burress. Romo and Sanchez then exchange fumbles on the following two drives, but Romo's three-and out forces a Dallas punt.

What happens next was a gift sent from New York's football gods. Joe McKnight blocks Mat McBriar's punt and Isaiah Trufant picks the ball up and runs it in to the end zone from 18 yards out. Tie game, 24-24. Romo fails to get in to the end zone and punts the following possession, and New York wins the game after Romo throws an interception deep in their own territory. New York's Nick Folk kicks a game-winning 50-yard field goal with less than a minute to play.

Of course Romo couldn't get his Cowboys in to FG position with under a minute remaining, and the Jets cap a 10-point fourth quarter comeback. Let the "choke" chants commence, people.
*Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Atlanta clearly have some things to work on as well, before they enter week two and expect big things to happen. Carolina fell to the Cards, but they really can't complain with the performance of rookie Cam Newton, who threw for a rookie debut record 422 yards and two touchdowns.

The only determinant in how accurate these statements are, is time. Once week two hits this Sunday, these opinions can–and will most likely–change, and change rapidly. The regular season is a rollercoaster, so hold on tight.

Photos borrowed from Google (I do not own), no copyright infringement intended

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