Week one of the NFL regular season is over. There were many exciting games full of twists, turns and shocks; all of which you expect in the National Football League. We take a look at the four biggest games from week one whilst rounding up the other results.
Dallas Cowboys 24-17 New York Giants
The Cowboys walked in to MetLife stadium and pulled off a win in front of the biggest attendance for a Giants game in the arena based in New Jersey. With Dallas’ 24-17 win over the defending Super Bowl champions, they made a statement and the performance proved they had been stewing over their loss to New York in the last game of the 2011 regular season which saw the Cowboys miss out on the play-offs.
DeMarco Murray rushed for 131 yards for Dallas as the Cowboys were effective all over the field, whereas the Giants were lacklustre and there were no stand-out performers for them. Even Eli Manning was sacked three times on the night as he found it difficult linking up to the likes of Victor Cruz.
With the score at 17-10 and less than six minutes remaining, the Cowboys lined up 1 & 30. Romo called an audible at the line of scrimmage and threw to Miles Austin on the left side-line who leaped to beat two G-men defenders and move in to the end zone.
It was 24-10 and Romo had found a range of targets in his offence including Kevin Ogletree who caught his first two TD’s in his NFL career for over 100 receiving yards. New York scored late on when Eli found his tight end Martellus Bennett, but there was no fourth-quarter Manning magic for the Giants this time.
Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo probably had his best game for the Cowboys in his entire career, as he didn’t let an early interception rattle him. Romo went on to throw for 307 yards for three touchdowns whilst completing 22/29 attempts.
With the Giants losing, it was the first time the defending Super Bowl champions had lost the traditional early week one match-up in nine years, which saw the two teams play before the rest of the league. More importantly for Dallas, it showed that they have improved and gave off the impression that they are now the team to beat in the NFC East.
New England Patriots 31-13 Tennessee Titans
The defending AFC champions won easily as Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes for 236 yards on a solid day for the Patriots all round. Brady completed 23/31 as he linked up with all his impressive offensive weapons including new addition Brandon Lloyd, who showed he will fit in well in New England.
The Titans went 3-0 up with an early field goal, but the lead didn’t last long as Brady threw a touchdown on a close 2 & 11 with a smart pass to Aaron Hernandez to put the Pats 7-3 up. It was Brady’s 301st career touchdown pass which saw him move up to fifth in NFL history for this particular record and pass Dan Marino.
Tennessee managed to sack Brady once, and in the process gave him a bloody and possible broken nose, but it wasn’t to keep him out of the game. Following that turnover on downs, Jake Locker looked to get the Titans on the scoreboard again, but on 3rd & 13 the pocket collapsed leading to rookie Chandler Jones forcing a fumble, and his team-mate – as well as fellow first rounder Dont’a Hightower – picking up the pieces and scoring the touchdown.
Despite the rookie QB Locker looking good for the Titans, they failed to score again and with Brady now in full flight he threw his second touchdown pass of the day to Rob Gronkowski ,who pulled off a very impressive catch at the back of the end zone.
The Patriots were 21-3 up at half-time, but the Titans started the second half quickly with a touchdown in the first five minutes of the third when Locker combined with Nate Washington to cut the gap to 11.
Any hope of a comeback was short-lived as Patriots’ running back, Stevan Ridley, continued to tear up the Titans run defence, as he managed to rack up 125 yards and a touchdown which was probably the highlight of the day for this Patriots team.
Following Ridley’s TD, the Titans next possession saw Jake Locker suffer a left shoulder injury, but he will be ready for Tennessee’s next game against the Chargers. Matt Hasselbeck came in and the two teams shared a couple of field goals meaning that the game ended with the Patriots winning 31-13.
It was the ninth straight season in which the New England Patriots won their opening game and with the win, Tom Brady reached 125 career wins in the fewest starts (160) among quarterbacks in NFL history. It was a solid performance which saw the Pats get back to business and show everyone else that they mean it as well.
San Francisco 49ers 30-22 Green Bay Packers
In a battle between two NFL heavy-weights who both have high hopes for the 2012 season, this match had high expectations and both teams delivered with an exciting game at Lambeau Field which went down to the wire.
The first quarter was quiet on the scoreboard and quite nervy, which was to be expected with the Niners holding a 3-0 lead going in to the second and when the game started to heat up.
The 49ers scored the first touchdown of the game when Alex Smith found Randy Moss open in the end zone to score on his return to the NFL, and prove that he is still the Moss of old. Green Bay went down the other end of the field and scored a touchdown of their own when Rodgers threw to Jermichael Finley on a 1st & goal to make it 10-7.
With less than five minutes left in the first half, the Niners increased their lead to six before the highlight of the game when their kicker, David Akers, tied an NFL record with an incredible 63 yard field-goal for his third of the game, and to put San Francisco 16-7 up going in to half-time.
Lambeau was very quiet when Alex Smith hooked up with tight end Vernon Davis to make it 23-7 early in the third. With the Packers down by 16 and the offence not clicking, it was down to Randall Cobb to provide a spark for his team in the form of a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown. The two-point conversion cut the 49ers lead to eight, but on Green Bay’s next possession Rodgers threw an interception to line-backer NaVorro Bowman and hand possession back to San Francisco who, shortly after, scored a touchdown when Frank Gore rushed in to the end-zone.
At 30-15, the Packers still wouldn’t give up. Rodgers found Jones on a 2 & 1 in the red-zone to cut the gap to eight again. On their next possession, Green Bay moved the chains but eventually the 49ers defence smothered Rodgers and managed to make one last stand to stop the late rally, meaning that San Francisco came out of Lambeau with the win in an action-packed game.
Pittsburgh Steelers 19-31 Denver Broncos
In one of the most anticipated games from the opening season match-ups, Peyton Manning returned to the NFL in style following his injury last season, to give his new team the win against one of his more familiar opponents.
Manning has seen many defences in his time, but coming up against the Steelers in his comeback game was always going to be a challenge. He rose to the occasion though, and completed 19/26 attempts for 253 yards and for two touchdowns as Pittsburgh started the 2012 NFL season how they finished last year, with a loss in Denver.
After a scoreless opening quarter, it was the Steelers who took a 3-0 lead with a field goal early in the second. The Broncos marched back down the field with running-back Knowshon Moreno capping off the 80-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. With Big Ben connected with Heath Miller just before half-time, it was Pittsburgh who went in to the break leading 10-7 in a tightly contested first half.
The second half was pretty high-scoring and saw Manning show everyone glimpses of his brilliant old self as he connected with Demaryius Thomas on a 71 touchdown pass for the 400th of Manning’s career. The touchdown followed another early half-field goal by the Steelers, meaning that the Broncos went in to the fourth leading by one, 14-13.
Field goal after field goal would end up haunting the Steelers as after they took the lead early in the fourth to go up 16-14, the Broncos went on to take control of the game and finish off Pittsburgh. It started when Denver retook the lead following an 80-yard drive which ended with Manning hitting Jacob Tamme from a yard out.
Matt Prater then added a field goal shortly after the touchdown to add to the Broncos’ lead. Roethlisberger tried his best to get the Steelers back in the game, but ended up throwing an interception to Tracy Porter who returned it for a touchdown to confirm the win for Denver with the score finishing 31-19. The Manning era has begun at the Mile High Stadium.
Indianapolis Colts 21-44 Chicago Bears
Philadelphia Eagles 17-16 Cleveland Browns
Atlanta Falcons 40-24 Kansas City Chiefs
Jacksonville Jaguars 23-26 Minnesota Vikings
Miami Dolphins 10-30 Houston Texans
Buffalo Bills 28-48 New York Jets
Cincinnati Bengals 13-44 Baltimore Ravens
San Diego Chargers 22-14 Oakland Raiders
St Louis Rams 23-27 Detroit Lions
Washington Redskins 40-32 New Orleans Saints
Seattle Seahawks 16-20 Arizona Cardinals
Carolina Panthers 10-16 Tampa Bay Buccaneers