Here’s a look at some of the interesting storylines that have been developed after the first week of the 2010 NFL season.
Texans’ running game: Fluke or For Real?
The Texans, who finished second-to-last in rushing yards per game last year, finished their win against the Indianapolis Colts today with 257 yards on the ground. It was a huge turn around for a team that struggled to run the ball all of 2009 and had to rely so heavily on the passing game. After a training camp in which no one running back seemed to stand out too much and rookie running back Ben Tate was lost for the season with an injury, the Texans seemed to have found their workhorse. Second-year running back Arian Foster exploded against the Colts’ defense, rushing for a team-record 231 yards, adding three touchdowns along the way. Although it was a promising day for the Texans, who are relieved to have beaten the Colts for only the second time in 17 meetings, it’s too soon to tell if Foster can keep picking up yards on the ground at this pace. There may just be a new top dog in the AFC South.
Is Seattle that good or is San Francisco that bad?
In their week one matchup, the Seattle Seahawks trounced the San Francisco 49ers in possibly the biggest upset of the week by a score of 31-6. After an up-and-down offseason, new Seattle coach Pete Carroll seemed to have shown that he could make a contender out of the Seahawks. Or was it simply that a 4-0 preseason record says nothing about the 49ers’ ability to win when it matters? While Matt Hasslebeck and the Seattle offense flourished, Alex Smith and the 49ers’ offense flailed. Frank Gore, who is considered one of the best running backs in the league, averaged a little over two yards per carry, Smith threw two interceptions and the entire team was continuously hindered by penalties. Only time will tell whether the Seahawks should be excited or the 49ers should be scared.
Are the Bills just as bad as they’re expected to be?
So much negative and so little positive came out of their game against the Miami Dolphins. Trent Edwards completed only 53 percent of his passes. Rookie running back C.J. Spiller managed only six yards on seven carries. The offense converted 21 percent of their third downs. Their leading receiver had 40 yards. The defense couldn’t manage to force a single turnover. After 60 minutes of football, the offense racked up a whole 166 yards of total offense. Even special teams were subpar. It has been a unanimous feeling this offseason that the Bills will be the worst team in 2010 and they went out and did their best to prove that in Week 1.
What happened to the Vikings?
Was it the lack of experienced receivers or a lack of synchronization between him and the Vikings’ receiving corps that led to Brett Favre’s lackluster game? Either is a viable option, as Favre looked overwhelmed all game and struggled to make the types of plays that he made all year in 2009. Whether its old age, no training camp work or a lack of receiver talent to throw to, Favre has got to find a way to get the Vikings back on oug after a devastating 9-14 loss to the Saints in Week 1. The defense was solid against an offensive powerhouse, but the offense couldn’t make plays when the opportunities arose. The offense will need to find a spark, and in a big hurry, in order to make up for this early-season blunder.
Can Bradford handle the pressure of a starting NFL quarterback?
Well the Rams certainly got their money’s worth out of Bradford in their first game against the Arizona Cardinals. In his NFL debut, Bradford threw 55 passes, completing 32 of them for 253 yards. He also connected with Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown while adding three interceptions in the process. Although the three interceptions is a glaring problem, Bradford stood his ground well and played with great poise and composure for his first NFL regular season action. He did a good job of taking advantage of the few weapons that the Rams have supplied him. Although there are still plenty of holes in his NFL game, Bradford looked good for a rookie and the Rams should be feeling good about their investment.
Will Rodgers turn out to be the 2010 NFL MVP candidate he has the potential to be?
After a very promising 2010 preseason, Aaron Rodgers headed into the regular season as the leader of the Green Bay Packers and one of the leading candidates for the 2010 NFL MVP. He has elite passing skills, rare leadership qualities and an outstanding ability to put points on the board for his team. However, it wasn’t all pretty passing during the opening week against the Philadelphia Eagles. Rodgers was 19 of 33 passing, with 188 yards. He threw two touchdowns, but also let two passes fall into the hands of defense. Although he led his team to a 27-20 victory, he needs to work on fundamentals and continue to take advantage of the astronomical amount of potential that he possesses.
Can the Chiefs’ rookie talent lead them to the front of the AFC West?
The Chiefs came into their home game on Monday night with little hope for a victory. During a conference call, head coach Todd Haley was quoted as saying that his team would have to play “above our potential” in order for them to beat the Chargers. Well coach Haley, they did just that. The Chiefs stuck it to the Chargers, coming up big in the clutch with a last-second goal line stand to secure a 21-14 victory. Two players really stood out in the Chiefs upset of the Chargers: rookies Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas. McCluster provided the spark for the Chiefs, scoring a touchdown on a 94-yard punt return that gave them the lead as well as some standout plays on the offensive side of the ball. Arenas was also electric on punt returns and provided excellent coverage on the Chargers’ wide receivers throughout the game. Whether it was terrible punt coverage by the Chargers or great punt returning by the Chiefs, the two rookies made names for themselves in Week 1 and should be creating quite a headache for the Cleveland Browns as we head into Week 2.
Did the Jets need a hard knock from reality?
The Jets, who have been touted as one of the main teams hoping to find their way to the Super Bowl in 2010, started off on the wrong foot. After 60 minutes of offensive struggles, the Baltimore Ravens managed to edge their way past the Jets, winning by a score of 10-9. Quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled to make plays against a menacing Ravens’ defense, mainly due to the fact that the offensive line couldn’t keep the Ravens defense off of him long enough for him to find someone to throw to. The running game sputtered despite a few decent carries by running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Despite a strong showing by their own defense, penalties killed them and paved the way for the Ravens to find the endzone. Even with cornerback Darrelle Revis back in the lineup, the Jets have got to be worried after a tough loss.