NFL 2012 Season – Week One Recap
Peyton Manning returned to the field, Robert Griffin showed why the Redskins traded up to get him and everyone had something to say about the replacement refs.
Here are all the highlights from Week One in the NFL.
Chicago 41, Indianapolis 21
Jay Cutler threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns as the Bears blew out the Colts and spoiled #1 draft pick Andrew Luck’s NFL debut. New addition Brandon Marshall caught nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown in his first game with Chicago. And the Bears offense also got it done on the ground, with Matt Forte and Michael Bush combining for 122 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Andrew Luck showed flashes of the greatness that made him the first overall pick and threw for 309 yards and a touchdown. But he completed just 51 percent of his passes, was intercepted three times, fumbled once and was sacked three times. The Colts defense took a big hit when Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney left with a sprained ankle early in the game. This was the Bears highest-scoring game since October 4, 2009.
Philadelphia 17, Cleveland 16
Despite five turnovers and 12 penalties for 110 yards, the Eagles were able to eke out a victory in the waning moments against the equally inept Cleveland Browns. Cleveland’s rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden had a debut he’d probably like to forget, going just 12/35 for 118 yards and four interceptions, the most ever in a Browns’ season opener. The Browns managed just 210 total yards in the game and were only 2-of-13 on third down conversions. Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson was held to just 39 yards, while his Eagles counterpart, LeSean McCoy, rushed for 110. Michael Vick threw four interceptions, but still threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with just 1:18 left on the clock. He is the first quarterback since 1980 to throw four interceptions in a season opening win.
Detroit 27, Saint Louis 23
Matt Stafford threw three interceptions in the first half, but recovered to lead the Lions to victory, hitting Kevin Smith for the winning touchdown with just 10 seconds left in the game. Despite the slow start, Stafford still finished with 355 yards and a touchdown. New Rams coach Jeff Fisher implemented a conservative offensive scheme that was designed to keep the Lions offense off the field. Steven Jackson rushed for 53 yards and Sam Bradford threw for 198 yards and a touchdown. Saint Louis took a 23-20 lead with just 1:55 to go, but were unable to stop Detroit as Stafford led the Lions on a nine-play, 80-yard drive for the winning score.
New England 34, Tennessee 13
Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns and Stevan Ridley added 125 yards and a score on the ground as the Patriots offense looked to be in midseason form. Making his first start, Titans quarterback Jake Locker threw for 229 yards, one touchdown and one interception before leaving the game in the fourth quarter after hurting his left shoulder trying to make a tackle on a New England fumble return. This was New England’s ninth-straight season-opening win, the longest such streak in the league. In the game, Brady became the 14th player ever to throw for more than 40,000 yards in a career. He needs just 24 yards to pass Johnny Unitas on the all-time list.
Atlanta 40, Kansas City 24
Matt Ryan threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Falcons took the game over in the second half. Atlanta led 20-17 at halftime, but erupted for 20 unanswered points in the first 20 minutes of the second half to blow the game open. Kansas City actually outgained the Falcons 393 to 376, but turned the ball over three times, resulting in 13 Atlanta points. In his first game back from last year’s season-ending knee surgery, running back Jamaal Charles rushed for 87 yards. In the likely final performance in the stadium where the played the first 12 years of his Hall of Fame career, Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez caught five passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Minnesota 26, Jacksonville 23 (OT)
Rookie kicker Blair Walsh provided all of the Vikings’ late-game scoring, but it was just enough for Minnesota to secure an overtime win. Walsh made four field goals—including a game-tying 55-yarder as time expired—in the fourth quarter and overtime. In his first game back from knee surgery, Adrian Peterson rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns. He moved past Robert Smith to become the Vikings’ all-time leading rusher. Maurice Jones-Drew, seeing his first action since ending his preseason holdout, was expected to receive only limited playing time but was forced into an expanded role when starter Rashad Jennings left the game with a knee injury. MJD finished the game with 19 carries for 77 yards. The attendance was announced as 56,607, ending the Vikings’ home sellout streak that began in 1998.
Washington 40, New Orleans 32
Robert Griffin III showed that he’s not your average rookie quarterback, throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns as the Redskins pulled off an upset to spoil the Saints’ home opener. He was on fire the first half, going into the locker room with a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating, the first rookie with ten or more attempts to accomplish that feat. Rookie running back Alfred Morris rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns for Washington. Drew Brees threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw two fourth quarter interceptions. He also got no help as the Saints offense was held to just 10 rushing attempts for 32 yards. Despite the big offensive numbers by both quarterbacks, this wasn’t pretty football—each team had 12 penalties for a combined total of 234 penalty yards.
New York Jets 48, Buffalo 28
After not scoring a single touchdown in the preseason, questions abounded about the Jets’ offense. But it didn’t take long for those questions to be answered as New York scored on seven consecutive possessions in the rout. Mark Sanchez threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns and Shonn Greene added 94 yards and a score on the ground for the resurgent Jets’ offense. The Bills simply couldn’t catch a break, turning the ball over on four of their first seven possessions and losing starting running back Fred Jackson to a second quarter knee injury. Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 195 yards and three touchdowns, but also tossed three interceptions. The lone bright spot for the Bills was the performance of running back C.J. Spiller, who rushed for a career-high 169 yards and a touchdown.
Houston 30, Miami 10
Arian Foster ran for two touchdowns and Andre Johnson caught another as part of a 24-point second quarter that blew the game open for the Texans. Houston’s defense was dominant, forcing four Miami turnovers and keeping the Dolphins out of the end zone for the final 48 minutes of the game (Miami’s only touchdown came on a third quarter punt return touchdown). Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was 20/36 for 219 yards and three interceptions in his Dolphins debut. His Houston counterpart, Matt Schaub, threw for 266 yards and a touchdown in his first action since suffering a broken foot in Week Ten last year. After the game, he announced that he had signed a contract extension that will keep him with the Texans through 2016.
San Francisco 30, Green Bay 22
Aaron Rodgers threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns, but was unable to overcome a San Francisco defense that held the Packers to just 45 rushing yards and secured a fourth quarter interception that set up a touchdown to put the 49ers up by double digits late in the game. San Francisco running back Frank Gore rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Alex Smith added 211 yards and two touchdowns through the air. 49ers kicker David Akers tied an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal as time ran out in the first half.
Arizona 20, Seattle 16
Seattle scored 13 straight points to take a 16-13 lead in the fourth quarter, but Kevin Kolb rallied the Cardinals for a go-ahead touchdown with less than five minutes to go. Kolb, who was pushed into action when starting quarterback John Skelton had to be carted off the field with an ankle injury, finished 6/8 for 66 yards and the winning touchdown in less than a quarter of play. He rescued an Arizona offense that was stuck in neutral most of the night. The Cardinals rushed for just 43 yards and gained minus-two yards on four second half possessions. Skelton was just 3/11 for 25 yards in the second half.
Tampa Bay 16, Carolina 10
Tampa Bay’s defense looked like the Buccaneers of old, holding the Panthers to just 10 rushing yards on 13 attempts, forcing two interceptions, sacking Cam Newton three times and blocking a punt. Rookie running back Doug Martin rushed for 95 yards in his Buccaneers debut. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton threw for 303 yards and a touchdown in the loss but threw two costly second half interceptions, one deep in Tampa territory.
Denver 31, Pittsburgh 19
Peyton Manning threw his 400th career touchdown and rallied the Broncos for 17 unanswered points in the game’s final 10 minutes to give Denver its first win with Manning under center. In his first action in over a year, the four-time MVP finished 19/26 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh employed a ball-control offense aimed at keeping Manning on the sideline. And it worked for much of the game as the Steelers had scoring drives of 10, 14, 16 and 13 plays in the second and third quarters. But Manning got the ball back in the fourth quarter, and made the most of his time. Denver’s defense also got in on the action, sacking Ben Roethlisberger five times and scoring on a pick-six to ice the game with less than two minutes to go in the game.