Week 1 NFL thoughts
A few quick observations on the first week of the season.
• So much for my Seahawks, I guess — and for my feelings that the Cardinals might even be worse than I originally thought. The main thing I took from the Cardinals' 20-16 win in the desert wasn't that Russell Wilson isn't the answer, though the Seahawks' rookie was pretty underwhelming in his debut. It's that the Seahawks defense might not be what I thought it'd be, to borrow and alter a line from a certain former Cardinals coach. It wasn't a terrible effort — Arizona couldn't run the ball, and John Skelton's line was pretty mediocre — but how do you let Kevin Kolb, of all people, chew you up like that when he's coming off the bench cold?
• Two more divisional upsets, in my book, that could have major implications down the road happened in Tampa Bay and in New York — and I'm not even referencing Dallas' Thursday-night defeat of the Giants. I thought the left-for-dead Jets would crumble after Mark Sanchez threw an interception at about 12:00.01 Sunday. Instead, they hung a league-high 48 points on a Buffalo defense that's supposed to be decent. And how about the Buccaneers holding Cam Newton and the chic-pick Panthers to 10 points? Maybe new coach Greg Schiano will make that big a difference.
• I know it's Payton Manning. I know one game. I know 31 points isn't an obscene number in today's NFL. I know Ryan Clark and James Harrison didn't play. But the one thing that struck me in the Sunday-nighter is that the Steelers just couldn't get stops in the close/late moments where they always seem to get them. It wasn't a great sign for a team that might be on the verge of being over the hill.
• Could a team start worse than Cleveland did? The Browns had a golden opportunity to beat the Eagles and blew it, and their coach's questionable decision making didn't help matters. The latest guy that they're billing as the quarterback of the future, even though he's never been an elite prospect (Brandon Weeden), was a total disaster. The running back that they paid a ridiculous price to draft (Trent Richardson) didn't have an impact. Now CB Joe Haden will be gone for four games. It's early in September, and it already looks like another lost season for the Mike Holmgren regime.