With the first round of NFL Football in the books, here are a few things that I learned over the weekend:
– Peyton Manning is back: Rightfully so, Manning had a lot of questions surrounding him and his return to football after missing last season following neck surgery. How will he do in a new offense? How will he fare in a new place? How will he handle that first hit? He answered all questions emphatically with a 31-19 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He commanded his new team and offense just as he did in Indianapolis and handled the contact quite well. Going 19-26 for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns, he looked much like he did in 2010. Breaking down the Steelers defense with a lot of no-huddle and his customary checks and audibles at the line, he looked like he never left. If he can remain healthy, the Broncos will be a serious contender in the AFC.
– The Ravens look legit: The Baltimore Ravens were a dropped pass and missed field goal away from possibly making the Super Bowl. That game could be seen by many as the coming out party for Joe Flacco as he outplayed Tom Brady, but was let down by his teammates. With being so close serving as motivation, the Ravens are setting out to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. With a very dominating performance on the Monday Night Football stage, a much more confident Flacco, and the rest of the Ravens made the statement loud and clear, routing the Cincinnati Bengals 44-13. The Bengals, a playoff team last year, looked overwhelmed by the Ravens’ D in the second half of a tight game. Even without last year’s Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs, the Ravens look like a force to be reckoned with.
– Robert Griffin III looks just fine: Usually, a rookie quarterback struggles in his first start, especially when it’s in his first game ever (see Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and to an extent, Andrew Luck). But Robert Griffin III looked like a seasoned vet. In his first game, on the road, in the Superdome, against Drew Brees, Griffin looked like the quarterback who was a Super Bowl MVP, going 19-26 for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns. Granted, it is just one game, and that doesn’t make for a great sample size, but Griffin showed a lot. From his accuracy to his poise to the command of his offense, he looked like a sure bet for the Redskins for years to come.
Many more interesting matchups and things to look for in Week 2, I can’t wait.