Steelers Stomp… And The Rest Of Week 1

Pittsburgh Vs. ClevelandWell, week 1 of the 2007/2008 NFL season is over… how about some of my “award-winning” football analysis?

The Steelers absolutely stomped all over the Browns, winning Mike Tomlin’s regular season debut 34-7. But don’t let the score fool you: the game was decided by the Browns’ colossal screw ups early in the game. For example, on Cleveland’s first 4th down, they not only muffed the punt, they were also cited for four penalties. On one play! I don’t recall ever seeing an NFL team get four penalties on a single play, except for perhaps a fight where multiple players get unsportsmanlike penalties. Many of Cleveland’s five turnovers happened early in the game, and Pittsburgh was able to take a quick 17-0 lead. So the game was essentially over by halftime. I’ve watched the first half of the game, and I can’t say that I’m too pleased with anyone’s performance so far. The Steelers wide receivers dropped too many passes, the play calling seemed “off”, the running game didn’t get it in gear until the second half when no one cared anymore, and the defense… well, let’s just say that they’d better gel a lot better before the second half of the season gets here. The Steelers’ main concern – the offensive line – actually looked pretty decent, although there’s still some work that needs to be done… Ben will simply need more protection from these guys. All in all, a good – but not great – performance. The Steelers should be able to beat up on Buffalo and will probably hold their own against San Fran and Arizona… but then the schedule gets hard.

Carolina fans will be happy to see that their team seems to be going back to their winning ways after the mid-season collapse last year. The Panthers went up against a much-improved Rams team, and the two went toe-to-toe for three quarters before Carolina finally pulled away. Interestingly, the play that put Carolina in the lead was eerily similar to the play that Carolina used in 2003 to beat the Rams in double-overtime en route to the Panther’s first Super Bowl appearance (for the past week, the local Fox affiliate here in Charlotte ran “best Panther moments” commercials, and the double-overtime play was featured prominently in them). It was interesting to see how Carolina instantly started exploiting the Rams right side as soon as Orlando Pace left the game (and is apparently done for the season with a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder). All in all, a good game for the Panthers; it looks like they’ll do well in the weak NFC South.

It looks like it’s going to be another long season for the New York Giants. And Miami, too. And it’s going to be the longest season ever for the sad-sack Falcons. Which is just another reason to hate Michael Vick. Vick knew that he was in trouble before the Falcons traded Matt Schaub to the Texans (who looked really good in their 20-3 drubbing of hapless Kansas City, BTW). Instead of telling the Falcons that trouble was brewing and perhaps they’d like to keep their second-string QB, Vick stayed silent and let the trade go through. Sure, Michael Vick is a jerk for the whole dog fighting thing, but what kind of classless jackass screws his own team like that?

I caught most of the second half of the Bungles\Ratbirds game… and Cincy looks scary this year. I hope Tomlin is watching the game film carefully!

Anybody catch the Bears\Chargers game? Was I the only one expecting more from both teams? What a snoozer that game was.

Tom Brady and Randy Moss… It’s even scarier in execution than it was in theory. As much as I hate the Patriots, they sure looked like a team that was ready to play in the Super Bowl already. I’m not sure if anyone can beat the Patriots this year.

Lastly, my thoughts and prayers are with the Buffalo Bills’ Kevin Everett, who sustained a “catastrophic” and “life-threatening” spinal-cord injury during Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. Doctors say that Everett is currently “under sedation and breathing through a respirator” and “is unlikely to walk again”. God bless, Kevin – here’s hoping you make a full recovery!

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