AFTER EXCITING KICKOFF WEEKEND, HERE COMES WEEK 2
September 10, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
The NFL got “Back to Football” with a thrilling Kickoff Weekend. There were close games, standout performances and stars rising to the occasion. Among the highlights of Kickoff Weekend:
What’s in store for us this week? Here’s a look at a few interesting storylines entering Week 2:
NEW YORK JETS (1-0) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (1-0) (Thursday, NFLN, 8:25 PM ET)
The Jets opened the season with a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Tampa Bay as rookie quarterback GENO SMITH drove New York 50 yards in the final seconds to set up NICK FOLK’s game-winning 48-yard field goal with two seconds remaining.
“It’s good to get a win for the Jets,” says Smith, who is the first rookie quarterback drafted in the second round or later to pass for at least 250 yards (256) and win on Kickoff Weekend since the 1970 merger. “It’s about my teammates and this organization. It’s good to get a win for the Jets. We’ve got to get prepared now for a tough game coming up on Thursday.”
New England quarterback TOM BRADY has had plenty of success on Kickoff Weekend as he improved his record in season openers to 11-1, the best mark by a QB in the Super Bowl era. The Patriots won their 10th consecutive game on Kickoff Weekend and tied the Detroit Lions/Portsmouth Spartans (1930-39) for the third-longest streak in NFL history.
“I’m glad we started with a win,” says Brady. “It feels a lot better than losing. But we have a long way to go and a lot of work ahead of us. We have to prove that week in and week out.”
The Patriots have won each of the past five regular-season contests between the teams, averaging 38 points per game.
DALLAS COWBOYS (1-0) at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-0) (Sunday, FOX, 1:00 PM ET)
The Cowboys forced six turnovers in their Week 1 victory over the New York Giants. On offense, TONY ROMO threw two touchdowns, both to tight end JASON WITTEN.
“This is a smart, tough, relentless group of guys who understand how to play winning football and play 60 minutes,” says Dallas head coach JASON GARRETT. “They always have each other’s backs and do the right things to help us win games.”
In head coach ANDY REID’s debut for Kansas City, the Chiefs recorded a 28-2 victory at Jacksonville. Quarterback ALEX SMITH, also making his Chiefs debut, threw two touchdown passes and JAMAAL CHARLES added a rushing score.
“That was a team victory,” says Reid. “I was proud of the guys for that. Everyone seemed to be into it. Like you should in the National Football League, they cherished the victory.”
DENVER BRONCOS (1-0) at NEW YORK GIANTS (0-1) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)
The Manning brothers will meet at MetLife Stadium, the home of Super Bowl XLVIII, in what they hope is the first of two meetings this season. This game will mark the first time in NFL history that the opposing starting quarterbacks will have each thrown for at least 400 yards in the previous week.
Denver is coming off a 49-27 win over Baltimore, the largest margin of victory against a defending Super Bowl champion in a season opener. PEYTON MANNING completed 27 of 42 passes (64.3 percent) for 462 yards with an NFL-record tying seven touchdowns and no interceptions for a 141.1 passer rating. Three Broncos – DEMARYIUS THOMAS, JULIUS THOMAS and WES WELKER – each had two touchdown catches, joining the 1989 Cincinnati Bengals as the only teams to have three different players with multiple touchdown receptions in the same game.
“It’s fun to play quarterback when you have a lot of guys working hard and making a lot of plays for you,” says Manning.
The Giants look to rebound from a 36-31 defeat at Dallas. In that game, ELI MANNING threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns. For the first time in franchise history, three different players – VICTOR CRUZ (118 yards), HAKEEM NICKS (114) and RUEBEN RANDLE (101) – each had at least 100 receiving yards.
“Now we have to look ahead to the Denver Broncos,” says Giants safety ANTREL ROLLE. “We all know what Peyton Manning brings to the table. We just have to play our best football and continue to grow.”
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (1-0) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (1-0) (Sunday, NBC, 8:30 PM ET)
Two of the NFL’s best will meet in a key NFC West showdown on Sunday night in Seattle.
The defending NFC champion 49ers opened the season by knocking off Green Bay 34-28. San Francisco wide receiver ANQUAN BOLDIN, who last year played for the Super Bowl champion Ravens, had 13 catches for 208 yards and became the first player to score a touchdown in his debut for a team that he faced in the previous season’s Super Bowl. Quarterback COLIN KAEPERNICK threw for a career-high 412 yards with three touchdowns and a 129.4 passer rating.
“It was great to go out there and get this win,” says Kaepernick. “You always want to win your opener; it sets the tone for the season.”
The Seahawks traveled to Carolina in Week 1 and defeated the Panthers 12-7. Quarterback RUSSELL WILSON threw for 320 yards and a touchdown with a 115.7 passer rating.
“It’s about overcoming adversity,” says Seahawks cornerback RICHARD SHERMAN about the team’s hard-fought victory. “Getting this type of game early is going to help us throughout the season.”
Last year, Seattle was a perfect 8-0 at home as Wilson became the first rookie in NFL history to win all eight home games. In those eight contests, Wilson threw for 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions for a 123.6 passer rating.