(photo via @willbrinson)
Live-blogging the early action, which featured two absolutely amazing games. Unfortunately, my connection was lousy on the Detroit-Carolina matchup, but we’ll devote more time to that during the week. Notes and comments on every game of the early action:
- My pick of the Bengals looking good early. Bengals defense holding Baltimore, Andy Dalton looking smooth despite not having his best receiver. Jerome Simpson makes a circus catch, but Andre Caldwell is just awful. Cincy scores opening TD despite his stone hands.
- Joe Flacco’s footwork is a mess, but he makes a pair of nice throws after Caldwell submarines a Cincy drive to tie the game.
- Baltimore unnerving the Cincinnati WRs by laying hat on every throw attempt. Not hard to introduce the shakes to these wideouts.
- Cincinnati offense looking out of sorts once they got past the scripted first 15 plays of the first quarter. Also came out with a good drive to open the third, but can they make plays in real time?
- The answer to that appears to be “No.” Andy Dalton throws back to back picks, which are turned into 14 quick points by Baltimore. Oh, and Lardarius Webb is a much better pass catcher than Andre Caldwell. It isn’t even close.
- Late in a gutty comeback attempt, Jermaine Gresham gets robbed of a touchdown by the idiotic “Calvin Johnson rule.” 31-24 Baltimore, trying to close the game out.
- Cincinnati bringing a lot of heart, getting inside the ten with under a minute to play. But Baltimore is eating up the Bengals’ front line with well-disguised pass rushes. Ravens rush three on three consecutive throws, and get an intentional grounding, a desperation heave out of bounds, and a sack. Game over. Tremendous game.
- Carolina is playing poised, veteran football on offense, calmly taking apart the overaggressive pass rush of the Detroit front four. Case in point: Cam Newton perfectly times a delayed handoff on a 3rd and 11, play picks up 21 yards and sets up Panthers for their first score.
- This game is turning into a fantasy gold mine, as Stafford throws a fourth tochdown pass to give Detroit their first lead, 28-27. Stafford is 20-27 at this point, but two of his incompletions fell into Panthers’ hands.
- Both QBs having monster days. Game tied at 35 after Cam Newton runs in his second score of the day, and throws for the 2pt conversion. Then Stafford follows with his fifth TD pass of the game. Now 42-35.
BUF at MIA:
- What the hell is happening in Miami? Matt Moore has two touchdown throws and a perfect QB rating early. Meanwhile, Buffalo seems destined to make a late run at Shane’s “most disappointing NFL finishes” list.
- Bad to worse in this game, as Fred Jackson limps off and the hopes of the Bills are in CJ Spiller’s hands. They’re down 35-6 at the moment. If Jackson misses significant time, the Cinderella story is officially reduced to cinders.
OAK at MIN:
- Comedy of errors concludes, fittingly, on a turnover (on downs). That makes six turnovers for the game, five of them by Minnesota, but game still uncomfortably close late for Oakland.
TB at GB:
- Packers jump out to two early touchdowns. Those touchdowns are scored by BJ Raji and Tom Crabtree. Mike McCarthy hates fantasy football players.
- Bucs jump back in the game on a massive touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount, who broke five tackles on the play.
@Aaron_Nagler: That was a Madden run where you say “NO WAY” the whole time its happening and then throw your controller in disgust at the end.
- Packers letting Tampa crawl back into this game, 21-19, before starting to display the killer instinct that they’re known for.
JAX at CLE:
- Maurice Jones-Drew with a touchdown run and a controversial tribute to Lebron James as his end zone celebration. Fans in Cleveland not pleased. Not at all. This could be a rivalry-building game.
- The Browns got their dander up as well. Go on a 14-3 run … well, more like a trot than an all out run … since MJD’s touchdown. Game over.
DAL at WAS:
- Dallas leads 10-0, but their depth will be tested again as Dez Bryant leaves the field. Update to come.
- Washing takes advantage with a 17-0 run, but then Rex Grossman turns back into Rex Grossman, and Dallas answers back with a pair of touchdowns.
- Washington forces overtime on some Rex Grossman magic, and Dallas’ chances of winning the NFC East may hang in the balance of this one. Knew I was a fool not to take the points…