What did we learn today children?
You read and watch and inhale the offseason's offerings. You absorb opinion and speculate on players sight unseen. Then one Sunday all the talk is replaced with the genuine article. Motherfucking football, people. It is glorious and horrible at the same time, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
So what did we learn? What players leapt off the page of your greasy fingerprinted preview magazine? Here lies the Sunday casualty report.
Miami Dolphins 15
Buffalo Bills 10- Most of my personal focus was devoted to this game, ugly as it was. Brandon Marshall looked good for a half, and then the Bills secondary/Chad Henne hiccups barricaded him from making an impact in the last half. For what it's worth, and that's counting the change in my pocket, I thought Marshall was as good as advertised. It looked like he and Henne had a little rapport with each other, which is encouraging. Other than Marshall, a positive was Miami's stinginess on defense. Cameron Wake was implanted in Buffalo's backfield the entire day and caused considerable chaos. The other big offseason acquisition for Miami, Karlos Dansby, racked up a sack and made plays across the field. Things were looking up. Compared to some of the other performances today though, like New England's romp over Cincy, a five-point win over Buffalo isn't exactly getting put on the fridge. It'll take some more polish if the Fins want to swim with the big fish. Oh well. They could have lost the game and I could be taste-testing what sleeping pills I'd choose to OD on.
As for Buffalo, I don't know. Their offense looked very meh; Roscoe Parrish's touchdown came off a blown coverage that left him more open than the gals at Theta Theta Theta after a box of wine. Trent Edwards got hit a lot. I can't understate that. The guy might have been running for his life if the world hadn't already pronounced the Bills DOA. Buffalo flashed a few wrinkles with a Wildcat formation in order to free up their standard scheme, but it looked very stiff and ended up making little difference.
A quick note: Miami's kicker, Dan Carpenter, looks like a young Swayze.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
Cleveland Browns 14- Despite having a broken thumb that had him tossing ducks in practice, Josh Freeman still hucked two TDs. Despite having spent an entire season being derided for throwing interceptions, Jake Delhomme still threw a pick that Ronde Barber returned back to Cleveland's 3-yard line.
Shrug and move along.
New England Patriots 38
Cincinnati Bengals 24- Tom Brady and Wes Welker proved that the laws of man just don't apply to them. Brady can crash his car into the peasants willy-nilly and escape unscathed. Welker can have his knee explode and then show up a few months later and catch two touchdowns. The Patriots (and accompanying dynastic implications) refuse to go quietly into the night, instead choosing to beat the shit out of Cincy in broad daylight.
Don't read too much into Cincy's air attack. They were behind from the get-go and had to air it out if they hoped to even force the Pats to break a sweat. That isn't the kind of football the Bengals will win if forced to play. Ochocinco's thunder=stolen.
Houston Texans 34
Indianapolis Colts 24- Arian Foster eviscerated the Colts' D for 231 yards rushing, ostensibly also yanking the AFC South torch from Indy's chubby fingers in the process. Or at least that will be the angle you'll be beaten to death with tomorrow. They'll bury you next to Peyton Manning's rotator cuff (57 pass attempts!).
Jacksonville Jaguars 24
Denver Broncos 17- They had to pause this one on account of lightning, but Zeus himself couldn't stop David Garrard from having himself a nice 3-touchdown day. Even the Greek God of Thunder couldn't force the Jaguar faithful to not pine for Tebow though.
Yep, that's Scrawn Football: A free hack theology class in every recap.
Pittsburgh Steelers 15
Atlanta Falcons 9- That the Steelers won this game is just proof that the system doesn't work. You're supposed to lose with Dennis Dixon you jerks. Why not just start Roethlisberger and hand him a bottle of Patron then?
Tennessee Titans 38
Oakland Raiders 13- Chris Johnson tore a strip off of Oakland, going for 142 yards in a blowout. The Titans are making the playoffs this year. It's still the same team that went 13-3 two years ago, except that Chris Johnson refuses to accept expectations. He just gets better and better. And now Vince Young is proving to be a competent pivot, which makes Tennessee just that much more dangerous. They'll make the postseason, the only question is whether Houston chokes once more, or if Indy can't shake off the Super Bowl hangover in time to contend.
New York Giants 31
Carolina Panthers 18- The G-men broke in their new stadium with a win, AND:
-Hakeem Nicks caught three touchdown passes.
-Kevin Boss got injured.
-Jonathan Stewart didn't do squat.
-Eli Manning didn't bleed once.
Chicago Bears 19
Detroit Lions 14- I'll let my furious comrade explain the outcome to you:
Arizona Cardinals 17
St. Louis Rams 13- A last-ditch toss into the endzone couldn't save the day for the Rams. Bradford was called on to make plays early and often in his debut, throwing 55 passes in the game. Unfortunately, you don't get points for boyish good looks and old-timey charm.
Green Bay Packers 27
Philadelphia Eagles 20- Kevin Kolb got a concussion. Stewart Bradley got a concussion. Ryan Grant hurt his leg, somewhere. Leonard Weaver managed to rip up his knee and disgust Eagles fans in one fell swoop. Michael Vick? Looked pretty good actually. He even ripped off a vintage Vick run-and-dive play that reminded viewers that he was once poised to do great things.
Seattle Seahawks 31
San Francisco 49ers 6- And then the world remembered why they had dismissed Alex Smith in the first place.
Washington Redskins 13
Dallas Cowboys 7- I bet a group of friends a million dollar the Cowboys wouldn't throw to Roy Williams on the last play of the game. To my chagrin, Romo floated a perfect pass that landed in Williams' arms in the back of the endzone. Touchdown. I owed a million dollars despite being a bum. Then, the hold was called and the play was stricken from the record. My fictional millions are safe once more.