Monday Morning Hangover: Week One

Jeff Haverlack


Every Sunday we’re featuring the Sunday Six Pack that covers the day’s biggest storylines. We follow this up each and every Monday with The Monday Morning Hangover, which looks back on those stories and covers what we learned. These back-to-back articles are sure to get you primed, pumped and informed throughout the entire season. In addition, reading these articles will ensure you understand the dangers of not paying attention or drinking too much on Sundays.

Can #1)  Tuel Time Cancelled

As expected, EJ Manuel was under center at home facing what most assumed would be a brow-beating delivered by the New England Patriots.   Instead, Manuel was more than up to the challenge, throwing for 150 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another 23 yards.  It wasn’t a dominating fantasy performance, but was just enough to provide a much needed spark for the Bills and nearly enough to stun the Patriots, save a last second field go by Stephen Gostkowski.  Things won’t get easier for the rookie in the weeks to come, but he’s already surpassed the expectations of many.

Can #2) Shootout at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome™

It wasn’t the high scoring shootout we expected, but nor was it short of offensive action from both teams.  In the end, New Orleans outlasted Matt Ryan and the Falcons by a score of 23-17.  Both Ryan and Drew Brees threw for better than 300 yards and both tallied two touchdowns and an interception on the day.  No running back really turned in a superior day fantasy-wise, but Darren Sproles did manage six receptions for 88 yards while adding another 22 on the ground.  Rookie Kenny Stills chimed in with two receptions of his own for 86 yards.  There’s still plenty to get excited about for both teams going forward as both appear to be solid bets for the playoffs.

Can #3) The Return of Revis Overshadowed

This game had all the intrigue and excitement of a political fund-raising dinner.  When the final whistle blew, the Jets escaped with a single point victory.  Darrelle Revis was largely a non-factor, rookie quarterback Geno Smith turned in a passable performance and Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman did nothing to elicit excitement about the remaining 15 games.  It was a typical sub-100 yard performance for Doug Martin, who salvaged his day with a five yard touchdown run in the second quarter.  The player of the game was Vincent Jackson who turned in a seven reception, 154 yard performance, but failed to reach the end zone.  Neither team here has the appearance of a contender.

Can #4) Can You Bear to Watch the Chicago Offense This Year?

In one of the better games of the day, the Bears outlasted the visiting Bengals, 24-21.  A.J. Green did his best to single-handedly beat the Bears with a nine reception, 162 yard, two touchdown performance.  But the balanced attack of the Bears, coupled with two ill-timed interceptions by Andy Dalton ultimately sealed the Bengals’ fate.  Rookie receiver Marquess Wilson didn’t see action as he was deactivated for the game.  Bears’ tight end Martellus Bennett seemingly adds a new receiving dimension missing since the departure of Greg Olsen.  All in all, it was a solid effort by Chicago who will need every victory in what should be one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL.

Can #5) Barbequed Walrus

Ugly.  At least if you are a Jacksonville fan.  The Jaguars couldn’t muster any offensive production on the day and the Chiefs were content to simply ball-control the game away.  Jamaal Charles, acting as Andy Reid’s new verson of LeSean McCoy, managed 77 yards and a touchdown in addition to three receptions for 23 yards.  Alex Smith tallied a largely mistake-free day, took care of the football and was efficient under center.  Rookie tight end Travis Kelce failed to register even a single target, dropping his value a bit heading into week two.  Jacksonville hardly provided any test for the Chiefs in week one and next week’s contest against Cowboys will be far more telling.

Can #6) Throwing Pryor Into the Fire

Don’t look now, but the story that was perhaps the most overlooked, or better yet stated, most ignored, turned out to arguably be the most intriguing.  Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor looked somewhat capable under center, at least providing a dynamic Oakland has been seriously lacking in recent years.  While Pryor’s passing numbers (19-for-29, 217 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions) weren’t awe inspiring, his 112 yards on the ground and more than a handful of very nice throws should be enough to give O-Town some hope in 2013.  Let’s be honest, no one is expecting the Raiders to be playoff contenders, so it’s far more about finding building blocks for the future than it is playing deep into the playoffs.  We’re not ready to anoint Pryor the second coming of Rich Gannon just yet, but he’s earned himself another few starts with yesterday’s performance.  Ultimately, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck sealed the game with a 19-yard touchdown scamper with five minutes left in the game, but it certainly wasn’t the easy win most were forecasting.  Hold your collective heads up Oakland.

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jeff haverlack