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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Debuts mark NFL season opening

Not the Brady Bunch

The first week of the NFL season is in the books, and the main storyline around the league is clearly the New England Patriots and the loss of 2007 MVP quarterback Tom Brady to a knee injury in their season-opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard dove at Brady’s left leg as he threw a pass to New England wide receiver Randy Moss, but the NFL said the hit on Brady was clean, and Pollard has since apologized.

Backup quarterback Matt Cassel will start next week for the Patriots when they visit division rival New York Jets led by new quarterback Brett Favre. Cassel played college football at USC, where he was a backup to Heisman Trophy-winner Matt Leinart, but hasn’t started a game since high school.


The Houston Texans had a tough season-opener, losing convincingly in Pittsburgh to the Steelers 38-17. The lopsided loss was tough for Houston fans to watch after the Texans’ 8-8 record last season.

Houston had three turnovers from quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and got only 202 yards in the air. The Texans – with just 75 rush yards against Pittsburgh – were led by rookie running back Steve Slaton with 43 yards, but have to find a way to run the football if they are going to win.

Despite the loss, the Texans have to look on the bright side. Wide receiver Andre Johnson had a solid game with 10 catches for 112 yards; and former No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams had two sacks, a forced fumble and six tackles.

The Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars also lost their season-openers. The Tennessee Titans were the only AFC team that won, but ultimately lost quarterback Vince Young, who could be out for a month with an injury in his left knee.

These debutantes aren’t wearing dresses

The weekend was filled with impressive debuts. The Philadelphia Eagles have healthy quarterback Donovan McNabb back. He threw for an impressive 361 yards and three touchdowns as the Eagles punished the St. Louis Rams 38-3.

Atlanta Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan led his team to three consecutive scoring drives to start the game and beat the Detroit Lions 34-21. Free agent pickup running back Michael Turner had 220 rushing yards and two touchdowns as fantasy owners celebrated. Ryan only had 13 pass attempts, but earned his first professional career touchdown pass on his first NFL attempt when he threw a 62-yarder to wide receiver Michael Jenkins.

Favre threw two touchdown passes as the Jets went to Miami to beat the Dolphins 20-14 in his team debut. Favre’s successor in Green Bay, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, made his first career NFL start Monday night and didn’t play that badly. Rodgers passed for a touchdown and ran for a touchdown as the Packers escaped 103 rushing yards by Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to get the 24-19 win.

The most impressive performance of Week 1 may have gone to rookie wide receiver Eddie Royal of the Denver Broncos. Royal had nine catches for 146 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut. The Broncos crushed the Raiders 41-14 in Oakland 41-14, piling up 441 total yards with zero turnovers.

The play of the week, however, goes to Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme, who threw the game-winning touchdown pass to tight end Dante Rosario as time expired, to beat the San Diego Chargers 26-24 in San Diego.

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