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Week 1 Judgements: Eagles bring old sloppy ways into new season

by | Senior NFL Columnist
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1. Admit it, Philadelphia got lucky. The Eagles couldn't have beaten anyone but Cleveland playing as they did Sunday, and they better clean up their act presto. Turnovers killed them last year (they had 38), and turnovers should've killed them again Sunday. They had five ... and nearly a sixth before Michael Vick recovered his own fumble -- and, sorry, Cleveland, but officials got the call right.

2. Guess that quiets the Tebow/Jets critics for a couple of days. OK, maybe it quiets them for a couple of hours.

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3. One of these days Pittsburgh will keep Denver's Demaryius Thomas from gashing its secondary. Just don't ask me which one.

4. Maybe Rex Ryan is right when he says he's "a great coach." All I know is he didn't just beat an opponent some ticketed for the playoffs; he pulverized it. "We knew what we were capable of," said wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. "We just showed the world." If that's sounds like boasting, it should. The Jets earned it.

5. I don't know what happened to New Orleans, either, but Drew Brees demands an explanation.

6. Just my opinion, but Ryan Longwell couldn't have made that game-tying 55-yard field goal with no time left in the fourth quarter.

7. Yep, Mike Shanahan and the Redskins look like geniuses, but keep this in mind: Shanahan's teams have a history of starting fast and wind down down as they finish. He won his last four season openers prior to Sunday and didn't finish with a winning record in any of those seasons.

8. Relax, Chiefs' fans. Your club surrendered 41 in its season opener at Arrowhead last year and almost recovered without Jamaal Charles.

9. Best move of the weekend was by the Modell family, sparing the Cleveland Browns a difficult decision by asking them not to honor Art Modell. The Browns did what they should, which was agree to have a moment of silence for the former owner, but fans weren't going to be so compliant ... and the Modells knew it. So they cut the Browns a break and asked them not to hold the ceremony, which took everyone off the hook.

10. I told you Colt McCoy wasn't the problem in Cleveland. These guys can't find the end zone with a diving rod. They needed playmakers, not another quarterback. So they start Brandon Weeden, and he throws four picks. Don't say you weren't warned.

11. That's 12 interceptions for Ryan Fitzpatrick in his last five starts, four of which Buffalo lost, and the question must be asked: Did the Bills sink millions in the wrong quarterback? They believed in Fitzpatrick so much they passed on Andy Dalton in the 2011 draft, and that doesn't look like such a smart move now. Oh, and just in case you're wondering, Buffalo lost its last eight when Fitzpatrick throws two or more interceptions in a game.

12. The worst call of the weekend had nothing to do with replacements refs. It was in the Orioles-Yanks game, and it was first base ump Jerry Meals with the blinders on again. It's time for baseball to wake up to what the NFL did years ago ... expanded instant replay. Either that or send Meals to the next team of replacement refs.

13. The New York Jets scored more points on Sunday (48) than they did in the entire preseason (31). Just another reason NOT to pay attention to what happens in preseason.

14. So Andrew Luck lost his career opener. Big deal. So did Peyton Manning in 1998. As a matter of fact, so did the last seven quarterbacks chosen with the first pick of the NFL Draft. The last one to win was David Carr in 2002.

15. Get used to it, Chicago. Jay Cutler threw to Brandon Marshall 15 times Sunday, completing nine. He threw no more than six times to anyone else, and, yeah, I make Marshall an early favorite to lead the league in catches.

16. No quarterback in NFL history made it to 125 wins faster than Tom Brady, who got there with Sunday's defeat of Tennessee. Brady is 125-35 in regular-season starts, the best winning percentage of any quarterback in the Super Bowl era with at least 100 starts. Just another reason he's the best quarterback of his generation.

17. Yes, the Broncos escaped Pittsburgh, and, yes, Peyton Manning looks like himself again. Now the fine print: Five of Denver's next seven games are against playoff teams, starting with Atlanta next weekend and Houston after that.

18. The more I see David Akers kick for San Francisco the more I wonder why the Eagles let him go. Not only doesn't he miss; he just tied a league record with a 63-yard field goal. "Honestly," he said, "it's a little bit of a miracle." Hey, whatever works.

19. ESPN on Sunday asked if there will be a "hangover" with this year's Green Bay Packers. Somebody cue Jim Mora. Hangover? Hangover? The Packers lost their only playoff game last year. That question must've been left over from the 2011 season-opening script.

20. Got to hand it to Mike Tice. The Bears' offensive coordinator opened with a flourish, piling up 428 yards in his debut, the fifth highest total for Chicago under Lovie Smith. Those are numbers you expect from Mike Martz, not Mad Mike Tice.

FIVE THINGS I LIKE

1. Kevin Kolb to the rescue. The Cardinals invested heavily in the guy, paying him a $7 million roster bonus in March that kept them from pursuing Peyton Manning. So they believed in him, and he let them down in training camp. But he didn't Sunday, coming off the bench to throw the winning touchdown pass and look like the quarterback they thought they were getting when they acquired him from Philadelphia. Good for Kevin Kolb. It's time he catches a break.

2. Randy Moss vs. Green Bay. The guy's played 15 career games against the Packers, with 14 touchdowns. He was wide open for Sunday's score, and, yeah, I think it's not a bad idea to cover him.

3. New England's schedule. Between now and Dec. 10, the Patriots face one opponent (Baltimore in two weeks) with a winning record in 2011.

4. Washington at the Superdome. The Redskins are now 7-1 there.

5. Green Bay's Randall Cobb in season openers. He had a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in 2011 and a 75-yard punt return for a score Sunday.

FIVE THINGS I DON'T

1. Dick LeBeau vs. Peyton Manning. LeBeau is one of the best defensive coordinators ever ... but not against Manning. With Sunday's loss he's 1-7 vs. Peyton.

2. Philadelphia's ball security. What ball security? The Eagles had five turnovers and nearly a sixth. That was an area they were supposed to clean up, but they had turnovers on three of four consecutive second-half series.

3. Officials calling no penalty on Cobb's 75-yard punt return. There was a flag thrown, but officials later said there was no foul. Uh, correction, yes, there was. Terrell Manning clearly hit Anthony Dixon from behind, which is -- as officials first noticed -- an infraction. My question: Why did the official who threw the flag change his mind? "I'll let you guys write that story," said 49ers' coach Jim Harbaugh. "I had a good look at that play [but] I don't know what I'm supposed to say and not supposed to say."

4. Green Bay's running game. What running game? The 49ers dropped a lot of guys into coverage, daring Green Bay to beat them with the run ... and the Packers tried. But they failed, with Rodgers their leading rusher. Cedric Benson had 18 yards, and the club had 45. Ryan Grant, where are you?

5. Receivers calling for flags with each incompletion. This trend is worse than soccer players bellyflopping. Enough is enough, guys. Let officials do their jobs, and you do yours.

FIVE GUYS WHO HAVE SOME 'SPLAINING TO DO

1. Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur -- Why after two seasons is your offense still stuck in neutral? The Browns fired Eric Mangini because they wanted more fireworks on offense, and I get that. But Shurmur's teams have been so underwhelming they make Mangini's teams look like the 1989 Niners -- especially at home where they have exactly one offensive touchdown in their last 14 quarters.

2. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton -- He's supposed to be better than he was a year ago when he was the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year. And maybe he will be. But he wasn't all that effective against a Tampa Bay team he was supposed to beat, and this just in: That's not how "icons" are made, Cam.

3. Minnesota defensive coordinator Alan Williams -- Earlier this summer, Williams said he believed his unit could be a top-10 defense, and he might be right ... but not if he keeps hanging out his defensive backs. I mean, what in the world were you doing, Alan, leaving Chris Cook in single coverage at the end of the fourth quarter? It nearly cost you a ballgame.

4. New Orleans interim coach-for-interim coach Aaron Kromer -- One question: What happened to that "flawless transition?"

5. Referee Bruce Hermansen -- Sooner or later, replacement refs were going to screw up, and Hermansen's crew did. It gave Seattle a fourth time out that could've jobbed Arizona. Fortunately for Arizona, it didn't, and Hermansen later accepted blame for blowing the call.

THE FAD FIVE

It seems as if virtually everyone but Denver is starting a young quarterback. There were nine starters this weekend with no more than two years' experience in the NFL, including five rookies. It's the first time there have been that many freshmen quarterbacks to open the season, and let's see how they played:

Player/ ATT/COMP/TD/INT/YDS/W-L

Brandon Weeden , Cle/35/12/118/0/4/0-1
Robert Griffin III , Was/26/19/320/2/0/1-0
Andrew Luck , Ind/45/23/309/1/3/0-1
Russell Wilson , Sea/34/18/153/1/1/0-1
Ryan Tannehill , Mia/36/20/219/0/3/0-1

JUST ASKING BUT ...

 Who winds up with more wins -- Peyton or Eli Manning?

 In which month does Cleveland score an offensive touchdown?

 If the Jets are a circus, what does that make Buffalo?

 Bigger upset -- Washington over New Orleans or Louisiana-Monroe over Arkansas?

 Who quarterbacks Seattle in Week 9 -- Russell Wilson or Matt Flynn?

NUMBERS TO REMEMBER

4 -- Will Smith tackles vs. Washington
5.1 -- Brandon Weeden passer rating
6-0 -- John Skelton's record at home as a starter
8 -- Interceptions in the Philadelphia-Cleveland game
8 -- QB pressures by New England
9 -- Consecutive season-opening victories for New England, the longest current streak in the NFL
10 -- Yards rushing for Carolina
36 -- Seconds, as in the time of Denver's third-quarter possession
139.9 -- RG3 passer rating

MY TOP FIVE

1. New England
2. San Francisco
3. Houston
4. Atlanta
5. Chicago

MY BOTTOM FIVE

32. Cleveland
31. Indianapolis
30. Miami
29. Jacksonville
28. Buffalo

NEXT WEEKEND'S THREE BEST GAMES

Baltimore at Philadelphia ... last time these two met, Donovan McNabb was benched.

Detroit at San Francisco ... never has a postgame handshake meant so much.

Denver at Atlanta ... now we find out about the Falcons.

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