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Fans and players paid their own special homage to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
So the dust has settled on the opening week of the 2011 NFL Season, not short of surprises, comebacks, rookie excellence and the 9/11 anniversary respected by all 32 teams. I will look back on the two best matches from Week 1, a round up of the other results and then the stars & losers who donned the helmets again for the new season.

Saints @ Packers


The traditional opener which pits the previous Superbowl Champion kicked off the season in some style on Thursday at Lambeau Field. Back in February, Green Bay defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in the 45th edition of the NFL's show-piece event.

The Packers began their defence at home against the previous winners the New Orleans Saints (first time the two previous Superbowl champions have faced each other in Week 1) in a thrilling encounter between two NFC giants.

The game will be remembered for the record equalling kick return by rookie Randall Cobb of the Packers for 108 yards, the determined performance by Darren Sproles coming in place of the departed Reggie Bush and mostly the dominating presence of Aaron Rodgers who brushed off any chance of a Superbowl hangover.

A dominating 1st quarter by Green Bay was the difference, putting in 3 touchdowns but the Saints, like they usually do, didn't give up until the very end. A spirited exhibition by Drew Brees and the Saints forced the game to be undecided until the very last play where with three seconds to go, Green Bay held rookie Mark Ingram one yard short of a touchdown as the packers ran out as the winners in a 42-34 victory.

Cowboys @ Jets

Another highlight of the opening week was the under achieving Dallas Cowboys against the New York Jets who are looking to reach the play-offs for their franchise record of three times in a row.
 
Mark Sanchez had an off-night, poorly distributing the ball in first half with an interception in the second half, but still finished with 26 completions for 335 yards with two touchdowns leading Jets to an impressive comeback to win 27-24.

The returning Plaxico Burress impressed for the Jets, along with Jason Witten of the Cowboys in what was an engaging finish. With five minutes left of the match, an attempted punt was blocked by the Jets, then ran in for a touchdown to tie the game at 24-24.

Cowboys star QB Tony Romo threw the game away in the 4th quarter, too many unsuccessful passes finally led to a poor throw with 49 seconds left on 1st down. A lethargic effort was thrown down the throat of Jets Cornerback Darrelle Revis which led to a winning field goal on 4th down by Nick Folk. 

The minor chance of a Cowboys comeback was diminished when a poor snap caught Romo unprepared adding insult to the injury to the Cowboys free fall in the final quarter.

After the New York Giants lost to the Redskins earlier in the day, the Jets gave a fitting performance to mark an emotional 9/11 anniversary with the never say die attitude.


Round Up of Week 1:
Pittsburgh Steelers 7 Baltimore Ravens 35
Superb performance from running-back Ray Rice saw the Ravens gain the upper hand in this fierce rivalry

Atlanta Falcons 12 Chicago Bears 30
QB Jay Cutler banished nightmares of the Green Bay defeat at Soldier Field in last years NFC Champions game with an impressive victory for the Bears over the reigning NFC Champions.

Cincinnati Bengals 27 Cleveland Browns 17
The Browns poor opening week form continued in a sloppy defensive performance as the Bengals began life without Chad Ochocinco and inevitably Carson Palmer with victory

Indianapolis Colts 7 Houston Texans 34

A Manning-less Colts side saw the Texans lead 34-0 at half time. Replacement Collins didn't impress after being persuaded out of retirement but did manage a single touchdown

Tennessee Titans 14 Jacksonville Jaguars 16

Maurice Jones-Drew marked his comeback from injury with a touchdown alongside new starting QB Luke McCown

Buffalo Bills 41 Kansas City Chiefs 7

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 4 TD passes for 208 yards in an opening day blitz, with the Chiefs suffering their biggest home-loss for 35 years

Philadelphia Eagles 31 St Louis Rams 13

Michael Vick did what he does best - run. The QB rushed for 98 yards and DeSean Jackson recieved for over 100 of them to begin their surge to the Superbowl as one of this years favourites

Detroit Lions 27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
Matthew Stafford threw three passing TD's for 305 yards to make it 5 consecutive wins in a row for the Lions

Carolina Panthers 21 Arizona Cardinals 28
Despite the loss, the 2011 Draft Pick #1 Cam Newton had a very impressive debut equalling the opening day throwing yards by a rookie - 422 yards with Matthew Stafford

Minnesota Vikings 17 San Diego Chargers 24
With two consecutive pro-bowl appearances, Philip Rivers further highlighted himself as one of the NFL's best quarterbacks throwing two touchdowns for 335 yards

Seattle Seahawks 17 San Francisco 49ers 33
Stunning kick off and punt returns from Ted Ginn Jr made sure the 49ers took victory


New York Giants 14 Washington Redskins 28
The Redskins got an early upper hand over NFC East rivals with the new starting QB Rex Grossman cementing his place as the Redskins starter

New England Patriots 38 Miami Dolphins 24
Tom Brady put on a masterful performance breaking a team passing record of 517 yards with four touchdowns including a 99 yarder by Wes Welker

Oakland Raiders 23 Denver Broncos 20
It was the kicker that stole the show as Sebastian Janikowski tied an NFL record with a field goal from 63 yards. It was a difficult night for Kyle Orton, topped off with the fans calling for Tim Tebow to replace him


Players of the Week

Darren Sproles (Saints), Randall Cobb (Packers), Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Ray Rice (Ravens), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Bills), Michael Vick (Eagles), Cam Newton (Panthers), Philip Rivers (Chargers), Ted Gin Jr (49ers), Rex Grossman (Redskins), Wes Welker (Patriots), Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders)

Star of the Week - Tom Brady

Loser of the Week - Tony Romo
 


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