week 1 - Superbowl hangover: giants lose as romo shines

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants, Met Life Stadium, 5th September 2012
Its back, and back with a bang! Exactly seven months after the New York Giants won their 4th Superbowl title in Indianapolis against the New England Patriots, Tom Coughlin’s team opened up the defence of their title against rivals the Dallas Cowboys in a highly anticipated opening clash.
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Eli-te QB: Manning was Superbowl 46 MVP
The Cowboys, who in December last season faced the Giants in the final game for both teams had the game in the palm of their hands and were looking to beat the Giants for a place in the play offs. However, a pass from Tony Romo to Miles Austin had an easy catch written all over it only for the wide receiver to drop it. New York then took the game to Dallas and managed to pull off the victory and seal their wild card place. 


Giants would then beat the Falcons comfortably at home, followed by the conquering of the favourites the Packers and then a nail biting clash against the 49ers in San Francisco to travel to Lucas Oil Stadium for the Superbowl – and the rest they say is history.



Dallas therefore were looking for retribution to the disappointing end to what was a disappointing season for ‘America’s Team’. New York had rode their luck at times last year but want to prove they are the real deal.

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Pressure Is On: Romo knows his time to win a Super Bowl is running out
The game started shaky, with both Eli Manning and Romo looking rather rusty. Manning had proved the previous season he was an elite QB but Romo had everything to prove with the sands of time of his career quickly beginning to run low. Another poor season for the Cowboys superstar QB could spell the end of his time at the starter by the time next year’s Pre-season begins; however judging by the performance that would ensue this could be finally his year.

An interception although almost led to the opening touchdown for the Giants only for a penalty grab of the neck by Tony Smith prevented a pick six of Romo. Coughlin, the oldest coach in the NFL and to win a Superbowl could only watch his team fail to make it into the end zone on short yardage and would settle for a Lawrence Tynes field goal to make it 3-0.

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100 Club: Ware is now amongst great Reggie White

The first half was definitely being dominated by both team defences and Cowboy legend DaMarcus Ware reached a very special total. A sack on Manning made it his 100th of his career and in doing so, became the second fastest to reach a century only behind Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles legend Reggie White.


But then the Cowboys offense sprung into life with wide receivers Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree and Dez Bryant looking dangerous again especially after all his pre-season dramas. With running-back DeMarco Murray rushing for 131 yards on 20 carries at the Met Life Stadium, Romo also has a great player behind him on offence.

The Cowboys then sprung the surprise before half time with fourth year Ogletree on the end of Romo’s lofted pass after breaking out of the pocket putting the Cowboys into a surprising yet deserved half time lead.

The second half began the way in which the first half ended – Romo in complete control. The Cowboys QB was coming into his own and highlighting the fact that you should never write him off. Another breakaway TD run from Ogletree was found by Romo as Dallas made it a 2-score lead.

The Giants however did not look panicked and remained calm under the guidance of Superbowl MVP Eli Manning. This wasn’t the brushed up display we expected from Eli but he managed to drive his team forward enough to give a hand off for Bradshaw who stiff-armed his way home to make it 14-10.

With the third quarter coming to a conclusion, another good drive from Dallas ended with a field goal from Dan Bailey to put the Cowboys a touchdown ahead. However, the following quarter is what Eli calls home and still the Giants remained favourites.


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4th and Not Out: Manning turns it on when the game comes close to the end
Manning was incredible last year in the 4th quarter, staging many final breath comebacks and with 15 TD’s in the final quarter last year, that made it the most in NFL history. But Romo remained composed and calm, avoiding the pash rushing of Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul. With Ogletree having the break out game of his career, the game was becoming more of the Cowboys’ to lose than the Giants to win.

And it seemed certain they would take the win back to State of Texas when Romo threw his third touchdown of the night to Miles Austin to make it 24-10 with six minutes ramining. But, as expected, Manning threw a small spanner in the works and threatened to become Mr 4th Quarter again.

Manning found Bennett who jumped high and kept his feet just in bound to score against his old team with over two minutes left on the clock. But a steady drive to the 2 minute warning, finishing with a finalk connection between Romo and Ogletree meant that the Cowboys could waste time on the clock until getting the win.

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Austin’s touchdown was the difference, but the performances of Romo and Ogletree are the highlights of Week 1 for Dallas. If this connection works season long, then the Cowboys could be in for a successful year. For the Giants, its back to the drawing board and will quickly realise its tough to reach the top, but even tougher to defend their crown. 

With it only week 1 its not enough to worry the G-Men just yet, but with the desperate dream team in the same division in the shape of the Philadelphia Eagles and RG3 ready to start his life in the NFL with the Washington Redskins, it could be a long difficult road back to the play offs for the Champs.

FINAL: Dallas Cowboys 24-17 New York Giants

 
 
You just knew it wouldnt take long...

Superbowl XLVI closed the 2011 NFL Season in February where the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots for the second time in four years at the Superbowl, winning at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The victory for Eli Manning in his big brother Peyton's home stadium at the time gave the win a special meaning, especially when he also picked up the MVP award.

Roll on the next month and with the dust settled after February action and reaction it was time to look forward to the combine and the upcoming talent for the 2012 season. Players such as Andrew Luck from Standford and his fellow QB rival in the draft Robert Griffin III from Baylor are making fans and analysts alike lick their lips with anticipation.

We are a mere 10 days from the combine, but March was not been about the new influx. It hasn't been about who the Indianapolis Colts will pick as the first pick of the 2012 draft or what college players will make the jump to the big league. Its all been about Free Agency, The 'Mannibow' Show and those devilish Saints.

Goodbye Peyton...
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Hero: Manning is the favourite of both the old and young in Indianapolis
7th March 2012: a date which will now go down in NFL history. Peyton Manning, the #1 pick by Indianapolis in 1998, is cut by the colts. Even though it was expected, to see Manning give a speech about leaving Indy alongside the man who brought him there (Jim Irsay) was emotional to say the least. 

A team who was in desperate need of a boost, a struggling franchise still needing to find its feet in a new city after its move from Baltimore was single-handedly made into one of the best by a single man, one of the greatest quarterbacks that would ever play the game, a boy out of New Orleans, son to former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, named Peyton. 

A serious neck injury and surgery cost Peyton his 2011 NFL Season and pretty much opened the exit door from Indianapolis. The opportunity like the first pick of the 2012 draft was too much for the Colts and Irsay to ignore with the inevitable conclusion of Andrew Luck being the Colts' new QB this April; Luck's father was also an NFL QB in the 1980s.

It seemed time for the Colts to sadly move away and begin the new era after Manning and its seemed like Luck has been destined to join Indy since the start of last season, highlighted by a group of Colts fans in October in a match on the road at divisional rivals the Titans in Nashville, Tennessee. (Number of fans wore 'LUCK 12' jerseys despite Manning still not being a complete write off for the season then).

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/maybe-colts-fans-are-a-little-too-excited-about-andrew-luck?urn=nfl,wp10794 

Its sad, but it seems that Indy's fans were in dreamland having to watch their team go through a nightmare season. Without their leader, they believed in the unknown. This unknown was a college QB, who would be the man to bring them success, despite Peyton being their one and only Superbowl winning QB and a player who had dragged them from the dark and into the light as one of the AFC and NFL's best. 

So it was goodbye to Peyton...but where to go? 
 
 
As you can see, my blog is a little behind time. Oops. 

Scratch that. Its ALOT behind time. As the weeks progressed from last years NFL season, the work I had to do was mounting and took my whole time away from the blog.

Due to my cock up and with University coming close to an end, I have pledged to myself to contribute much more posts and also talk about much more than weekly reviews.

My blog last year featured little news and was mostly highlighting and giving my own opinion on each week of the 2011 NFL season. Well, this Easter break I will start all over again...keeping my old posts as its always good to look back on however, but adding some gloss to a previously dull blog. 

My new posts will include more news, player dramas, any controversies (alot already this off season), the 2-2012 draft this coming April, off-season activities, run in to the pre-season and of course all the hype as the 2012 NFL Season begins in September.

I will begin this chocolate-feasting period looking back on what has been a crazy March. Discussing the wrong doings in New Orleans, the crazy free agency, Manning-watch and his eventual move to Denver resulting of course in the end of Tebowtime at the Broncos to make way for Peyton and also then Tebow's move to the New York Jets, who seem to be slowly imploding on themselves.

So, there you have it. A fresh start with loads more on the NFL, coming soon. 
 
 
Week 14 is in the bag as the play-off race goes into the final straight.

The regular seasons end is in sight and there still remains a fight for the wild card games. Some teams have guaranteed themselves a play-off position but results this week through many cats amongst many pigeons.

As the temperature rose, so did the excitement, none more than in Dallas which makes my game of the week.

 
 
Week 13 has come and gone and it was the biggest scare of the season for this season's run away best.

The Green Bay Packers (12-0) were pushed to the very limits by the New York Giants but a win moves them on to 13-0 after a mesmorising game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
 
 
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The Ravens welcomed the 49ers to the M&T Bank Stadium
Week 12 arrived and it was thanksgiving week. Anyone request a featured family affair?

The Harbaugh brothers came head to head as the San Francisco 49ers travelled to Baltimore to face the Ravens at the M & T Bank Stadium on Thursday night in the historic 'Harbaugh Bowl'. 
 
 
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All Eyes on Him: Tebow's media coverage has gone through the roof
The race to the play-offs is hotting up and teams from across the USA staked a claim on their position.

Inevitably, the Packers continue their journey to greatness although facing a stern test at home to the Buccaneers. However the highlight of the week is of course the emergence of Tim Tebow, who is the hero of the week with his match winning display and heroics against the Jets.
 
 
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Masterful: Patriots coach Bill Belichick masterminds another victory over rival Rex Ryan and breaks NFL record with Brady
The NFL has reached double figures and the pressure now to reach the play-offs has doubled also. 

This week there was 8 divisional rivalries in total making it an exciting week in the league and the action didn't disappoint. There were close victories for the New Orleans Saints, the St Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks. How ever there was nothing close in Green Bay as the Packers ran wild over the Minnesota Vikings.
 
 
 
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Hate Game: The fierce rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens was plain to see on Sunday night

The NFL is now 9 weeks old and the race for the play-offs is certainly hotting up. 

Its been building up all week and of course the headlines throughout the weekend were going to be all about the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Baltimore Ravens. 
 
 
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Winners at Last: The Rams flag flown with pride as the first victory of the season was sealed
The NFL is at the half way point of the regular season and Week 8 was full of thrills, chills and spills in a fitting way for Halloween.

There wasn't any scares expected in St Louis for New Orleans Saints when they visited the Rams but they would be in for a nasty shock. With the NFL leaders the Green Bay Packers not in action it was left for the rest of the league to show their play-off potential with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens and the Detroit Lions certainly showing theirs.