It’s on to week two after the Patriots survived the orange and black attack in their 38-24 win over the Bengals on Sunday, playing better than many expected and getting the season off to a good start.
We saw some familiar faces back on the field last Sunday, along with some outstanding rookies who helped make week one a success. We also saw Tom Brady get off to another great start, after he finished 25-of-35 for 258-yards and 3 touchdowns. The rookie tight ends also made a great first impression, with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski both proving that they already have a handle on the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick mechanics of football.
Welker finished with 53 yards on 7 catches along with 2 touchdowns, and came back from his knee surgery in a big way last Sunday. (FILE-PHOTO:Icon/SMI)
There were plenty of big plays last week, with Gary Guyton, Brandon Tate and Wes Welker having a big impact on the game. Guyton had his first career pick which led to a touchdown, while Brandon Tate had a 97 yard kickoff return for a score. Welker was also on fire, finishing with 53 yards on 7 catches along with 2 touchdowns, and came back from his knee surgery in a big way.
They also got a solid performance out of rookie Devin McCourty, who showed up on the first play of the game when he broke up a deep throw by Carson Palmer to Terrell Owens. Overall he played extremely well, and did a good job in helping their defense hold the Bengals to just 3 first half points.
Just as the Patriots survived the Bengals during week one, I survived my first Tennessee Titans game as a Patriots fan during my first visit to LP Field. Amongst a vast sea of sky-blue jerseys, I was practically the only one wearing red as I was there in a red tank top and my Patriots earrings. I was blown away by how many people were in attendance. I thought the games here would lack in comparison to what I am used to in New England, but that wasn’t the case. It was loud, and I cheered during Patriots highlights and even shared NFL mobile updates with the Titans fan next to me. I felt at home because he had Brady on his fantasy league. Everytime a Patriots update came through I informed him. It gave me instant comfort in a land I felt very disconnected from.
So it was a fun first week of the NFL season for me. Now we’re 1-0, and with week one behind us, it’s time to look to week two against Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets.
On Monday, I caught the second half of the Jets-Ravens game and I have to say after “Hard Knocks” and all the hype we’ve heard about the fact they’ve already punched a ticket to the Super Bowl, I wasn’t very impressed. Their offense was weak, with Sanchez looking pretty bad against a very strong Ravens defense. New York played poorly, racking up penalty after penalty and making bad plays (stepping out short of the first down marker on what could have been a game winning drive…really?) which helped the Ravens hand the Jets and their fans a 10-9 loss to open the season.
Needless to say their mistakes and inability to do much offensively make me not too fearful about what is to come this Sunday. The anticipation is mounting, and I will be looking for five key elements of the game:
1) Separation anxiety? Randy Moss and his performance after his presser discussing his lack of appreciation. Will he step it up and get more catches and yardage against Darrelle Revis?
2) Attack of the sack: Which quarterback will be under more pressure in the pocket?
3) Battle of the AFC East: Will this game set the stage for the AFC East rivals? What will we learn to use against the Jets in December?
4) Hardknocks or hardheads? No man is an island. How will the Patriots stop Darrelle Revis?
5) Welker wellness: Will Wes Welker maintain the same edge he had on the Bengals against the Jets defense?
I am definitely looking forward to this one on Sunday. Hopefully if all goes well, we’ll see New England improve to 2-0, and they’ll hand the Jets their second loss of the season. I’d love to hear your thoughts on your own “keys to the game”, so be sure to post your thoughts and predictions in the comment section below.