From the season-opening shootout between the Packers and Saints to the "Monday Night Football" double-header, we were treated to a scintillating first week of the NFL season. Let us give thanks to the football gods -- and the owners and players -- for not squandering a single game in a lockout.
The Ravens’ huge win over the Steelers, of course, was the highlight around these parts, and rightfully so. It was the most impressive performance in a weekend filled with impressive performances.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton threw for 422 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut. Tom Brady outdid him by 95 yards and two touchdowns in New England’s win over Miami on Monday night. Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 63-yard field goal for Oakland. And the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins all picked up Week 1 wins as underdogs.
Still, if you asked a dozen people around the league, at least half would probably say that what the Ravens did to the Steelers in that 35-7 beatdown raised the most eyebrows. The defense forcing seven turnovers? Ray Rice picking up 100-plus yards? Joe Flacco tossing three touchdowns with ease while Ben Roethlisberger had the poise of an ice cream cone in a microwave?
So let’s take that game off the table and talk about what else we saw in the first week of 2011. Did any performance -- team or individual -- come close to matching the Ravens’ excellence?
Your turn: Besides the Ravens’ 35-7 win over the Steelers, who or what impressed you the most in Week 1?