The NFL is off and running in 2012, kicking off its season last Wednesday night with a Cowboys-Giants showdown and concluding Week 1 with a Monday Night Football double header on ESPN featuring Cincinnati at Baltimore and then San Diego at Oakland. The action was fast and furious, with five teams scoring 40+ points, nine of 16 games being decided by one score or less, one game going into overtime.
The action in the NFC North was representative of what happened in the NFL. One team – the Chicago Bears – scored 41 points on the way to a 20-point win, another team – the Vikings – won in overtime and then both the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers played in games decided by one score or less.
As you know by now, the Vikings opened the season with a 26-23 overtime win. Sunday marked the first time the Vikings opened a season at home since 2007, and it also marked the first time they’ve started a season with a win since 2009. Here’s a quick look at the three other NFC North games from Week 1…
Bears Blitz Colts At Soldier Field, Win 41-21
For the Bears, the Jay Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall debut lived up to the hype. For the Colts, rookie QB Andrew Luck’s debut left much to be desired. Cutler was 21 of 35 for 333 yards with 2 TDs, and Marshall was on the receiving end for 9 of those completions, 119 of those yards and 1 of those TDs. Cutler overcame an early INT returned for TD to register an impressive performance and pull away from the visiting Colts with ease. At one point, the Bears led 34-14. Luck threw for 300 yards on the day and has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL, no doubt. But Sunday was not his day. Luckily for him, he gets to play again in a few days. The Colts host the Vikings in their home opener on Sunday.
Lions Score Late To Avoid Upset By Rams
The Rams appear to be a much-improved team, and they nearly illustrated that point with an upset of the Lions at Ford Field on opening day. But a late 5-yard TD pass from QB Matthew Stafford to RB Kevin Smith allowed the Lions to prevail by a 27-23 count over the feisty Rams, a team that the Vikings will visit in December. Stafford threw 48 passes on the day, completing 32 of them for 355 yards and 1 TD. He did have 3 INTs, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Lions. WR Calvin Johnson was held scoreless, but he still made a difference with 6 receptions for 111 yards.
Packers Drop Opener To 49ers 30-22
In what was one of opening day’s premier matchups, the San Francisco 49ers marched into Lambeau Field and took control early on the way to a 30-22 win. The 49ers are many NFL observers’ pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, and they showed exactly why on Sunday. Randy Moss – yes, that Randy Moss – scored a TD and David Akers converted a 63-yard – yes, a 63-yard – FG attempt along the way, while QB Alex Smith led an efficient offensive attack against a Packers defense that just couldn’t cover all the leaks in time. It was an impressive outing by the 49ers, and if they play like that the rest of the way they’ll be hard to beat. Don’t count the Packers out, either. QB Aaron Rodgers was sharp, going 30 of 44 for 303 yards with 2 TDs, and play-making LB Clay Matthews got to Smith for 2.5 sacks. So these are the same ‘ol Packers, they just didn’t have enough on Sunday.
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