The first week of the NFL season is always filled with unexpected wins, performances and disappointments. The Parity in the league is unlike any other in major sports. That's what makes the start of the NFL season so much fun. Who will be this year's breakout team and who will fall off the map. Here is a quick run down of some of the week one surprises.
Chris Johnson RB, Titans
Thanks to my stupid local CBS channel I got to watch a game between two teams who won a total of 5 games last year instead of the game I really wanted to watch which was Titans/Jaguars. Thanks to NFL Gameday Final however, I got to see quite a few highlights from this rookie. He looked very impressive, rushing for 93 yards on 15 carries and adding 34 yards receiving and a TD as well. If he gets the opportunity he could very well be this year's rookie running back sensation. The Titans have a very strong rushing game, which they are going to need considering how awful Vince Young has looked over the past year.
Again, thanks to DirecTV monopolizing the NFL sunday ticket market I didnt get to see this game, but the stats pretty much tell it all. The Falcons offense was running on all clynders. Rookie QB Matt Ryan by all account looked very poised and comfortable and RB Michael Turner had a HUGE day, running for over 200 yards. The Falcons defense still needs some work and I think they are a stretch to make the playoffs this year, but they looked far better Sunday than they did at any time in 2007. With their good young core, we may be looking at a team who could make some serious noise in a couple years.
Matt Forte RB, Bears
Thankfully this game was a Sunday night national game so I got to watch every play of Bears/Colts. I think pretty much everyone (well maybe not Brian Urlacher), including myself thought the Bears would open the season with a loss. However their defense showed shades of their 2006 NFC championship season and Peyton Manning looked flat for the Colts. The biggest surprise by far to me however was rookie running back Matt Forte. He looked surprisingly explosive and hard to tackle. The Colts defense was one of the tougher teams in the league to run against last year but Forte racked up 123 yards rushing including a long TD run. I would have never guessed this a few days ago, but the Bears could be real contenders to win the NFC North.
Eddie Royal WR, Broncos
Royal for me was the very biggest surprise of week 1. This guy can do pretty much everything. Catching 9 passes for 146 yards, running the ball out of the back field, returning punts and even attempted a pass. He filled in and then some for suspended WR Brandon Marshall. It will be interesting to see how many touches he gets next week when Marshall is back in the lineup but the Broncos offense looks primed for a huge season. Their run defense still looked shaky to me, but the way the Chargers looked against Carolina they could have a real chance to compete for a division title.