Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thoughts from around the league

The Patriots may not play until tomorrow night, but that didn't keep yours truly from taking a look around the league at the rest of the NFL action on a busy Sunday.

A few thoughts:

-It is no longer a question if Adrian Peterson is the most destructive offensive force in the game today. He already had two touchdowns before scoring a third on a brutal 64-yard run. He showed everything; quickness to get to the outside, a slippery move to get through the line, and strength to break a tackle and stiff arm a defender at the same time. Favre will get the publicity for the victory, but it was Peterson that the entire Browns roster had no answer for.

-Brandon Stokley scored on an incredible, flukey, once-in-a-lifetime 87-yard reception with 11 seconds left in the game, in which he caught a deflected pass and raced untouched to the endzone. But despite the crazy, hectic nature of the moment, Stokley, an 11-year veteran, never lost track of the game. Knowing he had no defenders near and time to burn, he ran parallel to the endzone for three or four seconds, running down the clock to make a Cincinnati comeback even more improbable. Kudos to Stokley and coach Josh McDaniels, who won his first game at the Denver helm.

-The league's best offense going against a team coming off a winless season seemed to be a mismatch, and it was. Drew Brees, who became the second quarterback in NFL history to eclipse 5,000 yards passing last season, wasted no time finding his regular-season form, burning the poor Detroit Lions for six touchdowns. Five New Orleans receivers caught touchdowns, with Jeremy Shockey scoring twice. Brees appears on track for another incredible season, and if he is, the Saints could find their way back into the playoffs.

-The public's prognosis for the New York Jets was not good entering the season. Losing Brett Favre and replacing him with USC rookie Mark Sanchez was considered a step down offensively, but the Jets proved the doubters wrong in their opener. Sanchez was not spectacular against a good Houston team, but he was poised and collected (18-of-33, 166 yards), and he made a good read on a 30-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Chansi Stuckey. There was an ill-advised interception that Houston returned for a score, but if Sanchez can limit those mistakes, there's little reason to think he won't be a standout starter in the NFL.

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