Lessons Learned

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Two weeks into the NFL season, and maybe a few things are becoming apparent. The Patriots aren’t perfect. Robert Griffin III just might be, and Peyton Manning is, well… more or less still Peyton Manning, give or take a few interceptions. One thing I think every NFL fan can agree on: the first two weeks of the season have been a lot of fun, and certainly make the rest of the season intriguing. But, here are a few of my personal observations from weeks one and two.

 

Let’s start with the second pick in this year’s draft, the guy who was selected behind Andrew Luck, Washington Redskin quarterback Griffin (or RG3 if you prefer). If the first two games of his career are an indicator of the rest of his career, then Griffin will be the greatest quarterback of all time. He has averaged 263 yards per game, and thrown three touchdowns against just one interception. His completion percentage is 70.9 percent, and he has rushed for 124 yards and another two scores. Griffin is every bit as dynamic on the pro field as he was when winning the Heisman Trophy last year at Baylor. He also seems to be a solid citizen, which only goes to further his glittering reputation. I do not know if he can keep this up the entire year, he is a rookie, and the NFL is not an easy place to play football. But the foundation for a great career has been laid, and I do expect him to keep building on it.

 

If you don’t believe me, just ask Manning. The greatest quarterback of his generation struggled Monday night, throwing three interceptions in the first eight minutes of the Broncos’ game with Atlanta, and “propelling” the Falcons to victory in the process. The loss came a little over a week after Manning led the Broncos to victory in his first game under center for the team, throwing for 252 yards and two scores against the Steelers. Much like Griffin, there will be struggles for Manning as he recovers from a year spent on the sidelines following multiple neck surgeries. And his struggles will likely continue next week, when Denver must face Houston, which has looked like the best team in the league after two weeks of play.

 

A lot of folks thought that New England would be the AFC’s premiere team coming into the season, but the Patriots did not look anything like that in losing to Arizona on Sunday. Tom Brady was very much Tom Brady in the game, throwing for 316 yards and a score, but a missed Patriots’ field goal late in the game cost New England a chance at a perfect record. Honestly, the Patriots losing should not be a surprise. There is a reason only one team has ever run the table in the NFL, and it’s because (and forgive me for repeating myself) the league is hard! I’m guessing New England will ultimately be fine, which is not something I can say for the New Orleans Saints.

 

Don’t look now, but the team that was hammered in “Bountygate” has stumbled out of the blocks and is 0-2. Their defense, the same one that seemingly ran on the bounty system implemented by former defensive coordinator Greg Williams, has allowed 75 points in two games (that’s about 37 points a game). So, while Drew Brees and the offense have been decent, they have had to put up points like a Dan Fouts-era Chargers team to try and get a win, and so far it has not worked. Of course the Saints are spending the season without their head coach as Shawn Payton was suspended for the season because of the bounty scandal. And while some people didn’t think they’d miss a beat without him, it seems those people might have been wrong. New Orleans seems lost without their head man and, because he’s not riding in on a white horse to save them this year, that might result in a lost season for a team that recently has been one of the league’s best.