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NFL 2011 Season – Week One Recap

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
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Week one of the NFL season is in the books and there are tons of interesting story lines that will play out over the regular season. Here is a recap of all the action from the first week of the season.

Thursday, Sep. 8

Green Bay 42 New Orleans 34

The last two Super Bowl champions got into an old-fashioned shootout in the season’s opening game, but it was a goal-line stuff of Saints running back Mark Ingram at the end that sealed the win for the defending Super Bowl champion Packers.

Sunday, Sep. 11

Baltimore 35 Pittsburgh 7

It’s hard to win a game with turnovers. Just ask the Steelers — they handed the ball over seven times in a 35-7 drubbing at the hands of hated division rival Baltimore. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco looked impressive in the win, while running back Ray Rice ran for 107 yards and scored twice.

Detroit 27 Tampa Bay 20

Detroit was one of just two teams that went unbeaten in the preseason and continued that streak (although now it matters) with a win over the Buccaneers. Matthew Stafford threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Lions to their first opening day win since 2007.

Philadelphia 31 St. Louis 13

Stephen Jackson took the first hand-off of the game and chugged 47 yards for a TD. The rest of the day was all downhill for the upstart Rams as the popular Super Bowl pick Eagles took over the game and never looked back in a 31-13 victory in St. Louis. Jackson was hurt on the initial run and never returned to the field, but it wouldn’t matter with Michael Vick and the high powered Eagles offense.

Buffalo 41 Kansas City 7

It’s odd to think that a franchise that was once a regular in the postseason and Super Bowl hasn’t been to the playoffs since 1999. Sure, it’s only one victory for the Bills, a 41-7 beating of AFC West champs Kansas City, but it could be the start of something good for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (four TDs) and his team.

Jacksonville 16 Tennessee 14

After an interesting week that saw the Jaguars release veteran quarterback David Garrard, Jacksonville came out and did what they do well: run the football with Maurice Jones-Drew and play solid defense on the way to a 16-14 victory over the Titans. The Jags defense held Titans running back Chris Johnson in check, limiting him to 24 yards on the ground.

Houston 34 Indianapolis 7

Peyton Manning, please hurry back. The Colts looked lifeless without their leader in a 34-7 trouncing at the hands of division foe Houston. Matt Schaub and company looked strong on offense, but the Texans realize it’s still very early in the season. The Texans started well last season but wound up with a 6-10 record.

Cincinnati 27 Cleveland 17

The Bengals managed to win their first season opener since 2007 with a sloppy victory over division foe Cleveland. Miscues and mistakes plagued the Browns all game, yet they still managed to enter the fourth quarter with a slim lead. Third-string quarterback Bruce Gradkowski caught the Browns’ defense napping (and still in the huddle) in the fourth quarter and lobbed a 41-yard touchdown pass en route to the win.

Chicago 30 Atlanta 12

In a matchup of two division winners a season ago, the Bears looked dominant on both sides of the ball in a 30-12 win over the Falcons. Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher returned a fumble for a touchdown and also had an interception, while quarterback Jay Cutler tossed to touchdowns.

Washington 28 N.Y. Giants 14

The Redskins ended a six-game losing streak against their NFC East rivals, beating the Giants at home for the first time since 2005.  Rex Grossman threw for over 300 yards and two scores in the 28-14 win, but most important to Rex and his squad, was his avoidance of the costly turnovers that have plagued him throughout his career.

San Francisco 33 Seattle 17

Continuing their rivalry from the college ranks, former Stanford (now San Francisco) head coach Jim Harbaugh won his first game with the 49ers over former USC (now Seattle) head coach Pete Carroll. Ted Ginn Jr. returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns in a minute’s span late in the fourth quarter on way to the 33-17 victory.

San Diego 24 Minnesota 17

The Chargers shook off their typical early season woes with a 24-17 victory over the Vikings. A poor second-half performance prevented the Vikings from pulling off the upset in the debut of quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Arizona 28 Carolina 21

Carolina quarterback Cam Newtown had an opening game that most rookies dream about. He racked up 422 yards passing, the most ever for a rookie in an NFL opener, but it still wasn’t enough. Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson sealed the victory with an 89-yard punt return. Kevin Kolb threw for 309 yards, including touchdown passes of 48 and 70 yards, in his regular season debut with Arizona.

N.Y. Jets 27 Dallas 24

Jets kicker Nick Folk booted a 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds left, giving his team a 27-24 victory against the Dallas Cowboys, a team that had let Folk go a season ago. The Jets’ long climb back included erasing a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter, thanks in part, to a touchdown run-back of a blocked punt.

Monday, Sep. 12

New England 38 Miami 24

The New England Patriots started the season with a victory for the eighth consecutive year with a 38-24 win over the Dolphins. Besides a Tom Brady interception, in first in 358 pass attempts, the Patriots looked dominant. Brady threw for over 500 yards, but new Patriot Chad Ochocinco was held to only one catch for 14 yards.

Oakland 23 Denver 20

Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski tied the NFL record for longest field goal with a 63-yard boot that propelled the Raiders over division rival Denver. The Raiders won in Denver for the fourth consecutive year and won their opening season game for the first time in eight seasons.

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