Wait is over, Gridiron greats return

John Loop
Staff Writer

The first week back on the gridiron had its ups and downs, as NFL fans got their much-needed influx of football since the 130-day labor standoff started. The league kicked off week one of the regular season last weekend with the first slate of games.

On Sunday, the Carolina Panthers traveled to Glendale, Arizona to battle the Cardinals. Arizona won, 28-21, but wasn’t all for naught. Panthers rookie quarterback and University of Auburn alum Cameron (Cam) Newton passed for 422 yards and 2 touchdowns, both rookie quarterback debut records.

The Buffalo Bills, believed by many to be irrelevant in their division, surprised a lot of people with their win over the Kansas City Chiefs, 41-7. The Chiefs, who won the AFC West division last year, looked really sloppy on offense and couldn’t score at all. The defense looked just as off-kilter, allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw four touchdown passes and 208 yards.

On Sunday night, the Dallas Cowboys faced off against the New York Jets in a game played literally just a few miles away from Ground Zero on the tenth anniversary of September 11th, 2001. Dallas jumped out to an early lead and retained it through three and a half quarters. But Tony Romo, being Tony Romo, threw an interception to Jets All-Pro Darrelle Revis, who returned it 20 yards. That led to Nick Folk’s 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds left to play to put the Jets in front to stay, 27-24.

During the first of two Monday night games, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots torched the Miami Dolphins defense, winning easily, 38-24. Brady annihilated the Dolphins’ secondary, throwing for a whopping 517 yards to go along with four touchdowns. Brady’s offensive output was fifth most in NFL history.

The final game, the second on a late night of football, pitted the Oakland Raiders against the Denver Broncos. The Raiders won a close game, 23-20, but the main headline was not from an offensive player or a defensive player, but a kicker. Raiders placekicker Sebastian Janikowski teed up a 63-yard field goal right before halftime to tie a NFL record long set by the Broncos’ Jason Elam in October of 1999.