Triple Primetime Mayhem
Really, when 3 primetime games are on in the span of two days, there’s no better way to cover them than to include all of them in one article.
This article will recap Sunday Night’s Colts-Broncos game, Monday’s Giants-Lions game, and the Chargers-Cardinals game.
Colts vs. Broncos
The first Sunday Night game of the season started off one sided, but ended up becoming a terrific finish, ending up with Denver escaping 31-24 despite leading 24-0 at one point.
Peyton Manning threw 3 TD passes in 3 of Denver’s first 4 drives, ultimately completing 22/36 passes for 279 yards, 3 TD, a QBR of 79.8 and a passer rating of 111.9, and looked accurate as ever.
Safe to say Peyton’s aged like wine, but we can’t sell TE Julius Thomas short. He had 7 receptions for 104 yards, 3 TD, and 14.9 yards per catch. Not too far behind is newcomer Emanuel Sanders, who caught 6 passes for 77 yards and 12.8 yards per carry.
Defense was not a story for most of the game, and that allowed Andrew Luck and the Colts to make yet another comeback run. Luck threw 2 INT, but those were both tipped passes. Otherwise, Luck looked very sharp, showing off his mobility on a few plays and making the accurate throws necessary to bring Indianapolis back to life. He finished 35/53 for 370 yards, 2 TD, and 2 INT for an 83.1 rate (also a 41.9 QBR).
Not one side for each team was perfect. Denver’s receivers continuously dropped passes in the 2nd half, and Peyton himself misfired on a few attempts. The Colts defense simply got lucky on those plays, but at least they avoided penalties.
Ultimately, the Broncos defense came through in the end, with rookie corner Bradley Roby breaking up the last play of the game. He finished with 7 tackles (all solo) and 3 deflected passes. Despite not having the support of a run game (attempts, really) or the best coaching, Andrew Luck led a valiant comeback effort, one he usually has succeeded at in his young NFL career.
An entertaining game all the way through.
MVP: Peyton Manning
If you’re a Lions fan, this was an entertaining game from beginning to end. QB Matthew Stafford silenced his critics (for now) and delivered a terrific performance, completing 22/32 passes for 346 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, a QBR of 97.5 (highest among all week 1 QBs), and a rate of 125.3. Oh yeah, and add a rushing TD to that. Stafford looked poised in the pocket, and evaded pressure on his 2 TD throws with impressive results.
Of course, an impressive Lions performance is nothing without Megatron. Calvin Johnson caught 7 receptions for 164 yards, 2 TD, and 23.4 yards per catch. Newcomer Golden Tate also proved his worth, supplying 6 receptions for 93 yards and 15.5 yards per carry. Both receivers did an excellent job of getting open long enough for Stafford to complete the throws, proving too much for the Giants defense.
Amazing what Stafford can do when he isn’t asked to do as much as he’s had in the past.
But it was also a feast in the den for the Lion’s defense, which gave up 197 yards of total offense. SS Glover Quin and LB DeAndre Levy picked off Giants QB Eli Manning, who is continuing his struggles from 2013.
However, it was not all on Eli. The offensive line was terrible, not allowing any room for the run game or Eli to make accurate throws. Often times, Eli found himself in a pickle, forcing or underthrowing because of the pressure. On his TD drive, he looked good, and made some good throws that were ultimately dropped. But that didn’t help, as he finished 18/33 for 163 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, a QBR of 27.8 and a rate of 53.0.
It was a painful day for the Giants offense and defense. Nothing seemed to be working for either side, and it’s a huge amount of pressure for Eli to be in.
Nevertheless, the Lions earned their first win over a Manning QB after going 0-6 prior.
MVP: Matthew Stafford
Surprisingly, this was the more thrilling Monday Night game. The Cardinals came back from an 11-point deficit to steal a victory from the Chargers 18-17.
And it was led by QB Carson Palmer. Yes, CARSON PALMER, you know, the guy that was great in 2005/2006 then seemingly fell off. He finished 24/37 for 304 yards, 2 TD (both in the 4th quarter), 0 INT, and a passer rating of 108.4. It’s the best I’ve seen Palmer look in years. He looked calm and accurate on most of his passes, and surprisingly scrambled effectively (29 rushing yards for 7.3 yards per carry), even at 35 years of age. He ultimately led the game winning drive as well. Palmer’s #1 guy, Michael Floyd, had a breakthrough performance as well, posting up 5 receptions for 119 yards and 23.8 yards per catch.
Runningback Andre Ellington saw limited action, only getting 53 yards and 4.1 yards per carry. But it was a complete team effort all the way through, and the defense, though not spectacular, held San Diego long enough to get the win. He
On the flipside, Chargers QB Philip Rivers played decent, but didn’t do enough to get San Diego a victory. He did continue from 2013 by getting the ball out quickly, and made several great throws down the stretch (including a great 4th quarter pass to future HOF TE Antonio Gates), some caught, some dropped. It was an inconsistent day for Rivers and the receivers, and the defense ultimately collapsed in the 4th quarter.
Rivers finished 21/36 for 238 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and a 75.9 Rate. Definitely not up to the standards of his 2013 season, but something to work on
It’s not the game we expected, but it was a terrific one all the way through. A great victory for the Cardinals.
MVP: Carson Palmer.