Of Saints and winners
It has become a common practice to assign transcendent definition to all sports, but especially to football. Sunday's matchup of NFC South rivals New Orleans and Carolina, though, might have actually deserved such status. Given the week-long acknowledgement by Saints players that they felt additional pressure to provide some small degree of escape for their displaced fans and to create a semblance of normalcy for themselves, this was regarded as more than just another season opener.
The problem with the Vikings right now is that they didn't give center Matt Birk the guarantee [for next year] so he would play this year. Instead, they put him on injured reserve. The offensive line is completely out of sync. While a lot of people talk about the tackle position, it is the center that coordinates the entire O-line. With five turnovers, Minnesota just couldn't hold on to the football. Daunte Culpepper looked like a deer in headlights.
It was evident on his 11-yard touchdown run that Parker has it all: Vision, quickness, power, toughness. Talk about tough. How in the world is Bill Cowher going to sit Parker when Bettis and/or Staley return, when Parker has the most big-play potential of the three?
Head coach Brian Billick pointed out this offseason that the Ravens played one game last year with Chris McAlister, Todd Heap, Jamal Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, and Deion Sanders all in uniform. And while as a team Baltimore isn't old, Ray Lewis isn't getting any younger. The Ravens can't keep figuring they'll get another shot "next year." If they feel they've got championship talent, then Anthony Wright needs to be the quarterback, regardless of the status of Boller's injury. p>
The Ravens' offense just looks different with Wright at the helm. It looks like ... an offense. Yes, Wright threw two interceptions, one of which Cato June returned for a TD, but overall he performed better than Boller. Boller is the QB of the future, for certain, but this is about the present, and Wright is the better, more poised player right now. Boller is still being developed. There really is no QB controversy. There is urgency, and that means Wright should have to play himself out of the job.
• Miami 34, Denver 10
Fins' O-line: 151 rushing yards, no sacks allowed.
• Buffalo 22, Houston 7
• New Orleans 23, Carolina 20
• Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 13
• Washington 9, Chicago 7
• Jacksonville 26, Seattle 14
• Pittsburgh 34, Tennessee 7
• Kansas City 27, N.Y. Jets 7
• Tampa Bay 24, Minnesota 13
• N.Y. Giants 42, Arizona 19
• Detroit 17, Green Bay 3
• San Francisco 28, St. Louis 25
• Dallas 28, San Diego 24
• Indianapolis 24, Baltimore 7
|ONE TO GO|
|Eagles at Falcons (9 ET, ABC)|
WR Terrell Owens is always the headline, but no Week 1 game provides a better quarterback showdown than that of Michael Vick vs. Donovan McNabb. The defensive unit that is able to best contain the opposing signal-caller will put its team in great position to begin the 2005 season undefeated.
M. Bulger, Stl: 34-56, 362 yds, 2 TDs
C. Palmer, Cin: 26-34, 280 yds, 2 TDs
T. Dilfer, Cle: 26-43, 278 yds, TD
L. Fitzgerald, Ari: 13 rec, 155 yds, TD
S. Smith, Car: 8 rec, 138 yds, TD
S. Smith, Jac: 7 rec, 130 yds, 2 TDs
W. Parker, Pit: 22 att, 161 yds, TD
C. Williams, Tam: 27 att, 148 yds, TD
R. Johnson, Cin: 26 att, 126 yds, TD
• Week 1 leaders
Javon Walker, WR, Packers
Suffered possible ACL tear vs. Lions and could miss the rest of the season.
Kyle Boller, QB, Ravens
Left game vs. Colts with a right ankle injury suffered when he was sacked by Larry Triplett.
Patrick Ramsey, QB, Redskins
Left game vs. Bears in second quarter after being hit on the neck during a sack by Lance Briggs.
Kris Jenkins, DT, Panthers
Left game vs. New Orleans with right knee sprain on Carolina's first defensive possession.
Ernie Conwell, TE, Saints
Suffered concussion and possible displacement of jaw vs. Panthers after he was drilled on an incomplete pass.
• Week 1 infirmary report
Sunday, Sept. 18
Detroit at Chicago, 1 p.m.
Baltimore at Tennessee, 1 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Houston, 1 p.m.
Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.
Minnesota at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
New England at Carolina, 1 p.m.
San Francisco at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Atlanta at Seattle, 4:05 p.m.
St. Louis at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.
Miami at N.Y. Jets, 4:15 p.m.
Cleveland at Green Bay, 4:15 p.m.
San Diego at Denver, 4:15 p.m.
Kansas City at Oakland, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Monday, Sept. 19
N.Y. Giants vs. New Orleans, 7:30 p.m. (ABC)
(at East Rutherford, N.J.)
Washington at Dallas, 9 p.m. (ABC)
• Complete schedule