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First Impressions

The Redzone: Handy Cam, but don’t be fooled by Newton

Credit where it’s due, Cam Newton had a very good first week in the NFL. However, for Steven O’Rourke, the best quarterback in that game was Kevin Kolb. Why? Because he won.

LIES, DAMN LIES and statistics.

On Sunday night, in his NFL debut, Cam Newton had 422 passing yards including two touchdown passes of 77 and 26 yards. He also had 18 yards rushing including a one yard run for a touchdown.

Those numbers have an awful lot of people sitting up and taking notice but, for me, Kevin Kolb was the most impressive quarterback in that game. Why? Simple, Kevin Kolb’s team are now 1-0.

Cam Newton’s are 0-1 and the turning point in that game came in the third quarter when, with his team leading by a touchdown, Newton ignored two open receivers and threw into triple coverage where the Cardinals’ Daryl Washington picked him off.

On the very next play, and despite heavy pressure from the Panthers’ defensive line, Kolb found Jeff King on a 48 yard touchdown pass and the whole momentum of the game changed.

And this is Kevin Kolb we’re talking about; he’s not exactly what you’d class as an elite QB. If Newton can’t beat a team marshalled by Kolb, how’s he going to do against Aaron Rodgers next week, or Drew Brees in week five?

Speaking of Rodgers and Brees, what a game they served up on Thursday night.  Over 70 points, kick offs and punts returned for touchdowns and the Packers defence making a goal-line stand at the death to hold on for the win.

Indeed, had the Saints’ defence actually turned up in the first quarter, this was the kind of game that could have started them on the road to the Super Bowl.

Instead, they showed exactly why I can’t see them making the playoffs. I mean, how exactly do you give up a 108 yard kick off return – bearing in mind that you’re now five yards closer to the kick returner – and not immediately fire your special teams coach?

Performance of the week

One former special teams coach who must be very happy with his lot this week is Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

Let’s be clear, the Ravens didn’t just beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, they demolished them. Any game where you force as many turnovers (seven) as your opponents have points can go down as a good day at the office.

When you do it against your divisional rivals and the team that has cost you at least one Super Bowl in the last five years, then it becomes a great day and the sort of performance that creates the momentum needed to bring you deep into the post-season.

Catch the highlights here.

Player of the week

Of course, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots might have something to say about the Ravens reaching the Super Bowl. Despite throwing his first interception in 358 passes, Brady recovered to throw for an astonishing 517 yards and four touchdowns. All without the aid of Ugg boots.

Watch Tom Brady’s week one highlights.

Play of the week

However, despite Brady throwing a 99 yard touchdown pass from his own endzone, play of the week has to go to Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski who tied Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam’s NFL record for the longest kick.

When you score a field goal from 63 yards (and it had enough air to probably carry another 3-5 yards), and you beat your divisional rivals by three points, you deserve your moment in the sun.

Check out Janikowski’s field goal on

Week one results

New Orleans Saints 34 @ Green Bay Packers 42

Detroit Lions 27 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20

Pittsburgh Steelers 7 @ Baltimore Ravens 35

Atlanta Falcons 12 @ Chicago Bears 30

Buffalo Bills 41 @ Kansas City Chiefs 7

Philadelphia Eagles 31 @ St. Louis Rams 13

Indianapolis Colts 7 @ Houston Texans 34

Cincinnati Bengals 27 @ Cleveland Browns 17

Tennessee Titans 14 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 16

Carolina Panthers 21 @ Arizona Cardinals 28

Minnesota Vikings 17 @ San Diego Chargers 24

Seattle Seahawks 17 @ San Francisco 49ers 33

NY Giants 14 @ Washington Redskins 28

Dallas Cowboys 24 @ NY Jets 27

New England Patriots 38 @ Miami Dolphins 24

Oakland Raiders 23 @ Denver Broncos 20

Steven O’Rourke is the Offensive Co-ordinator of Tullamore Phoenix American Football Club, winners of the IAFL DV8s national title in 2010 and 2011. Tullamore are always recruiting new players so, if you’d like to play football and not just read about it, Steven would love to hear from you.

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