NFL Notebook: More Than Rice
The NFL got “Back to Football” with a thrilling Kickoff Weekend. There were close games, standout performances and stars rising to the occasion.
“It’s a good start,” says Atlanta quarterback MATT RYAN, who passed for 448 yards and three touchdowns in the Falcons’ 37-34 overtime win over New Orleans. “We’ve still got a long way to go. You can’t get too high or too low after Week 1.”Everybody wants to get off to a good start as history has shown that teams that are victorious in their season openers are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game. But that doesn’t mean an 0-1 start is impossible to overcome as nearly 25 percent of teams that lost the opener went to the playoffs.
Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule (and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982):
(Note: There are a different number of winning and losing teams in season opening games due to the fact that the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999 to 2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.)
Week 2 kicks off on Thursday night with an AFC North matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens (CBS/NFLN, 8:25 PM ET). The contest will kick off the inaugural partnership between CBS and NFL Network in broadcasting Thursday Night Football, which features the most marquee match-ups ever on Thursday night, including 14 divisional rivalries. The schedule will feature games in Weeks 2-8 and Week 16 (Saturday) broadcast on CBS that also will be simulcast on NFL Network. The Thursday night contests in Weeks 9-12 and Weeks 14-16 will be televised on NFL Network and simulcast on over-the-air stations in the teams’ primary markets.
There will be 14 games on Sunday, capped by the first regular-season game played at Levi’s Stadium when the San Francisco 49ers host the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football (NBC, 8:30 PM ET). Week 2 concludes on Monday night when the Philadelphia Eagles travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Monday Night Football (ESPN, 8:30 PM ET).
The fourth season of the three-time Emmy-nominated series A Football Life kicks off Friday, September 12 at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network with a profile of “Mean Joe” Greene. The one-hour, NFL Films-produced documentary features sitdown interviews with Greene and those who know him well, including former Hall of Fame teammates Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and Jack Ham, Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, and more.
Fourth Quarter Shooters
The Eagles trailed 17-0 at halftime before rallying for a 34-17 win over Jacksonville in Week 1. With that win, Philadelphia is the first team in NFL history to win a game by at least 17 points after being shut out at halftime and trailing by at least 17 points. Quarterback NICK FOLES threw two touchdown passes, running back DARREN SPROLES had a career-long 49-yard TD run and defensive tackle FLETCHER COX returned a fumble 17 yards for a score.
“The big thing is that as a team, we stuck together,” says Foles about the comeback win. “My teammates stuck with me and we never wavered. We just kept fighting and that’s why I love these guys. They’re going to keep fighting and we’re going to keep believing in each other.”
The Colts almost erased a 24-point deficit on the road at Denver last week but fell short, losing 31-24 to the Broncos. Quarterback ANDREW LUCK threw 252 of his 370 passing yards in the second half, including two touchdowns. In the fourth quarter, Luck connected with tight end DWAYNE ALLEN on a 41-yard TD and teammed with wide receiver HAKEEM NICKS on a nine-yard scoring strike to bring Indianapolis within striking distance.
“When you start the way we started, you dig yourself a hole you can’t come back from,” says Colts head coach CHUCK PAGANO.
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