Playoff teams flounder
Los Angeles Times
The biggest surprise was the performance of several 2010 playoff teams.
Not only were the Chiefs unable to protect their home field — where they were 7-1 last season — but they were crushed by the Bills. And the Falcons couldn't generate anything close to a consistent offense against an admittedly tough Bears defense.
Typically, the biggest swing happens between Weeks 1 and 2, so these teams better hope to swing upward — and quickly.
The biggest surprise of Week 1 was how poorly the Falcons played.
They went 13-3 a year ago and had been picked by many to be a Super Bowl team. They had a strong offseason, acquiring Julio Jones and Ray Edwards. But on Sunday in Chicago, they were thoroughly inept in a 30-12 loss.
They were playing a tough opponent in the Bears, but the Falcons played so poorly, they would have been fortunate to have beaten the Baylor Bears.
Under Mike Smith, the Falcons have been known for avoiding mistakes. But they made mistakes all over the field Sunday, including three turnovers, nine penalties and several missed tackles.
Ravens rout Steelers
The biggest surprise of the first week was the Ravens' 35-7 beatdown of the Steelers. The Ravens forced seven turnovers, a team record, and took away the Steelers' will at every turn.
Yes, the Ravens were at home and were slight favorites, but a Joe Flacco-led team never had beaten a Ben Roethlisberger-led team. Two of the last three seasons, the Steelers knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs.
The Ravens crushed the Steelers in every way possible. Baltimore's revamped offensive line cleared the way for 170 rushing yards, while Flacco threw for three touchdowns and was sacked just once. On defense, Terrell Suggs (three sacks) made Roethlisberger his personal tackling dummy.
The Redskins' beatdown of the Giants might say as much about the problems with Big Blue as it says that maybe, just maybe, Mike Shanahan knew what he was doing when he bid adieu to Donovan McNabb and Clinton Portis and turned his offense over to the much-maligned Rex Grossman.
Grossman threw for 305 yards — 266 more than McNabb had in his Vikings debut.
Combine the Redskins' win with the Ravens' thrashing of the Steelers, and the Beltway boys fared pretty well Sunday, giving those sports fans a diversion from yet another dreadful baseball season.