The first full weekend of the NFL regular season has come and gone. The Lockout is nothing but a distant memory as fans packed stadiums en masse and fans tuned in on television to see the NFL pay tribute to those lost on 9/11.
Week 1 could have been the debut of four former Mountaineer rookies. All four players made their respective teams, but in the aftermath of last week's roster cut-downs, only two of those players could have played this past weekend. The Carolina Panthers placed Brandon Hogan on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. meaning that he will not be eligible to play as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered last December. He will first be able to play in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. In a surprising move, the Bears placed J.T. Thomas on Injured Reserve due to a back ailment, meaning that he will not play this season. The move was surprising because up until then, there was no hint that Thomas was having any back problems. I asked Lester Wiltfong of Windy City Gridiron about the move, and he told me the Bears sometimes use IR like a red-shirt in college. They make the guy sit out for a season while he learns, and at the same time stashing the player on their roster so no other teams can grab them.
N.Y. Giants 14
Washington Redskins 28
I told you before the game that Chris Neild would be in the rotation along the Redskins defensive line. How much he would play was unclear at the time. Neild ended up seeing significant action, and made a big splash in his debut. During the second defensive series of the third quarter, after holding Ahmad Bradshaw to a loss the play before, Neild busted through the line and sacked Eli Manning for a six-yard loss. It was a play that could have gone wrong.
"It was loud out there. I had heard it was loud at FedEx Field, but it was loud. I didn't hear the blitz change-up, and I ran into [left defensive end] Adam [Carriker]," Neild said. "The offensive lineman must not have known what was going on, and I was able to get the sack. Luckily it turned out good, because if it didn't, I know that I would've been walking back with my head hanging because I would've gotten chewed out."
On the last play of the 3rd quarter, Neild beat his man, dropped Manning for a seven yard loss and forced Manning to fumble at the same time. Neild ended the game with 4 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.
After the game, Redskins head coach, Mike Shanahan, praised Neild:
"Any time a guy gets two sacks, I don't think you're expecting that in the first game of his first season, especially at nose tackle," Shanahan said. "But Chris has that type of mindset. He's a worker, like the way he handles himself, very accountable, and he played accordingly."
Next week, Washington plays host to Arizona at 1:00p.m. on FOX. Until then, check out this blog dedicated to Chris Neild's Beard.
Indianapolis Colts 7
Houston Texans 34
Last season's NFL leading-rusher, Arian Foster, was held out with an injury for the Texans, and Derrick Ward and Ben Tate shared the bulk of the carries in his place. Slaton played sparingly even after Ward left the game with an ankle injury. Slaton finished with 12 yards on 2 carries and 6 yards on 1 reception. It's a sign that the Texans coaching staff have little faith in Slaton. He saw little playing time during a blowout. If Ward's injury is fine, and Foster returns from injury, look for Slaton to be inactive for most of the Texans games.
For the Colts, Pat McAfee had 6 punts and averaged 46.8 yards per punt.
Buffalo Bills 41
Kansas City Chiefs 7
Corey McIntyre forced a fumble on the opening kickoff of the game while playing special teams for the Bills. He didn't have any carries or receptions in the game, but registered 1 tackle and 1 forced fumble on special teams.
Philadelphia Eagles 31
St. Louis Rams 13
Owen Schmitt did not get any carries and didn't get any catches either of the two times he was targeted in the Eagles lopsided victory over the Rams.
Pittsburgh Steelers 7
Baltimore Ravens 35
Ryan Mundy did not break onto the stat column, but was one of several Steelers to carry the American flag in a 9/11 pregame tribute.