Messick’s Monday Musings: Vick, Tebow, Is it a Passing League?
1. Vick Takes 16 Hits - Officially, Michael Vick was hit 11 times yesterday and sacked twice. Those 13 passing plays ending in contact was tied for the most in the league with the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, who is known for taking a beating and, according to listed height and weight, happens to have five inches and 26 pounds on Vick
Vick also took off and ran three times, never sliding feet first or getting out of bounds. Officially, Vick had seven rushes, but when you dig deeper, four had caveats. One run was the fumbled exchange with center Jason Kelce, which did not result in a hit on Vick and three were kneel downs at the end of the game.
Still, those are 16 hits that Vick took in Week One, more than any other quarterback. Who had the fewest? How did Vick compare to some of the league's elite quarterbacks? Read more.
2. Tim Tebow Effect - Tebowmania may not realize it yet, but Tim Tebow appears to have turned the Jets passing game around without throwing a pass. New York smoked Buffalo 48-28 utilizing Tebow in exactly the way I’ve been suggesting they use him since they acquired him.
Tebow threw zero passes, ran five times for 11 yards and handed the ball off three times. After the first six Tebow plays, ESPN.com's Rich Cimini points out that the Jets followed them up with passes by Sanchez, who went 5-of-6 for 66 yards and two touchdowns on those plays.
For more on how Tim Tebow could help turn around the Jets offense, click here.
3. DeMeco Destroyed Doubt – Eagles middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans had quite possibly the best five solo tackle performance you’ll ever see from a linebacker. The reason? There were very few opportunities to make tackles.
Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden completed only 12 passes, while the Browns ran the ball 22 times. Out of 34 chances to make a tackle, Ryans came through five times – or 14.7 percent of the time. Read more.
4. Let’s Not Enshrine RG3 – Robert Griffin III had an incredible debut for the Washington Redskins, completing 19-of-26 passes for 320 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions while running 10 times for 42 yards. Impressive? Yes. Indicative of what lies ahead this year? I’m not so sure.
While RG3 completed each of his first eight passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, but after that he was only 11-of-26 for 171 yards and a score. Keep in mind that his biggest play, an 88-yard touchdown strike to Pierre Garcon was a better catch than throw, as Garcon went up and hauled in a pass that nearly sailed too high.
Finally, let’s not forget that the great performance came against the Saints, who had the most tumultuous offseason imaginable. Read more about RG3.
5. Reid Reverts to the Pass – There seems to be one of these games every year or two. The Eagles are expected to cruise against an inferior opponent, but they find themselves trapped in a tight game. Turnovers are an issue, their quarterback is in disarray and they have a slim lead. It’s the perfect time to run the ball, but Reid goes to the air again and again.
6. About that Passing League… - Everyone knows the NFL is a passing league. If 30’s the new 20, “It’s a passing league,” is the new “Defense wins championships.”
But, is it entirely accurate? The rule changes over the last 10-12 years have certainly favored the pass, but running the ball is still important. Balanced offensive attacks is still critical.
7. MVP Manning – Peyton Manning makes the Broncos a contender, and I think he made that clear last night. Manning completed 19-of-26 passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 129.2 rating.
Where do the Broncos rank in the AFC? I break it down here.
8. Replacement Refs Getting Help from Above? - People are giving the NFL's replacement referees an undeserved pass, because as human beings we have a tendency to be results-oriented. The replacement refs didn't miss any calls that changed the outcome of games, but they missed three calls that could have. I'll break those down momentarily, but first, is there something the NFL isn't telling us?
Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson might have let a secret slip. Read more here.
9. Former Eagles Shine – Former Eagles kicker David Akers tied the NFL record with a 63-yard field goal for the 49ers going into halftime against the Packers. The ball bounced off the cross post and over, and Akers was overjoyed. The kick tied the record set by Tom Dempsey, who hit from 63 yards for the Saints in 1970. Jason Elam hit from the same range for the Broncos in 1998, and Sebastian Janikowski did it for the Raiders last year. Akers career long with the Eagles was a 57-yard field goal in 2003, which coincidentally also came in the season opener against the Patriots, a 31-10 Eagles loss.
Former Birds quarterback Kevin Kolb led a game-winning touchdown drive for the Cardinals after losing out for the starting job in the preseason
Will Kolb take over the starting job? Here's where it stands.
10. A Week of Firsts - There were many firsts around the NFL in Week 1. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick won for the first time in his career when throwing more than 40 times, improving to 1-6-1 all-time. It was also the first time Vick threw more than 50 passes, besting his previous career high of 46 by 10. Vick threw for more than 300 yards on opening day for the first time in his career, as well.
Ryan Messick covers the Eagles for 97.3 ESPN FM. Follow him on Twitter.