5 Things We Learned From NFL In Week 1

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5 Things We Learned from the NFL in Week 1

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Labor Day is behind us and that can only mean one thing -- the NFL season is underway. Fortunately for us fans, we can enjoy the games without replacement officials this year. I'm pretty sure the fans of the Green Bay Packers are happy for this, or are they?

The first week of the season brought us some amazing story lines, including two rookie quarterbacks starting in the same division. Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel got the starting nod for the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills respectively. Both quarterbacks put their teams in a position to win the game, and both relied on a field goal to decide the outcome.

Week one also brought the return of Sean Payton to the New Orleans Saints, and they picked up right where they left off. Drew Brees and Payton have always been good together, but on Sunday, we were reminded of just how good they can be. Not only was the offense in sync, but Rob Ryan had the Saints' defense looking really, really good as they defeated the division rival Atlanta Falcons.

Eli Manning finally lost in Arlington. Manning had won all four games the Giants had played at Cowboys stadium before Sunday night. It's the second year in a row that the Cowboys beat the Giants on opening night.

The 2013 season opens with new faces in new places as well. There are eight teams with a new coach this year. Perhaps the biggest impacts made were on the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. Andy Reid's first game for the Chiefs was impressive. Although they were playing the Jacksonville Jaguars, they still won 28-2. It's the first time in NFL history that a game has ended with that score. Meanwhile on Monday night, Kelly and the Eagles jumped out to a 33-7 lead over the Washington Redskins before winning 33-27.

When you factor in the fact that Terrell Pryor was the leading rusher on Sunday, and the fact that we saw four safeties in the first quarter of four different games in Week 1, this season has already started out in a crazy manner. Here are five key things we learned from Week 1.

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5. It isn't over until ...

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Geno Smith made his debut at home on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After the Bucs took a two-point lead with 34 seconds left, Smith marched his team down the field. The play of the drive though, was made by the Bucs' defense. With Smith trying to get his team in field goal range, Bucs linebacker Lavonte David made a critical mental mistake. Smith scrambled for a 10-yard gain, but David was flagged for a late hit. The penalty put the Jets close enough for Nick Folk to nail a 48-yard game-winning field goal.

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4. If you can't play nice, you shouldn't play at all

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In his short three years in the league, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has made a name for himself. Unfortunately, he's doing it for all the wrong reasons. On Sunday, Suh did it again. This time, he took a cheap shot on Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan. Both Suh and Sullivan were well behind the play and the block was unnecessary. Suh was flagged on the play, and the NFL is currently looking into the play to see if disciplinary action is needed. As Greg Sulik of Rant Sports accurately pointed out, Suh reminded everyone on Sunday why he is the dirtiest player in the game.

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3. Show me the money

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After winning the Super Bowl earlier this year, the Baltimore Ravens rewarded Joe Flacco with a contract extension and rightfully so. However, the Ravens also wanted star wideout Anquan Boldin to take a pay cut. Boldin was set to receive $6 million and the Ravens wanted to pay him $4 million. Boldin didn't budge. His plea fell on deaf ears as the Ravens traded Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers.

After Week 1, the Ravens might want to go back in time and pay Boldin the extra $2 million. It was evident that the Baltimore offense was having problems on Thursday night, and the passing game seemed out of rhythm. The Ravens receivers had 215 yards receiving for the night while Boldin put up 208 by himself in his 49ers debut. With the addition of Boldin to this team, the 49ers could be even more dominating than last season.

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2. Series of unfortunate events

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The San Francisco-Green Bay rivalry is becoming must-watch TV every year. There was some extra drama added to their clash this season in the second quarter. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was scrambling on a third-and-six play when he ran out of bounds. At this time, Matthews launched himself at the quarterback and tackled him out of bounds for a clear personal foul penalty.

What happened next was a series of unfortunate events for everyone involved. Kaepernick's teammate Joe Staley ran to Matthews and locked up with him. Without knowing exactly what was said, it can be imagined that Staley was letting Matthews know that was not acceptable. During this process, Matthews can be seen throwing a forearm towards Staley's head.

The referee standing there threw a flag and it was assumed Matthews got another personal foul penalty. However, the call was on Staley for a personal foul. Once the players were separated, the announcement was made that the two dead-ball fouls were offsetting and the down would be replayed. However, this wasn't correct according to the rule book -- which states the down should have counted. Instead, the 49ers connected on a touchdown on the next play.

The NFL came out and said the officials made mistakes in both cases. It's hard to know if the blown calls would have made a difference in the outcome of the game, but it does make for a very interesting debate.

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1. And the Oscar goes to ...

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It's hard to talk about the past week in the NFL without mentioning the night Peyton Manning had in the opener. Manning looked as if he was in mid-season form as he torched the Ravens for seven touchdowns. Manning already had four MVPs and the way this season started, he may be on his way to a fifth.