Thursday Night Football Recap: 5 Things We Learned
The first official week of NFL preseason action has gotten started with a slew of games ripping off on Thursday night. Six games are now in the books for the first true week of preseason football, and thankfully the first night of football ended without any major scary injuries.
There were a few concussions, some sure bumps and bruises and even some awesome plays. Through it all, the picture got a bit clearer for several teams. Competition got closer or were blown open, guys lived up to expectations or disappointed and best of all, we got football back.
With more games coming at us on Friday, let’s quickly recap the key notes from Thursday’s six NFL contests:
Peyton Manning is as Good as Ever
Why not start things off right, shall we? Manning and his Broncos engaged in a Super Bowl rematch with the Seahawks, and Denver’s first team won. It means nothing in the long run, but it kind of means something that Manning came out clicking with his offense, going 9 of 12 for a touchdown. That type of flawless play right out the gates tells us he and the Broncos are back and on a mission going into 2014.
Carlos Hyde Just Might Solve 49ers RB Depth Issues
The 49ers had been worried about their running back depth behind Frank Gore, as they lost Kendall Hunter for the season and LaMichael James for at least the next month. They needed to see some promise out of rookie back, Carlos Hyde. Boy, did they ever. Hyde came out firing on all cylinders, as he toted the ball 5 times for an impressive 39 rushing yards. Hyde also looked solid in pass protection on a blitz pickup, showing he might have the ability to turn into a featured runner should Gore get hurt this year.
Ryan Mallett Might Not Get Traded Anytime Soon
Mallett was supposedly being showcased for a trade in this game, as he started the contest with Tom Brady sitting New England’s first preseason game out. It didn’t go well. Mallett completed just 5 of 12 passes for 55 yards and no scores, while displaying shaky accuracy and pocket presence. Mallett retains amazing size and arm strength, but everything else appears to be all over the place.
Brandon Weeden Looked…Good?
Just about everyone hates to admit it, but Weeden looked to be fairly competent as the ‘Boys starting quarterback last night, as he took over the reigns of the first team offense with Tony Romo (back) sitting out. Weeden completed 13 of 17 passes for a touchdown and no picks.
More impressive than just the solid numbers, Weeden actually looked comfortable and in control. This, without most of his key offensive supporting cast. We’ll need to see more before we believe Dallas wouldn’t be in shambles if Romo went down this year, but it’s certainly encouraging.
Preseason Football Isn’t Totally Pointless
Thanks to the Chiefs and Bengals, of all teams, we were reminded once again that if you truly just love the game of football, preseason is worth watching. The two teams combined for a whopping 80 points on Thursday night, and had scores running down to the final minute of the game. Who said preseason NFL games couldn’t be interesting?
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