Rex Ryan, head coach, New York Jets. It certainly didn't take long for Rex Ryan to get his first dominant defensive performance in the books in New York. Every time I looked at this game, Matt Schaub(notes) was being chased, hounded or molested in some way. They also bottled up Steve Slaton(notes) to the tune of 17 yards on nine carries. Impressive opener.
Mike Bell(notes), RB, New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees(notes) was obviously the all-world MVP yesterday, but let's go with Mike Bell as a representative of all the other things the Saints did well. Everyone expected them to throw it all over the place, but Bell was a beast on the ground, racking up 143 yards. They also picked off the Lions three times -- to be expected, perhaps -- and completely shut down their running game, which I did not expect.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings. Let's go with a stat from Curt Menefee. During an in-game update to show viewers of other games an Adrian Peterson touchdown run, Menefee used the name Peterson one time, and the name Favre three times. On a touchdown run. I just thought people should know that Peterson, with his 180 yards and three touchdowns, played okay yesterday, too.
Tony Romo(notes), QB, Dallas Cowboys. So far, so good for Romo. With the Owens distraction removed, just about 100 percent of the focus is on Romo this year, and he responded quite well in a tougher-than-expected opening game. He finished 16-of-27 for 353 yards and 3 touchdowns and spread the ball around to Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton(notes) and Jason Witten(notes).
Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One of the reasons the Bucs were tougher than expected? The miraculously rehabbed Cadillac Williams, who ran for 97 yards and a touchdown. There were running backs with bigger days, but none of them have had to overcome Cadillac-like adversity with his multiple knee injuries. It was great to see him chopping it up yesterday.
- Rex Ryan
- Mike Bell
- Adrian Peterson
- Curt Menefee