Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 9/10/12

We wrap up the first NFL Sunday of 2012 by looking at a handful of players who exceeded expectations and a handful who failed to deliver in their season-opening efforts.


1. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: I'd be shocked to see anyone but Griffin win offensive player of the week honors, which is remarkable considering it was his NFL debut and it was in New Orleans. It took Peyton Manning 35 games to post a passer rating as high as the 139.9 mark RG3 put up in a victorious performance against the Saints.

2. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets: I could actually put the entire Jets team here, but Sanchez stood out the most. Where the hell did that come from? I mean, 19-of-27, 266 yards, three touchdowns, one pick and no sacks given up? He's had some sneaky good performances here and there, but that might have been the best performance of his career thus far.

3. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots: The 2011 third-round pick had 152 yards on 23 touches against the Titans, exploding in his third career start. In that offense, the powerful and explosive Ridley could be in store for a huge year.

4. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: I had my doubts about Peterson bouncing back from a blown out knee in only eight months, but he looked to be 100 percent with an 84-yard, two-touchdown performance in an overtime victory over the Jaguars. What's truly amazing about his quick recovery and return to form is that he's no spring chicken anymore. It requires a lot of mental fortitude to hit holes like that under such circumstances, and that's what separates guys like Peterson from every other running back on the planet.

5. Kurt Coleman, Philadelphia Eagles: The oft-criticized Philly secondary recorded four interceptions in the opener, saving the struggling offense. Two of those picks went to Coleman, who has shown glimpses of having big-play ability. The 24-year-old also had four passes defensed in a superb opening performance.


1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: I hate to rag on a guy for failing to deliver in his first NFL game, but guys like Cam Newton and Robert Griffin are setting the bar so high and Luck is supposed to be better than both of those guys. What's surprising is that he didn't even face that much pressure against the Bears, but he still tossed three picks and had some real wild tosses in a blowout loss.

2. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers: It pains me to think that Williams makes nearly $9 million per year, because he just doesn't display the consistency required of a top back. That said, Williams gets only part of the blame here because the Panthers made no effort to establish a balanced attack in Tampa. Williams had minus-one yard on six total carries in a tough loss. Cam Newton needs more support than that.

3. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns: Richardson's been compared to Adrian Peterson, but the rookie No. 3 overall pick certainly didn't arrive on the scene in the same fashion as AP. The Alabama product had just 39 yards on 19 carries, which indicates that either his knee isn't fully recovered from surgery last month or he just isn't ready for prime time.

4. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles: I have no idea what he was thinking on some of those passes, and what scares me most is that I'm not sure even Vick himself knows what was going through his head. And it could have been a hell of a lot worse. Vick threw four interceptions against Cleveland, and the Eagles won despite him. That's very discouraging.

5. Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills: The Bills were supposed to wreak havoc up front this season, but their stacked defensive line is off to a quiet start. Williams, who signed a six-year, $96-million deal with Buffalo in the offseason, had just one tackle and was held sack-less in the opener against the Jets. In fact, no one on that D was able to get to Mark Sanchez.

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