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.

Surprises

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.

Disappointments

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.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Mike Carey not heard from again after being wrong earlier

Von Miller forces Cam Newton fumble to secure Super Bowl win

With cryptic tweet, did Marshawn Lynch just hang up his cleats?

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

WATCH: Panthers' Jonathan Stewart leaps over pile for TD

Aqib Talib commits three awful penatlies in first half of SB

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker