SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Runningback Mike Tolbert #35 of the San Diego Chargers makes a touchdown catch against the Minnesota Vikings during their season opener on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Team of the Week: San Diego Chargers
I could have picked the Raiders since they ended up with the highest VOA for the week. There's just no way I could do that and it has nothing to do with who the teams are, but rather how they played. There just wasn't anything the Raiders did to make me think they performed better than the Chargers.
Player of the Week: Mike Tolbert, RB, SD
3 TDs seals it. But, in case you wanted more evidence, he was also second in the NFL this week in RB DYAR.
Game of the Week: Raiders vs. Broncos
Sure, some found this game painful to watch. But, sometimes you have to laugh at sports and this one was certainly good for doing that. Its entertainment was only increased when you turned off the TV sound and added Yakety Sax. The best way to summarize the comedy of this game is to mention how it set a new record for penalties in an NFL game with 25.
Play of the Week: 63 yard record tying field goal by Sebastian Janikowski
It tied a record. Plus, there weren't that many truly excellent plays this week.
Injury of the Week: Eric Berry, Knee, Out for the Year
This is a huge loss for the Chiefs not only because the Kansas City will have a difficult time replacing his production, but also because it's a lost year for a developing, second year player.
Nice performance by the Chargers in week 1. That's all it was though, "nice". Not good, not great, not bad. Actually "not bad" works too. That 5.2% VOA for the offense stands out as a disappointing number. The expectations for the offense are very high. On the other hand, that -26.0% number for the defense is encouraging. Of course, anybody who heard how many passing yards McNabb had didn't need to see the Chargers VOA. Anytime you hold the QB to 39 yards passing, you are doing something impressive. Now, let's move on to the next team without talking about the special teams. Yeesh.
The template for the 2010 Broncos was: great passing numbers, horrible everything else. In this initial game they didn't even get that good passing, not even close. Only the special teams came out of this game with a good number. That was due to a kick return and a tipped punt not being as detrimental as a blocked punt. Getting back to the Broncos offense, it was surprising how bad it was. Most of the same players are still there, but the results were vastly different. We'll have to watch this closely to find out if it's playcalling, coaching, regression by certain players or something else.
Raise your hand if you thought before Sunday that the Bills were going to come into Kansas City and dismantle the Chiefs. If your hand is up then you are a liar (and there's a job in politics awaiting you). I'm almost speechless after this game. On top of that the Chiefs, as mentioned earlier, lost their stud safety Eric Berry after losing their promising young TE Moeaki the week before. Things could snowball fast for the Chiefs if they don't figure out a way to recover from this loss.
Yeah, okay, the Raiders won, but that doesn't mean I have to praise them. They committed plenty of dumb penalties and having watched the game I would attribute most of their success to the Broncos failures. When Football Outsiders starts adjusting their numbers based on opponent strength then I'm positive it won't have a higher DVOA than the Chargers' performance. This team looks like a team that has a rookie head coach and has lost some key players. I suppose that could change as the season goes on, but we'll just have to wait and see.