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How Each Team Measured up to Expectations in Week 1 of the NFL Season

Updated on September 10, 2014

NFL 2014

Matt Ryan helped the Falcons to exceed expectations in their season opening win over the Saints.
Matt Ryan helped the Falcons to exceed expectations in their season opening win over the Saints. | Source

High scoring games is the theme for week 1

With many high scoring matchups in week 1, playing defense was a real struggle for teams in the NFL openers. Some defenses found a way to get the job done in key situations, but overall the opening week left many defensive coordinators frustrated with their team's effort. While some teams may have met their expectations for week 1 with a win, very few teams were able to put together a defensive effort that they felt good about from start to finish.


New England Patriots - Failed to meet expectations with a road loss to the Dolphins, in which they were unable to sustain any scoring drives in the second half. On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins had possessions that lasted most of the second half to wear out the Patriots defense.

New York Jets - Met expectations by running the ball effectively and playing good enough defense against a lesser team that had to make the trip from the west coast to play the Jets at the Meadowlands.

Miami Dolphins - Exceeded expectations by dominating the line of scrimmage and coming away with a season opening win against the defending division champion New England Patriots.

Buffalo Bills - Exceeded expectations by playing a solid road game and stopping a prolific Bears offense. EJ Manuel's strong performance was not spectacular, but it was enough to get the win in a game where the Bills played well as a team.

Cincinnati Bengals - Met expectations by putting together numerous scoring drives and coming up with some key defensive plays to seal a road victory against a divisional opponent.

Pittsburgh Steelers - Met expectations by putting up a strong offensive showing combined with defensive weaknesses being exposed. A second half meltdown defensively led to the Steelers having to scrap for a three point win at home against a divisional opponent.

Baltimore Ravens - Failed to meet expectations by putting together a poor offensive showing at home against a divisional opponent. Joe Flacco's mistakes ultimately cost the Ravens the game after they took a slim lead in the second half because of their defense keeping them in the game.

Cleveland Browns - Met expectations by playing a strong second half on both sides of the ball, to get back into the game on the road against a veteran team that is a divisional opponent.

Indianapolis Colts - Met expectations by showing the ability to rally against one of the better defenses in football. They ultimately came up short after allowing too many points to a prolific offense on the field for the Denver Broncos.

Tennessee Titans - Exceeded expectations by putting together a strong defensive showing on the road against a 2013 playoff team. An efficient performance by quarterback Jake Locker, aided a strong running game in the win.

Jacksonville Jaguars - Exceeded expectations by staying in the ballgame well into the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles. A strong defensive effort led to a first half shutout, but mistakes by the Jaguars cost them in the second half when the Eagles put up 34 unanswered points to defeat them.

Houston Texans - Met expectations with a strong defensive showing in week one, that was combined with an efficient managing of the game by their quarterback on the offensive side of the ball. Limiting mistakes was key for Ryan Fitzpatrick in the win.

Denver Broncos - Met expectations with a 31 point offensive effort in their home opener, and a late defensive stand to seal the win by a seven point margin of victory.

Kansas City Chiefs - Failed to meet expectations by not giving their best offensive player enough touches, and letting the Titans offense have their way with their defense.

San Diego Chargers - Failed to meet expectations by not producing a very good offensive effort on the road against the Cardinals. Not being able to hold an 11 point lead that they had going into the fourth quarter, contributed to the loss.

Oakland Raiders - Met expectations by playing a competitive road game against the Jets. A successful debut for rookie quarterback Derrick Carr, who managed to keep his team in the ballgame with a late opportunity to win it coming up short.


Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles met expectations after facing near disaster in a first half that ended with the Jaguars having a 17-0 lead. An explosive offense and an opportunistic defense led the Eagles to 34 unanswered points for the win in the second half.

Dallas Cowboys - Failed to meet expectations by committing several unforced errors to help the 49ers put up a large first half point total against them in Dallas. Tony Romo's mistakes held his team back, but he was not the only one turning the ball over for the Cowboys on Sunday.

New York Giants - Failed to meet expectations by not putting on display their improved secondary. Calvin Johnson was open consistently throughout the night as the Giants were unable to communicate effectively enough to cover Detroit's best receiver.

Washington Redskins - Failed to meet expectations by only scoring six points in their opener on the road. Robert Griffin was not terrible, but he did not make enough possession extending plays to allow Washington to put touchdowns on the board.

Green Bay Packers - Failed to meet expectations by not staying in the game against Seattle after taking an early lead on them. Aaron Rodgers was efficient on short passes, but not good enough on any downfield passes to keep his team in the game.

Chicago Bears - Failed to meet expectations by only putting up 20 points in their home opener, along with allowing Buffalo's inexperienced offense to gain a tie in regulation and an overtime win at Soldier Field.

Detroit Lions - Exceeded expectations by putting up 35 points on a much improved Giants defense in their home opener. Detroit's defensive line was disruptive enough to keep the Giants from scoring more than 14 points.

Minnesota Vikings - Exceeded expectations by putting up 34 points against a very good Rams defense. They also held the Rams offense to only six points, which is impressive even though they are without Sam Bradford.

Carolina Panthers -Met expectations by shutting down the new look Buccaneers offense. Their offense was also efficient against a very solid Tampa Bay defensive unit in a 20 to 14 win.

New Orleans Saints - Failed to meet expectations by allowing nearly 600 yards to the Falcons offense, even though the Saints defense was highly thought of before week 1. The Saints offense met expectations, but were not able to outscore the offensive efforts of the Falcons in an overtime loss.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -Failed to meet expectations by not getting their passing game going until it was too late. Doug Martin also had a poor game, along with their defense being torched by Derek Anderson throwing to rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin.

Atlanta Falcons -Exceeded expectations by putting up nearly 600 yards of offense and 37 points to outscore a prolific New Orleans Saints offense in their home opener. Matt Ryan's career day paced the Falcons offense that got contributions from everyone.

Seattle Seahawks -Met expectations by picking up right where they left off last year, with a solid effort in defense of their super bowl title. Efficiency by Russell Wilson opened up space for the running game in a big game for Marshawn Lynch.

San Francisco 49ers -Met expectations with an opportunistic effort by their defense, combined with great games from quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the running game for the win at Dallas.

Arizona Cardinals - Exceeded expectations by defeating a very good Chargers team in their home opener. Led by a strong defensive effort in the win, a late game passing attack helped the Cardinals to two touchdowns.

St. Louis Rams -Failed to meet expectations by putting up a poor offensive effort against Minnesota, which kept their defense on the field for long enough to create in game fatigue. Neither side of the ball met expectations in the Rams loss to the Vikings.


While there were some very unexpected results in some of the games from Sunday, after just one game, only part of each team's story for the season has been created. With many games ahead, the teams that failed to meet expectations in their opener, could end up turning things around with much improved efforts in future games. For the teams that exceeded expectations, they hope to continue that trend moving forward with the opportunity to help turn their franchise's course around with successful seasons.


NFL 2014

Who had the most impressive win in week 1?

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