With the Lockout in the rear view, and ten years of labor peace scheduled, the NFL kicked off Week 1 in spectacular fashion. As always there were plenty of ups, downs and surprises.

The Saints and Packers opened the season in style with 76 points of offense between them and the defending Super Bowl Champions needing an untimed down to preserve the win over the Saints. Who could have predicted that the Buffalo Bills would go into Kansas City and lay a beat down on the defending AFC West Champs and putting 41 points on the board?

The NFL is back and I am already eagerly awaiting Week 2.

Here’s a look back at the Week 1 heroes and goats.

The Good:

NFL 9/11 RibbonThe Entire NFL
On a day when our nation remembered the events of September 11, 2001, the National Football League took time out at every stadium to honor those that were lost on that tragic day. From allowing players to wear special cleats and gloves, to the 9/11 memorial ribbons painted on the field and sewed on the players jersey’s, and to the giant flags that were unfolded to cover the fields, the NFL made sure we did not have to choose between the sadness of the day and the joy of the sport we so enjoy. Kudos to you NFL and welcome back!

Tom BradyQB Tom Brady Shreds the Fins
Just in case anyone thought the Patriots were going to be in trouble after their preseason debacle against the Lions, Tom Brady answered with a furious, “Don’t think so!” Brady torched the Dolphins on Monday Night Football and finished the night completing 32 of 48 passes for 517-yards, four TDs and a QB rating of 121.6. Brady and the Patriots served notice that they are ready to lay claim to the AFC.

Ravens Defense
Prior to the Steelers/Ravens game, Pittsburgh nose tackle Casey Hampton took some shots at the Baltimore Ravens saying,

They talk a whole lot. They don’t like us. I think they don’t like us a lot more than we don’t like them. I think they have to talk themselves into it, kind of, know what I mean? Since I’ve been here, we’ve beat them a lot more than they beat us. They have to talk about it a whole lot.

The Ravens defense shut down the Steelers and forced seven turnovers in the game as they won in a blowout, 35-7. Maybe next time the Steelers play the Ravens, Hampton will keep his big mouth shut.

Sebastian Janikowski Celebrates Record Tying KickKickers Need Love Too
If you know me, you know I generally am not high on kickers. On Monday night, the Raiders who pride themselves on their impressive kicking game, got a chance to show what they keep talking about. In the pouring rain at Invesco Field at Mile High, Sebastian Janikowski kicked an NFL record tying 63-yard field goal against the Denver Broncos at the end of the first half. Good thing too, since the Raiders escaped Denver with a 3 point win.

Nick Folk’s Revenge. After being released by the Dallas Cowboys near the end of the 2009 season, On 9/11, in front of New York, Folk was put in the spotlight and Nick Folk had lost his confidence in his kicking game. Folk got picked up by the Jets in 2010 and on Sunday night, Folk booted a 50-yard field goal with 38 seconds left in the game to lift the Jets and the city of New York over the Cowboys.

The Bad:

Ryan FitzpatrickChiefs Get Blown Out at Home
Kansas City suffered its most lopsided season-opening loss in team history and the worst home loss by the franchise in 35 years ago. The Chiefs offense never got going and it all turned south with the opening kickoff. Dexter McCluster fumbled the return and Buffalo took advantage of the great field position and quickly scored on a Ryan Fitzpatrick to Scott Chandler connection quickly from 4 yards out for a 7-0 lead. The Bills scored later in the first quarter to take a 14-0 lead and never looked back. The Chiefs have to be concerned that their offense was only able to muster slightly over 200-yards of total offense.

Physically not ready for PrimeTime
There seems to be a lack of conditioning in the early part of the season. Players were getting dehydrated, experiencing muscle cramps or showing other signs of fatigue. With no mini camps or team work out sessions happening due to the Lockout, some players showed that they were certainly not ready to play four grueling quarters of football.

Dropped Pass in KCToo Many Dropped Passes
Although not totally convinced that this is a lasting effect from the Lockout, during Sunday’s games, the league tracked 56 dropped passes. Every team in the league, except Arizona, Green Bay, New England and Seattle, was credited with at least one dropped pass. This stat needs to be combined with interceptions and the league needs to consider hanging the receiver with an INT should a dropped pass result in an interception.

And The Ugly:

Ben RoethlisbergerQB Ben Roelisthberger’s Horrible Day
Ben Roethlisberger had an aweful outing against the Baltimore Ravens turning the ball over 5 times in a 35-7 loss on the road. Big Ben was tormented all day long, being sacked 4 times and hit on numerous other occasions causing the Quarterback to throw three interceptions and fumbling the ball away twice. Roelisthberger usually shows a little more mobility than what he showed in Week 1. Not all of it was Big Ben’s fault. His offensive line did not help very much and the Steelers lost Willie Colon to a season ending injury. Either way, the offensive line will need to improve significantly if the Steelers expect better quarterback play from Ben.

Peyton ManningPeyton Manning-less Colts
The Colts without Peyton Manning at the helm looked like a lost and confused puppy dog, looking for a bone. Most expected the Colts offense to struggle without their leader out on the field calling the shots, but the Colts defense and special teams units were equally inadequate. The defense allowed 27 points in the first half alone and the special teams gave up a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown in the 2nd quarter to Jacoby Jones. The Colts need to turn the ship around in a hurry if they expect to have any chance this season until Manning is healthy enough to step on the field.