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NFL Memo: Best, worst of Week 1

New York Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress celebrates

New York Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress celebrates his 26-yard touchdown reception with teammates Dustin Keller, left, and D'Brickashaw Ferguson during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys. (Sept. 11, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

With Week 1 nearly in the books – two Monday night games to go with Pats at Dolphins and Raiders at Broncos – we look back at the best and worst of Kickoff Weekend.

• Jet of the week: Plaxico Burress. The former Giants' wide receiver hadn’t played in more than two seasons, but came up with a huge touchdown catch in the fourth quarter to help the Jets rally from a 14-point deficit.

• Giant of the week: Hakeem Nicks. The third-year wide receiver had 7 catches for 122 yards in an otherwise dismal game for the Giants in a 28-14 loss to the Redskins.

• Offensive player of the week: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers. Decimated the Saints’ defense with a near perfect effort on Thursday night. Threw for 312 yards and three TDs in his first game since that MVP performance in the Super Bowl.

• Defensive player of the week: Ed Reed, S, Ravens. Had two of Ben Roethlisberger’s three interceptions in an absolute annihilation of the Steelers in the rematch of last year’s AFC divisional playoff game.

• Special teams player of the week: Joe McKnight, Jets. He’s still waiting to make an impact as a running back, but McKnight’s blocked punt in the fourth quarter last night that led to a touchdown return keyed the Jets’ remarkable comeback.

• Rookie of the Week: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers. With no off-season work because of the lockout, and with only a few weeks of training camp, Newton looked terrific against the Cardinals, throwing for 422 yards, two TDs and an interceptions. Only thing missing was the win, but that wasn’t his fault.

• Best game, Part I: Packers 42, Saints 34. Couldn’t have asked for a more thrilling, back-and-forth game than the very first game of the season Thursday night in Green Bay. Brilliant quarterback play from Aaron Rodgers, slightly less so from Drew Brees, and the game not being decided until there was literally no time left on the clock. Phenomenal.

• Best game, Part II: Jets 27, Cowboys 24. This actually should have been a Cowboys’ blowout win, but the Jets can thank Tony Romo for giving it all away with a fumble and an interception in the fourth quarter. Shades of the Jets’ Monday Night Miracle in 2000 against the Dolphins.

• Worst game: Bengals 27, Browns 17. Two bad teams slogging it out in Cleveland. The score was close, but the play was rough.

• In-your-face of the week: Bills 41, Chiefs 7. Ok, so we figured Buffalo might be marginally better in Year 2 under Chan Gailey. But this? Gailey went back to Kansas City, where he had a cup of coffee as Todd Haley’s offensive coordinator in 2009 before quitting prior to the season opener, and thumped the Chiefs in one of the most embarrassing results in franchise history.

• Demoralizing game the week: Texans 34, Colts 7. We all knew life without Peyton Manning would be bad. But this bad?

• Defensive game the week, Part I: Ravens 35, Steelers 7. The Ravens forced the Steelers into as many turnovers as they allowed points: 7. Roethlisberger had one of his worst games with three picks and a lost fumble.

• Defensive game of the week, Part II: Bears 30, Falcons 12. Chicago destroyed a Falcons team that had the best record (13-3) in the NFC last year. Matt Ryan threw for 319 yards, but mostly in garbage time. No TDs, one pick.

• Streak of the week: The Browns are now 1-12 in openers since the team resumed operations in Cleveland in 1999. Sunday’s loss dropped them to 1-11 at home in that span. Awful.

Hollow stat of the week: In a 34-7 loss to the Texans, Kerry Collins passed Joe Montana (40,551) for 10th playce on the all-time passing yardage list
 

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