The first quarter of the 2011 NFL season is in the books. The Bills and 49ers are off to a surprising starts while the Packers and Lions are the only 4-0 teams. We have also seen some crazy passing and receiving numbers. With that, lets hand out some first quarter awards. Some were easy picks, others were more difficult.
First Quarter Offensive Rookie: QB Cam Newton, Carolina. The #1 overall pick is completing almost 60% of his passes and averaging 346 yards passing per game with limited talent around him. He has basically rejuvenated the career of WR Steve Smith.
Honorable Mention: QB Andy Dalton, Cincinnati, and WR Julio Jones, Atlanta.
First Quarter Defensive Rookie: DE Ryan Kerrigan, Washington. Kerrigan has been impressive for a Washington team that is exceeding expectations. He has 2.5 sacks, four pass defenses, an interception returned for a score and two forced fumbles.
Honorable Mention: LB Von Miller, Denver and LB Mason Foster, Tampa Bay.
First Quarter Coach: Chan Gailey, Buffalo. After the preseason, many experts thought the Bills were all-in for the Andrew Luck-athon. Gailey is using a roster of undrafted free agents and low round picks to be the pleasant surprise of the early season. No one expected the Bills to be a confident 3-1 team at this point.
Honorable Mention: Jim Schwartz, Detroit and Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco.
First Quarter Disappointing Team: Philadelphia Eagles. Taking a page out of Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s playbook, the Eagles won the off-season with many big name free agent signings including one to dub the Eagles the “Dream Team.” Philly has been more of a nightmare and are barely looking like a .500 team, much less a Super Bowl contender.
Dishonorable Mention: Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers.
First Quarter Surprise Team: Buffalo Bills. Although they were upended by Cincinnati this week, Buffalo was thought to be the worst team in the NFL heading into the season, not the leaders of the tough AFC East after four weeks. The test for the Bills will be in these next four games as they play Philadelphia, New York Giants, Washington and the New York Jets.
Honorable Mention: Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers.
First Quarter Disappointing Player: RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee. You would think with the Titans off to an impressive 3-1 start that the alleged best player in the NFL would be a major part of the success. After pouting all training camp, claiming he should get quarterback money which he eventually got, he has not at all lived up to the paycheck he now cashes. Johnson currently sits 24th in the NFL in rushing with only 199 yards in four games for a pathetic 2.9 average per carry.
Dishonorable Mention: QB Kerry Collins, Indianapolis and WR Chad Ochocinco, New England.
First Quarter Defensive MVP: CB Ed Reed, Baltimore. This was a tough one, but Reed has been impressive as the Ravens defense has looked like the vintage Ravens of the early 2000’s. Reed has six passes defended, two picks, a forced fumble, a sack to go along with 17 tackles and is consistently making offenses rethink their game plan.
Honorable Mention: LB Ray Lewis, Baltimore and DE Jared Allen, Minnesota.
First Quarter Offensive MVP: QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay. This may have been the easiest award to hand out. Rodgers is completing a ridiculous 73% of his passes while being 4th in yards, 2nd in touchdown passes leading the top offense in the NFL.
Honorable Mention: WR Wes Welker, New England and QB Drew Brees.