ATLANTA FALCONS (1-0)
Coming into the 2006 NFL season the Atlanta Falcons had a need at kicker, well after the preseason showing by Michael Koenen it looks like they found their kicker. Koenen hit four kicks, one in each quarter. He had kicks of 44, 50, 45, and the game winning kick with time expiring 40. Aside from Koenen the Falcons had some players who stuck out in this game, the first person who comes to mind is rookie RB Jerious Norwood, wow does this kid have speed. He showed it off on a 34 yard pass from Bryan Randall, Norwood finished the game with 7 carries for 22 yards, and average of 3.1, on the receiving end Norwood made 2 catches for 71 yards, and that touchdown. Randall looked the best at QB, making one nice 29 yard run and hooking up with Kevin Youngblood and Fells on a couple of passes. As for the starters, Vick went 3 for 4 with 26 yards passing and looked good out of the pocket. Michael Jenkins made a nice catch over Asante Samuel for a touchdown. All and all it was a good performance from the entire Falcons team.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (0-1)
The Patriots got a long look at second year quarterback Matt Cassel, in the beginning Cassel looked bad, missing open WR’s and standing in the pocket to long. However, as the game progressed so did Cassel often hitting rookie Garrett Mills and Patrick Cobbs. Before Cassel got in the game, Brady and about half of the starters led the Patriots to a successful three points (made my Gramatica). Reche Caldwell looked shaky with a touchdown drop, not a good way to forget about Deion Branch and David Givens. However, rookie RB Laurence Maroney showed what he’ll do for the team, starting by rushing for 12 yards on his first carry and 27 yards on his second. Maroney ended the game with 66 yards on 9 carries, a 7.3 average. Maroney wasn’t the only Patriots rookie RB who had a nice game, Patrick Cobbs the rookie from North Texas had a nice screen pass that got in the endzone and ran the ball well, rushing for 25 yards on 5 carries. The Patriots defense looked just alright, but it did have it’s moments like when undrafted rookie Pierre Woods sacked Matt Schaub and then Santonio Thomas and Jonathan Sullivan, both DT’s, made some nice plays. And finally the kicking battle looks dead even, Gramatica did hit two field goals but they were only 26 and 30 yards, Gostkowski hit one field goal which was a 34 yarder.
Player of the Game – Michael Koenen (Kicker)