Peyton Manning's still got it. So does Randy Moss, to some extent.
And it sure didn't take long for Robert Griffin III to translate his magic act from the college ranks into the pro game.
And if Adrian Peterson's not yet 100 percent, it's really going to be a sight to behold when he is.
The replacement officials? Actually, it wasn't all that bad. Certainly a better stand-in result than that of the New Orleans Saints, whose poor first impression suggests having a third-string head coach can be equally as detrimental as being forced to start a No. 3 quarterback.
Those are just a few of the knee-jerk reactions from the opening Sunday of the 2012 NFL season, a weekend that also may have foreshadowed a changing of the guard in the NFC hierarchy and the never-boring New York Jets showing once again that their so-called problems have been blown way out of proportion by the overzealous Manhattan media.
Let's first begin with Manning, undeniably the headline attraction of a Week 1 schedule that delivered more than its share of surprises and spectacular moments. The storied quarterback and new Denver Broncos intended savior did show a sprinkle of rust at the outset of his first real game action in 20 months during Sunday's marquee matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but any rough patches the four-time league MVP's long layoff may have brought about were quickly smoothed out with a second-half display that was vintage Manning.
The 36-year-old was nothing short of surgical against a Pittsburgh defense -- albeit one without top pass rusher James Harrison and stabilizing safety Ryan Clark -- that yielded the fewest yards through the air in the NFL last season, leading a 24-point post-intermission uprising that propelled the Broncos to a 31-19 victory.
Manning connected on a pinpoint 9-of-12 throws for 155 yards and two touchdowns after the break, unequivocally proving that if even he's not quite the same player following a deluge of career-threatening neck surgeries, he's still plenty good enough to succeed.
Moss also made a mark in his much-anticipated return to the NFL after a one- year absence, with the veteran wide receiver and highest profile offseason addition of the San Francisco 49ers catching four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown despite a limited amount of snaps in Sunday afternoon's main-event with Green Bay.
However, Moss ultimately wound up taking a back seat to quarterback Alex Smith and a stellar San Francisco defense, the two most critical factors to the Niners' 30-22 toppling of the mighty Packers at Lambeau Field that may have sent another signal of an upcoming shift in the NFC's balance of power.
Smith outplayed his more heralded colleague from the 2005 draft class, Aaron Rodgers, with an impressively sharp 20-of-26, 211-yard, two-touchdown effort. The former No. 1 overall pick did have an easier test than his counterpart, though, with Rodgers and Green Bay's usually prolific offense stopped cold in their tracks by a smothering 49ers' stop unit that held the NFL's highest- scoring team from 2011 to a mere seven points over the first three quarters.
The Packers weren't the only NFC heavyweight to be rendered uncustomarily out of sync on opening weekend, with the New York Giants and New Orleans also putting forth sloppy outings that led to home defeats. That's the last three Super Bowl champions all losing, and each falling on its home turf, nonetheless.
Though none of those perennial contenders should be counted out based on one bad game, especially with each owning a world-class quarterback on the roster, it's not to early to begin questioning whether the Packers, Giants or Saints are in danger of a status slip.
And when witnessing San Francisco's all-around mastery on Sunday, Dallas' notice-serving win over the defending champion Giants in New Jersey on Wednesday and a seemingly soaring Atlanta team's 40-24 decimation on the road against a short-handed Kansas City squad, there appears to be no shortage of threats to the throne.
The suspension-leveled Saints may have the toughest road to remaining on top after looking dangerously shaky on both sides of the ball in a startling 40-32 ousting by the upstart Washington Redskins, but to pin the loss solely on fill- in head coach Aaron Kromer calling the shots while Sean Payton remains in exile wouldn't be giving near enough credit to either Griffin or his Washington teammates.
On a day when the other three quarterbacks taken in the first round of April's draft combined for one touchdown pass, 10 interceptions and a 47 percent completion rate (Cleveland's Brandon Weeden was particularly abysmal), Griffin was a picture of both poise and precision in an absolutely dazzling debut.
The 2011 Heisman Trophy recipient shredded a disheveled New Orleans defense for 320 yards and two scores while hitting on a crisp 19-of-26 throws and confidently directing the Redskins to 20 points (two touchdowns, two field goals) on his first four pro possessions.
Washington's defense more than rose to the occasion as well, forcing three turnovers and continually rendering Drew Brees and the Saints' record-setting attack to a shell of its normal self. New Orleans converted a substandard 2- of-11 third-down attempts, an area where perhaps Payton's creative play-calling was missed the most.
Kudos also is in order for Peterson, who showed little if any effects less than nine months removed from a devastating knee injury in Minnesota's encouraging 26-23 overtime win over Jacksonville, and the Jets for their scoreboard-lighting outburst in Sunday's 48-28 blowout of a Buffalo outfit that had been getting an awful lot of positive preseason press as a potential team on the rise.
Peterson rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries in his first game appearance since tearing both the ACL and MCL in left knee last Christmas Eve, further reinforcing his reputation as both one of the sport's elite talents and supreme medical marvels.
"I told him afterward, 'I'm not sure you weren't just faking that ACL,'" said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier. "He looked pretty good to me."
The Jets, meanwhile, answered the army of critics predicting impending doom for an offense that didn't produce a single touchdown from its regulars in three preseason appearances with a statement even louder than any that even ever-boisterous head coach Rex Ryan could have made.
The unit put up four of them against the Bills' supposedly improved defense in addition to getting touchdowns on defense and special teams, with quarterback Mark Sanchez in turn silencing the Tim Tebow supporters with a very solid 19- of-27, 266-yard, three-touchdown output.
And finally, it's time to give some recognition to the replacement referees for an overall credible job while operating under an intense microscope in their first round of games.
Yes, there were missed calls and a few head-scratching moments, such as an error over timeouts in the final stages of the Seattle-Arizona contest, but the weekend was largely devoid of any major controversy and not anywhere near the disaster many were envisioning. Some of the regular officials should be getting awfully nervous about their future job security if the standoff between the league and NFL Referees Association continues to drag on.
Just another example of expect the unexpected when it comes to the NFL.