Three former University of Colorado football players began the 2012 NFL season under the lights on "Primetime" last week. The season kicked off in a way it never had before, playing the first game on a Wednesday night in order to avoid programing conflicts with the Democratic National Convention. The last time an NFL game was played on a Wednesday was Sept. 22, 1948.
It didn't matter what day of the week it was for the Dallas Cowboys though, who defeated the defending Super Bowl champions, New York Giants, 24-17. Former Colorado fullback, Lawrence Vickers, paved the way for Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, who rushed for 131 yards on 20 carries.
Vickers enters his seventh season in the league, and first with Dallas, after being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round (180th pick overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft. After five seasons with the Browns, Vickers played the 2011 season with the Houston Texans before arriving in Dallas.
Vickers, a native of Beaumont, Texas (290 miles south of Dallas), will look to build on his reputation of being one of the toughest fullbacks in the National Football League by bull-dozing defenders all season for Murray and the Cowboys as they try to keep their dominate running attack going all the way to the playoffs.
The nation's eye turned to football again on Sunday night to watch Peyton Manning make his return to football and debut as a Denver Bronco. Manning quickly returned to vintage form, throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns to lead Denver to a 31-19 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Although Manning may have stolen the headlines, he was not the only Bronco making a return to the game in Denver. Former Buff defensive tackle, Justin Bannan, played for Denver in 2010 before spending the 2011 season with the St. Louis Rams. Sunday night, he made his return back to Denver as the Broncos starting defensive tackle.
Bannan and the rest of the Broncos D-Line put the pressure on Ben Roethlisberger all night. Early in the fourth quarter after a Pittsburgh touchdown, the Steelers decided to go for the two-point conversion which resulted in Bannan knocking the pass down incomplete. Denver would score on the next possession, convert their two-point play, and never relinquish the lead. Bannan is in his 11th season in the NFL having recorded 271 tackles, six sacks, and making 58 starts.
Finally, it was time for Monday Night Football and yet another opportunity for a Colorado Buffalo to appear on football's biggest stage. The Baltimore Ravens and former CU cornerback Jimmy Smith, played host to the Cincinnati Bengals, winning 44-13. Smith plays a part of one of the most feared defenses in the NFL which ranked in the top five of all defensive statistical categories in 2011. Baltimore drafted Smith with the 26th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and as a rookie, Smith recorded 20 tackles and two interceptions while playing in 12 games.
Notable: In only his second season, Nate Solder made his 17th career start for New England and now protects Tom Brady's blind side... Tyler Polumbus made his 22nd career start on Sunday, blocking for Washington's Robert Griffin III which allowed the first-year quarterback to set rookie records... Ryan Miller played in his first career NFL game Sunday after being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.