What We Learned From Week One
by Dominic Stearn
This has arguably been one of the most anticipated NFL season ever. Massive contracts, holdouts, national anthem protests, and some questionable new rules have kept Americans impatiently waiting for the NFL to return. Week one lived up to the hype. Late game thrillers, unbelievable upsets, and high scoring games made for an exciting weekend. Here’s what we learned from Week one.
Teams that are Legit:
The Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs were coming off a depressing playoff loss and leaving their franchise quarterback. They were underdogs playing on the road against the favorite to win the AFC West, and dominated. Patrick Mahomes looked like a future superstar, and his connection with Tyreek Hill will be lethal. If the defense holds up, I expect the Chiefs to be playing in January again.
The Baltimore Ravens: Their defense looked amazing. Yes, they were facing Nathan Peterman. However, anytime you can hold a team in the NFL to 3 points and 153 yards, you played extremely well. The question for Baltimore was the offense. They answered the bell and dropped 47 points on a good defense. If the offense can hold onto the ball, Baltimore could give the Steelers a run for their money in the AFC North.
The New York Jets: J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS! The New York defense showed up in week one on the road, intercepting Matthew stafford 4 times, and Matt Cassel another time. Not to mention, Rookie Sam Darnold threw 2 TD passes after throwing a pick-six on his first pass. This team is young and talented.
Teams that aren’t legit:
The Tennessee Titans: That awkward moment when your “elite” defense allows 27 points to Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins. If Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense didn’t put up 17 in the 4th quarter, they would have been blown out.
The New Orleans Saints: The revamped Saints defense got exposed by Ryan Fitzpatrick and the underwhelming Buccaneers offense. Alvin Kamara, Drew Brees, and Michael Thomas did not miss a beat. If the Saints want to return to the Postseason in a very competitive division, the defense needs to bounce back quickly.
Players that proved their worth:
Khalil Mack: The Bears recently acquired Mack from the Raiders for multiple first round picks. Then, the Bears paid him over 100 million dollars. All he did was go out and record the best half of football in defensive history. He recorded a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception and a touchdown. Also, the Raiders defense looked lost without him. Not to mention, he was on a snap count. Watch out NFC North.
Odell Beckham Jr.: Odell became the highest paid receiver ever. His week one matchup was slated against two all-pro cornerbacks, Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. OBJ racked in 111 yards on 11 catches. Eli Manning also overthrew him multiple times in the endzone. The Giants have their top dog for years to come.
Todd Gurley: The L.A. running back led the NFL in scrimmage yards a year ago. He was rewarded a 4-year, $60 million dollar extension. Against the Raiders he tallied 108 rush yards and 39 receiving yards. The Rams dominated the Raiders, largely because of Todd’s performance.
Players that didn’t live up to the Hype:
Jimmy Garoppolo: Jimmy received a massive contract this offseason, despite only starting 5 games last season. His season opener was against one of the best defenses in the NFL. While his team lost, Jimmy missed out on multiple opportunities. Tight end George Kittle was open in the endzone multiple times. Jimmy missed him every time. Jimmy also made some great plays, but he needs to clean up some stuff before the 49ers can make the playoffs.
Saquon Barkley: If you look at his statline, you would think Saquon had a great game. 18 carries for 106 yards and touchdown is solid. However, if you take away his 68 yard TD, he had just over 2 yards per carry. Granted, that 68 yard run was phenomenal, but Saquon did not have a good game.
Ben Roethlisberger: Ben turned the ball over 5 times against the Cleveland Browns. He tied a team who won one game the past two seasons with a quarterback who only completed 15 of his 40 passes. Ben needs to figure it out, because he has endless talent around him.
Matthew Stafford: Often regarded as an elite QB, Stafford had very high expectations coming into this season. He’s in the beginning of a large contract, so he’s expected to perform week in and week out. His performance in week one was horrible. After the game, he admitted the loss was his fault. Stafford needs to play well if the Lions want any chance of making the playoffs.
Week one was fantastic. Don’t expect the rest of the season to be any different.