So the first week of NFL games is done and we learned a lot as well as got confirmation on what we expected. The underlying theme in the NFL this early is expected to the unexpected. Let’s look at some of the things that happened.
Patriots 33 Steelers 3
The New England Patriots will be a force. Just days after adding one of the most polarizing and dynamic figures in the NFL in Antonio Brown, they promptly dismantled the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-3 in the teams opener on Sunday night. The Patriots held Big Ben to 276 yards passing with no touchdowns and one interception. Also holding the Steelers to 32 yards rushing.
Offensively, the ageless Brady threw for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns. With the receiving corps being led by Phillip Dorsett (95 yards and 2 touchdowns). When Antonio Brown joins their ranks for next weeks game against Miami, the numbers put up have the potential to be very scary for opposing defenses.
How will the Steelers rebound next week against the 49ers?
Ravens 59 Dolphins 10
The evolution of Lamar Jackson. The resolve of Jackson to remain at quarterback when many were saying he would be better at running back has definitely been resolved. He lit up the Dolphins defense for 324 yards and 5 touchdowns. His new number one receiver Marquise Brown opened his rookie campaign with 147 yards and 2 touchdowns on 5 targets. Mark Andrews also added a 100 yard effort of his own. Newly acquired Mark Ingram added 100 yards and 2 touchdowns of his own.
Defensively, the Ravens entered with questions after an offseason that saw standouts Terrell Suggs, CJ Mosely, Eric Weddle, and Za’Darious Smith depart. The retooled unit held the Dolphins to 10 points and effectively eliminated the rushing option for Miami only allowing 21 yards. Also adding two interceptions and three sacks.
Is this the start of a statement season for Jackson and the Ravens? Will their stout defense and high flying offense continue into week two against the Cardinals and beyond? Will they be looking past Arizona to their week three showdown against the Chiefs?
The Dolphins definitely set the bar for mailing it in as the entire team seemed to be on different pages. Although with the rebuild the consensus was that the season would be difficult, seeing the “effort” of week 1 leaves a lot to be desired and angered about. Although the Ravens defense had only three sacks they did have six tackles for loss. Essentially abandoning the run with Kenyan Drake ( 4 carries 12 yards ). The defense looked unable to keep up with the Ravens offensive attack.
Up next for the Dolphins is a week two contest with the New England Patriots. The season just got exponentially longer for the Miami Dolphins and Dolphins fans.
Saints 30 Texans 28
The New Orleans Saints opened their 2019 campaign with the early game of the Monday night double header against the Houston Texans. The game certainly lived up to the hype of what a Monday night game should be.
Drew Brees who finished with 370 yards 2 touchdowns and 1 interception came out victorious on a last second field goal by Will Lutz successfully made a 58 yard field goal as time expired to secure the victory. Michael Thomas ( 123 yards ) and Ted Ginn ( 101 yards ) led the receiving corps for the Saints and Alvin Kamara continued his all purpose versatility with 97 yards rushing and 72 yards receiving on the day.
Defensively, the Saints sacked Deshaun Watson six times and added an interception. Although they did allow Watson to throw for 268 yards with three touchdowns as well as adding 40 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Preseason acquisition Carlos Hyde led the team on the ground with 83 yards. How will the Saints make adjustments to improve ahead of their NFC Championship rematch with the Los Angeles Rams?
Rams 30 Panthers 27
The Carolina Panthers clearly established that there offense will be led by Cam Newton but go through Christian McCaffrey. While Newton threw for 239 yards in the contest he failed to throw a touchdown while giving up an interception. McCaffrey blazed a trail by rushing for 128 yards and finding the end zone twice in the contest, he also accounted for 81 yards in the receiving game to lead in that category as well.
Defensively, the Panthers allowed 30 points, they effectively minimized the impact of Todd Gurley (97 yards rushing) and they held Jared Goff to 186 yards in the air with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. How will the Panthers adjust to the quick turnaround to battle division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night. Will McCaffrey follow up his workhorse performance of week 1 with a similar effort in week 2?
Vikings 28 Falcons 12
The Falcons opened on the road against the Vikings and certainly under performed. Although Matt Ryan did throw for 304 yards and 2 touchdowns, he did also throw 2 interceptions and the rushing attack was pedestrian for the Falcons as they finished with 74 yards on the ground as a team.
Defensively, the Falcons allowed Dalvin Cook to rush for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Vikings only attempted 10 passes the entire game. They only managed one sack and four tackles for loss. The Falcons will need to improve defensively as well as find a way to establish the run more as they head to week two and a contest against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bills 17 Jets 16
Heading into his second year as starter, Josh Allen began with a divisional game against the Jets. The game was a defensive battle comparing the score with those around the league. Allen finished with 254 yards on 24 completions adding a touchdown but surrendering 2 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and two fumbles. Allen did add a score rushing (38 yards rushing performance). Receiver John Brown led the Bills with finishing with 123 yards on seven receptions. Rookie Devin Singletary led the ground attack with 70 yards on the ground to go along with 28 yards receiving.
The defense did finish with four sacks and five tackles for loss. The unit did hold Le’Veon Bell to 92 all purpose yards and a single score. Newly acquired Jamison Crowder did get 99 yards receiving on 14 catches for the Jets.
What adjustments will Sean McDermott and company make as they get ready for the New York Giants in week 2? Will they remedy the miscues that led to the interceptions and fumbles?
Chiefs 40 Jaguars 26
The post Blake Bortles era could have certainly gotten off to a better start. Not only was it a loss by double digits, the newly acquired franchise quarterback, Nick Foles, went down with a broken collar bone.
On the bright side for the Jaguars, rookie Gardner Minshew the 6th round pick out of Washington State capitalized on the opportunity to take over, going 22 for 25 with 275 yards 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Leonard Fournette led the way for the Jaguars on the ground with 66 yards and adding another 28 yards receiving.
Defensively the Jaguars gave up 378 yards to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense as he also threw for 3 touchdowns. Sammy Watkins left the defense in his wake as he had a career day with 198 yards and all three of Mahomes’ touchdowns. Newly acquired LeSean McCoy led the way on the ground with 81 yards on 10 carries. Also in the game, Myles Jack was ejected after appearing to throw a punch at Sammy Watkins of the Chiefs. Time will tell if Jack gets any additional punishment from the league but as of now he is preparing for week 2 and a clash with the Houston Texans.
49ers 31 Buccaneers 17
The start of the Bruce Arians era in Tampa started with a loss as the Bucs fell to the 49ers in their home opener. In a game that many viewed as a revitalization of Jameis Winston, he struggled finishing with 194 yards 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. Ronald Jones led the way on the ground with 75 yards while Chris Godwin finished with 53 yards and the lone offensive touchdown.
Defensively, the Bucs held Jimmy Garappolo to 166 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception that resulted in a pick six. Also, limiting the rushing by the 49ers to 98 yards on the day with Raheem Mostert gaining the high 40 yards on the day.
All in all the Bucs have a lot of questions and miscues to fix and a short week to do so with a week 2 matchup against the Carolina Panthers coming on Thursday. Will the 3 interceptions be the norm or will Winston and company find their pace to win under new coach Bruce Arians? This Thursday will be a tell tale sign for Bucs fans everywhere.