By: Cory Vest
Week one of the NFL is in the books. Thursday’s opening game quickly reminded everybody that avoiding injury is every team’s toughest challenge. The Patriots were already dipping into their depth to start the season and were required to dive even deeper as the game against the Chiefs unfolded. Danny Amendola suffered a head injury while Dont’a Hightower, an anchor on defense at linebacker, left the game with a knee injury.
Kansas City lost their defensive leader for the season, as safety Eric Berry tore his Achilles tendon. Although the injury will hurt the Chiefs, they put the league on alert with their performance against the defending Super Bowl champs. Alex Smith torched the Pats as he played near perfect ball. While Tom Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass, Smith tossed four on the game. That wasn’t the only stat Smith put Brady to shame in. Smith went 28-35 for 368 yards and a QBR of 90.4; Brady went 16-36 for 267 yards and a QBR of 35.1. Smith was not the only one putting on an offensive show as rookie Kareem Hunt ran wild. Hunt racked up yards by land and air gobbling up a total of 246. Hunt rushed 17 times for 148 yards to go with 5 catches for 98 yards. Hunt found the end zone three times to boot. Hunt looks like a stud and the Chiefs made their name known around the league.
Speaking of rookie running backs, Hunt was not the only one making his NFL debut at the position. Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey, Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette, Vikings’ Delvin Cook, and Bears’ Tarik Cohen, all made their new teams proud. McCaffrey gained 47 yards on 13 rushes and 38 yards on 5 catches. Leonard Fournette toted the rock 26 times for the Jags, racking up 100 yards. Fournette punched it in for one touchdown and caught three balls for 24 yards as well. Delvin Cook set a record for rookie rushing yards in a Vikings’ debut. Cook broke Adrian Peterson’s record as AP watched from the opposing sideline. Cook turned his 22 carries into 127 rush yards. Tarik Cohen played the back-up role to Jordan Howard but made the most of his work. Cohen’s 5 touches went for 66 yards and his 8 catches racked up 47 yards and a touchdown. Look out for the rookies in the backfield this season.
While we are discussing the Bears, how about their performance against the Falcons. The Bears lost by only 6 points. The Bears had four chances of goal-to-go but could not pull off a game winning touchdown. The pesky performance could be signs of an improved Chicago team that could cause fits for the opposition.
Since we’re skimming the bottom of the league, we might as well mention the Browns and their tightly played contest against the much mightier Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns lost by just 3 points. DeShone Kizer made his first start as an NFL quarterback for the Browns and did fairly well. The Browns may have found a quarterback that lasts longer than a season.
Quarterback play is key when it comes to the NFL. Just ask the Indianapolis Colts who appear to be the new Cleveland Browns of the league. Without Andrew Luck, the Colts stumbled, faltered, and just fell flat in their season opener. Taking full advantage of the poor play were the Rams of Los Angeles. A team that knows a thing or two about ineffectiveness, the Rams went from lowest scoring team in the league last year to posting the most points in week one this year. Goff showed signs of improvement under new head coach Sean McVay, who recorded his first win as a head coach. Wade Phillips showed off his defensive intelligence as the Rams defense recorded two pick sixes and held the Colts’ offense out of the end zone.
The end zone was hard to find for most teams in week 1 as several teams struggled to get their footing. While some teams got their act together, others did not. The Giants, 49ers, Bengals, and Seahawks all failed to find the end zone themselves. The Saints, Titans, Jets, and Cowboys, crossed the goal line just once.
Sam Bradford had no problem leading his team to the end zone as his Vikings showed the league what they’re capable of with their stellar performance on both sides of the ball. Bradford proved that when given time, he is capable of dropping dimes. Bradford went 27-32 for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns. Look out for Bradford and the Vikings.
Look out for your job Marvin Lewis. As previously stated, the Bengals did not record a touchdown in their game against their division foes the Baltimore Ravens. Not only did the Bengals fail to put up 6, they failed to put up a single point. Andy Dalton did his best to keep the zero on the board for his team as he threw four interceptions on the day. Lewis could be without a job if the Bengals do not turn things around fast.
With week two approaching, many questions will look to be answered. Will the Patriots rebound? Will the Rams continue to rack up the points? Will rookie running backs continue to take the league by storm? Are the Chiefs and Vikings going to continue their domination? Sit back, relax, and take in the football.