The first week of the NFL season is in the books and what an opening week it was. Every team opened with a clean slate with the hope of winning the Super Bowl in February. Some preseason favorites showed why they are favorites, while other teams did not show that same promise. However, it is only week one, so there is plenty of time to rebound.
There was plenty of good and bad throughout the league during the NFL opening week.
Patrick Mahomes – Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs handed the keys to the kingdom to second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes by trading away Alex Smith in the offseason. So far, so good for Kansas City and Mahomes, who led the team to a 38-38 victory over divisional foe Los Angeles Chargers. Mahomes had himself a day by throwing for 256 yards and four touchdowns, showing off his cannon-like arm and ability to maneuver in and out of the pocket. With a plethora of weapons at his disposal, Mahomes will look to continue his progression in the NFL.
The Aaron Rodgers-led comeback– The Green Bay Packers nearly saw the 2018 season go up in smoke when star quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with what looked like a gruesome knee injury. Rodgers left the field to be examined and that’s when worry took over the Packer fan base. Rodgers jogged back to the sideline in the fourth quarter where he would then re-enter the game and lead the Packers to a come-from-behind victory over the Chicago Bears. Rodgers threw for 275 yards and a trio of touchdowns, highlighted by the 75-yard pitch and catch to Randall Cobb to take the lead for good.
The New York Jets have their franchise quarterback – The first career play of Sam Darnold’s NFL career could not have gone worse. Darnold joined the likes of Jameis Winston (2015) and Brett Favre (1991) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to have their first career pass attempt intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Yikes. However, Darnold would respond well and show Jets fans why he is their guy. As if the pick-six never happened, Darnold finished 16-21 for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a beautifully thrown, 41-yard pass to Robby Anderson. Darnold was victorious in his NFL debut in beat-down fashion as the Jets beat the Detroit Lions 48-17.
There’s no tying in football! – Wait, what? There actually is tying in football? Oh.
The Cleveland Browns, who finished without a victory last season, remained winless, yet snapped a 13-year opening day losing streak by tying the Pittsburgh Steelers 21 all. This was the first time since 1971 that there was a tie on the opening day of the season. Cleveland could not take advantage of six Pittsburgh turnovers. The Steelers missed a field goal in overtime and then the Browns had the game-winning field goal attempt blocked, go figure. This was a sloppy game that was played in a steady rain all afternoon, so it’s only fitting it ended without a decisive winner.
Atlanta Falcons in the red zone – Stop me if you’ve heard this before; the Atlanta Falcons struggled in the red zone. Oh, you stopped me. That is because in 2017 the Falcons struggled mightily in the red zone, often coming up empty or with minimal points. In the opening game of the 2018 season, these issues came back to haunt Atlanta in an 18-12 loss to the reigning, defending, Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons were 2-5 inside the Eagles 20, with a touchdown, a field goal, interception, turnover on downs and a failed attempt to get Julio Jones the ball as time expired. Matt Ryan was 1-9 with the interception in the red zone.
Nathan Peterman – There is bad quarterback play and then there is Nathan Peterman bad quarterback play. Peterman, the second-year man out of Pitt, was abysmal in the season opening 47-3 thrashing at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. Peterman finished 5-18 for 24 yards and two interceptions, while being sacked three times. This isn’t even his worst game, as he finished 6-14 for 66 yards and five interceptions in the first half in a loss to the Chargers last season. Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen (7th overall) has been named the starter for Week 2, against ironically enough, the Chargers.
New head coaches – Seven different teams entered the 2018 campaign with a different head coach than what they ended with in 2017. Of all those teams and new head coaches, not one came away victorious in Week 1, going 0-7. On the bright side, the only way to go is up, right?