(Image Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Written By: Matt Di Domenico
This past week, the NFL launched the 2021 season and there was a lot of great play that was produced on the football fields this past week. However, there are always going to be winners and losers at the end of each week played. Below are the top 3 winners and losers from week #1 in the NFL.
1. QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
The NFL's reigning MVP had a tough sled against the New Orleans Saints in week #1. The Green Bay Packers and starting QB Aaron Rodgers had to play the game at TIAA Bank Field due to Hurricane Ida. Rodgers did not play well whatsoever and lost to the Saints with a final score of 38-3. Rodgers went 15/28 for 133 yards and 2 INTs. It was an ugly performance for Rodgers and certainly, he was the worst player on any field this week. Obviously, Rodgers needs to put this game behind him and get ready for the Detroit Lions on MNF this coming week. Questions of sitting out the entire preseason are coming to call as the reason behind the ugly game for Rodgers. Many others feel the drama-filled off-season could have something to do with the game as well, but I am not buying that narrative just yet.
2. Tennessee Titans Offensive Line
Games are often won in the trenches and the Tennessee Titans offensive line did not show up against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The line was so bad that they could not create open lanes for Derrick Henry to explode into. The offensive line could not pass protect as well to give Ryan Tannehill time to find open receivers. Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones completely took over this game with 5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Titans LT Taylor Lewan even thanked Jones on Twitter after the game for embarrassing him because it is only going to make him better as a player. This game ended with the final score of 38-13 and it showed that the Titans offensive line needs to get back to the drawing board for week #2.
3. Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
Head Coach Sean McDermott simply was outcoached in this game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin simply outsmarted McDermott and it was very clear. Some of the decisions made by McDermott when it came to play calls in this game led to the loss for the Buffalo Bills. On 4th&1 with 13:42 left in the 4th quarter, the Bills decided to go for it, which was not a horrible decision, just the play call to have an out-route pass to Devin Singletary made no sense. McDermott and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll need to come up with a better way to get this Bills running game going as well. Design QB runs certainly are not going to get the job done and puts your franchise QB Josh Allen in danger of getting hurt. The Bills and McDermott will have to bounce back next week against the Miami Dolphins.
1. OLB Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
The presence of OLB Chandler Jones certainly was the main reason why the Arizona Cardinals beat the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Jones simply was a complete nightmare for the Titans offensive line. The dominating final score was 38 to 13 mainly because of #55. Jones was continuously pressuring Titans QB Ryan Tannehill throughout the entire game. The final stat line for Jones was 6 total tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. When you have an edge rusher that can put up those types of numbers, then it is going to be very hard for you to lose. Jones certainly will look to keep up the success next week against the Minnesota Vikings whose offensive line certainly has not been the best over the past couple of years.
2. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes was able to put on a show and conduct a 2nd half comeback against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 33-29 win against a very talented Browns team. Mahomes was on fire the entire game. Mahomes went 27/36 for 337 passing yards and had 4 total TDs. Year after year, Mahomes shows why he is one of, if not the best NFL player in the league. After losing in the Super Bowl last year to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mahomes has this Chiefs team already going in the right direction. This team should be one of the top dogs all year and certainly, Mahomes will be leading the way.
3. RB Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
A dual-threat RB that showed that he can be one of the best RBs in the NFL this season. That RB is Joe Mixon from the Cincinnati Bengals and he had quite the day against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Mixon had 150 total yards and 1 rushing TD against this Mike Zimmer-led defense. What is even better is Mixon helped lead the Bengals to a win in OT. Mixon is a shifty back that can do multiple things out of the backfield. Being a dual-threat back simply causes nightmares for opposing defenses. Expect Mixon to continue making plays for this Bengals team in 2021 if he remains healthy. Mixon has had problems in the past with his health so 2021 will be a big season and challenge for #28.