Atlanta Falcons (0-1) At Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Final Score: Eagles 18, Falcons 12
Recap: Last season, the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles played in the best playoff game of from either conference. That game ended with a Matt Ryan pass on fourth down that fell incomplete to star receiver Julio Jones. And lo and behold, in yesterday’s NFL kickoff game, same location, same play, different side of the endzone, same target, same result, and the Eagles managed to squeak by the Falcons in a game where neither team was even close to their best. Injuries kept piling up due to an hour-long weather delay, and penalties marred the contest, with 26 combined flags being thrown.
Atlanta’s offense completely sputtered in the red zone again, going one for five in the game and bringing major concerns about their team. Rookie Calvin Ridley was only targeted twice in the contest, and once the second half started, whatever momentum the Falcons had was taken away when the NFL’s catch rule reared its ugly head again. Julio had a double move on Jalen Mills, and the pass by Ryan was bobbled, but Jones was able to pin the ball to his shoulder blade while sliding out of bounds. Should be a catch under the new rule, right? Wrong. The referees ruled the pass incomplete, and Atlanta couldn’t recover.
Matt Ryan, QB: 21/43, 251 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
Devonta Freeman, RB: 6 rush, 36 yds, 6.0 ypc
Julio Jones, WR: 10 rec, 169 yds, 0 TD, 1 rush, 11 yds
Nick Foles, QB: 19/34, 117 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
Jay Ajayi, RB: 15 rush, 62 yds, 2 TD, 4.1 ypc
Nelson Agholor: 8 rec, 33 yds, 1 rush, 16 yds
Written by: Joe Carlino
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) At Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)
Final Score: Bengals 34, Colts 23
In what turned out to be a fairly entertaining game, the Bengals outlasted the Colts 34-23. Overall, Andrew Luck looked solid, completing 39 of his 53 pass attempts. Indy’s rushing attack was subpar, with less than 3.5 yards per carry. The Bengals’ offensive attack was led by Joe Mixon, who had 149 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. I was also impressed with the way Andy Dalton bounced back from a terrible interception early in the game. He finished with just 7 incompletions, and Dalton constantly took what the defense was giving him. The Colts defense looked predictably lackluster, and they could have some problems closing out ball games this season.
The Colts offense looked solid for most of the game, but two big turnovers at crucial points really hurt them. Andrew Luck threw an interception in the red-zone early in the game, squandering an opportunity to put points on the board. Jack Doyle fumbled Indianapolis’ chances of a comeback late in the 4th quarter, and Clayton Fejedelem scooped the ball up and rumbled in the game’s deciding touchdown. Football is a game of opportunities, and the Bengals simply made more of theirs than the Colts did.
Andy Dalton, QB: 21/28, 243 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Joe Mixon, RB: 17 rush, 95 yds, 1 TD, 5.6 ypc
A.J. Green, WR: 6 rec, 92 yds, 1 TD
Andrew Luck, QB: 39/53, 319 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Jordan Wilkins, RB: 14 rush, 40 yds, 3 catches, 21 yds
Eric Ebron, TE: 4 rec, 51 yds, 1 TD
Written by: Jake Leicht
Buffalo Bills (0-1) At Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Final Score: Ravens 47, Bills 3
This game in Baltimore was over before halftime. Buffalo’s presumed offensive line woes were put on full display on Sunday. The Bills linemen looked outmatched and just plain confused in pass protection as their quarterbacks Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen were harassed by the ferocious Ravens defense from start to finish. Even in those few moments when Peterman had time to throw, he either panicked and checked down or threw poor, interceptable balls. On the other hand, even though Allen was facing the same hurdles, he looked relatively good in his regular season debut. He made a few bad throws here and there and held on to the ball too long at times, but looked strong in the pocket and made good decisions with his arm and feet. The run game was no different either. Each starter was getting pushed around like they were boys amongst men, providing starting running back LeSean McCoy with no room to operate. We may have seen a brief glimpse into the league’s worst offense of 2018.
The phrase night and day could not apply more perfectly than to yesterday’s game. Joe Flacco, along with help from his stout offensive line. torched the Bills so badly that he was pulled midway through the 3rd quarter to prevent injury. Flacco commanded the pocket well, moving around and sensing danger easily. He displayed fantastic footwork and made great decisions, never looking rushed and always finding the open receiver. He spread the ball around and even got help in the running game from the Allen, Collins, Dixon trio. The offense was clicking on all cylinders, and it was surprisingly due to the stellar play of number 5. The Ravens defense was no slouch either. They looked like they were shot out of a cannon every single play and only allowed three points in the entire match. Baltimore could surprise a few folks this year and should be considered a threat to take the crown in the AFC North.
Joe Flacco, QB: 25/34, 236 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT
Kenneth Dixon, RB: 13 rush, 44 yds, 1 TD
Willie Snead, WR: 4 rec, 49 yds, 1 TD
Nathan Peterman, QB: 5/18, 24 yds, 0 TD, 2 INT
LeSean McCoy RB: 7 rush, 22 yds, 0 TD
Josh Allen, QB: 6/15, 74 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT
Written by: George Haraktsis
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) At New Orleans Saints (0-1)
Final Score: Buccaneers 48, Saints 40
The NFC South continues to show why it’s the best division in football year in and year out as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers outlasted the New Orleans Saints in the highest scoring Week 1 contest in NFL history. Ryan Fitzpatrick needed to bring his “A” game to arguably the most difficult road stadium, and he delivered a masterful performance. His chemistry with his receivers allowed him to plant the ball exactly where it was needed. The Saints defense appeared to regress to their 2014-2016 form as they couldn’t get off the field, leading to Drew Brees having to constantly throw the ball.
Following an opening drive touchdown by running back Alvin Kamara, the Bucs went on a four-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a 58-yard strike to DeSean Jackson. Tampa continued to keep pace with New Orleans, taking their first lead of the game on a three-yard scamper by Fitzpatrick. Not wanting to be outdone, the Bucs defense, who last season was MIA at the most inopportune of times, stripped backup running back Mike Gillislee, and the fumble was returned by Justin Evans. New Orleans led a furious rally down 48-24, scoring two straight touchdowns to sandwich a Bucs drive that ended with yet another missed field goal, this time by Chandler Catanzaro. A 12-yard scramble on 3rd and 10 by Fitzpatrick sealed the Bucs victory.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB: 21/28, 417 yards, 4 TD, 12 carries, 36 yards, 1 TD
Desean Jackson, WR: 5 catches, 146 yards, 2 TDs
Mike Evans, WR: 7 rec,147 yards, 1TD
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees, QB: 37/45, 439 yards,3 TD
Alvin Kamara, RB: 8 rush, 29 yards, 2TD, 3.6 ypc; 9 catches, 112 yards, TD
Michael Thomas, WR: 16 rec, 180 yards, TD
Written by: Joe Carlino
New England Patriots (1-0) At Houston Texans (0-1)
Final Score: Patriots 27, Texans 20
The Patriots had control of this matchup for most of the game while the Texans didn’t start to get in a rhythm until it was just too late. Besides an errant interception, Tom Brady looked like himself as he tossed the ball around for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tyrann Mathieu had a solid debut as a Texan, as the Honey Badger picked off Brady and scooped up a Gronk fumble. Aside from the fumble Houston could not contain Gronk, who finished with 7 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown.
The Texans shot themselves in the foot to start this game. Deshaun Watson fumbled the opening snap, allowing Brady and Gronk to do what they do best by connecting on a touchdown to take advantage of the turnover. For the majority of the match-up the Patriots made the plays that they needed to help control the game. The Texans just couldn’t get into the flow of their offense which allowed New England keep their defense fresh all game long. Until proven otherwise, it appears for the time being that the Patriots are the early kings of the AFC in 2018.
Deshaun Watson, QB: 17/34, 176 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Lamar Miller, RB: 20 rush, 98 yds, 0 TD, 4.9 ypc, 1 rec, 11 yds
DeAndre Hopkins, WR: 8 rec, 78 yds, 0 TD
New England Patriots
Tom Brady, QB: 26/39, 277 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rex Burkhead, RB: 18 rush, 64 yds, 0 TD, 3.6 ypc, 1 rec, 5 yds
Rob Gronkowski, TE: 7 rec, 123 yds, 1 TD
Phillip Dorsett, WR: 7 rec, 66 yds, 1 TD
Written by: Cody Manning
San Francisco 49ers (0-1) At Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Final Score: Vikings 24, 49ers 16
Recap: Although the score only shows a one possession difference, Minnesota dominated this game from the get go. Suffering his first loss as a starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo looked flustered and ineffective. He finished the day with a lowly 45.4 percent throwing with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. Their entire offense limped off the field with the biggest impact coming from tight end George Kittle who put together an impressive 5 receptions for 91 yards; however, there wasn’t much production outside of their young playmaker. It wasn’t the prettiest showing for San Fran, but their season upside remains, as they won’t be playing a stout Vikings team each week.
The same can’t be said on the opposite sideline. Kirk Cousins debut in the Vikings colors couldn’t have gone much better. Accruing 244 yards and 2 touchdowns off of 55% passing, he led the Vikings offense to 24 points. Although he struggled with accuracy, the entire passing game was clicking early with Adam Thielen, and stefon Diggs picking up right where they left off. The defense was the strongest part of this team forcing 4 turnovers (3 interceptions and a fumble), scoring 1 touchdown on a pick-six returned by rookie corner Mike Hughes, and holding their opponent to a measly 16 points. It was quite a showing for one the best teams in the league.
San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB: 15/33, 261 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Matt Breida, RB: 11 rush, 46 yds, 4.2 ypc
George Kittle, TE: 5 rec, 91 yds
Dante Pettis, WR: 2 rec, 61 yds, 1 TD
Kirk Cousins, QB: 20/36, 244 yds, 2 TD
Dalvin Cook, RB:16 rush, 40 yds, 2.5 ypc, 5 rec, 56 yds
Adam Thielen, WR: 6 rec, 102 yds, 17 ypc
Harrison Smith, S: 8 tot tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT
Written by: Jason Feiner
Tennessee Titans (0-1) At Miami Dolphins (1-0)
Final Score: Dolphins 27, Titans 20
Due to two weather delays, the Titans-Dolphins matchup became the longest game in NFL history. In the midst of a long afternoon the game was filled with ups and downs throughout the day. Kenny Stills was a big part of the reason for the Dolphins win, lighting up the Titans secondary with 4 catches for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Titans’ day was filled with disappointing news as they saw three important players go down with an injury. Marcus Mariota, Taylor Lewan, and Delanie Walker all left the game.
A big reason the Dolphins got an early advantage was their goal line stand. The Titans had a chance to take control of the game early, but the Dolphins made a crucial touchdown saving tackle to prevent it from happening. This matchup also featured two kickoff return touchdowns, one by each team. The Titans offense struggled throughout the game, but once Mariota left, the Dolphins defense did enough to help close out the game.
Blaine Gabbert, QB: 11/22, 117 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
Dion Lewis, RB: 16 rush, 75 yds, 1 TD, 4.7 ypc, 5 rec, 35 yds
Corey Davis, WR: 6 rec, 62 yds, 0 TD
Ryan Tannehill, QB: 20/28, 220 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Frank Gore, RB: 9 rush, 61 yds, 0 TD, 6.8 ypc
Kenny Stills, WR: 4 rec, 106 yds, 2 TD
Written by: Cody Manning
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) At New York Giants (0-1)
Final Score: Jaguars 20, Giants 15
The Jaguars-Giants matchup was dominated by Jacksonville’s defense, which helped contain the Giants offense just enough to hold on to their lead. Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley did as great as well as they could have, but it still wasn’t enough to help lead the comeback. The Jaguars offense wasn’t pretty at all, as they saw Leonard Fournette leave the game with an injury, but they still did enough to find ways to get some points on the board. As usual, they depended on the defense to help get the job done.
Even though the Giants had their struggles, they had some chances to win this game. Down 13-9, Myles Jack made a huge pick-6 to help extend the lead. Barkley put them in reach with an amazing 68-yard touchdown run, and the Giants had an opportunity to take the lead but squandered it when they got near the endzone. They had one last opportunity, but fumbled the punt return away to seal the victory for the Jaguars.
Blake Bortles, QB: 18/33, 176 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
T.J. Yeldon, RB: 14 rush, 51 yds, 0 TD, 3.6 ypc, 3 rec, 18 yds, 1 rec TD
Keelan Cole, WR: 3 rec, 54 yds, 0 TD
New York Giants
Eli Manning, QB: 23/37, 224 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
Saquon Barkley, RB: 18 rush, 106 yds, 1 TD, 5.9 ypc, 2 rec, 22 yds
Odell Beckham Jr., WR: 11 rec, 111 yds, 0 TD
Written by: Cody Manning
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0-1) At Cleveland Browns (0-0-1)
Final Score: Tie- Steelers 21, Browns 21
What a nail-biting, pulse-pumping game to get these two storied franchises started in this 2018 season. Both teams faced the east-coast rain, and the referees threw a combined 23 penalties totaling over 200 yards. Seven combined turnovers, one missed FG, and a blocked FG in OT later, and we have our first week one tie since 1971, when the Miami Dolphins tied the Denver Broncos 10-10.
Ben Roethlisberger continued with his road woes, showing an inability to deliver accurate throws while under constant pressure. James Conner effectively replaced Le’Veon Bell, sans a fumble deep in his team’s own territory, and Antonio Brown did not play as well as his stats indicate, as he was blanketed all day by Denzel Ward. T.J. Watt and company led a barrage of pressure to force Tyrod Taylor to beat them with his legs, which at times he did. This game should also give Cleveland fans real hope this year, as they stopped their losing streak. Tyrod Taylor had a solid day passing, but it was his escapability that lead to a lot of big plays. The three headed monster of Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson Jr., and Nick Chubb at times showed real promise running hard behind a good OL. Jarvis Landry was as good as advertised. On defense, Myles Garrett consistently got pressure on Big Ben, and Denzel Ward, the young CB that Cleveland took #4 in this year’s draft, made Antonio Brown work for every completion.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB: 23/41, 335 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT, 3 rush,16 yds, 2 fumbles
James Conner, RB: 31 rush, 135 yds, 2 TD, 4.4 ypc, 5 rec, 57 yds, 1 fumble
Antonio Brown, WR: 9 rec, 93 yds, 1 TD
T.J. Watt, OLB: 11 Tackles, 4 Sacks, 5 tackles for loss, blocked FG
Tyrod Taylor, QB: 15/40, 197 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 8 rush, 77 yds, 1 Rush TD, 1 fumble
Carlos Hyde, RB: 22 rush, 62 yds, 1 TD, 2.8 ypc, 1 rec, 3 yds
Jarvis Landry, WR: 7 rec on 15 Targets, 106 yds.
Myles Garrett, DE: 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles
Written by: Roy Countryman
Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) At Los Angeles Chargers (0-0)
Final Score: Chiefs 38, Chargers 28
The Patrick Mahomes ll era is officially here, and boy did it begin with a bang. Entering the game, many anticipated Mahomes to struggle with the Chargers’ talented defense and figured he would show the typical struggles that a young and inexperienced QB displays during his first few starts. From the start this didn’t seem to be much of an issue. Mahomes did a great job all game at making adjustments before the snap, and Andy Reid did his part in making sure Mahomes felt comfortable throughout the game.
I can't go any further without bringing up Tyreek Hill. His presence was felt throughout the game immediately, as his first touch was a 91 yard punt return for a touchdown. He has turned into a player that you simply have to watch anytime he steps on the field. The shows him and Mahomes will put on will be ones you don’t want to miss. There are definitely areas in which Kansas City needs to show improvement, specifically in their secondary. The Chargers had multiple instances of dropped passes on plays that could have been big if they were caught. At the end of the day, Chief fans have to be happy with how their team looked, and Charger fans have to be expecting more from an execution stand point.
Kansas City Chiefs
Tyreek Hill, WR: 268 total yards, 3 TDs
Patrick Mahomes, QB: 15/27, 256 yards, 4 TDs
Anthony Hitchens, LB: 15 tackles, 2 tackles for loss
Los Angeles Chargers
Philip Rivers, QB: 34/51, 424 yards, 3 TDs
Austin Ekeler, RB: 126 total yards, 1 TD
Keenan Allen, WR: 8 receptions, 108 yards, 1 TD
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) At Carolina Panthers (1-0)
Final Score: Carolina 16, Dallas 8
In what was an ugly week one contest, Cam Newton and the Panthers outlasted a late comeback effort by the Cowboys to pick up a big season-opening win in the loaded NFC. Newton’s legs were the difference early for Carolina, rushing for 59 yards and 1 TD in the first quarter alone. The Cowboys defense struggled against the read-option in particular, allowing a couple of chunk plays by Newton early on, but was otherwise solid throughout the day. Demarcus Lawrence picked up right where he left off last season, but Sean Lee was not his normal self. In addition to a couple surprising missed tackles from the veteran linebacker, he appeared to be fooled multiple times on two big read option runs. For Carolina, Luke Kuechly was all over the field, finishing with 13 total tackles (11 solo). The rest of Carolina’s front seven was disruptive the entire game, ending with six sacks and making life difficult for Dallas to get anything going on offense.
In fact, the Panthers defense didn’t allow a single first down the entire first half. Ezekiel Elliott struggled to find much room outside of a 17-yard scamper, finishing with 69 yards on just 15 carries. While there certainly were issues with receivers (not named Beasley) getting open throughout the game, Prescott missed a wide-open Blake Jarwin that would have at least given Dallas great field position to put up points near the end of the first half. Instead, it was a 10-0 Panthers lead at halftime that was extended to 16-0 thanks to a 1-yard TD run by Alex Armah in the third quarter. The Cowboys finally showed signs of life on offense later in the game when Elliott finished off the best Cowboys drive of the day with a 4-yard TD run on an option play, followed by a Prescott QB draw for the 2-point conversion. That trimmed the lead to 16-8 in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as Dallas would get.
Dak Prescott, QB: 19/29, 170 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT; 5 rush, 19 yds
Ezekiel Elliott, RB: 15 rush, 69 yds, 1 TD, 4.6 ypc; 3 rec, 17 yds
Cole Beasley, WR: 7 rec, 73 yds, 0 TD
Demarcus Lawrence, DE: 7 tackles (6 solo), 3 TFL, 1 sack, 1 FR
Cam Newton, QB: 17/26, 161 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT; 13 rush, 58 yds, 1 TD
Christian McCaffrey, RB: 10 rush, 50 yds, 0 TD, 5.0 ypc, 1 fum; 6 rec, 45 yds
Devin Funchess, WR: 3 rec, 41 yds, 0 TD
Luke Kuechly, LB: 13 tackles (11 solo)
Written by: Greg Lehr
Washington Redskins (0-0) At Arizona Cardinals (0-0)
Final Score: Redskins 24, Cardinals 6
Both the Redskins and Cardinals have very different rosters from last season, but it seems as though just one of the offseason makeovers were effective this weekend. New Redskins QB Alex Smith put on a vintage performance, throwing for a 70% completion percentage and no interceptions. It felt like he was back in Kansas City as he utilized his running backs and tight end heavily. On the flipside, Arizona QB Sam Bradford was not good and the entire offense was stymied by a pretty average Redskins defense. The losses of James Bettcher and Tyrann Mathieu seem to have been big blows for the Cards defense.
Chris Thompson got the scoring going at the start of the 2nd quarter with a 13-yard receiving touchdown, and the ‘Skins added two more touchdowns on the ensuing drives. Meanwhile, the Cardinals had a stretch of five straight drives with just one total first down. David Johnson finally put the Cardinals on the board with just under 6 minutes left in the 4th, but at that point it was too late. If this type of play continues, the Cardinals will be completely overmatched in a loaded NFC West, while the Redskins could make a sneaky run for an NFC wild card berth if their defense continues to be strong.
Alex Smith, QB: 21/30, yds, 2 TD
Adrian Peterson, RB: 26 rush, 96 yds, 1 TD, 3.6 ypc, 2 rec, 70 yds, 1 fumble
Chris Thompson, RB: 5 rush, 65 yds, 13.0 ypc, 6 rec, 63 yds, 1 TD
Sam Bradford, QB: 20/34, 153 yds, 1 INT
David Johnson, RB: 9 rush, 37 yds, 1 TD, 4.1 ypc