Connor Watson, Staff Writer
After months of waiting, football is finally back! The opening weekend for the NFL started off with a bang, but one thing that we must remember is: Don’t believe everything you see.
Yes, it’s cliché, but when this is the first time many starters are playing live football; scores and performances are either inflated or stifled by lingering preseason play. After Week 1, here is what to take away:
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears:
Kicking off the beginning of the week on Thursday, Sept. 5, the Packers and Bears met in Chicago at Soldier Field. The Packers took the win by a score of 10-3. The game was dominated by defense and both offenses struggled to get the ball in the end zone.
Aaron Rodgers, quarterback: 18/30 completions, 203 yards, 1 touchdown
Aaron Jones, running back: 13 carries, 39 yards
Jimmy Graham, tight end: 3/6 receptions, 30 yards, 1 touchdown
Mitchell Trubisky, quarterback: 26/45 completions, 228 yards, 1 interception
Tarik Cohen, running back: 8/10 receptions, 49 yards
Allen Robinson, wide receiver: 7/13 receptions, 102 yards
Takeaways: The Packers significantly upgraded their defense with the acquisitions of linebackers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith and safety Adrian Amos, who were instantly a force against the Bear’s offense – look for them to be good all year. The Bears offense struggled throughout the game; Trubisky and Co. could not find the endzone all night – look for these struggles to cause issues this season.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Carolina Panthers:
The Rams visited the Panthers on Sunday and walked away with a 30-27 win over Cam Newton and the Panthers. The game was dominated by Panther RB Christian McCaffrey who had two TD in the game and led in receiving yards. The Rams struggled to get the passing game going with QB Jared Goff only throwing for 186 yards and only one passing touchdown.
Jared Goff, quarterback: 23/39 completions, 186 yards, 1 TD, 1 int
Malcolm Brown, running back: 11 car, 53 yards, 2 TD
Todd Gurley, running back: 14 car, 97 yards, 1/1 rec 4 yards
Robert Woods, wide receiver: 2 car, 16 yards, 8/13 rec, 70 yards
Cam Newton, quarterback: 25/38 completions, 239 yards, 1 int, 3 car, -2 yards, 1 fumble
Christian McCaffrey, running back: 19 car, 128 yards, 2 TD, 10/11 rec, 81 yards
D.J. Moore, wide receiver: 7/10 rec, 76 yards, 1 fumble
Takeaways: The failure of the Rams to get the passing game going should be of slight concern for those of us still loyal to the team albeit closeted. Last year, it was common for Goff to have games where the passing game was not effective. One thing to note is the usage of Brown on the goal line instead of Gurley; maybe the Rams are trying to save him for later in the season. The Panthers will struggle with the passing game as well. Newton had his throwing shoulder worked on during the offseason and attempted to come out and pass right away.He will have trouble passing down field again. Not to mention that his mobility has greatly decreased.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars:
The Chiefs came out of the gate firing, and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes has carried over his success from last season. The Chiefs defeated the Jaguars by a score 40-28. Jaguars QB Nick Foles exited the game early though, due to clavicle injury, allowing for rookie QB Gardner Minshew to step in and shine brilliantly.
Patrick Mahomes, quarterback: 25/33 completions, 378 yards, 3 TD
Damian Williams, running back: 13 car, 26 yards, 1 TD, 6/6 rec, 39 yards
Sammy Watkins, wide receiver: 9/11 rec, 198 yards, 3 TD
Gardner Minshew, quarterback: 22/25 completions, 275 yards, 2 TD, 1 int
Leonard Fournette, running back: 13 car, 66 yards, 4/6 rec, 28 yards, 1 fumble
D.J. Chark, wide receiver: 4/4 rec, 146 yards 1 TD
Takeaways: The Chiefs have shown that last year was no fluke, and even without Tyriek Hill and Kareem Hunt, they will still be able to produce the same numbers as last year. The Jaguars may have lost their starting QB, but Minshew should not be so lightly glanced over. He showed that he is capable of playing in a pro-style offense. Look for Sammy Watkins to have a great year.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots
The Steelers were in Foxborough for Week 1, and I am sure they regret every minute of it. They were not able to get any offense going and handed the Patriots the win by a score of 33 to 3. The Patriots defense handedly kept Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense out of the end zone.
Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback: 27/47 completions, 276 yards, 1 int
James Conner, running back: 10 car, 21 yards, 4/4 rec, 44 yards
John “JuJu” Smith-Schuster, wide receiver: 6/8 rec, 78 yards
Tom Brady, quarterback: 24/36 completions, 341 yards, 3 TD
Rex Burkhead, running back: 8 car, 44 yards, 5/8 rec, 41 yards
Phillip Dorsett, wide receiver: 4/4 rec, 95 yards, 2 TD
Takeaway: The Patriots are always an easy bet to go back to the Super Bowl, and this year will be no different. Their defense put a complete stop to the offense of the Steelers. Look for the Patriots to be a complete powerhouse, especially with the addition of Antonio Brown and the contributions from Josh Gordon. The Steelers may have lost badly on Monday night, but that should not be cause for alarm. They still have a lot of talent on offense, and they can still win their division this year.
From Week 1, we saw upsets and we saw clear cut winners, but as of now it is too early to tell what the teams in the middle will do. It will take until the middle of the season to see who is legit and who isn’t.