Football kind of snuck up on the world, but is going underway with little-to-no complications. Fans aren’t allowed with the exceptions of the Kansas City and Jacksonville stadiums, but the sport of football remained untouched. With that, 32 teams took to the field the last weekend, with the Seattle Seahawks getting their start against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1.
Week 1 overreactions are as old as football itself, but if there were a year to do it, it’s right now. The Seahawks absolutely torched the Falcons in a 38-25 victory. Russell Wilson had a top three quarterback performance on the week, completing 31 of 35 passes for 322 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Wilson also led the team in rushing yards, putting up 29 yards on three attempts on the ground. Chris Carson had a weak day as a running back, but put up a really solid receiving effort, gaining 45 yards on six receptions, including two touchdowns. DK Metcalf led the receiving effort, going 95 yards on four receptions with a touchdown, even though he dropped a couple easy passes early on. Tyler Lockett was right behind him, gaining 92 yards on eight receptions. Newly acquired tight end Greg Olsen also caught a touchdown, while new running back Carlos Hyde ran for a touchdown of his own.
On the defensive end, new star safety Jamal Adams led the tackling effort with 12, one of those being one of the two sacks put down on Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan. Safety Quandre Diggs put up the only Seattle interception, while deflecting an additional two passes. Defensive End Benson Mayowa managed the other sack.
The solid defensive performance by Seattle, featuring Adams looking like a beast in his first game as a Seahawk, went totally underappreciated by the masterclass of offense that Russell Wilson put together. A stark difference from a run-first offense that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was determined to stick to last year, the Seahawks put the control of the game entirely in the hands of Russell Wilson. And he made it work. First drive, three-yard play-action touchdown pass to Chris Carson. Second drive, 19-yard screen pass to Chris Carson who basically walked in to the end zone. Seattle held a comfortable 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Russ was cooking. Seahawks fans all over social media clamored for an offensive scheme that allowed Russ to do what he does best and take over football games. We finally saw what it could be. It was fast, it was explosive, but it was also a gutsy brand of football only Russ could pull off. He converted a fourth-and-five down with a 38-yard pass to Metcalf. It was mind-blowing. This is the Seahawks that people want to see and if they keep it up for a whole season it’s hard to imagine another team being able to contest them.
Of course, the Seahawks are but one of 32 teams, all of whom had their own opening-week excitement.
The inaugural game of the year featured the Houston Texans against the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs. They debuted what turned out to be a league-wide movement and linked arms mid-field after the national anthem. The fans in Kansas City booed. I guess committing to a football game during a pandemic attracts that type of people. The Chiefs went on to smack the Texans 34-20.
The Detroit Lions lost to the Chicago Bears 27-23 after blowing a 23-6 lead. D’Andre Swift dropped a pass that would have been a game-winning touchdown. Head coach Matt Patricia avoided any criticism regarding his 11 fourth-quarter meltdowns in his Lions tenure, which happens to lead all current NFL coaches. It would probably be smart for Detroit to move on from him, but you can never know for sure.
The Green Bay Packers put on an absolute clinic, dropping 43 points on the Minnesota Vikings thanks to 364 yards and four touchdowns from Aaron Rodgers. DaVante Adams had 156 receiving yards on 14 receptions. The Vikings weren’t necessarily slacking on offense, but it’s fitting for a year where Russ looks unstoppable for Rodgers to match him.
Cam Newton made his name known in his New England Patriot debut. It was gritty and not too flashy, but he ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns, singlehandedly outscoring the Miami Dolphins’ 11 points. On the other end, Ryan Fitzpatrick might have ushered in an early Tua appearance with his three interceptions on the day.
The inaugural game of the Las Vegas Raiders had them grabbing a Week 1 victory against the Panthers. Josh Jacobs stole the show, rushing for 93 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III led the receiving effort with 55 yards on three receptions. Youth seems to be prevailing in Vegas, which should be really good for them down the line. Outside of a 75-yard touchdown catch by Robby Anderson, the Panthers and their newly acquired quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater had a relatively uneventful outing.
Gardner Minshew II went 19-for-20 passing against the Colts, joining the ranks of elite efficiency. His 95% in a game was good for fourth-most in NFL history. The ball was spread well, with three different receivers tallying a touchdown. Philip Rivers’ debut with the Colts was uninspired as he went 36-46 with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Cleveland Browns fans are apparently in for another year of suffering as they dropped to the Baltimore Ravens 38-6. Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson had a stellar performance, as expected. On the other end, Baker Mayfield became the first quarterback to start 30 games with one team under four different head coaches. Of course, there would be struggles, but he threw a measly 189 yards with one touchdown and one pick. It was enough to unsettle Browns fans, and now Mayfield might join the ranks of disappointing Cleveland quarterbacks.
The talk of the offseason was Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski joining the Buccaneers, and they lost opening day to the Saints, 34-23. He threw 23-36, with 239 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also ran for a touchdown. Head coach Bruce Arians was hyper-critical of Brady’s performance, which is drawing mixed results from fans. Either way, seeing Brady out of New England will never not be a shock.
So, Week 1 comes to a close. Next week, the New England Patriots will come to town to face off against the Seahawks. We’ll see how the new pass-first offense fares against an elite defensive secondary.