NFL Week 1 recap: Saints and Chiefs start strong while Browns underperform

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Dbking | Wikimedia Commons

Kyle McKee

Football is officially back, with Week 1 of the NFL season in the books. The first week of the regular season always seems to be a wacky one in the NFL. For instance, last year the New Orleans Saints came into the season as one of the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. 

However, they lost their Week 1 home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were predicted to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. After that loss, NFL analysts and sports personalities started to question the Saints’ legitimacy as an Super Bowl contender. The Saints ended up playing in the NFC Championship game and came very close to playing in the Super Bowl. 

Overreactions happen after the first week because everyone is so excited to have football back in their lives. This year is no exception. 

Heading into Week 1, the offseason champion Cleveland Browns kicked off the season at home against the Tennessee Titans. 

CBS sent their best announcing crew, featuring Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, to Cleveland to get a first glance at the new look Browns. 

The Browns had not received this much hype since Jim Brown was playing football. But in typical Browns fashion, they got absolutely trounced by the Tennessee Titans. 

Baker Mayfield struggled as he threw three interceptions, one being a pick-six. The offense showed some flashes of potential, but it can only go up for the Browns
after this debacle. 

The Browns’ defense did not do them any favors either, as they made Titans running back Derrick Henry and tight end Delanie Walker look like actual titans. 

Speaking of getting trounced, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Miami Dolphins 59-10. From this game, fans learned Lamar Jackson is indeed a quarterback, not a running back, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is really good at catching footballs, and the Dolphins are really, really bad. 

The Buffalo Bills squeaked out a victory at MetLife Stadium against the New York Jets, 17-16. In classic Jets fashion, after playing pretty decent for three quarters, they blew the game in the fourth quarter and lost. 

The Detroit Lions also lost, even though the game actually ended in a tie. After controlling the entire game, the Lions defense broke down in the fourth quarter, and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray found a groove to bring his team from down 24-6, to tie the game at 24-24. 

The Lions had a chance to win the game with a screen pass to wideout Danny Amendola, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, called a timeout, and the Lions ended up losing the ball on downs. 

In overtime, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford gifted the ball to the Cardinals with an errant pass right to a Cardinals defender, which would have set them up perfectly for a field goal to win the game, but the defender dropped the pass and the game ended in a tie. 

Both the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Chargers won close games at home against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Indianapolis Colts, respectively. The Chargers-Colts matchup game was an interesting one. 

NFL fans were eager to see how the Colts would play without former Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck, who famously retired toward the end of the preseason. Many people have written the Colts off since Luck’s retirement, but they played well on the road against the Chargers. 

Jacoby Brissett, the Colts new starting quarterback, looked more than just a back-up, and played up to his recently-signed $30 million extension with Indianapolis. However, despite having a chance to win, the Colts defense could not stop Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and running back Austin Ekeler, who had over 150 yards from scrimmage and 3 touchdowns.  

The Kansas City Chiefs picked up right where they left off last season with a 40-26 victory in Jacksonville against the Jaguars. Reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes balled out in the first half, with over 300 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. In the second half, the Chiefs slowed it down, ran the ball and ate up the clock, walking away with their first victory of the year. 

However, star wideout Tyreek Hill suffered a shoulder injury and is expected to miss some time because of it. On the other side, the Jaguars hung around a bit in the beginning of the game. 

Newly signed quarterback Nick Foles threw a touchdown to wideout DJ Clark. However, on that same play, Foles took a gruesome hit from a member of the Chiefs defensive line and suffered an apparent shoulder injury. Foles broke his left clavicle on the play and will be out indefinitely. Foles could be out the whole season, which means the Jaguars season could be a lost one. 

The Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings had strong home debuts. 

The Eagles struggled in the first half against the Washington Redskins, but in the second half, Carson Wentz took over, with the help of Desean Jackson. Jackson, in his return to Philadelphia where he spent the first six seasons of his career, ended up with eight receptions for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

The Vikings ousted the Atlanta Falcons, 28-12. Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr headlines a defense that could be the best in the league. The Vikings held the Falcons to zero points through three quarters, but took the foot off the gas pedal in the fourth, letting Matt Ryan throw a garbage-time touchdown to Julio Jones. 

In the Sunday night matchup, the New England Patriots destroyed the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Somehow at 42 years old, Tom Brady looks just as good as ever, and the Patriots defense might be the best since Brady has been the team’s quarterback. 

That is a scary thought, especially since they just added one of the best receivers of all time in Antonio Brown, even if he does induce drama. 

Basically, the defending Super Bowl champions showed the world on Sunday night, why they are the defending Super Bowl champs, and they add another one of the best receivers of all time in his prime to that. If there is anything fans take from this game is that the Patriots are really, really good. 

The first Monday night matchup was the best game of the week. The Houston Texans battled the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome in New Orleans. 

The Saints ended up winning on a last-second 58-yard field goal by Will Lutz. The final minutes of the fourth quarter were thrilling to watch, as Drew Brees marched down the field and scored to put his team ahead. 

Then less than a minute later, Deshaun Watson and the Texans marched down the field and finished the drive with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills. With less than a minute left and no timeouts, it looked as though the game was over. Somehow, Brees managed to get his team to field goal range and the rest is history. 

The Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders faced off in the last matchup of week one, second game of the Sept. 8 Monday night doubleheader. Similar to the Colts, many people wrote off the Raiders after the entire Antonio Brown saga came to a tumultuous end. 

However, the Raiders played very well. Newly signed linebacker Vontaze Burfict and the Raiders defense held the Broncos to six points at the end of the third quarter and 16 for the game. 

On the offensive side of the ball, Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs became the first running back since Ladainian Tomlinson in 2001 to have over 100 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in their debut.