By Nicholas Grunewald
Week One of the NFL season rarely disappoints, and this year was no exception.
Kicking off on the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on our nation, veterans and service members were honored all across the league. With a strong week one slate of games, the NFL has us glued to the TV all day. We got an early taste of overtime football, witnessed Super Bowl LVI representatives lay goose eggs and new additions making their impacts felt right out of the gate.
The NFL season kicked off with the Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams receiving the greatest championship rings we’ve seen to date. The Rams played host to this year’s preseason favorites, the Buffalo Bills. Bills quarterback and MVP favorite Josh Allen didn’t have a perfect day per se. He threw two picks. But anyone being honest will admit the first one wasn’t his fault and the second was just an excellent play defensively. Take out the early game jitters, and it was practically a perfect game.
The Bills defense, with newest addition Von Miller, dominated the Rams while Allen and the offense ironed out their wrinkles. Josh Allen’s legs helped open things up for Buffalo as the game progressed and is what makes the Bills a clear threat in the AFC. As for the defending champs, they have more questions that need to be answered. They clearly lacked a player to spread the field, and the offensive line gave Matthew Stafford zero time to make any plays. The good news? The NFC is as wide open as it’s ever been, so they have some time to figure things out.
Second-year quarterbacks took the field across the league as they looked to build off their rookie years.
Trey Lance led his 49ers into a monsoon at Soldier Field as he kicked off his first season under center as QB. It wasn’t the start any Niner fan was hoping for as Lance showed flashes of his potential, but it was Justin Fields who made the big plays in the end. Fields capped off a drive that started inside his own 20, taking the lead with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Equanimeous St. Brown.
The Bears wouldn’t give that lead up as they opened their season with a win for just the third time since 2013. The questions surrounding Trey Lance certainly weren’t laid to rest. But as a current Lance stakeholder I’d ask, did we really expect him to go on the road in these conditions and come out looking perfect? I surely didn’t. Give the young guy a chance before you start calling for his head.
Former first overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, while under constant pressure all day, suffered his first loss of the season at the hands of the Washington Commanders. Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills looked to build off his underrated rookie season (he had the best season of every rookie quarterback in the class not named Mac Jones), but ran into Matt Ryan and the new look Colts. In reality, it was probably the best outcome Mills and the Texans could have asked for as they played out an entire game and then some before heading home with only the fourth tie in week one history, since the merger.
While Mac Jones suffered a loss at the hands of the Dolphins, he may have been the biggest winner of week one. After suffering what looked like a career-altering back injury, Jones got the news post game as his x-rays came back negative that it is believed he is suffering from back spasms. Jones’s week 2 status is still up in the air as the Patriots travel to Pittsburgh.
In a surprising turn of events, the once NFC Least is heading into week 2 as the only division in its conference to have three winning teams.
Brain Daboll made a statement in his first game at the helm for the G-Men. With a late touchdown to cut the Titans lead to a single point, Daboll did his best Brandon Staley impression and elected to go for the win with a 2-point conversion, putting the ball in his best player’s hands and letting Saquon Barkley make a play. Barkley did just that as he punched in the 2-point attempt to cap off his impressive return to action leading the Giants to their first week 1 win since 2016.
Philadelphia got their 2022 season underway against Jared Goff and the Lions. Simply put, the Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown connection is real. Everytime Hurts needed a play, he looked to Brown who went on to torch the Lions secondary time after time. The Eagles have defensive issues to clean up if they want to be the team they were projected as going into the season.
The NFL’s best division came to play in week one and gave us a preview of what we should expect all year from them, excellent football.
Las Vegas opened up the new season on the road against division rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers. Young phenom, Justin Herbert, picked things up right where he left them to close out his 2021 campaign as he passed for 279 yards and four touchdowns. The newest addition to the Raiders, wide receiver Davante Adams, defended his high price tag finishing the game with 141 receiving yards, hauling in 10 of his 17 targets. Adams’ 17 targets meant he was thrown to nearly three times as much as the next pass catcher. Not the recipe you are looking for, especially after what we saw transpire in Green Bay (cough* cough* Allen Lazard running wide open across the field). It was the Chargers defense in the end, who came up with the winning plays to seal this game. As a unit, led by newest addition Khalil Mack, the Chargers finished the day with six sacks to go along with three takeaways, and that’s how games in this loaded division will be decided going forward.
The Kansas City Chiefs went to work with their new look offense. No Tyreek? No problem for Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid as they went on to route Arizona in commanding fashion, 44-21. I don’t know, it’s almost like Mahomes and Reid are really good at football and designing an offense without the greatest deep threat this league has ever seen, is not out of the realm of possibilities. Kansas City will be just fine and belongs right at the top of the conference with the Buffalo Bills.
Russell Wilson’s homecoming didn’t turn out the way he, or any of us for that matter, thought it would have. Disgraceful Seattle fans booed their once beloved franchise star from start to finish. Sloppy play at the goal line and questionable play calling the entire game was ultimately what cost Denver in the end. Letting 40 seconds run off the clock, on fourth and 5, before finally calling a timeout is inexcusable. What’s worse is not putting your $296 million quarterback on the field, instead electing to attempt the second longest field goal in NFL history. I’m not quite sure what you brought Russell Wilson in for, if it wasn’t for that exact moment.
In what seemed to be promoted as the game of games and matchup of the year, the product on the field did not live up to the hype. It was an underwhelming experience to say the least.
The Dallas Cowboys welcomed Tampa Bay to Jerry World and opened the only way Dallas knows how. Underperforming.
The Cowboys season started off as poorly as any season could. After a poor performance through three quarters, and trailing 19-3, things went from bad to worse real quick. Dak Prescott, while looking to make a late throw, broke his thumb on his throwing hand. While Dallas looked rough through four quarters, there was still the slimmer of hope that it’s only week one and things could get better. But with the loss of Prescott for the foreseeable future, critics surrounding America’s team will have plenty of firepower to throw their way.
The GOAT, Tom Brady, began his 23rd season after a whirlwind of an offseason to say the least. With personal matters becoming all too public, all the attention in the world was on number 12 Sunday night. While Brady clearly wasn’t in the form we’ve come to expect from this ageless wonder, he did do enough to get past a shaky Cowboys team and extend his undefeated streak against Dallas to 7-0.
Week one came and went as quickly as one might expect following the anticipation leading up to kickoff. Overreactions and out of control takes will certainly float around throughout the week. Week one is notorious for this. But, before you go ahead and count your favorite team out or crown them champions; need I remind you, It’s only week one and we still have 17 weeks to go!