Culture of Hoops

NFL Week 1 Recap

Image courtesy of C_osett/Flicker.

Image courtesy of C_osett/Flicker.

NFL Week 1 Recap:

The NFL season has begun and in explosive fashion. After four weeks of tentative pre-season play, the live speed of the regular season is incomparable in satisfaction.

This week, fans have seen some of the most exciting football that could be imagined. Denying all preseason conventional wisdom, teams, players, and divisions have really electrified fans nationwide.

In five sentences or less, here is a recap for every team that played this past weekend.

Steelers vs. Patriots:
Tom Brady played his first game after the reversed “defalategate” suspension. To no surprise, Brady played furiously leading the Patriots to a 1-0 start after throwing for 288 yards and four touchdowns.

The Steelers were no match for this explosive offense. Yet, Antonio Brown absolutely dominated Malcolm Butler, and DeAngelo Williams proved to be a successful three-down back. The Steelers take on the San Francisco 49ers next week while the Patriots will play the Buffalo Bills.

Colts vs. Bills
Andrew Luck had gotten off to a slow start, but was still able to recover in order to make the game relatively competitive. Without Frank Gore and T.Y. Hilton, the Colts offensive lacked any level of explosive output. The Colts played noticeably timid, not stretching the field as expected.

The Bills played fantastic football, making impactful plays both offensively and defensively, never giving the Indianapolis Colts the opportunity to get back into the game. Tyrod Taylor proved himself to be a viable starting quarterback leading his team to a 27-14 win over the Colts

Panthers vs. Jaguars
This game was a battle of the least two electric offenses in the entire NFL. Cam Newton played his first game since signing his new contract extension and led the Panthers to a 20-9 win in the opening week. Newton threw for 135 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

The Jaguars are going to have another rough season as they are still in the growing process. Sure, missing Julius Thomas won’t prove beneficial. Yet, Jacksonville needs to find a way to put the ball in the end-zone and establish T.J. Yeldon earlier in games.

Chiefs vs. Texans
While frequently under the microscope for his talents, Alex Smith, has still found a way to win. Regardless of the organization, coaches, or players, Smith has been a proven winner for the past few seasons. This may come at the expense of excitement, but the Chiefs are once again starting the season 1-0.

Houston played great football, but fell just short this weekend. DeAndre Hopkins was not only highly targeted, but he converted a number of attempts. Hopkins finished the day with eight receptions and two touchdowns, proving the Texans right to let Andre Johnson walk in the offseason.

Seahawks vs. Rams
This comes to the surprise of many, but the St. Louis Rams are 3-1 against the Seattle Seahawks at home during the last four years.  Nick Foles had made a costly interception late in the game, but was able to lead his team to a timely touchdown to force overtime. The Rams defense held Marshawn Lynch to just 73 yards and contained the Seattle offense.

The Seahawks seemed bent out of shape early on during the game. The absence of Kam Chancellor may have been poignant, as the team allowed 34 points. Marshawn Lynch had a below-average game as well. The Seahawks have no need to panic, but must come out to a faster start this Sunday.

Saints vs. Cardinals
The NFC West has been, and will continue be the real deal. Yielding an NFC Championship competitor for the past four years straight, the Cardinals should be a part of this success soon. The Cardinals have a complete offense with the IQ and experience of Carson Palmer, who threw for three touchdown and 307 yards. If he can keep up with that pace, defenses will have a hard time containing Arizona.

The presence of Jimmy Graham is greatly missed in New Orleans. The spacing that Graham provided in the red zone was vital to the Saints prior success. The Saints completed seven less first downs than the Cardinals. Looks like the offense may have lost a step this offseason.

Bengals vs. Raiders
Adam Jones is a monster! Jones finished the game with 10 solo tackles and one illegal hit on Amari Cooper. The Bengals defense was the highlight of the game, holding the Raiders to barely 60 rushing yards and 13 points. The offense of the Bengals may not be illustrious, but certainly is effective.

The Raiders may be the worst team in the NFL this season. Adding Aldon Smith next to Khalil Mack was incredibly promising, but the Raider defense was completely obliterated on Sunday. Not that their offense made the game any easier. With an injured Derek Carr, expectations for the Raiders to win this week should be slim to none.

Giants vs. Cowboys
The Giants had played very average football on the biggest stage in America. Eli Manning struggled to find a consistent rhythm with his team. The Giants defense played a large part in keeping the game competitive when Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie had a 52-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Tony Romo orchestrated the most amazing game-winning drive of Week 1. Romo propelling the Cowboys 72-yards down field to put the finishing touches on the Giants was a play of heroics. Even though the Cowboys ended up losing Dez Bryant for anywhere from 6-12 weeks, the offense still looked unphased.

Browns vs. Jets
The era of Johnny Manziel has begun! Throwing a 182 yards at the cost of an untimely interception, Johnny Football fell short of winning his 2015 NFL debut. The Browns rushing offense provided very little  threat throughout the game. Manziel was also the leading rusher, stacking a “strong” 35 yards on the ground. The Browns take on the surprising Tennessee Titans this Sunday for some exciting football.

The Jets had an unbelievable offensive output this weekend. Not only did they put up 31 points, but also held the Browns offense to 10 points. Long time backup quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick had 179 yards to tack on to Chris Ivory’s 91 yards and two touchdowns. If the J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets! can continue this type of offensive output, they should be a team to look out for in the AFC.

Packers vs. Bears
Even without Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb the Green Bay Packers offense was still able to oust the Chicago Bears. Clay Matthews finished the day with an interception on Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler. Matthews is the anchor for Green Bay’s defense and should have a Defensive Player of the Year campaign this season.

Even with a complete change in head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator, the Chicago Bears are still the exact same team as last year. Losing the game in the final minutes of the 4th quarter is something all Bears fans have learned to live with. Yet, the biggest highlight of the afternoon had to have been Matt Forte putting up the best stats in the entire league.

Dolphins vs. Redskins
This was the season for Ryan Tannehill to make the jump into a top-level quarterback. Tannehill threw for 226 yards and finished the day with a 64.7 completion percentage. The Dolphins also have an incredibly intimidating defensive line with the addition of Ndamukong Suh this offseason. With the statistical output this last Sunday, expect the Dolphins to be relevant in the AFC East.

Just when things couldn’t get any worse for the Washington Redskins. Amidst the quarterback controversy and coaching changes, the Redskins were unable to win their first game. Starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins, threw two interceptions in order to successfully take the chances of winning away from the ‘skins. Alfred Morris played a fantastic game, but it doesn’t get much easier for Washington from this point forward.

Lions vs. Chargers
The Lions defense should prove to be one the best in the league this season. While the results of Week 1 may not show it, the defense was electric on the field making it difficult for Phillip Rivers to establish rhythm and connect on passes.

The Chargers had issues developing their running game this Sunday, but Phillip Rivers was able to throw for two touchdowns, while Keenan Allen had 166 yards on 15 receptions. The Bolts have been on the verge of making a playoff run each season, but should be much more competitive with an potentially great running back in Melvin Gordon.

Ravens vs. Broncos
The Ravens defense had to be the biggest highlight of the entire game. Even with the unfortunate loss of defensive star, Terrell Suggs, the Ravens applied pressure to Peyton Manning all game long. The defensive line even forced Manning into a pick-six in the third quarter. With a dud of a game from Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett, the Ravens just weren’t able to put away Denver.

Broncos fans may be unjustifiably worrying about the state of their offense. Brock Osweiler is not the solution for the slight decline in the game play of Peyton Manning. The Broncos offensive line is something to keep an eye on, as Manning was sacked the most times since 2013.

Titans vs. Buccaneers
This was a great game for rookie quarterback and AFC player of the week, Marcus Mariota. Mariota didn’t only throw for four touchdowns, but he did this while putting up 209 throwing yards. The offensive output of both teams was the highlight of this Sunday matchup.

The first overall pick, Jamies Winston, had a much different start to his NFL career. Throwing his first completion in the league as a pick-six to the other team is not ideal start to any NFL career. Although, Winston did show incredible resilience in the second half of the game as he was able to have much better control on his offensive output.

Eagles vs. Falcons
The Eagles looked out of sorts on so many different levels. The defensive output of the team was fantastic in the first half of the game. Aside from not being able to contain Julio Jones, the Eagles second stood the test from one of the best offensive units in the NFL.

Dan Quinn has completely turned around this Atlanta team this offseason. The Falcons defense was exhilarating and frequently put pressure on the Bradford, letting the Falcons control the pace of the game, keeping Philadelphia from having any chance to creep back into the game.

49’ers vs. Vikings
San Francisco had one of the most surprising games this weekend. With a well documented, tumultuous offseason, both sides of the ball for San Francisco were able to maintain stability to provide a win. Carlos Hyde had a breakout performance which propelled the 49ers into their first victory under Tomsula rule.

Teddy Bridgewater was frequently under pressure all night long. Unable to find his rhythm, Bridgewater struggled to control the offense of the Minnesota Vikings. Adrian Peterson finished the game with a mere 10 carries. The Vikings played well enough to closeout the game, but fell short offensively.

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