Excitement in NFL Week 1 – The Colgate Maroon-News
Week 1 of the NFL season had a bit of everything – shocking upsets, exciting comebacks and the latest Game 2 winners. Here are some takeaways from this week’s matches:
Philadelphia Eagles 38, Detroit Lions 35
Four different Eagles found the end zone to push them past the Lions. Amid lackluster passing infractions, rushing was the name of the game in this contest. For the Eagles, quarterback Jalen Hurts rushed 17 times for 90 yards, while running back Miles Sanders added 96 yards on 13 carries. Detroit was equally effective, with Lions running back D’Andre Swift torching the Eagles for 144 yards (he took off for a 50-yard dash on his first rush of the game). Eagles wide receiver AJ Brown also honored the $100 million extension he signed this offseason. Brown was out of control, racking up ten catches for 155 yards. Whenever Jalen Hurts needed a big play, he turned to Brown, who constantly tortured the Lions defensive backs. The bigger story here is the malleability of Philadelphia’s defense. Despite several two-point leads, the Eagles kept the game close late in the fourth quarter for the Lions. While the credit goes to the scrappy Lions, they don’t have the talent on paper to match a team of Philly’s caliber. In order to assert themselves as Super Bowl contenders, the Eagles need to fill in the gaps in their defense, namely their secondary.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Cincinnati Bengals 20 (OT)
For the first time in NFL history, the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers met on the gridiron to kick off the season. The Bengals, who are the defending AFC champions, struggled mightily, with quarterback Joe Burrow returning the ball five times and taking seven sacks. The offensive line failed to limit the dynamic Steelers duo of Cameron Heyward and TJ Watt, the latter finishing with a sack, three tackles for loss and a bounding interception. Watt left the contest with a torn pectoral muscle during the fourth quarter, leaving questions about the future prospects of the Pittsburgh defense. Another unit with lingering question marks is the aforementioned new Bengals offensive line. Offensive tackle Jonah Williams and offseason addition Alex Cappa struggled early and often throughout the game. The Bengals defense bailed out their offensive counterparts on several drives, helping send the game into overtime, but it was Cincinnati’s special teams that ultimately cost them the game. A blocked extra-run attempt sent the game into overtime, and a bad snap resulted in a missed field goal in the extra period, breathing new life into the Steelers. Pittsburgh capitalized in the final seconds of the game, sending their division rival to an 0-1 start.
Kansas City Chiefs 44, Arizona Cardinals 21
No Tyreek Hill, no problem, as the Kansas City Chiefs cruised to a 44-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals. After superstar receiver Hill left for the sunny shores of Miami this offseason, many wondered if the Chiefs offense would continue to dominate the rest of the league. Consider the silenced reviews. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was unstoppable, completing 76.9% of his passes for 360 yards and five touchdowns. Unsurprisingly, superstar tight end Travis Kelce was the go-to option for Mahomes, hauling in nine receptions for 121 yards. Kansas City’s new wide receiver duo of JuJu Smith-Schuster (six receptions for 79 yards) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4 receptions for 44 yards) have consistently won the middle on crossover lanes. On the other hand, the Cardinals’ offense was completely anemic. Resembling the team that produced last year’s season-ending slump, head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense failed to move the shackles and keep their defense off the field. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was constantly under siege, rarely being able to unleash his devastating rushing ability. The Chiefs defense was in fine form midway through the season, harassing Murray for the full 60 minutes. Rookie pass thrower George Karlaftis generated four QB pressures and two hits in his NFL debut. The secondary was also solid, holding Murray to less than 200 passing yards. It was a resounding victory for the Chiefs in all facets of the season opener.