The NFL season began Sunday and with the first week in the books there were notable winners, losers, and some big surprises. A couple of rookie quarterbacks had very impressive NFL debuts, two games were determined by missed field goals, and a gutsy two-point conversion stole the show. Here is a recap of everything week 1 had to offer.
The Raiders came away with an impressive win (35-34) against the New Orleans Saints in hostile territory. The game was exciting from start to finish with up-tempo offenses being executed on both sides. Derek Carr threw for 335 yards and led the Raiders on the 6th game-winning drive of his career. The Raiders scored a touchdown to come within a point of the Saints. Instead of kicking the extra point, HC, Jack Del Rio elected to go for two. The gamble paid off as Carr completed a pass to Michael Crabtree for the game-winning 2-pt conversion.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Buccaneers managed to win big (31-24) on the road against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. Second-year QB Jameis Winston impressed with leadership and poise and controlled the tempo of the game from beginning to end. He was 23/33, threw for 281 yards, and had 4TDs.
New York Giants:
The Giants faced the Dallas Cowboys week 1 (no surprise there) and were finally able to notch a win in their season opener. Eli Manning led the Giants on a game-winning drive that ended in a touchdown pass to Victor Cruz. Cruz, who had not played in 700 days, finished with four receptions for 34 yards and a TD.
Kansas City Chiefs:
The Chiefs completed the greatest comeback (21 points) in franchise history in their 33-27 win over the San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs trailed 21-3 at the half but fought their way to a tie (27-27) by the end of regulation. Alex Smith would rush for the game-winning touchdown in OT finishing his evening with 378 yards and three passing TDs.
New Orleans Saints:
The Saints hosted the Raiders but couldn’t take advantage of home field falling to 0-1 in their season opener. Drew Brees moved the Saints downfield on the final drive of the game putting them in position to win but rookie kicker Wil Lutz missed a 61-yard field goal attempt. Brees threw for 423 yards and 4TDs.
Robert Griffin III made his anticipated return as a starting QB in the Browns 10-29 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Browns trailed the entire game as RG III struggled to connect with open receivers and took a beating from the Eagles’ defense. He was sacked three times, hurried nine, and knocked down six. To make matters worse, RG III was in a hard collision with an Eagles defender after taking off on a run late in the fourth quarter. The Browns QB has been put on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury suffered in the loss.
San Diego Chargers:
The Chargers held a 21-3 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs at halftime before being outscored 24-6 in the second half. The Chargers were unable to stop the Chiefs’ momentum who battled all the way back to force OT. Smith would rush for a touchdown and a 1-0 start to the season, leaving the Chargers stunned.
The Cardinals got off to a slow start against the New England Patriots trailing most of the game. In the fourth quarter, Cardinals QB Carson Palmer led a touchdown drive that gave Arizona their first lead at 21-20. The Patriots responded, however, with a field goal to go back up 23-21. The Cardinals’ offense would make it back within FG range with a chance to win but their attempt was no good, dropping their home opener in excruciating fashion.
Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott:
Rookie QB Dak Prescott was picked 135th overall and thanks to a preseason injury to Tony Romo, got the nod to start in Week 1 against the New York Giants. Prescott exemplified poise in his first NFL game. He led the Cowboys on back-to-back 16-play drives that resulted in FGs in their first two offensive possessions. He finished the evening 227 yards, zero TDs, and zero INTs. Although the Cowboys fell to New York, Prescott proved to be NFL ready.
Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz:
Second overall pick, Carson Wentz put on an impressive performance in his NFL debut outshining Browns QB Robert Griffin III. The rookie showed his pro-readiness by throwing for 278 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in a 29-10 convincing at home.
New England Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo:
No Brady, no problem. The Jimmy Garoppolo led Patriots took on the Arizona Cardinals and came away with a victory on the road. They led for most of the game until the Cardinals took a late fourth quarter lead. With the pressure on and trailing by one, Garoppolo led the Patriots down field where they converted a game-winning field goal. In his first start at QB Garoppolo played poised and found success within the Patriots system against a Super bowl favorite.