The Week 1 Sunday slate of games came to a close as the NFL season kicked off with a bang. The rookie quarterbacks were welcomed to the NFL, while the second year QBs really shined. Defenses dominated several alleged high-powered offenses such as the Titans, Packers, and Falcons were all clamped down upon by the Cardinals, Saints, and Eagles defenses. Comebacks, upsets, and blowouts spackled the day, and in the end, the Chiefs displayed their dominance yet again.
These are your week 1 Sunday afternoon and evening games.
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City ChiefsEmbed from Getty Images
The Cleveland Browns stormed out early and laid their claim on this game. Nick Chubb on the early possessions, tallying up 101 all-purpose yards and 2 first-half touchdowns to give the Browns a 22-10 lead at the half. The Browns’ defense was limiting the Chiefs, the run game was clicking extremely well, and even Baker Mayfield looked sharp, spreading the ball around to all of his receivers.
Then, halftime allowed the Chiefs to refocus. Coming into the third, Kansas City got the ball and methodically carved their way up the field. 14 plays for 80 yards, grinding 7 minutes and 33 seconds off of the clock, culminating in an 11-yard scoring strike to Travis Kelce from Patrick Mahomes.
The Browns needed to respond big in order to prevent the Chiefs from doing what they normally do when they find themselves behind. Instead, Juan Thornhill stripped the ball out of Chubb’s grip and into the hands of teammate Ben Niemann. It was looking like the comeback was in full swing. But 10 plays, 33 yards, and another 5 minutes and 24 seconds later, the Chiefs only cut the Browns lead to 22-20.
Cleveland dodged a bullet with the field goal and needed to make a statement to not lose control of this game, and that they did. Mayfield and the offense worked their way up the field and finished off a 9 play, 75-yard drive with a touchdown from Kareem Hunt. With the extra point good, the Browns reclaimed two-score advantage minutes into the fourth quarter, we knew we were going to have a game.
Or so we thought. On the very next play, Mahomes made a beautiful throw as Tyreek Hill torched the Browns’ secondary, scoring a 75-yard touchdown. For anyone thinking the Browns took control seconds before, the Chiefs answer “guess again.”
This was accentuated with a 4 play turnover on downs by Cleveland, and another quick score by Kansas City. Kelce’s second touchdown from Mahomes was the Chiefs’ first lead of the game, 33-29.
The game ultimately ended on a Browns’ drive minutes later, when Mike Hughes snagged an interception off of Mayfield, giving the Chiefs the ability to run out the clock. Dan Sorenson was hot in pressure when Hughes secured the pick.
Chris Jones was a force for the KC defense, sacking the QB 2 times while recording another 2 tackles for loss. Nick Bolton was impressive in his rookie debut, piling up 7 total tackles. Tyreek Hill paced all offensive weapons with 11 receptions for 197 yards and 1 touchdown.
The Kansas City Chiefs storm back to claim a 33-29 victory over the Cleveland Browns
Los Angeles Chargers at Washington Football TeamEmbed from Getty Images
This game went back and forth in the second half as the two teams traded turnovers and exchanged the lead. But we’ll get there soon enough. Let’s start at the beginning. On the Chargers’ first possession of the game, they marched down the field, capping off the drive with an Austin Ekeler touchdown. This was the first touchdown for the Sunday slates of games and many many believe that the Chargers might just steamroll from there.
The Washington D buckled down the very next series, however, forcing a quick three and out. At that point, we had a game. The Washington D versus the Charger offense failed to disappoint, as LA drove the field to ultimately be held to field goals for the rest of the half.
Washington took the ball after halftime and drove the field, capping off the drive with a Taylor Heinicke touchdown to pass to Logan Thomas. Heinicke was in the game because Ryan Fitzpatrick exited in the first half with a hip injury. We will hopefully know more about that injury early this week.
After Washington took its first lead the two offenses began to trade miscues as the defenses took front and center in the game. A forced fumble from Montex Sweat, a missed field goal from Washington, A Willie Jackson interception, a Kazir White forced fumble with a Kenneth Murray recovery.
After that fumble, however, Justin Herbert finally put his mark on the game. Herbert threw a touchdown pass to Mike Williams, giving LA all the points they needed to win the game.
All total, Herbert threw for 337 yards and a touchdown. Ekeler led the team in rushing with 57 yards, Keenan Allen paced the team in 9 receptions for 100 yards. Murray had the top defensive performance with 10 total tackles and a fumble recovery.
Los Angeles Chargers brawl out a 20-16 victory over the Washington Football Team.
New York Jets at Carolina PanthersEmbed from Getty Images
Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson both got back at the team that allowed them to leave, accounting for the first two touchdowns of the game. The first came halfway through the second quarter when Darnold launched a 57-yard touchdown pass to Anderson. In the very next series, Darnold drove the Panthers down the field, capping it off with a 5-yard rushing score.
Meanwhile, the Carolina D continued to frustrate the Jets’ offense. Shaq Thompson had a sack and an interception to set up the Panthers’ first score. Haason Reddick was in the backfield all day, recording 1.5 sacks. All total this defense put together 5 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, and 8 deflections. They could have made even more plays had it not been for some elite scrambling from Zach Wilson.
The Jets weren’t able to answer back until the second half, but when they did they saw a glimpse of what their future with Wilson could be. The rookie QB threw his first touchdown pass to Corey Davis, then ran for the 2=point conversion to cut the Panther lead to a score. He was then able to lead the Jets on a 98-yard touchdown drive, finishing it with another touchdown pass to Davis.
With that said, it was all for naught, because the Panthers were able to tack on an insurance field goal in between the drives.
The Carolina Panthers bottle up the New York Jets, 19-14
Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati BengalsEmbed from Getty Images
The real action started late as the two teams if nothing but trade punts throughout the first quarter. Eventually, both teams scored and it looked like we were heading to the half 7-7. Then, the Bengals’ offense woke up from their slumber. Just a minute before halftime, Joe Burrow chucked a beautiful 50-yard pass to his college teammate, Ja’Marr Chase, who hauled it in for the touchdown. One could only wonder if this was the beginning of fulfilled expectations in Cincy.
And sure enough, it was. Cincinnati started the second half with the football and Burrow methodically led them on an 11 play, 75-yard drive. Joe Mixon finished off the drive with a 2-yard rushing touchdown.
Minnesota was not content to allow that to be the narrative of the game, however. Soon after, Kirk Cousins threw his second touchdown pass of the game to Adam Thielen and it looked like this one would come down to the wire.
A quick Cincy field goal restored a two-score lead for the Bengals, but the Vikings answered that with a 10 play, 70-yard scoring drive. This drive was finished off with a Dalvin Cook touchdown, as the Viks cut the Concy lead to 24-21 with 10 minutes left to play.
Punts were exchanged, leaving many to wonder if either the Bengals or the Vikings would finish what they started. Eventually, Minnesota got the ball back with under 2 minutes left to play, knowing they needed to do something. And that they did. The Vikings drove the field and kicked a game-tieing field goal just as regulation expired. The game was headed to week 1 overtime.
The game was rapidly approaching a tie when the Vikings finally started to go on the first drive of the period. Unfortunately for them, that was the beginning of the end. 5 plays in, Jesse Bates forced a Cook fumble, which was scooped up by Germain Pratt. The Bengals took over with a final shot to #SeizetheDey.
Their 7 play, 46-yard drive needed a huge, 32 yard, fourth-down completion to CJ Uzomah to bring it to fruition. In the end, however, the Bengals got exactly what they needed as they kicked the game-winning field goal.
The Cincinnati Bengals claim an overtime victory over the Minnesota Vikings, 27-24
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo BillsEmbed from Getty Images
The Buffalo Bills were supposed to come out at home and put on a dominating, matchup-proof display of their offense, but in the end, only the Steelers established dominance. The game had an incredibly slow start on offense, playing into the Pittsburgh narrative, as the Bills did not get their first touchdown on the board until right before halftime. With that said, Buffalo seemed to seize control with that 10-0 lead.
Even when the Steelers came out and put up a field goal to start the second half, almost everyone knew that Buffalo was ready to mark their mark. That fire was extinguished, however, when a 12 play, 40-yard drive was stalled by great play from Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cameron Sutton, and the rest of the Pittsburgh secondary. The Steeler field goal that followed only further emphasized that this was not a normal Bills game from a year ago.
Another Buffalo turnover on downs (this one around mid-field), led to Pittsburgh finally being able to claim their first lead of the afternoon. They made quick work of the field position as Big Ben threw a beautiful, 5-yard touchdown pass to Dionte Johnson. The Steelers led 13-10.
After that, the Buffalo nightmare reached its peak. Another three and out had them lining up to punt yet again. Bad became worse when this time the punt was blocked and returned for a Steelers score. Pittsburgh had taken complete control of this game and was now leading 20-10.
The rest of the game was merely formalities as Buffalo never recaptured that which made them excel last year. A few field goals were exchanged, but all of the important scorings were over.
The Pittsburgh Steelers stifled the Buffalo Bills, 23-16
Miami Dolphins at New England PatriotsEmbed from Getty Images
I said this game looked like a mirror match going into it, and I didn’t realize just how right that would be. Both defenses showed up ready to play. Both young quarterbacks showed flashes of brilliance, going a long way to further their team’s faith in them. And the division rivals played to the final possession within a point of each other.
Mac Jones got the first touchdown pass of his career shortly before halftime, hooking up with Nelson Agholor. The Dolphins responded with a field goal minutes later to knot up the score 10-10 at the half.
Miami received the ball after halftime and drove the field for what would turn out to be the winning score. On this drive, the Dolphins used 9 plays to travel 75 yards, as rookie Jaylen Waddle caught his touchdown pass from his former college QB Tua Tagovailoa. The Fins took a 17-10 lead.
In their next few series, the Patriots went on long drives, securing 2 field goals and eating almost 14 minutes off of the clock. Much of this was as a result of an efficient Patriots’ rushing attack which ran for nearly 130 yards. Damien Harris paced the New England RBs with 100 yards. These drives and over 400 yards of total offense were not enough, however, for the Pats to take the lead.
With 8 minutes left in the game, the Patriots drove to secure that final score and victory. They had eaten over 4.5 minutes, traveling 41 yards over 9 plays when the Dolphins’ defense came up big. Xavien Howard raced in and stripped the ball out of Harris’ hands, ending the Pats’ final drive.
The Miami Dolphins drove out the clock to secure a 17-16 victory over the New England Patriots
In Other Action:
Houston Texans 37, Jacksonville Jaguars 21Embed from Getty Images
The Texans rushing attack piled up 160 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Tyrod Taylor accounted for 40 of those yards while throwing for 291 and 2 touchdowns more. In addition to this, their defense intercepted rookie quarterback, Trevor Lawrence 3 times, en route to a blowout.
Seattle Seahawks 28, Indianapolis Colts 16Embed from Getty Images
Russell Wilson connected with Tyler Lockett 4 times for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. All total, Wilson threw for 254 yards and 4 touchdowns. DK Metcalf and new TE Gerald Everett added the other two scores.
Arizona Cardinals 38, Tennessee Titans 13Embed from Getty Images
Chandler Jones recorded 5 of 6 Cardinal QB sacks and 4 of 8 of their tackles for loss. He also forced 2 fumbles, with Isaiah Simmons adding an interception, the Cards turned over the Titans’ offense. The Arizona D also limited Derrick Henry to just 58 yards on the ground, making the “Big Three” all but irrelevant this game.
On the offense, Kyler Murray threw for 4 touchdowns and added another 1 on the ground. DeAndre Hopkins caught 2 of those scores as Arizona humiliated one of the top-rated teams in the league.
San Francisco 49ers 41, Detroit Lions 33Embed from Getty Images
The score ended much closer than the game actually was as San Francisco held off a late 16-0 run from Detroit. The 49ers took control of this game in the second quarter as their rushing attack (which amassed over 130 yards) scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives. They really blew it wide open when Dre Greenlaw picked off Jared Goff and returned it for a touchdown. This increased the Niner lead to 28-10.
Eli Mitchell ran for 104 yards and a score, as he carried the load after Raheem Mostert went down in the first half. Deebo Samuel paced all 49er weapons with 9 receptions for 189 yards and 1 touchdown.
Philadelphia Eagles 32, Atlanta Falcons 6Embed from Getty Images
The Philly rushing attack ran for 173 yards and a score. Miles Sanders left his impact by collecting 74 of those and 113 total yards, Kenneth Gainwell contribute 43 total yards and added the touchdown. Quarterback Jalen Hurt accounted for the rest of the rushing yards on his way to leading the Eagles with 326 total yards and 3 touchdowns.
Hurts did a great job spreading the ball around and leading the team as he hooked up with DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, and Dallas Goedert for touchdowns.
The defense limited the alleged high-powered Falcons offense to under 300 yards. Javon Hargrave was very instrumental in that result, sacking the QB 2 times and throwing in another 2 tackles for loss. The Eagles registered 3 sacks and 5 tackles for loss on the game.
New Orleans Sanints 38, Green Bay Packers 3Embed from Getty Images
The Saints’ defense limited the Packers’ offense to a measly 244 yards on the game. Aaron Rodgers only threw for 133 of those yards and was intercepted twice. All total they turned over the Pack 3 times, with 2 sacks, and 3 additional tackles for loss.
On the offense, Jameis Winston had his coming-out party in week 1, throwing for 5 touchdown passes this game. Juwan Johnson caught 2 of the passes, with Alvin Kamara catching another. Kamara paced all Saints weapons this game with 91 total yards.
Denver Broncos 27, New York Giants 13Embed from Getty Images
Denver dominated with long drives throughout the day eating up over 35 minutes of the clock and going on 2 scoring drives of over 8 minutes. Add this to a couple of great defensive stops later in the game and knockout punch late, and the Broncos dialed up a great formula for success.
The knockout punch came in the form of a 70-yard touchdown run from Melvin Gordon, giving the Broncos a 27-7 lead.
The Giants’ two series before that were long and promising drives that yielded them nothing. The first of those drives was 10 plays, ending in a Josey Jewell forced fumble. The next was a 14 play drive ended by a clutch defended pass from Kyle Fuller. The Broncos D was solid all around and clutch when it was needed most.
Like What you read?
More from J-MiL4Real: