The first week of the NFL’s regular season is in the books. There were some great games this week that gave us a glimpse of how the season could shape out. Let’s dive in on what we learned after Week 1.
The Cleveland Browns are Contenders
Even though they lost, the Cleveland Browns made a statement against the Kansas City Cheifs. Their offense was unstoppable in the first half, scoring touchdowns on three of their four drives. Defensively, they did a solid job of keeping everything in front of them and preventing the big play from Mahomes. However, in the second half, the Cheifs came roaring back. The Browns made several mistakes and missed some golden opportunities that would’ve helped them seal the game.
However, they got away from their identity in the second half. At the beginning of the game, the focal point of the offense was Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Because the Cheifs couldn’t stop the run, they were forced to load up the box which opened up big plays from the play-action game for the Browns. When they play to their strengths, the Browns are a tough team to beat. However, when they play through Baker Mayfield as a pass-first offense, they are not as successful. Still, the Browns are one of the most complete teams in football and they have a chance to compete for a championship this year.
Sophomore QB’s impressed in Week 1
All of the second-year quarterbacks shined in Week 1. Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert all delivered victories for their teams. Jalen Hurts arguably looked the best among them, dominating the Atlanta Falcons by throwing for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 62 yards on the ground. He made great decisions all day and never put the football in harm’s way.
Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals got off to a rough start against the Minnesota Vikings. However, things finally started to click after Burrow unleashed a 50-yard bomb to Ja’Marr Chase. After all the news about Chase’s concentration drops during offseason practices and preseason games, he had a fantastic NFL debut. Burrow himself also had a great game throwing for 261 yards and two touchdowns. After Dalvin Cook’s fumble, Burrow led his team on a seven play 46-yard drive that lead to Evan McPherson’s 33-yard game-winning field goal. The Bengals should still be worried about their offensive line giving up five sacks today, but the future looks very bright for the young Bengals.
Tua Tagovailoa was solid in the Dolphins win against the New England Patriots. He made some mistakes, but he also made key plays that were needed to hang on and win the game. New England is projected to have one of the better defenses in the league and Tagovalia handled himself well. He threw for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Tagovailoa seems to have developed a nice chemistry with DeVante Parker.
Lastly, we have Justin Herbert. Over the last few years, the Chargers have struggled mightily to close out single-possession games. That continued last year when Herbert took over as the starter. This led to Brandon Staley taking over as the head coach. The Chargers beat the Football Team 20-16 after Herbert connected with Keenan Allen on a 9-yard pass to seal the game. The Chargers got the football with 6:43 left in the game and they never gave the football back. Their offensive line was also huge, keeping Herbert clean from Washington’s star defensive front.
Will Jameis be Brees’ successor?
After Drew Brees retired, there were questions on who his successor would be. Replacing a Hall of Famer like Drew Brees is no easy task. Against the Green Bay Packers, Jameis Winston was on fire, throwing five touchdown passes. He was great with his decision-making and took what the defense gave him. It is premature, but if Jameis can avoid the costly mistakes and win football games, he will indeed become a franchise quarterback again.
We are in for an exciting season. We saw some playoff teams from last year take a step back and we saw other teams who struggled last year make a huge jump. The expectation is that the two Super Bowl teams from last year will meet again. However, it seems like a few teams are going to give them a run for their money.