After a long offseason, week one of the National Football League did not disappoint. Fans across the country were excited to see their teams perform for the first time since February.
The opening kickoff game consisted of the Buffalo Bills traveling to Los Angeles to take on the reigning world champions, the Los Angeles Rams. The Bills practically dominated that game on both sides of the ball and won with the final score being 31-10. Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw three touchdowns to go along with two interceptions, which bested his opponent, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who tossed only one touchdown while being picked off three times.
On Sunday, twenty-eight of the thirty-two teams participated. The New Orleans Saints took a short trip to Atlanta to take on the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Falcons, for the most part, controlled the game, possessing a 26-10 lead at one point in the fourth quarter. The Saints, led by wide receiver Michael Thomas and his two fourth-quarter touchdowns, in addition to solid defensive play down the stretch, managed to come back and defeat the Falcons, 27-26.
The Indianapolis Colts, favored by many analysts to win the division, played a lousy game and ended up tying the lowly Houston Texans. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Colts were down 20-3 before scoring seventeen unanswered points with the help of running back Jonathan Taylor and wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., who both found trips to the end zone. They forced overtime, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.
Another divisional matchup took place in Cincinnati, featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers and the reigning American Football Conference (AFC) champion Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals struggled out of the gate, with quarterback Joe Burrow throwing four interceptions, including a pick-six on his first passing attempt to Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Both teams’ kickers also struggled, before Steelers kicker Chris Boswell hit one through the uprights to win the game for the Steelers in overtime.
On the topic of game-winning field goals, the Browns won on a fifty-eight-yard field goal with just eight seconds to spare on the leg of kicker Cade York. This game featured them facing off against Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was traded by the Browns this offseason after being their starter for the past four seasons. The Browns managed to come out victorious, thanks to a solid defensive outing with defensive end Myles Garrett leading the way with two sacks against his former teammate.
Both the Dolphins and the Ravens handled business and took down the Patriots and Jets respectively. The Dolphins took advantage of a lousy Patriots offense by picking off Patriots quarterback Mac Jones once while wide receiver Jaylen Waddle found the end zone once. The Ravens dominated the Jets as wide receiver Devin Duvernay scored two touchdowns and newly-acquired safety Marcus Williams intercepted a pass from longtime former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
The Bears and Commanders each picked up a win in week one despite both games not consisting of much excitement. Playing in the soaking wet conditions of Soldier Field, the Bears shut down the 49er’s offense as quarterback Justin Fields managed to throw two touchdowns on the eight completions he made in the game. The Commanders bested the Jaguars, 28-22 as new quarterback Carson Wentz tossed four touchdowns in his first start with the team.
The Eagles traveled to Ford Field to play the Lions and it was a high-scoring contest that consisted of seventy-three points. The Eagles, at one point, held a double-digit lead over the Lions. But with the help of their motivator as head coach, Dan Campbell, the Lions nearly came back and won, falling just short, 38-35.
One of the biggest upsets of the weekend was the New York Giants defeating the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. The Giants, led by first-year head coach Brian Daboll, won 21-20 after a gutsy decision to go for a two-point conversion after a touchdown by running back Saquon Barkley.
The Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Las Vegas Raiders, 24-19 at SoFi Stadium. Turnovers played the difference in this contest, with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr throwing three interceptions against the revamped Chargers defense. Both the Chiefs and Vikings were too much for the Cardinals and Packers to handle respectively and cruised to victory by multiple points. Key players that dominated in these respective games included Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes,
who threw for five touchdowns, and Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who celebrated doing the “griddy” dance in the endzone twice.
Sunday night football had both defenses on display with the Buccaneers coming out victorious with a 19-3 win. The Cowboys struggled mightily to score and were the sole team in the NFL to not score a touchdown in the first week of the season. It comes on the heels of them losing quarterback Dak Prescott to an injury that will keep him sidelined for multiple weeks.
To wrap up week one, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks competed on Monday Night Football. Yet another upset in week one turned out to be the Seahawks becoming victorious in newly-acquired Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle.
The difference-maker in the game came at a costly decision made by first-year Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett when he wasted an opportunity to win the game by burning thirty seconds off the clock and allowing kicker Brandon McManus to miss a sixty-four-yard field goal instead of placing the ball in Wilson’s hands.
It was yet another exciting start to a new NFL season. Additionally, the second week of the NFL is wrapping up, with the second week ending with a doubleheader on Monday Night Football in matchups between the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills, and the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles. Week three will commence on Thursday, Sept. 22, with a showdown between division rivals Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. The event will take place at 8:15 p.m. on Amazon Prime. Here’s to football being back!!