Historic debuts, Super Bowl hangovers, Week 1 saw it all. Here are your studs and duds from the first week of the NFL season.
Alex Smith, QB - Alex Smith tore apart one of our duds this Week, the entire New England Patriots defense. Perhaps Smith felt he had something to prove to the organization after they traded up 17 picks in the draft to take QB Pat Mahomes out of Texas tech at #10 overall. Smith went 28-35 for 368 yards and 4 TDs against a highly ranked New England defense.
Kareem Hunt, RB - The second stud and second Chief on the list. The rookie running back had himself a debut for the ages, rushing for 148 yards and a TD and receiving for 98 more with 2 additional TDs. Hunt even left a message after the game for all the Fantasy owners that decided to leave the unproven rookie on the bench for Week 1.
Sam Bradford, QB - Bradford slung the ball all around the field Monday night, going 27 of 32 for 346 yards and three TDs. He became the first Vikings quarterback since 1981 to post over 300 yards in the season opener. Bradford found many of his targets downfield with 8 of his passes going for over 20 yards. Minnesota got off to a hot start last season with Bradford under center, going 5-0 to begin the year before finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs.
T.J. Watt, LB - Nobody is surprised to hear an NFL defensive player by the name of Watt had a big game. But what if I told you it was JJ’s younger brother TJ that stole the show this Week. TJ became the third player in NFL history to record 2 sacks and an interception in his NFL debut. In typical Watt fashion, he downplayed his historic performance by saying, "We felt like we were in the backfield all of the time, but we have to finish plays. We had a few sacks left on the table, from my point of view." The Watt’s look like they could become the next brother duo to take the NFL by storm. I’m sure NFL offenses hope not.
Giorgio Tavecchio, K - The practice squad journeyman found his patience rewarded after Raiders veteran kicker Sebastian Janikowski was scratched from the starting lineup due to a back injury. Tavecchio has bounced around the league since 2012, never managing to find himself on the field during an NFL game. With a made PAT just 2 minutes into the game, Tavecchio became the first Radier, not named Sebastian Janikowski, to even attempt a kickoff, FG, or PAT since 2001. Tavecchio would continue to make one more PAT and four field goals. He hit two 52 yard field goals, the first player to make two FGs of 50+ yards since the AFL-NFL merger.
Janoris Jenkins, CB - The Giants corner has developed a bit of a rivalry with Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant over the past few years. Jenkins held the 3x pro-bowler to only 2 receptions on 9 targets for only 43 yards. Jenkins was nearly perfect, except for just 2 plays. One was an poorly called pass interference in the first half, the second was a 35 yard reception by Dez in the second half. Otherwise, Jenkins was the lone performer from a lackadaisical Giants team.
Mike Gillislee, RB - Speaking of the only bright spot on a team. Gillislee shined for an otherwise bleak Patriots team. Tom Brady was off the mark on 56.6% of his passes and could not find the endzone outside of handing it off the Gillislee. Gillislee rushed for only 45 yards on 15 carries but ended 3 of those in the end zone. The Patriots have a lot to work on after their loss to the Chiefs, but the running back position is looking solid with Gillislee at the helm.
Andy Dalton, QB - Dalton was about as bad as you can be in his season opener, accounting for 5 turnovers to the tune of 4 interceptions and a fumble from a sack. To make matters worse, it was at home, against the division rival Ravens.
Colts - It’s hard to pin down who exactly to blame this loss on. Scott Tolzien? Chuck Pagano? The defense? The offense? Nobody looked good on Sunday. It’s clear the Colts need Andrew Luck to return. It’s also clear Luck will not solve all their problems.
Le’Veon Bell, RB - Was Bell a true bust this week? Relatively. He didn’t fumble the ball, but on 10 attempts he managed only 32 yards. On 3 receptions he added just 15 more. He was also unable to find the end zone this week. His numbers weren't terrible for the average running back, but Bell is no average running back. Needless to say, Le’Veon Bell fantasy owners consider him a Week 1 dud.
Seattle O-Line - The Seattle Seahawks offensive line needs to shoulder most of the blame for the team’s complete lack of offensive production against the Green Bay Packers. Russell Wilson faced endless pressure every time the ball was snapped and had a Green Bay lineman on him before he was even able to look downfield on almost every play. Despite the overwhelming pressure, Wilson was still able to execute on certain impressive plays, but not enough to find the end zone. The Seahawks scored just three field goals.