Sunday’s slate of action is officially in the books for Week 1 of the National Football League Season and man, was there a lot of it! Four games went down to the wire, and young quarterbacks stole the show. Here is our recap of all of Sunday’s action and the NFL opener last Thursday: a Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.
With all the attention being paid to Cam Newton and his potential vengeance against the vaunted Broncos’ D, it was Denver’s running back C.J. Anderson who stole the show, with 92 rush yards and a score on the ground, and another touchdown through the air. Newton, on the other hand, started the game off well and led the Panthers to a 17-7 lead, but then the Denver pass rush began to assert its dominance once again, manhandling the quarterback, which may have been in response to this little moment mid-game:
Yes. That happened. But the biggest moment came at the end of the game, with four seconds remaining, and Graham Gano up to try a 50-yard field goal with the Broncos leading 21-20. The Panthers kicker fired the ball straight through the uprights…but the Broncos called a timeout in an attempt to “ice” him. Look what happened when Gano went up for his second attempt:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons – Jameis Winston shook off a slow start and an interception to throw four TDs and lead his Bucs to a victory over the Falcons 31-24, including this bomb to wide receiver Mike Evans. The Florida State alum put on a show in the second half:
Chicago Bears vs Houston Texans – Brock Osweiler’s regular season debut was victorious, as the Texans won 23-14. Rookie receiver Will Fuller showed off his wheels on this touchdown off of a screen pass:
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Green Bay Packers – The upstart Jaguars gave the Pack a scare, as the game wasn’t over until the very end. Blake Bortles had the ball at midfield with no timeouts and a little over a minute left, but a fourth down stop sealed the game for Green Bay, 27-23. Aaron Rodgers proved yet again that even when you think you have him, you might not:
Rodgers was being pulled to the ground… But that was NOT stopping him.
New Orleans Saints vs Oakland Raiders – A shootout to say the least, as Derek Carr and Drew Brees combined for 742 passing yards and five touchdowns. In the end, it was the Raiders who pulled off the upset 35-34, as Head Coach Jack Del Rio elected to go for a two-point conversion instead of tying the game:
New York Jets vs Cincinnati Bengals – Could “The Island” finally be shrinking? It sure looked like it, as Bengals receiver AJ Green lit up Darrelle Revis (and the rest of the Jets defense, for that matter) for 12 catches, 180 yards, and one touchdown. The Jets front seven combined for seven sacks of quarterback Andy Dalton, but couldn’t seal the deal at the end of the game as the Bengals won, 23-22.
Cleveland Browns vs Philadelphia Eagles – Robert Griffin III’s Browns debut was spoiled by the more-impressive debut of second-round pick Carson Wentz, who led the Eagles to 29-10 victory. The young quarterback threw two touchdowns in the win.
Minnesota Vikings vs Tennessee Titans- The Vikings defense realized that they needed to step it up with their starting quarterback out for the year and that they did, as they recovered two fumbles, intercepted Marcus Mariota and scored two touchdowns to win 25-16.
Seattle Seahawks vs Miami Dolphins- A defensive slugfest in Seattle. Quarterback Russell Wilson, down 10-6 late in the fourth quarter, mounted what would be the decisive drive, ending with a two-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin and the win, 12-10:
New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys- The rookie tandem of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott made their debuts at home, and as impressive as Prescott was (especially on their first drive), the Dallas offense kept settling for field goals, whereas the Giants finished their red zone drives with touchdowns like this one to Victor Cruz (his first since 2014), to seal the victory 20-19:
Detroit Lions vs Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck’s admirable heroics fell short in the final afternoon game. After bringing his Colts all the way back from being down 21-10, he had to watch on the sidelines as Matthew Stafford, armed with three timeouts, marched the Lions down to the 25-yard line for the game-winning field goal by Matt Prater. The Colts tried to lateral their way to a miraculous victory, but their effort ended in a safety at the end of regulation, 39-35:
Arizona Cardinals vs New England Patriots- Larry Fitzgerald, the consistently amazing Cardinals receiver with magnets for hands, caught his 100th career touchdown and seemed to make difficult catch after difficult catch when it mattered most, but it all amounted to naught as Chandler Catanzaro’s potential game-winning field goal was no good after a bad snap of the football. On the other side, Jimmy Garoppolo performed really well in Tom Brady’s stead and did just enough to survive Week 1 with a victory, 23-21: