On the first day of the new NFL season, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray turn up the heat. The Texans dominate the Jaguars, the Bengals win a thriller against the Vikings. Washington fears for its quarterback, and the 49ers are about to make a monster comeback. The Chiefs win the top game against the Browns, while Aaron Rodgers and the Packers go completely under the wheels against the Saints.
The game of the week:
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) – Cleveland Browns (0-1) 33:29 (3: 8, 7:14, 10: 0, 13: 7)
The Kansas City Chiefs got away with a black eye after having been permanently behind until seven minutes before the end. Patrick Mahomes found tight end Travis Kelce for an 8-yard touchdown pass, which also brought the final score. It was finally over after new signing cornerback Mike Hughes caught an interception from Baker Mayfield just before the end of the game.
Before that, the Browns had always managed to maintain a comfortable lead. They scored a touchdown each with their first three possessions in the game. They had only achieved this once in the past 40 years when they were away from home – in the 35:20 victory over the Bengals in 2018.
The Chiefs scored their first touchdown in the middle of the second quarter with a 5-yard run from Mahomes into the end zone. The Browns’ answer: An 18-yard touchdown run by Nick Chubb, who had already scored the first score. Break stand: 22:10 for the guests.
In the third quarter, the Chiefs slowly came back with a Kelce touchdown and a field goal. The Browns hit back early in the fourth quarter with a touchdown from ex-Chief Kareen Hunt 10 minutes from time. But KC was back in the next play – a 75-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes on Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs’ decisive touchdown was facilitated by a dropped snap from Browns punter Jamie Gillan, who regained the ball but was then stopped deep in his own half.
For Mahomes it was the eleventh game in September and he has won all eleven and still has not thrown an interception.
In the first half, Browns-Safety Ronnie Harrison caused a stir, because after a play he kicked an opponent lying on the ground and dealt a punch against a chiefs coach on the sideline. He was disqualified for this.
In addition, the Browns lost left tackle Jedrick Wills with an ankle injury before the break. It is still unclear how severe the injury is.
- READ: Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs highlights – Week 1
- READ: NFL week 1 recaps – A bad starts for the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) – Seattle Seahawks (1-0) 16:28 (3: 7, 7:14, 0: 0, 6: 7)
Week 1 and the Indianapolis Colts don’t seem to go together. The loss to the Seahawks was the eighth opening game in a row that Indianapolis lost. In Carson Wentz’s first game (25/38, 251 YDS, 2 TD, 4 ATT, 23 YDS) for the franchise, Indy actually got off to a strong start, while head coach Frank decided on fourth-and-goal at the opposing three-yard line Enough to score the field goal, however. After Wentz’s first touchdown pass to Zach Pascal (4 REC, 43 YDS, 2 TD), the offense stalled: The next six drives all ended in punts or turnovers.
In the absence of the injured TY Hilton, the Colts receivers couldn’t really recommend themselves. Pascal caught two touchdowns in the Red Zone, but the home team’s most conspicuous receiving options were two running backs: Jonathan Taylor (17 ATT, 56 YDS, 6 REC, 60 YDS) finished the game with the most receiving yards of the Colts, Nyheim Hines (9 ATT, 34 YDS, 6 REC, 48 YDS) received the most targets. Parris Campbell (REC, 24 YDS) and Michael Pittman Jr. (3 REC, 29 YDS) stayed pale.
Meanwhile, Russell Wilson presented himself in really strong form (18/23, 254 YDS, 4 TD, 5 ATT, 9 YDS). In the offense of the new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, Wilson threw two touchdowns on the Seahawks’ first two drives. Wilson recorded eleven yards per pass, his near-perfect passer rating was the second best of his career.
Seattle once again underlined that they are perhaps the most dangerous downfield passing offense in the league. Tyler Lockett (4 REC, 100 YDS, 2 TD) scored two long receiving touchdowns. In the first quarter, the slot receiver caught a pass over 23 yards spectacularly over his shoulder. 41 seconds before the break, Lockett carried a deep Wilson pass over 69 yards into the end zone. DK Metcalf (4 REC, 60 YDS, TD) missed a catch in the first half, but still had 60 receiving yards and a touchdown in the second half.
Houston Texans (1-0) – Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) 37:21 (14-0, 13: 7, 7: 7, 3: 7)
Worst team in the league? The favorite for the number one pick? The Texans belied many critics with their appearance at the start of the season. Houston was clearly superior to the Jaguars from the start. The Texans took the lead 14-0 early on, while the underdog led 34-7. In the coming week, the team will have to prove against the Browns that this performance was not a flash in the pan. The Jaguars should be familiar with it: They beat the Colts in week one last year – and then lost 15 games in a row.
In the absence of Deshaun Watson, who will probably no longer appear for the Texans this season, Tyrod Taylor (21/33, 291 YDS, 2 TD, 4 ATT, 40 YDS) showed a courageous performance. The former Chargers-QB moved the ball consistently well and hardly made any mistakes. Highlight of the day: Taylor’s 52-yard pass under pressure on Brandin Cooks (5 REC, 132 YDS), who played a really strong game and came to over 100 receiving yards.
The Jaguars got off to an absolute horror start. After 17 wins in 17 opening games at college, head coach Urban Meyer suffered some bad smack in his NFL debut. Jacksonville had hardly anything to oppose the Texans defensively, and the team also had a lot of sand in the offensive. The Jaguars fit their first nine offensive snaps, but this recipe was rarely crowned with success. The first two drives ended in punts after three and four plays.
The NFL debut of number one pick Trevor Lawrence (28/51, 332 YDS, 3 TD, 1 ATT, -2 YDS) was bumpy and thus his first regular season defeat in his career – high school and college included – had to accept. Lawrence had to throw 51 times and got three touchdowns thanks to garbage time. The super talent, however, missed open receivers several times and threw three interceptions.
Atlanta Falcons (0-1) – Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) 6:32 (3: 7, 3: 8, 0: 7, 0:10)
What a start into the new season for Jalen Hurts (27/35, 264 YDS, 3 TD, 7 ATT, 62 YDS)! The young Eagles quarterback was considered a big question mark, he is probably playing for his future as a starting quarterback this season. Against the Falcons, the second round pick from the 2020 draft made an extremely positive impression. Hurts made hardly any mistakes and was not disturbed by the numerous Blitzes of the Falcons defense. He finished the game with three touchdowns with no turnover.
DeVonta Smith (6 REC, 71 YDS, TD) had a good start to his NFL career. The first hour pick of the Eagles ended the encounter with most targets, catches and receiving yards, and it also caught the first touchdown of the game: In a third-and-four from the opposing 18-yard line, the Eagles played a kind of pick-play Tight end Zach Ertz, Smith took advantage of the confusion and ran free on a corner route.
Things went much less smoothly on the other side: While Nick Sirianni could hardly have imagined his head coaching debut better, Arthur Smith’s offense disappointed across the board. Matt Ryan (21/35, 164 YDS, 2 ATT, 8 YDS) only managed 4.7 yards per pass attempt and was far too seldom able to provide big plays. With two fourth downs, his offensive line also let him down: both times defensive tackle Javon Hargrave Ryan sank immediately after the snap.
Even rookie Kyle Pitts (4 REC, 31 YDS) could hardly provide any highlight plays. The tight end received most of the targets on Atlanta’s side, but still only recorded 31 receiving yards. In a fourth-and-one, Pitts made for a very important catch. Much more was probably not possible in this barely explosive offense tonight. Calvin Ridley (5 REC, 51 YDS) also stayed rather pale.
Washington Football Team (0-1) – Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) 16:20 (3: 7, 6: 6, 7: 0, 0: 7)
The Chargers and defeats in tight games – there have been a few of them every year in the past seasons. At the beginning of 2021, Los Angeles did things better: The Chargers went into the last quarter with a deficit, but scored the only touchdown there. After an interception from Justin Herbert (31/47, 337 YDS, INT, TD), Antonio Gibson (20 ATT, 90 YDS, FUM, 3 REC, 18 YDS) gave the ball back with a fumble. From the three yard line, Herbert found receiver Mike Williams (8 REC, 82 YDS) in the end zone. Washington scored a fourth-and-twelve with just under seven minutes to go, and the Chargers never returned the ball.
Herbert showed – despite his interception – an outstanding performance. The rookie, who was so impressive last year, was hard to stop, especially at Third Down. Herbert brought 13 of his 16 third-down passes for 160 yards, eleven first downs and a touchdown to the man. LA successfully played 14 of their 19 third downs, an outstanding rate. Also strong: Keenan Allen (9 REC, 100 YDS), who came to 100 yards.
Washington, meanwhile, worries about his quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick (3/6, 13 YDS, ATT, 2 YDS) had to leave the field in the first half and never returned to the grass. Head coach Ron Rivera was unable to provide any further information about the 38-year-old’s health after the game. Taylor Heinicke (11/15, 122 YDS, TD, 3 ATT, 17 YDS) came into play for Fitzpatrick. The backup performed well but still failed to lead his team to victory.
Terry McLaurin (4 REC, 62 YDS) provided a spectacular highlight with a great catch over his shoulder. Meanwhile, Gibson was used as an absolute workhorse. The running back received 20 carries and also led the team in targets. However, through his game-changing fumble, Gibson eventually became the tragic figure in the game.