Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season was fun! Some gaudy offensive numbers. Some upsets. Some heartbreaks. Here is a quick rundown of Week 1 NFL action.
The number of sacks by the Washington defense in their 27-17 comeback win against Philadelphia. 7 different players on the Washington defense received at least half a sack. Ohio State rookie Chase Young got to Wentz 1.5 times and forced a fumble on his first ever NFL sack.
Is the Washington D-line the best in the league or is Philly’s O-line atrocious? A little of both. Philadelphia was playing two rookies on their line in Week 1 which complicates matters in a normal year. Now factor in the shortened training camps and offseason prep time – they had no chance.
You must avoid writing a team off after a bad Week 1 performance. The Eagles’ O-line can only improve from here. Washington does figure to have one of the better pass rushing fronts in the league.
Last season Washington ranked 10th in sacks with 46. This averages out to 2.88 sacks per game. The NFL leader in sacks last season – Pittsburgh – recorded 54 (3.4 per game).
The size of the comeback by the Bears over the Lions. Also, the size of the comeback by Washington over Philadelphia.
The Bears were down 23-6 with 13:39 to go in the 4th quarter. A few first downs and/or a score by Detroit would put the game on ice. The Lions went punt-missed FG-pick in their next 3 possessions and the door remained open. The Bears scored 2 TDs to take a 27-23 lead.
Detroit had a prime opportunity to reclaim the lead on their final drive. With the ball in the red zone, quarterback Matthew Stafford found his rookie running back D’Andre Swift wide open in the end zone. Swift … didn’t make the catch.
Just a brutal drop by d’andre swift pic.twitter.com/vDZw9u9JOZ
— Trevor Bond (@bondtrevorbond) September 13, 2020
While the Lions were busy blowing their lead, the Eagles were letting their own 17-point advantage slip away. Washington was down 17-0 early and did not score until there were 40 seconds remaining in the first half.
Washington limped into the locker room, fortunate to only be down 10. The second half was all Washington. The Red****s scored 2 more touchdowns and won the game 27-17. The Eagles never scored after the 6:54 mark in the 2nd quarter.
This was the exact opposite outcome of the Washington-Philly meeting in Week 1 of 2019. Last season, only two teams held a 17-point lead and faced a 10-point deficit in the same game. One of these teams was Washington in Week 1.
Washington held a 17-0 lead before watching it evaporate and eventually losing 32-27.
Points scored in the Packers-Vikings game. The Packers (+1.5) won 43-34. This shattered the Vegas total of 44.5.
Aaron Rodgers excelled – completing 32 of 44 pass attempts for 364 yards and 4 touchdowns. Rodgers’ favorite target was Davante Adams. Adams caught 14 of 17 passes for 156 yards and 2 scores.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught just 4 passes but turned it into 96 yards and a TD.
We will showcase the Vikings offensive performers later.
Lead changes in the Las Vegas Raiders 34-30 win over Carolina. This ties the high from the 2019 season for most lead changes in a single game.
Las Vegas held a 27-15 lead until the 12:32 mark in the 4th quarter. Back-to-back TDs by Carolina put the Panthers back ahead 30-27. The game was now in Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr’s hands.
Starting on their own 25, Oakland moved down the field efficiently. Running back Josh Jacobs capped off the drive with a short TD run for the final lead change of the game.
Carr was excellent all game long. Carr completed 22 of 30 passes for 239 yards and one TD.
Russell Wilson’s completion percentage in the Seahawks 38-25 win over Atlanta.
Wilson was unstoppable on Sunday – completing 31 of 35 passes for 322 yards and 4 TDs. The 31-year-old vet also scampered for 29 yards – making him the leading rusher on the team.
In today’s win, @Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) completed 31 of 35 passes for an 88.6 completion percentage, tied for the third-highest mark in a single game in @NFL history, minimum 35 attempts. pic.twitter.com/si18z8xU48
— NFL345 (@NFL345) September 13, 2020
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan stuffed the stat sheet but could compete with Wilson’s efficiency. Ryan attempted 54 passes but only completed 37 (68.5%). Ryan threw for 450 yards and 2 TDs but threw 1 pick.
Wilson earned a QBR of 87.5 for his amazing performance. Ryan’s was 61.7.
The total number of passing yards plus rushing yards by Cam Newton in his Patriots debut. Newton completed 15 of 19 pass attempts for 155 yards and finished with 15 rushes for 75 yards and two TDs.
Football fans were especially eager to see how the Patriots would fare without Brady and how Brady would fare without the Patriots. Tampa Tom lost his Bucs debut. Superman Cam won.
New England was -7 against Miami on Sunday and covered the spread 21-11 despite losing a costly fumble at the goal line.
Miami is not an S-tier team so we should resist the temptation to immediately throw down $1,000 on the Patriots Super Bowl future line. What conclusions can we draw from Sunday’s game?
For one, New England’s offensive is dynamic – the likes of which haven’t been seen in Foxborough since the 1990s. Two, the Patriots look to have one of the league’s great defenses yet again – holding Miami to 11 points and forcing 3 turnovers.
Passer rating for Kirk Cousins in a losing effort against the Packers. Last year, Cousins’ passer rating was 107.4. In 2018 it was 99.7.
Cousins had 5 games in 2019 with a better passer rating than 118.6 but was horrible in his 2 games versus Green Bay. In Week 2, the Vikings lost 21-16 in Lambeau and Cousins was just 14 of 32 with 2 picks for a horrible passer rating of 52.9.
In Week 16 the Vikings lost at home to Green Bay 23-10 and Cousins was 16 of 31 for 122 yards and a pick while getting sacked 5 times. His passer rating that go round was 58.8.
Cousins’ favorite receiver was 30-year-old star wideout Adam Thielen. Thielen hauled in 6 of his 8 targets for 110 yards and 2 TDs.
22-year-old Vikings halfback from Boise State Alexander Mattison had a productive day out of the backfield. Mattison ran the ball 6 times for 50 yards while catching 4 of 4 passes for 30 yards.
The number of passing yards by Josh Allen in the Bills 27-17 win over the Jets. This is the most passing yards by a Buffalo quarterback since Tyrod Taylor threw for 327 yards in an overtime loss vs Miami on Christmas Eve of 2016.
Allen was 33-46 for 312 yards and 2 TD on Sunday. He avoid picks and was sacked just 3 times for 6 yards – so pretty good protection and efficiency. Allen’s passer rating on the day was 104.6.
Allen surpassed a 104.6 passer rating on 4 occasions last season, but none of those games were versus New York. Allen struggled against the Jets in each 2019 meeting. The two sides split their games but Buffalo averaged just 11.5 points per. Allen held passer ratings of 71.2 and 64.6 respectively in the 2 games and threw more interceptions than touchdowns.
The margin between the Vegas line and actual final score of the 27-20 Jacksonville win over the Colts. The Jags were +7 underdogs.
This win is fresh off an offseason in which the Jaguars sold their best players and appeared to be giving up. “Tank for Trevor” might as well have been the motto in Jacksonville this summer. Gardner Minshew has other ideas.
Minshew missed just one pass attempt all game – completing 19 of 20 – for 173 yards and 3 TDs. The Washington State product boasts a sterling passer rating of 142.3 – easily his career high.
Minshew hooked up with wideout Keelan Cole on 5 of 5 targets for 47 yards and a touchdown. Rookie receiver out of Colorado Laviska Shenault Jr. caught 3 passes for 37 yards and a score.
Jacksonville outplayed Indy on the defensive side of the ball. The Jags hit Colts QB Philip Rivers 5 times, sacked him once, and picked him off twice.
Indianapolis never punted in this game. The Colts had 2 turnovers, a missed field goal, and 2 failed 4th-down attempts.
The number of points scored by the Baltimore Ravens in their past three Week 1 games.
The Ravens blew out the Browns 38-6 in Week 1 of this season. Baltimore destroyed the hapless Dolphins 59-10 in Week 1 of 2019. In Week 1 of 2018, the Ravens had a pretty easy time against the Bills, winning 47-3.
Ravens became first team in NFL history to win three straight season openers by at least 30 points, per Elias Sports Bureau.
2018: Beat Bills, 47-3
2019: Beat Dolphins, 59-10
2020: Beat Browns, 38-6
In last two, Lamar Jackson has as many TD passes (8) as incompletions (8).
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) September 13, 2020
Watch out for Baltimore! Lamar Jackson has had an extra year to mesh with John Harbaugh and add new levels to that offense. Lamar is in mid-season form right out of the gate. The rest of the league must now work to find a defense capable of containing him.
The Texans get the next crack at Baltimore on Sunday.
Rushing yards by Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in KC’s 34-20 victory over Houston. The 21-year-old rookie totalled 25 carries in his debut – that’s 5.5 yards per carry and 1 TD.
Mahomes was efficient in this game but not spectacular – more of a game manager. The highest-paid NFL player in history completed 24 of 32 passes for 211 yards and 3 TDs. Known for his rocket arm, Mahomes didn’t complete a pass downfield to a receiver at least 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. Mahomes went deep for speedster Tyreek Hill once but missed him.
Edwards-Helaire was doing such a good job moving the ball on the ground that Mahomes didn’t need to air it out. The addition of another dynamic back makes the Chiefs’ offense even more OP.
The margin between the Vegas spread (LV -3) and the final score (34-30) in the Raiders-Panthers game. This was Vegas’ closest line of the week. Last season, there were 17 games in which the Vegas spread was within 1 point of the final score.
The number of points scored by the Vikings in the 4th quarter against Minnesota. This was the most points scored in one quarter so far this season.
The Packers scored 14 points themselves in the fourth quarter – for a total of 38 points scored that quarter. The Vegas total for the entire game was 44.5. There was enough scoring in the second half alone to force an over.
After three quarters, the score was 29-10 Packers. Each team then picked up the scoring pace. Both of Kirk Cousins touchdown passes to Adam Thielen came in the fourth quarter. One of Dalvin Cook’s 2 touchdown runs came in the fourth quarter.
24 points is the highest-scoring quarter of Vikings football since Minnesota scored 28 in the first quarter of a home game against Arizona in Week 5 of 2011. Unlike on Sunday, Minnesota beat the Cardinals that day 34-10.
The last time one team scored at least 24 points in a quarter while their opponent scored at least 14 was in Week 4 of 2019 when the Buccaneers outscored the Rams 24-20 in a wild 4th quarter of a 55-40 victory.
The last time this happened but the team who scored 24+ lost was in the 2018 postseason when the Chiefs outscored New England 24-14 in a futile comeback attempt during the 4th quarter of a 37-31 loss.
The number of interceptions thrown by Tom Brady in the Bucs 34-23 loss to the Saints. Brady threw just 8 interceptions all of last season and has reached double-digit picks just once in the past 6 seasons.
I wouldn’t overreact to the Bucs first loss. Offense requires timing, rhythm, and chemistry. Defenses typically hold the advantage early in the season, and this offseason of limited contact provided an even greater challenge to any new offensive corps.
Tampa was right there for most of the game, but 2 Tom Brady picks created a Saints cushion that would prove to be insurmountable.
With so many weapons, it was interesting to see which receivers Brady would favor throwing to. Chris Godwin seems to be Tom’s fave – receiving more targets (7) than any other pass catcher in Tampa’s offense. Godwin turned these targets into 6 catches for 79 yards.
The shifty possession receiver Scotty Miller was Brady’s #2 option at wideout. Miller was targeted 6 times for 5 catches which gained 73 yards. Miller was the recipient of Brady’s longest passing play of the day – 37 yards.
Tight end OJ Howard caught one of Brady’s 2 touchdown passes on the day. This was 1 of just 4 catches for Howard. Long-time star Mike Evans caught the other TD pass – just a 2-yard score. This was Evans’ only catch on the day. He was targeted 4 times. Perhaps Evans’ hamstring wasn’t 100% as he claimed before kickoff.
The number of receiving yards for new Arizona Cardinals star wideout DeAndre Hopkins. Kyler Murray got the ball to Hopkins 14 times and the former Texan proved why he deserves to be the highest-paid NFL receiver.
The 49ers have not dropped a game to the Cardinals since Week 8 of the 2018 season. San Francisco will get their next chance at win #1 against a much softer opponent as the Jets await in Week 2.
The number of passing yards for Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow in his NFL debut – a 16-13 loss to the LA Chargers. Burrow was the #1 overall pick of the draft this spring and was in the hunt to be the first #1 overall rookie quarterback to win in Week 1 since David Carr in 2002.
Burrow scored his first NFL touchdown on a brilliant 23-yard run but will have to wait until Thursday Night Football against Cleveland for another shot at his first passing score.
Burrow relied heavily on the 32-year-old veteran wideout AJ Green. Green was targeted 9 times by the rookie QB but they only hooked up 5 times for 51 yards. After Green, Burrow did not seem to favor one pass catcher over another. The LSU product completed passes to 8 different receivers in his debut.
The Browns are opening as 6.5-point favorites against Cincinnati for TNF in Week 2.
The number of tackles for Saints defensive back Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins was an absolute pest flying around to make every play. Which is more impressive? A DB with 9 tackles in Week 1 or a DB who pick-6s Tom Brady in his first game with his new team. Jenkins did both! The 31-year-old Florida product was easily the best player on the Saints defense and should win NFL Defensive Player of Week 1.
— JackRabbit2.0 (@JjenkzLockdown) September 15, 2020
This was Lamar Jackson’s completion percentage on throws 10 yards down the field or further in Week 1 versus the Browns.
Lamar Jackson is easily the best running quarterback in the league right now, possibly ever. He has been working on his accuracy in the off-season and it showed on Sunday. That 90% completion percentage on throws of 10 yards or more was a career high for the 23-year-old.
Jackson earned an incredible passer rating of 152.1 in Sunday’s thrashing of Cleveland. This is not a career high for Jackson, amazingly. The youngster posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 on 2 separate occasions last season.
The first came in the Ravens Week 1 dismantling of Miami. The second was in Baltimore’s Week 10 blowout of Cincinnati.