Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season is in the books and the season could not have started with more excitement. Including Thursday’s opener, this NFL weekend saw 11 games decided by a touchdown or less, including three on Sunday that were settled by one point! Let’s take a look at what went down:
Monday Night Doubleheader
Pittsburgh @ Washington: Pittsburgh’s loaded offense charitably spotted Washington a 6-point lead before stepping on the gas. Pittsburgh scored 24 points before a Dustin Hopkins made it 24-9 and by then it was far too late for any comeback. Still, Washington promptly scored another touchdown in the mistaken attempt of “making it a game” and then the Steelers just turned things over to DeAngelo Williams. Williams provided two fourth quarter touchdowns to ice things for the Steel City.
Up next: Pittsburgh hosts Cincinnati, Washington hosts Dallas
Los Angeles @ San Francisco: In an eerily similar performance from their opening week Monday nighter last year against Minnesota, the San Francisco 49ers took it to the hapless Rams to the tune of 28-0. It’s far too early to tell if this means the Niners “are back” (after their 20-3 victory over the Vikes last season, San Francisco went on to lose six of their next seven on their way to a lost season); but an invested, active, aggressive defense for SF was a good look. For the Rams? Cross yourself, this looks like a long season, folks.
Up next: Los Angeles hosts Seattle, San Francisco @ Carolina
Early Game Highlights:
Green Bay @ Jacksonville: Aaron Rodgers was up to his old tricks (that only Aaron Rodgers can seemingly pull off) against a surprisingly game Jaguars outfit. The Packers, thanks largely to a porous defense, kept Jacksonville in this one for far too long. Still, Rodgers looked poised and comfortable in the pocket all day long and routinely took the time to find his open receivers. The Packers offense looks ready to beat anyone right now, the defense might get there at some point? For the Jaguars? This is a team that will be in every game this season. Do not sleep on Jacksonville, AFC South teams.
Up next: Green Bay @ Minnesota, Jacksonville @ San Diego
Cincinnati @ New York Jets: The Jets defense did their part by sacking Andy Dalton a whopping six times and picking Dalton off once. New York’s offense also did its part –We see you, Matt Forte! But their efforts were all for naught as the typically reliable Nick Folk missed a gimme of a field goal and, for the first time in his NFL career, missed an extra point that wound up being the difference. Tough loss for the Mean Green but they’ll be back (like the Terminator.)
Up next: Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh, Jets @ Bills
Oakland @ New Orleans: Derek Carr and Drew Brees “unlocked the cheat codes” in this thrilling back-and-forth game that culminated in a fittingly thrilling finish. The timeless Brees lit up the Superdome to the tune of 424 passing yards and four touchdowns, while his counter Carr chipped in 319 yards, one TD and two two-point conversions. Oakland coach Jack Del Rio called for the second two-point conversion with under a minute to go, affording the Raiders the win versus the tie and a likely overtime scenario. A very gutsy decision and now Oakland’s 1-0.
Up next: Oakland at home against Atlanta, New Orleans @ New York Giants
San Diego @ Kansas City: The Kansas City Chiefs stormed back from a 21-point deficit to shock the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead. Led by running back Spencer Ware’s 199 all-purpose yards and Alex Smith’s diving touchdown plunge in overtime, KC completed the comeback at home against a plucky Chargers team that saw their primary wide receiver, Keenan Allen leave the game with what’s likely a season-ending ACL tear.
Up next: San Diego hosts Jacksonville, Kansas City @ Houston
Late Game Highlights
Miami @ Seattle: One of those ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ games that leaves everyone realizing that none of us know that much about football before the games are played. The Dolphins defense slowed down Seattle’s purportedly high-octane offense all day. While this is potentially because of Miami’s very good defensive line maybe it says even more about how porous Seattle’s offensive line is? On the other hand, Miami’s offense appears to be terrible despite facing a very good Seattle defense. More will be gleaned about both teams in the weeks to come. Stay tuned, Miami/Seattle fans. One big thing? Russell Wilson led a dramatic comeback in the fourth in spite of a severely sprained ankle. His status for Week 2’s game against the Los Angeles Rams is TBD.
Up next: Miami @ New England, Seattle @ Los Angeles
Detroit @ Indianapolis: After Week 1 the post-Calvin Johnson Lions appear to be just fine. Matthew Stafford repeatedly bombed the Indianapolis Colts with deep passes to the newly acquired Marvin Jones, while Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin kept the Colts secondary honest. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Reddick shared the carries and both looked impressive against Indy’s questionable run D. As for Andrew Luck and Co.? The Colts offense looked great, a return to form after injuries and personnel led to a down year for the offensive productivity in 2015. Indy’s defense has more questions now than ever and their season will hinge on Andrew Luck’s health and, cross yourself, this Indianapolis defense.
Up next: Detroit hosts Tennessee, Indianapolis travels to Denver
New England @ Arizona: Most impressive in slowing down Arizona’s explosive offense, the Patriots did enough to win in a very tough environment with Jimmy Garoppolo starting as quarterback for the first time. Jimmy G next has the maybe good, maybe bad Miami Dolphins defense up next in New England’s Thursday night home opener. Arizona hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a mulligan game of sorts for their offense and defense. Both teams should still be in our Power 12 and the playoffs come the end of the year.