The NFL Week 1 2021-22 season has kicked off, we saw some rookies shining, and the vets showing who’s the boss
Cardinals 38, Titans 13
Kylar Murray provided a dazzling hint of how much better he might be in his third NFL season. Chandler Jones made it very clear why the Arizona Cardinals need to sign him to the new contract he wants – and soon.
Murray scored five touchdowns and Jones had a career-high five sacks as the Cardinals simply dominated the Tennessee Titans 38-13 Sunday for a big road win to open the season.
Texans 37, Jaguars 21
With Deshaun Watson out, Tyrod Taylor’s steady play and veteran leadership helped the Houston Texans open the season with a surprising lopsided victory.
Taylor threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans’ 37-21 win Sunday over Trevor Lawrence and the mistake-prone Jacksonville Jaguars.
Chargers 20, Washington 16
Brandon Staley and Justin Herbert shared a smile and shook hands outside the locker room before the new Los Angeles Chargers coach congratulated the second-year quarterback on a job well done.
”You were outstanding,” Staley told him.
Herbert and the Chargers excelled on third down to give Staley a victory in his first game running the sideline, beating Washington 20-16 Sunday in a sloppy Week 1 matchup full of turnovers and big penalties. Herbert threw for 337 yards and a touchdown, overcoming a fumble into the end zone and a red zone interception and leading an offense that went 14 of 19 on third down.
Bengals 27, Vikings 24 (Recap)
Joe Burrow came to the line on fourth-and-inches on the Bengals 48 and planned to sneak the ball over for a first down late in overtime.
Seeing the middle stacked, Burrow checked to the second planned play, a pass to tight end C.J. Uzomah that had worked perfectly in practice last week.
That call worked. Burrow rolled out and hit Uzomah in stride for a 32-yard gain to set up Evan McPherson for a 33-yard field goal that gave the Bengals a 27-24 overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings in the opener Sunday.
Panthers 19, Jets 14
If beating the team that traded him gave Sam Darnold any vindication, the fourth-year quarterback certainly wasn’t sharing it.
”No, not for me,” Darnold said.
Darnold maintained his even-keeled persona after throwing for 279 yards and a touchdown and running for another score, helping the Carolina Panthers defeat the New York Jets 19-14 on Sunday for their first win in a season opener since 2018
Eagles 32, Falcons 6
The start of a new era couldn’t have gone much better for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Or much worse for the Atlanta Falcons.
Jalen Hurts threw three touchdown passes, the first of them to Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, and the Eagles made a winner of Nick Sirianni in his head coaching debut with a 32-6 rout of the hapless Falcons on Sunday.
Now firmly entrenched as the Eagles starter after Carson Wentz was traded, Hurts certainly looked the part with touchdown passes of 18 yards to Smith, 9 yards to Dallas Goedert and 23 yards to Jalen Reagor.
Steelers 23, Bills 16
Knowing it was going to take the Steelers’ new-look offense time to find its footing, Ben Roethlisberger was counting on Pittsburgh’s defense to keep the score close.
T.J. Watt and company delivered, with Pittsburgh getting the added bonus from its special teams in rallying from a 10-0 deficit to pull out a 23-16 season-opening win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Seahawks 28, Colts 16
Russell Wilson looked right at home in Seattle’s new offense.
He found open receivers, converted third downs and took advantage of a solid ground game by making big play after big play. Then he turned things over to the defense.
Wilson threw three of his four touchdown passes in the first half Sunday and Seattle’s defense clamped down in the second half as the Seahawks pulled away for a 28-16 season-opening victory at Indianapolis.
49ers 41, Lions 33
Nick Bosa was ready to kick back and relax while the San Francisco 49ers coasted to a season-opening victory.
The Detroit Lions made Bosa get back to work.
Dre Greenlaw returned an interception for a touchdown to help San Francisco score 17 points over two-plus minutes late in the first half, and the Niners barely held on for a 41-33 win over Detroit on Sunday.
Chiefs 33, Browns 29
Every time the Kansas City Chiefs needed a big play on Sunday, their magician under center produced the kind of mesmerizing moment that left the Cleveland Browns shaking their heads in awe and frustration.
There was Patrick Mahomes’ 75-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill, where he lofted the ball deep downfield and his wide receiver made an incredible adjustment. The crucial throws that kept drives alive.
And ultimately, the touchdown pass to Travis Kelce that completed a comeback from a 12-point hole and gave Kansas City a 33-29 victory Sunday.
Broncos 27, Giants 13
For the first time since Peyton Manning retired after winning Super Bowl 50, the Denver Broncos may have a quarterback. All it took was 11 tries.
Teddy Bridgewater threw two touchdowns in his first start for Denver and the Broncos dominated possession and beat the Giants 27-13 on Sunday, spoiling the return of New York running back Saquon Barkley after a long ACL rehabilitation.
Acquired in the offseason from Carolina, Bridgewater completed 28 of 36 passes for 264 yards, sharing the ball with nine receivers. The 28-year-old hit quarterback Tim Patrick on a go-ahead 2-yard TD pass in the closing seconds of the first half. Bridgewater eluded pressure and found tight end Albert Okwuegbunam on a 4-yard, fourth-down toss during a 16-play, 75-yard drive to open the second half, extending the lead to 17-7 with 6:48 to go in the quarter.
Saints 38, Packers 3
Jameis Winston and the hurricane-displaced Saints looked right at home in northeast Florida – no doubt to the delight of fans rebuilding homes and lives back in New Orleans.
Winston passed for five touchdowns, New Orleans intercepted reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers twice, and the Saints kicked off the post-Drew Brees era with a strikingly dominant 38-3 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Dolphins 17, Patriots 16
Xavien Howard was one of the NFL’s best players at causing turnovers in 2020. He was back at it Sunday to help the Dolphins preserve a victory to open this season.
”Every game I feel like I have to make something happen for the team and give the ball to the offense. My mindset was get the ball out,” said Howard, who led the league in interceptions in 2020. ”We needed it and it was crucial. So I made it happen.”
Tua Tagovailoa threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Jaylen Waddle in the third quarter and Howard recovered the Damien Harris fumble with New England driving in the fourth to help the Miami Dolphins hold on for a 17-16 win over the Patriots on Sunday.
It was Miami’s second straight win over the Patriots. Tagovailoa also led the Dolphins to a victory in the second meeting between the teams last season.
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Santiago Leon is the Founder and CEO of the Sports Cast. He covers NFL, NBA, and world soccer. He’s also founder of sleon productions, which he specializes in technology and serves clients with solutions to make their business grow.