- The first week of the NFL season is on the way.
- Kyler Murray was the big winner of Week 1, as were the rookies taking wide positions.
- And Aaron Rogers had a pretty rough day.
The first weekend of the 2021 NFL season has already been scheduled.
Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals were big winners, as were the rookie receivers reunited with their college quarterbacks.
In contrast, Aaron Rogers had a rough day at the office, as did Jaguars’ new head coach Urban Meyer.
Take a look at the winners and losers of the first Sunday of the NFL season below.
WINNER: Rookie Receiver Reunion
The 2021 NFL draft class was filled with talented successors, and three standout players made a brilliant debut with some help from old college buddies.
Ja’Marr Chase, fifth pick, caught 20 Touchdown assists from Joe Burrow in 2019 when they brought LSU to the national championship… Against the Vikings on Sunday, Chase and Burrow showed that they did not miss a beat with the Bengals, connecting 5 receptions, 101 yards and an overtime score.
—Overtime (@overtime) September 12, 2021
DeVonta Smith and Jalen Herts won the Alabama national championship together in 2018 and played their first NFL game together on the same pitch as the national championship. Smith made his first touchdown in the NFL in the same end-zone corner he ran into to win the college title.
—Adam Weil (@ AdamWeil22) September 12, 2021
Smith finished with 6 catches, 71 yards and a score, while the Eagles beat Falcon to take the lead in the NFC East.
Tua Tagovailoa and rookie receiver Jaylen Waddle were also in the 2018 Alabama lineup and had a great time for the Miami Dolphins. Waddle finished his first NFL game with four catches at 61 yards including winning landing…
Loser: Rookie quarterbacks
Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 2021 draft, with three of them – Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Mc Jones – starting in week one. All three failed to win their debuts. For Trevor Lawrence, the 37-21 defeat of the Jaguars by the Texans was his first regular-season defeat since playing quarterback in high school.
To be honest, all three quarterbacks played well. Lawrence threw 332 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Wilson made 258 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 pick. Jones finished the day 281 yards and a score. The NFL’s speed did not overwhelm them; they just didn’t get W.
Ironically, you can argue that Trey Lance had the best debut when he scored the goal set for the 49ers. completing the only pass he made for a touchdown and helped his team beat the Lions 41-33. Yet. he may be late supporting Jimmy Garoppolo for a while after playing well at the start of the season.
Justin Fields also hit a touchdown during his short stint for the Bears on the goal line.
—NFL (@NFL) September 13, 2021
WINNER: The Case of Kyler Murray, Best Player
Last year, Kyler Murray opened the season with a touchdown and rushing for another one in eight of the Cardinals’ first nine games. Against the Titans, Murray kicked off his streak with four touchdowns and another one to lead Arizona to a 38-13 win.
Murray not only exhibited statistics, but also did it in style. This is the type of game that three quarterbacks in the NFL can play. Murray is one of them.
—Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 12, 2021
Murray entered the year with a 12/1 chance of being named MVP. If the Cardinals light up ahead of the season, don’t be surprised if that number drops.
Loser: the case of Josh Allen, the best player
Ahead of the first week, Josh Allen was one of the most popular player picks in Las Vegas to win the MVP in 2021, but his first season with Bills left a lot to be desired.
What the hell is that?
—Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 12, 2021
Allen threw 270 yards and 1 touchdown and raced another 44 yards, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While Allen’s numbers may not be that dire, two troubling statistics emerge. Allen completed just 30 of his 51 assists with a 58.8% completion rate, a mark that would have been Allen’s third-worst pass last season. For a quarterback whose meteoric rise coincided with a sudden jump in class completion rates last year, this is surprising.
Allen also made just one pass over 20 yards. The Allen’s cannon handIt’s not great that the Bills couldn’t find a way for him to reveal him even more.
WINNER: Chandler Jones
Edge rusher Chandler Jones was just as dominant in defense as Kyler Murray was in attack, finishing with five sacks and two forced fumbles.
—NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2021
You have been warned against the defenders.
WINNER: Tyrod Taylor
Tyrod Taylor hasn’t played in the NFL since losing his starting job at the Los Angeles Chargers in the second week of the 2020 season. After a team doctor punctured Taylor’s lung while injecting pain medication shortly before the start of the match, the Chargers reached out to newcomer Justin Herbert. He played well and the team never looked back.
Given his undeserved sack last year, it was good to see Taylor shine in his first start with the Houston Texans, shooting 291 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead his team to victory.
Loser: Urban Meyer
Urban Meyer may rethink his decision to try his luck in the NFL.
While deploying the Jacksonville Jaguars was a daunting task after the team finished as the worst team in football in 2020, Meyer had a lot to do ahead of Sunday. First draft pick Trevor Lawrence is betting on a rookie quarterback, and the Jaguars have faced a Texan team arguably more beaten than Jacksonville.
But the Jaguars could not stand it and lost to the Texans 37-21 in a game that was not so close to the final score.
Behind the scenes in Jacksonville it could be awful according to Jason La Canfor of CBS Sports…
Per La Canfora:
“[Meyer] everyone is already looking over their shoulders, “said one source with direct knowledge of the daily operations in Jacksonville. He loses it and wants to take on the exercise himself. It’s not good.”
If that was the mood in the locker room before Sunday’s defeat, it’s hard to imagine things getting better soon.
WINNER: Jalen Hurts
Jalen Hurts has a year to prove that he is the guy the Philadelphia Eagles want to secure as their long-term quarterback. He has convincingly proven that he threw 264 yards and scored 3 points. He added another 62 yards on the ground to crown a dominant 32-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
This line of statistics is rare.
—Rooben Frank (@RoobNBCS) September 13, 2021
It’s just one game, but if Hurts can maintain momentum, he can secure his future in Philadelphia. After the Eagles’ failed deal with Carson Wentz ended up being traded for pennies for the dollar in the offseason, it’s a welcome event.
WINNER: Jamis Winston
In the harshest performance of the NFL week, it took Jamis Winston just 14 completions to hit five touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers in the first game of the post-Drew Brees era in New Orleans.
Even more impressive, he didn’t intercept.
In 2019, playing for the Buccaneers, Winston led the league in passes and made more touchdowns than every quarterback save for MVP Lamar Jackson. He also topped the league in interceptions that year with 30 to nine picks more than any other quarterback.
If Winston can keep his good points and avoid mistakes, he can live a great year with the Saints.
Loser: Aaron Rogers
On Sunday, Aaron Rogers played one of the worst games of his career.
With just 15 of 28 assists for 133 yards, with no touchdowns or two interceptions, Rogers had a QB rating of 36.8. Last year, Rogers had a QB rating above 105 in 14 of 16 regular season games during his MVP season.
In addition, he made mistakes that were not typical of his expected greatness. I can’t remember the last time he missed a shot that much.
—New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 12, 2021
Rogers joked that a brilliant 2020 season ruined his plans to leave Green Bay in the offseason. Rogers may have decided to make sure he can escape after 2021.
WINNER: Granting Russ Cook
Last year, the mantra “LET RUSS COOK” propelled the Seahawks to great success early in the season, with Russell Wilson emerging as their MVP in the first half of the year.
Seattle showed Sunday that they are ready to let Russ cook again: Wilson threw 254 yards and 4 touchdowns, completing 18 of his 23 assists, including this magnificent deep ball to Tyler Lockett.
—NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2021
If the NFL has a better quarterback, I haven’t seen him.
WINNER: Sam Darnold
In the offseason, the New York Jets threw Sam Darnold into the Carolina Panthers, opting instead to place his fortune in the hands of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.
Darnold had to make the Jets pay for his decision in the very first week of the new season, leading the Panthers to a 19-14 win over a hidden old team behind a solid 279 yard line and touchdown. Congratulations, Sam. Revenge is really sweet.
Loser: Fans of the Washington DC soccer team.
It is quite difficult to be a fan of Washington football. On Sunday, fans paid their hard-earned money to watch their team lose to the Los Angeles Chargers at 20-16.
On top of that, at the stadium, a pipe burst over their heads for some fans.
“It’s wastewater,” one fan can be heard informing the crowd that their already dire situation was much worse than they dared to imagine.
– Bleach Report (@BleacherReport) September 12, 2021
Look at the bright side, Washington fans – from here things can only get better.