The Cleveland Browns had their best Week 1 in over a decade
The NFL season is officially in full swing, and that means that I’m back to giving you the weekly recap of some of the major headlines from the week that was. So don’t worry if you miss anything, I got you covered. Without wasting any more time, let’s get into it.
As crazy as it sounds, the Browns game was actually very entertaining to watch last week. After an 0-16 season, I wasn’t expecting to say that in Week 1, especially with Baker Mayfield still as the backup in Cleveland. Now look, I realize it ended in a tie, and yes the Browns had more than their fair share of chances to win this game, but despite everything, this is their best start to a season since 2004.
Just when it looked like the Steelers were going to run away with it, the Browns found a way to claw back into it and give people in Cleveland something to be happy about for once. They even had a chance to win with a late fourth quarter drive, until Tyrod Taylor underthrew Josh Gordon and had his pass intercepted with just 16 seconds left. Both teams had a chance to end it in overtime, first when the Chris Boswell of the Steelers lined up for a 42-yard field goal attempt only to miss wide left. The Steelers managed to get the ball back again in overtime, only to see the ball knocked out of Roethlisberger’s hand and into the arms of Joe Schobert who returned it into Pittsburgh territory to set up a field goal attempt for the Browns.
Sunday night marked the first game action for Khalil Mack in a Bears jersey, and it didn’t take long for him to make a good first impression.
Mack was all over the field, picking up a sack, forced fumble and recovery, as well as a pick 6. As impressive as he was, it was Aaron Rodgers who stole the show on Sunday night. After leaving the game with the knee injury in the first half it was looked the game, and maybe even the season was already over for the Packers. The Bears were up 17-0 at halftime, but when Rodgers came out of the tunnel to start the third quarter it felt like a fresh start for Green Bay. Rodgers put on a show late in the game, beginning with his first touchdown pass to Geronimo Allison.
After finding Devante Adams for a touchdown, Rodgers connected with his longest-tenured receiver, Randall Cobb, for a 75-yard touchdown run to tie the game.
Rodgers finished Week 1 with 286 yards and 3 touchdowns on 20 of 30 passing attempts, all while playing basically on one knee. He was quick to say he’ll be in the lineup for Week 2 when the Packers face the Vikings, but the Packers are a bit more concerned about the injury and haven’t made a decision yet about the status of Rodgers for Sunday.
Speaking of quarterback uncertainty, it seems like the New York Jets might have finally found a solution to their problem. Already being referred to as a savior, 2018 3rd overall pick Sam Darnold impressed in his first NFL start despite getting off to the worst start imaginable.
Despite the tough start, Darnold and the Jets bounced back in a big way, as they cruised to a 48-17 blowout win over the Lions, including a 31 point third quarter. Jets fans might be getting ahead of themselves a bit though. Last time there was this much hype surrounding a Jets quarterback, it was 2009 and that quarterback was Mark Sanchez.
Darnold finished the game with 198 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 16/21 passing. As good as he was, the Jets defense was even better, coming up with 5 interceptions. Darnold also had some help from the running game, as Isaiah Crowell ran for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Bilal Powell chipped in with 60 rushing yards of his own.
It was a tough way to start the season for new Lions head coach Matt Patricia, and there are already reports that some Lions players are unhappy with the culture he has created in the locker room. But to be fair, it’s hard to imagine anyone being happy in a locker room after being embarrassed by the Jets.
Week 2 of the season kicks off on Thursday night with an AFC North matchup between the Ravens and Bengals.