After a wild Week 1 in the NFL, we take a look at the biggest winners and losers to start the season.
Winston delivered a comeback win in his first game back since a season-ending injury halfway through last year. The game didn’t get off to a great start for the Saints, but Winston and the offence scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to finish the Falcons in Atlanta by a single point. Jameis ended the day with a stat line of 23/34 for 269 yards and two touchdowns. He also took good care of the ball and finished the day with zero turnovers. Winston wasn’t the only one coming off an injury for New Orleans, but his play in the second half staring down a large deficit with a new coach calling plays was probably the most impressive for the Saints.
After a tough couple of years in New York, Barkley and the Giants started 2022 with a BANG. The star running back was everywhere for the G-Men and ended the day with 164 yards on 18 carries and another 30 yards on six receptions. Even more importantly, the Giants were able to walk out of Tennessee with a win. Barkley knew how important this year was for him and his status as an elite running back in the league, and so far, so good.
The Dolphins’ new head coach had himself a great first game, leading Miami to a 20-7 win over the division rival Patriots. McDaniel’s defence was fantastic all day, allowing New England to score just seven points while scoring a touchdown of their own off of a fumble recovery in the second quarter. Although the offence only scored one touchdown on the day, it came from a risky call by McDaniel to go for it on fourth down with less than 30 seconds to go in the first half. When calls like that work out, it always means some extra love from the fanbase for the head coach, especially if he’s a new one.
Honorable Mentions – Patrick Mahomes, Kevin O’Connell
Mayfield definitely had week one against the Browns circled in the schedule, looking to get back on the team that basically gave up on him last season. Unfortunately, even with a new home crowd behind him, he could not get that done. Mayfield’s performance for the first 3 quarters of the game was horrible. In the fourth, it looked like he was finally getting comfortable as he scrambled for a touchdown run before hitting Robby Anderson for a 75 yard touchdown on the first play of a drive. It even looked like the Panthers were going to come back for the win, but rookie kicker Cade York had other ideas. York put the game on ice with a 58 yard field goal for Cleveland, giving the Browns their first win in a season opener since 2004.
Burrow and the Bengals had a very disappointing Week 1 at home against the Steelers. It was a game they certainly should have won, and they were given many opportunities to do so throughout regulation and overtime. Burrow ended the day with four interceptions and two fumbles, one of which he lost. He was also sacked six times. Although the young quarterback was able to overcome these turnovers and put his team in a chance to win with a kick, the fact that they still ended up losing just makes it hurt that much more. Burrow will certainly bounce back, but it was a tough way to debut after their Super Bowl season a year ago.
The Dallas Cowboys
Not only did the Cowboys look horrific in primetime, they also lost their star QB Dak Prescott to injury. The defence did a decent job at holding the Buccaneers to field goals, but that’s probably the only positive they can take from Sunday night. The Cowboys offence struggled mightily, which raises many questions on how they’ll be able to succeed without Dak behind center. Unfortunately, with Prescott missing 6-8 weeks, Dallas needs to find ways to win without him fast. If they can’t, the team could be destined to miss the playoffs.
Honorable Mentions – Aaron Rodgers, Rodrigo Blankenship