- The NFL season has officially begun with a full slate of games on Sunday kicking off the action.
- One of the biggest winners of the first week of the NFL season was Patrick Mahomes, who looked every bit the MVP he was last season.
- Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns were one of the big losers of Week 1, who after an offseason of hype laid an egg in their home opener.
- Below are the rest of our winners and losers from Week 1 of the NFL season.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Football is officially back!
With one week of NFL action now in the books, football fans are finally getting their first look at what has changed and what’s the same after a busy offseason.
After a full slate of games on Sunday, some storylines have already emerged, from a player revolt brewing in Miami, to another superstar season coming to fruition from reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes.
Below we break down the 13 winners and losers from Week 1 of the NFL season.
Winner: Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson played nearly flawless football on Sunday, leading the Baltimore Ravens to a dominant 59-10 win over the Miami Dolphins.
After the game, Jackson was pleased with his effort, especially considering the criticism he received from some that his accuracy would not translate to the pro level. Asked whether his effort proved to those doubters that he could throw the ball, Jackson told reporters, “Probably not, but not bad for a running back.”
Jackson completed 17 of his 20 passes in the game, throwing for 324 yards and five touchdowns, finishing the game with a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3.
Jackson and the Ravens offence will have tougher tests in the future in comparison to the dismal Dolphins defence they faced on Sunday. However, the numbers he put up on Sunday are all but undeniable.
Loser: Brian Flores
Flores already had a tough enough job heading into the 2019 season, but the situation in Miami now looks even direr. After the 59-10 drubbing, Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk reported that multiple Dolphins players requested to be traded.
While Flores has denied the team intends to tank, the situation isn’t entirely in his control. With the franchise in between quarterbacks, playing both the journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and the recently acquired second-year starter Josh Rosen, the Dolphins clearly wouldn’t mind landing the first overall pick in the 2020 draft and the right to draft Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
The Miami front office has already signalled that this season is a lost cause, trading away left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills.
Before that trade, a rumoured “revolt” was already brewing among Dolphins’ players. With two of their best players departed and the remaining players now asking to leave the team, it looks as though the revolt has taken hold.
Winner: Patrick Mahomes
Heading into the 2019 season, Patrick Mahomes had great expectations to live up to and got right to work at proving that his breakout 2018 season was no fluke. It took Mahomes 96 seconds to throw his first touchdown of the season.
The Chiefs would go on to win the game 40-26, with Mahomes completing 25 of his 33 pass attempts while throwing for 378 yards and three touchdowns against a Jaguars secondary still considered one of the best in the league.
Loser: Jacksonville Jaguars
Not only did the Jaguars lose to the Chiefs, but they also lost starting quarterback Nick Foles to a broken clavicle in the second quarter.
The Jaguars signed Foles to a four-year, $US88 million deal that included more than $US50 million in guarantees during the offseason after two years as Philadelphia’s heroic backup. Now, it looks as though Foles will miss the majority of the 2019 season.
Though a comeback late in the year is not out of the question, the Jaguars hopes of contending this year took a tough blow with Foles’ injury.
Winner: Gardner Minshew
While Foles was a huge loss for the Jaguars, credit must be given to backup Gardner Minshew, who played about as well as one could hope for a rookie getting his first taste of NFL action.
Minshew, a sixth-round draft pick out of Washington State, looked at ease in the Jaguars offence. He completed his first nine passes upon entering the game and finished with an impressive stat line, completing 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
The Jaguars are undoubtedly disappointed to lose their starter for an extended stint, but Minshew’s performance went a long way to settle any concerns that it was time to panic.
Loser: The new era of the Cleveland Browns
After an offseason that included countless magazine covers and a fantastic amount of hype, the Cleveland Browns once again stumbled out of the gate embarrassingly, dropping their home opener to the Tennessee Titans 43-13.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield had a particularly tough night, throwing three interceptions and taking five sacks as the Browns were run out of their building.
The Browns certainly have plenty of time to recover and turn 2019 into a winning year, but the blowout loss was a deflating way to start a season.
Winner: DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson became a superstar during his first stint with the Eagles, and after spending time with the Redskins and Buccaneers, made quite a splash in his Week 1 return to Philadelphia.
Jackson provided a much-needed spark to the Philadelphia offence. He scored the team’s first points of the season en route to a gutsy 32-27 comeback victory.
Jackson finished the game with eight catches for 154 yards and two scores and had a connection with quarterback Carson Wentz when it came to the long ball. With Jackson looking like his old self, the Eagles have one of the deepest offensive attacks in the NFC.
Loser: Melvin Gordon
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is still holding out for a new deal, but on Sunday, the Los Angeles rushing attack looked to be getting along fine without him.
Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson carried the load for the Chargers, combining for 215 total yards with Ekeler finding the end zone three times.
Gordon was congratulatory towards Ekeler on his big day, tweeting out words of encouragement after his stellar performance. However, with the Chargers other two backs playing so well, the team likely won’t be in a rush to give Gordon a raise any time soon.
Winner: Tight ends
The three top tight ends in the league – Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and George Kittle – garner the most attention, but others had big days and showed that the list of top-tier tight ends might get a little longer.
Rookie T.J. Hockenson had a huge day for the Detroit Lions, snagging six catches for 131 yards and a score. Ravens tight end Mark Andrews was Lamar Jackson’s favourite target against the Dolphins, finishing with eight catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
New York’s Evan Engram, Atlanta’s Austin Hooper, and Tennessee’s Delanie Walker had huge days also, proving to be key assets.
If you waited on grabbing a tight end in your fantasy draft, this week gave you a good sense of who to potentially target.
Loser: Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston is due for a new contract next year and needs to have a stellar season to convince the Buccaneers front office that he’s worth a long-term investment.
On Sunday, his year got off to a brutal start, throwing three interceptions against the San Francisco 49ers, two of which were returned for a touchdown. The 49ers had picked off just two interceptions all season last year. But in one game, Winston helped them exceed their previous total.
New head coach Bruce Arians was supposed to help highlight Winston’s strengths while minimising his sometimes subpar decision making, but the Tampa Bay offence couldn’t get anything consistent going.
Winner: Tom Brady
Age is just a number, as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots once again reminded the NFL world on Sunday night when they dismantled the Steelers 33-3.
The offence was surgical, punting just three times in the game and seemingly advancing at will against the Steelers defence. Now, Antonio Brown will suit up for New England next week, giving Brady his most explosive offensive weapon since Randy Moss.
Football fans outside of New England might not want to hear it, but after one week of football, Tom Brady looks closer than ever to his seventh Super Bowl ring.
Loser: Adam Vinatieri and Kaare Vedvik
Sunday was a rough day for kickers Adam Vinatieri and Kaare Vedvik, whose missed kicks that likely both cost their teams victory.
Vinatieri missed an extra point and two relatively short field goals. that left the Colts in need of a last-second drive to force overtime where they would fell to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Meanwhile, Vedvik missed an extra point and a 45-yard field goal for the New York Jets in a game they would wind up losing 17-16 to the Buffalo Bills. After the game, head coach Adam Gase told reporters, “we’ll see what happens Monday,” when asked if he still had trust in his kicker. Now, the Jets are holding tryouts to see if they can bring in a more reliable foot.
Who knows, maybe they will wind up signing Carli Lloyd.
Winner: The NFL
Possibly the biggest winner of the first NFL Sunday of the season was the NFL itself.
Despite a wildly busy weekend regarding Antonio Brown, the focus on Sunday was largely on the football that was happening rather than the drama unfolding off the field.
More importantly, the NFL’s controversial new rule allowing for pass interference calls to be challenged did not prove to be the disruptive force that some were concerned it would become.
The NFL got just what it wanted on Sunday, which was people thinking about football, rather than the governing body of the NFL.
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