The wait is finally over. After a long seven months without it, we had our first slate of NFL games this past week. On Thursday night, the season opened with a ring ceremony for the Los Angeles Rams, the defending champions. Following the ceremony, the Rams faced off against the Buffalo Bills, hoping to start their season off with a win. However, their hopes were crushed when the Bills defeated them 31-10. The first half was a tight contest, with the score tied at the half. The second half, though, was all Buffalo. Quarterback Josh Allen threw three touchdown passes and ran for another. Bills star receiver Stefon Diggs made the league’s best cornerback Jalen Ramsey look like burnt toast after torching him while hauling in eight catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.
The biggest upset this week came when the New York Giants beat the Tennessee Titans 21-20. The Giants have been a laughing stock of the league for a handful of years now and the Titans had the best regular season record in the AFC a season ago. No one was expecting it when the Giants erased a 13-point third quarter deficit with running back Saquon Barkley and his monster performance with 194 yards from scrimmage. Another good sign for the Giants was the steady play of quarterback Daniel Jones, who only missed four throws all game. The Titans’ offense was held in check with running back Derrick Henry getting a respectable 82 yards, but he did not take over the game like he usually does. New York scored a touchdown with one minute and six seconds left in the game and elected to go for a two-point conversion and converted it. Starting at 1-0, this is the first time they have had a winning record since 2017.
Another game that sent shockwaves around the football world was the Minnesota Vikings stifling Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The reigning two-time MVP Rodgers was held to under 200 yards, did not throw a touchdown and had an interception. The Vikings had control the whole game with the phenomenal performance from Justin Jefferson with his 9 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Dalvin Cook had a great day running the ball and keeping drives alive with clutch first downs. Quarterback Kirk Cousins had a solid game as well. Rodgers’ performance wasn’t up to his previous standards, potentially due to the fact that he admitted to taking Percocet before games in 2021.
In an AFC East matchup, the Miami Dolphins made light work of the New England Patriots, beating them 20-7. This is the Dolphins’ fourth consecutive win against the Patriots, spreading across three seasons. New England was moving the ball effectively for stretches of the game but two first-half turnovers set the tone and they were never able to recover. The first turnover came from a tipped interception on a shot toward the end zone from Mac Jones. The other was from a strip sack from the Dolphins defense on Jones that they returned for a score. Miami’s electric receiving duo of Jaylen Waddle and the newly-added Tyreek Hill diced the secondary all day combining for 12 catches for 163 yards and Waddle getting a touchdown.
Other notable games in week one included the surprising shootout between the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles, with the Eagles hanging on to win 38-35. This is a good sign for Lions fans that brighter days are ahead after years of misery and heartbreak for the team. There was a surprising tie this week. The tie came between the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, ending in a score of 20-20. A similar situation almost happened between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, with the Bengals tying the game on the last play of regulation. They went for the extra point, but it was blocked. Both teams missed a game-winning field goal in overtime, but the Steelers eventually won the game as time expired on a 53-yard field goal.