One week has passed in the 2019 NFL season, and it was filled with intrigue and excitement. Many of the games were exciting and had incredible finishes, half of the games were decided by one score. We even got a tie in the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals game. Now that week one is in the books, here are three of my biggest week one NFL takeaways.
Week One NFL Takeaways
I Told You So Cleveland
After a 30-point blowout defeat to the Tennessee Titans, the Cleveland Browns are in a state of disbelief. With high expectations no one expected them to play this poorly. The offensive line was the one area they failed to fix, and it showed vs the Titans. They surrendered five sacks and five tackles for loss. Cleveland only had 38 rushing yards in the first half, while Tennessee nearly doubled them.
Both teams struggled on third down, the Titans went 2-10 and the Browns went 1-10. Tennessee had 21 first downs including six from penalties, this cannot happen on a consistent basis if Cleveland wants to turn it around. Speaking of penalties, Cleveland had 18 for 182 yards. It speaks for itself how poorly the Browns played.
Baker Mayfield threw three interceptions, and the Browns punter had more punts than Jarvis Landry had receptions. With a new head coach in Freddie Kitchens and aren’t used to high expectations there will be games like this. While I don’t believe Cleveland’s hopes are over yet, they are going to have to turn around and fast.
No Gordon, No Problem LA
Despite reports that Melvin Gordon plans to return around week eight, the Los Angeles Chargers don’t seem to need him. Austin Ekeler had over 150 yards of total offense and three touchdowns vs the Indianapolis Colts. After scoring the game-winning touchdown in overtime Ekeler said of his increased role that “I feel whatever role I’ve been in I’ve always been prepared. I’m ready to take on this role.”
Not only was Ekeler playing well, but his teammates all stepped up. Justin Jackson provided an important number two back with 57 yards. Keenan Allen had ten receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown. Philip Rivers threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns. As an offense, Los Angeles gained over 400 total yards.
On defense, Thomas Davis had an impressive debut for the Chargers with 14 tackles. Kyzir White recorded nine tackles including one for a loss. Joey Bosa contributed eight tackles, a sack, and two quarterback hits. Los Angeles looks like a contender so far, time will tell if they can take a step forward this season.
Patriots Did Their Job, And Then Some
It wasn’t a surprise to see the New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. The surprise is in the 33-3 final score. The Patriots had a 20-0 lead at halftime and never looked back. With 465 yards of total offense, this was a dominant 60-minute performance. New England had nine more first downs than Pittsburgh 24-15, and also had the ball for five more minutes.
Tom Brady threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, two of which to Phillip Dorsett. Four Patriots receivers had at least 50 yards, and five of the top six receivers averaged ten or more yards per reception. Julian Edelman picked up from his Super Bowl MVP performance with six receptions for 83 yards. Josh Gordon had the crowd excited after his touchdown catch in the first quarter.
What’s arguably the most impressive feat is how well New England shut down the Steelers best offensive weapons. In the first half, James Conner was held to under 20 rushing yards, and JuJu Smith-Schuster was held to under 30 receiving yards. Ben Roethlisberger only threw for 65 yards before halftime. In the second half, New England only gave up three yards to Conner finishing with 21 yards in the game. I can’t remember a time when a defense shut down a back like this.
Chapter One, Complete
Week one showed us that one week can give a team confidence to begin the season, or motivation to work harder and get a win next week. While it’s unfair to judge teams based off on one game, it gives you a better idea of what each team looks like. There are 15 weeks left for those who struggled to turn around, and for those who played well to continue their momentum.
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