The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

NFL Week 1 Wrap Up

Charlie Riedel/AP

The first week of the NFL has concluded. After an exciting weekend of action, plus an incredible season opener on Thursday Night Football, there are four teams whose performances were worth special notice, for better or worse.

Detroit Lions

The Lions were put in the unenviable position of opening the season on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. In this back-and-forth affair, no team ever trailed by more than seven points. The Lions scored the first and only touchdown of the first quarter, with a nine-yard completion to receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. The Chiefs came roaring back with two touchdowns in the second: a one-yard pass to receiver Rashee Rice and a four-yard connection to tight end Blake Bell. Down by a touchdown going into the second half, the Lions would strike first as Brian Branch picked off superstar QB Patrick Mahomes for a fifty-yard interception return, pulling the Lions back. After the Chiefs scored a field goal to end the third quarter and another field goal to open the fourth, the Lions were down by six. An eight-yard run by David Montgomery put the Lions ahead by one. With over seven minutes left to play, another score seemed inevitable. But it wasn’t. The game would end with the same score, and the Lions started their season 1-0 with a 21-20 victory. Ultimately, both teams played incredibly solid defense, and one mistake was all that separated the two. The Lions were predicted to be a solid team to start the season, with most analysts predicting them to make the playoffs. However, with this impressive upset win, I think everyone is wondering if the Lions are perhaps stronger contenders than they were given credit for.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers came into the season with a huge question mark at quarterback. However, with backup QB Trey Lance being traded during the last week of preseason, the Niners had made their bed and were clearly prepared to lay in it. They would be starting the 2022 draft’s last overall pick and standout emergency starter Brock Purdy, and 2018 third overall pick Sam Darnold as backup. There were a lot of questions, no matter which way the Niners went. As it was, the question was whether the last overall pick, given the unflattering moniker “Mr. Irrelevant,” could truly become an elite starter. Not to mention the fact that Purdy had only played nine games, and only started five. He did have an impressive touchdown to interception ratio (13-4) and a strong 8.1 yards per attempt, but now that teams had tape on him and time to study it, would it hold up? Well, for at least one game it has. Purdy went 19 for 29 and 220 yards, also throwing two touchdowns while not allowing a single interception in a 30-7 torching of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This game also set a record as Purdy became the first quarterback in league history to win each of his first six starts. Everything was working during the game for the Niners, but there is a long season with a lot of games left to play. Purdy continues to impress, but it remains to be seen if it will continue. I, for one, hope it will.

Pittsburgh Steelers

We have already talked about the Niner’s side of the 30-7 affair, but the impotent offense, which managed a meager 3.9 average yards per play and gained over 150 fewer yards than their defense allowed, has left a lot of the Pittsburgh faithful understandably upset. Heavy criticism has been leveled at Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Canada has been Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator since 2021. In both years under Canada’s leadership, Pittsburgh’s offense has ranked 23rd in yards per game. In 2021, the Steelers were 21st in scoring offense, which fell further to 26th in 2022. Given that the Steelers’ only points came off of a three-yard pass from Kenny Pickett to Pat Freiermuth with ten seconds left in the second quarter, meaning Pickett was calling plays during the majority of the drive, questions are once again rising about Canada’s ability to call plays and lead his offense to success. In the end, the only thing the Steelers seemed able to do was protect the ball, as they only had one turnover. While the Steelers’ offense largely floundered, it’s harder to make judgments on their defense. The Steelers’ offensive impotence created a nearly fifteen-minute gap in time of possession, under which any defense would struggle to thrive. Of course, allowing thirty points is less than ideal on any day, but it seems reasonable to allow them some slack after the difficult circumstances they had. Given the general expectation for the Steelers to make the playoffs in a wildcard spot, this is a game they will need to quickly learn from lest the season spirals away from them due to offensive struggles.

New York Giants

The worst opening of the season award goes to: the New York Giants. While the Steelers lost thirty to seven, they at least scored points. This was too high a hurdle for the Giants. Averaging 2.6 yards per play certainly doesn’t tend to lead to too many points, and turning the ball over three times certainly doesn’t help with that. The Giants had only two chances to score points, one that resulted in a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, and the other which was mercifully simply missed. These two drives, which summed to a grand total of six points for the Dallas Cowboys (the extra point was missed), accounted for over sixty percent of the Giants’ yards for the day. A full third of the drives for the Giants ended with net negative yards, with another going for zero after Giants quarterback Daniel Jones threw an interception to Dallas cornerback Stephon Gilmore, which was returned for a touchdown on the first play, and one more that lasted just three plays. The Giants also fumbled five times, although they did manage to only lose a single one. Despite all of these struggles, the Giants still mustered the strength to lead in time of possession by seven minutes. Clearly, this was little help to their defense though, as no matter what your offense is doing, allowing 40 points (41 if the aforementioned extra point had been made) is simply inexcusable. The Giants were considered an average team heading into the year, and I don’t think it needs to be said that they need massive improvement to even meet those modest expectations.

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