Besides the two remaining Monday Night Football games, Week 1 of the NFL season is almost in the books. It was a wildly entertaining weekend, and while it’s important not to put too much stock in the first wave of games, here’s what we learned from Week 1:
Mitchell Trubisky Is Not A Quality Starter
It was an ugly opener for Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears’ offense. While many people want to blame it on the fact that he didn’t play in the preseason, those who follow advanced stats and Pro Football Focus know that this is just who he is. He threw the ball 45 times for just 228 yards along with a critical interception at the end of the game. However, he threw multiple passes that should have been picked off.
The play-calling didn’t help him – just six runs for David Montgomery – and it’s not all his fault. At the same time, he’s looking more and more like a starter who’ll hurt this team more weeks than he’ll help them.
Cleveland Browns Offensive Line Could Be A Problem
The Browns hype train came to crashing down in Week 1 as they were beaten up 43-13 by the Tennessee Titans. All offseason we heard that the Browns were a Super Bowl contender, that they were the favorite in the AFC North, and that this was their year to post a winning record. All of that came to a screeching halt as they were walloped in Week 1.
The Browns’ offensive line is a big area of concern as they gave up four sacks, a safety, and countless other pressures as Baker Mayfield was running for his life. They have some weapons in the passing game but he needs time to throw. He didn’t get it in Week 1, and he may even be dealing with an injury due to ineffectiveness of the offensive line.
Minnesota Vikings Running Game (And Offensive Line) Are Improved
There’s no need to get too excited about the Vikings just yet, but it does look like their offensive line and ground game are much improved over a season ago. We saw it in the preseason, and it’s carried over into Week 1.
Minnesota was 30th in rushing yards per game last season (93.3) and totaled just nine rushing touchdowns all year (tied for the second-fewest). They had 172 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on Sunday. It’s just one game and the Atlanta Falcons are a bad road team, but this was a good start.
Seattle Seahawks Secondary Stinks
It’s only one week, but the Seahawks looked like they missed Earl Thomas on Sunday. And that’s not just because his replacement overplayed what was essentially a Hail Mary at the end of the half that resulted in an easy touchdown for John Ross.
The Seahawks couldn’t stop the Bengals through the air all day as Andy Dalton finished with a career-high 418 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. The secondary was carved up by Ross, who had 158 yards and two touchdowns, C.J. Uzomah, who had four catches for 66 yards, and Tyler Boyd, who had eight catches for 60 yards.
The Bengals actually couldn’t run the ball worth a lick on Sunday but still had nearly double the first downs of the Seahawks (22-12) because 18 of them came through the air.
This is a bad start for this unit but as we saw last season, maybe they’ll get better as the year progresses.
Dallas Cowboys Look Like They’re For Real
The Cowboys had about as impressive an opening game as a team can have. They trailed the New York Giants 7-0 at one point but then outscored them 35-3 until the Giants added a garbage-time touchdown.
What was most impressive about this team was the passing game. Michael Gallup, who was hyped up all offseason, had seven catches for a career-high 158 yards while Randall Cobb added four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. With Amari Cooper feasting too, this looks like Dak Prescott finally has a cast to work with.
Speaking of Prescott, he put together a perfect passer rating en route to a day with 405 passing yards and four touchdowns. It’s just the Giants, but it’s the way in which the Cowboys won this game – through the air – that really impressed.