• Ian Evans

Ian Evans’ NFL Week 1 Love/Hate Weekend Recap

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Plenty of NFL fans have been waiting for Week 1 of the 2020-2021 NFL season since Super Bowl 54 in February. And it did not disappoint. Week 1 was nothing short of exciting, entertaining, and sensational all around. There were also many new players in new uniforms after a rollercoaster of an offseason that the league and its fans experienced as well. There were multiple aspects of Week 1 that deserve an abundance of love, while others garnering some hate as well. Here is what I personally loved and hated from the NFL in the first week of play.

Love: Comeback Victories

Photo Courtesy: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

Ron Rivera is single-handedly turning this team and its culture around. The Washington Football Team was, and still is under an abundance of scrutiny after the offseason they have had, and rightfully so. But bringing in head coach Ron Rivera is already paying off. Washington faced the Philadelphia Eagles in their season opener on Monday. Early on, they found themselves down 17-7 at halftime. Washington then proceeded to score 20 unanswered points as they went on to defeat the Eagles 27-17. Carson Wentz struggled that game throwing 2 INTs and getting sacked 8 times. Washington rallied behind their defense and an offense that has found ways to make the most of the opportunities they have been given. Who would have thought that the Washington Football Team would be the only undefeated team in the NFC East?

Photo Courtesy: Duane Burleson/Associated Press

Washington wasn’t the only team to have comeback victory on Sunday. The Chicago Bears faced off against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. The Bears found themselves down 13-6 at halftime, and for the majority of the first half, the Bears looked like the same team as last year. Mitchell Trubisky missed open targets, threw behind other teammates, and even heaved some uncatchable balls to the sideline. It seemed as if the game was all but over for Chicago when they found themselves down 23-6 before the start of the 4th quarter. However, the 4th quarter for Chicago was another story. Trubisky threw 3 touchdowns (yes, three not a typo) in the 4th quarter alone, one to new tight end Jimmy Graham, wideout Javon Wims, and a beautiful game-winning touchdown pass and catch to Anthony Miller who had himself a day. Detroit, with their last drive of the game would later drive to Chicago’s 16 yard line, only to have rookie running back D’Andre Swift drop a pass in the end zone. Comeback victories are something a sports fan will always love.

Hate: Kickers…some anyway.

Photo Courtesy: Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

It wasn’t a great week for some NFL kickers, like at all. Stephen Gostowski to start, missed 3 of 4 field goals in the game in total. He missed from 47 and 42, and had a 44-yard try blocked in the contest. However, he found a way to redeem himself by kicking the game-winning field to defeat the Broncos 16-14 Monday night. Gostowski is still an all-time great kicker in the league, he just needed a confidence boost was all.

Randy Bullock of the Cincinnati Bengals on the other hand had one job to do, literally one job. Picture this. Your team drafts the 2020 Heisman trophy winner and the best player in college football. In the rookie’s debut, he has a solid game, running for a touchdown, and is showing signs that he is improving day-by-day. On the final drive of the game, down 16-13, he proceeds to bring your team in range of kicking a field goal to send them into overtime. What happens next? The kicker who was already perfect on the day, misses the game-tying field goal from 31 yards. To make matters worse, Bullock suffered a calf injury, but it looked as if he faked the injury after he knew the kick was wide right. The Bengals lost in Cincinnati fashion and Joe Burrow’s debut was ruined.

Love: Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers

Photo Courtesy: John Bazemore/AP Photo

Talk about two quarterbacks who are showing no signs of stopping whatsoever. Russell Wilson, in Atlanta, threw for 322 yards and 4 touchdowns, beating the Atlanta Falcons 38-25. He only missed 4 passes on 35 pass attempts which is a remarkable feat in itself. He threw 2 touchdowns to Chris Carson, 1 to second year wide out, DK Metcalf, and veteran tight end Greg Olsen who is fitting in nicely. Wilson and the Seahawks have an interesting matchup next Sunday against Cam Newton, another quarterback who played well Sunday, and the Patriots for their home-opener in Seattle. Wilson is already a MVP candidate, adn the Seahawks are showing that they can be a top-5 offense in the league weekly.

Photo Courtesy: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

What’s humorous and rather amusing is hearing awful takes about how Aaron Rodgers is “washed”. Make no mistake, he still owns the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers, like Wilson, also threw 4 touchdowns and had 364 passing yards in a 43-34 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota. Davante Adams is clearly showing he is Rodgers' favorite target one again, hauling in 14 catches for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rodgers also rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown as well. Although the Packers drafted Utah State rookie quarterback Jordan Love in the 1st round of this year’s draft, it is safe to say that Aaron Rodgers feels no pressure whatsoever and that he is now where near being done.

Hate: Tom Brady

Photo Courtesy: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

I personally shed a tear adding this to the list (big Patriots fan). I wanted Tom Brady to prove the doubters who say that Brady can’t win without Bill Belichick wrong. There was already an abundance of hype surrounding the team with the offseason acquisitions they made as well. But Tom Brady struggled in his debut with Tampa Bay. Brady was intercepted twice, one which lead to and Alvin Kamara 6-yard touchdown run, and the other being returned by Janoris Jenkins for a pick-6. It seems as if there are still some chemistry issues that need to be adjusted and worked out with Brady and is arsenal of an offense. Although he threw for two touchdowns and ran for one as well, his debut was up-and-down. But in order to win the NFC South and live up to the hype, they need to get it together….quickly.

Love: The Jacksonville Jaguars

Photo Courtesy: Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

A lot of analysts, fans, and sports gurus before the season began, swore they had the Jaguars pegged as potentially being the worst team in the league when this season concludes. I, for one, am one of those people. However, they are starting to prove the doubters wrong early. Against the Indianapolis Colts, Gardner Minshew three 3 touchdowns and only missed 1 pass on 19 attempts to stun the Colts 27-20. Although a Marlon Mack injury did setback the Colts, Nyheim Hines still proved to be resourceful running for touchdown and catching one as well. But Phillip Rivers is playing nearly the same as he did with the Chargers. He had 46 pass attempts on the day, completing 36 of them, but threw for only 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. On the other hand, Jacksonville’s receiving core could be scary in the future. Keelan Cole, rookie Leviska Shenault Jr., and DJ Chark (aka Baby Chark) al had receiving touchdowns in the game. Former Cincinnati Bengal Tyler Eifert could prove useful to them as well. The Jaguars, although a young team, are showing that they have fight, and will look and continue to prove the doubters wrong all year long.

Hate: Controversial Calls

Photo Courtesy: Ashley Landis/Associated Press

This game was amazing to watch through and through. From Ezekiel Elliot making 5 defenders miss on a rushing touchdown that looked like a clear 2 yard rush, to Jalen Ramsey’s hit stick on Amari Cooper, this game was filled with great moments. Dak Prescott passed for 266 yards and a touchdown, while the unsung heroes for the Los Angeles Rams were Robert Woods (6 receptions, 105 yards) and running back Malcolm Brown who rushed for 2 touchdowns. However, the ending is one that will be remembered for a while.

Late in the 4th quarter, the Cowboys found themselves down 3 with little time left in the game. Dak Prescott, on their last drive, proceeds to throw a beautiful ball to Michael Gallup who beat All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. That catch WOULD HAVE, put them in field goal range. BUT, it was called back as an offensive pass interference penalty was called on Gallup. In the replay, it looks as if the two were hand-fighting and nothing was too flagrant to warrant that call. The Rams eventually went on to open their new stadium, SoFi stadium, with a controversial 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys, as well as most fans in America, believed that the offensive pass interference call on Michael Gallup should never have been called, especially with 21 seconds left in the game. That call could be talked about all season long, especially if it comes down to two teams in the NFC East jockeying for 1st place.

Week 1 showed flashes of greatness and didn’t disappoint in the slightest. If this past weekend is a precedent or foreshadowing of what we can expect from the season as a whole, sports fans everywhere have something to be excited about for a while. Inject this same energy and feeling of anticipation, excitement, and spectacular plays into my veins every weekend.

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