19/05/2024

The Dallas Cowboys celebrate amidst their 40-0 dismantling of the New York Giants. (Source: Dallas Cowboys)

Opening round of NFL has been and gone, The Inner Sanctum looked at six takeaways from the week.

Madness at Metlife

Superintendant Chalmers once exclaimed “Good Lord! What is happening in there?” I can safely say that was the sentiment of many following the two games at Metlife Stadium.

Dallas strolled in and kicked the dignity out of the Giants, and the Jets will be without Aaron Rodgers for the season after he tore his Achilles on his first drive as a Jet.

Dallas proved they’re a contender in the NFC this year, with the remarkable 40-0 coming from touchdowns by Dallas’ Offence, Defence, and Special Teams.

The Defence and Special Teams, both scored in the 1st Quarter, with Micah Parsons leading the way for the Dallas defence, whose seven sacks was the most by any team in Week One.

Daniel Jones will (rightfully) be under heavy scrutiny this week, after a disastrous first game, made to look even worse after signing a $160 million contract.

The following night was an arguably weirder night than the previous, with the biggest story of the week occurring early in the game. Aaron Rodgers will be out for the entire season after tearing his Achilles.

In just his fourth play, Rodgers was sacked by Bills pash rusher, Leonard Floyd, in which his Achilles gave way.

Zach Wilson will again be asked to lead this offence, an offence with good young weapons in Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. Yet, it’s hard to be optimistic about a player who’s thrown 16 TD’s and 19 INT’s in his career.

For many, it felt like after Rodgers went down, a Bills win was a foregone conclusion, yet the Jets’ defence was feasting on a rough game from Josh Allen.

New York’s Safety, Jordan Whitehead, had a career-best game, intercepting Josh Allen three times. For context, the last time Josh Allen last threw three picks was on the third of January 2022, let alone to one player.

To further cement the insanity of the game, Garrett Wilson caught what will be a contender for catch of the year, hauling this in for six.

And as if the game couldn’t get any crazier, the game ended on a pick six, walk-Off, touchdown, in Overtime, by a rookie on debut! What a sport.

I can’t think of a team that wouldn’t want Tyreek Hill…

Tyreek Hill had one of the best games in his career against the Chargers, recording 215 yards & 2 TDs. He led Miami for targets.

Kadarius Toney had one of the worst games of his career against the Lions, recording one yard and four drops. He led Kansas City for targets.

Wide Receiver play was the story of the Chiefs and Dolphins games. Tyreek was the player of the week, whereas Toney directly led to the Chiefs’ loss.

One of Toney’s drops led directly to debutant Brian Branch running home for a 50-yard pick-Six, a score which Detroit would only build on in the 4th quarter, with David Montgomery running in the winning TD.

Kansas City led by seven at HT, but their offensive struggles forced multiple punts and a late turnover on downs. Their only points came from two Harrison Butker FGs.

Meanwhile, it was a shootout in L.A., with the Dolphins overcoming the Chargers in the highest-scoring game of the week.

Despite both teams scoring TDs in every quarter, Miami was able to get over the line, helped by an unnecessary penalty conceded by JC Jackson with the clock on 0:00, allowing the Dolphins to score a FG, on what was otherwise a dead play.

Ultimately it was the heroics of Tyreek and Tua Tagovailoa, who threw for 466 yards and 3 TDs. The Dolphins’ last two TDs were passes thrown by Tua to Tyreek.

The Chargers offensive efforts should scarcely be questioned, especially on the ground. Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley had 208 rushing yards and 2 TD’s. Furthermore, Ekeler had an additional 47 air yards, bringing his total to 164.

Ekeler is currently questionable for Week Two, after suffering an ankle sprain.

Big Zay Out

Zay Jones and Zay Flowers, combined for 133 and a TD with both making big advances in their roles despite their competition.

Flowers, Pick 22 in the 2023 Draft, may have already cemented himself as the WR1 in Baltimore, recording 10/21 targets across the team.

Whilst the Ravens’ rushing core led the way on the scoreboard, Flowers was busy running as well.

In Jacksonville, Zay Jones looks to have taken the WR2 spot for himself, seemingly beating out veteran Christian Kirk in the depth chart.

Of Jones and Flowers, Jones was the TD scorer of the two, catching this absolute DOT by Trevor Lawrence.

Jones seems to have found a home in Jacksonville, as in 2022 he recorded career-bests for passing yards (823), and TDs (6).

Let Bijan & Gibbs Out of the Cage!

The two 1st-round RBs made their highly anticipated debuts in Week One and showed glimpses of their potential.

Bijan Robinson (Pick 8) got more work, including this catch which led to his first-ever TD. Someone’s gotta get #49 a map!

In his 16 touches, Bijan recorded 83 yards, yet is currently behind Tyler Allgeier for work. Allgeier had 2 rushing TDs, getting the majority of the goalline work.

Jahmyr Gibbs (Pick 12) made his debut in the opening game of the season for Detroit, and whilst also looking explosive, did see fewer snaps than Robinson.

Just the nine touches for Gibbs on debut, but he made the most of his opportunities, recording 60 yards, including this rush which has set a tone for what is possible.

Lions Head Coach, Dan Campbell, spoke on Gibbs’ debut and low snap count, remarking that “he’ll begin to get more touches now, so that was just the beginning.”

The 100th ‘Battle of Ohio’

“I’m just frustrated because I called their ass ‘elves’ and we just lost to some elves.” – Ja’Marr Chase.

What a quote.

It’s suffice to say that the opening game didn’t go as Chase and Cincinnati expected, losing 24-3 to divisional and crosstown rivals, Cleveland.

Similar to ‘Danny Dimes’, Burrow played what might be his worst game ever, coming off a huge contract extension, which in Burrow’s case, was the most expensive deal in NFL history.

Burrow’s 82 yards on 14/31 attempts was a career-low and the first time under 100 yards in his career. Ja’Marr Chase had just 39 yards and Tee Higgins had zero, not catching any of his eight targets.

Myles Garrett led Cleveland’s defence, recording 4 QB hits and a sack that put the game in doubt, tackling Burrow on 4th & 4 in the 4th quarter.

Nick Chubb continues to be one of the best RBs in the league, recording a casual 106 yards and scarily seems to be catching more passes this year.

Chubb had the most receptions for Cleveland with four, which is a big deal, since 2020, Chubb has only had 4+ receptions, three times.

DeShaun Watson, suiting up from Week One this year, had his ups and downs, running in the Browns’ first TD just before HT. Yet, he threw an embarrassing pick to Dax Hill in the 3rd quarter.

San Francisco’s Revenge Tour ft. Brock Purdy

San Francisco walked into Pittsburgh, punched them in the mouth, and reminded the league that they are going to be contenders.

Brock Purdy, in his first game back from elbow surgery, proved last season wasn’t just a flash in the pan for the former “Mr. Irrelevant”. 229 yards and 2 TDs gave Purdy the highest QBR of the week.

Christian McCaffrey’s first pre-season with the 49ers paid dividends, the RB finishing the game with 152 yards, including this 65-yard run to the house.

Brandon Aiyuk was one of the week’s best performers, catching all eight of his targets for 129 yards and 2 TDs.

Both of Aiyuk’s TDs came after beating Steelers CB Pat Peterson, who notably proclaimed he’d be getting a pick in the game.

The Steelers offence was stagnant for the most part, Kenny Pickett threw two INTs, Talanoa Hufanga & Chavarius Ward the beneficiaries.

The run game didn’t fare much better, Pittsburgh ran the ball 10 times, seven fewer than any other team in Week One. Pittsburgh gained 41 yards on the ground, which combined with their 198 passing yards, placed them 27th for total yards gained (239).

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