(ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 15, 2021)
Dante S. McLeod
American football fans across the world have a new season to look forward to. On Sept. 9, 2021, at 8:20 p.m., the 2021-2022 NFL football season finally kicked off.
This weeks’ overview consists of some exciting game discussions of the week.The return of NFL football showcases a promising 2021-2022 season. To kickoff the season opener, NFL fans received a dose of play to look forward to.
On Thursday Night Football, Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys delivered a shocking performance against Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers were favorites to win. Despites the prediction coming true, the Cowboys gave them a good fight in a close game.
Wth the return of their star quarterback from a season ending injury a year ago, the Cowboys gave glimpses of their season potential. The Dallas defense showed improvement, getting multiple takeaways. A controversial missed penalty call against the Buccaneers’ offense may have helped the Buccaneers win.
On Sunday, the following games took place.
Another controversial call may have been the game winning factor in the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals matchup. In overtime, the referees were considering overturning Vikings running back Dalvin Cook’s fumble, which gave the Bengals a much needed momentum spark, but didn’t. The Bengals hit a field goal in overtime to seal a win.
The games’ ending doesn’t take away from a great Bengals performance. Coming off a season ending injury as a rookie last year, second year quarterback Joe Burrow showed future promise with 261 passing yards and two touchdowns according to espn.com.
Trevor Lawrence, 2021 first overall pick and Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback, gave a mediocre performance of 332 passing yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions in a loss against the Houston Texans per ESPN. ESPN lists second overall pick, Zach Wilson, New York Jets quarterback with 258 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, losing against the Carolina Panthers. However, with the games being their first NFL starts, there’s still much time for them to live up to their hype.
The Cleveland Browns almost pulled off a stunning upset against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns started off hot with starting quarterback Baker Mayfield and the offense clicking to match stellar defensive play. Unfortunately for them, NFL star Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs’ starting quarterback, helped his team crawl back in it, solidifying their win in the fourth quarter.
Regardless of their history, the Browns seem to be feeding off their playoff appearance last year. This game may just be a learning curve for them.
Although the Browns couldn’t pull off an upset, this didn’t stop the New Orleans Saints. Their defense held star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to just three points in a 38-3 win. Quarterback Jameis Winston looked like the right replacement choice for Saints recently retired and future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees; Winston had 148 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions, per ESPN.
More great defensive play came from the Arizona Cardinals against the Tennessee Titans. Specifically, ESPN lists Cardinals Linebacker Chandler Jones with six solo tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles. Derrick Henry, the Titans dynamic running back, couldn’t be a factor with just 58 yards on 17 carries in ESPN’s stats.
In a battle of the birds, the Philadelphia Eagles blew out the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta 32-6. Young Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith showed glimpses of a potentially great tandem. This duo goes back to their Alabama Crimson Tide playing days together in college. The Falcons offensive performance may indicate they’re missing former star wide receiver Julio Jones, now playing for the Titans.
To end Sunday night, the Los Angeles Rams faced off against the Chicago Bears. With new starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, formerly a Detroit Lion, the Rams offense prospered. With great defensive play to match, the Rams were victorious. On the other hand, the Bears face quarterback controversy.
Long time veteran quarterback Andy Dalton started over quarterback Justin Fields, the 2021 eleventh overall pick. The two shared playing time throughout the game.
To end week one, the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders provided the same excitement as the weeks’ start. In a back and forth battle, both teams committed mistakes that were costly. However, the Raiders would be the team least bothered by their mistakes, earning the win in overtime.