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Takeaways from a thrilling opening week of the 2023 NFL season

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By Marvin A Azrak

Hey there, Football fans. Grab your jerseys, don your lucky socks, and prepare to high-five strangers in your living room because the NFL is back in action! Yes, it’s that magical time of the year when Sundays are reserved for watching 300-pound men collide like runaway refrigerators while we cheer them on from the safety of our couches. Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season brought us a rollercoaster of emotions, unforgettable moments, and a slew of takeaways.

As we dust off our fantasy football lineups and try to remember which button on the remote controls the TV’s volume, let’s dive into the delightful chaos that was Week 1. Whether you’re an avid fan, a casual observer, or just here for the nachos, we’ve got the highlights, lowlights, and enough jokes to keep your spirits high as we dissect the gridiron madness that unfolded. So, grab your popcorn, and let’s talk Football!


Detroit LIONS 21, Kansas City Chiefs 20(Thursday Night Football):


The Chiefs, reigning Super Bowl champs, took the field minus stars – Travis Kelce and Chris Jones. Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback magician, had to pull off some magic with a team with more drops than a clown’s juggling act.


Kadarius Toney, who was supposed to be the Chiefs’ shining star instead of the injured Kelce, had a major case of the butterfingers. He dropped the ball not once, not twice, but three times! There was none bigger than the one that essentially sealed the game for Detroit late in the 4th quarter. Had he caught that, the Chiefs would’ve almost certainly won it with a Harrison Butker Field goal.


Toney managed just one catch for one yard on five attempts. That’s like ordering a pizza and getting just one tiny slice. If he’d caught those passes, Mahomes could’ve easily approached the 300-yard mark and avoided that pesky interception. Toney was so upset he deleted social media after the game.


However, Toney wasn’t the only one to blame for the defeat. Kansas City offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor was the master of illegal formations. He was also accidentally tipping the Chief’s plays. He would stretch his right foot out before the snap of a passing play and pull it close to his body when it was a run formation.


Now, onto the rushing game. Mahomes, known for slinging passes, led the charge on the ground with 45 yards on 6 runs. It’s almost comical how he outran his running backs. As for his teammates, they were met with a brick wall more often than not.


Meanwhile, Detroit handed the ball to David Montgomery like he was a vacuum cleaner – just gobbling up yards. He had 74 yards on 21 attempts, along with a touchdown. But Jahmyr Gibbs? He was like a lightning bolt on roller skates, leaving defenders in the dust with seven carries for 42 yards and two receptions for 18 yards.


Our hero of the day, Lions QB Jared Goff(22-35 253 yards 1 passing TD), had his moments, but he also threw a few passes that looked like they were meant for the stadium’s snack vendors. His one touchdown? Amon-Ra St. Brown caught it like he had super glue on his gloves.


And let’s not forget rookie Sam LaPorta, who played like a seasoned pro right out of the gate. Rookie sensation alert!




Houston Texans 9 Baltimore Ravens 25:


The Baltimore Ravens started the season with a bang, beating the Houston Texans 25-9 at home.


J.K. Dobbins ran in a four-yard touchdown in the first quarter, setting the tone. The Texans countered with a couple of field goals but were chasing shadows.


The Ravens’ offense, led by Lamar Jackson and Zay Flowers, kicked into gear in the second half. Two Justice Hill touchdowns from two yards out extended their lead to 22-6. The Texans could only manage more field goals in response.


Lamar Jackson was the rushing sensation, leading the team with 38 yards. However, he also had a case of fumble-itis, making it a bit of a comedy show.


Injuries hit the Ravens hard, with Dobbins possibly out for the season and other key players hurt. Defensively, they made life miserable for rookie C.J. Stroud, sacking him 11 times.


For the Texans, there were some bright spots. They covered the middle well and gave Jackson a run for his money. Zay Flowers shone with 87 total yards on 11 touches.


C.J. Stroud had his moments, throwing for 242 yards. The Ravens’ defense welcomed him to the NFL with some hard hits, and Tank Dell added some spark.



Los Angeles Rams 30, Seattle Seahawks 13:


The Rams staged an epic win against the Seahawks, creating a defense fortress that held Seattle to less than 200 total yards – it’s like they installed a “No Offense Allowed” sign at Lumen Field.


In the offensive spotlight, Kyren Williams played the role of a touchdown magician, conjuring up two rushing TDs. Cam Akers also crashed the touchdown party with his rushing score. They were like the touchdown chefs, serving points on a silver platter.


When it came to catching footballs, rookie Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell formed an electrifying duo, amassing 238 receiving yards together. They were like a tag team wrestling match, with touchdowns as their finishing moves.


Now, shifting gears to the defensive side, Aaron Donald looked reborn, tallying three pressures and earning a pass-rush grade that shot through the roof. He was like a quarterback’s worst nightmare but with a turbo boost.


Of the rookies, Puka Nacua shined the brightest. He had a hiccup with his first target but bounced back with a vengeance, amassing 15 targets, 10 receptions, and 119 receiving yards. He was like a magnet for footballs – they couldn’t resist him!


San Fransisco 49ers 30, Pittbsurgh Steelers 7:

The 49ers routed the Steelers to kick off their 2023 season in a game that felt more one-sided than a seesaw with an elephant.

Brandon Aiyuk was on fire! Aiyuk snagged all eight targets for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He even threw in a block for a 65-yard Christian McCaffrey touchdown run. He was like a touchdown magnet with a side gig as a blocking superhero.

San Francisco QB Brock Purdy returned from elbow surgery like a champ, throwing for 220 yards and two touchdowns without a single interception. It’s like he got a bionic arm upgrade!

But on the Steelers’ side, there was one shining beacon in the darkness: T.J. Watt. He was a one-man wrecking crew with three sacks, two forced fumbles, a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery, and five quarterback hits. It’s like he had a personal vendetta against the 49ers’ offense! Those stats are a golden ticket to the Defensive Player of the Year party.


Cincinnati Bengals 3 Clevland Browns 24:

In their season opener, the Cleveland Browns dominated the Cincinnati Bengals, winning 24-3 in an AFC North in an all-Ohio clash.


The first half was a defensive slugfest, resulting in a 10-0 lead for the Browns. Deshaun Watson’s 13-yard touchdown run and a successful Dustin Hopkins field goal were the highlights. Meanwhile, the Bengals punted the ball more times than a clown at a birthday party.


The Bengals finally got on the scoreboard in the second half with Evan McPherson’s 42-yard field goal, but he later missed a 51-yard attempt, leaving everyone scratching their heads.


Deshaun Watson showcased his versatility with a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Harrison Bryant in the fourth quarter. After that, the Bengals decided to call it a day and rest Joe Burrow(Fresh off a Five-year $275 million extension) for future battles.


Passing-wise, both teams struggled. Joe Burrow managed just 82 yards with no touchdowns on 14-of-31 passing. Watson did better with 154 yards and a touchdown but threw a cringe-worthy interception.


The Browns were on fire when running the ball, with Nick Chubb leading the charge with 106 rushing yards. Add another 100 yards from Watson, Jerome Ford, and Elijah Moore, and it’s clear the Browns had a ground game to rely on.


Ultimately, the Browns’ ground attack was the secret to their victory, leaving the Bengals with plenty to ponder.



Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Minnesota Vikings 17:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers packed their sunscreen and invaded Minnesota, pulling off a jaw-dropping upset against the Vikings, winning 20-17 in Week 1.


The Buccaneers’ new quarterback, Baker Mayfield, delivered a solid performance, slinging the rock for 173 yards. Mayfield completed 21 of his 34 passes, scoring two touchdowns with no turnovers.


Mayfield saw an opening in the Vikings’ defense, especially when he connected with Mike Evans for a touchdown. It was like playing chess against a pigeon – he made an exceptional move, spotting a total mismatch that left his No. 1 receiver in a one-on-one showdown with a free safety. Mayfield was cooler than the other side of the pillow, avoiding those cringe-worthy mistakes that once haunted his career.


Devin White, often the target of critics, put on a show for the Buccaneers’ defense. He blitzed like a man possessed, 10 times to be exact, and pulled off three defensive stops against the run. He also worked his magic in coverage with three more defensive stops. White was like a tornado in cleats, proving that athleticism is his middle name. He turned into a one-man wrecking crew!


The Vikings’ first-round draft pick, Jordan Addison, made quite the entrance. He snagged four of the six passes thrown his way, including two that earned first downs and one that resulted in a touchdown celebration that could rival fireworks on the Fourth of July. Justin Jefferson was doing his usual superstar dance, and Addison seemed like the Robin to his Batman. Dynamic duo alert!


So, there you have it: the Buccaneers causing a stir, Mayfield playing it safe, Devin White turning into a defensive force, and a rookie ready to steal the show.



Miami Dolphins 36 Los Angeles Chargers 24:

So, the Miami Dolphins took a trip to the West Coast and brought back a thrilling 36-34 victory after a good old-fashioned shootout with the Los Angeles Chargers.


Offense, step into the spotlight! Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill were like Batman and Robin, unstoppable. Hill caught 11 of 15 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns and had a turbo boost button. Tagovailoa wasn’t holding back either, slinging the pigskin for a whopping 466 yards. He was like a quarterback with a rocket arm, averaging 10.4 yards per attempt.


Now, where was the defense in this game? They took an extended coffee break. The Chargers allowed a whopping 531 yards of offense, practically handing out yardage like it was Halloween candy. To make matters worse, they grabbed a few turnovers, like finding a $100 bill in your couch cushions but losing it again.


Speaking of newcomers, Quentin Johnston had a part in the Chargers’ offense, catching two of three passes for 9 yards and one first down. It’s like being the understudy in a Broadway show, watching the stars shine.



Carolina Panthers 10, Atlanta Falcons 24:

It was a clash of top 10 draft picks. No. 1 pick Bryce Young and No. 8 pick Bijan Robinson went toe-to-toe, and the outcome? Young’s NFL debut was more drama than action, as the Panthers fell 24-10 to the upstart Falcons.


Young started shakily but managed a touchdown pass to Hayden Hurst in the second quarter. After that, the offense fizzled like a deflated balloon, squeezing out just one more field goal. Young’s stat line? Two interceptions, 146 passing yards, and a passer rating of 48.8. It’s like getting a cake with frosting but no cake!


On the defensive front, the Falcons, led by new coordinator Ryan Nielsen, were on fire. They pulled off a crucial fourth-down stop and an interception, leading to a touchdown. Their new safety, Jessie Bates, made a grand entrance with two interceptions and two defensive stops. It’s like he auditioned for an action movie.


Despite contract drama, Panthers’ star Brian Burns brought the thunder with 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and more stops than a bus route. He was like a contract negotiation wrapped in a tackle.


There was also rookie sensation Bijan Robinson! He dazzled with six receptions, a flashy touchdown, 56 rushing yards, and five missed tackles forced. It was like watching a highlight reel on repeat.



Jacksonville Jaguars 31 Indianapolis Colts 21:

The Jacksonville Jaguars hit the road and snatched a 31-21 win from the Indianapolis Colts in a thrilling showdown.


Calvin Ridley, the new receiver sensation for the Jaguars, lived up to the hype. He hauled eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown from Trevor Lawrence. Ridley was like a magician, making big plays and proving he was back at the top of his game.


On the defensive front, DeForest Buckner was a force to be reckoned with for the Colts. He nabbed a sack and even scored a touchdown with a fumble recovery. The Colts’ defense held strong, keeping them in the game until the fourth quarter.


And for the rookie spotlight, Anthony Richardson showcased his skills for the Colts, accounting for a whopping 263 yards of the team’s offense. Richardson averaged 6.0 yards per pass attempt, with most of his passing yards coming after the catch. He looked dynamic, and once Jonathan Taylor joined the mix, watch out!


The Jaguars triumphed, Ridley dazzled, Buckner dominated, and Richardson hinted at a bright future.


Tennessee Titans 15, New Orleans Saints 16:

The New Orleans Saints went toe-to-toe with the Tennessee Titans in a game where every yard and big play felt like a treasure. The Saints defended their home turf and squeaked a 16-15 victory.


Now, who stole the show for the Saints? Chris Olave caught passes like a magnet in his gloves, tallying over 100 receiving yards. Rashid Shaheed joined the party with a touchdown catch that lit up the stadium. Yet the story was QB Derek Carr, who made his Saints debut after leaving the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason.


Carr’s day was like a rollercoaster. He completed 23 of 33 passes for a cool 305 yards, tossing one touchdown and one interception. Carr also launched some rockets at various targets, securing a hard-fought win for the Saints. With a roster full of playmakers, an upgrade at quarterback could be their ticket back to the postseason.


Defensively Carl Granderson stepped up big time. He finished the game with 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss, and four quarterback hits. He was like a quarterback’s worst nightmare, causing chaos in the Titans’ backfield. And, oh, one of his pressures even led to a Marshon Lattimore interception. Talk about teamwork!


There was also rookie star Bryan Bresee. In his first regular-season NFL game, he got a taste of the action with a half-sack and two quarterback hits. He walked onto the big stage and said, “I belong here!”


Green Bay Packers 38 Chicago Bears 20:

In a classic showdown, the Green Bay Packers took on the Chicago Bears, and it was all about dominating the trenches.

Aaron Jones was the Packers’ dynamo, running for 41 yards and catching passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. He was like a superhero until a hamstring injury sent him to the sideline.


On the Bears’ side, young gun Justin Fields had his moments, throwing for 216 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He added 59 rushing yards, basically playing tag with defenders all day.


Defensively, Packers’ rookie Quay Walker had a cinematic moment with a pick-six, but he left the game with a potential concussion from a hit at the pylon.

In their NFL debut, Jayden Reed and Luke Musgrave of Green Bay showcased their speed, with Reed even pulling off a 35-yard punt return. It was like watching a sprinting competition!


Rookie Roschon Johnson bulldozed his way through defenders with a rushing touchdown and solid receiving yards for the Bears. It was a silver lining to an otherwise forgettable day.


Philadelphia Eagles 25 New England Patriots 20:


The same team that spoiled Tom Brady’s 2017 Super Bowl came to town for Brady’s Ring of Honor ceremony. And guess what? They spoiled the party again with a 25-20 win, leaving the Patriots going, “Not again!”


Now, for the offensive scoop, Eagles’ A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith grabbed seven catches like reception magnets. Kenneth Gainwell was the workhorse, rushing for 54 yards and adding 20 yards through the air. The champs were slow on offense, averaging just 4.1 yards per play. They did enough to steal a big Week 1 win.


Conversely, Mac Jones and Kendrick Bourne were a dynamic duo, connecting for two touchdowns. Jones was on fire, throwing 7-of-14 passes for 104 yards and three touchdowns on throws over 10 yards. He even had five “big-time” throws on the first review. Mac Jones, the master of throws!


Defensively, Eagles’ Darius Slay was the pick-six magician, returning an interception 70 yards for a touchdown. Then, linebacker Zach Cunningham forced a fumble, turning it into a defensive celebration. Eagles went up 16-0, and the Patriots faced a mountain to climb.


Wait, there’s more defense! Patriots’ Matthew Judon and Josh Uche each recorded a sack. The Pats signed a “No Entry” for Philly’s offense.


Rookie alert! Eagles’ Jalen Carter debuted with his first career sack and tackle for loss. Meanwhile, the Patriots’ rookie, Christian Gonzalez, was a tackling machine with a sack, tackle for loss, and five solo tackles. He was a one-man wrecking crew.Donatebalance of nature>


So, there you have it: Eagles spoiling Brady’s party, A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith with the catches, Mac Jones as the throwing maestro, Slay’s pick-six magic, and some tough defense. Even legends like Brady can’t escape those pesky Eagles!


Las Vegas Raiders 17, Denver Broncos 16:

The Raiders, led by their newly-acquired QB Jimmy Garoppolo, clashed with the Broncos, who had Russell Wilson making his debut under the guidance of head coach Sean Payton.

Russell Wilson showcased his precision, completing 27-of-34 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to secure the win. Meanwhile, Garoppolo pulled off a stunning third-down scramble that was the game-changer.


Javonte Williams made an impressive return from injury, amassing 52 rushing yards on 13 carries and adding four receptions to his tally. New Raiders wide receiver Jakobi Meyers had a standout performance, hauling nine receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns before an unfortunate injury sidelined him.


On the defensive front, Kareem Jackson of the Broncos made a critical impact with an interception in the end zone. Denver’s defense held the Raiders to a meager 2.1 yards per carry on 29 rushing attempts, with star running back Josh Jacobs managing just 48 yards on 19 carries.

Maxx Crosby, the Raiders’ edge defender, notched his first sack of the 2023 season and contributed with a tackle for loss, helping to limit the Broncos to just 4.5 yards per play and 16 points.

Rookie cornerback Jakorian Bennett was a standout for the Raiders, racking up seven tackles and effectively containing the Broncos’ passing attack.


Dallas Cowboys 40 New York Giants 0(Sunday Night Football):

The opening game of the 2023 NFL season was a tough pill to swallow for die-hard New York Giants fans. Our beloved G-Men faced off against the Dallas Cowboys, and let’s say it was a nightmarish start to the season.

Right out of the gate, disaster struck as the Cowboys blocked a field goal attempt and returned it for a devastating 58-yard touchdown. It was like watching our hopes for the season deflate in an instant. Then, to make matters worse, DaRon Bland picked off a pass and scored a pick-6 in the first quarter, leaving us shaking our heads in disbelief.

As Giants fans, we were hopeful that our team had closed the gap between Dallas and the reigning NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East. We had high expectations, but reality hit us hard on this night.

Tony Pollard’s two short touchdown runs only added to our misery. The Giants’ offense, which we hoped had improved, struggled to find its rhythm, and the Cowboys’ defense seemed to be everywhere, sacking Daniel Jones seven times and forcing three turnovers.

The final score of 40-0 was a loss and a painful blow to our pride. This defeat was the largest shutout loss between the Giants and the Cowboys, surpassing even the infamous 35-0 loss in 1995.

The Giants faithful had been looking forward to this game with anticipation, only to be left with a bitter taste in our mouths. It will be a long season, but we’ll stand by our team through thick and thin, hoping for brighter days ahead.


Still Ahead: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets(Monday Night Football):

Gang Green is gunning for those playoffs for the first time since 2011! They went all out in the offseason, making waves like a cannonball in a kiddie pool. They signed more free agents than you can count, and trust me, it’s not just about quantity – they’ve got quality, too!


First, they’ve got last season’s offensive and defensive rookies of the year – talk about rookie sensations! And then, out of the blue, they pulled off the heist of the century, trading for none other than the legendary QB himself, Aaron Rodgers.


They also snagged Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook in free agency. It’s like finding a golden ticket in a chocolate bar, only better. Cook will be a beast in the backfield, teaming up with the dynamic Breece Hall. Together, they will make opposing defenses wish they were back in kindergarten playing tag.


Now, let’s talk about those Buffalo Bills. They’ve been on a roll, winning three consecutive AFC East titles since 2020. That’s like winning the lottery three times in a row, with much more sweat and footballs involved.


The man, the myth, the cannon-armed legend Josh Allen led their offense. He and premier WR Stefon Diggs have a hotter chemistry than a Buffalo wing dipped in hot sauce. But here’s the catch – they need to cut down on the giveaways. It’s like they’re playing a game of hot potato with the Football sometimes. And they’re searching for that X-factor, the missing piece of the puzzle, the unicorn of Football plays.


The Bills are confident they’ve got what it takes to win it all. They’ve got a chip on their shoulder the size of a buffalo horn as they kick off their 2023 campaign against the new-look Jets.


Prediction: With Rodgers slinging the rock and Cook tearing up the field for the Jets, and Allen and Diggs doing their thing for the Bills, we’re in for an aerial show. Jets 31, Bills 28.


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