5. Zuerlein’s leg gives Rams 1-0 start
Los Angeles Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein missed two field goals Sunday, but he made the most important one.
Zuerlein’s nailed a game-winning field goal in overtime to start the newly relocated Rams 1-0 with a 20-17 win over the Detroit Lions.
“My teammates put a lot of trust in me. They didn’t allow me to hang my head, they kept telling me I’ll get another chance,” Zuerlein said.
One pleasant surprise for the Rams was the rushing game. And of course, that starts with Offensive Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley.
Gurley rushed the ball 31 times for 113 yards and scored once.
“I just embrace being a workhorse. Whatever my team needs is what I’m going to do,” Gurley said.
Backup running back Benny Cunningham also scored on the ground for the Rams.
Interestingly enough, the lead story would have been the first career start for No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. However, head coach Jeff Fisher decided to start fifth year player Case Keenum.
Fisher said, “I believed I made the right choice when I announced that and after this first week I know I made the right decision.
“His poise in those big moments were key for us. Despite his interceptions, one of those isn’t on him.”
Keenum went 34/44 for 272 yards but he did not throw a touchdown although, he did throw two interceptions. Wide receiver Brian Quick emerged as a favorite target for Keenum, catching 10 passes for 94 yards.
His 34 completions lead the NFL after Week 1.
One of the two interceptions was returned for a touchdown by Lions’ linebacker DeAndre Levy. Levy also tallied 12 tackles and a sack.
The Detroit defense was solid but the offense was shaky. Quarterback Matthew Stafford went 25/41 throwing for 242 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Golden Tate had five receptions for 79 yards and Stafford’s only touchdown.
The difference was on the ground. Lions’ running back Theo Riddick just could not get going. He rushed for 77 yards on 24 carries.
4. Youth leads Dallas to 24-21 win over rival Giants
If there was ever a possibility for playoff atmosphere during Week 1 of the NFL season the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants gave us just that.
Especially, with the newfound possibilities for the Cowboys with rookie Dak Prescott under center to start the season instead of 36-year-old Tony Romo.
Romo suffered a broken bone in his back during a preseason game in Seattle.
Before the game Prescott said, “This is [Romo]’s team, I’m just filling in. I understand I have a lot to learn because I’m a rookie so I’m just excited for this opportunity.”
He made the most of his opportunity, going 18/31 passing for 204 yards and a touchdown. His one touchdown went to a fellow rookie, running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Elliott caught four of Prescott’s passes for 71 yards. Yet, most of his dirty work came via the ground game.
Elliott rushed for 122 yards on 22 touches and another touchdown.
Head coach Jason Garrett said, “What he was able to do was unbelievable and to think he’s only a rookie.”
More surprisingly, its not like the Cowboys caught the Giants on a bad day. New York played their type of game.
Quarterback Eli Manning threw for 315 yards with 31 completions on 69 percent passing. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught nine passes for 68 yards.
Manning scored one touchdown but did throw a costly interception.
Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick picked off Manning in the fourth quarter and returned it for six points.
“I’ve played against him a grip of times and I never got one off of him. I saw my opportunity and just jumped on it,” Scandrick said.
It was hist first interceptions of Manning in 13 career games.
3. San Diego emerges with 38-31 shootout win versus Raiders
In an old school western shootout, the Chargers came away with a 38-31 road victory over the Raiders in Oakland.
San Diego’s quarterback Philip Rivers went toe-to-toe with Oakland’s Derek Carr and won.
Rivers said, “Man, that guy can go. He is a true talent and he is going to be a force in this league for a long time coming.”
Rivers went 22/41, passing for 288 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
Carr, on the other hand, went 16/34 for 223 yards. He also threw for two touchdowns but he threw two interceptions.
“In a game like that you just have to tip your cap to the guy. He went out there and made plays and at the end of the day I just made one more mistake than he did,” Carr said.
Charger’s wide receiver Keenan Allen made the biggest impact on offense for San Diego without touching the ball much. Allen had three receptions but they equalled 108 yards and a score.
Tight end Antonio Gates added 94 yards on nine receptions.
Carr had tight end success of his own in Clive Walford, caught eight passes for 130 yards and touchdown.
Newly acquired Michael Crabtree played well catching four passes for 61 yards and a touchdown.
The Raiders even had more success in the run game than the Chargers did.
While San Diegos’ Melvin Gordon rushed for 94 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown; Oakland’s Latvius Murray rushed for 137 yards on 35 touches, while scoring as well.
Bad news for the Raiders, is they will have to wait until Week 17 to seek some revenge against their division rival.
Head coach Jack Del Rio said, “This was a tough loss for our guys but it happened and we have to learn from it and move on.
“It’s definitely going to eat at us since we have to wait so long to see these guys but maybe that’s what we need.”
2. Atlanta soar with 23-17 overtime win in Kansas City
All it took was one play in overtime for quarterback Matt Ryan to find wide receiver Julio Jones for a 69-yard game-winning touchdown to give the Atlanta Falcons a 23-17 win in overtime over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jones said, “I told Matty in between the fourth and overtime to come to me and I’ll be ready.”
The Pro-Bowl receiver had 11 receptions for 159 yards and a touchdown. He leads the league in receptions and yards after the first week of the season.
Ryan said, “It just a privilege to work along side a guy like that. He’s tough as nails and shows up to play every single night, not just in games but in practice.”
Ryan didn’t have a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination. He went 26/43, throwing for 317 yards with that overtime touchdown but two interceptions.
Even with the shaky numbers, Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith just couldn’t match.
Smith went 23/37, passing for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Kansas City head coach Andy Reid said, “I think he did a good job of managing the game. I’m not going to sit here and place the blame on him after we all just watched the way that game ended.”
The Chiefs were pleasantly surprised with the play of starting running back Spencer Ware, who rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Ware got the start as Kansas City continues to monitor former starter Jamal Charles as he recovers from a torn achilles.
Speaking of injuries, the Falcons’ lost starting linebacker Deion Jones to a shoulder strain.
His status for Monday night’s game at home against Denver is questionable.
1. Wilson, Seahawks stun Cardinals late in fourth
If Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has proven anything in his short five years in the NFL is that he is a big-time player.
As long as there is any time on the clock Wilson has a chance to lift the Seahawks to a victory. That is exactly what Arizona found out the hard way after suffering a 10-6 loss at home to start the season.
Wilson found wide receiver Jermaine Kearse in the back of the end zone for a 49-yard game-winning touchdown with just six seconds left on the clock.
“I don’t know how this guy does it, he always finds a way to pull it out. I just try and find a way to get open and if I do, I’m sure he’ll find me,” Kearse said.
Undoubtedly, Seattle felt the loss of recently retired Marshawn Lynch as replacement Thomas Rawls rushed for just 62 yards on 16 carries.
As a result, Wilson was forced to throw the ball 45 times, completing 27 of them. He also threw for 316 yards with that game-winning score but uncharacteristically threw three interceptions.
“I have to be better with the ball. If I don’t turn the ball over like that, we aren’t in that position,” Wilson said.
On the other side, the Cardinals had their own fair share of quarterback problems.
Fourteen year veteran Carson Palmer started the game for Arizona but did not finish. He left the game on the second drive of the game, leaving with a broken collarbone.
Before exiting the game, Palmer had gone 10/16 for 76 yards.
He was replaced by 32-year-old Drew Stanton, who couldn’t get past the Seattle secondary.
“They’re a tough team. There is a reason why they have been one of the best teams these past couple of years,” Stanton said.
Stanton went 6/19 the remainder of the game, passing for 43 yards and one interception by Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.
This is Sherman’s seventh career interception against the Cardinals and the 27th of his career.
3 Games to Watch
1. Washington at Los Angeles
With both teams starting the season 1-0 after two separate three point wins, the Redskins and the Rams will lock horns in Los Angeles Sunday.
Los Angeles’ quarterback Case Keenum will be making his second start of the season while still looking for his first touchdown of the season.
Washington’s quarterback Kirk Cousins will be looking to capitalize off of the first week where he threw for 198 yards on 19 completions with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Also, Todd Gurley v. Matt Jones should be interesting.
2. Dallas at Seattle
The Dallas Cowboys won’t have much time to relish in their Week 1 win on the road against the New York Giants.
Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will travel to Seattle to meet with the Kam Chancellor and the Legion of Boom.
The Seahawks offense will be looking to keep the fire that was ignited from Russell Wilson’s game-winning touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse.
3. Denver at Atlanta
In the second Monday night of the season, first solo game, the defending champion Denver Broncos will head to Atlanta to tangle with the Falcons.
The home crowd will be at maximum strength after the team’s thrilling 23-17 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday.
However, they will be met by a battle-tested Denver defense that held Le’Veon Bell to 47 yards rushing and the Pittsburgh Steelers to 17 points in Week 1.