Kicks N’ Cleats
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Kicks N’ Cleats

NFL Week One Takeaways

Top storylines after an exciting first Sunday of games

Football has finally made its return, and oh how sweet it is. Despite it being the first weekend of games, we already got to witness insane catches, fourth-quarter comebacks, and upset wins. But with so much action, where do we start to analyze? What stood out above the rest? Well, below I will give my three biggest takeaways from the first NFL Sunday of the year, starting with an underrated team.

Note to everyone, stop doubting the Steelers

Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports

Shouldn’t we have seen this coming from the Pittsburgh Steelers? I mean I know we saw them crumble against Cleveland in the playoffs last year, but this is Mike Tomlin’s team we’re talking about. The same Mike Tomlin who has never had a losing record as the head coach of Pittsburgh.

Despite that, however, people continued to doubt the Steelers entering this season. Multiple power rankings had Pittsburgh outside of their top ten. Multiple analysts were picking the Steelers to miss the postseason. And then there was their matchup week one against Buffalo, where the majority of people were picking the Bills to win.

Pittsburgh had other plans. They went into Buffalo and came out with a 23–16 victory. Pittsburgh’s defense is still legit even after the loss of Bud Dupree. The Steelers sacked Josh Allen three times, along with forcing and recovering a fumble. T.J. Watt did T.J. Watt things, finishing with two of the team’s three sacks. Pittsburgh also scored on a blocked punt to completely swing the momentum of the game.

Now the Steelers’ offense wasn’t great, but it didn’t have to be. They had zero turnovers, and will likely win many games using a defensive game plan anyways. If it worked against a top-tier team like Buffalo, it should work against most of the league. For now though, please stop doubting Mike Tomlin and Pittsburgh.

There’s going to be growing pains for the rookie QBs

Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer

Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson were the respective number one and two selections in this year’s draft. Both are expected to be their team’s quarterback of the future. Both also can expect to face some challenges along the way. And boy did those challenges start early.

In Lawrence’s case, he was expected to be this can’t miss prospect of the decade. With that, however, brings some lofty expectations. Expectations that he failed to live up to in week one. Jacksonville was going up against the Texans, who many expected to be the worst team in the league this season. Instead, it was Lawrence’s Jaguars who looked like they might hold that title once again. Jacksonville fell to Houston 37–21, and Lawrence struggled.

He threw a league-high three interceptions in the loss, along with accumulating the second-lowest QBR of week one. Now it wasn’t all bad, as he did throw for 332 yards and three touchdowns as well. The problem is Houston was likely going to be Jacksonville’s easiest opponent all year. If the Jags and Lawrence struggled like that in a game many thought they would win, things could end up rough as the year goes on.

As for Zach Wilson, he and the Jets also lost their week one matchup. The Panthers ended up winning 19–14, and Wilson had his fair share of struggles. The number two pick threw one interception and was sacked a league-high six times. Wilson was scrambling for his life, which certainly affected his completion percentage (54%).

After a scoreless first half for New York, however, Wilson found a rhythm, connecting with Corey Davis for two scores to make it a one-possession game. Wilson ultimately ended with a stat line of 258 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

Now both quarterbacks showed some good and some bad. I do expect both to progress as the season goes on. It, however, won’t be without some growing pains.

Here we go again with Kansas City

Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports

For maybe the first time last season, we saw Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs look bad. Now it was in the Super Bowl against Tampa Bay’s loaded defense, but they still looked bad. Kansas City only put up nine points, and subsequently lost.

But if you thought the Chiefs were going anywhere, you appear to be wrong.

The team instead reloaded the offensive line signing Joe Thuney and trading for Orlando Brown. Oh, and they still have guys like Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce, all of who were in full effect against Cleveland in week one.

The Browns, like Kansas City, were a team some thought could contend for a Super Bowl this year. Cleveland has a loaded roster, and some believed they could finally make the leap. I mean to be fair it looked like it for most of the game. Cleveland had the second-most total yards out of every team week one. They also held a two-possession lead in the fourth quarter.

But Patrick Mahomes and company are just too good. In a span of three minutes, the Chiefs went from down nine to up four, and KC eventually won 33–29. Mahomes finished with 337 yards, four total touchdowns, and no interceptions. Tyreek Hill (11 catches, 197 yards, one touchdown) and Travis Kelce (six catches, 76 yards, two touchdowns) continued their respective dominance as well.

This game just shows how good Kansas City is once again. A talented Cleveland team comes in, controls the majority of the game, but still can’t come away with the win. That’s just the Patrick Mahomes effect. Good luck once again to opposing teams. Kansas City isn’t going anywhere.

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Jacob Burns

Jacob Burns

University at Buffalo ’20 | BA in Communication | Writer for The Sports Scientist & Kicks N’ Cleats

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