Taking a quick rundown of the Sunday NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
NO 27, ATL 26
The Falcons held a 26-10 lead in the fourth quarter but let the Saints reel off 17 points to steal the win with 19 seconds left when Will Lutz kicked a 51-yard field goal. Cordarrelle Patterson ran for 120 yards and a score on 22 carries while the rookie Tyler Allgeier was inactive. Marcus Mariota threw for 215 yards and added 72 yards and a score on 12 runs. Drake London (5-74) opened his NFL career with a solid effort but Kyle Pitts was held to only two catches for 19 yards. The Falcons seemingly had this game won, but the Saints got hot at the end, and they could not stop them when it counted most.
Jameis Winston finished with 269 yards and two scores but a huge chunk of that came in the fourth quarter, including both scores to Michael Thomas (5-57, 2 TD). Jarvis Landry (7-114) led the team while the rookie Chris Olave was held to three receptions for 41 yards. Taysom Hill ran for 81 yards and a score on four rushes that included a 57 yard jaunt in the first quarter. The biggest disappointment was Alvin Kamara running for only 39 yards on nine carries and adding just seven yards on three receptions. It all came together late in the game and in the nick of time. The Saints rush defense under performed and the offense sputtered for much of the game.
CLE 26, CAR 24
The Panthers took a 24-23 lead with only 1:13 left to play but couldn’t keep the Browns from kicking a 58-yard field goal with eight seconds left to win the game. Jacoby Brissett only passed for 147 yards and one score. Donovan Peoples-Jones (6-60) dominated the targets while Amari Cooper was held to just three catches for 17 yards. Nick Chubb ran for 141 yards on 22 carries, but Kareem Hunt was the player of the game with 11 runs for 46 yards and a touchdown, plus four catches for 24 yards and the other score. The Panthers gave them plenty to worry about, but in the end, they couldn’t stop their march down the field or their rookie kicker with a big leg.
The Panthers didn’t get much from Christian McCaffrey who ran for only 33 yards on ten rushes and caught four passes for 24 yards though he notched one touchdown run. Baker Mayfield’s chance to get back at his old team fell short. He threw for 235 yards and one score but only thanks to a 75-yard bomb that hit a wide-open Robbie Anderson (5-102, TD). D.J. Moore was limited to three catches for 43 yards. It was a disappointing debut for Mayfield who salvaged a bad performance with one long touchdown pass.
SF 10, CHI 19
They played in driving rain at times and the field was sloppy. Even factoring in the field conditions, the start of the Trey Lance era wasn’t pretty. Lance passed for only 164 yards and one interception. Jauan Jennings (4-62) and Brandon Aiyuk (2-40) were the top receivers, while Deebo Samuel only caught two passes for 14 yards but he ran for 52 yards and a score on eight runs. Elijah Mitchell only made it six carries for 41 yards before leaving with an injured knee. Lance was the top runner with 54 yards on 13 rushes, but it wasn’t nearly as encouraging of a debut as hoped. The rain and wet field was a definite factor.
Justin Fields was no better, throwing for only 121 yards and two scores, with one interception. The scores came on the only completions to Dante Pettis (1-51, TD) and Equanimeous St. Brown (1-18, TD). David Montgomery (17-26) was the primary runner and caught three passes for 24 yards, but Khalil Herbert (9-45, TD) was more effective. It was a sloppy game and the only takeaway was that Montgomery handled 2:1 carries to Herbert, despite the disparity in yards per rush (1.5 vs. 5.0).
PIT 23, CIN 20 OT
The Bengals lost after tying the score with two seconds left in regulation. Evan McPherson was one of the best kickers last year, but he missed a 29-yard field goal attempt in overtime, thanks to a bad snap. Joe Burrow had a slow start but ended with 53 passes and 338 passing yards that scored twice. Ja’Marr Chase (10-129, TD) and Joe Mixon (7-63) were the top receivers. Tyler Boyd (4-33, TD) handled the other touchdown while Tee Higgins left with a possible concussion. Mixon ran 27 times for 82 yards. The biggest factor in the loss was Burrow throwing four interceptions.
The Steelers didn’t do anything special other than not throw four interceptions. Najee Harris ran for only 23 yards on ten carries and hurt his foot. He added just three yards on two catches but one scored the only offensive touchdown. Mitchell Trubisky passed for 194 yards and one score with Pat Freiermuth as the top receiver with 75 yards on five catches. Diontae Johnson led with seven catches but only gained 55 yards. Chase Claypool saw expanded use, catching four passes for 18 yards and rushing for a team-high 36 yards on six carries. There’s a lot to be said for an offense that doesn’t make a mistake while their defense keeps getting turnovers.
IND 20, HOU 20 OT
Nothing like starting the year with a game that no one won. The Colts scored 17 fourth-quarter points to tie the game, but Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 42-yard field goal with two minutes in overtime to secure the not-win. In fantasy terms, this was a good effort with Matt Ryan passing for 352 yards and one score and yet only Michael Pittman (9-121, TD) was successful as a receiver, and Jonathan Taylor (31-161, TD) had a predictably monster performance. No on else did much, though Nyheim Hines (6-50) did see more targets than he did last year.
Davis Mills threw for 240 yards and two scores that both ended with the hot tight end free agent this week – O.J. Howard (2-38, 2 TD). Brandin Cooks (7-82) was the only other receiver with more than 31 yards since nine players recorded at least one catch. Nico Collins (2-26) was not much help and the biggest surprise, at least to Dameon Pierce fans, was that the rookie only rushed for 33 yards on 11 carries while Rex Burkhead was better with 14 runs for 40 yards. The Texans looked better than last year but are still mostly limited to Brandin Cooks for an offensive weapon.
NE 7, MIA 20
The offense that no longer has Josh McDaniels remains a concern. Mac Jones passed for just 213 yards and one score failed to connect with any receiver for more than the 55 yards by Jakobi Meyers. Rhamondre Stevenson wasn’t the replacement for James White since he only caught two passes for two yards, while Damien Harris (2-10) and Ty Montgomery (3-15, TD) were also involved as receivers. Harris ran for 48 yards on nine runs while Stevenson gained just 25 yards on his eight carries. The offense was lethargic and involved nine receivers and four different rushers. There just wasn’t enough production to be so split up.
Tua Tagovailoa started slowly, but ended with 270 yards and one touchdown to Jaylen Waddle (4-69, TD) who scored on a 42-yard catch. Tyreek Hill’s debut provided a team-high eight catches for 94 yards and the two starting wideouts accounted for 17 of the 33 passes thrown. Chase Edmonds caught four passes for 40 yards but was the lead runner with just 25 yards on 12 rushes. The Fins’ rushing offense was anemic at best but faced an always-tough Patriots defense. The Fins didn’t have to do much to beat the punchless Patriots offense.
BAL 24, NYJ 9
The Ravens were without J.K. Dobbins, and Kenyan Drake (11-31) and Mike Davis (2-11) were little help. Drake added one catch for 15 yards but the backfield wasn’t effective. Lamar Jackson rushed for only 17 yards on six runs but threw three touchdowns during his 213 passing yards. Rashod Bateman (2-59, TD) and Devin Duvernay (4-54, 2 TD) handled the scoring while Mark Anderson (5-52) turned in a moderate showing. The Ravens won this one with ease, thanks to a defense that looks very much back to health.
Joe Flacco ended with 307 passing yards and one score, but could never consistently move the ball. Corey Davis (6-77) and the rookie Garrett Wilson (4-52) were the leading receivers and Elijah Mitchell (5-49) pitched in as well. True to their word, Michael Carter was the primary back with ten runs for 60 yards and a team-high seven catches for 40 yards. The rookie Breece Hall ran for 23 yards on six carries and caught six passes for 38 yards. The Jets trailed throughout and just didn’t look sharp. Flacco rarely had much time to throw the ball.
JAC 22, WAS 28
The Jaguars led 22-14 in the fourth quarter but the Commanders managed two scores to end the game with a win. Carson Wentz passed for 313 yards and four touchdowns between Jahan Dotson (3-40, 2 TD), Curtis Samuel (8-55, TD), and Terry McLaurin (2-58) who was almost blanked but his fourth-quarter catches included the 49-yard touchdown. Antonio Gibson rushed for 58 yards on 14 carries as the workhorse of the backfield. He added a team-high seven catches for 72 yards. J.D. McKissic caught three passes for 20 yards but wasn’t as involved as expected.
Trevor Lawrence opened the year with 275 passing yards and one score to James Robinson who had a big game adding a second touchdown on his 11 runs for 66 yards. The debut of Travis Etienne had him with just four runs for 47 yards and just two catches for 18 yards. Christian Kirk (6-117) and Zay Jones (6-65) were productive in their first game as a Jag. The game was still promising for the Jags but a disappointment for Travis Etienne.
KC 44, ARI 21
Well. Tyreek who? The Chiefs had no problem laying a beatdown on the Cardinals in their stadium. Patrick Mahomes jump started his 2022 season with 360 passing yards and five touchdowns. Travis Kelce (8-121, TD). Clyde Edwards-Helaire (3-32, 2 TD), and Mecole Hardman (3-16, TD) all scored and JuJu Smith-Schuster (6-79) churned out fantasy value. Edwards-Helaire also ran for 42 yards on seven carries. Even Isiah Pacheco ran for 62 yards and a score while mopping up at the end of the matchup. The Chiefs’ offense looked just as dangerous even without Tyreek Hill.
The Cardinals’ score was only that high because they reached the endzone twice in the fourth quarter after the Chiefs had scored 37 points. Kyler Murray only passed for 193 yards and two scores and ran for 29 yards. Marquise Brown (4-43, TD) and Zach Ertz (2-14, TD) both scored but had minimal production otherwise. James Conner ran for 26 yards and a score on ten carries but the Cardinals never had a chance to establish the run since they trailed throughout the game. The Cardinals’ offense was sluggish in their home opener, but their defense put them in a bad situation.
LV 19, LAC 24
The debut of Davante Adams wasn’t enough to get the win, but he did his part with ten catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. David Carr passed for 295 yards and two scores, but also three interceptions. Darren Waller (4-79) and Hunter Renfrow (3-21) were the next best receivers, but as he did as a Packer, Adams was a target sponge. He was thrown 17 passes, no one else had more than six targets. Josh Jacobs (10-57) was effective rushing the ball, but the Raiders were forced to throw to stay in the game.
The Chargers won but didn’t score for the final 18 minutes of playing time, and no one had more than a moderate showing other than Justin Herbert, who threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, Keenan Allen (4-66) led the receivers but left with a hamstring injury. DeAndre Carter (3-64, TD), Gerald Everett (3-54, TD) and Austin Ekeler (4-36) were the best producers, but Ekeler only added 36 yards on 14 carries for a lackluster first game. No Charger produced high fantasy points and 11 different receivers were used. But they outlasted the Raiders for an important divisional win.
GB 7, MIN 23
The Packers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC last year, but they opened their season with a 38-3 loss at the Saints. This time, it was losing to the Vikings. The first game of 2021 was meaningless and this one could be as well. But it was the first without Davante Adams, so it is notable. Aaron Rodgers only passed for 195 yards and one interception. AJ Dillon was the top receiver with five catches for 46 yards and no one else gained more than 37 yards. Dillion ran in the lone touchdown with his ten carries for 45 yards. Aaron Jones gained 49 yards on his five rushes and only caught three passes for 27 yards. It was oddly like last year’s opener, but Week 2 will show if they can bounce back.
The new offense in Minnesota looks great so far. Kirk Cousins passed for 277 yards and two scores that both went to Justin Jefferson (9-184, 2 TD). No other receiver caught more than three passes or gained over 36 yards. Dalvin Cook ran for 90 yards on 20 carries but only caught three passes for 36 yards. The success of Justin Jefferson with CB Jaire Alexander playing was a surprise, but a positive sign for the new offense.
NYG 21, TEN 20
Another upset for Week 1. The Giants won the game thanks to Sterling Shepard catching a 65-yard touchdown and Saquon Barkley, who rekindled his bruising form from a few years back. He ran for 164 yards and one score on 18 carries and added six catches for 30 yards as everything that his drafters hoped to get (for the last three years). Daniel Jones threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns but only thanks to the long catch by Shepard. The Giants played better than they have in years, almost entirely thanks to the impact that Barkley made in the game.
The Titans were in position for a walk-off winning field goal, but Randy Bullock could not make the 47-yard attempt at time expired. Derrick Henry ran for 82 yards on 21 attempts but missed his only target. Ryan Tannehill passed for 266 yards and two scores that both went to Dontrell Hilliard (3-61, 2 TD). The rookie Kyle Phillips (6-66) led the team in receiving while Treylon Burks settled for three catches for 55 yards. The Titans should have won this game but struggled to stop Saquon Barkley. It still came down to the field goal attempt that would have usually been successful.
TB 19, DAL 3
This matchup scored 60 total points in Week 1 of last year. This season, it was the lowest-scoring game in the entire NFL and properly capped off an opening week that saw nearly no big scores compared to previous seasons. Tom Brady passed for 212 yards and one score to Mike Evans (5-71, TD), but they lost Chris Godwin to a hamstring injury and Julio Jones was the only other receiver that stepped up. He caught three passes for 69 yards thanks to a 48-yard reception, and he added two runs for 17 yards. Leonard Fournette looked plenty in shape, gaining 127 yards on 20 carries but Rachaad White (6-14) was little help.
The Cowboys’ offense was sluggish and could not get going. Dak Prescott threw for only 134 yards and one interception before leaving late in the game with a thumb injury that will need surgery. Cooper Rush stepped in but was no better. Noah Brown (5-68) and Dalton Schultz (7-62) were the top receivers, while CeeDee Lamb was limited to only two catches for 29 yards despite getting a team-high 11 targets. Ezekiel Elliott ran well enough, gaining 52 yards on ten runs but wasn’t used much as a receiver and shared the carries with Tony Pollard (6-8) even though Pollard offered nearly nothing as a runner. It was already disappointing and concerning, and then they lost Dak Prescott.
Eagles 38, Lions 35
The Eagles won as expected, but the Lions mounted a comeback after trailing 14-31 midway through the third quarter. They drew to within three points but the Eagles held the ball for the final four minutes to secure the win. Jalen Hurts only threw for 243 yards and no scores, but ran for 90 yards and a touchdown on his 17 rushes. A.J. Brown’s first game as an Eagle couldn’t have gone better, gaining 155 yards on ten catches, Dallas Goedert turned in 60 yards on three receptions, but no other receivers topped 12 yards.
The Eagles were free to run the ball once they had a sizable lead. Miles Sanders gained 96 yards on 13 rushes and a score. Kenneth Gainwell (5-20, TD) and Boston Scott (4-10, TD) also scored. The Eagles thought they were cruising to a win but had to hold while the Lions made it interesting.
Jared Goff threw for 215 yards and two scores, but it almost entirely happened in the fourth quarter after the Eagles dropped back in the prevent defense. Amon-Ra St. Brown (8-64, TD) and D.J. Chark (4-52, TD) were the only notable receivers, while T.J. Hockenson managed just four catches for 38 yards. D’Andre Swift opened his year with 144 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, plus three receptions for 31 yards.
Overall, the scoring seems low for an opening weekend. The only teams with more than 31 points were the Chiefs and these two teams. There were nine teams with over 31 points in Week 1 last season. There were seven in 2020 with COVID raging. Could it be that no one takes the preseason seriously anymore? They are just not as sharp entering the season.