Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season is officially in the books. There were some surprises as some contending teams struggled to get going and teams in general looked sloppy due to lack of action for starters in the preseason. Here’s the top ten as we look towards Week 2.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-0
Previous week- 1
The Bucs had a bit of a scare in the season opener, as the Cowboys seemingly had them on the ropes after four Tampa turnovers. However, Tom Brady was still able to led a late game drive to set up for the game winning field goal as the Bucs avoided the upset. Speaking of Brady, he didn’t look any bit of 44, as he totaled 379 yards and 4 touchdowns. He did have two picks, but one of them was on a end-of-half Hail Mary.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 1-0
Previous week- 2
Much like the Bucs, the Chiefs too were on the verge of a week 1 upset. The Browns held a 22-10 lead at the half, but Patrick Mahomes was able to lead a furious second half in which Kansas City outscored Cleveland 23-7. He finished with 337 yards and 4 total touchdowns, including a 75-yard TD pass to Tyreke Hill on the first play of the fourth quarter to pull within two. Mahomes’ heroics bailed out a defense that struggled to get the Browns off the field aside from a fumble and an interception.
3. Los Angeles Rams 1-0
Previous Week- 6
The Rams and new QB Matt Stafford couldn’t have asked for a better start to their season. Stafford’s second pass of the season went for a 67-yard touchdown, signifying the vertical passing threat he brings to Sean McVay’s offense over former starter Jared Goff. Stafford finished 20-26 for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns in the 34-13 blowout over Chicago. On the other side of the ball, the L.A. defense easily handled the Bears offense, totaling three sacks and forcing two turnovers.
4. Seattle Seahawks 1-0
Previous Week- 7
The Seahawks cruised to an easy 28-16 win over the Colts on the road in which the only time they trailed was a 3-0 deficit after the opening drive. Russel Wilson tossed 4 touchdowns on just 18 completions on 25 passes. Tyler Lockett caught two scores, one on a 69-yard bomb, and totaled 100 yards receiving. The Seattle defense overwhelmed the Colts offensive line and new QB Carson Wentz, sacking Wentz three times and collecting five tackles for a loss. Wentz was 25-38 and actually finished with less yards than Wilson with 251 compared to 254.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers 1-0
Previous Week- 10
Pittsburgh secured an impressive 23-16 road win over the Bills with a good defensive showing and a complementary offense. The Steelers held the Bills high powered combo of Josh Allen (5.3 YPA) and Stefon Diggs (9-69) in check while their offense played mistake-free football and scored on all of their non-end of game second half possessions. However, their overall lack of offense could be a concern going forward, as they totaled just 252 yards and Ben Roethlisberger was just 18-32 for 188 yards and a score.
6. Cleveland Browns 0-1
Previous Week- 8
Cleveland moves up thanks mostly to the dud performances from other top teams, but they nevertheless put on a good showing in Kansas City. They couldn’t close out the win, but they proved they can hang with the AFC favorites on the road. The Browns offense racked up 457 total yards with a little over 8 yards per play. However, a 2-7 showing on third down is what can be pointed to as a direct contributor to the loss.
7. Los Angeles Chargers 1-0
Previous Week- Honorable Mention
The Chargers went on the road against a very good defense in Washington and came away with a 20-16 win. Second year QB Justin Herbert played well against a good defensive front, throwing for 337 yards with a touchdown and a pick. The L.A. defense was able to take advantage of Washington QB Ryan Fitzpatrick leaving early with an injury and held the Football Team to just 259 total yards. The defense also forced a fumble on Washington’s three yard line that allowed Herbert to toss the go ahead score in the fourth quarter.
8. San Francisco 49ers 1-0
Previous Week- Honorable Mention
Jimmy Garoppolo was impressive in his return to action for the first time since Week 8 of 2020. The QB finished 17-25 for 314 yards and a touchdown en-route to a 44-33 win in Detroit. Rookie RB Eli Mitchell rushed for 104 yards on 19 carries and scored his first NFL touchdown on a 38-yard dash. But the big star was WR Deebo Samuel who totaled 189 yards including a 79-yard touchdown on nine catches. The formerly vaunted Niner defense giving up 33 points and 430 yards to the Lions is concerning though.
9. Baltimore Ravens 0-1
Previous week- 5
The Ravens had a brutal start to their season, as they blew a 14 point lead and lost in overtime after a Lamar Jackson fumble. It was their first loss after leading by at least 14 points in 99 games. The new look offensive line of Baltimore struggled to protect Jackson all night, surrendering seven QB hits including three sacks and eight pressures. Their defense allowed Derek Carr to throw for 435 yards and the game winning 34-yard touchdown.
10. New Orleans Saints 1-0
Previous Week- Unranked
The Saints had the most impressive win of the week, as they absolutely manhandled Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to the tune of a 38-3 blowout. The New Orleans defense held Rogers to just 131 yards passing and picked him off twice in addition to surrendering just 43 yards on the ground. Offensively, James Winston threw five touchdowns on just 14-20 passing with 148 yards thanks to continuously good field position. Running backs Alvin Kamara and Tony Jones totaled 133 yards on the ground while WR Devonte Harris hauled in a 55 yard touchdown.