The 2023 NFL season is here, and Week 1 has been wild. In the early window, the San Francisco 49ers picked up right where they left off with a healthy Brock Purdy, the Cleveland Browns shut down Joe Burrow, and a handful of rookies really stood out in their debuts.
Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins came out on top after an offensive battle against Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers, Jordan Love had no issues being the Green Bay Packers No. 1 quarterback and the Denver Broncos didn’t score enough — again. Capping off Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys dominated the New York Giants en route to a 40-0 blowout.
Our NFL Nation reporters are reacting to all the action, answering lingering questions coming out of each game and picking out who — or what — is rising and falling for every team. Let’s get to it.
Jump to a matchup:
DET-KC | CAR-ATL | HOU-BAL | CIN-CLE
JAX-IND | TB-MIN | TEN-NO | SF-PIT
ARI-WSH | GB-CHI | LV-DEN | PHI-NE
MIA-LAC | LAR-SEA | DAL-NYG
Are the Cowboys really this good? The last time the Cowboys opened the year with a dismantling of the Giants was in 1995 (35-0). That team went on to win Super Bowl XXX. The Cowboys have been searching for another Super Bowl ever since. The road ahead will be much more difficult — maybe as soon as next week against Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets at AT&T Stadium — so don’t book flights to Las Vegas yet. But this was as dominant of a performance the Cowboys have had in Mike McCarthy’s tenure. The defense shut down the Giants and contributed a touchdown. The special teams contributed a touchdown. Tony Pollard contributed two goal-line touchdown runs, answering any questions as to how the Cowboys would handle the loss of Ezekiel Elliott.
Stock up after the win: Dan Quinn. The coordinator had his defense ready, which wasn’t unexpected, but the unit was completely dominant (six sacks in less than three quarters of action). Since 2021 when Quinn took over, the Cowboys have 10 defensive touchdowns, including DaRon Bland’s pick-six Sunday, tied with the New England Patriots for the most in that time. They also have had 22 games — out of 35 total — with multiple takeaways, three more than any other NFL team.
Stock down after the win: Since we have to pick somebody, Brandon Aubrey didn’t help turn many into true believers by missing his first extra point of the season, bringing up some Brett Maher memories. But he made his next four point after tries and both field goal attempts, so there’s no need to be too worried. — Todd Archer
Next game: vs. Jets (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
Is the Giants’ offensive line going to be their Achilles heel all season long? This was perhaps the team’s biggest concern entering the opener. Would the Giants’ line hold up against a dominant Cowboys pass rush? The answer was clearly “No” after New York allowed seven sacks. It made it impossible for the team to run any offense and quarterback Daniel Jones was flustered and regressed to his early form. The Giants need to figure a way to get this right quickly, otherwise they’ll be embarrassed again by the 49ers in prime time in Week 3. Second-year guard Joshua Ezeudu is an option, but he couldn’t win a starting job this summer despite every opportunity. Looking outside the organization for a veteran (Justin Pugh, Dalton Risner or D.J. Fluker) might be an option the Giants need to explore.
Stock up after the loss: Sorry, can’t think of anything. Nobody was good for the Giants. They lost 40-0 after giving up 26 first-half points. It’s hard to pick positives from that kind of takedown. The Giants opened with a field goal attempt returned for a touchdown. Jones had two interceptions, including a pick-six. Even the always reliable Graham Gano missed a chip-shot field goal.
Stock down after the loss: More than anything, the right side of the offensive line was especially concerning. Right tackle Evan Neal and right guard Mark Glowinski were at fault for five sacks. They also allowed constant pressure throughout the contest. Dallas had 12 pressures in the first half alone, with most of it coming against that right side. — Jordan Raanan
Next game: at Cardinals (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
What’s up with the Eagles offense? The normally dynamic offense sputtered for much of the game and had to settle for four Jake Elliott field goals. The Eagles went three-and-out on four straight possessions in the first half. They had only one game with four three-and-outs last season: their Week 17 loss to the Saints with Gardner Minshew under center. And Jalen Hurts’ late fumble could have cost them the game. It’s likely just a temporary malaise — the starters didn’t play during the preseason so there’s some rust to knock off, and the Patriots’ defense is legit. The concern would be if this is a sign teams have identified ways to slow this attack through their offseason studies.
Stock up after the win: DT Jalen Carter. The rookie made his presence felt in his NFL debut, generating a team-best six pressures and registering his first sack. Carter made it look easy, using his unique blend of speed and power to routinely pierce the backfield.
Stock down after the win: Eagles offensive line. Normally a primary strength of this team, the offensive front struggled to keep a clean pocket for Hurts, who was pressured 19 times and sacked three times. It was a tough first assignment, as Bill Belichick is as good as it gets at creating confusion upfront, but this unit needs to be better. — Tim McManus
Next game: vs. Vikings (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Can the Patriots start faster in Week 2? Self-inflicted mistakes helped put the Patriots into a 16-0 hole, which made life more difficult than it had to be. Captain Deatrich Wise Jr. lined up in the neutral zone on the initial second down of the game, so instead of a third-and-long after a botched snap, the penalty helped extend the Eagles’ opening drive that ended with a field goal. That was followed by a Mac Jones pick-six and Ezekiel Elliott losing a fumble that was turned into a touchdown. The Patriots didn’t look ready to play early, which was a major disappointment on a day when Gillette Stadium was rocking with Tom Brady back in town to be honored. The team is home again in Week 2 and another slow start could be costly with road games at the Jets and Cowboys in Weeks 3 and 4.
Stock up after the loss: Defense. After a shaky start to open the game, the unit held the Eagles to nine points after the first quarter. The Patriots were stingy in limiting the Eagles to 251 total yards.
Stock down after the loss: Running game. It didn’t help that starting guards Cole Strange (knee) and Mike Onwenu (ankle) were inactive, but holes were hard to come by for backs Rhamondre Stevenson, Elliott and Ty Montgomery II. The group tallied 76 rushing yards on 22 attempts — Mike Reiss
Next game: vs. Dolphins (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
Robert Kraft: Tom Brady to enter Patriots Hall of Fame next year
Robert Kraft announces he is waiving the wait period for Tom Brady to enter the Patriots Hall of Fame as he’ll be inducted next June.
Was today’s run defense the new normal or an anomaly? The Chargers ran for 121 yards in the first half and didn’t slow down, finishing with 234 rushing yards — the most the Dolphins have allowed since the Bears ran for 252 yards in 2022. The Dolphins’ offense looked plenty capable of holding up its end of a shootout, but it’s disheartening to get into a shootout with the Chargers when Justin Herbert passes for only 228 yards. Against a run-heavy opponent in the New England Patriots next week, this facet of the Dolphins’ game must be cleaned up.
Stock up after the win: Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill. Tagovailoa had 466 yards with three touchdowns and was 8-of-14 on throws of at least 15 air yards, with five going to Hill, whose road to 2,000 receiving yards got off to a scorching start with a 11-catch, 215-yard, 2-touchdown day.
Stock down after the win: The Dolphins’ front seven. They were dominated throughout the day by the Chargers’ rushing attack — but Miami’s pass-rushers were also quietly ineffective. They did come through when it counted, forcing a Herbert intentional grounding before sacking him twice on the Chargers’ final drive to seal the win. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Next game: at Patriots (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
Is the Chargers’ rushing resurgence for real? As the first NFL team to run for more than 220 yards and three touchdowns in a season opener since 2010, the initial returns under offensive coordinator Kellen Moore look more than promising. The offensive line blocked well, and tailbacks Austin Ekeler (117 yards on 16 carries) and Joshua Kelley (91 yards on 16 carries) ran decisively behind them. Los Angeles can’t run for 234 yards every week, but it won’t have to on those days when quarterback Justin Herbert and his receivers do the heavy lifting.
Stock up after the loss: The run defense. The NFL’s worst run-stoppers a year ago, the Chargers limited the Dolphins to 70 yards on a 3.5 per carry average, which qualifies as a significant improvement on 2022.
Stock down after the loss: CB J.C. Jackson. While he wasn’t the only member of the secondary at fault for Miami’s monster passing game, Jackson’s 30-yard pass interference penalty to give the Dolphins a 41-yard field goal on an untimed down to end the first half proved costly. — Daniel Greenspan
Next game: at Titans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Can Matt LaFleur keep coming up with creative play designs? He might have to given the Packers aren’t exactly loaded with playmakers — especially with receiver Christian Watson (hamstring) out. And the 51-yard screen LaFleur called and Jordan Love executed to perfection in the third quarter was as creative as anything the Packers’ fifth-year coach has unveiled. Love ran a bootleg to the left and threw across his body to the right, where Aaron Jones had linemen Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers and Jon Runyan to block for him. It was part of a monster day for Jones (13 touches, 127 total yards, 2 touchdowns) before he left with a hamstring injury.
Stock up after the win: Defensive youngsters. Quay Walker, Devonte Wyatt and Lukas Van Ness all showed what the Packers defense could be about. Walker capped it with a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. That followed Wyatt, a fellow 2022 first-round pick, sacking Justin Fields, and before that this year’s first-round pick, Van Ness, recorded a sack on his ninth NFL snap before he left with a hamstring injury.
Stock down after the win: RB AJ Dillon: They didn’t need much from him considering Jones went off before his third-quarter hamstring injury, but at some point they’re going to need more than the 19 yards on 13 carries and 17 yards on two catches that Dillon got Sunday. — Rob Demovsky
Next game: at Falcons (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
How do the Bears jump-start the offense? Fans inside Soldier Field began booing the Bears’ offense at the start of the third quarter when the short passing game resulted in another quick three-and-out. Chicago focused heavily on this area in the preseason, but it’s not supposed to become the team’s offensive identity. DJ Moore (two catches, 25 yards) and Chase Claypool (two targets) were complete nonfactors. That can’t happen against Tampa Bay in Week 2 if the Bears are to snap an 11-game losing streak dating to October.
Stock up after the loss: RB Roschon Johnson. The rookie running back ripped off three physical runs that gave the Bears momentum on a third-quarter touchdown drive. He was Chicago’s most efficient running back (4.0 yards per carry) on a day when the running game fell flat. He also added six catches for 35 yards.
Stock down after the loss: S Eddie Jackson. The Bears safety was the nearest defender on three targets that resulted in two receptions for 26 yards, including Romeo Doubs’ 8-yard touchdown on third down as Jackson was a step behind in coverage. — Courtney Cronin
Next game: at Buccaneers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Jordan Love slings TD pass to Romeo Doubs for the Packers
Jordan Love finds Romeo Doubs in the back of the end zone for a Packers’ touchdown.
Is Jimmy Garoppolo the guy? No doubt. Despite having to leave the field for two plays in the first drive after taking a blow to the head and later having his surgically repaired left foot rolled up on, Garoppolo, replacing nine-year starter Derek Carr, answered critics with his performance in the Raiders’ fourth-quarter go-ahead drive. He was 4-of-5 passing in the series for 60 yards and a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers. He had three completions of at least 10 air yards on the drive. And his 8-yard scramble on third-and-7 sealed the win. His decision-making was beyond reproach, and he won over many teammates with his leadership.
Stock up after the win: WR Meyers. With the chemistry shown between Meyers and Garoppolo, you would have thought they played together in New England. Alas, Meyers was not a Patriot until two years after Garoppolo left. Still, Meyers had two touchdown catches among his game-high nine receptions, for 81 yards, before leaving after taking a blow to the head in the fourth quarter.
Stock down after the win: WR Hunter Renfrow. Not his fault at all, but the former Pro Bowl slot receiver was nowhere to be found on the stat sheet. He was not even targeted once. A silver lining could be that if the Raiders can operate efficiently without a contribution from him, imagine what they will look like with him involved? — Paul Gutierrez
Next game: at Bills (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
It’s one game, but can the Broncos ever find some points? Another season, another coaching change and another close Broncos loss without enough touchdowns. In a debut where coach Sean Payton showed he can help Russell Wilson play efficiently and move the ball quickly, the Broncos still found themselves in a familiar place. They lost by seven or fewer points with 16 points on the board.
Stock up after the loss: CB Pat Surtain II. Surtain showed again Sunday what kind of impact he can have as the Raiders were forced to move WR Davante Adams away from the cornerback to get the receiver the ball. Despite a pass interference call, overall he consistently frustrated the Raiders’ best receiver and consistently forced quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to look elsewhere.
Stock down after the loss: Broncos special teams. Kicker Wil Lutz, whom the Broncos traded for during training camp, missed an extra point — as well as a 55-yard field goal. Payton’s decision to use an onside kick to open the game was a narrow miss, but the gamble led to a short field for the Raiders that resulted in their first touchdown of the game. And the Broncos negated one of their returns with a holding penalty. — Jeff Legwold
Next game: vs. Commanders (Sunday, 8 p.m. ET)
Can a healthy Matthew Stafford keep a Cooper Kupp-less offense in games? Stafford has said multiple times this offseason that he feels healthy, and it showed in Seattle. Los Angeles no doubt missed Kupp on Sunday — he accounted for 31% of all Rams targets through Week 10 last season before he got hurt — but Stafford was able to spread the ball out well in the win. Stafford completed passes to five different players, including four with catches of at least 20 yards. Stafford completed 24 of 38 passes for 334 yards. While the offense looks significantly different without Kupp, Stafford and the Rams showed they could win without their star receiver.
Stock up after the win: Puka Nacua. The Rams’ rookie receiver made the most of Kupp’s absence, with 10 catches for 119 yards, the most receiving yards by a Rams player in his first career game in team history, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He is the third player drafted in the fifth round or later (or undrafted) with 90 or more receiving yards in his NFL debut since 2000.
Stock down after the win: Penalty rate. The Rams’ youth was on display in one aspect on Sunday: The team committed seven penalties for 53 yards. Flags didn’t cost the Rams the game, but no doubt they will be a point of focus in practice this week. — Sarah Barshop
Next game: vs. 49ers (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
Where did this loss come from? This was the Seahawks’ worst defeat in recent memory, not just because of how inept they looked on both sides of the ball but also because of who it came against — a rebuilding Rams team that was a 5-point road underdog and playing without its best offensive player, Cooper Kupp. L.A. nonetheless racked up 426 yards of total offense, outgaining Seattle 257 to 12 in the second half. Fans were already heading for the exits when the Seahawks began imploding late in the fourth quarter with personal foul penalties on DK Metcalf and Quandre Diggs, an ugly end to an ugly loss.
Stock up after the loss: DT Jarran Reed. We’re really grasping here because no one’s stock is truly up when a team suffers as bad a loss as this one, but Reed blocked a field goal attempt to set up the offense with a short field just before halftime. Seattle got no points out of that, with Jason Myers missing from 39 yards out.
Stock down after the loss: CB Tre Brown. The third-year cornerback started on the left side after outplaying Mike Jackson in the preseason. But that will be an ongoing battle, especially with Brown committing a pair of costly errors in the red zone on Rams touchdown drives — a missed tackle on a 16-yard gain and a penalty for illegal use of the hands that negated a third-down stop. — Brady Henderson
Next game: at Lions (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
‘Oh my god!’ Aaron Donald scares Geno Smith on a blitz
Aaron Donald flies through on a blitz and startles Geno Smith, who throws it away.
Is the Browns’ defense for real? It sure looks that way. The Browns rattled Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and completely shut down the Cincinnati offense. Pass-rushers Myles Garrett and Za’Darius Smith were in Burrow’s face on almost every dropback. Cleveland’s secondary was even more impressive, as cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Martin Emerson Jr. locked up Cincinnati’s talented receiving corps. The rainy conditions helped. But the Browns’ defense sent a message that, after a rocky 2022 performance, it could be among the most improved units in the entire NFL.
Stock up after the win: Jim Schwartz. Cleveland’s new defensive coordinator came up with a masterful game plan in his debut, blitzing Burrow on 53% of his dropbacks in the first half, the highest rate of his career, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Stock down after the win: Cleveland’s passing attack. Quarterback Deshaun Watson made several plays with his feet but tallied only 154 yards through the air, so the passing game will have to be sharper going forward for the Browns to become a true contender in the AFC. — Jake Trotter
Next game: at Steelers (Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET)
How concerning is the Week 1 offensive showing? Even a mild ringing of alarm bells seems like extreme behavior. Yes, quarterback Joe Burrow struggled and threw for a career-low 82 yards. But context is important — Burrow is still recovering from a strained right calf, he battled wet conditions that made passing miserable, and the offense looked like a group that didn’t have a ton of preseason reps with its starting quarterback. It might take time for Burrow and the offense to get in sync.
Stock up after the loss: The Bengals’ pass rush. Cincinnati’s defensive line pressured Deshaun Watson early and sacked him three times, a great sign for a unit that needed to be more disruptive than it was in 2022.
Stock down after the loss: Cincinnati’s run defense. Browns running back Nick Chubb and Watson were able to reel off some big runs, with the Browns totaling 206 yards on the ground, which was huge for Cleveland on a day when passing conditions were not good. — Ben Baby
Is there reason to be concerned about Atlanta’s pass production? While Desmond Ridder’s completion percentage was good (15-for-18), Ridder threw for 118 yards and many of those throws were because of great adjustments by receivers, including a fingertip catch by Mack Hollins and a swim-move type adjustment on a 35-yard completion to Kyle Pitts. The Falcons have a good run-based attack with Tyler Allgeier and Bijan Robinson, but the question will be whether the passing game can catch up to complement it. If it can, Atlanta’s offense might become difficult to stop.
Stock up after the win: S Jessie Bates III. Atlanta made Bates one of the highest-paid safeties in NFL history this offseason, and he was marvelous in his debut, becoming the first player in the league since Chinedum Ndukwe in 2007 to have at least 10 tackles (he had 10), two interceptions and a forced fumble in a game, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Stock down after the win: WR Drake London. The Falcons’ second-year receiver never seemed to be involved in the passing game Sunday, with only one target (a dropped pass). And while this likely will be an aberration for London, it’s worth noting because it’s only the second time in his career he’s had fewer than three targets in a game. — Michael Rothstein
Next game: vs. Packers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Should the Panthers be concerned with Bryce Young’s interceptions? One of Young’s strengths, according to the Carolina staff, was seeing the middle of the field despite his height (5-foot-10). But on Sunday, the former Alabama star threw two interceptions on attempts over the middle in which he clearly should have seen safety Jessie Bates III. Both were on attempts of more than 10 yards, where Young struggled. The Falcons turned the interceptions into 10 crucial points. It could have been a fluke, but this is something to keep an eye on.
Stock up after the loss: LB Brian Burns. The Panthers had better give him a new deal soon or the price tag is going to continue to climb. He had 1.5 sacks in the first half alone and was a part of a defense that had four sacks and six quarterback hits in the first half before Atlanta got the lead and went more with the run.
Stock down after the loss: CB Jaycee Horn. Horn, who missed 18 games in his first two NFL seasons with various injuries, suffered a hamstring injury in the first half against the Falcons, putting the 2021 eighth overall pick in doubt for the foreseeable future. — David Newton
Next game: vs. Saints (Monday, 7:15 p.m. ET)
Bijan Robinson makes a nice cut for 1st Falcons TD
Bijan Robinson makes a great cut and takes it in for his first NFL touchdown as the Falcons take a 7-0 lead.
What does the 49ers’ fast start mean for 2023? The 49ers’ slow starts of the past two seasons (2-4 and 3-4) haven’t prevented them from reaching the NFC Championship Game. But those early losses have made the road to get there and beyond much longer and tougher. Which is why they emphasized coming out of the gates as fast this year, with a long-term goal of cementing the NFC’s No. 1 seed and home games throughout the postseason. Sunday’s win in Pittsburgh was a step in the right direction, and with their next three games against the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals, there’s reason to think the Niners are on their way to the type of start that could pay dividends come January.
Stock up after the win: K Jake Moody. After battling a right quad injury and a couple of rough preseason games, the No. 99 pick in this year’s NFL draft responded with a perfect debut, connecting on all three of his field goal attempts and all three extra point tries.
Stock down after the win: RT Colton McKivitz. In his first game as San Francisco’s starting right tackle, McKivitz struggled against Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt, who finished with three sacks and forced and recovered a fumble. — Nick Wagoner
Next game: at Rams (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
Why couldn’t the Steelers replicate their preseason offensive success? The Steelers faced one of the NFL’s best defenses in the 49ers, but the issues go deeper. Quarterback Kenny Pickett, who didn’t throw an interception in the preseason and was accurate throughout training camp, threw two picks in the season opener. He often threw passes high and off-target, including one intended for Diontae Johnson that was intercepted in the first quarter. Prior to the scoring drive just before halftime, the Steelers had one net yard of offense on five drives — a stark contrast to the first-team offense scoring touchdowns on all five of their preseason drives. The run game didn’t have a good outing, either. The Steelers ran the ball just 10 times for 41 yards — and 24 of those came on one run by Najee Harris.
Stock up after the loss: DE T.J. Watt. Hard for the edge rusher to do much more for this team; he racked up three sacks to tie James Harrison for the most career sacks (80.5) in Steelers history — in 90 fewer games.
Stock down after the loss: QB Kenny Pickett. After a pretty solid preseason, Pickett’s accuracy issues — including a first-quarter interception — made him look like an entirely different quarterback against the 49ers. — Brooke Pryor
Next game: vs. Browns (Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Should the Bucs be concerned by Baker Mayfield’s slow start? After a disastrous start that saw quarterback Mayfield go just 3-for-11 for 12 yards until the two-minute warning in the first half, the quarterback settled down and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Evans and a 7-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Trey Palmer before Chase McLaughlin nailed a 57-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Evans said earlier this week that Mayfield’s biggest strength is “he doesn’t let anything get to him” and can turn the page after a bad play. That may be his best attribute as the Bucs’ offense learns to navigate life without Tom Brady.
Stock up after the win: The pass defense. The secondary may have had few answers for receiver Justin Jefferson, who had 150 yards, but it also got three takeaways — which kept the Bucs in the game. Outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka recovered a Kirk Cousins fumble on a botched quarterback-center exchange, safety Antoine Winfield Jr. had a sack-forced fumble and recovery, and rookie nickelback Christian Izien had a touchdown-saving interception at the Tampa Bay 2-yard line just before halftime.
Stock down after the win: The running game. Rachaad White averaged 2.5 yards per carry and Sean Tucker 3.0. The Bucs unveiled a wide zone and midzone scheme but had 76 yards on the ground, making it difficult to get anything going. — Jenna Laine
Next game: vs. Bears (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Have the Vikings lost their close-game magic? Sunday’s loss was the Vikings’ second consecutive defeat by one score after winning an NFL-record 11 such games during the 2022 regular season. (They also lost by one score to the New York Giants in the wild-card playoff round.) Rather than viewing it as a matter of “magic,” it’s better to accept the historical reality that close games typically have random outcomes. Some teams might be better at it than others, but they eventually even out. The Vikings were done in Sunday not by a loss of magic, but instead by three Kirk Cousins turnovers in the first half and an inability to stop the Buccaneers on third down in the second half. The Buccaneers converted five of their first nine such attempts before a final kneel-down.
Stock up after the loss: WR Justin Jefferson. The reigning offensive player of the year caught nine passes for 150 yards, setting an NFL record for most 150-yard receiving games (nine) in a career before turning 25, a day after he and the Vikings failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension.
Stock down after the loss: C Garrett Bradbury. The Vikings center did not return after suffering a back injury in the first quarter, an ominous development considering he missed five games last season because of an issue with his back, and a reminder that the team decided to re-sign him in free agency despite that injury. — Kevin Seifert
Next game: at Eagles (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Mike Evans hauls in 28-yard TD for the Bucs
Baker Mayfield finds Mike Evans in the end zone to tie the game before halftime.
Can the offense improve? Washington will need to incorporate Brian Robinson Jr. and the run game more than it did Sunday; he carried the ball 18 times for 56 yards but needed more work earlier in the game to ease the burden on young quarterback Sam Howell. Robinson carried the ball only four times in the first half. With Washington’s passing attack led by a young QB — and with protection breaking down — the run game needs to be a bigger factor moving forward.
Stock up after the win: Washington’s defensive line. The line, led by tackle Daron Payne and end Montez Sweat in particular, combined for seven tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two recoveries.
Stock down after the win: Washington’s passing game. Howell managed just 202 yards passing, was sacked six times, threw an interception and had a fumble recovered for a touchdown. — John Keim
Next game: at Broncos (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
Can the Cardinals’ defense keep the pressure on next week? Not just next week — this defense has the potential to have games like this all season. Arizona had six sacks by five different players and pressured Commanders quarterback Sam Howell six times. Arizona used five different outside linebackers in a variety of combinations that kept legs fresh and a rotation of different types of rushers constantly coming at Washington.
Stock up after the loss: LB Dennis Gardeck. He had two of the Cardinals’ six sacks, putting his pass-rushing moves on display. He was one of five Cardinals to get a sack Sunday, but the only one with multiple.
Stock down after the loss: Arizona’s third-down offense. The Cardinals were 4-for-14 on third down — including a failed attempt in the final 90 seconds that led to a game-ending fourth down — in a game that was within a touchdown the entire 60 minutes. — Josh Weinfuss
Next game: vs. Giants (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
Is the offensive line’s play going to be an issue? Right guard Brandon Scherff was ruled out late in the game with an ankle injury, but the unit wasn’t doing a good job of dealing with the Colts’ defensive front before he left the game. The Jaguars averaged 3.2 yards per carry before their final possession, including running back Travis Etienne Jr.’s 26-yard touchdown run, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence got hit six times. That kept the offense from getting into a rhythm. If that continues to be an issue, it takes away the team’s biggest strength: The ability to be explosive.
Stock up after the win: LB Josh Allen. The Jaguars didn’t offer Allen an extension, so he’s playing on the fifth-year option — and playing for his next contract. He got off to a good start, with a career-high three sacks against the Colts. The pass rush was supposed to be the team’s biggest weakness, but Allen’s performance could be a sign that it won’t be as bad as previously thought.
Stock down after the win: Ball security. The Jaguars had three fumbles — including two on a bizarre play — and an interception. Rookie RB Tank Bigsby was involved in two, having a ball bounce off his hands for an interception and having the ball stripped from his hands after picking up Lawrence’s fumble. It didn’t cost the Jaguars the game, but it could have against the league’s better teams — like Kansas City in Week 2. — Mike DiRocco
Next game: vs. Chiefs (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What’s next for QB Anthony Richardson after a strong but unspectacular debut? Richardson had a largely impressive start to his career, completing 24 of 37 passes for 223 yards. He ran for a touchdown and threw for another, and he looked calm and in control throughout. But where he’ll need to progress is in making the sort of aggressive plays that win games. Coach Shane Steichen understandably had a relatively safe game plan for Richardson, but there were minimal passing attempts down the field — he averaged just 6.0 yards per attempt.
Stock up after the loss: DT DeForest Buckner. The star defensive tackle showed his worth Sunday, making a huge fourth-down stop and then registering a sack/fumble and scoop-and-score on the same wild sequence in the third quarter.
Stock down after the loss: RB Deon Jackson. Jackson was forced into a starting role in the absence of Jonathan Taylor (PUP) and Zack Moss (broken arm). He lost two fumbles and rushed for 14 yards on 13 carries (1.1 yards per attempt), as the Colts consistently struggled to muster a running game. — Stephen Holder
Next game: at Texans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Zay Jones makes an incredible catch in the end zone
Trevor Lawrence finds Zay Jones for an impressive touchdown to give the Jaguars the lead.
What will the Ravens do now that J.K. Dobbins is done for the season? Dobbins left the game early in the third quarter, and coach John Harbaugh later said he suffered a torn Achilles and is done for the season. The Ravens will split carries between Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. On Sunday, Edwards received a lot of the snaps in early downs and Hill surprisingly was given most of the touches in the red zone. Hill, a fourth-round pick in 2019, scored two touchdowns in the season opener after totaling two rushing touchdowns in his first 43 career games. Hill is rostered in 0.3% of ESPN fantasy leagues and was started in less than 0.1% of them.
Stock up after the win: WR Zay Flowers. The rookie first-round pick was the top offensive weapon with 78 yards receiving and 9 yards rushing, nearly becoming the second player in Ravens history with 100 scrimmage yards in his first career game.
Stock down after the win: QB Lamar Jackson. Pressured throughout the game, Jackson looked like a quarterback who hadn’t played in 280 days, recording his first game with multiple turnovers (an interception and fumble) since Week 6 of 2022. — Jamison Hensley
Next game: at Bengals (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What can be made of the debuts of Houston’s first-round picks? Quarterback C.J. Stroud, the No. 2 overall pick, was inconsistent, going 28-of-44 for 242 yards with no touchdowns and a fumble lost. He completed only 5 of 10 attempts on throws longer than 9 yards. Defensive end Will Anderson Jr., the No. 3 overall pick, was disruptive as he finished with a sack and three quarterback hits.
Stock up after the loss: CB Steven Nelson. The corner was targeted five times, allowed only 38 yards in coverage and notched an interception.
Stock down after the loss: TE Dalton Schultz. Schultz was one of the more significant offseason acquisitions, but he underwhelmed with two catches for 4 yards on five targets in his debut. — DJ Bien-Aime
Next game: vs. Colts (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
How much has this Saints offense improved? The Saints signed quarterback Derek Carr in free agency and restructured wide receiver Michael Thomas’s contract to keep him in New Orleans in an attempt to bolster the offense. There are bright spots, with Thomas off to a good start and Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed picking up where they left off last season. But there are certainly concerns, as the offensive line struggled to protect its new quarterback and kicker Blake Grupe provided most of the points. The Saints will need to figure out how to protect Carr to have success moving forward.
Stock up after the win: The Saints’ defense. This unit more than held its own, with the secondary combining for three interceptions, the run defense stifling running back Derrick Henry in the second half and everyone from starters to backups making contributions to keep the Saints in the game.
Stock down after the win: LT Trevor Penning. Penning missed a significant part of last season (his rookie year) and struggled Sunday, partially contributing to Carr’s four sacks. — Katherine Terrell
Next game: at Panthers (Monday, 7:15 p.m. ET)
Should the clock start ticking for Ryan Tannehill? Tannehill seemed uncomfortable for most of the game. He finished with three interceptions and completed only 13 of his 29 pass attempts. It was Tannehill’s eighth career regular-season game in which he was intercepted three or more times. Tannehill forced throws to receiver DeAndre Hopkins, resulting in two of the interceptions. He also overthrew tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo and running back Tyjae Spears when each of them were wide open for what would have been huge gains.
Stock up after the loss: LB Arden Key. Key was dominant in his Titans debut, finishing with two sacks and almost causing a turnover when he knocked the ball out of Carr’s hands.
Stock down after the loss: The offensive line. The line struggled to protect Tannehill, allowing three sacks on the day. Tannehill faced heavy pressure throughout the afternoon. — Turron Davenport
Next game: vs. Chargers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Saints’ D grabs 3 INTs on Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill throws three interceptions in the Titans’ season opener vs. the Saints.
Will Lions QB Jared Goff break the NFL record for most consecutive passes without an interception? Goff was not intercepted Thursday and has now gone 359 consecutive passes without a pick. That’s the third-longest streak in NFL history behind Tom Brady (399) and Aaron Rodgers (402). Goff says he’s comfortable in the offense and has placed an emphasis on ball security, so there’s reason to believe he can do it.
Stock up after the win: DE Aidan Hutchinson. The second-year edge rusher had a career-high six QB pressures on Thursday night, tied for the most by a Lions player since the start of the 2020 season.
Stock down after the win: WR Marvin Jones Jr. The veteran dropped a pass and coughed up the first fumble of his 12-year career during the second quarter on a scoring opportunity on his 563rd career touch. — Eric Woodyard
Next game: vs. Seahawks (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Did the Chiefs leave themselves short at wide receiver? Between having trouble getting open and numerous dropped passes, it looked that way against the Lions. Kadarius Toney was particularly struggling, which could be explained by the fact that he missed all of camp and the preseason with a torn meniscus in his left knee. If he and the other Chiefs receivers don’t improve dramatically, the answer to this question will be obvious.
Stock up after the loss: DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah. The Chiefs’ first-round draft pick (No. 31 overall) stood out — registering two tackles and two QB hits — as the Chiefs search for pass-rush help playing without Chris Jones and Charles Omenihu.
Stock down after the loss: Short-yardage offense. The Chiefs had nine plays in which they needed 2 yards for a fresh set of downs and converted on three of those. The Chiefs struggle with power football and often get too cute with their approach. — Adam Teicher
Next game: at Jaguars (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)