Against all odds, the NFL not only kicked off its 2020 season over the weekend, but it did so successfully. Ahead of Week 1, the league reported zero positive COVID-19 tests.
Maybe obvious but still incredible: After testing yesterday, all 3,600 players and team personnel, and another 1,400 gameday assistants, all have been cleared for today’s games, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 13, 2020
A rather remarkable feat for the league and its players.
Now that games have been played, hopefully we don’t see these numbers change too drastically in the coming days. If they don’t, it will certainly offer a glimmer of desperately needed hope that yes... football is, in fact, back for good.
This is exceptional news for Ohio State fans, because if Week 1 is any indication of how Buckeyes in the NFL are going to perform this season, then we might not even need the Big Ten to give us our Ohio State-fix. (Big Ten, if you’re reading this, that’s not true. Please give us football back)
Let’s begin with the top performances by the rookies, because it took exactly one week, hell, one quarter for Chase Young, J.K. Dobbins and Jordan Fuller to make a name for themselves at the professional level.
Chase Young — Washington Football Team
As a surprise to absolutely no one, Young recorded his first sack and forced fumble just 12 minutes into his NFL debut against the Philadelphia Eagles. In a 27-17 comeback win for Washington, Young finished the game with four total tackles and 1.5 sacks. The team as a whole recorded eight total sacks.
Chase Young lived up to the hype in Week 1 pic.twitter.com/1jQDZzh4w2— PFF (@PFF) September 14, 2020
J.K. Dobbins— Baltimore Ravens
In a performance that made every NFL GM who let him fall to the No. 55 overall pick in the Draft cringe with regret, Dobbins scored two touchdowns in his first game as a Baltimore Raven, beating the Cleveland Browns 38-6. He totaled seven carries for 22 yards.
Jordan Fuller— Los Angeles Rams
Selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, Fuller, like Dobbins, dropped way below his market value, which was made especially clear in his debut with the LA Rams. The former Ohio State safety led the team with eight total tackles, including a critical fourth-down tackle early in the fourth quarter, maintaining the Rams’ lead and eventual victory over the Cowboys.
Rookies honorable mention:
Malik Harrison (Baltimore Ravens) started at linebacker and recorded four tackles and a pass deflection.
DaVon Hamilton (Jacksonville Jaguars) recorded two tackles off the bench.
The rookies certainly weren’t the only Buckeyes making noise on Sunday.
Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin— The Washington Football Team
In his first game as The Washington Football’s QB1, Haskins helped lead his offense to five scoring drives in the game’s final 31 minutes, coming from behind to beat the Eagles 27-17, while McLaurin led the team with five catches for 61 yards. Haskins ended the game with 17 of 31 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.
However, a quarterback’s job extends far beyond their performance on the field, and Haskins happened to excel in all aspects of the position on Sunday.
Washington was down 17-7 at halftime, however head coach Ron Rivera, who was diagnosed with cancer in August, has to get an IV during halftime and couldn’t speak to the team. So Haskins took over and gave the team an “energizing” locker-room speech. After the game, his teammates credited said speech for their 20-0 comeback.
So Dwayne Haskins after starting off 3-of-12 for 32 yards & trailing 17-0 went 14-of-19 for 146 yards & TD, had no turnovers, gave inspirational halftime speech, spoke up to teammates on sideline (as seen on TV) & led @WashingtonNFL to its biggest comeback win since 2015 TB game.— Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) September 13, 2020
Ezekiel Elliott— Dallas Cowboys
Elliott rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, and racked up three catches for 31 yards and a touchdown in his season opener, making it the 14th time in his professional career that he scored more than one touchdown in a game.
He also earned a lot of media attention for his new “Feed Me” tattoo on his stomach, which he revealed after he flew past four Rams defenders and broke two tackles before launching himself into the end zone in pure Zeke fashion.
Joey Bosa— Los Angeles Chargers
In the Chargers’ 16-13 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, Bosa began his fifth year in the NFL with five total tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack of his former Ohio State teammate, Joe Burrow.
“He was my scout team quarterback so he is used to being chased by me,” Bosa said.
Jerome Baker— Miami Dolphins
While the Dolphins may have lost to the New England Patriots 21-11 on Sunday, Baker had the most productive game of his NFL career with with 16 total tackles— the most of any player in the league in Week 1— and one sack. The highlights of his day came in the first-quarter when he boomed through the Patriots offensive line to Cam Newton for a 9-yard sack.
And also late in the third quarter after stripping wide receiver N’Keal Harry at the one-yard line before knocking the ball through the endzone for a touchback, preventing a Patriots touchdown.
jerome baker with a monster strip. TOUCHBACK pic.twitter.com/Ns0bhpbGjO— josh houtz (@houtz) September 13, 2020
Parris Campbell— Indianapolis Colts
Campbell’s rookie season was subpar due to injuries, so he was long overdue for a breakout performance which came Sunday when he caught six passes for a team-high 71 yards along with a 9-yard run in the Colts’ season opener against the Jaguars
Cam Heyward— Pittsburgh Steelers
Monday’s games saw some serious Buckeye action as well, led by former Ohio State defensive lineman Cam Heyward, who kicked off his 10th NFL season with the first interception of his career. This milestone comes just one week after the Steelers signed Heyward to a four-year contract extension worth $65.6 million, making him the NFL’s highest-paid player over 30.
New England Patriots
DL John Simon— 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
S Vonn Bell— 8 tackles
DE Sam Hubbard— 9 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss
CB Denzel Ward— 3 tackles
CB Bradley Roby— 6 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss
S Malik Hooker— 5 tackles
DE Dre’Mont Jones— 3 tackles
TE Nick Vannett— 1 reception, -6 yards
DT Johnathan Hankins— 1 tackle
LB Raekwon McMillan— 1 tackle
P Cameron Johnston: 5 punts, 53.6 yards per, 3 inside-20s
WR Ted Ginn Jr.— 0 receptions, 1 target
DT Jalyn Holmes— 2 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss
WR Curtis Samuel—5 receptions, 38 yards; 1 carry, 9 yards
S Malcolm Jenkins— 6 tackles, 1 pass breakup
CB Marshon Lattimore— 2 tackles, 1 pass breakup
WR Michael Thomas— 3 receptions, 17 yards
DE Nick Bosa— 6 tackles, 1 forced fumble
RB Carlos Hyde—7 carries, 23 yards, 1 touchdown