What We Learned From Week 1 of the N.F.L. Season
Steelers 23, Bengals 20 (overtime): This was a tale of two Steelers units. On defense, Pittsburgh looked as suffocating as it ever has in the Mike Tomlin era. On the other side of the ball, the offense completely ran out of steam after finding some success with screens, flea flickers, and other cheap nonsense despite being gifted the ball time and time again. Joe Burrow’s late-game magic fell short of 2021’s standard through no fault of his own as kicker Evan McPherson whiffed a potential game-winner in overtime.
Eagles 38, Lions 35: It took the Lions a long time to make this a game. Quarterback Jared Goff was 3-for-10 with 6 yards passing and a pick-6 early, but got a boost in the second half from D’Andre Swift, who ripped off a number of chunk gains to keep the offense ahead of the sticks. It wasn’t enough, though, as the Eagles rode A.J. Brown’s 155 receiving yards to a win.
Dolphins 20, Patriots 7: Both offenses came into this game with questions about their new schemes and young quarterbacks. Only the Dolphins left it feeling optimistic about their makeover. Even with a useless Miami running game, Tua Tagovailoa rattled off 23-of-33 passing for 270 yards, a touchdown, and no picks, finding Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle for 163 of those yards. New England’s Mac Jones wasn’t so fortunate as he was constantly under siege, making it difficult to do anything but get the ball out quickly to the flat or throw up hope-and-a-prayer go balls.
Ravens 24, Jets 9: The Jets decided that making backup quarterback Joe Flacco throw 59 passes was the way to win a game. In the year two thousand twenty two. Against Lamar Jackson. The Ravens quarterback found his stride on vertical passes, connecting with Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay for touchdowns of more than 25 yards. Jackson’s contract campaign is off to an excellent start.
Commanders 28, Jaguars 22: Carson Wentz had an extremely Carson Wentz game, tossing four touchdowns (a couple of which required excellent touch) and appearing to try to throw the game away in the second half. His two interceptions led to 10 Jaguars points and jolted Trevor Lawrence back to life. In the end, Wentz led Washington on a 13-play touchdown drive to put this one away.
Browns 26, Panthers 24: Baker Mayfield led a valiant 17-point fourth quarter, but the shock was how much the Carolina offense struggled to run against Cleveland’s unproven interior defensive line. Christian McCaffrey earned just 33 yards on 10 carries and watched as the Browns’ Nick Chubb trucked along through the Panthers front for 141 yards on 22 carries. With the team playing behind backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, Chubb’s output gave the Browns’ offense just enough stability for a win.
Colts 20, Texans 20 (overtime): It took the Colts’ defense three quarters to stop Davis Mills from putting up M.V.P. numbers. For a good portion of the game, Mills had over eight yards per attempt, regularly finding his tight ends down the seams for explosive plays. Jonathan Taylor wore down the Texans defense, plowing through for 161 yards and a score on 31 carries, but Indianapolis still left with a tie thanks to a 42-yard missed field goal attempt from the goggle-god, Rodrigo Blankenship, with two minutes remaining in overtime.