NFL Week 1
With the potential for protests during the national anthem looming, even on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the first wave of NFL games began with several resounding statements of unity, though several players again chose to stage demonstrations during the national anthem throughout the day.
Players in Philadelphia joined military personnel and Vice President Joe Biden in holding a field-sized American flag during the performance of the national anthem. The scene was similar in Jacksonville prior to the game between the hometown Jaguars and the Green Bay Packers.
In Kansas City, the Chiefs interlocked their arms during the playing of the anthem, while cornerback Marcus Peters raised his fist, according to reports. Two more players followed suit during the night game in Glendale, Ariz., when the Patriots’ Devin McCourty and Martellus Bennett held their fists up as well. In Seattle, members of the visiting Miami Dolphins, including Arian Foster and Michael Thomas, took a knee. The host Seahawks, who touted a display of some kind throughout the week and welcomed members of the New York police and fire departments to the team’s practices, stood arm in arm during the playing of “TheStar Spangled Banner.”
Entering the day, some thought Sunday would see some players joining the ongoing protest of San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick over the killings of unarmed African-Americans by police. Peters voiced his support for Kaepernick on Friday, but did not say he planned a protest during the anthem, according to ESPN’s Adam Teicher.
Kaepernick ignited a massive and polarized debate — between those who believe he’s disrespecting the country, its flag and military and others who believe he’s calling attention to an important social issue — two weeks ago when he chose to sit during the playing of the national anthem prior to the 49ers’ third preseason game. He subsequently adjusted his approach for the team’s fourth and final preseason game by kneeling instead of sitting. That time he was joined by teammate Eric Reid and has since been joined by other athletes such as women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe and the Denver Broncos’ Brandon Marshall during the league’s opening game Thursday night.
As the NFL’s opening Sunday falls 15 years to the day after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, there was some question about how such protests would be viewed given the patriotic overtones of 9/11. Kaepernick himself won’t take the field until Monday night when the 49ers play the Los Angeles Rams.
The issue dwarfed all other talking points ahead of Sunday’s games, topics that begin with, ironically, the Patriots. Today marks the first game of Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his actions in Deflategate.
Jimmy Garoppolo replaced him under center for New England, one of six teams that will start a new quarterback. Garoppolo handled the situation well, doing enough to help the Patriots to a 23-21 victory to start the season. Rookie Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles earned his first win as an NFL quarterback, beating the Cleveland Browns and their new quarterback, Robert Griffin III. Wentz authored a touchdown on his first NFL drive, finding Jordan Matthews to put the Eagles ahead of 7-0 en route to a 29-10 win.
The Minnesota Vikings turned to Shaun Hill as their Week 1 starter, despite trading for former Eagles’ starter Sam Bradford last week, but it may not matter who is under center. The Vikings defense scored two touchdowns to help them prevail over the Tennessee Titans 25-16. Dak Prescott wasn’t so fortunate in his rookie debut for the Dallas Cowboys. Despite finishing 25/45 for 227 yards, Tony Romo’s replacement was unable to complete a last-minute drive to put his team in field goal position, and Dallas lost to the Giants, 20-19.
Meanwhile in New Orleans, the Raiders announced themselves as contenders in the AFC West with a big comeback win over the Saints, converting their second two-point conversion of the day with less than a minute to play to earn a 35-34 win. Drew Brees threw for 424 yards and four touchdowns in the losing effort.
With one-point victories by the Cowboys, Raiders, Bengals and Thursday’s winners, the Broncos, this is the first time in NFL history that four Week 1 games have been decided by just one point, per Elias Sports Bureau.
Quarterback Jameis Winston promised a big season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is so far delivering. He threw four touchdowns on the afternoon, including a 45-yard strike to wide receiver Mike Evans. The Buccaneers beat the Falcons, 31-24.
The San Diego Chargers tore out to strong first half with 21-3 lead over the Chiefs, but lost top wide receiver Keenan Allen when he was carted off the field with a possible torn ACL, then lost the game in overtime 33-27. San Diego allowed 23 unanswered points to end the game.
In Jacksonville, Blake Bortles and the Jaguars tried to show they’re capable of running with the league’s favorites. The up-and-coming QB nearly knocked off the Packers, but the Green Bay defense withstood a potential game-winning drive to hold on to a 27-23 victory. Notable for the Packers, in the first half Aaron Rodgers found Jordy Nelson for Green Bay’s second touchdown. It was Nelson’s first touchdown since missing the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL.
Fans and teams wrestle with ideas of nationalism, dissent and loyalty on a sacred day. (Read More)
The Cowboys’ rookie quarterback proved incapable of throwing deep in his debut, and that needs to change. (Read More)
Across the field, the Seahawks all joined arms in unity. (Read More)
The model added that staging the protest “on September 11th is even more horrific.” (Read More)
The prized rookie played with the poise of a veteran in his debut. (Read More)
From faith in a young team to the actual odds of beating Drew Brees in overtime, there’s no doubt it was the right move. (Read More)
There was little excitement injected into the Browns’ sorry history of recent signal-callers. (Read More)
The Chiefs’ Marcus Peters raised his fist in protest as teammates locked arms. (Read More)
Multiple police associations in New York and New Jersey offered to pick up the check if the NFL does level a fine. (Read More)
It’s feared that he tore the ACL in his right knee. (Read More)
He was taken by ambulance from the team’s hotel after waking up in pain last night. (Read More)
He says there’s nowhere like America. (Read More)
It’s not just the absence of their quarterback that will hinder New England as the season gets underway. (Read More)
With Tony Romo injured once again, Dallas must hope its talented rookie can build off an impressive preseason. (Read More)
His experience playing in college football’s lesser subdivision may actually help him as he assumes the role of Eagles’ starter. (Read More)
Philly turns to rookie Carson Wentz, who will make the jump from FCS college football to the NFL without even the benefit of a full preseason. (Read More)
Teams were returning kicks even more than usual. (Read More)
The league is looking into the issue, as is the players’ association. (Read More)
The breakdown of every team as the new season begins. (Read More)
The Steelers seem to have a ring to them. (Read More)
Latest updates: 6:26 p.m.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III injured his arm and it was confirmed after the game that he had suffered a sprained left shoulder. He told reporters he was still in pain and he was not using his arm as he dressed, according to reports.
Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has left the game in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury.
Keenan Allen missed half of last season after injuring his kidney and looked in prime form for the Chargers after a first half that saw him catch six passes for 63 yards. However he was carted off the field with what appeared to be a non-contact injury to his right knee in the second quarter.
ESPN is reporting that San Diego Chargers rookie defensive end Joey Bosa will miss Week 1 with an injured hamstring. Bosa missed most of the preseason during a prolonged and often testy contract dispute.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles will reportedly miss the team’s season opener as he continues to recover from an ACL injury sustained last season. Spencer Ware is likely to take over the No. 1 RB role.
Though he was battling a calf injury, Jacksonville Jaguars RB Chris Ivory was admitted to a Jacksonville area hospital with a “general medical issue,” according to Mike DiRocco of ESPN. A statement from the team said Ivory is “doing well and is expected to be released from the hospital in the next day or two.” Expect T.J. Yeldon to see increased work in his absence.
Rob Gronkowski will sit out the Patriots’ Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday night, depriving fill-in QB Jimmy Garoppolo a key offensive weapon. Also ruled out before Sunday were Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back), Baltimore Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon (knee), Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (ankle), Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi (non-injury), Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hamstring) and Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton (shoulder).
He’s already played his Week 1 game, but Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is in danger of missing Week 2 after suffering a hip injury against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, according to Adam Schefter. The team is currently seeking a second opinion on the injury.
We’ll monitor some key fantasy story lines throughout the day in this space. And we’ve already got some news worth noting.
No bigger news than what looks like a season-ending injury for Keenan Allen. If you’re looking for replacement options on the waiver wire, Neil Greenberg provides four names owned in fewer than 50-percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues. One of those names: rookie Will Fuller of the Houston Texans. Fuller posted 107 yards and a touchdown, showing off some blazing speed in the process. He also led the team in targets.
The Baltimore Ravens backfield gained some level of clarity when Javorius Allen was listed as inactive, leaving the Week 1 duties to Justin Forsett and Terrance West. West received two more carries than Forsett, but did less with them. Forsett finished with 10 carries for 41 yards, compared to West’s 12 for 32. Neither seem like must-start material just yet.
The concerns over Falcons RB Devonta Freeman appear to have merit thus far. Those who drafted him in the first few rounds cannot be thrilled to see a fairly even split between Freeman and Tevin Coleman (11 to 8) and less thrilled to see just four fantasy points for Freeman off 20 rushing yards and 20 receiving yards. Coleman was equally ineffective on the ground, (2.8 yards per carry) but put up 95 yards receiving, making him the better fantasy play thus far.
The fantasy scout
The key questions owners will want to monitor closely in Week 1. (Read More)
The top waiver-wire targets
Get a leg up on the competition by checking out these appetizing players available in most leagues, as detailed by the Post’s Fantasy Football Beat podcast. (Read and Listen)
ATS Betting Tips/Picks
Week 1 NFL ATS picks
The top trends and insights from Las Vegas. (Read More)
Fancy Stats: Week 1 picks
Here’s how Week 1 should play out according to the numbers. (Read More)