Jadeveon Clowney: 1 sack, 2 TFL, 3 QB hits vs Bears. Nobody mentioned his game, or that JJ Watt only had one tackle and one QB hit. The Texans defense is improved, and held the Bears to 73 yards rushing, and a meek 4.8 yards per play. The loss of Brian Cushing for six weeks is rough, but up next: Alex Smith and Kansas City. Smith was sacked three times by the Chargers, who last year had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL (32 sacks, ranking 24th in the NFL).
Andy Dalton: 7 sacks on opening day vs. 15 all last season. Dalton had a puzzling day: He threw for 366 yards against the Jets … but also was sacked a career-high seven times. In 15 games last year, he was sacked just 20 times. Dalton hit on three bombs vs. New York – 54 to AJ Green and CJ Uzomah and 49 to Brandon LaFell – and he was dropped by Leonard Williams 2.5 times, and new Jets nose tackle Steve McLendon two times. The shoddy offensive line play is not good news with a trip to the rival Steelers next week.
Adrian Peterson: averaged less than 2 yards a carry in first game without Bridgewater. Peterson struggled in the opener against the Titans defense, rushing for 31 yards on 19 carries. In a strange twist, he also rushed for 31 yards – but only on 10 carries – in last year’s season opener against San Francisco. Last year, Peterson went on to lead the NFL in rushing with 1,485 yards. Good luck duplicating that without Teddy Bridgewater, especially when you consider he’s 31, and here’s how he performed in his last six games:
23 carries, 45 yards vs Seattle (playoffs)
19 carries, 67 yards vs Green Bay
22 carries, 104 yards vs New York Giants
18 carries, 63 yards vs Chicago
23 carries, 69 yards vs Arizona
8 carries, 18 yards vs Seattle
Tampa Bay Bucccaneers: 8 Tackles for Loss. Keep an eye on the Tampa Bay defense, which gave up a lot of yards to the Falcons – who trailed 31-13 and were throwing for the final quarter and a half – but harassed Matt Ryan all game long. They eight tackles for loss (tied for third highest in week one to the Packers’ 10 and Jets’ 9). Standout young LB Lavonte David had three, and Kwon Alexander (17 tackles) had two, and Gerald McCoy (one sack, two passes defensed) had two.
Buffalo Bills: Lowest yardage in a game since 2006, in Tyrod’s second season. The average number of offensive plays per NFL team in 2015 was 64.4. The Bills managed to only run 46 plays in Baltimore, for a total of 160 measly yards. The Bills gave Tyrod Taylor a $92 million contract last month; in the season opener, he led the Bills to their lowest yardage in almost 10 years. They were a putrid 3-of-13 on 3rd down, and barely had more 1st downs (11) than penalties (8). The Bills had six 3-and-outs, and now they get to face the Jets defense on a short week.
Russell Wilson: career high 43 pass attempts. Wilson got his ankle stepped on, and then he rallied the Seahawks to victory, but there’s plenty of cause for concern because of two numbers: 26 and 43. The 26 is the number of passes Wilson threw in the 1st half before the injury – the most passes he’s ever thrown in one half in his 4-year career. The 43 is the highest total number of passes thrown in a regular season game in his career. (From 2012-2014 he never threw 40 passes in a game; last year he threw 41 twice, both losses.) Why’d it happen? Well, the offensive line got manhandled – the Dolphins had three sacks – and the Seahawks also could only muster 112 yards on 32 carries – 3.5 ypc. Think they miss Marshawn Lynch at all?
Darrell Revis: AJ Green went for 12 catches, 180 yards. Two years ago, Darrelle Revis was still the best cornerback in the NFL. Last year, he struggled against Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins and was overtaken by Josh Norman as the top cornerback in the league. This year? Revis is 31, and didn’t get this season started well, giving up 12 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown to AJ Green – including a 13-yarder on 3rd down on the Bengals’ game-winning drive. It doesn’t get any easier for Revis: Sammy Watkins, Jeremy Maclin, Doug Baldwin, Antonio Brown, Larry Fitzgerald. We can stop using “Revis Island” as a moniker.