It’s better late than never. The 2023 NFL season is now well underway and it is time for the Inscriber Magazine to take a look at the surprises of week one.
In the Thursday season opener the Detroit Lions stunned the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. Jared Goff threw for 253 yards and a touchdown, rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs impressed with a limited amount of touches, and Amon-Ra St.Brown led the way receiving wise with six receptions and a touchdown. David Montgomery scored the game winning touchdown with a little over seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
San Francisco 49ers won on the road and annihilated the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kenny Pickett struggled, throwing two interceptions and was sacked five times.
Leading the way defensively for the 49ers was Drake Jackson who recorded three sacks and Charvarius Ward and Talanoa Hufanga each came up with an interception. Offensively, Brock Purdy was efficient and threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns which were both caught by Brandon Aiyuk.
Justin Jefferson had a huge first half with 138 yards receiving yet went silent in the second half in the Minnesota Vikings season opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Quarterback Baker Mayfield shrugged off a slow start and finished with two touchdown passes. One to Mike Evans and the other to Trey Palmer. Chase McLaughlin won the game with a 57-yard field goal.
Facing one of the best defenses in the NFL, the New England Patriots first three drives against the Philadelphia Eagles resulted in turnovers.
Shockingly Mac Jones by halftime got the Patriots back in the game with two touchdown passes. One that went to tight end Hunter Henry and the other wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. The Eagles ultimately prevailed with a 25-20 victory.
Quite possibly the biggest surprise of week one was the Cleveland Browns dominating the Cincinnati Bengals in a 24-3 win. Joe Burrow looked like he missed the entire preseason and threw for only 82 yards and completed only 14 passes in 31 attempts. Deshaun Watson did not impress though as he also struggled and threw for only 154 yards.
Nick Chubb led the way offensively for the Browns with a relatively low 18 carries, yet he ran for 106 yards and also caught four passes for 21 yards.
This one is right up there with Cleveland’s win over the Bengals. Rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson against the Jacksonville Jaguars held his own in a 31-21 loss. His only blemish was an interception thrown in the fourth quarter. Overall he threw for 223 yards and a touchdown as well.
Jonathan Gannon had the Arizona Cardinals competing against the Washington Commanders. In what many thought would have been a somewhat easy win for the Washington Commanders it was not.
The Cardinals defense sacked Sam Howell six times, forced two fumbles with one returned for a touchdown, and came up with an interception as well.
One of the more hilarious things that happened in week one for the Carolina Panthers. Tight end Hayden Hurst caught a pass from rookie quarterback Bryce Young. Instead of keeping the football he threw it up in the crowd.
What was not realized by Hurst was that it was Young’s first career touchdown pass thrown in the NFL.
Lamar Jackson will likely still need to keep opponents off balance with his running ability as the Baltimore Ravens still lack a running back. Unfortunately JK Dobbins who missed most of 2022 with a knee injury, ended up tearing his achilles ending his season.
Even more interesting is the Ravens decided to promote Melvin Gordon up from the practice squad instead of looking to sign Kareem Hunt who is still a free agent.
Week one saw division rivals face off, the Dallas Cowboys faced the New York Giants on Sunday night. One team showed up, the other did not.
The Cowboys shutout the Giants 40-0. There were also several firsts in NFL history in that game as well, all by New York. One of the biggest issues was the lack of use for Saquon Barkley and the offensive line could not protect quarterback Daniel Jones.
Monday night was a rough start to the Jets season. Aaron Rodgers on his first series with his new franchise went down with what looked like an ankle injury. Turned out it was something much worse, a torn achilles.
Fortunately for New York, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen continued to turn the ball over. He threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. Still the game went to overtime and Jets rookie Xavier Gipson walked it off with a 65 yard punt return touchdown.