NFL Recap: Ravens And Patriots Impress


Luke Martin

Lions 27, Cardinals 27 — As eye-popping as a tie can be, many were only interested in this game to see the new Arizona duo of Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. Both teams are expected to dwell near the bottom of the NFC, but they did not play like it on Sunday. Matthew Stafford made the most of new targets T.J. Hockenson and Danny Amendola without the help of a run game. Kyler Murray started slowly but led a comeback charge as he got more comfortable. Watch out for the Murray to Larry Fitzgerald connection this year, as it looked impossible to stop late in this one.

Texans 28, Saints 30 — If you like great quarterback play, this game was a can’t-miss. Deshaun Watson showed what he can do when kept off the ground, receiving much improved protection from an offensive line anchored by newly-acquired tackle Laremy Tunsil. In the opposing backfield, Drew Brees seemed poised to have another year of putting up ridiculous numbers, despite his age. It is hard to judge the post-Jadeveon Clowney Texans defense against an offense as explosive as the Saints, but that adjustment is worth keeping an eye on. Unfortunately, some questionable coaching decisions late had too much of an impact in deciding this game.

Browns 13, Titans 43 — All eyes were on the new-look Browns offense, eager to see how star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. would fit in with his new offense. After a slow first half by both teams, the Titans ensured that a seamless transition for OBJ would not be the narrative coming out of this one. Marcus Mariota went 6-6 passing with three touchdowns in the second half. Rookie WR A.J. Brown finished his debut with three catches for 100 yards, and veteran tight end contributed two touchdowns. The Titans defense was strong across the board, particularly in the defensive backfield, where three different DB’s picked off Baker Mayfield in a very rough start for the Browns.

Patriots 33, Steelers 3 — At first glance, one might mistake Drew Brees’s game as the best performance by a 40-plus-year-old quarterback. Nobody on the Steelers’ defense would make that mistake. They had a front row seat to see Tom Brady’s 42-year-old arm throwing pinpoint passes all over the field to the tune of 341 yards and three touchdowns. The Patriots’ defense stifled the Steelers’ run game and were also able to keep Ben Roethlisberger from passing for a touchdown. Pittsburgh must improve on offense before going to face Seattle next week.

Ravens 59, Dolphins 10 Ideally after week one, players are either energized by a win and ready for their next opponent, or eager to improve after a tough loss. Several Dolphins players had a less than ideal response after their week one blowout at the hands of the Ravens, reportedly demanding a trade through their agents, according to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio. This game was all about Lamar Jackson, who thrives on proving doubters wrong. Jackson tore apart the Dolphins secondary, going 17 for 20 for 324 yards and five touchdowns. More TDs than interceptions is, as Jackson put it, “not bad for a running back.” Not bad at all.