NFL Week 1 Recap: Rams defense stifles Seattle, Chiefs top divisional foe
By: Yinan Kang
Kansas City Chiefs 27, Houston Texans 20
The Chiefs overcame a strong Texans defense on Sunday despite a strong push by Houston in the 4th quarter. Kansas Chiefs head coach Andy Reid had his offense on a nice groove early, thanks to quarterback Alex Smith’s ever-increasing familiarity with Reid’s offensive schemes. This showed as Smith ran a balanced passing attack, hitting his tight end (Travis Kelce, who caught 2 TDs), receivers, and running backs almost equally throughout the night. Houston surely felt the absence of star back Arian Foster, as their committee of backups produced only 102 yards and 0 TDs. A bright spot for the Texans appeared in the shape of DeAndre Hopkins, the third-year receiver, who racked up 98 yards receiving and 2 TDs.
Miami Dolphins 17, Washington 10
A low scoring afternoon was capped by Miami’s Jarvis Landry scored on a 69-yard punt return with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Both offenses stalled for most of the game; Washington was reliant on the run-game, led by Alfred Morris. With deep threat Desean Jackson out to injury, QB Kirk Cousins had trouble staying consistent. Ultimately, Miami’s defense kept stout in the second half by shutting out Washington, allowing QB Ryan Tannehill’s clean and average performance the boost it needed to squeeze a victory.
St. Louis Rams 34, Seattle Seahawks 31
One of the most thrilling games of the weekend occurred between these divisional foes, both with the talent for postseason runs. The Rams’ powerful defensive line chased after Seattle QB Russell Wilson all game long, tallying six sacks and pressuring him on almost every drop-back. New Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham made his presence felt with 51 yards receiving and the team’s lone receiving touchdown. Despite Wilson’s troubles, Seattle scored 18 points in the 4th quarter to tie the game, despite being down 24-13, and the game entered overtime at 31-31. Seattle kicked off to start overtime, where a controversial onside kick was attempted (Head Coach Pete Carroll later stated it was not meant to be an onside kick), leading to a Rams field goal. On the following Seahawks drive, Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch was stuffed behind the line on 4th and 1 by Pitt alumnus Aaron Donald, ending the game in favor of the Rams. New Rams QB Nick Foles played well down the stretch, despite coughing the ball up twice in the game, ultimately going 18/27 for 297 yards and 1 TD.
San Diego Chargers 33, Detroit Lions 28
San Diego QB Phillip Rivers earned his off-season $84 million extension on Sunday, rallying his team to 30 straight points despite being down 21-3 in the 2nd quarter. Both teams struggled to gain serious traction in the run game, though Lions rookie Ameer Abdullah clearly outperformed incumbent Joique Bell, rushing 50 yards on 7 carries to Bell’s 14 on 6, displaying a sign of things to come. The game’s top receiver award goes to San Diego’s Keenan Allen, who was targeted a massive 17 times (the second most targeted receiver was Stevie Johnson, with six), and came through with 166 yards through the air. On the defensive side of the ball, all-pro safety Eric Weddle had nine solo tackles and two pass deflections, while Detroit CB Rashean Mathis had 8 tackles, 1 for a loss, though he struggled keeping up with Allen in the 2nd half.
San Francisco 49ers 20, Minnesota Vikings 3
The post Jim Harbaugh, Patrick Willis, Frank Gore era in San Francisco got off to a bright start, as the 49ers ran over the Vikings in Levi’s Stadium. The game’s breakout star was 2nd-year running back Carlos Hyde, who excelled in place of the departed Frank Gore. Hyde had 26 carries for 168 yards and 2 TDs, while on the other side, Adrian Peterson only managed to notch 31 yards in his big return. San Francisco’s big night on the ground affected the quarterback play, as 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick attempted just 26 throws for 165 yards, while 2nd-year Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater threw often in the 2nd half, ending up with 231 yards and 1 INT.