With five touchdown passes in New Orleans’ thrashing over Green Bay, the quarterback was the best of the best of Sunday night.
Week 1 gifted us with an extraordinary number of stellar performances worthy of recognition in our weekly piece, which debuts for the 2021 regular season.
Six quarterbacks, three running backs, three wide receivers and a linebacker make up the first group of highlights on our list of the best of the day, with one of those passers – making his debut as a starter at the helm of his team – taking top honors as the Colossus of Week 1:
It is curious that, just a few days ago, there were those who argued for Taysom Hill as the best option as a successor to Drew Brees in the Saints’ start.
Sure, Week 1 isn’t necessarily indicative of what the rest of the season will be like, but Winston’s performance this afternoon should give head coach Sean Payton a lot of confidence in command of plays.
Simply because Winston did everything right. He retained the ball when he had to, held firm in his pocket, made adequate readings, and generally put the passes where he had to place them, with everything and that he was without two of his three best wide receivers, Michael Thomas and TreQuan Smith. .
Winston came out with a super-efficient start in his debut as the Saints’ starter, completing 14 of 20 passes for just 148 yards, but with five touchdown passes and zero interceptions, even though some were already taking bets for the number of interceptions that the former Heisman winner would start the season with.
He also had 37 rushing yards on six carries as the Saints beat the Green Bay Packers 38-3 in Aaron Rodgers’ worst loss as a starter.
It is not about nominating Winston as the MVP of the season, but recognizing him as the best during the Sunday session of Week 1.
Melvin Gordon III: The Denver Broncos gave a solid showing against the New York Giants, with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater looking confident at the controls, but with Gordon dominating on the ground. In the start of his sophomore year with the Broncos, Gordon ran the ball only 11 times but had 101 yards and a touchdown, plus three receptions for an additional 17 yards passing through the air. It was a good team effort for Denver, who won 27-13, but Gordon was the best stat.
Tyreek Hill: You have to wonder, sometimes, if Hill is made of butter, because it is very difficult to think of a more slippery player to take down when he has the ball in the open field. The Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver dispatched with 11 receptions for 197 yards including a long 75-yard touchdown that was key to Kansas City’s victory, coming in immediate response to a Cleveland Browns touchdown that had led them to 9. points in the fourth period. I think it’s clear: Hill is almost impossible to contain for 60 minutes.
Jalen Hurts: Many people seemed to bet on the failure of Jalen Hurts, in his first full season as a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles, but those people will have to wait – at least another week. The second-year quarterback completed 27 of 35 passes for 264 yards with three touchdowns without interceptions, and Philly’s victory over the Atlanta Falcons was one of the clearest of the day, 32-6.
Chandler Jones: Still, a few weeks ago, it was in doubt whether Jones would remain on the roster for the Arizona Cardinals, who have refused to extend the outside linebacker’s contract. Today, Jones reminded them why he is so valuable in Arizona, dispatching with a career-high five sacks – which also tied a franchise record, plus two forced fumbles in the Cards’ landslide victory over the Tennessee Titans.
Tyler Lockett: That said, the communication between Lockett and his quarterback must be telepathic. With just four receptions in the Seattle Seahawks’ 28-16 rout of the Indianapolis Colts, Lockett had two touchdowns and 100 receiving yards, including a beautiful 69-yard rainbow late in the third period. While it’s DK Metcalf who gets most of the attention in Seattle, it’s hard not to admit that Lockett is the most polished receiver on the Seahawks right now.
Patrick Mahomes: The Browns did just about everything right on their visit to the Chiefs, but they missed the most important detail: They gave Mahomes too many chances toward the end. With touchdowns to Hill and Travis Kelce in the fourth quarter, Kansas City managed to complete the comeback after going down for most of the afternoon. Mahomes completed 27 of his 36 pass attempts for 337 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, adding to that five carries for 18 yards with another touchdown.
Elijah Mitchell: The San Francisco running game is highly predictable in that it is regularly going to be highly effective. But, it is highly unpredictable in that it is not always known who will be the star of the day. Following the injury to Raheem Mostert, and with rookie Trey Sermon inactive for the game, Mitchell took the baton and rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries for the Niners to dominate the Detroit for much of the afternoon. Lions at home.
Joe Mixon: The best complement Joe Burrow can have as a starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals is a complete running back like Mixon, who shone brightly in Week 1 with 29 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown, along with four receptions for 23 yards in the win. Overtime Cincy, 27-24, over the Minnesota Vikings. A 31-touch afternoon reveals how much the Bengals trust Mixon.
Kyler Murray: There were not one, but two, featured for the Cardinals in the afternoon, with Murray driving Titans defenders crazy with his legs and arm. The third-year quarterback completed 21 of 32 passing attempts for four touchdowns with an interception, and added 20 rushing yards with another touchdown on five carries, to leave the Titans trailing 38-13.
Deebo Samuel: The scoreboard between Niners and Lions marks just a touchdown difference, and if it is true that the Lions seemed to threaten in the final moments, after a loose fumble from Samuel himself in the final moments, it is also true that San Francisco was in control Absolute game for most of the game, thanks in large part to Samuel. The catcher had nine catches for 189 yards and a touchdown, frequently roasting Lions defensive backs who tried to run with him. There are quite a few nuts to tighten for San Francisco – chiefly head coach Kyle Shanahan – in terms of managing the lead, but the 41-33 road win is a great start to the season.
Matthew Stafford: The new Los Angeles Rams quarterback took very little time to make his impact felt in the passing attack, debuting with an outing of 20 complete of 26 pass attempts for 321 yards and three touchdowns in one of the most productive performances of the day. The Rams beat the Chicago Bears 34-14, striking the table as one of the teams to watch in the NFC.
Russell Wilson: Performances like Wilson’s this afternoon are anything but surprising. The Seahawks quarterback completed 18 of 23 passes for 254 yards with four touchdowns without interceptions, making a Colts defense look bad that was supposed to be one of the strongest of the season. As long as Wilson maintains this level, the Seahawks will be candidates in the National Conference.