NFL Week 1 winners, losers: Lance gets drenched, defeated


Football. Is. Back.

We are back to the days of lounging around the living room in front of the television, forgetting all obligations and instead refreshing fantasy football apps in hopes that your last-minute waiver claim somehow finds the end zone.

That just feels right.

In Week 1, we witness surprising upsets, eyebrow-raising statement games and a few painful missed field-goal attempts.

It’s time to declare winners and losers from the NFL's opening weekend:

Winner: Saquon Barkley

Once one of the most feared dual-threat running backs in the game, Barkley hasn’t looked the same since suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season. But he proclaimed big plans for 2022.

"F--k everybody," Barkley said on the "Second Wind" podcast before the season. "I’m ready to go crazy and let the world feel me.”

Barkley did nothing but back those words up Sunday afternoon at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Barkley racked up 194 total yards on 24 touches, scored New York’s first touchdown of the season and made Giants new head coach Brian Daboll look like a genius by sneaking into the end zone on a, uh, ballsy decision to go for the two-point conversion late in the game.

He's back, folks.

Loser: Aaron Rodgers

There’s a good chance Rodgers went home Sunday night after the Green Bay Packers’ 23-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and tearfully scrolled through Davante Adams’ Instagram page, reminiscing on their good times together.

Rodgers didn’t get much help from his wide receivers in Week 1. His leading receiver was -- *checks notes* -- 247-pound running back AJ Dillon. Christian Watson, the No. 34 overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, dropped a certain 75-yard touchdown on Green Bay’s first offensive play of the season.

The Packers’ wide receivers combined for 12 catches for 120 yards in Minnesota. Meanwhile, Rodgers’ ex-favorite target Davante Adams hauled in 10 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Cue the R.E.M. song.

Winner: LSU receiving factory

Editor’s note: This blurb was written while doing the Griddy.

It’s only Week 1, and I’m already running out of words to describe Justin Jefferson.

The Vikings’ star receiver grabbed nine passes from grill master Kirk Cousins for a league-leading 184 yards and two touchdowns. Five of those nine receptions went for over 20 yards. Only two other receivers -- Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams -- had more than two catches of at least 20 yards, with three apiece.

Ja’Marr Chase, a teammate of Jefferson’s of two years at LSU, caught 10 passes for 129 yards, including a touchdown grab in the closing seconds of regulation, in the Cincinnati Bengals' loss to Pittsburgh. It marked Chase's 14th career touchdown, which has him tied for fifth place all-time for the most receiving TDs through a player’s first 18 career NFL games.

In other LSU receiver news, Jarvis Landry led the New Orleans Saints with seven catches for 114 yards. And, hey, DJ Chark, remember him? He found the end zone for the Detroit Lions.

Loser: NFL overtime rules

It’s incredibly dissatisfying to scroll through the NFL standings Monday morning and read that two teams are 0-0-1.

The Colts and Texans exited NGR Stadium after a game that no one won -- not Indianapolis, not Houston, nor the fans who were forced to watch that ugly display of football that ended in a 20-20 tie.

Rodrigo Blankenship, beloved by football fans for his unique goggles, could use a prescription check after pushing a potential game-winning 42-yard field-goal attempt wide right with two minutes remaining in overtime.

Every weekend, we’re reminded of college football’s outstanding overtime rules in which both teams get the ball near the red zone until a victor emerges. No ties are accepted.

It's 2022. What are we doing?

And special thanks to Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell, who nailed a 53-yard field goal as time expired in overtime to defeat the Bengals.

Loser: Trey Lance

Soldier Field looked better equipped to host a water polo tournament than a football game Sunday, as the 49ers slipped and slid their way to a stunning 19-10 loss to the Chicago Bears.

The game was supposed to mark the official start of the Lance era in the Bay Area, but instead, San Francisco committed a costly 12 penalties for 99 yards and lost the turnover battle.

Lance slung a few impressive passes early in the game, but his stat line wasn't so impressive: 13-of-28 passing for 164 yards, no touchdowns and one interception (50.3 passer rating). But nine of those incompletions were thrown in the fourth quarter when the television broadcast resembled more of the iconic rainy scene from “Shawshank Redemption” rather than a football game.

Let's wait at least another six days for the 49ers' Week 2 clash against the Seattle Seahawks to determine if Lance is a future Hall of Famer or first-round bust.

Winner: Jimmy Garoppolo

Not only did the 49ers lose with Garoppolo standing on the sidelines, but also the quarterback’s name was trending on Twitter late Sunday night.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a hand injury and reportedly will miss six to eight weeks, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Hello, Cowboy Jimmy?

Loser: Grit

Head coach Dan Campbell, the persona of the word “grit,” finished off the latest season of “Hard Knocks” with a bone-chilling line: “The 2022 Detroit Lions will be the team that can -- and will.”

Well, on Sunday, those 2022 Lions proved they can, but won’t. Detroit fell behind the Philadelphia Eagles early, and its furious comeback came up short in a 38-35 loss.

No kneecaps were harmed in the Lions' loss.

Winner: Teams combating revenge games

Ah, the storylines: Joe Flacco suiting up against the Baltimore Ravens. Baker Mayfield looking to avenge the Cleveland Browns’ decision to part ways this season.

Unfortunately, Flacco quickly learned that it’s 2022, not the 2012 postseason, as he attempted a whopping 59 passes that resulted in just nine points in the New York Jets' 24-9 loss to Baltimore.

Mayfield gave his Carolina Panthers a one-point lead with 1:13 remaining, but Jacoby Brissett marched the Browns into field-goal range to set up a 53-yard game-winner by kicker Cade York to erase the Mayfield redemption story.

It’s your move Monday night, Russell Wilson.

Let’s ride.

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