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Observations from NFL Week 1: Winners, losers and feeling bad for D’Andre Swift

Cam Newton explains why he was miffed following Sunday's successful debut for the Patriots. Plus an early look at Week 2's point spreads.

Ouch. Jets kick returner Ashtyn Davis is gonna feel that as Bills linebacker and former Temple star Tyler Matakevich looks on.
Ouch. Jets kick returner Ashtyn Davis is gonna feel that as Bills linebacker and former Temple star Tyler Matakevich looks on.Read moreJohn Munson / AP

If the Eagles' loss wasn’t bad enough, one of our local products will never forget his first NFL debut for all the wrong reasons. Though the stadiums were mostly empty, there was a full plate of winners, losers and other items worthy of our review.

Hate to tell ya ...

It might get worse Eagles fans.

After giving up eight sacks to Washington, the Eagles next face Aaron Donald and a Rams defense that looked pretty strong in a 20-17 win against Dallas. The result (Dallas losing) was good for Eagles fans, but Donald had seven hurries of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. The Cowboys offensive line is better than what the Eagles showed on Sunday, which makes an 0-2 start a real possibility.

Oh no

The Lions gagged away a game to division rival Chicago, and rookie running back D’Andre Swift’s dropped pass with six seconds left was an appropriate metaphor.

Swift, a second-round pick who played at St. Joseph’s Prep and the University of Georgia, had beaten Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan and could have won the game by hauling in a pass that was right in his numbers. Detroit, which led 23-6 in the fourth quarter, lost 27-23.

Swift had three receptions on the day and ran for a touchdown, but it’ll be the catch he didn’t make that will haunt him this week. Ditto for those who had the Lions laying 2.5 points.

“I put my arm around him as soon as we got to the tunnel, walked up the tunnel with him and told him he’s a great player,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “The game’s not on him. It’s on me.”


  1. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals pulled the day’s biggest upset with a win at San Francisco. DeAndre Hopkins had 14 catches for 151 yards, though fantasy owners will point out that a touchdown he appeared to score was taken off the board when he was ruled down at the 1-yard line.

  2. Aaron Rodgers served notice that he’s still in charge after throwing for 364 yards and four touchdowns in a win at NFC North rival Minnesota. Rodgers, 36, was as surprised as the rest of us when Green Bay traded up to take Jordan Love in the first round in April.

  3. Davante Adams had 156 yards receiving, two touchdowns and tied Don Hutson’s 78-year-old Packers record with 14 receptions. Adams had the club’s modern-day record with 13 grabs twice.

  4. Jacksonville, 7-point underdogs, stunned Indianapolis as Gardner Minshew completed 19 of 20 passes, including the game-winning touchdown with six minutes left. The Jaguars were the only team to allow fans in the stands. They made 16,800 tickets available and could get rid of only 14,100 of them.

  5. The Bengals lost (as usual), but they have found their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow. He scored the game’s first touchdown on an impressive 23-yard quarterback draw and drove the Bengals down the field in the final seconds for a game-tying field goal. (In the drive right after a horrific interception.) But this is the Bengals. Randy Bullock, who had made 24 field goals in a row inside of 40 yards, missed a 31-yard field goal and injured himself on the play, as well.

  6. Bill Belichick won without Tom Brady.


  1. The Browns were overwhelmed by the Ravens, 38-6, and are now 0-15-1 in their last 16 season openers. Kevin Stefanski, another St. Joe’s Prep product, is the ninth Cleveland head coach in that span. Quick turnaround for the Fightin' Stefanskis, who host Cincinnati on Thursday night.

  2. Detroit’s Jamie Collins is an 8-year NFL veteran. He oughta know better than to make contact with an official. Collins appeared to be demonstrating how a Chicago player had hit him when he lowered his helmet and gently hit referee Alex Kemp. Can’t do that. Collins, signed in the offseason to a 3-year, $30 million deal, was immediately ejected.

Matt Rhule is 0-1 as a head coach and the decision not to give the ball to Christian McCaffrey on a 4th & 1 late in the fourth quarter was, umm, curious. Oakland stopped fullback Alex Armah and held on to win, 34-30. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady called the play, but afterward took the blame. Said McCaffrey: “It’s a play we were all on board with."

Tom Brady did not win without Bill Belichick.

This & That

  1. Drew Brees and the Saints beat Brady and the Buccaneers in the AARP Bowl. Brady threw two interceptions, including a pick-6. It was an important win for New Orleans as these two figure to be the class of the NFC South. They’ll meet again in Week 8. This time in Tampa.

  2. Cam Newton ran for two touchdowns and 75 yards in New England’s methodical win over the Dolphins in their first game without Tom Brady. After the game, Newton said some Dolphins players tried to snatch the jewelry chains he wears around his neck. “That kind of got under my skin," the quarterback said. "But I don’t want nothing to take away from a great team game that we had.”

  1. Detroit wide receiver Marvin Jones gave an unfortunate welcome-to-the-NFL lowlight to Bears rookie Jaylon Johnson. Ouch.

  2. Says a lot about Jacksonville that James Robinson set the dubious record for most rushing yards in a season opener by an undrafted rookie. Robinson, who had 62 yards, was the first UDR running back in 30 years to start a game (not including fullbacks) and the record he broke was 45 years old. Seattle’s Derek Loville and Tampa Bay’s Bruce Perkins were the last to start in 1990, and Washington’s Ralph Nelson (44 yards) set the record in 1975.

  3. Jordan Reed, who had at least seven concussions in his six seasons with Washington and missed all of 2019, had two catches in his debut with San Francisco.

  4. Nelson Agholor (23-yard TD) and Jason Witten were among the nine players to catch a pass for the Raiders.

  5. Some of those NextGen stats can be esoteric, but measuring that 49ers running back Raheem Mostert hit 22.73 miles per hour on his 76-yard touchdown, which is fastest they’ve measured since the start of last season.

Anthem report

The Eagles stayed in the locker room for the national anthem. So did the Packers, Jaguars, Bills and Jets in the early games. Some of the Colts took a knee, including head coach Frank Reich.

The Falcons and Seahawks didn’t move as the opening kickoff sailed out of bounds. They all then knelt for 15 seconds before their game in Atlanta proceeded.

Week 1 of the NFL featured a variety of pregame protests for social justice from players, executives and coaches. The Dolphins also stayed in the locker room, as they promised in a video earlier in the week.

“If you speak up for change" a Dolphins player said in the video, “then I’ll shut up and play.”

Atlanta made late Georgia congressman and civil right leader John Lewis an honorary team captain.

“We’re taking this moment and making it a movement, not just as a race, a community or a team, but as a nation,” said Atlanta defensive end and former Eagle Steven Means. “It’s time to stand up, rise up and vote.”

They said it

  1. “The crowd’s getting a little restless after that last play call -- the crowd that isn’t here.” -- CBS announcer Jim Nantz.

  2. “We’re going to do our best to make sure we’re worth watching." -- Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew.

  3. “That was a little bit like Walter Payton used to play. It was hot as hell. He got beat up early. He insisted on coming back and he insisted on getting the ball as a runner and receiver. He is special. He deserves some national attention — and I hope you give it to him.” -- Raiders coach Jon Gruden on running back Josh Jacobs, who ran for 93 yards and three touchdowns.

  4. “It’s overlooked how athletic Joe Burrow is, how much speed he has, the way he can run. You didn’t necessarily think of him doing that at LSU. He did it [at LSU], but when you throw 60 touchdown passes, the running part gets overlooked a little bit.” -- CBS analyst Trent Green after Burrow’s 23-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.


Favorite Line Underdog (O/U)

Steelers 6 GIANTS (45), 7:15 p.m.

Titans 3 BRONCOS (41), 10:10 p.m.

Week 2/Thursday

Favorite Line Underdog (O/U)

BROWNS 7.5 Bengals (46), 8:20 p.m.


Favorite Line Underdog (O/U)

EAGLES 4 Rams (48), 1 p.m.

BUCCANEERS 8.5 Panthers (48.5), 1 p.m.

STEELERS 5.5 Broncos (43.5), 1 p.m.

COWBOYS 7 Falcons (50), 1 p.m.

49ers 6 JETS (43.5), 1 p.m.

Bills 3.5 DOLPHINS (43), 1 p.m.

COLTS 2.5 Vikings (46), 1 p.m.

PACKERS 5.5 Lions (46), 1 p.m.

BEARS 5.5 Giants (43), 1 p.m.

TITANS 11 Jaguars (43), 1 p.m.

CARDINALS 6.5 Washington (46), 4:05 p.m.

Ravens 6 TEXANS (53.5), 4:25 p.m.

Chiefs 6.5 CHARGERS (51), 4:25 p.m.

SEAHAWKS 3.5 Patriots (44), 8:20 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 21

Favorite Line Underdog (O/U)

Saints 4.5 RAIDERS (50.5), 8:15 p.m.

Lines via