The NFL has finally acknowledged the mistake it made four years ago with Colin Kaepernick and his social justice crusade. Off the field, we saw lots of changes in Week 1 including end zone stencils with phrases like “It takes all of us,” and players honoring victims of racism on their uniforms.
Lift Every Voice & Sing is now a permanent part of NFL pregame ceremonies. That’s cool too.
With everything going on we definitely didn’t miss the fact that for the first time in NFL history there were at least 10 Black quarterbacks starting. That’s still less than a third of the 32 teams, but its trending upwards for sure.
Let’s start at the top with the two best Black quarterbacks in the game.
- Patrick Mahomes: The face of the NFL picked up right where he left off on Thursday night in a 34-20 drubbing of the Texans. In the matchup of the game’s two highest-paid QB’s Mahomes put in a light night of work (211 passing, 3 TDS) and rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (125 rushing yards) established himself as another deadly weapon for Kansas City. Mahomes makes it look so damn easy.
2. Russell Wilson: Wilson made his early bid for MVP, coming out the gate as the model of efficiency and looking like a veteran quarterback at his peak — finally with some weapons to work with. Wilson was 31-35 with 4 TD passes and a career-best 88.6 completion percentage in a 38-25 thrashing of the Atlanta Falcons.
The addition of Greg Olson immediately paid dividends. He caught just four passes, but one went for a TD and he will become an increasingly important target as the year progresses. The Seahawks look reloaded and ready to make one more serious Super Bowl run.
The Next Level
Lamar Jackson: The NFL MVP picked right up where he left off, putting up MVP numbers and leading the Ravens to a 38-6 demolishing of the lowly Cleveland Browns. 275 passing yards, three passing TDS and 45 yards in foot production. It’s a Super Bowl or bust for the Ravens.
Kyler Murray: Mighty Mouse used his new toy DeAndre Hopkins early and often in a 24-20 opening Sunday win over the defending NFC champion 49ers. Hopkins finished with 14 grabs for 151 yards, accounting for more than 50 percent of Murray’s 26 completions. Murray was the first Cardinals player since 1958 with 200 passing yards and 90 rushing yards in the same game.
Dak Prescott: “Contract Dak” came up a little bit short again, getting outperformed by Jared Goff in Dallas’ 20-17 loss to the La Rams. Hardly a superstar performance from a guy who wants a record-breaking contract. With limited training camp and no preseason, expect his performance to improve as the season progresses.
Deshaun Watson: The NFL’s Michael Jordan (as his college coach Dabo Swinney calls him) had two things going against him on Thursday night. His No. 1 receiver DeAndre Hopkins is gone. And he had to play the Super Bowl champs and Patrick Mahomes in his first game of the season. A tall task for Watson anyway you slice it. Outside of Will Fuller, no other Texans receiver had more than two catches. The 34-20 loss exploited some early weaknesses in the Texans team. Watson will have to be Superman again for them to contend for playoffs.
Something To Prove
Cam Newton: Cam Newton looked very comfortable running a ball-control New England Patriots offense that basically beat the Miami Dolphins into submission with a steady dose of Cam slam. He pounded and made some key throws and was his usual energetic self, leading Bill Belichick and Co. to a 1-0 record so far this season.
Dwyane Haskins: Down 17-7 and with his coach Ron Rivera needing an IV and unable to talk to his team, second-year quarterback Dwyane Haskins stepped up and delivered a halftime speech that sparked an unbelievable second-half comeback. The Washington Football Team outscored Philly 27-0, coming back to earn the signature win in young Haskins’ career so far.
Teddy Bridgewater: Remember Teddy Bridgewater? Dude has only started 6 games since 2015 and five of those were last year with the Saints, filling in for Drew Brees. He’s got to be the most remarkable story of any of the quarterbacks. Bridgewater went from possibly never playing again to working his way back to Carolina Panthers starting quarterback and he did well, throwing for 270 yards and narrowly losing to the Raiders (34-30) in his first start.
Who would have imagined that Bridgewater would come back five years after leading Minnesota to the playoffs and obliterating his knee? Now he’s Cam Newton’s Carolina replacement. What a story.
Tyrod Taylor: Taylor has won everywhere he’s played. The San Diego Chargers 16-13 win over the doormat Bengals is indicative of the type of games Taylor will have to win for San Diego. Taylor was efficient enough (26/30 208 yards passing) and didn’t turn the ball over. The defense did the rest. There’s going to come a game where Taylor has to air it out and come from behind. That will be his true test. If he fails, No. 1 pick Justin Herbert is waiting in the wings.