The 2022 NFL season jumped off with a bang. Those Black signal-callers were back at it, led by Patrick Mahomes, who lit up Week 1.
Here’s our list of top five melanated quarterbacks from opening weekend.
1. Patrick Mahomes
The Magic man is still at the top of the food chain, and his ranking doesn’t just go for Black QBs. The former Texas Tech is arguably the top QB in the NFL. His opening day performance was nothing short of sensational as he passed for 360 yards and five touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 44-21 shellacking of the Cardinals in Arizona. Mahomes also completed 74 percent of his 39 passes. It was a statement game by Mahomes who emphatically answered those who questioned how the Super Bowl QB would perform without receiver Tyreek Hill, now in Miami.
Mahomes didn’t miss a beat, spreading the rock around, throwing touchdowns to four different receivers.
During Sunday’s Fox NFL pregame show, analyst Sean Payton said the Saints were prepared to take Mahomes in the 2017 NFL draft, but K.C. traded up and snatched him.
“When we evaluated him, he was clearly an elite player, the best quarterback I’d ever seen on college tape,” former Saints coach and offensive guru Payton said.
Payton says he went as far as informing Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees that his replacement was being drafted if Mahomes was still on the board.
Former Saints HC @SeanPayton talks about an interesting situation from the 2017 NFL Draft, where the New Orleans Draft Room discussed taking QB Patrick Mahomes at pick No. 11. The Chiefs ended up taking Mahomes at pick No. 10. pic.twitter.com/Eo606bsURV
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 11, 2022
2. Lamar Jackson
After not getting the lucrative long-term extension he craved, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson took the field at MetLife Stadium playing on the fifth and final year of his deal.
Jackson was his usual electric self but showed out with his arm more than his legs. Jackson tossed three touchdowns, two to third-year receiver Devin Duvernay and one to second-year wideout Rashod Bateman in the team’s 24-9 win over the Jets. It was a business-like approach for Jackson, who brought his hard hat and did his job. That no-look touchdown toss to Duvernay was a thing of beauty. Jackson is a solid passer who runs less than Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 11, 2022
3. Geno Smith
Seahawks first-year starter Geno Smith matched his predecessor Russell Wilson in Wilson’s return to Seattle after spending his first ten seasons in the Pacific Northwest, and the Seahawks beat the Broncos 17-16 on Monday Night Football.
Smith went an impressive 23-for-28 for 195 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He played like the guy at West Virginia who eventually became a 2013 second-round pick.
Smith had the next line of the weekend:
“They wrote me off, but I didn’t write back.”
GENO! GENO GENO! GENO! GENO! GENO! GENO! GENO! GENO! pic.twitter.com/P5FfbA4vCQ
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 13, 2022
4. Justin Fields
While Fields’ numbers weren’t great, and the weather in Chicago played a huge role in that, he made timely big plays as the Bears upset the Niners 19-10.
Fields went 8 of 17 for a modest 121 yards and two touchdown passes. The paydirt tosses were his two best throws of the day and were eerily reminiscent of his days at Ohio State. Fields displayed a poise and composure not seen last season. He was much better than draft mate Trey Lance, who was unimpressive in his first start of the season.
New Bears wide receiver Byron Pringle raved about Fields’ grit and said he “loved his composure.”
5. Russell Wilson
Albeit in a loss, Russell Wilson did enough to win in his return to Seattle. Two goal line fumbles by his running backs took 14 points off the board in a 17-16 loss to the Seahawks. Wilson was 29 of 42 for 340 yards and one touchdown. But what he wanted more than anything was to beat his former team following their fake amicable split in March.
Starting in place of the suspended Deshaun Watson, veteran Jacoby Brissett didn’t lose the game for the Cleveland Browns. In fact, he leaned on the strong running of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to lift them to an improbable overtime win over Carolina.
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