Staying in preseason has helped some QBs, hurt others

The absence of the preseason did nothing to slow down the start of the season for guys like Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott.

For guys like Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Tannehill, and Matt Ryan, there seemed to be some rust.

A total of nine quarterbacks that didn’t take a snap during the preseason started in Week 1, and there was no consistent pattern for whether that decision helped or hurt.

Four of the nine quarterbacks ended up on the winning side, with the Wilson Seahawks beating the Carson Wentz Colts in the only game featuring two starting QBs who missed the preseason. The combined passer rating of 95.2 for quarterbacks was slightly lower than the league average of 99.6.

Perhaps the most impressive performance came from Stafford, who scored 20 for 26 for 321 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Chicago in his Rams debut. The 156.1 passer rating was the highest on record in Week 1 for a player on a new team, as the lack of preseason work didn’t appear to be having a negative impact.

Prescott and Derek Carr of Las Vegas each threw over 400 yards in Game 1, with Prescott losing to the Cowboys and Carr leading a wild comeback for a 33-27 overtime win over Baltimore with a 31-yard pass. to the touch. to Zay Jones.

Wilson had four touchdowns and no interceptions in his first game under new caller Shane Waldron. His 11 games with at least four touchdowns and no interceptions are the seventh on record.

On the other side was Rodgers, who scored 15 for 28 for 133 yards and two interceptions in a 38-3 loss to New Orleans for a 36.8 passer rating, the lowest ever for a Reigning NFL MVP in Week 1.

He even launched an interception in the red zone for the first time since October 10. December 14, 2019, against Detroit, ending a streak of 50 touchdown passes in the red zone without interception, including in the playoffs.

Ryan and Tannehill experienced new attacks after missing the preseason, with Ryan throwing just 164 yards in a 32-6 loss to Philadelphia in his first game with Arthur Smith as coach in Atlanta.

Tannehill missed Arthur Smith, his former offensive coordinator, in Tennessee’s opener against Arizona. He had 21 for 35 for 210 yards with one touchdown, one interception and six sacks in his first game with Todd Downing as the offensive coordinator.

THE WEST IS THE BEST

The eight teams in the Western Divisions have all won their opener this season. It was the first time since the merger that each team from two separate divisions won each game in the same week.

Since the current eight-division format began in 2002, this was the third and fourth time a Division has been 4-0 in Week 1, with AFC West doing so in 2002 and l ‘AFC East in 2015.

NFC West was more dominant with a combined margin of victory of 65 points compared to the plus-28 for AFC West. NFC West had the biggest margin of victory in Week 1 under this current format.

On the other side of the equation was NFC North, whose teams went 0-4 and were outscored by 66 points.

GO FOR IT

The aggressiveness of the coaches continues to increase with the 52 attempts, the second most important ever recorded in a week since 1991.

But where the increased aggression really shows up is earlier in the game, when the tie and the score make the decision less obvious.

The 33 fourth down attempts in the first three quarters were the most important of any week as far as SportRadar’s records go back to 2000. The teams converted 18 of those tries.

The change in approach has been brutal in recent years. Teams averaged just 10 fourth down attempts per week in the first three quarters of games in 2014, while it was not until Week 5 to hit the 33 mark in Game 1 this season. .

The best decision of the week came from Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor, whose decision to go fourth and 1 of 48 in the final minute of overtime increased the Bengals’ likelihood of victory by 11.2 points. percentage, according to EdjSports. Joe Burrow’s 32-yard pass to CJ Uzomah set up the winning field goal.

CELEBRATES JAMEIS

Jameis Winston had a remarkably efficient first start in New Orleans. The risk-taking quarterback who made history with the first season of 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions at Tampa Bay in 2019 made another mark in Week 1.

He threw five touchdown passes against Green Bay despite a pitch for just 148 yards. That’s the fewest yards in a five touchdown game since at least 1948 with Dallas Eddie LeBaron holding the previous low at 158 ​​yards on Oct. 1. 21, 1962, against Pittsburgh.

SUPER SEPTEMBER

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have again had a quick start to the season.

Mahomes threw three touchdown passes in a 33-29 win over Cleveland to lead the Chiefs to their 15th straight victory in September. Mahomes has been the starter in 11 of those games, throwing 35 touchdowns and no interceptions in those competitions.

His 35 consecutive non-interception touchdowns in September is the longest monthly streak by a quarterback in NFL history, according to ESPN.

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