After sharing one of the crucial gifted quarterbacks rooms in latest school soccer historical past, the previous Alabama teammates Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa will reunite on the sector Sunday afternoon, as Tagovailoa’s Miami Dolphins face Jones’s New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.
With Jalen Hurts having taken over the beginning job for the Philadelphia Eagles on the finish of the 2020 season, Alabama’s final three quarterbacks can be underneath heart for N.F.L. franchises in Week 1. That every made it onto Sunday’s N.F.L. schedule ought to validate the quarterback battles that occurred once they had been there. After successful a nationwide championship with the Crimson Tide on the finish of the 2017 season, Hurts misplaced the beginning spot to Tagovailoa in 2018. When Tagovailoa broke a hip in 2019, Jones supplanted him, beginning two video games to finish that season.
Hurts led off the Alabama alumni reunion, throwing a 17-yard strike to rookie DeVonta Smith, the primary professional rating for the, natch, former Alabama receiver. Hurts completed with 264 yards and three touchdowns on 27-of-25 passing in opposition to the Falcons.
Jones led an undefeated Alabama staff to a nationwide championship in 2021 earlier than being chosen at No. 15 within the draft. His poise in coaching camp and preseason video games so impressed Patriots Coach Invoice Belichick that he topped the rookie the No. 1 quarterback and lower final yr’s starter, Cam Newton, who’s now a free agent.
In a single season in Miami, Tagovailoa has but to cement himself because the Dolphins’ quarterback of the long run. Through the low season, rumors swirled that the staff may need been looking for different choices, together with the Texans’ Deshaun Watson, however Coach Brian Flores threw his help behind Tagovailoa as coaching camp ended.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban wished each of his former quarterbacks properly in a news convention Wednesday. “I hope they each do extraordinarily properly on this sport and of their profession,” Saban stated. “However someone has to win and someone has to lose.”
No, it’s not a misprint. Sure, the tip zones at TIAA Financial institution Stadium, house of the Jacksonville Jaguars, actually do say “SAINTS.”
The New Orleans Saints, displaced by the destruction of Hurricane Ida, will start the season Sunday in opposition to the Inexperienced Bay Packers within the teal-tinged wilderness of Jacksonville, Fla., as a substitute of the Superdome’s black-and-gold cacophony. The stadium was out there as a result of the Jaguars open on the highway, however the web site was hardly chosen at random.
After evacuating New Orleans on Aug. 28, the Saints settled in North Texas, training first at AT&T Stadium in Arlington earlier than shifting to Texas Christian College, in Fort Value. With AT&T unavailable Sunday due to a battle, the Saints picked Jacksonville from amongst Florida’s three N.F.L. locales, in line with the New Orleans Occasions-Picayune, due to its “relative inaccessibility and unattractiveness as a vacation spot location.”
The Saints went as far as to analysis flights to Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville, and found that Jacksonville was the toughest — and most costly — possibility for Packers followers.
“We’re acutely aware of everything, I feel, on the subject of getting ready for an opponent,” Saints common supervisor Mickey Loomis advised reporters final week. “The primary factor is, hey, we’ve obtained to have an NFL-ready stadium. Look, there’s simply so many variables. I don’t wish to get into all of the variables that exist, however the primary factor is to have an appropriate place to play that each groups have entry to.”
That is anticipated to be the one house sport the Saints play away from New Orleans. Mayor LaToya Cantrell stated that the Superdome, which didn’t endure any main injury, needs to be able to host the staff’s Week Four sport in opposition to the Giants.
All day, the Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson scrambled behind poor safety, hoping to seek out an open man exterior the pocket. That technique failed for a lot of the sport in opposition to the Carolina Panthers till late within the third quarter. On the fringe of purple zone, he evaded the push and escaped the pocket to the fitting, then lofted a 22-yard go to receiver Corey Davis within the nook of the tip zone. However the Jets couldn’t totally have a good time Wilson’s first profession landing go as a result of offensive deal with Mekhi Becton remained on the bottom in ache after struggling a decrease leg damage.
The Jets nonetheless path 16-Eight as a result of their former quarterback, Sam Darnold, has thrown for 252 yards and a landing for the Panthers. Christian McCaffrey, the versatile working again getting back from a bunch of accidents final season, has posted 152 all-purpose yards.
Within the Seahawks’ 2021 debut, Russell Wilson seemed like, properly, Russell Wilson.
The 32-year-old quarterback, a persistently prolific passer his total nine-year N.F.L. profession, tossed three touchdowns and handed for practically 200 yards in three quarters in opposition to the Colts. The Seahawks lead, 21-10, heading into the fourth quarter.
Wilson’s first landing of the day was a 23-yard ball to deep menace Tyler Lockett, capping a nine-play, 81-yard opening drive for the Seahawks.
Wilson discovered Lockett once more for a 69-yard bomb on the finish of the primary half.
Lockett led Seattle’s receivers with 96 yards and two touchdowns heading into the fourth. Tight finish Gerald Everett, who caught the Seahawks’ third landing, had 20 yards on two receptions.
In principle, the Tennessee Titans’ offense ought to place defenses in disagreeable conditions. With the addition of the All-Professional receiver Julio Jones, opponents ought to have to decide on between stopping him, receiver A.J. Brown and working again Derrick Henry, who rushed for over 2,000 yards final season.
However this new experiment has failed, not less than in the course of the first half in opposition to the Arizona Cardinals, because the Titans path 24-6 at halftime. The Titans generated solely 116 yards of offense, with broad receiver Chester Rogers carrying the majority of the manufacturing with 43. Henry has rushed for under Eight yards and Jones has caught just one go for 9 yards on three targets.
The Cardinals’ protection evidently didn’t worry the Titans’ roster on paper. Exterior linebacker Chandler Jones sacked quarterback Ryan Tannehill thrice within the first half. Whereas the Titans’ offense sputtered, Arizona’s excelled. Quarterback Kyler Murray has thrown for 201 yards and two touchdowns and in addition ran for a rating.
The curse of FedEx Discipline continues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday grew to become the newest quarterback to be added to the record of passers to maintain a doubtlessly severe damage in that stadium.
Fitzpatrick, the journeyman who signed with Washington, his ninth N.F.L. staff, in free company this low season, absorbed a success from Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu within the second quarter. Fitzpatrick walked off the sector flanked by staff personnel and was formally dominated out with a hip damage. He accomplished Three of 6 passes for 13 yards earlier than his exit.
It’s unclear how severe Fitzpatrick’s damage is. Regardless, it follows a development of passers who both limped or had been carried off that discipline in ache. Robert Griffin III tore two ligaments in his knee there in 2013 throughout a playoff sport in opposition to the Seattle Seahawks, and Alex Smith in 2018 suffered a compound fracture to his proper tibia and fibula that required 17 surgical procedures and practically wanted to be amputated.
Meantime within the stands, followers in a decrease bowl posted a video to social media with what seemed to be sewage leaking onto their seats.
Working in opposition to Steelers defensive again Cameron Sutton at the back of the tip zone, Payments receiver Gabriel Davis hauled in a 3-yard landing go from Josh Allen with lower than 30 seconds left within the first half to place Buffalo up, 10-0.
The rating capped a 91-yard Payments drive and punctuated a primary half during which Buffalo, principally struggling in opposition to the Steelers protection, gained simply 42 yards on the bottom. Josh Allen ended the half with 16 of 26 passing and 152 yards.
The Steelers path on the half after managing solely 54 yards of complete first-half offense. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 6 of 12 with 58 yards and was sacked twice. Rookie working again Najee Harris had seven carries for eight yards.
First-year Detroit Lions Coach Dan Campbell made headlines this low season for his feedback on biting opponent’s kneecaps and disclosing that he drinks two venti-sized coffees with two further espresso photographs from Starbucks every morning.
Now, his staff is making a very good stand in opposition to a reputable contender within the N.F.C.
The Lions path the San Francisco 49ers, 28-10, a good rating in a sport that the majority predicted can be a lopsided win for the 49ers.
Jared Goff, the previous franchise quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, who was traded within the low season to the Lions for Matthew Stafford, has performed effectively, finishing 14 of 19 passing makes an attempt for 76 yards and a landing. Goff had taken care of the ball for nearly the entire first half, however threw an interception that 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw returned for a landing simply after the two-minute warning.
San Francisco’s offense, in the meantime, has shared the ball amongst its playmakers. 5 totally different gamers have recorded a catch, and 5 totally different gamers have a dashing try. Coach Kyle Shanahan elected to start out the veteran Jimmy Garoppolo over the rookie Trey Lance, however each quarterbacks have performed. Garoppolo has accomplished all of his passes for 104 yards, however Lance threw the staff’s solely passing landing, on his first profession try — a five-yard dart to receiver Trent Sherfield.
After touting one of many league’s most dynamic offenses final season, the Payments’ first process of the 2021 season consists of dealing with a stout T.J. Watt-led Steelers protection.
Pittsburgh’s protection took no time to indicate why it’s probably the greatest within the league, permitting the Payments to realize nearly nothing on the bottom.
Quarterback Josh Allen had little time to get the ball out, and the Payments’ most cohesive first-half drive featured a single deep ball — a 16-yarder to receiver Emmanuel Sanders that put the staff on close to midfield with seven minutes remaining. The would-be third-down conversion go was dropped by receiver Cole Beasley, which might have been negated by an offensive holding name in opposition to guard Jonathan Feliciano.
After kicker Tyler Bass put the Payments forward, 3-0, on a 37-field purpose, Buffalo’s subsequent 4 possessions ended with punts. Allen was held to six of 12 throwing with simply 42 yards.
On Buffalo’s second possession of the second quarter, Steelers finish T.J. Watt sacked Allen on the Pittsburgh 45-yard line and compelled a fumble that was recovered by Cam Heyward.
Zach Wilson’s first drive because the Jets’ beginning quarterback included two pre-snap penalties, a sack and a drop by considered one of his receivers. In different phrases, it was sloppy.
Wilson tried solely two passes on the drive in opposition to the Carolina Panthers, finishing one on a seven-yard flare path to tight finish Ryan Griffin. However an unlawful formation and a holding penalty killed any offensive momentum. He additionally absorbed a nine-yard sack from Panthers defensive finish Brian Burns.
Coming into Week 1, most groups’ optimism hinges on the well being of their rosters. A number of star gamers whose standing had been murky this week, together with Giants working again Saquon Barkley, Chargers working again Austin Ekeler, and Colts guard Quenton Nelson, are good to go.
Elsewhere, the absence of injured gamers will mood their groups’ sport plans.
Notable accidents within the 1 p.m. Japanese video games:
Jets at Carolina Panthers
Jets receiver Jamison Crowder (reserve/Covid-19) will miss Sunday’s season opener, whereas receiver Keelan Cole (knee) can be a game-time determination. And the Panthers can be with out receiver Shi Smith, who missed apply this week with a shoulder damage.
Los Angeles Chargers at Washington Soccer Crew
The Washington Soccer Crew positioned receiver Curtis Samuel on the injured reserve record earlier this week, so he’ll miss not less than three weeks to nurse a groin damage.
Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans
The Titans can be with out kicker Sam Ficken, who’s on the injured reserve record with a groin damage.
Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts
The Colts’ veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes (calf) will miss Sunday’s opener, together with receiver T.Y. Hilton, who re-aggravated a lingering neck damage throughout a apply final month. Hilton, the Colts’ high receiver, is anticipated to overlook the beginning of the common season.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is out for his or her season opener in opposition to the Jaguars. Watson, who has 22 civil fits alleging sexual misconduct filed in opposition to him, isn’t anticipated to go well with up for Houston this season. (He has denied the accusations.) Tyrod Taylor will begin in his place. Houston may also miss kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn (leg), in addition to defensive again Lonnie Johnson Jr. (thigh).
The Jaguars can be with out cornerback Tre Herndon, who’s out with a knee damage.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Payments
Payments working again Zack Moss was not on the staff’s damage report main as much as Sunday’s sport in opposition to the Steelers, however he’ll miss the staff’s opener.
Notable accidents within the 4:25 p.m. Japanese video games:
Cleveland Browns at Kansas Metropolis Chiefs
Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee final season, is not going to play in opposition to the Chiefs. Beckham had been a game-time determination however was scratched about an hour earlier than kickoff after taking the sector for warm-ups. Chiefs security Tyrann Mathieu may also miss the sport regardless of being activated from the staff’s injured reserve/Covid-19 record on Saturday.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Dolphins receiver Preston Williams, who’s been nursing a foot damage, is reportedly not anticipated to play in opposition to the Patriots.
Inexperienced Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints can be with out receiver Michael Thomas for the beginning of the season after he underwent ankle surgical procedure in June. They’ll additionally miss receiver Tre’Quan Smith (hamstring).
Denver Broncos at New York Giants
Giants tight finish Evan Engram (calf) is out.
T.J. Watt may need grown up in Wisconsin, and he may play for the Steelers, however in line with Coach Mike Tomlin, he’s simply “visiting from one other planet.” Tomlin stated this towards the tip of final season, which Watt completed with a league-leading 15 sacks.
The staff’s entrance workplace acknowledged Watt’s otherworldly expertise with a four-year extension price $80 million assured, in line with a number of stories. Recent off that signing, Watt beams into Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Sunday to guide a Steelers protection that represents a direct, and stern, check for the Buffalo Payments and their superlative quarterback, Josh Allen.
Final season, Pittsburgh allowed the third-fewest factors within the league and they’re once more stacked at each degree, from secondary (Minkah Fitzpatrick) to linebacker (Devin Bush) to line of defense (Cam Heyward). Watt, although, is one of the best of all of them, a supreme edge rusher who bypasses double-teams to torment quarterbacks, often from the left facet. Solely Shaquil Barrett of Tampa Bay (76) recorded extra pressures than Watt (73) in the course of the 2020 season, in line with Professional Soccer Focus.
As he waited for his contract negotiation to get resolved, Watt abstained from training together with his teammates throughout most of coaching camp. He lastly joined them on Wednesday, and little question he figures to be able to play. The Payments higher be, too.
Within the span of simply 12 days, the Baltimore Ravens misplaced their high three rushers on the depth chart to season-ending accidents.
Gus Edwards tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee throughout apply this week, the second such damage for a Ravens working again after starter J.Okay. Dobbins did so within the Aug. 28 preseason finale in opposition to Washington. They joined Justice Hill, who tore his Achilles’ tendon in apply, on damage reserve. Cornerback Marcus Peters additionally tore his A.C.L. at the same practice as Edwards.
“I feel you mourn for a day, and we combat at the moment,” Coach John Harbaugh advised reporters Friday. “We are able to transfer ahead.” He stated he didn’t assume the taking part in floor contributed to the rash of non-contact accidents.
To answer the carnage, the Ravens signed Latavius Murray, the previous New Orleans Saints backup, after he was launched for declining to take a pay lower. Baltimore additionally added two gamers who beforehand had 1,000-yard dashing seasons, Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman, to the apply squad with the intention of elevating them to the energetic roster.
Bell, a three-time Professional Bowl choice throughout his 5 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was launched by the Jets halfway by final season for his lack of manufacturing. He briefly signed with Kansas Metropolis, splitting carries in a reserve function, and later criticized Coach Andy Reid on social media this low season.
Freeman, an elusive runner and go catcher, rushed for 1,000 yards twice early in his six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, however his manufacturing slipped after his groin damage in 2018, which saved him out of all however two video games. He signed a one-year take care of the Giants final season, showing in solely 5 video games and dashing for 172 yards. The Saints launched him throughout coaching camp after he signed a one-year contract this low season.
If Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert plans to make a leap in Yr 2, dealing with the Washington Soccer Crew’s dominant defensive finish Chase Younger might be one of the crucial troublesome methods to start out. Younger, the 2020 defensive rookie of the yr, will meet Herbert’s Chargers Sunday afternoon. Will probably be the second straight season the place the reigning offensive and defensive rookies of the yr will meet of their season opener: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray confronted Nick Bosa’s San Francisco 49ers in Week 1 final season.
In 2020, Younger anchored one of many league’s finest defenses, which allowed simply over 300 yards per sport, second fewest within the N.F.L. Herbert completed the season with probably the most passing touchdowns (31) and completions (396) of any rookie in league historical past.
In Thursday evening’s season opener, gamers stood on the sector at Raymond James Stadium with their arms intertwined as Alicia Keys and the Florida A&M choir carried out “Raise Each Voice and Sing” earlier than the sport’s begin.
The N.F.L. started airing the music, often known as the Black nationwide anthem, as a part of its TV broadcasts earlier than video games following the worldwide racial justice protests held after the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. It additionally included a efficiency of the music earlier than the draft in April.
The league will proceed to incorporate the music’s efficiency in its pregame ceremonies as a part of its continued social justice efforts.
“Raise Each Voice and Sing,” written over 120 years in the past by N.A.A.C.P. chief James Weldon Johnson, captures in its lyrics the solemn hope for the freedom of African People, which learn partly:
“Sing a music filled with the religion that the darkish previous has taught us.
Sing a music filled with the hope that the current has introduced us.
Going through the rising solar of our new day begun,
Allow us to march on ’til victory is received.”
Together with taking part in the music earlier than its video games, the N.F.L. may also enable gamers to put on helmet decals with considered one of six authorized social justice messages. The league will once more show the slogans “It Takes All of Us” and “Finish Racism” on finish zones in solidarity with social justice actions in opposition to racism and police brutality.
Pittsburgh’s offense dragged by the primary half of their season opener in opposition to the Payments with no factors and simply 54 yards of offense.
A blocked punt by Miles Killebrew and a scoop-and-score by linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III surprised the Payments and turned the Steelers’ fortune within the fourth quarter, resulting in a 23-16 Pittsburgh victory at Highmark Stadium.
The particular groups play was an enormous momentum swing for the Steelers, who scored 20 straight factors within the second half earlier than the Payments responded. Pittsburgh’s first landing, a juggling catch by receiver Diontae Johnson within the again nook of the tip zone, got here within the fourth quarter.
Disrupted all day by a sweltering Steelers defensive entrance, Payments quarterback Josh Allen completed the sport with 270 yards on 30 of 51 throwing. He was sacked thrice, twice by Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. Watt. The Payments’ high receiving menace, Stefon Diggs, led all Buffalo receivers with 69 yards on 9 catches, although he and newly acquired receiver Emmanuel Sanders drew heavy protection all through. Buffalo’s lone landing got here from receiver Gabriel Davis within the first half.
Ben Roethlisberger went 18 for 32 with 188 passing yards. Pittsburgh didn’t appear to construct a lot on a dashing assault that was nearly nonexistent final season. The staff gained 75 yards on the bottom in opposition to the Payments Sunday.
Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson confirmed glimpses of why the staff drafted him second total this spring, however it was his predecessor, Sam Darnold, who confirmed his outdated staff what may have been, in a 19-14 Panthers win.
Darnold, who the Jets traded to Carolina earlier than the draft, threw for 279 yards and a landing, finishing 24 of 35 passes. Wilson scored two touchdowns — on a 22-yard go to Corey Davis and an eight-yard go to Davis — and in addition scrambled for a two-point conversion. However sloppy safety pressured Wilson to improvise for a lot of the day, and he absorbed six (!) sacks. The rookie from Brigham Younger completed with 258 yards, finishing 20 of 37 passes, with one interception.
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