The NFL gave us a terrific — though sometimes bizarre — week of action to kick off the season. And as it tends to go in Week 1, we saw some shocking results. The Kansas City Chiefs took care of business against the Houston Texans on Thursday night, but the Sunday slate of games got messy (which is exactly what makes the NFL so fun).
The Jacksonville Jaguars, who lost almost all of their good players this offseason, somehow defeated the Indianapolis Colts, who seemed (on paper) like one of the league’s most talented rosters. Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was … good (?!) and …. clutch (!?!?). And the San Francisco 49ers did not exactly roar into a new year after spending the offseason coping with their Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs.
So let’s take a look at the surprising wins and explore the fact that four of the NFL’s worst teams … could … maybe … eventually … turn out to be good?
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Gardner Minshew is too much fun. He threw for 173 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 27-20 win over the Colts. He got some help from his defense — CJ Henderson and Andrew Wingard each nabbed interceptions on Philip Rivers. We saw around the NFL that some new passers — like Rivers, Tom Brady and to some degree Cam Newton — didn’t quite have their new offense down, nor did they have strong chemistry with their new pass-catchers. But this was an impressive win for the Jaguars.
They’re probably not going to be be good. But average? Like 8-8? Yeah, I could see that. Whether settling for mediocrity and missing out on Trevor Lawrence is the right plan is a debate for another day. (It’s not.)
Los Angeles Rams
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jared Goff still isn’t good. That hasn’t changed. But Sean McVay is back. After a rough season in 2019, McVay’s offense looked competent and creative in the running and passing game — largely because the offensive line has steadied. There was new life against a Dallas Cowboys team that has every reason to finish atop the NFC East. The Rams defense got the most out of their two best players, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. This is how they can and, apparently, will win games in 2020.
Yes, they might actually be good.
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
This felt less like Mitchell Trubisky’s statement win and more like Matt Patricia’s statement loss. The Bears scored three fourth-quarter passing touchdowns, and Trubisky put together an impressive finish to what was an otherwise bad game. The Bears have a win, so in theory, they might be good. But let’s see them repeat this performance — and not against Detroit, a hot mess.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Clearly, the 49ers have the Super Bowl scaries. But clearly, Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins are perfect for each other. Clearly, Arizona’s young defense is ready for the big stage. Clearly, the Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. Clearly, clearly, clearly, the Cardinals are actually good.