Those keeping score at home may have noticed that the NFL’s newest head coaches did not fare well this opening weekend. Of the seven head coaches making debuts with their new teams, none won a game.
In the early slate of games on Sunday, Pat Shurmur’s Giants fell to the Jaguars 20–15, Frank Reich’s Colts lost to the Bengals 34–23 and Mike Vrabel’s Titans were beat by the Dolphins, 27–20. Later that afternoon Steve Wilks’s Cardinals managed just one touchdown (and a failed two-point conversion) in a 24–6 loss to Washington.
On Sunday Night Football, Matt Nagy’s Bears looked to be on the way to putting one in the win column for the new guys on prime time, as Chicago played an outstanding first half on offense and defense against their NFC North division-rival Packers. But the team couldn’t hold up, squandering a 20-point lead and falling victim to another incredible Aaron Rodgers come-from-behind performance (while hobbled!) losing 24-23 to Green Bay.
Matt Patricia’s Lions and Jon Gruden’s Raiders had a chance on Monday Night Football to bring home a win for the new guys, but neither could get the job done. After opening the game with a pick-six of Jets’ rookie QB Sam Darnold, Detroit put up the worst performance of the seven teams, getting absolutely pummelled by the Jets and losing 48–17. In the final game of Week 1, the Rams played spoiler to Gruden’s return to the sideline, taking down the Raiders 33–13.
Comparatively, last season’s six new hires went 4–2 in Week 1 play. 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan and Chargers’ Anthony Lynn lost their debuts, while Rams’ Sean McVay, Broncos’ Vance Joseph, Jaguars’ Doug Marrone and Bills’ Sean McDermott all won their opening-week games.
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1. The NFL’s head of officiating said that officials erred when they flagged Browns defensive end Myles Garrett for roughing the passer, a penalty that led to a Steelers touchdown one play later in the second quarter of the 21–21 tie.
2. Browns head coach Hue Jackson had stated several times before week one that he did not want receiver Josh Gordon to start because he hadn’t been at training camp. Gordon started... and after the game, Jackson said he was unaware that Gordon would be starting until he trotted out onto the field for the first play. He chalked it up to a ‘miscommunication’ with offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
3. Bills head coach Sean McDermott has yet to decide on a starter for Week 2.
4. The Packers haven’t decided if Rodgers will play next week.
5. Hard Knocks fans, breathe a sigh of relief. Buffalo signed defensive end Nate Orchard.
Sam Darnold is the first quarterback to win by more than 31 points in his first career start since... Tom Brady. Here’s a necessary reminder to Jets fans to keep calm.
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