Arian Foster ran for a team-record 231 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Houston Texans to a 34-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in their first game since a 31-17 loss to New Orleans in the Super Bowl. Foster is the first player in league history to run for 200 yards or more and three touchdowns on opening weekend.
2 of 13Al Tielemans/SI
Before the Super Bowl Ring and the Super Bowl MVP, Drew Brees was an afterthought in the best quarterback debate. But in the Saints' 2009 Week 1 match against the Detroit Lions, Brees began his campaign toward elite status. Leading the Saints over the Lions, Brees recorded the first six-touchdown-pass season opener in NFL history. Operating out of multiple receiver sets, he completed at least one pass to eight receivers, to the tune of 358 yards. With performances like that, it was hard for Brees to stay under the radar.
3 of 13Fred Vuich/SI
Facing a porous Cleveland Browns defense, Adrian Peterson took full advantage, becoming the first back in NFL history to rush for three touchdowns and more than 165 yards in the NFL's first weekend of action. Peterson was unstoppable all day, particularly in the fourth quarter, when he shirked off a tackle and scampered down the sideline for a 64-yard touchdown run.
4 of 13Todd Kirkland/Icon SMI
Talk about first impressions. In his first game after signing a lucrative contract with the Atlanta Falcons, Michael Turner tore up the Detroit Lions with 220 rushing yards and two touchdowns. His total shattered the Falcons' franchise record for rushing in a single game, and set the record for most rushing yards by a player in his first game with a new team.
5 of 13Danny Moloshok/Getty Images
Five wide receivers were taken before Anquan Boldin in the 2003 NFL draft. He showed those five teams and the rest of the NFL what they passed over in his debut game against the Detroit Lions. Boldin exploded for 217 receiving yards, a record for a player in his NFL debut and the second-highest total in Week 1 history. He also pulled in two touchdowns.
6 of 13Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
On the evening that the Giants retired Phil Simms' number, Emmitt Smith had to come in to the Meadowlands and suck the air out of the stadium. Smith took the first handoff of the season and burst through a hole for a 60-yard touchdown. It would be a harbinger of things to come. Smith would rush for 163 yards and tie an NFL-opening-week record with four rushing touchdowns. The Cowboys would ride Smith all the way to the Super Bowl, where they would win their third championship in four years.
7 of 13Scott Halleran/Getty Images
The 1994 season was a great one for Dan Marino. Many had questioned whether he had anything left in the tank after an injury-plagued 1993 season, but Marino responded with two iconic games. The first was "The Clock Play," where he faked a spike in the closing seconds to beat the Jets. The second came in Week 1 against the New England Patriots. Despite conditions more suited for a defensive struggle, Marino put up career numbers, throwing for 473 yards and five touchdowns. Marino went on to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
8 of 13Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Somebody had to be the recipient of Dan Marino's spectacular opening week, and while Irving Fryar didn't lead the team in receptions, he did pace the team with 211 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Even more impressively, Fryar had been held to zero catches during the first half.
9 of 13John Iacono/SI
Hampered by injuries throughout the infancy of his career, Phil Simms knew 1984 was a crucial season. Sensing the urgency of the situation, he responded by putting up huge numbers in the opening week against the Philadelphia Eagles. He threw for 409 yards -- 306 of which came in the first half -- and four touchdowns en route to the second-greatest passing performance in New York Giants history. Simms was voted to and named Pro Bowl MVP that year.
10 of 13Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
The first of four Heisman Trophy winners selected by the New Orleans Saints, George Rogers is arguably the most successful. In an opening game romp against the then-St. Louis Cardinals, Rogers ran for 206 yards, a Saints' single-game record and the fourth-highest rushing total in NFL kickoff weekend history.
11 of 13Gin Ellis/Getty Images
A somewhat forgotten year in New York Giants history in 1980. It was a year before the Giants drafted Lawrence Taylor, and the 1980 squad went a putrid 4-12. But hope sprang eternal in New York when the season opened. The Giants narrowly defeated the St. Louis Cardinals primarily on the play of wideout Earnest Gray, who tallied 174 receiving yards and four touchdowns, tied for the NFL opening weekend record. Unfortunately for the Giants, this momentum didn't carry, and the Giants lost their next eight games.
12 of 13Vernon Biever/Getty Images
The Minnesota Vikings' history books are filled with a lot of great wideouts. Randy Moss, Cris Carter and even Jake Reed all rank above Ahmad Rashad in the franchise's record books. But no other Vikings receiver had an opening week quite like Rashad's. Facing the San Francisco 49ers, Rashad exploded for four receiving touchdowns, all of which came in the second half. His four touchdowns are tied for the most in an NFL kickoff weekend.
13 of 13Walter Iooss Jr./SI
The 1973 season was a record-breaker for O.J. Simpson, and Week 1 was quite the auspicious beginning. Facing the New England Patriots, Simpson set the record for the most rushing yards in an opening weekend game with 250 yards along with two touchdowns. Thirteen games later, Simpson became the first player to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!