Beyond the Bison: Orientation

Doug Hendry, Editor-in-chief

Week one of the 2015 NFL season just finished after a long and tumultuous offseason, but after all of the Tom Brady trials, firework accidents, and Tim Tebow-mania, we can finally worry about one thing—football.

So what did we learn after week one?

The Brady to Rob Gronkowski connection is strong. We expected Brady to come out firing after getting out of his suspension, and three of his four touchdowns went to Gronkowski in a 28-21 victory over the Steelers. This could very well be a record-breaking year for the 26-year-old tight end.

Divisional matchups are always fun. Green Bay and Chicago started the season with 60 minutes of back-and-forth football. Aaron Rodgers connected with James Jones in his return to Green Bay for two touchdowns, and Julius Peppers was a force on defense against his old teammates as the Packers won 31-23.

Tyler Lockett has a bright future as a return man. The third round draft pick out of Kansas State University ran back two kicks for touchdowns in the preseason, and did it again against the St. Louis Rams in week one. In addition to his 57 yard punt return touchdown, Lockett ranked fourth on the Seahawks with four catches for 34 yards.

Kansas City did not have a wide receiver catch a touchdown the entire season last year or in week one, but that didn’t stop them against Houston. Travis Kelce reeled in two catches for scores and running back Jamaal Charles was everywhere, grabbing his own touchdown through the air from Alex Smith in a 27-20 win over Houston.

It may be a while before our rookie running backs start to excel. Todd Gurley and David Cobb are both out to start the season with injuries, and T.J. Yeldon and Melvin Gordon recorded just 51 yards each on the ground in their debuts.

The Buffalo Bills may be an actual threat to the Patriots in the AFC East. The surprise duo of Rex Ryan and Tyrod Taylor worked against the formidable Colts, while the Bills’ defense forced three turnovers in its upset over Indianapolis.

Tyrann Mathieu could become the best cornerback in the NFL in Arizona. I know it’s only been one game, but Mathieu showed why he was a force in college, leading the team with eight tackles and three pass deflections.

Marcus Mariota starts his career on a high note while his opponent and fellow rookie, Jameis Winston, struggled mightily. Before we knew what hit us, it was 42-14 Tennessee. Winston’s first pass went for a pick-six while Mariota had four touchdowns—in the first half alone. That’s a problem, Tampa Bay.

The Bengals’ offense is flowing well. A. J. Green just signed a four-year, $60 million deal, and the Bengals started with 33 unanswered points in its victory against Oakland.

Baltimore’s defense looked great against Peyton Manning, but it will only go downhill from here. The 2011 Defensive Player of the Year, Terrell Suggs, is out for the season with an Achilles tear, leaving John Harbaugh with a tall task of how to prepare his defense the rest of the way.

Game management is always underrated. With fewer than two minutes left in the Giants-Cowboys game, Eli Manning threw an incomplete pass on the Cowboys’ one-yard line rather than taking the sack, saving Dallas about 40 seconds. Tony Romo would then connect with Jason Witten for the game-winning touchdown with seven seconds left in the game.

The Falcons’ defense may finally be turning things around. They allowed the Eagles to jump back into the game, but Paul Worrilow led an improved Falcons’ defense that limited DeMarco Murray to nine yards rushing.

Now that we’ve gone through everything from week one, there is just one disclaimer—don’t overreact to anything that happens in week one. Week one is not the same as week 17, and there is plenty of time for teams to right the ship.

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