Pro Football Focus pick out their five top-rated players after the early slate of Sunday games
Who were some of the top performers from the first NFL Sunday of the NFL season?
From Ryan Fitzpatrick’s five-touchdown upset performance in New Orleans to Denzel Ward’s two-interception debut, we have chosen some stars from Week One of the NFL season…
Quarterback – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
‘Fitzmagic’ stole the show on Sunday with five touchdowns as the Buccaneers shocked New Orleans with a 48-40 shootout win.
The 35-year-old completed 21 of 28 passes on the way to 417 yards and four touchdowns through the air, and even added 36 yards and a score on the ground. Who needs Jameis Winston?
Running back – Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals’ sophomore runner accounted for 149 yards of offense, including a fourth-quarter score that gave them a lead they never surrendered.
Mixon’s ability to contribute both on the ground and through the air could quickly put him in the same class as fellow second-year players Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara.
Wide receiver – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill’s first two touches of the NFL season: 91-yard punt return for a touchdown. 58-yard catch for a touchdown.
0:42 Hill's Blistering 91-Yard Punt Return TD!
It did not stop there for the NFL’s most explosive player, as he ended the day with seven catches for 169 yards. Hill can score from anywhere.
Tight end – Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
New season, same Gronk. Tom Brady’s favourite target hauled in seven balls for 123 yards in another dominating performance, proving he is still the best tight end in the game.
Offensive line – Washington Redskins
Thanks to a superb rushing performance, the Redskins simply outclassed the Cardinals to spoil Steve Wilks’ head coaching debut.
They racked up 182 rushing yards (which leads the NFL), and had two backs surpass 125 all-purpose yards (Adrian Peterson, 196 and Chris Thompson, 128) for the first time since 2007.
Defensive line – Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens limited Buffalo to 153 yards, and LeSean McCoy to just 22 yards on seven carries. The whole defense deserves credit, but with six sacks and nine tackles for loss, the D-line proved to be dominant.
Linebacker – Von Miller, Denver Broncos
Miller showed why he has been a six-time Pro Bowler with an insane individual display against Seattle and Russell Wilson.
He managed three sacks, seven tackles, four quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Absurd.
Linebacker – Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears
How about that for a debut after signing the richest defensive contract in history? Chicago did not manage the win, but Mack proved his worth with a strip-sack and a pick-six in the first half. He’s going to elevate the Bears defense.
Cornerback – Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns
Despite blowing the chance to grab their first win since 2016, there were plenty of positives for the Browns on Sunday, including the play of their fourth overall pick Denzel Ward.
He picked off two Ben Roethlisberger passes, including a diving scoop off the turf. Even though their 21-21 tie does not stop them from being the league’s laughing stock, Cleveland are off to their best start in 14 years!
Safety – Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks
Despite missing all of Seattle’s offseason program, training camp and the preseason because he was seeking a new contract or trade, Thomas looked like he had missed no time at all.
He flew around the field and recorded an interception in the first quarter to set up Seattle’s first touchdown of the season. Thomas is still a star.
@PFF will provide a host of in-depth analysis throughout the season across Sky Sports platforms including our live coverage on Sunday and throughout our weekly build-up and reaction on www.skysports.com/NFL
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