NFL Week 1 Studs and Duds

September, 8, 2013
9/08/13
10:21
PM ET
The best and worst performers from Week 1:

Studs

Jones
Kaepernick
Boldin
Anquan Boldin/Colin Kaepernick
Receiver/Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers largely abandoned the read-option and instead shredded the Green Bay Packers with a passing combination that didn't exist in the teams' playoff meeting. Boldin caught 13 of the 17 passes Kaepernick threw his way for 208 yards and a touchdown. Kaepernick, limited to 22 yards rushing, instead threw for a career-high 412 yards in a 34-28 victory. The Packers were as helpless stopping the Boldin-Kaepernick duo as they were in limiting the read option last January.

Bush
Bush
Reggie Bush
Running back, Detroit Lions
There should be no more questions about the fit between Bush and the Lions' scheme. Bush showed us what should happen when teams prioritize receiver Calvin Johnson, as the Minnesota Vikings did at Ford Field. Johnson caught four passes for 37 yards, but Bush produced 191 offensive yards, including a 77-yard touchdown reception through the middle of the Vikings' defense, in the Lions' 34-24 victory. Two other touchdowns were reversed on replay and instead ruled down on the 1-yard line. Afterward, Bush revealed he did most of that with a dislocated finger.

Green
A.J. Green
Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals
Green accounted for almost 60 percent of the Bengals' passing yards in a 24-21 loss to the Chicago Bears. He caught nine passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, including a 45-yarder against All-Pro cornerback Charles Tillman. If it weren't for Boldin, the NFL world would be buzzing more about Green's performance against a still-stingy defense.

Tillman
Charles Tillman
Cornerback, Chicago Bears
Despite Green's big day, Tillman deserves mention for intercepting Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton twice. One set up a Bears touchdown and the other stopped a Bengals drive at the Bears' 17-yard line. Although he struggled with dehydration, Tillman served notice that he is still an elite player.

New Orleans Saints defense
In their debut under new coordinator Rob Ryan, the Saints turned up the heat on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in a 23-17 victory. Rob Ryan sent at least five pass-rushers 15 times Sunday and got three sacks out of it. (The Saints didn't sack Matt Ryan in two games last season when using added pressure.) Overall, the Saints had Matt Ryan under duress on 29 percent of his dropbacks, almost double what they managed in 2012. It's also worth pointing out the huge play that rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro made to break up a potential late touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez.

Bush
Amendola
Danny Amendola
Receiver, New England Patriots
In his first game since replacing Wes Welker in the Patriots' offense, Amendola caught 10 passes for 104 yards. Nine of those receptions went for a first down and seven converted a third down. That's pretty much what you want from your slot receiver, isn't it? Welker had nine first-down receptions twice in 77 games with the Patriots.

Duds
David
Lavonte David
Linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I almost feel bad piling on here. After all, David's morose expression as he walked to the sideline suggested that he fully understood the gravity of his mistake at the end of the Bucs' 18-17 loss to the New York Jets. David, of course, hit Jets quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds with 15 seconds remaining in the game, moving the ball from the Bucs' 45-yard line to the 30. Nick Folk kicked a 48-yard field goal on the next play to win it. How unlikely was the Jets' victory? With 34 seconds remaining, and the Jets at their 20-yard line, the Bucs' win probability was 94.8 percent, according to Pro Football Reference. But let's not blame David solely for the loss. The Bucs gave the Jets a total of five first downs via defensive penalties.

Gabbert
Gabbert
Blaine Gabbert
Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars
Gabbert deserves credit for forging ahead with fractured right thumb, and for continuing to play with a cut on the same hand that needed 15 stitches. But the offense he and the Jaguars put on the field Sunday was historically bad. Gabbert managed just 121 yards and was sacked six times while completing 16 of 35 passes. It was the ninth time in the past four seasons that a quarterback has had YPA of 3.5 or less -- with a minimum of 20 attempts -- in a single game.

Those sloppy, silly Detroit Lions
The Lions did everything imaginable to avoid a victory Sunday. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh wiped out a touchdown with an illegal, low block on an interception return. Safety Louis Delmas inexplicably drew a taunting penalty, adding 15 yards to a 12-yard play. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew was called for holding on a successful fourth-down run and later lost a fumble. Nickel back Bill Bentley dropped what was a sure interception for a touchdown. Overall, the Lions committed 11 penalties.

Wallace
Wallace
Mike Wallace
Receiver, Miami Dolphins
Wallace was targeted five times and managed one catch for 15 yards in his debut with the Dolphins, who signed him to the NFL's richest free-agent contract of the spring. Rather than accept his quiet start and celebrate the Dolphins' 23-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns, Wallace was angry after the game and told reporters to "Ask Coach" about the game plan. Way to be a team player, Mike.

Those sloppy New York Giants
Quarterback Eli Manning threw an interception on the first play of Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys, and it was downhill from there. Somehow, the Giants lost by only five points despite committing six turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Manning threw three interceptions, including one off a tipped pass that Brandon Carr returned 49 yards for a game-clinching score. And running back David Wilson was benched after losing the second of his two fumbles. It was only the third game in the past 30 seasons that the Giants have committed as many as six turnovers in a game.

 

(All statistics from ESPN Stats & Information unless otherwise noted.)

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