Week 1 is the most exciting time to be an NFL fan. 'At last,' football fans exclaimed as they sat down to catch all the games from Week 1. The opening weekend of the NFL season offered thrills, spills, and plenty of exciting action.
Week 1 was also the first chance for NFL players to get reacquainted with the thundering home crowds (and boos) as they once again embraced the crowd support. While some players picked up right where they left off, some were sluggish out the blocks. With Week 1 done and dusted, here's a look at three players who starred for their teams.
Three breakout performances from Week 1 of NFL action
#1 - Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
Chandler Jones came into Week 1 fired up and frustrated. The 31-year-old edge rusher didn't get a new contract extension in the offseason. That pent-up anger was terrible news for the Tennessee Titans. Jones rampaged all game long as he notched five sacks on Ryan Tannehill.
Jones tormented veteran tackle Taylor Lewan all game until the Titans decided to bench him. It was a phenomenal performance, with Chandler duly making his case to get paid this offseason.
#2 - Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Plenty of pundits filled column inches over the offseason about Matthew Stafford. Some of the columns were flattering, most apathetic. 'So what?' said the naysayers. Stafford turned those narratives upside down after his first game for the Rams.
Stafford sizzled as Sean McVay's efficient offense allowed him to play quarterback, not Superman. Stafford posted a career-high passer rating of 156.1. The new Rams quarterback looked in command of his new offense, and the arm is still a cannon. For 12 years, people doubted Stafford. Sunday night was a glimpse into how special he is.
#3 - Christian McCaffrey
Week 1 heralded the return of superstar running back Christian McCaffrey. After missing much of last season, McCaffrey kicked off the 2021 season with a solid performance in Week 1. McCaffrey led the Panthers in receiving and rushing as Carolina beat the New York Jets.
At the moment, McCaffrey is arguably only behind Alvin Kamara as the best running back in the NFL. Him starring and finishing the game healthy was the perfect Week 1 gift for the Carolina Panthers.