NFL

25 Most Explosive Week One Performances In NFL History

Darren - September 10, 2021
NFL

25 Most Explosive Week One Performances In NFL History

Darren - September 10, 2021
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Lamar Jackson (2019)

Some analysts disparagingly called Jackson a glorified running back after his 2018 season. But he proved them wrong in style on opening day the following year. This was an outstanding Week One performance from the talented sophomore. The Miami pass rush allowed him too much time and he took advantage of their vulnerability. He went 17-of-20 against the Dolphins for 324 yards with five touchdowns.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Furthermore, he became the youngest quarterback in history to record a perfect passer rating. Marquise Brown was the main beneficiary of Jackson’s brilliance because he secured two touchdowns in the first quarter alone. ‘Not bad for a running back,” Jackson told the media after the game (via SBNation). Those were fighting words but he had back them up.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

6. Tom Brady (2011)

Cam Newton made headlines with a sensational debut in 2011, but Brady upstaged the rookie. After Newton threw for over 400 yards against the Cardinals, Brady proved that he could go even further. He broke the 500 yard barrier for the first time in his career against the Miami Dolphins. In fact, it was one of his most complete performances because everything he attempted worked.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Brady found four different receivers with touchdown passes. He finished the game with a QB rating of 121.6 as well as a total of 517 yards (via Bleacher Report). The reigning NFL MVP proved that he was ready to continue where he left off because he scythed through Miami. Some claim that this was the best individual display of Brady’s explosive career because he was so good.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Marcus Mariota (2015)

The Tennessee Titans met the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week One in an intriguing match-up. Tampa selected Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick. Meanwhile, Tennessee used the second pick on another quarterback in Mariota. Comparisons between the pair were immediate and fans were excited to see who would stand out in Week One.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Mariota was excellent as Winston had a debut to forget. He became the second quarterback in history to throw four touchdowns. The Heisman Trophy winner finished 13 of 16 for 209 yards on his explosive first start (via SB Nation). Expectations were high after an outstanding college career with the Oregon Ducks. His time in the NFL hasn’t been perfect, but it started well.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. Fred Warner (2018)

Warner put up some outstanding defensive statistics on his NFL debut against the Minnesota Vikings. The Niners picked the BYU prospect after he fell to the third round of the draft. However, he belied his status to put on one of the most eye-catching performances of Week One in 2018. The linebacker was like a brick wall because the Vikings couldn’t get past him.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

He achieved 11 tackles throughout the game with one quarterback hit. Warner also forced fumbles, assisted tackles, and defended passes (via Sacramento Bee). Attacking players receive all of the plaudits but sometimes a linebacker can bring a crowd to their feet. Warner’s consistency impressed Kyle Shanahan and he played in every game. Then, in 2020, he made his first Pro Bowl appearance.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

3. Kareem Hunt (2017)

Some NFL fans are adamant that this was the greatest NFL rookie debut ever. It’s definitely up there thanks to Hunt’s explosive start to life on Week One against the Patriots. Hunt destroyed the record for yards from scrimmage with a blistering 246 (via The Ringer). He also scored three touchdowns against New England with five catches for 98 yards.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Hunt led the league in rushing yards and earned a Pro Bowl appearance for his efforts as a rookie. It was incredibly disappointing when his Kansas City career ended the way it did. However, there’s no escaping from his talent and his first start was indicative of that. Many fans say it was one of the greatest individual performances they’ve seen because the game was all about him.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2. Anquan Boldin (2003)

Boldin was a one-man wrecking machine against the Detroit Lions because they couldn’t stop him. The wide receiver showed the world what he was about with a record-breaking performance. He won the 2003 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award but it wasn’t a surprise. In fact, it seemed a foregone conclusion after his explosive debut.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The fact that he only exceeded 146 yards once again in his career after this game says a lot. His nine receptions and one touchdown lit the arena up (via Sports Illustrated). Boldin won a Super Bowl ring and also made three Pro Bowl appearances. But it’s fair to say that he never sustained the brilliance that he showed on his first start. However, there’s no shame in that.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Peyton Manning (2013)

Everything went right for Manning in this Week One win over the Ravens. It was one of the greatest displays of his iconic career. He threw seven touchdown passes against a hapless Baltimore team who couldn’t shut him down. Manning tied an NFL record in the process during an explosive game. In the end, he completed 27 of 42 passes for 462 yards (via USA Today Sports).

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

This was all about revenge after the Ravens ended the Broncos Super Bowl hopes in 2012. They had a great chance to win before Joe Flacco’s moment of magic to Jacoby Jones. In the end, Manning and his Broncos team got their own back. Baltimore didn’t play badly overall and put 27 points on the board. But Denver’s offense was unstoppable and they scored 49.

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