Seahawks fans spent their entire offseason trying to convince Seattle's coaching staff to "Let Russ Cook," and based on Sunday's opener in Atlanta, it appears that the team finally decided to let Russell Wilson in the kitchen.
The "Let Russ Cook" mantra started because Wilson and the Seattle fanbase wanted to see the quarterback throw more this year, and that's exactly what happened against the Falcons during the Seahawks' dominating 38-25 win.
Wilson had one of the most efficient games of his career, going 31 of 35 for 322 yards and four touchdowns. Since Wilson had the hot hand, the Seahawks did something they almost never do, basically giving up on the run as they finished the game with just 20 carries, which is notable because the Seahawks never give up on the run. The win over Atlanta marked just the fourth time in Wilson's career that the Seahawks have run the ball 20 or fewer times in a game where he threw it 35 times or more.
Even though the Seahawks weren't running the ball, they did still utilize their running backs by calling plenty of screen plays. As a matter of fact, running back Chris Carson actually caught two of Wilson's four touchdown passes, including a 19-yarder late in the first quarter.
Overall, Carson caught six passes for 45 yards in a game where he also tacked on 21 rushing yards.
The first NFL Sunday of the 2020 season is in the books and there's a lot to go over. John Breech and Ryan Wilson join host Will Brinson on the Pick Six Podcast to break it all down; listen in the player below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
As for Wilson, the amazing thing about his performance is that if you don't count his throws to DK Metcalf, he actually had a perfect game. Although he was just 4 of 8 while targeting Metcalf, he was 27 of 27 for 227 yards and three touchdowns while targeting everyone else. Of course, that doesn't mean the Metcalf-Wilson connection wasn't working. The Seahawks second-year receiver actually caught a 38-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that put Seattle up 21-12.
For the past few years, the Seahawks have been running their offense like a power-running team that has a game manager for a quarterback, but the reality of the situation is that they have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. If they let him spend more time in the kitchen this season so he can keep cooking, the Seahawks could quickly turn into the favorite to win the NFC West.
Seattle 38-25 Atlanta
|Russell Wilson will get most of the credit for this win -- and he should -- but the Seahawks also got a lot of help from their bend-but-don't-break defense. The Seahawks didn't do a great job of slowing down Matt Ryan -- they surrendered 506 yards -- but they did come up with several clutch plays when they had to have them. Not only did they stop the Falcons on four different fourth-down attempts, but they also forced two turnovers in the second half with a fumble recovery and an interception. The Seahawks have now somehow won four straight regular season games where they gave up 500 or more yards.|
|No team shoots themselves in the foot better than the Atlanta Falcons, and that's exactly what they did in this game. Although the Falcons put up some impressive numbers on offense (506 total yards), they just couldn't come through on any clutch plays. Not only did they go 0 for 4 on fourth-down conversions, they also fumbled the ball away on a fake punt that they would have converted if the fumble didn't happen. Their defense also had no idea how to stop Russell Wilson.|
Buffalo 27-17 over N.Y. Jets
|If you read anything over the next week that lists the NFL coach mostly likely to be fired first this season, there's a good chance that Adam Gase is going to be at the top after an absolutely disastrous game in Buffalo. It's unclear what the Jets did during training camp, because it definitely doesn't look like they spent very much time practicing. On offense, the Jets went three-and-out on their first three possessions and then things only got worse from there. Defensively, the only time the Jets were able to make stop was when the Bills stopped themselves. It was any ugly Week 1 performance, and if the Jets keep playing like this, Gase isn't going to have a job for very much longer.|
|The only reason there's a minus sign included with this grade is because it could have been an absolute blowout if not for multiple mistakes from Josh Allen. Not only did the Bills quarterback miss multiple wide open scoring throws in the end zone, but he also fumbled the ball away twice. The good news for the Bills is that the Jets are so bad that none of those mistakes hurt them. Also, Allen more than made up for his mistakes with 369 totals yards (312 passing, 57 rushing) and three total touchdowns (two passing and one rushing). Stefon Diggs also had a huge debut in Buffalo with eight catches for 86 yards. Defensively, the Bills looked like they were in midseason form as they surrendered just 32 total yards on New York's first five possessions combined. The biggest question mark for the Bills after this game is probably rookie kicker Tyler Bass, who missed two of his four field goals (38, 34).|
Chicago 27-23 over Detroit
|For the first three quarters of this game, it looked like Mitchell Trubisky was on his way to getting benched before the start of Week 2, but then the fourth quarter happened. After struggling through the first three quarters, Trubisky caught fire in the fourth quarter with three touchdown passes that helped the Bears come back from a 23-6 deficit. Over the final four minutes of the game, Trubisky went 6 of 6 for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, the comeback wouldn't have been possible if not for a late interception by Kyle Fuller. The pick came with just 2:45 left to play and set the Bears up Trubisky's game-winning 27-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller.|
|Matt Patricia might not want to sit down this week, because he's going to have one of the hottest seats in the NFL after watching his team blow a gigantic Week 1 lead for the second year in a row. Last year, the Lions led 24-6 in a game where they ended up tying the Cardinals. This year, the Lions led 23-6 through three quarters before absolutely falling apart down the stretch. The fourth quarter couldn't have been any uglier for the Lions: Matthew Stafford threw his only interception of the game, Matt Prater missed a field goal and D'Andre Swift dropped what will likely go down as the easiest potential game-winning TD pass of his life. The only silver lining for the Lions is that they might have found a running back as Adrian Peterson rushed for 93 yards on just 14 carries.|
Green Bay 43-34 over Minnesota
| No doubt fueled by the team's decision to use a top pick on quarterback Jordan Love, Rodgers entered the Week 1 matchup with the Vikings with more than the usual vitriol toward a rival NFC North team. Combine those two things, however, and you get prime Rodgers, who completed 32 of 44 passes for 364 yards while adding four touchdowns and no interceptions. It was clear who his nuclear weapon would be going in, and Davante Adams did not disappoint. Adams flat out mauled the Vikings on their own field, grabbing 14 catches on 17 targets for 156 yards, and was basically the gingerbread man for much of the game as the Packers passing attack had their way at U.S. Bank Stadium. Once Rodgers got started, there was nothing that could stop him, and the Vikings suddenly became nothing more than a wet paper bag trying to stop a missile en route to losing their third straight to the rivals from Wisconsin.|
| It's OK to reiterate the obvious question here: how much will the Vikings miss Stefon Diggs in 2020? The absence of a deep threat was glaring for Minnesota in Week 1, and the Packers used the shortened field to mostly contain Adam Thielen. While Thielen did deliver a key touchdown on the back end of the third quarter to shrink the lead to 11 points, he didn't blast off to the degree of which he's capable, and it was in large part because there were no other receiving threats that forced the Packers to account for them. A promising and relatively easy opening drive touchdown by the Vikings was one of the few things they did right en route to a mostly bad game by Cousins, and a big lead after halftime siphoned most of any plan to force feed Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. Things finally did get going for Cousins, thanks to a 37-yard touchdown pass to Thielen in the third quarter, but it was too little, too late. Rodgers simply marched down the field and delivered another touchdown in rebuttal, which was a microcosm of the second half. Give the Vikings credit for not giving up, which is why this isn't an "F", but giving up the most points ever in the Mike Zimmer era is a terrible look. |
Packers-Vikings grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
New England 21-11 over Miami
| The Dolphins were given a number of chances to take this game, but they simply couldn't get over the hump. Miami struggled to stop New England's rushing attack that was spearheaded by quarterback Cam Newton. They also coughed it up three times, which proved to be the difference. This is a team still developing, but they had a decent showing to open up the year.|
| Cam Newton was able to flash his rushing ability -- scoring two touchdowns with his feet during his Patriots debut -- but the quarterback is still not a finished product in this system yet. He picked things up a bit as a passer in the second half, but that was largely thanks to designed plays that called for one read. Defensively the Patriots had their moments, but it was hardly their best effort. They forced three turnovers on the day, but Stephon Gilmore was also flagged for two penalties and Miami was able to hang around in this on. The N'Keal Harry fumble that should have been a touchdown was less than ideal. |
Dolphins-Patriots grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Washington 27-17 over Philadelphia
| Carson Wentz still holds on to the football too long and assisted the Eagles defeat with three turnovers on the afternoon, including two interceptions and a fumble in the loss. Wentz was behind the 8-ball from the start with an offensive line that had a right guard and right tackle that played a combined three snaps in regular season games (and no preseason). The offensive line was atrocious -- as expected -- but Doug Pederson did the Eagles zero favors by being too aggressive up 17 points, even though Wentz had a stretch where he went 0 for 6 with 2 interceptions to get Washington back in the game. The Eagles defense looked promising but was hindered by playing on a short field the majority of the second half. Not a good start for Philadelphia, a team already banged up after Week 1. |
| Feels harsh even giving Washington a mark this low. What a comeback by the Football Team to earn a victory for head coach Ron Rivera in his debut (and the first game for the team with their new nickname). Washington erased a 17-0 first-half deficit by not turning the football over and leaning on a dominant defensive line that finished with eight sacks on the afternoon. Ryan Kerrigan became Washington's all-time sack leader, finishing with two sacks and a forced fumble on the afternoon. Props to Rivera for living up to the "Riverboat Ron" nickname by going for it on fourth-and-1 at the Eagles' 4 with the game tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter. Washington scored three plays later to take the lead for good. Just a great win by Washington.|
Eagles-Washington grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Las Vegas 34-30 over Carolina
|This game couldn't have gone any better for the Raiders offense. Although a few teams around the league showed some rust in Week 1, the Raiders came out firing on all cylinders. Jon Gruden kept the Panthers defense guessing with a game plan that basically included a 50-50 split between running and throwing the ball (31 runs to 30 passes). On the ground, Josh Jacobs bulldozed Carolina's defense for 93 yards and three touchdowns. The Raiders also got a big offensive contribution from rookie Henry Ruggs, who caught three passes for 55 yards, including a 45-yard catch in the first half that set up a Raiders touchdown. The defense wasn't great for Las Vegas, but after last year Gruden has to be thrilled that that unit came up clutch with two big stops in the fourth quarter.|
|With a new coach, two new coordinators and a new quarterback, no one knew what to expect from the Panthers going into this game. If Week 1 was any indication, Carolina is going to be tough to beat this year. The Panthers offense moved up and down the field on the Raiders and totaling 388 yards, with Christian McCaffrey racking up 134 of those (96 on the ground, 38 through the air). New Panthers coach Matt Rhule had a solid first game, but he did make one huge mistake in the fourth quarter. On a fourth-and-1 from Vegas' 46, Rhule didn't give the ball to McCaffrey. Instead, the ball went to Alex Armah, who got stuffed for a loss with under 90 seconds left to play. If Carolina had converted, they might have been able to win the game.|
Jacksonville 27-20 over Indianapolis
|When the Colts signed Philip Rivers this offseason, they knew exactly what they were getting: a talented quarterback who has a penchant for throwing interceptions at the worst possible time. Because of that, they probably shouldn't be surprised by what happened in Jacksonville. Rivers put up some impressive numbers (36 of 46, 363 yards), but he kept Jacksonville in the game with two ugly picks. The first pick came in Colts territory and set up Jacksonville's first touchdown. The second pick was equally painful because it set up a Jaguars field goal with under five minutes to play in the game. There were also two possessions in this game where the Colts came away with zero points after getting inside Jacksonville's 12-yard line, including a failed fourth down play on the three. Not only did the Colts lose the game, but they also lost Marlon Mack for the year.|
|If the Jaguars were supposed to be tanking this year, someone forgot to tell Gardner Minshew. The Jags quarterback was nearly perfect (19 of 20 for 173 yards and three touchdowns) as his team managed to pull off the biggest upset of Week 1. Besides the play of Minshew, the Jaguars also got a phenomenal performance from a defense that came up with multiple clutch plays. Not only did they pick off Philip Rivers twice, but they also made two key fourth-down stops, including on a fourth-and-3 from Jacksonville's 3-yard line in the first quarter. If the Colts had scored on the play, Indy would have taken a 14-0 lead. Instead, Jacksonville made the stop and eventually tied the game up at 7.|
Baltimore 38-6 over Cleveland
| There were going to be miscues here and there for a team that is integrating a new coaching staff and scheme. However, the magnitude of those errors were both surprising and concerning. There are 22 starters on the field for any team; only two (David Njoku and Jarvis Landry) had even an "alright" game for the Browns. It will be a long season for Cleveland unless the team gets out of its own way. The Browns threw a pick, failed on a fake punt and missed an extra point in the first half, and things only got worse after that. |
| There is always room for improvement, but it is tough to find what to criticize about this Ravens team. Lamar Jackson was just as spectacular as ever whereas newly acquired Calais Campbell looked like he had been with the organization for several years. Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews took another step forward, and now J.K. Dobbins looks as though he will be a big contributor after a game where he scored two of Baltimore's five touchdowns. |
Browns-Ravens grades by Josh Edwards (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Chargers 16-13 over Cincinnati
| The Chargers were buoyed by their two-headed monster of Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley, who combined to rush for 144 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. Los Angeles' defense also came up clutch in the fourth quarter, forcing a pair of turnovers while holding the Bengals to under 300 total yards for the day.|
| Joe Burrow played well in his NFL debut, rushing for a score before leading the Bengals on what appeared to be at game-tying drive before Randy Bullock shanked a 31-yard attempt with seconds left. Cincinnati's defense also had its moments that included two fourth down stops in the game's first 30 minutes. Two turnovers, however, and a underwhelming run defense were among the main reasons why the Bengals were unable to pull off the upset.|
Chargers-Bengals grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
New Orleans 34-23 over Tampa Bay
| OK, can we revisit this Tom Brady to the Buccaneers hype again? Despite being arguably the best player of all time, there are going to be some growing pains when undergoing your first-ever change of scenery complete with a new head coach, new offensive weapons, new system and a lack of a preseason due to a pandemic. Brady threw two interceptions on Sunday -- which is notable because he didn't throw more than one pick in any regular-season game last season. Tampa Bay will improve, but it just wasn't ready to take on the NFC South champions yet. While Brady has more work to do with his new teammates, the same goes for Bruce Arians and his offensive strategy. Ronald Jones rushed for 66 yards while averaging less than four yards per carry and Leonard Fournette rushed just five times for a total of five yards. LeSean McCoy caught just one pass and Mike Evans caught only one of his four targets. The Buccaneers could have beaten a lesser team today, but the Saints and all of their returning players were just too much in Week 1.|
| The Saints did get the win, but this wasn't an "A+" performance. Drew Brees threw for just 160 yards and two touchdowns and New Orleans recorded 328 yards of total offense. Michael Thomas had just three catches for 17 yards and Emmanuel Sanders wasn't a big part of the game plan until the second half. The Saints are once again going to be one of the best teams in the NFC, but Sunday wasn't a great example of what this team is capable of. Still, they got the win and that's all that matters.|
Buccaneers-Saints grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Arizona 24-20 over San Francisco
|The Arizona Cardinals didn't play a perfect game on Sunday, but they came pretty darn close. Going into the game, the Cards' defense was viewed as the potential weak link of the team, but it definitely wasn't the weak link in San Francisco. The Cards defense continuously came up big, especially on third down, holding the 49ers to just two conversions on 11 attempts. They were also able to get constant pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo, who was sacked three times. Of course, the star of the game was Kyler Murray, who thoroughly outplayed Garoppolo. Not only did Murray pass for 230 yards and a TD, but he also led the team in rushing with 91 yards and another TD. Kliff Kingsburry also made it clear that DeAndre Hopkins is going to be a big part of Arizona's offense. In his first game with the Cardinals, the receiver caught a career-high 14 passes for 151 yards.|
|The 49ers offense fell apart in the second half of this game and that's mainly because the Cardinals figured out how to stop George Kittle, who caught zero passes over the game's final two quarters. With Deebo Samuel out and Kittle struggling, Jimmy Garoppolo looked uncomfortable for most of the second half as the offense sputtered. Defensively, the 49ers look gassed for most of the fourth quarter, and not surprisingly, that's when the Cardinals did most of their damage with two touchdown drives. San Francisco simply had no answer for DeAndre Hopkins or the scrambling ability of Kyler Murray. Not to mention, the 49ers struggled in every phase of the game as they also had a special teams gaffe in the first quarter (Arizona blocked a punt) that led to a Cardinals touchdown.|
L.A. Rams 20-17 over Dallas
| Dak Prescott was really good. Ezekiel Elliott was really good. Aldon Smith was surprisingly really good. Unfortunately, Mike McCarthy was not, at least when it mattered most, preferring to play it safe despite an envious array of weapons. It didn't help that the defense couldn't stop the Rams pretty much all night. Still, this team had the looks of one that can be dangerous when everything is clicking.|
| Yes, they were at home, but everything else about this game suggested they would be Week 1 fodder for the high-powered Cowboys. Not so. Sean McVay had a pitch-perfect script to keep Jared Goff comfortable. The O-line handled Dallas with relative ease. Malcolm Brown was a revelation as the unofficial RB1. And both Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey proved that all you need is a few play-makers to swing things on "D." Huge win for this club.|
Cowboys-Rams grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Pittsburgh 26-16 over N.Y. Giants
| The Steelers had one of the best defenses in the NFL last season and if their opening game in New York was any indication, they might actually be even better in 2020. Pittsburgh's defense came up with multiple huge plays in this game and the Steelers needed every single one of them. After a muffed punt in the first quarter gave the Giants the ball at Pittsburgh's 3-yard line, the Steelers defense responded by holding New York to a field goal. The defense also picked off Daniel Jones twice while holding Saquon Barkley to just six yards. Offensively, the Steelers got off to a slow start in New York, but that was expected, considering Ben Roethlisberger hadn't played a game in nearly a year. Once Big Ben got rolling, he was nearly unstoppable, throwing for 229 yards and three touchdowns, including a TD pass that capped off a perfectly run two-minute drill at the end of the first half. One of the biggest surprises for Pittsburgh was Benny Snell, who rushed for 104 yards after James Connor left the game with an injury. JuJu Smith-Schuster also starred for Pittsburgh. Not only did he catch two touchdown passes, but he came up with a huge fumble recovery in the second half after Sneed lost the ball in Pittsburgh territory.|
| The Giants offensive line was a weak link for the team last season and it doesn't look like things have gotten much better for 2020. The Giants couldn't get anything going offensively, and that's mostly because Daniel Jones spent nearly the entire game running for his life. Although he was only sacked three times, the Steelers relentless pressure caused the Giants quarterback to throw two interceptions, including a huge one in the third quarter that came at the goal line after an 87-yard drive. The struggle of the offensive line also led to issues for Saquon Barkley, who couldn't find a single hole to run through. Barkley carried the ball 15 times for just six yards, which was the second-lowest rushing total of his career and his lowest total in a home game. |
Tennessee 16-14 over Denver
|This game is exactly why the Titans decided to give Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry big money extensions this offseason. In a two-point win, the Titans stars came through big time: Henry rushed for 116 yards and Tannehill threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Both players came through in the clutch on the team's final offensive drive of the game. With the Titans trailing 14-13, Tennessee drove 83 yards to set up a game-winning field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. The kick was an exclamation point on what was a nightmare game for the Titans new kicker, who missed three field goals and an extra point. It was big win for the Titans, who played most of the game without three key defensive backs in Adoree' Jackson (injured reserve), Johnathan Joseph (injured during the game) and Rashaan Evans (ejected in the first quarter).|
|With eyes in Denver on Drew Lock, the Broncos quarterback played well enough to give fans hope, but not well enough to lead his team to win. Although Lock made several impressive throws in the game, he struggled in key situations. In the second half alone, the Broncos offense went stagnant as they went three-and-out on three of their six possessions. Despite the loss, the Broncos may have found some new offensive weapons as newcomers Melvin Gordon (15 carries, 78 yards) and Jerry Jeudy (four catches, 56 yards) both made big plays for Denver, although Jeudy did drop two passes. Tight end Noah Fant also had a solid game, catching five passes for 81 yards. Defensively, the loss of Von Miller left a gaping hole in the Broncos front seven. Denver's D got diced up by Ryan Tannehill, who was only sacked one time in the game.|