By Anthony McClean, Editor-In-Chief Emeritus
A new NFL season gives us another opportunity to celebrate the black field generals of pro football. Every week after all the action, BASN Newsroom will give a different look at the brothas under center.
With all the former and defending MVP’s, first-round picks, and other standouts in uniform, 2020 looks to be just as exciting and interesting on and off the field.
Here’s hoping we can have a full season despite the specter of COVID-19.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (Win vs. Houston)
The Super Bowl MVP looked to be in mid-season form in the Chiefs’ 34-20 win over the Texans. While some make look at his numbers (211 yards and three touchdowns) as pedestrian, the former MVP was able to spread the wealth with TD passes to the famous law firm of (Travis) Kelce, (Sammy) Watkins, and (Tyreek) Hill. He also got an assist from rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (138 yards, TD) as the defending champs won their 10th straight dating back to last season.
DeShaun Watson, Houston (Loss at Kansas City)
They say one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. For Mr. Watson, despite the early score, it got ugly early. No. 4 threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, but he also was under relentless pressure and was intercepted once. Since opening up a 24-0 lead in last year’s playoff, the Texans have been outscored 85-14 in the last six quarters at Arrowhead Stadium.
Cam Newton, New England (Win vs. Miami)
Who was that guy in the red, white, and blue No. 1 jersey. As if you didn’t know. Just one game in Foxboro and it appears the former NFL MVP never left. Newton rushed for 15 times for 75 yards and threw for 155 yards, leading a Patriots offensive attack that did most of its damage via the rushing game in their first game since the departure of Brady to Tampa Bay as a free agent. Newton’s 75 yards were the most by a Patriots quarterback since Steve Grogan had 81 in 1977.
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina (Loss vs. Las Vegas)
Speaking of Carolina, Teddy Ballgame saw his team fall behind early and nearly pulled off a comeback win before falling short against the Las Vegas Raiders. Bridgewater replaced the aforementioned Newton as the franchise’s starting QB and finished 22 of 34 for 270 yards and one touchdown in his Carolina debut.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (Win vs. Cleveland)
In last year’s season opener, the former Heisman Trophy Award winner used Miami’s defense as his personal stomping board. Sunday, Jackson looked like the reigning NFL MVP in leading the Ravens to a 38-6 win over the Browns. Jackson threw three or more touchdowns in his fourth straight regular season game, which ties a franchise record. The Ravens won their 13th consecutive regular season game, which is the longest streak since the Carolina Panthers won 18 in a row in 2014 and 2015.
Tyrod Taylor, L.A. Chargers (Win at Cincinnati)
Outlasting the pro debut of No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, Taylor did what he always does — keep his team around to win. Taylor threw for 208 yards, completing 16 of 30 passes and went 6 of 12 when throwing on third down. Taylor thrived despite playing without two starting offensive linemen as center Mike Pouncey (hip) and guard Trai Turner (knee) were out.
Dak Prescott, Dallas (Loss at L.A. Rams)
While many pundits tried to throw DP under the bus following Dallas’ opening loss, No. 4 was clearly not the main cause of concern new head coach Mike McCarthy. Prescott passed for 266 yards and a touchdown, but Dallas managed three points on its six drives in the second half. In fact, the Cowboys managed only 15 net yards on its final 10 plays of the game. A controversial pass-interference call and McCarthy’s decision to eschew a possible game-tying field goal late did more to seal Dallas’ fate rather than Prescott’s play.
Kyler Murray, Arizona (Win at San Francisco)
Is it too early to declare Christmas in Arizona? Murray threw for 230 yards and a touchdown and ran for 91 yards and another score to help the Cardinals overcome a pair of fourth-quarter deficits to beat the defending NFC champion 49ers. No. 1 also enjoyed his newest weapon on Sunday in wide out DeAndre Hopkins. The former Houston Texan took little time to make an impact. His 151 yards receiving made him one of five players with at least 14 catches and 100 yards receiving in the season opener.
Dwayne Haskins Jr., Washington (Win vs. Philadelphia)
New coach, new name, and possibly and new attitude in D.C.? Not only did the Washington Football Club overcome a 17-0 deficit against a division rival, they may have located their cornerstones on both sides of the ball in Haskins and this No. 1 pick Chase Young. Last year’s No. 1 pick from Ohio State was impressive on and off the field as he helped to rally the troops while head coach Ron Rivera was undergoing cancer treatment at the half. As for the other Buckeye, the No. 2 overall had a 1.5 sacks as D.C. had 8 sacks on the day and snapped a 6-game losing streak to Philly.
Russell Wilson, Seattle (Win at Atlanta)
Whenever I see the league scheduling Seattle for another 1:00 pm Eastern (10:00 AM Pacific) kickoff, I think of The Incredible Hulk TV show. “Don’t make Russell angry! You won’t like him when he’s angry!” On Sunday, Wilson completed 31 of 35 attempts (88.6 percent) for 322 yards and four touchdowns for a 143.1 rating in the Seahawks’ 38-25 win at Atlanta. His completion percentage of 88.6 is tied for the third-highest single game completion percentage (minimum 35 attempts) in NFL history. He also joined Hall of Famer Steve Young as the only players in NFL history with at least 30,000 career passing yards and 4,000 career rushing yards.
STAT OT THE DAY: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Baltimore Ravens became the first team in NFL history to win three straight season openers by at least 30 points. Lamar Jackson has as many touchdown passes (8) as incompletions (8).
Anthony McClean can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.