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Badgers in the NFL: Week 1

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Russell Wilson goes off, while Jonathan Taylor and Quintez Cephus both have impressive rookie debuts

Veterans

  • Russell Wilson, QB (Seahawks): Wilson wasted no time reminding us just how great a quarterback he is. The nine year veteran was nearly perfect in Week 1, completing 31 of 35 pass attempts for 322 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks. Most importantly, he led the Seahawks to a 38-25 win over the Falcons. Wilson will no doubt be in the thick of the MVP race all season and already won his first NFC Player of the Week award this year.
  • James White, RB (Patriots): The Patriots led almost the entire game and attempted only 19 passes against the Dolphins in Week 1, resulting in a quiet game for White. He finished with three catches for 30 yards and added 22 rushing yards on five carries. Bigger games will almost certainly be on the horizon for White, especially as new quarterback Cam Newton continues to learn more of the offense.
  • Melvin Gordon, RB (Broncos): Gordon had a productive game in his debut for the Broncos, rushing for 78 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown, while adding three receptions for eight yards. The six year veteran did lose a fumble in the first half, something he has had issues with throughout his NFL career (four fumbles in 2019), but redeemed himself with an impressive second half. Gordon’s biggest competition for carries, Phillip Lindsay, was forced to leave Monday night’s game with turf toe and could miss several weeks.
  • Corey Clement, RB (Eagles): Eagles starting running back Miles Sanders missed Week 1 with a hamstring injury, forcing Clement into a rotational role in the backfield. He played 25 offensive snaps and totaled 19 rushing yards on six carries. He also had two catches for two yards and logged nine special teams snaps.
  • Dare Ogunbowale, RB (Jaguars): After being signed just three days before the Jaguars season opener, Ogunbowale was a healthy inactive for Week 1.
  • Derek Watt, FB (Steelers): In his first game with the Steelers, Watt logged just eight snaps at fullback. However, last season’s league leader in special teams tackles played 73% of special teams snaps and finished with two total tackles in Week 1.
  • Alec Ingold, FB (Raiders): Ingold notched 15 snaps at fullback but received no touches. He also played 59% of special teams snaps for the Raiders.
  • Ryan Ramczyk, OT (Saints): Ramczyk started at right tackle and played all 68 offensive snaps in the Saints’ win over the Buccaneers.
  • Rick Wagner, OT (Packers): The eight year veteran did not start Sunday’s game at right tackle, but was forced into action after an injury to one of the Packers’ starters. He filled in admirably, playing 46 offensive snaps at right tackle and allowing no sacks.
  • Rob Havenstein, OT (Rams): After missing the final seven games of the 2019 season due to a knee injury, Havenstein started at right tackle and looked healthy in the Rams’ Sunday night win over the Cowboys.
  • Kevin Zeitler, OG (Giants): The nine year veteran started at right guard and played every offensive snap for the Giants in Week 1.
  • David Edwards, OG (Rams): Edwards, who is the Rams’ back up right guard, played just five special teams snaps on Sunday night.
  • Michael Deiter, C (Dolphins): Deiter logged just one special teams snap in Miami’s Week 1 loss to the Patriots
  • Alex Erickson, WR (Bengals): The former walk-on played five snaps as the Bengals’ starting punt returner, finishing with 29 yards on two returns. Erickson also saw four offensive snaps at wide receiver but was not targeted.
  • J.J. Watt, DE (Texans): Watt had a relatively quiet game for his standards, finishing with three total tackles and two quarterback hits in the Texans’ Thursday night loss to the Chiefs.
  • Joe Schobert, LB (Jaguars): In his first game with his new team, Schobert played all 74 defensive snaps and notched eight total tackles and one tackle for loss.
  • T.J. Watt, LB (Steelers): After a breakout 2019 season, Watt picked up right where he left off in Week 1. He had one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, two passes defended, and a key interception that led to a Steelers touchdown. If he stays healthy, Watt should make another run at Defensive Player of the Year this season.
  • Leon Jacobs, LB (Jaguars): Jacobs started at strong side linebacker, but played only 15% of defensive snaps with the Jaguars playing in nickel and dime packages for most of the game. The former seventh round pick also logged 18 special teams snaps and finished with one total tackle.
  • Ryan Connelly, LB (Vikings): Connelly, who was a surprise cut by the Giants before the season, was a healthy inactive for the Vikings in Week 1. The former walk-on had been in Minnesota for less than a week, so it’s understandable why he didn’t see the field on Sunday. The Vikings need all the help they can get on the defensive side of the ball, as they allowed 43 points to the Packers in Week 1.
  • Jack Cichy, LB (Buccaneers): Cichy played 64% of special teams snaps and finished with one total tackle in Tampa Bay’s loss to the Saints.
  • T.J. Edwards, LB (Eagles): Edwards started at middle linebacker, finished with two total tackles, and played 82% of special teams snaps in Week 1.
  • Andrew Van Ginkel, LB (Dolphins): In a back up role, Van Ginkel played only 12% of defensive snaps for the Dolphins and finished with three total tackles. He also logged eight special teams snaps.

Rookies

  • Jonathan Taylor, RB (Colts): Taylor began Week 1 as the back up behind Marlon Mack, but was quickly thrust into action after Mack left the game in the second quarter with a torn Achilles. The two-time Doak Walker award winner didn’t do much on the ground (22 yards, nine carries) but shined in the passing game, finishing with six catches for 67 receiving yards. With Mack now out for the season, Taylor figures to be the go-to running back in Indy and has a realistic shot at winning Rookie of the Year.
  • Quintez Cephus, WR (Lions): With the Lions’ top wide receiver Kenny Golladay missing Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, Cephus was thrust into a starting role in his NFL debut. The fifth round pick led the team with ten targets and hauled in three catches for 43 yards. Cephus led all rookie wide receivers in snaps played in Week 1, and if Golladay is forced to miss anymore time he should continue to get plenty of looks from quarterback Matthew Stafford.
  • Tyler Biadasz, C (Cowboys): Biadasz logged his first NFL snap at left guard after starter Connor Williams lost his cleat on Sunday. He also saw another snap in Dallas’ jumbo goal line package, as well as four special teams snaps.
  • Zack Baun, LB (Saints): Baun was officially a healthy inactive for the Saints in Week 1. The third round pick missed a number of practices during training camp due to an injury, which could have contributed to him not suiting up on Sunday.