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Badgers in the NFL: Week 1

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T.J. Watt proved he is worth every penny, Russell Wilson threw for four touchdowns and Melvin Gordon showed off his speed in an impressive Week 1 for former Badgers.

  • Russell Wilson, QB (Seahawks): Wilson opened the season with a stellar performance in Seattle’s win over the Colts. The ten-year veteran kicked off his MVP campaign by throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns, including two dimes to wide receiver Tyler Lockett.
  • Jonathan Taylor, RB (Colts): Taylor had a modest day on the ground in Week 1, finishing with 56 rushing yards on 17 carries. He was, however, a factor in the passing game, leading all Colts players with 60 receiving yards on six catches.
  • James White, RB (Patriots): The eight-year veteran had a team-high six catches for 49 yards in his first game with rookie quarterback Mac Jones. White played 37% of offensive snaps, but that percentage could go up in the coming weeks after fellow Pats’ running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson both fumbled in Week 1.
  • Melvin Gordon, RB (Broncos): Gordon had himself a big game in Week 1, needing only 11 carries to rush for 101 yards and one touchdown. His touchdown was a 70-yard scamper late in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory for the Broncos. Even with rookie running back Javonte Williams splitting carries with Gordon, it looks like the seven-year veteran still has plenty left in the tank.
  • Corey Clement, RB (Cowboys): Clement logged only one snap on offense, but played 47% of special teams snaps in the Cowboys’ loss to the Buccaneers.
  • Dare Ogunbowale, RB (Jaguars): The former walk-on was on the field for 63% of special teams snaps and notched two solo tackles in Week 1.
  • Derek Watt, FB (Steelers): The Steelers’ special teams captain played 69% of special teams snaps and had one solo tackle in their win over the Bills. Watt wasn’t really involved in the Steelers’ offense, seeing the field for just four snaps at fullback.
  • Alec Ingold, FB (Raiders): For a fullback, Ingold was heavily involved in the Raiders’ game plan on Monday night, playing 27% of offensive snaps and catching all four of his targets for 22 yards. The team captain also played 69% of special teams snaps in the Raiders’ win over the Ravens.
  • Ryan Ramczyk, OT (Saints): Ramczyk started at right tackle and played all 62 offensive snaps in the Saints’ blowout win over the Packers.
  • Rob Havenstein, OT (Rams): The seven-year veteran started at right tackle and played 100% of offensive snaps in Week 1.
  • Kevin Zeitler, OG (Ravens): In his first game as a Raven, Zeitler started at right guard and played every offensive snap on Monday night.
  • David Edwards, OG (Rams): Edwards started at left guard and played all 52 offensive snaps in the Rams’ Sunday night win over the Bears.
  • Michael Deiter, C (Dolphins): The former third-round pick started at center and played every offensive snap for the Dolphins in Week 1.
  • Tyler Biadasz, C (Cowboys): The second-year pro started at center and drew a tough assignment in Tampa Bay’s mammoth nose tackle Vita Vea for much of the game. Biadasz allowed a team-high seven pressures in the Cowboys’ loss on Thursday night.
  • Quintez Cephus, WR (Lions): Cephus finished with three catches for 12 yards, a touchdown, and a two-point conversion in Detroit’s loss to the 49ers. The second-year pro led all Lions wide receivers in targets with seven, and could see an increased role in the offense after showing some impressive ball skills in Week 1.
  • Alex Erickson, WR (Panthers): Erickson was activated from the Panthers’ practice squad on Sunday and played eight special teams snaps. He returned three punts for 31 total yards and also logged two snaps at wide receiver. On Monday, the former walk-on was signed to the active roster, where he will serve almost exclusively as Carolina’s punt returner.
  • J.J. Watt, DE (Cardinals): In his first game with the Cardinals, Watt started at defensive end and played 72% of defensive snaps. He tallied two solo tackles, one tackle for loss, and one quarterback hit in Arizona’s win over the Titans.
  • T.J. Watt, LB (Steelers): Fresh off of signing a new lucrative contract that made him the NFL’s highest paid defensive player by annual salary, Watt proved he was worth the investment in Week 1. Last year’s sack leader finished Sunday’s game against the Bills with three solo tackles, two sacks, five quarterback hits and a forced fumble. Watt is arguably the most disruptive defensive player in the league and with the contract dispute in the rearview mirror, he’s poised to have the best season of his career in 2021.
  • Joe Schobert, LB (Steelers): The six-year veteran started at inside linebacker and played 78% of defensive snaps in his first game with the Steelers. Schobert tallied six total tackles in Pittsburgh’s upset win over the Bills.
  • Andrew Van Ginkel, LB (Dolphins): Van Ginkel opened the season starting at outside linebacker and finished with five total tackles and one quarterback hit in Miami’s win over the Patriots. He played 71% of defensive snaps, while also seeing eight snaps on special teams.
  • T.J. Edwards, LB (Eagles): Edwards started at inside linebacker and finished with four assisted tackles in Philly’s win over the Falcons. He was also on the field for 73% of the Eagles’ special teams snaps.
  • Ryan Connelly, LB (Vikings): Connelly played 44% of special teams snaps in Minnesota’s loss to the Bengals on Sunday.
  • Zack Baun, LB (Saints): Baun played 40% of defensive snaps at outside linebacker and notched a team-high five total tackles in the Saints’ Week 1 win. He also logged 14 special teams snaps.

Rookies

  • Isaiahh Loudermilk, DT (Steelers): Loudermilk was a healthy scratch for the Steelers in Week 1.