Shield Talk: Surprises, disappointments in Week 1


Jerry Holt/Minneapolis Star Tribune/Tribune News Service

New Orleans Saints running back Adrian Peterson (28) is stopped for no gain by Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson (92), and middle linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) in the first quarter Monday night, Sept. 11, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. The Vikings won, 29-19.

Brent Jansen, Columnist

The National Football League is back. We have only been blessed with one week of football, but there has already been a fair share of surprises and let downs. Here are the top storylines of the week:

Hunt, Chiefs ruin New England’s Season Opener

After one of the greatest Super Bowl victories in NFL history, the Patriots’ 2017 season opener was ruined by Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs, falling 42-27.

In the offseason, there was a lot of speculation that the New England Patriots had the best offense in the NFL. While the team did lose starting wide receiver Julian Edelman to injury during the preseason, the Patriots still have downfield threats in Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan.

New England’s offensive performance wasn’t poor, ranking seventh in the league in offensive yards. The Chiefs, though, played a dominant offensive game.

Smith threw for 368 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. And the greatest surprise of all was the performance of Kansas City’s rookie running back Kareem Hunt. After losing a fumble on his first career carry, Hunt went on to rush for 148 yards and one touchdown and racked up 98 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions.

Houston and Cincinnati Disappoint

Coming into the season, most football fans looked at a Houston and Jacksonville matchup as a joke.

Houston was set to have the undisputed top defense in the League and Jacksonville was set to have one of the worst offenses. In the end, Jacksonville beat Houston 29-7.

Houston’s lack of offense led to their downfall. The Texans only gained 203 total yards, the lowest in the league for Week 1. Further north, the Cincinnati Bengals were shut out by the Baltimore Ravens.

For the Bengals, who have offensive weapons in A.J. Green, Joe Mixon, and quarterback Andy Dalton, the story was turnovers. Dalton threw four interceptions and lost one fumble. While several teams performed worse than Cincinnati and Houston (San Francisco and Indianapolis come to mind), Cincinnati and Houston were expected to be good teams. The two teams meet tonight for Thursday Night Football.

Adrian Peterson Underwhelming in Saints Debut

Adrian Peterson, who signed with the New Orleans Saints in the offseason after spending his entire career with the Minnesota Vikings, opened the season against his old team. What was supposed to be Peterson’s homecoming revenge turned into the spotlight for his replacement in Minnesota, Dalvin Cook.

Peterson only had six carries for 18 yards — an average of only three yards per carry. Cook had 22 carries for 127 yards, second in the league only to Kareem Hunt. That night, Cook broke Peterson’s record for most rushing yards in a Vikings rookie debut.

Peterson was also seen yelling at Saints coach Sean Payton on the sidelines. On his Twitter, Peterson said there was no argument as well as reassured the respect he has for Sean Payton.