NFL News & Analysis

One up, one down for all 32 teams after Week 1: Brandon Aiyuk shines for 49ers, Broncos' offense falls flat

2RT4FYM Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. 10th Sep, 2023. September 10th, 2023 San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) jumps in the air to complete a touchdown catch in the 1st quarter during Pittsburgh Steelers vs San Francisco 49ers in Pittsburgh, PA. Jake Mysliwczyk/AMG Media (Credit Image: © AMG/AMG via ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!

• Brandon Aiyuk earns career-high PFF grade: The fourth-year wideout caught all eight of his targets for 129 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 92.9 overall grade.

• A conservative game plan limits Russell Wilson, Broncos' offense: The veteran signal-caller's average depth of target was only five yards downfield in Week 1.

• Will Anderson Jr. makes a statement in NFL debut: He was one of the highest-graded rookies of Week 1, racking up five pressures while posting a 78.7 run-defense grade.

Estimated Reading Time: 15 minutes


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Arizona Cardinals

One up: 71.1 team tackling grade

Jonathan Gannon’s defense employs a bit of a bend-don’t-break style, letting things happen in front of the defenders, which makes tackling extremely important. Arizona tackled well in his head coaching debut, missing only four tackles over the course of the game.

One down: QB Joshua Dobbs, 44.4 PFF grade

The Cardinals made a late trade for Dobbs and inserted him as their Week 1 starter, but he was the second-lowest graded player for the Cardinals' offensive. He made three turnover-worthy plays and zero big-time throws.

Atlanta Falcons

One up: Jessie Bates III, 94.5 PFF grade

Bates got a nice payday in the offseason and made the most of his debut in Atlanta. He picked off rookie Bryce Young both times he was targeted in coverage.

One down: Drake London, one target

Atlanta is a run-first offense, but at some point, you have to get your playmakers involved. London is an extremely talented receiver and needs more looks down the road.

Baltimore Ravens

One up: Zay Flowers, 80.3 receiving grade

Flowers showed off his shiftiness, forcing four missed tackles and tallying five first downs in his rookie debut. He was targeted 10 times, bringing in nine catches for a team-high 78 receiving yards.

One down: 45.5 team rushing grade

The Ravens had 110 yards on the ground as a team, distributed between five players. Lamar Jackson led the group in rushing, and starting running back J.K. Dobbins went down with an unfortunate season-ending injury.

Buffalo Bills

One up: Greg Rousseau, 86.2 PFF grade

Rousseau seemed to pick up where he left off from last season, notching five pressures on the quarterback in Week 1. He earned an elite 90.7 run-defense grade, as well.

One down: Josh Allen, four turnover-worthy plays

It was one of those games for Allen, who threw three interceptions to Jets safety Jordan Whitehead. He also had a critical fumble late in the game. It is no secret that Allen needs to clean up the turnovers.

Carolina Panthers

One up: 81.1 team pass-rush grade

Brian Burns and Derrick Brown were absolute game-wreckers, with Burns recording a 91.1 pass-rush grade and two sacks. Brown finished with an 81.0 pass-rush grade and a sack, as well.

One down: Bryce Young, lowest-graded QB of Week 1 (31.4)

It was a debut to forget for the No. 1 pick, who had two turnover-worthy plays and zero big-time throws. To be fair, he didn’t have many receivers creating separation downfield.

Chicago Bears

One up: Darnell Wright, 77.0 run-blocking grade

The rookie created a consistent push in the run game in his debut. He did allow five pressures, so there is still plenty of room to grow.

One down: Justin Fields, 49.4 passing grade

Fields did not show much growth as a passer, which is not what you want to see in a season opener. He had two turnover-worthy plays and one big-time throw, but he threw a rough pick-six.

Cincinnati Bengals

One up: Dax Hill, 74.4 PFF grade

Hill had big shoes to fill after the Bengals let Jessie Bates walk in free agency, and he played well in Week 1. He allowed one catch for six yards and had an interception.

One down: Joe Burrow, 82 passing yards

Burrow had one of the worst performances of his career. He earned a 43.0 PFF grade — his lowest grade since playing the Ravens as a rookie. There are excuses to be made, but this talented offense simply had no answers for the Browns' defense.

Cleveland Browns

One up: Myles Garrett, 90.3 pass-rush grade

Garrett might be the best pure pass rusher in the league at this point after he led the league in pass-rush grade last season. He tallied six pressures on Joe Burrow in Week 1 and even worked on his crossover as he was standing up over center Ted Karras.

One down: Jedrick Wills Jr., 44.3 PFF grade

Wills needs to step up this season. He was average as a pass blocker but posted a poor 36.6 run-blocking grade in Week 1 against the Bengals.

Dallas Cowboys

One up: 87.7 team defense grade

The Cowboys' defense made a statement in a shutout win against a division rival in prime time. Free agent addition Stephon Gilmore notched an interception and two pass breakups in his Dallas debut.

One down: 52.6 team receiving grade

It is hard to find any negatives about a 40-0 victory, but it still looks like the CeeDee Lamb show in Dallas. Lamb was responsible for 77 of the Cowboys' 143 receiving yards. They need Brandin Cooks to become that clear No. 2 target.

Denver Broncos

One up: Quinn Meinerz, 88.3 pass-blocking grade

Meinerz allowed no pressure on 42 pass-blocking snaps. This might be the season he takes the next step and breaks out.

One down: Russell Wilson, 5.0-yard average depth of target

Sean Payton's Broncos debut with Wilson didn't produce much explosion on offense. The veteran quarterback made one turnover-worthy play and one big-time throw. There were more big plays to be had, and Denver will need wide receiver Jerry Jeudy back from injury to create more separation downfield.

Detroit Lions

One up: Jahmyr Gibbs, 78.8 PFF grade

Gibbs was eased into his rookie debut but still showed off his electric ability, forcing six missed tackles and racking up 34 yards after contact. The Lions also got a massive road win in Arrowhead against the defending Super Bowl champs.

One down: 56.6 team coverage grade

The coverage unit, despite all of its offseason additions, did not look as improved as one would expect. They need some time to jell, but there's a lot riding on Detroit's secondary this season.

Green Bay Packers

One up: Zach Tom, 84.8 PFF grade

Tom had a great game at right tackle, allowing zero pressures on 30 pass-blocking snaps. Veteran left tackle David Bakhtiari also surrendered no pressure. Green Bay could have one of the NFL's best tackle duos.

One down: Jordan Love, 57.7 passing grade

Love had a solid game and picked up a big win as a starter, but it wasn’t as great as the box score suggests. He made one turnover-worthy play and zero big-time throws.

Houston Texans

One up: Will Anderson Jr., 83.1 PFF grade

Anderson was one of the highest-graded rookies of Week 1. He racked up five pressures while posting a 78.7 run-defense grade. He immediately looked like the best player on the Texans' defensive line.

One down: 51.7 team pass-blocking grade

The Texans allowed 17 pressures against the Ravens, which is not ideal — especially with a rookie quarterback in C.J. Stroud, who was consistently kept clean at Ohio State.

Indianapolis Colts

One up: DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart, 90.0-plus PFF grades

This interior duo is a nightmare for opposing offensive lines. Buckner recorded a 93.7 pass-rushing grade and three pressures in Week 1. Stewart came up with an 89.9 run-defense grade and also tallied three pressures.

One down: 38.8 team rushing grade

The Colts earned the lowest rushing grade in the league in Week 1. Maybe there is someone on the roster who could help…

Jacksonville Jaguars

One up: Trevor Lawrence, 86.3 PFF grade

Lawrence was the NFL's highest-graded quarterback from Week 9 through the playoffs last season, and he has picked up where he left off. He made three big-time throws and one turnover-worthy play in Week 1, all while looking great throwing to his new go-to receiver in Calvin Ridley.

One down: 38.5 team run-blocking grade

The offensive line is still a work in progress, and they need to improve in the run game. Of the Jaguars' 106 yards on the ground, 78 came after contact.

Kansas City Chiefs

One up: Patrick Mahomes, 80.0 PFF grade

It turns out that Mahomes is still very good at playing football. He produced two big-time throws in Week 1 and took no sacks despite being pressured on 20 dropbacks.

One down: 59.5 team receiving grade

You could feel the absence of tight end Travis Kelce, and the receivers did not step up. They dropped multiple passes, and the only wideout to earn a 70.0-plus receiving grade was rookie Rashee Rice.

Las Vegas Raiders

One up: Jimmy Garoppolo, 85.7 passing grade

Garoppolo had a great debut in silver and black, making one big-time throw and no turnover-worthy plays. He got the ball out quickly and didn't take a sack.

One down: Tyree Wilson, 40.5 PFF grade

The first-round draft pick was the lowest-graded player on the team in his debut. He finished the outing with a 43.9 run-defense grade and a 48.2 pass-rushing grade.

Los Angeles Chargers

One up: Rashawn Slater, 88.0 pass-blocking grade

Slater is becoming one of the league’s best left tackles. He allowed just one pressure on 46 pass-blocking snaps in Week 1. He might be the second-best player on the Chargers' offense.

One down: J.C. Jackson, 45.2 coverage grade

Jackson had a tall task in Week 1, but he is paid to stand up to those types of challenges. He did record an interception and two pass breakups, but he allowed 99 yards and a touchdown on three catches.

Los Angeles Rams

One up: Puka Nacua 81.3 PFF grade

The fifth-round selection had an impressive debut. He was targeted 14 times, catching 10 of those opportunities for 119 yards.

One down: 47.9 team run-defense grade

The Rams' defense showed some good flashes, but it is still a bit of an Aaron Donald one-man show. However, the inexperienced players have a chance to make a name for themselves this season.

Miami Dolphins

One up: Tua Tagovailoa, highest-graded QB of Week 1 (92.1)

Tagovailoa had his best game as a pro, earning a 92.8 passing grade after making six big-time throws. He did it on a 12.4-yard average depth of target, with head coach Mike McDaniel getting the most out of his quarterback.

One down: Jerome Baker, 38.9 PFF grade

Baker missed one tackle and finished with a 37.3 run-defense grade. He also allowed five catches for 69 yards in coverage.

Minnesota Vikings

One up: Ivan Pace Jr., 75.0 PFF grade

Pace, an undrafted free agent rookie, had a great debut after a good preseason. He tallied seven tackles with no misses while also logging a pressure.

One down: Kirk Cousins, pressured on 13 dropbacks

Cousins was pressured and took two sacks. He had a solid performance, but the Vikings have to keep him clean to maximize his talents.

New England Patriots

One up: Mac Jones, 78.3 PFF grade

Jones made four big-time throws and three turnover-worthy plays, and his 76.9 passing grade was a mark he hit only twice last season. He already looks more comfortable under offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

One down: Atonio Mafi, 38.5 PFF grade; Sidy Sow, 28.8 PFF grade

The rookie guard duo had rough debuts, finishing as the two lowest-graded Patriots in the game. To be fair, the Eagles’ defensive line is not the unit a rookie offensive lineman wants to start their career against.

New Orleans Saints

One up: Chris Olave, 81.4 receiving grade

Olave is the guy in New Orleans. He was targeted 10 times, catching eight for 112 yards. He had a great rookie season, but he looks primed to take that next step in Year 2.

One down: 48.1 team pass-blocking grade

The offensive line struggled in pass protection, allowing 15 pressures — four of which were sacks. Derek Carr needs to be kept clean to perform at his best.

New York Giants

One up: 86.1 team tackling grade

It was hard to find positives following a 40-0 loss against a division rival, but the defense missed only one tackle and Dexter Lawrence earned an 82.1 PFF grade.

One down: 45.4 team receiving grade

The Giants cannot seem to figure out their wide receiver room. The receivers accounted for only five catches and 41 yards.

New York Jets

One up: Garrett Wilson, 84.6 PFF grade

Wilson is a superstar in the making. He caught only five passes for 34 yards, but his touchdown grab to spark the Jets' Week 1 comeback was magnificent.

One down: Aaron Rodgers played four snaps

There is nothing else you can put here. Rodgers played just four snaps before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury — a gut-wrenching loss for this Jets team.

Philadelphia Eagles

One up: Jalen Carter, 92.1 PFF grade

Carter was dominant in his Eagles debut and is absolutely as advertised. His eight pressures led all interior defenders in Week 1.

One down: Christian Ellis, 36.8 PFF grade

Nakobe Dean will miss some time after a foot injury, and Ellis will be forced to step up alongside Zach Cunningham. If there is one weakness on this Eagles team, it's the off-ball linebackers.

Pittsburgh Steelers

One up: Keeanu Benton, 86.1 PFF grade

Yes, T.J. Watt earned an elite 94.9 pass-rushing grade, but we know what he is about. Rookie Keeanu Benton had a phenomenal debut, and with Cam Heyward injured, he will see much more playing time moving forward.

One down: Kenny Pickett, 5.0 yards per attempt

Pickett and this offense couldn't get anything going offensively, although they were up against one of the best defenses in the league. Pickett made two turnover-worthy plays and zero big-time throws.

San Francisco 49ers

One up: Brandon Aiyuk, career-high 92.9 PFF grade

Aiyuk had a career game against the Steelers, posting a ridiculous 4.30 yards per route run. He caught all eight of his targets for 129 yards and two touchdowns.

One down: 42.6 team pass-blocking grade

T.J. Watt was having his way with this offensive line, which could be a problem moving forward. The 49ers' offensive line allowed 14 pressures on the day, although the scoreboard did not reflect it.

Seattle Seahawks

One up: Charles Cross, 87.9 pass-blocking grade

Cross allowed zero pressures on 24 pass-blocking snaps. Right tackle Abraham Lucas also allowed zero pressures on 22 pass-blocking snaps.

One down: Charles Cross, played 38 snaps due to injury

Cross is extremely valuable to this offense, and they need him to be back quickly from this injury. Abraham Lucas also exited the game due to injury. They are two players this offense cannot afford to lose.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

One up: Tristan Wirfs 87.6 pass-blocking grade

Wirfs switched to left tackle from right tackle, and he earned a 78.6 PFF grade in Week 1. He allowed just one pressure on 38 pass-blocking snaps, so the switch is looking good thus far.

One down: 58.7 team run-blocking grade

The offensive line is without Center Ryan Jensen, and the run blocking was not great. Left guard Matt Feiler finished with a 75.5 run-blocking grade, while the other four graded below 65.0 in that area.

Tennessee Titans

One up: Peter Skoronski, 81.3 PFF grade

The first-round rookie was the highest-graded player on the Titans' offense. He ended up with an 80.1 run-blocking grade and a 74.2 pass-blocking grade, despite allowing one sack.

One down: Ryan Tannehill, 49.1 PFF grade

Tannehill had one of his worst performances in a Titans uniform. He accounted for zero big-time throws, and his four turnover-worthy plays tied Josh Allen for the most in Week 1.

Washington Commanders

One up: Jonathan Allen, 90.2 PFF grade

Allen is a game-wrecker, tallying four pressures on the quarterback. He was even better against the run, with an 87.1 run-defense grade.

One down: Sam Howell, 46.2 pressure-to-sack percentage

Howell made two turnover-worthy plays and zero big-time throws. He was pressured on 13 dropbacks and took six sacks, leading to a 46.2% pressure-to-sack percentage — a figure that trailed only Desmond Ridder on the week.


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