Week 1 is officially in the books, which means it’s time to take a look at who the best players were around the league over an exciting and sometimes baffling first week of NFL action.
You can vote on who you think was the offensive player of the week after we lay out the candidates. Let’s start with Thursday’s incredible performers.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
It feels like a long time ago, but on the Thursday night opener rookie running back Kareem Hunt exploded onto the scene with a monster 148 yards rushing, 98 yards receiving and three all-purpose touchdowns.
It was the kind of performance you very rarely see from a running back against a Bill Belichick defense, but Hunt’s vision and electric pace made him unstoppable in the second half.
Of course, the one blot on his ledger was a fumble on his first touch, but after that it was like watching a varsity running back play pee-wee football. He was just too much for anyone on the Patriots defense.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
If Hunt’s performance was the most surprising of the week, Antonio Brown’s may have ben the most expected. He entered the game averaging 102 yards a game against the Browns (His highest opponent average against anyone he has played more than four times). By the time he left he had 182 yards, caught all 11 of his targets and accounted for 61.1% of all the Steelers offensive production.
The highlight of Brown’s play was a catch late in the game on the left sideline in traffic. What was so special about it? Well, for a start Brown was lined up wide right to start the play. He ran his route and continued as Big Ben did his usual thing, and once the ball was in the air he went up and took it away from a trio of Cleveland Browns who were waiting. We didn’t need much of a reminder of his talents, but Antonio Brown gave it to us on Sunday.
Sam Bradford, QB, Minnesota Vikings
It’s been a while since anyone called Sam Bradford good. He’s often accused of being a master of the check down and little else, and while Bradford took his share of check downs on Monday night he was exceptional throwing all over the field against New Orleans.
Bradford finished the night an incredible 27 for 32 with 346 yards and three touchdowns for a QBR of 95.2 (out of 100). He was pinpoint accurate all day and made continuously outstanding throws down the field, especially to Adam Thielen, who he connected with nine times for 157 yards.
Bradford was happy to stand in the pocket and slide away from the pressure, but he made a great touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs on a rollout as well.
It was the kind of performance that makes you think Minnesota would be better off with Bradford even when Teddy Bridgewater is healthy again.
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