NFL Week 1 awards: The best and worst from Sunday’s action

By Andy Nesbitt,

And just like that … football is back.

Let’s all take a second to catch our breath. Sunday was pretty nuts.

OK, that’s enough down time. Let’s take a look back at some of the best and worst moments from the day’s action.

Biggest bonehead move: Darius Reynaud, Titans. Well, it didn’t take long for our biggest bonehead move of the day to occur. In fact, it happened on the very first play in the Titans-Steelers game in Pittsburgh, when Reynaud downed the opening kickoff in the end zone. Pretty harmless, right? Wrong, because his feet were just outside the end zone when he first touched the ball. The refs huddled up to talk for a few seconds before correctly ruling it a safety. The Titans rebounded from the gaffe, however, and beat the Steelers in a boring affair, 16-9.

Biggest bonehead play, runner-up: Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Chances are David didn’t have the best flight home after the game. Why? His late hit on Geno Smith in the final minute put the Jets in field-goal range and led to Nick Folk’s 48-yard game-winner just moments later.

Best catch using only one hand: Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals. The second-year pro out of Notre Dame may have made the catch of the season, and it’s only Week 1. Seriously, how did he hold onto this ball?

Best catch using both hands: Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears. The former Dallas Cowboy and New York Giant found the end zone in his debut with the Bears and he did it in style. Check out his fingers in the GIF below. He wasn’t letting go of that ball.

Best first carry of the season for a running back: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings. The reigning rushing champ picked up right where he left off last year as he took his first carry of the year 78 yards for a vintage Adrian Peterson touchdown.

Worst mistake by the refs: The crew in the Packers-49ers game. The referees made the right call after a skirmish broke out but they messed up on the enforcement of the penalty. Our NFL rules expert, Mike Pereira, explains:

Funniest rookie mistake that didn’t cost his team: Geno Smith, New York Jets: The QB out of West Virginia earned a W in his first start (in dramatic fashion, too), but it’s what happened toward the end of the first half that first caught our attention as he tried to call a timeout right before the two-minute warning. Referee Ed Hochuli, knowing the rookie probably didn’t realize the two-minute warning was coming up, ignored the QB’s plea for a timeout. A pro move by Hochuli and his biceps. Geno Smith threw his first career TD a few plays later. (GIF courtesy of SBNation)

Worst cheap shot: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions. Suh added to his list of dirty plays on Sunday when he chopped Vikings center John Sullivan below the waist during an interception return. Suh was flagged 15 yards for the move, but more importantly he cost the Lions seven points as DeAndre Levy’s INT return for a TD was called back. Expect Suh to be fined by the NFL for this:

Best play by a rookie: Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals. It didn’t take the Honey Badger long to make a highlight-reel play as he chased down Rams tight end Jared Cook and absolutely laid out to force a fumble that prevented a sure touchdown. Holy athleticism. (GIF courtesy of gifdsports)

The best timing of the day: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers. The veteran safety can still get it done in a number of ways, as he proved Sunday when he timed the snap perfectly and brought down Titans QB Jake Locker right after he got the ball. Not much went right for the Steelers on Sunday, but this play was a thing of beauty.

The worst timing of the game: Old guy on the chain gang in Indianapolis. Being a part of the chain gang sounds like a fun gig, I mean you get to see the action unfold just a few feet away from you. And sometimes you get to see the action plow into you and toss you to the ground. That’s exactly what happened to this poor guy as he couldn’t get out of the way of Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor (GIF courtesy of SBNation):

Worst injury of the day: Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers. The Pro Bowl center had his season come to an abrupt end after tearing his ACL and MCL against the Titans. Making the injury worse is that teammate David DeCastro caused it when he fell into Pouncey’s knee. (GIF courtesy of SteelersDepot)

Best quote from a winning coach:Rex Ryan, New York Jets. The lame duck coach of the Jets almost couldn’t believe that his team – which has been a circus for quite some time – was able to pull off a wild victory in the closing seconds. “Man, oh man. We talk about a resilient group, and we certainly have it. We fought all the way to the end. One team, one fight, well, there it is. Holy cow. Man, I mean, we’ll take it. There’s no question.”

Best quote from a losing coach:Doug Marrone, whose Buffalo Bills lost to Tom Brady and the Patriots on a last-second field goal. “You talk about a sense of disappointment – this is devastating. We know what the people want. We all are letting people down.”

Best feel-good moment: Steve Gleason leading the Saints crowd in the ‘Who dat’ chant. There weren’t many dry eyes inside the Superdome when Gleason, a former Saints safety who is suffering from ALS, went out with head coach Sean Payton to do the traditional “Who Dat” chant before the team’s game against the Falcons. The Saints then went out and picked up a thrilling victory. Totally awesome.

Best group touchdown celebration: Joique Bell, Detroit Lions and Lions fans at Ford Field. The Lions running back was so excited after scoring his second TD in a win over the Vikings that he climbed the railing behind the end zone and did the Hip Hop Hooray pantomime.

Best meltdown by a mascot: Rampage, St. Louis Rams. Rampage was very happy that the Rams were able to down a punt inside the 1-yard line against the Cardinals. Then the line judge came in and called it a touchback and Rampage LOST IT. (GIF courtesy of

Best cleats worn in pregame: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers. Newton busted out a sweet pair of Superman cleats for pregame warmups … but didn’t wear them during the game because he would have been fined by the NFL.

Most confused fan: This Jacksonville Jaguars fan. It didn’t take this guy long to wonder what the heck was going on with his favorite football team. But c’mon, what was he expecting? It’s the Jacksonville Jaguars! They ended up losing their home opener 28-2. Ouch. (GIF courtesy of SBNation)

Best photobomb by a bearded guy behind Erin Andrews: This guy!