National Football League

Veteran Presence

September 14

There was a lot of quarterback talk after the first NFL Sunday.

Lamar Jackson looks to already be in midseason form. Tom Brady lost his Tampa Bay debut. And Kyler Murray and the Cardinals upset the reigning NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers.

But in the midst of it all, two perrenial superstars were so spectacular that they couldn't be overlooked. 

Let's start with Rodgers.

To open his 16th year in the league, A-Rod finished 32-for-44 passing for 364 yards, 4 TDs and a 127.5 passer rating, leading Green Bay to a 43-34 win at Minnesota.

It marked the sixth consecutive Week 1 victory for the franchise, tying Kansas City for the longest active Week 1 win streak.

The Packers set a new franchise record for points scored in a season-opener, and Rodgers' 364 passing yards were the second-most passing yards of any QB in Week 1, behind only Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan (450).

The former Super Bowl MVP wasn't sacked once as he completed 72.7 percent of his passes at 8.3 yards per attempt.

With his 4 passing TDs, Rodgers now has 368 TD passes in his career, passing Eli Manning and moving into seventh place all-time.

Green Bay's offense spent over 41 minutes on the field, and Rodgers elevated those around him, including wide receiver Davante Adams, who tied a franchise record with 14 receptions, a record owned by Don Hutson since 1942.

He finished with 156 receiving yards and 2 TDs on 17 targets.

Shannon Sharpe always has been and remains high on Rodgers after Sunday's performance.

"He went to Minnesota – and everyone knows what a Mike Zimmer defense represents – especially the Minnesota Vikings ... He was spectacular. I'm beginning to think this isn't Aaron Jones' team, it might be Aaron Rodgers' team."

There was only one other QB that threw 4 TD passes on Sunday, and that was Seattle's Russell Wilson.

Seattle fans spent the offseason repeating the mantra, "Let Russ Cook," an ask to the Seahawks coaching staff to let Wilson air it out.

On Sunday, Russ cooked Atlanta to the tune of a 38-25 win for Seattle.

Wilson played the best season-opening game of his career in terms of passer rating (143.1) and QBR (87.5). His passer rating was the sixth-best of his career, as he completed passes to nine different receivers.

Wilson recorded the highest single-game completion percentage (88.6%) of his career, and opened the game with 11 completions in a row, a personal record.

If you don't count Wilson's throws to DK Metcalf, he would have pitched a perfect game. He was just 4-of-8 when targeting Metcalf, but was 27-of-27 for 227 yards and 3 TDs while targeting other weapons.

However, he did hit Metcalf for a 38-yard TD pass in the third quarter.

Sunday's win over the Falcons marked the fourth time in Wilson's career that the Seahawks have run the ball 20 or fewer times in a game in which he threw it 35 times or more. 

Also on Sunday, Wilson hit 30,056 passing yards and 4,022 rushing yards for his career, and joined Hall of Fame QB Steve Young as the only other player with at least 30,000 career passing yards and 4,000 career rushing yards.

After coming off a performance like that, Mark Schlereth already likes Wilson's odds at winning the regular season MVP:

"Russell Wilson has not only the offense to get this done, but more importantly, he has the defense to get him opportunities with the football. And the more possessions you have, with the weapons they possess, the more opportunity you have to put up scores and big-time numbers."

Lamar will be looking to retain his MVP crown, and Patrick Mahomes will be looking to recapture it.

But don't count out the veteran gunslingers just yet. 


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