What We Saw: Week 1

Deebo Samuel became the King of the Jungle after his performance against the Lions.

Cardinals @ Titans

Final Score: Cardinals 38, Titans 13

Writer: Dan Adams (@dadams0323 on Twitter)


Expectations for this game were high, as it had one of the highest totals for the week and featured plenty of explosive offensive talent. Half of the teams lived up to that billing, while the other half never got going. Arizona dominated from start to finish, led by Kyler Murray’s dazzling abilities to make defenders miss and throw the ball all over the field. Defensively, Chandler Jones had five sacks and the Cardinals’ defensive line almost single-handedly shut down the Titans’ offense. DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk caught two touchdowns apiece, and from their first drive on the Cardinals led the entire game. In the second half, Arizona let off the gas a bit but still won the game comfortably. The Titans struggled to move the ball at all, committing three turnovers, and their kicker missed a field goal and an extra point. Arizona won 38-13 in a game where most of the Titans players on both sides of the ball will want to burn the tape.


Arizona Cardinals




Kyler Murray: 21/32, 289 yards, 4 TD, INT | 5 carries, 20 yards, TD


Kyler Murray was incredible today. He looked electric with the ball in his hands, consistently making defenders look like they were playing in slow-motion. He had three carries for 29 yards called back on penalties away from the play, on top of the runs that counted. He also had a few plays where he ran around in the backfield before finding a receiver downfield, and at times it looked like there was nothing the defense could do about it.



On the next drive, Murray again danced in the backfield before finding DeAndre Hopkins in the back of the endzone.



When he wasn’t making defenders look bad in the open field, Murray was able to pick them apart with his arm from the pocket. He had good velocity on his underneath throws and good touch on his deeper passes. He dropped in a perfect pass down the sideline to Hopkins on one drive and on another drive, found Christian Kirk downfield, putting the ball in a perfect spot for Kirk.



Murray’s touchdown run was probably his least remarkable play of the day, as he just went untouched into the endzone on a designed quarterback bootleg, but the stats count all the same. Overall, a monster performance for Murray that should remind everyone how dominant he was to start the season last year and the ceiling performances he is capable of.



Running Backs


Chase Edmonds: 12 carries, 63 yards | 4 targets, 4 receptions, 43 yards

James Conner: 16 carries, 53 yards


Their stat lines don’t look too bad, but both RBs were pretty disappointing today. Chase Edmonds picked up 36 of his 43 receiving yards on the last play of the first half when the Titans were playing prevent defense. Edmonds caught a short pass and ran through the open space before eventually being tackled by Titans receiver A.J. Brown. Edmonds was solid as a runner, but James Conner out-carried him and got the only carry between the two near the goal line. For his part, Conner looked effective as a runner but 11 of his 16 carries came in the second half after the Cardinals had established a big lead, and he wasn’t targetted. For now, it seems that the two are in a time-share, with Edmonds handling passing downs and Conner being used as a more traditional power back. Edmonds seems safer, especially since he got a lot of work early in the game when the result was still in question, but it seems like his touchdown chances will be dependant on long plays.



Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


DeAndre Hopkins: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 83 yards, 2 TD

Christian Kirk: 5 targets, 5 receptions, 70 yards, 2 TD

Rondale Moore: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 68 yards

A.J. Green: 6 targets, 2 receptions, 25 yards


DeAndre Hopkins had a fantastic start to this game, putting up much of his production and both of his touchdowns in the first quarter. After that, the Titans seemed to focus more attention on him and the Cardinals started spreading the ball around more, but not before Hopkins broke out a spin move for his second touchdown of the game.



Hopkins also drew a defensive Pass Interference penalty that went for 17 yards. Christian Kirk took over after that, going for two touchdowns of his own. Most of Kirk’s production came on targets down the field, but he did show some after-the-catch ability on a screen pass. His best catch of the game came on his second touchdown reception, where Kirk went up and caught a beautifully placed ball in the endzone.



A.J. Green had a quiet debut for the Cardinals but did draw an endzone target on a designed fade route for him at the goal line. He also should have drawn a defensive Pass Interference penalty on what should have been a fairly long reception, but the refs decided to pick up the flag for reasons only they know. Rondale Moore made his NFL debut and was used as expected, running mostly underneath and screen routes with one target down the field.



Tennessee Titans




Ryan Tannehill: 21/35, 212 yards, TD, INT, 2 Fumbles (2 Lost) | 2 carries, 17 yards, TD

Matthias Farley: 1/1, 6 yards


Ryan Tannehill had a tough day, but a lot of that can be summed up by his starting left tackle publicly acknowledging that he was dominated throughout the game.



Cool of him to take ownership of the team’s struggles like that, but it didn’t do anything for the Titans’ offense on the field today. The Cardinals’ defensive line, led by five sacks from Chandler Jones, lived in the Tennessee backfield. There’s just not much a quarterback can do when an elite pass rusher is getting a free run at him like this:



Tannehill was strip-sacked twice, and it’s a testament to him that he didn’t turn the ball over more. He also didn’t get much help from his receivers, as there were several dropped passes, including one that was deflected by Julio Jones up into the air for an easy interception.



When he had time to throw, which was maybe five or six plays total, Tannehill looked fine, so assuming the offensive line gets it together, fantasy managers with Tannehill shouldn’t be worried. This was a brutal game environment, and he still managed one touchdown through the air and another on the ground.



Running Backs


Derrick Henry: 17 carries, 58 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards

Jeremy McNichols: 2 carries, 9 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 24 yards


Anytime the Titans fall behind early, it’s going to be hard for Derrick Henry to have a good game, given his lack of receiving work. His four targets are misleading, as two of them came in garbage time when the Cardinals were just focused on not allowing a big play. Most of his rushing production came after the game had gotten out of hand too, as Henry was limited to just eight yards on nine carries in the first half. In his defense, he did struggle with the same poor offensive line play that sank the rest of the offense and was frequently met by defenders in the backfield.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


A.J. Brown: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 49 yards, TD

Julio Jones: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 29 yards

Chester Rodgers: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 62 yards

Anthony Firkser: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards


A.J. Brown and Julio Jones were kept in check for most of the game. Jones struggled with some drops, but it was still surprising to see him only earn six targets in a game that the Titans trailed the entire time. Brown was a little more effective, and his lack of efficiency was more due to uncatchable passes than anything he did wrong. He caught the only touchdown pass for the Titans, and it was a really impressive catch where he went up in traffic and just out-muscled the defender.



Chester Rodgers worked as the third receiver with Josh Reynolds missing the game due to injury, and had a nice reception off of a flea-flicker play. Anthony Firkser had a quiet game and wasn’t utilized down the field at all.


 — Dan Adams (@dadams0323 on Twitter).

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