What We Saw: Week 1

The What We Saw team recaps everything you missed from this week's action

Eagles @ Patriots

Final Score: Eagles 25, Patriots 20

Writer: Matthew Bevins (@MattBQbList on Twitter)


The Patriots celebrated Tom Brady in his first return to Foxboro since retiring for good in the offseason. It’s a damn shame they couldn’t leave the field he graced today with a win for him, but Mac Jones did his best Tom Brady impression, propelling himself and the Patriots into fighting distance, only to be thwarted in a valiant effort.

Three Up

  • Kenneth Gainwell – He was heavily utilized in the opening drive and throughout the game and led all Eagles running backs in snaps played, routes run, targets, and rushing attempts.
  • Mac Jones – After a rocky start, he settled in and completed 35 of 54 passes for 316 yards and 3 TDs.
  • Patriots D/ST – This unit answered the bell in the second quarter and bottled up a powerful offense.

Three Down

  • Dallas Goedert – He played 61 of 66 snaps, ran 36 routes, and was targeted just once.
  • All other Eagles RBs – Rashaad Penny was a healthy scratch, D’Andre Swift played only 19 snaps, and Boston Scott had only two opportunities (one target and the running back room’s lone goal line carry).
  • Jalen Hurts – He managed only one touchdown pass, 170 passing yards, and only 37 more on the ground.


Philadelphia Eagles




Jalen Hurts: 22/33, 170 Yards, TD | 9 carries, 37 yards


Jalen Hurts came into this season as my QB1, notably due to the fact he was both the quarterback I took a chance on before his eruption two seasons ago, and also due to a propensity to enjoy watching high-flying speed offenses like the Eagles. This game didn’t do much to move the needle on my adoration, despite some frustrating experience. Hurts is buoyed to the top rankings of quarterbacks due to his combination of speed and arm strength.


  • This game was a lot closer than almost all of us had it being, despite the Vegas lines once again getting it to the T (the points line was within 1 point of the final total of 44.5 combined points). Hurts was actively on the run in his pocket often, unable to really look comfortable, or gain any read time other than his top two targets (A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith, understandably). Ending the game with 22 overall completions seems a lot lower than it would end up being, as this game was half-split between Hurts’ pressure rollouts and the resurgence of Kenny Gains (you can call him Kenneth Gainwell).

Missed Opportunities

  • So, so many. Unfortunately for Eagles fans, this one ended up being a lot sweatier of a watch than it needed to be. The Hurts experiment tonight ended with a W in the column, but not due to much amazing play from the quarterback. Hurts had the Eagles pushed down the field into the red zone in the first quarter, only to be sacked out on a Matthew Judon rush, and it felt as though the squad was in his head the entire game.
  • Unfortunately for me, one of my other big “flag placements” for the year was Dallas Goedert, and so far that one is making me look downright stupid as well. It’s just a week, but the frustration from Goedert was palpable, as he was calling for the ball on numerous plays. Later into the game after the half, Hurts had a look where A.J. Brown was covered by two separate defenders, one on each side of him, with Goedert ten yards or so behind him, standing wide open, a likely touchdown in his vision. Instead, the pass was sent out to Brown, and while it ended up just being an incompletion, it was a microcosm of the game.




Running Back


D’Andre Swift: 1 carry, 3 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 0 yards


This backfield is absolutely wild. On a Sunday when it felt like absolutely nothing was going the way it was planned to go, this held up at the top of the list. D’Andre Swift saw the field minimally (while the snap counts aren’t yet released, he was mentioned on less than one hand’s fingers). The Eagles went out and retooled their running back crew in the absence of Miles Sanders en route to Carolina. Does Nick Siriani just not yet trust the newcomers to embark on their playbook, or were we all mistaken in the offseason?


  • I’ve put up numerous posters and have reached out to the milk carton companies to see if we can get an update on this one. Will keep you all posted.

Missed Opportunities

  • All of them. You could say that Swift did nothing to help his value, but he wasn’t given the opportunity to.


Rashaad Penny: DNP/Healthy Scratch


While D’Andre Swift makes you feel bad for them, Rashaad Penny is deserving of a warm home-cooked meal after this matchup. Penny saw zero rushes, he saw zero targets, and he saw zero field time.


Kenneth Gainwell: 14 carries, 54 yards | 4 targets, 4 receptions, 20 yards


Big Kenny Gains was the biggest winner of the game, as he was relied on continuously to help move the chains, as the Eagles had him in to start the first drive, and didn’t back away from him the entire game. While the Patriots were swarming, Gainwell did well with very little space, averaging just under four yards per carry.


  • Gainwell was given the opportunity to thrive, and even if this game was just a sign of game-planning for their first matchup with their longest-tenured back who is also a reliable blocker (a positive pass blocker by PFF, and an average run blocker per PFF). Either way, this will only lead to a lot of talk this week over if this was a misnomer, or the Eagles were just not going to get cute against the smartest coach in the NFL.

Missed Opportunities

  • If there were opportunities, Gainwell hooked himself with all of them! This was an amazing showing for a running back I’ve always touted as underrated, as he blocked on some plays, keeping Hurts a little less under pressure, caught all of his targets in the passing game, and rushed pretty well against an incredibly underrated defense.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


A.J. Brown: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 79 yards


A.J. Brown has spent the majority of his career shrouded in the potential of just what he can unleash. It’s good to see him in a situation where he can now thrive, as Hurts looked like he was fully splitting his targets between Brown and Smith.


  • Brown is a top 5 to 10 wide receiver in the NFL, and after watching most of his games live, it’s not hard to see why. He’s large, he’s muscles on top of other muscles, and his hands are almost impervious to any rough pass.

Missed Opportunities

  • The missed opportunities were few and far between, but they can be found. The secondary of the Patriots is full of intriguing names, and it kept him in check, as his longest reception was for 23 yards. The rushed passes were made to Brown on a couple of noticeable passes. Hurts was rushed out of pocket so often that he didn’t really look locked in.


DeVonta Smith: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 43 yards, TD


Devonta Smith has put the league on notice, as he was in the glow of Brown’s career up until last year. Smith is smaller, but faster. He’s not as beefed up, but he has an amazing touch and the best pair of hands on their squad.


  • Smith was able to find his way to pay dirt in the first half and salvage a rather average stat line for himself. As he’s gained the most opportunity on this squad, aside from Gainwell, the worry about this squad of weapons for Hurts siphoning off from one another may be true.

Missed Opportunities

  • He didn’t miss any opportunities, as he welcomed a daughter this week, as well as his first touchdown. He rocked the baby and helped be a key piece to this Eagles’ offense, as we’ve found that this offense will run through their twin touchpoints of wide receivers. Hopefully, this won’t cause much loss in value for the others, but the fact of the matter is we have to look at this offensive output as some form of a “Brushing the rust off” or if there’s some sense of worry (They only scored less than the 25 points they scored this week 5 times last year, 2 of those times in weeks Hurts was out).


Dallas Goedert: 1 target


Poor, poor Dallas Goedert. This man could not catch a break today and likely will be the talk of the NFL network tomorrow, as he was picked inside the top 5 tight ends in likely every draft, yet only saw one target today. Goedert was open on a large number of routes, as there were at least 5 different times he had broken off a defender and was looking for the ball. His lone target came directly after the play he missed out on a massive gain and potential touchdown, as he had slipped behind two defenders who were boxing out A.J. Brown. He wasn’t passed to on the play, and on the play after, there was a pass that likely gave Brown a buzz cut, and went well over Goedert’s head.


New England Patriots




Mac Jones: 35/54, 316 yards, 3 TD, INT | 2 carries, 15 yards


Mac Jones’s first couple of drives were a lesson in the same futile showcases that continue to haunt this team, as nothing came to fruition. However, Jones benefitted from a slow eruption built and overtook the last half or so of gameplay.


  • Mac Jones has clearly taken hold of the assignment of starting quarterback, as he masterfully outdueled Hurts, despite not having a win at the end of the game. He had some solid movement out of the pocket, and also benefitted from some snazzy playcalling, as he started one of the first couple drives with a Rhamondre Stevenson “handoff” that instead led to a zippy pitch to Ezekiel Elliott. 

Missed Opportunities

  • Missed opportunities may be the wrong way to word this one, as Mac actually played up to his competition. However, early in the game he showcased some jitters: Mac was attempting to hit Kendrick Bourne with a pass before he had completed his route, and popped a ball off his up reaching hands, transforming into a pick-6 for Darius Slay and the Eagles. Despite these opportunities, Mac Jones may be sneakily taken a step towards the Top 15 fantasy quarterbacks with the way he was handled coming out of the half behind.


Running Back


Rhamondre Stevenson: 12 carries, 25 yards | 6 targets, 6 receptions, 64 yards


RUN MONSTRE Stevenson couldn’t get himself going in this game, as he logged only 12 carries, and could barely average 2 yards per attempt. While Stevenson was arguably the key lockdown of Sean Desai’s defense, there was never a moment that really lived up to the usual Rhamondre billing, where he bowling-balled his way through the defense for a large gain; he could hardly be found for the majority of the game.


  • Rhamondre deserves to have the caveat mentioned that he came into the week with an illness tag, and it was rescinded not long before kickoff. It’s entirely possible the mixture of defensive honing and the illness were too much for him to overcome, as the team doesn’t have a large stable of backs to take over in the case that he is out. That said, his play style was muted entirely, and we now have to second-guess the fact that Stevenson toted the rock only 5 times more than Ezekiel Elliott, looking half as polished and effective while doing it. He was also able to salvage a weak rushing line with 6 receptions on six targets, one for a massive 32-yard shuffle.


Ezekiel Elliot: 7 carries, 29 yards | 7 targets, 5 receptions, 14 yards


Should we be honest here? As a Patriots fan from Patriotsville, I was highly concerned by the Ezekiel Elliott signing. In Dallas, Zeke looked checked out, slow, and out to lunch on his assignments. He came in this season very much ahead of where he was, and clearly had something to prove: this may be less of an end-of-career swan song for Zeke and more of a legtitimately actionable season.


  • Rhamondre and Zeke were clearly sharing carries, but Zeke looked more fiery on the ground. Against a less talented defense on a swivel, he likely would have dished out a rushing touchdown or at least a long carry.

Missed Opportunities

  • The missed opportunities clearly didn’t showcase themselves here, as Zeke made a point to get on the field and have his name mentioned throughout the game. He was moving well behind the line and also showcased something we didn’t see much in Dallas, catching the passes made to him with ease.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Kendrick Bourne: 11 targets, 6 receptions, 64 yards, 2 TD


Kendrick Bourne was mentioned often over the offseason in a negative light, as he was starting to look like a signing the Patriots might regret. He came over from the 49ers with a profile as a burner who hadn’t yet shown his potential. After last year, it seemed like maybe potential was the only thing they’d get from Kendrick. We may finally have seen the blooming of the rose in this game.


  • Kendrick was active on the field and became a target monster for Mac Jones today. Not only was showcased on an off-the-block straight-line route, he was able to pick up two touchdowns on the day, becoming Jones’ best option on several plays. This touchdown below was just one of Bourne’s highlights, as he had surpassed Bradberry with ease, ending up basically alone in the endzone.



JuJu Smith-Schuster: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 33 yards


JuJu Smith-Schuster was the signing of the offseason for the Patriots, and it seems like he may end up being more of a bit actor than a star if the rise of either Elliott or Bourne becomes a thing.


  • Juju was not a major part of the game plan today, and it makes me wonder if there is actually some sort of belief that the new entrant playmakers to both offenses just need more time to get used to where they are. While Juju saw 7 targets, he was hardly a factor and came into the limelight due to a pass that went right through his hands on a crucial play.


Hunter Henry: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 56 yards, TD


Hunter Henry came over from the Chargers with a track record of a bruising, big-body tight end who can run solid routes and catch, traits and skill sets often coveted by the Patriots. With Jonnu Smith on the move over the offseason, it’s clear that Henry will continue to see the field often if he can keep up these sorts of performances.


  • Henry made a couple of highlight reel catches, including a one-handed grab. He also found himself in the middle of the field, successfully bodying up linebackers and corners for jump balls. On his touchdown grab, the lofted pass was in the air long enough for it to be contested, but Henry made a great catch in coverage to secure the touchdown. This was a high-end showing from Henry, and it could arguably put him in the conversation as a Top 10 option at a relatively shallow position in fantasy football.



Demario Douglas: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 40 yards


Demario Douglas was the talk of the offseason, as many continued to highlight the Patriots’ new hidden gem. After emerging from a successful Week 1, Douglas may be one of the few in-house Patriots draft picks that turned out right, at least in terms of wide receivers. While just 40 yards were created, Douglas has already leapfrogged others on the depth chart and could continue to see more shots as the team tries to find its offensive identity.


Kayshon Boutte: 4 targets


Kayshon Boutte was drafted almost 30 picks higher than his teammate Douglas in the draft, but  Douglas is turning heads. Boutte wasn’t unsuccessful due to lack of trying, as he had a relatively good route or two runs. The biggest mention of his name was the final drive catch that “never was,” and may instead have us racking our brains to see if he’s someone who can find his name anywhere near Bourne or Henry on the depth chart.

Boutte had two “catches” on the sideline where he couldn’t get both feet down in bounds, including on the Patriots’ final play from scrimmage with 20 seconds left in the red zone. He absolutely needs to convert those two catches if he wants to be a contributor in this league.

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