July 25, 2021

What We Learned From Week 1 of the N.F.L. Season

It was a week of superstars showing off new uniforms, many players choosing to stay in the locker room for the national anthem, teams playing through horrible air conditions out west, and stadiums being mostly empty because of coronavirus precautions. But a few shocking upsets provided a thrilling Sunday, reminding everyone that football games can go sideways quickly.

These are not Tom Brady’s Patriots. In his first game for New England, quarterback Cam Newton led the team to an easy win over the Miami Dolphins. He managed just 155 yards through the air, but that was plenty to go with his 75 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The 75 rushing yards are more than Brady had in 14 of his 19 seasons as New England’s starter, with the future Hall of Famer never having rushed for more than 31 yards in a game. Newton is now up to 60 career rushing touchdowns, which is 17 more than any other N.F.L. quarterback (Steve Young had 43).

Not to be outdone entirely by Newton, Brady showed he is still nearly unstoppable in short-yardage situations by running for a 1-yard touchdown early in Tampa Bay’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.

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