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Seven From Sunday – Kickoff Weekend

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played during the 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET windows on Sunday, September 12, the first week of the 2021 season.

  • With two games remaining in Week 1, eight games have been within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter while two teams overcame deficits of at least 10 points to win: the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12 points) and PITTSBURGH STEELERS (10).

    For the third time in the past four seasons, a game on Kickoff Weekend has gone to overtime. Cincinnati defeated Minnesota, 27-24, in overtime and marked the first regular-season game in NFL history with a game-tying score with no time remaining in regulation and a game-winning score with no time remaining in overtime.

  • Jacksonville rookie quarterback TREVOR LAWRENCE, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, New York Jets rookie quarterback ZACH WILSON (No. 2), and New England rookie quarterback MAC JONES (No. 15) each made their first career starts on Kickoff Weekend. At least one rookie quarterback has started in Week 1 in 14 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

    With three rookie quarterbacks starting in Week 1, 2021 joined the 2012 season (five rookie quarterbacks) as the only seasons since 1970 in which at least three rookie quarterbacks started in Week 1.

    Four rookie quarterbacks – Jones, San Francisco’s TREY LANCE, Lawrence and Wilson – each threw their first-career touchdown passes in Week 1. It marks the most rookie quarterbacks to throw their first career touchdown passes in Week 1 since 1970, surpassing the 2012 (ROBERT GRIFFIN IIIANDREW LUCK and RUSSELL WILSON) and 1971 (SCOTT HUNTERARCHIE MANNING and JIM PLUNKETT) seasons.

    Seven first- or second-year quarterbacks – Cincinnati’s JOE BURROW, the Los Angeles Chargers’ JUSTIN HERBERT, Philadelphia’s JALEN HURTS, Jones, Lawrence, Miami’s TUA TAGOVAILOA and Wilson – each started on Kickoff Weekend, tied with the 2013 and 2000 seasons for the second-most such starting quarterbacks in a season-opening week in the Super Bowl era. Only the 2012 season (10 quarterbacks) had more.

    Lawrence passed for 332 yards in his NFL debut, the third-most passing yards by a No. 1 overall pick in his first career start in the Super Bowl era. Only CAM NEWTON (422 passing yards) and VINNY TESTAVERDE (369) had more.

    Three rookie wide receivers that were each selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft – Cincinnati’s JA’MARR CHASE (No. 5 overall), Miami’s JAYLEN WADDLE (No. 6) and Philadelphia’s DEVONTA SMITH (No. 10) – each recorded their first career touchdown receptions on Kickoff Weekend.

    This is the first season in the common-draft era in which three rookie wide receivers that were each selected in the first round of the NFL Draft registered a touchdown reception in Week 1.

  • With two games remaining, four quarterbacks – New Orleans’ JAMEIS WINSTON (five touchdown passes), Tampa Bay’s TOM BRADY (four), Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY (four) and Seattle’s RUSSELL WILSON (four) – have thrown at least four touchdown passes in Week 1. This is the first season in which at least four quarterbacks have registered four-or-more touchdown passes in Week 1 since 1970.

    With two games remaining, 15 quarterbacks have recorded a passer rating of 100-or-higher in Week 1 (minimum 10 attempts), the second-most on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history, trailing only the 2018 season (18 quarterbacks).

  • Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 131.4 rating, while tight end TRAVIS KELCE had 76 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 33-29 win over Cleveland.

    Making his 47th career start in Week 1, Mahomes has 14,489 career passing yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (14,372) for the most passing yards by a player in his first 50 career starts in NFL history.

    In 47 career starts, Mahomes has 117 touchdown passes and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (116 touchdown passes) for the most touchdown passes by a player in his first 50 career starts in league annals.

    Kelce recorded his 50th career touchdown reception in his 112th career game, surpassing VERNON DAVIS (115) as the fifth-fastest tight end to reach 50 touchdown receptions in NFL history.

  • Arizona quarterback KYLER MURRAY passed for 289 yards with a career-high four touchdowns and one interception for a 121.0 rating and added a rushing touchdown, while linebacker CHANDLER JONES totaled a career-high five sacks with two forced fumbles in the Cardinals’ 38-13 win at Tennessee.

    Murray has four career games with at least three touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown, tied with JOSH ALLEN (four games) and JACK KEMP (four) for the most such games by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history.

    Jones is the third player to record at least five sacks in a Week 1 game since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer DERRICK THOMAS (six sacks in 1998) and BILL GAY (5.5 sacks in 1983). He is the sixth player to record at least five sacks and two forced in a single game since 2002.

    Jones, who had two games (Weeks 7 and 16) with four sacks during the 2019 season, is the fourth player since 1982 with three career games with at least four sacks, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers DERRICK THOMAS (four games) and REGGIE WHITE (three), as well as LESLIE O’NEAL (four).

  • Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON recorded four touchdown passes with zero interceptions and a 152.3 rating in the Seahawks’ 28-16 win at Indianapolis.

    Wilson has 11 career games with at least four touchdown passes and zero interceptions, surpassing TOM BRADY (10 games), Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (10) and AARON RODGERS (10) for the most such games by a player in his first 10 seasons in league annals.

  • Other notable performances from Sunday include:
    • Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY recorded nine receptions and 187 scrimmage yards (98 rushing, 89 receiving) in the Panthers’ 19-14 win over the New York Jets.

      McCaffrey has seven career games with at least 75 rushing yards and 75 receiving yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer WALTER PAYTON (six games) for the third-most such games in the Super Bowl era. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (11 games) and PRIEST HOLMES (nine) have more.

    • Tennessee wide receiver JULIO JONES recorded his 850th career reception in his 136th career game, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (140 games) as the second-fastest player to reach 850 career receptions in NFL history. Only ANTONIO BROWN (133 games) reached the mark in fewer games.
    • Cincinnati rookie kicker EVAN MCPHERSON converted a 33-yard field goal with no time remaining in overtime in the Bengals’ 27-24 win over Minnesota. He is the second rookie kicker in NFL history to kick a game-winning field goal with no time remaining in overtime, joining JASON SANDERS (October 14, 2018).

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