Each week, I’m going to sift through the box scores, watch a few of my favourite NFL shows (Get Up, Golic & Wingo, Good Morning Football, Sports Center) then come up with the Footballing Fab Five for the best performances from week to week.
So, without further ado, here’s week one’s Footballing Fab Five;
Ryan FITZPATRICK (Tampa Bay – 21/28, 417 yards, 4 TD, 12 rush, 36 yards, 1 rush TD)
We all expected journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick to end up as arguably the best performed player of the week, right ? No. Even Mrs. Fitzy could not have hoped for this kinda performance as the 35-year-old torched New Orleans at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
He drilled Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson time after time and even had the cheek to keep a zone read and crash in for a rushing TD.
We may not see him featured in this column again but kudos for putting in a Fitzmagical moment.
Tyreek HILL (Kansas City – 7 receptions, 169 yards, 2 TD, 91-yard punt return TD)
Tyreek was a Fantasy Football stud last season as he led my squad to a Championship game – yes, I benched him in the final and it cost me the trophy…
Opening up at Stub Hub Stadium in LA, ‘The Cheetah’ lit up the Chargers from the outset. He ripped off a 91-yard punt return TD just 90-seconds into the contest but that was merely the beginning. He took a regular slant from Patrick Mahomes to the house for 58-yards and ended the first quarter with a miraculous catch over two defenders.
Then, at 31-20, in the final stanza Hill took a touch pass from Mahomes on the goal line and easily jogged into the paint for his second TD.
Aaron RODGERS (Green Bay – 20/30, 286 yards, 3 TD)
At halftime, the football world was fearing Rodgers’ season could have been done. A Bears defender landed on him in an awkward moment and everything from torn ACL to badly corked quad was on the agenda.
Lambeau Field was alive again when Rodgers began the third quarter behind centre and he led the Packers to a remarkable 20-point fourth quarter comeback.
Sure, his 286 yards and three scores are pretty pedestrian for a Hall of Fame QB but he basically did so on one leg, without his innate ability to extend plays and in a game where Chicago looked like a much better team. It was yet another magical and memorable moment for a QB we will be raving about in two decades time.
Khalil MACK (Chicago – 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 TFL, pick six)
Staggeringly, new Oakland coach Jon Gruden decided waiting for Mack to show up for the season was not worth it and they promptly traded him for two round one picks.
Many ridiculed Gruden for trading a generational talent like Mack.
With only a handful of practices behind him, Mack went HAM in the first half versus Green Bay. He went into intermission with a sack, assisted sack, pick six and forced fumble – which of course he recovered.
Imagine what Mack will look like at Soldier Field and in peak game fitness.
TJ WATT (Steelers – 8 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 blocked FG)
TJ’s three-time defensive player of the year-winning older brother, JJ, returned to the gridiron in week one but he was well and truly overshadowed by the Steelers linebacker.
Sure, Pittsburgh could not come away with a victory against a team they’ve owned but they actually would’ve lost if it were not for Watt’s heroics.
Firstly, he had three more tackles than any of his team mates, but he managed a week one NFL best four sacks against the Browns.
Then, when the game was about to be lost, he blocked Zane Gonzalez’s game-winning FG attempt – saving what would have been a catastrophic loss for the Yellow & Black.