By: Denery Noone
Denery sheds light on the players you may not have noticed in a busy week 1.
Dion Lewis (RB, NE)
Lewis is a University of Pittsburgh product that was drafted in the 5th round by the Eagles in 2011. At Pittsburgh, Lewis was a force, rushing for 1,799 yards in 2009 and 1,061 yards in 2010. He also had 30 touchdowns. However, since coming into the NFL, his time has been rough, but that changed this week. In his career, Lewis has only had 51 rushing attempts, 15 of them came on Thursday night against Pittsburgh. In Lewis’ first action since 2012, he has 15 carries for 69 yards, and four receptions for 51 yards. He was the premier back for the defending champs in week one, which is something nobody expected coming into the season.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, TB)
Seferian-Jenkins was just about the only bright spot in the Buccaneers 42-14 week 1 loss to Tennessee. Seferian-Jenkins, a second year player, only had 21 catches for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns in 9 games in 2014. The Washington product was determined to change those underwhelming stats this year, and he did so in week 1. He had 5 catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, doubling his career touchdown totals in just one game. Seferian-Jenkins could be an interesting player in 2015 with a lot of the focus going to Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson.
Ryan Mallett (QB, HOU)
As many of you who watched Hard Knocks this summer saw, Ryan Mallett had his fair share of struggles in this year's training camp. He was in a quarterback battle with Brian Hoyer for the majority of camp, and eventually was beaten out. He missed a morning practice because he slept in, forcing people to question his dedication to the game of football. The Arkansas product was dominant in college, and when he was drafted in New England, many thought he would be the replacement of Tom Brady. That was not the case, as he as been disappointing throughout his career. Well, that changed on Sunday. Mallett, who did not even expect to play, was put in to replace the incompetent Brian Hoyer after going down 27-9. Mallett lead the Texans on two scoring drives, going 8/13 for 96 yards and a touchdown. He got the team within 7 points, and, if he had more time, I think he could have won them the game. Some wonder whether he will get the start in week 2, but after seeing the horrible play of Hoyer and the Solid relief appearance of Mallett, I don’t see how they couldn’t.
Uani Unga (MLB, NYG)
Unga had a monster game in week one against the Giants. Unga played four years at BYU, leading the nation in tackles in both 2012 and 2013. On the final play of his career, he suffered a severe knee injury and was not drafted in 2014. On December 23, 2014 Unga was signed to the Giants practice squad. Unga ultimately made the 53 man roster in 2015, and he proved that he was worthy of that on Sunday. Unga had 12 tackles and an interception of Tony Romo in his first career game against Dallas. It seems that Unga is going to fill a hole at linebacker for the Giants, which will be big for them going forward.
Nick Foles (QB, STL)
This is one is a point of pride for me, because I think that I am the only one who was convinced that Nick Foles was not done. Foles had 27 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in 2013, but in 2014 he had a tough season that was plagued by injury. In the offseason, Chip Kelly decided that Foles was done and that it was time to part ways, trading him for Sam Bradford. In my opinion, Jeff Fischer gets an A+ for this trade, getting himself out of a nightmare situation with the incredibly fragile and inconsistent Sam Bradford. Yet, all of the idiots over at ESPN were convinced that Foles was done and that Bradford is the savior for the Eagles. Well, on Sunday, Nick Foles proved all of them wrong. Foles was 18/27 for 297 yards, a 115.8 passer rating, and a 42 yard game tying touchdown against the defending NFC Champions and arguably one of the best defenses of all time. Foles lead the Rams to an unexpected victory against a heavy favorite, and nobody but Nick Foles thought he could do it.