We have had this particular weekend circled on our calendar for over a year. We knew at this time last year that Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and quite possibly Stedman Bailey would play in their regular season debuts. While all three had varying degrees of personal success, their two opening games came down to the final minute before being decided. What were the results? Two Mountaineers were involved in plays that resulted in safeties. One good, one bad. Who were they? Read on to find out.
Buccaneers 17 - Jets 18
Geno Smith had some bumps and bruises in the first quarter and a half of his first NFL Regular Season start. Halfway through the second quarter, followed by some adjustments at halftime, Smith led the Jets to a comeback win in the final seconds of the game against a favored Tampa Bay team.
Ill say this: The kid showed a great deal of poise," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said of Smith following the game. For much more on Smith's first start, click here.
Ellis Lankster had 2 tackles in the game, but one was particularly spectacular (pictured). Keith Tandy did not record any tackles for the Bucs.
Cardinals 24 - Rams 27
Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey made their regular season debuts with the Rams against the Cardinals. After keeping their plans with Austin under wraps during the preseason, Week 1 remained much the same. Austin had 6 receptions for 41 yards on mainly short, controlled routes. He was targeted by Rams' QB Sam Bradford on one long pass play, but was interfered with by college rival Tyrann Mathieu on the play. The two players lined up across from each other for most of the first half, and Austin proved that the "Honey Badger" still can't cover him.He had one rush that went nowhere.
Bailey did not have any catches or targets, and was a gunner for the Rams on punt coverage.
Titans 16 - Steelers 9
The Steelers kicked off to the Titans to open the season with Darius Reynaud on the return. He stood in the end zone to field the kick, which landed short of the goal line. He reached out from inside the goal line to cradle the ball, which was still inside the 1-yard line, in his hands. The play resulted in a safety. That was Reynaud's only kick return in the game. He returned 5 punts for 58 yards with a long of 27.
Neither Will Johnson nor Terence Garvin had any stats in the game.
Chiefs 28 - Jaguars 2
The Jags opened the season with a thud, scoring just 2 points. One of the newest members of the team was the one responsible. Released from Chicago last weekend, the Jaguars claimed J.T. Thomas off waivers, reuniting him with his former defensive coordinator Bob Babich. Thomas blocked 1 punt during the preseason with the Bears and had one to open the season with his new team.
Just over two minutes into the game, Thomas came around the edge completely unaccounted for to block Dustin Colquitt's punt out of the back of the end zone.
Bengals 21 - Bears 24
Adam Pacman Jones had 2 tackles in the Bengals' opener against the Bears, and had 1 punt return for 13 yards.
Raiders 17 - Colts 21
Pat McAfee had 3 punts for a 39 yard average with one landing inside the 20.
Packers 28 - 49ers 34
Don Barclay got the start at RT for the Packers. He had a nice day blocking, and graded out at a +1.8 according to ProFootball Focus.
Giants 31 - Cowboys 36
Ryan Mundy's first Regular Season game with the New York Giants started off very well. In the first quarter, he intercepted a Tony Romo pass at the Giants 8-yard line and returned it 91 yards, leading to a Giants' field goal.
During the second quarter, Mundy collided with teammate Prince Amukamara in a helmet-to-helmet hit, while attempting to make a tackle. Both players were taken to the locker room for evaluation. Amukamara did not return, but Mundy was cleared to return for the second half. He finished with 6 tackles to go along with the interception.
Eagles 33 - Redskins 27
Pat White and Chris Neild were inactive for the Redskins. The team dressed two quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, leaving White out. To try to combat the fast-paced Eagles' offense, the Redskins wanted to have an extra defensive back dressed, leaving Neild inactive.
Najee Goode had 1 tackle in his first game with the Eagles after being waived by the Bucs last week.