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Cal in the NFL: Week 1

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Our Cal NFL representatives had a pretty good opening week as a whole. Let’s take a deeper look at the top performers from this past week.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

While we may be currently basking in the glory of a 2–0 start, it is also a Cal fan’s duty to keep tabs on our players who are in the NFL. For that reason, I am going to put together a weekly article series going over the Cal-specific results of each week of the NFL season. In these articles, we will cover each Cal player who played in a given week as well as giving out various awards. Sold yet? Here we go.

Well... they played!

  • Tyson Alualu, the former 1st-round pick—who is now with the Steelers—recorded a single tackle in a pretty embarrassing tie against the Browns.
  • Former star Punter (yeah, he was that good) Bryan Anger continues as the starting punter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year, but in a game against the Saints that turned out to be a shootout, he only recorded one punt that went for 42 yards.
  • As far as the o-linemen, I won’t bore you with their stats, but Falcons’ center Alex Mack suffered a close loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on the opening game of the season, and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz of the Kansas City Chiefs provided quarterback Patrick Mahomes with plenty of protection as the Chiefs picked up a 38–28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

These Guys Actually Played (at least according to the stat sheets)

They may have not had the best weeks, but at least they put up some stats.

  • CJ Anderson, who is now with the Carolina Panthers, is slated to take some of the early-down work from Christian McCrapfrey this season. This showed—while he only played 12 snaps, he carried the ball 7 times for an efficient 35 yards.
  • Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. of the Detroit Lions put together a breakout season last year. In an effort to continue that success over to the 2018/19 season, he caught 4 out of his 8 targets for a solid 54 receiving yards, even in a game where the Lions had minimal success against the *double checks* Jets(?) defense.

DEFENSE!

Nothing spectacular here, but a few solid defensive performances nonetheless.

  • The Saints defense might have had a horrible week as a whole—allowing 48 points to a Buccaneers offense that was led by (are we sure my computer isn’t glitching or something?) Ryan Fitzpatrick—but Cameron Jordan was able to pick up 6 total tackles.
  • Chris Conte of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was on the other side of the Saints game and racked up 7 tackles in the 48–40 win.
  • Lorenzo Alexander of the Buffalo Bills picked up 8 tackles in a blowout 47–3 loss to the Ravens.

A Primetime Face-off of New vs. Old

Here we saw two former Cal stars of different eras battle in a Monday Night match-up between the Oakland Raiders and the Los Angeles Rams.

  • On the winning side of things, Jared Goff played a solid game for the Rams on their way to a 33–13 win. Goff completed 18/33 passes for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders picked up the loss to the Rams to open their season. However, Marshawn put up his best effort, tallying 11 carries for 42 yards and Beast Mode–ing his way to a score.

Also, this:

The Stars of the Week

Here we have a pair of former Cal receivers who dominated the opposing secondaries to open the season.

  • Keenan Allen was unsurprisingly Phillip Rivers’ top target in a 38–28 loss to the Chiefs, catching 8/11 targets for 108 yards and a touchdown.
  • DeSean Jackson was one of the key contributors in the Buccaneers offensive explosion against the Saints, catching 5/5 targets for 146 yards and two touchdowns before a concussion knocked him out of the game. This was truly a vintage D-Jax performance that we all love to see.

Player of the Week

Go ahead and take a wild guess.

  • Player of the Week: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Well, it’s not like we don’t expect it from him at this point. Basically, what happened (if you aren’t aware) is that Aaron Rodgers went down with a knee injury early in the game. People were initially concerned that it could have been extremely serious, but he was able to re-enter the game in the second half... and found himself down 20–0. Well, he reacclimated himself in the third quarter and then led the Packers to 21 fourth-quarter points in an epic comeback 24–23 victory. Rodgers finished the insane game with the following stats: 20/30 for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns. Yep.

Week 1 In Recap

These stats aren’t perfect because it doesn’t account for how much a player actually contributed to his team’s win/loss, but they are supposed to be fun so stop complaining.

  • As a whole, the 14 Bears that recorded playing time had a combined record of 7–6–1.
  • However, the average scores of those games had us at a 32–28 loss.

Season Record: 7–6–1

Pythagorean Win-Loss: 0–1

Bears’ record: 2–0 (This doesn’t exactly belong here but I’m still happy about it so I had to add it!)

GO BEARS!