Latest posts by Yusuf Nakhooda (see all)
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Football has finally arrived. Sunday provided football fans with a full slate of games as they were definitely missing over the course of the summer. Week 1 introduced a number of breakout stars to keep an eye out on this season.
Here are five players who made a name for themselves during their season openers.
Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears
On Sunday vs. the Atlanta Falcons, it was Cohen who was the main engine who led the Bears.
Cohen led Chicago in rushing and receiving, running for 66 yards on five carries while catching eight passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. He could have a larger role in the Bears offense as the season plays out.
It’s quite clear the fourth-round pick will be pushing starting running back Jordan Howard for the lead back status. Although the Bears lost a heartbreaker once again, they have no reason to hang their heads, thanks in large part to the efforts of Cohen’s performance.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Kupp is another rookie receiver who stole the show on Sunday. He lead the Rams with four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in a 46-9 rout of the Indianapolis Colts.
Some believed Kupp would eventually become the best receiver from his class and he wasted no time proving that he’s ready for the big time. The Rams looked like an entirely different team than last year’s 2016 version and Kupp was a major reason why.
Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Hooper was held to just two catches but made them count, scoring on an 88-yard touchdown while leading the Falcons with 128 receiving yards in a 23-17 win over the Bears.
Atlanta led the NFL in scoring with 33.8 points per game last season and could be even more potent if Hooper develops into a consistent contributor. The young tight end got his feet wet during his rookie season and now looks ready to burn defenders who are worried about Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and the rest of the Falcons’ numerous weapons.
Jesse James, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Like Hooper, James is often the forgotten man in a star-studded offense and picked the Cleveland Browns apart when called upon in a 21-18 victory. The third-year tight end caught six passes for 41 yards and two touchdowns, giving the Steelers another capable weapon in the red zone.
During an afternoon when Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant were clearly working themselves back into top form, James picked up the slack, forming a strong tandem alongside Antonio Brown.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions
Golladay earned excellent reviews during the preseason and made a strong introduction to the professional game during Sunday’s victory over the Cardinals. The 23-year-old caught four passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns, fueling the Lions’ second-half surge.