5 NFL Players Who Could Use a Do-Over After Week 1 Flop

Alex KayContributor ISeptember 13, 2022

5 NFL Players Who Could Use a Do-Over After Week 1 Flop

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    The first week of the 2022 NFL season is now in the rearview, making this an ideal time to reflect on some of the more noteworthy revelations from these initial contests.

    While there were some surprisingly impressive showings from lesser-known talents, there were also plenty of Week 1 letdowns by players who were expected to perform at a high level.

    With that in mind, let's look at five players who could use a do-over after flopping in their season openers.

Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams

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    Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (23) runs with the ball during a NFL divisional playoff football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)

    There was lots of hype surrounding Cam Akers heading into the 2022 season. After a miraculously speedy return from his Achilles injury last year and an impressive showing during the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl-winning playoff run, expectations were sky-high for the young running back.

    Those hopes were dashed in Week 1 when Akers was hardly on the field and made almost no impact during the handful of snaps he did see. The 23-year-old was out there for only 12 offensive snaps, carried the ball a meager three times—gaining a grand total of zero yards—and was not targeted in the passing game.

    It seems that Akers may not be a featured in L.A.'s backfield this year, especially not after Darrell Henderson Jr. logged 54 snaps and was far more productive against the Buffalo Bills. Henderson generated 47 rushing yards on 13 carries and caught all five of his targets for 26 receiving yards.

    There is still a chance Akers can reverse course and become an impact weapon for the Rams. Head coach Sean McVay blamed the lack of offensive rhythm on Akers' limited usage in the team’s disappointing 31-10 defeat, per Cameron DaSilva of Rams Wire:

    "We just really didn't get in much of a rhythm tonight, so it was tough to get anything. I’d like to get Allen [Robinson] more involved, like to get a lot more guys involved. But overall, it was a tough night for us, and it was a poor night in terms of the overall decision-making for my standpoint, and that’s something I’m looking forward to correcting.”

    After an extended break following Thursday's unsightly showing, Akers could be much more prominently featured against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2.

    The Falcons gave up 27 points to the New Orleans Saints and allowed 151 rushing yards on just 19 carries in Week 1. If Akers can't get it going against this opponent, he may be headed for a lost season.

Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) pauses between plays during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

    Joe Burrow has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks since entering the league as the top overall pick in 2020. That changed Sunday when he had the worst performance of his professional career.

    Burrow would love a do-over after the Cincinnati Bengals fell flat out of the gate, suffering a disheartening 23-20 loss to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime. The 25-year-old committed five turnovers, including four in the first half.

    Prior to Sunday, Burrow had just four multi-interception performances across 26 career games, and only one of those outings saw him give up three interceptions. He set a career-worst mark by tossing four in Week 1.

    It certainly didn’t help that Burrow’s first pass of the 2022 season was picked off and returned for a touchdown by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

    The offensive line didn’t do much to take the heat off Burrow either. The unit, which was expected to be among the league's most improved this year following offseason additions of Alex Cappa, La'el Collins and Ted Karras, allowed seven sacks, including one in which Burrow coughed up a fumble that the Steelers recovered.

    Fortunately for the Bengals, Burrow has shown he can shake off performances like this.

    In Week 2 last year, the QB tossed three interceptions in a 20-17 defeat against the Chicago Bears. He went on to win each of the next two contests while throwing five touchdowns against one pick in that span.

    With the depleted Dallas Cowboys on tap next week, Burrow will have a great opportunity to bounce back in a big way.

Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers

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    San Francisco 49ers' Trey Lance walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Chicago. The Bears won 19-10. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    After sitting behind Jimmy Garoppolo for much of his rookie season, Trey Lance spent the entire offseason preparing to be the San Francisco 49ers' full-time starting quarterback. Unfortunately, the Lance era got off to an unsuccessful start Sunday after the offense sputtered in a 19-10 defeat to the underdog Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

    Lance completed an unsightly 13-of-28 passing attempts for 164 yards and failed to find the end zone. He was sacked twice and picked off once by Chicago's defense, an opponent he only had some modicum of success combating on the ground. The 22-year-old displayed his trademark impressive rushing ability by garnering a team-high 54 yards on 13 carries.

    To Lance's credit, the game was played in torrid Windy City conditions. His counterpart on the Bears, fellow sophomore Justin Fields, didn't fare much better through the air either, going just 8-of-17 for 121 yards in a performance that was forgettable outside of a pair of touchdown throws.

    Still, Lance squandered an opportunity to step up when his franchise needed it. Starting running back Elijah Mitchell went down with a knee injury right before halftime, and backup Jeff Wilson Jr. wasn't able to get much going, generating a mere 22 yards on nine totes.

    While there may be some renewed trade interest in Garoppolo—who remains on the roster after restructuring the final year of his contract—following Dak Prescott's major thumb injury, the Niners may be reticent to deal the proven veteran.

    Garoppolo led this team to the NFC Championship Game in each of his last two healthy campaigns and could be tasked with stepping in to save San Francisco's season if Lance isn't able to live up to his potential.

    It's not time to hit the panic button yet, but Lance needs to show much more in Week 2 against the bitter NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks. If not, the 49ers' brass may start regretting its decision to entrust this offense to the young QB.

Laken Tomlinson, G, New York Jets

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    New York Jets guard Laken Tomlinson (78) in action against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sep.11, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

    The New York Jets spent the offseason overhauling their roster in an attempt to finally field a contending squad. One of their key pickups was guard Laken Tomlinson, who came over from the San Francisco 49ers on a three-year, $40 million contract.

    New York's front office may be regretting doling out those dollars after an abysmal Gang Green debut.

    Tomlinson was the weakest link on an offensive line that allowed veteran quarterback Joe Flacco to be pressured a concerning 20 times. According to Pro Football Focus, the 30-year-old was responsible for over a third of those pressures and lost seven other reps that were fortunate not to result in pressure.

    It was a disappointing start for a player who provided sturdy protection for the Niners in recent years. Tomlinson earned a commendable 75.9 PFF grade after allowing only two sacks across 1,094 snaps in 2021 and notched a 78.8 score in 2020 while giving up three sacks over 1,094 snaps.

    While none of the pressures resulted in a sack this week, Tomlinson's sieve-like protection will almost assuredly result in New York's quarterbacks getting battered unless it improves. The 2015 first-rounder's 38.6 grade for the performance suggests he would be unplayable at this rate, making a quick turnaround a matter of critical importance.

    That won't be easy to accomplish when the Jets square off with the Cleveland Browns and their potent pass-rushers next week at FirstEnergy Stadium.

    Myles Garrett decimated the Carolina Panthers in the trenches Sunday, racking up two sacks and six pressures as part of a collective four-sack performance against former teammate Baker Mayfield. If Tomlinson doesn't improve, the Browns will have a field day.

Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

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    Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) avoids a tackle by Las Vegas Raiders safety Roderic Teamer (33) in the second half during an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 8, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/John McCoy)

    Mike Williams did not live up to expectations in the first regular-season game he played on his new three-year, $60 million contract extension.

    The wideout caught just two of his four targets for 10 yards in the Los Angeles Chargers' 24-19 victory over the AFC West rival Las Vegas Raiders. It was a massive disappointment for a player who opened the 2021 campaign with an eight-catch, 82-yard, one-touchdown showing and went on to score eight more times that year.

    Williams let his team down with the quiet showing, especially after star wideout Keenan Allen exited early with a hamstring injury and the Chargers needed the 27-year-old to answer the call.

    Quarterback Justin Herbert did his best to keep L.A. in contention despite such a horrid performance from his top remaining wideout.

    The rising superstar completed 26 of 34 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions, with unheralded receiver DeAndre Carter (three receptions, 64 yards, one touchdown) and tight end Gerald Everett (three catches, 54 yards, one touchdown) serving as his top weapons outside of Allen.

    Williams and the Chargers will next face another divisional foe in the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.

    These teams will square off on Thursday Night Football in Week 2, and L.A. will especially need Williams to show up for that game if Allen isn't able to give it a go.


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