first_imgOn the other side of the ball, Jets defensive end Leonard Wiliams had five total tackles — one to stuff a run on third-and-2 to end a drive — and a quarterback hit as his unit forced four turnovers and allowed only 17 points. As Smith-Schuster adjusts to his new high-pressure role with plenty of national attention — due partly to the Antonio Brown drama and to his high-profile character — he should settle in and begin dominating games as he did last season. Not facing the defending Super Bowl champions should help in future weeks, too. This weekend, the day we’ve all been waiting for finally arrived: opening Sunday in the NFL.  Quarterback Sam Darnold struggled in his second season debut for the New York Jets, throwing for under 200 yards in a loss.  (Daily Trojan file photo) As if USC’s victory over Stanford wasn’t enough, Trojan fans got to watch 25 alumni take the field this week in the NFL, and while some were afterthoughts, others played significant roles in their respective team’s contest.  Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith did a fantastic job protecting quarterback Dak Prescott’s blindside, as Prescott was not sacked once in a win over the division-rival Giants. This week, few Trojans made such an impact as Detroit Lions linebacker Devon Kennard and Seattle Seahawks defensive end Rasheem Green. Kennard sacked Cardinals quarterback and first overall pick Kyler Murray three times, and his play of the game came in overtime on third down. Murray rolled to his right and looked toward the end zone, but all he saw was Kennard running at him like a bull, forcing him to throw it away and settle for a field goal. The Lions were able to match the field goal and end in a tie instead of a loss. Last year, Kennard set his career-high in sacks with seven, and he’s almost halfway to that total after only one week. Green racked up two tackles and the game-clinching strip-sack of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton with 14 seconds to go. Football is back after a seven-month wait — seven months of hypotheticals, baseless predictions, RedZone withdrawals and keyboard warriors who have felt their pedigree is validated by their experience as general managers in Madden franchise mode.  The hometown Los Angeles Rams fielded a trio of Trojans. Leading receiver Robert Woods finished the day with eight receptions for 70 yards, including a 22-yard catch-and-run on third-and-8 at the end of the first quarter, as well as two carries for 16 yards. On the defensive side, linebacker Clay Matthews had three total tackles with a sack and a quarterback hit, while cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman added two tackles of his own. The Rams held on for a 30-22 win.  Fan-favorite Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster got his first opportunity as the guy in Pittsburgh Sunday night under the lights of Gillette Stadium, a massive stage for the Steelers to prove their offensive talent even without stars running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown. Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II achieved a personal career-high with 75 rushing yards on 13 carries against the San Francisco 49ers. Jones put up impressive numbers in his junior year at USC  — 1,737 yards and 20 touchdowns from scrimmage  — before being selected 38th overall in the 2018 draft. He’s looking to build off of a subpar rookie season during which he played only six games, and he’s already topped his total rushing numbers from last year on Sunday. Tennessee Titans defensive end Everson Griffen had one sack and two quarterback hits, while defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and Chargers linebacker Uchenna Nwosu each picked up one tackle. Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson had five tackles but watched an interception slip through his hands off a tipped pass on the first play of the game. Meanwhile, in an NFC East showdown, Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor was hauled in just two passes for 11 yards — a slow afternoon for him. For some fans, the offseason is a nice relief from weekends of disappointment. Others can’t wait to watch their team get back on the field as soon as possible. Somehow during Week 1, Cleveland Browns fans managed to be part of the latter but quickly came back down to — well, Cleveland — following a blowout loss at the hands of the underwhelming Tennessee Titans.  There was plenty of action in the morning games, including New York Jets  quarterback Sam Darnold and center Ryan Kalil. The Jets offense had a tough time getting going against a stingy Buffalo Bills defense that allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL last season. Darnold completed 28 of his 41 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked four times and hit nine. Kalil’s offensive line had trouble in the run game as well, as the Jets ran 21 times for only 68 yards and no scores. Instead, what followed was a story of their ineptitude. The Steelers embarrassed themselves in a 33-3 trouncing. Smith-Schuster had a modest game with six receptions for 78 yards, but it hardly mattered, as Pittsburgh was only able to get on the board with a field goal in the third quarter. last_img

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