Week One of the 2018 NFL season kicked off in defensive grand fashion for most clubs. Fortunately, several players from the NFL Regional Combine platform were in the mix.
In the bright Sunday night lights, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Roy Robertson-Harris was one of the standouts on the defensive side of the ball who created havoc for the quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers.
Robertson-Harris nearly ended the Packers’ season when he towered over Rodgers.
On third-and-9 from the Packers’ 36-yard line, Rodgers received the ball from shotgun and Robertson-Harris blew passed the center and rushed Rodgers up the middle. Rodgers tried to duck from the RC pioneer, but Robertson-Harris crashed Rodgers to the ground, hurting the future Hall of Famer’s left knee.
Rodgers was out of the game.
Two series later with :50 left in the first half, Robertson-Harris was on the attack again when he threw Packers center Corey Linsley to the side and charged after backup quarterback DeShone Kizer. Under duress by Robertson-Harris, Kizer was forced to throw to running back Ty Montgomery on a screen early and Pro Bowl Bears linebacker Khalil Mack picked off the pass and returned it for a 27-yard touchdown.
Rodgers returned to lead his team to victory, but Robertson-Harris was definitely game planned for the next matchup.
In terms of game planning, Washington Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar will have to be accounted for as well. Dunbar, who ventured through the NFL Regional Combine in 2015 as a wide receiver, is now a starting defensive back in the NFL and he made his presence known early.
Dunbar’s still feels he has something to prove.
“I always step on that field like I’ve got something to prove,” Dunbar said following the contest against the Arizona Cardinals, according to redskins.com. “Growing up, my whole life I’ve had something to prove coming up in the environment I was in. I always have that mindset in everything I do.”
Dunbar racked up five tackles and forced a turnover late in the third quarter.
With 2:03 remaining in the third, Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford threw deep to tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, but Dunbar under cut him for the pass to make his first interception of the year.
Dunbar had a solid start and his head coach spoke to his performance.
“I think (Quinton) Dunbar had an incredible game really. I think he was all over the place, he was tackling, he was breaking up passes, he got an interception, was physical in bump-and-run, was good in zone,” stated Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.
The Philadelphia Eagles opened their defense of the Lombardi Trophy against the Atlanta Falcons on a high note. And early to the party was second year linebacker for the champs Kamu Grugier-Hill when he entered the game on the third play of the first defensive series.
Grugier-Hill made his presence felt, literally, on a fourth down play.
With the early momentum of their opening drive, the Falcons faced fourth-and-goal from the Eagles’ one-yard line. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman took the handoff and ran towards the left to get to the outside. Grugier-Hill came off the edge to maintain the outside corner by shredding the block of full back Ricky Ortiz and blasting Freeman in his hips causing him to be well short of the goal line.
Grugier-Hill followed up with a big hit on the Falcons next put attempt. He finished the evening with three stops.
Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore picked up from where he left off last year during his rookie season. He did not hesitate to make a play for his team.
With 14:24 left in the first quarter, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton received the ball from snap in a formation. Dalton was quickly pressured to deliver the pass and tossed it in the flat to running back Joe Mixon. Moore flew past Mixon for the interception and returned the play for 32 yards. He nearly scored a touchdown for the play, but Dalton clipped him up at the Bengals’ 7-yard line.
Big play Moore was nearly in for the score. He finished with three tackles.
-Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen led his team in receiving yards (102) after hauling in six catches.
-Wide receiver Keenan Cole led the Jacksonville Jaguars in receiving yards (54) off three receptions.
-Cardinals defensive end Benson Mayowa had two tackles against the Redskins.
-New York Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland recorded two tackles in his debut.
-Los Angeles Rams rookie defensive tackle Justin Lawler earned his first tackle of the season and NFL career.