If you turned the Green Bay Packers’ season-opening loss to New Orleans, you missed a great start for former UW linebacker Zack Baun after making a position switch this offseason. Baun is now playing a hybrid linebacker role, mostly from the inside linebacker spot, but occasionally serving as an on-the-ball pass rusher. He had a team-best five tackles, setting a new career high.
From linebacker Zack Baun tallying a team-high number of tackles to running back Melvin Gordon ripping off a long touchdown run, here are some notable performances from former Wisconsin Badgers players in Week 1.
Zack Baun — Saints
Melvin Gordon III — Broncos
Lots of the talk heading into the season was about the running back the Denver Broncos drafted in the second round, Javonte Williams. But veteran starter Melvin Gordon III provided the bulk of the Denver rushing attack in their win against the New York Giants. Gordon had 101 yards on 11 carries, including a 70-yard touchdown to ice the win for the Broncos, and had three catches for 17 yards.
Rob Havenstein — Rams
In the primetime Sunday night game, the Rams showed off the explosive capabilities of their offense with new quarterback Matthew Stafford. Part of the reason Stafford was able to shine in a big win over the Bears was the performance of his offensive line, particularly right tackle Rob Havenstein. Havenstein didn’t allow feared pass rusher Kahlil Mack to record a sack, quarterback hit or tackle for loss. Mack had just one tackle.
T.J. Watt — Steelers
After signing a four-year, $112 million extension to stay in Pittsburgh, T.J. Watt went out and showed why he deserves to be the highest-paid defender in the NFL. Watt recorded two sacks against Buffalo, forcing a fumble with one of them, and had five quarterback hits on Josh Allen. Watt has 51½ sacks since being drafted in 2017.
Russell Wilson — Seahawks
Russell Wilson was nearly perfect for Seattle in their season-opening road win over the Colts. He went 18 of 23 passing for 254 yards and four touchdowns, including a 69-yard bomb to receiver Tyler Lockett. Wilson will need to continue being excellent for the Seahawks, as the NFC West as the only division to have all four of its teams win in Week 1.