The 2022 NFL season is here and things are looking very different across the league than they were last year.
The offseason has been a busy one due to blockbuster trades and free agent acquisitions. The Kansas City Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, the Green Bay Packers traded Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Seattle Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. These were just a few of the familiar faces in new locations in Week 1.
Reunions and revenge games will abound this season. Week 1 action included all manner of past relationships – those that ended well, tough breakups and college connections were some of this weekend’s subplots.
Here’s what happened in this week’s NFL reunion games, along with some backstory to bring you up to speed.
Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson back in Seattle
Wilson opens the season against his old team on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN). In March, the Broncos acquired Wilson and a 2022 fourth-round pick from the Seahawks for quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defenseman Shelby Harris, two first-round picks (2022 — No. 9 overall — and 2023). , two second-round picks (2022 – No. 40 overall – and 2023) and a fifth-round pick in 2022.
Wilson expressed his displeasure with Seattle’s 2021 offseason, citing the number of hits he scored during a season.
READ ALSO: The Breakup Between Russell Wilson And Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks did not trade Wilson this offseason and the team finished the 2021 season with a 7-10 record bottom in the division. Wilson also missed time with a finger injury – the first time he has been sidelined through injury in his career. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said the team had “no intentions” to trade Wilson at the NFL draft combine in February, but he was traded to Denver weeks later.
Wilson spoke to his former team and 12th man this offseason.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting time,” Wilson said said at a press conference in May. “Obviously, Seattle has meant the world to me for the last 10 years. It’s a special place to play.”
Final score: 26-24, Browns
Mayfield and the Panthers faced the Browns in a game that could have been considered a revenge game for the Carolina signal caller. Cleveland traded their 2018 No. 1 overall pick to Carolina for a 2024 conditional draft pick in July, nearly four months after acquiring Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans. Mayfield played four seasons for the Browns and helped the team win its first playoff game in 26 years in the 2020 wild card round against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A labrum tear sustained in Week 2 of the 2021 season handicapped Mayfield and he finished 27th in the QBR that year.
While the Browns were in contention for Watson in March, Mayfield called for a swap from the team, saying it was “in the best interest of both sides” to continue. He posted a message on social media thanking the Cleveland fans “who have really embraced who I am and the mentality that fits so well with the hard working people of this city.” The Browns initially rejected Mayfield’s trade request before buying Watson.
Continue reading: Deshaun Watson has been suspended for 11 games and fined $5 million after an NFL-NFLPA settlement
Mayfield spoke about facing his former team in August.
“Obviously there’s a lot of attachment there,” Mayfield said. “I’m not going to sit here and be a robot and say it doesn’t mean anything. It will… But after week 1, there are 16 more that are really, really important. That’s how I do it.”
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes faced Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury again
Final score: 44-21, Chiefs
Kingsbury coached Mahomes at Texas Tech from 2014 to 2016 and is now tasked with defending him. Kingsbury knows how talented Mahomes is, having watched him write his name in the Red Raiders history books, becoming an NFL MVP and Super Bowl champion.
Mahomes was looking forward to taking on his former college coach in Week 1.
“He [Mahomes] sent me something like a little eye emoji in front of it [the NFL schedule] came out,” Kingsbury said during a news conference in May. “So he’s definitely going to be revved up; We’ll definitely tune in to some Texas Tech fans I’m sure.”
Final score: 31-10, bills
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford had a familiar face who pressured the pocket as his team faced the Bills. Miller, who joined Los Angeles from the Denver Broncos last season, signed a six-year, $120 million deal with Buffalo this offseason.
Miller’s influence during the postseason was one of the reasons the Rams won the championship. He had four sacks and 18 pressings in the postseason, tied with former teammate Aaron Donald for the most in the playoffs.
“I saw what makes Aaron Donald Aaron Donald and it was hard to get away from that,” Miller said in March. “…It had to be something special. It had to be the Buffalo Bills. What they created here… I had to be a part of it.”
Final score: 20-7, Dolphins
The AFC East Week 1 fight between the Patriots and the Dolphins pitted two former Alabama teammates against each other. Jones and Tagovailoa joined the Crimson Tide in the same recruiting class (2017).
Both signal callers sat behind current Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts in their freshman year in Alabama. After second-half heroics at the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, Tagovailoa became the starter for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
In the tenth game of the 2019 Tide season, Tagovailoa suffered a serious hip injury and Jones filled in for the remainder of the year. In 2020, after Tagovailoa entered the NFL draft, Jones was named a starter. He led Bama to an unbeaten season and a national championship while earning All-American honors.
Playing in the same league, Jones and Tagovailoa have been able to see each other at least twice per season. After Week 1, the Pats and Dolphins will not play each other again until Week 17.
Final score: 24-9, Ravens
Because of Zach Wilson’s knee injury, Flacco is the man under middle in New York for the foreseeable future. In Week 1 he faced the team that drafted him in 2008 – the Ravens.
Many Baltimore fans remember the magical Super Bowl streak that Flacco led during the 2012 playoffs, where he threw for 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He helped the Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in SB XLVII and earned MVP honors with 287 yards and three touchdowns. Flacco was traded to the Broncos in 2019 after 11 seasons with the Ravens.
When he found out he would be facing his former team in Week 1, Flacco said he will try to keep things in perspective.
“I’m going to try to make sure it’s not the biggest deal in the world,” Flacco said at a news conference in August.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34516819/reunions-revenge-games-highlight-opening-week-action-nfl Reunions and revenge games highlight opening week action across the NFL