As Week One of the NFL closes out, the Blue Zone looks back at former Duke players performances on their professional teams:
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
In the first game of the pivotal final year of Daniel Jones' rookie contract, the former Duke quarterback delivered for the Giants in their 21-20 win against the Titans Sunday night. Jones was 17-of-21 with 188 passing yards and two touchdowns. He also added 25 yards on the ground.
Though Jones fumbled following a sack and threw an interception in the end zone, he also led a game-winning drive. The 12-play touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter ended with a touchdown pass to tight end Chris Myarick and a two-point conversion by running back Saquon Barkley. The drive seemed fruitless for a moment, as the Titans, down by one point, drove down the field with seconds remaining in the game. Luckily for Jones and company, Titans kicker Randy Bullock missed the potential game-winning field goal, leaving the Giants 1-0. Jones will work to continue this promising start to his fifth season in the league in a matchup with his hometown team—the Carolina Panthers—next Sunday.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Buffalo Bills
Crowder was a valuable asset to a lethal Bills passing attack in their Thursday night 31-10 rout of the Rams. In his first game with Buffalo after leaving the Jets as a free agent, Crowder received four targets by quarterback Josh Allen, who threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns, resulting in three receptions for 28 yards. This was good enough for ranking third on the Bills’ receiving yards leaderboard, trailing Stefon Diggs with 122 yards and Gabriel Davis with 88. The Bills hope to continue solid production from Crowder as they try building on their win in a date with the Titans next Monday night.
Laken Tomlinson, OG, New York Jets
Coming off a season in which he ranked No. 17 in most snaps in the NFL—tallying 1,094—Tomlinson looks to continue being a rock for the Jets offense. In the team's 2022 debut, he and his fellow offensive linemen did a decent job protecting backup quarterback Joe Flacco (starting quarterback Zach Wilson was injured in the preseason opener and unavailable) when they played the Baltimore Ravens Sunday evening. They enabled him to attempt 59 passes while only being sacked three times. Tomlinson also helped pave the way for running backs Michael Carter and Breece Hall, who ran for a combined 83 yards. Despite making movement, ultimately, Tomlinson’s efforts were not enough, as the Jets struggled to muster many points, finishing the game in a 24-9 loss.
Michael Carter II, CB, New York Jets
The former Blue Devil standout was a bright spot for a struggling Jets defense in the first game of his second NFL season. Carter ranked fourth on the team with four total tackles, including one tackle for loss, in the Jets' 24-9 loss to the Ravens this week. The Jets were led by linebacker C.J. Mosley, who had 11 total tackles, and aided by cornerback D.J. Reed, who intercepted Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Carter, who went down with a hip injury in the third quarter of the game, looks to recover quickly for the Jets' matchup with the Cleveland Browns.
Noah Gray, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
Following a rookie campaign where he had few targets on phenom tight end Travis Kelce, Gray began his second year impactful in the Chiefs’ matchup with the Cardinals. The Leominster, Mass., native hauled in one reception for 10 yards while the Chiefs rolled to a 44-21 lead. Gray's teammate, the NFL MVP of 2018, quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for five touchdowns. The Chiefs will return to play Thursday night against the Chargers.
Lucas Patrick, C, Chicago Bears
Though still recovering from a broken right thumb, Patrick was relegated to the bench for this week’s matchup against the 49ers. Even without their starting center, the Bears held on in the game, which was played in a torrential downpour, only allowing two sacks and finishing with a 19-10 victory.
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