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Longhorns in the NFL — Week 1: Malcolm Brown rushes for two TDs

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Recapping the opening week of the NFL for the Texas players in the league.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple former Texas Longhorns made their marks in debuts with new teams throughout Week One. See below which players made an impact for your NFL team on opening weekend.

Notable Week 1 Performances and Highlights

  • While Todd Gurley played nearly 70-percent of the snaps, Malcolm Brown received the bulk of red-zone carries as his backup. Brown out-touched Gurley 5:0 in the red-zone and produced the Rams only two rushing touchdowns. Along with his two touchdowns, he finished with 53 yards on 11 carries (4.8 YPC). While questions remain on the health of Gurley’s knee, Brown could be suited for a big role as the Rams short-yardage back this season.

On his first touchdown, he hit a nice quick jump cut and powered his way over defenders into the end zone.

  • Earl Thomas intercepted a pass in his team debut with the Baltimore Ravens and first game back since fracturing his leg last season. Given their marginal lead in this game, second-year safety DeShon Elliott saw some action behind Thomas with the twos. They both finished with one tackle.
  • Middle linebacker Jordan Hicks led all NFL players with 14 tackles (8 solo, 2 TFL) in his team debut with the Arizona Cardinals. Hicks was excellent in leading his defense against the run, as the Lions averaged just 3.6 yards per carry on the ground. If Hicks can manage to stay healthy for a full season, he may finish among the top five in total tackles.
  • 2019 team captain Quandre Diggs made a touchdown-saving tackle against running back David Johnson. Diggs knocked him out at the 1-yard line and the Cardinals ended up settling for a field goal two plays later. The 2018 Pro-Bowler finished with five tackles in the Lions’ 27-27 tie.

Diggs spoke on Kyler Murray’s talent ability leading up to their matchup on Sunday:

  • Fresh off a new one-year deal, hybrid safety Adrian Phillips had his ups-and-downs filling in for the injured Derwin James. He totaled six tackles and had some problems in coverage playing with a lead.

Phillips was very effective as a dime package linebacker in Gus Bradley’s 4-2-5 defense last season — he made the Pro Bowl alongside Derwin James. For the moment, reverting back to the strong safety position will present a challenge for him going forward.

  • Trey Hopkins, now the starting center for the Cincinnati Bengals, made the PFF Offensive Team of the Week with a 77.0 PFF grade. Hopkins allowed just one quarterback hurry on 51 pass-blocking snaps.
  • Left guard Connor Williams held his own along Dallas’ dominant offensive line against the Giants.
  • Justin Tucker was a perfect 8-for-8 on extra points and hit a 34-yard field goal in the Ravens 59-10 blowout win.
  • While seeing reps at cornerback in the fourth quarter, rookie Kris Boyd had two tackles but was flagged for a kick-catch interference penalty on punt coverage.
  • Punter Michael Dickson averaged 47 yards on eight punts — long of 60 yards, two punts were pinned inside the 20-yard lie.
  • Alex Okafor totaled four tackles (2 solo) in his team debut with the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Marquise Goodwin had one catch for seven yards on three targets.
  • Defensive tackle Malcom Brown was mostly used on third-down pass-rush situations in his debut with the New Orleans Saints. He was in on a sack and recorded two tackles in their thrilling 30-28 win on Monday night.