The NFL season opened in full force yesterday, which is a big deal, except of course for everyone in Los Angeles, because we don't have a team. This is, unbelievably, the 16th straight season that the nation's second-largest market doesn't have a pro team. Well, maybe USC...
Even though there is no NFL team in Los Angeles, there are local products in the league. Here's a look at the best performances from Week 1 from NFL players with Los Angeles ties.
Pete Carroll, Seattle
The 49ers were the favorites to win the NFC West by many, and most that didn't pick San Francisco threw their hat in Arizona's corner. The Seahawks, who were an afterthought in the division, gave Carroll a rather shocking 31-6 victory in his opening game. Maybe Carroll will have success in the pros, after all.
Mike Williams, WR, Seattle
Four catches, 64 yards
Williams had a relatively ordinary game, with four catches for 64 yards, but just the fact that he is back in the league, in a starting position, is amazing. The former USC star hasn't played in the NFL since playing sparingly in 2007 (he only had seven catches all season). He has always had the talent to play in the league; perhaps now he has the work ethic to go with it.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville
23 carries, 98 yards; three catches, 15 yards
This was a rather normal game for the former UCLA stud who was likely drafted in the top five of just about every fantasy football draft in the past few weeks.
Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jacksonville
Two catches, 31 yards, two touchdowns
The former UCLA standout tight end caught just two passes yesterday, but made both count as they were both touchdowns. Both were much needed scores in a game the Jaguars won, 24-17 over Denver.
Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay
Two sacks, seven tackles, one concussion
Matthews, who was overshadowed by fellow linebackers Ray Mauluga and Brian Cushing at USC, was all over the field for the Packers yesterday. He knocked out Eagles' quarterback Kevin Kolb with one of his sacks, and Matthews also made the key fourth-down stop on Philadelphia's potential game-tying final drive.
Former USC quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Matt Cassel have a chance to crack this list tonight, as both play on Monday Night Football. But the point remains that, even though Los Angeles doesn't have a team, there are plenty of reasons to watch the NFL.