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2023/24 NFL season: Standout performers from Week 1

From the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs losing to the Detroit Lions in the Kickoff Game to the Xavier Gipson stunning the Buffalo Bills with his 65-yard punt return to win in overtime on Monday, NFL Week 1 had plenty of huge performances.

Here's our take on the individuals we believe produced the best performances across the 16 games and what they did to stand out above the rest.

Dan Campbell

Let's start where it all began on Thursday night and the Lions' 21-20 upset of the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Most of the credit should go to Detroit's players, but it is hard to pick out one individual above the others because victory was achieved with a collective team effort.

Coach Campbell's postgame comments were illuminating as he refused to accept what his team had just done - being only the second team to beat the Chiefs in their own backyard since 2021 - was as big a surprise as many said.

Instead, he stated that he "expected" the Lions to win the game, his words designed to keep his young players' feet on the ground ahead of further big battles to come this season.

Campbell has turned around a franchise that went 3-13 in his first season and lacked talent on both sides of the ball.

Since the start of November last year, the Lions have won nine of their 11 regular season games and appear to be on the fast track to success under their third-year HC.

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins QB enjoyed a stellar return to the field against the Los Angeles Chargers, and emphatically inserted himself into the MVP conversation.

Tagovailoa threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns in Miami's 36-34 win and overshadowed the quarterback that he has been compared to ever since the 2020 draft.

Selected one spot ahead of Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, Tagovailoa has struggled to justify the Dolphins' initial faith in him at times in his career.

But after inconsistency and injury-dogged years, maybe 2023 will be his time to rise up into the top echelon of NFL quarterbacks.

Tyreek Hill

The former Chiefs star was on the receiving end of two of Tua's TD tosses and finished with a total of 11 receptions for 215 yards.

It was Hill's third career game with 200-plus yards and two or more receiving touchdowns, which is the most of any player in the Super Bowl era, per NFL Research.

The 29-year-old, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds, utilized his blazing speed on a key play in the third quarter when he took outside leverage against Chargers cornerback J.C Jackson, who simply could not catch him on a 35-yard TD completion.

Christian McCaffrey

McCaffrey also shone in his 2023 season debut, racking up 152 rushing yards on 22 attempts (6.9-yard average) and adding a rushing touchdown in the San Francisco 49ers' 30-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The former Carolina Panthers star showcased his burst, balance and ability to pick up blockers in breaking free for an electrifying 65-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.

McCaffrey has slotted seamlessly into Kyle Shanahan's offense following his midseason arrival last year and the Niners are now 13-2, including the playoffs, since the trade.

San Francisco, +750 to win Super Bowl LVIII, are a perfect 11-0 in regular-season games in which the running back had a full week to prepare and their offense is averaging around 10 points per game more in those games than they did in the six before his arrival.

Breece Hall

Ten months after tearing his ACL, the New York Jets rusher looked every bit the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite he was before his knee injury last season.

Hall announced his return early on in Monday's dramatic win over Buffalo, starting with a 26-yard scamper off the left tackle in the first quarter before he broke out a barnstorming 83-yard dart up the middle after the Jets had been backed up on their own 4-yard line.

He gained 127 yards on 10 carries against the Bills.

Roquan Smith

The Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker delivered a dominant performance against the Houston Texans on Sunday, registering 16 tackles in total, including eight solo and a sack.

His outstanding tackle count was the most ever for Baltimore in a season opener, a new first that looks even better when you investigate whose name Smith's goes above in the record books. Only the legendary Ravens star of the late 1990s and early 2000s Ray Lewis, who recorded a total of 14 tackles in three different season openers, can compete.

Jordan Whitehead

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety earned a huge $250,000 incentive bonus for picking off Josh Allen three timers in the Jets' 22-16 win on Monday Night Football.

Whitehead was in the right place at the right time on the first two before reading Allen's intentions and jumping the route on the third to grab some prime-time TV glory.

Only four players have gone one better in an NFL game, the last being DeAngelo Hall who had four picks for Washington against the Chicago Bears in 2010.

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