We all know the NFL stars who generate SportsCenter highlights on a regular basis. However, every week we see some performances from men we may not know who makes us say, ‘Who was that?’
It could be the undrafted rookie receiver who catches a long touchdown, the backup QB who piles up the stats or a journeyman linebacker who makes a big play to seal a win.
This is for them. Take a look at Week 1’s unheralded ballers, starting with some FitzMagic and two fourth-quarter kickoff return touchdowns:
21-of-28 for a career-high 417 yards, four TDs and no interceptions in 48-40 win over Saints
Why it matters: Maybe Dirk Koetter isn’t bluffing. Koetter said last week that there was no guarantee that Jameis Winston would return to his starting QB job after his three-game suspension is completed. Fitzpatrick looked like FitzMagic, showing smooth deep-ball chemistry with DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans (combined for 12 catches, 293 yards, 3 TDs).
Each had a fourth-quarter kickoff-return TD in Dolphins' 27-20 win
Why it matters: This is the first time that two teams have had a kick return TD in the same game since Week 15 of the 2008 season. They happened in the same quarter. There were no kickoff return TDs until Week 6 last season and only seven all year. This could be a sign that the new kickoff return rules will result in more touchdowns. In the Dolphins' case, Grant’s spark is particularly encouraging.
Darron Lee, LB, New York Jets
Two interceptions, including a pick-six, and all over the field in a 48-17 win over the Detroit Lions
Why it matters: It has been a while since Jets fans have had something to cheer about, but they had many good sights Monday night. Lee, a 2016 first-round pick, has largely been a disappointment in his first two NFL seasons, with the "bust" word being sprinkled around by some. Lee, along with the Jets' defense, had a banner day and could be a sign of a change in 2018.
102 total yards, TD on 17 touches in 27-24 win over Washington
Why it matters: Lindsay became the third undrafted player since 1967 to gain 100-plus yards from scrimmage and score a touchdown in his pro debut. All of a sudden the Broncos could be working with something special with their pair of rookie backs -- third-round pick Royce Freeman and Lindsay -- taking center stage in their offense.
Quinton Dunbar, CB, Washington
One interception, three pass breakups in 24-6 win over the Cardinals
Why it matters: One reason the Redskins felt comfortable cutting Orlando Scandrick stemmed from Dunbar’s development and their confidence he could start opposite Josh Norman. The fourth-year converted receiver proved that decision correct Sunday, providing lockdown coverage in man and zone.
Three catches, 105 yards, TD in 27-24 loss to the Broncos
Why it matters: The rookie fourth-round pick was expected to be primarily a blocking tight end, but he looked like he can do much more as he broke multiple tackles during a 66-yard reception. Russell Wilson could use a reliable tight end in the mold of Jimmy Graham, but even Graham has never had a NFL catch that gained that many yards.
ESPN NFL Nation reporters John Keim and Brady Henderson contributed to this story.