Week one of the NFL regular season kicked off on Thursday and continued through the weekend, meaning many former Utes were able to showcase their talents on football's biggest stage. Several former Utes had terrific performances and produced a few highlights during the first weekend of NFL football. Here's a look at some former Utes who had notable performances on Sunday.
Alex Smith QB Kansas City Chiefs
The former number one draft pick looked very sharp in the season opener for the Chiefs. Smith completed 23 of 33 passes for 243 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions to finish with a 118.6 quarterback rating. He helped the chiefs build a big first half lead with his three touchdown throws on the way to a 27-20 win in Houston. There were some people questioning his ability in Kansas City during the preseason, but for now Smith appears to have answered those questions.
Steve Smith Sr. WR Baltimore Ravens
The former Ute began his final season Sunday in Denver against the Broncos. Smith had a bit of a rough game, catching only 2 passes for 13 yards. Despite being held in check most of the day, Smith had an opportunity to make a game winning catch in the final minute. Trailing Denver 19-13, Joe Flacco heaved a pass to Smith in the left corner of the end zone, only to have it bounce off his chest. The very next play, Flacco threw a game ending interception to preserve the win for the Broncos.
Jeremiah Poutasi RT Tennessee Titans
Poutasi started his first game in Tennessee playing right tackle for the Titans. Poutasi played well protecting for his fellow rookie Marcus Mariota at quarterback. Behind the blocking of Poutasi, Mariota was able to pass for 4 touchdowns and Bishop Sankey ran for another as the Titans routed Jameis Winston and the Bucs 42-14.
Trevor Reilly OLB NY Jets
Reilly got his first regular season playing time after spending last season on the Jets practice squad. He responded by recording a sack and forced fumble, beating Browns left tackle Joe Thomas and taking down Johnny Manziel with a strip sack in the fourth quarter. The Jets thumped the Browns 31-10.
Paul Kruger OLB Cleveland Browns
Kruger was on the other end of the Browns 31-10 defeat at the hands of Reilly's Jets. The outside linebacker finished with just four tackles and struggled to maintain containment on the edge for much of the game. As one of the Browns leaders this season, Kruger will need to improve his play for Cleveland to find success.
Brice McCain CB Miami Dolphins
The seventh year cornerback out of Utah had a great beginning to his Dolphins career against Washington, finishing with six tackles an interception and a pass defended. McCain's most memorable moment of the game was his one handed interception close to the goal line. The pick came at a critical time as well, with the Dolphins leading 17-10 in the fourth quarter. The interception halted the Washington drive and allowed the Dolphins to hang on for the win.
Koa Misi OLB Miami Dolphins
Misi, another former Ute playing for the Dolphins had a solid effort in his season debut. The veteran outside linebacker known for his consistent play, racked up 11 total tackles, helping the Miami defense limit Washington to just ten points.
Eric Weddle S San Diego Chargers
The veteran safety turned in yet another solid performance in week one, recording nine tackles and two pass defenses. Weddle remains the leader for a Charger secondary as San Diego was able to get past the Lions 33-28.
Other Utes to record playing time this week were Zane Beadles who got the start at left guard for the Jaguars, defensive end Derrick Shelby of the Dolphins who recorded one tackle, and defensive tackle Sealver Siligia of the Patriots with three tackles against the Steelers on Thursday's season opener. A couple more Utes will begin their seasons on Monday night such as running back Matt Asiata with the Vikings, Defensive tackle Paul Soliai with the Falcons and Eric Rowe will begin his career with the Eagles. Overall a very good showing so far for former Utes in week one!