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Five biggest takeaways from Thursday’s Week 1 NFL preseason action, including debut of Malik Willis

Thursday's Week 1 NFL preseason

Football fans got to enjoy two games during Thursday’s Week 1 NFL preseason action. The New York Giants took on the New England Patriots in a classic rivalry of sorts, and the Baltimore Ravens took on the Tennesee Titans in what feels like an eventual playoff matchup.

We’re here to provide the biggest takeaways from Thursday’s action, including features from both games.

Tyquan Thornton flashed skills for New England Patriots

Yeah, everyone loves touchdowns, and Tyquan Thornton managed to get a seven-yard TD catch from fellow rookie QB Bailey Zappe, but he had a couple plays that flashed his talent. Thornton, the team’s second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft is fighting to become a reliable option for Mac Jones and the Pats offense.

Fans got a brief glimpse of Thornton’s 4.28 speed on Thursday night, and if his ability to create separation is any sign of what’s to come, the Patriots might have yet another receiver who emerges as a serious threat.

Related: 5 must-watch NFL rookies in preseason Week 1

Saquon Barkley flashes some burst in limited action

He didn’t look slow, he didn’t look ineffective. Instead Saquon Barkley, the former NFL Rookie of the Year, looked like a player set to make an impact in 2022 in a new scheme.

Barkley only had four carries on the day, gaining 13 yards, while adding a reception for eight yards, but he did show off his speed, in small amounts. Who knows what type of season Barkley may be in store for, but this was a strong start. With a reinforced offensive line, the sky is the limit for Barkley in a contract year.

Related: New York Giants Saquon Barkley reportedly looking ‘explosive’ and powerful in 2022 camp

Matt Patricia and Joe Judge switch off as Patriots offensive playcaller

As we’ve all been trying to determine who will call plays for the New York Giants, it was Matt Patricia who got first dibs at the gig. But it wasn’t just Patricia who called plays into the Patriots’ QBs helmets. Joe Judge also got a chance at the offensive coordinator/play-caller role

It seems to be a true competition for who will be in the driver’s seat of the Patriots’ offense. It will be Mac Jones under center, but who’s in his ear? It appears to be an ongoing process.

Related: Ex-New England Patriots player shares wild story about trying to not anger Bill Belichick

Malik Willis scores first NFL TD

Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis made a strong first impression as he made his NFL debut. While nothing will go down on the stat sheet, Willis made plenty of plays that will have Titans fans drooling over what the future may hold.

He showed off his speed, and willingness to take on the heart of the defense, plus his ability to connect on deep, downfield throws as we saw above. He also got his first preseason touchdown by scrambling past the goal line. Willis kept it going, completing a sidearm throw on Thursday. He flashed so many traits, it’s hard not to be excited about the future at QB in Tennessee, even if Tannehill is the unquestioned starter.

Related: Malik Willis scores first NFL touchdown in preseason, pulls off sidearm throw

Baltimore’s winning streak lives on

It may just be the preseason to some, but not for John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens. With Thursday night’s 23-10 victory, the Ravens made it official, making history for winning an NFL record 21 consecutive preseason games.

The last time the Ravens lost a game in the preseason? It came in 2016, a full six years ago. What an incredible run.

Harbaugh always has his squad ready to go, whether the games count or not. He sees every chance to compete as a learning opportunity. That’s football at its finest.

Related: Top 10 NFL preseason storylines in 2022

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