The following is a list of the Week 1 leaders in looks and touches. It defines those running backs and receivers who received the most attention this past weekend.
Touches is defined as the number of times a running back carried or caught the football.
Looks is defined as the number of times a player was the intended target of a pass.
Week 1 was a bit of a mixed bag for the "big 3" running backs. Shaun Alexander compiled just 52 yards of total offense on 21 touches and did not score a touchdown at Detroit. Larry Johnson rushed for just 68 yards on 17 carries and no touchdowns against the Bengals, but did catch five passes (on seven looks) for 80 receiving yards. LaDainian Tomlinson had a solid opener on the ground against the Raiders, rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries while also catching three passes (on five looks) for 18 yards.
Chester Taylor owners were likely less-than-enthused by his 2.8 yards-per-carry on Sunday night, but had to take Vikings coach Brad Childress' willingness to give him 31 carries regardless as a very good sign. Mewelde Moore was healthy enough to return punts and was on the field for a number of third-down possessions, but Taylor also tallied three receptions (on four looks) on pass plays, while Moore totaled just two carries. Taylor's 34 touches placed him in a tie with Tomlinson atop the Week 1 leaderboard.
Diminutive running backs Warrick Dunn and Willie Parker played big in Week 1, each seeing 30-plus touches and accumulating 142 and 128 yards of total offense, respectively. Dunn was particularly impressive, posting a league-high 132 yards on the ground against the stout Panthers run defense.
Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister shared the workload for the Saints, with each back registering 22 touches. Bush led all running backs with eight receptions and 10 looks, while McAllister had 22 carries to Bush's 14. Other teams who opted for the committee approach in Week 1, with the RB2 getting at least half as many touches as the RB1, included the Bears, Broncos, Colts, Patriots, Jets, Titans, and Redskins.
Frank Gore and Tiki Barber led running backs (with at least 10 touches) in yards per touch. Gore had 170 yards of total offense (87 rushing, 83 receiving) on 22 touches, a 7.73 average. Barber amassed 171 yards (110 rushing, 61 receiving) on 23 touches, a 7.43 average. LaMont Jordan and Derrick Blaylock finished at the bottom of the list. Jordan totaled 20 yards on 10 carries and had no receptions for a 2.00 average, and Blaylock totaled 46 yards (36 rushing, 10 receiving) on 21 touches, a 2.19 average.
Drew Bennett topped 13 players in double figures with a whopping 17 looks in Week 1. Other surprise appearances near the top of the list: Jerricho Cotchery, who could emerge as a reliable second option in the Jets' passing game; Drew Carter, who led the Panthers in looks while Steve Smith watched from the sidelines; Desmond Clark, as the Chicago passing offense thrived against the Packers; and Wes Welker, who was the most productive player on the field for the Dolphins against the Steelers.
Some conspicuous absences from the top of the look leaderboard: Antonio Gates, who did score a touchdown, but was targeted just twice by Philip Rivers; Derrick Mason, who was the intended target on six of 27 Steve McNair passes; Joey Galloway, who was targeted three times during a dismal game for the Tampa Bay offense and finished with no catches; Santana Moss, as the Redskins offense was fairly stagnant against the Vikings; and Randy Moss, as the Raiders had more punts (nine) than completed passes (eight) during the 27-0 shellacking at the hands of the Chargers.
Other players of note: Donte' Stallworth made quite a splash in his regular season debut for the Eagles. He was targeted a team-high nine times, and amassed six catches for 141 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown catch; Chris Chambers totaled 14 looks against the Steelers, but managed just five catches for 59 yards and did not score; Tony Gonzalez totaled a position-high 12 looks, including seven from Damon Huard in the 4th quarter alone after Trent Green left the game late in the third quarter due to injury.