Top takeaways from Sunday’s Week 1 NFL action

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season got going in a big way Sunday as 26 teams took to the field in hopes of starting the year out strong. It didn’t go that way for the Miami Dolphins, who embarrassed themselves in front of their home fans.

On the other side of the ledger, the Dallas Cowboys imposed their will over a lesser New York Giants squad while the Tennessee Titans made a point against the Cleveland Browns.

Then on “Sunday Night Football”, the New England Patriots absolutely dominated what proved to be a lesser Pittsburgh Steelers team in front of a national audience.

These are among the top takeaways from Sunday’s Week 1 NFL action.

Dolphins are just embarrassing

There’s no other way to go about it. South Beach is in store for a disastrous season from their hometown Miami Dolphins. That started out in a big way Sunday against what ended up being a record performance from Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Miami found itself down 42-10 at halftime. It got so bad that forgotten child Robert Griffin III actually entered the game for Jackson and threw a touchdown. In the end, Miami fell by the score of 59-10. That’s not even the extent of it. Ryan Fitzpatrick was replaced under center by Josh Rosen. Fans were few and far between at Hard Rock Stadium. Welcome to the tank, Miami fans.

Cowboys offense clicks on all cylinders

It sure looks like new Cowboys offense coordinator Kellen Moore knows what he’s doing. After a slow start against the hapless New York Giants on Sunday, this unit got it going big time. Dak Prescott put up a career performance, completing 25-of-32 passes for 405 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. In fact, Prescott had a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.

A game that saw Ezekiel Elliott return to the tune of just 53 yards also included a breakout performance from second-year receiver Michael Gallup, who caught all seven of his targets for 158 yards. Meanwhile, Amari Cooper also crossed the 100-yard threshold and put up a great touchdown catch in the 35-17 blowout win. These Cowboys could be a real force in 2019.

Bills shockingly overcome disastrous start

Down 16-0 late in the third quarter, things seemed to be going downhill quickly for the Buffalo Bills against the division-rival New York Jets on Sunday. In fact, Josh Allen turned the ball over four times in the first half. That included a pick-six.

But in a shocking manner, Buffalo overcame that deficit to score the game’s final 17 points. Allen finished the afternoon having completed 24-of-37 passes for 254 yards. The Bills went for 128 yards on 25 rush attempts with Devin Singletary leading the way. This was an impressive overall comeback for an up-and-coming Bills squad.

This just in: Christian McCaffrey is good

Despite seeing his Carolina Panthers lose a hotly contested affair against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, this star running back picked up where he left off last season. The third-year back tallied 209 total yards on 29 attempts. That included 10 receptions on 11 targets and this beautiful touchdown.

This enabled the Panthers to keep it close at home against the defending NFC Champs. McCaffrey must continue showing this elite play-making ability if Carolina hopes to compete for a playoff appearance. He got off to a good start in Week 1.

Kyler Murray, Cardinals get into a rhythm

This rookie No. 1 pick and his offense was absolutely atrocious through two-plus quarters Sunday against the Detroit Lions. In fact, Arizona tallied 53 total yards in its first nine drives. That’s not exactly what first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury had in mind as he brings the Air Raid offense to Arizona.

Fortunately for the Cardinals, things changed dramatically. Murray got into rhythm, opening things up for running back David Johnson in the process. Down 24-6 early in the fourth quarter, Arizona found a way to tie it up at 24 before forcing overtime. While the game ended in a tie, this is some tremendous news for the Cardinals. When all was said and done, Murray completed 29-of-54 passes for north of 300 yards in his NFL debut.

Titans make a major statement

The Cleveland Browns were the talk of the NFL during the offseason after acquiring Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants. Most expected the team to have its way at home against a mediocre Titans squad on Sunday. In no way did that come to fruition.

Riding a defense that picked off Baker Mayfield three times, and thanks to game-breaking plays from the likes of Derrick Henry, Tennessee won going away by the score of 43-13. It was a downright dominant performance from Mike Vrabel’s squad, and it has some people thinking that an AFC South title could be in the cards.

49ers defense has a new feeling to it

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers’ offense struggled to an extent on offense against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. They were picked up by San Francisco’s defense in a big way. Nick Bosa and Dee Ford combined for two sacks. DeForest Buckner continued to do his thing.

But it’s the secondary that stood out big time. San Francisco recorded more interceptions (three) against Jameis Winston than the team had all of last season in the 31-17 win. That included interceptions for touchdowns from both Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. The 49ers are going to be fine on offense. And if the team’s defense plays like this, a playoff appearance could be in the cards.

Chiefs are too good for their own good

Raise your hand if you had Sammy Watkins vying for the single-game receiving yards mark against a good Jaguars defense on Sunday? Yeah, we didn’t think so. What we did know is that reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes was prepared to pick up where he left off last season. That came to fruition in a big way.

Kansas City took out Jacksonville by the score of 40-26. Mahomes completed 25-of-33 passes for 378 yards with three touchdowns and zero picks. Watkins? Well, he put up an absurd 198 yards and three touchdowns while catching 9-of-11 targets from Mahomes. Yeah, these Chiefs are scary good.

Atlanta, we have a problem

The Falcons had hoped that they might be able to compete with the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday. Atlanta is coming off a surprising non-playoff season, but has expectations of contention in the NFC South in 2019. If what we saw Sunday was any indication, Dan Quinn’s squad has taken yet another step back.

The mistake-filled game culminated in Atlanta losing by the score of 28-12. The game wasn’t close from the outset with Minnesota leading 14-0 after the first quarter. Matt Ryan was atrocious. The defense continued to commit the very same mental lapses we saw last season. And in the end, one now has to wonder whether Mr. Quinn is on the early-season hot seat.

Eagles overcome slow start

Fans in Philadelphia were not in a giving mood early Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Down 17-0 early, the Eagles didn’t give them much reason for optimism. However, the slow start was quickly replaced with utter domination against a lesser team.

Philadelphia scored 32 of the game’s final 42 points. Carson Wentz connected with Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson for a combined three scores. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ defense held Washington to 28 yards on 13 rush attempts in a dominating performance. These Eagles are good. A slow start to Sunday’s action didn’t change that.

Too close of a call for the Seahawks

Most anticipated the Seahawks would easily take care of a talent-stricken Bengals team at home on Sunday. It seemed destined to be a blowout. In no way did that come to fruition. Cincinnati put up 22 first downs compared to 12 for the Seahawks while outgaining its counterpart, 429-233.

While Seattle did come out on top by the score of 21-20, this was an ugly performance from Pete Carroll’s squad. The Seahawks put up just 72 yards on 25 rushing attempts. Meanwhile, wide receiver Tyler Lockett caught just one of two targets. One has to wonder if this is a harbinger of things to come.

Colts show competitive spirit in narrow loss

Indianapolis’ first regular-season game without the recently retired Andrew Luck started out slow. The team was down 24-9 midway through the third quarter against a championship-caliber Chargers team in Los Angeles. Spearheaded by a tremendous performance from Jacoby Brissett and one amazing play by Malik Hooker, the Colts made this a game.

While Los Angeles came out on top by the score of 30-24 with a walk-off touchdown in overtime, these Colts showed the competitive spirit that was missing when Brissett replaced a then-injured Luck during the 2017 season. That’s no small thing.

These were the Patriots without Antonio Brown

Four teams have yet to play a regular-season game around the NFL, but it’s starting to feel like 31 squads should just pack it in for the year. Taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night without the recently-acquired Antonio Brown in the mix, the defending champion New England Patriots absolutely dominated their lesser counterpart.

The final score of 33-3 doesn’t tell the entire story here. New England treated the Steelers like a junior varsity team. Tom Brady connected with Phillip Dorsett for not one, but two touchdowns. Brady vastly outplayed Ben Roethlisberger, completing 24-of-36 passes for 341 yards with three touchdowns. It was pure and utter domination. Other NFL teams now have to be concerned big time. Oh, and AB will likely make his Patriots debut against the Miami Dolphins next week. What’s going to be the betting line for that game?