The 32 things we learned from Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season:
1. Keepin’ it 100: The Packers and Bears resumed the league’s longest rivalry to kick off Week 1 and the NFL’s 100th season … and set offensive football back 100 years. Who knew the game would resemble the clubs’ first meeting in 1921, when the Chicago Staleys beat the Pack 20-0 in a game that featured more points than Green Bay’s 10-3 win Thursday night? Thanks for the throwback treatment, fellas — Halas and Lambeau loved it.
2. If you thought Nate Davis was inactive, think again — he’s juggling NFL coverage with coverage of a 6-week-old. Oh, the rookie lineman for the Titans didn’t play, but expecting big things from him eventually, too.
3. Though Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (378 yards, 3 TD passes) looks like a man determined to hang onto his league MVP award, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (17-for-20, 324 yards, 5 TDs, perfect 158.3 passer rating) emerged as the 2019 front runner after Week 1.
3a. Jacksonville was the only team to hold Mahomes without a TD pass in 2018.
4. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has paid quite a few guys in recent months. He may rue not prioritizing QB Dak Prescott, who posted the first perfect passer rating (158.3) of his career while racking up 405 yards (a Dallas record for Week 1) and four TDs through the air in a 35-17 defeat of the Giants. The meter is running, Jerry … even faster now.
4a. Dallas got two TDs from tight ends (Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin) Sunday after getting four all of last season. Nice to see Witten pull a rabbit out of his head after his one-year hiatus with ESPN.
5. Bolts > Colts.
5a. We told you the Chargers would be just fine with RB Austin Ekeler (3 TDs) as Melvin Gordon’s holdout is looking increasingly ill advised.
5b. But it must be noted Indianapolis might have found the win column if not for more strokes of bad “Luck” — K Adam Vinatieri, 46, missing two FGs and a PAT in the overtime defeat, probably the worst loss of his career.
6. Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins, who was drafted eight slots ahead of Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014, showed why he can be a game breaker by establishing career bests with 198 receiving yards and three TDs in Sunday’s win. This could be a key development for Kansas City depending on how long injured Tyreek Hill is out.
7. New Chiefs DE Frank Clark picked off a pass Sunday. He made sure that Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey, who didn’t, knew about it.
8. Marquise Brown > Antonio Brown … knock on wood if you’re with me.
8a. The Ravens first rounder (and cousin of AB) opened his career with 47- and 83-yard TD passes from Jackson, the first time a rookie has had two 40-plus-yard scoring snatches in a debut.
8b. Antonio Brown, newly acquired by the Patriots, was, of course, inactive after worming his way out of Oakland.
8c. In hindsight, the Steelers should be commended for maintaining relative peace as long as they did with Antonio Brown.
8d. In hindsight — always 20/20 — the Steelers also should have taken that first-round pick New England offered in the offseason for AB, per reports.
9. The Ravens’ 59 points in their win over Miami were a team record.
10. The Dolphins, who scored 10 points and have been consistently ranked last in USA TODAY Sports’ power rankings since the end of the 2018 season, appear like a team determined to be ranked 33rd.
10a. Per Elias, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s appearance for the Fins made him the first man in NFL history to start for eight different teams. Though Fitzpatrick will remain under center in Week 2, he also looked like a guy who could easily extend his record in 2020.
11. The Bengals had every excuse to look as bad as Miami — no A.J. Green, no Cordy Glenn, Joe Mixon banged up, almost nobody wins in Seattle. But Cincinnati looked quite capable in coach Zac Taylor’s debut as QB Andy Dalton threw for a career-best 418 yards, and WR John Ross finally resembled a dangerous weapon (7 catches, 158 yards, 2 TDs) in a one-point loss.
11a. The defeat of the Bengals gave Seahawks coach Pete Carroll a win over every NFL team.
12. Widely panned Giants first-round QB Daniel Jones debuted in a mop-up role Sunday … and fumbled.
13. Rams DT Aaron Donald, who was recently voted the league’s best player by his peers according to an NFL Network survey, is off to another slow start. Shut out Sunday, Donald has been held sackless in all of his season debuts save the 2015 campaign. He has 7½ sacks in 16 career September games but averages .83 sacks per game for the balance of his career.
14. If Todd Gurley truly is healthy and isn’t operating on a pitch count, why did the Rams star only get 15 touches Sunday — basically half of what Panthers counterpart Christian McCaffrey (29) received?
15. After outdueling Cam Newton, Rams QB Jared Goff is 5-1 all-time against fellow passers drafted No. 1 overall. No wonder he pulled down a record $110 million guarantee.
15a. Newton averaged just 6.3 yards per attempt in Sunday’s loss, a yard below his career average. Keep an eye on that shoulder (and revamped throwing motion).
16. Johnny Hekker, who may eventually go down as the greatest punter in NFL history, suffered his first blocked kick as an L.A. Ram. He had two punts snuffed in his previous life as a St. Louis Ram.
17. Hate it for Nick Foles (broken collarbone), who was making just the fourth Week 1 start of his career and first as the new leader of the Jags. Get well soon, sir.
17a. However Foles’ backup in Jacksonville, rookie QB Gardner Minshew, looked nearly as good as his fantabulous mustache in relief.
17b. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette had never lost a fumble in his NFL career — until Sunday.
18. Browns QB Baker Mayfield tied his career high with three INTs in Sunday’s 43-13 loss to Tennessee. Per @NFLResearch, it was the first time since high school Mayfield suffered a 30-point loss as a starting quarterback.
18a. Even with Beckham on board (7 catches for 71 yards in his Cleveland debut), the Browns failed to win their first season opener since 2004.
More: Titans spoil Browns’ party, suggesting one could be brewing in Nashville
19. Congrats to 35-year-old Titans TE Delanie Walker, who missed most of last season with a gruesome ankle injury but returned Sunday to catch two TDs for just the third time in his 14-year career.
20. New coach (Bruce Arians), same old Jameis Winston (3 INTs). Winston now has 79 turnovers in 57 NFL games.
20a. The 49ers, who picked off those three Winston misfires — two for TDs — had two INTs the entire 2018 season.
21. In his first NFL action in more than 600 days, Jets RB Le’Veon Bell became the first NFL player to exceed 8,000 career yards from scrimmage in just 63 games. However despite his 92 total yards while scoring New York’s only TD (and 2-point conversion), Bell’s new team fell flat Sunday.
22. The Jets seemed to fall apart after new ILB C.J. Mosley left the game with a groin injury. He appeared on his way to defensive player of the week honors after scoring on a Josh Allen pick-six and recovering a fumble in his New York debut.
22a. However the Jets’ kicking game may be their biggest problem. Kaare Vedvik missed both his attempts (PAT and FG) in the 17-16 loss, and this team — which let Pro Bowler Jason Myers sign with Seattle in the offseason — isn’t good enough to weather spotty special teams.
22b. Meanwhile, Vedvik’s Buffalo counterpart, Steven Hauschka, has never missed (12-for-12 on FGs, 24-for-24 on PATs) in seven games at MetLife stadium.
23. Maybe the Bills, who dropped Shady McCoy on cutdown day, should get rookie RB Devin Singletary more involved. He rushed for 70 yards on just four carries while the rest of the team managed 58 yards on 21 attempts.
24. Before recovering a fumble on the Jets’ final desperation play, Buffalo had a minus-four turnover margin — but still won. You just never know in the NFL.
25. It took 2019 No. 1 draft pick Kyler Murray a good three quarters to find his footing on an NFL field … but once he did — while salvaging a tie with Detroit — we got a glimpse of why Murray could be so special.
25a. However since Murray failed to notch the win, Houston’s David Carr (in 2002) remains the last quarterback drafted first overall to debut with a victory.
25b. Murray’s unveiling marked the 12th consecutive season a rookie quarterback was starting somewhere in the league during Week 1.
26. Lions TE T.J. Hockenson, the highest-drafted player at his position since Vernon Davis in 2006, basically needed no time to acclimate to the NFL, catching six balls for 131 yards and a score in his pro debut. No tight end has ever racked up as many receiving yards in his first NFL game. Hockenson’s calling card is as a blocker BTW.
26a. Davis still has it BTW …
26b. In addition to Hockenson, three other rookies — Marquise Brown, Tennessee’s A.J. Brown and Washington’s Terry McLaurin — each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their inaugural NFL games.
27. Washington RB Adrian Peterson was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career Sunday. The Redskins rushed for 28 yards, averaging 2.2 per carry, without him in a five-point defeat to Philly. Welp.
27a. It’s worth noting the ‘Skins didn’t have perennial Pro Bowl LT Trent Williams. However new QB Case Keenum looked pretty comfortable (380 yards, 3 TD passes), sacked just once in a near upset of the Eagles.
28. WR DeSean Jackson had an eventful return to Philadelphia, scoring a pair of TDs covering 50-plus yards — his 31 career TDs of at least 50 yards trail only Jerry Rice (36) for the all-time record — and racking up 100-plus receiving yards on opening day for the sixth time, tying Michael Irvin’s league mark.
29. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins set career lows for pass attempts (10), completions (8) and yards (98) as a starter, but his team rolled over Atlanta 28-12 behind RB Dalvin Cook (111 rushing yards, 2 TDs). You know coach Mike Zimmer was just beaming on the inside.
30. So preseason doesn’t matter, right? You wonder if the Bears, Packers, Browns, Eagles (what a horrid first half they had) and Cardinals (what a horrid three quarters they had) would do things differently given how they struggled in Week 1.
30a. Predictably, not a crisp weekend of football, with seven of Sunday’s 13 games decided by at least 14 points — including several severely ugly blowouts.
31. So if the Patriots are 30 points better than Pittsburgh on opening night — and New England has spent recent Septembers tinkering amid slow starts before dialing in — what will they be once Antonio Brown joins the lineup … not to mention Gronk’s return (wink)? It’s been 15 years since the last Super Bowl repeat — yes, the 2004 Patriots — but the outcome of the NFL’s centennial season suddenly feels quite inevitable even though 253 games have yet to be played.
32. Dearest mother — I write to you from the veranda in a state of melancholy, listening to the echo of cannon fire as it rolls over the mount. @CaptAndrewLuck’s leg was saved by leaving the ranks, but he surely frets over the fate of the men and Major Brissett, despite his deserved battlfield commission, while awaiting word but fearing they were ambushed at Bolt Rivers. Did Andrew remove his epaulets too soon, Mother?
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis