NFL Sunday takeaways: Patriots fall, Bengals sputter, Baker Mayfield struggles

Although not all the games were successful, most of them were close. Of the nine matchups that kicked off at 1 p.m. on the first Sunday of the NFL’s 2022 season, two went to overtime, including one that ended in a tie. Four other matchups were one-possession. Only the Dolphins’ takedown of the Patriots and the Ravens’ win over the Jets could be considered blowouts.

This afternoon is for you if you value entertainment more than flawless execution.

There were upsets — the supposedly abysmal Bears beat new starting quarterback Trey Lance and the 49ers, 19-10 — and comebacks, like the Saints’ final-minute field goal to go up by a point over the Falcons, and the Bengals forcing overtime after a dismal first half. Revenge games abound: Carson Wentz beat his former team, and Baker Mayfield, after a disappointing first half, brought up the Panthers to within striking distance of defeating the Browns before falling short.

Here’s what you need to know from the early games in Week 1.

The Patriots must figure out how to get on offense. New England lost its season opener against the Dolphins for the second consecutive year. This season is much worse than the last. Without longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who left to take the Raiders’ head coaching job in the offseason, the Patriots managed just one score all afternoon, a third-quarter touchdown.

Yes, new Miami coach Mike McDaniel has a defense that played lights-out Sunday, which should mitigate some of the panic over Matt Patricia’s play-calling, but New England’s offense bears a good bit of the responsibility for Sunday’s loss.

Jonathan Taylor, Colts runningback, reached the first milestone for the NFL season. He entered Sunday’s game against the Texans — which ended in a 20-20 tie — with 2,980 rushing yards over his first two seasons, and by the end of the first quarter, he’d hit 3,000. Taylor finished the game, Matt Ryan’s first as the starting quarterback in Indianapolis, with 161 yards.

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There was much to be confused about Sunday afternoon Chicago. The Bears won. Quarterback Justin Fields recovered from a poor first half, throwing two touchdowns in the game’s final two quarters and outplaying new Niners starter Trey Lance on a sloppy, mucky field.

The towel incident is perhaps even more confusing. Trenton Gill, Bears’ holder, found a way to dry off the grass in the middle of a floodwatch. Officials took a look at his field-maintenance skills before imposing a penalty on him for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Bears were placed on a 15-yard dock and made to punt.

The Bengals might be feeling a bit hungover after the Super Bowl. But they’re still gutting out games until the end. Joe Burrow, the quarterback, threw his first pick-six of 2022. It was a sad day. Burrow threw four interceptions during the first half, and the team was trailing 17-6 heading into the final quarter. Then he just kept throwing.

Burrow finished the day with 338 passing yard and 47 yards on the ground. Oh, and he was sacked seven times; the Bengals’ revamped offensive line might not yet be fixed.

Considering all that, it’s almost incomprehensible that the Bengals had a chance to win the game in regulation. After a blocked extra point, the game went to overtime. The Steelers won, 23-20.

Why is Tom Brady back in the game? Because ‘an arm is a terrible thing to waste’

Charlotte: First-half update

It was a mostly dismal first half for Baker Mayfield and his new team, the Carolina Panthers, against Mayfield’s former team, the Cleveland Browns. The Panthers were down two touchdowns after the quarterback threw an intercept. There were boos for the home team’s offense at a few points at Bank of America Stadium.

Mayfield and the Panthers did score a touchdown in the second quarter. They trailed Browns 17-7 at halftime.

In his Panthers debut, Mayfield completed ten of 19 passes for 101 yards in the first half. Grant Delpit, Browns safety, intercepted Mayfield’s second-quarter pass. It resulted in a touchdown pass of Jacoby Brissett from Browns to Kareem Hunter for one yard.

Hunt, who reportedly asked to be traded before the season, added a 24-yard touchdown run to extend the Browns’ lead to 14-0. Mayfield’s 50-yard completion to tight end Ian Thomas set up a one-yard touchdown run by tailback Christian McCaffrey 1:57 before halftime.

The Browns responded by making a 26-yard field kick by Cade York 21 seconds prior to the break. Brissett took the place of suspended Deshaun Watson and completed eight of 18 passes for 75 yard in the half.

Pregame news and analysis

Second-year quarterback Trey Lance, as he begins his first full season as the starter for the San Francisco 49ers, won’t have the help of tight end George Kittle in Sunday’s opener at Chicago.

The 49ers placed Kittle onto their game-day active list.

Kittle had been listed as questionable on the Niners’ injury report because of a groin injury. He did not practice Wednesday through Friday.

The Bears will be facing the 49ers on a wet, sloppy pitch. It has been heavy raining in Chicago this morning.

Ravens without cornerback Marcus Peters, J.K. Dobbins, and left tackle Ronnie Stanley will all be absent from the Baltimore Ravens’ game against the New York Jets at East Rutherford, N.J.

All three are on the Ravens’ inactive list.

Stanley was listed as doubtful in the injury report. Dobbins and Peters were both listed as questionable.

Peters and Dobbins missed last season due to knee injuries. Stanley was only able to play in one game last season after undergoing ankle surgery.

Thomas and Mathieu available for Saints: Wide receiver Michael Thomas is active for the Saints, as is safety Tyrann Mathieu for their 1 pm Eastern time game at Atlanta.

Each had been listed as questionable for the game on the Saints’ injury report, Thomas with a hamstring injury and Mathieu with an illness.

An ankle injury prevented Thomas from playing last season. Since 2019, when he had 149 receptions for 1,725 yards, and nine touchdowns, Thomas has not played a full year.

Week 1 preview: Baker Mayfield vs. Browns and lots more QB intrigue

Deshaun Watson won’t make his debut for the Cleveland Browns on this first Sunday of the NFL season. The quarterback is serving his 11-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

But four quarterbacks who changed teams in the offseason as part of the fallout from Watson’s trade and suspension — the Browns’ Jacoby Brissett, the Carolina Panthers’ Baker Mayfield, the Indianapolis Colts’ Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons’ Marcus Mariota — will make their first starts for their new franchises Sunday.

Mayfield gave what was essentially a farewell to Cleveland in March as the Browns sought a Watson trade. He wanted to be traded, and eventually was granted a July deal by the Panthers.

Ryan was traded by the Falcons to the Colts because they couldn’t or wouldn’t repair their relationship to the former league MVP following their failed pursuit for Watson. They signed Mariota, the former No. Mariota, the former No. 2 pick in the NFL draft, was relegated back to backup status in his previous two seasons with Las Vegas Raiders.

To back Watson up, the Browns signed Brissett knowing that Mayfield would leave. Brissett made 37 career starts with the New England Patriots Colts and Miami Dolphins.

The NFL schedule-makers can’t take credit for setting up a grudge game between Mayfield (and the Watson-less Browns) in Week 1. The schedule was published in May. It worked out.

“I think it’s a great storyline,”Mayfield, A midweek news conference. “Obviously there’s history involved. … Any time you’re playing guys you know, it makes it just more interesting, more fun.”

Mayfield said last week that he “didn’t have any say”The design of the “Off the Leash”He recently wore T-shirts Promoted on Social MediaIt is believed to be a reference his separation from the Browns, and their subsequent divorce. “Dawg Pound” fans. He stated that this isn’t a revenge game.

“I’m grateful for the time I had in Cleveland,”Mayfield added that his tenure with Browns ended, “abruptly and unexpectedly.”

There is plenty of quarterback intrigue across the league Sunday. Carson Wentz was traded by both the Colts (and the Philadelphia Eagles) in subsequent offseasons. He makes his Washington Commanders debut. Mitchell Trubisky makes his Steelers debut as the Steelers open the post Ben Roethlisberger era. Trey Lance, a second year pro, is the San Francisco 49ers’ full-time starter. Jimmy Garoppolo was surprisingly still available as an alternate.

After failing to agree to a contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson will take the field for the final season. He faces the New York Jets and Joe Flacco, Baltimore’s former Super Bowl-winning quarterback who’s filling in for Zach Wilson.

Jameis Winston has returned from the torn ligament in his left leg that ended his 2021 season with New Orleans Saints. The Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa and the New York Giants’ Daniel Jones begin make-or-break seasons. Mac Jones’s second NFL season begins after consternation in training camp and the preseason over the lack of clarity about the Patriots’ offensive play-caller.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow and Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert attempt to cement themselves as top MVP contenders. Derek Carr tries to capitalize on the Raiders’ offseason trade for wide receiver Davante Adams. Tom Brady emerges from an offseason in which he retired and then unretired, followed by a Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training camp in which he turned 45 and took an 11-day hiatus.

Mayfield is perhaps the only quarterback who would enjoy Sunday’s big performance and victory more than Mayfield. This is despite all of his public statements in recent days.

“It’d mean that I came here and did what I was trying to do,”Mayfield said. “I came here to win ballgames.”

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