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Buccaneers Fans Wish They Had Marcus Mariota & Other Things We Learned in NFL Week 1

Marcus Mariota
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An incredible rookie performance and some key injuries dominated the headlines on the first Sunday of the 2015 NFL season. Here are the most important things we learned in Week 1:

Tony Romo Doesn’t Need Dez Bryant to Win Games

Tony Romo
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Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes to Jason Witten in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner with seven seconds to play, and the Cowboys rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat the Giants, 27-26, on Sunday night. Dallas (1-0) figured to be one of the NFC’s best teams in 2015, but they looked terrible in the opener against New York (0-1). The Cowboys won despite committing three turnovers and losing star receiver Dez Bryant to a foot injury in the second half. Romo finished 36 of 45 for 356 yards, three scores, two interceptions — and a victory.

Buccaneers Fans Wish They Had Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota
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The battle between this past NFL Draft’s top two picks wasn’t much of a contest. Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, the No. 2-overall pick last May, threw four touchdown passes in the first half and Tennessee clobbered the Buccaneers — and No. 1-overall pick Jameis Winston — 42-14. The Titans (1-0) scored more points in the first half (35) than they did in any game last year, when they finished 2-14. Mariota set a slew of records and was near-perfect.

Winston wasn’t. He threw two first-half interceptions, including a pick-six, and he was booed off the field by his home fans at halftime. He finished 16-of-33 for 210 yards and two scores. Of course, Tampa (0-1) could have selected Mariota instead of Winston, but they didn’t: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pete Carroll Still Thinks He’s Smarter Than Other NFL Coaches

Pete Carroll
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The Seahawks picked up where they left off at the end of last season: with head coach Pete Carroll’s decisions costing them a win. Unlike in the Super Bowl, when Seattle elected to attempt a pass — which was intercepted — with the game in the balance, the Seahawks chose to run Marshawn Lynch while trailing in overtime on Sunday. The run was stuffed by the Rams, resulting in a 34-31 loss for Seattle.

The Seahawks began the OT with a botched onside kick that allowed the Rams to ease into position for Greg Zuerlein’s 37-yard field goal, which ultimately decided the game. St. Louis (1-0) topped Seattle (0-1) despite the Seahawks’ 18-point fourth quarter surge. Is it time to panic yet in the Pacific Northwest? Maybe not. Check back in a few weeks, though.

The Chiefs, Bills, Bengals & Chargers All Looked Great

Kansas City Chiefs
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Four AFC teams showed they may be ready to become contenders to the Patriots’ throne on Sunday.

Kansas City showed off its spectacular defense, and quarterback Alex Smith threw for 243 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Chiefs beat the Texans, 27-20 on Sunday. Kansas City (1-0) forced two key turnovers and had five sacks in handing Houston (0-1) a disappointing home loss.

Head coach Rex Ryan’s Bills convincingly won his debut with the team by dismantling the Colts 27-14 on Sunday. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 14 of 19 pass attempts for 195 yards for Buffalo (1-0), which held Indianapolis (0-1) to nine first downs. Andrew Luck completed 26 of 49 attempts for 243 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions.

The Bengals crushed the Raiders, 33-13, jumping out to a 33-0 lead before allowing two meaningless scores in the fourth quarter. Andy Dalton threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns and Jeremy Hill ran for two scores for Cincinnati (1-0). New head coach Jack Del Rio lost his debut for Oakland (0-1), which also lost quarterback Derek Carr to a hand injury in the second quarter.

Philip Rivers threw for 404 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Chargers to 30 straight points in a 33-28 win over the Lions. San Diego (1-0) trailed 21-3 before halftime, but Detroit (0-1) had no answer for Rivers in the second half.

There Were Already Several Key Injuries

Terrell Suggs
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It didn’t take long for injuries to become a potential season-altering reality for many teams. Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs suffered a torn Achilles tendon in his team’s loss to the Broncos, and he’ll likely miss the rest of the season. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant could be out 4-6 weeks after suffering a foot injury against the Giants. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly missed part of his team’s win over the Jags with a concussion.

Among other stars who didn’t finish their first regular season game of 2015 on Sunday:
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (hand)
Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring)
Browns quarterback Josh McCown (concussion)
Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (knee)
Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (knee)
Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (knee)

See more injury reports here, including Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin whose neck injury looked extremely serious but wasn’t as bad as first thought.

Other Scores

Thursday, Sept. 10
New England 28, Pittsburgh 21

Sunday, Sept. 13
N.Y. Jets 31, Cleveland 10
Carolina 20, Jacksonville 9
Miami 17, Washington 10
Green Bay 31, Chicago 23
Arizona 31, New Orleans 19
Denver 19, Baltimore 13

Full Standings

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