For all but six teams, Sunday, September 13 was opening day. There's still the Monday double-header to be played, and the Steelers and Patriots were done before many of us had figured out our weekend plans. But the openers didn't disappoint.
Rex Ryan may be a genius.
Sure, many fans have ample reason to dislike Rex Ryan, son of Buddy Ryan, who was a royal pain in the tokus in his own right. He's an uncouth, pompous loudmouth. He also might have just proven how good of a coach he really is.
Most of us knew Buffalo would have a stout defense this season. They looked the part last year. But to have, of all people, Tyrod Taylor leading his team to a convincing 27-14 victory over Andrew Luck's Colts? The only people who saw that coming were probably Ryan himself and perhaps a few of his favorite foot models.
The Browns have the ugliest uniforms in the NFL. Ever.
I don't even know where to start. These things look like something out of a 1970s musical about bad leisure suits. The orange is even more garish than ever and they somehow managed to accent the Brown in the worst possible way. They went from looking like candy corn to a Halloween horror film that prominently featured the use of LSD.
Sadly, the only thing uglier than the uniforms was the play of the guys inside them. Five turnovers and their leading rusher had only 35 yards. And that rusher was quarterback Johnny Manziel. If you need a visual on how this game went, there's this. Or maybe this. Or perhaps this video of their defense. Yes, Steelers fans can actually point to another team's defense and laugh.
Thank goodness the Steelers play the 49ers next week. Right now, Pittsburgh has what might be a pretty bad defense, but at least they have one. The 49ers, meanwhile, must have been inviting tryouts from local Pop Warner teams, after half its defense retired and the other half got arrested. That should make for a pretty fun game to watch, as long as you don't live in the Bay Area. But the Rams? I'm not that excited, because the strength of their defense is the line. That means Le'Veon Bell will be making his triumphant return against a monster defensive interior, and the Steelers will be throwing Cody Wallace and Doug Legursky in their way.
Baltimore just lost their best defensive player for the year.
Terrell Suggs is one of the best linebackers in the game, even at this point in his career. In particular, he's the one defender in Baltimore who probably has haunted Ben Roethlisberger's dreams. But after rupturing his Achilles tendon on Sunday, he's going to have to do that haunting in street clothes. In particular, this will hurt Baltimore against the Steelers, but it will also sting them badly across the board.
I would never wish a season-ending injury on any player, even though I celebrate how it changes the Ravens' defense. The bottom line, though, is that Suggs is done for the year.
Unless Ray Lewis has any Deer Antler Spray left, that is.
The Bengals are the only team in the AFC North with a win.
They were probably lucky that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr went down with an injury. He wasn't spectacular before the injury -- just 7 of 12 for 61 yards -- but he's still a darned sight better than Matt McGloin. Meanwhile, the Bengals trotted out Regular Season Andy Dalton today and he led the team on four drives of at least 60 yards. Still, you never want to see your tight end as the team's leading receiver when you have A.J. Green. That, alone, has to be troubling.
Marcus Mariota > Jameis Winston, at least for now.
Winston's first pass was intercepted. Meanwhile, Mariota threw four touchdowns in his first half as a professional quarterback. It was just one game, and the Buccaneers' defense couldn't be described even generously as dreadful. But it also demonstrates which of these two is more NFL-ready.
Finally...if they can get out of their own way, the Steelers and the Cowboys have the best offenses in the NFL.
The lines are both monstrous and good. The Steelers have the best QB/RB/WR trio in the game, while the Cowboys have an efficient Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten. Both showed they can move the ball well. Both also showed that the only ones who can stop them with any regularity probably will be themselves.