[This is an excerpt from the Yahoo Sports’ Read and React Newsletter. Subscribe here]
So the first Sunday of the NFL season was a lot of fun, wasn't it?
Then there were the contrasting performances of two second-year quarterbacks, both Heisman winners, from the AFC North.
Lamar Jackson had a great day.
Baker Mayfield did not.
You know, just how we drew it up.
Baker's Browns bandwagon backfires
The offseason is so long that NFL followers likes to talk themselves into a lot of things. One of the louder ones was the Cleveland Browns shedding their loser label and making a deep playoff run behind Mayfield and a talented cast of skill players.
If we're still being optimistic, let's just say the Browns' Super Bowl season video won't be starting on a high note after being blown out 43-13 by the Titans. Mayfield threw only one touchdown to three interceptions and he was sacked by the Titans' defense five times.
The rest of the Browns looked like their usual selves. They were penalized 18 times for 182 yards and made Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota look like a Pro Bowler.
Jim Nantz shows up to broadcast a game and this is how you play?
"The Browns are the NFL's darlings this season with four prime-time games and a bunch of other national television slots. They've got star power all over the roster," our own Dan Wetzel wrote from Cleveland on Sunday. "... What they don't have, or at least didn't show in the opener, was any sign they knew what they were doing."
Lamar and the Ravens fly high
Jackson, meanwhile, earned every word of his quote-of-the-day postgame comment with 324 yards and five touchdowns in only three quarters of a 59-10 thrashing of the Dolphins.
It was a cathartic performance for a skilled signal caller whose passing talents have been unfairly maligned all the way back to his dominating Louisville days.
"Not bad for a running back," Jackson said on the mic drop.
Now, Jackson and the Ravens won't be able to play against the tanking-for-Tua Dolphins every week. Nor will the Browns play that poorly under new coach Freddie Kitchens each game.
But on a day when the first impression is the only one to be made, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson produced vastly different results than the ones predicted by preseason narrative.
Dak Prescott wants to get paid: Lamar Jackson wasn't the only quarterback to post a perfect passer rating on Sunday. Prescott also stood tall against the Giants, making a good case on why his aims for a $140 million contract might not be as misplaced as some think.
The Dolphins might be even worse than we thought : If you're looking for a crutch to help you win a survivor pool, Miami is your team. The Dolphins are so bad that players are reportedly trying to orchestrate trades lest they get caught up in an 0-16 season.
The Jaguars can't have nice things : Jacksonville's appearance in the AFC title game was less than two years ago, but it might as well have been a lifetime. Big-money QB Nick Foles lasted less than a quarter before breaking his clavicle; there's no timetable for his return.
Maybe Adam Vinatieri is the Colt who should have retired : The 46-year-old kicker missed two field goals and an extra point in Indianapolis' overtime loss against the Chargers. He's a legend and he'll get deserved leeway, but he cost his team a big win.
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