Who runs the North? Ravens lights out; Steelers, Browns duds in Week 1
For all of the offseason hoopla about the megalomaniacal wide receivers — whether it was the one the Pittsburgh Steelers traded away or the one the Cleveland Browns traded for — the season-opening week in the AFC North wasn’t about AB or OBJ.
Instead, Hollywood got two thumbs up.
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, the first-round receiver who is a cousin of Antonio Brown, had four catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut for Baltimore as the Ravens got a leg up in the division race.
Marquise Brown is so good, it's only a matter of time before he's on the Patriots.
— Adam Rank (@adamrank) September 8, 2019
Despite being the defending AFC North champion and the only team in the division to qualify for the playoffs last season, the Ravens ranked behind both the Browns and Steelers in some preseason projections.
But the Browns went from popular pick to punch line after losing their 19th season opener since 1999 — they tied the Steelers last year — in blowout fashion.
Not that the Steelers could laugh for long.
We’ll keep a running score of how the division teams fare every week to see who is running the North. Here’s a look at Week 1:
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app
— NFL (@NFL) September 8, 2019
Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Result: Beat Miami Dolphins, 59-10.
Highlights: Lamar Jackson punched back at those who questioned the former Heisman Trophy winner’s passing ability. Jackson threw five touchdown passes as the Ravens set a franchise record for points in the first half, total points and total yards (643) and an NFL record for points in the first half of an opener by taking a 42-0 lead.
Jackson completed his first nine passes for 204 yards and four touchdowns, including scoring plays of 47 and 83 yards to Brown, and finished 17 of 20 for 324 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions for a perfect passer rating of 158.3. “Not bad for a running back,” jabbed Jackson.
Lowlights: Ravens coach John Harbaugh rubbed it in by running it up in the debut of Dolphins coach Brian Flores. The Ravens ran a fake punt with a 35-3 lead late in first half, and Anthony Levine scored on 60-yard run. Backup Robert Griffin III also threw for a score on fourth-and-3 in the fourth quarter.
Next: The Ravens play host to Arizona on Sunday.
Andy Dalton BOMBS this to John Ross
— Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports) September 8, 2019
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Result: Lost to Seattle Seahawks, 21-20.
Highlights: Andy Dalton completed 35 of 51 passes for a career-high 418 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with eight receivers despite not having top target A.J. Green. The Bengals got a breakout game from receiver John Ross, a former first-rounder who had seven catches for 158 yards, including touchdowns on a 33-yarder on a flea-flicker and a 55-yard pass.
Lowlights: The Bengals took a 17-14 lead into the fourth quarter before giving up a 44-yard scoring pass from Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett. They also lost running back Joe Mixon to an ankle injury. Mixon had six carries for 10 yards but left the game and did not return.
Next: The Bengals play host to San Francisco on Sunday.
Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Result: Lost to Tennessee Titans, 43-13.
Highlights: Baker Mayfield completed 25 of 38 passes for 285 yards, with one touchdown. He connected with Odell Beckham Jr. seven times for 71 yards and Jarvis Landry four times for 67 yards and threw a touchdown pass to tight end David Njoku.
Lowlights: Where to start? The Browns were called for 18 penalties for 182 yards, and left tackle Greg Robinson was ejected for kicking Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro in the head. Mayfield also was sacked for a safety in the first half, threw three interceptions — including a pick-six by Malcolm Butler — and finished with a 64.0 passer rating and his right wrist wrapped up.
Next: The Browns visit the N.Y. Jets on Monday.
"Falsestart. Offense. All the linemen except for the center."
— ESPN (@espn) September 9, 2019
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
Result: Lost to New England Patriots, 33-3.
Highlights: Chris Boswell, whose erratic kicking was costly last season, converted a 19-yard field goal to prevent the Steelers from being shut out on Sunday Night Football. First-round pick Devin Bush had a team-high 11 tackles (seven solo).
Lowlights: Despite the additions of Bush and Mark Barron at inside linebacker, the Steelers allowed Tom Brady to pick apart their defense with crossing routes. Brady completed 24 of 36 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns, while the Steelers went 3 for 12 on third downs and 1 for 3 on fourth downs. And then there was the false-start penalty, when every offensive lineman jumped — except for one: Center B.J. Finney hadn’t snapped the ball.
Next: Steelers play host to Seattle Seahawks.
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .