NFL Week 1 Top Stories: Cowboys lose Dak; Steelers lose Watt

Catch up on what’s happening around the league on an eventful NFL Sunday in Week 1.

DALLAS – It was an eventful first NFL Sunday of the year as we had a lot of storylines and surprises throughout the league and some really good football games.

Three underdogs won straightaways, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, against the Bengals in a back-and-forth overtime game. Slight underdogs to the Panthers, the Browns were able to spoil Baker Mayfield’s Carolina debut and claim the win with a game-winning kick. And Brian Daboll got off to a good start as the Giants defeated the Titans in Tennessee as an underdog.

We also had our first tie of the year as the Texans and Colts finished 20-20 with no goals in overtime.

Let’s check out some of the other top storylines from Sunday’s NFL action.

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Bucs Defense Smothers Cowboys; Dak Prescott misses 6 to 8 weeks

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Cowboys 19-3 on Sunday Night Football as Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense failed to get things going.

As bad as the offense looked, it only got worse for Dallas.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after the game that Prescott will need surgery for a fracture near the thumb on his throwing hand and will miss several weeks, a season-changing blow for the defending NFC East champions. According to reports, Prescott could be out for 6 to 8 weeks.

The latest injury came nearly two years after the compound fracture of Prescott’s right ankle on the same field, a gruesome injury that ended his 2020 season in Week 5.

“It’s very disappointing, but injuries happen,” Prescott said. “Can’t really control it. Obviously I will miss some time not being there for my team. And that hurts more than anything.”

Tom Brady was in control the whole time, despite taking an extended break during training camp to attend to personal issues. The seven-time Super Bowl champion received a lot of defense support on Todd Bowles’ debut as Tampa Bay manager after three seasons as defensive coordinator.

“I always play the game for my team, my teammates and the organization,” Brady said. “Just being around her is something I always enjoy. It keeps me very grounded, very humble. I feel like one of the boys. There aren’t many places where I feel like one of the boys, but the dressing room is definitely one of those places.”

Steelers upset Bengals; lose TJ Watts

It was a great start for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Year 1 following Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement as they defeated the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.

The Steelers defense caused havoc all day for Joe Burrow, who threw four interceptions in the contest before rallying to force overtime in regulation. The Bengals had the chance to kick and win an extra point to win the game generally, but the star, young kicker Evan McPherson, had blocked Pittsburgh’s game-winning extra point, leading to an overtime.

While the Steelers were able to earn the 23-20 win over Cincinnati in OT, it didn’t come without bad news.

Reigning Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt walked off injured in the fourth quarter, his left arm hanging limp on that side, raising serious doubts as to when Pittsburgh could look so fearsome again.

Watt suffered a chest injury in the fourth quarter, but the Steelers didn’t share many details after the game. Coach Mike Tomlin only said that “TJ was checked out with an upper body injury.”

Watt was at his best in Cincinnati, sacking Burrow once and picking up a pass in the first quarter that set up Mitch Trubisky’s 2-yard TD pass to Najee Harris to put Pittsburgh 17-3 ahead.

Watt’s loss would be a major blow to the Steelers, who must rely on their defense while trying to get their offense going. Watt tied the NFL record for single-season sacks with 22 1/2 last season despite missing two games.

If Watt tore his pectoral muscle, he would likely miss an extended period and possibly the season. His older brother, JJ Watt, tore a pectoral muscle midway through the 2019 season while playing for Texas and missed two months.

Baker Mayfield’s revenge against Browns falls short

There were many headlines in the week one matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers after the Browns sold Baker Mayfield to the Panthers in June.

The Cleveland Browns are 1-0 for the first time since 2004 after Cade York hit a 58-yard field goal with 8 seconds remaining in his NFL debut and the Browns to a 26-24 win over the Carolinas on Sunday Panthers led, which spoiled Mayfield’s thirst for revenge after weeks of build-up and perceived barbs.

Mayfield, who spent four seasons with Cleveland before being traded in July, finished 16 of 27 for 235 yards with two touchdowns.

“We’d like to have bragging rights against these guys, but we didn’t finish – mostly because we didn’t start (the game) fast enough,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield almost made it anyway.

He led the Panthers from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run, a 75-yard TD putt to Robbie Anderson, and moved his team 64 yards in seven games to Eddy Pineiros Prepare Go-Ahead-Field-Goal with 1:13 remaining.

But the Panthers left too much time on the clock.

“Everyone made it to the Super Bowl, but despite what everyone’s going to do here, there’s still 16 more games to go,” Mayfield said after the game. “The Super Bowl isn’t until February and that’s early September. There was a lot of anticipation but we will get on with it and learn from it and get better.”

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