A couple of football championships from earlier this year proved to be instructive roadmaps for the first Sunday of NFL games.
Just like in the Rose Bowl, Marcus Mariota upstaged Jameis Winston.
Just like in the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks got too clever at the end and wound up losing.
Week 1 was about spectacular quarterback debuts _ Mariota, Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor, St. Louis' Nick Foles _ and some agonizing deja vus.
First, Mariota. The former Oregon star was phenomenal in his NFL debut, throwing four touchdown passes in a 42-14 trouncing of Winston's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It marked the first time in NFL history that quarterbacks drafted 1-2 opened their careers against each other, and with Winston's two interceptions _ including a pick-six on his first career pass _ it smacked of Oregon's 59-20 pounding of Florida State in the Rose Bowl.
Then there was Seattle's game at St. Louis. The No. 1 lesson the Seahawks learned in their Super Bowl XLIX loss to New England: Don't get too cute at the end.
How soon they forget.
After the Seahawks clawed their way back with 18 points in the fourth quarter, the Rams forced overtime with a late 37-yard touchdown pass from Foles to Lance Kendricks.
The Seahawks began the extra period with a bit of trickery that backfired. They attempted what appeared to be an onside kick, failed to recover it, and gave the home team an easier path to what proved to be the winning field goal in a 34-31 upset.
That kick didn't end the game, though. In accordance with overtime rules, Seattle got the ball back with a chance to either match with a field goal, or win with a touchdown. This time _ unlike the Super Bowl loss to New England seven months earlier _ the Seahawks put the ball in the hands of Marshawn Lynch on a do-or-die play. (By way of review, instead of giving the ball to Lynch near the goal line in the Super Bowl, Russell Wilson threw a pass that was intercepted, clinching the victory for the Patriots.)
This time, Beast Mode was in Least Mode, stuffed for a loss of a yard on the game-ending play.
"We were thinking run," said Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who was in on that tackle and had a huge day. "It's short yardage and we know they've got Lynch back there and we knew they were going to give it to him."
JOHNNY ON THE SPOT
Johnny Manziel made an appearance for Cleveland much earlier than expected, after starter Josh McCown sustained a concussion in the first quarter against the New York Jets.
McCown was hurt while trying to run up the middle for a touchdown; he dived near the goal line and absorbed a hit that sent him helicoptering John Elway-style. Unlike Elway in that classic Super Bowl play, McCown fumbled before hitting the ground.
Manziel had an early highlight, finding Travis Benjamin for a 54-yard touchdown. It was Manziel's first NFL touchdown pass.
The rest of the game didn't go so well for the former Heisman Trophy winner who missed much of training camp with elbow problems. Manziel had three turnovers in the second half _ an interception and two fumbles _ and finished 13 for 24 for 182 yards in the 31-10 defeat.
"Obviously, the second half leaves a bitter taste in your mouth," Manziel said. "We'll see what happens this next week."
Maybe the most surprising upset of the day was Buffalo's 27-14 victory over Indianapolis, in which Taylor outplayed Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
Taylor, making his first career start, directed three touchdown drives to help Rex Ryan win his Buffalo coaching debut.
Luck had two touchdowns and two interceptions, and the retooled Colts were lackluster until coming alive in the second half _ too little, too late.
Don't look now, but the NFL has successfully turned the extra-point kick into an interesting play, doing away with the biggest gimme in sports by moving the line of scrimmage on those plays from the two back to the 15. That kick is now 33 yards.
And doesn't Randy Bullock know it. The Houston kicker earned the dubious distinction of being the first this season to miss one of the new XL PATs. Later in the day, Jacksonville rookie Jason Myer missed one, too, as did San Diego's Josh Lambo, who was bumped back five yards for a delay-of-game penalty.
But the strangest such sequence came in the Browns-Jets game, after Manziel's first career touchdown pass. The Browns were moved back five yards on the first PAT try after lining up illegally. Then, they were flagged for holding on the second try from 38 yards, meaning their extra-point kick wound up being 48 yards. Rookie Travis Coons made that third try with room to spare.
San Diego had a stirring comeback in a home opener against Detroit, posting a 33-28 victory after falling behind, 21-3. Second-year receiver Keenan Allen played a huge role in the rally, reeling in 15 passes for 166 yards.
Allen's 15 catches tied a Chargers record set by Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow against Green Bay in 1984.
Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes with no interceptions in a 31-23 victory over Chicago, finishing with a passer rating of 140.5.
That marked Rodgers' third consecutive game against the Bears with at least three touchdown passes, no interceptions, and a 140-plus rating. He's the NFL's only quarterback to do that three times in a row against a single opponent.
And Rodgers has done it twice, pulling off the same feat during a three-game span against Minnesota in 2010 and '11.
The Texans came into Sunday having won five consecutive openers, best in the NFL. That streak came to an end with Houston's 27-20 home loss to Kansas City.
Chicago's Jay Cutler dropped to 1-12 in career starts against Green Bay, including the playoffs. The Packers are 1-0 for the first time since 2011.
In losing to the Jets, the Browns ran their league-leading streak to 11 consecutive defeats in an opener.
The Miami Dolphins hadn't won at Washington since 1984 _ granted, that encompassed only three losses _ but they put an end to that by beating the Redskins, 17-10.
Baltimore suffered a devastating setback in the Denver game by losing All-Pro linebacker Terrell Suggs for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon. Suggs left the game in the fourth quarter and was carted off for further evaluation. Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced after the defeat that Suggs indeed had ruptured his left Achilles.
Suggs suffered a tear to his other Achilles in the 2012 off-season _ after being named the NFL's defensive player of the year the previous fall _ but made a remarkable return and was able to play the second half of the 2012 season.
A 33-13 home loss to the Bengals was not the only concern for the Raiders. Second-year quarterback Derek Carr, the future of the franchise, left the game in the second quarter with a hand injury after a hit by Cincinnati cornerback Adam Jones.
Carr was replaced by Matt McGloin, who went 1-5 as a starter as a rookie in 2013.
A FINE MESS?
Officials didn't boot him from the game, but there's a good chance Jones will hear from the NFL this week about his skirmish with Oakland rookie receiver Amari Cooper.
Jones pinned Cooper after a play, twisted off his helmet, then shoved the receiver's head down to knock it into his own helmet. Officials called offsetting personal fouls. Jones, who formerly went by the nickname "Pacman," has a history of discipline problems.
A DIFFERENT FEEL
Two years ago, Baltimore opened the season at Denver, and Peyton Manning tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes.
The Ravens returned to the scene Sunday, and the game was markedly different. Manning and Joe Flacco, who combined for nine touchdown passes in that previous meeting, had zero touchdown passes in the rematch.
This time, each team's defense scored a pick-six, and the Broncos came away with a 19-13 victory.
Despite being shut out of touchdown passes Sunday, Manning improved to 11-1 in his last 12 starts against the Ravens.