The NFL is back, and so is your regularly scheduled Monday morning recap of what went down on Sunday.

Ezekiel Elliott helps Cowboys power past Beckham-less Giants

After having a victory in court a few days earlier, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott suited up and played for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. As expected, he played well in the season opener on Sunday night, rushing for 104 yards on 24 rushing attempts against the New York Giants. Combined with Dak Prescott’s 268 passing yards and touchdown pass to none other than veteran tight end Jason Witten and a solid night by the defense led by Sean Lee, the Cowboys had everything they needed to take care of the hapless Giants.

It didn’t help that the Giants were without an injured Odell Beckham Jr. (sprained ankle), but it may not have mattered because the Cowboys were just better than the Giants in all areas of the game. The Giants only ran the ball 12 times, and picked up 35 yards as a team. Paul Perkins was the elading rusher with 16 yards.

Here is your early candidate for catch of the year, courtesy of Cole Beasley…

After the game, some social media team member for the Cowboys tried to cash in on one of the more recent memes of note, which may suggest it is now time to move on from this one.

The Deshaun Watson Era in Houston begins, maybe (but why did it take so long?)

When you get your butt kicked at home by the Jags, it’s time to make a change even after one week.

The scene of seeing J.J. Watt storm out of the tunnel holding the flag of Texas was quite the scene giving the charitable effort led by Watt in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s run through the city of Houston, but once the game got started the Texans were in the unenviable position of being routed at home… by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And with such a horrible defeat to open the new season at home, Bill O’Brien should already be ready to make the most obvious of changes by naming Deshaun Watson his starting quarterback.

Both Tom Savage and Watson struggled in the opener against the Jags, but O’Brien has already left the door open for a possible quarterback change going into Week 2 based on his postgame comments. Maybe it would not have mattered who the quarterback was in the opener, because the Texans had a number of issues to focus on.

For starters, Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette rushing for 100 yards in his debut. That was tough to stop for Houston. So was the Jags defense, as Houston allowed 10 sacks in the game, and the Texans defense couldn’t put one together. Switching the quarterbacks won’t fix all of that, but O’Brien should not wait long to turn the offense over to his franchise quarterback he has waited his entire head coaching career to get.

The Jaguars still have their fair share of issues though. Blake Bortles turned in quite the Blake Bortles effort with 11-of-21 for 125 yards and a touchdown. It didn’t help at all that Allen Robinson went down with what is feared to be an ACL injury in his left knee. An update today is expected.

Take a look at the standings today. The Jaguars are in sole possession of first place in the AFC South.

And now, without any further delay of game penalties…

The NFL Blitz

A quick rundown of some other NFL headlines from the Sunday action around the NFL.

Rams 46, Colts 9: Jared Goff recorded his first win as a starter in the NFL — and my goodness, what a win it was. Goff passed for a career-high 306 yards in the coaching debut of Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in league history.

It’s worth noting that the Colts were playing with backup quarterback Scott Tolzien instead of Andrew Luck, who was out with a right shoulder injury. But the Rams made this one no contest with three forced turnovers, two being returned for touchdowns. Tolzien became the first quarterback to have two interceptions returned for a touchdown in the same game since Tony Romo did it in a 2015 game against the Carolina Panthers (and what did you think of Romo’s TV debut for CBS this week?). The Colts were 0-for-10 on third down.

The loss was so forgettable, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano forgot who they just played. (OK, it’s just a slip of the tongue…)

Falcons 23, Bears 17: The defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons had to hold off a late push by the Bears to get out of Chicago with a win. Mike Glennon was sacked on the final play of the game by Brooks Reed, and Matt Ryan passed for 321 yards and an 88-yard touchdown to Austin Hooper (who showed terrific stiff arm technique, to boot) to push a 13-10 lead to 20-10.

Panthers 23, 49ers 3: The 49ers still stink, even with a new head coach in Kyle Shanahan. And it looks as though even the 49ers are following the trend seen in college football with swag for defensive players forcing turnovers.

Cam Newton didn’t have a great day with 14-of-25 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. But it was more than good enough to leave the Bay with a win. Christian McCaffrey made his NFL debut close to his Stanford roots and rushed for 47 yards with five catches for 38 yards, but he also lost a fumble and saw some special teams duty with three punt returns for a total of seven yards.

Lions 35, Cardinals 23: Fresh off being minted as the league’s highest-paid quarterback, what did Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford do with his first pass attempt of the season? He threw a touchdown pass… to the Cardinals. Fortunately for Detroit, Stafford recovered quite nicely from that and had himself a four-touchdown day in a 35-23 victory over Arizona. Carson Palmer’s season debut was nearly the polar opposite with three interceptions thrown to just one touchdown.

Detroit lit up Arizona in the fourth quarter with a 20-point outburst, with two passes from Stafford to Kenny Golladay and a pick-six by Miles Killebrew off Palmer.

Steelers 21, Browns 18: Cleveland rookie DeShone Kizer made his NFL debut and played admirably in his first AFC North battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A 222-yard performance showed Kizer unrattled at times and never in fear of taking some chances despite being sacked seven times, but the Browns are still miles away from doing much of anything despite having a close call against the Steelers.

Le’Veon Bell lacked the kind of performance you’d like to see out of a running back who had a summer of contract issues with the team. He was limited to 32 yards on 10 carries and 15 additional receiving yards on three receptions. But Antonio Brown lit up the Browns secondary for 182 yards on 11 catches from Ben Roethlisberger.

And how about this for a little sibling rivalry?

Ravens 20, Bengals 0: The highlight of the day for Bengals fans was probably seeing this Bengals fan couple get married at the tailgate party before the game…

After that, the fun was over for those Bengals fans after watching Baltimore pick off Andy Dalton four times as the Ravens won one of the worst 20-0 games in NFL history. How bad was Andy Dalton? If you pay attention to ESPN’s QBR, it was pretty darn bad.

Bills 21, Jets 12: I’ll spare you the details of how this one went down, but know this. Josh McCown was the only quarterback to play for the Jets and he passed for 187 yards and two interceptions. That no other option was deemed worthy to step in tells you all you need to know. LeSean McCoy had 110 rushing yards and 49 receiving yards with no touchdowns. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews led all players with two catches for 61 yards in his official Bills debut.

Raiders 26, Titans 16: For some reason, it feels as though the Oakland Raiders were sort of forgotten going into the 2017 season. After the season they had last year prior to Derek Carr’s injury and the offseason addition of Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders looked to pick up the pieces from a promising-yet-unfulfilled 2016 season and continue on in 2017 with a win. They did just that on the road against Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

The Titans tried to start the game with an onside kick, becoming the first NFL team to attempt one on the first kickoff of the season since the 2009 Vikings. But the attempt failed, meaning the Eagles remain the last team to successfully pull it off with their 2000 opener in the pickle juice game.

Carr got the best of the QB matchup with Mariota by passing for 262 yards and two touchdowns to Mariota’s 256 yards and no touchdowns. Lynch rushed for 76 yards in his return to the league to help the Raiders leave Tennessee with a 26-16 victory. Also, Lynch seemed to have fun back on the field…

The Nashville Predators showed up for the game too, with the appropriate props.

Eagles 30, Redskins 17: With a whole new set of characters to rely on with the offense, Carson Wentz and the Eagles showed there is some potential to start winning some games this season, but this offense may take a little time to come together. In the meantime, if Wentz is going to make plays like this one against Washington…

… then the Eagles might be a team to keep an eye on. The Eagels snapped a losing streak against Washington that had reached five games and the defense was the story of the game for the Birds. They were all over Kirk Cousins from the start of the game and came up with four turnovers, including the knockout blow at the end.

With the game still on the line, Washington needed a long touchdown drive out of Kirk Cousins. And given the offseason storylines surrounding his future, the scene was set perfectly to show he deserves that big deal. And just like that, once again an announcer trying to set the scene immediately transitions to quite the opposite…

All your rowdy friends are coming over tonight

So get ready. I mean, get ready.

Monday Night Football may not be what it used to be years ago, but there is still some fun to be had with the Monday night opener to bring Week 1 to a close. And tonight, as the NFL has done for a number of years now, we’re getting a double-dose of NFL action tonight.

In the first Monday Night Football game of the season, we’ll have the Minnesota Vikings hosting the New Orleans Saints at 7:10 p.m. ET. Then, for the nightcap, the Denver Broncos host the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers at 10:20 p.m. ET. Both games, of course, will be aired on ESPN.

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.