FBG says: Bad matchup. In his NFL debut, top pick Kyler Murray posted a true mixed bag. There were definite deficiencies and poor decisions on display, with a handful of big-time plays mixed in that reminded onlookers of Murray's upside. The bad was indeed bad: Murray often looked lost in the NFL pocket, losing sight of defenders and making head-scratching throws. His lone interception, in particular, was a glaring rookie slip-up. But he settled down late and spearheaded an 18-point rally with his playmaking abilities. Murray eventually looked capable of making big downfield throws, connecting early and often with Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson, among others. His 27-yard touchdown strike to Johnson, who had gained just a half-step on his man at the goal line, was a sight to behold. Fitzgerald remains the team's steadiest receiver by far, and he opened with a fantastic performance from the slot. Given his bond with Murray, which was on display throughout the second half, his 8-111-1 line doesn't look farfetched going forward. The team hopes for more contribution from Christian Kirk and rookie KeeSean Johnson, who combined to catch just 9 of their 22 targets for 79 yards. Both drew plenty of Murray's attention Sunday, and both carry strong No. 2 traits for the NFL level. And everyone would benefit, of course, from elevated play upfront. With right tackle Marcus Gilbert on the shelf, Murray took 5 sacks on opening day. Gilbert is out for Week 2, and coach Kliff Kingsbury may need to shuffle his spot around a bit. Justin Murray looked badly outmatched and may not be a great fit in the Air Raid blocking scheme.
It's probably not prudent to judge the Baltimore pass defense by its Week 1 performance. Facing the league's worst passing attack never provides much usable data. Still, it was encouraging to see this unit look every bit as dominant as it did in 2018. The pass rush swarmed Miami's makeshift line, forcing both their scattershot quarterbacks into awful days through the air. The Dolphins absorbed 14 hits and managed just 5.9 yards per attempt, with only 3 completions going for more than 13. Losing Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, and C.J. Mosley is impactful, of course. But new leaders, like Matt Judon and Earl Thomas, already look ready to step in. It is worth noting that cornerback Jimmy Smith will be lost for some time and that second-year replacement Anthony Averett struggled noticeably in his place Sunday. This secondary is loaded elsewhere, so he'll likely be the point of attack whenever possible for Kyler Murray.