The doubleheader return of the NFL to ESPN this season last night saw some kneeling player national anthem protests, a field invader at the San Francisco 49ers and L.A. Rams match-up and two blowouts on Monday Night Football, one harsh and one a painful return.

As there were premieres, finales, preemptions and those Dancing With The Stars Ryan Lochte crashers on the Big 4 plus WWE Raw on cable, the 10:12 PM ET regular season debut of Los Angeles first NFL team in over 20 years was a humiliating 28-0 loss to the 49ers on the Bay Area team’s home turf. That devastating Game 2 result on MNF came after the Pittsburgh Steelers eviscerated the Washington Redskins 38-16 in the night’s Game 1.

All of which meant the NFL and ESPN saw the ratings tackled too. The Steelers vs. Redskins Game 1 pulled in a 9.1 in metered market results with the 49ers demolition of the Rams getting a 7.1. Or to put it another way, last night’s 6:55 – 10:12 PM ET Game 1 was down 7% from last year’s Atlanta Falcons win over the Philadelphia Eagles. As for Monday’s Game 2 …well, the 49ers 10:12 PM – 1:28 AM ET pounding of the Rams fell a hard 25% in MM results from last year’s Game 2 battle between the 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings. In that game, the Bay Area team had a strong 20-3 victory.

For you statheads, MNF’s Game 1 peaked from 9:30 – 9:45 PM ET with a 11.5 MM rating and Game 2 peaked at the very beginning with a 10.7 MM rating from 10: 15 – 10: 30 PM ET – after that it was all downhill for the Rams and MNF.

Here are some more stats with the Top 5 markets for both MNF games last night:

Game 1
1. Norfolk – 19.5
2. Richmond-Petersburg -17.0
3. Baltimore – 14.6
4. Pittsburgh – 14.0
5. New Orleans -13.6

Game 2
1. Sacramento -18.4
2. Portland – 13.0
3. Las Vegas – 11.8
4. New Orleans – 10.8
5. Seattle-Tacoma -10.7