Packers beat Seahawks 17-9 to take NFC heavyweight match
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay defensive lineman Mike Daniels’ strip sack of Russell Wilson deep in Seattle territory in the third quarter set up Ty Montgomery’s 6-yard touchdown run on the next play to spark the Packers’ 17-9 win on Sunday.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was 28 of 42 for 311 yards and added a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson to make it an eight-point game late in the third quarter.
Rodgers’ regular-season streak of passes without an interception ended at a career-high 251. The Seahawks defense reinforced by the return of safety Earl Thomas bottled up receivers from making many big plays and put plenty of pressure on Rodgers.
But the Packers started denting Seattle with runs or quick passes to Nelson, Randall Cobb and Montgomery in the second half, chewing up clock in the process. A 12-play, 53-yard drive that took up more than 5 minutes ended with Mason Crosby’s 40-yard field goal with 8:01 left to make it a two-score game.
Green Bay’s defense had an even better debut, especially considering how maligned the Packers were against the pass last season.
Seattle managed just three field goals. Wilson was held to 14 of 27 for 158 yards. The Packers held decisive edges in total yardage (370-225) and first downs (26-12). Green Bay held the ball for 39 minutes.
Ryan leads 2 TD drives in 4th, Falcons beat Bears 23-17
CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Ryan threw an 88-yard touchdown to Austin Hooper and led two fourth-quarter scoring drives, and the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons held on to beat the Chicago Bears 23-17 in the season opener on Sunday.
The butt of jokes following their epic Super Bowl collapse against New England, the Falcons survived as the Bears missed several chances to score a touchdown in the final seconds.
The Bears had a first down at the Atlanta 5 in the closing minute. Glennon’s pass to a lunging Josh Bellamy on first down hit off the receiver’s hands, and Jordan Howard then dropped a simple catch at the 1.
After another incompletion on third down, Glennon got sacked by Brooks Reed to end the drive.
Atlanta was clinging to a 13-10 lead early in the fourth when a scrambling Ryan fired to a wide-open Hooper near midfield. The second-year tight end from Stanford raced up the right side and stiff-armed Quintin Demps on the way to the end zone to make it a 10-point game.
The Bears then went 75 yards, with Glennon hitting rookie Tarik Cohen for a 19-yard TD midway through the fourth to cut it to 20-17. Atlanta’s Matt Bryant answered with a 37-yard field goal, making it 23-17 with 3:24 left.
Coming off an MVP season, Ryan was 21 of 30 for 321 yards and a touchdown.
Big Ben leads Steelers to 21-18 win over Browns in opener
CLEVELAND (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to tight end Jesse James as the Pittsburgh Steelers, with minimal help from Le’Veon Bell, opened the season by holding off the Cleveland Browns 21-18 on Sunday.
Roethlisberger improved to 21-2 in his career against the Browns, who gave their rivals all they could handle — a positive sign for coach Hue Jackson and Cleveland fans after a horrid 1-15 season.
But the Browns couldn’t stop Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown, who made a leaping catch in traffic for 38 yards with 2:26 left to seal Pittsburgh’s win. Brown finished with 11 receptions for 182 yards.
Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer had pulled the Browns within three on a 3-yard TD pass to Corey Coleman followed by a 2-point conversion.
Roethlisberger lobbed his deep pass near Pittsburgh’s sideline toward Brown, who went up over Browns defensive back Jason McCourty and hauled in the game’s biggest catch. Jackson challenged the call, but it held up after a video review and the Steelers improved to 32-6 against the Browns since 1999.
Roethlisberger passed for 263 yards.
Stafford’s 4 TD lift Lions to 35-23 win over Cardinals
DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford threw two of his four touchdown passes to rookie Kenny Golladay in the fourth quarter Sunday, helping the Detroit Lions rally to beat the Arizona Cardinals 35-23.
The Lions picked off three of Carson Palmer’s passes, returning one for a score. They also knocked David Johnson out of the game after forcing him to fumble in the third quarter Sunday.
The Cardinals scored the first 10 points of the game and led 17-9 late in the third quarter before giving up 26 straight points.
Stafford’s first pass was returned 82 yards for a touchdown by Justin Bethel , but the player with the richest contract in the NFL bounced back. He was 29 for 41 yards for 292 yards and threw 45- and 10-yard TD passes to Golladay , along with short passes to Theo Riddick and Marvin Jones for scores.
Palmer was 27 of 48 for 269 yards with three interceptions and threw a 1-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson in the final minutes.
Carr, Raiders edge out Titans yet again 26-13
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Carr threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns, and the Oakland Raiders beat the Tennessee Titans 26-13 in a season opener pitting two of the NFL’s rising, young quarterbacks.
And Carr won his third straight against Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans in as many years.
Amari Cooper caught a TD pass as the Raiders made the Titans pay for opening the season with an onside kick they couldn’t recover. Marshawn Lynch also looked very refreshed after his year away from football. Lynch finished with 18 carries for 76 yards.
Giorgio Tavecchio kicked field goals of 20, 52, 52 and 43 yards in his NFL debut. He was signed Friday to fill in for the Raiders’ all-time leading scorer and 18-year veteran Sebastian Janikowski, who’s on injured reserve with a bad back.
Goff’s Rams blast Colts 46-9 in coach McVay’s big debut
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jared Goff passed for a career-high 306 yards and a touchdown in his first victory as an NFL starter, and the Los Angeles Rams routed the Indianapolis Colts 46-9 Sunday in Sean McVay’s impressive debut as the youngest head coach in modern league history.
Todd Gurley had 40 yards rushing and 56 yards receiving while the Rams roared to a 37-3 lead in the third quarter. Los Angeles snapped a six-game skid at the Coliseum with its most impressive performance since returning home from St. Louis last year.
Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree celebrated the win with a Gatorade shower for McVay on the sideline in the final minutes.
Los Angeles’ defense also excelled against fill-in Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien. Trumaine Johnson intercepted Tolzien’s first pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown, while Lamarcus Joyner returned another pick 29 yards for another score in the third quarter.
Tolzien passed for 128 yards in his fourth career NFL start in place of Andrew Luck, who wasn’t ready to return from a right shoulder injury.
Ravens force 5 Dalton turnovers, beat Bengals 20-0
CINCINNATI (AP) — Baltimore’s rebuilt defense picked off Andy Dalton four times and forced him to fumble Sunday, making it easy for Joe Flacco in his return from a back injury as the Ravens pulled away to a 20-0 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Ravens (1-0) ended a five-game losing streak in Cincinnati by pressuring Dalton into matching his career high for interceptions, three of them in the first half. The Ravens got a pair of touchdowns 24 seconds apart late in the half to take control, with Jeremy Maclin scoring on a 48-yard run-and-catch.
The overriding question was how Flacco would hold up after missing all of camp and the preseason with a bad back. Baltimore’s defense made sure he didn’t have to do much. Flacco was 9 of 17 for 121 yards with an interception against a defense missing suspended linebacker Vontaze Burfict and cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones.
The Bengals (0-1) had breakdowns everywhere as they were shut out in a season opener for the first time since 1979.
Dalton was under heavy pressure behind Cincinnati’s inexperienced line. He also threw into double coverage in the end zone, and C.J. Mosley picked it off. Dalton finished 16 of 31 for 170 yards and was sacked five times.
Newton throws 2 TDs to lead Panthers past 49ers 23-3
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Cam Newton threw a pair of touchdown passes following San Francisco turnovers and the Carolina defense shut down Kyle Shanahan’s offense in his coaching debut as the Panthers beat the 49ers 23-3 Sunday.
Newton threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Russell Shepard in the first half following a fumble by Brian Hoyer, then a 9-yard touchdown to Jonathan Stewart in the third quarter after Luke Kuechly intercepted Hoyer.
That helped the Panthers get off to a good start in the season opener following last year’s disappointing 6-10 finish. Despite the touchdowns, Newton did not look particularly sharp after playing just one series in the preseason as he recovered from surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.
Newton was off-target on numerous throws, including missing a wide-open Ed Dickson in the end zone in the first half. Carolina had to settle for a field goal on that drive. Newton finished 14 for 25 for 171 yards.
Those mistakes didn’t matter against a Niners team that didn’t look much improved from last year’s outfit that tied a franchise worst with 14 losses. That led to the firing of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke.
Wentz, pass rush give Eagles season-opening win vs. Redskins
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Carson Wentz threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns as the second-year quarterback guided the Philadelphia Eagles to a 30-17 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday in a sloppy, mistake-filled season opener between the NFC East rivals.
Wentz was 26 of 39 and threw an interception that Ryan Kerrigan returned for a touchdown. But Wentz made fewer errors than Washington’s Kirk Cousins, who was picked off at the goal line and fumbled twice. Cousins’ second fumble was forced by Brandon Graham and returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Fletcher Cox in the final minutes, putting the game away.
Cousins finished 23 of 40 for 240 yards with a TD pass to third-down back Chris Thompson. He was under duress all day because of the relentless Eagles pass rush and was sacked four times.
Wentz wasn’t perfect, though his evading a sack and throw to Nelson Agholor for a 58-yard touchdown set the stage for his big day. Wentz and the Eagles went 8 of 13 on third down and they kept getting into field goal range for Caleb Sturgis, who connected from 50, 42 and 37 yards.
Fournette, strong defense lead Jaguars over Texans 29-7
HOUSTON (AP) — Leonard Fournette ran for 100 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut, and Jacksonville had 10 sacks and forced four turnovers to help the Jaguars to a 29-7 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Blake Bortles threw for 125 yards and a touchdown, Calais Campbell had four sacks and Dante Fowler returned a fumble 53 yards for a score as the Jaguars snapped a six-game skid against Houston.
The Texans hoped to provide a boost to the area ravaged by Hurricane Harvey with a win. Instead, Tom Savage struggled behind a porous line and was benched in favor of rookie Deshaun Watson at halftime with Houston down 19-0.
Bills open McDermott’s coaching era with 21-12 win over Jets
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdown passes and the new-look Bills beat the New York Jets 21-12 on Sunday in Sean McDermott’s debut as Buffalo’s coach.
Mike Tolbert also scored on a 1-yard run , while Buffalo’s defense had three interceptions, including linebacker Ramon Humber picking off Josh McCown’s pass to thwart a 2-point conversion in the third quarter.
Safety Micah Hyde, a free agent offseason addition, sealed the victory by intercepting McCown at Buffalo’s 41 to end the Jets’ final series.
Taylor was 16 of 28 for 224 yards and an interception.
The victory came in McDermott’s first game since the former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator took over in January after Rex Ryan was fired in the final week of last season.
McCown went 26 of 39 for 187 yards.