Demarus Dye| BKD TV Insiders
Welcome to the third season of BKD TV’s weekly recap on every NFL game for Week 1, this is the first edition of Tuesday Morning (or Afternoon) QB, thanks to Associated Press for there articles & photo assistance in this piece. Tomorrow I will be back with what have we learned after Week 1 of the 206 NFL Season.
Panthers 20, Broncos 21
DENVER (AP) — Cam Newton will get a few extra days to recover from his latest beating by Von Miller and crew. At least he won’t have to seethe for seven months.
Denver’s dominant defense came up big against Newton again and the Broncos escaped with a 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers Thursday night when Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining.
The Broncos collected three sacks and hit Newton eight more times, not counting the abuse he took on his 11 runs.
Miller hit him high when DeMarcus Ware was taking him down, linebacker Brandon Marshall hit him in the face just as he released a pass and safety Darian Stewart leveled him in the final minute, but because Newton was whistled for intentional grounding on the play, the penalties were offsetting.
A wobbled Newton appeared to have done just enough to get a measure of revenge for that bludgeoning in Super Bowl 50, when Miller stripped the ball and the Lombardi Trophy from his grasp.
Newton put the Panthers on the cusp of victory with a 16-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin at the Denver 37 in the closing seconds, and another short pass to Ted Ginn Jr. put Gano well within his range.
Gano, whose practice kick hugged the right upright after Denver had called timeout, missed wide left moments later.
Newton, the NFL’s reigning MVP, was 18 of 33 for 194 yards, with one TD and one interception.
Just as he did over and over in the Super Bowl, Miller made a big play late, sweeping past right tackle Mike Remmers and sacking Newton at the 2-minute warning. A penalty on fourth-and-21, however, kept the Carolina drive alive until Newton retreated to the sideline when Gano came in for the potential game-winner.
His miss only piled on the pain for Newton, who stayed on one knee in disbelief as the stadium rocked and Trevor Siemian trotted out for one victory formation snap and a win in his first NFL start.
The Panthers took a 17-7 led into the fourth quarter of the first Super Bowl rematch to start a season since 1970, but Siemian hit running back C.J. Anderson for a 25-yard touchdown on the next snap.
Newton’s next pass was intercepted by Harris at the Carolina 23. Ten plays later, Anderson bulled his way in from the 1 to give Denver its first lead at 21-17 with 9:26 remaining.
After Gano’s 36-yard field goal brought the Panthers to 21-20, Carolina forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at its 40 with 3:06 remaining.
TAKE A KNEE: Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, a college teammate of Colin Kaepernick, kneeled during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem during San Francisco’s preseason games, explaining it was to protest racial oppression and police brutality in the United States. “I’m not against the military, I’m not against America,” Marshall said. “I’m against social injustice.”
OLD TIMES: Manning made his first appearance at Mile High as a retiree, walking through the tunnel with the Lombardi Trophy. Manning said he spoke with Siemian on the eve of the game and told him he was in his corner.
POACHING PANTHERS: Carolina led the league with 39 takeaways last season and had three in the opener, including two on Denver’s first two drives. Shaq Thompson recovered rookie Devontae Booker’s fumble at the Carolina 29 and Bene Benwikere intercepted Siemian’s pass at the Panthers’ 10.
FIELD FLIP: Punter Andy Lee, who surrendered a Super Bowl-record 61-yard punt return to Jordan Norwood in February, pinned the Broncos back with a franchise-record 76-yard punt in the third quarter. His next punt traveled 61 yards.
FULLBACK FUN: Rookie Andy Janovich was brought in to bore holes for Anderson, but he surprised the Panthers with a 28-yard TD run after Denver’s first two drives ended in turnovers.
Bears 14, Texans 23
HOUSTON (AP) — The huge offseason investment the Houston Texans made in Brock Osweiler paid immediate dividends in the season opener.
Osweiler threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns in his debut with Houston to lead the Texans and their revamped offense to a 23-14 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Osweiler, who signed to a $72 million contract from Denver in the offseason, was helped by an offense filled with playmakers.
“There was nothing about the game that was perfect but we just kept playing … and we made the big plays when we needed to,” Osweiler said.
He completed passes to eight different receivers, led by rookie first-round pick Will Fuller, who became the first player in franchise history to have 100 yards receiving in a debut with 107 and a touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins added 54 yards and a score and running back Lamar Miller had 106 yards rushing in his first game with the Texans.
Osweiler’s day started with a hiccup when he threw an interception on the first drive, but soon got going and looked comfortable after that.
Houston trailed by 1 point entering the fourth quarter before Osweiler found Fuller on a short pass and he scampered 18 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-14.
The Texans added a 38-yard field goal later in the quarter to make it 23-14.
Chicago’s Jay Cutler threw for 216 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but was also sacked five times and hurried several others on a day when linebackers Whitney Mercilus and 2014 top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney led the pass rush.
J.J. Watt didn’t seem to be limited in his return after sitting out all of the preseason after back surgery. But last year’s Defensive Player of the Year wasn’t as effective as he normally is, and seemed to have a tough time dealing with three-time Pro Bowl left guard Josh Sitton.
Chicago: The Bears have a Monday night matchup with the Eagles on Sept. 19.
Texans: Houston hosts Kansas City next Sunday, looking for a win to erase the memory of last season’s 30-0 Wild-Card loss to the Chiefs.
Houston middle linebacker Brian Cushing, who had 110 tackles last season, injured his knee in the first quarter and did not return. Cushing started every game last season and 14 in 2014 after playing just 12 games combined in the previous two seasons because of two significant injuries to his left knee. Coach Bill O’Brien didn’t specify exactly what the injury was after the game, but said he would miss some time and they’d have more details on Monday.
THEY SAID IT
“I love everything about him,” Osweiler said of Fuller.
WHITE MAKES DEBUT
Bears receiver Kevin White, the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft, made his debut on Sunday after missing all of last season with a stress fracture in his left shin. He showed of flashes of the game-breaking ability that made him a top-10 pick and finished with 34 yards receiving. But his inexperience cost the Bears when he appeared to run a wrong route that led to an interception early in the third quarter.
“I’ll talk to Kevin about it and that was his first game out there,” Cutler said. “But it left my hands and it’s my responsibility.”
Alshon Jeffery led Chicago’s receivers with 105 yards.
IS IT THE SHOES?
Hopkins became the first to wear low-top Kanye West-designed Yeezy Boost 350 cleats on Sunday.
He and two other Adidas players received the 350’s on Friday, a day after Von Miller wore the high-top Yeezy Boost 750’s in Denver’s game against Carolina.
“They were great,” Hopkins said of the shoes in the popular turtle dove colorway. “It was just Adidas cleats with the Yeezy design on them. It wasn’t anything different than what I’ve already been wearing. Just the design.”
The star receiver, who was second in the NFL with a career-high 1,521 yards receiving last season, compared his ones to those that Miller wore, which look more like a boot.
“I like Von’s, but I prefer these.”
Packers 27, Jaguars 23
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers was far from impressed with his season opener.
He was concerned that Green Bay’s offense wasn’t effective early and had some struggles in the red zone. Nonetheless, the Packers’ harshest critic was a big reason they won a close game on the road in sweltering heat.
Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading Green Bay to a 27-23 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the teams’ season opener Sunday.
Rodgers looked every bit like a two-time league MVP. He extended plays with his feet, escaped sacks and was accurate all over the field.
“I don’t think we played very well offensively,” Rodgers said. “But we won. It’s tough to win in this league. It’s tough to win on the road.”
Rodgers completed 20 of 34 passes for 199 yards, with TD passes to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. He was sacked once for no yards and didn’t turn it over.
He helped the Packers win their second opener in the last five years. This one came on a hot and humid day that left some players cramping and others completely exhausted.
LOOK WHO’S BACK
Nelson played his first game since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the 2015 preseason. The injury significantly impacted Rodgers, who lost his best deep threat, and the offense, which fell to 23rd in the league and tied for 25th in passing.
Nelson didn’t show big-play ability in the opener. He finished with six receptions for 32 yards, including a 6-yard TD in the second quarter.
The Jaguars mounted a late drive that came up short on a fourth-and-1 play at the Packers 14. The Jaguars had converted their previous three fourth-down plays, but Allen Hurns failed to move the sticks on a bubble screen.
“We kind of knew that was what they were going to do,” said Blake Bortles, who completed 24 of 39 passes for 320 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. “They are a big ‘bring the house’ team, so we just have to execute. I should have done something differently. It was fourth-and-1 or whatever, so we just have to get it. If you don’t, you lose.”
With 13 seconds left in the first half, Adams hauled in a 29-yarder that was vintage Rodgers, who managed to get rid of the ball with a defender tugging at his jersey and still got enough on it to reach the end zone. Adams got up and pointed to the back of his jersey several times.
“You’ve got to make the tough ones,” Adams said. “That’s the caliber of receivers we have here and that’s the standard we hold ourselves to. … It was a tight window to get the ball in there, but the window was cracked. It was not a wide-open window.”
Jaguars running back Chris Ivory was hospitalized Sunday with a “general medical issue” and was inactive for the opener. Ivory was taken by ambulance from the team hotel to a local hospital early Sunday. He was limited in three practices this week because of a calf injury, but the team said that was not related to his hospital stay.
“Chris Ivory is doing well and is expected to be released from the hospital in the next day or two,” the Jaguars said. “More info will be provided at that time.”
Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson finished with six catches for 72 yards, but there were nine more passes thrown his way. At least two of those, maybe more, could have been flagged for pass interference. The 2015 Pro Bowler took the high road.
“It’s not about the calls,” Robinson said. “Blake gave me a ton of opportunities to make a play. I’ve got to make more plays. Seeing that that’s how the game is being called, I’ve got to adjust my physicality to the game.”
Fellow receiver Marqise Lee placed the blame elsewhere.
“I don’t know what the refs were looking at,” Lee said. “We had some (penalties) we felt should have been called.”
Vikings 25, Titans 16
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans made sure Adrian Peterson wouldn’t hurt them.
So the Minnesota defense took control.
Eric Kendricks returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter and Danielle Hunter scored a 24-yard TD off a fumble return and the Vikings beat Tennessee 25-16 in their season opener Sunday.
The Vikings forced three turnovers in the span of just under seven minutes and also had two sacks.
“The defense came through for us and made some big plays,” Peterson said. “They pretty much bailed us out today.”
The defending NFC North champs needed the help from their defense in scoring 25 straight points after being shut out in the first half with the NFL’s 2015 rushing leader smothered.
Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer did his best to hide his starter at quarterback after the Vikings lost Teddy Bridgewater to a major knee injury Aug. 30, and after they traded their 2017 first-round draft pick to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford .
The mystery finally ended when Shaun Hill, 36, took the field for the Vikings’ first series for his first start since 2014 when he was with the St. Louis Rams.
Zimmer said Hill did well.
“We’ll take it one week at a time and see where it takes us,” Zimmer said.
Tennessee focused on stopping Peterson, who had 1,485 yards rushing last season, and the Titans did just that.
Peterson had 31 yards on 19 carries.
The Titans had a revamped roster from a new general manager for coach Mike Mularkey in his first game since having the interim tag removed in January.
They also opened at home for the first time since 2012 and jumped out to a 10-0 halftime lead looking for a rare home win after going 1-7 in Nashville each of the past two seasons.
Their highlight came on the first of two TD catches by DeMarco Murray, the 2014 Offensive Player of the Year, when he vaulted himself over a defender for a 6-yard TD catch just before halftime.
The Titans were driving trailing 12-10 when Marcus Mariota tried to force a quick throw under pressure only to be picked off by Kendricks who returned it for the TD with 1:24 left in the third quarter. The Titans then went three-and-out before turnovers on the next two drives. Mariota lost the ball after faking a handoff to Murray, which Hunter picked up for his own TD return. Then Murray lost a fumble.
“The turnovers obviously were catastrophic,” Mularkey said.
Vikings kicker Blair Walsh kicked four field goals, including a 50-yarder. But the kicker who missed a 27-yard field goal in the playoffs, costing Minnesota in a 10-9 loss to Seattle in January, had a rough start. His first field goal from 37 hooked wide left. Zimmer sent Walsh out to attempt a 56-yarder at the end of the first half, and the kicker was well short despite being lined up in the middle of the field. The Titans missed a chance to return the kick by taking a timeout. With a second chance, Walsh still missed badly with the ball going way left out of the end zone.
The kicker connected on field goals of 50 and 33 yards in the third quarter, and he added two more in the fourth. But he missed an extra point right after Kendricks’ interception return.
Mariota had a perfect passer rating in his NFL debut as a rookie, and his second season couldn’t have started much differently. The Vikings pressured Mariota repeatedly, and he threw into coverage while being pressured on the interception. He also lost a fumble and had another turnover wiped out by a roughing the passer call.
Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes was scratched after aggravating an injury in warmups. … Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan went down grabbing the back of his left leg, and he did not return with an injured left hamstring.
Stefon Diggs caught seven passes for 103 yards for the Vikings. Titans rookie Tajae Sharpe caught seven passes for 76 yards.
Raiders 35, Saints 34
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For Oakland coach Jack Del Rio, calling for a do-or-die, 2-point conversion was less a gamble than a philosophical declaration.
Del Rio had no interest in a conservative point-after kick, and let his offense know it well before the decision had to be made. So when Derek Carr hit Seth Roberts for a 10-yard touchdown to cut New Orleans lead to a single point with 47 seconds left, kicker Sebastian Janikowski stood far from the action, helmet at his side, watching as Carr delivered a decisive fade pass to Michael Crabtree for a 35-34, season opening victory Sunday.
“Everyone knew about our strategy,” said Del Rio, now in his second season with Oakland. “I didn’t really ask for any feedback there. I said, ‘When we score here, we are going to go for 2 and win it right here.'”
Oakland had to overcome a 14-point, second-half deficit and a 424-yard, four-touchdown performance by Drew Brees.
“The belief and trust that coach has in us gives us so much confidence,” Carr said.
Brees called the late 2-point try gutsy, but not surprising.
“You’ll see that from time to time. You feel like you have the momentum, and let’s dial it up and let’s win the game,” Brees said. “I could see us doing that.”
FURIOUS FINISH: After the Raiders took their late lead, they still had to sweat out rookie kicker Wil Lutz’s last-second field goal attempt from 61 yards, which narrowly missed wide left as the Superdome crowd briefly erupted before realizing the kick was no good.
“I thought it was good off my foot,” Lutz said. “The ball moved on me.”
Jalen Richard ran 75 yards for a touchdown on his first NFL carry and Amari Cooper caught Carr’s pass for a 2-point conversion to briefly tie the game at 27 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
But Brees marched New Orleans for another score, highlighted by a 57-yard completion that receiver Willie Snead fumbled and rookie wideout Michael Thomas recovered and advanced to the Oakland 2. That set up Travaris Cadet’s short touchdown catch, giving New Orleans a 34-27 lead.
New Orleans nearly held on, but Saints linebacker Craig Robertson was flagged for interference on a fourth-down pass that sailed out of bounds.
“I’m not going to start the season off complaining about the officials. We have to play better,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “That was just one play.”
BIG NUMBERS: Brees eclipsed 400 yards passing for the 14th time in his career, tying Peyton Manning for the most such performances in NFL history. Snead finished with nine catches for 172 yards, including fourth-down, 1-yard TD catch in the first half.
Carr finished with 319 yards and one touchdown passing against a Saints defense coached by his former Raiders head coach, Dennis Allen. The Raiders rushed for 167 yards, including touchdown runs of 6 yards by Latavius Murray and 2 yards by Jamize Olawale.
RECORD TD: Brees’ touchdowns included a franchise-record 98-yarder to Brandin Cooks, who beat Sean Smith in single coverage and raced away from free safety Reggie Nelson. It was a career-long passing play for Brees as well.
“Brandin got a great release, I threw it up to him and he did the rest,” Brees said. “He looked like Usain Bolt running down the sideline there.”
Previously, Billy Joe Hobert and Eddie Kennison owned the Saints’ longest scoring play — a 90-yard connection against Atlanta on Oct. 10, 1999. The Saints’ previous longest play from scrimmage was as 96-yard passing play from Billy Kilmer to Walter Roberts on Nov. 19, 1967, the franchise’s inaugural season.
COOPED UP: Cooper, familiar to fans in the Gulf South from his college days at Alabama, elicited cheers of, “Cooop!” from an audible contingent of Raiders fans in the Superdome with a couple receptions for long gains. He finished with six catches for 137 yards.
CAREER KICKOFF: Lutz made two of four field goal attempts — missing twice from 50 or more yards — in his NFL debut. Payton made the surprising move of cutting veteran incumbent kicker Kai Forbath in favor of Lutz this past week after the undrafted rookie out of Georgia State had been waived by Baltimore. Lutz hit his first field goal from 42 yards. He also handled kickoffs and hit a 20-yard field goal that was tipped.
“I like this guy a lot,” Payton said of Lutz. “He’s going to be kicking long after I am coaching here. He’s really talented. There are obviously going to be some bumps along the way.”
INJURIES: Raiders right tackle Menelik Watson left the game late in the first half with what team officials said was a groin pull. Saints starting cornerback Delvin Breaux left the game with an undisclosed lower left leg injury. He was replaced by undrafted rookie Ken Crawley, who was covering Crabtree on the decisive 2-point play.
Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24
ATLANTA (AP) — Dirk Koetter got a game ball after his debut as an NFL head coach.
Jameis Winston made it all possible.
The second-year quarterback bounced back from an early interception to throw four touchdowns passes, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-24 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons in a season-opening matchup between NFC South rivals.
That might be far-fetched, but at least the Bucs can boast of a winning record for the first time since the 2012 season, when they started 6-4.
Winston presented his new coach with the game ball.
“It was very important that we made him feel the moment was special, not only for him but for us,” the quarterback said.
Winston was 23 of 33 for 281 yards, using just about every weapon at his disposal. He hooked up with receiver Mike Evans, running back Charles Sims III and tight ends Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and Brandon Myers on scoring plays.
The Falcons grabbed a 10-3 lead late in the first quarter after Winston’s pass for Vincent Jackson was picked off by Desmond Trufant, who returned it 13 yards to the Tampa Bay 9. Jackson broke outside on the route, while Winston’s throw went to the inside.
But Winston shook off that miscue with a 4-yard TD pass to Myers, and went to work again with less than two minutes to go in the first half.
After a third-down conversion to Jackson, Winston dumped off a short throw to Sims, who did the rest. He faked out two defenders — cutting right while they both tumbled the turf — and broke two more tackles on the way to a 23-yard touchdown that put Tampa Bay ahead for good.
The Falcons didn’t quit in their final season opener at the Georgia Dome before moving next door to $1.4 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Matt Ryan , looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2015 season in which the Falcons missed the playoffs for the third year in a row, hooked up with Julio Jones on a 25-yard touchdown and tacked on a two-point conversion.
But Atlanta wound up settling for three field goals by Matt Bryant.
“We had four trips into the red zone and came away with one touchdown,” Ryan said. “We’ve got to be much better.”
Koetter was offensive coordinator of the Falcons from 2012-14, and his defensive coordinator is former Atlanta head coach Mike Smith .
“It’s weird to see the people on the other side,” Koetter said. “But that’s the nature of the NFL.”
Smith was the winningest coach in Falcons history, nearly leading Atlanta to the Super Bowl during the 2012 season. That was followed by two straight losing seasons and his firing.
Buccaneers: Tampa Bay travels to the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday.
Falcons: Atlanta also heads west next Sunday to meet the Oakland Raiders, who opened with a 35-34 win over New Orleans.
Bills 7, Ravens 13
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens used a touchdown pass by Joe Flacco, two field goals and a throwback defensive performance to beat the Buffalo Bills 13-7 on Sunday in their season opener.
Against former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, now Buffalo’s head coach, the Ravens limited the Bills to 160 yards and sacked former teammate Tyrod Taylor twice.
That’s how Baltimore played defense under Ryan from 1999-2008, and that’s how it won the 2012 Super Bowl.
That, plus field goals of 50 and 37 yards by Justin Tucker, was enough for Baltimore’s first season-opening victory since 2012.
Taylor used his quickness to avoid a ferocious pass rush, but he did not have much success passing downfield. He was 15 of 22 for only 111 yards and ran five times for 11 yards.
Baltimore took a 10-0 lead when Wallace got behind Stephon Gilmore, took a pass in stride and pulled away for the 66-yard touchdown. Signed as a free agent to enhance an offense that last year lacked a deep threat, Wallace hadn’t been part of a play that long since 2012 with Pittsburgh.
Buffalo used the elusiveness of Taylor in the pocket to close to 10-7 before halftime. After wriggling from the grasp of Albert McClellan and sidestepping Terrell Suggs, Taylor completed a 33-yard pass to Charles Clay, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by LeSean McCoy on fourth down.
The Bills missed a chance to pull even when Dan Carpenter was wide right on a 49-yard field goal try midway through the third quarter.
ROOKIE BLUNDER & THUNDER: In his first NFL game, Ravens top draft pick left tackle Ronnie Stanley jumped offside on third-and-1 early in the first quarter. On Baltimore’s next possession, the team’s top pick in 2015, Breshad Perriman, made his first NFL reception with a leaping grab at the sideline for a 35-yard gain. Perriman missed the entire 2015 season with a knee injury.
WHERE’S WATKINS?: One reason Taylor was so successful last year was he utilized Sammy Watkins as a deep threat. Watkins was practically invisible during the first half, making only two short receptions for a total of 13 yards. Watkins finished with four catches for 43 yards.
SMITH & SUGGS RETURN: Ravens receiver Steve Smith and Suggs returned to regular-season action after having their 2015 season cut short by torn Achilles tendons. Smith caught five passes for 19 yards and stands 53 yards short of passing James Lofton for 10th place on the career list. Suggs had a sack.
NO HAPPY RETURNS: Devin Hester made his debut with the Ravens and had very few chances to show his skill as one of the great kick returners in NFL history. He took back two kickoffs for 18 yards and two punts for 0 yards.
Bengals 23, Jets 22
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Andy Dalton got hit hard by the New York Jets, early and often. In the end, the quarterback and the rest of the Cincinnati Bengals were the ones standing.
Mike Nugent kicked a 47-yard field goal with 54 seconds left, lifting the Bengals to a back-and-forth 23-22 season-opening victory Sunday.
Dalton threw for 366 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked a career-high seven times by the Jets, including 2 1/2 by Leonard Williams and two by Steve McLendon.
A.J. Green caught 12 passes for 180 yards, mostly against Darrelle Revis to help the Bengals beat the Jets for the first time in 10 meetings in New Jersey.
“The whole week everybody was saying A.J. vs. Darrelle,” Green said. “Revis is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. It’s my honor going against him. I was just trying to make plays anytime the ball came my way.”
Josh Shaw sealed the victory with an interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the closing seconds, helping Cincinnati improve to 7-7 in openers under coach Marvin Lewis.
Nick Folk kicked a go-ahead 23-yard field goal with 3:23 remaining, but Dalton marched the Bengals (1-0) downfield for the winning drive. The first missed extra point in Folk’s career and a blocked 22-yard attempt came back to haunt the Jets (0-1).
Dalton finished 23 of 30 with the TD and an interception, and Jeremy Hill ran for 31 yards and a touchdown. The Bengals took the lead in the third quarter when Hill bulldozed his way up the middle for a 12-yard TD run. The drive was aided by Brandon LaFell’s 49-yard catch over Marcus Williams on third-and-18.
The Jets drove to the Bengals 1 on their next possession, but stalled, leaving it to Folk to kick a 20-yard field goal to make it 20-19. After Nugent, a former Jet, was wide right on a 52-yard attempt, the Jets drove down the field and went ahead on Folk’s go-ahead 23-yarder.
Fitzpatrick finished 19 of 35 for 189 yards and touchdown passes to Quincy Enunwa and Eric Decker. The Jets were hurt by drives sputtering in the red zone and having to settle for field-goal attempts rather than touchdowns.
“We had our opportunities,” Fitzpatrick said. “We were winning in the fourth quarter and we just couldn’t shut the door.”
The Jets held a pregame tribute for the families and victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga led the entire team out of tunnel carrying the American flag. Moments later, Jets safety Rontez Miles did the same to huge cheers from the MetLife Stadium crowd.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was an honorary captain, along with representatives from the FDNY, NYPD and PAPD and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation. Former wide receivers Wayne Chrebet and Laveranues Coles and linebacker Marvin Jones, members of the Jets’ 2001 team, were also at midfield for the pregame coin toss.
Every member of both teams stood on the sideline during the singing of the national anthem.
Jets linebacker David Harris continued his playing streak after being questionable with a bruised shoulder. He started his 117th straight regular-season game.
Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert was out, still recovering from an ankle injury in the Pro Bowl. He was replaced in the starting lineup by C.J. Uzomah.
The Jets rotated backups Ben Ijalana and Brent Qvale at right tackle with starter Breno Giacomini out for at least six weeks with a back injury.
Matt Forte, signed as a free agent in the offseason, ran for 96 yards on 22 carries for the Jets, and caught five passes for 59 yards.
Folk’s missed extra point went wide right after a 15-yard touchdown catch by Decker with 9:38 left in the first half — ending a streak of 312 straight made PATs.
Folk had set the NFL record for most extra points without a miss with 322 overall, including the playoffs. The reliable veteran, who held off Duke rookie Ross Martin in training camp, also had a 22-yard attempt blocked in the first quarter by Margus Hunt’s tip of a low kick.
Browns 10, Eagles 29
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz has the Philadelphia Eagles on the right track. Robert Griffin III has the Cleveland Browns on the road to nowhere.
Wentz had 278 yards passing and two touchdowns in his NFL debut, a tenacious defense left Griffin hurting and the Eagles beat the Browns 29-10 on Sunday.
Sure, it’s only one game. But, the two teams seem headed in opposite directions.
The Eagles (1-0) face the Bears (0-1) on the road next Monday night. The Browns (0-1) host the Ravens (1-0).
RG3 plans to play against Baltimore despite suffering a sprained left shoulder late in the fourth quarter. His mother was so worried she called him during his post-game news conference.
“She’s really concerned about me,” Griffin said. “I’m in pain, but I’ll be OK.”
Josh McCown threw some warmup passes but Griffin stayed in despite the lopsided score.
“He wanted to be back out there,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “I thought it was important there for him to be back out there with the guys and finish the game the right way. And he did.”
Griffin was Cleveland’s 25th different starting QB since 1999 and made his first start since end of 2014 season when he was with Washington.
Wentz dazzled in his first game action in one month — he injured his ribs Aug. 11 and missed the last three preseason games. Facing the team that could’ve drafted him, Wentz looked like a potential franchise player. He finished 22 of 37 with a 101.0 passer rating.
“I felt very confident,” Wentz said. “It’s a great first start.”
The Browns were the same old Browns. They’ve lost 12 straight openers.
Here’s some things we learned from Philadelphia’s win over Cleveland:
NOT MISSING SAM: Trading Sam Bradford to Minnesota eight days ago paved the way for Wentz to jump from No. 3 QB to starter. The Eagles certainly didn’t take a step backward by trading away their starter. “I knew he was a good quarterback — a starter,” Eagles LT Jason Peters said. “When Sam got traded, I knew Carson could step up and make plays for us.”
MEDIOCRE NO MORE: The Eagles’ receivers hear a lot of criticism, but they had a strong start. Matthews had seven catches for 114 yards and one TD. Nelson Agholor had four catches for 57 yards and one TD. “It’s a great performance by our receiver,” coach Doug Pederson said. “I’ve got trust in confidence in them.”
HUDDLE UP: Now that Chip Kelly and his up-tempo offense are in San Francisco, the Eagles run a more traditional — and so far successful — offense. Wentz led a 75-yard drive culminated by a 19-yard TD pass to Jordan Matthews on the opening possession. It was the first time the Eagles scored a TD on their first drive of a season since 2008. They didn’t have a first-drive TD until their ninth game in 2015 and didn’t even score a TD in the first quarter until Week 6. “Going down, moving the ball, getting that touchdown right off the bat, was huge for my confidence and was huge for this team’s confidence,” Wentz said.
UNIMPRESSED: The Browns don’t regret their decision to trade the No. 2 pick to the Eagles, not after one game. “So I thought he did some good things and it looked like he had some poise and was able to lead them to victory,” Jackson said. “But again, I thought we had our chances.”
LEARNING CURVE: With 17 rookies on the roster, the Browns are going to experience growing pains. Jackson resorted to trickery on fourth-and-5 on the Browns 41 early in the second quarter. It backfired. Duke Johnson took a direct snap and was stopped for a 6-yard loss. “It was totally my responsibility,” Jackson said. “I thought it put our defense in a tough spot.”
Chargers 27, Chiefs 33 OT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith squirmed out of the pile in the end zone, got to his feet and let out a roar.
All it took was the largest comeback in the 56-year history of the Kansas City Chiefs for the stoic quarterback with the California cool to finally let some emotion show.
Smith threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns to rally his team from a three-touchdown hole, then scored on third-and-goal on the first possession of overtime for a heart-stopping 33-27 victory over the San Diego Chargers in their season opener Sunday.
Cairo Santos added a 33-yard field goal a few minutes later. Then, after forcing a three-and-out, Spencer Ware finished a four-play drive with a touchdown plunge to knot the game at 27.
It took Kansas City 10 plays to march 75 yards in overtime. Smith finished it with his plunge from the 2-yard line, keeping the ball rather than pitch when the smallest of creases opened.
By the time Smith reached his feet, the Chiefs had flooded onto the field to celebrate.
“You’re going to have games like this that show your character, show your grit,” coach Andy Reid said. “I’m proud of the way they handled it. They had confidence in each other.”
Philip Rivers threw for 243 yards and a touchdown, and Melvin Gordon scored the first two TDs of his career. But the Chargers were unable to keep any drives going in the fourth quarter, when the Chiefs were charging to their NFL-leading 11th consecutive regular-season victory.
“You just can’t let them back in. We’ve got to close it,” Chargers offensive tackle Joe Barksdale said. “Everybody with eyes who saw the game has got to know, we have to close it. It’s not acceptable to be up by 24-3 and lose the game. We know that.”
The collapse came after San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen left in the second quarter with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. He already had six catches for 63 yards.
Even without Allen, the retooled Chargers and their improved offensive line managed to build a 21-3 halftime lead. And it looked as if their eight-game skid against AFC West rivals would finally end.
That all changed once the fourth quarter began.
Josh Lambo missed a 54-yard field goal with San Diego leading 27-10, and the momentum swung toward Kansas City. Smith calmly completed six passes and marched his team 56 yards to the end zone, Santos hit his field goal and Ware his touchdown run, and the game was headed to overtime.
The Chiefs carried their newfound momentum all the way to the finish.
Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters held a black-gloved fist aloft during the national anthem in a salute reminiscent of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. It was his way of standing beside 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s stance on social injustice.
“I’m supporting Colin and what he’s doing, as far as raising awareness with the justice system,” said Peters, who grew up in Oakland, California. “Coach said it was OK if I wanted to express my thoughts about what I wanted to do, so I just expressed it.”
Peters did link his left arm with his teammates as country singer Trace Adkins performed the anthem. The Chiefs said in a statement they decided to lock arms in a show of solidarity.
The Chiefs played without star pass rusher Justin Houston , who could be out until November as he recovers from ACL surgery in February. The Chargers were without defensive end Joey Bosa, the third pick in April’s draft, who remained on the exempt list after a lengthy holdout.
RUNNING IT: Ware finished with 70 yards rushing and had seven catches for 129 yards, giving the Chiefs a big boost without Jamaal Charles. The four-time Pro Bowl running back is still recovering from surgery last season to repair his ACL and was inactive Sunday.
Allen missed the final eight games last season with a lacerated kidney , and now could be out the rest of this season. He never put weight on his right knee after going down Sunday.
“There is speculation about an ACL,” coach Mike McCoy said, “but we’ll run tests when we get back home.”
Chiefs linebacker Sam Barrington left in the second half with a hamstring injury.
Dolphins 10, Seahawks 12
SEATTLE (AP) — Fair or not, quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson will always be linked, the result of being selected in the same NFL draft and the positions they play. Tannehill was selected eighth overall by Miami, while Wilson went 67 selections later to Seattle and the opposite corner of the country.
For a period on Sunday, it appeared Tannehill was going to get the better of Wilson. In a career where Wilson has garnered the most success, Tannehill was on the cusp of winning on Seattle’s home field.
Just as quick, that opportunity for the Dolphins to pull off a stunning upset to open the season was gone at the hands of Wilson as Seattle rallied in the closing seconds for a 12-10 win over Miami.
Another game-winning drive for Wilson to add to his resume, but one that wasn’t expected against the Dolphins.
“Without question, he’s great at it. He’s just great at it,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Tannehill did his part in the fourth quarter, leading the Dolphins 86 yards and bulling in from the 2 to take a 10-6 lead with 4:08 remaining.
What is yet to be decided is how well Tannehill and the rest of Miami’s offense will function under new head coach Adam Gase. Was the three quarters of struggles on Sunday the result of the opponent or issues adapting to Gase’s system? The surge in the fourth quarter clearly provided optimism that Tannehill has a chance to thrive.
“Every time he came off a series he just said ‘What do we got to do now?'” Gase said. “What was really big for us as far as this being our first go as a group was, let’s not be the group that pointing fingers and complaining about something that happened. Let’s be the group that’s finding solutions on the sidelines and I felt like that’s what that group was doing.”
Here’s what else to know from Seattle’s late rally to knock off the Dolphins:
ANKLE WATCH : Plenty of attention will now be placed on Wilson’s right ankle. He was injured being sacked by Ndamukong Suh in the third quarter, appearing to get accidentally stepped on and twisting the ankle awkwardly. Wilson said he has no doubts he’ll be able to play next week against Los Angeles, but it may be an issue that lingers into Seattle’s bye in Week 5
AREA OF CONCERN: Seattle felt good about the progress of its offensive line through training camp. Then it was thrown into flux this week when rookie guard Germain Ifedi went down with an ankle injury. Veteran J’Marcus Webb stepped in on Sunday for Ifedi and the results were mixed facing one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. Wilson was sacked three times and hit nine times. The Seahawks run game struggled to establish a rhythm, though they combined to rush for 112 yards between Christine Michael, Thomas Rawls and Wilson.
The challenge doesn’t get any easier next week taking on the Rams.
DOMINANT LINE: If Miami isn’t in the conversation among the best defensive lines in the NFL it needs to be there. The additions of Mario Williams and Jason Jones and the return of Cameron Wake give the Dolphins depth to be disruptive around Suh. The Dolphins could have used Williams on Seattle’s final drive. Williams was out of the game going through concussion protocol.
FOSTER HOPE: Arian Foster had flashes of his old burst in his Miami debut. Foster had a 50-yard catch-and-run reception, but finding room in the running game was difficult. Foster was held 38 yards and 13 carries and no rush longer than 9 yards.
MARSH’S MARK: It’s worth noting the contribution of Seattle reserve linebacker Cassius Marsh, who blocked Andrew Franks’ 27-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter and sacked Tannehill in the closing seconds.
With Mike Morgan winning the starting outside linebacker job, the Seahawks needed someone to inherit Morgan’s role on special teams. That looks to be Marsh, who had three special teams tackles along with the field goal block.
“I was going out there and trying to take advantage of every opportunity I had on every play. I was able to make some big plays for the team,” Marsh said.
Lions 39, Colts 35
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater just wanted a second chance Sunday.
Matthew Stafford ensured he got it — and Prater delivered with a 43-yard field goal that gave the Lions a wild 39-35 victory at Indianapolis.
Just four minutes earlier, after Stafford had broken a 28-28 tie with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Theo Riddick, Prater pushed the extra point wide right. So it was 34-28, opening the door for Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to pull off another comeback.
“To see him bounce back is huge,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “When you miss like that, the second one can be difficult. But he has an unusual focusing ability.”
Stafford played brilliantly, going 31 of 39 for 340 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Somehow, Luck nearly rallied the Colts from an 18-point deficit to another last-minute victory when he threw a 6-yard TD pass to Jack Doyle with 37 seconds to go. It rekindled memories of the winning TD pass he threw at Detroit four years ago.
Adam Vinatieri’s extra point gave Indy a 35-34 lead.
But against Indy’s depleted secondary, Stafford found receivers who turned short catches into big gains. Four plays later, Prater got his chance, and he hit it right.
“We made a lot of plays, and we just ran out of gas (on defense),” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “We just couldn’t make that one more play that we needed to make.”
Indy was called for a safety on the final play of the game, for throwing an illegal forward pass in its end zone.
LUCK’S RETURN: In Luck’s first meaningful game in more than 10 months, he started slowly and finished strong, as he usually does.
Luck wound up 31 of 47 for 385 yards with four touchdowns and had no turnovers — a stark contrast to his mistake-prone ways during an injury-riddled 2015 season.
KEY NUMBERS: Detroit averaged a league-low 83.4 yards rushing per game in 2015 but had 87 at halftime and finished with 116.
Frank Gore rushed 14 times for 59 yards, but the Colts extended their streak of consecutive games without a 100-yard rusher to 51.
SLOW START: Indianapolis spent the offseason looking for ways to start faster. The results didn’t match the effort. Indy trailed 14-0 before Luck finally got in sync by finishing the first half with two scoring drives to make it 21-10.
OLYMPIC MOMENT: For the second straight day, Olympic gold medalist Lilly King received the loudest ovation of the Indiana contingent that competed at the Rio Olympics. On Saturday, Indiana University honored the Hoosiers who competed between the first and second quarters. On Sunday, the reaction was the same at halftime of Lions-Colts.
INJURY REPORT: Detroit running back Theo Riddick left for a while to undergo the concussion protocol, but returned late in the game after being cleared.
Indy had three defenders go down on one series late in the first half: safety T.J. Green (sprained knee), cornerback Patrick Robinson (concussion), and linebacker Sio Moore. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie also left briefly in the first half, holding his left wrist. Moore and Cromartie returned. Green and Robinson did not, and Green is scheduled to undergo more evaluation Monday. Safety Winston Guy (ankle) also left late in the game and did not return.
THEY SAID IT: Stafford on his confidence in Prater: “No sweat. I knew he would be good from 65.”
Luck on another slow start: “I’m tired of being a part of slow starts. … We’ve got to start faster.”
FANTASY IMPACT: Riddick had a big day for Detroit and even better one for fantasy football owners. He rushed seven times for 45 yards and one touchdown while catching five passes for 63 yards and another TD.
Owners in need of tight ends in Week 2 may want to gamble on the Colts tight ends. Dwayne Allen caught four passes for 53 yards and one TD, while two of Doyle’s three catches went for TDs.
Giants 20, Cowboys 19
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The salsa is back, and the New York Giants finally finished when the Dallas Cowboys failed to stop the clock in the final seconds.
Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Victor Cruz in his first game in nearly two years, and the Giants beat the Cowboys 20-19 Sunday.
The Giants (1-0) won the debut of coach Ben McAdoo after 12 years and two Super Bowl titles under Tom Coughlin while spoiling the first game for Dallas’ Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
“You couldn’t even describe what was going through my body,” said Cruz , who had four catches for 34 yards. “Wanted obviously to do the dance. I’m sure I’ve got that down pat.
“Everybody just pulled for me each and every day, each and every week as we got closer to Week 1. And to score a touchdown. You just couldn’t make up a story any better than that.”
Because of Tony Romo’s back injury, Prescott and Elliott were the first rookie quarterback-running back combo to start an opener for the Cowboys since Roger Staubach and Calvin Hill in 1969.
The game ended with Dallas in position for a roughly 57-yard field goal, but Terrance Williams didn’t get out of bounds after a catch and the clock ran out before Prescott could spike the ball.
Dan Bailey had four field goals, matched his career long at 56 yards and had another one from 54.
“The guy was trying to make a play,” Prescott said of Williams. “You never want to knock a guy trying to make a play.”
Randy Bullock, kicking because of Josh Brown’s one-game suspension, made the extra point for the lead after an earlier missed PAT.
New York beat Dallas in an opener for the first time in nine tries.
The Giants’ defense, fortified in free agency, held Dallas after the go-ahead score. Then the Giants emphasized the run to use most of the clock, quite a contrast to last season when questionable clock management contributed to six losses late in regulation or in overtime in a 6-10 season.
Elliott was held to a 2.5-yard average (51 yards on 21 carries), although he had his first touchdown, and the only one for Dallas. Prescott was 25 of 45 for 227 yards.
Manning was 19 of 28 for 207 yards, including a 45-yarder to Odell Beckham Jr. set up the first TD.
ANOTHER ROOKIE FIRST
New York receiver Sterling Shepard, the son of late former NFL receiver Derrick Sheppard, scored his first touchdown against one of his dad’s former teams. The second-round pick made a leaping catch over Dallas rookie Anthony Brown for a 9-yard score.
LOSING WITHOUT ROMO AGAIN
The Cowboys fell to 1-12 without Romo since the first of two broken collarbones last season in Week 2. Dallas lost the first seven without its four-time Pro Bowler on the way to a 4-12 finish. Romo broke a bone in his back in a preseason game at Seattle. He probably won’t be back until mid-October at the earliest.
DEZ DIDN’T CATCH IT
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant had an apparent 24-yard touchdown catch from Prescott overturned on review in the first half when the replay showed the ball coming loose as he landed and slid out of bounds in the end zone. Of course, the sequence sparked an immediate “Dez caught it/Dez didn’t catch it” reaction on Twitter. The catch that wasn’t in Green Bay in the playoffs two seasons ago will apparently live forever.
New York linebacker J.T. Thomas III was carted off with a sprained knee at halftime after getting hurt on a kickoff return on the final play of the first half. He didn’t return. … Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who missed all of 2015 with a knee injury, was out part of the first half with a hamstring injury. He returned and had a sack in the second half.
Patriots 23, Cardinals 21
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo did just what Tom Brady always seems to do. Lead the New England Patriots to a late score and victory.
But the Patriots needed a little help.
Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro missed a 47-yard field goal with 41 seconds to play and the severely depleted Patriots escaped with a 23-21 victory Sunday night in the season opener.
The snap from rookie long snapper Kameron Canady was low and holder Drew Butler didn’t get the ball in terrific position. But Catanzaro was making no excuses.
“Just an old-fashioned miss,” Catanzaro said. “I’ll make the next one.”
Arians said: “It was a low snap. Drew got it down and he (Catanzaro) pulled it.”
The miss came after Garoppolo, in his first NFL start, directed the Patriots from their own 19 to the Arizona 15 to set up Stephen Gostkowski’s 23-yard field goal for what proved to be the winner with 3:44 to play.
Garoppolo completed 24 of 33 passes for 264 yards with no interceptions. He never seemed rattled.
“When you have confidence in your teammates and they have confidence in you, it’s easy to stay poised,” he said.
Coach Bill Bilichick wasn’t ready to crown Garoppolo the next Brady, though.
“He made some good plays. It is not perfect but he made a lot of good plays,” Bilichick said.
Arizona’s Carson Palmer threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns, both to Larry Fitzgerald.
“We came out too slow,” Palmer said, “and obviously there when you have to win it with a late field goal, you’re obviously behind the 8-ball.”
Not only were the Patriots without Brady, suspended for his role in “deflategate,” but they also didn’t have tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive end Rob Ninkovich and two starters on the offensive line.
Again, Garoppolo talked about that Patriot confidence.
“Whoever is out there we have confidence in one another,” he said. “That is a good thing we have going for us.”
A remarkable 45-yard run by David Johnson set up a 2-yard, sliding, over-the-shoulder touchdown catch by Fitzgerald that gave the Cardinals their only lead of the night, 21-20, with 9:46 remaining.
Ex-Patriot Chandler Jones sacked Garoppolo on the first play of New England’s next possession, but the young quarterback still set up the winning kick by Gostkowski, who also booted a 53-yarder.
“I am really proud of our team tonight,” Belichick said. “I thought we got great effort from all three phases. We played a good complimentary game.”
A holding penalty hampered the final Arizona drive but a pass to Jaron Brown put the Cardinals within field-goal range. The snap was low and Catanzaro booted the ball to the left of the uprights.
New England, a five-point underdog, took the lead on its first possession and scored again to start the second half.
Up 10-7 at the break, the Patriots took the second-half kickoff and went 70 yards in nine plays. Rookie cornerback Brandon Williams was beaten badly for the second time on Garoppolo’s 28-yard pass to the Arizona 8. LaGarrette Blount bulled it in from there and the Patriots led 17-7 with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.
The first two Arizona touchdowns followed New England turnovers.
Johnson’s remarkable run featured about every tool in the running back kit.
He jump cut into the line, spun away from a would-be tackler, put his hand on the ground to steady his balance and stiff-armed another defender before racing down the sidelines. That set up a pretty over-the-shoulder catch by Fitzgerald, the 100th TD reception of his career.
Garoppolo got off to a fast start, overthrowing the receiver on his first pass then completing four straight for 75 yards. He took advantage of blown coverage by Williams to throw to a wide open Chris Hogan for 37 yards and a touchdown .
On their second possession, the Patriots drove from their 8 to the Arizona 29 and Gostkowski’s 47-yard field goal made it 10-0.
TURNOVER NO. 1
The only turnover of the first half led to Arizona’s lone first-half score.
Garoppolo took a hit from Markus Golden and fumbled. Jones, acquired in an offseason trade with New England, recovered for Arizona at the New England 40.
A celebration dance by Jones and D.J. Swearinger drew a 15-yard penalty after the turnover, but the Cardinals still drove for a score.
Palmer threw 2 yards to Fitzgerald to cut the lead to 10-7 with 6:20 left in the first half.
Steelers 38, Redskins 16
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger knew the retired Heath Miller, suspended teammates Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant and the injured Markus Wheaton weren’t walking through that door. So he put the Pittsburgh Steelers’ young, largely untested offense on his shoulders.
Roethlisberger threw for three touchdowns to lead the Steelers to a 38-16 rout of the Washington Redskins on Monday night. After telling his teammates he believed in not just All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown but Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates and others, Roethlisberger recovered a fumble at a pivotal moment and completed 27 of 37 passes for 300 yards in the season-opening victory.
He threw two touchdowns to Brown and another to Rogers. Often playing on the opposite side from Josh Norman and tormenting cornerback Bashaud Breeland, Brown made eight catches for 126 yards.
“We’re confident in that group,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “I know we were missing some pieces tonight, but we had ‘7.’ And when you got ‘7’ you got the chance to put together performances like that.”
Washington led 6-0 and appeared to have another scoring opportunity late in the first quarter when linebacker Ryan Kerrigan sacked and stripped Roethlisberger deep in Pittsburgh territory. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey knocked the ball out of Kerrigan’s hands, and Roethlisberger dived on it at his own 13-yard line.
“The ball was on the ground and Pounce was kind of laying on it and I was trying to tell Pouncey it was right under his leg,” Roethlisberger said. “Any time you can get those balls back, it’s huge.”
Roethlisberger then guided Pittsburgh 87 yards down the field, finishing the drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Brown on a gutsy fourth-and-1 call from the Washington 29.
“We knew it was coming; I knew it was coming,” Breeland said. “That’s why I played it the way I played it. It was just a freak play, and he made the play. That’s all I can say.”
The next time he got the ball, Big Ben took the Steelers 67 yards on 14 plays to make it 14-6.
Pittsburgh’s passing attack got clicking, but Kirk Cousins and the Redskins couldn’t keep up. With Matt Jones and the running game grounded and tight end Jordan Reed taken out of the picture, Cousins finished 30 of 43 for 329 yards and two interceptions.
Washington got it as close as 24-16 on Chris Thompson’s fourth-quarter touchdown. Then Roethlisberger was at it again, taking the Steelers 77 yards as Williams put the game away with a 15-yard touchdown run to break the 30-point mark.
PRIME TIME READY: Tomlin improved to 11-2 on Monday night, including 6-2 on the road and 2-0 at Washington. Pittsburgh is 4-1 when opening the season on Monday night, and the Steelers’ 44-24 record on MNF is third-best in the NFL behind Seattle (23-6) and San Francisco (47-25).
The Redskins have lost 15 of their past 16 Monday Night home games.
HOPPING HOPKINS: Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins made all three of his field-goal attempts, connecting from 31, 40 and 34 yards. Hopkins was the Redskins’ entire offensive production until Thompson’s touchdown.
PINBALL ROGERS: Rogers’ first career touchdown catch in his NFL debut was a pinball special. Roethlisberger’s pass from the 3-yard line hit receiver Sammie Coates and then Rogers’ facemask before he finished the grab.
SHAZIER, PLAYMAKER: The play after forcing a fumble that the Redskins recovered, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier picked off Cousins to set up Brown’s 26-yard TD catch in the third quarter. Shazier left the game with a right knee injury and was being evaluated after the game. Tomlin said he’d have more information Tuesday.
RUNNING ON EMPTY: Jones was in the starting lineup after separating his left shoulder on Aug. 19, but he lost 4 yards on his first two carries and finished with 24 yards on seven carries. Washington totaled 55 yards rushing, including just 28 in the first half.
REED OPTION: Reed caught three passes for 39 yards on the Redskins’ opening drive and was a nonfactor with four catches for 25 yards the rest of the way.
Tomlin on why he called a pass to the end zone on fourth-and-1: “We play to win.”
Norman: “They took us behind the woodshed today and wore our tail out. It was a good, old-fashioned butt whooping.”
Rams 0, 49ers 28
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers opened the Chip Kelly era with a dominating win while the Rams are still seeking their first points since moving back to Los Angeles.
Carlos Hyde ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns and the San Francisco 49ers posted their first season-opening shutout in franchise history to spoil the return of the Los Angeles Rams with a 28-0 victory Monday night.
“It’s huge any time you can get a conference win, opening night win,” quarterback Blaine Gabbert said. “It’s a big momentum driver for the team.”
After Los Angeles football fans waited more than 21 years to once again be able to call a team their own, they need to wait at least another week to see that team score.
“That wasn’t what we expected, certainly not what I expected for the first game back in L.A.,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “We have some work to do obviously.”
Case Keenum threw for just 130 yards with two interceptions, star running back Todd Gurley was held to 47 yards on 17 carries and the Rams barely even threatened the Niners as they were held to 185 yards and 10 first downs all game.
“This team deserved better play from its quarterback and I intend on doing that,” Keenum said.
San Francisco wasn’t much better offensively but managed to run the ball fairly effectively early, leading to the two first-half touchdowns by Hyde and Draughn.
“People counted us out before the season even started,” Hyde said. “We just stayed together as a group and worked together. It’s us against the world. We just keep that mindset.”
STAR EJECTION: Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald was ejected in the fourth quarter when he made contact with an official. The infraction came after Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree gave an extra push to Gabbert following a scramble. As players on both teams started jawing, Donald pushed a 49ers player and then made contact with an official. Donald was called for two personal fouls on the play and ejected.
“I let my emotions get the best of me,” Donald said. “No excuses.”
THIRD DOWN WOES: After converting their first third-down try on the opening drive, the Rams came up empty the next 10 times they faced a third down. They finally broke that drought when Keenum completed a 5-yard pass to Tavon Austin on third-and-4 late in the third quarter to get to the San Francisco 27. Two plays later, Keenum negated that good play by throwing his second interception of the game .
REPEAT PERFORMANCE: The 49ers opened the Kelly era in a similar fashion to the way they opened last year under first-year coach Jim Tomsula. San Francisco dominated Minnesota 20-3 in the late Monday night opener but won only four other games all season, leading to Tomsula’s firing. This win was San Francisco’s first shutout since beating the Jets 34-0 in 2012.
“The credit doesn’t go to me, it goes to our defense and defensive staff,” Kelly said. “We felt good about our defense going into the game, but you never really know until you get in the game. It’s something for us to build on.”
ANTHEM PROTEST: San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid once again kneeled during the national anthem, while a few other players protested by raising their fists. Rams defensive lineman Robert Quinn and receiver Kenny Britt and Niners linebacker Eli Harold and safety Antoine Bethea all held up their fists in protest. Kaepernick came on late with the game out of hand.
DOWN DRAFT PICKS: Both the Rams and Niners traded up for first-round picks in April with Los Angeles mortgaging the future to take quarterback Jared Goff first overall and San Francisco trading back into the first round to select guard Joshua Garnett 28th. Neither player even dressed for the opener. Goff was inactive as the third QB for the Rams and Garnett is buried on the depth chart in San Francisco.
BACKWARD PASS: On the opening drive of the second half, Gabbert completed a pass to himself when his throw was deflected by T.J. McDonald and he caught it. Unfortunately for the Niners, he was quickly tackled by McDonald for a loss of 16 yards.