Published September 10, 2013
| Sports Network
Denver, CO – With people questioning how his high-paced offense would translate to the pro game, first-year Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly took a big step toward silencing his critics. And Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy made sure their new bench boss left FedEx Field a winner. McCoy rushed for 184 yards and a score on 31 carries, while Vick accounted for three touchdowns, as the Eagles spoiled the return of Redskins' quarterback Robert Griffin III with a 33-27 triumph over reigning NFC East champion Washington in the season opener for both teams. Kelly had spent the last six seasons at Oregon before replacing current Kansas City head coach Andy Reid, whose 14-year tenure in Philadelphia ended after a 4-12 finish last season and a second straight year not making the playoffs. The Eagles (1-0) embraced the fast-paced, high-octane offense of Kelly, racking up 443 total yards and 26 first downs en route to the victory. Vick finished 15-of-25 passing for 203 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing nine times for 56 yards and a score. DeSean Jackson hauled in seven passes for a game-high 104 yards and a touchdown in the win. Griffin, meanwhile, showed plenty of rust in his first game action since sustaining a torn LCL and ACL in his right knee during Washington's wild card loss to the Seattle Seahawks last January. The reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year completed 30-of-49 passes for 329 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Alfred Morris rushed for 45 yards and a score on 12 carries for the Redskins (0-1).
Final Score: Houston 31, San Diego 28
San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - The scene was all too familiar for the San Diego Chargers. The Houston Texans rallied from a 21-point deficit with huge defensive stops in the second half, and Randy Bullock booted a 41-yard field goal as time expired to stun the Chargers, 31-28, on Monday at Qualcomm Stadium. After falling behind 28-7 early in the third quarter, the Texans (1-0) defense didn't allow another first down, and Brian Cushing made his return to the field a memorable one with a interception return that tied the game. Matt Schaub guided the offense to two scores in the second half, throwing three touchdowns for the game while amassing 346 yards through the air on 34- of-45 efficiency. Owen Daniels had two touchdowns among his five receptions. Phillip Rivers tossed four touchdown passes for San Diego (0-1), but couldn't move the offense down the stretch in a game that ended up resembling the Chargers loss to the Denver Broncos last season, when they blew a 24-0 first half lead.
(Sunday, September 8th)
Final Score: New England 23, Buffalo 21
Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - At one point, the status of New England wide receiver Danny Amendola was unclear. Wes Welker's replacement aggravated a groin injury that limited him in practice during the week late in the second quarter. Amendola returned, however, to play a key role in the Patriots' season-opening 23-21 come-from-behind win over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Trailing by a point, the New England defense forced a three-and-out against the aggressive play-calling of the Bills' Doug Marrone, who made his NFL debut as a head coach. Instead of relying on the running game to eat up more of the clock, Buffalo opted to pass and rookie EJ Manuel, the first quarterback chosen in April's draft at No. 16, picked up only four yards on 3rd-and-10. The Patriots got the ball back with 4:31 to play in the fourth quarter, and quarterback Tom Brady twice hooked up with Amendola to convert third downs, the latter a 10-yard gain on 3rd-and-8 from the Buffalo 39. Shane Vereen followed with a 15-yard run around left tackle on the next play, setting up Stephen Gostkowski's game-winning 35- yard field goal with five seconds left. Brady finished with 288 yards, two touchdown passes to Julian Edelman and one interception while completing 29- of-52 throws. Vereen totaled 101 yards on 14 carries and added 58 yards on seven receptions for the Patriots (1-0), who have won 10 consecutive season openers, the longest current streak in the NFL. Amendola made 10 grabs for 104 yards. New England was coming off a tumultuous offseason during which Brady lost several offensive weapons, including tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was released following his stunning June arrest on a murder charge. Welker bolted to Denver as a free agent, and tight end Rob Gronkowski missed the Week 1 contest as he continues to recover from forearm and back surgeries. Manuel connected on 18-of-27 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns, the second putting the Bills (0-1) up 21-17 with 11:03 remaining in the third quarter.
Final Score: Seattle 12, Carolina 7
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Jermaine Kearse's touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter was the difference, as the Seattle Seahawks topped the Carolina Panthers, 12-7, in the 2013 season opener for both clubs. Russell Wilson finished 25-of-33 for 320 yards and that 43-yard strike to Kearse for the Seahawks (1-0), who finished 11-5 a season ago and lost in the second round to Atlanta. Doug Baldwin totaled 91 yards on seven grabs, Marshawn Lynch led the ground attack with 43 yards on 17 carries and Steven Hauschka converted a pair of field goals in the victory. Cam Newton was 16- of-23 for 125 yards and a touchdown, adding 38 yards on five carries for the Panthers (0-1), who are looking to improve upon a 7-9 mark in 2012. Steve Smith ended with 51 yards on six receptions, while DeAngelo Williams recorded 76 yards on 16 attempts, but coughed up the ball on a key late possession.
Final Score: Chicago 24, Cincinnati 21
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Jay Cutler hooked up with Brandon Marshall for a go-ahead 19-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, as the Chicago Bears began the Marc Trestman era with a 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the season-opener for both teams on Sunday at Soldier Field. Cutler finished 21-of-33 passing for 242 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Marshall hauled in eight passes for 104 yards and the deciding score for the Bears (1-0), who went 10-6 last season but missed out on the playoffs after losing a tiebreaker with Minnesota for the sixth seed in the NFC. Matt Forte rushed 19 times for 50 yards and a touchdown in the victory, helping Trestman become just the fourth Bears head coach to win his debut contest, joining Hall of Famer George S. Halas (1920), Neill Armstrong (1978) and Dick Jauron (1999). Cincinnati signal-caller Andy Dalton completed 26-of-33 passes for 282 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while A.J. Green grabbed a game-high nine passes for 162 yards and both of Dalton's touchdowns. BenJarvus Green-Ellis added a rushing score for the Bengals (0-1), who entered the postseason as a wild card club last season, but failed to score an offensive touchdown in a 19-13 loss at Houston in the opening round.
Final Score: Miami 23, Cleveland 10
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Ryan Tannehill threw for 272 yards with a touchdown and the Miami defense came up with three interceptions and six sacks in a 23-10 victory over Cleveland, as the new-look Dolphins handed the Browns their ninth straight season-opening loss and spoiled the head coaching debut for Cleveland's Rob Chudzinski. Tannehill, a 2012 first-round pick in his second year as Miami's starting quarterback, completed 24-of-38 passes for the Dolphins (1-0), who were 7-9 last year in Joe Philbin's first season as head coach. Brian Hartline caught nine passes for 114 yards, including the go-ahead 34-yard touchdown in the third quarter, as Miami outscored Cleveland 17-3 in the second half. Mike Wallace, the Dolphins' big free-agent acquisition on offense, was a non-factor with one catch for 15 yards. Brandon Weeden, a 2012 first-round pick also in his second year as Cleveland's starting signal-caller, connected on 26-of-53 throws for 289 yards with a touchdown and the three picks for the Browns (0-1), who were just 1-for-14 on third down.
Final Score: Detroit 34, Minnesota 24
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Reggie Bush totaled almost 200 yards in his Detroit debut and Matthew Stafford had two touchdown passes in the second half, as the Lions took a 34-24 victory over the Minnesota Vikings to open the season. Bush, a free agent signing in the offseason, finished the game with 191 yards of total offense and a touchdown. He had 21 carries for 90 yards, while adding four catches for 101 yards and a score. Stafford went 28-for-43 for 357 yards and two touchdowns, along with one interception for the Lions (1-0), who lost their final eight games last season to finish the 2012 campaign with a record of 4-12 A year removed from setting the NFL record for receiving yards in a season, Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson had a very pedestrian game, catching just four balls for 37 yards. Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, last season's MVP, appeared poised for a big day as he took his first handoff 78 yards for a score. However, he was smothered by the Detroit defense the rest of the day, gaining just 15 yards on his next 17 carries. He did, though, have two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown to go with four catches for 18 yards. Christian Ponder had a tough day behind center as he went 18-for-28 for 236 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, along with losing a fumble for the Vikings (0-1), who went 10-6 last season and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Final Score: Indianapolis 21, Oakland 17
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Andrew Luck tossed two touchdown passes and ran for the go-ahead score, as the Indianapolis Colts survived with a 21-17 opening day win over the Oakland Raiders. Trailing 17-14 midway through the final period, Luck scampered 19 yards to the end zone to give the Colts a lead, which they held thanks to a timely interception by Antoine Bethea with 31 seconds remaining. Luck finished 18-of-23 with 178 yards for the Colts (1-0), who surprised many by grabbing a wild card spot last season with an 11-5 record. Reggie Wayne caught eight passes for 96 yards and a score and Vick Ballard gained 63 yards on the ground. Terrelle Pryor, making his second career start for Oakland (0-1), completed 19-of-29 passes for 217 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for 112 yards, setting a Raiders record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Darren McFadden added 48 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Raiders, while Rod Streater reeled in five passes for 70 yards.
Final Score: Kansas City 28, Jacksonville 2
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - The Andy Reid era is off to a positive start for the Chiefs. The same certainly can't be said for Gus Bradley and Jacksonville. Alex Smith threw a pair of touchdown passes and Jamaal Charles ran for a score in Kansas City's 28-2 demolition of the Jaguars. Smith, who was traded from San Francisco in the offseason, completed 21-of-34 passes for 173 yards. Charles rushed for 77 yards on 16 carries for the Chiefs, who went 2-14 last season, tied with Jacksonville for the worst mark in the NFL. The Chiefs (1-0) fired Romeo Crennel after the season and replaced him with Reid, who was let go after 14 years as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Tamba Hali returned an interception 10 yards for a score in the fourth quarter. That was part of a brutal performance for Blaine Gabbert, who completed 16-of-35 passes for 121 yards with a pair of interceptions. Justin Houston had three sacks and the Chiefs put Gabbert down six times. Gabbert left the game in the final two minutes with a cut on his right hand. He was replaced by Chad Henne. Maurice Jones-Drew rained 45 yards on 15 carries for the Jaguars (0-1), who were unable to move the ball past midfield until the fourth quarter. Henne's pass on 4th-and-goal with under a minute left was tipped away. That secured the first time a team has scored exactly two points in an NFL game since Dec. 12, 1993, when the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the New England Patriots, 7-2.
Final Score: New Orleans 23, Atlanta 17
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Drew Brees threw for 357 yards and two touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints' much-maligned defense came up with a huge stop late to preserve a 23-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons that gave head coach Sean Payton a triumphant return to the sidelines. A unit that surrendered an NFL-record 7,042 total yards last season held Atlanta's potent offense scoreless over its final four drives. the last of which ended when Roman Harper intercepted Matt Ryan in the end zone on 4th- and-goal with 43 seconds left. Brees did his part as well, shaking off a second-half interception to complete 26-of-35 throws that included a 7- yard connection with Jimmy Graham that put New Orleans (1-0) up 20-17 with 6:22 left in the third quarter. Darren Sproles hauled in six of Brees' passes for 88 yards, while Marques Colston had five catches for 68 yards and a touchdown to help make Payton a winner in his first game back from a year-long suspension for his involvement in the Saints' well-publicized bounty scandal. Ryan finished with 304 yards on 25-of-38 passing with two touchdowns along with the pivotal pick. Julio Jones had seven receptions totaling 76 yards and a touchdown for defending NFC South champion Atlanta (0-1), with Harry Douglas compiling 93 yards on four grabs in the loss.
Final Score: NY Jets 18, Tampa Bay 17
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith showed progression as the game went on, then changed the outcome when it seemed improbable. At the conclusion of a 10-yard scramble with seven seconds remaining, Smith drew a personal foul penalty that set Nick Folk up for a game-winning 48-yard field goal, lifting New York to a thrilling 18-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on season-opening Sunday. The Jets defense made a critical mistake when it left Vincent Jackson uncovered on the possession prior, with the receiver's 37-yard catch allowing Rian Lindell to kick a go-ahead 37-yard field goal with 34 seconds left. Behind by two points and time against him, Smith fired a 25-yard pass to Kellen Winslow and spiked the ball to stop the clock prior to his scamper that set New York (1-0) up for the winning score. Smith ended 24-of-38 for 256 yards through the air, tossing a touchdown and an interception. He also led the Jets rushing attack with 47 yards on six carries. Lavonte David committed the late hit on Smith after the quarterback was already out of bounds, the 13th penalty of the afternoon for Tampa Bay (0-1).
Final Score: Tennessee 16, Pittsburgh 9
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - The Tennessee Titans overcame a mistake on the opening kickoff to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-9, in the first game of the season for both teams. The Titans (1-0) scored 16 straight points after return man Darius Reynaud's mental mistake gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead just seconds into the game. Jake Locker completed 11-of-20 passes for 125 yards for Tennessee, which went 6-10 last season. Jackie Battle scored his first touchdown as a member of the Titans. Ben Roethlisberger connected on 21-of-33 passes for 191 yards, one touchdown and an interception for the Steelers (0-1), who came in with 10 straight victories in home openers, the longest active streak in the league. Pittsburgh, which was held to 32 yards rushing, lost Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey to a right knee injury in the first quarter. The Steelers also saw cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle), running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (knee) and linebacker Larry Foote (biceps) leave with injuries.
Final Score: San Francisco 34, Green Bay 28
San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Colin Kaepernick kicked off his first full season as San Francisco's starting signal-caller with a resounding win over the same team he torched in last year's NFC Divisional Playoffs. Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and three scores, while Frank Gore's go-ahead 1-yard touchdown late in the fourth helped the reigning NFC champion 49ers claim a 34-28 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the season- opener for both teams at Candlestick Park. Kaepernick completed 27-of-39 passes and became the first San Francisco quarterback to throw for 400- plus yards since Tim Rattay accomplished the feat on Nov. 10, 2004. Anquan Boldin, acquired from Baltimore for a sixth-round pick in the offseason, quickly asserted himself as Kaepernick's favorite target, hauling in 13 passes for 208 yards and a score. Vernon Davis added six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns for the 49ers (1-0), who dropped a heartbreaking 34-31 decision to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII back in February. Aaron Rodgers finished 21-of-37 passing for 333 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, while Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb each caught seven passes for 100-plus yards and a score. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy rushed 14 times for 41 yards and a touchdown for the Packers (0-1), who won the NFC North for a second straight season last year before being bounced in the playoffs by Kaepernick and the 49ers.
Final Score: St. Louis 27, Arizona 24
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Sam Bradford threw for 299 yards, Jared Cook had a monster debut and Greg Zuerlein's fourth field goal of the day lifted the St. Louis Rams over the Arizona Cardinals, 27-24, in a Week 1 matchup between division rivals. Cook caught both of Bradford's touchdown passes, amassing 141 yards on seven catches, with his last reception going for 25 yards and helping to set up Zuerlein's go-ahead 48-yard field goal. Bradford completed 27-of-38 throws and bounced back from a third quarter interception to lead the Rams (1-0) to scores on three of their last four series to cap a comeback victory. Larry Fitzgerald enjoyed the presence of a capable quarterback, as the All-Pro receiver hauled in a pair of Carson Palmer TD passes among his eight receptions, totaling 80 yards. Palmer, making his debut with the Cardinals (0-1), completed 26-of-40 throws for 327 yards, but had an interception and a crucial fumble to spoil Bruce Arians' first game at the coaching helm for Arizona.
Final Score: Dallas 36, NY Giants 31
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Many in Big D wondered whether the 73-year- old Monte Kiffin could still get his defenses to generate a plethora of turnovers. The ageless one won't be questioned again anytime soon. Especially after he helped end the curse at "Jerry's World." Brandon Carr's game-sealing 49-yard interception return for touchdown late in the fourth quarter lifted the Dallas Cowboys to a 36-31 triumph over the New York Giants on Sunday night. The Giants, who had been unbeaten in four prior trips to the $1.2 billion AT&T Stadium, tallied three of their six turnovers within the first 6:10 of the game. The Cowboys (1-0), coming off a pair of 8-8 campaigns and a third straight year missing the postseason, decided to make the change from Rob Ryan's intricate 3-4 scheme to Kiffin's 4-3 Tampa 2. Dallas' defense forced a franchise-low 16 giveaways under the leadership of Ryan last season. During Kiffin's tenure as the defensive coordinator of the powerhouse Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-2008, his defense averaged 19 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries and 39 sacks a year.
(Thursday, September 5th)
Final Score: Denver 49, Baltimore 27
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Peyton Manning put on a performance for the ages, and the Denver Broncos exacted their revenge for last year's heart- breaking loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Manning became the sixth player in NFL history to throw for seven touchdowns in a single game, as the Broncos spoiled the start of the reigning Super Bowl champion Ravens' title defense with a resounding 49-27 triumph Thursday in the season-opener for both teams at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Five of Manning's touchdown tosses came in the second half, as Denver turned a three- point halftime deficit into a comfortable 25-point cushion by scoring 28 straight points to start the second half. Manning finished 27-of-42 passing for 462 yards and joined Y.A. Tittle, Joe Kapp, George Blanda, Sid Luckman and Adrian Burk as the only players in NFL history to throw for seven scores in a game. Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas each hauled in two TDs for the reigning AFC West champion Broncos (1-0), who finished 13-3 last season and had the No. 1 seed in the AFC before being upended by the Ravens in the postseason. The defending champion Ravens have a much different look this season, with eight starters gone from last year's squad, including future Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis, safety Ed Reed and wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The departures were evident on the defensive side of the ball, as the Ravens (0-1) allowed a franchise-record 49 points in their first game since their 34-31 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Joe Flacco finished 34-of-62 passing for 362 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Ray Rice managed just 36 yards and a score on 12 carries for Baltimore, which went 10-6 in the regular season last year before running the table in the playoffs.