LOS ANGELES – Jared Goff passed for a career-high 306 yards and a touchdown – an 18-yard scoring toss to rookie and former Eastern Washington star Cooper Kupp – in his first victory as an NFL starter, and the Rams routed the Colts 46-9 on Sunday in Sean McVay’s impressive debut as the youngest head coach (31) 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.
PACKERS 17, SEAHAWKS 9
GREEN BAY, Wis. – 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.
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 five minutes ended with Mason Crosby’s 40-yard field goal to make it a two-score game.
Green Bay’s defense had an even better debut.
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.
FALCONS 23, BEARS 17
CHICAGO – Matt Ryan threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper and led two fourth-quarter scoring drives as the NFC champions held on.
The butt of jokes following their epic Super Bowl collapse against New England, the Falcons survived as the Bears had a first down at the Atlanta 5 in the closing minute. Mike 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.
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.
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.
Coming off an MVP season, Ryan was 21 of 30 for 321 yards and a touchdown. Hooper had two catches for 128 yards.
JAGUARS 29, TEXANS 7
HOUSTON – 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.
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.
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.
J.J. Watt returned after missing 13 games last season after back surgery, but injured his finger in the first half and finished with just one tackle.
The Texans punted on their first four possessions, and the fifth one ended when Savage fumbled on a sack by Yannick Ngakoue and the Jaguars recovered the ball.
Fournette, the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, added his 1-yard touchdown after that.
Savage was sacked six times in the first half, playing behind a line without veteran left tackle Duane Brown, who is holding out.
Houston linebacker Brian Cushing, tight ends Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz and receiver Bruce Ellington all left the game with concussions. Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson injured his left knee in the first quarter and didn’t return.
STEELERS 21, BROWNS 18
CLEVELAND – Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to tight end Jesse James as the Steelers, with minimal help from Le’Veon Bell, opened the season by holding off the Browns.
Roethlisberger improved to 21-2 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 All-Pro 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.
The Browns have lost 13 straight openers. Cleveland’s defense played well despite not having top overall pick Myles Garrett, who injured his ankle earlier this week.
Bell, who skipped training camp in a contract dispute, ran tentatively and gained just 32 yards on 10 carries. He rejoined his teammates last week and signed his $12.1 million franchise tag, far less than he feels he deserves.
RAIDERS 26, TITANS 16
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Derek Carr threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns, and Carr won his third straight against Marcus Mariota and the 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. Tavecchio has spent time in training camp with the Raiders the past four seasons but had never kicked in a regular-season game.
Both Carr and Mariota broke their right leg hours apart on Christmas Eve for season-ending injuries. Mariota also looked healthy in running for a 10-yard TD and threw for 191 yards.
EAGLES 30, REDSKINS 17
LANDOVER, Md. – Carson Wentz threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns as the second-year quarterback guided the Eagles in a sloppy, mistake-filled season opener.
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 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.
The Eagles lost cornerback Ronald Darby to what looked like a serious right ankle injury early in the second quarter.
LIONS 35, CARDINALS 23
DETROIT – Matthew Stafford threw two of his four touchdown passes to rookie Kenny Golladay in the fourth quarter.
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.
Detroit set an NFL record last year by rallying to win eight games after trailing in the final quarter and opened this season with another comeback.
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.
Johnson, who led the league with 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns last season, was limited to 23 yards rushing on 11 carries and had six receptions for 68 yards.
PANTHERS 23, 49ERS 3
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – 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.
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. Shanahan and new GM John Lynch each got six-year contracts to oversee a massive rebuilding job .
RAVENS 20, BENGALS 0
CINCINNATI – Baltimore’s rebuilt defense picked off Andy Dalton four times and forced him to fumble, making it easy for Joe Flacco in his return from a back injury.
The Ravens 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 had breakdowns everywhere as they were shut out in a season opener for the first time since 1979.
BILLS 21, JETS 12
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdown passes and the new-look Bills won 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.
The Jets looked much like a team in the midst of a makeover after making numerous offseason moves to purge veteran talent.
COWBOYS 19, GIANTS 3
ARLINGTON, Texas – Jason Witten scored the only touchdown while breaking the franchise record for yards receiving and the Dallas defense shackled a New York offense missing Odell Beckham Jr.
Ezekiel Elliott had a rugged 104 yards rushing and another 36 receiving two days after a judge halted his six-game suspension over a domestic violence case, although last year’s NFL rushing leader had already been cleared to play the opener.
Dak Prescott was turnover-free while throwing for 268 yards as the Cowboys dominated the NFC East rival that swept them during a 13-3 season that topped the NFC. Dan Bailey kicked four field goals.
Eli Manning didn’t have Beckham in his 200th straight start after his dynamic top target sprained his ankle in a preseason game. The Giants were outgained in the first half 265-49 while falling behind 16-0.
Manning was 28 of 37 for 211 yards with an interception and connected with new receiver Brandon Marshall just once, late on a desperation drive with the outcome already settled.
Witten scored the Cowboys’ touchdown on a 12-yard catch and finished with seven catches for 59, breaking Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin’s club record of 11,904 yards. Witten, already the franchise leader in catches, now has 1,096 receptions for 11,947 yards.
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