Tom Brady, the man who helped the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl titles may be gone, but the most successful NFL team of the 21st-century started the season in familiar fashion.
Brady’s replacement at quarterback, Cam Newton, rushed for two touchdowns as the Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 21-11 in their first game since the 43-year-old left New England for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Newton ended the day with 75 rushing yards and 155 through the air, with no passing touchdowns or interceptions.
Miami struggled for most of the game offensively and lost top receiver DeVante Parker, who left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 20 of 30 for 191 yards and three interceptions.
Meanwhile, Brady’s debut for Tampa Bay ended up with a loss to his fellow 40-something quarterback, Drew Brees.
Brees’s New Orleans Saints came out 34-23 victors. Brady scored a rushing touchdown in the first-quarter but threw two touchdowns as he struggled with his arm early on. He improved slightly and threw a couple of TDs, but he often looked out of synch with his new colleagues.
Cleveland Browns 6-38 Baltimore Ravens
Looking every bit like the reigning NFL MVP, Lamar Jackson threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns to help the Baltimore Ravens beat the Browns 38-6, ruining Kevin Stefanski’s debut as Cleveland’s head coach.
Although play was sloppy following a preseason without any games, two constants prevailed: Jackson was the focal point of a high-powered offense and the Browns lost another opener.
Facing a Cleveland secondary depleted by injuries, Jackson completed 20 of 25 passes and racked up a team-high 45 yards on the ground. A year ago, the multi-faceted star set an NFL single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback and threw 36 TD passes.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw an interception on the opening series, the first of three Browns turnovers. Those miscues, two missed kicks by Austin Seibert and an unsuccessful fake punt call by Stefanski contributed to the rout.
Green Bay Packers 43–34 Minnesota Vikings
Aaron Rodgers threw two of his four touchdown passes to Davante Adams and the Green Bay Packers opened with a 43-34 win against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis.
Rodgers completed 32 of 44 passes for 364 yards and Adams tied a franchise record with a career-high 14 receptions for 156 yards. Marquez Valdes-Scantling added 96 yards and a touchdown on four catches for the Packers, who gained 522 total yards.
Minnesota star Dalvin Cook, who signed a five-year, $63m contract this weekend, ran 12 times for just 50 yards but recorded two touchdowns and two two-point conversions. Kirk Cousins was 19-of-25 passing for 259 yards with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Adam Thielen (six receptions, 110 yards) and an interception.
Seattle Seahawks 38-25 Atlanta Falcons
Russell Wilson was cooking right from the start, throwing four touchdown passes to lead the Seattle Seahawks to a 38-25 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Seattle heeded the pleas of its fans to “Let Russ Cook” essentially a call to open up the offense in the first half rather than relying on Wilson to keep leading dramatic comebacks.
He completed 31 of 35 passes for 322 yards, throwing a pair of TD passes in the first quarter as Seattle built a 14-12 halftime lead and adding two more in the third quarter to put the Falcons away.
Los Angeles Chargers 16-13 Cincinatti Bengals
Heisman winner Joe Burrow ran 23 yards untouched for a touchdown, the best moment of his NFL debut but the Los Angeles Chargers roughed him up and rallied for a 16-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Playing in empty Paul Brown Stadium, Burrow got his first snaps in the NFL and learned the hard way what it’s like to face a tough front line.
The Bengals also had an in-character finish. AJ Green was called for offensive interference in the end zone in the closing seconds, and Randy Bullock missed a 31-yard field goal try with two seconds left.
A line anchored by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III held the quarterback from national champion LSU to 23 of 36 passing for 192 yards with three sacks and a costly interception. Twice, Burrow overthrew open receivers for what would have been touchdowns.
He moved the Bengals to the LA 23-yard line in the closing minutes and made a rookie mistake, forcing a shovel pass that Ingram picked off. Then, he moved them into range again, but Bullock missed.
Arizona Cardinals 24–20 San Francisco 49ers
DeAndre Hopkins had a career-high 14 catches for 151 yards in his Arizona debut and set up Kenyan Drake’s one-yard TD run with 5:03 to play that led the Cardinals over the San Francisco 49ers.
Kyler Murray threw for 230 yards and a touchdown and ran for 90 yards and another score to help the Cardinals overcome a pair of fourth-quarter deficits to beat the defending NFC champion 49ers.
Jerick McKinnon caught a five-yard TD pass from Jimmy Garoppolo in his first game in more than two years to give San Francisco a 20-17 lead with 8:38 to play before Murray led a late comeback. His 33-yard pass to Hopkins got the ball down to the 1 and then Drake ran it in on the next play to give Arizona the lead.
Philadelphia Eagles 17-27 Washington
Peyton Barber rushed for two touchdowns and the Washington Football Team registered eight sacks in a 27-17 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.
Washington scored 27 unanswered points and gave head coach Ron Rivera a victory in his debut. It was the largest deficit overcome against Philadelphia in the series history.
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins completed 17 of 31 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown as Washington won a home opener for the first time since 2014.
The Eagles entered the game without injured running back Miles Sanders and right tackle Lane Johnson. Despite those absences, the team bolted to a 17-0 lead thanks to a pair of touchdown passes by quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz completed 24 of 42 passes for 270 yards, but he also threw a pair of costly interceptions.
Chicago Bears 27-23 Detroit Lions
Mitchell Trubisky perfectly lofted a 27-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Anthony Miller with 1:54 remaining and the Chicago Bears held on to beat the Detroit Lions
Detroit drove to the Chicago 16 with a chance to win, and rookie running back D’Andre Swift dropped a pass in the end zone. Matthew Stafford threw another incomplete pass as time expired to complete the collapse.
Trubisky threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to help Chicago come back from a 17-point deficit. It looked familiar to Lions fans: Detroit opened last season by blowing an 18-point lead at Arizona and settling for a tie. That began a trend that saw the team fail to stay ahead during a season that ended with just wins.
Trubisky, who held off Nick Foles to keep his job, shook off a shaky start to complete 20 of 36 attempts for 242 yards with three touchdowns, including short passes for scores to Jimmy Graham and Javon Wims.
Stafford was 24 of 42 for 297 yards with a TD pass to TJ Hockenson in the third quarter and an interception that gave Chicago a great chance to take their only lead of the game.
New York Jets 17-27 Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen led three consecutive first-half touchdown drives, and the Buffalo Bills overcame their own sloppiness and injuries to two starting linebackers in a 27-17 season-opening win over the New York Jets.
John Brown had six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown, and Stefon Diggs finished with eight catches for a team-leading 86 yards in his Bills debut after being acquired in a trade with Minnesota in March.
Allen finished 33 of 46 for 312 yards in becoming Buffalo’s first player to top 300 yards since Tyrod Taylor had 329 in a 34-31 overtime loss to Miami in December 2016.
The Jets managed one first down on their first five possessions, with the fifth ending when Darnold scrambled to his left, turned and threw across his body back into the middle of the field and was intercepted.
Las Vegas Raiders 34–30 Carolina Panthers
Josh Jacobs ran for 93 yards and three touchdowns, Derek Carr threw for 239 yards and a score and the Las Vegas Raiders hung on to beat the Carolina Panthers 34-30 to spoil Matt Rhule’s coaching debut.
Jacobs’ six-yard run around the right end with 4:14 left put the Raiders ahead for good after they’d surrendered a 12-point fourth quarter lead.
Carolina had a chance to take the lead, but the Panthers handed off to fullback Alex Armah instead of All-Pro Christian McCaffrey on fourth-and-inches at midfield, He was stopped at the line, turning the ball over on downs with 1:11 left. McCaffrey racked up 134 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns for Carolina.
Indianapolis Colts 20-27 Jacksonville Jaguars
Gardner Minshew threw three touchdown passes, including a 22-yarder to Keelan Cole in the fourth quarter, and Jacksonville stunned Indianapolis and Philip Rivers 27-20 in their season opener.
The Jaguars entered Week 1 as the NFL’s biggest home underdogs, with talk of tanking being the most prevalent preseason topic surrounding the revamped team. The tempered expectations may have contributed to the team only being able to distribute about 14,000 tickets for the league’s lone game played with fans in the stands Sunday.
Minshew gave the sparse crowd plenty to celebrate. The second-year pro completed 19 of 20 passes for 173 yards and no turnovers. He connected with DJ Chark, rookie Laviska Shenault and Cole for scores and looked sharp all day.