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RECAPS OF SUNDAY’S OTHER SEASON OPENERS

Monday, September 10, 2018

Buccaneers 48, Saints 40

NEW ORLEANS

Ryan Fitzpatrick highlighted a 417-yard, four-touchdown performance with two scoring strikes of more than 50 yards. Starting for the suspended Jameis Winston, Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 28 passes without an interception and also ran for a short touchdown, bowling over free safety Marcus Williams on his way into the end zone. Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year, had arguably the worst performance of his short career trying to cover receiver Mike Evans, who caught seven passes for 147 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown that put the Bucs up 41-24 late in the third quarter.

DeSean Jackson caught scoring passes of 58 and 36 yards to highlight his five-catch, 146-yard day before leaving with a concussion.

Bengals 34, Colts 23

INDIANAPOLIS

Andy Dalton rallied the Bengals with three scores in the final 19 minutes and Clayton Fejedelem scored on an 83-yard fumble return with 24 seconds to go. Cincinnati snapped an eight-game losing streak in Indy. The loss spoiled the Colts’ season opener — and the return of Andrew Luck, who made his first start in more than 20 months. It looked as if Luck was up to his old tricks after staking the Colts to a 23-10 lead midway through the third quarter, and again late when he led the Colts 50 yards to the Bengals 25-yard line in the final minute. But a completed pass on third down to Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle saw Fejedelem knock the ball out, scoop it up and sprint down the sideline, avoiding Luck on his way to the end zone for the sealing score.

Vikings 24, 49ers 16

MINNEAPOLIS

Kirk Cousins passed for two touchdowns in his much-anticipated Minnesota debut, and the Vikings forced four turnovers to stick 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with his first loss in eight games as an NFL starter. Cousins connected with Stefon Diggs in the second quarter and Kyle Rudolph in the third quarter for scores, and the defense finished the job with three sacks and three second-half interceptions of Garoppolo. Mike Hughes turned one pick into a 28-yard touchdown return, the first by a rookie in a Vikings season opener.

Ravens 47, Bills 3

BALTIMORE

The Baltimore Ravens harassed and embarrassed Buffalo quarterback Nathan Peterman on a rainy afternoon, while Joe Flacco threw three touchdown passes, one to each of the new receivers. Flacco went 25 for 34 for 236 yards before being replaced in the third quarter by rookie Lamar Jackson, who did little more than hand off after entering with a 40-0 lead. Making its debut under defensive coordinator Don Martindale, the Ravens held Buffalo to 33 yards and no first downs in going up 26-0 at the half.

Patriots 27, Texans 20

FOXBOROUGH, MASS.

Tom Brady threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Rob Gronkowski for 123 yards and a score. Brady and Gronkowski, who both floated the possibility of retiring over the offseason, connected seven times, including a 21-yard touchdown three plays after Deshaun Watson fumbled a handoff at the Texans 19 on Houston’s first offensive play. Phillip Dorsett and James White also caught TD passes from Brady, the 41-year-old reigning NFL MVP. Watson, who missed the final nine games last season with a torn right ACL, completed 17 of 35 passes for 176 yards, one score and one interception. He struggled to move the team in the first 40 minutes, managing just a pair of field-goal drives before Alfred Blue ran it in from 1 yard to make it 24-13 in the last two minutes of the third period.

Jaguars 20, Giants 15

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.

Linebacker Myles Jack scored on a 32-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter and the Jaguars spoiled the Giants debuts of coach Pat Shurmur and second-overall draft pick Saquon Barkley, and the return of Odell Beckham Jr. Blake Bortles threw a short touchdown pass and led two other first-half field goal drives. The Jaguars dominated, with the exception a Barkley-induced hiccup, in opening a season by living up to the Super Bowl hype. Held in check much of the game, Barkley brought the sellout crowd to its feet shortly after the Jack touchdown with a spectacular 68-yard run aided by a great block by receiver Sterling Shepard. It got New York within 20-15 with 10:39 to play. New York went for the 2-point conversion and Barkley (18-rushes for 106 yards) was stopped.

Chief 38, Chargers 28

CARSON, CALIF.

Tyreek Hill scored three touchdowns, Patrick Mahomes passed for his first four NFL scores and Kansas City opened the season with a victory. Hill had a 91-yard punt return for a score and a 58-yard TD reception during the first quarter before adding a 1-yard reception for a score in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Hill also had 169 yards on seven receptions, which is the second-most yards by a Chiefs receiver in an opener, according to Pro Football Reference. Carlos Carson had 173 yards receiving against New Orleans in 1985.

Broncos 27, Seahawks 24

DENVER

Von Miller sacked Russell Wilson three times, forced two fumbles and recovered one in helping Case Keenum win his Denver debut. It was the Broncos’ 18th win in their past 19 home openers, and few were more exciting or competitive. Keenum threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns, but was also intercepted three times. Wilson threw for 298 yards and three TDs, but was picked off twice and sacked six times.

Dolphins 27, Titans 20

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA.

Jakeem Grant scored on a tiebreaking 102-yard kickoff return with 14 minutes to go, and Miami overcame two weather delays to win the longest game since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Delays for lightning lasted a total of 3 hours, 59 minutes, and the game took 7 hours, 10 minutes to play. The previous longest game since 1970 was a Bears overtime victory against the Ravens in 2013 that took 5 hours, 16 minutes. Grant’s touchdown triggered a late flurry of big plays in an opener that was lackluster for the first six hours. After his score, Ryan Tannehill hit Kenny Stills deep for a 75-yard touchdown. Darius Jennings returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a Titans score, and they were driving when Miami’s Reshad Jones helped to clinch the win with a 54-yard return after he intercepted Blaine Gabbert.

Redskins 24, Cardinals 6

GLENDALE, ARIZ.

Alex Smith carved up the Arizona defense for 255 yards and two touchdowns, Adrian Peterson rushed for 96 yards and a score and Washington spoiled the coaching debut of Steve Wilks. Smith and Peterson were playing their first game as Redskins and the two veterans made an impact from the start. Smith, acquired from Kansas City in the offseason to replace Kirk Cousins, completed 21 of 30 passes without an interception and had TD throws of 13 yards to Chris Thompson and 4 yards to Jordan Reed.

Panthers 16, Cowboys 8

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Cam Newton ran for 58 yards and a touchdown, and Carolina’s defense turned in a dominant performance to beat Dallas.

Luke Kuechly had 13 tackles, Kawann Short sacked Dak Prescott twice and Mario Addison had a huge strip-sack of the Cowboys quarterback with 1:23 left to seal the victory. Carolina’s defense had six sacks in all and limited the Cowboys to 232 yards.

Packers 24, Bears 23

GREEN BAY, WIS.

Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes in the second half after returning from a knee injury, and the Packers overcame a 20-point deficit for a thrilling win over the Chicago Bears. Rodgers, who was carted off in the first half, connected with receiver Randall Cobb for a catch-and-run through the secondary for a 75-yard touchdown and the go-ahead score with 2:13 left in the game. Nick Perry sacked the Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky on fourth-and-10 with 58 seconds to complete the comeback. A Chicago defense featuring newly acquired star linebacker Khalil Mack dominated until the third quarter. Mack had a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown against backup quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second quarter.

Associated Press