EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Noah Igbinoghene returned a blocked field goal 58 yards for a touchdown on the opening series, DaRon Bland scored on a pick-6 later in the first quarter and the Dallas Cowboys embarrassed the New York Giants again, posting a season-opening 40-0 victory Sunday night.
Tony Pollard scored on two short touchdown runs for Dallas, which forced three turnovers and sacked Daniel Jones seven times in shutting down New York’s supposedly improved offense. The Cowboys beat the Giants for the fifth straight time and 12th in 13th meetings.
The shutout loss was the largest between the teams, topping the Cowboys’ 35-0 win in 1995, also in a season opener at the Meadowlands. It was also the Cowboys’ biggest season-opening shutout, topping their 38-0 win over the Baltimore Colts in 1978.
The Cowboys didn’t need much from quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense. They got two field goals from new kicker Brandon Aubrey and Pollard got Dallas’ first TD on offense on a 2-yard run midway through the second quarter to push the advantage to 26-0 at halftime.
Jones finished 15 of 28 for 104 yards with a quarterback rating of 32.4.
RAVENS 25, TEXANS 9
Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced Dobbins’ injury after the game and said he would miss the rest of the season, a significant blow to Baltimore’s offense.
Lamar Jackson turned the ball over twice, and Baltimore looked out of sync for much of its first game with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. But the Ravens kept Houston and rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud out of the end zone.
The Texans made a game of it for a half under new coach DeMeco Ryans, and Stroud directed a couple of solid drives, but Houston couldn’t move the ball consistently enough. Stroud threw for 242 yards.
Jackson threw for 169 yards, and rookie receiver Zay Flowers was the main source of excitement for Baltimore’s new-look offense. He caught nine passes for 78 yards on a day when the Ravens were without tight end Mark Andrews because of a quad injury. Odell Beckham Jr. caught two passes in his Baltimore debut.
DOLPHINS 36, CHARGERS 34
Hill caught a 4-yard pass in the right corner of the end zone with 1:45 remaining for the clinching touchdown as the Dolphins finished with 536 yards of offense.
Hill also had a 35-yard score on a go route late in the third quarter to put the Dolphins up 27-24.
Tagovailoa completed 28 of 45 for three touchdowns while passing for the fourth-most yards in an NFL opener. He also had a 1-yard TD to River Cracraft late in the second quarter.
The Chargers' Justin Herbert finished 23 for 33 for 228 yards and a touchdown. Austin Ekeler rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown and Joshua Kelley added 91 yards and a score as the Chargers lost an opener for the first time since 2018.
EAGLES 25, PATRIOTS 20
The Eagles capitalized on two early turnovers by the Patriots, spoiling a day when New England honored former quarterback Tom Brady at halftime.
Hurts was 22-of-33 for 170 yards and the TD but had a costly fumble in fourth quarter that gave the Patriots a chance. Jake Elliott kicked four field goals for Philadelphia, which didn’t reach the end zone after the first quarter.
New England’s Mac Jones recovered from a rough start to finish 35 of 54 for 316 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Kendrick Bourne had two TD receptions. Hunter Henry added the other scoring catch for an offense that outgained the NFC champion Eagles 382-251.
Trailing 25-14 late in the fourth quarter, New England got within 25-20 on Jones’ 11-yard TD pass to Bourne. The Patriots had one final chance but failed on fourth down deep in Eagles territory.
49ERS 30, STEELERS 7
Purdy, who led the 49ers to the NFC championship game as a rookie, completed 19 of 29 passes, including scoring strikes of 8 and 19 yards to Aiyuk.
Christian McCaffery ran for 151 yards and caught three passes for 17 more for the 49ers.
Nick Bosa, a handful of days removed from signing the richest contract ever awarded to a defensive player, had two tackles and a quarterback hit.
Second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett completed 31 of 46 for 232 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions as the optimism that followed his solid preseason faded quickly.
Pittsburgh either punted or turned the ball over in each of its first five possessions as the 49ers quickly built a 20-0 lead.
T.J. Watt had three sacks for the Steelers to reach 81 for his career, breaking James Harrison's franchise record.
BROWNS 24, BENGALS 3
Watson bolted for a 13-yard TD late in the first half, making the kind of dynamic play the Browns envisioned when they signed him to a $230 million contract in 2022. Watson missed 11 games last season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy but is in uniform from the start this season.
He added a 3-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to tight end Harrison Bryant, and Watson converted the 2-point try with a run up the middle.
Burrow had a rough opener, two days after signing a five-year, $275 million extension — giving him the highest average annual salary in league history. The Browns held Burrow to a career-worst 82 yards passing (14 of 31) as Cleveland’s rebuilt defensive line pressured him all day.
Myles Garrett sacked Burrow on fourth down with 10:27 left to help seal Cleveland’s stunningly easy win over the AFC North champions. The Browns forced the Bengals to punt 10 times in 14 possessions.
The Bengals pulled Burrow with 5:15 left.
BUCCANEERS 20, VIKINGS 17
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Baker Mayfield recovered from a rough start to throw two touchdown passes without a turnover in his debut for Tampa Bay, which forced three first-half turnovers by Minnesota.
Chase McLaughlin matched his career long with a 57-yard field goal for the lead with 5:10 left, and the Buccaneers forced a three-and-out on each of the Vikings' last two possessions.
Mayfield, the first overall pick in the 2018 draft who landed with his fourth team in three years to take over for the retired Tom Brady, completed 21 of 34 passes after a 3-for-11 start.
He hit Mike Evans for a score right before halftime and was at his best down the stretch. Chris Godwin made a stretched-out 11-yard catch on third-and-10 right after the 2-minute warning to clinch it.
Kirk Cousins went 33 for 44 for 344 yards and touchdowns to rookie Jordan Addison and running back Alexander Mattison, and Justin Jefferson had nine catches for 150 yards. But after going an NFL-record 11-0 in one-score games during the 2022 regular season, the Vikings ran out of that late-game mojo.
PACKERS 38, BEARS 20
Aaron Jones ran for a touchdown and caught one, helping the Packers pull away in the second half for their ninth straight win over the Bears. Green Bay was 25-5 against Chicago with Rodgers, including the playoffs.
Love completed 15 of 27 passes for 245 yards and posted a 123.2 rating in his second career start. Jones caught two passes for 86 yards, including a 51-yarder off a screen that led to a scoring run for him in the third quarter.
The Bears lost their 11th straight game overall, and their 10th in a row against NFC North opponents.
Second-year Chicago QB Justin Fields was 24 of 37 for 216 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. He also ran for 59 yards.
RAMS 30, SEAHAWKS 13
Stafford was brilliant picking apart Seattle’s secondary for the 58th 300-yard passing game of his career. He did it without Kupp, who will miss at least the first four games with a hamstring injury.
Rookie Puka Nacua had 10 catches for 119 yards and was targeted 15 times in the first game of his career. Tutu Atwell had a career-high 119 yards on six catches. And the Rams were at their best on third downs, where they converted 11 of 17 chances.
Los Angeles had 27 first downs, 426 total yards and 39:23 time of possession.
Seattle had just 12 yards of offense and only one first down in the second half.
Geno Smith’s second season as a starter got off to a rocky start as he completed 16 of 26 passes for only 112 yards. He had a 10-yard touchdown toss to DK Metcalf in the first half, but Seattle had only one offensive play of longer than 15 yards.
RAIDERS 17, BRONCOS 16
DENVER (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo threw two touchdown passes to fellow newcomer Jakobi Meyers in their debuts for Las Vegas, which spoiled Sean Payton's first game as Denver's coach.
The Raiders stretched their winning streak over their AFC West rivals to seven games despite the absence of star pass rusher Chandler Jones, who’s involved in a feud with the front office.
Garoppolo, who came to Las Vegas after six seasons in San Francisco, and Meyers, who joined the Raiders after four seasons in New England, connected 10 times for 81 yards, including touchdowns of 3 and 6 yards.
The second came with 6:34 remaining, erasing Denver’s 16-10 lead.
Russell Wilson looked much better under Payton than he did last year with Nathaniel Hackett at the helm, completing 27 of 34 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns without an interception.
Payton’s special teams were the problem for Denver. There was a costly hold that negated one return, a botched onside kick to open the game and two big misses from kicker Wil Lutz.
JAGUARS 31, COLTS 21
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tank Bigsby made up for a big mistake by scoring the go-ahead touchdown and Travis Etienne Jr. added a 26-yard scoring run to seal Jacksonville’s win over Indianapolis.
The AFC South champs snapped a five-game losing streak at Lucas Oil Stadium.
DeForest Buckner stripped the ball from Trevor Lawrence on a sack and then scooped up Bigsby’s subsequent fumble before sprinting 26 yards to give Indy a 21-17 lead late in the third quarter.
Three series later, Bigsby's 1-yard TD plunge gave Jacksonville a 24-21 lead with 5:14 to play.
Colts rookie Anthony Richardson was intercepted on the next series and three plays later, Etienne broke free to put away the victory for the Jaguars.
Richardson became the third-youngest quarterback to start an NFL season opener at age 21, going 24 of 37 for 223 yards, one TD and the interception. He also had 10 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown while being sacked four times. He left the game in the final minute after getting shaken up on a run near the goal line.
Lawrence was 24 of 32 for 241 yards and two scores and Calvin Ridley had eight receptions for 101 yards.
SAINTS 16, TITANS 15
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Derek Carr passed for 305 yards and a touchdown in a difficult but successful debut for New Orleans, which held on to beat Tennessee.
The Saints’ defense did not allow a touchdown, intercepted Ryan Tannehill three times, sacked him three times, and stopped Tennessee on 10 of 12 third down plays.
Chris Olave caught eight passes for 112 yards for New Orleans, while Rashid Shaheed had five receptions for 89 yards and the game’s lone touchdown. Michael Thomas, who missed the final 14 games last season, returned to catch five passes for 61 yards.
The teams traded field goals for most of the game before New Orleans finally found the end zone with 1:23 left in the third quarter. Carr pump-faked and lofted a pass that Shaheed hauled in for a 19-yard score to make it 16-9.
Tannehill finished 16 of 34 for 198 yards and New Orleans limited star running back Derrick Henry to 63 yards rushing. DeAndre Hopkins caught seven passes for 65 yards in his debut for the Titans.
FALCONS 24, PANTHERS 10
ATLANTA (AP) — Bijan Robinson outshined top overall pick Bryce Young in their NFL debuts, leading Atlanta past Carolina.
Young was intercepted twice by Jessie Bates in a rough start for the former Alabama star who is being counted on to lead a resurgence for the Panthers.
Robinson, selected at No. 8 by the Falcons in defiance of those who say running backs shouldn’t go that high, showed his versatility by taking a swing pass for an 11-yard touchdown.
He also broke off a 21-yard dash that set up Atlanta’s go-ahead TD: Tyler Allgeier’s 3-yard run in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
Allgeier added a clinching touchdown on another 3-yard run with just under five minutes remaining.
Desmond Ridder couldn’t get much of anything going in the deep passing game for the Falcons. He was sacked four times and finished 15 of 18 for just 116 yards.
It was an even tougher day for Young, who finished 20 of 38 for 146 yards.
COMMANDERS 20, CARDINALS 16
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Sam Howell threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to make up for two turnovers and Washington rallied to beat Arizona in its first game under new ownership.
In front of a sellout crowd and with several prominent alumni back to celebrate the start of a new era, the Commanders were sloppy with a pair of turnovers and several penalties along the offensive line that allowed Howell to be sacked six times.
Washington’s defense eventually took over and made game-changing plays. Montez Sweat strip-sacked Joshua Dobbs early in the fourth quarter to set up Howell’s go-ahead 6-yard TD run, and Abdullah Anderson recovered another fumble by Arizona with under five minutes left.
Howell had a jittery start in his new role as the Commanders’ starting quarterback, going 19 of 31 for 202 yards with a 7-yard TD pass to Brian Robinson Jr. and an interception. The second-year pro bounced back from the pick and a fumble late in the second quarter that handed the Cardinals a touchdown, completing four of seven passes after halftime.
Arizona , which is expected to be among the worst teams in the NFL this season, lost Jonathan Gannon’s debut as coach. Dobbs, acquired last month in a trade with Cleveland and starting after Gannon refused to name his No. 1 QB leading into the game, was 21 of 33 for 133 yards.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl
The Associated Press