GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo, starting in place of suspended Tom Brady, threw for 264 yards and a touchdown, leading the severely depleted New England Patriots to a 23-21 victory over the favored Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night.
Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro missed a 47-yard field goal with 41 seconds to play.
The miss came after Garoppolo, in his first NFL start, directed the Patriots from their own 19 to the Arizona 15 to set up Stephen Gostkowski’s 23-yard field goal with 3:44 to play.
Garappolo completed 24 of 33 passes with no interceptions. Arizona’s Carson Palmer threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns, both to Larry Fitzgerald.
Not only were the Patriots without Brady, suspended for his role in “deflategate,” but they also didn’t have tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive end Rob Ninkovich and two starters on the offensive line.
A remarkable 45-yard run by David Johnson set up a 2-yard, over-the-shoulder touchdown catch by Fitzgerald that gave the Cardinals their only lead of the night, 21-20, with 9:46 remaining.
Ex-Patriot Chandler Jones sacked Garoppolo on the first play of New England’s next possession, but the young quarterback still set up the winning kick by Gostkowski, who also booted a 53-yarder.
A holding penalty hampered the final Arizona drive but a pass to Jaron Brown put the Cardinals within field-goal range. The snap was low and Catanzaro booted the ball to the left of the uprights.
CHIEFS 33, CHARGERS 27: KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith dived for a touchdown on the first possession of overtime, completing Kansas City’s frantic rally from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit against San Diego.
Smith threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns, the second a back-shoulder fade to Jeremy Maclin with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter that trimmed the Chiefs’ deficit to 27-17.
Cairo Santos kicked a 33-yard field goal a few minutes later, and after forcing a three-and-out, Spencer Ware finished off a four-play drive with a touchdown plunge to knot it at 27.
BENGALS 23, JETS 22: EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Mike Nugent kicked a 47-yard field goal with 54 seconds left, lifting the Bengals over the Jets.
Andy Dalton threw for 366 yards and a touchdown to A.J. Green, who caught 12 passes for 180 yards to help the Bengals beat the Jets for the first time in 10 meetings in New Jersey.
Josh Shaw sealed the victory with an interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the closing seconds, helping Cincinnati improve to 7-7 in openers under coach Marvin Lewis. The Bengals won despite Dalton being sacked a career-high seven times, including 2 1/2 by Leonard Williams and two by Steve McLendon.
EAGLES 29, BROWNS 10: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz had 278 yards passing and two touchdowns in a stellar NFL debut and the Eagles beat Robert Griffin III and the Browns.
Promoted from No. 3 quarterback to starter just eight days ago, the No. 2 overall pick from North Dakota State looked like a franchise player. Wentz played mistake-free football despite missing the last three preseason games with injured ribs. He finished 22 of 37 with a 101.0 passer rating.
A new quarterback (Griffin) and new coach (Hue Jackson) couldn’t help the Browns (0-1) avoid losing their opener for the 12th straight season.
BUCCANEERS 31, FALCONS 24: ATLANTA (AP) — Jameis Winston bounced back from an early interception to throw four touchdown passes, and Tampa Bay claimed a winning record for the first since 2012 by opening the season with a victory over the Falcons.
Winston began his second year as a pro by going 23 of 33 for 281 yards, using just about every weapon at his disposal in the matchup between NFC South rivals. He hooked up with receiver Mike Evans, running back Charles Sims III and tight ends Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and Brandon Myers on scoring plays.
VIKINGS 25, TITANS 16: NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Eric Kendricks returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter and Danielle Hunter scored a 24-yard TD off a fumble return and the Vikings beat the Titans.
The Vikings wound up forcing three turnovers in the span of just under seven minutes and also had two sacks.
The defending NFC North champs needed the help from their defense in scoring 25 straight points after being shut out in the first half and Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s 2015 rushing leader, being smothered.
PACKERS 27, JAGUARS 23: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading the Packers to a victory against the Jaguars.
Rodgers looked every bit like, well, a two-time league MVP. He extended plays with his feet, escaped sacks and had precision accuracy all over the field.
He completed 20 of 34 passes for 199 yards, with TD passes to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. He was sacked once for no yards and didn’t turn it over.
He helped the Packers win their second opener in the last five years. This one came on a sweltering, late-summer day that left some players cramping and others completely exhausted.
RAVENS 13, BILLS 7: BALTIMORE (AP) — The Ravens used a touchdown pass by Joe Flacco, two field goals and a throwback defensive performance to beat the Bills.
Against former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, now Buffalo’s head coach, the Ravens limited the Bills to 160 yards and sacked former teammate Tyrod Taylor twice.
That’s how Baltimore played defense under Ryan from 1999-2008, and that’s how it won the 2012 Super Bowl.
Returning from a knee injury that ended his season last November, Flacco went 23 for 34 for 258 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown pass to newcomer Mike Wallace in the second quarter that put the Ravens ahead for good.
TEXNAS 23, BEARS 14: HOUSTON (AP) — Brock Osweiler threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns in his debut with Houston to lead the Texans and their revamped offense win over the Bears.
Osweiler, who signed to a $72 million contract from Denver in the offseason, was helped by an offense filled with playmakers.
He completed passes to eight different receivers, led by rookie first-round pick Will Fuller, who became the first player in franchise history to have 100 yards receiving in a debut with 107 and a touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins added 54 yards and a score and running back Lamar Miller had 106 yards rushing in his first game with the Texans.
SEAHAWKS 12, DOLPHINS 10: SEATTLE (AP) — Hobbled by an ankle injury, Russell Wilson pulled off another fourth-quarter comeback, throwing a 2-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin with 31 seconds left, giving the Seahawks a win over the Dolphins.
The expected contenders in the NFC looked flawed offensively and buckled defensively in the fourth quarter, giving up an 86-yard touchdown drive to Ryan Tannehill that gave the Dolphins a 10-6 lead with 4:08 remaining.
That’s when Wilson went to work, playing on a right ankle that twisted badly in the third quarter as he was sacked by Ndamukong Suh. Seattle converted fourth-and-1 early in the drive on a 7-yard run by Christine Michael, but the big play was Wilson finding Baldwin for 22 yards on a crossing route on fourth-and-4 near midfield.
Wilson hit Baldwin in the corner of the end zone to give Seattle the lead. The extra point was partially blocked by Miami’s Jason Jones, but it didn’t matter.
GIANTS 20, COWBOYS 19: ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Victor Cruz in his first game in nearly two years, and the Giants beat the Cowboys.
The Giants (1-0) won the debut of coach Ben McAdoo after 12 years and two Super Bowl titles under Tom Coughlin while spoiling the first game for Dallas’ Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Because of Tony Romo’s back injury, Prescott and Elliott were the first rookie quarterback-running back combo to start an opener for the Cowboys since Roger Staubach and Calvin Hill in 1969.
LIONS 39, COLTS 35: INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Matthew Stafford took advantage of one last chance Sunday and Matt Prater redeemed himself with a 43-yard field goal with 8 seconds to give the Lions a victory at Indianapolis.
Prater missed an extra point wide right with 4:04 left in the season opener, a miscue that nearly cost the Lions.
Detroit won for only the second time in Indy, and it came just 37 seconds after it looked like Andrew Luck had rallied the Colts for an improbable last-minute victory.