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.
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.
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 threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score to Anthony Miller with 1:54 remaining, as the Chicago Bears erased a 17-point deficit to stun the host Detroit Lions.
Trubisky finished with 242 passing yards. Miller had 76 yards on four catches in the season opener for both teams.
Matthew Stafford threw for 297 yards and a score but also had a crucial fourth-quarter interception for Detroit. Adrian Peterson, making his Lions debut, rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries and caught three passes for 21 yards. The Lions were missing top receiver Kenny Golladay, who was sidelined by a hamstring injury. Linebacker Jamie Collins was ejected during the second quarter for making contact with an official.
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.