Hobbled by an ankle injury, Russell Wilson pulled off another fourth-quarter comeback, throwing a two-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin with 31 seconds left, giving the Seahawks a 12-10 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in Seattle.
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 one early in the drive on a seven-yard run by Christine Michael, but the big play was Wilson finding Baldwin for 22 yards on a crossing route on fourth and four 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
Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Victor Cruz in his first game in nearly two years, to help New York win in Arlington, Texas.
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.
The game ended with Dallas in position for a roughly 57-yard field goal, but Terrance Williams didn’t get out of bounds after a catch and the clock ran out. Dan Bailey had four field goals, including two from more than 50 yards.
Lions 39, Colts 35
Matthew Stafford took advantage of one last chance and Matt Prater redeemed himself with a 43-yard field goal with eight seconds left to give Detroit the win 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.
It just wasn’t enough to avoid Indy’s third straight opening day loss in a wild finish.
After Prater’s miss, Luck drove the Colts 75 yards and hooked up with Jack Doyle on a six-yard TD pass with 37 seconds left. Adam Vinatieri’s extra point gave the Colts a 35-34 lead.
This time, Stafford connected with receivers who took advantage of their speed against Indy’s thin secondary. He quickly got the Lions into position for Prater to atone for the earlier miss.
Stafford was 31 of 39 for 340 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Eagles 29, Browns 10
Carson Wentz had 278 yards passing and two touchdowns in his NFL debut and the Philadelphia Eagles beat Robert Griffin III and Cleveland.
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 completed 22 of 37 passes 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 consecutive season.
Wentz threw a 19-yard TD pass to Jordan Matthews on the opening drive and tossed a perfect 35-yard TD pass down the right side to Nelson Agholor for a 22-10 lead in the third quarter.
Wentz was slated to be inactive until the Eagles (1-0) traded Sam Bradford to Minnesota on Sept. 3. He leapfrogged backup Chase Daniel on the depth chart, a bold move by rookie coach Doug Pederson that paid off in Week 1.
The Browns finally got going in the second quarter. Terrelle Pryor made a leaping catch for a 44-yard gain to Philadelphia’s 9. After a pass interference call against Malcolm Jenkins negated a stop on third down, Isaiah Crowell ran in from the 2 to cut it to 10-7.
Texans 23, Bears 14
Brock Osweiler threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns in his debut to lead the Texans and their revamped offense to the win in Houston.
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.
Osweiler’s day started with a hiccup when he threw an interception on the first drive, but soon got going and looked comfortable after that.
Houston trailed by one point entering the fourth quarter before Osweiler found Fuller on a short pass and he scampered 18 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-14. The Texans added a 38-yard field goal later in the quarter to make it 23-14.
Chicago’s Jay Cutler threw for 216 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but was also sacked five times and hurried several others on a day when linebackers Whitney Mercilus and 2014 top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney led the pass rush.
Packers 27, Jaguars 23
Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading the Green Bay to the win in Jacksonville, Fla.
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.
Bengals 23, Jets 22
Mike Nugent kicked a 47-yard field goal with 54 seconds left, lifting to the win in East Rutherford, N.J.
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.
Dalton finished 23 of 30 with the TD and an interception and Jeremy Hill ran for a touchdown. The Bengals took the lead in the third quarter when Hill bulldozed his way up the middle and for a 12-yard TD run. The drive was aided by Brandon LaFell’s 49-yard catch over Marcus Williams on third and 18.
Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24
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 the win in Atlanta.
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.
The Falcons grabbed a 10-3 lead late in the first quarter after Winston’s pass for Vincent Jackson was picked off by Desmond Trufant, who returned it 13 yards to the Tampa Bay 9. There was a mix-up between the quarterback and receiver, as Jackson broke outside while Winston’s threw to the inside.
But Winston shook off that miscue, leading the Buccaneers on a nine-play, 75-drive that culminated with a four-yard TD pass to Myers.
Ravens 13, Bills 7
Baltimore used a touchdown pass by Joe Flacco, two field goals and a throwback defensive performance to beat visiting Buffalo.
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.
That, plus field goals of 50 and 37 yards by Justin Tucker, was enough for Baltimore’s first season-opening victory since 2012.
Taylor used his quickness to avoid a ferocious pass rush, but he did not have much success passing downfield. He was 15 of 22 for only 111 yards and ran five times for 11 yards.
Vikings 25, Titans 16
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 to lead the Vikings to the victory in Nashville, Tenn.
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.
Minnesota Coach Mike Zimmer did his best to hide his starter at quarterback after the Vikings lost Teddy Bridgewater to a major knee injury Aug. 30, and after they traded their 2017 first-round draft pick to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford.
The mystery finally ended when Shaun Hill, 36, took the field for the Vikings’ first series for his first start since 2014 when he was with the St. Louis Rams.
Tennessee focused on stopping Peterson, who had 1,485 yards rushing last season, and the Titans did just that. Peterson had 31 yards on 19 carries.