|49ers win thriller, Saints welcome back Sean Payton as NFL opens|
|Monday, September 09, 2013 12:10 AM|
SAN FRANCISCO — Frank Gore scored a go-ahead, 1-yard touchdown with 5:47 remaining, Colin Kaepernick threw for a career-high 412 yards and three touchdowns, with 13 completions to Anquan Boldin, and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers 34-28 on Sunday.
Boldin had 208 yards receiving in a spectacular San Francisco debut and Vernon Davis caught a pair of touchdown passes from Kaepernick, who marched his team 80 yards on five plays to take the lead late. The 49ers answered after Packers rookie Eddie Lacy put Green Bay ahead on a 2-yard run with 8:26 left.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns but the Packers departed from Candlestick Park with another defeat eight months after losing 45-31 in the NFC divisional playoffs.
SAINTS 23, FALCONS 17
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees passed for 357 yards and two scores and the Saints held on for the win in coach Sean Payton’s return from his bounty ban.
Roman Harper secured the win when he intercepted a tipped fourth-down pass in the end zone with under a minute left.
Brees connected with Marques Colston for a 25-yard touchdown pass during which the receiver also set a franchise mark for catches with 533. Brees also hit tight end Jimmy Graham for a 7-yard score in the third quarter.
Matt Ryan passed for 304 yards and touchdown passes to Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones. He also drove Atlanta to the Saints 3 in the final minute before falling just short.
CHIEFS 28, JAGUARS 2
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Alex Smith threw two early touchdown passes, Kansas City’s defense dominated all day and the Chiefs began the Andy Reid era with a victory at Jacksonville.
Jamaal Charles ran for 77 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with a quadriceps injury but that was about the only negative for the Chiefs.
Jacksonville advanced past its own 36-yard line just once, a stunning display of offensive futility for the rebuilding franchise. The Jaguars finished with 178 yards but for most of the game were challenging the team low of 117 yards set last year against Houston.
It wasn’t even close to the start the new coach Gus Bradley wanted but it was a clear indication of how far the team has to go.
PATRIOTS 23, BILLS 21
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Stephen Gostkowski hit a 35-yard field goal with 5 seconds left to send New England to the road win.
Tom Brady set up the decisive score by leading a 49-yard, 12-play drive during which he twice completed passes to convert third downs. It was Brady’s 36th career victory in which the Patriots were tied or trailed in the fourth quarter.
Brady finished 29-of-52 for 288 yards passing and two touchdowns in helping the Patriots win their season opener for the 10th straight season.
The new-look Bills nearly pulled off a stunning upset in the first game under coach Doug Marrone and rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, who completed 18-of-27 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
COLTS 21, RAIDERS 17
INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck ran 19 yards for the winning touchdown, giving Indianapolis its first opening-day win since 2009.
Luck was 18-of-23 for 178 yards with two touchdown passes but earned his eighth career fourth-quarter comeback by scrambling for a score with 5:20 to go.
Oakland started Terrelle Pryor at quarterback. He was 19-of-29 for 217 yards and one TD and broke the Raiders’ rushing record for a quarterback with 13 carries for 112 yards.
But he also threw two interceptions in the red zone, the second coming with 25 seconds left in the game.
LIONS 34, VIKINGS 24
DETROIT — Reggie Bush turned a short pass into a 77-yard touchdown in the third quarter and finished with 191 yards of offense to help Detroit pull away from Minnesota.
Joique Bell ran for two TDs, including a go-ahead score that gave the Lions their first lead early in the third quarter.
Matthew Stafford was 28-of-43 for 357 yards with two TDs. His last score was a 1-yard lob to rookie tight end Joseph Fauria with 6:47 left that sealed the win.
Adrian Peterson ran for a 78-yard TD on his first carry and scored on a 4-yard run to give Minnesota a 14-6 lead in the second. He ended up with 93 yards rushing.
RAMS 27, CARDINALS 24
ST. LOUIS — Greg Zuerlein kicked a 48-yard field goal with 40 seconds left to lift St. Louis to the comeback victory.
It was Zuerlein’s fourth field goal of the game for the Rams, who trailed 24-13 after three quarters.
Larry Fitzgerald caught two touchdown passes from new quarterback Carson Palmer and Arizona’s defense had a TD.
Jared Cook had two touchdown catches in his Rams debut. The tight end fumbled a potential third TD, a 55-yarder that would have opened the scoring, when rookie Tyrann Mathieu punched the ball free at the 8 and the play resulted in a touchback.
JETS 18, BUCCANEERS 17
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Nick Folk kicked a 48-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining after Lavonte David’s personal foul penalty kept New York’s drive alive and the Jets pulled out an improbable opening victory.
With the Jets trailing 17-15 and time running out, rookie Geno Smith scrambled for 10 yards — and was shoved while he was out of bounds by David.
The 15-yard penalty gave the Jets the ball at the Buccaneers 30 and set up Folk’s winning field goal on the next play.
Things appeared dim for the Jets just moments earlier when Rian Lindell kicked a 37-yard field goal with 34 seconds left.
Smith, making his first NFL start with Mark Sanchez out with a shoulder injury, made some mistakes — a fumble that led to a score and an interception — but was mostly solid while going 24-of-38 for 256 yards with a touchdown.
TITANS 16, STEELERS 9
PITTSBURGH — Tennessee’s revamped defense sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times and the Titans shut down the Steelers.
Chris Johnson ran for 70 clock-chewing yards, Jackie Battle bulled his way to a 3-yard touchdown in the second quarter and Rob Bironas kicked three field goals for the Titans. Tennessee’s new-look defense did the rest.
Pittsburgh managed just 195 total yards and lost a series of players to injury, including Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey left in the first quarter with a right knee injury and likely will miss an extended amount of time.
The Titans gave up more points than any team in the NFL last season and brought in Gregg Williams as an assistant. His impact was immediate. Roethlisberger completed 21-of-33 passes for 191 yards and a late touchdown but never got comfortable when the game was in doubt.
SEAHAWKS 12, PANTHERS 7
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Russell Wilson threw for 320 yards for Seattle, including a 43-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse in the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks managed just two field goals before Kearse beat cornerback Josh Thomas down the right sideline for the go-ahead score with 10:13 left.
The Panthers held Marshawn Lynch to 43 yards rushing but Wilson picked up the slack by completing 25-of-33 passes.
The Panthers threatened to take the lead late but safety Earl Thomas forced DeAngelo Williams to fumble at the Seattle 8. Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel recovered with 5:25 left. The Seahawks ran out the clock from there.
Carolina’s Cam Newton was held to 125 yards passing and one touchdown, a 3-yard strike to Steve Smith in the first half.