The NFL came back in a big way on opening day, with long plays highlighting games from coast to coast.
No one was more dynamic Sunday than Anquan Boldin, who made that transcontinental trip this year, leaving Super Bowl winner Baltimore as a free agent to join NFC champion San Francisco. Boldin was unstoppable in his debut as a 49ers receiver, making 13 catches for 208 yards and scoring once in a 34-28 victory over Green Bay.
Boldin was joined in stardom by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who threw for a career-best 412 yards and three touchdowns, and tight end Vernon Davis with six receptions for 98 yards and two TDs in an intense, often antagonistic match.
Lions 34, Vikings 24
At Detroit, Reggie Bush did exactly what the Lions signed him for: to break open a game.
Bush turned a short pass into a 77-yard touchdown in the third quarter and finished with 191 yards of offense.
Saints 23, Falcons 17
Sean Payton’s coaching return after a one-year league suspension for the Saints’ bounties was a tight affair, but a successful one for host New Orleans.
Drew Brees passed for 357 yards and two scores.
Rams 27, Cardinals 24
At St. Louis, Greg Zuerlein kicked his fourth field goal, a 48-yarder with 40 seconds left.
Jared Cook had two touchdown catches in his Rams debut.
Cowboys 36, Giants 31
Brandon Carr returned an interception 49 yards for a clinching touchdown, and the Cowboys beat Eli Manning and the Giants for the first time at their fancy $1.2 billion stadium with six takeaways.
Manning threw three touchdown passes to Victor Cruz and had New York in position for a comeback victory despite the flurry of mistakes.
Patriots 23, Bills 21
Stephen Gostkowski’s 35-yard field goal with 5 seconds left gave visiting New England its 10th straight opening win. The Patriots needed to rally, and Tom Brady turned in his 36th career victory in which the Patriots were tied or trailed in the fourth quarter. Brady finished 29 of 52 for 288 yards and two touchdowns.
Bears 24, Bengals 21
At Chicago, Jay Cutler passed to Brandon Marshall for a 19-yard touchdown to make Marc Trestman’s coaching debut with the Bears a success.
Jets 18, Buccaneers 17
Bucs linebacker Lavonte David handed this one to the Jets in the final seconds.
With the host Jets trailing 17-15 and time running out, rookie quarterback 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.
Titans 16, Steelers 9
At Pittsburgh, the Titans began the game inauspiciously, then dominated, sacking Ben Roethlisberger five times.
On the first play, kick returner Darius Reynaud took a knee in the end zone on the opening kickoff after touching the ball in the field of play. Two points for Pittsburgh.
But 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.
Colts 21, Raiders 17
At Indianapolis, Andrew Luck’s legs were decisive. The QB ran 19 yards for the winning touchdown. He also was 18 of 23 for 178 yards with two touchdown passes.
Oakland started Terrelle Pryor at quarterback and he made some plays in going 19 of 29 for 217 yards and one TD.
Chiefs 28, Jaguars 2
At Jacksonville, Andy Reid won his first game as Chiefs coach.
Alex Smith threw two early touchdown passes, Jamaal Charles ran for 77 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with a quadriceps injury, and Jacksonville advanced past its 36-yard line once.
Dolphins 23, Browns 10
At Cleveland, Ryan Tannehill passed for 272 yards and a touchdown, and the Browns fell to 1-14 in Week 1 since 1999. Tannehill, who was given more offensive weapons for his second NFL season, threw a 34-yard TD pass to Brian Hartline in the third quarter and drove the Dolphins to a clinching TD in the fourth.