GLENDALE, Ariz. Even without their stars and other starters as well, the New England Patriots proved they’re no pushovers when playing short-handed. Just ask the Arizona Cardinals, who fell 23-21 Sunday night in the season opener for both teams at University of Phoenix Stadium.Playing without suspended quarterback Tom Brady, All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, suspended defensive end Rob Ninkovich and two starting offensive linemen, the Patriots rode the arm of Jimmy Garoppolo and the leg of kicker Stephen Gostkowski to deal Arizona its first home loss in September since 2009.The Cardinals rallied from a 10-0 first-quarter deficit and eventually took the lead with 9:46 left to play when Carson Palmer threw a 20-yard fade pass to Larry Fitzgerald in the corner of the left end zone.But Garoppolo, charged with replacing Brady during the future Hall of Famer’s four-game suspension for his alleged role in the Deflategate controversy, brought his team back and proved the Las Vegas odds makers, who had listed New England as 9-point underdogs, to be dead wrong.The Cardinals had a chance to win it, driving to the Patriots’ 29-yard line in the final minute of play. But Chandler Catanzaro was wide left on a 47-yard field-goal attempt.Raiders 35, Saints 34NEW ORLEANS Derek Carr threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts and a two-point conversion pass to Michael Crabtree with 47 seconds left as Oakland defeated New Orleans in the season opener.The Saints had a chance to win on the final play, but Wil Lutz’s 61-yard field-goal attempt was wide left.Carr led the Raiders to 22 fourth-quarter points, upstaging Drew Brees’ 14th 400-yard passing game, which tied Peyton Manning for the NFLrecord. Carr completed 24 of 38 passes for 319 yards and a touchdown and Brees completed 28 of 42 for 423 and four touchdowns.Chiefs 33, Chargers 27 (OT)KANSAS CITY, Mo Quarterback Alex Smith scored on 2-yard run five minutes into overtime to give Kansas City a remarkable come-from-behind victory over San Diego.The Chiefs trailed 21-3 at halftime, but scored three touchdowns and a field goal in the second half. The Chiefs won the overtime coin toss and drove 70 yards on 10 plays before Smith ran right, dropped his head and blasted into the end zone.A fourth-quarter decision by Chargers coach Mike McCoy helped spark the Kansas City comeback. With 11 minutes, 25 seconds to play, the Chargers had the ball at the Chiefs 36-yard line. They faced a fourth-and-2 while holding a 27-10 lead. Deciding against a punt that would have pinned the Chiefs deep in their own territory, McCoy tried a 54-yard field goal. Josh Lambo’s kick sailed wide right and Kansas City took over at their own 44-yard line.Ravens 13, Bills 7BALTIMORE Quarterback Joe Flacco appeared fully recovered from last year’s season-ending knee injury and helped Baltimore escape with a victory over Buffalo.Flacco was playing in his first regular-season game since Nov. 22 when he tore both his ACL and MCL against the then-St. Louis Rams. That surgically repaired left knee was tested often as Flacco dealt with pressure all afternoon and was sacked four times.Flacco completed 23 of 34 passes for 258 yards with a touchdown. Newly signed wide receiver Mike Wallace caught three passes for 91 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown that provided a 10-0 lead in the second quarter.Packers 27, Jaguars 23JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke out of an early rut to throw two touchdowns and run for another as Green Bay staved off a late Jacksonville rally.The Jaguars had a shot to pull off the upset when they forced Green Bay to go three-and-out and regained possession with 3:17 remaining in the fourth quarter.Quarterback Blake Bortles led his offense to Green Bay’s 14-yard line with 23 seconds remaining before a short pass to receiver Allen Hurns on fourth-and-1 went for a loss and ended the team’s last gasp.Bengals 23, Jets 22NEW YORK Mike Nugent kicked a 47-yard field goal with 54 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter as Cincinnati edged New York.The Bengals, who are 23-26 in openers, have made the playoffs five straight years but are searching for their first postseason win since 1991. The Jets, who went 10-6 last year and are looking to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010, fell to 26-30 all-time in openers.Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green had 12 catches for 180 yards and one touchdown. Despite being sacked seven times, quarterback Andy Dalton was 23 of 30 for 366 yards.Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24ATLANTA Jameis Winston threw four touchdowns passes to prevail in a passing duel with Matt Ryan and Tampa Bay defeated its NFC South rival.Winston, getting his second season off in memorable fashion, completed 23 of 33 passes for 281, leading the Bucs to four long drives after a sluggish start that included a first-quarter interception.Ryan was 27 of 39 passing for 334 yards and two touchdowns but couldn’t bring the Falcons all the way back after they fell behind by 18 points in the third quarter.Eagles 29, Browns 10PHILADELPHIA The Carson Wentz era got off to a rousing start as the rookie quarterback led Philadelphia over Cleveland.Wentz, the second overall pick in April’s NFL draft, completed 22 of 37 passes for 278 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions a passer rating of 100.9 as he outplayed Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III.Cleveland has won only one opener since returning to the NFL in 1999.The Browns had that No. 2 overall selection before they traded it to the Eagles, as they apparently didn’t think Wentz was worth that high a pick. And Wentz’s statistics would have been even more impressive, but at least five of his passes were dropped. Griffin completed 12 of 26 passes for 190 yards and one interception, with no TDs, for a passer rating of 54.9.Texans 23, Bears 14HOUSTON Brock Osweiler and Will Fuller produced memorable debuts as Houston claimed a win over Chicago.Osweiler, a free agent signee previously with the Broncos, completed 22 of 35 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns. His 18-yard scoring pass to Fuller with 12:44 remaining in the fourth quarter provided the Texans the lead for good.Fuller, a rookie out of Notre Dame, discovered a measure of redemption with his touchdown and another 35-yard reception that set up a 38-yard Nick Novak field goal with 6:10 remaining. Fuller dropped what potentially would have resulted in an 83-yard touchdown late in the first half yet finished with five catches for 107 yards.Vikings 25, Titans 16NASHVILLE, Tenn. The Minnesota offense failed to score a touchdown and star running back Adrian Peterson was stifled all day. But the Vikings turned to their defense and kicking game to win their first game without quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, rallying from a 10-0 halftime deficit to stop Tennessee.Linebacker Eric Kendricks put the Vikings ahead for good with 1:24 left in the third quarter, picking off an ill-advised pass from Marcus Mariota and lugging it 77 yards down the right sideline for a 12-10 lead.Minnesota’s clinching score also came from the defense. After Mariota and DeMarco Murray botched a handoff, tackle Danielle Hunter picked it up and rumbled 24 yards at the 11:03 mark to set the final margin. Kicker Blair Walsh, who missed two field goals in the first half, fanned an extra point in the second half but was able to convert field goals of 50, 34, 45 and 30 yards.Giants 20, Cowboys 19ARLINGTON, Texas Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes to lead New York past Dallas.Manning’s final scoring pass a 3-yarder to Victor Cruz in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference. Manning shook off a third-quarter interception that led to Dallas’ only touchdown to pass for 207 yards. He completed 19 of 28 attempts, using seven different receivers. The Giants also made a winner of first-year head coach Ben McAdoo.The Cowboys have lost 15 of the past 16 games in which starting quarterback Tony Romo was not available. His replacement, rookie Dak Prescott, finished 25 of 45 for 227 yardsLions 39, Colts 35INDIANAPOLIS Matt Prater’s 43-yard field goal with four seconds remaining, and then a safety on the ensuing kickoff, gave the Detroit Lions a wild victory over Indianapolis.Prater redeemed himself after missing what was a crucial extra point after a Lions’ touchdown with 4:04 remaining. Detroit led 34-28 at that point.Indianapolis took a 35-34 lead with 37 seconds to go on Andrew Luck’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle and Adam Vinatieri’s extra point. However, Matthew Stafford completed four passes for 50 yards, and then Prater nailed the game-winner. Indianapolis was called for an illegal forward pass in the end zone on the kickoff pushing the final margin to four points.Seahawks 12, Dolphins 10SEATTLE Russell Wilson connected with wide receiver Doug Baldwin on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 31 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter as Seattle rallied for a win, spoiling Adam Gase’s debut as Miami’s head coach.After the Dolphins scored the go-ahead touchdown with just over four minutes remaining, Wilson engineered a 14-play, 75-yard drive that included two fourth-down conversions. He connected with Baldwin in the left corner of the end zone on second-and-2, but kicker Steven Hauschka missed the extra point to give the Dolphins a chance at the game-winning field goal.Miami’s final drive resulted in an overthrown pass and a sack-and-fumble that saw the ball roll out of bounds before the clock ran out prior to the third-down snap.
North Carolina’s Joel Berry, coming off the heels of perhaps his best game of the season, has been named as one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, symbolic of the top point guard […]
Tony Bradley’s decision to stay in the NBA draft was somewhat unexpected considering that the freshman center is projected at a marginal first rounder, at best.But it didn’t take Roy Williams by surprise.The North Carolina […]
Wake Forest entered a new phase in the Dave Clawson era, winning seven games and going to a bowl last season.The Deacons’ focus, however, hasn’t changed as they begin to look ahead following Saturday’s annual […]