Monday, Sept. 12
Pittsburgh at Washington, 7:10 p.m. EDT. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown will be without running back Le’Veon Bell, suspended the first three games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The matchup to watch is Brown vs. All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman. This is the first time they’re facing each other since 2014, when Norman was in Carolina and before he became a star and signed a $75 million, five-year deal with the Redskins.
LA Rams at San Francisco, 10:20 p.m. EDT. Case Keenum will start at quarterback for Los Angeles and Blaine Gabbert will go for San Francisco. Rams running back Todd Gurley was the 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year. San Francisco RB Carlos Hyde has shown bursts of stardom while battling injuries his first two seasons.
—Drew Brees, Saints, was 28 for 42 for 423 yards and four touchdowns in New Orleans’ 35-34 loss to Oakland. It was Brees’ 14th game with at least 400 yards passing, tying Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history.
—Alex Smith, Chiefs, finished 34 for 48 for 363 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception, and added a 2-yard rushing TD in overtime in Kansas City’s 33-27 win over San Diego.
—Jameis Winston, Buccaneers, was 23 for 33 for 281 yards and four touchdown passes and an interception in Tampa Bay’s 31-24 victory over Atlanta.
—Carson Wentz, Eagles, finished 22 for 37 for 278 yards and two touchdown passes in his first regular-season start in Philadelphia’s 29-10 win over Cleveland. He is the first Eagles rookie to start at quarterback in a season opener since Davey O’Brien in 1939.
—Matthew Stafford, Lions, finished 31 for 39 for 340 yards and three touchdowns in Detroit’s 39-35 win over Indianapolis.
—Andy Dalton, Bengals, was 23 for 30 for 366 yards with a touchdown and an interception in Cincinnati’s 23-22 win over the New York Jets.
—Andrew Luck, Colts, was 31 for 47 for 385 yards and four touchdowns in Indianapolis’ 39-35 loss to Detroit.
—Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots, went 24 for 33 for 264 yards and a TD in his first NFL start, a 23-21 win at Arizona.
—Matt Forte, Jets, had 22 carries for 96 yards and five receptions for 59 yards in New York’s 23-22 loss to Cincinnati.
—Spencer Ware, Chiefs, had 11 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown, and seven receptions for 129 yards in Kansas City’s 33-27 overtime win over San Diego.
—Lamar Miller, Texans, had 28 carries for 106 yards in Houston’s 23-14 win over Chicago.
—Melvin Gordon, Chargers, had 14 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns in San Diego’s 33-27 overtime loss to Kansas City.
—A.J. Green, Bengals, had 12 catches for 180 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown, in Cincinnati’s 23-22 win over the New York Jets.
—Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks, Saints. Snead had nine receptions for 172 yards and a touchdown, while Cooks had six catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns, including a 98-yard TD which was the longest scoring play in Saints history. However, Oakland rallied for a 35-34 win, and Amari Cooper had six receptions for 137 yards.
—Jordan Matthews, Eagles, finished with seven receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in Philadelphia’s 29-10 victory over Cleveland.
—Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, made eight catches for 81 yards and two TDs in a 23-21 loss to New England. Fitzgerald’s second touchdown reception was the 100th of his career.
—Dan Bailey, Cowboys, was 4 for 4 on field goals, including a 56-yarder and 54-yarder in Dallas’ 20-19 loss to the New York Giants.
—Blair Walsh, Vikings, was 4 of 6 on field goals in Minnesota’s 25-16 win over Tennessee.
—Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter, Vikings. Kendricks returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown and Hunter returned a fumble 24 yards for a TD in Minnesota’s 25-16 win over Tennessee.
—Leonard Williams and Steve McLendon, Jets. Williams had 2½ sacks and McLendon added two of New York’s seven sacks of the Bengals’ Andy Dalton in New York’s 23-22 loss.
—Whitney Mercilus, Texans, had two sacks and a forced fumble in Houston’s 23-14 win over Chicago.
—Jerry Hughes, Bills, had two sacks in Buffalo’s 13-7 loss to Baltimore.
BIG PLAY IN THE BAYOU
Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks, Saints, connected for a franchise record 98-yard scoring play against the Raiders. Seeing the speedy Cooks in single coverage on first down from his 2-yard line, Brees lofted a pinpoint pass down the left sideline that hit Cooks in stride. Cooks easily sped away from cornerback Sean Smith and free safety Reggie Nelson. The play also was Brees’ longest career completion. The previous longest scoring play in Saints history was a 90-yard pass from Billy Joe Hobert to Eddie Kennison against Atlanta on Oct. 10, 1999. The Saints’ previous longest play from scrimmage was as 96-yard passing play — not for a TD — from Billy Kilmer to Walter Roberts on Nov. 19, 1967, the franchise’s inaugural season.
JUST FOR KICKS
Five teams saw their kickers miss extra points Sunday, with only one being costly. The New York Jets lost 23-22 to Cincinnati, with Nick Folk missing an extra point kick for the first time in his 10-year NFL career. It ended a streak of 312 straight made PATs; he had also set the NFL record for most extra points without a miss with 322 overall, including the playoffs. Other who missed but saw their teams win were Blair Walsh of the Vikings, Randy Bullock of the Giants, Steven Hauschka of the Seahawks, and Matt Prater of the Lions.
Four games have been decided by exactly one point in Week 1, the most on NFL kickoff weekend. … Houston’s Will Fuller became the first player in franchise history to have 100 yards receiving in a debut with 107 yards and a touchdown in Houston’s 23-14 win over the Bears. Brock Osweiler threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns in his debut with Houston after the Texans lured him from Denver with a $72 million contract. … The Cowboys fell to 1-12 without Tony Romo since the first of two broken collarbones last season in Week 2. Because of Romo’s back injury, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott were the first rookie quarterback-running back combo to start an opener for the Cowboys since Roger Staubach and Calvin Hill in 1969. New York beat Dallas in an opener for the first time in nine tries. … Tennessee is 2-15 since the start of the 2014 season on its home field, with both wins coming against Jacksonville. The Titans lost to Minnesota 25-16. … Oakland rookie running back Jalen Richard had a 75-yard rushing touchdown on his first career carry in the Raiders’ victory. Richard is the fourth player in NFL history with a rushing touchdown of at least 75 yards in his NFL debut. He joined Oran Pape (78 yards, Sept. 28, 1930), Alan Ameche (79 yards, Sept. 25, 1955) and Ottis Anderson (76 yards, Sept. 2, 1979). … The Bengals beat the Jets for the first time in 10 meetings in New Jersey with a 23-22 win.
Houston middle linebacker Brian Cushing and San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen left their respective games with injuries. Allen left the field on a cart after suffering what looked like a serious right knee injury with less than two minutes left in the first half. Cushing’s diagnosis was only slightly more optimistic. He also hurt one of his knees but walked off the field under his own power. Cushing also missed significant playing time with a range of injuries in 2012 and 2013, but started every game last season. … Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas III was also carted off the field, after spraining a knee on a kickoff return on the final play of the first half against Dallas. … Bucs defensive end Jacquies Smith was carted off the field with a right knee injury against Atlanta. Indianapolis defenders T.J. Green (sprained knee) and Patrick Robinson (medical evaluation) went down in the same series in the first half, and stayed out for the rest of the game against Detroit.
“Everyone knew about our strategy. I didn’t really ask for any feedback there. I said, ‘When we score here, we are going to go for two and win it right here.'” — Raiders coach Jack Del Rio on the decision to go for a 2-point conversion in the final minute of Oakland’s 35-34 win over New Orleans.
“Joe is as tough as a $2 steak. What’s a $2 steak nowadays?” — Ravens coach John Harbaugh on quarterback Joe Flacco.