The Latest on Week 1 in the NFL (all times EDT):
The Kansas City Chiefs started slowly on Sunday but did more of what they’ve done quite a bit over the past few years — win.
Patrick Mahomes threw for 337 and three touchdowns and ran for another touchdown as the Chiefs rallied for a 33-29 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Kansas City trailed 22-10 at halftime but played much better in the second half. Travis Kelce caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes with 7:04 left to complete the comeback and set the final margin.
Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield threw for 321 yards, but he was picked off by Chiefs cornerback Mike Hughes with 1:09 left to end any hope of a comeback.
Reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers is having a rough second half. The Green Bay quarterback has thrown two interceptions to help the Saints pull away to a 24-3 lead late in the third quarter.
Rodgers’ first big error came when he threw under pressure and was picked off by Saints rookie defensive back Paulson Adebo at the New Orleans 7 and returned to the 40.
It didn’t lead to a score, but changed field position.
The Packers started their next drive in the shadow of their own end zone, and when Rodgers took a deep shot down field for Marquez Valdes-Scantling, his overthrown passed was intercepted by Saints safety Marcus Williams and returned to the Packers 12.
A few plays later, Winston stepped up under pressure and threw for his third touchdown pass of the game, a 10-yard dart to receiver Chris Hogan in the back of the end zone to make it 24-3 with 3:07 left in the third quarter.
Broncos second-year receiver Jerry Jeudy was carted off the field with 8:40 left in the third quarter after hurting his lower right leg after catching a 20-yard pass from Teddy Bridgewater.
Jeudy fumbled on the play and the Giants recovered the ball. However, a review showed Jeudy’s knee was down before he lost possession.
Jeudy had six catches for 72 yards before being hurt. The 15th overall pick in last year’s draft, Jeudy caught 52 passes for 856 yards and three TDs in 2020.
Baker Mayfield has thrown for 231 yards and Nick Chubb already has a couple touchdown runs as the Browns lead the Chiefs 22-10 at halftime in a rematch of their divisional-round playoff game.
The Browns are a half away from ending an NFL-record 16-game losing streak in season openers.
They twice converted fourth downs in scoring on their first two possessions. Chubb capped the first drive and Jarvis Landry took an end-around for the second score. Chubb added his second touchdown run shortly before halftime.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is 15 of 20 for 169 yards with a touchdown run. But he’s gotten about as much help from his ground game as Kansas City has gotten from a defense missing Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark.
The Saints have widened their lead over Green Bay to 17-0 thanks to two audacious fourth-down play calls by coach Sean Payton.
New Orleans ran a tight end screen on fourth and 7 to Juwan Johnson from the Green Bay 41. After releasing his block, Johnson caught the short lob from Winston, and with a blocker in front of him, rumbled 12 yards to the Packers 29.
Six plays later, it was Winston to Johnson again on fourth-and-goal from the 2. The score capped a 14-play, 10-minute drive that left just 1:07 on the clock before halftime.
Cleveland Browns safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. was ejected in the first quarter against the Chiefs after shoving Kansas City assistant coach Greg Lewis during a scrum along the sideline.
Harrison was involved in tackling Clyde Edwards-Helaire with 4:59 left in the quarter along the Chiefs sideline. Lewis gave Harrison a light tug while trying to help Edwards-Helaire stand up, and Harrison responded by nearly shoving Lewis to the ground.
Referee Bill Vinovich initially flagged the Chiefs bench for unsportsmanlike conduct. But after huddling with the rest of the officiating crew, Vinovich announced that Harrison had been penalized and ejected from the game.
The post-Drew Brees era has officially begun for the Saints in a home game against Green Bay that was moved to Jacksonville, Florida, while New Orleans recovers from Hurricane Ida.
TIAA Bank Field, the usual home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, had the Saints’ black and gold fleur-de-lis emblem on the 50-yard line with the team’s name written in black and gold in each end zone.
The walls also were covered with black and gold Saints logos.
Jameis Winston is now the Saints quarterback. His first series in his new role resulted in a Saints field goal.
The color in the stands was a bit more green and yellow. Fans favoring the visiting Packers appeared to significantly outnumber Saints fans. The stadium appeared to be about half full.
But if the Saints didn’t have the usual crowd noise advantage they’d have in the Superdome, they did have an unusual advantage in terms of weather. Temperatures were in the mid-80s, more similar to conditions when the Saints practice outdoors in south Louisiana than conditions in Wisconsin.
The most impressive team so far during Week 1 might just be the Arizona Cardinals.
Chandler Jones had a career-high five sacks and Kyler Murray threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns while also running for a touchdown in a dominant 38-13 win over the Tennessee Titans.
The Cardinals were expected to have a good offense with Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who had two touchdown catches. But the defense was better than advertised, stifling a potent Tennessee offense that includes Derrick Henry, Julio Jones, A.J. Brown and Ryan Tannehill.
Jones had three sacks in a first quarter so impressive that LeBron James chimed in on Twitter: “Chandler Jones going for DPOY already!! My goodness!! 3 sacks in the 1st.”
Less than a year after tearing his right ACL, Saquon Barkley is returning to the New York Giants’ lineup.
The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year was active on Sunday for the opener against the Denver Broncos. Neither Barkley nor the Giants shed much insight on when he would be ready to play again.
He started training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and was not taken off until two weeks into training camp. Still, he did not practice fully until after the final preseason game, and his status was up in the air this past week. Coach Joe Judge said he was encouraged by his practices.
Barkley was hurt against Chicago in the second game of last season. He had surgery in late October.
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft, has thrown his first career touchdown pass — a 22-yard strike to Corey Davis. Wilson followed that up with a 2-point conversion run to cut Carolina’s lead to 16-8 with 1:25 left in the third quarter.
Wilson showed his mobility on the play, rolling out of the pocket to his right to buy time for Davis to spring himself free. Wilson has been under pressure for most of the game and has been sacked four times.
The touchdown was potentially costly for the Jets as starting left tackle Mekhi Becton was injured on the play and taken to the locker room. Becton’s return is listed as doubtful.
Saints top cornerback Marshon Lattimore is active against Green Bay after being listed on Saturday as questionable with a knee injury, a downgrade from Friday when his name did not appear on the club’s official injury report.
All of the Saints’ deactivated players are healthy scratches. They include New Orleans’ top draft choice, defensive end Peyton Turner, although Turner did miss several weeks of training camp with an undisclosed injury.
New Orleans’ active defensive ends are Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Carl Granderson and Tanoh Kpassagnon.
The game is being played in Jacksonville, Florida, as New Orleans continues to recover from damage caused by Hurricane Ida on Aug. 29, 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region.
Some big names were unexpectedly inactive when the Chiefs played the Browns in a rematch of the divisional playoff game.
Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was expected back from a knee injury, tried warming up barefoot inside of Arrowhead Stadium but was unable to go. Donovan Peoples-Jones got the start in his place.
The Browns did have defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who missed time this week with an illness.
The Chiefs were missing three-time All-Pro Tyrann Mathieu, who came off the COVID-19 list on Saturday. He tested positive on Sept. 1 but had been participating in meetings through Zoom and was listed as questionable to play Sunday.
The Chiefs also were without pass rusher Frank Clark, who returned to practice this week from a hamstring injury.
Arizona right tackle Kelvin Beachum has gone to the locker room with injured ribs and is questionable to return.
Beachum was hurt on the second offensive play of the third quarter. When he got up, he walked gingerly to the sideline and then straight to the locker room. Justin Murray replaced Beachum.
Kyler Murray was intercepted on the third play when Titans safety Kevin Byard stepped in front of a pass for Demetrius Harris. Byard returned the ball 12 yards to the Arizona 32.
Ryan Tannehill connected twice with Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Brown, the second a 13-yard touchdown pass that pulled Tennessee within 24-13 of Arizona.
— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert has been ruled out because of a knee injury.
The team’s starting running back had two carries for 20 yards against the Lions. Even without Mostert, the 49ers jumped out to a 31-10 lead by halftime over the Detroit Lions.
The Pittsburgh Steelers retooled offense is off to a very pedestrian start in trailing the Bills 10-0 after one half.
The Steelers have just three first downs with 54 net yards while going 1 of 6 on third-down attempts and ending each of their first six possessions with a punt. The Steelers have also managed just 7 yards rushing, with rookie first-round pick Najee Harris managing 8 yards on seven carries.
Matt Canada took over as the offensive coordinator this offseason, and the Steelers hoped to spark their worst-ranked running attack by selecting Harris in the first round out of Alabama.
Sam Darnold has thrown his first touchdown pass for the Panthers, a 57-yard strike down the middle of the field to Robby Anderson. It gave Carolina a 9-0 lead in the second quarter against his former team, the New York Jets. Anderson got behind two defenders to haul in the perfectly thrown pass.
Darnold has been reunited with Anderson in Carolina this year after they spent two seasons together with the Jets.
Rookie Zach Wilson is still looking for the first TD pass of his career, but has run into a stingy Carolina defense led by Shaq Thompson and Brian Burns. The Panthers have sacked Wilson three times in the first half and intercepted him once.
Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow hit rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase with passes of 17 and 13 yards on a drive that pulled the Bengals even with the Minnesota Vikings at 7-all just before halftime.
The 2-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Tee Higgins was set up by a pass interference penalty on Minnesota.
On the previous drive, Kirk Cousins hooked up with Adam Thielen for a 5-yard touchdown to cap a 91-yard drive for the Vikings.
Burrow, playing on a surgically repaired left knee, has been sacked twice while completing 7 of his first 9 passes.
Ryan Fitzpatrick left his first game as Washington’s starting quarterback midway through the second quarter after being taking a hit from Chargers edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu. Fitzpatrick was helped to his feet but then sank back to the turf.
Fitzpatrick is questionable to return with a hip injury.
The 38-year-old eventually walked off with trainers, waving to fans before going down the tunnel. Fitzpatrick was replaced by Taylor Heinicke, who was a surprise star in Washington’s playoff loss to Tampa Bay.
Fitzpatrick is starting for his ninth NFL team. This is his 17th season.
Chandler Jones is having himself quite a start to the season.
The Cardinals outside linebacker has sacked Ryan Tannehill three times in the first quarter and stripped Tannehill of the ball to set up Arizona’s lone touchdown. Jones has been beating Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan easily in Lewan’s first game back since tearing his right ACL in the middle of October last season.
Arizona leads Tennessee 10-0 at the end of the first quarter and has outgained the Titans 80 to minus-1 yard on offense. Tennessee’s lone first down of the game came on a fake punt when safety Mathias Farley hit safety Amani Hooker with a 6-yard pass.
— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee
San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert is questionable to return in Detroit after a knee injury in the first quarter sent him to the sideline, where he stood without his helmet.
The team’s starting running back had two carries for 20 yards against the Lions. Rookie running back Elijah Mitchell, a sixth-round pick, had a 38-yard, tiebreaking touchdown in the second quarter to put the Niners ahead 14-7.
Niners rookie Trey Sermon, a third-rounder, is inactive as a healthy scratch.
DeVonta Smith has made a quick impact on the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense.
The Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama hauled in an 18-yard pass from Jalen Hurts for the Eagles’ first touchdown of the season in the opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
Smith got free after a bit of a pick from tight end Zach Ertz, beating Fabian Moreau to the left corner of the end zone to give Philadelphia a 7-3 lead.
In an interesting twist, it was the same part of the same end zone at Mercedes-Benz Stadium where Smith hauled in a touchdown pass in overtime to give Alabama a stunning victory over Georgia in the 2018 national championship game.
Smith was the 10th overall pick and one of a record-tying six Alabama players selected in the first round of this year’s draft.
The Tennessee Titans’ vaunted offense is stumbling to start the season. The Arizona Cardinals are having penalty issues again but still have a 10-0 lead over Tennessee.
The Titans added seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones during the offseason to an offense that already has AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year Derrick Henry and Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Brown. Yet Tennessee went three-and-out on its opening series, then Chandler Jones sacked Ryan Tannehill and stripped him of the ball on the second play of the next drive.
Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury already has used two of his timeouts, and the Cardinals have four penalties for 29 yards. Tennessee held Arizona and Kyler Murray to a Matt Prater field goal on its opening series after having first-and-goal at the 9.
Corey Peters recovered the Tannehill fumble and was ruled down inside the 1. Murray hit DeAndre Hopkins for a 5-yard TD pass after another penalty for a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee
Maia Chaka is making history today, becoming the first black woman to officiate an NFL game.
She is working as a line judge for the Jets-Panthers game.
Chaka said on the official NFL Instagram post before the game that “it’s a privilege that I’ve been chosen to represent women and women of color in the most popular sport in America.”
She is just the third on-field female NFL official, joining Sarah Thomas and Shannon Eastin.
The Carolina Panthers waited until less than an hour before kickoff to announce starting linebackers Shaq Thompson and Jermaine Carter had changed their jersey numbers.
Thompson went from No. 54 to 7, while Carter changed from 56 to 4.
That could potentially be construed as a competitive advantage for the Panthers considering rookie Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, who is making his first NFL start, prepared all week in practice to face Thompson and Carter wearing their previous numbers. However, an NFL spokesman said there is no rule that clubs are required to make jersey number changes public prior to the start of the regular season.
Under new NFL rules, players are allowed to change numbers this year if they were willing to pay an established fee. Earlier this offseason Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore changed his number from 12 to 2.
The San Francisco 49ers followed through with their plan to play rookie quarterback Trey Lance as Jimmy Garoppolo’s backup, giving the No. 3 overall two snaps on their second drive at Detroit.
Lance connected with receiver Trent Sherfield on a 5-yard, play-action pass to help the 49ers take a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Justin Herbert looked sharp despite not playing the preseason and Austin Ekeler’s hamstring appears just fine. That made for a fast start for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Herbert completed his first six passes, Ekeler rushed for a 3-yard touchdown and the Chargers took a 7-0 lead on Washington less than six minutes into the game. Washington’s defense, which ranked second in the NFL last season, provided little resistance and helped L.A. with a red zone penalty.
The Buffalo Bills stood on the sideline, rather than retreating to their locker room, for the national anthem for their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This is a switch from last season and their preseason game against the Green Bay Packers last month, when the entire Bills team waited in the locker room until after the national anthem was performed.
Bills receiver Cole Beasley was greeted with a mix of cheers and boos as he was introduced among the starters. Beasley has been the team’s most vocal critic of COVID-19 vaccinations, and even released a song in July about not wanting to be vaccinated.
The Tennessee Titans honored Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss as their 12th Titan before kickoff.
Knauss was a native of Corryton, Tennessee, and among the 13 Americans killed in the recent attack on the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. Knauss served in the U.S. Army’s 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne).
The Titans, like the rest of the NFL, commemorated the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and used season ticket members who are veterans to help display four U.S. flags on the field capped by a B-52 flyover from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee
The first full Sunday of the NFL season is about to begin with seven new head coaches making debuts with their respective teams. Two games will feature an all-rookie coaching matchup.
Jacksonville’s Urban Meyer gets his first chance at pro football after a long and successful stint as a college coach. He’ll have rookie No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence under center when the Jaguars travel to face the Houston Texans, who also have a new coach in David Culley.
The Eagles and new coach Nick Sirianni hit the road to face the Atlanta Falcons, who hired Arthur Smith during the offseason.
The other three head coaches making their debuts in the early games include the Chargers’ Brandon Staley, Lions’ Dan Campbell and Jets’ Robert Saleh.
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