Lions 27 at Saints 45
Drew Brees looked even better than last year, which was bad news for a Detroit Lions team trying to win for the first time since 2007.
Brees passed for 358 yards and a club record-tying six TDs to lead the New Orleans Saints to a 45-27 win Sunday, extending the Lions’ regular-season losing streak to 18.
Two of Brees’ touchdown passes were to Jeremy Shockey, who hadn’t scored since being traded from the New York Giants last season.
Brees had TD strikes of nine yards to Marques Colston, 39 yards to Robert Meachem, one and 15 yards to Shockey, 58 yards to Devery Henderson and 13 yards to Heath Evans.
Matthew Stafford’s first NFL start had its ups and downs. The 2009 top overall draft choice was 16-of-37 passing for 205 yards with three interceptions. He led two touchdown drives, capping one with his first pro TD on a short keeper.
Vikings 34 at Browns 20
Brett Favre threw a six-yard touchdown pass to rookie Percy Harvin in his debut with the Vikings, and Adrian Peterson scored three touchdowns.
Peterson had two one-yard TD runs and capped his day with an electrifying 64-yard scamper. Peterson finished with 180 on 25 carries.
Favre was 14-of-21 passing for 110 yards and appeared to be fully recovered from off-season surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon.
Broncos 12 at Bengals 7
Brandon Stokley caught a tipped pass and outran Cincinnati’s shocked defenders for an 87-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left.
After Cedric Benson’s one-yard run put Cincinnati ahead 7-6 with 38 seconds left, Kyle Orton — in line to shoulder the blame for a Denver loss — threw a desperate pass into a crowd at the sideline, hoping Brandon Marshall would somehow come down with it.
Marshall never got close. Cornerback Leon Hall batted the ball in the air, and the bounce went right into the arms of Stokley, who was behind the defence and had a clear path to the end zone.
Eagles 38 at Panthers 10
Eagles starter Donovan McNabb limped to the locker-room with a cracked rib, but it was a dominant performance by Philadelphia defence that force five Jake Delhomme turnovers.
Delhomme was 7-of-17 passing for 73 yards with four interceptions and a lost fumble.
Then, backup Josh McCown was carted to the locker room with a left knee injury, leaving third-stringer Matt Moore to inherit a big deficit.
Jets 24 at Texans 7
As good as rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez was in his NFL debut, the Jets’ defence was better.
Sanchez, the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, threw for 272 yards and a touchdown while Thomas Jones scored twice. But it was the defence that took centre stage in shutting down Houston’s high-powered offence.
The Texans were outgained 462-183, Steve Slaton was held to 17 yards rushing and Andre Johnson had 35 yards receiving. Matt Schaub struggled, too, completing 18-of-33 passes for 166 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
Chiefs 24 at Ravens 38
Joe Flacco went 26-for-43 for 307 yards and three touchdowns, all career highs, as the Ravens ruined the head coaching debut of Kansas City’s Todd Haley.
Baltimore amassed a franchise-record 501 yards, yet needed a 31-yard touchdown catch by Mark Clayton with 2:06 left to break a tie.
Cowboys 34 at Buccaneers 21
Tony Romo threw for 353 yards and three long touchdowns to spoil Raheem Morris’s head-coaching debut with the Buccaneers.
Romo teamed with Patrick Crayton, who had six catches for 135 yards, on the longest completion of the Pro Bowl quarterback’s career — 80 yards — for a fourth-quarter TD that thwarted any realistic hopes for a Tampa Bay comeback.
Dolphins 7 at Falcons 19
Tony Gonzalez hauled in a touchdown pass and became the 21st player in NFL history with 11,000 yards receiving. Linebacker Mike Peterson forced a fumble with a vicious hit and picked off a pass for the Falcons.
Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes for the Falcons. Gonzalez hauled in five passes for a team-high 73 yards.
Jaguars 12 at Colts 14
Peyton Manning threw for one touchdown, Joseph Addai ran for another while the Colts’ defence stopped Jacksonville twice in the fourth quarter.
Though Manning tied John Unitas’s franchise record for career wins with 118, it was hardly a thing of beauty. Manning lost receiver Anthony Gonzalez late in the first with a right knee injury. Reggie Wayne finished with 10 catches for 162 yards and a TD and Colts coach Jim Caldwell won his NFL head-coaching debut.
The Colts allowed only 228 yards, 114 each on the ground and through the air.
Redskins 17 at Giants 23
Eli Manning threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham, and defensive end Osi Umenyiora ran back a fumble 37 yards in his return from a knee injury.
Lawrence Tynes added three field goals, including a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter.
New York lost top draft pick receiver Hakeem Nicks with a sprained left foot and running back Danny Ware with a dislocated left elbow.
49ers 20 at Cardinals 16
Shaun Hill and the rest of San Francisco’s offence had an awful second half, except for one magnificent possession.
Hill directed a 15-play, 80-yard drive for the winning touchdown on a three-yard pass to Frank Gore, and the 49ers spoiled the season debut of defending NFC champion Arizona.
Arizona rallied from 10 points down to go up 16-13 on Neil Rackers’ 44-yard field goal with 14:52 to play. But the 49ers regained control with the drive that used up nearly half of the final quarter.
Rams 0 at Seahawks 28
Matt Hasselbeck, playing his first game since Thanksgiving Day, overcame two interceptions in his first three throws to connect with John Carlson for two touchdowns.
Hasselbeck finished 25-of-36 for 279 yards, his most for an opener. Seattle beat its division rival for the ninth consecutive time with its biggest win to begin a season since a 38-0 victory over Philadelphia in 1998.
Bears 15 at Packers 21
Aaron Rodgers brought the Packers back late in the fourth quarter, heaving a 50-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings with 1:11 remaining for the win over Chicago.
Rodgers finished 17-of-28 for 184 yards for the Packers, and his big throw ruined the debut of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who had a career-worst four interceptions.