Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent (2) kicks his fifth field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Md., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky
September 08, 2014

Big-time rivalries yielded sizzling finishes on opening weekend of the NFL season.

Pittsburgh needed a last-play field goal by Shaun Suisham to beat Cleveland. Atlanta had to go to overtime to defeat New Orleans on Matt Bryant's kick.

Cincinnati blew a 15-0 lead before making enough big plays to down Baltimore. And Miami dominated in the second half to drop New England into last place - last place! - in the AFC East.

Sure, it's only Week 1, but those were pretty memorable results.

''Well, that was exciting, wasn't it?'' joked Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who could do without such stress.

''It's big for the team, man,'' Bengals receiver A.J. Green said after his 77-yard TD reception beat Baltimore. ''Just taking that next step to being a great team.''


At Pittsburgh, Suisham drilled a 41-yard field goal as time expired.

The Steelers blew a 24-point halftime lead as the Browns rallied behind quarterback Brian Hoyer, but escaped thanks to some great plays from Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Markus Wheaton.

Roethlisberger hit Wheaton twice on the winning drive in sending the Browns to their 10th straight season-opening loss. Roethlisberger passed for 365 yards and a touchdown.

Hoyer threw for 230 yards and a score in leading the comeback, which should strengthen his grip on the starting job over rookie Johnny Manziel.

''I told those guys at the end of the game that I'll take that team to the end of the Earth if we're going to fight back like that,'' Hoyer said.


At Baltimore, the ball popped from Green's grasp before he gathered it in and sped to the end zone. It was the first win in four tries for Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton.

That TD, along with the 2-point conversion, came 48 seconds after Baltimore newcomer Steve Smith caught an 80-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco.

''There are a lot of tough places to play in this league and this is certainly one of the toughest,'' Dalton said.

Mike Nugent kicked five field goals for the Bengals.


At Atlanta, Bryant kicked a 51-yard field goal on the final play of regulation, then booted a 52-yarder in overtime.

In another thriller between the NFC South rivals, Matt Ryan threw for a franchise-record 448 yards.

The teams combined for 17 points in the final 2:50 of the fourth quarter to force overtime. The Saints got the ball first, but Marques Colston fumbled after catching a pass over the middle. The Falcons recovered at the Saints 38; after three plays gained only 4 yards, Bryant booted through another long field goal.


At Miami Gardens, Florida, Knowshon Moreno rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown, Ryan Tannehill threw for two scores and the Dolphins outscored New England 23-0 in the second half.

Tannehill had touchdown throws to Lamar Miller and Mike Wallace as Miami debuted a faster-paced offense. The Dolphins' defense made four sacks, all in the second half, and recovered two fumbles.

It was New England's first loss in an opener since 2003, and marks the first time the Patriots will not be at least tied for the AFC East lead since Week 3 of 2012.


At Chicago, Fred Jackson set up Dan Carpenter's field goal in overtime with a 38-yard run to the 1.

The Bears punted to open the extra period and Buffalo took over on its 22. The Bills (1-0) got to the Chicago 39 when Jackson turned toward the left side and broke off his big run, pushing safety Chris Conte out of the way twice inside the 10.

Carpenter won it with a 27-yarder.


At Philadelphia, Nick Foles threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin in the fourth quarter and the Eagles rallied from a 17-0 second-half deficit.

Chad Henne threw two touchdown passes to rookie Allen Hurns in the first quarter. But the Eagles scored TDs on their first two possessions in the third quarter. Cody Parkey hit a 51-yard field goal on his first career attempt in the fourth quarter to tie it 17-17.

Then Foles made a perfect deep throw to a wide-open Maclin for the longest pass of his career to put the Eagles ahead 24-17.


At Denver, Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes to tight end Julius Thomas in the first half. In his second try, Manning beat his old team and joined Brett Favre as the only quarterbacks to beat each of the current 32 NFL franchises.

''It means I'm old,'' Manning said with a laugh.

The Broncos raced to a 24-0 lead thanks to Thomas, then their revamped defense held off a furious comeback attempt by Andrew Luck.

Luck brought the Colts within a touchdown when he found Hakeem Nicks for a 9-yard strike with 3:26 remaining. But Indy's last drive stalled at midfield when rookie Bradley Roby broke up a fourth-and-6 pass to Reggie Wayne.

49ERS 28, COWBOYS 17

At Arlington, Texas, Colin Kaepernick threw two touchdown passes to Vernon Davis, one right after the first of three interceptions of Tony Romo.

The 49ers also got a 35-yard fumble return on the second play of the game when Chris Culliver picked up a loose ball stripped from DeMarco Murray.

Coming off a spotty preseason for his offense, Kaepernick was efficient if not prolific, going 16 of 23 for 201 yards without an interception.

Romo was playing his first meaningful game for the Cowboys since back surgery in December.


At Houston, rookie Alfred Blue blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown and the Texans snapped a 14-game losing streak.

The Texans led 7-6 after a 76-yard touchdown reception by DeAndre Hopkins in the second quarter. Blue blocked Washington's punt on the next drive, scooped it up and returned it 5 yards to push the lead to 14-6 in Bill O'Brien's first game as an NFL head coach.

First overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney had a tackle for a loss in the first half before leaving with a knee injury.

Robert Griffin III threw for 267 yards, but Washington was done in by two second-half fumbles in Jay Gruden's debut as an NFL head coach.


At St. Louis, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson rushed for 102 yards on three carries with a 67-yard scoring run off a pitchout and the Vikings opened impressively under new coach Mike Zimmer.

The Rams handled Adrian Peterson, limiting the star runner to 75 yards on 21 carries. They had zero luck with Patterson, who had three touchdowns rushing as a rookie.

Rams quarterback Shaun Hill lasted one half as the stand-in starter for Sam Bradford, missing the rest of the game with a thigh injury and leaving untested Austin Davis in charge.


At Kansas City, Missouri, Jake Locker threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns, while Alex Smith was intercepted three times.

Locker picked apart a defense that lost linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive tackle Mike DeVito to Achilles tendon injuries.

Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker had TD catches for the Titans, and Ryan Succop was perfect on four field-goal attempts against the team that released him last weekend.


At East Rutherford, New Jersey, Chris Ivory burst through a few tackle attempts for a 71-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter, and the Jets' defense clamped down on Oakland rookie quarterback Derek Carr.

A 2-point conversion failed after Ivory's score, but the Jets held on to win their season opener.

Geno Smith threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Chris Johnson as the Jets sent the Raiders to their 14th straight loss in the Eastern time zone.

Carr went 20 of 32 for 151 yards and touchdown throws to Rod Streater and James Jones.


At Tampa, Florida, Derek Anderson filled in nicely for injured Cam Newton, throwing for 230 yards and two touchdowns.

Despite rallying with two late TDs, it was an ugly debut for the Bucs under coach Lovie Smith. The defense applied little pressure on Anderson, and an offense that was among the worst in the NFL in 2013 showed few signs of improvement until midway through the fourth quarter.

Newton cheered from the sideline because of a rib injury suffered in preseason, Anderson completed 24 of 34 passes, with TDs of 5 yards to Greg Olsen and 26 yards to rookie Kelvin Benjamin.


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