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Redskins 40 Saints 32

NEW ORLEANS -- Robert Griffin III began his NFL career by connecting on 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns, and the Washington Redskins handed the Saints a 40-32 loss in their first game since the bounty scandal that overshadowed New Orleans' off-season.

Griffin completed his first eight passes, including an 88-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon, tying for the second-longest scoring pass by a quarterback making his NFL debut.

Drew Brees uncharacteristically struggled with accuracy, completing only 46 per cent of his throws with two interceptions.

Bears 41 Colts 21

CHICAGO -- Jay Cutler threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns and Michael Bush added a pair of scoring runs to spoil quarterback Andrew Luck's debut.

Brandon Marshall had nine catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in his first game since being reunited with Cutler, and Matt Forte ran for 80 yards and a score.

Luck finished his first NFL game 23 of 45 for 309 yards with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery early in the fourth quarter. He also was intercepted three times.

49ers 30 Packers 22

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- San Francisco's defence smothered Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offence for most of the game, then made one last stand to stop a late rally.

The Packers rallied from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and pulled within eight points when Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass to James Jones with 6:05 left, but the 49ers defence held the Packers in the final minute to come away with a big win to open the season.

Eagles 17 Browns 16

CLEVELAND -- Michael Vick overcame four interceptions by throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Clay Harbor with 1:18 left in the nerve-racking win.

Vick went 29 of 56 for 317 yards and two TDs.

Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw four interceptions, the last to Kurt Coleman with 1:05 remaining.

Vikings 26 Jaguars 23, OT

MINNEAPOLIS -- Rookie Blair Walsh kicked four field goals, including a 55-yarder as regulation time expired and another one in overtime, and Adrian Peterson returned from a left knee injury to lift the Vikings.

Peterson ran 17 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings, who led for most of the second half until Blaine Gabbert's 39-yard touchdown heave with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter put the Jaguars back in front.

Lions 27 Rams 23

DETROIT -- Matthew Stafford threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left.

Stafford made up for a shaky game by leading an 80-yard, nine-play, game-winning possession that included three passes of at least 18 yards.

Sam Bradford directed a go-ahead drive that set up Greg Zuerlein's 46-yard field goal and put the Rams ahead 23-20 with 1:55 left. But coach Jeff Fisher's debut ended with a loss because the Rams could not shut down Stafford in the end.

Stafford had three interceptions before halftime for the first time in his four seasons.

Jets 48 Bills 28

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes, including two to rookie Stephen Hill, and the Jets eased concerns about their offence.

The Jets sprinkled in their wildcat package with Tim Tebow, who was mostly quiet but recovered a late onside kick by Buffalo, and Jeremy Kerley had a touchdown catch and a punt return for a score. Antonio Cromartie also took one of New York's three interceptions of Ryan Fitzpatrick to the end zone.

Texans 30 Dolphins 10

HOUSTON -- Arian Foster had two touchdown runs, Matt Schaub threw a TD pass to Andre Johnson, and Houston's defence dominated rookie Ryan Tannehill and Miami.

Tannehill threw three interceptions in a 6-minute stretch late in the first half, and the Texans opened impressively in what they believe can be a Super Bowl season.

Marcus Thigpen returned a punt 72 yards for Miami's touchdown.

Patriots 34 Titans 13

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and the defending AFC champions won easily.

Brady may have suffered a broken nose when he was sacked in the second quarter by Kamerion Wimbley, but he didn't miss a play.

The Patriots ruined Jake Locker's debut as Tennessee's starter, sacking him twice and forcing two turnovers. Rookie Dont'a Hightower returned Locker's fumble 6 yards for a TD in his own debut, and Stevan Ridley ran for 125 yards and a TD.

Falcons 40 Chiefs 24

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Matt Ryan threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns, one of them to Tony Gonzalez in his return to Kansas City.

Ryan also ran for a TD, while Julio Jones caught six passes for 108 yards and two scores.

The Falcons took advantage of a Chiefs defence missing four starters.

Buccaneers 16 Panthers 7

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay's rejuvenated defence came up with two interceptions against Cam Newton and the Buccaneers won their debut under coach Greg Schiano.

Josh Freeman threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams and Connor Barth kicked three field goals to help the Bucs stop a 10-game losing streak.

Newton threw for 303 yards and one TD.

Cardinals 20 Seahawks 16

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Kevin Kolb replaced injured John Skelton and led Arizona on the deciding touchdown drive, throwing 6 yards to Andre Roberts for a score with 4:59 to play.

Aided by two pass interference penalties, Seattle drove to the Arizona 4 in the final seconds. But rookie Russell Wilson threw three straight incompletions and the Cardinals held on.

Broncos 31 Steelers 19

DENVER -- Peyton Manning baffled defences for years by using strange words such as "ice cream" and "soul train" at the line of scrimmage. The four-time NFL MVP is struggling to grasp a new language now, though it didn't show in his debut with Denver.

"That's been one of the hardest things, learning new terminology, new formations," Manning told Tony Dungy on NBC's Football Night in America.

Coming off four neck surgeries that sidelined him all of 2011, Manning made a triumphant return Sunday night with his new team. Manning threw two touchdown passes to lead the Broncos over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19.

Manning, who is known for masking his emotions, was surprisingly candid in a pregame interview with Dungy, his former coach in Indianapolis. He said he's "not even close" to being settled in Denver and always thought he'd play for one team.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2012 D4

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