Aaron Rodgers took full advantage of the young cornerbacks and the empty stadium in Minnesota, beginning his 13th season as Green Bay’s starting quarterback by passing for 364 yards and four touchdowns.
Davante Adams was predictably the biggest beneficiary with a career-high, franchise-record-tying 14 catches for 156 yards and two scores. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard each reached the end zone, too, as Green Bay had its way with a Minnesota defence renovated this year out of salary-cap necessity as hefty new contracts were given to quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook.
Aaron Jones rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown for the Packers, who posted their highest score against the Vikings since a 44-31 victory at the Metrodome on Oct. 27, 2013.
Cook rushed 12 times for 50 yards, two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions. Adam Thielen caught six passes for 110 yards, two scores and another 2-pointer, but Cousins underthrew him in the final minute of the first half. Jaire Alexander, who also had a safety on an untouched cornerback blitz in the second quarter, made the bobbling interception.
Then Rodgers hit Valdes-Scantling on a fade route up the right sideline with rookie Cameron Dantzler in position but too late to turn for the ball, a 45-yard touchdown that gave Green Bay a 22-7 lead with 11 seconds left in the first half.
Washington 27, Eagles 17
Peyton Barber ran for two touchdowns and Dwayne Haskins rallied Washington from a 17-point deficit to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-17 Sunday in head coach Ron Rivera’s debut.
After falling behind 17-0 following a pair of touchdown passes by Carson Wentz, Washington relied on a punishing defence and opportunistic offence in its first game since owner Dan Snyder finally agreed to change the team’s name and former employees alleged sexual harassment in the organization.
Rivera lived up to his “Riverboat Ron” nickname earned in nine seasons with Carolina. In his first game after finding out he has a form of skin cancer, Rivera went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Eagles five with the score tied midway through the fourth quarter. Barber ran for the first down and then scored from the three-yard line to give Washington a 24-17 lead.
Wentz was sacked eight times and threw two costly interceptions behind an injury-depleted offence line featuring two guys — right tackle Jack Driscoll and right guard Nate Herbig — starting their first career games.
Ravens 38, Browns 6
Looking every bit like the reigning NFL MVP, Lamar Jackson threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns, ruining Kevin Stefanski’s debut as Cleveland’s head coach in a game played without fans in attendance.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic kept the seats empty and the play was sloppy following a preseason without any games, two constants prevailed: Jackson was the focal point of a high-powered offence and the Browns lost another opener.
Facing a Cleveland secondary depleted by injuries, Jackson completed 20 of 25 passes and racked up a team-high 45 yards on the ground. A year ago, the multi-faceted star set an NFL single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback and threw 36 TD passes.
The Browns were incapable of stopping him. As a result, Cleveland still hasn’t opened with a victory since 2004.
Patriots 21, Dolphins 11
Cam Newton looked just fine as Tom Brady’s replacement, rushing for two touchdowns.
Newton rushed for 15 times for 75 yards and threw for 155 yards, leading a Patriots offensive attack that did most of its damage on the ground in their first game since the departure of Brady to Tampa Bay as a free agent. Sony Michel added a touchdown for New England, which had 217 of its 357 yards on the ground. Newton was 15 of 19 passing.
Miami struggled for most of the game offensively and lost top receiver DeVante Parker, who left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 20 of 30 for 191 yards and three interceptions. Miami was held to 269 total yards.
Seahawks 38, Falcons 25
Russell Wilson was cooking right from the start, throwing four touchdown passes. With the Falcons not allowing fans for at least their first two homes games because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Seahawks took advantage of what was essentially a neutral site to pull away in the second half.
Wilson completed 31 of 35 passes for 322 yards, throwing a pair of TD passes in the first quarter as Seattle built a 14-12 halftime lead, adding two more in the third quarter to put the Falcons away.
The biggest one came after the Falcons made what looked to be a crucial stop, leaving the Seahawks with fourth-and-5 at the Atlanta 38. The offence stayed on the field, but instead of going for the first down with a short throw, Wilson lofted one to DK Metcalf, who was streaking toward the end zone.
Metcalf beat cornerback Isaiah Oliver and hauled in the perfectly thrown ball without breaking stride to push Seattle to a 21-12 lead.
On the ensuing possession, Atlanta attempted a fake punt on fourth-and-2 from its 33. Blocking back Sharrod Neasman took a direct snap and had enough for the first down on a run up the middle, only to fumble the ball. It was recovered by Seattle’s Freddie Swain at the 36. Five plays later, Wilson zipped his fourth TD pass of the game.