Fournette keeps the rookie running back train rolling
HOUSTON — Leonard Fournette ran for 100 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut, and Jacksonville had 10 sacks and forced four turnovers to help the Jaguars to a 29-7 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
The Texans hoped to provide a boost to the area ravaged by Hurricane Harvey with a win. Instead, Tom Savage struggled behind a porous line and was benched in favour of rookie Deshaun Watson at halftime with Houston down 19-0.
Blake Bortles threw for 125 yards and a touchdown, Calais Campbell had four sacks and Dante Fowler returned a fumble 53 yards for a score as the Jaguars snapped a sixgame skid against Houston.
J.J. Watt returned after missing 13 games last season after back surgery, but injured his finger in the first half and finished with just one tackle.
The Texans punted on their first four possessions, and the fifth one ended when Savage fumbled on a sack by Yannick Ngakoue and the Jaguars recovered the ball.
Fournette, the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, added his 1-yard touchdown after that.
Savage was sacked six times in the first half, playing behind a line without veteran left tackle Duane Brown, who is holding out.
Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdown passes and the new-look Bills won in Sean McDermott’s debut as Buffalo’s coach.
Mike Tolbert also scored on a 1-yard run, while Buffalo’s defence had three interceptions, including linebacker Ramon Humber picking off Josh McCown’s pass to thwart a 2-point conversion in the third quarter.
Safety Micah Hyde, a free agent off-season addition, sealed the victory by intercepting McCown at Buffalo’s 41 to end the Jets’ final series.
Taylor was 16 of 28 for 224 yards and an interception.
The victory came in McDermott’s first game since the former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator took over in January after Rex Ryan was fired in the final week of last season.
Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to tight end Jesse James as the Steelers, with minimal help from Le’Veon Bell, opened the season by holding off the Browns.
Roethlisberger improved to 21-2 against the Browns, who gave their rivals all they could handle — a positive sign for coach Hue Jackson and Cleveland fans after a horrid 1-15 season.
But the Browns couldn’t stop AllPro wide receiver Antonio Brown, who made a leaping catch in traffic for 38 yards with 2:26 left to seal Pittsburgh’s win. Brown finished with 11 receptions for 182 yards.
Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer had pulled the Browns within three on a 3-yard TD pass to Corey Coleman followed by a 2-point conversion.
The Browns have lost 13 straight openers. Cleveland’s defence played well despite not having top overall pick Myles Garrett, who injured his ankle earlier this week.
Bell, who skipped training camp in a contract dispute, ran tentatively and gained just 32 yards on 10 carries. He rejoined his teammates last week and signed his $12.1 million franchise tag, far less than he feels he deserves.
Matt Ryan threw an 88-yard touchdown to Austin Hooper and led two fourth-quarter scoring drives as the NFC champions held on.
The butt of jokes following their epic Super Bowl collapse against New England, the Falcons survived as the Bears had a first down at the Atlanta 5 in the closing minute. Mike Glennon’s pass to a lunging Josh Bellamy on first down hit off the receiver’s hands, and Jordan Howard then dropped a simple catch at the 1.
After another incompletion on third down, Glennon got sacked by Brooks Reed.
Atlanta was clinging to a 13-10 lead early in the fourth when a scrambling Ryan fired to a wideopen Hooper near midfield. The second-year tight end from Stanford raced up the right side and stiff-armed Quintin Demps on the way to the end zone.
The Bears then went 75 yards, with Glennon hitting rookie Tarik Cohen for a 19-yard TD midway through the fourth to cut it to 20-17. Atlanta’s Matt Bryant answered with a 37-yard field goal, making it 23-17.
Derek Carr threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns, and Carr won his third straight against Marcus Mariota and the Titans in as many years.
Amari Cooper caught a TD pass as the Raiders made the Titans pay for opening the season with an onside kick they couldn’t recover. Marshawn Lynch also looked very refreshed after his year away from football. Lynch finished with 18 carries for 76 yards.
Giorgio Tavecchio kicked field goals of 20, 52, 52 and 43 yards in his NFL debut. He was signed Friday to fill in for the Raiders’ alltime leading scorer and 18-year veteran Sebastian Janikowski, who’s on injured reserve with a bad back. Tavecchio has spent time in training camp with the Raiders the past four seasons but had never kicked in a regular-season game.
Carson Wentz threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns as the second-year quarterback guided the Eagles in a sloppy, mistakefilled season opener.
Wentz was 26 of 39 and threw an interception that Ryan Kerrigan returned for a touchdown. But Wentz made fewer errors than Washington’s Kirk Cousins, who was picked off at the goal line and fumbled twice. Cousins’ second fumble was forced by Brandon Graham and returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Fletcher Cox in the final minutes, putting the game away.
Matthew Stafford threw two of his four touchdown passes to rookie Kenny Golladay in the fourth quarter.
The Lions picked off three of Carson Palmer’s passes, returning one for a score. They also knocked David Johnson out of the game after forcing him to fumble in the third quarter Sunday.
Detroit set an NFL record last year by rallying to win eight games after trailing in the final quarter and opened this season with another comeback.
The Cardinals scored the first 10 points of the game and led 17-9 late in the third quarter before giving up 26 straight points.
Stafford’s first pass was returned 82 yards for a touchdown by Justin Bethel, but the player with the richest contract in the NFL bounced back. He was 29 for 41 yards for 292 yards and threw 45- and 10-yard TD passes to Golladay, along with short passes to Theo Riddick and Marvin Jones for scores.
Baltimore’s rebuilt defence picked off Andy Dalton four times and forced him to fumble, making it easy for Joe Flacco in his return from a back injury.
The Ravens ended a five-game losing streak in Cincinnati by pressuring Dalton into matching his career high for interceptions, three of them in the first half. The Ravens got a pair of touchdowns 24 seconds apart late in the half to take control, with Jeremy Maclin scoring on a 48-yard run-andcatch.
Jared Goff passed for a careerhigh 306 yards and a touchdown in his first victory as an NFL starter, and the Los Angeles Rams routed the Indianapolis Colts 46-9 Sunday in Sean McVay’s impressive debut as the youngest head coach in modern league history.
Todd Gurley had 40 yards rushing and 56 yards receiving while the Rams roared to a 37-3 lead in the third quarter. Los Angeles snapped a six-game skid at the Coliseum with its most impressive performance since returning home from St. Louis last year.
Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree celebrated the win with a Gatorade shower for McVay on the sideline in the final minutes.
Los Angeles’ defence also excelled against fill-in Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien. Trumaine Johnson intercepted Tolzien’s first pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown, while Lamarcus Joyner returned another pick 29 yards for another score in the third quarter.
Cam Newton threw a pair of touchdown passes following San Francisco turnovers and the Carolina defence shut down Kyle Shanahan’s offence in his coaching debut as the Panthers beat the 49ers 23-3 Sunday.
Newton threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Russell Shepard in the first half following a fumble by Brian Hoyer, then a 9-yard touchdown to Jonathan Stewart in the third quarter after Luke Kuechly intercepted Hoyer.
That helped the Panthers get off to a good start in the season opener following last year’s disappointing 6-10 finish . Despite the touchdowns, Newton did not look particularly sharp after playing just one series in the preseason as he recovered from surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.
Green Bay defensive lineman Mike Daniels’ strip sack of Russell Wilson deep in Seattle territory in the third quarter set up Ty Montgomery’s 6-yard touchdown run on the next play to spark the Packers’ 17-9 win on Sunday.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was 28 of 42 for 311 yards and added a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson to make it an eight-point game late in the third quarter.
Rodgers’ regular-season streak of passes without an interception ended at a career-high 251. The Seahawks defence reinforced by the return of safety Earl Thomas bottled up receivers from making many big plays and put plenty of pressure on Rodgers.
But the Packers started denting Seattle with runs or quick passes to Nelson, Randall Cobb and Montgomeryinthesecondhalf,chewing up clock in the process. A 12-play, 53-yard drive that took up more than 5minutesendedwithMasonCrosby’s 40-yard field goal with 8:01 left to make it a two-score game. The Associated Press
Jacksonville Jaguars’ rookie running back Leonard Fournette is tackled by Benardrick McKinney, of the Houston Texans, in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium, on Sunday, in Houston, Texas.