San Francisco, Calif. — Colin Kaepernick kicked off his first full season as San Francisco’s starting signal-caller with a resounding win over the same team he torched in last year’s NFC Divisional Playoffs.
Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and three scores, while Frank Gore’s go-ahead 1-yard touchdown late in the fourth helped the reigning NFC champion 49ers claim a 34-28 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the season opener for both teams at Candlestick Park.
Kaepernick completed 27-of-39 passes and became the first San Francisco quarterback to throw for 400- plus yards since Tim Rattay accomplished the feat on Nov. 10, 2004. Anquan Boldin, acquired from Baltimore for a sixth-round pick in the offseason, quickly asserted himself as Kaepernick’s favorite target, hauling in 13 passes for 208 yards and a score.
New England 23, Buffalo 21
Orchard Park, NY — Danny Amendola Amendola returned to play a key role in the Patriots’ season-opening come-from-behind win over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Trailing by a point, the New England defense forced a three-and-out. The Patriots got the ball back with 4:31 to play in the fourth quarter, and quarterback Tom Brady twice hooked up with Amendola to convert third downs, the latter a 10-yard gain on 3rd-and-8 from the Buffalo 39. Shane Vereen followed with a 15-yard run around left tackle on the next play, setting up Stephen Gostkowski’s game-winning 35-yard field goal with five seconds left.
Chicago 24, Cincinnati 21
Chicago, Ill. — Jay Cutler hooked up with Brandon Marshall for a go-ahead 19-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, as the Chicago Bears began the Marc Trestman era with a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the season opener for both teams on Sunday at Soldier Field.
Cutler finished 21-of-33 passing for 242 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Marshall hauled in eight passes for 104 yards and the deciding score for the Bears (1-0), who went 10-6 last season but missed out on the playoffs after losing a tiebreaker with Minnesota for the sixth seed in the NFC.
Miami 23, Cleveland 10
Cleveland, Ohio — Ryan Tannehill threw for 272 yards with a touchdown and the Miami defense came up with three interceptions and six sacks in a victory over Cleveland, as the new-look Dolphins handed the Browns their ninth straight season-opening loss and spoiled the head coaching debut for Cleveland’s Rob Chudzinski.
Tannehill, a 2012 first-round pick in his second year as Miami’s starting quarterback, completed 24-of-38 passes for the Dolphins (1-0), who were 7-9 last year in Joe Philbin’s first season as head coach.
Detroit 34, Minnesota 24
Detroit, Mich. — Reggie Bush totaled almost 200 yards in his Detroit debut and Matthew Stafford had two touchdown passes in the second half, as the Lions took a victory over the Minnesota Vikings to open the season.
Bush, a free agent signing in the offseason, finished the game with 191 yards of total offense and a touchdown. He had 21 carries for 90 yards, while adding four catches for 101 yards and a score. Stafford went 28-for-43 for 357 yards and two touchdowns, along with one interception for the Lions (1-0), who lost their final eight games last season to finish the 2012 campaign with a record of 4-12.
Indianapolis 21, Oakland 17
Indianapolis, Ind. — Andrew Luck tossed two touchdown passes and ran for the go-ahead score, as the Indianapolis Colts survived with a opening day win over the Oakland Raiders.
Trailing 17-14 midway through the final period, Luck scampered 19 yards to the end zone to give the Colts a lead, which they held thanks to a timely interception by Antoine Bethea with 31 seconds remaining. Luck finished 18-of-23 with 178 yards for the Colts (1-0), who surprised many by grabbing a wild card spot last season with an 11-5 record. Reggie Wayne caught eight passes for 96 yards and a score and Vick Ballard gained 63 yards on the ground.
Kansas City 28, Jacksonville 2
Jacksonville, Fla — Alex Smith threw a pair of touchdown passes and Jamaal Charles ran for a score in Kansas City’s 28-2 demolition of the Jaguars.
Smith, who was traded from San Francisco in the offseason, completed 21-of-34 passes for 173 yards. Charles rushed for 77 yards on 16 carries for the Chiefs, who went 2-14 last season, tied with Jacksonville for the worst mark in the NFL.
New Orleans 23, Atlanta 17
New Orleans, La. — Drew Brees threw for 357 yards and two touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints’ much-maligned defense came up with a huge stop late to preserve a victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Brees did his part as well, shaking off a second-half interception to complete 26-of-35 throws that included a 7- yard connection with Jimmy Graham that put New Orleans (1-0) up 20-17 with 6:22 left in the third quarter.
NY Jets 18, Tampa Bay 17
East Rutherford, NJ — New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith drew a personal foul penalty that set Nick Folk up for a game-winning 48-yard field goal, lifting New York to a thrilling win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Jets defense made a critical mistake when it left Vincent Jackson uncovered on the possession prior, with the receiver’s 37-yard catch allowing Rian Lindell to kick a go-ahead 37-yard field goal with 34 seconds left. Behind by two points and time against him, Smith fired a 25-yard pass to Kellen Winslow and spiked the ball to stop the clock prior to his scamper that set New York (1-0) up for the winning score.
Tennessee 16, Pittsburgh 9
Pittsburgh, Pa. — The Tennessee Titans overcame a mistake on the opening kickoff to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Titans (1-0) scored 16 straight points after return man Darius Reynaud’s mental mistake gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead just seconds into the game. Jake Locker completed 11-of-20 passes for 125 yards for Tennessee, which went 6-10 last season. Jackie Battle scored his first touchdown as a member of the Titans.
St. Louis 27, Arizona 24
St. Louis, Mo. — Sam Bradford threw for 299 yards, Jared Cook had a monster debut and Greg Zuerlein’s fourth field goal of the day lifted the St. Louis Rams over the Arizona Cardinals.
Cook caught both of Bradford’s touchdown passes, amassing 141 yards on seven catches, with his last reception going for 25 yards and helping to set up Zuerlein’s go-ahead 48-yard field goal. Bradford completed 27-of-38 throws and bounced back from a third quarter interception to lead the Rams (1-0) to scores on three of their last four series to cap a comeback victory.
Dallas 36, NY Giants 31
Arlington, Texas — Brandon Carr’s game-sealing 49-yard interception return for touchdown late in the fourth quarter lifted the Dallas Cowboys to a triumph over the New York Giants on Sunday night.
The Giants, who had been unbeaten in four prior trips to the $1.2 billion AT&T Stadium, tallied three of their six turnovers within the first 6:10 of the game.