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’ offseason.
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. Rookie running back Alfred Morris rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Aldrick Robinson, making his NFL debut, had a touchdown catch among four receptions for 52 yards.
Drew Brees uncharacteristically struggled with accuracy, completing only 46 percent of his throws with two interceptions. However, his 339 yards passing and three TDs kept the Saints in the game until his last desperate pass was picked off by Reed Doughty near the Redskins’ goal line.
Bears 41, Colts 21
In 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 four-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery early in the fourth quarter.
He also was intercepted three times — twice by Tim Jennings — in an up-and-down effort as he steps in for the departed Peyton Manning. Reggie Wayne caught nine passes for 135 yards. However, it was a familiar result for a team with new management and a new coach in Chuck Pagano.
Eagles 17, Browns 16
In Cleveland, Ohio, 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 led the Eagles on a 91-yard scoring drive, capping it with his short toss to Harbor on his career-high 56th pass.
Before Vick rallied his team, he played poorly and showed rustiness after playing just 12 snaps during preseason because of injuries. 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.
Broncos 31, Steelers 19
In Denver, Colorado, Peyton Manning made a successful return from a year’s sabbatical, leading the Broncos past the Steelers. The four-time MVP coming off four neck surgeries completed 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
He got a big assist from another free agent, cornerback Tracy Porter, whose 43-yard interception return of a Ben Roethlisberger pass with two minutes left sealed the win. Manning, jettisoned by the Indianapolis Colts in March after missing all of last season with a nerve injury that weakened his throwing arm, hit Demaryius Thomas with a 71-yard touchdown toss for his first as a Bronco. It was his 400th career TD toss.
49ers 30, Packers 22
In Geen Bay, Wisconsin, San Francisco’s defense smothered Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense 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 defense held the Packers in the final minute to come away with a big win to open the season.