Bitter start to the season for Joe Burrow and his Cincinnati Bengals: The most expensive player in the NFL sits on the bench at the end of the defeat against the Cleveland Browns. The San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens celebrate opening victories in style. The Saturday games at a glance.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns 3:24 (0:10)
First new contract, then completely off his game: Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had a nightmare start to the season in his first game after signing his $275 million contract with the Browns. In pouring rain, the Browns defence and running game dominated the encounter. Burrow, who was battling a calf blister, finished with a weak 82 passing yards on just 14 passes received out of 31 thrown.
Burrow spent the final minutes of the game on the sidelines even on his own possession. Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson finished with 154 passing yards, one touchdown pass, one interception and ran for a touchdown for his team.
For the Cleveland Browns it was the first win in an opening game since 2004. Bitter for the Browns: Offensive tackle Jack Conklin had to leave the field before halftime with a knee injury.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons 10:24 (7:7)
Bitter start for this year’s number one pick Bryce Young as the Carolina Panthers’ starting quarterback. Young found his master in Falcons safety Jessie Bates: Bates caught two Young passes for interceptions.
Young ended up with 146 passing yards, one touchdown and the two interceptions.
Things went better for Falcons first-round pick Bijan Robinson. The running back scored the first touchdown of the game. The match-winner for the Falcons was running back Tyler Allgeier with two touchdowns.
Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder had 115 passing yards and one touchdown. Only three of his 18 passes were incomplete.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts 31:21 (14:7)
The Indianapolis Colts not only lost their opening game, but also rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson shortly before the end. It started well for the first-round pick: Richardson proved his running strength among other things with the first touchdown of the season for the Colts still in the first quarter. However, it was also an interception by the rookie five minutes before the end that dashed the Colts’ hopes of an opening win. In the following drive, Travis Etienne set the course for a Jaguars victory with a touchdown. Shortly before the end, the rookie had to be replaced after a tackle on Gardner Minshew’s shoulder.
Richardson ended up with 223 passing yards, a passing touchdown, a touchdown run and the interception. Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars had 241 passing yards, two touchdown passes and one interception.
Most curious scene of the game: After a fumble by Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars offence already shut down. DeForest Buckner said thanks and carried the ball into the end zone for a touchdown.
Tennessee Titans at New Orleans Saints 15:16 (9:6)
Derek Carr’s quarterback debut with the New Orleans Saints ended in a narrow victory in a duel of two weak offenses. A decent Carr performance (305 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception) was enough, also because his counterpart Ryan Tannehill had a pitch-black day with three interceptions. Running back Derrick Henry had 63 rushing yards and 56 receiving yards, but could not contribute a touchdown.
San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers 30:7 (20:7)
Brock Purdy to Brandon Aiyuk – it was a matchup on Game 1. The first two touchdowns of the game came from the duo of quarterback Purdy and receiver Aiyuk. The Steelers only managed to gain one yard of space before the half-time break and woke up too late.
Purdy ended up with 220 passing yards and the two touchdown passes. Steelers quarterback Kenny Picket made two interceptions. On the plus side, he had 232 passing yards and a touchdown.
Bitter for Pittsburgh: Wide receiver Diontae Johnson suffered a thigh injury and had to leave in the third quarter. The 49ers then managed their lead and won in the end without any problems.
Arizona Cardinals at Washington Commanders 16:20 (13:10)
The first game under new team owner Josh Harris threatened to go thoroughly wrong for the Washington Commanders. When they trailed in the third quarter, the home crowd booed. But in the end it was still enough to win against the underdogs from Arizona.
Commanders quarterback Sam Howell, who had to be treated briefly after a violent tackle on the sidelines in the first quarter, had 202 passing yards, a touchdown pass and ran for a touchdown himself. He made an interception
Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs totalled 133 yards for no gain.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings 20:17 (10:10)
In their first game without Tom Brady, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up an away win in Minnesota. Brady’s replacement Baker Mayfield put in a decent performance with two touchdowns and 173 passing yards on 21 passes received on 34 attempts.
Vikings playmaker Kirk Cousins finished with 344 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Minnesota wide receiver Justin Jefferson got off to a furious start to the season, racking up 138 receiving yards by halftime, but could only add 12 yards in the second half.
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens 9:25 (6:7)
Running back Justice Hill was the match-winner with two touchdowns in the Ravens’ opening victory over the Texans. A mediocre performance by quarterback Lamar Jackson with 169 passing and 38 rushing yards was enough. Jackson was not involved in any touchdowns and caused one interception.
Baltimore’s running back JK Dobbins is facing a season-ending injury if a suspected ruptured Achilles tendon is confirmed. Dobbins had previously scored a rushing touchdown.
For the Texans, rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud had 230 passing yards in his NFL debut. However, the Texans failed to score a touchdown.