Sunday, September 11, 2016

Jimmy Garoppolo helps Patriots beat Cardinals 23-21

 Jimmy Garoppolo, starting in place of suspended Tom Brady, threw for 264 yards and a touchdown, leading the severely depleted New England Patriots to a 23-21 victory over the favored Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night.
Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed a 47-yard field goal with 41 seconds to play.
The miss came after Garoppolo, in his first NFL start, directed the Patriots from their own 19 to the Arizona 15 to set up Stephen Gostkowski's 23-yard field goal for what proved to be the winner with 3:44 to play.
Garappolo completed 24 of 33 passes with no interceptions. Arizona'sCarson Palmer threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns, both to Larry Fitzgerald.
Not only were the Patriots without Brady, suspended for his role in "deflategate," but they also didn't have tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive end Rob Ninkovich and two starters on the offensive line.
A remarkable 45-yard run by David Johnson set up a 2-yard, over-the-shoulder touchdown catch by Fitzgerald that gave the Cardinals their only lead of the night, 21-20, with 9:46 remaining.
Ex-Patriot Chandler Jones sacked Garoppolo on the first play of New England's next possession, but the young quarterback still set up the winning kick by Gostkowski, who also booted a 53-yarder.
A holding penalty hampered the final Arizona drive but a pass to Jaron Brown put the Cardinals within field-goal range. The snap was low and Catanzaro booted the ball to the left of the uprights.
New England, a five-point underdog, took the lead on its first possession and scored again to start the second half.
Up 10-7 at the break, the Patriots took the second-half kickoff and went 70 yards in nine plays. Rookie cornerbackBrandon Williams was beaten badly for the second time on Garoppolo's 28-yard pass to the Arizona 8. LaGarrette Blount bulled it in from there and the Patriots led 17-7 with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.
The first two Arizona touchdowns followed New England turnovers.
REMARKABLE RUN
Johnson's remarkable run featured about every tool in the running back kit.
He jump cut into the line, spun away from a would-be tackler, put his hand on the ground to steady his balance and stiff-armed another defender before racing down the sidelines. That set up a pretty over-the-shoulder catch by Fitzgerald, the 100th TD reception of his career.
FAST START
Garoppolo got off to a fast start, overthrowing the receiver on his first pass then completing four straight for 75 yards. He took advantage of blown coverage by Williams to throw to a wide open Chris Hogan for 37 yards and a touchdown .
On their second possession, the Patriots drove from their 8 to the Arizona 29 and Gostkowski's 47-yard field goal made it 10-0.
TURNOVER NO. 1
The only turnover of the first half led to Arizona's lone first-half score.
Garoppolo took a hit from Markus Golden and fumbled . Jones, acquired in an offseason trade with New England, recovered for Arizona at the New England 40.
NO DANCING
A celebration dance by Jones and D.J. Swearinger drew a 15-yard penalty but Arizona after the turnover but the Cardinals still drove for a score.
Palmer threw 2 yards to Fitzgerald to cut the lead to 10-7 with 6:20 left in the first half.

Prater gets redemption with late field in 39-35 win at Indy

 Matthew Stafford took advantage of one last chance Sunday and Matt Prater redeemed himself with a 43-yard field goal with 8 seconds to give the Detroit Lions a 39-35 victory at Indianapolis.
Prater missed an extra point wide right with 4:04 left in the season opener, a miscue that nearly cost the Lions.
Detroit won for only the second time in Indy, and it came just 37 seconds after it looked like Andrew Luck had rallied the Colts for an improbable last-minute victory.
It just wasn't enough to avoid Indy's third straight opening day loss in a wild finish.
After Prater's miss, Luck drove the Colts 75 yards and hooked up with Jack Doyle on a 6-yard TD pass with 37 seconds left. Adam Vinatieri's extra point gave the Colts a 35-34 lead.
This time, Stafford connected with receivers who took advantage of their speed against Indy's thin secondary. He quickly got the Lions into position for Prater to atone for the earlier miss.
Stafford was 31 of 39 for 340 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Indy was called for a safety on the final play of the game, for throwing an illegal forward pass in its end zone.
LUCK'S RETURN: In Luck's first meaningful game in more than 10 months, he started slowly and finished strong, as he usually does.
Luck wound up 31 of 47 for 385 yards with four touchdowns and had no turnovers - a stark contrast to his mistake-prone ways during an injury-riddled 2015 season.
KEY NUMBERS: Detroit averaged a league-low 83.4 yards rushing per game in 2015 but had 87 at halftime and finished with 116.
Frank Gore rushed 14 times for 59 yards, but the Colts extended their streak of consecutive games without a 100-yard rusher to 51.
SLOW START: Indianapolis spent the offseason looking for ways to start faster. The results didn't match the effort. Indy trailed 14-0 before Luck finally got in sync by finishing the first half with two scoring drives to make it 21-10.
OLYMPIC MOMENT: For the second straight day, Olympic gold medalist Lilly King received the loudest ovation of the Indiana contingent that competed at the Rio Olympics. On Saturday, Indiana University honored the Hoosiers who competed between the first and second quarters. On Sunday, the reaction was the same at halftime of Lions-Colts.
INJURY REPORT: Detroit's Theo Riddick left for a while to undergo the concussion protocol, but returned late in the game after being cleared.
Indy had three defenders go down on one series late in the first half: safety T.J. Green (sprained knee), cornerbackPatrick Robinson (medical evaluation), and linebacker Sio Moore. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie also left briefly in the first half, holding his left wrist. Moore and Cromartie returned. Green and Robinson did not. Safety Winston Guy(ankle) also left late in the game and did not return.

Manning hits Cruz for go-ahead TD, Giants top Cowboys 20-19

The salsa is back, and the New York Giants finally finished when the Dallas Cowboys failed to stop the clock in the final seconds.
Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score toVictor Cruz in his first game in nearly two years, and the Giants beat the Cowboys 20-19 Sunday.
The Giants (1-0) won the debut of coach Ben McAdoo after 12 years and two Super Bowl titles under Tom Coughlin while spoiling the first game for Dallas' Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Cruz, who missed most of 2014 with a knee injury and all of last season with a bad calf, broke free in the end zone for a 3-yard TD with 6 minutes remaining, prompting his trademark salsa dance.
"You couldn't even describe what was going through my body," said Cruz , who had four catches for 34 yards. "Wanted obviously to do the dance. I'm sure I've got that down pat.
"Everybody just pulled for me each and every day, each and every week as we got closer to Week 1. And to score a touchdown. You just couldn't make up a story any better than that."
Because of Tony Romo's back injury, Prescott and Elliott were the first rookie quarterback-running back combo to start an opener for the Cowboys since Roger Staubach and Calvin Hill in 1969.
The game ended with Dallas in position for a roughly 57-yard field goal, but Terrance Williams didn't get out of bounds after a catch and the clock ran out before Prescott could spike the ball.
Dan Bailey had four field goals, matched his career long at 56 yards and had another one from 54.
"The guy was trying to make a play," Prescott said of Williams. "You never want to knock a guy trying to make a play."
Randy Bullock, kicking because of Josh Brown's one-game suspension, made the extra point for the lead after an earlier missed PAT.
New York beat Dallas in an opener for the first time in nine tries.
The Giants' defense, fortified in free agency, held Dallas after the go-ahead score. Then the Giants emphasized the run to use most of the clock, quite a contrast to last season when questionable clock management contributed to six losses late in regulation or in overtime in a 6-10 season.
Elliott was held to a 2.5-yard average (51 yards on 21 carries), although he had his first touchdown, and the only one for Dallas. Prescott was 25 of 45 for 227 yards.
Manning was 19 of 28 for 207 yards, including a 45-yarder to Odell Beckham Jr. set up the first TD.
ANOTHER ROOKIE FIRST
New York receiver Sterling Shepard, the son of late former NFL receiver Derrick Sheppard, scored his first touchdown against one of his dad's former teams. The second-round pick made a leaping catch over Dallas rookie Anthony Brownfor a 9-yard score.
LOSING WITHOUT ROMO AGAIN
The Cowboys fell to 1-12 without Romo since the first of two broken collarbones last season in Week 2. Dallas lost the first seven without its four-time Pro Bowler on the way to a 4-12 finish. Romo broke a bone in his back in a preseason game at Seattle. He probably won't be back until mid-October at the earliest.
DEZ DIDN'T CATCH IT
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant had an apparent 24-yard touchdown catch from Prescott overturned on review in the first half when the replay showed the ball coming loose as he landed and slid out of bounds in the end zone. Of course, the sequence sparked an immediate "Dez caught it/Dez didn't catch it" reaction on Twitter. The catch that wasn't in Green Bay in the playoffs two seasons ago will apparently live forever.
INJURIES
New York linebacker J.T. Thomas III was carted off with a sprained knee at halftime after getting hurt on a kickoff return on the final play of the first half. He didn't return. ... Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who missed all of 2015 with a knee injury, was out part of the first half with a hamstring injury. He returned and had a sack in the second half.

Behind Wilson, Seattle rallies for 12-10 win over Miami

Hobbled by an ankle injury, Russell Wilson pulled off another fourth-quarter comeback, throwing a 2-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin with 31 seconds left, giving the Seattle Seahawks a 12-10 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The expected contenders in the NFC looked flawed offensively and buckled defensively in the fourth quarter, giving up an 86-yard touchdown drive toRyan Tannehill that gave the Dolphins a 10-6 lead with 4:08 remaining.
That's when Wilson went to work, playing on a right ankle that twisted badly in the third quarter as he was sacked by Ndamukong Suh. Seattle converted fourth-and-1 early in the drive on a 7-yard run by Christine Michael, but the big play was Wilson finding Baldwin for 22 yards on a crossing route on fourth-and-4 near midfield.
Wilson hit Baldwin in the corner of the end zone to give Seattle the lead. The extra point was partially blocked by Miami's Jason Jones, but it didn't matter.
Wilson's 19th fourth quarter or overtime comeback ruined Adam Gase's debut as coach in Miami. The Dolphins were stymied by Seattle's defense for three quarters before putting together an impressive drive to take the lead.
Miami had just 145 yards total offense until the winning drive. Tannehill was 4 of 5, hitting Jarvis Landry for 28 yards and Damien Williams for 29 to reach the Seattle 2. Two plays later, Tannehill bulled across the goal line on a designed draw.
ANKLE DAMAGE: Wilson was hobbled after he was sacked by Suh for a 13-yard loss. As he was going down, Suh clipped the back of Wilson's foot and caused the foot and ankle to turn awkwardly. Wilson limped through the possession before getting examined on the sideline and having his foot and ankle taped. He finished 27 of 43 for 258 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Tannehill was 16 of 29 for 186 yards.
MISSED IT: Miami missed on three great scoring chances. On fourth-and-1 at the Seattle 17 in the first quarter, Tannehill tried to draw the Seahawks offside before handing off to Arian Foster, who was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. On their next series, Kenny Stills got free behind Seattle's secondary only to drop what would have been a sure touchdown. And in the third quarter, Andrew Franks' 27-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Cassius Marsh.
ANTHEM ATTENTION : Foster, Stills, Michael Thomas and Jelani Jenkins all took a knee on the Miami sideline just before the national anthem began. The four held their hands over their hearts as the anthem played and stood immediately at its conclusion.
The Dolphins released a statement saying they encourage players and staff to stand during the anthem, but recognize an "individual's right to reflect during the anthem in different ways."
On the opposite sideline, Seahawks players and coaches locked arm in arm. That included defensive back Jeremy Lane, who sat during the national anthem in the preseason finale in Oakland in a sign of support for San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
INJURIES: Dolphins - Mario Williams left in the second half to be evaluated for a concussion. He did not return. DTEarl Mitchell also suffered a calf injury in the first half.
Seahawks - Rookie RB C.J. Prosise suffered a wrist injury in the first half and was seen on the sideline with a cast on his wrist.

Rodgers accounts for 3 TDs, Packers beat Jaguars 27-23

 Aaron Rodgers was far from impressed with his season opener.
He was concerned that Green Bay's offense wasn't effective early and had some struggles in the red zone. Nonetheless, the Packers' harshest critic was a big reason they won a close game on the road in sweltering heat.
Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading Green Bay to a 27-23 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the teams' season opener Sunday.
Rodgers looked every bit like a two-time league MVP. He extended plays with his feet, escaped sacks and was accurate all over the field.
"I don't think we played very well offensively," Rodgers said. "But we won. It's tough to win in this league. It's tough to win on the road."
Rodgers completed 20 of 34 passes for 199 yards, with TD passes to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. He was sacked once for no yards and didn't turn it over.
He helped the Packers win their second opener in the last five years. This one came on a hot and humid day that left some players cramping and others completely exhausted.
LOOK WHO'S BACK
Nelson played his first game since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the 2015 preseason. The injury significantly impacted Rodgers, who lost his best deep threat, and the offense, which fell to 23rd in the league and tied for 25th in passing.
Nelson didn't show big-play ability in the opener. He finished with six receptions for 32 yards, including a 6-yard TD in the second quarter.
FINAL SHOT
The Jaguars mounted a late drive that came up short on a fourth-and-1 play at the Packers 14. The Jaguars had converted their previous three fourth-down plays, but Allen Hurns failed to move the sticks on a bubble screen.
"We kind of knew that was what they were going to do," said Blake Bortles, who completed 24 of 39 passes for 320 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. "They are a big `bring the house' team, so we just have to execute. I should have done something differently. It was fourth-and-1 or whatever, so we just have to get it. If you don't, you lose."
VINTAGE RODGERS
With 13 seconds left in the first half, Adams hauled in a 29-yarder that was vintage Rodgers, who managed to get rid of the ball with a defender tugging at his jersey and still got enough on it to reach the end zone. Adams got up and pointed to the back of his jersey several times.
"You've got to make the tough ones," Adams said. "That's the caliber of receivers we have here and that's the standard we hold ourselves to. ... It was a tight window to get the ball in there, but the window was cracked. It was not a wide-open window."
IVORY HOSPITALIZED
Jaguars running back Chris Ivory was hospitalized Sunday with a "general medical issue" and was inactive for the opener. Ivory was taken by ambulance from the team hotel to a local hospital early Sunday. He was limited in three practices this week because of a calf injury, but the team said that was not related to his hospital stay.
"Chris Ivory is doing well and is expected to be released from the hospital in the next day or two," the Jaguars said. "More info will be provided at that time."
NO CALLS?
Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson finished with six catches for 72 yards, but there were nine more passes thrown his way. At least two of those, maybe more, could have been flagged for pass interference. The 2015 Pro Bowler took the high road.
"It's not about the calls," Robinson said. "Blake gave me a ton of opportunities to make a play. I've got to make more plays. Seeing that that's how the game is being called, I've got to adjust my physicality to the game."
Fellow receiver Marqise Lee placed the blame elsewhere.
"I don't know what the refs were looking at," Lee said. "We had some (penalties) we felt should have been called."

Osweiler solid in debut to lead Houston over Bears 23-14

The huge offseason investment the Houston Texans made inBrock Osweiler paid immediate dividends in the season opener.
Osweiler threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns in his debut with Houston to lead the Texans and their revamped offense to a 23-14 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
"I think he's everything that we thought he would be," Texans owner Bob McNair said.
Osweiler, who signed to a $72 million contract from Denver in the offseason, was helped by an offense filled with playmakers.
"There was nothing about the game that was perfect but we just kept playing ... and we made the big plays when we needed to," Osweiler said.
He completed passes to eight different receivers, led by rookie first-round pick Will Fuller, who became the first player in franchise history to have 100 yards receiving in a debut with 107 and a touchdown. DeAndre Hopkinsadded 54 yards and a score and running back Lamar Miller had 106 yards rushing in his first game with the Texans.
Osweiler's day started with a hiccup when he threw an interception on the first drive, but soon got going and looked comfortable after that.
Houston trailed by 1 point entering the fourth quarter before Osweiler found Fuller on a short pass and he scampered 18 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-14.
The Texans added a 38-yard field goal later in the quarter to make it 23-14.
Chicago's Jay Cutler threw for 216 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but was also sacked five times and hurried several others on a day when linebackers Whitney Mercilus and 2014 top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney led the pass rush.
"Those struggles occurred a little bit more in the second half when we had to play backyard football where we had to throw it to catch up," Chicago coach John Fox said. "They're a talented front and when you get too one-dimensional like that, it becomes problematic for everyone."
J.J. Watt didn't seem to be limited in his return after sitting out all of the preseason after back surgery. But last year's Defensive Player of the Year wasn't as effective as he normally is, and seemed to have a tough time dealing with three-time Pro Bowl left guard Josh Sitton.
WHAT'S NEXT
Chicago: The Bears have a Monday night matchup with the Eagles on Sept. 19.
Texans: Houston hosts Kansas City next Sunday, looking for a win to erase the memory of last season's 30-0 Wild-Card loss to the Chiefs.
CUSHING INJURED
Houston middle linebacker Brian Cushing, who had 110 tackles last season, injured his knee in the first quarter and did not return. Cushing started every game last season and 14 in 2014 after playing just 12 games combined in the previous two seasons because of two significant injuries to his left knee. Coach Bill O'Brien didn't specify exactly what the injury was after the game, but said he would miss some time and they'd have more details on Monday.
THEY SAID IT
"I love everything about him," Osweiler said of Fuller.
WHITE MAKES DEBUT
Bears receiver Kevin White, the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft, made his debut on Sunday after missing all of last season with a stress fracture in his left shin. He showed of flashes of the game-breaking ability that made him a top-10 pick and finished with 34 yards receiving. But his inexperience cost the Bears when he appeared to run a wrong route that led to an interception early in the third quarter.
"I'll talk to Kevin about it and that was his first game out there," Cutler said. "But it left my hands and it's my responsibility."
Alshon Jeffery led Chicago's receivers with 105 yards.
IS IT THE SHOES?
Hopkins became the first to wear low-top Kanye West-designed Yeezy Boost 350 cleats on Sunday.
He and two other Adidas players received the 350's on Friday, a day after Von Miller wore the high-top Yeezy Boost 750's in Denver's game against Carolina.
"They were great," Hopkins said of the shoes in the popular turtle dove colorway. "It was just Adidas cleats with the Yeezy design on them. It wasn't anything different than what I've already been wearing. Just the design."
The star receiver, who was second in the NFL with a career-high 1,521 yards receiving last season, compared his ones to those that Miller wore, which look more like a boot.
"I like Von's, but I prefer these."

Ravens go on defensive in 13-7 win over Bills

The Baltimore Ravens played defense in a fashion Rex Ryan could surely appreciate - even if the performance came at his team's expense.
Baltimore used a touchdown pass by Joe Flacco , two field goals and a throwback defensive effort to beat the Buffalo Bills 13-7 on Sunday in the season opener.
Getting 11 tackles from cornerback Shareece Wright, the Ravens limited Buffalo to 160 yards and sacked former teammate Tyrod Taylor twice.
That's how Baltimore played defense under Ryan from 1999-2008, and that's how it won the 2012 Super Bowl.
Ryan is now Buffalo's head coach, and it pained him to see his offense struggle against a defensive unit that last year yielded 401 points.
"It's a pretty darn good defense over there," Ryan said. "I'm probably one of the only coaches that'll give credit to the opponent because they deserve it. That defense played extremely well. They're well coached and they got after us."
Returning from a knee injury that ended his season last November, Flacco went 23 for 34 for 258 yards, including a long touchdown pass to newcomer Mike Wallace in the second quarter that put the Ravens ahead for good.
That, plus field goals of 50 and 37 yards by Justin Tucker, was enough for Baltimore's first season-opening victory since 2012.
Taylor used his quickness to avoid a ferocious pass rush, but he had little success passing downfield. He was 15 of 22 for only 111 yards and ran five times for 11 yards.
"Getting Tyrod on the ground is pretty difficult," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We would have had him a few more times, but he made plays with his feet."
Baltimore took a 10-0 lead when Wallace got behind Stephon Gilmore, took a pass in stride and pulled away for the 66-yard touchdown. Signed as a free agent to enhance an offense that last year lacked a deep threat, Wallace hadn't been part of a play that long since 2012 with Pittsburgh.
"We made one mistake: It's my fault, it's on me," Ryan said. "We should have doubled the receiver that caught the touchdown. Instead we doubled somebody else."
Buffalo used the elusiveness of Taylor in the pocket to close to 10-7 before halftime. After wriggling from the grasp ofAlbert McClellan and sidestepping Terrell Suggs, Taylor completed a 33-yard pass to Charles Clay, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by LeSean McCoy on fourth down.
The Bills missed a chance to pull even when Dan Carpenter was wide right on a 49-yard field goal try midway through the third quarter.
INJURY UPDATE: Bills starting LT Cory Glenn (ankle) and TE Jim Dray (ankle) both left with injuries in the second quarter and did not return. Bills DT Jerel Worthy left with a knee injury in the fourth quarter and did not return. The Ravens did not report any injuries.
ROOKIE BLUNDER & THUNDER: In his first NFL game, Ravens top draft pick left tackle Ronnie Stanley jumped offside on third-and-1 early in the first quarter. On Baltimore's next possession, the team's top pick in 2015, Breshad Perriman, made his first NFL reception with a leaping grab at the sideline for a 35-yard gain. Perriman missed the entire 2015 season with a knee injury.
WHERE'S WATKINS?: One reason Taylor was so successful last year was he utilized Sammy Watkins as a deep threat. Watkins was practically invisible during the first half, making only two short receptions for a total of 13 yards. Watkins finished with four catches for 43 yards.
SMITH & SUGGS RETURN: Ravens receiver Steve Smith and Suggs returned to regular-season action after having their 2015 season cut short by torn Achilles tendons. Smith caught five passes for 19 yards and stands 53 yards short of passing James Lofton for 10th place on the career list. Suggs had a sack.
NO HAPPY RETURNS: In his debut with the Ravens, Devin Hester, one of the great kick returners in NFL history, took back two kickoffs for 18 yards and two punts for 0 yards.
QUOTABLE: Someone asked Harbaugh to describe Flacco's stature in the pocket coming off a serious injury: "Joe is as tough as a $2 steak. What's a $2 steak nowadays?"
McCoy, who scored his 60th career TD: "It was a bad day. We didn't get nothing going sideways. "We had one long drive and that was it."

Chiefs overcome 17-point deficit, beat Chargers 33-27 in OT

 Alex Smith squirmed out of the pile in the end zone, got to his feet and let out a roar.
All it took was the largest comeback in the 56-year history of the Kansas City Chiefs for the stoic quarterback with the California cool to finally let some emotion show.
Smith threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns to rally his team from a three-touchdown hole, then scored on third-and-goal on the first possession of overtime for a heart-stopping 33-27 victory over the San Diego Chargers in their season opener Sunday.
"Lot of emotion at the end of the game," Smith said with a smile.
The Chiefs trailed 24-3 in the second half before mounting their charge, and it really kicked into gear when Smith hit Jeremy Maclin with a back-shoulder fade to get within 27-17 with 9 minutes to go.
Cairo Santos added a 33-yard field goal a few minutes later. Then, after forcing a three-and-out, Spencer Ware finished a four-play drive with a touchdown plunge to knot the game at 27.
It took Kansas City 10 plays to march 75 yards in overtime. Smith finished it with his plunge from the 2-yard line, keeping the ball rather than pitch when the smallest of creases opened.
By the time Smith reached his feet, the Chiefs had flooded onto the field to celebrate.
"You're going to have games like this that show your character, show your grit," coach Andy Reid said. "I'm proud of the way they handled it. They had confidence in each other."
Philip Rivers threw for 243 yards and a touchdown, and Melvin Gordon scored the first two TDs of his career. But the Chargers were unable to keep any drives going in the fourth quarter, when the Chiefs were charging to their NFL-leading 11th consecutive regular-season victory.
"You just can't let them back in. We've got to close it," Chargers offensive tackle Joe Barksdale said. "Everybody with eyes who saw the game has got to know, we have to close it. It's not acceptable to be up by 24-3 and lose the game. We know that."
The collapse came after San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen left in the second quarter with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. He already had six catches for 63 yards.
Even without Allen, the retooled Chargers and their improved offensive line managed to build a 21-3 halftime lead. And it looked as if their eight-game skid against AFC West rivals would finally end.
That all changed once the fourth quarter began.
Josh Lambo missed a 54-yard field goal with San Diego leading 27-10, and the momentum swung toward Kansas City. Smith calmly completed six passes and marched his team 56 yards to the end zone, Santos hit his field goal and Ware his touchdown run, and the game was headed to overtime.
The Chiefs carried their newfound momentum all the way to the finish.
BLACK POWER
Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters held a black-gloved fist aloft during the national anthem in a salute reminiscent of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. It was his way of standing beside 49ers quarterbackColin Kaepernick's stance on social injustice.
"I'm supporting Colin and what he's doing, as far as raising awareness with the justice system," said Peters, who grew up in Oakland, California. "Coach said it was OK if I wanted to express my thoughts about what I wanted to do, so I just expressed it."
Peters did link his left arm with his teammates as country singer Trace Adkins performed the anthem. The Chiefs said in a statement they decided to lock arms in a show of solidarity.
MISSING NAMES
The Chiefs played without star pass rusher Justin Houston , who could be out until November as he recovers from ACL surgery in February. The Chargers were without defensive end Joey Bosa, the third pick in April's draft, who remained on the exempt list after a lengthy holdout.
RUNNING IT: Ware finished with 70 yards rushing and had seven catches for 129 yards, giving the Chiefs a big boost without Jamaal Charles. The four-time Pro Bowl running back is still recovering from surgery last season to repair his ACL and was inactive Sunday.
INJURY REPORT
Allen missed the final eight games last season with a lacerated kidney , and now could be out the rest of this season. He never put weight on his right knee after going down Sunday.
"There is speculation about an ACL," coach Mike McCoy said, "but we'll run tests when we get back home."
Chiefs linebacker Sam Barrington left in the second half with a hamstring injury.

Gutsy call lifts Raiders past Saints, 35-34

For Oakland coach Jack Del Rio, calling for a do-or-die, 2-point conversion was less a gamble than a philosophical declaration.
Del Rio had no interest in a conservative point-after kick, and let his offense know it well before the decision had to be made. So when Derek Carr hit Seth Roberts for a 10-yard touchdown to cut New Orleans lead to a single point with 47 seconds left, kicker Sebastian Janikowski stood far from the action, helmet at his side, watching as Carr delivered a decisive fade pass to Michael Crabtree for a 35-34, season opening victory Sunday.
"Everyone knew about our strategy," said Del Rio, now in his second season with Oakland. "I didn't really ask for any feedback there. I said, `When we score here, we are going to go for 2 and win it right here.'"
His Raiders had already demonstrated considerable resolve just to get to that point.
Oakland had to overcome a 14-point, second-half deficit and a 424-yard, four-touchdown performance by Drew Brees.
"The belief and trust that coach has in us gives us so much confidence," Carr said.
Brees called the late 2-point try gutsy, but not surprising.
"You'll see that from time to time. You feel like you have the momentum, and let's dial it up and let's win the game," Brees said. "I could see us doing that."
FURIOUS FINISH: After the Raiders took their late lead, they still had to sweat out rookie kicker Wil Lutz's last-second field goal attempt from 61 yards, which narrowly missed wide left as the Superdome crowd briefly erupted before realizing the kick was no good.
"I thought it was good off my foot," Lutz said. "The ball moved on me."
Jalen Richard ran 75 yards for a touchdown on his first NFL carry and Amari Cooper caught Carr's pass for a 2-point conversion to briefly tie the game at 27 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
But Brees marched New Orleans for another score, highlighted by a 57-yard completion that receiver Willie Sneadfumbled and rookie wideout Michael Thomas recovered and advanced to the Oakland 2. That set up Travaris Cadet's short touchdown catch, giving New Orleans a 34-27 lead.
New Orleans nearly held on, but Saints linebacker Craig Robertson was flagged for interference on a fourth-down pass that sailed out of bounds.
"I'm not going to start the season off complaining about the officials. We have to play better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "That was just one play."
BIG NUMBERS: Brees eclipsed 400 yards passing for the 14th time in his career, tying Peyton Manning for the most such performances in NFL history. Snead finished with nine catches for 172 yards, including fourth-down, 1-yard TD catch in the first half.
Carr finished with 319 yards and one touchdown passing against a Saints defense coached by his former Raiders head coach, Dennis Allen. The Raiders rushed for 167 yards, including touchdown runs of 6 yards by Latavius Murray and 2 yards by Jamize Olawale.
RECORD TD: Brees' touchdowns included a franchise-record 98-yarder to Brandin Cooks, who beat Sean Smith in single coverage and raced away from free safety Reggie Nelson. It was a career-long passing play for Brees as well.
"Brandin got a great release, I threw it up to him and he did the rest," Brees said. "He looked like Usain Bolt running down the sideline there."
Previously, Billy Joe Hobert and Eddie Kennison owned the Saints' longest scoring play - a 90-yard connection against Atlanta on Oct. 10, 1999. The Saints' previous longest play from scrimmage was as 96-yard passing play from Billy Kilmer to Walter Roberts on Nov. 19, 1967, the franchise's inaugural season.
COOPED UP: Cooper, familiar to fans in the Gulf South from his college days at Alabama, elicited cheers of, "Cooop!" from an audible contingent of Raiders fans in the Superdome with a couple receptions for long gains. He finished with six catches for 137 yards.
CAREER KICKOFF: Lutz made two of four field goal attempts - missing twice from 50 or more yards - in his NFL debut. Payton made the surprising move of cutting veteran incumbent kicker Kai Forbath in favor of Lutz this past week after the undrafted rookie out of Georgia State had been waived by Baltimore. Lutz hit his first field goal from 42 yards. He also handled kickoffs and hit a 20-yard field goal that was tipped.
"I like this guy a lot," Payton said of Lutz. "He's going to be kicking long after I am coaching here. He's really talented. There are obviously going to be some bumps along the way."
INJURIES: Raiders right tackle Menelik Watson left the game late in the first half with what team officials said was a groin pull. Saints starting cornerback Delvin Breaux left the game with an undisclosed lower left leg injury. He was replaced by undrafted rookie Ken Crawley, who was covering Crabtree on the decisive 2-point play.