Thursday, September 13, 2018

Andy Dalton throws 4 TD passes, Bengals beat Ravens 34-23

Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes in the first half - three to A.J. Green - against a defense that has bedeviled him throughout his career, and the Cincinnati Bengals held on for a 34-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.
Dalton knocked the Ravens (1-1) out of playoff contention last season by throwing a 49-yard touchdown pass in the closing seconds of the final game in Baltimore. On Thursday, he carved up a defense that has more often gotten the upper hand in their AFC North rivalry, leading Cincinnati (2-0) to an early 21-point lead .
"We came out hot," Dalton said. "That's exactly how we wanted to start the game. That's a big one - puts us 2-0 to start the year and gives us a leg up in the division."
Heading into the game, Dalton had thrown more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (15) against the Ravens, including a four-interception game at Paul Brown Stadium last season. Dalton finished 24 of 42 for 265 yards, throwing four touchdown passes for the fifth time in his career.
Green set the tone with touchdown catches of 4, 28 and 7 yards on consecutive possessions, a career high . Upset that he fumbled twice during a 34-23 win at Indianapolis on Sunday, he caught everything near him during the Bengals' early surge. Green finished with five catches for 69 yards.
"It just happened to fall that way," Green said. "We were clicking on all cylinders. We were in a groove."
Dalton's 14-yard touchdown throw to Tyler Boyd made it 28-7 late in the first half.
Joe Flacco was sharp in an opening 47-3 win over the Bills, but couldn't do anything against Cincinnati until the Bengals led by three touchdowns. Flacco threw a pair of touchdown passes , including a 21-yarder to John Brown that cut it to 28-23 with 9:35 left.
"You better bounce back quick on a Thursday night and we didn't do it quick enough tonight," Flacco said.
Flacco fumbled with 2:42 to go - Shawn Williams stripped the ball from behind - setting up a field goal by Randy Bullock that closed it out. Flacco finished 32 of 55 for 376 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and four sacks.
GLORY DAYS
The Bengals honored their 1988 Super Bowl team at halftime, their last team to go deep into the playoffs. They haven't won a playoff game since the 1990 season, the sixth-longest drought in NFL history.
PRIME-TIME PLAYERS
The Ravens had their streak of five straight Thursday night wins snapped. The Bengals are 6-14 in prime-time games since Dalton's rookie season of 2011 - 0-5 on Sunday night, 2-5 on Monday night, 4-3 on Thursday night and 0-1 on Saturday night.
SEEING GREEN
Green is the fourth Bengals receiver to catch three TD passes in a half, joining Marvin Jones (2013), Chad Johnson (2003) and Isaac Curtis (1973).
FAST START
The Bengals are 2-0 for the first time since 2015, when they won the division, and for only the fifth time during coach Marvin Lewis' 16 seasons. They're the first team to score at least 34 points in each of their first two games since the 2013 Broncos, who reached the Super Bowl, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
FAN ON FIELD
A young man in a black shirt ran onto the field in the closing minutes undetected until he got near Dalton. The fan was grabbed by security.
INJURIES
Ravens: LB C.J. Mosley left in the first quarter with a bruised knee.
Bengals: Preston Brown was inactive with an injured right ankle, leaving Cincinnati without two top linebackers. Vontaze Burfict is suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. ... DE Michael Johnson hurt his left knee in the first quarter and didn't return. ... Rookie C Billy Price hurt his right ankle in the first quarter and didn't return.
UP NEXT
Ravens host the Denver Broncos.
Bengals play at Carolina.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

NFL Week 1 Recap


Rams spoil Gruden's return with 33-13 win over Raiders

Once Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams offense got started after sitting out the entire preseason, they couldn't be stopped.
Goff threw two touchdown passes, newcomer Marcus Petersreturned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown and the Rams used a dominant second half to spoil coach Jon Gruden's much-anticipated return to the Oakland sideline by beating the Raiders 33-13 on Monday night.
"There was a little bit of feeling it out, seeing what they're going to do, seeing what their scheme is," Goff said. "I thought our defense did a great job of responding as well as our offense. I still don't think we played up to our standards in the first half. Think the second half, we came out and we did."
Goff and the rest of the offensive starters for the Rams (1-0) didn't play at all in the preseason, and many of the top defensive players also got little time on the field in the exhibition games.
That might have contributed to the shaky start. The Raiders (0-1) moved the ball relatively easily and the Rams struggled to finish drives. But Los Angeles flipped the script in the second half, outscoring Oakland 23-0 and showing why this team is considered one of the favorites in the NFC after last year's breakthrough season that ended with a division title.
"I think for us to be able to go through a little bit of adversity and have to come back from behind going into the half, that was a good test of your resolve as a football team," coach Sean McVay said. "It was certainly a good job by those guys and I thought the offense responded."
Gruden had his first game as coach of the Raiders (0-1) since the end of the 2001 season. He was traded to Tampa Bay after that season and beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl the following year. He has been announcing for ESPN for the past nine seasons before Oakland owner Mark Davis finally lured him back to the delight of Raiders fans.
But there were only boos by the end of the night after Peters iced the game with his touchdown return on Derek Carr's third interception of the game.
"It was a tale of two halves," Gruden said. "Obviously we did not take care of the ball and that was a critical part of that football game."
Peters punctuated that with a celebratory dive into the end zone reminiscent of his close friend Marshawn Lynch.
"I did the Beast Mode," Peters said. "That's what I did."
Gruden's second stint started well with the Raiders taking the opening kick and driving 75 yards for a touchdown on a 10-yard run by Lynch. The Rams had Lynch stood up at the 3, but he powered his way into the end zone with help from a push by his offensive linemen.
Oakland managed just six points the rest of the way against a defense fortified by the offseason additions of former All-Pros Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh.
Carr threw an interception in the end zone to John Johnson in the second quarter and another in the fourth when he tried to pull back a pass at the last minute only to have the ball slip out and float right to linebacker Cory Littleton
"It was one of the dumbest plays you could have," Carr said. "I knew what I should have done as soon as that play was over."
The Rams matched the early score when Todd Gurley took a flip from Goff and raced 19 yards to the end zone . They took control in the second half.
Los Angeles tied it at 13 on a field goal by Greg Zuerlein on the opening drive of the third quarter and then took the lead for good on a 58-yard, four-play drive that featured two passes downfield to another offseason addition, Brandin Cooks, and then the 8-yard TD to Cooper Kupp.
MISSING MACK
The Raiders barely touched Goff all night just over a week after trading star pass rusher Khalil Mack to Chicago for a package that included two first-round picks. Bruce Irvin had the only sack when Goff held the ball too long and there were few other pressures.
TOUGH STARTS
Gruden's defeat dropped the league's new head coaches to 0-7 in Week 1.
FLAG DAY
The Raiders once again had issues with penalties, committing 10 for 145 yards in the first half alone thanks to two long pass interference calls against Rashaan Melvin (37 yards) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (50). That's more yards in penalties than they had in any game during Gruden's first four-year stint and the most in the first half for any team since at least 2000. The Raiders had one penalty for 10 yards in the second half.
INJURIES
Raiders long snapper Andrew DePaola injured his knee in the first quarter and didn't return. TE Lee Smith filled in and provided accurate snaps on two field goals. He had a high snap on a punt but Johnny Townsend leaped and brought it down with no issues. It was a far cry from the 2012 season opener when Jon Condo got hurt for Oakland and Travis Goethel came in and botched three snaps in a loss to the Chargers.
"It was stressful, I can't even lie to you guys," Smith said. "I'm just glad they all got back there."
Rams returner Pharoh Cooper left in the second half with an ankle injury.
ANTHEM
Lynch sat once again during the national anthem. Lynch also sat for the anthem all of last season but never gave a reason for his decision.
UP NEXT
Rams: Host Arizona on Sunday.
Raiders: Visit Denver on Sunday.

Darnold recovers from 1st-play pick-6, helps Jets rout Lions

 Sam Darnold rolled right and made a rookie move, lobbing a football across the field that was picked off and returned for a touchdown.
It might've been his only mistake all night.
Darnold made a stellar debut after throwing a pick-6 on his first NFL snap, and the New York Jets intercepted five passes and also scored on special teams in a 48-17 rout over the Detroit Lions on Monday night.
The 21-year-old Darnold became the youngest quarterback to start a season opener since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, and looked his age on the first play.
"Licking my chops a little bit too much, I think, on that play," he said
Quandre Diggs intercepted his ill-advised pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown 20 seconds into the game.
"On that interception, I was pretty nervous," Darnold said. "After that, I put it behind me."
The former USC star, drafted No. 3 overall, shook off the nerves and finished 16 of 21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns . He is the first quarterback to win his first start by 31 or more points since Tom Brady in 2001, per ESPN Stats & Info.
"He didn't flinch," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "He didn't even blink."
Darnold helped the Jets set a franchise record for points on the road, surpassing the 47 they scored in 1967 against the Boston Patriots.
He also outplayed 30-year-old Matthew Stafford.
Stafford threw four interceptions - one shy of his career high - and left the game briefly in the third quarter after being hit from the front and back by the swarming, hard-hitting Jets.
"We wanted to make sure we came out and made a statement in this game," New York linebacker Darron Lee said.
Stafford was 27 of 46 for 286 yards and a TD pass to Golden Tate early in the third quarter to tie it at 17. He was mercifully taken out midway through the fourth quarter and replaced by Matt Cassel with Detroit down 31.
"Story of the game's turnovers, you know?" he asked. "We had too many of them, I had too many of them."
The Jets dominated in all phases.
They scored 31 straight in the third quarter to pull away, sending Detroit's fans for the exits and setting off a jolly green party in the Motor City. It was the highest-scoring third quarter in team history and trailed only the 34-point second quarter the Brett Favre-led team scored in 2008 against Arizona.
New York scored on the ground and through the air, on defense and on a punt return by former Lion Andre Roberts. The Jets could've piled on even more in the final minutes but turned the ball over on downs after kneeling to take time off the clock. Darnold flipped the ball to a referee after the final kneel down, and the official gave it right back before shaking the rookie's hand. Darnold was still holding the ball while talking briefly with Stafford on the field.
Detroit coach Matt Patricia, meanwhile, will want to forget his debut as an NFL head coach.
"We've got to coach this a lot better than what we did," he said. "We've got to go out and execute a lot better on the field. It's a team game, and it starts with me."
New NFL head coaches dropped to 0-6 in Week 1, with Oakland's Jon Gruden the group's final hope for an opening victory in the Monday nightcap.
ROADIES
Late in the game, just before Cassel threw an interception, hundreds of New York fans chanted: "J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS!" A crew clad in green and white filed into seats in four sections along the New York sideline and appeared to outnumber Detroit fans who stuck around for the bitter end.
"That was awesome to be able to see them doing their thing," Darnold said.
STREAK STOPPED
The Jets had played an NFL record 73 games, dating to 2013, without a defensive TD before Lee returned one of his two interceptions 36 yards for a score in the third. Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne and Jamal Adams also picked off passes in a strong start for the Jets self-proclaimed "New Jack City" secondary.
THREE'S COMPANY
Darnold joined Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston (2015) and Brett Favre (1991) as quarterbacks who had their first pass intercepted and returned for a score.
INJURIES
Jets: CB Johnson (head injury) and CB Buster Skrine (rib) returned to play after leaving the field with injuries. Johnson was evaluated after he intercepted a pass and fumbled after taking a hard hit from Detroit receiver Kenny Golladay.
Lions: DE Ezekiel Ansah, who has struggled to get and stay healthy, left the game with a shoulder after making four tackles, including a sack. OG T.J. Lang left the game with a back injury. CB Darius Slay returned to play after leaving the field to be evaluated for a concussion.
UP NEXT
Jets: Host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Lions: Visit the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Rodgers returns from injury, Packers beat Bears 24-23

Aaron Rodgers heard the applause after walking out of the stadium tunnel and back on to the field.
The team doctor had checked out his left knee after the Green Bay Packers quarterback was carted off the field in the second quarter. Rodgers, it seemed, had avoided a major injury.
He was good to go. The adrenaline kicked in.
"When I got the ovation, at that point, I said, `We might as well win this thing,'" Rodgers recounted.
The hobbling two-time NFL MVP threw three touchdown passes in the second half after returning from injury, and the Green Bay Packers overcame a 20-point deficit for a thrilling 24-23 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.
Rodgers connected with receiver Randall Cobb for a catch-and-run through the secondary for a 75-yard touchdown and the go-ahead score with 2:13 left in the game.
"Aaron Rodgers was remarkable. I just can't tell you how proud I am with him," coach Mike McCarthy said.
Nick Perry sacked the Bears' Mitchell Trubisky on fourth-and-10 with 58 seconds to complete the comeback.
Against the archrival Bears. To start the Packers' 100th season.
Sunday marked the first time in franchise history that the Packers won after trailing by 17-plus points entering the fourth quarter, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Packers posted the second-largest comeback in franchise history at Lambeau Field, behind only a rally from 21 points down to beat New Orleans on Sept. 17, 1989.
For Rodgers, this was special.
"This will definitely go down as one my favorite memories, especially in this rivalry," Rodgers said.
And especially because how awful the Packers played in the first half.
A Chicago defense featuring newly acquired star linebacker Khalil Mack dominated until the third quarter. Mack had a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown against backup quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second quarter.
A gimpy Rodgers returned in the second half and finally figured out the Bears. He also found Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison for touchdown passes.
He finished 20 of 30 for 286 yards, including 17 of 23 for 273 yards in the second half.
"Obviously, that's a tough one for us. It stings," coach Matt Nagy said after his Bears debut.
It was Rodgers' first regular-season home game since Sept. 28 against the Bears. He was limited to seven games in 2017 because of a collarbone injury.
Mack nearly stole the show. He also stripped the ball for a turnover in the red zone off Kizer in the second quarter. Mack made an immediate impact in his first game since the Bears acquired the premier pass rusher in a blockbuster deal with the Oakland Raiders.
The Bears led 20-0 at one point and their defense dominated until the second half.
Then Rodgers returned, and the Packers' defense held the Bears in check.
"I prepared all offseason for the first game of the season and I wanted to ... make an impact," Mack said. "But you want to win these games. That's the only thing on my mind. I hate losing."
RODGERS INJURY
Rodgers was hurt in the second quarter after slipping to the turf while under pressure from linebacker Khalil Mack and defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris. The lineman landed on Rodgers.
The quarterback initially tried to get up, then went back down, and was attended to by trainers. He appeared to reach down for the back of his left leg. Rodgers then walked to the cart that took him up the Lambeau Field tunnel.
Rodgers had ACL surgery on his left knee while in college.
McCarthy said he was prepared to go with Kizer to start the second half until getting the word from the team doctor in the tunnel.
"His performance speaks for itself," McCarthy said.
With limited mobility, Rodgers operated a no-huddle offense in the second half that kept him in the pocket.
His right arm was just fine.
"It was going to have to take something really catastrophic injury-wise to keep me off the field in the second half," Rodgers said.
The Packers plan to run more tests on their QB on Monday, though Rodgers seems to think his availability for next week's game against Minnesota is a foregone conclusion.
"No, I'm planning on playing," Rodgers said.
FAST START
An offensive-minded coach, Nagy had the aggressive Bears' offense pushing the Packers around the field in the first half.
Mitchell Trubisky was 23 of 35 for 171 yards. He also ran for 32 yards on seven carries, including a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
It turned out to be the only offensive touchdown the Bears would score all night.
The Packers' defense, in new coordinator Mike Pettine's first game, held the Bears to two field goals in the second half.
"You know we talked about finishing and we didn't do that," Nagy said.
ANTHEM
There were no apparent signs of protest during the national anthem, when Bears players and coaches locked arms on the sideline.
UP NEXT
Bears: Host the Seattle Seahawks next Monday.
Packers: Host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Smith, Peterson led Redskins to 24-6 victory at Arizona

Alex Smith looked like his old self. So did Adrian Peterson.
When the 34-year-old Smith wasn't carving up the Arizona defense, the 33-year-old Peterson was running through it.
The result was a 24-6 Washington victory on Sunday, coach Jay Gruden's first win in a season opener in five tries, and it was even more dominant than the final score would indicate.
"You guys put that monkey there. You guys kept reminding me about the dang 0-4 start," Gruden said. "It counts as one game. I told our team we are 1-0 and now it is time we have to put back-to-back games together."
Smith and Peterson were playing their first game as Redskins and the two veterans made an impact from the start.
"I thought the way we came out moving the ball, finishing drives in the red zone was big," Smith said. "It certainly started with running the football. I thought our O-line was dominant."
Smith, acquired from Kansas City in the offseason to replace Kirk Cousins, completed 21 of 30 passes without an interception and had TD throws of 13 yards to Chris Thompson and 4 yards to Jordan Reed. Peterson rushed for 96 yards on 26 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown ru n.
"The sky is the limit (for this offense)," Peterson said. "Alex is doing a great job running this offense and for the past couple of weeks I have seen these receivers go out in practice and grind. The offensive line speaks for itself and then you add C.T. (Chris Thompson) in there. That young guy got me going today."
Peterson, who played for Arizona a year ago and signed with Washington as a free agent on Aug. 20, finished his day with a 52-yard reception, but fumbled at the end of the play.
The Redskins outgained the Cardinals 429-213 and had 30 first downs to Arizona's 14 and it was even more one-sided before the Cardinals showed some life late in the game. Washington rushed for 182 yards to Arizona's 68.
"The nemesis right now is just stopping the run," Wilks said. "...Tackling was an issue."
Arizona avoided a shutout when David Johnson ran 2 yards for a touchdown with 5:47 to play.
Johnson, who signed a three-year, $39 million contract extension with Arizona on Saturday night with $30 million guaranteed, carried nine times for 37 yards and caught five passes for 30 yards.
"I'm not even thinking about the contract," he said. "I'm thinking about the loss and what I did wrong, the mental errors, dropped catches and how bad I played."
Sam Bradford, in his debut as Cardinals quarterback, was 20 of 34 for 153 yards and was intercepted once.
The Redskins manhandled the Arizona defense in a dominant first half to lead 21-0 at the break. And the Arizona team under the new coaching regime was booed roundly as it left the field.
The statistics were stunningly one-sided through the first two quarters: 261 yards for the Redskins to 36 yards for the Cardinals. Smith completed 17 of 20 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Bradford, meanwhile, was 3 of 7 for 11 yards. Washington had the ball for 22 minutes, 57 seconds to the Cardinals' 7:03.
"We had three possessions in the first half and we're down 21-0 at halftime," Bradford said. "It's tough on the defense, it's tough on the offense."
Arizona got two first downs on its first possession and went three-and-out the only other two times it had the ball in the first half.
Washington, meanwhile, had touchdown drives of 80, 73 and 92 yards behind a powerful rushing game and the efficient management of Smith.
The first scoring drive went 80 yards in 11 plays, Smith went 13 yards to Thompson on the first play of the second quarter for the score.
After Arizona's first three-and-out, Washington used up 9:06 in a 15-play, 73-yard drive, Peterson plowing in from the 1-yard line to make it 14-0.
The Cardinals went nowhere again and the Redskins took advantage of their last chance of the half.
Smith completed 7 of 7 passes for 77 yards in a 10-play, 92-yard drive. Smith threw 4 yards to Reed for the touchdown and it was 21-0 with 8 seconds left in the half.
INJURIES
Three Washington players left the game with injuries.
Rookie wide receiver Cam Sims injured an ankle in the first quarter and was carted off the field. He did not return. Washington wide receiver Trey Quinn left in the third quarter, also with an ankle injury, and didn't return. Redskins safety Troy Apke left with a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter.
Arizona right tackle Andre Smith left in the fourth quarter with an elbow injury.
UP NEXT
Redskins: host Indianapolis next Sunday. Washington hasn't started 2-0 since 2011.
Cardinals: play at the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday. Arizona lost at Los Angeles 33-0 last season.

Newton, defense lead Panthers past Cowboys 16-8

Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short stood smiling at his locker sporting a new black golf shirt with three letters stitched on that read: G2X.
It was a present to the defensive linemen from new coordinator Eric Washington - a reminder of the motto of this year's unit.
"Getting to the spot, man; getting to the quarterback," Short said. "It's the mentality for everybody on defense."
The Panthers defense did just that plenty of that Sunday, sacking quarterback Dak Prescott six times and limiting Dallas to 232 yards in a 16-8 victory over the Cowboys in the season opener.
Cam Newton ran for 58 yards and a touchdown, and Luke Kuechly had 13 tackles to lead the Panthers. Short had two sacks and Mario Addison added a game-clinching strip-sack of the Cowboys quarterback with 1:23 left.
"They're great," Prescott said of Carolina's defense. "Luke Kuechly is the quarterback of that defense and does a great job of putting them in good position. And they are a sure-tackling team."
The Cowboys, who entered the season looking to replace Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, couldn't do much against a stingy Carolina defense in the first half. The Panthers limited the Cowboys to 60 yards and four first downs to take a 10-0 lead into the locker room.
Prescott finished with just 170 yards passing and Ezekiel Elliott was held to 69 yards rushing and didn't score until the fourth quarter. Dallas' leading receiver was Cole Beasley, who had seven catches for 73 yards.
Prescott refused to blame the team's struggles on adjusting to new players - or on the offense's lack of reps together in preseason.
"We have a lot of great players on this team," Prescott said. "We're not talking about guys we used to have or guys that are missing. It's about the guys on the field and we gave it our all. I promise we will have a better performance next week."
The Panthers seemed in complete control when fullback Alex Armah scored on a 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter to make it 16-0. But Carolina botched the extra point, keeping it a two-possession game and turning the momentum to the Cowboys.
Elliott scored on a 4-yard touchdown run on the next drive and Prescott added the 2-point conversion to cut the lead in half.
But Carolina stopped Dallas on its final two drives and Addison - who had 11 sacks last season - stripped Prescott of the ball and Captain Munnerlyn recovered.
"Kawann can't get a sack without me; I can't get a sack without him, can't get one without (Julius) Peppers," Addison said. "Everybody's got to do their job."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys did a better job of spreading the Panthers out late in the game, but added that penalties were a killer. Dallas was penalized 10 times for 85 yards.
OLSEN DOWN AGAIN: Panthers tight end Greg Olsen left in the first half with a foot injury and did not return. He was on the sideline in the second half on crutches with his right foot in the boot.
It's the same foot Olsen broke last season, costing him nine games. Rivera offered no other updates on how long the three-time Pro Bowl selection might be out.
NEWTON RUNNING: Just as he did last season, Newton led the Panthers in rushing. He had 52 yards on four carries on the game's opening drive, but Christian McCaffrey fumbled near the goal line.
Newton said new offensive coordinator Norv Turner told him when he arrived that, "I'm going to let you be you, baby."
"They challenge you in so many different ways," Garrett said. "The quarterback runs in the first half were such huge plays for them, converting third downs, down in the red zone. He's been doing that his whole career. We knew that was something we'd have to somehow contain and control."
GETTING HIS KICKS: Brett Maher, who replaced Dan Bailey - the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history - missed a 47-yard field goal in his first career attempt.
CHANGING TIMES: For the first time in franchise history, the Panthers painted their team logo at midfield.
New owner David Tepper made the decision after purchasing the team from Jerry Richardson in July. The Panthers have always had the NFL "shield" at midfield - per Richardson's orders - since coming into the league as an expansion franchise in 1995.
INJURIES
Cowboys: Defensive end Randy Gregory suffered a concussion in the first half and did not return.
Panthers: Along with Olsen, second-team All-Pro right tackle Daryl Williams went down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter and was carted off the field. Williams tore his MCL and dislocated his knee cap in the preseason, but Rivera said this is not the same injury. ... Kuechly injured his left knee in the fourth quarter but returned to the game.
UP NEXT
Cowboys: Host the Giants on Sunday night.
Panthers: Visit the Falcons on Sunday.

Miller leads Broncos past Seahawks 27-24

 Case Keenum won his Denver debut despite throwing three interceptions to go with his three touchdowns.
He can thank Von Miller , who sacked Russell Wilson three times, forced two fumbles and recovered one as the Broncos held off the Seattle Seahawks 27-24 on Sunday to win for the 18th time in their past 19 home openers.
Keenum, who signed a two-year, $36 million prove-it deal in Denver six months ago after leading the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC championship game, normally spends his time between series with his head down but he kept looking up to watch Miller's magic.
"I'm trying to stay focused on looking at the pictures, getting ready for my next series. "But it's hard not to notice when the crowd's going crazy and Von's out there crawling or whatever he's doing, whatever his sack dance is," Keenum said. "That's impressive to watch.
"I'm glad I'm on the sidelines when he's on the field, that's for sure."
Wilson wasn't so lucky.
"We played a really tough defense, one of the best defenses you're going to face all year. Obviously Von is a great player and he made some key plays," Wilson said.
Miller, whose best play came when he simply snatched the ball from running back Chris Carson's arms, said recently that he hates facing Wilson, whom he considers the best quarterback in the game today.
"I still don't like playing against Russell, I mean, running around out there 20 yards, getting everybody tired," Miller said. "Luckily, we were able to get him before he could get started. That was in our scheme this week, we wanted to keep him in the pocket and (make) him beat us with his arm, which he's capable of doing. But we'd rather pick that poison and that strategy worked."
Wilson threw for 298 yards and three TDs, but was picked off twice and sacked six times and ran just twice for 5 yards.
"He got out of the pocket a couple of times, but that's Russ," Miller said. "He's a great player. He's going to get out of the pocket, but we kept some of the great plays to a minimum."
Keenum, who threw for 329 yards, only threw seven interceptions last season and already he has three.
"I'm really excited about how good this football team can be," Keenum said. "Because if we take care of the ball - if I take care of the ball, because those are all on me - we're going to be really, really hard to beat."
SPUTTERING SEAHAWKS
After Demaryius Thomas atoned for several early hiccups by scoring the go-ahead TD with 11:11 left, the Seahawks gained just 3 yards in their final three possessions, the last one ending with Adam Jones' interception at midfield with no time left.
"It's frustrating," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Third downs we were lousy (2 for 12) and we didn't run the ball as well as we wanted (64 yards) and we got sacked a bunch of times. It was not a very clean game for us."
Wilson put the Seahawks ahead 24-20 when he found Tyler Lockett all alone for a 51-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter.
HOMECOMING KING
Brandon Marshall's 20-yard TD catch for Seattle tied it at 17 and came against the team he started his career with back in 2006.
NO DOUBTING THOMAS
One of Keenum's interceptions came when Demaryius Thomas, who also had three passes go off his hands and was whistled for a holding call that negated a first-down run, never looked back and safety Earl Thomas snared it in his first game since ending his holdout Wednesday.
"I thought I had a pick-6," said Thomas, who was caught at the 15-yard line by Broncos speedy running back Phillip Lindsay.
No matter: Six seconds later, rookie tight end Will Dissly blew past rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb and hauled in the 15-yard TD pass.
"Just glad to get through the first game and get that out of the way," said Earl Thomas, who returned to the team after his pay-me-or-trade-me demands went nowhere.
SOMERSAULT CELEBRATION
Denver took a 14-10 lead when Emmanuel Sanders somersaulted into the end zone with a 43-yard score. That was his first touchdown since Week 2 of last season.
"It was good to get back in the end zone so I decided to bust out the flip," Sanders said. "It felt good."
TWIN TROUBLE
Shaquill Griffin's twin brother, rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin, started the game with K.J. Wright out following minor knee surgery. It's another chapter in the remarkable story of Griffin , who had his left hand amputated as a child.
The Griffins had back-to-back tackles on Seattle's second defensive series.
INJURIES: The only injury of note from either team was Seattle WR Doug Baldwin (right MCL sprain).
UP NEXT:
Seahawks: Visit Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Broncos: Host Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Chiefs' Hill helps Mahomes era off to fast start in victory

 Tyreek Hill helped get the Patrick Mahomes era off to a blazing start for Kansas City.
The speedy receiver scored three touchdowns, including two in the first quarter, as the Chiefs opened the season with a 38-28 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
"You know, he's a different animal. That's the cheetah," Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt said. "The guy can take off at any time of the game, at any point in the game, and it's good like that to have a guy with speed like that on your team."
On a day when the Chargers' biggest concerns were Mahomes and Hunt, it was Hill's big plays that set the tone. Hill had a 91-yard punt return for a score and a 58-yard TD reception during the first quarter to give Kansas City a 14-3 lead. He then added a 1-yard reception on a shovel pass for a score in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Hill also had 169 yards on seven receptions, which is the second-most yards by a Chiefs receiver in an opener, according to Pro Football Reference. Carlos Carson had 173 yards receiving against New Orleans in 1985.
Mahomes, who moved into the starting spot after Alex Smith was traded to Washington in the offseason, was 15 of 27 for 256 yards as the Chiefs extended their winning streak over the Chargers to nine.
"Tyreek really got us going with the punt return and Patrick did a nice job of running the offense," Kansas City coach Andy Reid said. "There were a lot of great individual efforts on a hot day where we had to endure the elements."
After the Chargers got the opening kickoff but went three-and-out, Hill took Drew Kaser's punt 91 yards for a touchdown just 1 minute, 57 seconds into the game. The third-year receiver fielded the punt near the right hash mark, but quickly found an opening up the left sideline.
It was Hill's fourth punt return for a touchdown in 32 games and the Chiefs' league-leading seventh since 2013.
"Once I caught it, I was like this is wide open," Hill said. "The punt return really got me hyped and got the rest of the offense rolling."
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said they punted it to the far side to make it hard on Hill, but that he ended up making a good play any way.
"If he was going to come back across the field, surely someone could get there and make a play," Lynn said, "but we didn't get it done."
After Caleb Sturgis' 45-yard field goal got the Chargers on the board, Mahomes threw his first touchdown pass in the NFL, connecting with Hill for 58 yards . Hill caught the pass at the Chargers 47 and eluded a diving tackle by Jahleel Addae as he found a seam up the left sideline.
Mahomes said it was originally supposed to be a run play with a pass option, but one of the linebackers bit on a run fake.
"It helped that I hit it fast and Tyreek was able to miss the tackler," Mahomes said. "Tyreek's really worked on his route running and everything in order to make himself into one of the best receivers in the league. I think today has showed that he has improved and has the speed to bring it any time."
Hill's third touchdown came with 9:42 remaining on a 1-yard shovel pass from Mahomes, who became the third quarterback in Chiefs' history to throw four touchdowns in an opener.
"I don't want to make any too crazy statements, but he's one of the most dynamic guys," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said of Hill. "I don't know if I've seen anybody better in the things that he can do speed-wise in all my time playing."
RIVERS' 424 YARDS NOT ENOUGH
Rivers' 424 yards are the most by a Chargers' quarterback in an opener, but two turnovers led Chiefs' touchdowns.
Los Angeles was within two points at halftime (14-12), but saw Kansas City score two touchdowns in the third quarter. The second one, which gave the Chiefs a 31-12 lead with 48 seconds remaining in the third, came after Rivers was picked off by Ron Parker at the Chiefs 14.
A 20-yard TD reception by Keenan Allen and 2-point conversion catch by Antonio Gates brought the Chargers within 11, but JJ Jones' fumble of a punt at the Chargers 2 and subsequent Hill touchdown made the deficit too much to overcome.
"It's one of those games that you're sick that you let it get away, because you didn't make all the plays that you really dream about making. ... It does nothing but make me be excited," said Rivers, who was 34 of 51 with three touchdowns and an interception.
INJURIES
Chiefs: LB Ben Niemann suffered a hamstring injury. Coach Andy Reid said he did not know the severity of the injury and said it was likely going to be week-to-week. S Eric Berry made the trip, but was inactive due to a heel injury.
Chargers: RT Joe Barksdale was carted off after injuring his right knee during the first quarter and did not return. Lynn said he did not know the severity of the injury. Sam Tevi took Barksdale's place on the offensive line. Lynn also said DT Joey Bosa, who was inactive for the game, remains week-to-week with a foot injury.
UP NEXT
Chiefs: Continue their road trip next Sunday at Pittsburgh. Kansas City has dropped three of its last four to the Steelers in the regular season.
Chargers: Travel to Buffalo next Sunday in the first of two straight road games. The Chargers have won three straight and five of the last six against Buffalo.