Aaron Rodgers is a cheat code after the Green Bay Packers quarterback put up Madden-like numbers in Sunday's 42-24 NFL win over the Oakland Raiders.

Rodgers finished 25-for-31 passing for 429 yards, five touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 rating, while the Packers star also had one rushing touchdown.

His performance, which helped push Green Bay to 6-1 for the season, put him in elite company. Rodgers registered his fifth career game with five-plus scoring passes, joining just six other quarterbacks to perform that feat, including Drew Brees (10), Peyton Manning (nine) and Tom Brady (six).

It was arguably the best game of his career.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers remain undefeated thanks to a 9-0 win over the lowly Washington Redskins. 

It was messy and wet, very wet, but San Francisco were able to go on the road and keep their perfect streak alive. It is the first time the 49ers have started 6-0 since 1990 and while they did not put up many points, it was another good defensive outing. They have allowed just three, seven and zero points in their last three respective games.

Across the league, Earl Thomas returned to Seattle for the first time as a Baltimore Ravens player and helped the defense make a big stand in a hostile environment. They went on to beat the Seahawks 30-16 after two defensive scores.

The Atlanta Falcons continue to sputter after a 37-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams that saw Devonta Freeman ejected for picking a fight with Aaron Donald and quarterback Matt Ryan limp off the field after taking his fifth sack in the fourth quarter.

Injury report

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller was ruled out against the Indianapolis Colts with a hamstring injury.

Ito Smith was carted off the field with both head and neck injuries. The Falcons running back did not return to the game versus the Rams.

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Najee Goode exited the game against the Cincinnati Bengals with a foot injury. Left tackle Cam Robinson sustained a toe injury and never returned.

Adam Thielen left the Minnesota Vikings matchup with the Detroit Lions. The receiver suffered a hamstring injury. He said after the game he will get an MRI but is optimistic he will play Thursday against the Redskins.

Detroit running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) and cornerback Darius Slay (hamstring) also left the game and never returned.

By the numbers

Deshaun Watson joined Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton as the only other player in the Super Bowl era to record 7,500-plus pass yards and 1,000-plus rush yards in their first 30 career games. 

Marvin Jones Jr. had a day. He entered Sunday with just one touchdown reception all season. He came out of it with four total touchdowns. Jones Jr. also became the first Lions player to have three touchdown receptions in a half since Herman Moore in 1995.

Marcus Peters had a great debut for the Ravens, posting his fifth career interception return for a touchdown, which is the most in the NFL since his rookie season in 2015. It was also his 25th career interception, the most in the NFL during that time.

Quotables

There seems to be no immediate coaching change in Atlanta's future. Falcons owner Arthur Blank discussed the matter during half-time of the eventual loss to push the team to 1-6: "I don't have any specific timetable, just looking at each game one at a time. It's the bye week, yes, but it's not a trigger for making any changes. We'll just continue to look at what we see developing."

The Bengals have yet to win a game this season. They also have yet to see receiver A.J. Green on the field after he sustained an ankle injury during the team's first practice. The 0-7 skid, however, will not affect his return: "Everybody knows what type of guy I am. I'm not going to fake anything. I'm not going to milk anything. When I'm ready to play, you know it's time for me to go. It doesn't matter what the record [is]. Nobody can hold me back when it's time to play." 

Watson has provided some incredible insight at the podium as of late. After the Texans' 30-23 loss to the Colts, he talked about a questionable call. Watson was sacked and ruled down on what would have been a touchdown: "He said that I was down. I don't — If you watch the tape of all the plays that I extend and make plays, especially in the red zone. I mean. He said he was trying to protect my health, so, it goes back and forth. But hey, that's the call he made. We have to live with it."

Week 7 NFL scores

Teams on bye week

Panthers, Browns, Steelers, Buccaneers

Thursday's game

Chiefs 30, Broncos 6

Sunday's games

Rams 37, Falcons 10 Bills 31, Dolphins 21 Jaguars 27, Bengals 17 Vikings 42, Lions 30 Packers 42, Raiders 24 Colts 30, Texans 23 Cardinals 27, Giants 21 49ers 9, Redskins 0 Titans 23, Chargers 20 Saints 36, Bears 25 Ravens 30, Seahawks 16

The Indianapolis Colts handed the Kansas City Chiefs their first loss of the NFL season with a 19-13 victory on Sunday.

When Jacoby Brissett took over under center for the Colts after Andrew Luck's shock retirement, the team were quickly counted out. However, thanks in part to Brissett's efforts, Indianapolis entered Week 5 at .500 and have made the case they are still playoff contenders.

The Chiefs, who entered Week 5 undefeated, posed a stiff challenge for Brissett and the Colts at Arrowhead Stadium. Brissett played well, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes might have been a little better, but the Colts won.

 

Three takeaways from Colts' upset on the road against Chiefs

What happened to the touchdown duel?

One could have pegged this as a high-scoring showdown with both Mahomes and Luck running the show. But not many would have thought the same would be true with Mahomes and Brissett. The two entered the week tied for the league lead in touchdown passes (10), which drew comparisons between Mahomes, the gunslinger, and Brissett, a third-round pick that bounced from New England to Indy.

With those numbers, some expected the two to trade scores all night long but that just was not the case. Chalk it up to a good night on the ground from the Colts and an equally good night from Indianapolis' defense, which dismantled a shaky Kansas City offensive line. It left the quarterbacks to combine for just one scoring pass.

Brissett finished 18-of-29 passing for 151 yards and one interception while Mahomes put up 321 yards and the lone brilliant touchdown on 22-of-39 passing. Mahomes also threw one interception.

The Colts needed a big day on the ground

The Chiefs may be known for some positive things, including a high-powered offense, but one thing they have struggled with is stopping the run. As good as Brissett has been, the Colts needed yards on the ground as well.

Kansas City have arguably the worst rushing defense in the NFL, allowing 5.9 yards per carry, the worst mark in the league, and ranking 30th in yards allowed per game (149.8). But Indianapolis, who ran the ball well to start the season, struggled to do so in their past two games. The Colts had not rushed for more than 100 yards in either of their past two games.

This week, however, Marlon Mack, who has been battling an ankle injury, led the charge. He was a game-time decision on Sunday and he got the start, finishing with 132 rushing yards.

Indianapolis totalled 180 rushing yards on the night. Kansas City need to find a solution to their porous rush defense.

 

Kansas City need to protect Mahomes better

The Chiefs need to stick Mahomes in bubble wrap. Whatever needs to be done to protect the reigning MVP must be done after he was sacked a game-high four times on Sunday. He had been sacked three total times leading up to the game, but against the Colts things got worse for the quarterback.

Not only was Mahomes sacked four times but he also seemed to tweak his ankle in the second half, which seemed to have affected his movement – and for Mahomes, that is a big part of his game.

To make matters worse, Kansas City have had to play without injured left tackle Eric Fisher so backup Cameron Erving has taken his place, but it was Erving who stepped on Mahomes' ankle during the game.

Vontaze Burfict has been suspended by the NFL for the rest of the 2019 season following his latest rule violation.

The Oakland Raiders linebacker was ejected from Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts in the second quarter following a helmet-to-helmet hit on tight end Jack Doyle.

Burfict has a history of illegal hits that have led to fines and suspensions, though this is the longest punishment handed down for an on-field act in NFL history.

The 29-year-old - who previously played for the Cincinnati Bengals and featured in the 2013 Pro Bowl - can appeal the decision within three business days.

"There were no mitigating circumstances on this play," NFL vice-president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter to Burfict.

"Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalised and disqualified from the game.

"Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly-appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures.

"However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk.

"Your extensive history of rules violations is factored into this decision regarding accountability measures."

The Raiders won 31-24 against the Colts to improve to 2-2. They travel to London in Week 5, taking on the Chicago Bears at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Every game day in the NFL brings the potential for big surprises, but few deliver the twists and turns we saw in Week 4.

Jameis Winston threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a wild 55-40 victory, despite Jared Goff's career-high 517 passing yards on Sunday.

In Detroit, the Kansas City Chiefs scored a touchdown in the final seconds to remain undefeated and foil the Lions' upset bid via a 34-30 triumph.

In another surprising turn of events, the Cleveland Browns took control of the AFC North for the first time since 2014 as second-year rusher Nick Chubb exploded for three touchdowns in Baltimore against the league's third-ranked rushing defence – the Ravens, who fell 40-25.

Chubb was not the only running back with a huge Sunday. Jacksonville Jaguars star Leonard Fournette racked up a career-high 225 yards on 29 carries as he and quarterback Gardner Minshew rallied the team to a 26-24 win over the Denver Broncos, who have lost eight straight games dating to last season.

And on a day that saw young quarterbacks Josh Allen (concussion) and Mitch Trubisky (shoulder) lost to injury, rookie QB Daniel Jones completed 23-of-31 passes for 225 yards to become the first New York Giants quarterback to win his first two career starts since Danny Kanell in Weeks 7-8 of the 1997 season.

 

Injury report

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky left the game against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter after landing awkwardly on his left shoulder and was later ruled out.

The Los Angeles Chargers suffered a litany of injuries as defensive end Melvin Ingram hurt his hamstring against the Miami Dolphins. Los Angeles also lost receiver Dontrelle Inman (quad), linebacker Denzel Perryman (concussion) and tight end Sean Culkin (ankle).

Browns receiver Jarvis Landry went into the medical tent at the end of the third quarter against the Ravens. He was eventually ruled out as the team announced he was being evaluated for a concussion.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen entered the concussion protocol after leaving the loss against reigning Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots early in the fourth quarter. Allen was trying to run for a first down when Patriots defensive back Jonathan Jones knocked him down with a helmet-to-helmet hit.

By the numbers

Allen stopped the Patriots from extending their impressive stoppage streak.

Meanwhile, another Bills player set his own record as Frank Gore became just the fourth running back in NFL history to rush for 15,000 career yards, joining Emmitt Smith (18,355 yards), Walter Payton (16,726) and Barry Sanders (15,269).

Tennessee Tians QB Marcus Mariota is the only quarterback who has started every game this season and has yet to turn the ball over. The Titans also found a way to keep Mariota from getting sacked against the Atlanta Falcons after giving up a league-high 17 sacks through the first three weeks.

The Buccaneers-Rams matchup became the first game in the Super Bowl era where both teams made a field goal of at least 58 yards. Tampa Bay's 55 points in the win were also the most points in a game in franchise history.

Regardless of how the Cincinnati Bengals-Pittsburgh Steelers showdown plays out on Monday night, the Browns will finish Week 4 in first place in the AFC North for the first time since Week 10 of the 2014 season.

Arizona Cardinals veteran Larry Fitzgerald reached 1,326 catches against the Seattle Seahawks and passed Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez (1,325 catches) for second all-time on the NFL receptions list. He trails only Jerry Rice with 1,549 receptions.

Quotables

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield when asked if Rex Ryan's criticism fuelled the team's win: "Absolutely not. Rex Ryan does not get any credit for this week's win. No."

Bills head coach Sean McDermott voiced his concern for Allen after the quarterback was drilled by Jones with a helmet-to-helmet hit: "There's no room in football for a play like the hit on Josh Allen."

The Carolina Panthers have bounced back since their winless start, but Christian McCaffrey still thinks the team are behind: "It's huge for us. We're 2-2, but frankly we should be 4-0. That's the way we're going look at it, it's a week-to-week league. Sixteen, one-week seasons, so we're moving on to Week 5 and learn from the tape to see what we can do better."

Week 3 NFL scores

Teams on bye week

49ers and Jets

Thursday's game

Eagles 34, Packers 27

Sunday's games

Giants 24, Redskins 3
Chiefs 34, Lions 30
Titans 24, Falcons 10
Browns 40, Ravens 25
Raiders 31, Colts 24
Patriots 16, Bills 10
Panthers 16, Texans 10
Chargers 30, Dolphins 10
Buccaneers 55, Rams 40
Seahawks 27, Cardinals 10
Bears 16, Vikings 6
Jaguars 26, Broncos 24

It has now been 1,000 days since Colin Kaepernick last played an NFL game and, in that time, 80 different quarterbacks have started in the regular season.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick, still just 31, completed 17 of 22 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown in a Week 17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the 2016 season. Only four players that week had a better quarterback rating than Kaepernick's 122.3.

However, Kaepernick - who had started to kneel during the national anthem earlier that year in protest over racial injustice - has not even had a sniff of an opportunity since, while countless teams have kicked the tyres on numerous other signal callers.

Here is the list of every quarterback to have started a game since Kaepernick's last appearance.


NFC North: Mitchell Trubisky, Mike Glennon, Chase Daniel (Chicago Bears), Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions), Brett Hundley, Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers), Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)

NFC East: Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys), Eli Manning, Geno Smith, Daniel Jones (New York Giants), Carson Wentz, Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles), Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith, Josh Johnson, Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, Case Keenum (Washington Redskins)

NFC South: Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons), Cam Newton, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen (Carolina Panthers), Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater (New Orleans Saints), Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

NFC West: Carson Palmer, Blaine Gabbert, Drew Stanton, Josh Rosen, Sam Bradford, Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals), Jared Goff, Sean Mannion (Los Angeles Rams), Brian Hoyer, C.J. Beathard, Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens (San Francisco 49ers), Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)

AFC North: Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens), Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel (Cincinnati Bengals), DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan, Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns), Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Mason Rudolph (Pittsburgh Steelers)

AFC East: Tyrod Taylor, Nathan Peterman, Josh Allen, Derek Anderson, Matt Barkley (Buffalo Bills), Jay Cutler, Matt Moore, Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen (Miami Dolphins), Tom Brady (New England Patriots), Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, Sam Darnold, Trevor Siemian, Luke Falk (New York Jets)

AFC South: Tom Savage, Deshaun Watson, T.J. Yates (Houston Texans), Jacoby Brissett, Scott Tolzien, Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts), Blake Bortles, Cody Kessler, Nick Foles, Gardner Minshew (Jacksonville Jaguars), Marcus Mariota, Matt Cassel, Blaine Gabbert (Tennessee Titans)

AFC West: Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco (Denver Broncos), Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs), Philip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers), Derek Carr, EJ Manuel (Oakland Raiders)

Here are a few observations from the extensive list:

- Only six franchises (the Lions, Falcons, Cowboys, Seahawks, Patriots and Chargers) have had one starter for all 35 games since Kaepernick's last appearance. 

- Three teams - the Cardinals, Dolphins and Redskins - have started six quarterbacks since the beginning of the 2017 season. The Bills, Jets and Broncos have all had five, and Washington could add another to their lengthy list should they turn to rookie Dwayne Haskins in the coming weeks.

- Of the 80 quarterbacks, 16 are out of the league - either due to being unsigned or retired. Former Steelers signal caller Landry Jones recently became the first player to sign with the upcoming XFL.

- Keenum, currently keeping Haskins on the sideline in Washington, is the only player on this list to have started for three different teams (Vikings, Broncos and Redskins) since 2017. A further 11 have started for two teams.  

Peyton Manning has not ruled out the possibility of working in the NFL again someday, according to his father Archie.

After spending nearly two decades as a quarterback in the NFL, Manning announced his retirement following the 2015 season after winning Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos.

He also won a Super Bowl in 2007 with the Indianapolis Colts, with whom he spent 13 seasons.

Manning has reportedly been approached by front offices since his retirement but has not accepted an offer.

There was speculation the New York Jets would consider him for their general manager position during the offseason, and he was said to have been asked about becoming a part-owner of the Carolina Panthers last year.

Manning has also declined offers to be the lead analyst for Fox's Thursday Night Football and ESPN's Monday Night Football, claiming he was not ready to get in the broadcast booth.

"Peyton, somewhere along the line, would like to be back in football - in ownership or front office or something," Archie Manning told the Indianapolis Star.

"Right now, he's doing a lot of different things and really enjoying doing a lot of different things."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On an eventful Sunday filled with headlines, Daniel Jones still managed to steal the show.

The New York Giants rookie shined under center as he made his first career start in a 32-31 NFL win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jones – starting in place of veteran quarterback Eli Manning – completed 23 of 36 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns to snap the Giants' winless start to the season and give New York fans hope for the future.

The 22-year-old helped the Giants rally from an 18-point deficit at half-time and sealed the victory with his go-ahead run into the end zone.

It did not hurt that Buccaneers kicker Matt Gay missed the 44-yard attempt for the win as time expired.

 

Injury report

Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe was carted off the field in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers with an apparent leg injury. 

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Mike Daniels was downgraded to out after leaving with a foot injury against the Philadelphia Eagles, though it was reported that initial tests revealed no broken bones.

New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was ruled out against the New York Jets after suffering a chest injury in the first half. It was later reported that Edelman suffered a rib injury, but X-rays were negative.

After being flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for tossing his helmet away as he realised the extent of his injury, Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal exited in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts on a cart and was later ruled out with an Achilles injury. He is rumoured to need surgery this week.

Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton was ruled out after sustaining a quad injury in the first half against the Falcons.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley was downgraded to out after being helped off the field against the Buccaneers. 

By the numbers

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the only player in the last 40 years with 200 or more passing yards and two passing touchdowns in the first half in each of his team's first three games of a season.

The Patriots won their 116th game of the decade, beating the 2000s Colts and breaking the record for most wins by a team in a single decade in NFL history. New England's point differential of +89 (106-17) through the first three weeks of the season is tied for second-highest in league history.

The Miami Dolphins, however, find themselves on the opposite end of that spectrum.

Meanwhile, the Jets broke new ground at Gillette Stadium by scoring their first touchdown in Foxborough in nearly four years.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins extended his streak of 19 games with one or more passing touchdown, making it the longest active streak in the NFL. He finished his outing against the Oakland Raiders 15 for 21 for 174 yards.

Quotables

Jets running back Le'Veon Bell on his frustration after going 0-3: "I'm not frustrated at all. I just know this team has a lot of talent, we just have to put it together. It's a new system, guy's first time playing together, a new coaching staff. We've just got to mesh everything together and we've got to get on board."

Broncos linebacker Von Miller on not catching the quarterback: "I need to find a way to play better. I have to find a way to get sacks and do my job. No one holds me to a higher standard than myself. I could sit here and make excuses, but I got clean rushes today. I just need to find a way to get the quarterback on the ground."

Week 3 NFL scores

Thursday's game

Jaguars 20, Titans 7

Sunday's games

Cowboys 31, Dolphins 6
Bills 21, Bengals 17
Lions 27, Eagles 24
Patriots 30, Jets 14
Colts 27, Falcons 24
Vikings 34, Raiders 14
Chiefs 33, Ravens 28
Packers 27, Broncos 16
Panthers 38, Cardinals 20
Giants 32, Buccaneers 31
Saints 33, Seahawks 27
Texans 27, Chargers 20
49ers 24, Steelers 20

Few people could have predicted that Teddy Bridgewater, Mason Rudolph and Daniel Jones would be the talk of the NFL at the end of Week 2.

But that is where things stand after the official benching of Eli Manning on Tuesday followed injuries to Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday.

From post-game news conferences to next-day media availabilities, here are the 10 best Week 2 quotes from players and coaches around the NFL:

 

– Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay spoke highly of his interior offensive line's performance against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday despite being composed of two new starters: "Really, when you look at those three guys, very young group," he said. "They did a good job as the game progressed."

– Despite a disappointing outing on Sunday in which he missed three kicks, Indianapolis Colts veteran Adam Vinatieri is not getting discouraged: "I'm going to work a lot this week to get those demons out so I can go clear-headed and step on the field and just do my job," he told reporters.

– Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians talked about what it was like babysitting Ronde and Tiki Barber in late 1970s as a Virginia Tech team-mate and room-mate of their father James: "[Ronde]'s got some really ugly pictures of me with some bad hair."

– Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey requested a trade but remains focused on winning while he is still with the team: "All I care about is winning man, s***...I want to f****** win. Straight up. Excuse my language," he told reporters.

– Speaking of Ramsey, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took notice of the situation and suggested players refrain from airing their grievances on social media: "I would tell them that I can't tell you the teams that have said to me, 'Boy, that's the last thing I need is somebody that would put his business out there like that and talk about it in public. I don't want him either'," Jones told 105.3 "The Fan" in Dallas. "Usually it's a rule around the NFL that if they'll act that way with the team they're with, they'll act that way with the team I've got or the one I'm managing."

– In the wake of Roethlisberger's season-ending elbow injury, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin remains optimistic the veteran will be back next year: "He fully intends to come back from his injury, and everything we've heard, we're comfortable that's a strong possibility," he told reporters. "I'll say this — we feel comfortable with the team we've assembled. Our level of expectations in terms of level of our performance will not change and has not changed."

– With Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton also hurt, safety Eric Reid is open to the idea of the team potentially signing Colin Kaepernick: "The team have not approached me, but I would welcome that."

– New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur is focused on the future after benching long-time starting quarterback Manning for rookie Daniel Jones: "This move is more about Daniel moving forward than about Eli."

– Ahead of the team's game in Jacksonville, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is actually tired of watching his 99-yard touchdown run against the Jaguars from last December: "I'm sure [the Jaguars] are, because I am tired of seeing it — so I know for sure they are," he told reporters. "It's over with, man. It was a great moment, and I appreciate it. I cherish it. But it's time to move on now."

– New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on his first trade with rivals the Jets: "We don't want to help the Jets, they don't want to help us. We're in the same division, so they're not the easiest trades to make but, you know, if the trade is good for both teams and ultimately what we're trying to do is improve our team. We have 14 other games to play besides the games against the Jets, so do we want to help them, do they want to help us? No and no, but in the end, if it helps us in the other 14 games and helps our team, then it's something that's worth considering."

The second week of the NFL season gave us what Week 1 could not – fewer injuries and more close finishes.

The fourth quarter was crucial on Sunday as several high-profile games gave us nail-biting endings. Gardner Minshew could not quite get the Jacksonville Jaguars past the Houston Texans as he made his first career start in place of injured quarterback Nick Foles, while the Indianapolis Colts' defense helped Jacoby Brissett claim his first win of the season since Andrew Luck retired.

But setbacks were not inescapable after the Pittsburgh Steelers were plagued by injuries in their home opener against the Seattle Seahawks. The Steelers fought down to the final fourth-and-one wire of a game that had four sacks and four first downs over the first five possessions alone, but the Seahawks picked up their eight win in the team's last nine games.

Other games were not as competitive, like the New England Patriots' 43-0 shutout of the Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers' 41-17 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Then there are the Buffalo Bills, who moved to an unlikely 2-0 after they spoiled the New York Giants' home opener 28-14, while head coach Matt LaFleur recorded his first win at Green Bay as the Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 21-16 for the first time since 2016.

Injury report

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was seen shaking his throwing arm at various points in the first half against the Seahawks and even exited to the locker room before returning to the sideline to play through the injury. He was later ruled questionable to return to start the second half but never made it back after being replaced by backup Mason Rudolph.

Meanwhile, Steelers team-mate and running back James Conner was also questionable to return with a knee injury suffered in the second half. The Steelers also lost linebacker Vince Williams and safety Sean Davis to injuries.

49ers tackle Joe Staley was carted off the field against the Bengals with a leg injury and did not return. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan revealed after the game that Staley suffered a broken fibula.

Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis, starting in place of Jordan Reed as he recovers from a concussion, sustained an eye injury against the Dallas Cowboys.

Another less injury-prone quarterback went down as New Orlenas Saints veteran Drew Brees injured his throwing hand making contact with Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald in their NFC title rematch. He was sidelined with his thumb taped as Teddy Bridgewater took over under centre.

By the numbers

After being a healthy scratch in Week 1, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson scored his 107th career rushing touchdown to pass Hall of Famer Jim Brown on the all-time list. He is three rushing touchdowns behind Walter Payton for fourth in NFL history.

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is back in a big way, as the veteran scored in back-to-back weeks for the first time since Weeks 12 and 13 of the 2017 season.

Antonio Brown's touchdown catch during his Patriots debut against the Dolphins made him the 72nd player to catch a regular-season touchdown pass from Tom Brady, which extends a league record for the 42-year-old New England quarterback.

Rookie sensation and Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray joined Carolina Panthers veteran Cam Newton as the only players in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards in their first two starts.

Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster hit 2,500 career receiving yards against the Seahawks, becoming the youngest player in league history to accomplish the feat.

It was a good day for fantasy owners with New England's defense after the Patriots shut out the Dolphins.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes exploded in the first half against the Oakland Raiders, with his four touchdown passes and 313 yards helping him become the first signal-caller to throw for more than 278 yards in any quarter since Brees did so in 2008.

Quotables

Giants coach Pat Shurmur on replacing Eli Manning with Daniel Jones: "I think we have to look at how our team played and we have to go back and take steps to get better in all areas. I don't think that's a conversation for right now. Everybody has to play better."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick on having Brady throw deep despite being up 37 points: "We're playing 60 minutes. You've got to play 60 minutes."

Week 1 NFL scores

Thursday's game

Buccaneers 20, Panthers 14

Sunday's games

Ravens 23, Cardinals 17
Lions 13, Chargers 10
Colts 19, Titans 17
49ers 41, Bengals 17
Texans 13, Jaguars 12
Packers 21, Vikings 16
Cowboys 31, Redskins 21
Seahawks 28, Steelers 26
Bills 28, Giants 14
Patriots 43, Dolphins 0
Chiefs 28, Raiders 10
Rams 27, Saints 9
Bears 16, Broncos 14

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was in a revealing mood when talking about Antonio Brown on Wednesday.

OK, obviously he was not. He never is when he talks. That can easily be seen by his answers to questions about the wide receiver who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by his former trainer.

Q: Were you aware of the lawsuit when you signed Antonio Brown?

BB: I'm not going to be expanding on the statements that have already been given.

Q: Don't you think the fans deserve to hear a little bit more from you…

BB: When we know more, we'll say more.

Q: … on such a major development that could impact the team?

BB: Yeah, I just said that.

Q: Don't you think fans deserve to hear a little bit more?

BB: When we know more, we'll say more.

Q: Are you preparing to have Antonio Brown at practice today?

BB: Yes.

Q: And are you preparing for him to play on Sunday?

BB: We're taking it one day at a time. Just like we always do.

Q: Are you preparing for the possibility that he could be on the commissioner's exempt list?

BB: We're preparing for one day at a time.

Q: How much would the allegations against him weigh into if you play him on Sunday?

BB: Yeah, I appreciate all of the questions, and what's been said has been said.

We do not know if Brown is going to play this week, but it is a storyline to follow. Even if he plays though, the Miami Dolphins are likely in a lot of trouble.

Despite the drama that follows Brown, there is a lot of good on-the-field football stories this week, including a rematch of a very controversial game in the playoffs last year.

Here is your NFL countdown to Week 2:

 

Three must-see NFL Week 2 games

Vikings (1-0-0) at Packers (1-0-0) — This will be a decent indicator of how good the Green Bay Packers' new defense is. Green Bay looked very good against the Chicago Bears last week, but a lot of that was because Mitchell Trubisky was awful and the Bears refused to run the ball. The Minnesota Vikings have just about everything going for them offensively. They will be a stiff challenge for Green Bay.

Cardinals (0-0-1) at Ravens (1-0-0) — Lamar Jackson looked absolutely incredible last week. But, it was against the Dolphins who — in sum — played like Team Trubisky. Do not get us wrong, Jackson is good, but the Arizona Cardinals certainly present a tougher test defensively than Miami. Also, Kyler Murray looked amazing in the fourth quarter and overtime in his NFL debut. He was awful for the first three quarters, though. Can he develop more consistency — hopefully on the positive side — against a very tough Baltimore Ravens defense? We are not holding our breath. The Ravens might have the best defense in football.

Saints (1-0-0) at Rams (1-0-0) — It is a rematch of last season's NFC championship game. Do not remember what happened there? Here's a refresher:

The Los Angeles Rams went on to win and went to the Super Bowl. A controversial no-call play prompted the NFL to make pass interference reviewable. A Saints fan then filed a civil suit against the NFL for robbing his team of a shot at a championship. Yeah, you need to watch this game.

J.J. Watt, Texans DE — For the first time in Watt's career Monday, the three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year was held without a tackle, quarterback hit or sack. The Houston Texans star likely will not let that happen again, and he is facing a rookie quarterback — come on down, Gardner Minshew! — against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. A three- or four-sack game might not be out of the question.

Joe Mixon, Bengals RB — Mixon suffered a sprained ankle in the Cincinnati Bengals' Week 1 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Coach Zac Taylor's offense is very much based on the play-action game and not having Mixon will likely affect it. However, Andy Dalton threw for 418 yards in Week 1, so clearly it can work either way. It will likely work better with Mixon, listed as questionable for the San Francisco 49ers, so the Bengals will certainly want him back.

One bold NFL Week 2 prediction

Jags fans will wonder: Did they find a franchise QB by accident? Gardner Minshew started only one season at Washington State, but won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award given to the nation's best senior quarterback. He threw for 275 yards, two touchdowns and posted a 76.8 QBR in Week 1 in relief of Nick Foles, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Minshew has legitimate talent, and team-mates love to play for him. Look for him to again throw for 250 or more yards and two or three touchdowns against a good Texans defense. If he does that, the Jaguars may have found their quarterback of the future in the sixth round.

The New Orleans Saints will be on a revenge mission when they do battle with the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Los Angeles claimed a dramatic 26-23 overtime win over New Orleans in the NFC Championship game in January and they are set for an early-season battle nine months later.

Both sides got their seasons under way with victories and the Rams will have home advantage as they go in search of back-to-back successes.

The Green Bay Packers lock horns with the Minnesota Vikings, while the Seattle Seahawks travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

We look at some of the key Opta facts for seven games on the second Sunday of the campaign.

 

 

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins

The Cowboys have won five of the six games they have played against Washington since the start of the 2016 season, but the Redskins came out on top 20-17 at FedEx Field last season.

Washington went down 24-0 in their last home game of last season versus the Philadelphia Eagles, their fourth consecutive defeat in their own backyard.

 

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans

The Colts have swept the Titans in all but one of the last seven seasons, with the exception being when Tennessee won both games in 2017.

Tennessee have won 75 per cent of their home games since the start of the 2017 season (12-4). Only five teams have a better home winning percentage in that time (New England, New Orleans, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Minnesota).

 

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

Champions New England have lost 12 road games since the start of the 2014 season. A third of those losses have come in Miami, - 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018.

The Dolphins have lost two straight home games, failing to score more than 10 points in either game. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has thrown three or more touchdowns in nine regular season games against Miami, who shipped 59 points in their season-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

 

Buffalo Bills @ New York Giants

The Giants have won four of the last five games versus the Bills, including each of the last three. However, the Bills have won on three of their last five visits to the Giants.

Since the start of last season, Bills quarterback Josh Allen has nine rushing touchdowns, three more than any other quarterback.

 

Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have won seven of the nine games played in Pittsburgh against the Seahawks, while Seattle have been shut out in their last two visits to Heinz Field.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger failed to throw a touchdown pass in Week 1, snapping a streak of 26 consecutive games with a touchdown pass - the second-longest run in franchise history.

 

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

Minnesota have not lost to Green Bay in their last four matches, winning three. The Packers finished last season with a 31-0 home defeat at the hands of the Detroit Lions, but a vastly more competitive game will be expected against the Vikings with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers back to full fitness.

Vikings safety Anthony Harris had two interceptions against the Atlanta Falcons last week. He had three interceptions in his previous 51 NFL games.

 

New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Rams

The Rams were 7-1 at home last season, their best record since going 8-0 in 2003. They gained 3,620 yards at home last year, the fifth-most since 1940.

New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had 10 receptions for 123 yards in Week 1. It was his 10th career game with 10 or more catches, the second most in the league since 2016 – Antonio Brown (11).

There is a lot to take in after the first full slate of games to start the 2019 NFL season, and we still have two matchups left on Monday.

Will injuries continue to dominate the headlines, or will Antonio Brown bubble back up to further spoil the Oakland Raiders' season opener?

 

Three things that matter

Jaguars acquire Dobbs from Steelers

It is a temporary solution since coach Doug Marrone told reporters he expects Nick Foles to return later this season. The veteran Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback suffered a broken left collarbone in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs and underwent surgery on Monday, so he is not expected back until November.

In the meantime, Josh Dobbs will compete for playing time with Gardner Minshew, who was sharp as he filled in for Foles in the opener. The 2019 sixth-round pick completed 22 of 25 attempts for 275 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Guice dealing with knee injury

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden confirmed the running back suffered a right knee injury on Sunday and is in jeopardy of missing time. However, the team will await the results of his Monday MRI exam before determining his availability for week two against the Dallas Cowboys.

Should Derrius Guice be sidelined, Adrian Peterson could see an increase in his workload. The 13-year veteran, who was a healthy scratch Sunday, led the Redskins in rushing last season after Guice missed his rookie year with the torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Funchess headed for injured reserve

As if Andrew Luck's retirement was not difficult enough to overcome, the Indianapolis Colts now have to deal with the receiver's absence for the next few weeks after he suffered a broken collarbone in Sunday's overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Devin Funchess, who signed a one-year deal with Indianapolis as a free agent this offseason, had three catches for 32 yards before exiting.

Colts coach Frank Reich confirmed Funchess underwent surgery and will go on injured reserve but left the door open for his return down the road this season.

"It's definitely not season-ending," Reich told reporters.

Two things that don't matter

Jack unlikely to be suspended for stirring the pot

The Jaguars linebacker scuffled with Chiefs receivers Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson midway through the second quarter of Sunday's chippy game and was ejected. Myles Jack complicated things further by needing to be escorted off the field by coaches after learning he had been tossed.

While Jack blamed Watkins for instigating the incident, he took responsibility for his actions after the game.

"It's a crazy and physical sport that we play and I just felt like that play was not a football play," Jack told reporters. "Looking back it was an idiotic move for me to do that because you do not get points for that. I’m a captain now and the team just extended me so I have to do better for me and my team."

Beckham won't be fined for wearing $350K watch

While there is no NFL rule against jewellery, the Cleveland Browns receiver did violate a rule prohibiting hard objects on the field. Fortunately for Odell Beckham Jr, the league will reportedly address the infraction with him and the team, though it is unlikely to escalate beyond that.

The decision for Beckham to play a contact sport with nearly half a million dollars on his wrist is a bold flex, but a questionable one.

One video you have to see

Tom Brady is feeling good about 2019, and why shouldn't he? The New England Patriots started the season with a win over AFC rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers just hours after reportedly acquiring former Pittsburgh standout Antonio Brown following his release from Oakland.

Monday's tweet of the day

Two kick-offs remain in week one, but it is already week two in Carolina.

NFL Sundays are back and there was no shortage of headlines during the first full slate of games for week one as the league continued the kick-off of its 100th season.

Le'Veon Bell bounced back in his debut with the New York Jets despite a loss to the Buffalo Bills, while Odell Beckham Jr. was less than thrilling as he and Baker Mayfield were routed by the Tennessee Titans in the Cleveland Browns' opener.

But Kyler Murray was perhaps the most interesting as his dull start turned into an exciting overtime thriller in which the rookie quarterback kept the Arizona Cardinals alive for a tie with the Detroit Lions. It was not an ideal start for first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, but it was an even worse outcome for second-year coach Matt Patricia.

Elsewhere around the league, Julio Jones disappointed after getting his long-awaited contract extension, while Ezekiel Elliott was outstanding despite the holdout that kept him away from the Dallas Cowboys until Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers fared just fine without Melvin Gordon as he extended his absence while he continues to wait for a new deal.

Injury report

Tempers were as high as the temperature in Jacksonville, where the Chiefs-Jaguars game turned chippy. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles was ruled out with a broken left collarbone, while Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was carted off the field with a shoulder injury and later ruled out. Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes also sprained his ankle and limped off the field but was able to play through the pain.

Los Angeles Rams safety Eric Weddle was carted off the field and evaluated for a concussion after Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey made contact with his head while leaping over him. Weddle was motionless on the field for a few minutes and visibly bloodied with a head laceration.

Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley was ruled out against the Bills after suffering a groin injury late in the game while rookie defensive tackle and 2019 third draft pick Quinnen Williams left with an ankle injury.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson was carted off due to an apparent foot injury against the Washington Redskins.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield left FirstEnergy Stadium with his right wrist wrapped, though it was reported to be just a bruise and not considered serious.

By the numbers

The Browns committed 18 penalties for 182 yards — their most penalties in a game since 1951 — as they dropped their 15th straight regular-season opener. That winless streak is now the league's longest.

Bell, playing his first game in 602 days on Sunday, did not skip a beat as he became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 8,000 career scrimmage yards. He finished his Jets debut with 17 carries for 60 yards while adding six catches for 32 yards and a score.

The Ravens set a franchise record with 42 first-half points to begin their season, and Lamar Jackson had himself a day as he helped them secure their eventual win over the Dolphins.

Baltimore racked up 640 yards of total offense against Miami, which is the most by any team in their first game of the season since the Rams in 1951. 

Ryan Fitzpatrick became the first player in league history to start for eight different NFL teams.

Quotables

Vernon Davis, who was raised by his grandparents and coped with the death of his grandfather one day earlier, on his emotions when the tight end scored against the Eagles: "I was just grateful when I scored that touchdown. I was grateful to contribute to the team. A lot of people asked me if I was going to be able to play today. Of course, I'll be able to play. They probably didn't think I'd come out and be effective for the team as well, but it worked out.

"Just that feeling of being able to be successful, meaning contribute to the team. Not individual success, but success as a team. That whole play was everybody ... but that play is going to have to be irrelevant to me because of what went on today."

Mayfield on why it is too early for Browns fans to worry:  "Everybody is going to throw this in the trash. I think that is good. I know what type of men we have in this locker room. I know how we are going to react. I know what we are going to do. We are going to bounce back. We have a Monday Night game [against the Jets] coming up so we do not really care. We are ready to go."

Week 1 NFL scores

Thursday's game

Packers 10, Bears 3

Sunday's games

Chiefs 40, Jaguars 26
Vikings 28, Falcons 12
Titans 43, Browns 13
Bills 17, Jets 16
Ravens 59, Dolphins 10
Eagles 32, Redskins 27
Rams 30, Panthers 27
Chargers 30, Colts 24, OT
Seahawks 21, Bengals 20
Cowboys 35, Giants 17
49ers 31, Buccaneers 17
Lions 27, Cardinals 27, OT

Finally, the wait is over. No more concerns about combine performances, training camp activities or injuries in meaningless pre-season fixtures.

On Thursday, the 2019 NFL season kicked off with the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers. The long-time rivalry failed to deliver a thriller on opening night – the Packers prevailed 10-3 – but it did signal the start of Week 1.

Sundays will never be the same again (well, until the Super Bowl next February at least).

As the rest of the league wait to get started, we look at some of the key Opta facts for seven games in Week 1 - including the New England Patriots, the reigning champions no less, hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

Los Angeles Rams @ Carolina Panthers

The Rams finished the last campaign as bridesmaids, beaten 13-3 by the Pats in Super Bowl LIII. So, can Sean McVay’s team go one better this season? Well, the schedule has thrown up a tricky start away to Carolina – the Rams have not triumphed in Charlotte since 2001.

However, while the head-to-head history favours the Panthers, the Rams have won 13 road games since the start of 2017 season, which is the most in the NFL in that span.

 

Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have dominated this divisional rivalry of late, winning the last four straight. Their most recent meeting was in Week 17 last year, with the Redskins shut out in a 24-0 loss.

Philadelphia went 5-3 at home last season and will be wary of a Washington team who have won their last three road openers. However, the Redskins still have a long way to go to match the franchise record in such games, having triumphed in seven on the spin between 1937 and 1943.

 

Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are on a three-game winning streak against the Falcons, while they have also not lost a home opener since 2014.

So no hope for Atlanta this week? Actually, the Falcons finished the last campaign with back-to-back road wins, plus their only other away success in 2018 came in Minnesota. They have done a good job keeping Adam Thielen quiet in previous meetings, too. The wide receiver has recorded just four catches in three games against them.

 

Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City have beaten Jacksonville in four straight games, including a 30-14 result last season. Still, the Jaguars managed 502 yards of offense (and had five turnovers) in a losing cause.

The Jags will be hoping to do better at home in 2019. They went 3-5 in front of their own fans last season, one of just eight teams to post a losing record at their own stadium. They conceded the fewest and scored the second-fewest points at home in 2018, so reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs may find it tough going this weekend.

 

Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Chargers

The Colts begin life without the now-retired Andrew Luck in LA. They closed out the previous season with successive road wins but have not won three in a row away from Indianapolis since a four-game run between October and December in 2016.

As for the Chargers, quarterback Philip Rivers has just three touchdowns in five regular-season games against the Colts. He has thrown for fewer against just one NFL team (Atlanta - one in three games).

 

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots

The Steelers' 17-10 win last season was their first success in five over the Patriots. They have become accustomed to starting on the road, having done so for the past four seasons.

Tom Brady has certainly enjoyed coming up against Pittsburgh in the past, though. In his 11 regular season games against them, the quarterback has thrown for 26 touchdowns (his second most against a team outside of the AFC East) compared to just five interceptions.

 

Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints

These two teams have not faced each other since 2015, the Texans winning 24-6 the last time they met. The Saints have not scored six or fewer points in a game since, by the way.

New Orleans have home advantage but will be looking to end a miserable Week 1 record. They have lost their last five season openers, allowing an average of 36.0 points per game.

At the start of every NFL season, each team have the same 0-0 record. Combined with surprise trades, NFL draftees, free agency signings, shocking retirements and injuries, September signals the start of something new for all.

It has happened time again — a dark horse seemingly comes out of nowhere and has made a deep impression on that. Remember the 1988 Cincinnati Bengals that went to the Super Bowl, but were 4-12 the year before?

What about the 2008 Miami Dolphins who made it to the playoffs, even though they won just one game in 2007? Of course, the best example is Kurt Warner and the 1999 St Louis Rams, who won the Super Bowl that year, despite being 4-12 a season earlier.

Many eyes will be focused on the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders this year, especially with the addition of Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. But what other teams have the potential to go from zero to hero?

Here we break down three teams that could surprise us all during the 2019 season.

 

San Francisco 49ers

Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is back, Jerick McKinnon has also returned, running back Tevin Coleman now is with the team and San Francisco drafted defensive end Nick Bosa with the second overall pick. Not to mention, George Kittle might be the best tight end in the league now the Rob Gronkowski has retired.

A lot of the 49ers' problems in their shoddy 2018 season (which saw them finish 4-12) were because of injuries. Garoppolo tore his anterior cruciate ligament in week three, meaning backups C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullins had to take over for the rest of the year. McKinnon's knee gave him issues all last season and he is still recovering, but the depth with Coleman and Matt Breida gives the Niners more options.

Garoppolo struggled in his first preseason game but was able to step up and help San Francisco defeat the Kansas City Chiefs during its second preseason game. Garoppolo said playing at Arrowhead Stadium, where he tore his ACL last year, helped shake off any apprehension.

"A lot has happened in the year since then," Garoppolo said. "I thought it would be good to go back there just to remember everything that I've gone through."

On the other side of the ball, Bosa will have a helping hand from Dee Ford, who was traded from the Chiefs in the offseason after a 13-sack 2018 campaign.

As long as everyone stays healthy, the 49ers have all the pieces to at least win their division.

New York Jets

A far cry from their Super Bowl victory half a century ago, the Jets finished last season with a 4-12 record. New quarterback Sam Darnold looked like a shaky high schooler starting for the first time, the offense was sluggish and their third-down conversion rate was abysmal (32.24 per cent). 

But things have changed on the offensive side for New York. Running back Le'Veon Bell signed a four-year, $52million deal with the team and has had a quiet and drama-free offseason with the Jets. Bell also seemed to have helped Darnold gain some confidence and has heaped praise on the young quarterback.

"Sam has all the intangibles, he has the mindset. You can see him — he's a competitor. Every day in practice he literally wants to get better. It's hard to ... it's hard to describe someone that's like that because I'm like that," Bell said during the preseason.

"A lot of people go to practice and you're just practicing. They call a play and you run the play. When they call a play for me, I'm trying to work myself and I'm trying to like really get better at it. And I can see that in Sam. When he makes a throw he doesn't really like, I can see that in his face, 'I could've thrown that better.' You've got to love that about him because he literally wants to be perfect. He reminds me a lot of myself in that aspect."

Meanwhile, Ty Montgomery also was signed to a one-year $805,000 contract. Montgomery especially is intriguing, since he can take on the dual role of tailback and receiver. First-year Jets head coach Adam Gase said he was shocked Montgomery had not been claimed off waivers after the Green Bay Packers released him and envisions him being the perfect complement to Bell.

Montgomery later added that he and Bell work well together, making them an efficient and top-notch duo.

"I think we complement each other," Montgomery said. "I'm more of a receiver that's become a back and he's a back that's sort of become a receiver. Us being on the field together, we can line up anywhere. We can do anything. When he comes off, I come on. My mindset, the way I'm wired right now, nothing's going to change, nothing should change. Our offense should be just as efficient."

Indianapolis Colts

No Andrew Luck? No problem. The quarterback's surprise retirement at the age of 29 could have sent other teams into a tailspin, but the Colts have played without Luck before, although that result was not spectacular. In recent seasons, Luck has dealt with various injuries, and Jacoby Brissett has stepped up.

Colts head coach Frank Reich said Indianapolis are in "good hands" with Brissett, even though he has a 4-11 record with the team when starting. 

"You can just feel his presence in the huddle and on the field," Reich said. "The confidence that he's had, the chemistry with his receivers. We all know Andrew and T.Y. [Hilton] had a unique chemistry and connection. I can feel that developing. That's been very important that Jacoby has taken all those reps."

Brissett had been taking the majority of first-team reps during training camp and working with Hilton, Pro Bowl tight ends Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle, and running back Marlon Mack, who nearly had a 1,000-yard season last year, despite missing five games. 

The stage is set for Brissett to succeed. As long as the offensive line — which includes first-round picks Anthony Castonzo, Ryan Kelly and Quenton Nelson — stays strong, Brissett and the Colts still have the chance to claim an AFC South title.

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