Cousins, Smith impress in debuts with new teams as Rodgers returns to lift Packers
Same faces, new places. Kirk Cousins and Alex Smith switched teams in the offseason and both impressed during their week-one debuts in the NFL.
Quarterback Cousins, who was signed away from the Washington Redskins by the Minnesota Vikings in March, was an efficient 20-for-36 passing for 244 yards and two touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers.
Cousins did not turn the ball over and added 36 yards on the ground in Minnesota's 24-16 victory over San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
The loss was 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's first as San Francisco's starter. He threw three picks in the defeat.
Meanwhile, Smith – Cousins' replacement under center in Washington – picked apart the Arizona Cardinals defense as the Redskins won 24-6.
Smith helped the Redskins take control early and finished with 255 passing yards and two scores. He completed 70 percent of his passes in the game while veteran running back Adrian Peterson tallied 166 total yards.
Elsewhere, the Cleveland Browns snapped their 17-game losing streak but still have not won since 2016 following a 21-21 draw against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cleveland and Pittsburgh both missed field goals in overtime.
The Cincinnati Bengals spoiled Andrew Luck's return from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss all of last season. The Colts quarterback threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns but Indianapolis fell 34-23.
The Carolina Panthers held on for a 16-8 win against the Dallas Cowboys, while the Denver Broncos pulled out a narrow 27-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
Aaron Rodgers left the Green Bay Packers' game against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter with a knee injury after a sack. However, the star QB made a surprise return to the field to start the second half and inspired a 24-23 victory.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette suffered a right hamstring injury during the second quarter against the New York Giants, who were beaten 20-15.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson left his team's 48-40 win against the New Orleans Saints in the second half with a concussion. He tallied five receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns before leaving.
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen injured his foot in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys and did not return. He missed eight games after breaking his foot last season.
Star Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly also left the 16-8 victory against Dallas in the fourth quarter with an apparent leg injury, but later returned. He told NFL Network he was fine afterwards.
San Francisco wideout Marquise Goodwin injured his quad in the first half against the Vikings. He was targeted once and was held without a catch in the game.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin sprained his medial collateral ligament against the Denver Broncos, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the game.
By the numbers
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw an interception in the first quarter against the Giants. It was his 80th turnover since 2014, the most in the NFL during that time frame.
Peterson finished the Redskins game against the Cardinals with 96 yards on the ground. He passed Jim Brown for 10th on the all-time NFL rushing yards list, and also scored his 100th career rushing touchdown in the game.
All Day. Legend.— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) September 9, 2018
Adrian Peterson passes Jim Brown and is now 10th all-time in rushing yards. pic.twitter.com/Rd9QvGSfMw
The Buccaneers (31) and Saints (24) combined for 55 points in the first half of their clash on Sunday. It was the most points in the first half of an NFL game since week eight of the 2014 season.
Browns coach Hue Jackson on the tie against the Steelers: "This is not preseason football, this is the National Football League, it's the regular season, and we have to get better. Again, I think the guys can see that we're an improved football team, but there are some areas we have to clean up and clean up fast, and we will ... We didn't finish it. A tie … a tie."
Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans on Ryan Fitzpatrick's five-touchdown performance: "He played phenomenal, so I hope people had him on their fantasy teams, because he went crazy today ... And he ran and made plays with his legs and his arm. Awesome game from him, one of the most complete games I've seen from a quarterback."
Week 1 NFL scores
Philadelphia Eagles 18, Atlanta Falcons 12
Cincinnati Bengals 34, Indianapolis Colts 23
Baltimore Ravens 47, Buffalo Bills 3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, New Orleans Saints 40
Minnesota Vikings 24, San Francisco 49ers 16
Jacksonville Jaguars 20, New York Giants 15
Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Cleveland Browns 21
Kansas City Chiefs 38, Los Angeles Chargers 28
Carolina Panthers 16, Dallas Cowboys 8
Washington Redskins 24, Arizona Cardinals 6
Denver Broncos 27, Seattle Seahawks 24
Miami Dolphins 27, Tennessee Titans 20
Green Bay Packers 24, Chicago Bears 23