By The Associated Press
Sure, it’s only two weeks into the NFL season. Still, look who is undefeated — and who is winless.
Yep, that’s the Bears and Buccaneers and Chiefs and Texans at the top of the standings. And the defending division champion Vikings and Cowboys at the bottom.
Chicago, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Miami and Pittsburgh all missed the playoffs last season. They all are 2-0 after Sunday’s games.
“We’ve been saying what we are, which is a good football team,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said after a 27-20 victory at Dallas. “But you have to get wins to validate that.”
The Bears won seven games in 2009, four more than the Buccaneers managed. Yet Tampa Bay leads the NFC South after a 20-7 win at Carolina.
“It feels good to win,” said second-year quarterback Josh Freeman, who has Tampa Bay off to its best start since it began 4-0 in 2005. “It feels good to win in a team effort. The offense came out and got some points on the board. The defense played lights-out in the second half. They held them out of the end zone and shut them out. It felt great to go out and play a divisional opponent and get the win.”
Not getting wins are highly touted Minnesota and Dallas. It’s too early to panic, but the Vikings have the deeper hole because Chicago and Green Bay already are two games in front of them in the NFC North.
“It’s a 14-game season now and we’re sitting at the bottom of it,” said Brett Favre, who was 22 of 36 for 225 yards and had a dreadful 44.3 rating after throwing three interceptions and losing a fumble for a touchdown in a 14-10 home loss to the Dolphins. “What we do with it from here remains to be seen. It won’t be any easier.”
Bears 27, Cowboys 20
DALLAS (AP) — Jay Cutler overcame several early hard hits to throw three touchdown passes.
Dallas blew a chance to tie it at 20 when David Buehler badly missed a 44-yard field goal with 7:23 left, and Chicago immediately drove for a lead-extending touchdown. Buehler made a 48-yarder with 1:17 left, but the Bears grabbed an onside kick.
Dallas fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2001.
Buccaneers 20, Panthers 7
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Freeman threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns and Tampa Bay moved to 2-0 a year after opening 0-7.
Nine months ago, Freeman threw five interceptions against Carolina. This time, the miscues were made by the Panthers (0-2), who couldn’t move the ball and QB Matt Moore was benched for rookie Jimmy Clausen in the fourth quarter.
Dolphins 14, Vikings 10
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Favre had his worst game with Vikings, and Miami stopped Adrian Peterson on fourth-and-goal from the 1 to preserve the victory.
Koa Misi recovered Favre’s fumble in the end zone for a touchdown and Brian Hartline scored on a 5-yard pass from Chad Henne. Meanwhile, the 40-year-old Favre was 19 of 28 for 197 yards. He threw two interceptions at home all of last season, but topped that total in the home opener.
Peterson rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown.
Texans 30, Redskins 27, OT
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Neil Rackers kicked a 35-yard field goal with 3:24 left in overtime, and Matt Schaub passed for a franchise-record 497 yards for Houston.
Schaub completed 38 of 52 passes with three touchdowns and one interception. Andre Johnson had 158 yards receiving and tied a career high with 12 catches. Kevin Walter caught 11 passes for 144 yards.
Both quarterbacks threw for more than 400 yards, the first time that’s happened in an NFL game since 1994. Donovan McNabb completed 28 of 38 passes for 426 yards with one touchdown for the Redskins (1-1).
Chiefs 16, Browns 14
CLEVELAND (AP) — Brandon Flowers returned an interception for a score, Ryan Succop kicked three field goals and Kansas City converted a late fourth-down gamble by coach Todd Haley.
Jerome Harrison, who ran for 286 yards against the Chiefs last year, was held to 33 yards on 16 carries. Joshua Cribbs had a 65-yard TD reception from Seneca Wallace, who started in place of injured Jake Delhomme and finished 16 of 31 for 229 yards for Cleveland (0-2).
The Chiefs were clinging to their 2-point lead and faced a fourth-and-inches at the Cleveland 36 with 2 minutes left. Haley went for it and Thomas Jones leaped over the pile for a game-clinching first down.
Steelers 19, Titans 11
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Antonio Brown scored on an 89-yard kickoff return to open the game, and Pittsburgh forced seven turnovers.
Dennis Dixon hurt his left knee and was replaced by Charlie Batch, but the Steelers swarmed the Titans (1-1) for four sacks and forced the most turnovers by Tennessee since 2000.
The Titans even tried pulling Vince Young after his third turnover. Kerry Collins was intercepted to end his first series.
Pittsburgh also snapped Chris Johnson’s 100-yard rushing streak at 12 straight. The NFL’s rushing champ had 16 carries for 34 yards.
James Harrison had three sacks, forced a fumble and recovered another.
Falcons 41, Cardinals 7
ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan matched a career high with three touchdown passes, and third-string running back Jason Snelling rushed for 129 yards and scored three times for Atlanta (1-1).
Snelling took over after the top two backs, Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood, went out with injuries. Ryan threw for 225 yards.
The only highlight for Arizona (1-1) was Tim Hightower’s 80-yard touchdown run, matching the third longest in franchise history.
Colts 38, Giants 14
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns in easily outplaying younger brother Eli.
In the second NFL meeting of siblings as starting quarterbacks, Peyton got lots of help from his running game and a Colts defense that was overrun last week against Houston. Joseph Addai rushed for 92 yards, Donald Brown added 69 and Indianapolis (1-1) forced Eli Manning to fumble twice, resulting in 14 points.
The brothers chatted in pregame warmups and twice shook hands at the coin toss. Then Peyton guided the Colts to a 24-0 halftime lead over the Giants (1-1), including a 98-yard drive capped by Dallas Clark’s 50-yard TD catch.
Jets 28, Patriots 14
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Mark Sanchez threw a career-high three touchdown passes, including two in the second half, and the Jets held on despite losing Darrelle Revis.
Six days after an awful outing in the opener against Baltimore, the Jets’ offense was impressive as Sanchez completed a career-high 21 passes on 30 attempts for 220 yards and connected with Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller for scores.
The victory over the Patriots (1-1) ended a tumultuous week for the Jets (1-1), who were investigated by the NFL for the treatment of a female reporter at practice last weekend.
Revis, New York’s All-Pro cornerback, left in the second quarter with a tight hamstring.
Packers 34, Bills 7
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Clay Matthews had three sacks to lead Green Bay’s dominant defense and Aaron Rodgers threw for two TDs and scrambled for another. Rodgers threw for 255 yards, with touchdowns to Donald Driver and James Jones. He also ran 9 yards for a score.
Linebacker Brandon Chillar and rookie safety Morgan Burnett intercepted Trent Edwards and the Packers (2-0) held the Bills (0-2) to 186 yards of total offense.
Edwards was 11 of 18 for 102 yards.
Eagles 35, Lions 32
DETROIT (AP) — Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes in the first half in his first start in four years, and Philadelphia (1-1) held off a late rally.
LeSean McCoy gave the Eagles an 18-point lead with his third score with 6:17 left. The Lions (0-2) pulled within three points and recovered an onside kick with 1:50 left, but turned the ball over on downs without gaining a yard.
Vick, starting for Kevin Kolb (concussion), missed two seasons while serving an 18-month sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation and played sparingly last year. He hit 21 of 34 passes for 284 yards, ran for 37 yards and avoided losses with spin moves and slick steps.
Bengals 15, Ravens 10
CINCINNATI (AP) — Mike Nugent kicked a career-high five field goals, two of them in the closing minutes.
Cincinnati (1-1) won the division by going 6-0 for the first time in franchise history. Nugent extended the Bengals’ streak of division wins to a club-record eight.
The Ravens (1-1) couldn’t pull one out despite another brilliant day by their defense, which hasn’t allowed a touchdown in its past 10 quarters since the playoffs.
Chargers 38, Jaguars 13
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Philip Rivers threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns and the Chargers (1-1) forced six turnovers by the Jaguars (1-1). Rookie running back Ryan Mathews hurt his right ankle in the second quarter and didn’t return. He also fumbled for the second straight game, one of San Diego’s three turnovers.
David Garrard was intercepted four times. The six giveaways tied Jacksonville’s team record and led to 17 points for the Chargers.
Broncos 31, Seahawks 14
DENVER (AP) — Kyle Orton threw for 307 yards and two TDs, and top draft pick Demaryius Thomas caught eight passes for 97 yards and a touchdown against Seattle (1-1).
The Broncos (1-1) won their 11th straight home opener and improved to 24-3 in home openers since 1984, the best mark in major professional sports during that span.
Thomas, who missed the preseason and last week’s opener after aggravating his surgically repaired left foot during a scrimmage last month, hauled in Orton’s 21-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-7 and cap his smashing debut.
Raiders 16, Rams 14
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Bruce Gradkowski replaced an ineffective Jason Campbell after halftime and led the Raiders to three scoring drives. Gradkowski threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy, Darren McFadden ran for 145 yards and Sebastian Janikowski kicked three field goals to give Oakland (1-1) its first win in a home opener since 2004.
Sam Bradford threw two touchdown passes to Mark Clayton, but was unable to get the offense moving for much of the second half as the Rams (0-2) lost for the 27th time in 28 games.