Reggie Bush and Steve McNair won't forget their 2006 debuts with their new teams. Even though his team didn't win, Terrell Owens didn't exactly have a miserable time in his new uniform, either.
Bush, the Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 overall draft pick from Southern California, provided a spark for New Orleans in its 19-14 victory at Cleveland. The running back, whose arrival in New Orleans has given the city's football fans renewed optimism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastation, finished with 141 total yards. He had 61 yards rushing on 14 attempts, caught eight passes for 58 yards and returned three punts for 22.
``I just wanted us to get a win,'' Bush said. ``I wasn't focused on anything else. This was a perfect first step.''
The Saints also got 90 yards on 22 carries from Deuce McAllister, making his return after missing the final 11 games last season following knee surgery.
McNair was acquired by Baltimore to give its offense some direction and big-play ability. He was 17-of-27 for 181 yards and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Wilcox at the end of an 80-yard drive in Baltimore's first win on the road since Nov. 17, 2004, 27-0 at Tampa Bay.
Of course, it was a fierce defense that was decisive, but the Ravens aren't used to having quick leads.
``That's what this defense thrives on,'' McNair said. ``Once we get ahead, they can do what they do best. And that's go after the quarterback and force him into making mistakes.''
T.O. got one TD in Dallas' 24-17 loss at Jacksonville. He finished with six receptions for 80 yards, but the Jaguars held him without a catch through much of the second half. Still, Owens keyed all three of Dallas' scoring drives, including a 21-yard scoring reception with 1:54 to play.
``I don't like coming in and starting with a loss, but by no means are we down on ourselves,'' said Owens, whose divorces from previous teams in San Francisco and Philadelphia were messy.
Elsewhere, it was Indianapolis over the New York Giants, 26-21, in the Manning Bowl; Cincinnati 23, Kansas City 10; Seattle 9, Detroit 6; St. Louis 18, Denver 10; New England 19, Buffalo 17; Atlanta 20, Carolina 6; Chicago 26, Green Bay 0; Arizona 34, San Francisco 27; Philadelphia 24, Houston 10; and the New York Jets 23, Tennessee 16.
The season began on Thursday night when Pittsburgh beat Miami 28-17. On Monday night, it's Minnesota at Washington, and San Diego at Oakland.
Saints 19, Browns 14
In Sean Payton's debut as Saints coach and Drew Brees first game as quarterback, it was veteran John Carney kicking four field goals. Brees, who signed a free agent contract in March, threw a 12-yard TD pass to rookie Marques Colston in the third quarter.
Ravens 27, Buccaneers 0
Chris McAlister returned one of the Ravens' three interceptions 61 yards for a touchdown and 340-pound rookie Haloti Ngata lumbered 60 yards with a tipped pass to set up a field goal. Ed Reed's fourth-quarter pick led to the Ravens' last TD.
The Bucs had gone 77 home games without being shut out.
Jaguars 24, Cowboys 17
Byron Leftwich threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score, and Fred Taylor had 115 combined yards, and the defense picked off three passes.
Jaguars DE Reggie Hayward tore his left Achilles' tendon and was lost for the season.
Colts 26, Giants 21
Peyton Manning made fewer mistakes than Eli in the first NFL game to feature two brothers starting at quarterback. Big brother Peyton was 25-of-41 for 276 yards and a touchdown and the Colts scored on five of their first seven possessions in the much-hyped nationally televised matchup of the sons of Archie Manning at Giants Stadium.
It was a game that had to make Archie and his wife, Olivia, very proud, as they sat and watched from a luxury box. They showed little emotion during the game, the father slouching uncomfortably in his chair and the mother sitting stiffly, staring straight ahead.
Adam Vinatieri, the hero of two Super Bowl wins by the New England Patriots, kicked four field goals for the Colts.
Bengals 23, Chiefs 10
Kansas City quarterback Trent Green suffered neck and head trauma in the third quarter. Green, motionless on the field , was carefully wheeled off on a stretcher after his head was snapped back to the ground on a hit by Robert Geathers. X-rays were negative.
Rudi Johnson and Kenny Watson scored touchdowns in a 17-point second-quarter for the visitors. Carson Palmer, who wrecked his kneed in the opening minutes of Cincinnati's playoff loss to Pittsburgh last January, was 13-for-19 for 127 yards.
Seahawks 9, Lions 6
At Ford Field, where they lost the Super Bowl to Pittsburgh in January, the Seahawks survived when Josh Brown kicked a 42-yard field goal on the last play of the game.
The Seahawks, who led the NFL in scoring last season, started the game-winning drive at their 20 with 3:13 left after Lions' new coach Rod Marinelli decided against a long field-goal attempt.
The Lions blocked two field-goal tries in the first 17 1/2 minutes and held 2005 MVP Shaun Alexander to 51 yards on 19 carries. Matt Hasselbeck was 25-of-30 for 210 yards, but was sacked five times.
Rams 18, Broncos 10
At St. Louis, Jeff Wilkins kicked a franchise-record six field goals, and the new-look Rams defense forced five turnovers against a team known for protecting the ball.
The only touchdown came on a 1-yard run by Denver's Mike Bell.
Patriots 19, Bills 17
The host Patriots struggled offensively from the beginning, when Tom Brady fumbled as he was belted by Takeo Spikes, and London Fletcher ran in the recovery for a 5-yard touchdown. But down by 10 points, Brady hit Kevin Faulk for a 17-yard TD and Stephen Gostkowski, the rookie replacing clutch kicker Adam Vinatieri, connected on a 32-yard field goal.
The winning points came when Ty Warren sacked J.P. Losman for a safety.
It was Bill Belichick's 100th career win as a head coach.
Falcons 20, Panthers 6
At Charlotte, N.C., John Abraham had two sacks and forced two fumbles in his first game with the Falcons, while Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes. Warrick Dunn rushed for 132 yards for the Falcons, who had 252 on the ground in all, the second most allowed by the Panthers.
Carolina struggled without All-Pro receiver Steve Smith, inactive with a right hamstring injury, and it lost middle linebacker Dan Morgan to a concussion.
Bears 26, Packers 0
At Green Bay, Chicago shut out three-time MVP Brett Favre for the first time in his 16-year pro career. Favre, who threw a career-worst 29 interceptions last season, finished the game 15-of-29 for 170 yards.
The Bears scored 12 points on four field goals by Robbie Gould, and got an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown by rookie Devin Hester.
Cardinals 34, 49ers 27
Kurt Warner completed 23 of 37 passes for 301 yards and three scores and the Cardinals turned two first-quarter San Francisco turnovers into touchdowns.
Playing in front of a sellout crowd of 63,407 in their $455 million, air conditioned new stadium, the Cardinals opened a season at home for the first time since the franchise moved to Arizona in 1988.
Larry Fitzgerald caught nine passes for 133 yards. Edgerrin James gained 73 yards in 26 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run, his Arizona debut.
Eagles 24, Texans 10
At Houston, Donovan McNabb threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns, including one to Donte' Stallworth, who had six catches for 141 yards.
The game was Stallworth's debut with the Eagles after a trade from the Saints, and McNabb's regular-season return after missing the final seven games of last season after surgery to repair a sports hernia. It was also a promising start to Philadelphia's first post-T.O. season.
No. 1 pick Mario Williams had three tackles but failed to make much of an impact while being shifted up and down the line in his and coach Gary Kubiak's first game as Texans.
Jets 23, Titans 16
Chad Pennington, returning from two shoulder operations in as many years, threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns.
The Titans trailed 16-0 until Travis Henry tied the game, rushing for two fourth-quarter touchdowns within five minutes. His 1-yarder with 5:58 left came one play after Pennington was sacked and fumbled at the 1. The Titans added 2-point conversions after each touchdown.
Pennington needed seven plays to put the Jets ahead after Justin Miller's 41-yard kickoff return. The winning score came on a 12-yard touchdown pass to Chris Baker with 2:10 left.