NFL Football Capsules
Sunday, September 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
BALTIMORE (AP) _ The Baltimore Ravens opened defense of their Super Bowl title Sunday by smothering the Chicago Bears' offense and getting just enough offense in a 17-6 victory.
Operating with little backing from the running game, newcomer Elvis Grbac threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Sam Gash with 1:48 left in the third quarter to give the Ravens their first lead, 10-6.
Grbac, signed during the offseason to aid an offense that last season relied heavily on the running game, went 24-for-30 for 262 yards. Baltimore managed only 54 yards rushing.
But, as they did last season in winning their final 11 games, the Ravens relied on their defense. Chicago managed only two field goals and made three first downs in the second half.
In other openers, it was Green Bay 28, Detroit 6; Tampa Bay 10, Dallas 6; Indianapolis 45, New York Jet 24; Oakland 27, Kansas City 24; New Orleans 24, Buffalo 6; Cincinnati 23, New England 17; Seattle 9, Cleveland 6; and Jacksonville 21, Pittsburgh 3.
Colts 45, Jets 24
In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Peyton Manning passed for two touchdowns and Edgerrin James rushed for 135 yards as Indianapolis, using a hurry-up offense for much of the game, routed the New York Jets.
The Colts, who won their final three games last season to steal a playoff berth from the Jets, put this one away with a 28-point second quarter, including Terrence Wilkins' 78-yard punt return for a TD.
It was a dispiriting head coaching debut for Herman Edwards, whose team looked amateurish at times. Most absurd was the play that clinched the Colts' victory, a lumbering 95-yard fumble return by defensive end Chukie Nwokorie with 5:17 to go.
Buccaneers 10, Cowboys 6
In Irving, Texas, Brad Johnson guided several long drives, but Tampa Bay failed to score a touchdown until early in the fourth quarter. As usual, the defense bailed out the offense for a tougher-than-expected victory over Dallas.
Although the Bucs kept the ball nearly twice as long as the Cowboys, Dallas led 6-3 when the fourth quarter began and drove toward a potential go-ahead touchdown twice in the closing minutes.
But Dallas rookie quarterback Quincy Carter wasn't able to pull off any heroics in his first start. He threw an interception straight to John Lynch at the 14 with 1:17 left.
Raiders 27, Chiefs 24
In Kansas City, Missouri, overcoming two fumbles and an interception that was returned for a touchdown, Oakland's Rich Gannon set up Sebastian Janikowski's 31-yard field goal with 15 seconds left.
After Trent Green's 30-yard TD pass to Marvin Minnis tied it at 24, David Dunn returned the kickoff 40 yards and Gannon followed with a 33-yard pass to Tim Brown to set up the winning kick.
The outcome spoiled Dick Vermeil's first game as Kansas City's coach.
Gannon, who hit Jon Ritchie with a 15-yard pass for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:10 left, is 4-1 against his the team that refused to make him a starter. Brown caught eight passes for 133 yards.
Packers 28, Lions 6
In Green Bay, Wisconsin, Brett Favre threw two touchdown passes and Ahman Green had two big touchdown runs as Green Bay spoiled Marty Mornhinweg's head coaching debut for Detroit.
Favre completed 22 of 28 passes _ and four of those misses were drops _ for 260 yards with no interceptions.
Charlie Batch was 20-of-39 for 276 yards and no touchdowns for Detroit. He was intercepted twice by Darren Sharper and sacked seven times, including three by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.
The Packers scored 21 points in the first quarter as Bill Schroeder grabbed a 23-yard touchdown pass from Favre in between scoring bursts of 31 and 87 yards by Green, who carried 17 times for 157 yards. He fumbled three times, losing one of them, and dropped two passes.
Saints 24, Bills 6
In Orchard Park, New York, two of Sammy Knight's three interceptions led to 10 points, and Albert Connell's acrobatic touchdown catch sparked a second-half comeback against Buffalo.
Knight matched a franchise record for interceptions set four times, most recently by Gene Atkins in 1991.
Bills quarterback Rob Johnson, who threw three interceptions for the first time in his career, struggled in the newly introduced West Coast offense. Along with being sacked five times, Johnson finished 16-for-27 for 160 yards in rookie coach Gregg Williams' regular-season debut.
The Saints trailed 6-0 at halftime after getting one first down in the first half.
Panthers 24, Vikings 13
In Minneapolis, Chris Weinke threw the go-ahead touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad midway through the third quarter and ran for a score in the fourth for Carolina.
Steve Smith returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown for the Panthers. Minnesota, playing its first regular-season game since the heatstroke death of lineman Korey Stringer in training camp, committed four turnovers, three on interceptions by Daunte Culpepper.
Culpepper threw a touchdown pass to Cris Carter that gave Minnesota its only lead, 13-10, late in the third quarter. Culpepper completed 22 of 38 passes for 236 yards, and ran 12 times for 55 yards and a score.
Bengals 23, Patriots 17
In Cincinnati, Corey Dillon ran for 104 yards and a touchdown, and Jon Kitna threw a 25-yard touchdown pass as Cincinnati held on to beat New England.
The Bengals won their first opener since 1997, though it's not necessarily a sign of good things ahead. They beat Arizona 24-21 that year, then lost their next seven.
The Patriots had no consistent running game and little success containing Dillon. They also had trouble covering Darnay Scott, who caught five passes for 104 yards after missing all last season with a broken leg.
Seahawks 9, Browns 6
In Cleveland, Rian Lindell's 52-yard field goal with 3 seconds remaining gave Seattle the win over Cleveland, spoiling Butch Davis' head coaching debut with the Browns.
Lindell, the NFL's most accurate rookie kicker a year ago, matched his career best with the game-winning boot that was set up by Charlie Rogers' 49-yard kickoff return.
Lindell missed his first attempt, but redeemed himself with kicks from 49 and 23 yards before connecting with the game-winner.
Phil Dawson kicked two field goals and missed one for the Browns.
Jaguars 21, Steelers 3
In Jacksonville, Florida, Jimmy Smith caught two of Mark Brunell's three touchdown passes, and Hardy Nickerson had an interception and forced a fumble for Jacksonville.
Brunell threw for a modest 198 yards, but still outplayed Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart, who went 21-for-37 for 181 yards. Stewart was forced to play catch-up in a driving rainstorm after Pittsburgh fell behind by 18 at halftime.