GREEN BAY, Wis. — A marquee season opener between two NFC heavyweights turned into a defensive slugfest.
The Green Bay Packers — not the menacing Seattle Seahawks — landed the momentum-swinging punch.
Green Bay defensive lineman Mike Daniels’ strip sack of Russell Wilson deep in Seattle territory in the third quarter set up Ty Montgomery’s 6-yard touchdown run on the next play to spark the Packers’ 17-9 win on Sunday.
“This really started with our defense,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “It starts on the line of scrimmage. We were in the backfield a bunch.”
The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers was 28 of 42 for 311 yards and added a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson to make it an eight-point game late in the third quarter. The Packers went deep to his favorite receiver on a free play that was extended after Seattle was flagged for having too many men on the field.
Rodgers’ regular-season streak of passes without an interception ended at a career-high 251. The Seahawks defense reinforced by the return of safety Earl Thomas bottled up receivers from making many big plays and put plenty of pressure on Rodgers.
Rams 46, Colts 9
LOS ANGELES — Jared Goff passed for a career-high 306 yards and a touchdown in his first victory as an NFL starter, and the Rams routed the Colts in Sean McVay’s impressive debut as the youngest head coach in modern league history.
Todd Gurley had 40 yards rushing and 56 yards receiving while the Rams roared to a 37-3 lead in the third quarter. Los Angeles snapped a six-game skid at the Coliseum with its most impressive performance since returning home from St. Louis last year.
Falcons 23, Bears 17
CHICAGO — Matt Ryan threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper and led two fourth-quarter scoring drives as the NFC champions held on.
The butt of jokes following their epic Super Bowl collapse against New England, the Falcons survived as the Bears had a first down at the Atlanta 5 in the closing minute. Mike Glennon’s pass to a lunging Josh Bellamy on first down hit off the receiver’s hands, and Jordan Howard then dropped a simple catch at the 1.
Jaguars 29, Texans 7
HOUSTON — Leonard Fournette ran for 100 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut, and Jacksonville had 10 sacks and forced four turnovers to help the Jaguars.
The Texans hoped to provide a boost to the area ravaged by Hurricane Harvey with a win. Instead, Tom Savage struggled behind a porous line and was benched in favor of rookie Deshaun Watson at halftime with Houston down 19-0.
Blake Bortles threw for 125 yards and a touchdown, Calais Campbell had four sacks and Dante Fowler returned a fumble 53 yards for a score as the Jaguars snapped a six-game skid against Houston.
Steelers 21, Browns 18
CLEVELAND — Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to tight end Jesse James as the Steelers, with minimal help from Le’Veon Bell, opened the season by holding off the Browns.
Roethlisberger improved to 21-2 against the Browns, who gave their rivals all they could handle — a positive sign for coach Hue Jackson and Cleveland fans after a horrid 1-15 season.Myles Garrett, who injured his ankle earlier this week.
Eagles 30, Redskins 17
LANDOVER, Md. — Carson Wentz threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns as the second-year quarterback guided the Eagles in a sloppy, mistake-filled season opener.
Wentz was 26 of 39 and threw an interception that Ryan Kerrigan returned for a touchdown. But Wentz made fewer errors than Washington’s Kirk Cousins, who was picked off at the goal line and fumbled twice. Cousins’ second fumble was forced by Brandon Graham and returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Fletcher Cox in the final minutes, putting the game away.
Lions 35, Cardinals 23
DETROIT — Matthew Stafford threw two of his four touchdown passes to rookie Kenny Golladay in the fourth quarter.
The Lions picked off three of Carson Palmer’s passes, returning one for a score. They also knocked David Johnson out of the game after forcing him to fumble in the third quarter Sunday.
Ravens 20, Bengals 0
CINCINNATI — Baltimore’s rebuilt defense picked off Andy Dalton four times and forced him to fumble, making it easy for Joe Flacco in his return from a back injury.
The Ravens ended a five-game losing streak in Cincinnati by pressuring Dalton into matching his career high for interceptions, three of them in the first half. The Ravens got a pair of touchdowns 24 seconds apart late in the half to take control, with Jeremy Maclin scoring on a 48-yard run-and-catch.
Bills 21, Jets 12
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdown passes and the new-look Bills won in Sean McDermott’s debut as Buffalo’s coach.
Mike Tolbert also scored on a 1-yard run , while Buffalo’s defense had three interceptions, including linebacker Ramon Humber picking off Josh McCown’s pass to thwart a 2-point conversion in the third quarter.