CINCINNATI — One Bengals player after another hobbled off and headed to the locker room. Cincinnati still had more than enough to stay unbeaten with a 24-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons (1-1) on Sunday.
Running back Giovani Bernard picked up the depleted offense by running for 90 yards. Cincinnati’s defense held down Matt Ryan and the Bengals won their home opener and improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2006.
But Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green aggravated an injured toe on his right foot, and didn’t catch a pass for the first time in his four-year career. Tight end Alex Smith injured his left biceps, right guard Kevin Zeitler hurt his right calf, and Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict left in the second half with a pinched nerve in his neck. Burfict suffered a concussion in a season-opening win at Baltimore and missed practice during the week.
Chargers 30, Seahawks 21: In San Diego, Antonio Gates had three touchdown catches and San Diego controlled the tempo to keep Seattle’s offense off the field and upset the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
Gates’ 21-yard catch late in the third quarter was epic, as the star tight end split two defenders and extended for Philip Rivers’ pass, reaching out with his left hand to gather it in. Flat on his back, he held up the ball to show the ref he’d made the catch that gave San Diego a 27-14.
Rivers was 28 of 37 for 284 yards.
San Diego (1-1) had blown an 11-point, fourth-quarter lead and lost its opener Monday night at Arizona. Seattle (1-1) had nine days to prepare after a 20-point opening victory against Green Bay.
Broncos 24, Chiefs 17: In Denver, Terrance Knighton batted away Alex Smith’s fourth-and-goal pass to Dwayne Bowe, a former LSU standout, with 15 seconds left, preserving Denver’s win over scrappy Kansas City.
The Broncos (2-0) thought they had sealed the win twice earlier on the drive.
Aqib Talib’s pick-6 was negated by Quanterus Smith’s hold. Then, Nate Irving’s fumble recovery following DeMarcus Ware’s sack and strip was ruled an incomplete pass after a replay.
The Chiefs (0-2) converted 11 of 16 third-down opportunities overall.
Peyton Manning was 21 of 26 for 242 yards and three TDs.
Bears 28, 49ers 20: In Santa Clara, Calif., Jay Cutler passed for three fourth-quarter touchdowns after much of Chicago’s starting defense went down, and the Bears beat San Francisco to spoil its Levi’s Stadium debut.
Cutler threw three TD passes to Brandon Marshall, two in the wild fourth quarter, as Chicago erased a 13-point deficit and quieted the sellout crowd. Cutler threw for two scores in a 27-second span early in the final period, aided by the gutsy play of a backup cornerback.
Kyle Fuller made two late interceptions for the depleted Chicago secondary, and the first set up the go-ahead score. San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for “inappropriate language” following Fuller’s first big play.
Packers 31, JETS 24: In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns, Jordy Nelson had a career-high 209 yards receiving and Green Bay rallied from an 18-point deficit for a win over the New York Jets on Sunday.
New York appeared to tie it with 5 minutes left on a 37-yard touchdown catch by Jeremy Kerley on fourth down — but it was negated because the Jets (1-1) called a timeout from the sideline just before the snap. The Packers (1-1) held on from there to avoid its first 0-2 start since 2006.
Randall Cobb caught two short scoring strikes and a 2-point conversation that gave the Packers a 24-21 lead in the third quarter.
Green Bay (1-1) went up 31-24 late in the third quarter when Nelson worked a double move on Dee Milliner for an 80-yard touchdown catch.
Rams 19, Buccaneers 17: In Tampa, Fla., Greg Zuerlein’s fourth field goal of the day, a 38-yarder with 38 seconds remaining, gave third-string quarterback Austin Davis and St. Louis a victory over Tampa Bay.
Davis completed 22 of 29 passes for 235 yards with no interceptions in his first NFL start. Zac Stacy had a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and Zuerlein also delivered field goals of 36, 35 and 46 yards to help the Rams (1-1) rebound from a lopsided opening loss to Minnesota.
Bobby Rainey rushed 144 yards and quarterback Josh McCown had two short TD runs for the Bucs (0-2).
Bills 29, Dolphins 10: In Orchard Park, N.Y., C.J. Spiller scored on a 102-yard kickoff return, and rookie receiver Sammy Watkins had a 12-yard touchdown catch.
The Dolphins (1-1) also lost a key offseason addition when running back Knowshon Moreno did not return after hurting his left elbow 11 minutes in.
Spiller and Watkins, the Clemson connection, both scored in the third quarter, putting Buffalo (2-0) ahead 23-10.
The Bills rode the momentum of a charged-up crowd in a home opener that celebrated the franchise’s past and future.
Cowboys 26, Titans 10: In Nashville, Tenn., DeMarco Murray ran for 167 yards and a touchdown and Dan Bailey kicked four field goals. The loss spoiled Tennessee first-year coach Ken Whisenhunt’s home debut.
Dallas (1-1) scored the first 16 points of the game in the first half.
Tony Romo easily shook off his three interceptions in the season-opening loss to San Francisco. With Murray running so well, Romo was 19 of 29 for 176 yards and a TD.
The Titans (1-1) struggled in all areas after winning their opener at Kansas City.
Cardinals 25, Giants 14: In East Rutherford, Ted Ginn Jr. ran 71 yards on a punt return for a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown.
Playing in a regular-season game for the first time since 2010, Drew Stanton replaced the scratched Carson Palmer and led the Cardinals (2-0) on three long scoring drives. Arizona won for the ninth time in 11 games.
Jonathan Dwyer scored on a 1-yard run and Chandler Catanzaro kicked four field goals.
Eli Manning threw two touchdowns for the Giants (0-2), who turned over the ball four times.
Texans 30, Raiders 14: In Oakland, Calif., J.J. Watt caught a 1-yard touchdown pass, Arian Foster ran for 138 yards and a score and Houston won its second straight game to open the season, beating Oakland.
Instead of controlling the game from his usual defensive end position, Watt made his biggest impact on the opening drive when he lined up as a tight end and caught a pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to get Houston (2-0) started.
After losing their final 14 games in a two-win season in 2013, the Texans have opened 2014 with back-to-back wins under new coach Bill O’Brien.
The home opener for the Raiders (0-2) hardly could have gone worse as they fell behind 27-0 after three quarters and were booed.