Tom Brady, the man who helped the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl titles may be gone, but the most successful NFL team of the 21st-century started the season in familiar fashion.
Brady’s replacement at quarterback, Cam Newton, rushed for two touchdowns as the Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 21-11 in their first game since the 43-year-old left New England for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Newton ended the day with 75 rushing yards and 155 through the air, with no passing touchdowns or interceptions.
Miami struggled for most of the game offensively and lost top receiver DeVante Parker, who left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 20 of 30 for 191 yards and three interceptions.
Cleveland Browns 6-38 Baltimore Ravens
Looking every bit like the reigning NFL MVP, Lamar Jackson threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns to help the Baltimore Ravens beat the Browns 38-6, ruining Kevin Stefanski’s debut as Cleveland’s head coach.
Although play was sloppy following a preseason without any games, two constants prevailed: Jackson was the focal point of a high-powered offense and the Browns lost another opener.
Facing a Cleveland secondary depleted by injuries, Jackson completed 20 of 25 passes and racked up a team-high 45 yards on the ground. A year ago, the multi-faceted star set an NFL single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback and threw 36 TD passes.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw an interception on the opening series, the first of three Browns turnovers. Those miscues, two missed kicks by Austin Seibert and an unsuccessful fake punt call by Stefanski contributed to the rout.
Indianapolis Colts 20-27 Jacksonville Jaguars
Gardner Minshew threw three touchdown passes, including a 22-yarder to Keelan Cole in the fourth quarter, and Jacksonville stunned Indianapolis and Philip Rivers 27-20 in their season opener.
The Jaguars entered Week 1 as the NFL’s biggest home underdogs, with talk of tanking being the most prevalent preseason topic surrounding the revamped team. The tempered expectations may have contributed to the team only being able to distribute about 14,000 tickets for the league’s lone game played with fans in the stands Sunday.
Minshew gave the sparse crowd plenty to celebrate. The second-year pro completed 19 of 20 passes for 173 yards and no turnovers. He connected with DJ Chark, rookie Laviska Shenault and Cole for scores and looked sharp all day.