Baltimore smothers Bears

Ravens know how to defend end zone, championship

Posted: Monday, September 10, 2001

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens opened defense of their Super Bowl title Sunday by smothering the Chicago Bears 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.

Dolphins 31, Titans 23

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jay Fiedler passed for 225 yards and two touchdowns as Miami recorded its 10th straight victory to open a season, the second-longest such streak in NFL history.

Only the Dallas Cowboys have done better, winning 17 consecutive openers from 1965 through 1981.

It looked like the Dolphins' streak might end Sunday night. Only the Baltimore Ravens have won at Adelphia Coliseum since the Titans moved in in 1999, and they had a record crowd of 68,798 to cheer them on.

Rams 20, Eagles 17

PHILADELPHIA -- Isaac Bruce caught passes of 20 and 27 yards from Kurt Warner in overtime, setting up a 26-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins that lifted St. Louis past Philadelphia.

Donovan McNabb threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Cecil Martin to rally the Eagles into a 17-17 tie. The first score -- a 1-yard pass on fourth-and-1 -- came on a reversed call by replacement officials.

Marshall Faulk scored St. Louis' first TD on a 7-yard run, and Warner passed to Ernie Conwell for the other.

Chargers 30, Redskins 3

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego, which won one game last year, got its first win in the opener as rookie LaDainian Tomlinson and Tim Dwight led a rout of Washington.

Despite missing most of training camp in a contract holdout, Tomlinson ran for 113 yards on 36 carries and scored on runs of 3 and 1 yards. He was San Diego's first 100-yard rusher in 17 games.

Dwight scored on an 84-yard punt return just 3:29 into the game, and Wade Richey, who replaced longtime kicker John Carney, had three field goals.

49ers 16, Falcons 13

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jose Cortez kicked a 24-yard field goal in overtime as San Francisco rallied to beat Atlanta.

Terrell Owens, J.J. Stokes and Tai Streets all turned short receptions into long gains late in the game, each leading to San Francisco scores. The 49ers scored 13 straight points in the final minutes to win after struggling through the first three quarters.

After Cortez made a 20-yard field goal with 8 seconds left in regulation to tie it, San Francisco won the coin toss and opened overtime at its own 20.

Colts 45, Jets 24

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- 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.

Buccaneers 10, Cowboys 6

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.

Raiders 27, Chiefs 24

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- 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.

Packers 28, Lions 6

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- 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.

Saints 24, Bills 6

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- 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.

Panthers 24, Vikings 13

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.

Bengals 23, Patriots 17

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.

Seahawks 9, Browns 6

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.

Jaguars 21, Steelers 3

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- 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.

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