Jets Top Cowboys, Giants Lose to Redskins, Eagles Win as NFL Season Start

The New York Jets rallied past the Dallas Cowboys 27-24 with 17 fourth-quarter points, including a 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds left in their National Football League season opener.

The Jets erased a 24-10 deficit last night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with the help of two newcomers. Plaxico Burress caught a 26-yard touchdown pass with 12:03 left and Isaiah Trufant, who was signed last week, scored on an 18-yard blocked punt with 5:08 remaining.

“It looked bleak, no question about it. It just shows you the resolve of our football team,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said at a news conference. “We just kept believing that we could get it done. It doesn’t get much better than this.”

The Jets’ comeback came in the last of 13 games on the first Sunday of the NFL season. The Jets and Washington Redskins were among teams to hold pre-game ceremonies to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York City.

The Redskins beat the New York Giants 28-14 yesterday, ending a six-game losing streak against their division rivals. Rex Grossman threw two touchdown passes and Redskins rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had a nine-yard interception return for a touchdown to break a 14-14 tie at FedEx Field.

The Indianapolis Colts were routed yesterday in their first game without quarterback Peyton Manning in 14 years, while No. 1 draft pick Cam Newton had a record-setting debut in a losing effort for the Carolina Panthers, and the Baltimore Ravens kicked off their season with their most lopsided victory against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

Patriots’ Opener

The New England Patriots, the Super Bowl favorite among oddsmakers, start their bid for a fourth NFL title since the 2001 season tonight in Miami, while Oakland visits Denver in the second Monday night game.

The Ravens turned in one of yesterday’s most dominating performances, forcing seven turnovers in a 35-7 rout of the defending AFC-champion Steelers in Baltimore.

Joe Flacco threw three touchdown passes, Ray Rice scored twice and the Ravens’ defense pressured Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into three interceptions and two fumbles. Pittsburgh lost its season-opener for the first time since 2002, ending the NFL’s longest active streak.

“You can’t shoot yourself in the foot,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said at a news conference. “It’s not hard to figure out -- if you turn the ball over and you don’t get turnovers, you’re going to get beat up pretty good.”

The Colts lost 34-7 to the Houston Texans without Manning, a four-time NFL Most Valuable Player who had surgery last week to have vertebrae fused in his neck. Manning’s replacement, Kerry Collins, lost two fumbles and the Colts needed a fourth- quarter touchdown to avoid their first regular-season shutout since 1993.

‘Long Season’

“This obviously wasn’t the day we had hoped for, but it’s a long season,” Collins said at a news conference. “Days like this happen, although it hasn’t happened a whole lot here over the years.”

The Panthers lost to the Arizona Cardinals 28-21 even though Newton passed for 422 yards, the most by a player in his NFL debut, and two touchdowns. Kevin Kolb threw for 309 yards and two scores in his first game for Arizona.

The Philadelphia Eagles beat the St. Louis Rams 31-13 behind two touchdown passes from Michael Vick, who two weeks ago signed a new six-year contract that may be worth up to $100 million. The Chicago Bears beat the Atlanta Falcons 30-12 in a meeting of 2010 division winners at Chicago’s Soldier Field, while the Detroit Lions beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-20 behind Matthew Stafford’s three touchdown passes.

Mike Tolbert scored three touchdowns as the San Diego Chargers beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-17, and the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 33-17.

Fitzpatrick’s Touchdowns

The Buffalo Bills beat the Kansas City Chiefs 41-7 behind four touchdown passes from former Harvard University quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jacksonville Jaguars held off the Tennessee Titans 16-14, and the Cincinnati Bengals topped the Cleveland Browns 27-17.

In the opening game of the season Sept. 8, the Packers beat the 2009 NFL champion New Orleans Saints 42-34.

The Jets, who lost in the AFC championship game the past two seasons, fell behind 24-10 early in the fourth quarter last night as Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes and Felix Jones scored on a one-yard run.

Burress, the former Giants receiver who signed with the Jets after spending 20 months in prison on a weapons charge, scored his first touchdown since 2008. The Jets then tied it up when Joe McKnight went untouched up the middle to block Mat McBriar’s punt and Trufant ran it into the endzone.

The Cowboys had the ball with 59 seconds left, but Darrelle Revis intercepted Romo and returned the ball to the Dallas 34- yard line to set up Nick Folk’s winning field goal.

“We told our team that whoever plays the hardest, the longest will win this football game,” said Ryan, who beat his twin brother Rob, the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator. “It was an unbelievable team effort and we fed off our fans.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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