Sunday’s NFL: Wentz, Eagles soar in opener
Landover, Md. — Carson Wentz put on a magic act evading pressure, the Eagles’ defense ratcheted up its pass rush and the result was the end of a losing streak against Washington and a Gatorade bath for coach Doug Pederson.
Behind two touchdowns from Wentz and four sacks of Kirk Cousins, the Eagles beat Washington, 30-17, on Sunday in a sloppy, mistake-filled season opener between the NFC East rivals.
Wentz threw for 307 yards and also had an interception returned for a touchdown but made fewer errors than Cousins (Michigan State), who was picked off at the goal line and fumbled twice.
Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor, the recipient of a 58-yard touchdown pass from Wentz after he avoided being sacked by Jonathan Allen and Preston Smith, called the second-year quarterback “a magician.”
“I don’t know how the guy does it,” left tackle Jason Peters said of Wentz, who was 26 of 39. “He’s just got a knack for feeling pressure coming and he rolls out of it, he gets out of it and makes a play down the field.”
Cousins finished 23 of 40 for 240 yards with an interception and two fumbles, the second of which was forced by Brandon Graham (Michigan) and returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Fletcher Cox in the final minutes, putting the game away.
“I think we’re better than that up front, better than that at receiver, better than that at quarterback,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said.
The Eagles ended a five-game skid against Washington going back to Sept. 9, 2014, and won at FedEx Field for the first time since 2013.
Baltimore 20, (at) Cincinnati 0: 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 Bengals were shut out in a season opener for the first time since 1979.
Jacksonville 29, (at) Houston 7: Leonard Fournette ran for 100 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut, and Jacksonville had 10 sacks and forced four turnovers.
Blake Bortles threw for 125 yards and a touchdown as the Jaguars ended a six-game losing streak against Houston.
Tom Savage was benched in favor of rookie Deshaun Watson at halftime, down 19-0.
(At) L.A. Rams 46, Indianapolis 9: Jared Goff passed for a career-high 306 yards and a touchdown in his first victory as an NFL starter, and the Rams were impressive in 31-yeard-old Sean McVay’s 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 ended a six-game skid at the Coliseum with its most impressive performance since returning home from St. Louis last year.
All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald reported to the Rams on Saturday, ending a holdout that began in May without getting a new contract. He did not play.
Pittsburgh 21, (at) Cleveland 18: Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to tight end Jesse James for the Steelers, who had minimal help from Le’Veon Bell (Michigan State), who missed the preseason.
Roethlisberger improved to 21-2 in his career against the Browns.
(At) Carolina 23, San Francisco 3: Cam Newton threw a pair of touchdown passes following San Francisco turnovers and the Carolina defense shut down Kyle Shanahan’s offense in his coaching debut.
Newton threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Russell Shepard in the first half following a fumble by Brian Hoyer. Newton then threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Stewart in the third quarter after Luke Kuechly intercepted Hoyer (Michigan State).
(At) Buffalo 21, N.Y. Jets 12: Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdown passes and the Bills beat the Jets in Sean McDermott’s debut as Buffalo’s coach. Taylor set the Bills record for career yards rushing by a quarterback, surpassing Joe Ferguson.
Oakland 26, (at) Tennessee 16: Derek Carr threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns and Marshawn Lynch rushed for 76 yards for the Raiders.
Carr won his third straight against Marcus Mariota and the Titans in as many years.
Corey Davis (Western Michigan) had six catches for 69 yards in his debut for the Titans.