The first full slate of games for the 2012 NFL season got underway yesterday, with a slew of lopsided contests.
Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and the defending AFC champion New England Patriots routed the Tennessee Titans 34-13 for their ninth straight season-opening win. Over in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes, including two to rookie Stephen Hill, and the New York Jets eased concerns about their offense with a 48-28 rout of the Buffalo Bills.
Like Sanchez, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns, one of them to tight end Tony Gonzalez in his return to Kansas City, as the Falcons used a second-half surge to pull away for a 40-24 victory. Chicago romped over Indianapolis 41-21, and Houston cobbled Miami 30-10.
The Patriots ruined Jake Locker’s debut as Tennessee’s starter, sacking him twice and forcing two turnovers. New England rookie Dont’a Hightower returned Locker’s fumble 6 yards for a TD in his own debut, and Stevan Ridley ran for 125 yards and a TD.
New England even knocked Locker out of the game in the fourth quarter. He hurt his left shoulder tackling safety Patrick Chung on a fumble return officials should have whistled dead as an incomplete pass to Titans receiver Nate Washington, who also was hurt on the play. Matt Hasselbeck replaced Locker.
The best Tennessee could do was bloody Brady’s nose when defensive end Kamerion Wimbley sacked the two-time NFL MVP in the second quarter.
In Houston, Arian Foster had two touchdown runs, Matt Schaub threw a TD pass to Andre Johnson, and Houston’s defense overwhelmed Tannehill and the Dolphins in the Texans’ 30-10 win.
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