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Ravens smothering defense at it again

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

But, as they did last season in winning their final 11 games, the Ravens relied on their defense. Chicago managed only two field goals and made three first downs in the second half.

COLTS 45, JETS 24: At 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.

It was a dispiriting head coaching debut for Herman Edwards, whose team looked amateurish at times. Most absurd was the play that clinched the Colts' victory, a lumbering 95-yard fumble return by defensive end Chukie Nwokorie with 5:17 to go.

BUCCANEERS 10, COWBOYS 6: At 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.

But Dallas rookie quarterback Quincy Carter wasn't able to pull off any heroics in his first start. He threw an interception straight to John Lynch at the 14 with 1:17 left.

PACKERS 28, LIONS 6: At 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.

The Packers scored 21 points in the first quarter as Bill Schroeder grabbed a 23-yard touchdown pass from Favre in between scoring bursts of 31 and 87 yards by Green, who carried 17 times for 157 yards. He fumbled three times, losing one of them.

SAINTS 24, BILLS 6: At 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.

The Saints trailed 6-0 at halftime after getting one first down in the first half.

PANTHERS 24, VIKINGS 13: At 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.

Culpepper threw a touchdown pass to Cris Carter that gave Minnesota its only lead, 13-10, late in the third quarter. Culpepper completed 22 of 38 passes for 236 yards, and ran 12 times for 55 yards and a score.

BENGALS 23, PATRIOTS 17: At 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.

The Patriots had no consistent running game and little success containing Dillon. They also had trouble covering Darnay Scott, who caught five passes for 104 yards after missing all last season with a broken leg.

SEAHAWKS 9, BROWNS 6: At 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.

Phil Dawson kicked two field goals and missed one for the Browns.

JAGUARS 21, STEELERS 3: At 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.

49ERS 16, FALCONS 13 (OT): At San Francisco, Jose Cortez kicked a 24-yard field goal with 10:59 left in overtime as 49ers rallied to beat the Atlanta Falcons 16-13 Sunday in a game featuring the limited debut of Michael Vick and the return of Garrison Hearst.

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.

CHARGERS 30, REDSKINS 3: At San Diego, The Chargers needed just one afternoon to get their first win of the season, not three months like last year. Rookie LaDainian Tomlinson and Tim Dwight led a revamped lineup to a 30-3 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

In their first game of the post-Ryan Leaf era, the Chargers didn't look anything like the team that was an embarrassing 1-15 in 2000.

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.