NFL 2016: The Week That Was - Kickoff Weekend
NFL 2016: The Week That Was - Kickoff Weekend

Here's a look back at NFL Kickoff Weekend 2016 top performances

Close Games

NFL Kickoff Weekend 2016 featured exciting finishes and close games:

Eleven of the 16 games in Week 1 were decided by seven points or fewer. Fourteen of the 16 games (87.5 percent) were within one score in the fourth quarter.

Six games in Week 1 were decided by two points or fewer, the most of any week in NFL history.

Four games were decided by one point -- Denver 21, Carolina 20; Cincinnati 23, New York Jets 22; Oakland 35, New Orleans 34; New York Giants 20, Dallas 19 -- marking the first time in NFL history that four games have been decided by exactly one point on Kickoff Weekend.

Nine teams -- Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, New England, New York Giants, Oakland and Seattle -- won when trailing in the fourth quarter this week, the most in a single week since Week 3, 2011 (10 wins).

Kickoff Weekend 2016 continued the 2015 trend of close games, as 75 percent were within one score in the fourth quarter of Kickoff Weekend last season. In 2015, 140 of 256 games (54.7 percent) were decided by eight points or fewer, the most of any season in NFL history.

Home Openers

The DENVER BRONCOS defeated the Carolina Panthers 21-20 on Thursday night. The Broncos improved their record to 43-13-1 (.768) in home openers, the top mark in the NFL. Denver has won 23 of its past 26 home openers.

NFL Teams With the Best Winning Percentage in Home Openers

Team Record Pct.
Source: NFL
Denver Broncos43-13-1.768
Chicago Bears65-27-4.707
Miami Dolphins34-15-1.694
Dallas Cowboys38-18-1.679
Oakland Raiders37-18-1.670


Highlights: Panthers vs Broncos


The GREEN BAY PACKERS defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-23 on Kickoff Weekend at EverBank Field.

The Packers have 55 wins in road openers, the most in NFL history. The Packers' .585 winning percentage in openers on the road is the second-best mark in NFL history.

The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who defeated the Arizona Cardinals 23-21 on Sunday Night Football, now have 32 wins on Kickoff Weekend, tied with San Diego for the fourth-most among AFC teams.

Denver's GARY KUBIAK (7-3) has a six-game winning streak on Kickoff Weekend, the longest current streak among active head coaches.

Tampa Bay's DIRK KOETTER (31-24 vs. Atlanta), the New York Giants' BEN MC ADOO (20-19 vs. Dallas), and Philadelphia's DOUG PEDERSON (29-10 vs. Cleveland) all won in their Kickoff Weekend debuts.

Rookie QB Debuts

Philadelphia rookie quarterback CARSON WENTZ, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, led the Eagles to a 29-10 victory over Cleveland on Kickoff Weekend. Dallas rookie quarterback DAK PRESCOTT, who was chosen in the fourth round (No. 135 overall), also started in Week 1.

Wentz completed 22 of 37 passes (59.5 percent) for 278 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 101.0 passer rating in the Eagles' 29-10 victory over Cleveland. He is the first Eagles rookie to start at quarterback in a season opener since DAVEY O'BRIEN in 1939.

Prescott passed for 227 yards in the Cowboys' loss to the Giants. Prescott and running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT are the first rookie QB and RB tandem to start a season opener for the Cowboys since Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback ROGER STAUBACH and running back CALVIN HILL in 1969.

The NFL has now had at least one rookie quarterback start in Week 1 in nine consecutive seasons, the longest streak since at least 1950.

Rookie Quarterbacks to Start in Week 1 since 2008

Season Quarterback Team Record
Source: NFL *No. 1 Overall Pick
2008Joe FlaccoBaltimore Ravens11-5
2008Matt RyanAtlanta Falcons11-5
2009Mark SanchezNew York Jets8-7
2009Matthew Stafford*Detroit Lions2-8
2010Sam Bradford*St. Louis Rams7-9
2011Andy DaltonCincinnati Bengals9-7
2011Cam Newton*Carolina Panthers6-10
2012Robert Griffin IIIWashington Redskins9-6
2012Andrew Luck*Indianapolis Colts11-5
2012Ryan TannehillMiami Dolphins7-9
2012Brandon WeedenCleveland Browns5-10
2012Russell WilsonSeattle Seahawks11-5
2013EJ ManuelBuffalo Bills4-6
2013Geno SmithNew York Jets8-8
2014Derek CarrOakland Raiders3-13
2015Marcus MariotaTennessee Titans3-13
2015Jameis Winston*Tampa Bay Buccaneers6-10
2016Dak PrescottDallas Cowboys0-1
2016Carson WentzPhiladelphia Eagles1-0


Brees Off to Fast Start

New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 423 yards and four touchdowns in the Saints' loss to Oakland on Kickoff Weekend. The performance marked Brees' 14th career 400-yard passing game, tying Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history.

Brees also increased his Week 1 career passing yards total to 4,306, becoming the second QB with at least 4,000 passing yards in Week 1 games (Manning, 4,736).

Brees threw a 98-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver BRANDIN COOKS, the fifth touchdown pass of at least 98 yards on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history. The other four quarterbacks to throw a 98+ yard touchdown pass on Kickoff Weekend are GEORGE IZO (99 yards, September 15, 1963), SONNY JURGENSEN (99 yards, September 15, 1968), TOM BRADY (99 yards, September 12, 2011) and EARL MORRALL (98 yards, September 11, 1966).

Good Luck Start

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck passed for 385 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 119.5 passer rating in the Colts' Kickoff Weekend 39-35 loss against Detroit.

Luck has 15,223 career passing yards and reached 15,000 passing yards in his 56th career game, tied for the second-fastest in NFL history. MATTHEW STAFFORD accomplished the feat in his 53rd game while MARC BULGER, Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO and KURT WARNER reached 15,000 passing yards in their 56th game.

Fantastic Fitzgerald

Arizona wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD had eight receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals' Kickoff Weekend matchup against New England.

Fitzgerald, who now has 100 career touchdown receptions, became the 10th player in NFL history to reach the milestone.

Amazing Andre

Tennessee wide receiver ANDRE JOHNSON had three receptions in the Titans' opener against Minnesota. Johnson now has 83 catches in 14 career Week 1 games, surpassing MARVIN HARRISON (81), REGGIE WAYNE (81) and ANDRE REED (82) to move into second place all-time.

JERRY RICE has the most career Week 1 catches with 92. Rice, Reed and Harrison are all members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

NFL Performances of Note

Houston wide receiver WILL FULLER had five catches for 107 yards in the Texans' 23-14 victory against Chicago. Fuller, who was selected 21st overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, became the first rookie first-round draft pick to gain 100 yards receiving in his team's first game since Pittsburgh's LOUIS LIPP in 1984.

The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS extended their regular-season winning streak to 11 games with a 33-27 overtime victory over San Diego. The Chiefs overcame a 21-point deficit and are the first team in NFL history to extend a winning streak of at least 10 games with a 21+ point comeback victory.

Oakland quarterback DEREK CARR connected with wide receiver MICHAEL CRABTREE on the game-winning two-point conversion with 47 seconds remaining in the Raiders' 35-34 win at New Orleans. The Raiders are the fourth team to score the game-winning points on a two-point conversion in the final minute of the fourth quarter and the first to do so in a season opener. The other three teams to accomplish the feat are the 2002 Minnesota Vikings (December 15, 2002), 2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (November 13, 2005) and 2008 Denver Broncos (September 14, 2008).

Oakland rookie running back JALEN RICHARD had a 75-yard rushing touchdown on his first career carry in the Raiders' victory. Richard is only the fourth player in NFL history with a 75+ yard rushing touchdown in his NFL debut. He joined ORAN PAPE (78 yards, September 28, 1930), ALAN AMECHE (79 yards, September 25, 1955) and OTTIS ANDERSON (76 yards, September 2, 1979) as the only players to accomplish the feat.

Tampa Bay quarterback JAMEIS WINSTON threw four touchdown passes in the Buccaneers' 31-24 win at Atlanta. Winston (22 years, 249 days) is the fourth-youngest quarterback to throw at least four touchdown passes on Kickoff Weekend. The only three players to accomplish ​the feat at a younger age are Pro Football Hall of Famer FRAN TARKENTON (21 years, 226 days) in 1961, MARCUS MARIOTA (21 years, 318 days) in 2015 and DREW BLEDSOE (22 years, 203 days) in 1994.

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