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Julio Jones' game-winning touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles is one of the best plays of his illustrious career, according to Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

The Falcons were trailing 20-17 with just over two minutes to play when Jones reeled in a fourth-down screen pass and went 54 yards to the end zone, galloping away from the Eagles' secondary for a notable score in both the context of the game and also his own career.

In the process of helping his team avoid an 0-2 start, the wide receiver – who signed a three-year contract extension prior to the new season – became Atlanta's franchise leader in receiving yards, passing former team-mate Roddy White.

It was also a milestone moment for Ryan as he reached 300 touchdown passes in the NFL. He now sits in a tie with the great John Elway in 11th position on the all-time list.

"It's up there. The timing of when it happened, what we needed," Ryan replied in his post-game media conference when asked where Jones' catch ranked in the wideout's NFL career.

"He's had a lot of great ones, that's for sure. Especially for him to break a record that way, in such a critical situation and a clutch moment, was pretty cool.

"I'm proud of him – it's been an honour to play with him as long as I have and let us hope there's a lot more of that in store now he's under contract for a long time."

Ryan threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns but was also intercepted three times, with Atlanta relying on a fourth-down defensive stop to seal a 24-20 triumph in their home opener.

"That was probably the most all-out pressure in a game I've had in my entire career," Ryan said of the Eagles' defense.

"When you're going against that, it's going to be feast or famine. There is going to be some good stuff, but then some that doesn't go our way.

"Turning the football over three times, it's hard to win when you do that in this league. But you keep telling yourself that the score is where it is, and that we’re in a good position to get the job done.

"Forget what’s happened up until this point, concentrate on the play coming in and trust what you see on the other end to go out there and execute the best you can."

On reaching 300 touchdown passes, Ryan added: "To get to that milestone is special, but my mindset is always about what is next – how many more can we get and how can we win games. More important than getting that number is getting the win."

Jadeveon Clowney said Russell Wilson is "half the reason" he opted to join the Seattle Seahawks as he hailed his star team-mate.

Wilson engineered a second-half comeback in Seattle's 28-26 NFL win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.

Clowney, who arrived from the Houston Texans before the start of the season, was highly complementary of six-time Pro Bowler Wilson afterwards.

"That's half the reason I wanted to come [to Seattle], because of Russ," Clowney told reports post-game. 

"He makes it happen. I don't care what the score is — it could be 100-0 — he believes. As long as you got a guy like that, a guy who never quits.

"I'm gonna ride with him."

The Texans and Seahawks agreed to a blockbuster deal for pass-rusher Clowney at the beginning of September.

Clowney was selected by the Texans with the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has recorded 29 sacks in four seasons, including 18.5 sacks since the start of 2017. 

In two games with the Seahawks, Clowney has one sack and one pass defended.

 

The Atlanta Falcons left it late to overcome the Philadelphia Eagles 24-20 in the NFL on Sunday.

The ugly encounter featured six turnovers and a slew of injuries on both sides before the Falcons came away with a victory thanks to a late Julio Jones touchdown.

Now, both the Falcons and Eagles are 1-1.

 

Three takeaways from the Falcons' home win over the Eagles

The quarterbacks weren't quarterbacking well

While Matt Ryan led his team to victory, it was each of the defenses that stole the show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

From the secondary to the defensive line, each unit was giving the quarterbacks a tough time. And again, when the game was on the line in the final minutes, it was the defense that delivered.

It started with two interceptions by Falcons' seventh-year cornerback Desmond Trufant, who went all last season without a single pick.

And then ended with a big stop from Atlanta on fourth down.

In the final 30 seconds, Zach Ertz was stopped a yard shy of a first down on Atlanta's 16-yard line by the duo of Keanu Neal and Isaiah Oliver. 

 

Carson Wentz escapes injury

The oft-injured quarterback had another scare.

Wentz was replaced in favour of Josh McCown after taking a hit to the midsection. However, reports later indicated Wentz was being evaluated for a concussion. 

When he did return, he slowly got back to form and was seemingly fine, making a number of impressive throws throughout the remainder of the game.

Wentz finished 25-of-43 passing for 231 yards with one touchdown and the two interceptions.

A number of Eagles frequented the injury tent. DeSean Jackson (groin), Alshon Jeffery (calf), Dallas Goedert (calf), Timmy Jernigan (foot) and Corey Clement (shoulder) did not return. Nelson Agholor (head), Jason Kelce and Sidney Jones were also evaluated during the game but returned to action.

 

How hot is Dan Quinn's seat?

The fifth-year head coach has denied he is in the hot seat. But Dan Quinn's track record entering Sunday's game begged to differ.

He said there was no added pressure to win but after losing 11 of his past 18 games dating back to the 2017 playoffs, Quinn needed this win as much as the team did for their own morale.

Quinn chose a gutsy play call on fourth-and-three at the Falcons' own 46-yard line that led to the go-ahead touchdown to secure Atlanta's first win of the season.

It seems his seat may be a little cooler for the time being.

First-year Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur does not seem worried about his relationship with star Aaron Rodgers.

LaFleur and quarterback Rodgers were seen arguing on the sidelines late in the first half of Green Bay's 21-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

But, LaFleur said after the game he was not concerned about the incident. 

"That's just two competitive guys, and I'm sure it's not going to be the last one we have," LaFleur said, via ESPN.

"But you know, just competitors, heat of the moment and it is what it is. I would much rather have that than anything else because you want guys that are extreme competitors, and that's what he is."

Rodgers also told reporters he was not worried about the exchange. 

"It was about the look on defense," Rodgers said. "I was actually kind of surprised that he was coming over to talk about that, but we got it all sorted out over there on the sideline. It actually wasn't a big deal.

"We're a little animated at times. I can't say we were yelling how much we love each other, but we definitely weren't [cursing at] each other or anything. It was talking about the look there and getting on the same page."

The Packers have been inconsistent on offense under LaFleur but improved to 2-0 this season with the victory over Minnesota.

Rodgers completed 22 of his 34 passes for 209 yards with two touchdowns in the game. 

"To the credit of our guys, they stuck together," LaFleur said. "We talk sometimes about facing some adversity, and how do we respond in those tough situations. Our guys, they stuck together. They didn't blink and it was a great team win."

The Packers are set to host the Denver Broncos in Week 3.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will see a specialist after suffering a thumb injury.

Brees was sidelined after two series as the Saints suffered a 27-9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL on Sunday.

After the game, Brees confirmed he was going to see a hand specialist in LA.

"Hit my thumb on [Rams defensive tackle] Aaron Donald so we'll see," he told a news conference.

"I got X-rays but I'm meeting with a specialist here very soon and we'll see what he says."

Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters after the game that the team would have an update on Tuesday.

Should something happen to Teddy Bridgewater, who substituted to play just his seventh game over the past three seasons, New Orleans also have quarterback Taysom Hill on the roster.

The second week of the NFL season gave us what Week 1 could not – fewer injuries and more close finishes.

The fourth quarter was crucial on Sunday as several high-profile games gave us nail-biting endings. Gardner Minshew could not quite get the Jacksonville Jaguars past the Houston Texans as he made his first career start in place of injured quarterback Nick Foles, while the Indianapolis Colts' defense helped Jacoby Brissett claim his first win of the season since Andrew Luck retired.

But setbacks were not inescapable after the Pittsburgh Steelers were plagued by injuries in their home opener against the Seattle Seahawks. The Steelers fought down to the final fourth-and-one wire of a game that had four sacks and four first downs over the first five possessions alone, but the Seahawks picked up their eight win in the team's last nine games.

Other games were not as competitive, like the New England Patriots' 43-0 shutout of the Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers' 41-17 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Then there are the Buffalo Bills, who moved to an unlikely 2-0 after they spoiled the New York Giants' home opener 28-14, while head coach Matt LaFleur recorded his first win at Green Bay as the Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 21-16 for the first time since 2016.

Injury report

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was seen shaking his throwing arm at various points in the first half against the Seahawks and even exited to the locker room before returning to the sideline to play through the injury. He was later ruled questionable to return to start the second half but never made it back after being replaced by backup Mason Rudolph.

Meanwhile, Steelers team-mate and running back James Conner was also questionable to return with a knee injury suffered in the second half. The Steelers also lost linebacker Vince Williams and safety Sean Davis to injuries.

49ers tackle Joe Staley was carted off the field against the Bengals with a leg injury and did not return. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan revealed after the game that Staley suffered a broken fibula.

Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis, starting in place of Jordan Reed as he recovers from a concussion, sustained an eye injury against the Dallas Cowboys.

Another less injury-prone quarterback went down as New Orlenas Saints veteran Drew Brees injured his throwing hand making contact with Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald in their NFC title rematch. He was sidelined with his thumb taped as Teddy Bridgewater took over under centre.

By the numbers

After being a healthy scratch in Week 1, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson scored his 107th career rushing touchdown to pass Hall of Famer Jim Brown on the all-time list. He is three rushing touchdowns behind Walter Payton for fourth in NFL history.

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is back in a big way, as the veteran scored in back-to-back weeks for the first time since Weeks 12 and 13 of the 2017 season.

Antonio Brown's touchdown catch during his Patriots debut against the Dolphins made him the 72nd player to catch a regular-season touchdown pass from Tom Brady, which extends a league record for the 42-year-old New England quarterback.

Rookie sensation and Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray joined Carolina Panthers veteran Cam Newton as the only players in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards in their first two starts.

Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster hit 2,500 career receiving yards against the Seahawks, becoming the youngest player in league history to accomplish the feat.

It was a good day for fantasy owners with New England's defense after the Patriots shut out the Dolphins.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes exploded in the first half against the Oakland Raiders, with his four touchdown passes and 313 yards helping him become the first signal-caller to throw for more than 278 yards in any quarter since Brees did so in 2008.

Quotables

Giants coach Pat Shurmur on replacing Eli Manning with Daniel Jones: "I think we have to look at how our team played and we have to go back and take steps to get better in all areas. I don't think that's a conversation for right now. Everybody has to play better."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick on having Brady throw deep despite being up 37 points: "We're playing 60 minutes. You've got to play 60 minutes."

Week 1 NFL scores

Thursday's game

Buccaneers 20, Panthers 14

Sunday's games

Ravens 23, Cardinals 17
Lions 13, Chargers 10
Colts 19, Titans 17
49ers 41, Bengals 17
Texans 13, Jaguars 12
Packers 21, Vikings 16
Cowboys 31, Redskins 21
Seahawks 28, Steelers 26
Bills 28, Giants 14
Patriots 43, Dolphins 0
Chiefs 28, Raiders 10
Rams 27, Saints 9
Bears 16, Broncos 14

New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur refused to discuss Eli Manning and the possibility of replacing the veteran quarterback with rookie Daniel Jones after Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The Giants were beaten 28-14 by the Bills in Week 2 as New York's winless start to the NFL season continued.

Manning was once again inconsistence at home to the Bills, the two-time Super Bowl champion completing 26 of his 45 passes for 250 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Asked about possibly replacing the 38-year-old long-time starter, Shurmur told reporters: "I think we have to look at how our team played and we have to go back and take steps to get better in all areas.

"I don't think that's a conversation for right now. Everybody has to play better." 

Manning – a two-time Super Bowl MVP and four-time Pro Bowler – added: "When you're 0-2, there's pressure on everybody.

"That's just the way it goes. You can't have that affect you. You can't let that change the way you prepare, the way you play. I've got to make better throws, better decisions and find ways to convert on third downs. That's a quarterback's job." 

The Giants selected Jones with the sixth pick in the 2019 draft. The move was widely criticised by fans, but the Duke product impressed in preseason, completing 29 of his 34 passes for 416 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. 

New York are scheduled to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers away from home in Week 3.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes continued to star on Sunday.

Mahomes had an impressive first half against the Raiders in Oakland.

At half-time, he already had four touchdown passes and 313 yards. The breakdown of those stats is even more impressive.

Mahomes became the first signal-caller to throw for more than 278 yards in any quarter since Drew Brees did so in 2008.

Kansas City were up 28-10 entering the third quarter.

Mike Tomlin is not happy with the Pittsburgh Steelers' winless start to the season following Sunday's defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Steelers fell to 0-2 in the NFL after a 28-26 loss to the Seahawks at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

It was a costly defeat for the struggling Steelers, who saw quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) and running back James Conner (knee) suffer injuries in the game.

However, Steelers head coach Tomlin told reporters that was not the reason Pittsburgh lost to Seattle.

"We had opportunities down the field, the ball went through our hands for an interception," Tomlin said post-game.

"We've got to make plays. The guys that represented us on the field are fully capable of that. We didn't make enough of them and that's why we lost the game. We had our chances. Not because of the injuries." 

The Steelers entered the season with high expectations. The team, however, have struggled so far and were also blown out by reigning Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots in Week 1.

"We understand the position we're in," Tomlin said. "We understand the negativity that comes with it. We better absorb it. We better get singularly focused and get better for our next opportunity, control the things we can control. That's what we intend to do. But today, it's painful, as it should be." 

Tomlin told reporters after the game "he doesn't know the extent" of Roethlisberger's injury. 

Roethlisberger was replaced by Mason Rudolph, who completed 12 of his 19 passes for 112 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against Seattle. 

The Steelers will face the San Francisco 49ers on the road in Week 3.

The San Francisco 49ers dominated the Cincinnati Bengals 41-17 on Sunday, but lost a key piece of their offensive line in victory.

Starting left tackle Joe Staley was carted off the field in the third quarter and coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters the six-time Pro Bowler has a broken fibula.

Shanahan said Staley would likely be out for "less than eight weeks" and probably will not be put on the injured reserve list.

"Any time you lose your left tackle it's always significant," Shanahan said. "Especially when the guy who backed [Staley] up, we lost in preseason. So, we got [Justin] Skule, we got [Daniel] Brunskill, guys who'll have to step it up.

"Unfortunate for Joe. I know how bad he wants to be out there, but once we accept the injury at least we'll still get him back later this year."

Staley, 35, has been with the 49ers since the team selected him as a first-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. He has made three All-Pro teams in his 12-year career.

San Francisco are off to a strong 2-0 start in 2019 and will host the 0-2 Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3.

 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald were both sidelined with injuries during Sunday's game.

Brees appeared to suffer a thumb injury when he took a blow to his throwing hand in contact with Donald during the first quarter.

He had his hand taped and watched on from the sidelines as Teddy Bridgewater took over against the Rams, although the Saints were yet to issue an official update on Brees.

Rams star Donald, having been involved in that incident, later disappeared down the tunnel with a back complaint.

The two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year was then listed as questionable to return by Los Angeles.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left their game with the Seattle Seahawks with an elbow injury.

Roethlisberger was seen shaking his throwing arm at various points during the first half of Sunday's home opener and even exited to the locker room before returning to the sideline to play through the injury.

However, the pain caught up with him and he was replaced by backup Mason Rudolph for the second half, with Roethlisberger described as questionable to return.

Things got off to a rought start for Rudolph as he was quickly intercepted, though he brought the Steelers within two points of the Seahawks in the fourth quarter.

 

It did not take long for Antonio Brown to get on the board for New England.

The Patriots receiver scored his first touchdown with his new team in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.

Brown, making his debut in his hometown of Miami, caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady late in the first half. The reception made Brown the 72nd player to catch a regular-season touchdown pass from Brady, extending an NFL record for the veteran quarterback.

The 31-year-old, who was active Sunday despite being accused of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit last week, had four catches, one rush attempt and a touchdown in the first half alone.

Brown was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in the offseason. He never played a game for the Raiders, however, after Oakland granted his request for a release following a series of offseason episodes.

Adrian Peterson added another achievement to his glittering resume on Sunday in the Washington Redskins' game with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Washington running back scored his 107th career rushing touchdown to pass Hall of Famer Jim Brown on the all-time list.

Peterson, who overtook Barry Sanders (99), Marshall Faulk (100), Shaun Alexander (100) and John Riggins (104) on the all-time list last season, is three rushing touchdowns behind Walter Payton for fourth in NFL history.

The 34-year-old surpassed Brown in the second quarter of Sunday's game against Dallas as he found the endzone on a one-yard run.

His touchdown came after Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw his first career interception against Washington. Prescott had 169 attempts in games with Washington under his belt before the pick.

Peterson was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career in the team's Week 1 loss to the Eagles.

Antonio Brown will finally return to NFL action after being named on the New England Patriots' active roster against the Miami Dolphins.

Brown has been the most talked about player in the league in recent months, having forced a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders, who then granted his request for a release after a series of off-field episodes.

The star wide receiver joined the Patriots on Monday and practiced this week, travelling with the team to Miami.

Coach Bill Belichick had suggested Brown was still learning New England's offense but he was named among the 46 active players on Sunday.

The news of Brown's start comes after Britney Taylor, his former trainer, filed a civil lawsuit against him in Florida this week, claiming he sexually assaulted her three times over two years, allegedly raping her in 2018.

Brown has denied the allegations, while the NFL has opened its own investigation.

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