Beating The Odds
The NFL moved kickoffs five yards up the field to the 35-yard line, and the change produced expected results: Before the two Monday night games, nearly half of the kickoffs in the openers were touchbacks, an increase of 18 percent from Week 1 last season. On the other hand, Randall Cobb (Packers), Percy Harvin (Vikings) and Ted Ginn Jr. (49ers) all returned kickoffs for touchdowns. That matched the league record for most touchdowns on kickoff returns on the opening week ever (1970, 1998).
After returning a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown, Ginn had more in store for the Seahawks. Just 59 seconds later, Ginn scored on a 55-yard punt return. He was the first 49er to score on kickoff and punt returns in the same game and just the 12th player in NFL history to do it.
Dialing Long Distance
Cam Newton completed just 42 percent of his passes for the Panthers in the preseason. Then he exploded for 422 passing yards Sunday against the Cardinals. That tied the league record for most passing yards in a game by a rookie quarterback, set two years ago by Detroit's Matthew Stafford.
Ravens safety Ed Reed celebrated his 33rd birthday by grabbing two interceptions against the Steelers. That gives Reed 12 multi-pick games (13 if you count the playoffs). It's the most of any player whose career began in the Super Bowl era.
Early And Often
In a 34-7 romp over Indianapolis, the Texans rang up all of their points in the first half. Jacoby Jones capped the scoring with a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown in the final minute of the second quarter. It was the first time since 1994 that a team posted at least 34 points in the opening half on the opening weekend. That's when the Colts did it. The interesting twist? It came against Houston, but it was the Oilers, not Texans.
The Patriots registered a franchise-record 622 yards of offense Monday night in Miami, with 517 of them coming from Tom Brady's career high in passing. Brady's 517 ranks fifth on the all-time list for single-game yardage behind Norm Van Brocklin (554), Warren Moon (527), Boomer Esiason (522, OT) and Dan Marino (521).
Must Be The Mountain Air
Sebastian Janikowski of the Raiders tied the NFL record for longest field goal by nailing a 63-yarder just before halftime Monday night in Denver. Tom Dempsey of the Saints established the mark in 1970 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. Jason Elam of the Broncos matched it in 1998 at the old Mile High Stadium. Janikowski converted a 61-yarder against the Browns in 2009.