Kyler Murray lived up to the pre-season hype as he led the Arizona Cardinals to a 38-13 rout of the Tennessee Titans.
Murray is among the favourites to be named MVP this season and quickly laid down a marker as he threw for four touchdowns and rushed for another, all in the opening three quarters, to put the game beyond doubt.
But not all of Murray's brilliance showed up in the statistics as the 24-year-old’s scrambling left the Titans defence flailing around.
DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk each hauled in two of Murray’s touchdown passes.
This year’s number one overall draft pick, Trevor Lawrence, suffered defeat as he made an immediate debut for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Lawrence threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns, but also had three interceptions.
The San Francisco 49ers shrugged off the early loss of running back Raheem Mostert to beat the Detroit Lions 41-33.
Mostert, plagued by injuries last season, was hurt on the 49ers’ opening drive of the game and did not return, but San Francisco rolled on, scoring 24 points in the second quarter to take control.
Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 314 yards and a touchdown, but San Francisco’s first score of the night went to rookie quarterback Trey Lance, who entered the game in the first quarter and, with his first career pass attempt, found Trent Sherfield for a five-yard score.
The Pittsburgh Steelers used a special teams touchdown early in the fourth quarter to tip the balance of their visit to the Buffalo Bills as they emerged 23-16 winners.
After TJ Watt and Cameron Heyward combined to sack Josh Allen, Pittsburgh’s Miles Killebrew blocked Matt Haack’s punt and Ulysees Gilbert III snatched the ball to score a touchdown, putting Pittsburgh 20-10 up.
EVERY touchdown from NFL Red Zone in Week 1! ?? pic.twitter.com/r0S7rxntZ5— NFL (@NFL) September 13, 2021
Sam Darnold came up against his old team and threw for 279 yards and a touchdown, running for another score, to lead the Carolina Panthers to a 19-14 win over the New York Jets.
The Jets rookie quarterback was sacked six times, but did finish with 258 yards and two touchdown passes, both to Corey Davis, in his first career start.
Washington lost quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a hip injury early in the second quarter and went on to lose 20-16 to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Russell Wilson scored three of his four touchdown passes in the first half to lead the Seattle Seahawks to a 28-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Jalen Hurts threw three touchdown passes as the Philadelphia Eagles enjoyed a 32-6 rout of the Atlanta Falcons in Nick Sirianni’s first game as head coach.
Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph made a 53-yard field goal to send their game against the Cincinnati Bengals to overtime but it ended in defeat as rookie Evan McPherson booted a 38-yard field goal for the Bengals.
In the later matches, last season’s Super Bowl runners up the Kansas City Chiefs started the new campaign with a 33-29 victory over the Cleveland Browns, with Patrick Mahomes having two TD passes in the final quarter.
The Miami Dolphins edged out divisional rivals the New England Patriots 17-16, the New Orleans Saints piled on the points to defeat a sorry Green Bay Packers 38-3 and Matt Stafford, on debut, passed for three touchdowns as the Los Angeles Rams beat the Chicago Bears 34-14.