Brady off the mark in Bucs win, Cowboys stun Falcons

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Tom Brady bounced back from his opening week disappointment as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Carolina Panthers 31-17 in the NFL on Sunday.

Brady -- who suffered a mauling in a debut loss to the New Orleans Saints last week -- showed flashes of his old self in a solid victory at the Raymond James Stadium.

The six-time Super Bowl champion, who joined Tampa Bay in March after ending a 20-year career with the New England Patriots, threw for 217 yards with one touchdown from 23 completions.

The Buccaneers had taken control of the contest in the first half, racing into a 14-0 first quarter lead with a close-range rushing touchdown from Ronald Jones before Brady connected with Mike Evans from 23 yards for a second score.

Newly signed running back Leonard Fournette then barreled over from one yard out to make it 21-0 at halftime.

The Panthers responded with a Christian McCaffrey touchdown in the third quarter and the Carolina running back added a second early in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 21-14.

But a Ryan Succop field goal gave Tampa Bay a 10-point advantage before another late Fournette rushing touchdown, galloping into the end zone from 46 yards, made the game safe.

- Rodgers sparks Packers -

In other early games on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to another high-scoring victory in a 42-21 rout of the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers, who had dazzled last week in the Packers' opening 43-34 win over Minnesota, finished with 240 passing yards and threw for two touchdowns in a win that leaves Green Bay on top of the NFC North.

Rodgers' aerial threat was complemented by an impressive rushing display from running back Aaron Jones, who finished with two touchdowns and 168 yards, including a 75-yard sprint for a touchdown in the third quarter to make it 24-14.

In Arlington meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys produced a thrilling fourth quarter fightback before kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed a 46-yard field goal with only four seconds remaining to secure a 40-39 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Dallas coach Mike McCarthy, who had been in the firing line after the Cowboys opening week loss to the Los Angeles Rams, looked to be in for more hard questions as the Falcons opened up 39-24 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan had been in blistering form, tossing four touchdowns and no interceptions for 273 yards.

But Dallas, who trailed 20-0 in the first quarter, saved their best for last, with a jaw-dropping one-handed catch by Amari Cooper from quarterback Dak Prescott's pass among the highlights of their comeback.

After Younghoe Koo's field goal put Atlanta 39-24 ahead, the game looked to be safe for the Falcons.

But Prescott hit Dalton Schultz for a 10-yard touchdown with just under five minutes remaining before then rushing from one yard out to cut the Falcons' lead to 39-37.

Dallas then successfully recovered an onside kick to regain possession from the restart, and Prescott drove his team into position for Zuerlein's winning kick.

In other early action Sunday, veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdowns and 311 passing yards in the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-21 defeat of the Denver Broncos.

The Los Angeles Rams meanwhile maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 37-19 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff connected with tight end Tyler Higbee for three of the five Los Angeles touchdowns.