0

NFL ROUNDUP: Pats, Brady blitz Miami, 38-24; Oakland upsets punchless Denver as Orton stinks it up

Patriots QB Tom Brady sets a team record with 517 yards, and also throws four touchdown passes to lead the pats to a 38-24 win against Miami on Monday.

Patriots QB Tom Brady sets a team record with 517 yards, and also throws four touchdown passes to lead the pats to a 38-24 win against Miami on Monday.

MIAMI -- Tom Brady sat on the bench, his sweat-soaked hair hanging in his face as he fumed about his first interception in nearly 11 months.

A little later he was back in the same seat wearing a wide grin as teammates congratulated him on a record-setting performance.

Brady shook off a rare turnover to throw for a team-record 517 yards and four touchdowns, including a 99-yarder to Wes Welker, and the New England Patriots started with a victory for the eighth consecutive season Monday night by beating the Miami Dolphins 38-24.

Defensive end Jared Odrick picked off a deflected pass to set up a Miami touchdown and end Brady's NFL-record streak of 358 passes without an interception.

Otherwise Brady and the reigning AFC East champions picked up where they left off last season, when he threw for 36 TDs and his team led the league in scoring.

New England totaled 622 yards, the most in franchise history and the most allowed by Miami. Brady's performance overshadowed Miami's Chad Henne, who threw for a career-high 416 yards.

The 906 net yards passing by both teams was an NFL record.

"They made some plays on us," Brady said. "We made a few more than them."

Brady, who went 32 for 48, became the 11th quarterback to throw for at least 500 yards. Norm Van Brocklin set the record of 554 yards in 1951.

"We're pleased to have him on our side," teammate Danny Woodhead said with a smile.

The capper came with 5:44 left and the Patriots leading 31-17. After they stopped Miami on downs at the 1-foot line, Brady lined up in the shotgun on first down and threw from his end zone to Welker, who had slipped behind Benny Sapp near the 30-yard line.

"When I saw the coverage as we lined up, I knew there was a strong possibility I could be getting the ball," Welker said. "I just wanted to make the most of the opportunity."

He did, catching the pass in stride and sprinting untouched for the score to complete the longest play in Patriots history.

"I only threw it 25 yards. Wes did all the work," Brady said. "When I saw him break away, that was awesome. Coach never lets us run that route in practice."

Brady also threw touchdown passes on consecutive plays. He hit Aaron Hernandez for a 31-yard score, and when a replay review determined the receiver was down at the 1, Brady threw to him again for a TD on the next play.

His other scoring passes covered 10 yards to Rob Gronkowski and 2 yards to Welker.

"Some of their scores ended up looking like it was kind of easy," Miami coach Tony Sparano said.

Said Brady: "I wouldn't say it was easy at all."

He was sacked only once, and good protection gave his receivers plenty of time to work their way open.

Newcomer Chad Ochocino had only one catch for 14 yards. But Welker made eight receptions for 160 yards, and tight ends Hernandez and Gronkowski combined for 189 yards on 13 catches.

"It wasn't a one-man band out there," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "We had a lot of contributions."

The Dolphins' defense returned virtually intact from last season and was expected to be the team's strength, but Brady riddled them from the start.

He completed his first eight passes for 127 yards on the Patriots' first two possessions, and both ended with TDs.

Brady's first interception since Oct. 17 came early in the third quarter, when he tried to hit Julian Edelman in the flat. Sapp deflected the ball to the 304-pound Odrick, who rumbled 40 yards to the 9. Two plays later, Henne hit Brian Hartline with a 10-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-all.

Brady was so rattled it took him 10 plays to put the Pats ahead to stay. They drove 73 yards and scored on his 2-yard pass to Welker.

Miami's problems with Brady were nothing new. He and the Pats beat the Dolphins twice last year while outscoring them 79-21. Losing at home was nothing different for the Dolphins, either, who have dropped 10 of their past 11 home games.

There was one change for the Dolphins. They promised a more aggressive, exciting offense under new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and showed it from the start, scoring on a season-opening drive for the first time since 2000.

They lined up 355-pound nose tackle Paul Soliai in their goal-line offense, did damage with quarterback keepers by Henne and gave newcomer Reggie Bush 20 touches. Brandon Marshall gained 139 yards on seven catches, but he and Miami couldn't keep up with Brady.

"Not the defensive performance we were hoping for," Sparano said. "That's an understatement."

Notes: Patriots C Dan Koppen rode off in a cart late in the first half with a left leg injury. He was on crutches after the game. ... Dolphins DE Tony McDaniel missed most of the second half with a hand injury. ... Brady's previous career high in passing yardage was 410 against Kansas City in 2002. ... A statue of founding Dolphins owner Joe Robbie was rededicated before the game. The statue had been in a storage area during stadium renovations. ... Celebrities in attendance included Dwyane Wade, Will Smith and Pitbull.


RAIDERS DUMP DENVER AS ORTON STRUGGLES:

DENVER — Sebastian Janikowski tied an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal and the Oakland Raiders beat the Denver Broncos 23-20 Monday night in a chippy and clumsy game between the AFC West rivals.

"I had a dream I broke the record and it was here in Denver," Janikowski said. "The ball really carries here."

The Raiders (1-0) won in Denver for the fourth straight season in coach Hue Jackson's NFL head coaching debut, and handed the Broncos (0-1) their first loss in a home opener since 2000.

John Fox lost his debut as Denver's coach, and he lost at least two playmakers in the process.

Pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil (shoulder) was relegated to situational duty for three quarters, and perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey injured his left knee making a touchdown-saving tackle of Darren McFadden, who ran 22 times for 150 yards.

The Broncos cut the deficit to 23-20 on Kyle Orton's 9-yard TD toss to Lance Ball with both Brandon Lloyd and Knowshon Moreno on the sideline, apparently with cramps, with 3:43 left.

Other than that, Orton had a tough night. He completed 24 of 46 passes for 304 yards with an interception. As he left the field, fans were chanting, "Tebow! Tebow!" for second-year quarterback Tim Tebow, who had an awful camp and is probably the No. 3 quarterback behind Brady Quinn.

The Raiders salted away the win by controlling the clock and were able to line up in victory formation after Michael Bush's 12-yard run to midfield for the first down at the 2-minute warning.

"There's no consolation for close but we're still optimistic," Fox said. "We just happen to be 0-1 like half the teams in our football league."

After a first half filled with fouls, fists and frustration, the Raiders took a 16-3 lead into the locker room in wild celebration as Janikowski's 63-yard field goal fluttered over the crossbar as time expired.

That tied the mark set by Tom Dempsey in 1970 and matched by Denver's Jason Elam in 1998 at the old Mile High Stadium.

The Raiders had gotten the ball with just 24 seconds left in the half when safety Matt Giordano intercepted a pass thrown by Orton at the Raiders 24. A 15-yard facemask on Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, one of 16 fouls committed in the first half — eight by each team — helped Janikowski move into range.

Janikowski's teammate, punter Shane Lechler, would add a 77-yard punt in the fourth quarter.

But his 57-yard punt in the third was returned 90 yards for a touchdown by Eric Decker. It was the eighth TD on a punt or kickoff return on opening weekend, the most in a single week in NFL history.

Orton drove the Broncos 74 yards in a dozen plays on Denver's first drive after halftime but once again they stalled in the red zone, this time reaching first-and-goal from the 6 before settling for Matt Prater's 30-yard field goal that made it 16-13.

Prater was wide right from 56 yards out in the first half.

The Broncos were driving again and reached the Raiders 24 when Orton had tight end Daniel Fells open going into the end zone. But the ball slipped out of his hand and defensive end Lamarr Houston pounced on it for Oakland.

The Raiders, who committed 15 penalties for 131 yards, quickly capitalized, covering 65 yards in just three plays for the decisive touchdown.

Darrius Heyward-Bey caught a 17-yard pass and McFadden reeled off a 47-yard run before being dragged down just shy of the goal line by Bailey, who left the game with an injured left knee.

Campbell took it in from there on the next snap to give the Raiders a 23-13 lead with 12:33 remaining.

Pass-rusher Von Miller, the second overall pick in the draft, speared the football out of Jacoby Ford's arms on his first snap as a pro and fellow rookie Rahim Moore, a strong safety, scooped it up at the Raiders 15. But the Broncos had to settle for Prater's 28-yard field goal.

Darryl Blackstock's block of Britton Colquitt's punt led to a 3-yard TD toss from Campbell to Marcel Reece, who trotted into the end zone after Moore failed to follow the fullback into the flat, giving Oakland a 7-3 lead it would never give up.

Knowshon Moreno fumbled two snaps later, and Janikowski split the uprights through a driving rain from 37 yards out for a 10-3 lead. He added chip shot from 21 yards out before his record-tying 63-yarder.

Colquitt's next punt traveled 65 yards and was downed at the 1, but the Broncos couldn't turn loose their "Doom and Gloom" pass-rush because Dumervil, in his first game in 21 months, jammed a shoulder in the first quarter and was used only sparingly afterward, replacing Jason Hunter on some passing downs.

Anytime he spoke about reasons for optimism this season, Fox would start the conversation by saying, "Well, we get Elvis Dumervil back."

Dumervil missed last season with a torn chest muscle after leading the league with 17 sacks in 2009. He moved back to defensive end from outside linebacker this summer and packed on extra muscle, making him more stout against the run with his long arms and built-in leverage.

But he was relegated to watching helplessly from the sideline as McFadden ran roughshod over the Broncos yet again.

The Raiders walloped the Broncos 59-14 in their last visit to Denver, on Oct. 24, when they scored the most points in their history. The Broncos didn't dwell on the debacle during the week as Fox declared, "This year is 2011. Last year was 2010."

The result was the same.