It looks like we're in store for another one of those wacky NFL rides again this season.
Nine of the playoff teams from the 2004 season played their openers Sunday. Seven lost.
Division champions San Diego (AFC West), St. Louis (NFC West) and Green Bay (NFC North) were among the victims. Also falling were last season's wild-card entrants, the New York Jets, Denver, Seattle and Minnesota.
Stunning upsets were turned in by two of the three rookie head coaches. Mike Nolan's San Francisco 49ers built a 19-point lead, then held off the Rams, 28-25. Nick Saban's Miami Dolphins embarrassed favored Denver, 34-10.
Romeo Crennel wasn't as fortunate. The new coach of the Cleveland Browns fell to the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-13.
Cowboys 28, Chargers 24
Closing line: Chargers (-4 1/2 ).
The scoop: Drew Bledsoe's reunion with Bill Parcells got off to a good start in San Diego. Bledsoe hit Keyshawn Johnson with a 2-yard pass with 3:06 left to give the Cowboys their come-from-behind victory. The former Buffalo Bills quarterback completed 18 of 24 passes for 226 yards and three scores, two to Keyshawn, and became the 10th player in NFL history to go over the 40,000-yard mark in passing. . . . The winning drive started on the San Diego 44 after Mike Scifres of the Chargers shanked a punt 18 yards out of bounds. . . . San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson ran 2 yards for a score, his 13th straight game with a rushing TD, tying the NFL record held by John Riggins and George Rogers.
Play of the Game: Aaron Glenn intercepted a fourth-down pass by Brees at the goal line with 22 seconds left. The Chargers had first-and-goal from the 7 after a 33-yard pass from Brees to Eric Parker.
Quote: "It is the best feeling in the world to have a close game come down to just a couple of plays and you are able to do it," said Bledsoe. "That third-down completion to Keyshawn for the touchdown . . . I live for this stuff."
Next: Chargers go to Denver. Dallas has Monday Night date at home against Redskins.
Colts 24, Ravens 7
Closing line: Colts (-3).
The scoop: Peyton Manning threw touchdown passes to Marvin Harrison and Ben Utecht in the third quarter and Cato June returned an interception 30 yards in the fourth as the visiting Colts just missed their first shutout since 1997. The Ravens scored with 13 seconds left on a 17-yard pass from Mike Wright to Daniel Wilcox. . . . The Ravens lost starting quarterback Kyle Boller with a foot injury after he was sacked by Larry Tripplett late in the third quarter.
The Buffalo buzz: If Bills are in playoff picture, Colts and Ravens will be right there with them.
Next: Indianapolis hosts Jacksonville. Baltimore travels to Tennessee.
Buccaneers 24, Vikings 13
Closing line: Vikings (-6).
The scoop: On the road, the Buccaneers forced five turnovers -- including two interceptions by Brian Kelly. . . . The Bucs' Alex Smith, a rookie tight end from Stanford, caught two TD passes from Brian Griese. . . . QB Daunte Culpepper of Minnesota lost two fumbles and threw three INTs. He also had TD passes of 35 and 27 yards to tight end Jermaine Wiggins rubbed out by penalties in the second half. One call was an offensive interference against Wiggins.
Play of the Game: Rookie RB "Cadillac" Williams finished the Vikings with a 71-yard TD run with 1:23 left. The former Auburn star had 148 rushing yards in his NFL debut.
Quote: "I kept telling guys, 'I'm going to break 'em,' " Williams said.
The Buffalo buzz: Ex-Bill DT Pat Williams had a sack for Vikings.
Next: Bucs are Bills' next opponent, in Tampa, where Buffalo is 2-6 counting Super Bowl XXV. Vikings travel to Bengals.
Dolphins 34, Broncos 10
Closing line: Broncos (-4 1/2 ).
The scoop: Broncos are now 0-7 all-time in Miami. . . . Chris Chambers ran 61 yards on a reverse to set up an Olindo Mare field goal that got the Dolphins in front early. . . . Miami QB Gus Frerotte completed 24 of 36 for 275 yards and two touchdowns. . . . Broncos' Jake Plummer didn't complete a pass until the game was 20 minutes old. . , . Broncos wilted badly in the Miami heat and cornerbacks Darrent Williams and Lenny Walls suffered cramps in the second half. . . . Leading by 6-0 in the second quarter, the Dolphins turned back Denver after first-and-goal at the 3. . . . DE Jason Taylor lined up as a tight end on the play Frerotte hit tight end Chris McMichael for the first Dolphin TD. Taylor returned a Plummer fumble 85 yards for a touchdown as time ran out.
Play of the Game: Frerotte's 60-yard TD pass to Marty Booker to make it 27-10 with 9:09 left.
The Buffalo buzz: No automatic win for Bills when the Fish come to the Ralph on Oct. 9.
Next: Miami travels to the Jets. Broncos at home against Chargers.
Chiefs 27, Jets 7
Closing line: Chiefs (-3).
The scoop: Jets were shut out in Arrowhead until there were 29 seconds left by a team that gave up 435 points last season. . . . Larry Johnson of the Chiefs had 110 yards in only nine carries and ran for two scores. . . . KC held Curtis Martin to 57 yards in 20 attempts (2.9 average). . . . Chris Baker (seven receptions, 124 yards) scored the only New York TD on a 23-yard pass from backup QB Jay Fiedler. . . . Jets rookie Mike Nugent slipped while attempting a 28-yard field goal and the kick was blocked by Eric Hicks of KC. . . . Chad Pennington of the Jets fumbled six times and lost two. He was sacked three times.
Play of the Game: Chiefs' Johnson sprinted 35 for first KC touchdown and the rout was on.
The Buffalo buzz: Jets come to Orchard Park on Oct. 16. Chiefs will be here Nov. 13.
Next: Jets host Miami. Chiefs head to Oakland.
Best of rest
Steelers 34, Titans 7
Closing line: Steelers (-7).
The scoop: Titans scored first then gave up 34. . . . Third-string RB Willie Parker caught the Titans by surprise. He carried 22 times for 161 yards with a long run of 45 for the Steelers . . . Second-year QB Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers answered doubters by completing 9 of 11 for 218 yards. He threw only twice (2 for 2, 40 yards) in the second half. . . . Steve McNair of the Titans completed 18 of 26 for 219 yards but was intercepted once, lost a fumble and was sacked three times.
Play of the Game: Roethlisberger hit Antwan Randle El on a 63-yard pass to make it 17-7 in the second.
Quote: "He's a raw talent, basically, but he's so fast and he's just all over the place. He broke a lot of tackles out there," Steelers OT Marvel Smith about Parker.
The Buffalo buzz: The Bills could have told the Titans all about Parker, who ran all over them last December . . . Ex-Bill Travis Henry carried 10 times for 35 yards, including a 22-yard run, for Tennessee.
Next: Steelers go to Houston. Baltimore travels to Tennessee.
Redskins 9, Bears 7
Closing line: Redskins (-6).
The scoop: John Hall kicked three field goals for the host Redskins. Only touchdown in the game was a 1-yard run by Thomas Jones for 7-6 Bears lead in the third period. . . . The Bears were driving in the fourth quarter before taking three false start penalties in a row and a sack. It was third-and-38.
Quote: "I guess they know we're a blitzing team," Washington linebacker Marcus Washington said of the series of false starts. "Those guys, they kind of panic a little bit . . ."
The Buffalo buzz: Ex-Bills Pro Bowl G Ruben Brown had one of the Chicago penalties.
Next: Redskins go to Dallas for a Monday Nighter. Bears face Lions at Soldier Field.
Jaguars 26, Seahawks 14
Closing line: Jaguars (-3).
The scoop: Byron Leftwich threw two TD passes to Jimmy Smith, who finished with seven catches for 130 yards. . . . Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck had three INTS and lost two fumbles. . . . RB Shaun Alexander of the Seahawks had 73 yards in 14 carries, 36 on one run. . . . Josh Scobee kicked four field goals for the Jags.
Next: Jacksonville visits Indianapolis. Seattle home against Atlanta.
Bengals 27, Browns 13
Closing line: Bengals (-3 1/2 ).
The scoop: Carson Palmer hit Kevin Walter and fullback Jeremi Johnson for scoring passes to break the game open after the Browns had pulled to a 10-10 tie with 5:03 left in the first half. . . Cleveland had two TDs called back by penalties.
Play of the Game: WR Frisman Jackson scored on a 68-yard pass for the only Cleveland TD.
Quote: "I'm disappointed in the way everyone played. I'm not happy about anything," said Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel.
The Buffalo buzz: Bills' visit to Cincinnati on Christmas Eve could be huge.
Next: Cincinnati hosts Vikings. Browns at Green Bay.
49ers 28, Rams 25
Closing line: Rams (-6).
The scoop: Tim Rattay passed for two San Francisco touchdowns. . . . Otis Amey, an undrafted free agent from Sacramento State, gave the Niners a 14-6 lead in the second quarter with his 75-yard punt return.
Play of the Game: Michael Adams intercepted Marc Bulger's pass in 49er territory with 52 seconds left to rescue the weary 49ers defense.
Next: St. Louis at Arizona. Niners at Philadelphia.
Giants 42, Cardinals 19
Closing line: Giants (-3).
The scoop: Eli Manning completed only 10 passes but two went for touchdowns to Jeremy Shockey and Plaxico Burress. Giants outgained, 318-275 . . . Kurt Warner, who played for the Giants last year, finished 27 for 46 for 264 yards and one touchdown in his first start for Arizona.
Play of the Game: Willie Ponder of the Giants returned the kickoff 95 yards for a TD after the Cardinals had closed to 21-19.
Next: Giants face displaced Saints on Sept. 19 in Meadowlands. Arizona hosts St. Louis.
Dog of the day
Lions 17, Packers 3
Closing line: Lions (-3).
The scoop: Lions quarterback Joey Harrington quieted critics by throwing touchdown passes to Marcus Pollard in the first quarter and rookie Mike Williams in the fourth. . . . The Packers had their worst day offensively since 1992, when Tampa Bay beat them, 31-3. Brett Favre was intercepted twice, sacked four times and lost a fumble. . . . It was Detroit's third straight opening win.
Next: Lions go to Chicago. Packers home to Browns.