Champ Bailey showed he's worthy of being the highest-paid cornerback. Indianapolis showed it's more than Peyton Manning's arm. Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens showed that winning heals relationships. And Chad Johnson showed he can say whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
Except for a rare off day for Manning, the NFL's biggest stars shone brightest Sunday, a day in which upsets were minimal and most divisions remained crowded at the top.
Only the Colts, who sneaked past Jacksonville, 10-3, the Bills-beating Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City found themselves alone atop the standings. Two-game winning streaks proved difficult to come by; of the 12 teams that played Sunday who started 1-0, only five managed to make it to 2-0 -- Indy, Tampa, Pittsburgh, K.C. and Cincinnati.
Green Bay's Brett Favre and San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson put themselves in the record book, but the individual highlights were tempered by team setbacks. Their squads -- each of which made the playoffs last season -- fell to 0-2.
Broncos 20, Chargers 17
Closing line: Broncos (-3).
The scoop: Without teammate Bailey, Denver kicker Jason Elam probably doesn't get the chance to kick the winning 41-yard field goal with five seconds left. The Denver crowd sent its Broncos to the locker room at halftime with boos reverberating in their ears. Just 11 seconds into the third quarter, the fans were cheering and the Broncos' deficit was just 14-10. Bailey intercepted Drew Brees' pass on the opening play of the second half and returned it 25 yards for a score to start the Denver comeback. . . . The enlivened defense proceeded to hold San Diego to just 41 yards in the second half. . . . Broncos backup running back Ron Dayne ran six times for 38 yards on the final drive to get Elam into position. . . . Chargers running back Tomlinson found the end zone twice; the first score gave him the NFL record with rushing TDs in 14 straight games.
Play of the Game: On fourth-and-1 from the Chargers' 33 with under a minute to play, Dayne went left for 10 yards. Elam split the uprights two plays later.
Quote: "Champ Bailey won the game. Let's call it like it is," Broncos defensive end Trevor Pryce said. "It shows how one play can make such a big difference."
Next: Prime time awaits both squads as San Diego hosts the New York Giants on Sunday night and Denver (1-1) welcomes Kansas City next Monday night.
Best of rest
Jets 17, Dolphins 7
Closing line: Jets (-6).
The scoop: Chad Pennington's season finally got on track in the fourth quarter. After Miami closed to 10-7 on a Randy McMichael touchdown reception, Pennington went 7 for 7 for 74 yards on the next drive and connected with Jerald Sowell from 1 yard out to give New York its cushion back. . . . Pennington, who fumbled six times last week, sputtered before the drive and finished 19 of 30 for 190 yards. Running back Curtis Martin carried 31 times but was held to 72 yards. . . . The visiting Dolphins rushed for just 66 yards, committed 10 penalties and were 4 of 14 on third down.
Plays of the Game: In addition to the TD pass to Sowell, Pennington found Laveranues Coles from 7 yards out.
Quote: "The Dolphins put a good drive together, and on offense we needed to step up and put some points on the board. That's what we did," Pennington said.
Buffalo buzz: The Jets' victory made the AFC East the same as it was two weeks ago -- a four-team tie. Buffalo, Miami, New England and New York are all 1-1.
Next: The Dolphins host Carolina, which continues its AFC East tour after beating New England. The Jets welcome Jacksonville to the Meadowlands.
Colts 10, Jaguars 3
Closing line: Colts (-9).
The scoop: With Indianapolis encountering nothing but turbulence in the air, a solid ground game and a fortified defense that looks like it's for real carried the Colts to the early lead in the AFC South. Manning was out of sync en route to just 122 yards and a 44.0 passer rating, but Edgerrin James rushed 27 times for 128 yards and the Colts had six sacks. . . . Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich was pummeled and injured his leg on the second-last series when he was sacked from behind by Raheem Brock. He finished the game and nearly rallied the visiting Jags to a tying score while hobbling up the field. His pass to Jimmy Smith in the end zone from the Colts' 22 as time expired fell incomplete as Smith's feet got tangled with a Colts defender.
Play of the Game: Ran Carthon's 6-yard touchdown run capped a 17-play, 88-yard drive and gave the Colts a 7-3 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Next: Jacksonville (1-1) travels to New York to face the Jets, while Indy (2-0) hosts Cleveland.
Seahawks 21, Falcons 18
Closing line: Seahawks (-1).
The scoop: Seattle's 21-0 lead at the half stood up, despite the Falcons getting the ball on their 27 with 2:39 left. They couldn't get a first down, though, as quarterback Michael Vick's style was cramped by tightness in his left hamstring and he was pulled after a third-down sack. Replacement Matt Schaub couldn't connect on fourth down. . . . Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown.
Play of the Game: Andre Dyson knocked down Schaub's pass intended for Michael Jenkins, who twice during the game was open in the end zone but was missed by Vick.
Buffalo buzz: Vick, who said he would be able to play, makes his Ralph Wilson Stadium debut as the Falcons (1-1) come to Buffalo on Sunday.
Next: Seattle (1-1) hosts Arizona.
Chiefs 23, Raiders 17
Closing line: Chiefs (-1).
The scoop: For the fifth staight game, a Chiefs-Raiders tilt was settled by seven points or less. Also for the fifth straight time, Kansas City emerged victorious. . . . The Chiefs had field-goal drives of 15 and 11 plays in the second half to break a 17-17 tie.
Plays of the Game: K.C. cornerback Benny Sapp knocked the ball away from Joey Porter in the end zone on fourth-and-6 from the Chiefs' 10 with 1:46 to play. . . . Raiders receiver Randy Moss caught a 64-yard TD pass to forge the tie in the third quarter.
Next: The Chiefs (2-0) engage another AFC West rival when they travel to Denver next Monday night. Oakland (0-2) visits Philadelphia to set up a Moss-Owens outing.
Browns 26, Packers 24
Closing line: Packers (-6 1/2 ).
The scoop: Late Packers great Reggie White's 92 jersey was retired in Green Bay, Favre joined Dan Marino and John Elway as the only quarterbacks with 50,000 yards passing, but the only number that mattered was victory No. 1 for new Browns coach Romeo Crennel. . . . Cleveland quarterback Trent Dilfer tossed three touchdowns and completed 21 passes for 336 yards.
Plays of the Game: Dilfer's 62-yard TD pass to Steve Heiden with 1:50 remaining gave the Browns a 26-17 lead. . . . Cleveland's Brodney Pool recovered the onside kick after Favre found Tony Fisher from 4 yards out with four seconds left.
Next: The Browns (1-1) visit Indianapolis. The Battle of the Bays is renewed when Green Bay hosts Tampa Bay.
Rams 17, Cardinals 12
Closing line: Cardinals (-1).
The scoop: Kurt Warner's comeback and thoughts of revenge succumbed to a false start. The former St. Louis quarterback drove the Cards to the 5-yard line in the final seconds, but after a sack sent them back to the 10, offensive tackle Leonard Davis committed a false-start violation. Rules dictate that the clock keeps running during such offenses, and time expired. . . . The Cardinals got inside the Rams' 12 four times without finding the end zone in their home opener.
Play of the Game: After Arizona cut its deficit to 10-9 in the third quarter, the Rams drove 76 yards and scored on Steven Jackson's 7-yard run.
Next: St. Louis (1-1) welcomes its foe from Super Bowl XXXIV, Tennessee. Arizona (1-1) travels to Seattle.
Eagles 42, 49ers 3
Closing line: Eagles (-13).
The scoop: Philadelphia looked like the team that has gone to the last four NFC title games. After just 19 minutes, the Eagles had a 28-0 lead and McNabb had four touchdown passes on his way to a career best-tying five. He shook off his bruised chest to go 23 of 29 for 342 yards and had the sellout home crowd buzzing. . . . Wide receiver Owens tormented his former team during the 19-minute blitz, scoring twice and gaining all of his 143 yards. . . . The Eagles had a team-record 583 yards, while the Niners finished with just 142.
Play of the Game: McNabb found Owens for a 68-yard scoring strike on the third play from scrimmage.
Quote: "Whatever happened in the past, hopefully it's over," McNabb said of his feud with Owens. "When we're in the field and everything is clicking, everyone is smiling."
Next: Philadelphia (1-1) hosts the Raiders, while the 49ers (1-1) welcome Dallas to San Francisco.
Bengals 37, Vikings 8
Closing line: Bengals (-3).
The scoop: It took Chad Johnson only 52 seconds to prove that the one thing better than his mouth is his receiving ability. The trash-talking Cincinnati wideout, who exchanged words all week with Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot, found himself matched up with former Bills corner Antoine Winfield on the second play of the game and breezed by him for a 70-yard touchdown reception. Cincinnati scored the first 37 points to keep its home crowd cheering. . . . The Vikings couldn't hold on to the ball, as quarterback Daunte Culpepper tossed a career-high five interceptions and the team lost two fumbles.
Play of the Game: The bomb to Johnson, who finished with seven catches for 139 yards.
Next: Cincinnati (2-0) faces the Bears in Chicago. The Vikings (0-2) host New Orleans.
Steelers 27, Texans 7
Closing line: Steelers (-6).
The scoop: Ben Roethlisberger started the day as questionable with a bruised left knee. He ended it 15-0 as a regular-season starter, leading the Steelers to two touchdowns and two field goals on their first four possessions. . . . Pittsburgh has won 16 straight in the regular season, matching Miami (1971-73, 1983-84) for the second-longest streak in history behind New England's 18 that ended last October in the Steel City. . . . The home stadium was no better for Texans quarterback David Carr, who was sacked eight times a week after being dropped five times in Buffalo.
Plays of the Game: Roethlisberger and receiver Hines Ward connected for 16- and 14-yard TDs on consecutive possessions.
Next: Pittsburgh (2-0) hosts New England in a rematch of last year's AFC Championship Game. Houston (0-2) likely will use its bye week trying to find a way to protect Carr.
Bears 38, Lions 6
Closing line: Lions (-1 1/2 ).
The scoop: Chicago scored on offense, defense and special teams in the first half, taking a 31-6 lead into intermission over their NFC North foe. . . . The point total was the most for the host Bears since a 47-17 victory over Tampa Bay 12 years ago. . . . The Lions rushed for only 29 yards, and quarterback Joey Harrington was picked off a career-high five times.
Play of the Game: Bobby Wade steamed up the left side for a 73-yard punt return score that gave Chicago a 17-6 lead.
Next: Chicago (1-1) hosts Cincinnati, while Detroit (1-1) has its bye week.
Dog game of the day
Titans 25, Ravens 10
Closing line: Ravens (-4).
The scoop: Tennessee, not much-lauded Baltimore, had the game's marquee defense. The host Titans had six sacks, an interception return for a score, held the Ravens to a franchise-low 14 rushing yards and forced Baltimore to go three-and-out on six of its first seven possessions.
Play of the Game: Linebacker Brad Kassell's first career interception turned into a 21-yard touchdown and gave Tennessee a 23-3 lead in the fourth quarter.
Next: The Titans (1-1) travel to St. Louis. Baltimore (0-2) takes its week off.
Compiled from Associated Press and News wire services e-mail: email@example.com