EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Rex Ryan and the New York Jets tried to stay positive even though things appeared grim.
After all, they trailed by 14 points and were unable to do much for three quarters against the Dallas Cowboys. As it turned out, the Jets were just getting started.CBSSports.com: Complete NFL coverage
"This was amazing," a smiling Ryan said. "It doesn't get much better than this, especially the way we got it done."
An emotionally charged day for the Jets ended with an unlikely comeback as Nick Folk kicked a 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds left, giving them a 27-24 victory in the final game of the NFL's first full Sunday with the commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a backdrop.
"It was a draining game," said Ryan, wearing an FDNY cap. "I am just so proud we were able to pull this thing out, for the town, as well. I probably even feel better about that than I do for our football team."
Ryan wanted this one badly, and he said early last week that he felt more pressure to win this game than perhaps any other he has coached. And, it wasn't only the fact it was the home opener: He also wanted to beat his twin brother Rob, Dallas' defensive coordinator, with their father Buddy in the crowd.
With pregame and halftime ceremonies honoring those affected by the attacks, the Jets felt they were taking on the role of "America's Team" against the Cowboys in front of a national television audience.
"Oh my goodness, exciting," Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "It was rocking. I felt like I was at a concert, but we were on stage. It felt great tonight. You could feel the energy in the building, and that was a tribute to the fans."
With the game tied at 24, the Cowboys had a chance for a winning drive with 59 seconds left, but Tony Romo was intercepted on the first play by Darrelle Revis, who returned it 20 yards to Dallas' 34.CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman says the Jets didn't so much win the game as Romo lost it for the Cowboys. "Let's not hear about wrong routes or pass-rush pressure or any other such nonsense," Freeman says. "It's time for the protective force field around Romo to be permanently removed. This was all on him." Mike Freeman: Remarkable comeback? No, that was Romo being Romo
"We win that football game if I don't do what I did," Romo said. "It's hard to swallow."
Four plays later, Folk kicked the go-ahead field goal against his former team.
"I thought, 'Just make it look like an extra point,"' Folk said. "I took a deep breath before I went on the field."
A few moments later, he was greeted by a sideline of wildly cheering teammates.
Elsewhere, the Indianapolis Colts struggled without star quarterback Peyton Manning on Sunday, beaten 34-7 by the Houston Texans in their opening game of the new NFL season.
Matt Schaub threw for 220 yards and a touchdown and Ben Tate rushed for 116 yards for Houston, which looked like it is ready to take over the AFC South division.
Manning, the four-time MVP, is recovering from his third neck surgery in the past 19 months. His streak of 227 consecutive starts, including playoffs, came to an end.
His replacement, the 38-year-old Kerry Collins, was lured out of retirement less than three weeks ago. He fumbled on consecutive snaps that set up Texans touchdowns in the first quarter, and was sacked three times. The Colts mustered only 236 yards and 15 first downs. Ravens 35, Steelers 7
In Baltimore, Joe Flacco threw three touchdown passes as Baltimore easily beat defending AFC champion Pittsburgh.
Haloti Ngata led an inspired Ravens defense that forced a team-record seven turnovers.
Ray Rice ran for 107 yards and scored twice for Baltimore, who bolted to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never let up against its bitter rival. It was a reprise of a second-round playoff matchup last January, when the Steelers beat Baltimore 31-24.
In that game, the Ravens let a 21-7 halftime lead evaporate with three turnovers in the third quarter. This time, the Ravens got three takeaways in the third quarter to turn a 21-7 advantage into a rout. Bears 30, Falcons 12
In Chicago, Brian Urlacher had an interception and returned a fumble for a touchdown as Chicago beat Atlanta.
In a matchup of reigning division champions, Urlacher sacked Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan to set up an early 56-yard touchdown catch by Matt Forte, and in the third quarter the linebacker picked up a fumble by Ryan and scored from 12 yards to make it 30-6. Ryan was sacked five times.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 312 yards and two scores, completing 22 of 32 passes. Ryan completed 31 of 47 passes for 319 yards. Jets 27, Cowboys 24
In St. Louis, Philadelphia opened its self-proclaimed Super Bowl drive with a big win over St. Louis.
Michael Vick rushed for 98 yards, LeSean McCoy scored twice and DeSean Jackson topped 100 yards receiving for the Eagles, who had 239 yards rushing and were 8 for 11 on third downs.
The defense applied constant pressure and piled up five sacks, two by Justin Babin. Darryl Tapp forced a fumble by Rams quarterback Sam Bradford that led to a 56-yard touchdown return by Juqua Parker.
Steven Jackson ran for a 47-yard score on the Rams' first play, but lasted only one more carry before leaving with a leg injury. Bradford left for X-rays on a finger of his throwing hand in the fourth quarter. Bills 41, Chiefs 7
In Kansas City, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw four touchdown passes, two of them to journeyman tight end Scott Chandler, as Buffalo romped to victory over Kansas City.
Fitzpatrick finished with 208 yards passing for the Bills, who hadn't score 40 points in an opener since 1992.
Fred Jackson added 112 yards rushing for Buffalo.
Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel threw for 119 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
It was the most lopsided season-opening loss in franchise history, and the worst home loss by Kansas City for 35 years. Lions 27, Buccaneers 20
In Tampa, Florida, Detroit beat Tampa Bay to notch its fifth consecutive win, dating back to last season.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns. He completed 24 of 33 passes, including TD throws of 36 and 1 yards to Calvin Johnson and 11 yards to Tony Scheffler. The only interception he threw glanced off the hands of the intended receiver and was returned 28 yards by Aqib Talib for the only touchdown Tampa Bay managed until Josh Freeman threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Mike Williams with less than two minutes to go. Redskins 28, Giants 14
In Landover, Maryland, Rex Grossman completed 21 of 34 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns, leading Washington past New York.
Making his first Week 1 start since 2007, Grossman justified at least for a week coach Mike Shanahan's decision to go with the veteran over John Beck after a quarterback competition that lasted the entire preseason.
Grossman found Anthony Armstrong for an 18-yard completion that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Tim Hightower. Grossman later hit Armstrong for a 6-yard score, and first-round draft pick Ryan Kerrigan swung the momentum in the second half by returning an interception for a touchdown.
Eli Manning went 18 for 32 for 268 yards for the Giants. Cardinals 28, Panthers 21
In Glendale, Arizona, Cam Newton's NFL debut was as good as they come but not enough to prevent Arizona beating Carolina.
Newton, the No. 1 draft pick, completed 24 of 37 passes for 422 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, becoming the first rookie to throw for more than 400 yards in his NFL opener.
Instead, it was another rookie scored the game winner. Patrick Peterson returned a punt 89 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Panthers had first down at the Arizona 11 late in the game, and even got an extra down on an offside call, but failed to score.
Kevin Kolb was 18 of 27 for 309 yards and two touchdowns in his first game for Arizona. 49ers 33, Seahawks 17
In San Francisco, Ted Ginn Jr. returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns in a minute's span late in the fourth quarter, pulling San Francisco clear of Seattle.
Ginn ran a kickoff back 102 yards moments after the defending NFC West champion Seahawks had closed within 19-17. It was the second-longest kick return at home and fourth-longest in team history.
The result gave 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh a win in his much-hyped NFL debut and renewed coaching rivalry with Pete Carroll.
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith was 15 for 20 for 124 yards and ran for a 1-yard TD. David Akers kicked four field goals in his first game for the 49ers.
New Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson threw a late 55-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin. Chargers 24, Vikings 17
In San Diego, fullback Mike Tolbert's third touchdown, a 19-yard pass from Philip Rivers with 5:01 to play, lifted San Diego over Minnesota.
Rivers rolled left and waited for Tolbert to get open inside the 5-yard line, then lobbed the winning pass. Rivers completed 33 of 48 passes for 335 yards and was intercepted twice. Tolbert also scored on a 7-yard run and had a 1-yard TD catch.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who set the NFL single-game record with 296 yards against San Diego as a rookie in 2007, had 98 yards on 16 carries one day after signing a contract extension potentially worth $100 million. Bengals 27, Browns 17
In Cleveland, A.J. Green caught the Browns defense napping for his first career catch, a 41-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski as Cincinnati beat Cleveland.
Green was left uncovered by the Browns, who were slow coming out of the huddle. Gradkowski, on in relief of injured rookie Andy Dalton, lobbed the ball to Green who did the rest, scoring with 4:31 left to shock the Browns and their fans, who watched Cleveland fall to 1-12 in season openers since 1999.
Colt McCoy threw two TD passes for the Browns, who were disorganized for much of coach Pat Shurmur's first game. Jaguars 16, Titans 14
In Jacksonville, the hosts used a flawless start and some clutch plays to hang on for the win over Tennessee.
Maurice Jones-Drew scored in his return from knee surgery for the Jaguars.
Titans star Chris Johnson, who joined the team a little more than a week ago following a holdout, was pretty much a nonfactor. He ran nine times for 24 yards and caught six passes for 25 yards.
Tennessee made it close with a pair of second-half TD passes from Matt Hasselbeck to Kenny Britt. The Titans still had a shot until Dwight Lowery intercepted Hasselbeck's deep pass.