- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 9, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Falcons gladly took advantage of a short-handed Chiefs defense Sunday.

Matt Ryan threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns, one of them to tight end Tony Gonzalez in his return to Kansas City, and Atlanta used a second-half surge to pull away for a 40-24 victory.

Ryan also ran for a TD, and Julio Jones caught six passes for 108 yards and two scores, both of them enjoying a Chiefs defense missing four starters because of injuries and suspension.

The Chiefs matched Atlanta most of the first half, trailing just 20-17 at the break, but a missed field goal attempt by Ryan Succop early in the third quarter proved to be the turning point. Atlanta scored 20 unanswered points to put the game away.

Matt Cassel threw for 258 yards and had touchdowns running and throwing, but he also fumbled deep in Kansas City territory to set up a short TD, and his two interceptions created short fields that the Falcons turned into field goals by Matt Bryant, who was 4 for 4.

49ers 30, Packers 22

GREEN BAY, Wis. — San Francisco’s defense smothered Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay for most of the game, then made one last stand to stop a late rally as the 49ers beat the Packers.

Randall Cobb drew the Packers close with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown, and a 2-point conversion cut the lead to 8. But Rodgers threw an interception to linebacker NaVorro Bowman and Frank Gore ran for a 23-yard touchdown.

Rodgers threw a touchdown to James Jones, again cutting the lead to 8, but the 49ers held the Packers in the final minute.

Things went so well for the 49ers that when David Akers tried a 63-yard field goal at the end of the first half, it bounced off the crossbar and then kept going through the uprights to tie an NFL record.

Patriots 34, Titans 13

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and defending AFC champion New England routed Tennessee for its ninth straight season-opening win.

The Patriots ruined Jake Locker’s debut as Tennessee’s starter, sacking him twice and forcing two turnovers. New England rookie Dont’a Hightower returned Locker’s fumble 6 yards for a TD in his own debut, and Stevan Ridley ran for 125 yards and a TD.

New England even knocked Locker out of the game in the fourth quarter. He hurt his left shoulder tackling safety Patrick Chung on a fumble return officials should have whistled dead as an incomplete pass to Titans receiver Nate Washington, who also was hurt on the play. Matt Hasselbeck replaced Locker.

Vikings 26, Jaguars 23 (OT)

Story Continues →