Boomer Esiason passed for two touchdowns last night in Tampa and his Cincinnati Bengals held on to beat the Buccaneers, 31-30, despite Vinny Testaverde's three-touchdown, fourth-quarter passing show.
Testaverde, the Heisman Trophy winner and this year's No. 1 draft choice, rallied the Buccaneers from a 31-10 deficit with three scoring passes in the last 6:18 of the game. They covered 10, 28 and 40 yards.
"I'll tell you what, that cat is a player," said Cincinnati wide receiver Cris Collinsworth. "I think they sold some season's tickets tonight. That guy is a talent. I remember watching him on his first play, thinking he looked like he had been in this league forever. He stands in the pocket like the Rock of Gibraltar and it's going to be a lot of fun watching this guy over the years."
Brian Blados' block of Donald Igwebuike's extra point kick after the pass to Freeman proved the difference in the game.
Testaverde played the second half and passed for 233 yards on 16 completions in 29 attempts. He was intercepted twice.
Chargers 29, Cowboys 0: Free-agent running back Kevin Scott ran 74 yards up the middle for the game's last touchdown and Mark Herrmann threw a scoring pass in the blowout in San Diego.
Herrmann started for San Diego in place of the injured and disgruntled Dan Fouts, who had not practiced because of a sore back. Fouts and Chargers management are feuding over his contract status and Chargers owner Alex Spanos has threatened to trade him.
In last summer's game between the two teams, the Chargers won by 20-0.
Browns 31, Cardinals 16: In Cleveland, Gerald McNeil returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown and caught a seven-yard pass from Mike Pagel for the go-ahead points during a 10-minute span in the third quarter.
The Cardinals' starters outplayed Cleveland's regulars and led, 16-7, at halftime, thanks mainly to Neil Lomax's two touchdown passes to Roy Green.
But McNeil, the 5-foot-7, 147-pounder, took Greg Cater's punt at the Browns' 45 early in the third quarter and darted through a seam up the middle of the field to bring the Browns within 16-14.
Cleveland safety Ray Ellis then intercepted backup quarterback Kent Austin near midfield on the ensuing series. Pagel directed a 13-play drive that he ended by passing seven yards to McNeil. The conversion gave the Browns a 21-16 lead.
Colts 22, Lions 19: In Pontiac, Mich., Jack Trudeau threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Roy Banks with two seconds remaining to give Indianapolis the victory.
Banks caught the ball in the far right corner of the end zone to cap an eight-play, 75-yard drive.
Trudeau completed 11 of 16 passes for 112 yards after replacing starter Gary Hogeboom, who played less than two quarters.
Chuck Long passed for 205 yards and three touchdowns as Detroit erased a 13-0 deficit. Long completed 16 of 30 passes, including touchdown passes of 59 yards to Eric Truvillion and 1 and 23 yards to Jeff Chadwick.
Jets 13, Eagles 10: In East Rutherford, N.J., George Radachowsky intecepted a pass to set up Pat Leahy's 29-yard field goal with 29 seconds left.
Radachowsky's interception came with just over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter of the raggedly played contest. After a scoreless second half played mostly by rookies and reserves, Radachowsky intercepted a pass from Philadelphia quarterback Ken Lambiotte at midfield and returned it to the Eagles 44.
Rookie quarterback Bill Ransdell, the Jets' 12th-round draft choice, then scrambled for 16 yards and completed two passes to Otis Grant, moving the Jets to the 6 and setting up Leahy's chip shot.
Falcons 19, Bills 14: Substitute quarterback Turk Schonert in the fourth quarter threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Stacey Bailey and Mick Luckhurst added four field goals to help Atlanta win at home.
Schonert, who entered the game at the start of the period, hit on four passes without a miss for 60 yards in the winning drive, capping it with the touchdown pass to Bailey with 9:23 left to play.
Saints 23, Vikings 17: Bobby Hebert passed for 78 yards in the second half and Dalton Hilliard ran for two touchdowns as New Orleans overcame a two-touchdown deficit to beat visiting Minnesota.
Hilliard's touchdowns came on runs of three yards, in the third quarter, and 19 yards in the fourth quarter. Hillard lost his starting job in the fifth game of last season to Rueben Mayes who went on to rush for 1,353 yards and was named the NFL rookie of the year.
Barry Word, who sat out last season because of his involvement with drugs at the University of Virginia, scored the go-ahead touchdown for New Orleans on an 11-yard run with 2:57 left in the game.
49ers 42, Raiders 16: Steve Young threw for 247 yards and one touchdown in the rout in Los Angeles. Young, starting because Joe Montana is hurt, was 20 of 27 in a little more than three quarters.
The 49ers got 21 points in the first half as Young hit Jerry Rice with a 23-yard scoring pass, Roger Craig ran over from the 3 and Terrence Flagler from the 1.
Broncos 20, Packers 14: In Tempe, Ariz., John Elway threw two first-half touchdown passes for the winners. Teammates Rich Karlis and Mike Clendenen each kicked fourth-quarter field goals.
Denver, 1-1 in exhibition play, led at the half, 14-7, on Elway's 35-yard pass to Steve Watson at the goal line 4:35 into the game and his 13-yarder to Mark Jackson with 5:35 left in the second quarter.
Green Bay botched a chance to score early in the game when heralded rookie Brent Fullwood, on his first pro carry, returned a kickoff 98 yards and fumbled at the 2. The ball rolled out of bounds in the end zone and Denver took over on its 2.