By CHRIS JENKINS
AP Sports Writer
GREEN BAY, Wis. — San Francisco’s defense smothered Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense for most of the game, then made one last stand to stop a late rally as the 49ers beat the Packers 30-22 on Sunday.
The 49ers took a 16-point lead into the fourth quarter, then twice let Rodgers and the Packers cut the lead to 8. But the defense held firm on a potential game-tying drive in the final minutes.
Facing a Green Bay team that lost only one game during the regular season in 2011, it was a tough road test to start the season for the 49ers. But San Francisco got a boost just before halftime when David Akers kicked a 63-yard field goal, a boot that bounced off the crossbar and then kept going through the uprights to tie an NFL record.
The 49ers appeared to be cruising to victory early in the fourth quarter when Randall Cobb gave the Packers a chance with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown, and a 2-point conversion cut the lead to 8, at 23-15 in the fourth quarter. But Rodgers threw an interception to linebacker NaVorro Bowman, and Frank Gore ran for a 23-yard touchdown.
Rodgers answered with a drive, throwing a 10-yard touchdown to James Jones.
With the clock near the four-minute mark, a sack by Clay Matthews helped force a punt and the Packers took over at their own 16-yard line with 3:37 left and no timeouts.
Rodgers steadily marched the Packers down the field, but Ahmad Brooks sacked Rodgers. Facing fourth-and-10 near midfield, Rodgers threw deep toward Jordy Nelson but the pass fell incomplete.
Smith was 20 of 26 for 211 yards and two touchdowns while Gore rushed for 112 yards.
Randy Moss scored a 14-yard touchdown in the second quarter, a familiar — and painful — sight for Packers fans.
Rodgers finished 30 of 44 for 303 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but the 49ers held him in check until late the in the game. Jermichael Finley had a 1-yard touchdown for the Packers.
The replacement officials called 18 penalties, some of them questionable and drawing animated complaints from both sidelines.
With the 49ers leading 3-0, Smith found Moss wide open in the end zone early in the second quarter. Moss turned his back to the crowd and pointed to the name on his jersey, opting for a more subdued celebration than the now-notorious fake mooning motion he made toward fans at Lambeau during his Minnesota Vikings days.
Akers hit three field goals in the first half, including the 63-yarder as time ran out for a 16-7 halftime. A wide-eyed Akers held up his arms in celebration — and, perhaps, disbelief.
Smith and the 49ers then carved up the Packers’ defense to start the second half, with Smith throwing a 20-yard strike to Michael Crabtree, Gore running for 21 yards and Smith hitting Vernon Davis for a 29-yard gain to set up first-and-goal at the 9.
Kendall Hunter had an apparent touchdown taken off the board when a replay review ruled that he stepped out of bounds, but Smith threw a dart to Davis on third-and-goal for a 23-7 lead.
Cobb’s long punt return gave the Packers hope, although there were a few anxious moments. An official threw a flag as the play unfolded, but the crew then ruled that there wasn’t any foul for a block in the back and the touchdown counted.
Television replays showed that Green Bay’s Terrell Manning appeared to block a San Francisco player in the back.
Rodgers then threw to Nelson for a 2-point conversion, cutting the lead to 23-15 with 11:16 left in the game.
Gore then was marked short of the first down on a third-and-2 attempt, and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh challenged the spot.
After a replay review, officials ruled that the ruling on the field stood and the 49ers punted.
But Rodgers threw the interception to Bowman, and Gore scored to seemingly put the game out of reach until Rodgers began to rally the Packers late.
Redskins 40, Sainst 32
NEW ORLEANS — Robert Griffin III began his NFL career by connecting on 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns, and the Washington Redskins handed the Saints a 40-32 loss in their first game since the bounty scandal that overshadowed New Orleans’ offseason.
Griffin completed his first eight passes, including an 88-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon, tying for the second-longest scoring pass by a quarterback making his NFL debut.
Rookie running back Alfred Morris rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Aldrick Robinson, making his NFL debut, had a touchdown catch among four receptions for 52 yards.
Drew Brees uncharacteristically struggled with accuracy, completing only 46 percent of his throws with two interceptions. But his 339 yards passing and three TDs kept the Saints in the game until his last desperate pass was picked off by Reed Doughty near the Redskins’ goal line.
Bears 41, Colts 21
CHICAGO — Jay Cutler threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns and Michael Bush added a pair of scoring runs to spoil quarterback Andrew Luck’s debut.
Brandon Marshall had nine catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in his first game since being reunited with Cutler, and Matt Forte ran for 80 yards and a score.
Luck finished his first NFL game 23 of 45 for 309 yards with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery early in the fourth quarter. He also was intercepted three times — twice by Tim Jennings — in an up-and-down effort as he steps in for the departed Peyton Manning.
Reggie Wayne caught nine passes for 135 yards. But it was a familiar result for a team with new management and a new coach in Chuck Pagano.Eagles 17, Browns 16
CLEVELAND — Michael Vick overcame four interceptions by throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Clay Harbor with 1:18 left in the nerve-racking win.
Vick led the Eagles on a 91-yard scoring drive, capping it with his short toss to Harbor on his career-high 56th pass. Before Vick rallied his team, he played poorly and showed rustiness after playing just 12 snaps during preseason because of injuries.
Vick went 29 of 56 for 317 yards and two TDs.
Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw four interceptions, the last to Kurt Coleman with 1:05 remaining.
Vikings 26, Jaguars 23, OT
MINNEAPOLIS — Rookie Blair Walsh kicked four field goals, including a 55-yarder as regulation time expired and another one in overtime, and Adrian Peterson returned from a left knee injury to lift the Vikings.
Peterson ran 17 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings, who led for most of the second half until Blaine Gabbert’s 39-yard touchdown heave with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter put the Jaguars back in front.
For the first time since the NFL’s new overtime scoring rule was installed last season, the first team on the board didn’t immediately run off the field a winner.
After Walsh’s 38-yard kick, the Vikings had to play defense again while the Jaguars had their chance to match. But Gabbert was hurried into a fourth-down overthrow, spoiling the debut for new Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey.
Lions 27, Rams 23
DETROIT — Matthew Stafford threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left.
Stafford made up for a shaky game by leading an 80-yard, nine-play, game-winning possession that included three passes of at least 18 yards.
Sam Bradford directed a go-ahead drive that set up Greg Zuerlein’s 46-yard field goal and put the Rams ahead 23-20 with 1:55 left. But coach Jeff Fisher’s debut ended with a loss because the Rams could not shut down Stafford in the end.
Stafford had three interceptions before halftime for the first time in his four seasons. Cortland Finnegan had a 31-yard interception return for a TD that gave the Rams a 13-7 lead late in the first half.
Jets 48, Bills 28
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes, including two to rookie Stephen Hill, and the Jets eased concerns about their offense.
The Jets sprinkled in their wildcat package with Tim Tebow, who was mostly quiet but recovered a late onside kick by Buffalo, and Jeremy Kerley had a touchdown catch and a punt return for a score. Antonio Cromartie also took one of New York’s three interceptions of Ryan Fitzpatrick to the end zone.
It was the most points the Jets have scored in a season opener. That’s from a team that had many wondering what to expect after the first-team offense failed to score a TD in the first three games of the preseason.
Meanwhile, Mario Williams, the Bills’ big free agent signing, was quiet as the Jets’ offensive line protected Sanchez all game.
Texans 30, Dolphins 10
HOUSTON — Arian Foster had two touchdown runs, Matt Schaub threw a TD pass to Andre Johnson, and Houston’s defense dominated rookie Ryan Tannehill and Miami.
Tannehill threw three interceptions in a 6-minute stretch late in the first half, and the Texans opened impressively in what they believe can be a Super Bowl season.
Schaub threw for 266 yards in his first action since fracturing his right foot in Week 10 last year, and Johnson finished with 119 yards receiving. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt deflected two passes that resulted in interceptions and also had 1½ sacks.
Marcus Thigpen returned a punt 72 yards for Miami’s touchdown. The Dolphins gained only 275 total yards in coach Joe Philbin’s coaching debut.
Patriots 34, Titans 13
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and the defending AFC champions won easily.
Brady may have suffered a broken nose when he was sacked in the second quarter by Kamerion Wimbley, but he didn’t miss a play.
The Patriots ruined Jake Locker’s debut as Tennessee’s starter, sacking him twice and forcing two turnovers. 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.
Also, Locker came out of the game after hurting his left shoulder when tackling safety Patrick Chung on a fumble return. He was replaced by Matt Hasselbeck.
Falcons 40, Chiefs 24
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Matt Ryan threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns, one of them to Tony Gonzalez in his return to Kansas City.
Ryan also ran for a TD, while Julio Jones caught six passes for 108 yards and two scores.
The Falcons took advantage of a Chiefs defense missing four starters. Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali was suspended for an unspecified violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy, and three others were injured.
Kansas City matched Atlanta most of the first half, trailing 20-17 at the break. But a missed field goal by Ryan Succop early in the third quarter proved to be the turning point.
Matt Cassel finished with 258 yards passing for Kansas City, but also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.
Buccaneers 16, Panthers 7
TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay’s rejuvenated defense came up with two interceptions against Cam Newton and the Buccaneers won their debut under coach Greg Schiano.
Josh Freeman threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams and Connor Barth kicked three field goals to help the Bucs stop a 10-game losing streak that prompted the firing of former coach Raheem Morris. Schiano came the Tampa after spent the past 11 seasons transforming Rutgers from one of the losingest programs in college football into a Big East contender.
Newton threw for 303 yards and one touchdown.
Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Kevin Kolb replaced injured John Skelton and led Arizona on the deciding touchdown drive, throwing 6 yards to Andre Roberts for a score with 4:59 to play.
Aided by two pass interference penalties, Seattle drove to the Arizona 4 in the final seconds. But rookie Russell Wilson threw three straight incompletions and the Cardinals held on.
Adding to the confusion, Seattle appeared to have called a timeout when it had none remaining, but that turned out to be a mistake by the replacement officials working the game.