Who won it? The NFL Kickoff Game outcomes since 2002
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The Kickoff Game started in 2002 on Thursday, September 5., under the leadership of then–NFL marketing executive John Collins and then–NFL Senior Vice President of Special Events Jim Steeg. It was conceived as an effort to boost economic recovery in the New York and Washington areas in the wake of 9/11. It was considered a success, increasing NFL sponsorships by $1.9 billion over the next 14 months.
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2002: San Francisco 49ers 16, New York Giants 13
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How about the first Kickoff Game being decided by a former XFL player? Jose Cortez of the Niners kicked a 36-yard field goal with six seconds left to give San Francisco the victory. Kerry Collins threw for 342 yards for the Giants but was picked off three times.
2003: Washington 16, New York Jets 13
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Same score as in the first Kickoff Game and the New York — New Jersey — team winds up with the unlucky 13. John Hall, a former Jet no less, kicked a 33-yard field goal with five seconds left to sink Gang Green.
2004: New England Patriots 27, Indianapolis Colts 24
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For the third year in a row, the opener was a three-point game. Not as much drama here as the Patriots led 27-17 before Brandon Stokley caught a TD pass from Peyton Manning with 11:05 left to close the scoring. Tom Brady threw for 335 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Manning threw for 256 and two scores.
2005: New England Patriots 30, Oakland Raiders 20
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New England came out on top, again, rushing to a 30-14 lead and cruising past Oakland. Brady threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Corey Dillon rushed for a pair.
2006: Pittsburgh Steelers 28, Miami Dolphins 17
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The Pittsburgh Steelers scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to turn a three-point deficit into a victory. Heath Miller caught an 87-yard TD pass from Charlie Batch to give the Steelers the lead. Joey Porter sealed it with a 42-yard pick-six off Daunte Culpepper.
2007: Indianapolis Colts 41, New Orleans Saints 10
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A blowout as Peyton Manning threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Indianapolis scored the game’s final 31 points.
2008: New York Giants 16, Washington 7
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The New York Giants took a 16-0 lead in a game that saw all the scoring done in the first half. John Carney kicked three field goals. Brandon Jacobs rushed for 116 yards.
2009: Pittsburgh Steelers 13, Tennessee Titans 10
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Jeff Reed kicked a 32-yard field goal with 2:57 remaining to force overtime and won it at 10:28 with a 33-yarder for Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 363 yards. Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes each went over the 100-yard mark receiving.
2010: New Orleans Saints 14, Minnesota Vikings 9
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Pierre Thomas’ short run in the third quarter made the difference. The game featured Brett Favre playing for Minnesota against Drew Brees and the Saints. Brees threw for 237 yards; Favre threw for 171.
2011: Green Bay Packers 42, New Orleans Saints 34
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Green Bay outlasted New Orleans in a wild one. The Packers were comfortably ahead for much of the game. The Saints closed within one score on a Drew Brees pass to Jimmy Graham in the final quarter. Brees and Aaron Rodgers combined for 831 yards and six TD passes.
2012: Dallas Cowboys 24, New York Giants 17
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This one was played on a Wednesday, Sept. 5. Tony Romo’s three touchdown passes and 307 yards passing and DeMarco Murray’s 129 yards rushing powered Dallas. The defending league champions lost in the now-traditional midweek kickoff contest for the first time in nine such games. If you were wondering why a Wednesday? The game was scheduled to avoid President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.
2013: Denver Broncos 49, Baltimore Ravens 27
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The Broncos crushed the Ravens behind Peyton Manning’s 462 passing yards and seven touchdown tosses. Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas combined for 271 receiving yards and four receiving TDs.
2014: Seattle Seahawks 36, Green Bay Packers 16
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Seattle broke open a 10-10 game by scoring 19 straight and rolling to victory. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 110 yards and a pair of TDs.
2015: New England Patriots 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 21
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Tom Brady hit Rob Gronkowski with a short scoring pass in the fourth quarter to make it 28-14, and that was enough. Pittsburgh got its final TD on a pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown with two seconds left. Brady threw for 288 yards with four TD passes.
2016: Denver Broncos 21, Carolina Panthers 20
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Denver trailed 17-7 going into the fourth quarter. C.J. Anderson scored a rushing TD and a receiving TD to give the Broncos the lead. Graham Gano kicked a field goal to make it a one-point game, the final margin.
2017: Kansas City Chiefs 42, New England Patriots 27
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Kansas City rocked New England behind Alex Smith, who threw for 368 yards and a quartet of TD passes. Kareem Hunt accounted for three touchdowns and 296 yards of total offense. Tyreek Hill had 133 receiving yards and a score.
2018: Philadelphia Eagles 18, Atlanta Falcons 12
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The Philadelphia Eagles won the Battle of the Birds over the Atlanta Falcons. Jay Ajayi scored two rushing TDs. Julio Jones had 169 receiving yards on 10 catches. He was targeted 19 times in the defeat.
2019: Green Bay Packers 10, Chicago Bears 3
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The defenses were ahead of the offenses as Green Bay trudged by Chicago in an NFC North contest. The only touchdown came on an Aaron Rodgers pass to Jimmy Graham in the second quarter. The Packers had five sacks, led by Preston Smith with 1.5.
2020: Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
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The Kansas City Chiefs play host to the Houston Texans. When they last met, the Texans surged to a 24-0 lead before collapsing against Patrick Mahomes and an offensive onslaught in a playoff game.