Tom Brady made a winning start with the New England Patriots while fellow quarterback Peyton Manning suffered a surprising loss with the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts on the opening Sunday of the NFL season.
Just three days after agreeing to a lucrative four-year contract extension, Brady launched three touchdown passes to help the Patriots beat the Cincinnati Bengals 38-24 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Brady, who has led New England to three Super Bowl titles, twice connected for touchdowns with wide receiver Wes Welker, who caught eight passes for 64 yards in his first game back after a serious knee injury.
"It was a fun day," a smiling Brady told reporters. "We started really fast ... and everyone contributed.
"I spent a lot of time with him (Wes) this offseason and I knew in February that he was going to be back out on the field on opening day. It just shows what his mind is all about."
Brady was delighted to end a week that also involved an auto accident in Boston in the early hours of Thursday from which he emerged unscathed.
"It's a scary thing," he said. "Fortunately, I was ok. Hopefully, the people in the other car are recovering quickly and well. I'm glad it's over, but it was a good week."
Manning was also sharp in completing 40 of 57 pass attempts for 433 yards and three touchdowns, but he and the Colts were stunned by Arian Foster, who ran for a team record 231 yards in a 34-24 home victory by the Houston Texans.
Undrafted running back Foster scored three touchdowns to help the Texans beat the Colts for the first time in seven games and only the second time in the last 17 meetings.
Manning threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Clark late in the fourth quarter to trim Houston's lead to 27-17, but Foster answered with his third touchdown of the game on his team's next series.
"It's certainly very disappointing," Manning said. "You always want to get the season started off on the right foot and we didn't do that. We put ourselves in a hole a little bit.
"We need to learn from it. Obviously we just didn't play well enough today to win. That's the bottom line."