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Packers make perfect start to NFL season

Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley catches a pass in the endzone against Carolina Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn during NF
Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley catches a pass in the endzone against Carolina Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn during NF

By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The reigning Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers erased a 13-point deficit to beat the Carolina Panthers 30-23 on Sunday and maintain their perfect start to the National Football League (NFL) season while the big guns flexed their muscles.

For the second straight week, New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for over 400 yards, as did Cam Newton, one of the sport's rising stars, while the Pittsburgh Steelers blanked the Seattle Seahawks to make up for their shock defeat last week.

The Packers scored 23 unanswered points after trailing 13-0 early in the second quarter before quarterback Aaron Rodgers sealed the win with an 84-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson.

Carolina (0-2) rookie quarterback Newton threw for 432 yards and one touchdown to extend his incredible start to his NFL career but was also intercepted three times in his team's second successive loss.

Brady threw three touchdown passes and 423 yards in the Patriots' (2-0) 35-21 win over the San Diego Chargers to win his 29th consecutive regular-season game at home.

The Steelers (1-1) cruised to a 24-0 win over Seattle (0-2) with Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 298 yards and running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman each rushing for touchdowns.

The New Orleans Saints (1-1) enjoyed a 30-3 win over the Chicago Bears (1-1) on the back of three touchdown passes from Drew Brees, while the New York Jets (2-0) used a superb defensive display to thump the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) 32-3 after struggling to beat the Dallas Cowboys (1-1) last week.

The Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans also won their second straight games of the season to join the Packers, Patriots and Jets at 2-0.

Washington scored nine points in the final 5:17 to edge the Arizona Cardinals (1-1) 22-21 while Buffalo erased an 18-point halftime deficit to upset the Oakland Raiders (1-1) 38-35 in a thriller that included five lead changes in the last quarter.

The Lions thrashed the Kansas City Chiefs 48-3 with Matthew Stafford throwing four touchdowns for Detroit while the Chiefs (0-2) lost Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles to a knee injury. Houston posted a 23-13 win over the Miami Dolphins (0-2), who suffered their sixth straight loss at home.

The Indianapolis Colts, still without injured quarterback Peyton Manning, slumped to their first 0-2 start in 13 years after a 27-19 defeat to the Cleveland Browns (1-1).

Matt Hasselbeck threw for 358 yards and a touchdown and Javon Ringer scored on a 10-yard run as the Tennessee Titans (1-1) upset the Baltimore Ravens (1-1) while LeGarrette Blount scored a touchdown with 31 seconds left to hand the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) a 24-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings (0-2).

Tony Romo returned to the field after breaking a rib early to rally the Dallas Cowboys to a 27-24 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Rookie kicker Dan Bailey nailed a 19-yard field goal to seal the win one play after Romo connected with Jesse Holley on a 77-yard completion, giving the Cowboys their first win after blowing a 14-point lead against the Jets a week ago.

The Denver Broncos (1-1) almost squandered a 14-point lead against the Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) on Sunday but held on for a 24-22 win.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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