Reigning NFL MVP Tom Brady left Sunday's game against Kansas City after being hit on the left leg, depriving the Patriots of the quarterback who last season led them to a 16-0 regular season and their fourth Super Bowl in eight years.
NFL.com and several media outlets reported late Sunday that Brady will miss the rest of the season. The report on NFL.com said former Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms was scheduled to arrive in New England Monday for a workout and a physical.
Brady, who has started 128 consecutive games, went to the turf clutching his left knee midway through the first quarter when he was hit in the pocket by Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard. After being tended to on the field, he walked off, limping, between two trainers.
Brady went to the locker room and was not seen again on the sideline as backup Matt Cassel led the Patriots to a 17-10 victory. The two-time Super Bowl MVP was not available for comment after the game, and Coach Bill Belichick said he had nothing to add to the in-game announcement that it was a knee injury.
Cassel, who had thrown just 39 passes in his first three seasons, went 13-for-18 for 152 yards and one touchdown.
"This is something I've been preparing for (for) a long time. It's not something that we expected to come up on opening day," he said. "Since I've been here and been around Tom, he's always popped back up."
Jets 20, Dolphins 14: Six months after Brett Favre began a brief retirement, he made a stirring debut Sunday as Broadway Brett. Yet in the final minute the host Dolphins marched down the field while Favre's New York Jets clung to six-point lead.
But Darrelle Revis intercepted Chad Pennington in the end zone with 5 seconds left for a Jets win.
"It was shaky, but it's a good start," Favre said. "It's a win, and you can never question a win."
Favre hardly looked like the retiring type, raising his arms to signal a touchdown, then leaping and skipping to the bench, where he vaulted into the arms of two teammates. That was after he threw a 56-yard touchdown pass on New York's second series.
He later improvised on fourth down for a 22-yard scoring pass, and finished 15-for-22 for 194 yards and his 161st victory, extending his NFL record for starting quarterbacks.
Saints 24, Buccaneers 20: Drew Brees passed for 343 yards and three touchdowns against the Buccaneers, giving the home fans, already jubilant about their team's quick return from Hurricane Gustav, a season-opening triumph to celebrate as well.
Tampa Bay had a shot to win the back-and-forth contest until Scott Fujita intercepted Jeff Garcia's fourth-down pass just inside the Saints' 20-yard line with just under 40 seconds to go.
Steelers 38, Texans 17: Willie Parker ran for 138 yards and three touchdowns and a near-perfect Ben Roethlisberger threw two scoring passes to Hines Ward in a home rout for the Steelers.
Parker showed no loss of speed or cutback ability from the broken right leg that ended his 2007 season in the Steelers' next-to-last game, when he was leading the NFL in rushing. Roethlisberger missed on only one of 14 passing attempts until being lifted after three quarters.
Titans 17, Jaguars 10: The Titans sacked David Garrard seven times and Cortland Finnegan intercepted him twice.
Titans quarterback Vince Young was intercepted twice and threw for just 110 yards. Fans booed heavily as he was slow to head back onto the field late in the fourth quarter. Young sprained his left knee a couple plays later and had a pair of crutches at his locker after the game.
Eagles 38, Rams 3: Donovan McNabb threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns, rookie DeSean Jackson had an impressive debut and the host Eagles routed St. Louis.
McNabb was 21-for-33, including a 90-yard TD pass to Hank Baskett. Jackson, the first Eagles rookie wide receiver to start the season opener in 18 years, had six catches for 106 yards and returned a punt 60 yards to set up a field goal.
Falcons 34, Lions 21: Matt Ryan threw for a touchdown with his very first NFL pass and Michael Turner set a team rushing record in his Atlanta debut.
The rookie quarterback electrified the crowd with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins before many fans had settled in their seats, and Turner rumbled for 220 yards and two TDs after coming to Atlanta from San Diego in the off-season.
Cardinals 23, 49ers 13: Kurt Warner passed for 197 yards and led three monotonously effective drives in the second half of the Cardinals' road victory. J.T. O'Sullivan passed for 195 yards in his first NFL start for the 49ers and Frank Gore rushed for 96 yards and San Francisco's only touchdown on an early 41-yard scamper.