Highlights and lowlights of NFL opening weekend

Here's a look at the highlights and lowlights around the NFL during the opening weekend:


1. Peyton Manning is back.

The Denver Broncos' quarterback made an early statement in his bid for NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

In his first game since being cut by the Indianapolis Colts and undergoing a total of four neck surgeries, Manning manufactured a 31-19 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The four-time Most Valuable Player completed 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns, displaying zip on his throws and a command of the Broncos' offense. He fired a 71-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

Manning also threw his 400th career touchdown pass, reaching the milestone faster than Dan Marino or Brett Favre did. Manning now has 401 for his career, only ranking behind Favre (508) and Marino (420) in NFL history.

Most importantly, Manning also displayed that his neck is sturdy as he was sacked twice and got up without any injury setbacks.

2. Robert Griffin III dazzles.

The Washington Redskins' rookie quarterback had a sterling debut, outdueling New Orleans Saints veteran Drew Brees to earn a 40-32 road victory.

The Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor has energized the Redskins, passing for 320 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions on 19 of 26 accuracy for a 139.9 quarterback rating.

Griffin was extremely poised and selective about when he chose to leave the protective confines of the pocket. Only once did he get hit hard.

Griffin's decision-making was sharp and he completed his first eight passes, including an 88-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon over the middle. His timing with Garcon was superb.

Meanwhile, rookie running back Alfred Morris became the latest Mike Shanahan discovery in the backfield as the late-round draft pick rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

3. Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall

Reprising their old connection from their days with the Broncos, Cutler and Marshall collaborated for nine completions, 119 yards and a touchdown in the Bears' win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The passing tandem gives the Bears a proven capability downfield to complement the running game of Matt Forte and Michael Bush.

4. Matt Ryan is sharp

The Atlanta Falcons' quarterback dominated the Kansas City Chiefs in a 40-24 victory, passing for 299 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another.

Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones are one of the most potent tandems in the league. Jones caught six passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns.