NFL

3 safeties in 1st quarters of openers

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PITTSBURGH (AP)

Safety first.

The first score of the full opening day of the NFL season was a safety. Before long, there were two more safeties in first quarters of games, equaling the most in Week 1 in league history.

The Tennessee Titans' season began in reverse when they gifted the Steelers two points on the first play of their season as kick returner Darius Reynaud took a knee in the end zone on the opening kickoff.

According to the NFL, it was the first safety on an opening kickoff since 1988, when the New York Giants got one at Dallas.

Reynaud fielded a squib kick from Pittsburgh's Shaun Suisham at the goal line and took a short step back into the end zone for what appeared to be a touchback. Officials stopped play and spotted the ball at the Tennessee 20 before referee Jerome Boger ruled Reynaud fielded the ball in play before taking a knee in the end zone. It was upheld on review and the home team had an early 2-0 lead.

Jacksonville soon after joined the party, blocking a punt on visiting Kansas City's first possession.

Newly signed linebacker J.T. Thomas came through the line unblocked and slapped Dustin Colquitt's punt before it got off his foot. The ball ricocheted through the end zone for a safety.

It was the second blocked punt in as many games for the Jaguars, who blocked one in last year's season finale. It was their first safety since 2008.

Moments later at the Meadowlands, the Jets went up 2-0 on the Buccaneers when Josh Freeman couldn't handle the snap on third-and-5 from the 8. The football squirted into the end zone, and Freeman went chasing after it. Seeing Antwan Barnes about to fall on it for a potential touchdown, Freeman kicked the ball out of the end zone for a safety.

The last time three safeties occurred in the opening week was in 1999. It also happened in 1993 and 1970.

New York's 1988 safety came when Dallas' Darryl Clack muffed the opening kickoff at his 1-yard line and was tackled in the end zone by Mark Collins. The Giants won that game 12-10 - the winning margin being the safety.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Tagged: Titans, Buccaneers, Darius Reynaud, Josh Freeman

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