New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown denied allegations of sexual assault and rape made by his former trainer in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Florida, alleges that Brown assaulted the trainer, Britney Taylor, in three separate incidents, two of which occurred in June 2017.

Taylor alleges in the suit she was "forcibly raped" by Brown in the other incident, which occurred in May 2018.

Brown's lawyer, Darren Heitner, denied the accusations in a statement.

"Antonio Brown learned today that he has been named in a lawsuit filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida. Mr Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit," the statement read, in part.

"He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name, but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations."

In a statement released by her lawyer to The New York Times, Taylor said: "As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision.

"I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault."

Brown signed with the Patriots earlier this week after being released by the Oakland Raiders following a tumultuous offseason.

Just like that, the first week of the 2019 season is over.

But there was no shortage of interesting remarks as injuries, botched kicks and overtime dominated the headlines.

From post-game news conferences to next-day media availabilities, here are the 10 best Week 1 quotes from players and coaches around the NFL:

 

— He does not play anymore, but Hall of Famer Brett Favre gave a colourful analysis of the Antonio Brown drama that unfolded this weekend: "Now, I'll be honest with you: If you watched the game the other night, they don't need him. In fact, I think it almost creates a problem by trying to figure out how to keep him happy and play him and [keep him] quiet. So, if you say, 'Well, let's just put him in on third downs' and that doesn't work, you're trying to, as Mike Holmgren used to say, 'It's like trying to pound sand up a flea's a**'. Pardon my French."

— Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles had no doubt his injury was serious when he was tackled: "I knew right when I hit the ground that something was wrong," he told reporters after the game. "I felt it. ... All I saw was two red jerseys in my face, I hit the ground and heard a crack. Going into the sidelines and getting checked ... I just saw the play for the first time before I came in here. It's unfortunate, but at the same time I'm trusting the good Lord."

— Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel had a sense of humour about a Sunday incident in which a Cleveland Browns fan dumped beer on cornerback Logan Ryan: "I would tell them not to waste beer. That's a bad thing to do."

— The Browns proved to be an overhyped bust, but quarterback Baker Mayfield is not panicked: "Everybody is going to throw this in the trash. I think that is good," he told reporters. "We just need to rally together. Don't flinch. It is Game 1 of a long season. To get to where we want to go, you are going to have bumps in the road. How to react to it, we are going to come together. We are going to push forward. We are not going to let it define us and let's see what type of men we have in this locker room. I am pretty sure I have a good idea about it."

— Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's thoughts on Brown joining the Patriots: "Whatever."

— New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on the "Patriot Way" and how he sets the tone for the culture: "Yeah, I don't know that I've ever used that term. I'm not really sure what that is either. I appreciate you asking about it though, but I don't know. It's a good question."

— It was reported that multiple Miami Dolphins players requested trades after the team's Week 1 blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but coach Brian Flores had not heard anything of it: "I can't really speak to the accuracy of that one," Flores told reporters. "We haven't received any information like that."

— Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller was disappointed that he did not reach Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr once: "I didn't get to him once. Not even a quarterback hit so I'm disappointed in myself on an individual level. They were throwing the ball quick but we have to find a way to get there."

— Despite a short week, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is looking forward to facing former team-mate Gerald McCoy when his team visits the Panthers: "He is definitely a great influence to me and a wonderful, wonderful human being."

— Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is desperate to just stay healthy the rest of this season: "I'm getting tired of being hurt. I hate being hurt."

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has no ill will toward Antonio Brown following his move to the New England Patriots.

Brown was released by Oakland last weekend after a series of off-field incidents. But, he was not a free agent for long as he quickly agreed to a deal with NFL Super Bowl champions the Patriots. 

Carr – who led Oakland to a 24-16 win over the Denver Broncos – was asked how he felt about Brown the Raiders star told reporters: "I love Antonio. He knows that.

"We've spent time with each other, family, all of that, I can go on and on, right? He's not here. He plays for somebody else. I wish him the best. I hope he goes off and has, gets everything he wants. I sent him a text and it says, 'I wish you the best, I hope you get what you want.' And there's no hurt feelings, there's no anger in me. There wasn't any anger in me when I found out to be honest with you." 

The Raiders acquired Brown in an offseason trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The wide receiver, however, never played in a regular-season game with the team.

Oakland fined Brown for missing mandatory practice time and a walkthrough, as well as a reported altercation with general manager Mike Mayock, before letting him go.

"We had a good football team even when [Brown] wasn't there," Carr said. "We knew if we added him, my goodness, that could be crazy, because he's so good as a football player. But he's not here. And when it happened, it was like, OK. ... It was like, OK, at least the questions are done, right? At least we have answers. And it stung as a friend having to see him go somewhere else.

"But again, I wish Antonio the best. And even if, whatever feelings... I don't even think he has hard feelings towards anybody. He just wanted a different place, right?

"And so I wish him the best. I hope he gets everything he wants. Wish his family and children the best. Love the guy. Had fun. Practices were really fun. We had a whole bunch of touchdowns in practice. Going to tell my kids someday that I threw to him, and all those kinds of things. But we're moving on, and we have a good football team. And I'm really, really, really happy to be a part of this team." 

Carr completed 22 of his 26 passes for 259 yards with a touchdown in the victory over the Broncos. 

The Raiders will host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. 

The first week of the 2019 season officially came to an end on Monday as the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders closed out the opening slate with wins.

Meanwhile, the ripple effect of Antonio Brown's move to the New England Patriots has extended down to New York.

 

Three things that matter

Brown addition prompts Patriots trade

In the wake of the receiver's signing after his requested release from the Raiders, the Patriots reportedly traded fellow wideout Demaryius Thomas to the New York Jets for a 2021 sixth-round pick. Luckily for Thomas, who sat out Sunday as he continues to recover from a torn Achilles suffered last year, he has experience with head coach Adam Gase after the two worked together in Denver.

As for Brown, coach Bill Belichick could not confirm his status for Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins just yet.

"We'll just take it day-by-day," Belichick said. "We haven't practiced yet, so we're going through information with him like we would any new player, like we did with offensive linemen last week and just take it day-by-day and see how it goes. Get out on the practice field and after Wednesday talk about Thursday and just go through the week and see how it goes."

Jackson could miss rest of season

The Philadelphia Eagles locked up the Pro Bowl defender on a three-year deal worth $30million this offseason following the departures of Chris Long and Michael Bennett, so his loss is a tough blow.

Malik Jackson had to be carted off the field on Sunday and was later seen leaving the stadium in a boot. He is reportedly scheduled to have surgery next week, so a more definitive recovery timeline should be determined after the procedure. In the meantime, Philadelphia may need to consider some replacements.

Shepherd facing PED suspension

The Jets defensive tackle revealed he is set to miss six games for two separate violations of the performance-enhancing drug policy, though Nathan Shepherd made it clear he did not consume the banned substances for performance purposes.

"The only competitive advantage I was really looking for was being able to come to camp healthy and having an opportunity to compete," Shepherd told NFL Media.

"All that was going on, I was coming off a subpar season and a new coaching staff, new playbook, new everything. In my mindset, I didn't feel very confident with how everything had gone thus far. In my mind, I was so prepared to come into this offseason and have a successful offseason and train very hard. I felt that because of these limitations, I wasn't going to be able to do that. I made a rash decision, an unwise decision and a selfish decision to look to certain PEDs in order to help me with that recovery process so I would be ready to go."

Two things that don't matter

Beckham won't ditch watch

The Cleveland Browns receiver could not fathom what all the fuss was about and said he will continue wearing his jewellery like he does every day.

"I'm here to play football," Odell Beckham Jr told reporters. "I would love for them to talk about football and what I do on the field, if I messed up on the field or if I didn't do well on the field, talk about my performance. Don't talk about any extracurricular, that's just it. If anybody else would've worn the watch, or if it was a $20 watch, it wouldn't have been no problem."

It was reported that Beckham violated a rule prohibiting hard objects on the field, but his Richard Mille watch — which is worth $189,000, not $350,000 — is plastic.

Martin agrees to three-year extension

The move is ironic considering the Houston Texans gave up six sacks in their season-opening loss to the Saints on Monday. Houston also allowed quarterback Deshaun Watson to be sacked a league-high 62 times in 2018.

Still, fourth-year center Nick Martin has only allowed four sacks since Houston took him in the second round of the 2016 draft. Not bad considering he missed his rookie season with an ankle injury, which is likely why he is now among the highest-paid players at his position.

One video you have to see

It is a new season, but the same traditions for Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan after he played his ninth opener for New Orleans.

Tuesday's tweet of the day

Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley tweeted that he is going to be fine after being stretchered off the field on Monday. Raiders coach Jon Gruden even said "there's a chance" Conley could play in Week 2, though his status has yet to officially be determined.

Odell Beckham Jr believes he was singled out because of "who I am" after he was criticised for wearing a watch in the Cleveland Browns' NFL opener.

The receiver wore his Richard Mille watch – which is worth $189,000 – during the Browns' 43-13 defeat to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Beckham's timepiece drew the attention of the NFL, with the league reportedly stating it would address the issue with the Browns. 

However, Beckham has responded insisting the watch does not break any league violations as it is plastic, suggesting other players would not receive the same treatment.

"I'm here to play football, it's because of who I am," Beckham said on Tuesday, in quotes published by Cleveland.com.

"I would love for them to talk about football and what I do on the field, if I messed up on the field or if I didn't do well on the field, talk about my performance.

"Don't talk about any extracurricular, that's just it. If anybody else would've worn the watch, or if it was a $20 watch, it wouldn't have been no problem.

"That's just my life, if it ain't this, it's something else. If it wasn't the watch, it would've been the way that I tie my shoes. I'll still be wearing it.

"You've got to look into the rule book. It says you can't wear any hard objects. The watch is plastic. But people have knee braces on that are hard and made out of metal and you don't see them taping it up, no  jewellery on, so I'm good."

Beckham noted he wears the watch all the time, including during practice, when he sleeps and when he showers.

In his first game with the Browns, Beckham caught seven passes for 71 yards and no touchdowns.

Jerry Jones has clarified his comments regarding Dak Prescott's contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys, though still believes an agreement is close.

Cowboys owner Jones said after Sunday's 35-17 win over the New York Giants that an extension for the quarterback would be "done on an imminent basis".

Dallas executive vice president Stephen Jones, however, said the two will reach an agreement "in due time", adding someone should ask Jones to clarify what he meant.

Jones has now explained his comments, telling 105.3 The Fan: "[Imminent] means ready to take place, close, near, about to happen - those types of things.

"As I've said so many times, nothing happens until both parties decide that what they're seeing and it's time to go. Nothing ever. 

"I was asked my opinion. I think that we are fast approaching an agreement. Then that's relative maybe to where we've been. On the other hand, that might be my opinion."

Jones went on to explain his opinion may differ from how the quarterback thinks negotiations are going.

"It sure might not be Dak's opinion," added Jones. "When Dak expresses his opinion or his agent expresses their opinion, that may be different than my opinion.

"So, when somebody asks your opinion on whether something's done that takes two to do it, they're speaking just from their perspective, and in my mind we were fast approaching a deal."

Antonio Brown has officially joined the New England Patriots, but Bill Belichick is unsure if the wide receiver will be ready to make his debut in Week 2.

Brown signed a one-year deal worth a reported $15million after he was released by the Oakland Raiders on Saturday following a tumultuous offseason.

The 31-year-old had 104 receptions for 1,297 yards with an NFL-leading 15 touchdowns last season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was traded to the Raiders in March.

Defending Super Bowl champions New England travel to Florida to face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, though Belichick is uncertain if Brown will feature.

"You know, I don't know," Belichick said in a news conference.

"We just acquired him yesterday. We haven't practiced so I can't answer that question now. We'll take it day by day and see how it goes.

"We think he'll help our team. Until we start working with him, part of that is actually having a hands-on opportunity to work with a player and see exactly how everything fits together and what we can develop. We'll just see how that goes."

Brown's spells in Pittsburgh and Oakland have been marred by controversy, but Pats quarterback Tom Brady is optimistic the Patriots' latest addition will not pull similar stunts in New England.

"You don't judge anything," Brady said in a radio interview with Westwood One's Jim Gray.

"I'm not judging anything before I've had a chance to go out and practice and prepare. You know, Antonio, meeting him I really enjoyed being around him, he's a very smart football player, knows how to play the game. He's been extremely productive."

Brady also revealed he will hold regular meetings with Brown as he looks to build a fruitful relationship.

"The only thing that I know what we can do is to go out there and work at it to meet and to communicate and get on the practice field and go through things," Brady added. "I'm not buying into any hype or potential. I'm into work. 

"We're going to meet as much as we possibly can. I think that the quarterback-receiver relationship is so important. The more you know each other, the more you know what each other are thinking, the faster you can accelerate the trust and confidence in one another when you get on the field.

"But, when you haven't played with guys, you have to try and do it as quickly as possible. The clock is ticking on us right now. This is not the offseason program.

"This is about real games that count, and we're going to try and spend as much time as we can together and really get up to speed and talking with what our roles and responsibilities are."

Oakland Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley left the field on a stretcher on Monday against the Denver Broncos with a neck injury but "is going to be OK", according to head coach Jon Gruden.

Conley, 24, suffered the injury with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter when he was tripped while attempting to make a tackle on Royce Freeman and then inadvertently kicked in the head by team-mate Johnathan Abram. 

Play was stopped for around 10 minutes while medical staff and trainers tended to Conley, who recorded four total tackles before exiting. He was immobilised on a back board and left in his helmet, with the facemask removed.

Conley gave the crowd a thumbs up while being taken off the field. 

"I got good word on him that he's going to be OK," Gruden told reporters. "I don't know his status for the next game, but most importantly the kid is all right.

"That was a scary hit that he took, but all the reports that I have are very, very positive."

Abram, the hard-hitting first-round draft pick, was penalised on the play for leading with his helmet while tackling the Broncos' Freeman. 

The personal foul helped the Broncos eventually get a field goal to cut Oakland's lead to 14-6, but Gruden's team eventually won 24-16.

Abram explained after the match that he had no idea how Conley was injured.

"I really didn't see what happened," the safety told reporters. "I think the running back fell on top of him or something. We were praying for him. But we had to go out there and finish the game for him."

The Raiders originally selected Conley out of Ohio State with the number 24 pick in the 2017 draft. 

He had three interceptions and 16 pass breakups in 17 career games prior to the Broncos match. 

Antonio Brown is worth the risk for New England as they are the only team who can tame him, according to former Patriot Sebastian Vollmer.

The reigning Super Bowl champions confirmed the signing of the controversial receiver on Monday. While terms of the contract were not announced, it is reportedly an incentive-laden, one-year deal worth $15million.

The seven-time Pro Bowler was a free agent after being released by the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, bringing an end to a brief but eventful spell with the franchise.

Yet the Patriots have shown a willingness to gamble in the past when it comes to adding controversial players, including wideouts Randy Moss and Josh Gordon, who caught a touchdown pass in Sunday's resounding 33-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Like Brown, Moss had an acrimonious split from Oakland but prospered in New England, including catching 23 touchdown passes from Tom Brady in 2007 as the team finished the regular season with a perfect 16-0 record, only to surprisingly lose to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

Offensive lineman Vollmer and Moss played alongside each other in 2009 and the former feels head coach Bill Belichick is right to take a gamble on Brown - but will not hesitate to cut him if the partnership fails to pan out.

"I think the Patriots are the only team that can tame a player like Antonio Brown. At least for some time," Vollmer, a second-round pick who spent his entire NFL career with New England, told Omnisport. 

"The outlook of winning a Super Bowl gives players hope and they change. They fight their own nature, try not to be too emotional and let other people tell them what to do, all to have a chance to become Super Bowl champion. And then I can go my own way again.

"That's what New England did with Randy Moss and it worked for some years - but Randy didn't have the same character as Antonio Brown.

"It works time and time again, but not every time. And the Patriots would release him very quickly. But he is worth the risk, for less money than he would get in the open market if he hadn't had these problems with the Raiders.

"I think the Patriots give him the best chance to be successful and on the other hand Antonio Brown gives the Patriots the chance to win another Super Bowl."

Belichick and Brady have won six Super Bowls together and are favourites to triumph again this season - and that was before the addition of Brown to their roster.

Vollmer - who played on the successful Pats teams in 2015 and 2017 - feels the legendary coach-quarterback combination should eventually bow out together, though Brady showed in the Week 1 thrashing of the Steelers that he is still going strong at 42.

"Tom Brady is one of my best friends and I also have a good relationship with Bill. Both should end their career at the same time," the German said of the duo.

"So there won't be a media discussion about who was the better one but rather that this was a unique combination in a generation - and maybe unique in the whole NFL.

"I wish that both end their careers together. It's unlikely, but I wish that as a player and a friend of both."

Jon Gruden is ready to move on from the Antonio Brown saga in Oakland and wished the New England Patriots good luck with their new wide receiver.

Brown's tumultuous spell with the Raiders came to an end on Saturday when he got his wish to be released by the franchise before ever playing a game for them.

It did not take the seven-time Pro Bowler long to find a new team, though. Brown confirmed on social media he would be signing with the Pats, though the reigning Super Bowl champions could not confirm the deal until Monday.

His former team were in action on the same day, Oakland starting their season with a 24-16 win over the Denver Broncos.

Unsurprisingly, Gruden was asked about Brown during his post-match news conference, with the Raiders head coach insisting he held no hard feeling towards the 31-year-old after giving it a "shot" during what turned out to be a turbulent preseason.

"I feel like somebody was smashing my temple on the side of the head," he told the media.

"Get over it, man. It's over. We were good this preseason without him. We were fine without him. We wish him the best.

"We gave it a shot. Now New England gets their turn. Good luck to them. I just can't deal with it anymore."

Having arrived via a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers in March, Brown suffered a cryotherapy-related injury, filed grievances against the NFL to be allowed to wear his favoured helmet and also reportedly fell out with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock.

"What happened here the last couple of days may have been big news to some, but there were no distractions. You could tell that tonight - our team was ready to roll," Gruden said.

"I'm never going to bring it up again. That incident, or whatever you want to call it, had nothing to do with our team's focus or preparation. That's it - end of story."

Tyrell Williams - who also joined the Raiders in the offseason - caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Derek Carr against the Broncos, while rookie running back Josh Jacobs also ran for a pair of scores in the impressive Week 1 victory.

"I'm really happy for Tyrell Williams. Our receiving corp took a hit, obviously, this week. But Tyrell is capable of being a number one guy for us," Gruden said.

The Oakland Raiders and their fans wanted an answer to the big question entering Monday's game against the Denver Broncos: How will the team do without Antonio Brown? 

Oakland received their answer and shut out the Broncos in the first half before posting a 24-16 win in their NFL opener.

The fans? Well, they certainly had something to say about the past week that ended with Brown's eventual release just two days before the game.

By the end of the matchup, Brown's name was being used less and less while quarterback Derek Carr settled in with his new offense.

The Broncos also started the season with new personnel. Denver came to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with a new head coach, new co-ordinators and a new starting quarterback. But their debut did not go as smoothly.

Here are three takeaways from the Raiders' win over the Broncos.

 

Raiders offense seemingly just fine

Yes, it is only Week 1. Yes, the Raiders still have a lot of work to do. But with all the spotlight on Oakland over the last week, the team came out strong against their long-time AFC West rivals. 

Carr orchestrated the win with almost an entirely new offense. There are new starters at tight end and fullback, a new receiving corps, a reconstructed offensive line led by tackle Trent Brown, who joined the Raiders this offseason, and a rookie running back in Josh Jacobs.

The Raiders showed off a balanced attack throughout the game. Carr connected with Tyrell Williams for a quick eight-yard score.

Then, he handed the ball off to Jacobs near the goal line. He would carry the ball into the end zone one more time.

Carr finished 22-of-26 passing for 259 yards and the touchdown. Williams, who came to the Raiders by way of the Los Angeles Chargers in the offseason, led Oakland with 105 yards and the score on six catches. Jacobs impressed in his debut with 23 carries for 85 yards and his two touchdowns.

Flacco came up short on Broncos debut

It is all about the new for these two teams and the Broncos had a new face under centre. 

Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco was tasked with stringing together all the moving parts, including another veteran in his first year with the team, head coach Vic Fangio. 

But it was not the start either were hoping for. Nothing ever really got going in the new Flacco era, minus a few impressive completions you would expect from a 12-year QB.

The Broncos barely used a now healthy Emmanuel Sanders, who showed his explosiveness late in the game by helping Denver get into the end zone for their only touchdown of the night.

Flacco ultimately finished with 268 yards and one touchdown on 21-of-31 passing. Instead of Sanders, it was Courtland Sutton who led Denver's receivers. He finished with 120 yards on seven receptions.

Raiders defense delivered

With a name like Von Miller, one would expect Denver's defensive unit to steal the show. However, that was not the case on Monday. It was the Raiders' defense that had an impressive outing.

After holding the Broncos to zero points in the first half, the Raiders minimised Denver's scoring opportunities. 

When Denver did get into the red zone, they succumbed to Oakland's pressure, which tallied three sacks, until the Broncos eventually scored their late TD. 

For one game at least, the Raiders made a big improvement from last season.

New Orleans Saints star Drew Brees knew Wil Lutz would kick the game-winning field goal as the team stunned the Houston Texans at the death.

The Saints came away with a dramatic 30-28 win over the Texans after Lutz drilled a 58-yard field goal as time expired on Monday.

Saints quarterback Brees was asked about what he was thinking in the game's final moments during a news conference shortly after the kick. 

"I was very confident," Brees said. "Just a ton of confidence. For all of us, just to get back into that situation, where we had a chance to win the game, I think we all felt like it was going to happen.

"The minute you heard that ball go off his foot, it was a thundering kick, I think we all knew it was going through the uprights."

New Orleans trailed by a point after Houston scored a touchdown with a little less than 40 seconds remaining.

Brees, however, completed three passes on the final drive to move the Saints to the Texans' 40-yard line, which set up Lutz's winner. 

"That's what this game is all about, in my opinion," Lutz told reporters. "Not everything is going to go your way. Some things aren't going to go as smoothly as you hope.

"There's going to be ebbs and flows over a football game that you've got to rely on each other to come out of it. I think that shows the resilience of this team.

"We've done that in the past and tonight we were able to do that again. ... Making a kick like that, that's got to be a top-1 moment for me." 

Brees completed 32 of his 43 passes for 370 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the win. 

Wil Lutz kicked a last-gasp 58-yard field goal as the New Orleans Saints trumped the Houston Texans 30-28 in NFL action on Monday.

The Saints were hoping to put last season behind them, and a second-half comeback helped them do just that against the Texans. 

In their first game back at Mercedes-Benz Superdome after the now-famous no-call in the 2018 NFC Championship game, there were still reminders of that day. The most notable came from the stands as fans sported referee uniforms.

The contest – the first of a doubleheader to kick-off 'Monday Night Football' – started off as another disappointment. But Saints quarterback Drew Brees stayed the course and led the Saints to a stunning win.

There were sparks of Deshaun Watson's greatness when Houston's offense had the ball, and a number of injury scares to the injury-prone signal-caller, but the young QB could not outdo the veteran, who led New Orleans down the field in the final seconds to set up the game-winning field goal.

Here are three takeaways from the Saints' stunning last-second win over the Texans:

 

Watson didn't get protected

The Texans' 2018 woes continued to hurt them this season. Watson, who has notoriously lacked protection since joining the league in 2017, continued to take hit after hit and had two injury scares in the first half.

Watson was brought down six times to start the 2019 season.

What is more? Two of those sacks were allowed by Laremy Tunsil, who Houston acquired from the Miami Dolphins solely to bring more protection to Watson's blindside. One of the two sacks came on a crucial third down.

The Texans' offensive line will need to provide Watson with a lot more help than they did Monday. 

Brees used his experience in the second half

The Saints desperately needed to make half-time adjustments. Brees threw only his second interception in the red zone since 2017 in his second drive. Meanwhile, the Texans took risks just outside the red zone to take an early lead.

New Orleans put up three points in the second quarter and for the first time since 2011 were held scoreless in the first quarter.

But leave it up to a veteran like Brees to come out of the break in stride. He opened the third quarter with an 83-yard scoring drive, thanks in part to a massive touchdown run from Latavius Murray, and then led the offense into the end zone on the ensuing drive, finding, ironically, quarterback Taysom Hill for the touchdown.

The Saints also utilised running back Alvin Kamara better in the final two quarters. He finished with 97 yards on 13 carries. 

Brees was not the only one to make half-time adjustments. The ESPN broadcast took flak on social media for the colour display of the down and distance graphic, which appeared bright yellow on the screen, resembling a penalty flag alert. After numerous complaints, producers changed the marker to a more neutral colour.

Saints' defense came up big, Texans' did not

Both sides needed a big play from their respective defensive units. The Saints had to stop Watson's big arm and the Texans had yet to see a big night from a healthy J.J. Watt. However, just one of those things happened.

Watt was quiet for most of the night while New Orleans' secondary made a lot of noise on one particular play.

In the final minutes of the third quarter, third-year safety Marcus Williams intercepted a deep pass intended for Will Fuller. The play, almost overshadowed by a WWE-esque tackle from DeAndre Hopkins, set up the go-ahead touchdown. It was a quick four-play scoring drive.

The interception energised the Saints' defense, which held Watson and company to just seven points after that play.

New Orleans' special teams nearly lost the game in the closing moments after a penalty was called on a missed extra-point attempt by Houston. Luckily, Brees and kicker Lutz saved the day.

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is unaware of reports claiming multiple players have requested trades following the team's rout against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Dolphins endured a forgettable start to their NFL season, crushed 59-10 by the Ravens on Sunday.

After the demolition, reports quickly emerged that some players had contacted their agents with the hopes of being traded following the blowout loss.

First-year Dolphins coach Flores was asked about the reports on Monday and he said: "I can't really speak to the accuracy of that one. We haven't received any information like that.

"I think for us, we just need to focus on what's going on inside of our building, and not worry about anything that's going on outside. I think we have to get better from a fundamental standpoint, from a communication standpoint — really overall.

"That's the goal right now. Everything else that’s going on outside, we just need to focus on what's going on in our building."

The report came only hours after Miami were non-competitive at home against the Ravens – who took control early, scored touchdowns on their first four drives and cruised to an easy win at Hard Rock Stadium. 

In the wake of the loss, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said the team were "embarrassed" by Baltimore. 

"It's never good to be embarrassed like that, especially at this level," Fitzpatrick said at a press conference. "What we had talked about: Nobody is going to feel sorry for you and your situation. That's what happens.

"You go out there and if you don't execute, you're going to get beat bad like that. Obviously we need to play better, which is an understatement."

The Dolphins seem to be in rebuilding mode and have parted ways in the last few weeks with multiple veterans, including trading offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans, a move which reportedly upset the locker room. 

Miami will host defending champions the New England Patriots in Week 2. 

Antonio Brown always planned to join the New England Patriots according to Jerry Rice, who said the star receiver "played" the Oakland Raiders.

On the day he should have been making his Raiders debut, Brown completed a move to NFL Super Bowl champions the Patriots on Monday.

Brown – who was traded to the Raiders from the Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of the 2018 campaign – endured a tumultuous preseason before he was granted a release by Oakland.

As Brown prepares to link up with Patriots superstar Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, Rice hit out at the seven-time Pro Bowler.

"We all got played, man. We did," 13-time Pro Bowler Rice – who spent three years with the Raiders before leaving in 2004 – told 95.7 The Game in San Francisco. 

"I'm gonna be honest with you, because, this guy, he contacted me and he told me that he wanted to play ball here in the Bay Area. He wanted to be part of the San Francisco 49ers.

"So, I bought into it because I can only take a man at his word and stuff like that. But I think this, it was pretty much already planned. He had to take a different direction."

The 56-year-old Rice, who won three Super Bowls, added: "I think when he asked to be released from the Steelers, he wanted to go to the Patriots. He wanted them to trade him to the Patriots. And there was no way that the Steelers would trade him to a rival.

"So he had to go a different route. And he decided to come through the Bay Area. And I feel sorry for the fans over in Oakland.

"He was a Denzel Washington and he won the Oscar. He won an Oscar, guys. I'm gonna be honest with you."

Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus, however, denied rumours the 31-year-old forced his way out of the Raiders just to join the Patriots.

Asked why anyone should believe that the fix was not in for Brown and the Patriots, Rosenhaus told ESPN: "Because it's the truth. I mean, what else can I say except it's a thousand percent the truth? There was no fix.

"We did try to make it work with the Raiders, really. But for a letter that we received from the Raiders warning Antonio that his contract would be voided, he would be playing tonight for the Oakland Raiders. That's the unfortunate thing."

"You know, the Raiders protected themselves and that set Antonio off. There's no question that there were some bumps in the road that fractured the relationship with the Raiders. But even as recently as Friday, it looked like he was going to be in a position to play Monday night with the team," Rosenhaus said.

"He apologised to the team, we were trying to make it work, [but] the club wanted to protect themselves on the contract, on the $30million in guarantees. And unfortunately, Antonio wasn't comfortable with that. He wanted out as a result. And that led to New England."

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