Buffalo Bills quarterback Kevin Thompson helped the Cologne Centurions to a thrilling 24-23 win over the Hamburg Sea Devils on Saturday in Cologne, spoiling the debut of NFL Europe’s newest franchise.
With 4:55 remaining, Thompson connected with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Romby Bryant on a 56-yard touchdown pass, giving the home team a 24-23 advantage. The Centurions held on for the victory when time expired before Hamburg kicker Todd France of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could attempt the potential game-winning field goal. France finished the day with a league record-tying five field goals while Thompson completed 16 of 25 attempts for 197 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, posting a stellar 114.9 passer rating.
"It was good to see us react in a game situation," Thompson said. "We have to continue to progress and improve and do the little things right that it takes to win."
On Saturday in Amsterdam, the Admirals started the season on a positive note, earning a 24-14 win against the Rhein Fire. Leading 10-6 entering the fourth quarter, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Gibran Hamdan threw a 49-yard scoring strike to fellow Seahawk Tony Donald for a 17-6 lead. The victory was sealed when another Seahawk rose to the occasion on the ensuing possession. Cornerback B.J. Tucker returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown, giving Amsterdam an insurmountable 24-6 advantage.
"One of the keys to this league is your start, and you have to come out of the gates quickly," said Hamdan, who completed 12 of 19 attempts for 187 yards and two touchdowns. "It’s of monumental importance to get that first win and I think it was a big step for us."
With Trent Dilfer traded to Cleveland, the Seahawks are looking for quality depth behind Matt Hasselbeck. Hamdan made a persuasive case for himself in Week One.
Meanwhile in Berlin, the defending-champion Thunder started the season in fine fashion, earning a convincing 30-7 win against the Frankfurt Galaxy in a rematch of World Bowl XII in front of 16,199 at the Olympic Stadium.
Quarterback Dave Ragone of the Houston Texans guided the efficient Thunder offense, completing 16 of 23 attempts for 179 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, posting a 107.0 passer rating.
New York Jets running back Little John Flowers rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns for the victorious Thunder, who finished with a Week 1-high 226 yards rushing.
"You have to play well at home if you want to have a chance to advance to the World Bowl, and we did that today," Ragone said. "We’re glad we came out of this game victorious and we know we have to do even better next week."