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Here is a recap of Week 4 of the 2014 NFL Season with Tuesday Morning QB. Thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Week 4 Byes: Cardinals, Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Rams, Seahawks
Giants 45, Redskins 14
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — The New York Giants caught 32 passes. Twenty-eight were thrown by Eli Manning, and four came from the arm of Kirk Cousins.
Manning is starting to find his rhythm in new coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense, while Cousins is sinking fast as the placeholder for Robert Griffin III. Manning’s four touchdown passes equaled Cousins’ four interceptions Thursday night in the Giants’ 45-14 win over the Washington Redskins.
After struggling in his first two games, Manning has mastered enough of the West Coast dink-and-dunk to lead the Giants (2-2) to consecutive victories. He is supposed to complete 70 percent of his passes in this offense, and he surpassed that mark against the Redskins, going 28 for 39 — including three simple open-field drops — for 300 yards with one interception.
Manning’s quarterback rating in the Giants’ first two games was 69.2. Since then, it’s 119.9.
The top beneficiary has been Larry Donnell, who had similar, twisting touchdown catches of 5, 6 and 6 yards. The 6-foot-6 tight end finished with seven catches for 54 yards. He had only one career touchdown catch entering the game, but he now leads the Giants this season in TD catches (four) and overall receptions (25).
Not bad for a second-year player who wasn’t drafted out of Grambling State.
Cousins, who has the starting job while Griffin recovers from a dislocated ankle, was responsible for five of Washington’s six turnovers. He went 19 for 33 for 257 yards with four interceptions and a fumble.
Lions 24, Jets 17
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Matthew Stafford knew Calvin Johnson was still hurting, so he found a few other options. And the Detroit Lions’ offense didn’t miss a beat.
Stafford threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score and the Lions overcame Johnson being limited by an ankle injury to beat the New York Jets 24-17 on Sunday.
Jeremy Ross and Eric Ebron caught scoring passes for the Lions, off to a 3-1 start for the second straight season. Stafford finished 24 of 34 for 293 yards, and appeared unfazed by his top receiver shuttling in and out of the game.
“We knew Calvin was going to be limited today and we were hoping to not have to use him unless it was an emergency,” wide receiver Golden Tate said. “I think we responded well.”
Johnson’s ankle had him questionable for the game. He had just two catches for 12 yards, but Tate did his best Megatron impersonation, catching eight passes for 116 yards.
A struggling Geno Smith had two more turnovers as chants of “We Want Vick!” echoed throughout MetLife Stadium at times. As he walked off the field, a television camera caught the Jets quarterback shouting an expletive at a heckler in the stands.
The Jets, who made it close on Chris Johnson’s 35-yard run with 6:58 left, fell to 1-3 for the first time in Rex Ryan’s six seasons as coach.
Smith was 17 of 33 for 209 yards, including an 11-yard TD pass to Eric Decker, but threw an interception and lost a fumble — giving him seven turnovers in four games. The calls for Vick, the veteran backup, could intensify this week despite Ryan saying after the game that Smith would start next Sunday at San Diego.
Packers 38, Bears 17
CHICAGO (AP) — Aaron Rodgers urged Packers fans to relax. Maybe they will after this one.
Rodgers threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns, and Green Bay shook off one of its worst offensive performances in years with a 38-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon.
The Packers (2-2) scored on their first six possessions to build a 38-17 lead. They racked up 358 yards after being held to 223, their lowest total since 2008, a week earlier in a 19-7 loss at Detroit.
They intercepted Jay Cutler twice in the third quarter to pull away from the Bears (2-2). That gave Green Bay five straight wins at Soldier Field, including the NFC title game four years ago and a playoffs-or-bust finale for both teams last season.
Rodgers called on Packers fans to take a deep breath during the week, and he gave them reason to exhale with this performance.
The Bears basically matched Green Bay score for score before Cutler threw those interceptions. He wound up passing for 256 yards and two TDs but fell to 1-10 lifetime against Green Bay, counting the postseason.
Matt Forte ran for 122 yards on 23 carries. Martellus Bennett had nine catches for a career-high 134 yards, but Chicago came up short after back-to-back wins at San Francisco and the New York Jets.
Bucs 27, Steelers 24
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Through all the flags, missed opportunities and miscues, the Pittsburgh Steelers appeared to be in control against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Until, suddenly, they weren’t.
Now a promising start has quickly morphed into an early season crossroad.
Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson’s diving 5-yard touchdown grab with 7 seconds left lifted the Buccaneers to a stunning 27-24 win on Sunday.
The 6-foot-5 wide receiver laid out to haul in Mike Glennon’s pass in the left corner of the end zone, sending their teammates spilling onto the field in celebration and the Steelers left wondering how they let a game that looked like a gimme on the schedule get away.
The Steelers (2-2) began the day second in the NFL in penalties and only padded their ranking. Pittsburgh drew 13 flags for 125 yards, including a half-dozen personal fouls that sapped momentum and left the door open long enough for the resilient Buccaneers to slip through.
Glennon passed for 302 yards in his first start of the season, including a 41-yard catch-and-run by Louis Murphy that set up Jackson’s winning score.
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns, but Pittsburgh couldn’t protect a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. Antonio Brown caught seven passes for 131 yards and two scores, but let a long heave from Roethlisberger with 7 minutes to go glance off his hands.
Dolphins 38, Raiders 14 @ London
LONDON (AP) — All those distractions didn’t seem to fluster Ryan Tannehill.
The Dolphins quarterback, who was in the middle of a storm all week because his coach declined to endorse him as the starter, led the way Sunday as Miami (2-2) beat the Oakland Raiders 38-14 at Wembley Stadium.
Tannehill took advantage of a depleted Oakland defense, throwing plenty of short passes for big gains. The third-year quarterback completed 23 of 31 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns.
Tannehill threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace and an 18-yarder to Dion Sims. Lamar Miller rushed for two more TDs, and cornerback Cortland Finnegan ran back a fumble 50 yards for another.
The Raiders (0-4) scored on their opening drive but struggled after that. And starting quarterback Derek Carr was injured in the third quarter, replaced by third-stringer Matt McGloin.
The Dolphins opened the season with a win over the New England Patriots, but back-to-back 19-point losses to Buffalo and Kansas City put Tannehill’s starting job at stake.
But it was the Raiders who jumped out to a quick lead. Carr completed a 30-yard pass to James Jones on the first play from scrimmage and soon after went ahead 7-0 on a 3-yard catch by Brian Leonhardt.
The Dolphins took the lead for good early in the second quarter, with Tannehill completing six passes in a seven-play drive that culminated with Wallace’s TD.
Miller then scored the first of his touchdowns to make it 17-7, running in from 8 yards out, and Tannehill was soon at it again with the TD pass to Sims for a 24-7 halftime lead.
Things got worse for the Raiders when Carr injured his left ankle and knee in the third quarter and was replaced by McGloin. Backup Matt Schaub did not make the trip to London.
On his second play, McGloin watched a bad snap fly by and then saw Finnegan snatch it up and run it in.
The Raiders have lost 10 straight dating to last season, putting the pressure on coach Dennis Allen.
Notes: The Dolphins are now 1-1 at Wembley Stadium, the home of England’s national soccer team. Miami lost the first regular-season NFL game played in the stadium in 2007, falling to the New York Giants 13-10. … Sunday’s matchup was the first of three NFL games at Wembley this season. The Detroit Lions will face the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 26, and the Dallas Cowboys will play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 9.
Bills 17, Texans 23
HOUSTON (AP) — J.J. Watt had just sprinted 80 yards on an interception return for a touchdown to give the Texans the lead on Sunday against Buffalo, and it was time to play defense again.
Coaches offered to give the 289-pound defensive end a minute to catch his breath, but he waved them off dismissively. No way was Houston’s star missing even one play.
Watt’s highlight-reel play helped the Texans overcome a tough day offensively for a 23-17 win over the Bills.
Houston (3-1) was down by three in the third quarter when Watt put his hands up to block an EJ Manuel pass, tipped it to himself and caught it with no Bills in front of him. Kareem Jackson blocked Manuel, and Watt raced to the end zone to put the Texans up 14-10.
Watt caught a touchdown pass in Week 2, giving him more TDs this year than Arian Foster and Andre Johnson combined.
Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a tough day against his former team, throwing for 268 yards with two interceptions. He put together one nice drive capped by a 35-yard touchdown reception by DeAndre Hopkins that cut the lead to 10-7 just before halftime.
Under heavy pressure all afternoon, Manuel finished with 225 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Buffalo (2-2) was driving late when Darryl Morris picked him off at the Houston 15 to secure the victory.
Manuel got the Bills within 20-17 when he hit a wide-open Mike Williams for an 80-yard touchdown with about nine minutes left.
Randy Bullock had a 41-yard field goal in the third quarter and added field goals of 55 and 50 yards in the fourth for Houston.
Panthers 10, Ravens 38
BALTIMORE (AP) — The most surprising aspect of Steve Smith’s performance against the Carolina Panthers was that it didn’t include taunts or bluster.
Smith opted to punish the Panthers through his play on the field, and by the end of the afternoon the 35-year-old receiver had made a definitive statement.
Smith burned his former team with seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Baltimore Ravens to a 38-10 victory Sunday.
Smith spent 13 seasons with Carolina before he was released during the offseason in a cost-cutting move. Proving he’s still got a knack for making the big play, Smith scored twice in the second quarter to help put Baltimore (3-1) in front 21-7 at halftime.
And he didn’t get in the face of the defender on either occasion.
His first touchdown came on a pass that deflected off the right hand of teammate Owen Daniels. Smith caught the ball in stride and took it into the end zone to complete a 61-yard play.
Nothing the Panthers haven’t seen before.
Smith also scored from 21 yards out with a diving reception. He celebrated in dignified fashion, taking the ball with him to the sideline for safekeeping.
It was also a huge day for Joe Flacco, went 22 of 31 for 327 yards and three touchdowns.
Carolina (2-2) has lost two straight, both in lopsided fashion against AFC North foes.
Cam Newton completed 14 of 25 passes for 197 yards. Under duress for much of the afternoon, he was sacked twice.
Newton received little help from a running game that was without leading rusher Jonathan Stewart (knee), and DeAngelo Williams left in the second quarter with an ankle injury.
Carolina’s defense was also spotty. One week after yielding 264 yards rushing in a loss to Pittsburgh, the Panthers gave up 454 yards of offense and 25 first downs.
Worse, the Panthers lost a fumble, didn’t force a turnover and were penalized seven times — twice for having 12 men on the field.
Titans 17, Colts 41
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck got back to being the gunslinger Sunday. Reggie Wayne got back to being the playmaker.
The combination again proved unbeatable.
Luck threw for a season high 393 yards and four touchdowns, and Wayne had his first 100-yard game and first touchdown of the season as Indianapolis rolled past Tennessee 41-17.
When Luck and Wayne first teamed up in 2012, the veteran receiver quickly embraced the rookie quarterback and it didn’t take long for them to develop a rapport on the field and a friendship off of it. They became the key players in a remarkable turnaround that season, going from 2-14 to 10-6 and back to the playoffs. Last season, they were working well until Wayne sustained a season-ending torn ACL in October.
This year, some questioned whether the 25-year-old quarterback and 35-year-old receiver could get back in sync — doubts that were erased against Tennessee.
Luck completed 29 of 41 passes with one interception, and Wayne had seven receptions for 119 yards including a spectacular, spinning 28-yard TD catch down the sideline that gave Indy control midway through the third quarter.
Luck has now thrown for 763 yards and eight touchdowns in the last two games.
Wayne turned his 200th career game into a showcase. He passed Isaac Bruce for seventh on the NFL’s career receptions list, Henry Ellard for 10th in career yards receiving and extended his NFL record for consecutive games with three or more catches to 75. Wayne now has 1,029 catches, 13,873 yards and 81 TD receptions.
Those weren’t the numbers Wayne cared about.
After starting this season with back-to-back losses, Indy (2-2) has now won twice by more than 20 points and has extended its league-high streak of consecutive wins over division opponents to nine.
Tennessee (1-3) never had a chance with starting quarterback Jake Locker out because of a right wrist injury.
Charlie Whitehurst, a nine-year veteran, made his fifth career start. Although he didn’t play badly, he was yanked midway through the fourth quarter. Whitehurst finished 12 of 23 for 177 yards with one TD, the fourth of his career, and one interception. He also rushed five times for 40 yards.
The Titans didn’t reach the end zone until Whitehurst threw a 7-yard TD pass to Delanie Walker with 13 seconds left in the half to make it 20-10. Tennessee didn’t score again until Bishop Sankey’s 2-yard run with 35 seconds left in the third quarter, but that only cut the deficit to 34-17.
Jags 14, Chargers 33
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Philip Rivers showed Blake Bortles how it’s done.
Rivers threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns, two to Eddie Royal, and the San Diego Chargers turned back an early scare from Bortles and the winless Jacksonville Jaguars for a 33-14 victory Sunday.
Royal had scoring catches of 47 and 43 yards, his second straight two-touchdown game. The Chargers (3-1) extended their winning streak to three.
Passing because the Chargers’ running game is nonexistent due to injuries to Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, Rivers had his second three-touchdown game of the season. He went 29 of 39.
Royal had five catches for 105 yards. Keenan Allen had 10 for 135, both career highs, and Malcom Floyd had a 24-yard touchdown catch.
Bortles made his first start for the Jaguars (0-4) and played well, especially in the first half. He threw one touchdown pass, was intercepted twice and twice had Jacksonville in the lead in the first half.
It was the fifth straight game the Jaguars lost by double digits dating to last season’s finale. They’ve been outscored 152-58 this season.
Although the Chargers looked out of sync at times, Rivers helped keep it together.
Falcons 28, Vikings 41
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Teddy Bridgewater got hurt before he could finish a fine first NFL start.
He was good enough to put the Minnesota Vikings in the lead when he left.
The rookie passed for 317 yards and a key 2-point conversion before hurting his ankle in the fourth quarter, and the Vikings beat the Atlanta Falcons 41-28 on Sunday.
Bridgewater was 19 for 30 with no turnovers and ran five times for 27 yards and a score in his first career start, but his last carry was costly. His left foot rolled underneath him as he was sandwiched by two tacklers at the 1-yard line. Matt Asiata powered his way in on the next play for his third touchdown, and Bridgewater stayed in to zip a crisp pass to Rhett Ellison to push the lead to 35-28.
As Bridgewater was taken away on a cart for X-rays, Christian Ponder took over at quarterback after the Falcons were forced to punt for a second straight time. Blair Walsh drilled a 55-yard field goal to put the Vikings (2-2) ahead by 10, and Harrison Smith intercepted Matt Ryan on the next drive to seal the victory.
Bridgewater was back on the sideline before the end of the game, with Ponder the only healthy quarterback left on the active roster.
The Falcons weren’t feeling sorry for Minnesota. They lost three starting offensive linemen to injuries and wound up sticking tight end Levine Toilolo at right tackle in the fourth quarter. Ryan was 25 for 41 for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
The Vikings piled up 351 yards by halftime, a total higher than half of the teams in the league averaged per game over the first three weeks. Bridgewater dived head-first into the end zone to finish a 13-yard touchdown run for the first score of his career and a 21-14 lead in the second quarter.
Eagles 21, 49ers 26
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers got Frank Gore involved in the offense again, and it returned them to their winning ways.
Hard-nosed defense helped, too.
Gore caught a career-best 55-yard touchdown and ran for 119 yards in his first 100-yard game of 2014, leading the San Francisco 49ers past Philadelphia 26-21 on Sunday to hand the Eagles their first loss.
The 49ers (2-2) avoided their first three-game losing streak under fourth-year coach Jim Harbaugh, containing the league’s top passer. Nick Foles threw two incomplete passes from the 1 in the waning moments after gaining six first downs a lengthy drive, more than the five the Eagles managed before that.
Foles completed a 22-yard pass to Jeremy Maclin on the right sideline on that late drive. The 49ers challenged whether he had possession, but the play stood, costing the 49ers their final timeout.
The Eagles couldn’t pull off the second-half magic that had carried them in their three wins.
On a day the 49ers gave up big plays on special teams, Gore delivered. Colin Kaepernick also threw a touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson and Phil Dawson kicked three field goals — two of at least 46 yards. Kaepernick finished 17 for 30 for 218 yards, two TDs and four sacks.
Darren Sproles had a career-best 82-yard punt return for a touchdown, Malcolm Jenkins ran an interception 53 yards for a score for the Eagles (3-1). Brad Smith recovered Trey Burton’s blocked punt against Andy Lee for a TD.
The 49ers produced in the second half for the first time this season to give Harbaugh a win against former Pac-10 foe Chip Kelly.
Antoine Bethea intercepted his first pass with the 49ers and forced a fumble, then the secondary kept the pressure on in the red zone. Perrish Cox made an interception with 41 seconds left to seal it.
Gore’s long scored from an off-balance throw by Kaepernick on the first play of the second quarter was the longest TD catch by a running back this season.
But on San Francisco’s next series, Kaepernick threw right to Jenkins and he broke three tackles on the way to the end zone.
The 49ers won their first game at new Levi’s Stadium, where thousands of fans skipped out at halftime.
San Francisco outgained the Eagles 232-73 in the first half, but still trailed 21-13. Then Johnson tiptoed both feet inbounds inside the left pylon in the third quarter for a 12-yard catch, the first second-half TD of the year for San Francisco, outscored 52-3 after halftime in its first three games.
Saints 17, Cowboys 38
Tony Romo wasn’t trying to look like DeMarco Murray.
The 34-year-old Dallas quarterback instead showed everyone that his surgically repaired back is coming along just fine.
Romo threw three touchdown passes and Murray ran for a pair of scores in another 100-yard game — one of them after the longest scramble of Romo’s career — in the Cowboys’ 38-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night.
Romo was 22 of 29 for 262 yards without an interception.
The Cowboys went up 31-3 when Romo broke free on third down and slid for the first down a play before Murray ran loose in the secondary, juked Jairus Byrd at the 10 and was pushed across the goal line by Corey White.
The Cowboys kept Drew Brees and the Saints scoreless in the first half after giving up an NFL-record 40 first downs in a 49-17 blowout loss in New Orleans last year.
Brees had touchdown passes to Josh Hill and Jimmy Graham early in the fourth quarter to get the Saints to 31-17 before the Cowboys regained control.
The former Texas high school star threw for 340 yards, but had just 84 yards with an interception while Dallas was building a 24-0 halftime lead after he had 838 yards with seven touchdowns and no picks in his previous two games against Dallas, both wins.
Dallas reached 3-1 for the first time under coach Jason Garrett after also starting 2-1 the three previous seasons. The Cowboys are tied with Philadelphia for the NFC East lead.
The Saints (1-3) couldn’t sustain the momentum from their win over Minnesota and lost to the Cowboys in Texas for the first time since 1991.
Pats 14, Chiefs 41
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — It made sense that Andy Reid spoke in baseball metaphors after Kansas City whipped the New England Patriots on Monday night, with the Royals poised to end a long playoff drought just across the parking lot from Arrowhead Stadium.
He may have stretched things a bit when it came to Jamaal Charles, though.
“It’s a heck of a thing to bring 25 off the bench as a relief pitcher,” Reid said. “That’s a pretty good player. To add him back to the mix is something.”
Relief pitcher? How about staff ace.
Charles returned from an ankle injury to score three touchdowns, Tom Brady was picked off twice by the opportunistic Chiefs, and Kansas City routed New England 41-14 to hand Bill Belichick one of his worst losses as coach of the Patriots.
Charles, who missed last week’s win in Miami with a sprained ankle, ran for 92 yards and a score. The Pro Bowl running back also caught two short touchdown passes from Alex Smith, who had 248 yards passing and three touchdowns in a sharp performance before a raucous crowd.
The Chiefs (2-2) ended a four-game skid at Arrowhead Stadium dating to last season by making things miserable on Brady, who had one of his two picks returned for a touchdown.
Brady also was strip-sacked and finished 14 of 23 for 159 yards and a touchdown.
“It was just a bad performance by everybody,” Brady said. “We need to make sure we never have this feeling again. We’ve got to figure out what we have to do better.”
With the game out of hand, the Patriots gave rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a chance to play. He threw a late touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski to complete the scoring.
The Chiefs forced the Patriots to air it out by stuffing Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. And when Brady dropped back, their front seven ran roughshod over New England’s suspect offensive line.
It hardly helped the Patriots’ offense that it was trying to operate on the same night Chiefs fans were trying to reclaim the record for loudest outdoor sports venue. The record was set in the first half, when Guinness World Records noted a noise level of 142.2 decibels — breaking the mark of 137.6 that the Seattle Seahawks’ fans had set last season.