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Here is a recap of Week 3 of the 2015 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Redskins 21, Giants 32
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Brave words after difficult defeats don’t come close to soothing a losing team’s spirits. Only wins can turn that trick.
The New York Giants didn’t let Washington steal a victory late, finishing off a 32-21 decision Thursday night on Odell Beckham Jr.’s 30-yard touchdown catch and Rueben Randle’s 41-yarder.
The Giants fell apart in the fourth quarter of losses to Dallas and Atlanta. This time, New York (1-2) dominated most of the action against the injury-plagued Redskins (1-2), who lost veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall to a right leg injury that looked serious.
“It’s definitely important to get a win,” said running back Rashad Jennings, whose blocked punt got things started for New York. “I’m reluctant to use the word confidence, but it puts assurance on everything we know we’re capable of accomplishing. There’s a lot of stuff we still need to clean up, obviously. But it feels good to get a win.”
The Giants scored in nearly every way possible, beginning with Jennings blocking Tress Way’s punt for a safety on Washington’s opening series.
“Ever since I was a rookie, I’ve always had a knack for blocking punts,” Jennings said. “I can’t give you all my secrets, but you just anticipate. It just worked.”
Andre Williams scored on a 1-yard run, Josh Brown kicked three field goals, and Beckham toasted Bashaud Breeland to settle matters. Randle had a 41-yard TD catch in the closing minutes, after which Washington’s Rashad Ross returned the kickoff 101 yards for the final score.
New York also led at halftime and through three quarters of its losses to the Cowboys and Falcons.
“Players need the reinforcement that comes with closing out the game with a win,” coach Tom Coughlin said.
Prince Amukamara and Uani Unga had interceptions of Kirk Cousins, who struggled once more against New York. Last season, he threw four picks in a loss to New York.
Washington, which has lost five straight to the Giants, got field goals of 44 and 37 yards from Dustin Hopkins, but any thoughts of a comeback ended when Matt Jones fumbled on his way into the end zone with 9 1-2 minutes remaining. A late 4-yard TD pass to Chris Thompson and 2-point conversion brought the deficit to 11, then Randle made his scoring catch.
Manning was coolly efficient, finishing 23 of 31 for 279 yards. Beckham had seven receptions for 79 yards, and Randle had seven for 116.
The Giants were super-aggressive with the blitz, with inconsistent results. Cousins’ mobility helped him avoid sacks, but the sloppy Redskins couldn’t find the end zone until it was too late.
New York, meanwhile, was scoring with variety. Jennings, who rushed for only 32 yards on the night, surged through to block Way’s punt out of the side of the end zone for a quick 2-0 lead.
“Everyone has to contribute,” Coughlin said, “including starters (on special teams).”
That margin increased to 9-0 after Amukamara jumped Pierre Garcon’s route and picked off Cousins’ pass deep in Washington territory. Williams rushed a yard for the TD four plays later.
Big plays by Randle (30-yard reception) and Daniel Fells (one-handed catch for 23 yards on third down) set up Josh Brown’s field goals of 35 and 36 yards in the first half. Brown made a 48-yard in the third period.
New York was missing five starters, including top draft pick Ereck Flowers at left tackle and cornerback Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. Washington was hit with several injuries during the game, the worst of which appeared to be Hall’s. He had to be helped to the sideline, unable to put any weight on the leg. The team said he had a toe injury and Gruden said he “was not too thrilled” about Hall’s injury being short term.
NOTES: Redskins NT Kedric Golston broke a hand, but returned to the game. Left guard Shawn Lauvao hurt an ankle, while RT Morgan Moses damaged an elbow and OL Josh LeRibeus had a calf injury. Giants RB Orleans Darkwa hurt his knee. … Cousins finished 30 of 49 for 315 yards. … Washington rushed for only 88 yards, and New York managed only 84.
Bengals 28, Ravens 24
BALTIMORE (AP) — There really isn’t any mystery surrounding the Baltimore Ravens’ unprecedented 0-3 start.
“We’ve got to find a way to finish,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said after Baltimore twice surrendered the lead in the fourth quarter Sunday in a 28-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Andy Dalton threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green with 2:10 left, leaving the Ravens winless after three games for the first time in franchise history.
The Bengals (3-0) blew a 14-0 lead and twice trailed in the fourth quarter before Dalton brought them back by repeatedly picking apart the porous Baltimore pass defense.
Dalton went 20 for 32 for 383 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target was Green, who finished with 10 catches for a career-high 227 yards and two scores.
Coming back against the Ravens is nothing new for the Bengals, who rallied in the fourth quarter last season in both of their wins over Baltimore (0-3).
“Stay the course, ran our offense,” Green said. “It’s not our first rodeo. We’ve been down, last year, in the same situation. We didn’t flinch, man.”
The Ravens blew a fourth-quarter lead last week in Oakland after coming up short in the closing minutes at Denver. In their home opener, nothing changed.
The Ravens lost despite getting 362 yards passing from Flacco, who twice connected with Steve Smith for touchdowns. Smith had 13 catches for 186 yards, but it wasn’t enough to offset a miserable performance by the defense.
Baltimore was the only existing NFL team never to start 0-3. Before this season, it had been a decade since the Ravens began with two straight defeats.
“We had the lead twice in the fourth quarter and couldn’t hold onto it,” coach John Harbaugh lamented. “So, it’s on us.”
After the Ravens went ahead for the first time — turning a fumble by Dalton into a 41-yard touchdown return by Mosley for a 17-14 lead with 6:49 left — Green immediately got free and caught a pass in stride that he turned into an 80-yard score. Green broke a tackle by Jimmy Smith, shook off Will Hill and scrambled into the end zone.
Baltimore answered with a 79-yard drive that featured two third-down conversions and ended with Steve Smith catching a 16-yard touchdown pass in front of Dre Kirkpatrick for a 24-21 advantage with just under four minutes to go.
That left plenty of time for Dalton to take the Bengals 80 yards in six plays. The drive included an outstanding one-handed catch by Marvin Jones for 31 yards, just two plays before Green came up with the game-winner.
“Hats off to our guys for hanging in there, driving down the field twice to get back in control of the football game,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said.
At one point, it appeared as if the game might be a rout. Twice, the Bengals twice missed opportunities to take a 21-0 lead.
Less than two minutes before halftime, Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert had a fourth-down catch in the end zone overturned after replay review determined he never had possession of the ball.
The Bengals’ next possession had a similarly frustrating conclusion. After moving Cincinnati from its 29 to the Baltimore 10, Dalton threw his first interception of the season.
The Ravens subsequently moved to midfield before facing a fourth-and-5. Harbaugh, who earlier called for a fake punt that was successful, opted to keep his offense on the field.
The move paid off. Steve Smith caught a sideline pass, twisted free and sprinted down the right side to get Baltimore its first points of the day.
In the end, though, the Bengals had more.
“I feel confident that this team will get it together,” said running back Justin Forsett, who finished with 13 yards on 10 carries. “I’m not worried about this team.”
NOTES: Both teams were affected by penalties. Cincinnati was flagged nine times for 67 yards, and the Ravens were cited for 13 infractions totaling 116 yards. … Green’s 227 yards receiving were the third-most ever allowed by the Ravens. … An exhausted Steve Smith received intravenous fluids on the sideline in the fourth quarter.
Colts 35, Titans 33
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Staring at their first 0-3 start since 2011, the Indianapolis Colts desperately needed a victory.
And Andrew Luck led the way.
The Colts’ quarterback made sure Titans rookie Marcus Mariota will have to wait for his turn at a big win in this AFC South rivalry.
Luck threw two touchdown passes 56 seconds apart in the fourth quarter as he rallied the Colts to their first win this season, beating the Titans 35-33 Sunday.
“This win was big,” Luck said. “That’s a good Tennessee team, it’s in the division, it’s on the road. If this can jumpstart a hot streak, then that’s what we need.”
The Colts (1-2) trailed 27-14 before Luck got going, and Luck improved to 7-0 against Tennessee with another stunning comeback.
He drove the Colts 98 yards before hitting Phillip Dorsett on a 35-yard TD with 6:49 left to make it 27-21.
Dwight Lowery became the first defender to intercept Mariota with a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter. He picked off Mariota again to give the ball back to Luck.
Luck found Donte Moncrief for an 11-yard TD for a 28-27 lead just 56 seconds later.
The Titans (1-2) have lost 13 of 14 against their AFC South foe.
“This one hurts, because we had it,” Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “This was the defending AFC South champs, and we definitely had this game. There were some positives to take from this game, but we’re not into moral victories.”
Trailing 35-27, Mariota drove the Titans for a TD to make it 35-33 and the chance to tie the game inside the final minute.
Defensive pass interference put the ball at the 1 for a closer chance at the 2-point conversion, but rookie fullback Jalston Fowler was stopped for a big loss.
Tennessee’s onside kick went out of bounds, allowing the Colts to kneel down for their first win after a rocky start for a team that was in the AFC championship game last season.
“This one was one for the ages, as far as I’m concerned,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said.
Frank Gore ran for two TDs, including the clincher on a 6-yard run with 2:51 left.
Mariota looked ready to make his first home game something for the record books. He threw two TDs, tying Mark Rypien as the only quarterbacks to throw eight touchdown passes in his first three games. Rypien had his eight TD passes in 1988 for Washington.
The rookie threw for a franchise-record 367 yards, and Tennessee outgained the Colts 433-378 after holding the ball for nearly 35 minutes.
After trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, the Titans scored 27 straight points in taking a 27-14 lead.
The Colts sacked the rookie three times, and Mariota has lost two straight games.
The Heisman Trophy winner from Oregon said he couldn’t remember the last time he lost consecutive games.
Luck came in with a league-high five interceptions, and he attempted a career-low eight passes in the first half. The Titans also intercepted him twice in the span of 3 minutes in the third quarter.
Off to a slow start for a second consecutive season, the Colts shuffled up their offensive line, deactivating left guard Lance Louis and benching right guard Todd Herremans.
Jack Mewhort moved from right tackle to left guard, and Hugh Thornton started at right guard with Joe Reitz coming off the bench at right tackle.
Notes: Colts linebacker Robert Mathis got his first sack since an Achilles tendon injury wiped out his 2014 season. He sacked Mariota on the first play of the Titans’ final drive. “It felt awesome,” Mathis said. “It’s been over a year, so it felt very great. Even better to come out with a victory.” … Titans LT Taylor Lewan left the game briefly with an injured left shoulder but returned. … Pagano said the Colts had no injuries.
Jaguars 17, Patriots 51
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady and Stephen Gostkowksi picked up some more milestones. The New England Patriots picked up another lopsided win.
Brady threw for two touchdowns, including the 400th of his career, to help the defending Super Bowl champions run away from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 51-17 victory on Sunday. LeGarrette Blount had three 1-yard touchdown runs, and Gostkowski delivered the extra point on all six New England TDs to run his streak to an NFL record 425 in a row.
“That takes a lot of games, a lot of snaps to do that. That’s certainly a tribute to both of them, the durability, longevity, consistent production they’ve had,” coach Bill Belichick said.
“They had a good day, as they’ve had in many, many days throughout their career. I feel really fortunate to have those guys on my team.”
After a summer dominated by talk of deflated footballs, the Patriots (3-0) opened with victories over Pittsburgh and Buffalo and then proved they weren’t looking past the overmatched Jaguars (1-2). Brady became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 400 touchdowns, and he added his 401st, a 13-yard pass to Keshawn Martin late in the third quarter.
By that time, it was 37-10, fans were trying to beat traffic on Route 1, and the Patriots were heading into their bye week with a perfect record.
And when it was over, Brady had completed 33 of 42 passes for 358 yards while leading New England to scores on all nine of his drives. (Backup Jimmy Garoppolo came in to kneel down and run out the clock on the final possession.)
Rob Gronkowski caught four passes for 101 yards for the Patriots. Blount ran for 78 yards. Julian Edelman caught eight passes for 85 yards. Gostkowski, who has led the NFL in points for each of the past three seasons, added three field goals.
It was the most points ever allowed by the Jaguars (1-2), who had two injured defensive backs inactive for the game and lost three more during it.
By the end, cornerback Peyton Thompson — who wasn’t drafted out of college and has been cut six times in two seasons — was playing safety. Nick Marshall, an undrafted rookie who played quarterback at Auburn, was at cornerback.
Blake Bortles finished 17 for 33 for 242 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. Allen Robinson had nine catches for 68 yards, but the Jaguars gained just 57 yards on 20 running plays.
Jacksonville was also flagged seven times for 114 yards, including back-to-back pass interference penalties in the third quarter. The first cost the Jaguars 52 yards; the second negated an interception and 82-yard return, instead putting the Patriots on the Jacksonville 1.
Blount punched it in from there to make it 30-3.
The biggest highlight for Jacksonville was a 59-yard catch and run from Bortles to Allen Hurns that made it 30-10 midway through the third quarter. Jacksonville’s other touchdown came on a 6-yard pass from Bortles to Clay Harbor.
“Obviously, we are playing against an elite football team and the best quarterback in the league,” Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny said. “But we also made a ton of mistakes on our own.”
Brady completed a 1-yard TD pass to Danny Amendola in the second quarter for No. 400, joining Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Dan Marino in the 400-touchdown club. Amendola gave the ball to a fan in the front row, but a ballboy retrieved it.
Asked if Brady was upset that Amendola didn’t take better care of the loot, Brady laughed.
“I don’t care,” said Brady, who has an NFL MVP trophy, three for the Super Bowl MVP and four NFL championship rings in his memorabilia collection. “Danny can do whatever he wants.”
Raiders 27, Browns 20
CLEVELAND (AP) — The locker room attendants busily stuffed shoulder pads, helmets and cleats inside large silver-and-black trunks and travel bags for the flight back to Oakland.
They also tucked away a special souvenir: A road win for the Raiders.
Derek Carr threw two touchdown passes and safety Charles Woodson made a game-clinching interception with 38 seconds left as Oakland snapped an 11-game road losing streak, beating the Cleveland Browns 27-20 on Sunday.
Carr connected with Andre Holmes and Seth Roberts in the first half, Latavius Murray rushed for 139 yards and the Raiders (2-1) held off a late Cleveland comeback to win their first road game since Nov. 17, 2013. Oakland also ended a 16-game losing streak in the Eastern time zone, a drought stretching to 2009.
“It was hanging over the whole organization’s head,” Woodson said of the 11-game road slide. “You gotta win these type of games to make the change you want to make.”
After going 0-8 as a rookie on the road, Carr liked the feeling of winning in another city. On his way to the podium for a postgame news conference, the second-year QB turned to several teammates who were getting dressed and said, “Hey, y’all enjoy this. Nice win.”
Raiders rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper had 134 yards receiving and Sebastian Janikowski kicked two field goals for Oakland, which moved over .500 for the first time since the 2011 season.
The Browns (1-2) were driving for a tying TD in the final minute, but the crafty Woodson intercepted Josh McCown, who was trying to hit Travis Benjamin down the right sideline. Woodson has at least one pick in each of his 18 NFL seasons, and Carr said this one will only help his teammate’s certain Hall of Fame enshrinement.
Carr finished 20 of 32 for 314 yards and Oakland had 469 total yards.
The Browns couldn’t keep their momentum going a week after quarterback Johnny Manziel led them to a win in their home opener. With some fans chanting “John-ny, John-ny,” McCown, who returned to the lineup after sustaining a concussion in the opener, passed for 341 yards and was sacked five times.
Coach Mike Pettine said he never considered switching to Manziel.
“We want our quarterback to play well, we gotta play better around him,” Pettine said.
Coming off an impressive last-second win at home against Baltimore last week, Carr and his teammates set their sights on ending their road misery and appeared in control when Murray scored on a 6-yard run with 14:30 left.
But McCown rallied the Browns, pulling them within 27-20 on a 4-yard TD pass to Benjamin with 6:28 left. Cleveland’s defense got the stop it needed, but Oakland got the ball back when Benjamin, the AFC’s top special teams player last week, fumbled a punt with 4:01 remaining.
The Browns got the ball back at their own 2 with 2:26 to go, and McCown drove them to Oakland’s 35 before Woodson came out of nowhere and snatched a pass intended for Benjamin.
“I was trying to hold Charles (Woodson) with my eyes and I got him where I wanted to,” McCown said. “I just didn’t put enough on the ball.”
NOTES: Woodson has 61 interceptions, the most of any active player. He’s ranked 11th on the career list with Dick LeBeau and Dave Brown next on the list. … Cooper has 245 yards receiving in his past two games. “He’s a home run waiting to happen,” Carr said. … Raiders DE C.J. Wilson left with a calf injury and will be evaluated Monday. … The Browns came in ranked last in rushing defense and gave up 155 yards to the Raiders. … Janikowski has played in 239 career games, one fewer than the team record held by Tim Brown.
Steelers 12, Rams 6
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Big Ben was the only postgame topic that really mattered to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Michael Vick’s reaction when Ben Roethlisberger went down in the third quarter, and he had to grab his helmet and go, said it all.
“I was kind of stunned,” the Steelers backup quarterback said after finishing a 12-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. “You never want to see a guy like Ben go down.”
The Steelers scheduled an MRI on Monday and Roethlisberger’s left knee injury will be re-evaluated after that but coach Mike Tomlin had no other updates beyond saying, “Ben’s got a knee.”
Le’Veon Bell scored from a yard out in the first half in his first game back after a suspension, but the Steelers needed their defense to step up without a quarterback who has been hard to knock out.
The Rams were 2 for 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down and limited to 258 yards. Will Allen’s interception with 1:56 left set up a field goal by Josh Scobee to put Pittsburgh ahead by six points.
“Fourth quarter picks are great,” Allen said. “Lawrence Timmons did a great job of causing a hot throw and I was just in position.”
Pittsburgh (2-1) averaged 32 points in its first two games but was held down well before Roethlisberger’s leg got caught underneath him on a diving, sliding sack by Mark Barron.
Tomlin had no problem with the play.
“I just caught his leg on the way in,” Barron said. “I didn’t have nothing to do with his knee, I didn’t see how he fell.”
The Rams (1-2) were limited to two field goals by Greg Zuerlein and have scored just 16 points the last two games. Their last chance ended when a potential first-down catch by Kenny Britt near midfield with 1:19 to play was overturned by officials.
Roethlisberger hasn’t missed a game since late in 2012. He won his franchise-record 108th game, passing Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, while going 20 of 24 for 192 yards and an interception.
“We’ll be saying those prayers for Big Ben,” Rams quarterback Nick Foles said.
Vick was 5 of 6 for 38 yards and had two carries for minus-2 yards.
Attendance of 52,433 included thousands of Pittsburgh faithful waving Terrible Towels and disrupting the Rams offense at times. The Steelers fan boost still left the Edward Jones Dome more than 13,000 shy of capacity.
Antonio Brown had 11 catches for 108 yards, his third straight 100-yard receiving game.
Both teams had running backs make debuts and Bell’s production was far superior to that of Rams rookie Todd Gurley.
Bell had 62 yards on 19 carries. Gurley, who did not start and split time with Tre Mason, had just 9 yards on six carries.
Scobee’s short field goal and a 1-yard run by Bell put Pittsburgh up 9-0 early, although it failed on the 2-point conversion for the first time in four chances when Roethlisberger threw incomplete.
The Steelers were fooled on a fake punt at midfield in the second quarter but Stedman Bailey couldn’t scoop Johnny Hekker’s underthrown ball before it hit the turf.
Kickoff was delayed about 26 minutes by a small fire near a corner of the south end zone from sparks emitted by a pyrotechnic display during Rams player introductions. The cleanup job was hampered by a malfunctioning wet-dry vacuum that spewed collective material back out.
Neither team made any plays near a circular mark between the 3 and 4-yard line.
Notes: Rams MLB James Laurinaitis became the franchise career tackle leader, passing late Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen. Laurinaitis has started all 99 games since being drafted in the second round in 2009. … The Steelers said backup TE Matt Spaeth (hand) will be evaluated. …Rams backup CB Maurice Alexander (groin) was injured in the second half.
Chargers 14, Vikings 31
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Adrian Peterson wasn’t in peak shape two games into this comeback season, so he showed up at Minnesota’s practice facility on his day off this week for a series of 100-yard sprints, 18 in all.
If he didn’t feel quite right then, he looks like he’s in mid-career form now.
Peterson plowed through San Diego’s defense for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 20 rushes in three quarters on Sunday, and the Vikings trampled Philip Rivers and the injury-depleted Chargers 31-14.
“My legs felt lighter today,” Peterson said, adding: “I felt good, the body felt good, mind was in a great place and, yeah, I think I’m back.”
Hours after his wife, Ashley, gave birth to their son, Axyl, Peterson crossed the goal line for the first time in more than 22 months. His second touchdown was a vintage run around right end, a 43-yard scamper he set up with a vicious stiff arm on Jimmy Wilson. That allowed him to turn the corner and straddle the sideline before bouncing off a diving Eric Weddle as he veered back toward the middle of the field.
Peterson high-stepped into the end zone, dropping to both knees in front of the goal post with his arms stretched out in celebration. The last time he scored was Nov. 24, 2013, at Green Bay, before a foot injury hampered him down the stretch that season. Fallout from the child abuse case against him last year kept him out of all but one game.
“He’s obviously one of the best running backs in the history of the game,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said.
Peterson could’ve had a third score, but fullback Zach Line took the first-and-goal carry late in the third quarter for a 24-7 lead. After turning 30 in March and missing essentially a whole season, questions rose about how Peterson would fare this fall.
The early word? Just fine.
“This week in practice was the first time it looked like Adrian I remember,” said linebacker Chad Greenway, whose 91-yard interception return in the fourth quarter helped the Vikings (2-1) raise their home record under coach Mike Zimmer to 7-3.
What made Peterson’s show-stealing sprint so important was the momentum the Chargers (1-2) took into halftime on a nine-play, 90-yard drive that sucked the life out of the sun-soaked, sellout crowd.
Rivers found Malcom Floyd open for 39 yards on third-and-18. Four straight passes toward Keenan Allen later, the Chargers cut the lead to 10-7. On the 34-yard touchdown, Allen slipped between Xavier Rhodes and Andrew Sendejo, and the two teammates collided trying to tackle him. Rhodes’ neck jerked backward, and he left the game with a head injury after being slowly guided off the field.
Rivers was pulled for Kellen Clemens midway through the fourth quarter when the deficit reached 24 points. Sacked four times for a loss of 28 yards, Rivers went 21 for 34 for 246 yards with two turnovers and took a hard hit to the midsection from Anthony Barr in the third quarter.
Center Chris Watt (groin), left guard Orlando Franklin (right ankle) and left tackle King Dunlap (concussion) all left the game with injuries, leaving the Chargers with only five available, let alone healthy, linemen. Rivers refused to use that excuse. He said he was “most sick about” the throw he forced to Stevie Johnson that Greenway grabbed after a deflection.
“Just trying to will a touchdown when it really wasn’t necessary. We had to score three times anyway,” Rivers said.
NOTES: Peterson tied Randy Moss for second place (93) on the team’s all-time touchdowns list, trailing Cris Carter (110). … Allen had 12 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns for the Chargers.
Falcons 39, Cowboys 28
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Julio Jones glided over the goal line on a diving touchdown. That quieted a Dallas crowd riled up by early hopes that the Cowboys might find a way to survive without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.
Fill-in Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman did most of the rest of the silencing.
Matt Ryan connected with Jones for two touchdowns, Freeman ran for 141 yards and three scores starting for injured rookie Tevin Coleman, and the Falcons beat the Cowboys 39-28 on Sunday.
“We just want to move the ball — I don’t care how we do it,” said Freeman, who also had 52 yards receiving. “Run, pass, if we get three points on a field goal, as long as we move the ball and get points.”
Freeman’s third score early in the fourth quarter capped a rally from a trio of 14-point deficits for the Falcons (3-0), who didn’t win their third game until Week 10 last year, and Week 13 in 2013.
Jones had his third straight 100-yard game to start the season, finishing with 164 and a clinching 2-yard score late in the fourth. According to the NFL, Atlanta is the first team to start 3-0 after trailing in the fourth quarter of each game.
The Cowboys (2-1) had a six-game winning streak in the regular season snapped in backup quarterback Brandon Weeden’s ninth straight loss as a starter going back to his two-year stint in Cleveland.
With Romo watching with a sling supporting his broken left collarbone, and Bryant also in street clothes because of a broken right foot, Weeden started 9 of 9 to push his streak of completions to 16 to start the season.
But the run ended with a second-quarter interception that turned the game in the Falcons’ favor.
Dallas running back Joseph Randle had 85 yards on his first three carries, including a 37-yard touchdown that helped the Cowboys to a 14-0 lead. He had just 2 yards on his final 11 runs, and the Cowboys had just three first downs in the second half after getting 20 before halftime.
Freeman, who started with Coleman battling a rib injury, had no trouble with the league’s No. 1 rushing defense, getting 89 yards in the second half as the Falcons scored touchdowns on three straight possessions to overcome a 28-17 deficit. Atlanta was 9 of 14 on third down.
The Falcons gave themselves a boost by driving to Matt Bryant’s 32-yard field goal in the final 40 seconds of the first half to get within 11, the key play a 35-yard pass to Freeman to get into field goal range.
Weeden’s ill-advised throw while scrambling to his left was easily intercepted by William Moore, putting the Falcons on the Dallas 23. Freeman’s second score pulled them within a touchdown in the second quarter.
While Weeden rarely looked downfield after that turnover, Ryan and Jones got going after a slow start.
Jones had 137 of his yards in the second half, including a 45-yard catch-and-run touchdown that ended with a dive as he turned upside down and held the ball over the goal line in his outstretched arm. A 2-point conversion pulled Atlanta within 28-25.
Weeden was 22 of 26 for 232 yards, but Cole Beasley was the only receiver to catch a pass. Randle finished with 87 yards rushing and three touchdowns, matching his total from last season when he was NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray’s backup.
NOTES: Atlanta TE Jacob Tamme didn’t return after leaving in the first half with a head injury. … Dallas RB Lance Dunbar had 10 catches for 100 yards, but several were futile attempts to get first downs in third-and-long situations.
Saints 22, Panthers 27
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton has the Carolina Panthers off to a perfect start.
In one of the most complete efforts of his five-year career, Newton completed 20 of 31 passes for 315 yards with a pair of touchdowns to tight end Greg Olsen and also ran for a score as the Panthers defeated the New Orleans Saints 27-22 on Sunday.
The Panthers are 3-0 for the first time since reaching the Super Bowl in the 2003 season.
Newton’s maturation as a signal caller was on display on a third-and-2 at the Saints 13 with his team leading 20-16 in the fourth quarter.
He walked to offensive line, looked over the defense before standing up and checking into a different play. Newton then faked the handoff up the middle and rolled to his left on a quarterback bootleg and scored easily.
It was Newton’s 35th rushing touchdown of his career, tying him with Randall Cunningham and Steve Grogan for seventh-most in NFL history by a quarterback.
Luke McCown, starting in place of the injured Drew Brees, completed 31 of 38 passes for 310 yards, but it wasn’t enough to save the Saints (0-3) from falling three games behind the division leading Panthers and Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South.
It was the first game Brees has missed because of injury since joining the Saints in 2006.
The previous time McCown started was Sept. 18, 2011, a game in which he threw four interceptions in a 32-3 loss while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He was much better on Sunday, getting the ball out quickly and frustrating the Carolina defense.
McCown started fast, completing 14 of 15 passes for 100 yards on the first two drives, using shot passes underneath the coverage. Mark Ingram’s 5-yard touchdown run put the Saints up 10-0 before the Panthers had run their eighth offensive play from scrimmage.
But Newton and Olsen battled back.
The Pro Bowl tight end had eight catches for a career-high 134 yards. The Saints attempted to pack the box defensively against the Panthers, leaving Olsen open repeatedly on crossing routes.
Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, who claimed he was a top five NFL cornerback this summer, continues to make plays. Norman sealed the game with a leaping interception of McCown in the end zone with 1:09 remaining.
Norman, who squabbled with defensive backs coach Steve Wilks on the sideline over a missed assignment earlier in the game, said he was seeing stop-and-go moves all day and tried to keep his leverage.
“Once I saw the ball release, man, I was loving it,” Norman said. “I saw it, and my eyes got big. I tried to target the ball, and God gave me the wings to fly.”
McCown thought he had a touchdown.
“We felt like we had them on their heels and we wanted to take a shot,” McCown said.
It was the second straight week the Panthers needed a late stand from their defense to seal the victory.
Newton said after the game he was upset over what he felt was a borderline late hit by Saints defensive tackle Tyeler Davison — but was even more baffled by the explanation he said he received from referee Ed Hochuli.
“The response that I got was, ‘Cam you’re not old enough to get that call,'” Newton said after the game. “I’m looking at him like, ‘What? Geez, I didn’t think you had to have seniority to get a personal foul or anything like that.'”
NFL spokesman Michael Signora told The Associated Press that “officials make decisions based upon the play on the field, and no other factors.”
NOTES: Panthers DE Charles Johnson (hamstring) and RB Jonathan Stewart (leg) left the game in the second half with injuries and did not return. … Marcus Murphy returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown after Carolina’s Teddy Williams was called for running out of bounds on the previous play, forcing another kick.
Eagles 24, Jets 17
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Brandon Marshall made a big catch and was determined to do something more.
After all, the New York Jets’ offense was struggling and in dire need of a spark. So, Marshall carelessly tossed the ball behind him for a teammate — and flipped the momentum right back to the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Wrong time to gamble,” Marshall said after the Jets’ 24-17 loss Sunday. “I was pressing, trying to make a play. Probably the worst play in NFL history.”
It was that kind of day for Marshall and the Jets (2-1).
Darren Sproles sparked the Eagles (1-2) with an 89-yard punt return for a score and added a 1-yard touchdown run, the defense caused four turnovers and Philadelphia got its first win of the season.
Sam Bradford threw a TD pass to Ryan Mathews, who also rushed for 108 yards on 25 carries while starting in place of the injured DeMarco Murray. The Eagles improved to 10-0 all-time against the Jets, who were coming off a victory at Indianapolis last Monday night.
“They beat us at our own game,” said Jets coach Todd Bowles, whose team had 10 takeaways in the first two games and only one in this one.
With the Jets trailing 17-0, Marshall caught a 15-yard pass — and then tried to get off a backward pass to Jeff Cumberland. But the ball hit an Eagles defender and was recovered by Jordan Hicks. A video review confirmed the call, and the Eagles made the Jets pay.
Sproles scored moments later, running straight ahead for a 1-yard TD that gave Philadelphia a 24-0 lead with 2:11 remaining in the half.
“You can’t do that,” Marshall said of his play. “The damage outweighs the reward so much.”
Fitzpatrick threw touchdown passes to Marshall and Jeremy Kerley, but the last of his three INTs, by Walter Thurmond with 3:28 left, helped seal the Jets’ loss after they held the Eagles scoreless after halftime.
Nick Folk kicked a 53-yard field goal with 2:34 remaining, but Seyi Ajirotutu recovered the onside kick and the Eagles ran out the clock.
Kerley, who had been dropped on the depth chart and played just two total snaps on offense entering the game, caught a 7-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to get the Jets within 24-14 with 9:37 remaining.
The Jets appeared ready to turn the momentum in their favor when David Harris popped the ball out of Mathews’ hands and Demario Davis recovered. But three plays later, Philadelphia took it right back when Brandon Bair deflected Fitzpatrick’s pass intended for Marshall and Hicks grabbed the easy interception.
Marshall finished with 10 catches for 109 yards and reached 10,000 yards receiving for his career.
Bradford was 14 of 28 for 118 yards, while Fitzpatrick was 35 of 58 for 283 yards.
Sproles put the Eagles up 10-0 with his spectacular punt return early in the second quarter, dodging at least four would-be Jets tacklers.
NOTES: Murray was out with a hamstring injury, while the Jets played without running back Chris Ivory (quadriceps), who was active but didn’t play, and wide receiver Eric Decker (sprained knee). … Jets QB Geno Smith was active as Fitzpatrick’s backup for the first time this season after having his jaw broken by a punch from then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali on Aug. 11. … Jets CB Darrelle Revis, who was questionable with a groin injury, tweaked a hamstring. Bowles had no immediate word on him or RG Willie Colon, who left after halftime with a knee injury. … Jets rookie Devin Smith had three catches for 39 yards in his NFL debut.
Buccaneers 9, Texans 19
HOUSTON (AP) — J.J. Watt got a kick out of Tampa Bay’s kicking woes because they helped the Houston Texans to their first win.
Ryan Mallett threw for threw for 228 yards and a touchdown, and Alfred Blue had 139 yards rushing with a score to lead the Texans to the 19-9 victory Sunday.
Rookie Kyle Brindza, who made a 58-yard field goal early in the second quarter, missed an extra point and three field goals in the second half.
“The field goal kicker kind of helped us out a little bit, so I appreciate that,” Watt said, snickering.
Mallett gave Houston (1-2) a lead with a 5-yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins on the opening drive.
The Buccaneers (1-2) went up 9-7 on a touchdown reception by Charles Sims in the second quarter that came after an interception by Mallett, but didn’t score again.
“We didn’t block any of them,” Watt said of the field goal misses. “They just didn’t go through the yellow things … sweet. I hope that happens every time.”
Blue had a 20-yard touchdown run after Brindza’s second missed field goal in the fourth quarter, but Randy Bullock missed the extra point to leave Houston up 16-9.
Mallett got his second NFL win in his second start this season after Brian Hoyer was benched after struggling in Houston’s opener.
Top overall draft pick Jameis Winston threw for 261 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Tampa Bay. Mike Evans had 101 yards receiving, but also had a couple of drops.
Bullock added a 19-yard field goal with less than two minutes left.
Hopkins, who missed practice this week because of a concussion, finished with eight receptions for 101 yards.
Winston launched a 33-yard pass to Louis Murphy just before he was leveled by Watt early in the fourth quarter. He found Murphy again two plays later for a 19-yard gain, but the offense stalled and Tampa Bay was left empty-handed when Brindza missed from 33 yards.
On Houston’s next drive Mallett connected with Hopkins for a 30-yard gain and the Texans got another 15 thanks to a facemask penalty. Blue, filling in for injured Arian Foster, capped that drive with his first touchdown this season.
Winston, who said it was a “promising loss,” was under pressure from 2014 top overall draftee Jadeveon Clowney early in the third quarter and was intercepted by Quintin Demps.
The Texans took a 10-9 lead on Bullock’s 39-yarder.
Vincent Jackson grabbed a 23-yard reception that at first was ruled a touchdown in the third quarter. But the Texans challenged the call and it was reversed; Jackson didn’t get both feet down. Brindza missed a 41-yard field goal.
Brindza’s third miss on a 57-yarder late in the final period.
Brindza lamented his tough day.
“It’s always devastating and disappointing,” he said. “I let my team down.”
Watt, who had three touchdown receptions last season, lined up as a tight end for one play, but Houston ran the ball.
Mallett was sacked and fumbled near the end of the first quarter and Tampa Bay recovered. But the play was negated because of a defensive holding penalty on Jacquies Smith.
Tampa Bay cut the lead to 7-3 early in the second quarter on Brindza’s 58-yard field goal.
Mallett’s pass was deflected by Danny Lansanah and Kwon Alexander intercepted later in the quarter. Winston found Sims on a short pass and he dashed 32 yards before flipping into the end zone.
NOTES: The Texans were without LT Duane Brown (hand) for second straight game. … Brindza’s 58-yard field goal was second longest in franchise history. … Tampa Bay LB Lavonte David had 14 tackles. … Houston CB Johnathan Joseph tied career high with five passes defensed. … The Texans changed to AstroTurf for Sunday’s game after using natural grass in every game since the stadium opened in 2002.
49ers 7, Cardinals 47
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Tyrann Mathieu was lying in wait. So was Justin Bethel and the rest of the Arizona secondary.
When they pounced, the Arizona Cardinals were off to another impressive victory.
And Colin Kaepernick was left to consider what happened in one of the worst games of his career.
Carson Palmer threw for 311 yards and Arizona returned two of Kaepernick’s first four passes for touchdowns and the Cardinals romped past the San Francisco 49ers 47-7 on Sunday.
Larry Fitzgerald caught nine passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns and Chris Johnson rushed for 110 yards and two scores for the Cardinals (3-0), who won at Chicago 48-23 last week.
Arizona coach Bruce Arians acknowledged “that was a pretty good football game for us.”
It’s the first time the franchise has had two 40-point victories in a row since 1969 and it’s the franchise’s largest margin of victory since a 44-0 win over Houston in 1970.
And the best might well be yet to come.
“We’re not clicking on all cylinders yet,” Fitzgerald said, “and that’s scary to think about, that we can get much better.”
Kaepernick threw a career-worst four interceptions, two by Mathieu, and finished 9 for 19 for 67 yards, a quarterback rating of 16.7.
Bethel returned the first interception 21 yards for a touchdown and Mathieu ran untouched 33 yards for another score.
“That’s the most perfect possible way that we can start a game off on defense,” said cornerback Jerraud Powers, who had the last interception.
Kaepernick took the blame.
“Very hard to see myself go out and play like that and hurt this team the way I did,” he said. “I nullified all the efforts of every player on the field today.”
Kaepernick had a 12-yard TD run for San Francisco (1-2).
San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks said he couldn’t remember ever losing by 40 points.
“We really got embarrassed today,” he said.
The Cardinals scored 24 points off the four interceptions and opened an early two-game lead in the NFC West.
Palmer won his ninth in a row, the NFL’s longest active streak, and is 16-2 in his past 18 starts.
Palmer completed 20 of 32 passes and threw his first interception of the season.
The defense scored three times, the last when Kevin Minter tackled Carlos Hyde for a safety.
Arizona had 446 yards to 156 for the 49ers, coming off a 43-18 loss at Pittsburgh.
Kaepernick’s first pass, on third-and-13 from the San Francisco 12-yard line, was intended for Vernon Davis, but Bethel stepped up to grab it and run untouched to the end zone. The pick for Bethel, a two-time Pro Bowl special teams player, came on his first play from scrimmage this season.
After the subsequent kickoff, Kaepernick tried to get a sideline pass to Anquan Boldin. Mathieu stepped in front of the intended receiver, caught the ball then ran 33 yards for the score, high-stepping the final 10.
Fitzgerald’s performance came a week after he caught eight passes for 112 yards and three touchdowns in Chicago.
Palmer threw his first interception of the season late in the second quarter, and San Francisco quickly gave it back.
Kaepernick threw deep, intended for Davis, but Mathieu got to it first.
The “Honey Badger” returned it 17 yards, leading to Chandler Catanzaro’s 22-yard field goal that made it 31-7 as the half ended. It is the only time in 12 red zone appearances this season that Arizona has not scored a touchdown. After the interception, Mathieu ran to the stands and handed the ball to a small boy, who gathered it in both arms.
“I saw the little guy up there,” Mathieu said, “and he looked like he really wanted the ball.”
Notes: Davis injured a knee and coach Jim Tomsula said he didn’t know how serious it was. … Defended by Patrick Peterson, the 49ers Torrey Smith did not have a catch. … Bobby Massie, suspended the previous two games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, started at right tackle for Arizona.
Bills 41, Dolphins 14
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Tight end Charles Clay outran a pursuing linebacker, juked past two defensive backs and left them all sprawling as he scored the Buffalo Bills’ first touchdown barely three minutes into the game.
The rout was on.
Tyrod Taylor threw for 277 yards and three scores in his first NFL road start, and the Bills embarrassed the Miami Dolphins 41-14 Sunday.
The Bills totaled 429 yards, intercepted Ryan Tannehill three times in the first half, and led 27-0 before Miami scored late in the third quarter.
Taylor said the fast start was critical.
“We definitely know the challenges of the first road game — taking the crowd out of it,” he said. “Mostly it was just going out there and executing.”
Buffalo (2-1) bounced back from a dismal loss at home to New England. The Dolphins (1-2), who began the season with high hopes of ending a seven-year playoff drought, fell into last place in the AFC East with their second consecutive loss.
The loss was the most lopsided defeat in a home opener for the Dolphins, who are beginning their 50th season.
Buffalo improved to 5-2 against Miami over the past four years. The Bills are 18-26 against everyone else during that span.
The victory was especially sweet for former Dolphins Clay and Richie Incognito, who were co-captains for Buffalo.
Clay, whose TD reception went for 25 yards, signed as a free agent with Buffalo after four years in the Dolphins. Incognito played in Miami for the first time since his career was derailed for a year and a half when he was implicated in the Dolphins’ bullying scandal.
Another ex-Dolphin, backup Bills receiver Chris Hogan, added a final insult when he caught a 38-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
The crowd included billionaire Warren Buffett, who hung out before the game on the Dolphins sideline wearing a No. 93 Ndamukong Suh jersey — and shoulder pads. After taking stock of the Dolphins, he would likely give them a sell rating.
Fans were booing after less than 12 minutes, and by the fourth quarter the stadium was mostly deserted.
Tannehill set a franchise record by extending his streak of consecutive passes without an interception to 160, but then threw two to linebacker Preston Brown, who returned the second one 43 yards for a touchdown.
Miami had trouble blocking the Bills without left tackle Branden Albert, who was inactive because of a right hamstring injury. Tannehill was hit repeatedly, and Lamar Miller was held to 38 yards rushing.
The only negative for the Bills was injuries. They lost receiver Sammy Watkins with a right calf injury and guard John Miller with a groin injury.
Running back LeSean McCoy scored his 55th NFL touchdown — and his first with the Bills — on a 10-yard reception. Clay had five catches for 82 yards.
First-year starter Taylor repeatedly picked on cornerback Brice McCain and went 21 for 29 with no turnovers and no sacks. Buffalo has scored 100 points in his three starts.
Bears 0, Seahawks 26
SEATTLE (AP) — After the Seahawks sleepwalked for a half, Tyler Lockett provided a jolt.
From there Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham and a defense that was whole again after the return of safety Kam Chancellor took over.
Lockett returned the second-half kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, Wilson and Graham connected on a 30-yard TD in the third quarter, and the Seahawks routed the undermanned Chicago Bears 26-0 on Sunday.
Seattle led just 6-0 at halftime after an offensive performance that led to a cascade of boos. That changed when Lockett started a huge second half running untouched on a perfectly executed return, the longest in franchise history.
It was Lockett’s second touchdown return of the season, taking a punt back 57 yards in the opener.
Later in the quarter, Wilson found Graham across the middle for his second touchdown catch of the season and Steven Hauschka added four field goals as the Seahawks started the process of erasing an 0-2 start.
Not all went well for Seattle. Starting running back Marshawn Lynch capped a strange day by leaving at halftime with a hamstring injury. Lynch finished with 14 yards on five carries and spent half of the first quarter in the locker room before coming to the Seahawks bench. Lynch was questionable entering the game with a calf injury.
Carroll said Lynch could not get loose before the game, but tried to play. The hamstring was checked and “it’s nothing to be alarmed by,” Carroll said.
Starting defensive tackle Brandon Mebane also suffered a groin injury in the first quarter and did not return. There was no update on Mebane’s prognosis.
Chicago (0-3) was shut out for the first time since 2002 and the fourth time since 1990. Jimmy Clausen started at quarterback in place of Jay Cutler and was 9 of 17 for 63 yards. With sacks included, the Bears finished with 48 net yards passing, the second time since 1990 they finished with less than 50 net yards through the air.
Chicago punted on all 10 of its possessions. Matt Forte was held to 74 yards on 20 carries and the Bears finished with just 37 yards in the second half.
Only one Chicago drive finished in Seattle territory, and the Bears ran just three plays on the Seahawks’ half of the field.
“We didn’t protect real well, we didn’t execute real well in the passing game whether it was routes protection or delivery of the ball,” Chicago coach John Fox said.
Seattle’s offensive line had a forgettable first half. Wilson was sacked twice by a Chicago defense that had zero entering the game. Seattle punted three times and failed on all six third-down attempts.
That changed in the third quarter. Wilson was 5 of 5 for 110 yards in the quarter and Seattle outgained Chicago 162-24. Seattle finally converted a third-down when Wilson hit Doug Baldwin for 22 yards midway through the period and the Seahawks capped the drive with Graham’s first touchdown at home. Wilson was protected long enough to find Graham coming open across the middle, watching the big tight end step away from Brock Vereen for the TD.
Wilson finished 20 of 30 for 235 yards, while Graham had seven catches for 83 yards a week after getting just one catch. Lynch’s replacement became undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls, who flashed by rushing for 104 yards, 98 in the second half.
Even before Lockett’s return, Seattle used a bit of trickery on special teams. Running the same misdirected punt return that St. Louis used against them last season for a touchdown, the Seahawks caught Chicago napping. Instead of Lockett catching the punt near the Chicago sideline, it was Richard Sherman catching it on the sideline in front of the Seattle bench and returning it 64 yards to set up Hauschka’s first field goal.
NOTES: Seattle’s last shutout was Dec. 15, 2013 at the New York Giants, a 23-0 victory. … Chancellor started at strong safety but was occasionally subbed for backup DeShawn Shead. Chancellor received mostly loud ovations when introduced during pregame. … Last time Bears were shut out was Week 17 of 2002 season, a 15-0 loss to Tampa Bay. … Seahawks set franchise record with crowd of 69,002 made possible through small stadium expansion in offseason.
Broncos 24, Lions 12
DETROIT (AP) — Peyton Manning was cool and confident, lofting passes to teammates like they were buddies in his backyard.
Whether it was fourth down or third down, in the second or fourth quarter, the 39-year-old Manning showed he’s still got it.
Manning converted a fourth down with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas with 5 seconds left in the first half. Then he threw an 11-yard TD pass to Owen Daniels on a third down with 2:28 remaining, lifting the Denver Broncos to a 24-12 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday night.
Manning was 31 of 42 for 324 yards with two TDs and an interception. The five-time MVP joined Brett Favre as the only players in NFL history with at least 6,000 career completions.
The last time the Broncos (3-0) won their first three games was in 2013, when they reached the Super Bowl.
The Lions (0-3) are off to their worst start since 2010, when they finished 6-10.
Aqib Talib blocked an extra-point kick by former Bronco Matt Prater early in the second quarter to keep Denver’s one-point lead. The Broncos later stopped a 2-point conversion run, keeping them ahead 14-12 early in the third quarter.
Stafford had three turnovers, including a fumble and interception at midfield in the fourth quarter. He might’ve had a good reason to be rattled because DeMarcus Ware sacked him twice and he was hit and hurried all night in Detroit’s home opener.
Broncos running back C.J. Anderson left in the first half to be evaluated for a concussion, but was cleared and returned in the second half.
Both teams struggled to run the ball. The Broncos had more success through the air.
And, they took better care of the football.
Thomas had nine receptions for 92 yards and a lead-padding score in which he outleaped Darius Slay to snatch the football out of the air. He celebrated by backpedaling into the end zone, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Stafford was 31 of 45 for 282 yards with a 16-yard TD pass to Ameer Abdullah in the third quarter, two interceptions and a fumble on a play in which he had at least once chance to throw the ball away. Calvin Johnson had eight receptions for 77 yards and drew a pass-interference penalty against Talib in the end zone that set up Joique Bell’s 1-yard leap over a pile of lineman.
It looked like Detroit’s defense was going to prevent the Broncos from taking advantage of Stafford’s second turnover, but it negated a missed field goal by being in an illegal formation. Denver got 5 yards closer and Brandon McManus made the field goal to give the Broncos a five-point lead.
The Lions had a chance to come back, but Stafford blew it. Stafford tried to force a pass to Johnson and safety David Burton Jr. dropped into a zone to pick off the pass that he tipped to himself with his right hand, then returned 12 yards. Moments later, Manning lofted a 34-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders, who outjumped Slay, to set up his throw that only the 6-foot-3 Daniels could catch in the end zone.
Chiefs 28, Packers 38
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers dissected another defense on a national stage, building a big enough cushion for the Green Bay Packers to overcome a late rush by Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Rodgers threw for 333 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Randall Cobb, and Green Bay beat Kansas City 38-28 on Monday night.
Rodgers led the Packers (3-0) on two successful first-quarter drives that ended with scoring passes to Cobb and rookie Ty Montgomery. He found James Jones for a 27-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter for a 17-point lead at the break.
Charles rushed for three touchdowns for Kansas City (1-2), which followed its stunning, last-minute loss at home to Denver with a respectable fourth-quarter effort at raucous Lambeau Field.
Charles’ 7-yard TD with 1:25 left got the Chiefs within 10. But the end result was the same for Kansas City, which lost its second straight.
Rodgers was 24 of 35 in another masterful performance for the MVP quarterback.
The Packers controlled the line of scrimmage when it counted and got to Alex Smith for seven sacks.
Smith finished 24 of 40 for 290 yards and a touchdown.
Under pressure near his own end zone, Smith also threw an interception to Sam Shields at the Chiefs 19 with about 7 minutes left in the third quarter. Shields returned it 15 yards, and on the next play, Rodgers found Cobb for a 4-yard touchdown and a 31-7 lead.
Rodgers and Cobb hooked up for another 4-yard scoring pass in the fourth. With the score, Rodgers set the franchise record with his fourth career game of at least five touchdown passes.
Kansas City stopped its long streak of no touchdown receptions by a receiver when Jeremy Maclin hauled in a 5-yard TD pass with 56 seconds left in the third quarter to get the Chiefs within 31-14.
It was the first touchdown pass caught by a receiver since Donnie Avery had a 79-yard catch-and-run against the Indianapolis Colts in a wild card game on Jan. 4, 2014.
A week after fumbling twice, Charles had a little fun with his own Lambeau Leap into the awaiting arms of Chiefs fans following his 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Otherwise, the Packers prevented Charles from making explosive plays, limiting him to 49 yards on 11 carries.
For Green Bay, Jones finished with seven catches for 139 yards and a score. He had a 52-yard catch in the fourth quarter off a free-play situation following a defensive penalty that set up Cobb’s third touchdown catch.