Demarus Dye| BKD TV Insiders
Here is a recap of Week 7 of the 2015 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Bye: Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Packers
Seahawks 20, 49ers 3
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Menacing defender Michael Bennett has a new motto for these inconsistent Seattle Seahawks: Keep chopping wood.
“When you’re chopping wood, just keep chopping until the tree falls, man,” Bennett said. “You can’t get ahead of yourself.”
Seattle, looking to regain its status as a contender, certainly took a step on that path Thursday night. The defending NFC West champions delivered a commanding 20-3 victory against the San Francisco 49ers four days after a tough loss at home to Carolina.
Russell Wilson threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett late in the first half and Marshawn Lynch added a leaping 1-yard score to send Seattle (3-4) to its fourth straight victory over its division rival.
The Seahawks have beaten the 49ers six of the last seven times, holding them to single digits in the past three, outscoring them 56-13.
“It felt like a really normal Seahawk night tonight,” coach Pete Carroll said.
Even if he didn’t have nemesis and now-Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh facing him from the other sideline.
“We’re on the verge,” safety Kam Chancellor said.
For the 49ers, any momentum gained from ending a four-game losing streak by beating Baltimore on Sunday is gone. They lost to Seattle on another Thursday night at home, in an eerily similar scene to that 19-3 Thanksgiving defeat 11 months ago after which Richard Sherman chomped turkey on the field.
“Unacceptable….that was sorry,” wideout Torrey Smith posted on Twitter.
Here are some things to take from the Seahawks’ latest lopsided result against San Francisco:
HIGH-FLYING DEFENSE: Bennett led the way with 3 1/2 sacks as the Seahawks took down Colin Kaepernick six times.
San Francisco’s 55 yards in the first half were the fewest allowed by the Seahawks defense in an opening half since Week 17 of the 2013 season against St. Louis. The 49ers finished with 142, fewer than the 164 they managed on Thanksgiving and their worst total since 133 yards against the Vikings on Nov. 5, 2006.
It was Seattle’s second-lowest total allowed under Carroll.
“It gets us back on track knowing that we’re the team we always knew we were,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said.
FINISHING ‘EM OFF: While Carroll wasn’t happy with two turnovers, he couldn’t complain about how Seattle finished this one out after so many fourth-quarter collapses.
The Seahawks had been outscored 40-3 in the fourth quarter and overtime over their previous three games, blowing a 23-14 lead in the final 12 minutes Sunday against Carolina.
This was progress.
“That was the way it’s supposed to be, it’s supposed to be normal to finish a game like that,” Carroll said. “I don’t make a big deal about it. That’s the way we should be playing. We should be finishing like that.”
MORE KAP STRUGGLES: Kaepernick’s errant passes sailed into both sidelines, one ball even hitting a 49ers staff member in the head early in the game and requiring him to be checked. The 49ers had more punts — nine — than first downs (eight).
Kaepernick fell to 1-6 in seven starts against the Seahawks with three touchdown passes to nine interceptions and 24 sacks.
“I’m not going to force a ball into a window and take a chance on a turnover,” said Kaepernick, his right hand taped after the game because of a swollen thumb. “We just didn’t make plays when we needed to. I do know we didn’t play well enough to win.”
FINDING THE HOLES: Wilson exploited San Francisco’s defensive failures at every chance, regularly finding wide-open receivers down the middle, while Lynch powered his way to 122 yards and a leaping 1-yard touchdown.
While Wilson’s five sacks pushed his NFL-leading total to 31 and he threw two interceptions, he made enough big plays to get Seattle back in the win column.
“The biggest thing was we were able to put everything together, get the running game together,” Lockett said.
HAMPERED HYDE: Carlos Hyde played on an injured left foot and was limited to 40 yards on 11 carries. Kaepernick didn’t have a rush for the first time in his 46 career starts, and the 49ers wound up with just 61 yards on the ground.
When asked if he had a stress fracture, Hyde said, “something like that,” and noted he was at a 6 on a pain scale to 10.
Biils 31, Jaguars 34 @ London
LONDON (AP) — Jacksonville’s defense came up big in the first half, and quarterback Blake Bortles came through late to rally the Jaguars to the victory.
Seven seconds of defensive excellence gave the Jaguars a big lead they eventually squandered away, but Bortles came through when needed in a 34-31 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
Bortles threw a 31-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Allen Hurns with 2:16 remaining, after Buffalo safety Corey Graham intercepted a pass and returned it 44 yards to put the Bills ahead in a seesaw game that was streamed live on Yahoo’s website.
Bortles’ throw, his second TD pass of the game, came with open space for him to run for a first down. But instead of going on his own, he saw Hurns heading toward the end zone and let it fly.
The Jaguars (2-5) won their first game in London after losing in each of the past two seasons at Wembley, the home of England’s national soccer team. The Bills (3-4) were playing in the British capital for the first time.
EJ Manuel started at quarterback for the Bills for the second straight game because of the absence of the injured Tyrod Taylor, one of the many injuries Buffalo is struggling to overcome.
Manuel’s early lapses allowed Jacksonville to take a 27-3 lead, but the backup QB turned things around for a while and led the rally until the Jaguars took over for good in the final minutes.
Bortles was 13 of 29 for 182 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The defense was even better, though, scoring two touchdowns in a 7-second span and setting up another for T.J. Yeldon, who finished with 116 yards.
Trailing 3-0, Bortles hit Allen Robinson on a 10-yard touchdown pass. Then the defense stepped up.
On third-and-9, Aaron Colvin forced a fumble from Manuel. Sergio Brown nearly smothered the ball, but Chris Clemons grabbed the loose ball and ran 6 yards into the end zone.
After the kickoff and a touchback, Manuel was again in the pocket but his pass was picked off by Telvin Smith, who ran it in from the 26.
And the defense wasn’t done yet. On the fourth play of the next drive, Manuel was again picked off, this time by Paul Posluszny.
The Jaguars’ offense didn’t disappoint this time, with Yeldon running it in from the 28 to give Jacksonville a 27-3 lead after Jason Myers missed the extra point.
The Bills’ comeback started when Manuel completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods. That score and another field goal from Dan Carpenter made it 27-13 at the half.
In the fourth quarter, Carpenter kicked a third field goal before Manuel hit Marcus Easley on a 58-yard touchdown pass — only minutes before Graham gave the Bills a 31-27 lead with 5:21 left.
While the Bills were piling up the points, the Jaguars struggled to get the ball moving in the fourth quarter.
Manuel started at quarterback for the second straight game, and for the second straight loss this season. He finished with 298 yards on 24 of 42 passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Ryan said he was sticking by his backup quarterback.
Manuel was starting because Taylor sprained a ligament in his left knee in the 14-13 win over Tennessee on Oct. 11. With a week off after the trip, as usual for teams playing in London, Taylor will have more time to heal before the Bills host the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 8.
The Jaguars, who will again travel to London next season, next play at the New York Jets, also on Nov. 8.
For the Bills, the week off should help heal some of the injuries that have blighted their season, especially to Taylor.
“I’ve never known a team that needed a bye week so badly,” Ryan said.
NOTES: The 58-yard TD pass from EJ Manuel to Marcus Easley was Buffalo’s longest play of the season … This was the second of three regular-season NFL games at Wembley this season. The New York Jets beat the Miami Dolphins 27-14 on Oct. 4, and the Detroit Lions will face the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday … The attendance was 84,021, the second highest at Wembley after 2009 when the New England Patriots beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Falcons 10, Titans 7
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones wants the Falcons to snap out of their offensive funk, even if they found a way to squeeze out an ugly win.
Matt Ryan threw for 251 yards and a touchdown pass, and Devonta Freeman ran for 116 yards as the Falcons held off the Tennessee Titans 10-7 Sunday.
The Falcons (6-1) bounced back from their first loss this season by grinding out a road win and overcoming two interceptions. Freeman notched his third consecutive game with at least 100 yards, and Atlanta outgained Tennessee 378-256 in squeaking out the win.
The banged-up Titans (1-5) lost their fifth straight overall and ninth consecutive on their home field dating back to last season. They played without rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and two starters in their secondary before losing two more starters.
Their defense kept them close, giving Tennessee plenty of chances needing only a field goal to force overtime. But Zach Mettenberger was intercepted by undrafted rookie Falcons safety Robenson Therezie with 1:31 left to seal Atlanta’s victory.
“We can’t make mistakes there,” Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
The Falcons had plenty of chances to keep this from being close late.
Atlanta coach Dan Quinn thought the Falcons scored when Ryan hit Julio Jones with a 3-yard pass, but officials ruled the receiver short of the goal line. Not even Quinn’s challenge helped as officials ruled Jones down 6 inches outside the end zone after he tried sticking the ball past the pylon. Quinn said he got no explanation.
The Titans stopped Atlanta fullback Patrick DiMarco on third down, then Titans linebacker Avery Williamson intercepted Ryan’s pass intended for Jacob Tamme in the end zone with 6:30 left.
Tennessee turned it over on downs with 3:30 left.
Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant then pushed a 47-yard field goal wide right with 2:28, giving Tennessee one final chance. Instead, the Titans have lost three games in this skid by a combined six points.
Ryan became the fifth-fastest quarterback to throw for 30,000 yards in his career. He came in needing 83 yards passing to reach that mark in his 117th game, which he got with a 2-yard pass to Jones midway through the second quarter. Only Dan Marino (114), Kurt Warner (114), Peyton Manning (115) and Aaron Rodgers (116) were faster.
The Titans intercepted Ryan in the second quarter when linebacker David Bass tipped the ball into the air and grabbed it. Mettenberger found Kendall Wright for a 19-yard touchdown on the next play and a 7-0 lead in the second quarter for the Titans’ only points of the game.
The Titans played without cornerback Perrish Cox (hamstring) and safety Michael Griffin (left knee), and cornerback Jason McCourty left early in the third quarter with a sore hamstring. They lost their second center in as many games at halftime when rookie Andy Gallik was sidelined by a concussion. That forced Joe Looney, signed Tuesday, onto the field.
Atlanta took control in the third quarter, outgaining the Titans 134-35. Ryan finished off an 88-play drive by tossing an 8-yard TD pass to Jones, giving the Falcons their first lead of the game at 10-7 late in the quarter.
Notes: Freeman is the first Falcons running back to rush for 100 yards or more in three straight games since 2009. Atlanta now has rushed for 100 yards or better in five straight games for the first time since 2011. … Neither Falcons WR Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) nor Falcons S William Moore played in the second half with an injured groin.
Vikings 28, Lions 19
DETROIT (AP) — Teddy Bridgewater dropped back, lofted a long pass and Stefon Diggs did the rest.
Diggs leaped from just inside the 5 and landed in the end zone with a 36-yard, go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter, helping the Minnesota Vikings rally for a 28-19 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The Vikings (4-2) won an NFC North road game for the first time in three years, and Bridgewater gave second-year coach Mike Zimmer the game ball.
“We are all so excited to give him first road win in the division,” Bridgewater said.
With a big-play receiver like Diggs, the Vikings may have an easier time on the road this season. The rookie had six receptions for 108 yards, giving him 19 catches for 324 yards in three games after being inactive for the first three games.
Diggs and Anquan Boldin, who made his debut with the Arizona Cardinals in 2003, are the only NFL players since at least 1960 to have that many catches and yards receiving in their first three games, according to STATS. Detroit (1-6) had an 11-point lead after Matthew Stafford threw for TDs on its first two drives, but blew it in large part because the offensive line couldn’t protect the quarterback. Minnesota had a season-high seven sacks, which also was a season worst for Detroit. The Lions led 17-6 on Matt Prater’s 52-yard field goal late in the first half.
Bridgewater had his best passer rating of the season in last month’s 26-16 win against the Lions, and was solid again in the rematch.
Bridgewater was 25 of 35, connecting with 11 teammates, for a season-high 316 yards. The first of his two TD passes was a 1-yard toss to Kyle Rudolph that got Minnesota within five late in the second quarter. Blair Walsh’s 51-yard field goal ended the first half and cut Detroit’s lead to 17-15.
Adrian Peterson ran for 98 yards on 19 carries, including a 75-yard run. He played a day after being listed as questionable and scoffed at a report that indicated his illness stemmed from swallowing chewing tobacco.
The Lions had a chance to make the final minutes potentially dramatic, but turned the ball over on downs at the Vikings 1.
Minnesota had punter Jeff Locke run out of the end zone on the ensuing possession, taking a safety to stay two scores ahead with a 28-19 lead with 59 seconds left.
Detroit drove to the Vikings 36 on its final drive before turning the ball over on downs again, and getting booed by the sparse crowd that was still in Ford Field.
Stafford didn’t have much time to throw after a strong start.
He capped the opening 75-yard drive with a 1-yard TD pass to Calvin Johnson. He connected with Eric Ebron on a 7-yard scoring pass to end an 80-yard drive on his next possession. The rest of the game, he was getting sacked, hit and hurried.
Stafford finished 18 of 26 for 256 yards, and needed X-rays on his left hand.
“I think it’s fine,” he said.
NOTES: Minnesota had not won a division road game since winning in Detroit on Sept. 30, 2012. … Lions CB Rashean Mathis and Vikings WR Jarius Wright were evaluated for concussions.
Saints 27, Colts 21
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Saints showed Sunday they can still go toe-to-toe with anyone in the NFL.
They just need to find that elusive knockout punch.
After taking a 27-point third-quarter lead at Indianapolis and watching another implausible comeback try from Andrew Luck, the Saints recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock to preserve a crucial 27-21 victory.
At least it’s progress.
New Orleans (3-4) won on the road for the first time this season, won back-to-back games for the first time since last October and did it with a balanced attack and an aggressive defense.
Mark Ingram rushed 14 times for 143 yards and one touchdown while Khiry Robinson ran for two scores. Drew Brees, the 36-year-old quarterback who attended college at nearby Purdue, finished 28 of 44 for 255 yards with one touchdown in what might have been his final game in Indiana.
The Saints’ oft-criticized defense pressured Luck into mistakes all day, hitting him 10 times, sacking him four times and picking him off twice.
But after Ingram’s 1-yard TD run made it 27-0, Luck dug himself and the Colts out of a big hole with three touchdown passes in in final 19 minutes. All Luck wanted was one more chance.
The biggest difference Sunday was the quarterbacks.
Brees has played well since coming back from a bruised right rotator cuff and was masterfully efficient again Sunday.
Luck, at times, looked as bad as he ever has. He started the game with five straight incompletions, a first, and he and Colts’ offense played so poorly in the first half that they left to a hearty round of well-deserved boos.
When Luck fought back, it came with a flurry.
He found T.Y. Hilton for an 87-yard TD pass late in the third quarter — a career long for both players. He connected with Hilton again for a 46-yard TD pass to make it 27-14 with 1 second left in the third quarter. And after three straight punts, Luck capped an 80-yard, 54-second drive with an 8-yard TD pass to Donte Moncrief to make it 27-21 with 3:05 to play.
It just wasn’t enough on a day Luck went 23 of 44 with 333 yards and three touchdowns and Hilton caught four passes for 150 yards.
It was a strange afternoon — even before the dramatic turnaround.
New Orleans lost both of its coaches’ challenges on one first-quarter series and kept the drive moving when Luke McCown pulled off a fake field goal with a 25-yard completion to Ben Watson. Robinson finished the drive with a 1-yard TD run to make it 7-0.
Then, the Saints took control.
Stephone Anthony intercepted Luck on the first play of the next series. Five plays later, Robinson scored on a 6-yard run.
Griff Whalen compounded things by fumbling the ensuing kickoff. Three plays after that, Brees hooked up with Michael Hoomanawanui for a 16-yard TD pass to make it 20-0. NOTES: Brees has thrown a touchdown pass in 96 of his last 97 games. … The Colts lost receiver Phillip Dorsett (left ankle) and center Khaled Holmes (stinger) in the first half. Neither returned. … Robert Mathis had a sack on the first play of his 100th career start. … Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan had two sacks, giving him five in the past two games.
Buccaneers 30, Redskins 31
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — There were plenty of reasons for Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins to believe this game was not going to go their way.
They trailed by 24 points in the second quarter, a deficit the team never had overcome in a victory. They had been outscored by 43 points in third quarters so far. Cousins hadn’t thrown more than one touchdown pass in any game this season.
At halftime, coach Jay Gruden — who had pronounced Sunday’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a “code red” situation — lit into his players.
Cousins finished 33 for 40 for 317 yards, the trio of scores and zero interceptions. He also ran for an 8-yard touchdown in the second quarter for the first points for the Redskins (3-4), making it 24-7 after two quarters.
There were those wondering whether his time as the starting QB might be coming to an end. But he got a pair of 3-yard scores in the third quarter — one to Ryan Grant, the other to Reed — sandwiched around an onside kick, to make things interesting.
There is a clear pattern to Washington’s season so far: In the team’s three wins, Cousins has not thrown a single interception; in the four losses, he has been picked off twice each time.
This was the fourth-year QB’s second last-minute comeback win this season, both at home. Cousins led the Redskins past the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4.
This time, trailing 30-24, Washington got the ball at its 20 with a little less than 2 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Cousins threw on every play, going 9 for 11 for 75 yards, capped by the 6-yard toss to Reed on a slant.
The tight end, who missed last week’s game with a concussion, was lined up to the right, with four receivers split off to the left.
Cousins saw Reed covered 1-on-1 and found him easily.
Jameis Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, was 21 for 29 for 297 yards and two first-half touchdowns that helped Tampa Bay (2-4) build its massive lead. Doug Martin ran for 136 yards on 19 carries, but it was 5 yards he didn’t gain that might have swung the outcome.
With 4 minutes remaining, Martin broke off a 49-yard run up the right sideline and appeared set to score, until cornerback Bashaud Breeland tracked him down, catching up to make the tackle at the 5. Breeland injured his right hamstring on the play and left the game.
Instead of a TD that could have made it 34-24, Tampa Bay wound up settling for Connor Barth’s third field goal of the game and a six-point lead.
Cousins was able to erase that.
Notes: Until Sunday, the Redskins had won three games after trailing by 21 points, most recently in 1999. … The Bucs were called for 16 penalties for 142 yards. … Bucs WR Mike Evans caught his first TD pass of the season, a 40-yarder on the team’s third play from scrimmage.
Browns 6, Rams 24
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Todd Gurley heard the fans chanting his name. The rookie is commanding that kind of attention.
Gurley rushed for 128 yards and his first two NFL touchdowns, helping the St. Louis Rams put away the Cleveland Browns 24-6 on Sunday.
“It’s not all me,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep improving and executing.”
During the week, coach Jeff Fisher said Gurley wasn’t yet 100 percent. He looked pretty dominant against the Browns, hurdling tacklers on at least two occasions and churning for extra yards up the middle.
“He’s a playmaker,” teammate Kenny Britt said. “He can change the game and he’s going to really help us out.”
Coming off its bye, St. Louis (3-3) had four sacks and recovered four fumbles. The Rams scored 10 points off miscues on Cleveland’s first two series, a 17-yard fumble recovery by Rodney McLeod and a field goal after the first of William Hayes’ two sacks and strips of Josh McCown on the day. Johnny Manziel got mop-up duty for the Browns (2-5) after McCown left for the locker room favoring his right shoulder with about four minutes left. McCown said he was hurt on the second sack/fumble when he was hit on the elbow.
Manziel fielded just as many questions about an ongoing NFL investigation as he did the possibility of starting next week at home against Arizona. The league is looking into whether he violated its personal conduct policy.
Manziel was questioned on Oct. 12 by police in Avon, Ohio, after the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and girlfriend Colleen Crowley argued while he drove on a highway. Crowley told police that Manziel hit her several times.
Manziel denied striking Crowley, was not arrested and the couple was allowed to leave together. He said he hasn’t talked to an NFL official.
McCown is 1-5 as the Cleveland starter and has lost to the Rams for three straight seasons with three different teams. He was with Chicago in 2013 and Tampa Bay last year.
Gurley scored on runs of 1 and 16 yards. He fell short of joining Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk as the lone Rams players to gain 140 or more yards for three straight games.
The Rams totaled 158 yards rushing with a 6.1-yard average against the NFL’s worst defense against the run.
Gurley had a big grin on his face as Britt followed him back to the bench and waved his arms at the crowd in celebration after the running back scored his second TD in the fourth quarter.
Fisher was on the field frantically waving for a timeout just before the snap on Gurley’s first career touchdown that made it 17-6 late in the third. Gurley ambled in untouched from a yard out, and Fisher spun the headset wire around his legs as he retreated to sideline.
Browns cornerback Pierre Desir, starting in place of injured Joe Haden, struggled on that drive. He interfered with Britt for a 26-yard penalty, and then was beaten on the next play by Britt on a 41-yarder to the Cleveland 1.
Gurley reversed field on a 48-yard jaunt to the Cleveland 22 on the Rams’ first possession of the second half, but St. Louis got nothing out of it. The offense stalled and Greg Zuerlein hooked a 35-yard field goal attempt just wide right.
The Rams led 10-0 after the first quarter despite mustering just 3 yards offense and getting dominated in time of possession, with the Browns holding the ball for 11 minutes and 34 seconds.
“It looked like we had a little bye-week hangover,” Fisher said.
McCown was 26 for 32 for 270 yards with no TDs or interceptions. Gary Barnidge was his top target with six catches for 101 yards, although the tight end’s streak of four straight games with a score ended.
Barnidge had a tooth knocked out and his lip stitched at halftime.
NOTES: Browns WR Andrew Hawkins was evaluated for a concussion in the fourth quarter. … The Browns have gone 19 consecutive games without a 100-yard rusher and totaled 82 yards on 24 attempts for a 3.4-yard average. Robert Turbin led the team with 30 yards on five carries. … The Rams have played 18 in a row without a 300-yard passing game. Nick Foles was 15 for 23 for 163 yards with no TDs or interceptions.
Texans 26, Dolphins 44
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins led 35-0 midway through the first half, and while the rest of the sideline celebrated, interim coach Dan Campbell stood alone, staring at the scoreboard and managing to keep a straight face.
For Campbell, it was business as usual, with blowouts the norm so far.
The Dolphins’ astounding turnaround under their new coach gained momentum Sunday, when Ryan Tannehill completed his first 18 attempts and threw for four scores in first 16 minutes to help beat the Houston Texans 44-26.
The drubbing was even more emphatic than Miami’s 38-10 win at Tennessee a week earlier in Campbell’s debut as a head coach. Fans chanted his name as the game ended. Campbell is only the fifth interim coach of 26 in the NFL since 2000 to win his first two games, according to STATS. Since the firing of Joe Philbin on Oct. 5, the Dolphins (3-3) have gone from notorious underachievers to contending for their first playoff berth since 2008.
The Texans (2-5) are heading the other direction. To compound their misery, running back Arian Foster hobbled off the field late in the game with an Achilles tendon injury that might end his season.
The Dolphins had been 0-7 previously against Houston, the only team they had never beaten. Miami faces a quick turnaround before playing Thursday at AFC East leader New England (6-0).
Miami became the first team in at least 75 years to score four offensive touchdowns of at least 50 yards in a half, according to STATS. Tannehill extended his two-game streak to 25 consecutive completions, an NFL record, before he threw his only incompletion in the fourth quarter.
Jarvis Landry scored on a jaw-dropping 50-yard catch and run through most of the Texans’ defense.
Landry also caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill. Lamar Miller scored on a 54-yard reception and an 85-yard run. Rishard Matthews scored the game’s first points when turned a short pass from Tannehill into a 53-yard score.
That was all in the opening half, when the Dolphins built a 41-0 lead. They tied a franchise record of 21 points in the first quarter, done three other times, and broke the team mark of 35 points at halftime set in 1967, its second season.
The Dolphins began pulling their regulars at halftime. The Texans drew little solace from scoring four touchdowns in the second half. There were signals before the game that the Texans were not ready. Former starting quarterback Ryan Mallett missed the team flight and made the trip on his own.
The Dolphins, by contrast, were nearly flawless until a missed extra point after their sixth touchdown.
Miller rushed for 175 yards on 14 carries, all in the first half. Tannehill went 18 for 19 for 282 yards, with a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
Miami did not have a 50-yard play from scrimmage previously this season. Tannehill became the first quarterback to throw three touchdown passes of 50-plus yards in a first half since Randall Cunningham in 1998, according to STATS.
Reshad Jones scored on a 23-yard interception return, snatching a deflected pass and somersaulting into the end zone for the second week in a row. He became the first Dolphins player with a pick-six in consecutive games.
Brent Grimes shadowed Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins, who was held to six catches for 50 yards, ending his franchise record-tying streak of four consecutive 100-yard games. Miami’s Ndamukong Suh, one of the underachievers earlier in the season, had his first two sacks, three tackles for a loss, two passes defended and six tackles.
“I want to be a part of the party,” he said.
NOTES: Dolphins CB Zack Bowman hurt his shoulder in the second quarter. LB Spencer Paysinger hurt his groin and did not return. … Texans LB Akeem Dent hurt his hamstring in the fourth quarter. … Miami has scored 82 under Campbell, the most in two games for an interim coach since 1961.
Jets 23, Patriots 30
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The fourth quarter started just in time for Tom Brady to overcome some early drops and lead the Patriots on a comeback.
And it ended just in time for New England to hold on for a victory.
Brady overcame New England’s shaky first three quarters by throwing for a pair of touchdowns in the fourth, and the Patriots defeated the New York Jets 30-23 on Sunday to remain unbeaten.
The Super Bowl MVP completed 14 of 17 passes in the final quarter to overcome a 20-16 deficit and give New England (6-0) a two-game lead over the Jets in the AFC East.
“I thought we played better as the game went on,” said Brady, who was 34 of 54 for 355 yards overall — numbers that would have been even better if not for the 11 drops by his receivers, six by newly activated Brandon LaFell.
The Jets (4-2) rallied in the final minute, kicking a field goal on first down with 23 seconds left to get within one score before Brandon Marshall recovered the onside kick. But after a short pass over the middle to Eric Decker left the Jets 37 yards away from tying the game, Marshall failed to get set on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s spike to stop the clock; the false-start penalty ended it.
Fitzpatrick completed 22 of 39 passes for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Chris Ivory, who entered as the AFC’s leading rusher, was held to 41 yards on 17 carries while dealing with a sore hamstring; he also had two catches for 12 yards and a touchdown. Decker caught six passes for 94 yards.
Rob Gronkowski had a career-high 11 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown, Danny Amendola had eight for 86 and a TD and Brady also scored on a keeper from the 1 to give the defending Super Bowl champions their ninth straight victory, dating to last year’s playoffs. Brady also had an 11-yard scramble on a third-and-10, and with 15 rushing yards he was the Patriots’ leading runner for the first time in his career.
“I should enjoy this, because it will probably never happen again,” said Brady, who threw the ball on all but nine plays — tying the NFL record for the fewest rushes in a win.
The Jets, who had won two in a row, had hoped to tie the Patriots for the AFC East lead and take control of a division that has been dominated by the four-time Super Bowl champs. But now they must wait for the Dec. 27 rematch in New York, when the Jets will try to beat New England for just the second time in 11 regular-season tries.
Despite the NFL’s top-ranked defense sacked Brady three times — all in the first half — and otherwise making him uncomfortable in the pocket, New England took a 13-10 halftime lead. The Patriots’ injury-plagued offensive line responded in the second half, and so did Brady.
Fitzpatrick hit Ivory for a 9-yard score late in the third and Nick Folk kicked the second of his three field goals to make it 20-16 with 12:50 to play.
Brady was 7 for 8 for 85 yards on the next drive, finishing it off with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Amendola, who was upended before landing on the goal line.
The Jets went four-and-out and then Brady took over again, completing seven of nine attempts for 65 yards and ending it on a 15-yarder to a wide open Gronkowski, who trotted in untouched to make it 30-20.
NOTES: Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski, who made all three of his field goal attempts, has made 24 in a row and is one short of Adam Vinatieri’s franchise record for consecutive FGs. The NFL record is 42, by Indianapolis’ Mike Vanderjagt. … Gronkowski had his 18th career 100-yard game, seventh-most among NFL tight ends. …. Brady became the fifth player in NFL history to reach 55,000 passing yards. …. Jets coach Todd Bowles said center Nick Mangold suffered a neck injury and would have X-rays on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
Steelers 13, Chiefs 23
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs had been in the same position twice before this season, trying to hold onto a dwindling fourth-quarter lead inside Arrowhead Stadium.
This time, they managed to do it.
Alex Smith calmly led the Chiefs downfield in the closing minutes, hitting Chris Conley with a short touchdown toss, and Kansas City held off the ailing Pittsburgh Steelers 23-13 on Sunday to snap a five-game skid with its first home victory this season.
Smith threw for 251 yards, while Charcandrick West added 110 yards rushing and his first career TD as the Chiefs (2-5) finally earned a celebration in their home locker room. Meanwhile, the Chiefs shut down Pittsburgh’s Landry Jones, who made his first NFL start in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Vick. Jones threw for 209 yards and a touchdown, but he was also picked off twice and lost a fumble that helped end the game. LeVeon Bell ran for 121 yards for the Steelers (4-3), who had won three straight against Kansas City. Antonio Brown had six catches for 124 yards, while Martavis Bryant caught his 11th touchdown pass in 12 career games. Tomlin said that Roethlisberger, still out with a knee injury, was close to being ready to play, and that the quarterback should be ready to go next week against Cincinnati.
The first half amounted to a field-goal fest, which wasn’t all that surprising considering the amount of offensive talent that both teams were missing to injury.
Santos hit three of them after Chiefs drives stalled in the red zone, though he did miss a 54-yarder just before the half. Chris Boswell knocked through a 24-yarder for Pittsburgh.
The Chiefs finally established a cushion midway through the third quarter.
It began when Jones threw a pass over the middle that skipped away from Brown and right to Berry, who reacted quickly enough to make the diving interception.
The Chiefs capitalized by driving 47 yards, at one point using a hurry-up offense to keep Pittsburgh off-balance. West finally plunged in from a yard on third-and-goal to end a streak of seven trips to the red zone without a touchdown, and giving Kansas City a 16-3 lead.
Pittsburgh quickly answered behind Jones, whose 41-yard completion to Brown helped set up its lone touchdown. Jones lofted a pass that Bryant hauled in while tip-toing in the corner of the end zone — replays confirmed he made the reception after initially bobbling it.
The Chiefs were forced to punt, the Steelers added another field goal, and suddenly it looked as if another fourth-quarter lead would evaporate at Arrowhead Stadium.
This time, the struggling Kansas City offense — missing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to injury and with a revamped offensive line — made every play that mattered.
Smith hit tight end Travis Kelce for a 26-yard reception to convert a third down, and West ripped off a 36-yard run moments later. He added a short run on an option play to convert another third down, and Smith hit Conley from 5 yards with 5:13 left to put the game away.
Notes: Steelers CBs William Gay (shoulder) and Antwon Blake (concussion) left the game. Their status for next week was unknown. … The Chiefs last beat Pittsburgh on Nov. 27, 2011. … Chiefs LB Tamba Hali had his second and third sacks of the season. … The Steelers had been plus-6 in turnover differential, tied for the league lead. They were minus-3 on Sunday.
Raiders 37, Chargers 29
SAN DIEGO (AP) — For three quarters, the Oakland Raiders embarrassed their possible future stadium mates, the San Diego Chargers.
Not only did Oakland practically run San Diego out of its own stadium, but there were enough Raiders fans to make it feel almost like a home game.
Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes, including a nifty 52-yarder to Amari Cooper, and Oakland turned two interceptions of Philip Rivers into 10 points on its way to a 37-29 victory over the Chargers on Sunday in what could be the last showdown between the AFC West foes played in San Diego.
It was the first meeting of the Raiders (3-3) and Chargers (2-5) since their owners announced plans to build a $1.7 billion stadium in an industrial Los Angeles suburb if they can’t get new stadiums in their home markets.
Coming off a bye, the Raiders looked quicker and more efficient. They scored on their first seven drives and kept the Chargers out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.
Veteran safety Charles Woodson said allowing 23 points in the fourth quarter “was almost like a blueprint for how not to finish games.”
Del Rio didn’t seem perturbed about that.
“That’s not going to be the focus. The focus is going to be that we got a win that we needed,” Del Rio said.
Cooper, the first-round draft pick out of Alabama, caught a short pass from Carr on an inside screen and raced through the defense to give the Raiders a 30-3 lead just before halftime. He finished with five catches for 133 yards.
Carr, the second-year pro out of Fresno State, also threw touchdown passes of 23 yards to Clive Walford and 25 yards to Michael Crabtree. Carr was 24 of 31 for 289 yards.
The Raiders didn’t have to punt until midway through the third quarter.
aid coach Mike McCoy: “It was poor all around. It’s pathetic. That first half was pathetic. No excuses it starts with me. Put it on me.”
The Chargers got in trouble right away in their third consecutive loss.
Oakland’s Malcolm Smith intercepted a tipped pass on the game’s third play and returned to the San Diego 2. Latavius Murray scored on a 1-yard run two plays later.
Sebastian Janikowski kicked the first of his three field goals, from 29 yards, and Carr found Walford for an easy 23-yard score and a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter.
Two plays into the next San Diego drive, Rivers tried to force a pass to Keenan Allen and it was picked off by DJ Hayden, giving the Raiders the ball at the Chargers 31. Janikowski kicked a 32-yard field goal.
The Chargers played without star tight end Antonio Gates (knee) and safety Eric Weddle (groin), and rookie running back Melvin Gordon was benched for the first half, apparently more punishment for his two fumbles in a gut-wrenching 27-20 loss at Green Bay. Gordon was benched for the second half of that game after losing one of the two fumbles. He has lost three of four fumbles this season.
The Chargers’ future in San Diego is uncertain. They walked away from negotiations with city and county officials for a new stadium in mid-June and have been focusing on getting to Los Angeles. The Chargers and Raiders apparently were spooked into action after St. Louis owner Stan Kroenke announced plans for a stadium in Inglewood.
Rivers was 38 of 58 for 336 yards. He had scoring passes of 31 yards to Ladarius Green and 8 and 6 yards to Danny Woodhead, all in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Chargers LG Orlando Franklin left with a knee injury. He missed the previous three games with a high ankle sprain. … Raiders LB Neiron Ball also left with a knee injury. … The Chargers have lost five of their last seven AFC games and eight of 11 games overall.
Cowboys 20, Giants 27
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Coughlin’s Giants have a flair for the dramatic.
America saw that in their two Super Bowl upsets of New England, and America’s Team got to see it firsthand Sunday in Coughlin’s 100th regular-season win as Giants coach, 27-20 over Dallas.
This one was all about pouncing on Cowboys mistakes.
Coughlin, 69, joined Hall of Famer Steve Owen as the only Giants coaches with 100 wins. And Coughlin also has 12 in the postseason, with those two championships.
New York snapped a five-game slide against Dallas as Dwayne Harris ran back a kickoff 100 yards for the winning points in the fourth quarter against his former teammates. That boosted the Giants (4-3) into first place alone in the NFC East. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had two interceptions, returning one 58 yards for a touchdown. Brandon Meriweather also had a pick, while Myles White grabbed Cole Beasley’s muff of a punt in the final minutes to put it away. Harris spent four seasons in Dallas without running back a kickoff for a score. But he tied a Giants record set in 1994 by romping untouched to the end zone.
The Cowboys (2-4), losers of four in a row without injured offensive stars Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, got a big game from Darren McFadden. Starting running back Joseph Randle left early with a strained back, and McFadden rushed for 152 yards and a TD.
Matt Cassel, in his first start for the benched Brandon Weeden while Romo heals, forced some throws, and New York took advantage.
This third-period score was the seventh touchdown in Rodgers-Cromartie’s eight pro seasons, six by interceptions. He had a 57-yard runback with a fumble against Dallas in the season opener.
Two plays later, Cassel uncorked a wobbler down the left sideline for Terrance Williams, and Meriweather made a leaping pick at the Giants 1. Rueben Randle, making like receiving mate Odell Beckham Jr., followed with a terrific one-handed catch down the sideline on Brandon Carr, the same cornerback Beckham victimized last season for his play of the year. That 44-yarder immediately was followed by Shane Vereen’s 39-yard burst, and Josh Brown completed the 83-yard drive with a 34-yard field goal for a 20-13 lead.
Cromartie’s other interception, the third Giants pick within five throws by Cassel, led to nothing, and then Cassel found the range. He guided Dallas on an 80-yard drive, with a pinpoint pass to Devin Street, whose first career TD came on a tip-toe reception in the right corner of the end zone.
Thirteen seconds later, Harris was sprinting down the right sideline for the winning points.
McFadden had a 1-yard TD and Dan Bailey made field goals of 30 and 48 yards for Dallas. McFadden last had a 100-yard rushing performance in Week 2 of 2013 while with Oakland.
Dallas lost an interception deep in New York territory on a replay review. Eli Manning’s pass ricocheted off the foot of cornerback Byron Jones and was grabbed by the diving rookie. But after the call was overturned, Brown made a 47-yarder, his 18th straight successful field goal, a franchise mark he later extended.
But it was another special-teamer who made the difference.
Eagles 16, Panthers 27
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Mike Tolbert has heard the critics question the legitimacy of the Carolina Panthers’ unbeaten start to the season.
The veteran fullback laughs it off, saying he couldn’t care less.
Tolbert kept pounding Sunday night — right into the end zone. Tolbert scored two touchdowns — bulldozing over four players to get in on one pass play — and Cam Newton ran for one score and threw for another as the Panthers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-16 on Sunday night to improve to 6-0 for the first time in franchise history.
“That’s the motto of this franchise is to keep pounding and we showed a little bit of that,” Newton said.
Tolbert epitomized that motto.
With the Panthers lead 14-6, Tolbert caught a pass in the flat from Newton at the Eagles 2, got knocked 3 yards back by Malcolm Jenkins, regained his momentum and bulled his way into the end zone through four Eagles.
With the win, the Panthers became the fifth NFL team this season to reach 6-0, joining New England, Denver, Cincinnati and Green Bay.
The Panthers held Sam Bradford to 205 yards passing and sacked him five times, including two by Jared Allen to help seal the win. Ryan Mathews ran for 97 yards on just six carries, including a 63-yard touchdown, but the Eagles (3-4) were only able to convert three interceptions by Newton into six points.
Newton finished 14 of 24 for 197 yards. Two of his picks hit off the hands of his wide receivers.
Newton took another step toward rewriting the NFL record book.
It marked the fourth time this season and 28th time in his career he has run and thrown for a touchdown in the same game — only three behind Hall of Famer Steve Young for the league record.
Jonathan Stewart ran for 119 yards for Carolina, which has won a franchise-record 10 straight regular-season games dating to last season.
Last November, the Panthers turned the ball over on two of their first three plays in an embarrassing 45-21 loss to the Eagles on Monday Night Football.
The Panthers started off this game much quicker.
Stewart ran twice for 45 yards on Carolina’s first two plays from scrimmage, Newton zipped a pass to Philly Brown for 25 yards and Tolbert scored on the fourth play of the drive on a 2-yard run for a quick 7-0 lead.
The Panthers pushed the lead to 14-3 when Newton reached the ball across the goal line for a 2-yard score. It was his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. Young totaled 43 career rushing touchdowns over 15 seasons. Newton has 37 just six games into his fifth season.
Tolbert pushed the lead to 21-6 when he caught a pass in the flat, bounced off a hit from Malcolm Jenkins and carried four Eagles into the end zone with him for a 2-yard TD reception.
But the Eagles wouldn’t go away.
Mathews’ 63-yard burst up the middle quieted the crowd, and cornerback Byron Maxwell intercepted Newton on a ball that deflected off the hands of Devin Funchess leading to a field goal by the Eagles.
Trailing 24-16, the Eagles had one last chance to tie and send it into overtime, but Allen came up with two sacks and a batted ball on a crucial series with less than three minutes to play. Allen now has 136 career sacks, more than any active player in the league.
Eagles seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters was carted off the field in the first quarter with back spasms after he fell to the ground while trying to block Allen.
NOTES: Rivera said defensive end Mario Addison has a sprained shoulder and will miss next Monday night’s game against the Indianapolis. … DeMarco Murray had 65 yards on 18 carries for the Eagles.
Ravens 18, Cardinals 26
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Chris Johnson rolled his way to a big play, Joe Flacco couldn’t quite respond with one of his own.
And the Arizona Cardinals escaped with a 26-18 victory over the luckless Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.
Johnson rushed for 122 yards, 62 on a play where he rolled over the belly of a big defender and kept on running to set up a field goal.
Baltimore (1-6) drove to the 4 in the final seconds before Tony Jefferson’s interception deep in the end zone clinched the victory for NFC West-leading Arizona (5-2).
Arizona led 26-10 before Asa Jackson’s blocked a punt to set up Joe Flacco’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Juszczyk. The 2-point conversion pass to Nick Boyle made it an eight-point game with 4:26 to play.
Baltimore got the ball back and Flacco quickly moved the team downfield before the final ill-fated throw.
The eight-point loss was the most one-sided of the season for the Ravens.
Johnson also ran 26 yards for a touchdown. The 30-year-old running back, signed late in training camp after recovering from a gunshot wound during the offseason, topped 100 yards for the third time this season and didn’t even play in the fourth quarter. The last Arizona player to do that was Edgerrin James in 2007.
Palmer completed 20 of 29 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Flacco was 26 for 40 for 252 yards, with a touchdown and that one interception. The Ravens’ Justin Forsett had a 14-yard touchdown run but finished with only 36 yards in 12 carries.
A 26-10 lead seemed comfortable before Bryant burst up the middle to block Drew Butler’s punt to set up the final Ravens touchdown.
The play of the night came in the third quarter, when Johnson hit the line and was pulled down, but he came to rest on the belly of 6-foot-1, 335-pound Brandon Williams. Johnson’s knee or elbow didn’t touch, so he alertly got up and kept running to the 4. The play set up Chandler Catanzaro’s second 21-yard field goal, making it a two-possession game at 20-10.
After Arizona scored again, Catanzaro’s try for the conversion bounced off the right upright and was no good, setting the stage for the tight finish.
The only turnover of night, before Jefferson’s interception, led to a touchdown that put the Cardinals up 14-10 at the half and Arizona never trailed again.
Baltimore, leading 10-7, forced a punt late in the second quarter.
Justin Bethel, a Pro Bowl player on special teams the last two years, stripped the ball from punt returner Jeremy Ross’ hands and recovered at the Ravens 25. Penalties gave Arizona a series of chances inside the 5 and, finally, Palmer threw 3 yards to Michael Floyd for the score to put Arizona up 10-7 with 1:01 left in the half.