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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: Bills, Jaguars, Eagles, Redskins
Dolphins 7, Patriots 36
OXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady started fast, finished strong and looked ordinary for a chunk in between.
The New England Patriots still won easily.
Brady threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns — two to Julian Edelman — and the Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 36-7 on Thursday night to become the first of the NFL’s five unbeaten teams to reach seven wins.
Stephen Gostkowski broke Adam Vinatieri’s franchise record for consecutive field goals by connecting from 52 and 36 yards to make it 26 in a row. Rob Gronkowski had 113 yards receiving and a touchdown, and Dion Lewis had 93 yards receiving and one score.
“It’s not simple,” Brady said. “A lot of guys working really hard to be on the same page.”
The loss was the first for Miami (3-4) under interim coach Dan Campbell. The Dolphins scored 82 points in wins over the lowly Titans and Texans in Campbell’s first two games after replacing Joe Philbin. But they were completely overmatched against the defending Super Bowl champions.
It could be an even bigger loss for the Dolphins because four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake was carted off the field with an Achilles tendon injury. Campbell didn’t have an update on the extent of the injury.
The Patriots are 7-0 for the second time in franchise history and first time since going 16-0 in 2007. They’ve scored at least 28 points in every game and 30 or more in six straight.
A week after setting an NFL record with 25 straight completions, Ryan Tannehill had a rough night against New England. He threw two interceptions and no TDs.
Some things we learned from New England’s 19th win in the last 20 games against AFC East opponents:
DYNAMIC DION: Lewis returned after missing a game and the 5-foot-8 running back provided a spark. He finished with 112 total yards, including a 17-yard catch on third-and-16 to keep the first drive going. “If you’re out there playing, you’re expected to make plays,” Lewis said.
SHUTDOWN D: While Brady and the offense had a slow start, New England’s defense made sure they led the whole way by dominating Tannehill and shutting down Lamar Miller. He ran for just 15 yards on nine carries. “They’ve been hot. We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy on a short week and stop them before they got started,” said Logan Ryan, who had one of the Patriots’ picks.
MR. MOTIVATION: The Dolphins beat up on teams that are 3-10 combined. They ran into an elite team and were blown out. But the fiery Campbell will make sure they stay upbeat. “Not one bit do I believe that’s really who we are, and I told them that I don’t want to forget that feeling right there,” Campbell said. “Don’t forget it. I hope it eats away at them, just like it’s eating away at me, and I hope it drives them to not want to have that taste in their mouths ever again.”
MONEY KICK: Gostkowski extended his NFL-record consecutive extra points streak to 439 and had a tough kick into the wind to tie Vinatieri. He’s still a long way from Mike Vanderjagt’s NFL record 42 straight field goals. “It’s just fun to be on a team that wins and scores a lot,” he said. “You know you’re going to get a bunch of opportunities.”
NOT MILLER TIME: Miller had a tough night after two outstanding games. He had 175 yards rushing against Houston and 113 vs. Tennessee. “We came in wanting to run the football, expecting to run the football,” Tannehill said. “It took us a while to get going once our run game stalled.”
Lions 10, Chiefs 45 @ London
LONDON (AP) — When Alex Smith had no options left, he ran. And he ran far.
The Kansas City quarterback carried the ball five times and gained 78 yards, including a career-high 49-yard scramble in the second quarter that set up his 12-yard touchdown run.
With a comfortable lead in hand, Smith settled into his usual role, throwing for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Chiefs to a 45-10 victory over the Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium in the last of three regular-season NFL games in London.
De’Anthony Thomas, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware also rushed for touchdowns — the first time the Chiefs had four different players rush for scores in the same game since 1960. Thomas ended up with 100 total yards, while West ran for 97. Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin caught the two TD passes in the second half.
The Chiefs (3-5) were at Wembley for the first time, while the Lions (1-7) played in London for the second straight season.
The Lions were playing for the first time since offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter took over for the fired Joe Lombardi. And although the offense got moving on the opening possession, it stalled horribly after that.
Matthew Stafford threw for 217 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Also, Calvin Johnson had 85 receiving yards, while Joique Bell ran for 56. But after the Lions took a 3-0 lead on 35-yard field goal from Matt Prater, Detroit was hapless with the ball.
The Kansas City pass rush posed huge problems for the Lions, and Stafford’s two interceptions resulted in 10 points going the other way. He was sacked six times, including on fourth-and-8 near midfield early in the fourth quarter while trailing 31-3.
Smith also got tackled a few times, mainly because he was running effectively and picking up some key yardage. The quarterback helped set up the first touchdown by scrambling 8 yards for a first down. On the next play, Thomas ran in from the 10.
At the start of the second quarter, Smith ran for a career-high 49 yards to open a drive. On third-and-10 from the 12, Smith scrambled into the left corner to make it 14-3.
On the defensive side, Sean Smith and Justin Houston both picked off passes from Stafford. Smith’s interception resulted in a 33-yard field goal from Cairo Santos. Houston’s pick set up West’s 8-yard TD run up the middle.
Kelce caught a touchdown pass from the 2 at the start of the second half, and Maclin scored from 17 yards right after Thomas returned a punt 37 yards to the 16.
With the game out reach, Stafford threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Lance Moore. But Ware restored the 35-point lead with Chase Daniel in at quarterback by running in from the 4.
The Lions trailed by 21 points at the half, the same deficit they erased last year at Wembley by scoring 22 unanswered points against Atlanta. But Sunday’s ineffective offense will lead to more questions for Caldwell, who fired Lombardi after last week’s 28-19 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
NOTES: The 45 points by the Chiefs tied the most by a team playing in London. The Patriots also scored that many when they routed the St. Louis Rams 45-7 in 2012. … Attendance was 83,624, the smallest of the crowds at this year’s three regular-season games at Wembley. The last game, when the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Buffalo Bills 34-31, drew 84,021 fans. There were 83,986 spectators for the opening game, when the New York Jets beat the Miami Dolphins 27-14.
Cardinals 34, Browns 20
CLEVELAND (AP) — Arizona coach Bruce Arians didn’t throw a chair or erupt into a tirade at halftime. The Cardinals didn’t have to be told how badly they were playing.
So Carson Palmer and his teammates went out and did something about it.
Palmer threw four touchdown passes — three in the second half — as the Cardinals scored 27 unanswered points for a 34-20 win Sunday over the Browns, who lost two defensive starters with concussions and have reached a crisis point in their season.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said Arians delivered a simple message.”He said, ‘We’re either pretenders or contenders. And it’s up to you to show who you are in the second half,'” Fitzgerald said. “When coach challenges you like that, we had to come out and respond.”
Palmer finished with 374 yards passing, including TDs on the first two possessions of the third quarter as the Cardinals (6-2) overcame a 20-10 halftime deficit. His third TD after halftime, a 6-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald, gave Arizona a 31-20 lead.
When they got to the locker room at halftime, the Cardinals were bracing themselves for the wrath of Arians. He decided to take a softer approach.
Michael Floyd had a 60-yard TD catch and tight end Troy Niklas had two short TD receptions to help the Cardinals overcome four turnovers and win in Cleveland for the first time since 1985.
The Browns (2-6) dropped their third straight, and cornerback Joe Haden and safety Donte Whitner sustained concussions on consecutive plays in the third quarter.
Browns quarterback Josh McCown had three TD passes in the first half, but the 36-year-old also played much of the second half in pain after taking a shot to already tender ribs. McCown said he never considered leaving the field and hopes to play Thursday night when the Browns visit the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals.
After beating Baltimore on Monday night, the Cardinals had a short week to prepare for their trip to Cleveland, and for long stretches they seemed ill-prepared. An early fumble by running back Chris Johnson helped the Browns build a 20-7 lead in the first half.
Johnson rushed for 109 yards on 30 carries and Chandler Catanzaro kicked two field goals for Arizona, which improved to 21-5 in non-division games under Arians.
Arizona’s offense went to work quickly after halftime.
Floyd, who finished with 106 yards, got behind Haden down the right sideline and hauled in a pass from Palmer, who just missed connecting on several long throws in the first half.
Arians joked that Floyd had been asking to get the ball.
Still trailing 20-17, the Cardinals then took the lead on Palmer’s 1-yard toss to Niklas.
McCown missed practice time this week with a sore right shoulder and ribs, injuries sustained last week in St. Louis. He took a hard hit from linebacker Kevin Minter in the third quarter and grimaced as he got off the field before dropping to a knee. He was examined by trainers and returned.
McCown bent over several times as he fought the pain, and at one point he waved off Cleveland’s coaches and backup Johnny Manziel, who finally came in with 2:16 left and may have to play Thursday.
NOTES: The Cardinals had lost their two previous games in Cleveland. They were based in St. Louis the last time they won on Lake Erie’s shoreline. … Fitzgerald, who had 9 catches for 84 yards, rolled his right ankle in the end zone on his TD, but returned. … Arizona has a bye next week before visiting Seattle on Nov. 15.
Vikings 23, Bears 20
CHICAGO (AP) — Adrian Peterson’s legs, Blair Walsh’s foot and Teddy Bridgewater’s poise lifted Minnesota to a rare Windy City win.
With no time to spare, either.
Peterson ran for 103 yards and Walsh kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired to lift Minnesota to a 23-20 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Just when it seemed this one was slipping away, they dug in. Bridgewater led two late scoring drives to send Minnesota (5-2) to its third straight win.
Stefon Diggs turned a short pass into a 40-yard TD when he spun around Sherrick McManis and went up the left side, tying it with 1:49 left.
After Chicago (2-5) punted, Bridgewater hit a leaping Charles Johnson for a 35-yard pass that put the ball on the 27. Two plays later Walsh booted the winner, pumping his right arm as the ball went through the uprights.
The Bears lost star running back Matt Forte and receiver Eddie Royal to knee injuries while dropping their second straight game. Coach John Fox had no details on the injuries to Forte and Royal, who hurt his left knee.
Forte was seen slightly favoring his right leg after the game. A fan asked if he was OK, and he said, “Yeah.”
The loss comes two days after a stunning police report saying former defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff threatened team staff when he was released. He was seen having an animated discussion with general manager Ryan Pace in the parking lot outside Halas Hall a week and a half ago, and the team announced his release a day later.
On Sunday, the Bears had trouble containing Peterson and came up short when it looked like they were ready to pull out the win. Peterson carried 20 times for Minnesota. Bridgewater threw for just 187 yards and a touchdown but came through in the closing minutes.
Diggs had six catches — all but one in the second half — for 95 yards. Marcus Sherels returned a punt 65 yards untouched up the right sideline for an early touchdown, and the Vikings won at Soldier Field for the first time since 2007. They also ended another long road losing streak after a win at Detroit last week, their first away from home over an NFC North team since 2012.
“I think it’s a huge milestone,” Bridgewater said.
Cutler completed 22 of 33 passes for 211 yards for Chicago. He also threw for a touchdown, giving him 137 as a Bear and tying Sid Luckman’s club record.
Cutler said he “instantly regretted” lowering his shoulder on that touchdown run. He appeared a little woozy after the play, but he said he felt fine.
Alshon Jeffery had 116 yards receiving, including a leaping, twisting touchdown grab in the first half after an interception by Kyle Fuller. Forte had 41 yards rushing and 28 receiving before he walked to the locker room early in the second half.
Robbie Gould kicked two field goals, including a 55-yarder, for Chicago.
NOTES: The Bears shuffled their offensive line with C Hroniss Grasu (neck) sidelined. Matt Slauson moved from left guard to center, Vladimir Ducasse slid from right guard to left guard, and Patrick Omameh started at right guard. … Sherels’ 65-yarder was the third-longest punt return of his career. He ran one back 77 yards against Detroit in 2012 and another 86 yards against the New York Giants in 2013. … Peterson has run for 1,499 in 13 games against Chicago.
Giants 49, Saints 52
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees has heard his critics getting louder this season.
The talk might be about the 36-year-old quarterback’s advancing age. Or his ability to bounce back from a Week 2 throwing-shoulder injury. Or his $20 million annual salary causing the Saints undue salary-cap pressure.
Yet Brees contends he can play as well as ever, and on Sunday against the New York Giants, he sure did.
New York’s Eli Manning connected on a career-high six touchdown passes, three to fellow New Orleans native Odell Beckham Jr.Manning had lost his previous two visits to the Superdome, where his father, Archie, starred for the Saints. But those games were in 2009, when the Saints became Super Bowl champions, and 2011, when New Orleans was setting numerous offensive records in a 13-win season.
The 2015 Saints (4-4) are younger and a little raw, but seem to be hitting their stride, having won four of five after an 0-3 start that ignited all kinds of predictions about the demise of the Sean Payton-Brees era.
Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead each had two touchdown catches. Brees’ other three scoring passes went to Marques Colston, Ben Watson and C.J. Spiller, the last to tie the score at 49 with 36 seconds left.
Only seven other players threw seven TD passes in a game, including Peyton Manning and Nick Foles in 2013. Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle and Joe Kapp also did it between 1943-69.
The Saints then forced the Giants (4-4) to punt from their 25 with 20 seconds to go. Marcus Murphy returned Brad Wing’s punt 24 yards across the 50 and fumbled, but Snead recovered. Wing may have been better served punting the ball out of bounds. Instead, he tried to make a tackle, but was flagged for a facemask. That penalty set up the winning kick on Forbath’s first field goal attempt with New Orleans, which signed him before last week’s victory at Indianapolis. It was the fifth winning field goal for the former Washington Redskins kicker and tied his career long.
Forbath got the game ball, though he said Brees deserved it. Brees said he was fine with Forbath getting the honor, adding that he told the kicker, “Don’t get cocky. There’ll be more.”
The Saints pulled out the victory after the Giants stormed back from a 42-28 hole.
Manning started the comeback with a 9-yard TD to Dwayne Harris on a difficult throw to his left as he was rolling right on fourth-and-5. Manning later hit Harris from 20 yards to tie it at 42.
The Saints responded by driving across the 50, but Snead fumbled on a vicious hit by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who had intercepted Brees earlier in the game. The ball bounced into the arms of Trumaine McBride, who sprinted 63 yards for a go-ahead touchdown.
Beckham’s first two touchdowns came from short-range throws in the first half. In the third quarter, Beckham got behind Delvin Breaux and Jairus Byrd for a 50-yard catch, tying it at 28.
Brees’ longest pass went for 53 yards on Colston’s touchdown, a play on which the Giants appeared confused over who should cover New Orleans’ all-time leading receiver on a no-frills route down the middle. Colston had eight catches for 114 yards. Watson caught nine passes for 147 yards.
The Superdome remained a house of horrors for Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who in 2012 oversaw a Saints defense that gave up an NFL-record 7,042 yards. The Giants entered the game ranked 29th, giving up 401.7 yards per game. The Saints finished with 614 offensive yards.
New Orleans’ defense, coached by Spagnuolo’s replacement, Rob Ryan, came in ranked 30th and gave up 416 yards, above its average of 404.9.
NOTES Saints running back Khiry Robinson was carted off the field with his lower right leg in an air compression sleeve in the first half. The Saints did not immediately provide an update on his diagnosis. … Giants tight end Larry Donnell left the game with what Coughlin said were neck spasms.
49ers 6, Rams 27
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Todd Gurley is hard to bring down, and Tavon Austin is difficult to lay a finger on. That was quite a 1-2 punch for the St. Louis Rams.
Gurley concedes he’s not as fast.
“Oh yeah, I’m 225 (pounds),” the rookie said after setting the tone in a 27-6 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. “I can’t beat a guy that’s 180.”
Gurley rushed for 133 yards on 20 carries, topping 100 yards for the fourth straight start to open his career. Austin caught a 66-yard touchdown pass and outran the defense to the pylon for a 2-yard score, compensating for an early lost fumble.
The Rams defense was stout, too, with three sacks and a safety. The St. Louis defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown the last two games, permitting just four field goals.
Gurley, who had a 71-yard touchdown run, is the first rookie to open his career with four consecutive 100-yard games according to STATS with data available since 1991. Gurley’s 566 rushing yards are the most in a player’s 1st four NFL starts in the Super Bowl era, according to the league. The Rams (4-3) are 3-0 against the NFC West for the first time since 2004, and they’re above .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2006. \
The 49ers (2-6) were hit hard by injuries, losing Reggie Bush early to a knee injury, and haven’t scored a touchdown in two games. They’ve lost six of seven, are 0-3 in the division and have lost two straight to St. Louis for the first time since 2004.
San Francisco was short-handed at running back after Bush, starting in place of the injured Carlos Hyde, hurt a knee on a punt return in the first quarter. Bush slipped on concrete near the stands a week after Browns quarterback Josh McCown was shaken up sliding on concrete into a pad in front of the stands.
Coach Jim Tomsula said he didn’t see how Bush was injured.
The losers managed 189 yards and two field goals by Phil Dawson. James Laurinaitis and Michael Brockers tackled Mike Davis in the end zone on a run for a safety.
Both teams were whistled for 93 yards in penalties. The 49ers had a very costly call when Ahmad Brooks was called for grabbing Benny Cunningham’s facemask, negating Brooks’ 41-yard return for touchdown and retaining possession for St. Louis.
Gurley was untouched on his 71-yarder up the middle in the second quarter. Defenders lost ground as he picked up speed for the score that combined with a 2-point pass to Jared Cook made it 10-3.
Austin’s 2-yard run with 18 seconds to go in the half put St. Louis up 20-6, a score set up by Cook’s 49-yard reception after a pair of 49ers collided trying to make the tackle.
The Rams’ 3-0 start against the NFC West is their best since they won seven in a row from Nov. 23, 2003, to Dec. 5, 2004. The franchise hasn’t had a winning record since ’03 and owner Stan Kroenke wants to move back to Los Angeles.
The last rookie with a starting streak of four straight 100-yarders at any point in the season was Edgerrin James of Indianapolis in 1999.
NOTES: 49ers WR Anquan Boldin (hamstring) was inactive for the first time in three seasons with the 49ers. … Bush, 49ers backup safety L.J. McCray (right leg), TE Garrett Celek (concussion) and RB Mike Davis (hand) were ruled out at the start of the second half, and P Bradley Pinion (calf) was knocked out in the fourth quarter. … Austin has a career-best seven touchdowns, one more than he had as a rookie in 2013. … Rams P Johnny Hekker averaged 49.8 yards in eight attempts and the 49ers had minus-1 yard in returns.
Buccaneers 23, Falcons 20 OT
ATLANTA (AP) — Tampa Bay did all it could to squander another big lead.
Fortunately for the Buccaneers, they ran up against a team that seemed even more determined to lose.
Taking advantage of four turnovers, Tampa Bay jumped to a 17-point edge on the Atlanta Falcons before winning 23-20 in overtime Sunday when Connor Barth kicked a 31-yard field goal and the defense stuffed the final drive.
Instead, Jameis Winston led an impressive drive on the first possession of OT, converting three times on third down before Barth made his third field goal of the game.
After the field goal, Atlanta’s offense got a chance in overtime but didn’t even make it to midfield. On fourth down, Ryan was heavily pressured by Gerald McCoy and Howard Jones, forcing a desperation pass that wasn’t close to anyone.
Tampa Bay finally got to celebrate, though one player did so with a heavy heart. Rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander, who had an interception and a fumble recovery, played two days after his younger brother was killed in a fight.
The Falcons rallied from a 20-3 deficit, benefiting from a highly questionable decision by Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Bucs 40 with 2 minutes remaining.
Winston looked to pass, then attempted to run, only to get stopped with a big hit by Ricardo Allen. The Falcons — with no timeouts but a much shorter field to work with than they would’ve had after a punt — drove for the tying touchdown. Jones got loose in the back of the end zone to haul in the pass from Ryan.
The Falcons were again their own worst enemy. They lost three fumbles and threw an interception, running their turnover total to 12 in the past four games. They also were penalized 11 times for 124 yards.
Each time Atlanta turned it over, Tampa Bay followed with a score. It was simply too much for the home team to overcome, handing the Falcons an unexpected loss after they won six of their first seven games under rookie coach Dan Quinn, matching their win total for last season.
Tampa Bay, with a rookie quarterback, didn’t turn it over at all.
The flurry of mistakes began with Jones getting the ball stripped by Alexander after catching a pass over the middle, setting up Barth’s first field goal.
Atlanta then squandered a prime scoring opportunity with a botched snap by Mike Person on second-and-goal at the Bucs 4. Jacquies Smith pounced on it for the Bucs, who then went 73 yards for another field goal.
On another drive into Tampa Bay territory, Alexander came through again. He picked off Ryan’s ill-advised pass into triple coverage and returned it 15 yards to midfield. Winston did the rest, connecting with Cameron Brate on a 20-yard TD with 30 seconds remaining.
As the players trotted off the field, the Atlanta fans showered their team with boos.
There were more to come.
Ryan tried to fake a handoff, but lost the ball at the Bucs 20 on the Falcons’ first possession of the second half. Henry Melton recovered, and Tampa Bay drove 76 yards in just seven plays, capped by Winston’s 4-yard touchdown run.
Notes: Jones had 99 yards receiving in the opening quarter and finished with 162 yards on 12 catches. Jacob Tamme added 10 receptions for 103 yards. … Tampa Bay was outgained in total yards 496-290. … The Bucs had eight penalties for 43 yards. … Freeman rushed for 88 yards after gaining more than 100 yards in three straight games. … The Falcons lost CBs Desmond Trufant (lower back) and Robert Alford (groin) to injuries.
Chargers 26, Ravens 29
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens finally found a way to win a close game. For San Diego, the wait continues.
Justin Tucker kicked a 39-yard field goal on the final play, and the Ravens overcame another record-setting performance by Philip Rivers in a 29-26 victory Sunday.
It was a costly win for Baltimore: leading receiver Steve Smith tore his right Achilles tendon in the third quarter and is lost for the season. The 36-year-old has said he will retire after this season, his 15th in the NFL.
“What hurts the most is I can’t be out there with my guys,” said Smith, who had 82 yards receiving to move into 10th place on the career list with 13,932.
Joe Flacco threw for 319 yards and ran for a score to help Baltimore (2-6) snap a three-game skid and hand the Chargers (2-6) their fourth straight defeat.
The Ravens’ six losses this season have come by a combined 30 points, and their only win before Sunday came in overtime. And so, as the clock wound down, Baltimore found itself in a familiar situation.
Tucker’s fifth field goal came three plays after a third-down pass interference call against Steve Williams moved the ball 21 yards to the San Diego 22.
The Ravens have a long road ahead if they are to rebound from the worst start in franchise history, but they’re hoping this was a start.
Rivers went 28 for 37 for 301 yards, his franchise-record fifth consecutive 300-yard game. Two of his touchdown passes went to Malcom Floyd, including a 70-yarder.
But for the third time this season, San Diego lost on the game’s final play. The Chargers couldn’t score in the fourth quarter at Green Bay on Oct. 18, one week after giving up a last-second touchdown against Pittsburgh in a 24-20 defeat.
San Diego’s losing streak is comprised of defeats of 4, 7, 8 and 3 points. That’s one thing, besides a losing record, that the Ravens and Chargers have in common.
Baltimore went ahead 26-23 with 4:34 to go when Flacco scored on a quarterback sneak to end a concise 38-yard drive that followed a 17-yard punt return by Jeremy Ross.
Rivers began the ensuing drive with a 26-yard pass to Danny Woodhead, and the Chargers pulled even on a 49-yard field goal from Josh Lambo with 2:07 remaining.
But the Ravens answered. One week earlier, and in the opener at Denver, Baltimore came up short with a chance to win in the waning minutes.
Flacco went 25 for 37 and also faced the challenge of handling some off-the-mark shotgun snaps from John Urschel, who replaced injured center Jeremy Zuttah in the second half.
In a back-and-forth game, San Diego went up 23-16 in the third quarter when Rivers beat a blitz to connect with Floyd on that 70-yard score. Rivers threw the pass an instant before getting tackled by free safety Kendrick Lewis, who vacated his usual spot deep in coverage to pursue the quarterback.
It was Rivers’ longest completion since 2012 and the longest of Floyd’s career.
Baltimore responded with Tucker’s fourth field goal, a 45-yarder on the final play of the quarter.
Rivers completed 19 of 22 passes in the first half. His second touchdown pass provided the Chargers with a 16-13 lead at the break.
NOTES: San Diego had to play with a makeshift offensive line. LG Orlando Franklin (ankle) was inactive; LT King Dunlap limped off with an ankle problem in the first quarter and was replaced by Chris Hairston, who briefly left the game with a knee injury but returned. Center Chris Watt sustained a shoulder injury and Trevor Robinson subbed for him. … Zuttah and TE Crockett Gillmore both left with arm injuries for Baltimore.
Bengals 16, Steelers 10
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Down to a last chance, Andy Dalton showed why these Bengals are the best ever through seven games.
Dalton passed for Cincinnati’s only touchdown with 2:57 to go, and the Bengals picked off Ben Roethlisberger twice in the fourth quarter while rallying for a 16-10 victory over the Steelers on Sunday that gave them the best start in franchise history.
They’re 7-0 and in command of the AFC North heading into the midpoint of the season.
With this team, it will always come down to the postseason. Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, the sixth-longest streak of postseason futility in NFL history. The Bengals have lost in the first round each of the past four years.
The playoffs are still far away, but this Bengals team is doing things like no other.
The defending AFC North champion Steelers (4-4) hoped that Roethlisberger’s return after missing four games with a sprained knee would kick-start them. After leading most of the game, they fall apart in the closing minutes.
Williams’ diving sideline interception at the Pittsburgh 45-yard line set up Dalton’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Green, who had 11 catches for 118 yards. After being kept out of the end zone all game, Dalton was waiting for one last chance.
Reggie Nelson’s second interception set up Mike Nugent’s 44-yard field goal with 1:47 to go. The Steelers drove to the Cincinnati 16-yard line with 4 seconds left, but Roethlisberger’s pass went out of the end zone to finish it.
Roethlisberger was 28 of 45 for 262 yards with a touchdown, three interceptions and three sacks.
In addition to falling to .500, the Steelers lost running back Le’Veon Bell indefinitely to a knee injury. Bell twisted his right knee beneath him as he was tackled in the second quarter and had to be carted off the field. Coach Mike Tomlin said after the game that Bell was being evaluated.
The Bengals ended a three-game losing streak to the Steelers, getting only their second victory in their past six visits to Heinz Field.
Roethlisberger ran out for introductions in a Steelers baseball cap with both arms raised as the crowd gave him the loudest ovation. And it didn’t take long to remind them of what they’d missed.
Roethlisberger completed four of five passes during an opening 80-yard touchdown drive. His 1-yard toss to Antonio Brown capped a 7-minute, 14-second possession — the kind of drive Pittsburgh had trouble pulling off in his absence.
The Steelers managed only one field goal the rest of the way.
The Bengals wasted several scoring chances in the second half as Pittsburgh’s defense tried to hold on.
Cameron Heyward blocked Nugent’s 42-yard field goal try late in the third quarter, and the defense picked off Dalton twice in the fourth quarter. After Cincinnati got a first-and-goal at the 5 early in the fourth quarter, Antwon Blake intercepted Dalton’s third-down pass in the end zone and returned it 42 yards.
Dalton came into the game leading the NFL in passer rating and fourth-quarter rating. He managed to pull off the short TD drive that decided it, making a 23-yard shovel pass to Giovani Bernard while scrambling on a third-down play to set up the score.
Notes: Dalton’s 23rd career win on the road matched Dan Marino, Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan for most by a quarterback in his first five seasons during the Super Bowl era. … Roethlisberger became the fifth active quarterback to throw for 40,000 yards, joining Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Eli Manning. … Bengals middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict played for the first time after missing the first six games while recovering from offseason knee surgery. He had five tackles and got more playing time after LB Rey Maualuga had a calf injury in the first quarter.
Titans 6, Texans 20
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston coach Bill O’Brien knows Sunday wasn’t a great game by the Texans.
Still, after what happened last week, the coach was perfectly content with the performance since it led to a victory.
“We had to get the win,” O’Brien said. “It wasn’t pretty. But who cares? It’s a win.”
Brian Hoyer threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns and Houston tied a franchise record with seven sacks to help the Texans to a 20-6 win over the mistake-prone Tennessee Titans.
The Texans rebounded from an embarrassing 44-26 loss to the Dolphins despite playing without Arian Foster, who suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in that game. The win leaves them second in the AFC South and they could be tied for the division lead if the Colts lose to the Panthers on Monday night.
A 21-yard touchdown reception by DeAndre Hopkins put Houston on top in the second quarter and the Texans (3-5) didn’t trail after that. Nate Washington’s 42-yard TD catch extended the lead to 17-6 in the third.
Zach Mettenberger threw for 171 yards with an interception in his second straight start in place of rookie Marcus Mariota, who is out with a knee injury. Mettenberger was hurried and harassed all day to remain winless in eight career starts, with three against the Texans.
The Titans (1-6) had three turnovers in their sixth straight loss since a win over Tampa Bay in the opener.
Alfred Blue started in place of Foster and had 40 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving.
Whitney Mercilus had a career-high 3 1/2 sacks and J.J. Watt tied a career high with nine quarterback hits and added 2 ½ sacks, including one where he caused a fumble that the Texans recovered early in the fourth quarter. Watt, who tied a career high with 20 ½ sacks last season, has more sacks through eight games this season (8 ½) than he did through eight games last year (7).
A 24-yard field goal after that fumble pushed Houston’s lead to 20-6.
Hopkins, who entered the day as the NFL’s leading receiver had eight catches for 94 yards. He now has 2,882 yards receiving in his career to pass Andre Johnson for most yards receiving in franchise history in a player’s first three seasons.
Hoyer started his third straight game for Houston after losing his job in the season-opener to Ryan Mallett, who was released on Tuesday after missing last week’s charter flight to Miami.
A 44-yard field goal cut the lead to 10-6 midway through the third quarter.
Hopkins caught four passes on a drive that ended with a 42-yard touchdown reception by Washington to push the lead to 17-6 with about four minutes left in the third.
Houston outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney injured his back in the first quarter and returned to the game twice before leaving for good in the second quarter. He was not made available to reporters after the game and the Texans said he left before the locker room opened after the game.
The Texans took a 7-3 lead when Hopkins jumped and reached over Jason McCourty to grab a 21-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter.
Eddie Pleasant recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to give Houston the ball back. But the offense stalled and the Texans settled for a 38-yard field goal that made it 10-3.
The Titans led 3-0 early after Ryan Succop made a 35-yard field goal on their opening drive.
Houston rookie first-round pick Kevin Johnson had his first career interception and likely saved a touchdown with a hard hit on Kendall Wright after a catch in the third quarter.
NOTES: Texans left tackle Duane Brown left in the second half to be evaluated for a concussion. … Houston S Kurtis Drummond suffered a concussion. … Wright injured his right knee in the third quarter and didn’t return.
Jets 20, Raiders 34
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A year after entering November in search of their first win, Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders are right in contention in the AFC.
Carr threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns to help Oakland pick apart the New York Jets’ vaunted defense in a 34-20 victory Sunday that put the Raiders in the thick of the playoff race.
Carr’s rapid development from an up-and-down rookie season is one of the biggest reasons the Raiders (4-3) have gone from a team that lost its first 10 games last year to one that has a winning record this late in the season for the first time since 2011.
Latavius Murray ran for 113 yards, Andre Holmes caught two touchdown passes and Michael Crabtree had 102 yards receiving and a score. Taiwan Jones added his first career score on a tackle-breaking 59-yard catch and run that exposed a New York defense that had been outstanding the first six games.
Charles Woodson chipped in with his fifth interception and celebrated with the fans, hopeful the Raiders can finally end a 12-year run of no winning records or playoff berths.
Ryan Fitzpatrick left with a torn left thumb ligament on the opening drive for the Jets (4-3), who have lost two straight games. Former starter Geno Smith threw for 265 yards and two TD passes in his first action since losing the job in training camp after getting punched in the locker room by teammate IK Enemkpali.
Smith then left in the closing minute on a hard hit by Ray-Ray Armstrong after being drilled earlier in the fourth quarter by David Amerson on a long run down the sideline. Fitzpatrick returned despite the injury and threw two passes before Smith returned. Fitzpatrick will have an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.
After scoring on the first seven drives in last week’s 37-29 win at San Diego, the Raiders were once again almost perfect on offense at the start. Carr threw touchdown passes on the first drives as the Raiders controlled the line of scrimmage and broke numerous tackles in the secondary.
Carr was helped out by his receivers making big gains after the catch with Crabtree breaking tackles from Demario Davis, Cromartie and Marcus Williams on his 36-yard touchdown and Jones running around and through half the Jets defense on his long score. But Carr also showed the ability to throw the deep ball, connecting on a 49-yarder to Holmes that made it 21-3 late in the first half. Carr now has seven TD passes and no interceptions the past two weeks.
The Raiders also shut down the Jets running game. Chris Ivory, who came in averaging more than 100 yards a game, was held to 17 yards on 15 carries behind a line missing starting center Nick Mangold.
NOTES: Carr joined Rich Gannon (2002) and Jeff Hostetler (1994) as the only Raiders QBs since the merger to throw for 300 or more yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. … After having 15 takeaways the first five games, the Jets got none for a second straight week. … Jets WR Brandon Marshall has an injured toe on one foot and ankle on the other.
Seahawks 13, Cowboys 12
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Russell Wilson sprinted toward the sideline in search a first down that could set up the winning points at Dallas.
The star quarterback made the corner, and the defending NFC champion Seahawks found their way back to .500.
Wilson had a scoring pass for the game’s only touchdown, and his key run came on a drive to Steven Hauschka’s go-ahead 24-yard field goal with 1:06 remaining, leading the Seahawks over the Dallas Cowboys 13-12 Sunday.
Seattle (4-4) improved to an NFL-best 21-6 in games heading into the bye in its second straight win. The Seahawks will see NFC West-leading Arizona in two weeks.
The Cowboys (2-5) lost their fifth straight without Tony Romo in Dez Bryant’s return from a five-game absence with a broken right foot.
Seattle receiver Ricardo Lockette had an injury scare, came away with a concussion and was moving his extremities after a vicious block by Jeff Heath on a punt return. It was a tense moment for both teams, with some Seattle players appearing upset at Heath, who flattened Lockette while he was running downfield and had been engaged with another player.
Lockette lay motionless on the field for several minutes and was taken off the field on a motorized cart. He pointed his right hand toward his Seattle teammates on the sideline, and then thrust his index finger high into the air.
The Seahawks started the decisive 17-play drive at their 15, and Wilson quickly converted a third down with a pass to Jimmy Graham, who had game highs of seven catches for 75 yards.
Later facing third-and-7, Wilson beat Barry Church to the corner, diving past the first-down marker on a 10-yard scramble inside the Dallas 10 near the two-minute warning.
Seattle didn’t get a touchdown, but Hauschka’s kick came about a minute later than it would have without the critical conversion from Wilson, the NFL’s top rushing quarterback who was outgained on the ground with 32 yards to Cassel’s 43.
The Dallas offense, held without a touchdown for the second time in five games without Romo, didn’t take advantage of two good chances in the fourth quarter.
First, the Cowboys settled for a field goal after defensive end Greg Hardy tipped a pass from Wilson and intercepted it — the first takeaway in five games for Dallas. The only thing that kept him from scoring was Wilson’s arm tackle around the ankles the Seattle 16. Three plays later, Dallas got Dan Bailey’s fourth field goal and a 12-10 lead.
After David Irving blocked Hauschka’s potential go-ahead field goal, the Cowboys couldn’t get a first down on three runs by Darren McFadden, who had 64 yards on 20 carries.
Cassel kept a couple of the drives to field goals going with his feet, including a career-long 24-yard run, followed shortly by a 12-yarder. But he was 13 of 25 for just 97 yards passing in his second start in place of Romo, who will miss at least two more games with a broken left collarbone. Brandon Weeden lost the first three starts.
After Hauschka’s go-ahead kick, the Dallas offense fizzled again on its way to just 220 total yards, the fewest in almost two years.
Cassel was sacked by Irvin on third down and went down again on what appeared to be the final play of the game. Instead, because of a false start, Dallas got one more shot on fourth-and-16 with 12 seconds remaining. Cassel’s heave along the sideline was broken up. NOTES: Darren Woodson, the leading tackler in Dallas franchise history, became the 21st person inducted into the team’s ring of honor in a halftime ceremony. The safety is the second defender and sixth overall from the Super Bowl-winning teams of the 1990s. … Wilson was 19 of 30 for 210 yards, and the touchdown was a 22-yarder to tight end Luke Willson in the first half.
Packers 10, Broncos 29
DENVER (AP) — The Denver Broncos found some offense to go with all that defense, powering their way past the Green Bay Packers 29-10 Sunday night.
In only the fourth meeting of teams 6-0 or better, Peyton Manning tied Brett Favre’s NFL record with his 186th regular-season win and Denver’s defense rattled Aaron Rodgers into one of the worst games of his career.
Wearing the blue jerseys they did in beating the Packers for their first Super Bowl win in 1997, the Broncos piled it on in the fourth quarter, when DeMarcus Ware sacked Rodgers and the ball ended up in the end zone for a safety.
The Broncos improved to 7-0 for the first time since 1998, when they won the Super Bowl after finishing 14-2.
The Packers (6-1) fell from the unbeaten ranks, throttled not only by the league’s stingiest defense but by a quarterback who finally looked like a five-time MVP and not a creaky 39-year-old learning a new system.
Although neither quarterback threw for a touchdown, Manning threw for 340 yards on 21-of-29 passing. Rodgers was 14 of 22 for just 77 yards — the lowest of his career in a game where he wasn’t knocked out by injury.
Rodgers was sacked three times and the Packers had just 140 yards of total offense to Denver’s 500.
Any more questions about the Broncos’ worthiness as a contender or even an unbeaten?
Ronnie Hillman ran for two touchdowns and when he was on the sideline with a sore thigh, C.J. Anderson ran through a defense missing Clay Matthews for a 28-yard score, his first of the season, to put Denver up by two TDs late in the third quarter.
Both Matthews and Hillman returned the next series.
Anderson ran for 101 yards and Hillman 60, and Demaryius Thomas caught eight passes for 168 yards.
Also making a sudden appearance in Denver’s offense were the tight ends — as targets. Freed up from blocking with the offensive line meshing like it hadn’t all season, they gave Manning an option over the middle he’d been missing since losing Julius Thomas and Jacob Tamme to free agency.
Virgil Green caught three catches for 61 yards and Owen Daniels had three for 44.
Manning had 212 yards passing to Rodgers’ 37 in the first half, but the Broncos had eight penalties for 69 yards to Green Bay’s one flag for 5, so Green Bay only trailed 17-7 at the half.
Mason Crosby’s 56-yard field goal on the first drive after the break pulled the Packers to within a touchdown.
At halftime, the Broncos inducted ailing owner Paul Bowlen into their ring of fame. Bowlen, 71, stepped down from his daily duties running the team 15 months ago to fight Alzheimer’s and was not in attendance. Terrell Davis, the hero of the ’97 Super Bowl team that was honored before the game, said Bowlen “may not be here in body, but he’s definitely here in spirit.”
“I am so honored to accept this honor for my husband,” said Bowlen’s wife, Annabel. “… I think we can all agree that Pat’s next stop should be the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Colts 26, Panthers 29 OT
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton tries to distract Graham Gano in practice sometimes, walking over to the veteran kicker and whispering in his ear, “Just a little bit of pressure.”
Gano answered that pressure on a rainy Monday night. He connected on two field goals in overtime, including a 52-yarder that lifted the undefeated Carolina Panthers to a 29-26 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Carolina (7-0) earned its 11th consecutive regular-season win and opened a two-game lead over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South.
Gano, who missed an extra point in the fourth quarter, came through when the Panthers needed him the most. After Adam Vinatieri kicked a 50-yard field goal for Indianapolis in OT, Gano was good from 42 yards and then again from 52 after Roman Harper deflected an Andrew Luck pass over the middle and Luke Kuechly came up with the interception.
The Panthers didn’t make it easy on themselves.
Luck, limited to 40 yards passing in the first three quarters, threw two touchdown passes in the final 7:11 of regulation and also led the Colts (3-5) to a tying field goal in the final seconds. The Panthers could have won it with 2 seconds left, but Kuechly dropped a potential interception in the end zone and Vinatieri kicked a 24-yarder for the third of his four field goals.
“It just slipped through my hands,” Kuechly said.
Newton was 16 of 35 for 248 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 41 yards.
After Vinatieri gave the Colts a 26-23 lead in overtime, the Panthers had another chance to close it out but Ted Ginn Jr. dropped a 56-yard touchdown pass. Greg Olsen then bailed his teammate out with a one-handed catch to help set up Gano’s tying field goal.
Luck finished with 231 yards passing and two touchdowns with three interceptions, giving him an NFL-high 12 on the season.
“It’s my problem, and it’s hurting the team,” Luck said. “I’ve got to fix it. It’s tough to win like that, and I’m disappointed in myself. Mentally, I feel all right. It’s tough to overcome in the game. The points, the short field position, that’s the important thing.”
Luck refused to discuss a report that he has been battling rib injuries in addition to a shoulder problem.
He started to look like the Luck of old in the fourth quarter, throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson and an 8-yard TD strike to Fleener to bring the Colts to 23-20.
Playing in a steady rain, the Panthers’ defense put the clamps on Luck while jumping to a 10-0 lead.
Newton threw an interception and also fumbled on the Colts 3-yard line, but rallied late in the third quarter. Leading 10-6, Newton threw touchdown passes to Greg Olsen and Philly Brown to give the Panthers a 23-6 lead.
It was a bizarre night, with two activists rappelling on ropes from the upper deck holding a protest sign for most of the second half as fans watched in awe. They finally descended, and the Panthers said four people were arrested by Charlotte Mecklenburg Police.
NOTES: Panthers guard Andrew Norwell injured his leg in the first quarter and did not return to the game. … Panthers center Ryan Kalil sat out with an ankle injury. … Colts WR T.Y. Hilton was held to one reception for 15 yards. He was targeted seven times.