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Here is a recap of Week 11 of the 2015 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Bye: Browns, Saints, Giants, Steelers
Titans 13, Jaguars 19
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Rashad Greene fielded the line-drive punt, weaved through a few defenders, broke into the open field and nearly scored.
It was the big play the Jacksonville Jaguars needed to beat Tennessee. It was the key moment they had to have to gain ground in the muddled AFC South.
It came from a rookie, a guy who missed the previous seven games with a torn ligament in his left thumb.
And it made those mustard uniforms, at least for a second, look much more like gold.
Greene returned the punt 63 yards, setting up Blake Bortles’ 5-yard touchdown pass to Julius Thomas with 3:30 remaining, and the Jaguars held on to beat the Titans 19-13 on Thursday night.
“We’ve been in these one-possession games all season,” coach Gus Bradley said. “Fortunately, we came out on the good end.”
The Jaguars (4-6) won consecutive games for the first time since December 2013 and put themselves squarely in the hunt in the division race. They have won three of four.
The Titans (2-8) lost for the eighth time in nine games and spoiled interim coach Mike Mularkey’s return to Jacksonville. Mularkey was fired after one season with the Jaguars, a 2-14 campaign in 2012.
For much of the night it looked as if Mularkey would celebrate a rare win in Jacksonville.
But Greene flipped the script. Bortles hooked up with Thomas on the next play, putting Jacksonville ahead 16-13. It was an easy call for Bortles, who noticed linebacker Derrick Morgan lined up across from Thomas before the snap.
Titans tight end Phillip Supernaw fumbled on the ensuing possession, leading to Jason Myers’ fourth field goal of the night and a six-point lead with 2:19 remaining.
“My fault on that play,” Supernaw said. “My ball security wasn’t as good as it should have been.”
Tennessee had one final chance and advanced to the 23 with 5 seconds remaining. But Andre Branch sacked Marcus Mariota on the final play. Branch did his usual windmill dance as he was mobbed by teammates.
“We don’t have any quitters,” Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin said. “We all believe that we can win any game. Any time it may look like we’re out to the public eye, to the naked eye, we feel deep down that we can win the game. We have playmakers that are starting to make plays in crucial situations and you can see it each and every game.”
Here are more things to know about the game:
DIVISION RACE: The Jaguars closed in on co-division leaders Houston and Indianapolis, both 4-5, and have the easiest remaining schedule of any team in the NFL. Jacksonville also has three of its next four at home. Potentially helping Jacksonville’s chances, the Texans likely will be without quarterback Brian Hoyer at least this week and the Colts could be without quarterback Andrew Luck for multiple games. “We all know the situation with our division and we all know that it’s wide open,” Colvin said. “Any team can win it.”
YOUNG QBS: Mariota and Bortles showed why they’re considered two of the league’s top young quarterbacks. Mariota completed 22 of 35 passes for 231 yards. He also ran for a 23-yard score that put the Titans ahead 13-9 late in the third. Bortles, who left the sideline briefly in the fourth to be treated for dehydration, completed 21 of 30 passes for 242 yards. He extended his TD streak to 10 consecutive games.
STREAK ENDS: Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns had his seven-game touchdown streak come to an end. It was the longest streak in franchise history and the longest current streak in the league. Hurns, who played through a foot injury and a sports hernia, caught three passes for 19 yards.
ORAKPO SHINES: Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo finished with a sack, a forced fumble and a pass defense. He has at least one sack in four consecutive games.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: The Jaguars scored one touchdown in five trips inside the 20-yard line. Throw in Bortles’ interception from the Tennessee 23, and the Jags were downright awful in and near the red zone. The lone bright spot was that Myers kicked a career-high four field goals.
Cowboys 24, Dolphins 14
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Tony Romo scrambled in the back of the end zone before improvising to throw his first pass in two months — left-handed for a short gain.
He did even better right-handed.
Romo pulled off his latest comeback victory Sunday, returning from a collarbone injury to throw for two scores, and the Dallas Cowboys won for the first time since he was hurt in Week 2, beating the Miami Dolphins 24-14.
The Cowboys (3-7) snapped a seven-game losing streak, their longest in a single season since 1989. They play host to undefeated Carolina on Thanksgiving.
“Winning,” Romo said, “is going to put a little more pep in everyone’s step.”
Romo went 18 for 28 for 227 yards and overcame two interceptions by throwing touchdown passes of 31 yards to Terrance Williams and 16 yards to Dez Bryant.
Dallas’ dominating defense added to his comfort level, beginning when linebacker Rolando McClain scored the game’s first points and his first career touchdown on a 12-yard interception return. He stepped in front of a pass by Ryan Tannehill intended for Greg Jennings.
Another day of sputtering offense for the Dolphins (4-6) increased the likelihood they’ll miss the playoffs for the seventh year in a row.
Romo looked rusty at times, and heavy rain and gusty wind early in the game didn’t help. The Cowboys’ first scoring threat ended when he was blitzed and his pass was intercepted by Brent Grimes. A frustrated Romo yelled at intended receiver Bryant as they headed for the bench. As expected, Romo sparked a team tied for next to last in the NFL in points. Since Week 2 of 2014, the Cowboys are 16-3 when he starts and 0-8 when he doesn’t. Darren McFadden provided offensive balance by rushing for 129 yards. Robert Turbin, who joined the Cowboys on Wednesday, added 35 yards on seven carries against a team ranked next-to-last in run defense.
The Dolphins had the ball for only 21 minutes and went 1 for 10 on third-down conversions. Their loss reduced the chances interim coach Dan Campbell will be back next year.
The game matched a pair of last-place teams and looked it at times. Dallas committed 10 penalties and Miami nine.
A dance celebration by Bryant and Williams following a score prompted an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that helped Miami score a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half.
But Bryant beat a linebacker and a safety for the touchdown that put the Cowboys ahead to stay, 21-14, on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys mounted an 8 1/2-minute drive for their first offensive score. A third-down holding penalty on cornerback Jamar Taylor allowed the Cowboys to keep the ball, and he was beaten deep by Williams on another third down for the TD.
“I put this loss on me,” Taylor said.
Tannehill threw touchdown passes of 12 yards to Jordan Cameron and 29 yards to Kenny Stills. But Romo directed a late 5½-minute drive that sealed Dallas’ win.
NOTES: Neither team reported any injuries. … Romo and Bryant connected on a TD pass for the 50th time, breaking the team record of 49 set by Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin. … Garrett earned his 44th regular-season victory, tying Jimmy Johnson for second place in Cowboys history behind Tom Landry, who had 250 wins. … Witten broke Bob Lilly’s franchise record for consecutive games played with his 197th.
Rams 13, Ravens 16
BALTIMORE (AP) — It’s been this kind of season for the Baltimore Ravens: Even when they win, they lose.
A dramatic 16-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday was marred by season-ending injuries to quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Justin Forsett.
Flacco tore ligaments in his left knee in the closing seconds, but stayed with the offense until the finish despite the pain.
“I wanted to win a game,” said Flacco, who’s never missed a game over his eight-year career.
It was a rare but costly victory for the Ravens (3-7). After losing seven games by a total of 32 points, this would have been a victory to savor if it didn’t cost them their quarterback.
“I think it’s the ACL and MCL,” Flacco said. “We haven’t had anything pictured.”
Forsett, meanwhile, broke both bones in his right forearm in the first quarter. He is Baltimore’s leading rusher.
Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal as time expired to end a mistake-filled game in which the Ravens rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
One final miscue decided the issue: Rams quarterback Case Keenum fumbled when hit by Courtney Upshaw, and teammate Lawrence Guy recovered at the St. Louis 41 with 54 seconds to go.
Flacco moved the Ravens to the 29 — injuring his knee along the way — before Tucker delivered the game-winning kick.
“It was a courageous performance by him at the end,” coach John Harbaugh said.
St. Louis (4-6) lost four fumbles and missed an extra point. In his first start of the season, Keenum went 12 for 26 for 136 yards and fumbled three times, losing two.
Keenum was selected as the Rams’ starter on Monday, replacing Nick Foles in a move that coach Jeff Fisher said was designed to bolster the offense. The switch did not pay immediate dividends.
Baltimore won despite committing two turnovers and being penalized 10 times for 137 yards. The Ravens trailed 13-3 before coming back behind Flacco, who went 27 for 44 for 299 yards and a score.
Both teams had a chance to win in the closing minutes of regulation. After Greg Zuerlein missed a 52-yard field goal with 1:41 remaining for the Rams, Tucker was wide right on a 51-yarder with 1:13 to go.
Keenum’s pivotal fumble followed.
Keenum was being evaluated for a concussion after the game and was not made available to reporters.
The Ravens appeared to be doomed by their own mistakes until Rams running back Todd Gurley lost a fumble at the St. Louis 42. Flacco directed a seven-play drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Kamar Aiken with 11:11 remaining.
A 20-yard field goal by Tucker tied it with 5:12 to go. The kick capped a 76-yard drive, highlighted by a 46-yard completion to Crockett Gillmore.
The Ravens played the majority of the game without Forsett, who left in the first quarter after being driven to the turf by Aaron Donald for a 5-yard loss.
Rookie Javorius Allen took over and finished with 67 yards on 22 carries.
One sequence in the third quarter summed up the struggle each team experienced trying to generate offense. Keenum and Gurley failed to execute a handoff, resulting in a Baltimore fumble recovery. Flacco gave it back with a poor pass that was intercepted by Trumaine Johnson and returned to the Baltimore 49.
Three plays later, Keenum threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Lance Kendricks for a 13-3 lead.
Keenum went 3 for 10 for 31 yards in the first half, yet the Rams led 7-3 despite accumulating a meager 74 yards of offense.
Baltimore made a variety of mistakes before the break, most notably an interception by Flacco and six penalties totaling 107 yards.
A 49-yard penalty for pass interference against cornerback Jimmy Smith led to a 1-yard touchdown run for Gurley and a 7-0 lead.
Baltimore’s only first-half points came after Tavon Austin fumbled a punt to set up a 25-yard field goal.
Notes: Rams RT Andrew Donnal left the game early in the second quarter with an unspecified knee injury. “It doesn’t look good, ” Fisher said.. … Rams backup running back Tre Mason was inactive after violating team rules, Fisher said. … Ravens LT Eugene Monroe left in the third quarter with an injury to his left shoulder.
Buccaneers 45, Eagles 17
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Mark Sanchez and Darren Sproles yelled at each other after a pick-6, a fitting end to a frustrating day for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jameis Winston tied a rookie record with five touchdown passes, Doug Martin ran for 235 yards and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Eagles 45-17 on Sunday.
Sanchez threw a pair of TD passes and three interceptions in his first start replacing injured Sam Bradford, but Chip Kelly’s offense couldn’t keep up with Winston and the Buccaneers.
After Lavonte David returned a fourth-quarter pick 20 yards for a score, Sanchez threw his hands up and shouted at Sproles because he stopped his pattern short.
The Eagles (4-6) have lost two in a row, but are only one game behind the New York Giants (5-5) in the mediocre NFC East. They’ll have a quick turnaround with a game at Detroit (3-7) on Thanksgiving.
Winston completed 19 of 29 passes for 246 yards and had four of his TD passes in the first half to four different receivers. He tied Matthew Stafford’s rookie mark in the third quarter on an 8-yard toss to Cameron Brate, the fifth receiver to catch a TD.
Martin had 177 yards in the first half, including runs of 84 and 58 yards. He finished 2 yards short of tying Barry Sanders’ record for most without a TD. Sanders had 237 for the Lions against Tampa in 1994.
Tampa set a franchise record with 283 yards rushing and 521 total yards and were second-most in franchise history in the regular season.
The Buccaneers (5-5) have won two straight games for the first time in two years.
Winston and the Buccaneers were outstanding on third downs, converting 9 of 12 while building a 35-14 lead. Winston’s last three TD passes came on third downs.
After an offside penalty on Brandon Graham gave Tampa another chance on third down in the first quarter, Martin broke free for 58 yards. Winston then tossed a 4-yard pass to Mike Evans to tie it 7-7.
Winston threw a 17-yard screen pass to Charles Sims on third-and-6 to extend another drive, hit Evans for 25 yards and connected with Vincent Jackson over the middle for a 13-yard TD on the first play of the second quarter.
Martin later burst up the middle for 84 yards to the 1. On third down from the 4, Winston found Russell Shepard in the back of the end zone for a 21-7 lead.
The Eagles answered quickly as Sanchez hit Sproles for a 35-yard TD on a screen pass. But the Buccaneers came right back. Martin ran for 3 yards on fourth-and-1 and Winston tossed a 14-yard pass to Sims for a 28-14 lead.
Winston’s pass to Brate made it 35-14.
The Eagles got a break after DeMarco Murray fumbled on the third play from scrimmage. Jacquies Smith recovered but was stripped by Zach Ertz and Philadelphia got the ball back at its 14.
That gave the Eagles more takeaways by their offense in the past two games than by their defense.
One play after running for 11 yards to the Buccaneers 39, Sanchez hit Josh Huff across the middle. Huff made a couple nifty moves and ran in to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles punted on their next four drives.
“We didn’t play well in any facet of the game and there’s no excuse for that,” Kelly said.
NOTES: Eagles TE Zach Ertz suffered a concussion. … Eagles also didn’t have RB Ryan Mathews. … Winston was first QB to throw four TDs in first half vs. Eagles since Eli Manning in Andy Reid’s last game as Philadelphia’s coach in 2012. … Sanchez has thrown an interception in six straight games.
Redskins 16, Panthers 44
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton has never liked being referred to as a running quarterback.
“I have labelled myself as a pocket passer with the ability to run,” Newton said.
Newton proved again he can beat teams with his arm, throwing a career-high five touchdown passes on Sunday and the Carolina Panthers improved to 10-0 with a dominating 44-16 win over the Washington Redskins.
Newton completed 21 of 34 passes for 246 yards and threw TD passes to five different receivers as Carolina stretched its regular-season win streak to 14 games, including eight straight at home.
The Panthers opened a four-game lead in the NFC South over Atlanta and became the 16th team in the Super Bowl era to start 10-0.
Of the previous 15, all made the playoffs and nine have advanced to the Super Bowl, with six winning it all.
All of that matters little to tight end Greg Olsen.
“They don’t give out trophies for the regular season,” Olsen said.
Carolina’s defense was dominant.
They forced five turnovers leading to 27 points, had five sacks of Kirk Cousins and established a franchise record by holding the Redskins to 14 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Newton became the first Carolina quarterback in franchise history to throw four TD passes in the first half as the Panthers jumped out to a 31-14 lead.
Jonathan Stewart ran for 102 yards on 21 carries and caught a 12-yard touchdown pass. Olsen, Mike Tolbert, Ted Ginn Jr. and Devin Funchess also caught TD passes.
Andre Roberts had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for the Redskins (4-6), who’ve lost nine straight on the road.
Cousins finished 22 of 30 for 207 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also fumbled twice on sacks. Running back Alfred Morris left the game early in the first quarter with a rib injury and did not return.
With the game tied at 14 in the second quarter, Newton led an eight-play, 92-yard touchdown drive, capping it with a 2-yard TD pass to Ginn.
The Redskins had a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Chris Culliver called back on the drive when officials ruled he had delivered an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit on Olsen before the interception.
The game turned from there with the Panthers scoring 30 consecutive points.
On Washington’s next possession, rookie Matt Jones was stripped of the ball by Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis recovered at the Redskins 24. Newton found Olsen on a crossing route for a 9-yard TD pass to push the lead to 28-14.
Kony Ealy had a strip-sack of Cousins on Washington’s next possession and recovered the ball at the Carolina 38 leading to Graham Gano’s field goal at the end of the first half.
Carolina’s momentum carried into the second half as Bene Benwikere sacked Cousins on the first play from scrimmage on a cornerback blitz, jarring the ball loose and recovering at the Redskins 20. Newton found Funchess for his franchise-tying fifth TD pass of the game to give Carolina a 38-14 lead.
With a game on Thursday at Dallas, Panthers coach Ron Rivera removed most of his starters early in the fourth quarter with his team up 44-14.
Washington’s loss comes one week after a 47-14 win over the New Orleans Saints.
NOTES: Roberts’ 99-yard kickoff for a touchdown was the first allowed by the Panthers in 100 games. … Olsen became the Panthers career leader in yards receiving by a tight end, passing Wesley Walls. … The Panthers have run for at least 100 yards in 21 straight games.
Broncos 17, Bears 15
CHICAGO (AP) — Brock Osweiler refused to let a day go to waste while he waited for his chance — and watched one of the game’s greatest quarterbacks.
He had a chance to learn from Peyton Manning and made the most of his opportunity when he finally got called on.
Osweiler threw for two touchdowns filling in for the injured Manning, and the Denver Broncos stopped Jeremy Langford on a 2-point conversion run in the final minute to beat the Chicago Bears 17-15.
Langford scored on a 2-yard run with 24 seconds left to cap a 65-yard drive. But the Broncos were ready for the run on the conversion attempt and stopped Langford to secure a narrow victory.
Osweiler completed 20 of 27 passes for 250 yards in the first start of his four-year career, while the five-time MVP stayed back in Denver because of injuries to his foot, ribs and shoulder. Osweiler got sacked five times, but he kept his poise against an aggressive defense. It all added up to a neat birthday for a backup who turned 25 on Sunday.
Ronnie Hillman ran for 102 yards. The AFC West-leading Broncos (8-2) played turnover-free ball and got back to winning against former coach John Fox after dropping two in a row.
Osweiler threw a 48-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas on Denver’s first possession of the game and a 10-yarder to Cody Latimer early in the fourth quarter to make it 17-9 after Chicago cut the lead to one.
The Bears (4-6) drove to the Denver 4 after Latimer’s touchdown, only to have Jay Cutler’s fourth-down pass to Langford in a crowd in the end zone get broken up.
Asked why he went for it rather than kick a field goal, Fox said: “I think we hadn’t made many trips down there, and when we had, we hadn’t scored touchdowns. It had been kind of a field-goal game. At that point in the game, we felt that was going to be maybe our last opportunity so we were aggressive and came up short on fourth-and-4.”
Chicago also came up short in its bid to hit the .500 mark.
The Bears had won two in a row to jump into playoff contention in the NFC, something few would have expected this season. They are clearly making strides under Fox, who split with Denver in January after leading the Broncos to four first-place finishes in the division and a trip to the Super Bowl.
But Chicago had trouble reaching the end zone against the league’s No. 1 defense, even though the Broncos were missing outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (back). The Bears settled for three field goals by Robbie Gould before that late touchdown.
Jay Cutler threw for 265 yards in his first meaningful game against Denver since the trade to Chicago in 2009, even though the Bears were missing running back Matt Forte (knee) and receiver Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder). He had an interception and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter with the Bears on the Denver 33.
Cutler got hit by Von Miller as he was throwing and the ball popped up off a lineman before Denver’s Malik Jackson cradled it.
The Broncos had a chance to add to a four-point lead midway through the third quarter after Danny Trevathan returned an interception to the Chicago 25, only to come away empty-handed.
Denver went for it on fourth-and-1 at the 2 rather than kick a field goal. That backfired when Hillman tripped on Osweiler’s foot and got stopped for no gain.
For at least one week, a 6-foot-8 quarterback with size 17s did a good job filling some big shoes.
NOTES: Bears RB Ka’Deem Carey exited in the third quarter with a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit from Denver’s T.J. Ward. … Broncos left guard Evan Mathis limped off the field with an ankle injury in the closing minutes of the game. … Field judge Rick Patterson left in the fourth quarter with an injury. It was not clear how he was hurt.
Colts 24, Falcons 21
ATLANTA (AP) — The ol’ geezers came through for the Indianapolis Colts.
Forty-year-old Matt Hasselbeck throwing a pair of touchdown passes in relief of Andrew Luck.
Adam Vinatieri, the oldest player in the league at 42, adding another game-winning kick to his brilliant career.
The result: a 24-21 victory Sunday over the slumping Atlanta Falcons, after the Colts rallied from a pair of two-touchdown deficits.
D’Qwell Jackson tied it with just over 10 minutes remaining on a 6-yard interception return for a touchdown. Then Vinatieri won it, as he’s done so many times before, on a 43-yard field goal with 52 seconds remaining.
After losing star running back Devonta Freeman to a concussion early in the game, the Falcons (6-4) still managed to build leads of 14-0 and 21-7. But the offense totally bogged down in the second half, turned it over four times, and failed to take advantage of three Indianapolis turnovers.
Now, a season that began with such promise under new coach Dan Quinn is in danger of falling apart. Atlanta started 5-0, but has lost four of five.
Matt Ryan was intercepted three times. Atlanta lost even though Julio Jones had another huge game, hauling in nine passes for 160 yards.
Vinatieri sure knows how to finish. Playing in his 300th game, he booted his 26th game-winning kick in either the final minute of regulation or overtime.
“I don’t ever think you get totally used to it,” he said. “But the excitement is always there.”
With injured Andrew Luck helping out on the sideline, Hasselbeck overcame a couple of interceptions and calmly led the winning drive, covering 56 yards in nine plays. The biggest was a short pass that Frank Gore — no spring chicken at 32 — took to midfield for a 31-yard gain.
Hasselbeck is 3-0 as a starter this season when Luck’s been hurt.
The Colts remained tied for first in the AFC East despite a disappointing season that has put heat on the front office and coach Chuck Pagano. With Luck out up to six weeks with a lacerated kidney and torn abdominal muscle, Indianapolis came through with its second straight victory.
Ryan threw three touchdown passes for the Falcons, but will remember this one for the awful throw from his own end zone that Jackson snatched.
“It’s just a play I can’t make,” Ryan said.
The Falcons jumped ahead with help from a rarely used offensive fullback. Fullback Patrick DiMarco, known mostly as a blocker, tripled his career touchdown output by hauling in a couple of scoring passes.
Hasselbeck was 23 of 32 for 213 yards, throwing a pair of short touchdown passes to Ahmad Bradshaw.
The Atlanta offense couldn’t do anything after Leonard Hankerson hauled in a 3-yard touchdown pass on the first possession of the second half, managing only 67 yards the rest of way with as many turnovers as first downs (three each).
The most crucial mistake came after the Colts downed a punt inside the 1. With the running game struggling, Ryan attempted a play-action pass over the middle. Jackson, after feigning that he was coming up to stuff the run, dropped back into coverage.
Ryan never saw him. Jackson picked off the pass at the 6 and brought it back for a pick-six that happened in the blink of an eye.
Freeman went down after ripping off a 39-yard run deep into Colts territory. That cost Atlanta the league’s third-leading rusher, leaving rookies Tevin Coleman and Terron Ward to handle the backfield duties. Coleman was held to 48 yards on 17 carries.
NOTES: DiMarco’s only other TD before Sunday was a scoring catch last season at Minnesota. … Vinatieri has two game-winning kicks this season, also beating Jacksonville in overtime. … Gore went out early in the game with a quad injury, but returned to rush for 34 yards and catch five passes for 46 yards.
Jets 17, Texans 24
HOUSTON (AP) — Playing with their third different starting quarterback this season, the Houston Texans knew they’d need to add some new wrinkles to their offense in order to beat the New York Jets.
Quarterback T.J. Yates got some help in the passing game from receiver Cecil Shorts, who threw a touchdown pass to help the Texans to the 24-17 victory over the Jets (5-5).
Yates tossed two TDs to DeAndre Hopkins, who had 118 yards receiving, and Alfred Blue caught the pass from Shorts, who also took some direct snaps, in the win.
The Texans (5-5) have won three games in a row for the first time since 2012. And they did it with Yates, who threw for 229 yards in his first start since Jan. 15, 2012, in the playoffs for Houston as a rookie.
Yates, who was signed on Oct. 28 after Ryan Mallett was released, started in place of Brian Hoyer who was out with a concussion.
It was the second straight win he’d led the team to after throwing the winning touchdown pass in a 10-6 victory over Cincinnati on Monday after taking over for Hoyer.
Despite Yates’ strong play, Hoyer’s job is not in jeopardy.
The game was tied in the third quarter when the TD pass by Shorts made it 17-10. Yates and Hopkins linked up for a 20-yard score on the next possession.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played after having surgery on his non-throwing thumb on Nov. 13, got New York within 24-17 with a touchdown run with 4 1/2 minutes left, but was intercepted on the next two drives to seal the win for Houston. Fitzpatrick was 19 of 39 for 216 yards with a touchdown against the team he started 12 games for last year.
Hopkins beat Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis repeatedly before the cornerback left the game in the third quarter with a concussion.
Revis’ shutdown skills on defense are often referred to as “Revis Island” because of how receivers are often stranded without the ball. On Sunday, Hopkins said he wasn’t daunted by facing one of the league’s best cornerbacks for the first time.
J.J. Watt had eight tackles and two sacks, but it was a day where his perfect record on offense was blemished. For the first time in his career, a pass was thrown to him that he did not catch when Calvin Pryor broke up the throw in the first quarter.
It was the fourth time in his career he’d had a pass thrown to him and had reeled in each of the previous three for touchdowns. All of those scores came last season.
Shorts, a quarterback early in his college career at Mount Union, took a lateral from Yates and tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Blue to make it 17-10 with about eight minutes left in the third quarter. The Texans stole a page out of Jacksonville’s playbook on that one. It was the exact same play Shorts executed against Houston last year for the Jaguars.
Shorts was the star of that entire drive, grabbing a 16-yard reception on third-and-13 before grabbing a 35-yard reception on the next play. He took a direct snap and ran for 5 yards two plays before the TD throw.
The Texans made it 24-10 when Hopkins caught a 20-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter.
The Jets tied at 10-10 early in the third when Fitzpatrick connected with Brandon Marshall for a 21-yard touchdown.
Hopkins put the Texans on top when he got in front of Revis and grabbed a 61-yard touchdown reception to make it 10-3 with about three minutes left in the first half. The play came two plays after another big catch by Hopkins, where he again beat Revis and snagged the ball one-handed for an 18-yard gain.
NOTES: Jets C Nick Mangold left in the first quarter with a hand injury and coach Todd Bowles said he had lacerations in his hand that kept him from snapping the ball. … Houston CB A.J. Bouye didn’t return after leaving in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.
Raiders 13, Lions 18
DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford’s toenail on his right, big toe was black and blue.
“I just tore it off,” he said.
A win will likely ease the pain.
Stafford ran for a go-ahead 5-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a drive that included him making a couple other key plays with his feet, helping the Detroit Lions beat the Oakland Raiders 18-13 Sunday. The quarterback, who is not known as a threat to run, scored Detroit’s first rushing TD since Week 3 on a designed draw. Earlier in the pivotal possession, Stafford moved up and around the pocket to make a shovel pass to Riddick to convert a third down, and escaped a collapsed pocket to get outside for a season-long 18-yard run.
The Lions (3-7) have won consecutive games for the first time this year, and improved to 3-0 when running the ball at least 20 times. They were able to end the game by simply kneeling after picking up enough first downs on the ground, taking the last 7:22 off the clock.
Ameer Abdullah, Joique Bell and Riddick combined for 24 carries and 89 yards rushing. Stafford, who gained 31 yards on the ground, was 22 of 35 for 282 yards through the air.
The Raiders (4-6) have a season-high three-game losing streak. They have been limited to 27 points combined in the last two games after scoring at least 34 in the previous three.
Oakland had perhaps its worst game offensively, getting held to season lows in yards (214), yards rushing (50), yards passing (164) and first downs (13).
Derek Carr was 13 of 25 for 169 yards. Latavius Murray was held to a season-low 28 yards — gaining 16 on one run — on 13 carries.
The Raiders were called for delay of game twice, seemingly oblivious to the play clock.
Raiders rookie receiver Amari Cooper had season lows with one reception for 4 yards, and appeared to drop some of the other three passes thrown his way.
“For him to come out of a game with one catch, we’ve got to do a better job there,” Del Rio acknowledged.
Matt Prater, who missed two extra-point kicks in last week’s win at Green Bay, connected on 29- 41- and 51-yard field goals in the first half to cap lengthy drives to give Detroit a 9-0 lead at halftime.
The Raiders went ahead after their second drive of the third quarter. Murray’s 1-yard touchdown run capped the opening possession of the second half and Sebastian Janikowski made a go-ahead, 48 yard field goal on Oakland’s next possession.
After narrowly avoiding a safety because a holding penalty was just outside the goal line in the fourth, Raiders tackle Donald Penn was called for holding against Ezekiel Ansah in the end zone to give the Lions two more points and the final 18-13 lead.
The Lions mixed the run and pass well on the opening possession, driving to the Oakland 1 before getting pushed back because of a holding penalty. Eric Ebron dropped a pass in the end zone and the Lions settled for a field goal as they did on their next drive after Stafford overthrew Abdullah in the end zone.
“I missed Ameer by 6 inches,” Stafford recalled. “The one to Ebron, we got to come down with it.”
NOTES: Detroit’s Golden Tate had eight receptions for 73 yards and Calvin Johnson made five catches for 88 yards. … Raiders C Rodney Hudson (ankle), RB Taiwan Jones (knee) and CB Keith McGill (ankle) were injured during the game.
Chiefs 33, Chargers 3
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Things are going so well now for the Kansas City Chiefs that they’ve got a 346-pound defensive tackle leaping over the pile into the end zone.
Big Dontari Poe scored a 1-yard touchdown on fourth down and linebacker Justin Houston intercepted Philip Rivers and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown as the Kansas City Chiefs embarrassed the free-falling San Diego Chargers 33-3 Sunday.
With Alex Smith victorious again at Qualcomm Stadium, the Chiefs (5-5) won their fourth straight game following a five-game losing streak.
The Chargers (2-8) lost their sixth straight.
The Chiefs brought some defensive heat, even on offense.
After Charcandrick West was stuffed from the 1-yard line on third down on the Chiefs’ second possession, they went on fourth down, this time giving the ball to Poe. He got air and went in for his first NFL TD.
The Chiefs have had the play in their playbook for a few years.
Poe is the heaviest NFL player to score an offensive touchdown, according to STATS.
Said Houston, with a laugh: “I told him I earned my touchdown. His touchdown was given.”
It was Houston’s first TD, as well.
Houston had four of Kansas City’s seven sacks of Rivers in the 2014 season finale in which the Chargers were eliminated from the playoff race.
The Chargers pretty much melted down. Rivers had his worst game of the season, going 19 of 30 for just 178 yards. Tight end Antonio Gates was seen jawing at the quarterback on the sideline in the first half.
Rivers said Sunday’s face-plant “is about as tough as it gets and not like it hasn’t been tough the last five. This one, it gets even worse.”
Smith, who led Helix High to consecutive city championships at Qualcomm Stadium, completed 20 of 25 passes for 253 yards. He also ran seven times for 33 yards.
There’s a chance this was Smith’s last appearance at Qualcomm Stadium. Chargers chairman Dean Spanos has infuriated fans with his intention to move the team to an industrial suburb of Los Angeles, which would require approval of fellow owners.
Smith broke Steve DeBerg’s team record of 233 consecutive passes without an interception. Smith threw his 234th straight pass without a pick on a 47-yard completion to running back Charcandrick West. Smith extended his record to 253.
The Chiefs turned to Poe to cap their second drive. The 6-foot-3 defender soared for a 6-0 lead. The PAT failed.
Cairo Santos kicked field goals of 28 and 24 yards, and Spencer Ware had two 3-yard TD runs in the fourth quarter.
San Diego’s only score was a 52-yard field goal by rookie Josh Lambo.
NOTES: At halftime, the Chargers inducted running back LaDainian Tomlinson into their Hall of Fame and retired his No. 21. … Chiefs WR De’Anthony Thomas suffered a concussion and West strained a hamstring. … For the Chargers, DT Sean Lissemore and S Jahleel Addae had concussions. RT Joe Barksdale had a hip injury. … This is the Chargers’ 20th non-winning season in 32 years of Spanos family ownership,
Packers 30, Vikings 13
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Green Bay Packers were in a funk, booed by their loyal fans the week before and passed by the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers responded with a resolute victory, fending off the Vikings like Clay Matthews waving his finger after tackling Adrian Peterson for a loss.
Rodgers threw for a pair of touchdown passes without a turnover, Datone Jones had two of Green Bay’s six sacks and Eddie Lacy contributed a season-high 100 yards rushing to help the Packers beat the Vikings 30-13 on Sunday and stop a three-game losing streak.
James Jones had six catches for 109 yards after several quiet games and Mason Crosby made all five of his field goal tries, lifting the Packers (7-3) to their 10th win over the Vikings in the last 11 meetings with Rodgers at quarterback. He has thrown for 28 touchdown passes with just three interceptions in those games.
From Lacy to Crosby to the two-time NFL MVP Rodgers, the underperforming Packers bounced back in a big way to post the highest score against the Vikings this season. The Vikings (7-3) had their five-game winning streak shoved back in their face by a proud Packers team that clearly wasn’t ready to concede a division it has won four straight times. The rematch is on Jan. 3 in Green Bay. Teddy Bridgewater took back-to-back sacks to prompt a punt on the next possession, all but sealing the first loss by the Vikings at home in eight games since the Packers won here almost exactly a year ago.Right after the ugliest of their three straight defeats, an 18-16 decision at home against Detroit, Rodgers and the Packers roared back with a vintage performance against the Vikings to the delight of the enemy fans chanting, “Go, Pack, Go!” throughout the evening.
The Packers used a 50-yard pass interference penalty on Terence Newman, who was covering Jeff Janis on third-and-15 from the 15, to set up the 10-yard touchdown toss by Rodgers to Cobb with 10 seconds left in the first half. An illegal contact call on Anthony Barr during a third-down incompletion gave Rodgers yet another opportunity on that defining drive.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Rodgers rolled right on third-and-9 and zinged the ball to Jones at the edge of the end zone for a 27-yard score on. He shoveled the 2-point conversion pass to Jones, too, for a 27-13 lead.
After Rodgers attempted 61 passes against the Lions and came away with a sore shoulder, the Packers were determined to re-establish Lacy and James Starks between the tackles.
Bridgewater took quite a bruising, leaving the game briefly with an injury to his left shoulder but still finishing 25 for 37 for 296 yards and a touchdown without any turnovers. The Packers went without a sack on their entire three-game losing streak.
Peterson, the NFL’s leading rusher who passed the 1,000-yard mark for a seventh season, averaged 116 yards over the first 15 times he played the Packers with four games of 150-plus yards.
NOTES: Kyle Rudolph had a touchdown and a career-high 106 yards receiving for the Vikings. … The Packers lost center Corey Linsley (ankle) and safety Micah Hyde (hip) to injuries.
49ers 13, Seahawks 29
SEATTLE (AP) — About two hours before kickoff Seattle’s Thomas Rawls was in the locker room getting loosened up. He was told Marshawn Lynch wouldn’t be able to play.
Suddenly helping to rediscover the identity of the underachieving Seahawks was resting in part with the rookie.
“I’m going to pass you the torch for the day,” Lynch told the rookie.
Rawls did more than just take over. He ran his way to the second-best day by a running back in Seahawks history.
Rawls rushed for 209 yards and had two total touchdowns, helping lead the Seahawks to a 29-13 win over San Francisco on Sunday as Seattle got back to .500 and found a little bit of what’s been missing.
And it started almost immediately. On Seattle’s third offensive play, Rawls caught a swing pass from Russell Wilson and rather than stepping out of bounds after a healthy gain, rammed his way into and through San Francisco cornerback Tramaine Brock.
The tone was set by the rookie and his teammates followed.
Rawls ran for a 2-yard TD on Seattle’s second drive, then gave the Seahawks a 29-13 lead with 12:32 remaining on a 31-yard catch-and-run pass out of the backfield. Rawls caught the rollout throw from Wilson, stiff-armed Michael Wilhoite and raced for the first receiving touchdown of his career.
Rawls became just the third running back in Seahawks history to top 200 yards in a game and trailed only Shaun Alexander’s 266-yard game in 2001 in franchise history. He’s the third running back in the NFL this season to go over 200 yards, joining Doug Martin (235) and Adrian Peterson (203).
Rawls turned in his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. He came off the bench to run for 104 yards against Chicago in Week 3 after Lynch injured his hamstring, and rumbled for 169 yards and a touchdown two weeks later against Cincinnati. He finished with 255 all-purpose yards, including three catches for 46 yards, and has two games of more than 160 yards rushing in his rookie season; Lynch has never run for more than 153 yards in any game in his career
And there is a chance the job could be Rawls going forward. As late as Friday, the Seahawks expected Lynch to play. He was just a spectator — and Rawls’ biggest cheerleader — and is set to visit Dr. William Meyers on Monday in Philadelphia to try and get an exact determination of his abdominal injury.
“This will be a really important couple of days for him,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Lynch. “We’ll know something by Wednesday, probably.”
Rawls wasn’t the only Seattle rookie to make major contributions. Tyler Lockett caught touchdowns of 24 and 11 yards in the first half as Seattle built a 20-0 lead. Lockett bulled his tiny frame into the end zone on the second of his TD catches, carrying a San Francisco defender on his back.
“We look real familiar again,” Lockett said.
Blaine Gabbert made his second straight start for the 49ers and got going late in the first half capping a long drive with a 19-yard touchdown to Vance McDonald with 9 seconds left in the half to get within 20-7.
Gabbert continued to move the 49ers effectively in the third quarter, but had to twice settle for short field goals from Phil Dawson after getting inside the Seattle 10. Gabbert was 22 of 34 for 264 yards.
Wilson had one of his best days as a pro, completing 24 of 29 passes for 260 yards and a 138.5 rating following a week where he received a bit of criticism from his coaches. Seattle was vastly improved on third downs, a problem in last week’s loss to Arizona, converting 8 of 14 attempts and scoring touchdowns on its first three drives.
And Seattle got help in the playoff chase, leaving it a game behind Atlanta for the final wild-card spot in the NFC with six weeks to go.
NOTES: Seattle won its fifth straight against the 49ers. … Rawls broke Curt Warner’s franchise rookie record of 207 yards rushing in 1983 against Kansas City. … McDonald’s touchdown was his first career TD catch. … RB Shaun Draughn had eight receptions for San Francisco the most by a 49ers running back since Frank Gore had nine in 2010.
Bengals 31, Cardinals 34
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A bizarre penalty made the ending of Arizona’s wild 34-31 victory over Cincinnati even crazier.
Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 32-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining for the winner after Cincinnati tied it with two late scores Sunday night.
The winning field goal was considerably closer than it would have been because Cincinnati’s Domata Peko was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for hollering out offensive signals to try to confuse the Cardinals (8-2) as they were about to spike the ball to set up the kick.
The penalty moved the ball from the 28 to the 14.
Carson Palmer overcame two early interceptions to throw four touchdown passes and, with 57 seconds left, completed three quick passes to move the team into field goal range after the Bengals rallied to tie it at 31.
Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes for the Bengals (8-2), both to Tyler Eifert. The second cut, a 10-yarder, cut it to 31-28 with 3:44 to play. Mike Nugent tied it at 31 with a 43-yard field goal 1:03 from the finish.
Palmer, who had said during the week that this one against his former team was “not just another game,” completed 20 of 31 passes for 317 yards and has 11 TD passes in his last three games — four against Cleveland, three against Seattle and four against Cincinnati.
Dalton bounced back from a shaky start to the second half to engineer the Bengals’ comeback. He finished 22 of 39 for 315 yards.
Arizona rookie speedster J.J. Nelson caught four passes for 142 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown reception.
Cincinnati running back Giovani Bernard caught eight passes for 128 yards. Jeremy Hill had two short scoring runs for Cincinnati.
The Cardinals trailed 14-7 at the half, led 28-14 in the third quarter and 31-21 in the fourth before the Bengals rallied.
Arizona had the ball at its 16 with 58 seconds to go and Palmer quickly threw 19 yards to Nelson. He followed with passes of 18 and 20 yards to Larry Fitzgerald to move the ball to the Cincinnati 27.
“If there’s a guy you’re going to pick to throw to when it really counts, he’s the one,” Palmer said about Fitzgerald. “He just did a good job getting open.”
The Cardinals were trying to spike the ball because they were out of timeouts when the referees blew their whistles and announced the penalty against Peko.
While Dalton started the second half with six straight incompletions, Palmer moved Arizona to three third-quarter touchdowns on three possessions.
After the Bengals took the second-half kickoff and were forced to punt, Palmer threw deep to the speedy Nelson who caught it at about the 10 and scored, a 64-yard play that tied it at 14.
Cincinnati went three and out, and Arizona went 66 yards in eight plays, Palmer throwing 18 yards to John Brown for the score to give the Cardinals their first lead of the night, 21-14, with 5:32 left in the half.
Passes of 11 yards to Fitzgerald and 14 to Nelson set up Palmer’s 16-yard scoring pass to David Johnson and Arizona opened a 28-14 lead after three quarters.
Dalton had his heroics, too.
Cincinnati had it third-and-26 at the Arizona 38 when Dalton threw 22 yards to Marvin Jones. On fourth-and-4 from the 16, Dalton threw 10 yards to Mohammed Sanu, and Hill’s 1-yard run cut it to 28-21 with 11:26 still remaining.
Bills 13, Patriots 20
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady called out Rex Ryan and then he beat the Bills — again.
After shouting the name of the Buffalo coach as an audible, Brady led New England to a 20-13 victory over the Bills on Monday night and kept the defending Super Bowl champions on course for their second perfect regular season in nine years.
Brady completed 20 of 39 passes for 277 yards, hitting James White for a 20-yard score that was the first touchdown of the running back’s career. White added a 6-yard run in the third quarter to give New England (10-0) the lead for good.
Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy ran 20 times for 82 yards and a 27-yard touchdown and caught six passes for 41 yards to surpass 100 yards from scrimmage for the fourth straight game. The Bills (5-5) snapped a two-game winning streak and lost to Brady for the 25th time in 28 games.
The game was filled with mistakes, penalties, injuries and turnovers — including two fumbles on a single punt, a rare missed field goal by Stephen Gostkowski and an inadvertent whistle that led to one of many lengthy conferences among the officials.
And New England lost another key player: Danny Amendola, who took over as the Patriots’ No. 1 receiver because of last week’s injury to Julian Edelman, caught nine passes for 117 yards before leaving with a knee injury of his own in the third quarter.
With the wind chill temperature at 21 degrees at kickoff, both teams struggled on offense, and the Patriots even failed to score in the fourth — the first time they were shut out in a quarter since the first one of the season.
In the third quarter, both teams fumbled on the same punt.
Leodis McKelvin fielded a punt at his own 30 yard-line and made it just 2 yards before the ball was knocked out by Brandon King. New England’s Jonathan Freeny picked up the ball and rumbled 5 yards before he lost the ball and it bounced out of bounds.
The Patriots took over at the Buffalo 30 and took a 20-10 lead on Gostkowski’s 35-yard field goal.
Even the referees were sloppy.
Early in the third, Brady rolled toward the right sideline before throwing downfield to Amendola. As the receiver broke for the end zone, the play was whistled dead — apparently because the official thought Brady stepped out of bounds.
After a lengthy discussion, the referee announced that there was an inadvertent whistle. The 14-yard reception counted, with a 15-yard penalty for interference from the Bills coaching staff. The drive ended with an even more unusual error: Gostkowski’s first miss in 51 weeks.
Brady threw a first-half interception that was nullified by offsetting penalties. But he did throw one at the Buffalo goal line in the fourth that stuck.
Brady took a dig at Ryan in the first quarter by adding “Rex Ryan!” to his pre-snap signals. The Bills coach has been a longtime rival of the Patriots.
But the Patriots managed just a field goal in the first, then went scoreless for 22 minutes, 16 seconds before Brady led a 33-second touchdown drive to make it 10-3 with 13 seconds left in the half.
Brady threw an out pass to White, who broke a tackle along the sideline to score from 20 yards out.
That prolonged New England’s scoring streak, but it came to an end at 38 in a row when they failed to score in the fourth.
And another streak was snapped, too.
Gostkowski hadn’t missed a kick all season, a total of 22 field goals and 35 extra points before his attempt from 54 yards out in the third quarter sailed wide right. It was his first miss since Nov. 30, 2014, and his first miss at home since Week 2 of the 2013 season.
NOTES: Brady improved to 11-4 in his career against teams coached by Ryan. … McCoy is the first Buffalo player to rush for more than 100 yards in four consecutive games since C.J. Spiller in 2012. … Patriots injuries: Amendola (knee) and WR Aaron Dobson (ankle). Bills injuries: WR Marcus Easley (head), OL John Miller (ankle), S Bacarri Rambo (shoulder), DL Mario Williams (foot), TE Charles Clay (neck). … Gostkowski extended his streak of consecutive extra points to 447.