Here is a recap of Week 12 of the 2016 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Vikings 13, Lions 16
DETROIT (AP) — Darius Slay dropped into coverage as if he was going to cover a deep route and pounced on an opportunity to help the Lions come back to win another game.
Slay intercepted Sam Bradford’s pass from the left hash across the field to help send the Lions into sole possession of first place in the NFC North.
Slay returned the interception 13 yards with 30 seconds left to set up Matt Prater’s 40-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Lions to a 16-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday.
Minnesota could have stuck with the conservative approach it took on offense for much of the game and played for overtime on its last drive, but coach Mike Zimmer allowed Bradford to pass and Slay made him regret it.
“I knew they were going to throw,” Slay said. “They didn’t want overtime. They know what happened last time.”
Earlier this month, Prater made a game-tying 58-yard field goal at the end of regulation at Minnesota and the Lions won in overtime.
Slay, a standout cornerback, who calls himself “Big Play Slay,” fooled Bradford by coming up and stepping in front of Adam Thielen to pick off the pass.
“I wish I could have seen him fall off the outside route and come back in,” Bradford said.
The Lions (7-4) have won six of seven, including two against Minnesota this month and four of the wins have come on Prater’s field goals, despite trailing in the fourth quarter of every game this season.
Slay sealed the first victory during the successful stretch with an interception late in the game on Oct. 9 against Philadelphia.
“He’s as good as they come in those situations,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s kind of got a knack for it. He’s a bit of a riverboat gambler.”
Detroit extended its NFL record of having its first 11 games decided by seven or fewer points.
“They come from behind every week, so when we took the lead in the fourth quarter, we knew the game wasn’t over,” Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph said. “We had to keep playing, but we didn’t make enough plays.”
The Vikings (6-5) have lost five of six, plummeting out of first place after surging to the top of the division by winning their first five games.
LOSING THE LEAD(S)
Forbath put the Vikings ahead for the first time, giving them a 13-10 lead early in the fourth on a 28-yard field goal after Cordarrelle Patterson gained 22 yards on a reverse .
The Lions moved a step closer toward winning a division title for the first time since 1993 by breaking a tie atop the NFC North with Minnesota.
If both teams finish the regular season tied atop the division, Detroit would win the tiebreaker.
“If they were handing out trophies the day after this win, I’d feel a little bit different,” Caldwell said. “It means nothing right now, right? We haven’t done anything.”
Minnesota didn’t convert a third down until Bradford connected with Patterson late in the third quarter and finished 2 of 10 on third down.
“We weren’t good enough on third downs offensively,” Zimmer said. “We can’t continue to shoot ourselves in the foot with some of those penalties and negative plays.”
Vikings: A banged-up offensive line took a hit in the first half when center Joe Berger was evaluated for a concussion, and wasn’t cleared to return. The line had yet another setback midway through the fourth when tackle Jeremiah Sirles had to be helped off the field.
“Every time we get some chemistry going on the line, we lose someone else,” Rudolph said.
Minnesota started the game without receiver Stefon Diggs (knee), cornerback Terence Newman (neck) and punt returner Marcus Sherels (rib, ankle).
Lions: Linebacker DeAndre Levy was inactive, but appears to be closer to coming back from a knee injury that has kept him out since Week 1.
Vikings: In a week, Minnesota will host the NFC-leading Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night.
Lions: Detroit gets an extended break before playing Dec. 4 at New Orleans.
Redskins 26, Cowboys 31
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott keep winning for the Dallas Cowboys, even with Kirk Cousins setting records for the Washington Redskins.
Prescott accounted for two touchdowns , Elliott ran for a pair of scores and the Cowboys extended their franchise regular-season record with a 10th straight victory, beating the Redskins 31-26 on Thursday.
Prescott tied Don Meredith’s club quarterback record from 50 years ago with his fifth rushing TD and the NFL-leading Cowboys (10-1) won despite 449 yards passing and three touchdowns from Cousins, the first Redskins quarterback with two 400-yard games in a season.
“You know you’re talking to someone who knows how hard this is to win 10 games in a row, and I do,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “I know how we’re getting it done, and we’re getting done by hard work and Dak’s a great example.”
The Redskins (6-4-1) got swept by their NFC East rival, and the defending division champions fell 3 1/2 games behind Dallas with five games left. It was their seventh loss in eight tries on Thanksgiving against Cowboys, who had never won more than eight straight in the regular season.
“We’ve been in third place for a while, so we have to understand where we are what it’s going to take to get an opportunity to come back here in the future,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “The last five games of the year are critical.”
Elliott, the NFL rushing leader, had the fourth score on five straight second-half touchdown drives between the two teams with a 1-yard run for a 31-19 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The 21-year-old had 97 yards to give him 1,199 for the season.
After getting 43 yards on the first Dallas possession, Elliott had just 13 yards before a 21-yarder to start Dallas’ last TD drive. It was the second straight week he finished with 97 yards after some difficulty in the first half.
“Over time, you keep running the football, you’re going to wear them down,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “He made some big runs late that were critical. It really broke their back.”
The Cowboys had an eight-game streak with at least 400 yards snapped, finishing with 353. But Dallas answered with touchdowns each time the Redskins got within a score on Cousins’ passes of 5 yards to Jordan Reed and 67 yards to DeSean Jackson , who had 118 yards receiving.
After Cousins’ second scoring toss to Reed, an 8-yarder with 1:53 remaining, Dustin Hopkins’ onside kick went out of bounds. The Cowboys ran out the clock.
“The way Dallas was able to come back and put points on the board in those situations is part of the reason why they are such a good football team,” said Cousins , who was 41 of 53 and finished 8 yards shy of his career high.
“As an offense, whenever we got the football, it was pretty much the same. Move the football, put points on the board, make good decisions and manage it well.”
Cousins took the Washington career lead with his third 400-yard game and became the first Redskins quarterback with consecutive 350-yard games since Jay Schroeder in 1986. He had 375 last week against Green Bay.
Reed had 10 catches for 95 yards after missing most of the first half when he injured his left shoulder leaping for a pass over his head in the end zone.
Prescott was 17 of 24 for a season-low 195 yards and one touchdown, a toe-tapper to Terrance Williams . He had eight carries for 39 yards, including a career-long 18-yarder. Dez Bryant led Dallas with 72 yards on five catches.
BACK TO THE PACK
Undrafted rookie running back Robert Kelley of the Redskins was held to 37 yards on 14 carries a week after getting a career-high 137 yards with three touchdowns against the Packers. He was averaging more than 100 yards per game the previous three.
The late-afternoon sun shining through the glass doors on the west side of the stadium was an issue in the opener when Dallas tight end Jason Witten admitted that the glare contributed to a pass he dropped in the New York Giants’ 20-19 win.
Cousins had to battle it during a second-quarter drive that ended in the second of Dustin Hopkins’ two missed field goals: a 55-yarder.
Prescott threw away from the sun to Williams for the touchdown on the subsequent possession, and the glare wasn’t a factor after that.
Redskins: Washington gets the 10-day break before the second of three straight road games in Arizona on Dec. 4. The trip ends with another crucial NFC East game at Philadelphia on Dec. 11.
Cowboys: It’ll be a “regular” seven-day week with a visit to Minnesota next Thursday. Then Dallas gets the longer break before a Dec. 11 visit to the New York Giants that is likely to be a battle of the top two teams in the division.
Steelers 28, Colts 7
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Antonio Brown has a history of making big plays against the Indianapolis Colts.
Thursday night was no different.
Brown hauled in three touchdown catches of more than 20 yards to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 28-7 victory over a depleted Colts team that was missing star quarterback Andrew Luck.
“I don’t take it for granted, but I’m not surprised by it,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of his star receiver. “He maximizes opportunities.”
Even when Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t throw much. He finished the game 14 of 20 for 221 yards with three TDs.
Brown took full advantage of his chances by scoring on three of his five catches and finishing with 91 yards, two short of joining Hines Ward as the only receivers in franchise history with four straight 1,000-yard seasons.
Brown has 23 receptions for 342 yards and seven TDs in three career games against the Colts.
Those weren’t the most interesting numbers to the Steelers (6-5), though. They helped their playoff chances with a second straight win and snapped a four-game losing streak on Thanksgiving, a stretch that began with a loss at Detroit in 1983.
Luck sat out with a concussion, and his absence showed as Indy’s first winning streak of the season ended at two games.
While replacement Scott Tolzien hung tough most of the night, the performance wasn’t good enough to extend the Colts’ 10-game winning streak on Thursday nights.
The Steelers built a 21-7 lead by scoring touchdowns on each of their first three possessions — a 5-yard run from Le’Veon Bell, and touchdown catches by Brown of 25 and 33 yards.
Indy’s only score came on a 5-yard TD pass from Tolzien to Donte Moncrief early in the second quarter, a play set up by the first completion of Pat McAfee’s career on a fake punt.
The Colts (5-6) had two chances to trim the deficit but Tolzien was stopped twice on third-down runs at the 1-yard line, and the Steelers forced incompletions on both fourth-down plays.
“This is a humbling league and God, when you’re that close, we’ve got to put them in,” Tolzien said. “Personally, I look at those two opportunities. I had two chances with the ball in my hand and I just wish I could have punched them in.”
Bell ran 23 times for 120 yards.
Tolzien finished 22 of 36 for 205 yards with one TD and two interceptions.
Colts greats Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison received their Hall of Fame rings at halftime. Dungy was the coach of the 2006 Super Bowl championship team that celebrated its 10-year anniversary Sunday. Harrison is the team’s career leader in receptions, yards receiving and TDs and also played on the title team. Both were inducted into the Hall of Fame in August.
Steelers: LB James Harrison was escorted off the field by officials in the first quarter after getting dinged. Pittsburgh safety Mike Mitchell (stinger) left late in the first half. Neither stayed out long.
Colts: It was a rough night. After starting the game without Luck, they lost center Ryan Kelly (left shoulder) on the opening series, right guard Denzelle Good (neck and shoulder) on the second series, cornerback Vontae Davis (groin) in the second quarter and receiver T.Y. Hilton (bruised lower back) late in the first half. Good and Hilton both returned but then left again in the second half. Kelly and Davis did not return at all. Outside linebacker Robert Mathis (elbow) exited late in the game and did not return.
THEY SAID IT
Steelers: “When you’re in the huddle with him, you know you’re going to have a chance to make some big plays,” Brown said, referring to Roethlisberger.
Colts: “When you’re on the goal line, the 1-yard line, you’ve got to find a way to punch them in and we didn’t,” coach Chuck Pagano said.
Steelers: Will try to extend their winning streak to three Dec. 4 when the New York Giants visit.
Colts: Hope to have Luck back in the lineup when they visit the New York Jets on Dec. 5.
Bengals 14, Ravens 19
BALTIMORE (AP) — All that has transpired for the Baltimore Ravens this month has put them in position for, as safety Eric Weddle put it, “A December to Remember.”
The Ravens followed a winless October with a 3-1 November, capped by a 19-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Baltimore (6-5) climbed back into a tie with Pittsburgh atop the AFC North with five games to go.
“We have to win every game, we feel, this last stretch,” Weddle said.
The Bengals (3-7-1) feel the same way. The difference is, that might not be good enough to get them into the postseason for the sixth consecutive year.
“We have been able to control it ourselves. Now we need help,” coach Marvin Lewis said.
After spending five straight Decembers fighting for playoff position, Cincinnati is now in a situation where one more loss may end its postseason hopes.
“It starts to wear on you,” cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said. “I’m a winner. I’ve never been in this situation. But at the end of the day, when you’re a competitor you keep competing, especially when your back is against the wall.”
Some things we learned about the Ravens and Bengals on Sunday:
PERFECT AND IMPERFECT: Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has been perfect in 11 games this year. After connecting from 52, 57 , 54 and 36 yards, Tucker is 27 for 27 and has made all 15 of his conversion attempts.
It was the 11th time Tucker has kicked at least four field goals in a game. Baltimore is 10-1 when that happens.
“To be on this kind of roll is good, but it doesn’t end today,” Tucker said. “Hopefully this is something that would help carry our team all the way to the playoffs.”
Tucker’s counterpart Sunday, Cincinnati’s Mike Nugent, missed his third straight extra point try (over two games) and has misfired on four of 23 conversion attempts this year.
TIPPING HIS HAND: A handful of Andy Dalton’s 22 incompletions came when Ravens defenders tipped his passes at the line of scrimmage, sending spirals everywhere but toward their intended targets.
Since Dalton stands 6-foot-2, it seemed like a concerted effort by the Baltimore defense to simply reach for the ball instead of applying an all-out rush.
“I’d have to watch (film), but my guess is they weren’t rushing as much, just putting their hands up,” Dalton said.
Dalton was sacked three times and lost two fumbles. In his defense, he played without injured wide receiver A.J. Green and running back Giovani Bernard and was backed by a running game that could muster only 64 yards on 20 attempts.
ELVIS IN THE BUILDING: The return of Elvis Dumervil was a big factor in Baltimore’s strong defensive effort.
Playing in his third game of the season and for the first time in five weeks, the Ravens’ sack specialist stripped Dalton of the ball with just over a minute left to seal the victory.
“It was a great start,” Dumervil said. “I’m still a little rusty, but I’m fine-tuning things and hopefully I can be peaking at the right time.”
The road back from foot surgery has been difficult for the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker. Dumervil missed the first three games of the season before seeing action in back-to-back games in early October. That was it until Sunday.
“For him to play so well is satisfying for him, I’m sure,” coach John Harbaugh said, “but it’s really satisfying for me and everyone else.”
MISSING MAN FORMATION: With Bernard (ACL) out for the season and Green (hamstring) sidelined, the Bengals offense looked elsewhere for production. Halfback Rex Burkhead averaged 5.8 yards on each of his five carries against the NFL’s top rushing defense, and wide receiver Tyler Boyd made five catches for 62 yards.
“It felt good to get out there, get your hand on the ball and get some touches,” Burkhead said. “I feel like I could have played better. I’m never satisfied. I always look for ways to improve.”
KOCH’S BIG DAY: Tucker wasn’t the only special teams star for the Ravens. Punter Sam Koch averaged 44.4 yards per kick and dropped four of his five punts inside the 20.
He also ran the clock out on the final play, prancing around in the end zone while his teammates literally held off the Cincinnati rush.
Koch eventually ran out of the end zone for a safety. There were multiple Ravens holding on the play — intentionally — because a game can end on a play that features an offensive infraction.
Jaguars 21, Bills 28
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Once LeSean McCoy eluded two defenders and cut up the right sideline with nothing but the end zone in front of him, the Bills’ running back had time to glance up at the big screen and start celebrating.
“You can just hear the crowd yelling,” McCoy said, recalling his 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. “You feel the guy (behind you) and then you look on the screen and I know I’ve got him beat.”
McCoy’s touchdown provided the Bills the spark they needed to persevere through a topsy-turvy second half and pull out a 28-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
It was McCoy’s second touchdown of the game, the longest of his career, and breathed life into a Tyrod Taylor-led offense that had managed just 63 yards of offense in the first half.
“It’s huge. It gave the entire team life,” guard Richie Incognito said.
It provided a boost to Buffalo’s defense, too.
“It’s like we’re back,” said cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. “It’s like get back out there and do what we do. Fresh start.”
The Bills (6-5) won for the second straight week in which they’ve trailed at the half to stay in the AFC playoff picture.
And Taylor overcame a fourth-quarter deficit for just the second time in 25 games.
Taylor’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter with 10:46 remaining put the Bills ahead for good, and he also scored on a 7-yard run.
The game was decided with four minutes left, when the Jaguars were unable to convert a fourth-and-9 at the Buffalo 46. Blake Bortles hit Marquise Lee on a crossing pattern over the middle, but he was limited to a 4-yard gain.
The Bills then took over and ran out the clock.
The Jaguars (2-9) lost for the sixth straight game — their longest skid since opening the 2014 season at 0-6. And they did so by blowing a fourth-quarter lead for the third time this season.
“We just can’t get over the hill,” said Jaguars defensive lineman Malik Jackson, who had two sacks.
“We have moral victories and that’s good for us because we’re learning and we’re getting better,” Jackson added. “But when compared to the other 31 teams in the league, we’re not doing too good. And that’s what we get graded on.”
Bortles went 13 of 26 for 126 yards and two touchdowns, and also had a career-best 81 yards rushing. The Jaguars, who entered the game with a league-high 22 giveaways, also didn’t turn the ball over.
Injuries, however, became an issue.
Chris Ivory, who opened the scoring with a 2-yard run , was sidelined in the first half by a hamstring injury. And then Jacksonville lost receiver Allen Hurns, also with a hamstring injury while diving into the end zone on a 12-yard catch and run .
The Bills overcame their growing list of injured players.
McCoy, who also scored on a 2-point conversion, finished with 103 yards rushing and showed few signs of being bothered a week after having surgery for a dislocated left thumb.
Receiver Sammy Watkins had three catches for 80 yards — including a 62-yard reception — playing his first game in nine weeks since aggravating an injury to his surgically repaired left foot.
“It just shows the resiliency of this bunch,” Incognito said. “It just keeps our dream alive.”
JAGS’ BIG OPENING
The Jaguars snapped the NFL’s longest active drought by scoring on their opening possession for the first time in 25 games. The streak began in Week 3 of the 2015 season, and featured the Jaguars combining for three field goals, punting 18 times and turning the ball over three times.
Ivory’s touchdown capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive spanning 6:45. The Jaguars converted three third-down chances, including their last one courtesy of a defensive holding penalty against Corey White on third-and-goal from the 3.
Bills kicker Dan Carpenter missed his first point-after attempt wide left, his third this season. On the bright side for Buffalo, Brandon Tate’s 43-yard punt return late in the second quarter set up the Bills first score — a five-play, 22-yard drive.
Jaguars: Ivory (hamstring), WR Rashad Greene Sr. (Achilles) and FS Peyton Thompson (ankle) and Hurns (hamstring), who was hurt while diving into the end zone on his touchdown catch.
Bills: CB Ronald Darby (concussion), WR Walter Powell (left ankle), DT Marcell Dareus (abdomen).
Jaguars: Host Denver on Dec. 4.
Bills: At Oakland on Dec. 4.
Chargers 21, Texans 13
HOUSTON (AP) — Dontrelle Inman appreciates every moment in the NFL after the winding path he took to get here.
His strong play this season is what Philip Rivers appreciates.
Inman had 119 yards receiving, including a 52-yard touchdown reception to help the San Diego Chargers to a 21-13 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Inman was signed by the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2011, but he was released before the regular season began and spent the next two seasons playing for the Toronto Argonauts. In 2014 he got another chance in the NFL when he was signed by the Chargers. Ever since, he’s steadily improved.
“His main thing is he is dependable,” Rivers said. “You can count on him to run the right route, to play any position, to do his job every day. That is what we thought we were getting when we got him from Canada. (Former Chargers offensive coordinator) Frank (Reich) had talked to the coach he played for in Canada and he said: ‘If I had 41 … Dontrelles, I would have a heck of a team.'”
Rivers found a wide-open Inman for the 52-yard touchdown pass that tied it at 7 in the second quarter. Brock Osweiler was intercepted by Casey Hayward on the next drive, and San Diego took a 14-7 lead when Rivers connected with Tyrell Williams on a 21-yard scoring pass.
“Once you get that opportunity you’re like: ‘Hey, this may be my last,'” Inman said. “So a lot of guys take it like, ‘this may be my last (game), this might be my last catch. So I’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity.”
Inman has a career-high 527 yards receiving this season and Sunday was his second 100-yard game this year. He had a career-best 120 yards against New Orleans on Oct. 2.
“Dontrelle knows only one way to do it,” coach Mike McCoy said. “It took him some time to get his opportunity, and once we gave him that opportunity, he ran with it … he’s done a phenomenal job.”
Some things to know about the Chargers-Texans game:
FITTING IN WELL: Hayward has been a great addition for the Chargers this season after playing for Green Bay for the last four seasons. Hayward’s interception on Sunday gives him six this season, which ties his career high he set as a rookie in 2012.
“I’m so happy he’s here,” McCoy said. “He deserves a lot of credit for helping our defense … he’s done a great job of fitting in.”
WEARY DEFENSE: The Texans’ defense was on the field too much Sunday because of multiple turnovers by the offense. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said it was difficult, but that it’s their job to handle those situations better.
“(It) put us in tough spots,” he said. “But it happens and you’ve got to go out there and bow up … we’ve just got to control the game. The defense has to go out there and play better every week.”
PILING UP YARDS: Rivers had 242 yards passing Sunday to give him 3,128 this season. It’s the 11th consecutive season Rivers has had at least 3,000 yards passing. But he didn’t want to pat himself on the back for reaching the milestone. Instead he credited his teammates for helping him be so consistent.
“That to me is a team achievement,” he said. “A lot of guys contribute to yards.”
WILL’S WORK: Houston rookie Will Fuller had four receptions for 60 yards on Sunday after failing to finish with more than 25 yards receiving in his last four games. He set up Houston’s only touchdown with a nifty 33-yard grab in the second quarter. Fuller, who had two 100-yard games to start his career, has struggled with drops in the last few games.
TOO MANY TURNOVERS: Osweiler has more interceptions (13) than touchdown passes (12) after throwing three interceptions on Sunday. Many of his interceptions this year have been when he tried to force the ball to DeAndre Hopkins, including his first one against the Chargers.
Coach Bill O’Brien said he hasn’t thought about benching him for backup Tom Savage, and Osweiler vowed to take better care of the ball.
“I think every interception has a different story to it,” he said. “Unfortunately it’s happening too often, that’s something that I’ll study very hard tonight and I’ll study very hard tomorrow as well, and I’ll continue to move forward and try to improve.”
Titans 27, Bears 21
CHICAGO (AP) — Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans were hoping the final five games would vault them to the top of the AFC South and into the playoffs.
They’re off to a good start.
For that, they can thank one dropped pass in the end zone.
Mariota threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns, and the Titans hung on to beat the depleted Chicago Bears 27-21 on Sunday.
The Titans (6-6) gave their playoff hopes a boost, though they watched as Chicago (2-9) cut a 20-point lead to six in the fourth quarter.
Matt Barkley, starting for the injured Jay Cutler, led the late surge. The Bears had a first down at the Tennessee 7 in the final minute when Josh Bellamy dropped a pass in the end zone . Barkley’s next three attempts fell incomplete, preserving the win for Tennessee.
“I’m beating myself up because I expect more out of myself,” Bellamy said.
The Titans moved one-half game out of first place in the AFC South when Houston lost to San Diego.
“That’s all you want,” Mariota said. “You want an opportunity this time of the year to get a chance to (win) a division title and maybe make a run at the playoffs. That’s all you can really ask for.”
Mariota, putting together one of the best seasons ever by a Titans quarterback, came through with another solid performance. The second-year pro completed 15 of 23 passes and threw for multiple touchdowns in his eighth straight game.
Rishard Matthews added 64 yards receiving, including a diving touchdown grab near the end of the first half. Delanie Walker had three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown, and the Titans headed into their bye on a winning note after losing at Indianapolis last week.
With Cutler nursing a right shoulder injury, the Bears were forced to give Barkley his first career start. The former Southern California star struggled before coming on strong down the stretch, going 28 for 54 for 316 yards with the first three touchdowns of his career and two interceptions.
“Even though we lost, it’s encouraging at the same time to see how these guys fought and how they really banded together to play for each other,” Barkley said. “It was cool to see. So I think just moving on from here, knowing that we can win, that we have guys on the team that can win games, just making sure that we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot. I think that’s the goal from here on out.”
Barkley got picked off by Wesley Woodyard with the ball on the Tennessee 16 in the second quarter, and he was intercepted in the end zone by Da’Norris Searcy early in the third.
He did, however, throw a 6-yard touchdown to Deonte Thompson with just over three minutes left to cut it to 27-21. The Bears got the ball back on their 35 with 1:56 remaining after the Titans went three-and-out. But they couldn’t complete the comeback.
“It was quite a ride,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. “Like I said, a lot of these games are like a whitewater.”
Barkley, who came in with six career interceptions, threw his first touchdown as a pro when he hit Daniel Brown for a 7-yarder for a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
But it was all Titans the rest of the half.
They scored touchdowns on their next two possessions, with Derrick Henry turning the left corner for an 11-yard run and Mariota hitting Walker with a 4-yard pass .
The Bears then had a big opportunity after the Titans’ LeShaun Sims got called for a 45-yard pass-interference penalty. But with the ball on the 16, Woodyard picked off a pass Barkley tried to squeeze to Ben Braunecker .
Matthews made it a 14-point game with a spectacular touchdown catchnear the end of the half. With his back to the quarterback, he sprawled out to haul in a 29-yard pass in the end zone.
Titans: DT Jurrell Casey sprained his foot and was to have tests in Nashville. … CB Jason McCourty exited because of a bruised knee.
Bears: LB Danny Trevathan exited with a right knee injury that coach John Fox said was serious.
Besides Cutler, the Bears also held out LB Leonard Floyd (concussion) and G Josh Sitton (ankle). WR Alshon Jeffery served the second game of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancers, while LB Jerrell Freeman served his first game after being suspended on Monday.
Titans: Have a bye next week, then host Denver on Dec. 11.
Bears: Host San Francisco on Sunday.
Cardinals 19, Falcons 38
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons didn’t have to rely on their biggest star to get their offense back on course.
Taylor Gabriel showed there is ample depth behind Julio Jones on Atlanta’s list of targets for Matt Ryan.
Gabriel caught two touchdown passes, doubling his season total, and the NFC South-leading Falcons beat Arizona 38-19 on Sunday in an impressive return from their bye week.
The Falcons (7-4) had dropped three of five. A 24-15 loss at Philadelphia on Nov. 13 was especially troubling for an offense that led the NFL in scoring and yards earlier in the season.
Ryan completed passes to eight players, including Mohamed Sanu, who had a team-leading eight catches for 65 yards.
“When we’re playing like that, running like that, it’s pretty hard to stop us,” Sanu said.
It was a devastating loss for the Cardinals (4-6-1), who have lost two straight and three of their past four.
“It’s disheartening,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “Frustrating. And it hurts.”
After reaching the NFC championship game last season, Arizona is in danger of missing the postseason.
“We need one win,” said coach Bruce Arians, who was on the sideline after falling ill and being briefly hospitalized early in the week. “We just need one win. There is nobody left on the schedule that we can’t beat and who knows what the final tally will be. All we need to do is just win one.”
The 38 points are the most allowed this season by the Cardinals, who began the day ranked first in the NFL in fewest yards and passing yards allowed. Atlanta collected 28 first downs and 360 yards.
“We got back to us,” Gabriel said of the offense’s resurgence against Arizona.
Jones was shadowed by star cornerback Patrick Peterson and had only four catches for 35 yards. Jones drew two pass interference calls against Peterson that set up a touchdown and field goal.
The 5-foot-8 Gabriel was the surprise star with four catches for 75 yards. Gabriel used his blazing speed to run through the Arizona defense for touchdowns of 35 and 25 yards, each on screen passes.
“I felt like they were running in slow motion,” Gabriel said of the Cardinals’ defense. Gabriel was cut by Cleveland before the season and signed by Atlanta.
It was a confidence-building win for the Falcons.
“We’re a better version of ourselves from the opening part of the season to now as we’re heading into the second half of our season,” coach Dan Quinn said.
Here are more things to know about the Falcons’ win over the Cardinals:
ELITE COMPANY: Larry Fitzgerald had four catches for 53 yards for Arizona in his 190th consecutive game with at least one catch. He tied Marvin Harrison for the third-longest streak in NFL history, behind only Jerry Rice (274) and Toy Gonzalez (211).
MATT VI: Matt Wile averaged 58 yards on two punts in his NFL debut. He was signed this week as the fill-in for Matt Bosher, who was held out with a hamstring injury.
Wile is just another Matt for Atlanta’s roster, joining Bosher, kicker Matt Bryant and quarterbacks Ryan, Matt Schaub and Matt Simms, who is on the practice squad.
“You can use that name loosely around here,” Quinn said, smiling. “Usually somebody turns around.”
Quinn said he was “really pleased” with Wile’s punting and kickoffs.
FANTASY STAR: Running back David Johnson led Arizona’s offense, as usual, with eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown, and 13 carries for 58 yards. He has at least 100 combined yards, rushing and receiving, in every game this season.
TRUFANT’S SEASON MAY BE OVER: Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant will learn this week if he’ll have season-ending surgery. He missed his second straight game with a pectoral/shoulder injury. Jalen Collins was the fill-in starter.
INJURY REPORT: Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (hamstring) left the game and didn’t return. … Arians said Peterson “was cramping” and had “a little bit of a knee issue” that didn’t force him out of the game. … Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn (knee) didn’t return after being escorted to the locker room.
Rams 21, Saints 49
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Perhaps New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton hasn’t moved on, judging by his raised arms, vigorous fist-pumps, emphatic high-fives and searing glares across the field.
Perhaps he was just being diplomatic this past week, when he called Rams’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams a good coach and downplayed the significance of their first game against one another since Payton fired Williams after the 2011 season — months before they both wound up suspended in the NFL’s probe of a cash-for-hits bounty program that Williams told league investigators he’d encouraged.
How else to explain why Payton looked more animated than any fan in the Superdome while the offense he designed unleashed a relentless onslaught — trick plays and all — on Williams’ defense in New Orleans’ 49-21 rout of the Rams on Sunday?
“He was fired up,” Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro said. “We all know why.”
Drew Brees passed for 310 yards and four touchdowns . Mark Ingram gashed the Rams for 146 yards on just 14 carries as the Saints (5-6) ended a two-game skid and maintained hope of a late playoff push.
Some razzle-dazzle produced a 50-yard touchdown pass from receiver Willie Snead to running back Tim Hightower. That play came with New Orleans already leading 42-21 with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Payton said the Saints ran the trick play because “we got the right look.”
In a largely subdued postgame media conference, Payton deflected credit to his players for piling up 555 yards and a season-high in points.
Yet several Saints didn’t hesitate to speak for their coach as it pertained to Williams’ presence on the opposing sideline.
“At no point in this week did their relationship or the history that’s here come up,” Saints right tackle Zach Strief asserted, but added, “plenty of us understand and know the situation. It’s human nature. First and foremost, we wanted to win. But let’s not lie to ourselves. There was more to it — and good for coach.”
Two of Brees’ scoring strikes went to rookie Michael Thomas, whose touchdowns of 6 and 21 yards were part of a nine-catch, 108-yard performance. Brees’ other touchdowns went to Ingram and Brandon Coleman.
“This one came down to our lack of ability on defense to get the ball back and stop them,” said Los Angeles coach Jeff Fisher, whose Rams (4-7) have lost six of seven. “You talk about 550 yards of total offense — that’s difficult to overcome.”
While there weren’t many highlights for Williams’ unit, it made a big play early on tackle Aaron Donald’s sack and strip of Brees that set up the Rams’ second TD on Jared Goff’s 6-yard pass to Kenny Britt.
Williams “coached the way he normally coaches on the field and in the meeting rooms,” Fisher said. “He motivated the guys and we just had a bad day.”
Goff, the NFL’s top overall draft pick last spring, completed 20 of 32 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns. He had his share of brilliant throws in his first road start, including a pin-point 24-yard scoring pass to Tavon Austin. But he also was intercepted by Vaccaro and lost a fumble on a sack by rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins.
One of Ingram’s most productive games came just 10 days after he was knocked unconscious at Carolina. His highlights included a 61-yard scamper, a 10-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-1 play and a 21-yard score on a screen to the right side of the field, which was wide open as the Rams tried to pressure Brees.
The screen “was just a great coaching call on third-and-11,” Ingram said. “I get out there and there’s four black jerseys and one white jersey, so that makes it easy. I feel like any of you guys could have scored.”
GOING FOR IT
After falling behind 14-7, the Saints surged in front on consecutive fourth-down touchdowns less than two minutes apart. In both situations, the Saints were stuffed on third-and-1.
Ingram scored the first of those touchdowns when he took a pitch to the left side and then wrong-footed pursuers with a sharp cut back toward the middle.
New Orleans quickly got the ball back when end Paul Kruger recovered Goff’s fumble on the L.A. 10. Four plays later, Brees dove over his linemen to make it 21-14. It also marked the first time this season any NFL team scored two fourth-down TDs in the same game.
Brees became one of three players with 30 touchdowns in nine different seasons, joining Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. Brees has done it nine seasons in a row. He is also the second quarterback in NFL history to reach 30 career games with at least four touchdown passes (Peyton Manning, 35).
During the second quarter, the Rams announced that offensive guard Rodger Saffold had a hand injury. In the second half, the Rams announced cornerback E.J. Gaines had a chest injury. In the third quarter, Saints left tackle Terron Armstead briefly required attention by trainers before walking to the sideline. He did not return.
It doesn’t get easier for the Rams, who visit New England next Sunday.
The Saints are back in the Superdome on Sunday against Detroit.
Giants 27, Browns 13
CLEVELAND (AP) — They’re rarely flashy, hardly appealing and downright tough to watch at times.
The New York Giants play bland, boring football — just how they like it.
“Hey, it’s just about finding ways,” Eli Manning said.
Manning threw three touchdown passes — two to Odell Beckham Jr. — and Jason Pierre-Paul returned a fumble for a TD as the Giants extended their winning streak to six games, holding off Cleveland 27-13 on Sunday to keep the pitiful Browns winless.
At the end of a long holiday weekend, the Giants (8-3) looked as if they gorged on too much turkey and apple pie on Thanksgiving. They stumbled and staggered for much of the game before finally putting away the Browns (0-12) to give New York its longest winning streak since 2008.
The Giants don’t overwhelm anyone, but they do just enough to win and are in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
“Whatever it is, a win is a win,” said Beckham, who had six catches for 96 yards and had a TD punt return called back. “I don’t think we took a step back today, but I definitely think we could have taken a bigger step forward. We got time. A couple more games left and now it’s time to progress this week.”
Manning threw a 32-yard TD pass to Beckham in the second quarter and added a 4-yarder to the star wide receiver with 5:10 left as the Giants avoided what would have been a devastating loss.
They were lethargic and inconsistent on offense. On defense, the Giants gave up a few big plays and were probably fortunate they were playing the Browns.
“We have to get better,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said. “We believe we’re going to win and find a way to get the game in our favor in the end.”
It’s getting worse for the Browns, who have dropped 15 in a row since last season and are facing the possibility of joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to go 0-16.
Cleveland is 3-30 since ending the 2014 season with five consecutive losses.
Following the game, Browns coach Hue Jackson had a lengthy meeting with “upper management” before meeting with reporters. Jackson was emotional when he talked about what this season has done to him.
“Being 0-12 is probably the hardest thing ever,” he said. “I’ve never been through this, but I’m not going to fall off the cliff. Do I get disappointed and frustrated? Yes. I don’t want you to think I don’t get mad or sad. I go through all those emotions, but at the same time I know what I signed up for.
“I know there are injuries and the things we’ve been through this season, where we are, where we’re trying to go. You can either beat yourself up, and I do that enough, or you can put your head down and keep fighting and push through this. That’s what we’re going to do as a football team and an organization.”
Browns quarterback Josh McCown, back in the lineup after rookie Cody Kessler sustained his second concussion last week, finished with 322 yards passing and threw a TD pass to rookie Corey Coleman.
With the Giants leading 14-6, Pierre-Paul rumbled 43 yards for his third career TD.
The defensive end, who had three of New York’s seven sacks, snagged the ball after McCown’s arm was struck by Johnathan Hankins and raced to the end zone, putting the Giants ahead by two touchdowns.
“It was an interception,” Pierre-Paul joked afterward. “The ball never touched the ground.”
Robbie Gould missed the extra point, and that became a brief concern when McCown hooked up with Coleman to make it 20-13 with 8:17 left.
However, Manning responded with a 73-yard drive, connecting with Beckham for 41 yards, before the scoring strike.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Manning said.
The 14-point margin was the Giants’ largest this season. New York collected its first seven wins by a combined 27 points, none by more than a touchdown.
The Browns joined seven franchises that have lost at least their first 12 games: the 2008 Lions; 1980 Saints (0-14); 1976 Buccaneers (0-14); 2011 Colts (0-13), 2007 Dolphins (0-13); 2001 Lions (0-12) and 1977 Bucs (0-12).
With his 37-yard completion to Cruz in the second quarter, Manning moved past Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (47,003) for eighth place in career yards. Up next is Warren Moon (49,325), but Manning has a long way to go to catch brother, Peyton, who finished with 71,940 yards.
Beckham went out briefly in the first quarter with an injured right thumb. He underwent X-rays and missed just one series before returning.
Giants backup safety Nate Berhe sustained a concussion while covering a kickoff in the second quarter. Also, New York defensive end Owa Odighizuwa left with an injured left knee in the second quarter.
Browns right guard John Greco sustained a mid-foot sprain.
Giants: Visit Pittsburgh next Sunday.
Browns: Have their open date next weekend.
49ers 24, Dolphins 31
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — When the Miami Dolphins made a goal-line tackle on the final play to seal their latest victory, quarterback Ryan Tannehill sprinted onto the field, leaped to chest-bump a teammate and then sprawled happily to the turf.
Pardon Tannehill if the Dolphins’ winning streak has left him a little bit giddy. They made it six in a row by beating San Francisco 31-24 Sunday.
“It is exciting to be where we’re at,” Tannehill said. “Obviously you want to be playing meaningful games in December to get yourself playing in January and February, and we’ve done that.”
The Dolphins (7-4) are in the thick of the AFC wild-card race and building momentum in pursuit of their first playoff berth in eight years. A victory next Sunday at Baltimore would extend the winning streak to seven games, their longest since 1985.
The Dolphins’ record is their best after 11 games since 2003. They’ve won four consecutive home games in the same season for the first time since 2002.
The 49ers (1-10), by contrast, have lost a franchise-record 10 in a row since winning their opener.
“They all hurt,” receiver Jeremy Kerley said. “To get that close and come up short, you just think back on all the things you could have done better.”
Here are some things to know about two teams who continue to head in opposite directions:
TANNEHILL TIME: Miami was missing three starters on the offensive line. With the ground game stymied, Tannehill beat the 49ers through the air.
He went 20 for 30 for 285 yards and three touchdowns, ran for 34 yards and committed no turnovers. His quarterback rating of 130.6 matched the second-highest of his career.
“We find a way to win,” Tannehill said. “That’s the kind of team you want to have.”
During the winning streak, Tannehill has completed 68 percent of his passes with nine touchdown passes and one interception for a quarterback rating of 104.7.
TURNOVERS: San Francisco lost a fumble at the Miami 16, and had a deflected pass intercepted to give the Dolphins the ball at the 49ers 26.
“When you lose the turnover battle, you’re not going to win,” San Francisco coach Chip Kelly said. “We had two critical turnovers.”
Miami’s Kiko Alonso came away with the ball both times. He’s the first Dolphins linebacker since at least 1993 to recover a fumble and intercept a pass in the same game.
Alonzo — the recipient of Tannehill’s postgame chest bump — also led Miami with 12 tackles, and sandwiched Colin Kaepernick at the 2-yard line on the final play.
“People are going to say I had a big day,” Alonso said. “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
INJURIES: Miami WR DeVante Parker (lower back) left late in the third quarter but said afterward he was fine. Niners LB Shayne Skov (knee) and WR Quinton Patton (concussion) left with injuries, as did Miami DE Mario Williams (illness) and CB Lafayette Pitts (back).
RARE ACHIEVEMENT: Adam Gase became only the third Miami coach to win six consecutive games, joining Don Shula and Nick Saban. Shula did it 11 times.
“Now we’ve got to reload,” Gase said.
UP NEXT: The Dolphins on Sunday visit the Baltimore Ravens (6-5), who are tied for the AFC North lead. The 49ers visit the Chicago Bears (2-9) on Sunday after spending the week practicing in Orlando, Florida.
Seahawks 5, Buccaneers 14
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A grieving Alterraun Verner never seriously considered staying home.
The Tampa Bay cornerback said his late father, who died Friday, would have wanted him to play Sunday. Robert Lee Verner would have been even prouder to know his son had an interception off Russell Wilson to help inspire a 14-5 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
“He was my biggest fan. He made so many sacrifices for me to get to where I am today, and I just know that he didn’t want to be the cause for me not to play,” Verner said. “That’s why I decided to play. I wanted to honor him, knowing all he did to get me to where I am today.”
Jameis Winston threw a pair of touchdown passes to Mike Evans and Tampa Bay’s rejuvenated defense shut down Wilson, forcing three turnovers and sacking the Seattle star six times.
Verner’s first interception of the season stopped the Seahawks after Wilson drove his team into field-goal range in the final minute of the opening half.
The seventh-year pro sobbed on the sideline, where he was embraced on the sideline by teammates, who’ve rallied around him.
“I just knew what his response would have been. He would have been smiling and would have been very, very proud,” Verner said. “I was definitely thinking about him, and how he would have been reacting.”
Evans scored on receptions of 3 and 23 yards in the opening quarter and finished with eight catches for 104 yards.
Winston completed 21 of 28 passes for 220 yards and one interception, while Doug Martin rushed for 87 yards on 23 attempts.
The Bucs (6-5) have won three straight to climb back into contention for a playoff berth . In addition to stopping Seattle’s three-game winning streak, they remained one game behind first-place Atlanta in the NFC South.
The Seahawks (7-3-1) were limited to Steven Hauschka’s 43-yard field goal and a safety, awarded when the Tampa Bay tight end was penalized for holding while blocking for Winston in his end zone.
“They made their plays and we didn’t,” said Wilson, who threw for 902 yards, six TDs and zero interceptions during Seattle’s three-game winning streak.
“It’s pretty simple. Sometimes you make your jump shots, and some days you don’t,” the quarterback added. “Unfortunately today, we didn’t hit ours. But we will next time.”
Bradley McDougald had Tampa Bay’s second interception off Wilson, who had thrown two in 335 attempts this season entering Sunday. Lavonte David returned a fumble 53 yards, ending another promising Seattle drive in the fourth quarter.
Wilson finished 17 of 33 for 151 yards. The Seahawks were held to 1 yard net passing in the first half, when Wilson was sacked four times for 19 yards in losses.
The Seahawks played without Earl Thomas , stopping a streak of 106 consecutive regular-season starts for the star safety, who had never missed an NFL game.
Starting cornerback DeShawn Snead, who injured his hamstring during last week’s victory over Philadelphia, also sat out, leaving the Seattle secondary vulnerable.
Winston took advantage, leading TD drives of 78 and 62 yards on Tampa Bay’s first two possessions. Evans’ first TD catch finished a 7-minute, 26-second drive. The second — over cornerback Richard Sherman — dumped the Seahawks into an early 14-0 hole.
Evans joined Joey Galloway and Vincent Jackson as the only receivers in Bucs history with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He has 73 receptions for 1,020 yards through 11 games.
On his second TD pass, Sherman appeared to complain to officials that the 6-foot-5, 231-pound receiver was holding him by the jersey while creating separation to make the catch in the end zone.
WILSON’S LONG DAY
The season-high six sacks and two interceptions were just part of Russell Wilson’s long afternoon. Most of his season-low 151 passing yards came in the fourth quarter. Wilson had only been sacked 20 times in 10 games before Sunday.
Seahawks: In addition to playing without Thomas and Shead, they lost TE Luke Willson (knee) in the opening quarter. DE Michael Bennett (knee) missed his fifth consecutive game.
Buccaneers: G Kevin Pamphile returned to lineup after missing two games with a concussion.
Seahawks: Return home to face Carolina.
Buccaneers: Travel to San Diego.
Panthers 32, Raiders 35
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A big blown lead, a short week against a rested opponent and a banged-up pinkie for their quarterback.
Right now it seems as if nothing can derail the Oakland Raiders.
Derek Carr came back from his injury to lead another fourth-quarter comeback and the Raiders won their fifth straight game, beating the Carolina Panthers 35-32 on Sunday.
“The mood was we’ve been here before,” Carr said. “You don’t like having been here before. But there was no doubt in my mind we could move the ball and win and score. There’s never a doubt.”
Carr threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns despite missing a series after the injury, leading the Raiders (9-2) back from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter to clinch their first winning season since 2002.
After leading a game-tying drive earlier in the fourth quarter, Carr hit Michael Crabtree on a 49-yard pass on third-and-9 from the 14 to help set up Sebastian Janikowski’s 23-yard field goal with 1:45 left that gave Oakland the lead.
Cam Newton led the Panthers (4-7) into Oakland territory on the final drive but Greg Olsen dropped a pass on third down that would have put Carolina in field goal range.
“I just couldn’t quite get both my hands up there high enough, and it kind of went off the end of my finger,” Olsen said. “I’d like to have that one back obviously, that’s usually a play that I make.”
Khalil Mack stripped Newton on a fourth-down sack to seal the win.
“You want to end the game at that point,” Mack said. “We needed a stop, we needed a stop. That was me.”
The Panthers scored the first 25 points in the second half after Carr left the game when he hurt his right pinkie while fumbling a snap on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter.
Jonathan Stewart scored on short runs following Carr’s fumble and his interception to Thomas Davis when he returned. Newton hit two long touchdown passes, connecting on an 88-yarder to Ted Ginn Jr. and a 44-yarder to Kelvin Benjamin that made it 32-24 early in the fourth quarter.
But Carr did what he has done best by leading his team back despite needing a glove on his injured right hand and taking snaps solely out of the shotgun — including two snaps in victory formation.
Carr led a 75-yard drive capped by a 12-yard pass to Clive Walford for his NFL-best 12th tying or go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. A 2-point conversion to Seth Roberts tied the game.
“DC is a competitor,” Crabtree said. “He’s going to compete in everything so I knew he was going to come back in and do what he had to do. I love that dude and I love my team.”
BANGED-UP LINE: The Panthers came into the game without two injured starting linemen in center Ryan Kalil and left tackle Michael Oher. Backup center Gino Gradkowski left with a knee injury in the second half and Mack took advantage of guard Trai Turner being forced to play right tackle on the game-sealing sack.
GOING FOR 2: After Denico Autry blocked the extra point following Carolina’s first TD in the third quarter, coach Ron Rivera went for 2 unsuccessfully after the next two touchdowns. Those missed points kept Oakland down only eight after Benjamin’s touchdown and the Raiders managed to tie it when they got the 2-point conversion after Walford’s score.
“In retrospect you could say we could keep going with it and keep trying to kick ’em, but we started chasing points, we had to try to make that up,” Rivera said.
MACK’S MOMENT: Mack made a big play late in the first half when he fought off a block and leaped to intercept a short pass from Newton. He ran it in 6 yards for his first career touchdown , celebrating with a leap into the Black Hole. He ended the game by extending his sack streak to a career-best six games.
CAM THE LOBBYIST: After complaining earlier in the season about a lack of roughing the passer calls going his way, Newton was the beneficiary of a questionable one against Stacy McGee late in the first quarter. That helped jump-start Carolina’s offense as Jonathan Stewart ran 47 yards on the next play and Newton finished the drive with a 3-yard run , handing the ball to a young fan wearing a Panthers jersey.
Patriots 22, Jets 17
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Brady was hobbled, yet efficient as ever with the game on the line and time on the clock.
Playing with an ailing knee, Brady tied Peyton Manning for most wins by a quarterback in NFL history, getting his 200th by throwing a go-ahead 8-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell with 1:56 left, leading the New England Patriots to a 22-17 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.
It was the 50th win for Brady after facing a fourth-quarter deficit or tie.
“The quarterback’s job is to win,” coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s won a lot. That’s good. I’m glad he’s our quarterback.”
Trailing 17-16 with 5:04 left and the ball on the Patriots 17, Brady led a solid drive by completing six passes. After James White stretched for 4 yards on fourth-and-4, a 25-yard catch by Chris Hogan put the ball at the 8. Brady then zipped a pass to Mitchell to put the Patriots (9-2) ahead.
“We didn’t play as well as we wanted to,” Brady said, “but we made the plays when we needed to.”
A 2-point conversion try by White was initially ruled good, but reversed on replay because the ball never crossed the goal line — giving the Jets (3-8) a final chance.
But Chris Long hit Ryan Fitzpatrick before he could throw, resulting in a fumble recovered by Trey Flowers.
The Patriots then ran out the clock to win the closely played game that had been flexed out of a prime-time spot. The teams have had a final margin of seven points or fewer in each of their last seven meetings.
“We’ve got to find a way to finish at the end of ballgames,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said.
Patriots fans loudly chanted “Brady! Brady!” in the final moments at MetLife Stadium, which had lots of empty seats as frustrated Jets fans apparently stayed home. Brady improved to 22-6 in regular-season games against the Jets, joining Brett Favre as the only QBs in NFL history with at least 22 wins vs. two teams. Brady has 26 victories vs. Buffalo.
It was the 500th win in franchise history for the Patriots, the first original AFL franchise to reach the mark.
Brady, who was questionable with a knee injury , wasn’t his usual spectacular self, but finished 30 of 50 for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Mitchell caught five passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns.
Fitzpatrick, back as the starter after missing New York’s last game with a sprained knee, was 22 of 32 for 269 yards.
“Playing against the Patriots, you don’t have to play the perfect game,” Fitzpatrick said, “but you can’t make mistakes.”
The Jets grabbed a 17-13 lead with 10:17 left when Quincy Enunwa leaped over Malcolm Butler in the end zone to bring in a pass from Fitzpatrick. The wide receiver’s right foot came down inbounds and while his left foot never touched the ground, his backside did.
It was initially called an incomplete pass, but Bowles challenged and the call was reversed for a 22-yard touchdown.
Stephen Gostkowski’s 41-yard field goal cut the Patriots’ deficit to 17-16.
New England took advantage of a Jets turnover in the second quarter when Robby Anderson caught a pass and gained 25 yards, but had the ball punched out of his hands by Butler, who also recovered.
Brady went to work and completed an 18-yard pass to Julian Edelman, joining Manning (71,940), Favre (71,838), Drew Brees (64,180) and Dan Marino (61,361) as the only players with 60,000 yards passing. Brady is now at 60,229.
A 15-yard run by Dion Lewis got the ball to the 5 and he added a 1-yard run. On the next play, Brady fumbled the snap but recovered and fired a pass to Mitchell for the tying score.
New England tight end Rob Gronkowski left late in the first quarter with a back injury. He had been uncertain to play after missing last week’s gamewith a chest injury. It was not immediately certain if the latest injury was connected to the previous one.
Gronkowski had no catches when he left.
BLOCK AND A MISS
Nick Folk had a 54-yard attempt blocked by Alan Branch that was recovered by Dont’a Hightower with 1:58 left in the opening half, giving Brady and the Patriots the ball at their 46.
New England got to the 21, but the Patriots opted to not use a timeout. After an incompletion to Mitchell in the end zone, Gostkowski’s 39-yard attempt was wide left, leaving the game tied at halftime.
Gostkowski kicked a 29-yarder midway through the third quarter, giving New England a 13-10 lead.
BACK IN THE END ZONE
Brandon Marshall’s first touchdown catch since Oct. 9 against Pittsburgh gave New York a 10-0 lead 4 seconds into the second quarter.
Patriots: vs. Los Angeles next Sunday.
Jets: vs. Indianapolis next Monday night.
Chiefs 30, Broncos 27 OT
DENVER (AP) — Tyreek Hill just got his name mentioned in the same sentence with Gale Sayers.
The Kansas City Chiefs speedy receiver/returner scored on a run, a pass reception and a kick return Sunday night to become the first player to pull off that hat trick in a game since the former Bears great in 1965, according to NFL Research.
“I just go out there and play,” Hill said after his electric performance helped Kansas City to a 30-27 overtime win over Denver. “Whatever the coaches want me to do, I am here. If the ball comes to me, I am going to make the play. I am full of speed.”
He might have scored a few more times had the Broncos (7-4) not made shoestring tackles on the blazing game-changer. Or had they not stopped kicking his direction altogether.
“Beyond fast ,” Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston said of the rookie speedster from West Alabama.
On most nights, Houston’s three sacks — one of which led to a safety — might have made him the game’s MVP for the Chiefs (8-3). Hill rewrote that script.
“His speed?” Houston said. “You can’t explain it.”
Working double time with receiver Jeremy Maclin sidelined by a groin injury, Hill made his first impact early in the second quarter after Houston stripped the ball from Trevor Siemian and a Denver offensive lineman fell on it for a safety. Hill took the ensuing free kick and sped 86 yards untouched for the score. It was so easy for him that he even high-fived fellow speedster De’Anthony Thomas at the 5 yard line.
Near the end of the third quarter, Hill took a handoff, stepped out of a tackle by Von Miller and scored from 3 yards out.
But he saved his best moment for the closing seconds. Hill hauled in a 3-yard TD catch from Alex Smith with 12 seconds remaining — falling into the end zone, even, cradling the ball in his lap. At first, officials ruled that Hill was short of the goal line, but a review changed the call to a TD. The Chiefs tied the game at 24 when Smith hit Demetrius Harris for the 2-point conversion.
All that led to Cairo Santos clanking a 34-yard field goal off the left goal post for the game-winner with two seconds remaining in OT.
Really, though, this was Hill’s night.
“No doubt it’s a coming out party — on Sunday Night Football and it’s definitely fun because the whole country is watching,” Hill said. “So, yes, it’s a coming out party.”
Just another in a recent procession of big plays Hill, who has 45 catches for 428 yards and five scores this season.
“Obviously, he’s a big part of what we’re doing — not just on offense but on special teams and you saw that today,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “With Mac out, it’s an opportunity for other guys to step up. He’s got more on his plate and he’s handled it very, very well.”
Packers 27, Eagles 13
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes to Davante Adams and the Green Bay Packers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-13 Monday night to snap a four-game losing streak.
Rodgers had 313 yards passing and Adams had 113 yards receiving to help send Philadelphia (5-6) to its first home loss this season.
The Packers (5-6) kept their sinking playoff hopes alive but they’re still two games behind the Lions (7-4) in the NFC North.
“Winning is very difficult in this league, and we haven’t had the feeling in 5 weeks,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We missed it. It felt good. It’s a product of December football. We’re getting ready to go into the toughest days of the season, and you need these wins.”
Carson Wentz had 254 yards passing, ran for a score and threw an interception. The last-place Eagles are 2-6 since a 3-0 start.
Rodgers came out firing and led the Packers on consecutive touchdown drives to start the game. Rodgers extended the opening drive by running twice for 25 yards and tossed a 12-yard TD pass to Adams for a 7-0 lead.
After the Eagles answered on Wentz’s 1-yard TD run , Rodgers led another 75-yard scoring drive. He threw a perfect 20-yard TD pass to Adams to give the Packers a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter. Nolan Carroll had excellent coverage on the play, but Rodgers put the ball in a tight spot and hit Adams in stride in the back of the end zone.
Aaron Ripkowski’s 1-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter extended Green Bay’s lead to 24-13.
The Eagles had allowed only three touchdowns at home while outscoring opponents 108-38 in their first four games at Lincoln Financial Field.
Green Bay gave up at least 30 points in each of its previous four games, including 89 in the last two. But the defense harassed Wentz and shut down the Eagles’ inconsistent offense.
Philadelphia’s Caleb Sturgis kicked field goals of 48 and 50 yards while Green Bay’s Mason Crosby connected from 33 and 32 yards.
THEY SAID IT: McCarthy on Rodgers: “His positive attitude has been consistent through all this time. He’s grown as a quarterback since the start of 2008, and grown as a person all the way through. He’s an excellent leader, always has been.”
Wentz: “We struggled to get in a rhythm and we couldn’t stay on the field.”
KEY STATS: The Packers were 10 for 14 on third down and 1 for 1 on fourth. The Eagles had no sacks and no takeaways.
NOT AGAIN: Eagles DT Fletcher Cox, an All-Pro last year, committed his third roughing-the-passer penalty to extend an opponent’s drive this season. The first two led to TDs in losses at Detroit (24-23) and at Washington (27-20). His late hit on Rodgers in the third quarter allowed Green Bay to keep the ball and Ripkowski scored several plays later.
“It was close and that’s how they called it,” Cox said. “They have to protect the quarterbacks.”
HIGHLIGHT PLAY: Rodgers and Adams connected for another eye-popping play in the third quarter. Adams was covered well on a deep pass, but Rodgers threw it in the right spot and Adams made an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch for a 50-yard gain.
BAD THROW: The Eagles drove to Green Bay’s 45 on the first possession of the second half before Wentz badly overthrew Zach Ertz and wasintercepted by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix . The turnover led to a field goal for the Packers.
CHALLENGING: Eagles coach Doug Pederson challenged a 2-yard catch in the third quarter — and won — so the Packers had a second-and-10 instead of second-and-8. But the untimely challenge meant Pederson couldn’t toss the red flag the rest of the game.
INJURIES: Eagles WR Jordan Matthews injured his right ankle making a twisting catch in the second quarter. He briefly returned to start the third quarter before leaving the game for good. DE Marcus Smith left with a shoulder injury. RG Brandon Brooks was hospitalized with an illness and Isaac Seumalo made his first career start in his place. … Packers LB Clay Matthews left the game with a shoulder injury on Philadelphia’s first drive, but came back.
HONORED: Merrill Reese, the Eagles’ play-by-play radio announcer for the last 40 seasons, and four-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter were inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame at halftime.
UP NEXT: The Packers host the Texans (6-5) while the Eagles visit the Bengals (3-7-1).