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Here is a recap of Week 3 of the 2017 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Rams 41, 49ers 39
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — What many expected to be a typical Thursday night snoozer between a couple of teams lacking star power turned into quite a thriller.
With Jared Goff and Todd Gurley leading a resurgent Rams offense, Brian Hoyer sparking what had been a dormant San Francisco attack and a few late special teams blunders that almost produced an epic comeback, the 41-39 win for Los Angeles over the 49ers was exciting to watch and exhausting for those involved.
“That takes a toll on you,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “Just getting ready on a short week, and then that emotional up-and-down right there certainly wears you out. I know that I’ll sleep very well tonight.”
With the short week to recover and game plan, Thursday night games have often turned into duds. That wasn’t the case in this game as even the many imperfections couldn’t overshadow the drama in the NFL’s highest-scoring Thursday contest since Minnesota’s 46-36 Thanksgiving win over Dallas in 1998.
There was Goff connecting on big pass plays to Sammy Watkins andRobert Woods on a night he threw for 292 yards, including three touchdowns and no interceptions for the Rams (2-1).
Hoyer did his part as well — after shaking off an interception on the first play from scrimmage. He threw for 332 yards and two scores, including key passes to Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin for the 49ers (0-3).
And there was plenty of drama after the Rams went ahead 41-26 with 8:43 to play on Goff’s 13-yard TD pass to Watkins .
The 49ers scored a few minutes later on a 3-yard pass to Trent Taylor, and then got another chance right away when Pharoh Brown fumbled the kickoff. Carlos Hyde then ran it in from the 1 on fourth down to make it 41-39 and set up a potential tying 2-point conversion.
The Niners needed to go for 2 because Robbie Gould had missed an extra point earlier in the fourth quarter. That proved costly when Troy Hill broke up the pass to Taylor on the 2-point try.
But San Francisco wasn’t done. The Niners recovered the ensuing onside kick, but after an offensive pass interference on Taylor wiped out a gain to Los Angeles’ 39, Aaron Donald ended the comeback with a fourth-down sack .
“It was a roller coaster,” Garcon said. “We played well, the guys fought hard, the special teams showed us and gave us those opportunities and on offense we just have to finish drives. That has been a thing for us all year. We are still figuring it out but we will move forward and get things figured out.”
Here’s what else stood out from the Rams dramatic win:
TOUCHDOWN TODD: Gurley had two TD runs and caught a touchdown pass, giving him six touchdowns through three weeks. That matches his entire total from 2016 and is the most for any player after three games since Calvin Johnson had six in 2010. Gurley also ran for 113 yards for his first 100-yard game since Dec. 13, 2015, against Detroit.
BY THE NUMBERS: With two 40-point performances in the first three weeks, the Rams have gone from the NFL’s lowest-scoring team a year ago to a dynamic threat. Their 107 points so far are the second-most in franchise history after three games to the 119 by “The Greatest Show on Turf” squad with Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner in 2000.
“It feels good, feels good,” Gurley said. “We haven’t been able to put up points like that since Marshall and them left.”
The 49ers scored their most points in four seasons but still ended up on the losing end. They had won 50 straight games when scoring at least 39 points with the last loss coming in 1965 to Minnesota.
THIRD DOWN: A key part of the game was Los Angeles’ success on third down. The Rams converted 8 of 12 opportunities as San Francisco struggled to get off the field. All three of Goff’s touchdown passes came on third downs and Gurley iced the game with a 20-yard run on third-and-10 in the final minute.
INJURIES: The short week took its toll on several players who were forced to leave the game with injuries. Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner went down in the first half with a hamstring injury and center John Sullivan left with an injured groin in the second half.
Los Angeles also lost Watkins and Tavon Austin to concussions, and defensive lineman Michael Brockers also was in and out with injuries.
The game wasn’t any easier on the 49ers, who lost safety Jaquiski Tartt (concussion), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (neck), defensive lineman Tank Carradine (ankle) and linebacker Brock Coyle (concussion) to injuries in the second half.
Ravens 7, Jaguars 44 @London
LONDON (AP) — Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns knew Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens had to be different.
It was — significantly. Blake Bortles threw four touchdown passes, three to tight end Marcedes Lewis, and the Jaguars routed the Ravens 44-7 on Sunday in their fifth game in Britain’s capital.
Jacksonville (2-1) had a 17-point lead over the Buffalo Bills in 2015, only to win by three points. Likewise, they had a 17-point edge against the Indianapolis Colts a year ago before emerging with a three-point victory.
“The main thing we talked about coming in at halftime was not letting up,” said Hurns, who whose 5-yard touchdown reception from Bortles in the second quarter gave the Jaguars a 20-0 lead. “The team had put pressure (on the Ravens), as far as an offensive standpoint, so call what we’re going to call — not just being lackadaisical and calling all runs. Keep pushing the gas.”
The Jaguars finished with 410 yards, easily outpacing their output in their first three games, and handed the Ravens (1-2) their worst defeat since Nov. 9, 1997, when they lost 37-0 at Pittsburgh.
Only a 6-yard pass from Ryan Mallett, who entered in relief of Joe Flacco in the fourth quarter, to Benjamin Watson with 3:24 remaining prevented the shutout.
“You can be 100 percent honest about it, they did a good job executing today,” said Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. “They outplayed us. You’ve got to take your hat off to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But it’s only one game. … We’ve just got to make it up. It happened. It’s very unfortunate. We did a lot of uncharacteristic things.”
Jacksonville punctuated the victory with a fake punt on the last play of the third quarter, with Corey Grant taking a direct snap 58 yards before Fournette punched it in from the 3.
Flacco, who finished 8 for 18 for 28 yards, was intercepted twice, once by A.J. Bouye in the second quarter and once by Jalen Ramsey in the third.
Bortles also left the game early, replaced by Chad Henne on the Jaguars’ first drive of the fourth quarter after completing 20 of 31 passes for 244 yards.
Fournette, who finished with 59 yards on 15 carries, became the first Jaguars player to rush for a touchdown in each of his first three games.
STUCK IN NEUTRAL
Baltimore crossed midfield three times — and not until the third quarter, when Terrance West gained 7 yards to reach the Jaguars 45.
On the next play, West failed to secure a handoff and fumbled, leading to linebacker Telvin Smith returning it 52 yards to set up Lewis’ third touchdown.
Flacco, who joked at practice on Friday he thought players would be “zombies,” said the travel wasn’t to blame.
“We all felt different at times, but by the time game day came around, by the time 2:30 came around, we felt pretty good,” Flacco said. “The other team was going through the same exact thing, so that’s just part of this game.”
Hurns, who has now scored in each of the Jaguars’ last three overseas games, matched Brandon Lloyd as the only players to score three touchdowns at Wembley Stadium.
Lloyd scored one touchdown in 2010 while playing for the Denver Broncos, and two in 2012 while with the New England Patriots.
“It’s been three years straight with a touchdown,” said Hurns, who was given the nickname “Mr. London” by his teammates. “It’s kind of like a second home here. It’s always great having the game here with the atmosphere.”
MACLIN PASSES TESTS
Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was evaluated for a concussion in the second quarter but passed all tests and was allowed to return. Maclin was injured as he failed to catch a pass that resulted in an interception by Bouye.
Ravens defensive end Brent Urban injured a foot on the second play of the second quarter and did not return.
Ravens rookie right guard Jermaine Eluemunor, a fifth-round pick out of Texas A&M who was born in London, made his debut after being inactive for the first two games. Eluemunor, who moved to Danville, New Jersey when he was 14, was 12 when he saw the first NFL game played in London on television and decided he wanted to play football.
Ravens: Host the Pittsburgh Steelers, who they have not lost to at home since 2012.
Jaguars: Visit the New York Jets in the second of three straight games away from Jacksonville.
Texans 33, Patriots 36
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Brandin Cooks started his day by being booed. He ended it with one of the biggest moments of his short New England Patriots tenure.
Cooks was one of a group of Patriots players jeered as they stood locked arm in arm next to a group of players that knelt during the national anthem Sunday. The display was in response to criticism President Donald Trump levied against Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players and teams over the weekend.
All was forgotten by the home crowd about three hours later when Cooks was on the receiving end of a 25-yard, toe-tapping touchdown pass from Tom Brady with 23 seconds left in the game as the Patriots rallied to beat the Houston Texans 36-33.
Brady finished with five TD throws. Cooks caught five passes for 131 yards and pair of scores . It was the fifth multi-touchdown game and eighth 100-yard game of his career.
Cooks, in his first season with the Patriots, made clear his pregame demonstration wasn’t meant to disrespect the military. Cooks’ father, Worth Cooks, served in the Marines and died of a heart attack when his son was 6.
“It’s one of those things where you want to stand with your brothers, kneel with your brothers and be by their side,” Cooks said.
Brady finished 25 of 35 for 378 yards as New England (2-1) won its fifth straight regular-season meeting with Houston (1-2) and seventh of eight overall.
“I think no matter how you get it, you’ve got to figure out how to win the game,” Brady said.
Brady stood next to Cooks pregame.
“I speak for myself. I believe what I believe,” Brady said. “We all go through ups and downs and there’s struggles and it’s life and we’re all trying to navigate it as best we can.”
Texans rookie Deshaun Watson was strong in his second career start. The Patriots were thin on the edge without linebacker Dont’a Hightower (knee) for the second straight week, and Watson took advantage, completing 22 of 33 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
But he did have two interceptions, including one that set up a New England first-half touchdown.
“It was really painful. That’s all I can really say about that,” Watson said.
The Patriots extended their halftime lead to 28-20 in the third quarter before Houston used a 12-yard TD pass from Watson to Ryan Griffin, and a 31-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal to edge back in front 30-28 early in the fourth quarter.
The Texans forced New England to punt with just over seven minutes to play, but had to settle for a 36-yard Fairbairn field goal with 2:24 left. Houston failed on a third-and-1 at the Patriots 18.
That left Brady room. After an early holding penalty pushed New England back to its 15, Brady used a 15-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski and 27-yarder to Danny Amendola to the Houston 25. But the Texans had a chance to end the game prior to the Amendola reception when safety Corey Moore dropped an interception on Brady’s second-and-18 pass attempt to Cooks.
Instead Cooks made good on his second chance for the go-ahead score. He also caught the ensuing 2-point conversion.
Houston wasn’t intimidated by the Patriots in the first half.
With Houston trailing 7-3 after an early Brady touchdown pass to Gronkowski, the Texans’ defense handed Watson great field position on the Patriots 44. The rookie responded with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington.
Watson got caught trying to do too much a few drives later and paid for it when Stephon Gilmore intercepted his pass intended for DeAndre Hopkins and returned it 39 yards to the Houston 12. Brady took the lead back two plays later when he hit a wide-open Chris Hogan across the middle for a 7-yard score.
It was 14-13 when Whitney Mercilus got free around the end and sacked Brady from the blind side. The ball popped free on the hit and it was picked up and returned 22 yards by Jadeveon Clowney for a touchdown.
But the Patriots responded again late in the half when Brady found Hogan wide open again for a 47-yard touchdown.
“I could have pushed him out of bounds. I am trying to relive the play and I could have done a lot of things a little bit differently.” — Texans safety Corey Moore on defending Cooks’ final touchdown
CLOWNEY’S BIG DAY
Clowney had two sacks along with his fumble return. He became the third player in Texans history with two sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown in a game, joining Mario Williams and J.J. Watt.
The two sacks also matched a career high for Clowney.
BRADY AND BREES
Brady had his sixth game with five TD passes and no interceptions, one behind New Orleans’ Drew Brees for the most in a career.
In addition Patriots players knelt or locked arms during the national anthem, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who’s been a strong supporter of the president, expressed “deep disappointment” with Trump in a statement. Texans owner Robert McNair also called the president’s comments “divisive.”
Texans: Safety Andre Hal was shaken up in a collision with Amendola late in the fourth quarter.
Patriots: Tight end Jacob Hollister limped off the field early in the third quarter after a hard hit from Johnathan Joseph.
The Texans return home for an AFC South matchup with the Tennessee Titans.
New England hosts the Carolina Panthers.
Steelers 17, Bears 23 OT
CHICAGO (AP) — Jordan Howard pushed through the pain in his right shoulder to give the Bears the lift they needed.
Howard scored on a 19-yard run in overtime to lead Chicago to a 23-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Howard’s winning score came two plays after rookie Tarik Cohen broke off an electric run for what appeared to be a 73-yard game-winning touchdown. But he was ruled out at the Pittsburgh 37. Howard took over from there and got a big assist as he ran along the left side. Deonte Thompson might have grabbed Pittsburgh’s Artie Burns while pushing him out of bounds. But no flag was thrown, and the Bears (1-2) came away with a surprising victory.
“You always dream about stuff like that but it never happens so it was real crazy,” Howard said. “Definitely, it was a very wacky game but through everything that happened we found a way to win.”
Howard came up clutching his right shoulder — which has bothered him since the opener — several times and wasn’t sure he would make it through this game.
He wound up with 138 of Chicago’s 220 yards rushing and two touchdown runs. It was just what the Bears needed with quarterback Mike Glennon delivering another lackluster performance.
The Steelers (2-1) stayed off the sideline for the national anthem in the wake of President Donald Trump’s comments that players who kneel in protest should be fired. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva — an Army veteran — stood near the tunnel with his hand over his heart.
Once the game ended, they found themselves in a familiar spot — losing to a lesser team and losing in Chicago, where they are 1-13 against the Bears.
The Steelers have had at least one head-scratching loss every year going back to 2012.
Last year, Pittsburgh fell 34-3 to Philadelphia, which finished with a losing record. In 2015, the Steelers were surging toward a playoff spot, when they lost late in the season to a Baltimore team that went 5-11.
Despite the victory, Glennon did nothing to stop the calls in Chicago for No. 2 overall draft pick Mitchell Trubisky, throwing for just 101 yards with a touchdown and interception.
Marcus Cooper committed an inexplicable fumble after the Bears blocked a field goal in the closing seconds of the half. With a clear path to the end zone, he slowed down and had the ball poked away at the 1.
But the Bears won for just the first time in nine September games over three seasons under coach John Fox.
Ben Roethlisberger blamed himself for Pittsburgh’s loss.
“I think I was off today,” he said after throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown. “For whatever reason, I did not make all the throws I normally would and make the plays I normally should.”
Antonio Brown had 110 yards receiving and a touchdown. And Le’Veon Bell ran for 61 yards and a TD for Pittsburgh.
The Bears led 17-7 at halftime following a wild sequence in the closing seconds that included Cooper’s fumble after Chicago’s Sherrick McManis blocked a 35-yard field goal. After Cooper slowed down, the Steelers’ Vance McDonald knocked the ball out of his hands at the 1.
With the ball bouncing in the end zone, holder Jordan Berry swatted it out the back with his right hand.
The officials initially ruled a touchback. Fox argued, and after a lengthy review, the ball was placed about a half yard from the goal line.
Chicago settled for a field goal after left tackle Charles Leno Jr. got flagged for a false start.
“It was just a mistake on my part,” Cooper said. “I didn’t think he was that close to me and slowed down and the guy made a great play.”
Cohen on his big run in OT: “I definitely know that I scored a touchdown. I definitely shot that dagger 3 like Ray Allen, and I feel like I finished that game.”
Chicago’s Kyle Long started at right guard for the Bears after being sidelined since Nov. 13 because of a right ankle injury.
Steelers: TE Jesse James suffered a shoulder injury on a hard hit by Kyle Fuller following a second-quarter catch but returned in the second half. … G Ramon Foster hurt his left hand in the first quarter. … S Sean Davis left with an ankle injury in the second half.
Bears: C Hroniss Grasu hurt his hand in the first half.
Steelers: Visit Baltimore on Oct. 1.
Bears: Visit Green Bay on Thursday night.
Broncos 16, Bills 26
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Turns out, the Buffalo Bills can win without LeSean McCoy carrying the load.
With McCoy bottled up for a second straight week, the Bills leaned on Tyrod Taylor’s efficient passing attack and an opportunistic defense in a 26-16 win over the previously unbeaten Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Taylor completed 20 of 26 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. The defense closed the victory by forcing the Broncos to turn over the ball on each of their final four possessions with two interceptions and two fourth-down stops.
That’s fine with the running back nicknamed “Shady,” who was limited to 21 yards on 14 carries, while adding seven catches for 48 yards.
“Hey, if we have to sacrifice the run game to get guys open downfield, if they want to stack the box, we’ve got to find other ways to win,” McCoy said. “Tyrod responded in a major way. And if we have to win like that, I’d bet my last dollar on Tyrod. And I’m a betting man.”
Taylor was fortunate on his first touchdown pass, a 2-yarder that deflected off the hands of Zay Jones just inside the goal line, and ended up in Andre Holmes’ hands in the back of the end zone.
There was nothing faulty about his second touchdown, a 6-yarder to Charles Clay that put Buffalo up 20-16 with 6:20 left in the third quarter. Rolling to his right, Taylor, stopped and threw across his body to find Clay wide open in the end zone.
The Bills (2-1) bounced back from a 9-3 loss at Carolina in which their offense was stuck in neutral with McCoy limited to a 9 yards rushing .
Their defense finally generated turnovers, something it failed to do against the Panthers.
E.J. Gaines and rookie Tre’Davious White each intercepted Trevor Siemian. Then there were Buffalo’s two fourth-down stops.
Deon Lacey tackled De’Angelo Henderson for a 1-yard gain when Denver attempted a fake punt on fourth-and-2 at its own 31 early in the fourth quarter. And the Broncos’ final drive ended when Siemian underthrew a pass to Emmanuel Sanders with 1:47 remaining.
In falling to 2-1, Denver looked nothing like the team that dominated in a 42-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys last week.
“We didn’t play the critical parts of the game well today,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said.
And the Broncos have some work to do on fake punts, including cornerback Lorenzo Doss scrambling on the field at the last moment.
“We had a late sub on the field so we kind of gave them time to adjust,” Joseph said. “It didn’t work, but in my opinion, it was the perfect timing.”
The Bills capitalized on their next possession, with Stephen Hauschka hitting a 53-yard field goal to put Buffalo ahead 23-16. Then after White intercepted Siemian on the next Broncos drive, Hauschka sealed the win by hitting a 27-yard field goal with 3:14 remaining.
Denver’s points came on Jamaal Charles’ 12-yard touchdown and Brandon McManus hitting three field goals.
Broncos linebacker Von Miller’s attempt to pull a fast one on Taylor backfired. Offering his hand as if to help up Taylor, Miller then pulled it away at the last second right in front of an official. Miller was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct to extend Buffalo’s final scoring drive.
“I killed the game today with that penalty,” Miller said. “I just have to be better than that and I will be better than that.”
McCoy knelt, then sat and stretched during the anthem a day after he caused a stir by tweeting, “It’s really sad man” and then used an obscenity to describe Trump. Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly joined the team on the field during the anthem and held up his left hand while holding a Bills cap.
“As a president, you are supposed to lead,” McCoy said. “I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this country is acting like a jerk.”
More than half of the Broncos players, including Miller, safety Aqib Talib and receiver Demaryius Thomas, knelt on their side of the field.
Fans began to boo as the Bills players walked in unison onto the field. They stopped booing once the anthem began.
Broncos: Rookie starting left tackle Garett Bolles started a week after fearing he tore his left Achilles tendon. Tests, however, revealed he sustained a bruised bone and returned to practice on Thursday.
Bills: Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn (right ankle) and DT Marcell Dareus (right ankle) were ruled out after being hurt in a 9-3 loss at Carolina last week. Third-round draft pick Dion Dawkins started in place of Glenn, while Cedric Thornton started for Dareus.
Broncos: Host Oakland Raiders next Sunday.
Bills: At Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.
Dolphins 6, Jets 20
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — All that dismal 0-16 talk is over. And, the New York Jets ended it early with a stunningly dominant performance.
Josh McCown threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, Bilal Powell ran for a score, and the Jets’ defense frustrated Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins in a 20-6 victory Sunday in New York’s home opener.
“Oh, man, it was awesome,” McCown said. “It was special.”
While a lot of the focus from many fans and media heading into the season was on whether the revamped Jets roster would be good enough to win any games , New York made Miami look like the team in the middle of a rebuild.
“We’ve always had confidence,” said rookie safety Jamal Adams, who had one of the Jets’ three sacks. “We’re not where we want to be, but this is the start of it.”
McCown finished 18 of 23 for 249 yards, Chandler Catanzaro kicked two field goals, and the Jets (1-2) forced Cutler and the Dolphins (1-1) into mistakes all game. The Jets also avoided their first 0-3 start since 2003.
“Relief? Great feeling? Whatever you want to say,” McCown said. “When you win, it’s a great feeling. Internally, there’s a method that we go about and then there’s obviously an external narrative that people have for this team. We’ve not bought that.
“So, for us, to say it’s a relief, it was not an expectation that it was going to be hard to win a game this year. We expected to win games. We expect to win a lot of games.”
New York just missed having its first shutout since blanking Cincinnati 37-0 on Jan. 13, 2010. Cutler threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker on the final play. Cody Parkey missed the extra point, capping a miserable day for Miami in 88-degree heat at MetLife Stadium.
“They just beat the (heck) out of us,” coach Adam Gase said. “That’s the best way to put it. We didn’t show up, didn’t play physical.”
Cutler, making his second start for Miami, struggled to connect with his receivers throughout. Miami failed to convert its first eight third-down opportunities, not getting one until early in the fourth quarter, and finished 1 for 12.
Cutler was 26 of 44 for 220 yards with an interception and the TD toss. Miami was outgained in total yards 336-225.
“I think that game was a wakeup call for us,” Cutler said. “We can’t just roll it out there and expect it to happen.”
A solid drive on New York’s second possession stalled at the Dolphins 32, and Catanzaro shanked a 45-yard field goal attempt wide left, leaving the game scoreless.
The Jets finally took their first lead of the season on Catanzaro’s 40-yarder with 7:17 remaining in the half.
New York went ahead 10-0 on McCown’s perfectly placed pass to Anderson, who caught the ball in stride and sped into the end zone for a 69-yard score . The play came right after a long run by Powell was wiped out by a questionable holding penalty on center Wesley Johnson.
“Guys were all mad,” McCown said of the penalty. “And I was like, ‘Guys, let’s go get ’em the next play.'”
Powell leaped into the end zone from 1 yard to make it 17-0 on the Jets’ first possession of the second half. The drive was kept alive by defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas — lining up as a fullback throughout the game — catching a 15-yard pass on third-and-1.
New York shut down Cutler and the Dolphins on the next drive, and Matt Haack tried a fake punt. His pass was picked off by Terrence Brooks, who had two interceptions in the game. The play cost the Jets 21 yards because Brooks chose to intercept the ball rather than just knock it down.
The Jets still got another score, though, this time on a 22-yarder by Catanzaro. It was actually Catanzaro’s second made field goal of the drive, but Miami’s William Hayes was called for an illegal formation penalty on the Jets kicker’s 46-yarder — prolonging the possession for New York.
ON THE ROAD: The game marked the second of three road trips to open the season for the Dolphins, who had their season opener at home vs. Tampa Bay postponed because of Hurricane Irma. Miami will play New Orleans next weekend in London before making a home debut against Tennessee.
“All I know is you’ve got to line up on Sunday and play,” Gase said. “If someone has an issue with that, they better check their profession.”
SHUT DOWN: After running for 122 yards in the Dolphins’ opener against the Los Angeles Chargers, Jay Ajayi managed just 16 yards on 11 carries against the Jets.
“You watched the game,” Gase said. “He couldn’t get through anything. Guys were in the backfield so fast.”
ASJ IS A-OK: Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins made his season debut after being suspended for the first two games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy while with Tampa Bay last year. He finished with five catches for 31 yards.
DOLPHIN DEBUT?: Linebacker Stephone Anthony , acquired last week from New Orleans when Lawrence Timmons was suspended indefinitely, was active for Miami but did not play.
Dolphins: vs. New Orleans in London.
Jets: home vs. Jacksonville.
Browns 28, Colts 31
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jacoby Brissett needed one game to really get acclimated to running the Colts’ offense.
On Sunday, he showed how much he’s picked up in three short weeks.
The quarterback, acquired from New England in a Sept. 2 trade, ran for two touchdowns and threw for another then watched the defense hold off Cleveland’s late charge for a 31-28 victory — Indy’s first of the season.
“Another week, you get a lot more comfortable,” Brissett said. “You get to learn from the mistakes you make. I was a lot more, at ease, I would say. It’s something I’m still getting used to, but it definitely felt a lot more comfortable today.”
Perfect? Not by a longshot.
But unlike a week ago, Brissett avoided making any big mistakes and he managed to get in sync with his wide receivers.
The timing looked better, the throws went deeper and Brissett made key plays almost every time he got the chance. He wound up 17 of 24 with 259 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions while running five times for 14 yards.
And on a day that began with fans booing more than two dozen players who took a knee during the national anthem and ended with the Colts barely hanging on, coach Chuck Pagano walked away with a sense of relief.
“Loved how we started this football game,” he said. “Any time you can put 28 points on the board in the first half and get a bunch of three-and-outs on defense and get three takeaways and you can close it out, we need to do a better job of that.”
With the win, Indy (1-2) avoids its first 0-3 start since 2011.
For Cleveland (0-3), the struggles continue.
The Browns have lost 28 of their past 30 overall and 15 consecutive on the road, even after entering the game as a road favorite for the first time since 2012.
Cleveland had opportunities — scoring two TDs in the final seven minutes before forcing a punt and getting the ball back at their 9-yard line with 23 seconds to go.
But Rashaan Melvin snuffed out two other scoring chances by picking off DeShone Kizer, who was intercepted again on the game’s final play — a desperation heave toward midfield.
“We’re tired of being short. Nobody’s down,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said.
Brissett was the difference.
After acknowledging he spent his first two weeks with the team learning new names, new faces and a new playbook, Brissett got the scoring started with a perfectly timed quarterback draw. The 5-yard TD run made it 7-0.
On Indy’s next series, he broke a 7-7 tie by spinning away from the Browns’ pressure and scooting 7 yards for another score.
T.Y. Hilton followed that with a nifty 61-yard catch-and-run to make it 21-7, one of his seven catches for 153 yards. Frank Gore’s 4-yard TD run extended the lead to 28-87 and forced the Browns to play catch-up the rest of the day.
The Browns got a 19-yard TD run from Duke Johnson Jr. and two TD passes from Kizer — a 1-yarder to David Njoku just before halftime and an 11-yarder to Kenny Britt — before Kizer scored on a 1-yard plunge with 2:04 left to cut the deficit to 31-28.
Gore ran 25 times for 57 yards and became the ninth player in NFL history to record 3,000 carries. He has 3,014.
Browns: No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett missed his third straight game with an injured ankle and linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. sat out with a concussion. Johnson left briefly in the first half but returned in the second half.
Colts: Quarterback Andrew Luck (shoulder), center Ryan Kelly (foot) and cornerback Vontae Davis (groin) still have not played this season. They were joined on the inactive list by two draft picks — running back Marlon Mack (shoulder) and cornerback Quincy Wilson (knee). Receiver Kamar Aiken left with a concussion in the first quarter.
Browns: Isaiah Crowell ran 12 times for 44 yards, and Johnson had six catches for 81 yards. Kizer was 22 of 47 for 242 yards with two TDs and three interceptions.
Colts: Indy won despite having only four first downs and 75 yards in the second half. Rookie safety Malik Hooker has an interception in both starts.
Browns: Return home for the first time since the season opener to face cross-state rival Cincinnati.
Colts: Travel to Seattle for a Sunday night game.
Giants 24, Eagles 27
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jake Elliott is building his resume in case he doesn’t have a job with the Philadelphia Eagles in a couple of months.
The rookie kicker filling in for injured veteran Caleb Sturgis kicked a 61-yarder as the clock expired to lift the Eagles to a 27-24 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.
When the reliable Sturgis comes off injured reserve, it could be a tough decision for coaches.
“If I’m here after eight weeks, that’s great,” Elliott said. “If not, I’m thankful for the opportunity. I’m just trying to do my job while I’m here.”
Elliott’s kick, the longest game-winner in NFL history for a rookie and a franchise record, came after Carson Wentz tossed a 19-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery with 1 second remaining. Elliott was a fifth-round pick by the Bengals and joined the Eagles after Sturgis was injured in Week 1. He was carried off the field by teammates Kamu Grugier-Hill and Mychal Kendricks.
“It was awesome,” Elliott said.
Elliott missed from 52 yards earlier in the game and last week missed from 30 yards and shanked an extra point.
Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including a 77-yard score to Sterling Shepard, but Philadelphia (2-1) rallied twice. The Giants (0-3) hadn’t scored 20 points in eight straight games before Manning led them to 21 in a span of 5:21. He tossed TD passes of 10 yards and 4 yards to Odell Beckham Jr. to tie it at 14. Manning then connected over the middle to Shepard, who broke a couple tackles and sprinted all the way for a 21-14 lead.
But Philadelphia answered quickly.
A 36-yard penalty for pass interference on Eli Apple put the ball at the 15 and rookie Corey Clement ran in on the next play for his first career TD to make it 21-all.
After the teams traded field goals, Elliott put his name in the record books at the end.
Here’s some things we learned after Philadelphia’s sixth win in the last seven games against the Giants:
UNDISCIPLINED GIANTS: Beckham took an unsportsmanlike penalty for pretending to urinate like a dog. Apple had two pass-interference penalties that led to touchdowns. Left tackle Ereck Flowers committed two penalties in the final minute that allowed Philadelphia another chance in regulation. “We aren’t playing smart football,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “We are all irritable right now and rightfully so.”
DEFIANT ODELL: Beckham said he doesn’t care about unsportsmanlike penalties costing the team 15 yards on the kickoff. “I don’t care if you kick from the 5-yard line on our side,” Beckham said. “We need to make a play.”
RUNNING BIRDS: Wendell Smallwood had 71 yards rushing on 12 carries and LeGarrette Blount had 67 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries as Philadelphia finally showed some balance on offense. Pederson called 56 passes out of 69 plays last week. But the Eagles had more running plays and more yards rushing than passing against the Giants. “Our offensive line put it on their backs to make it go, and we dialed up the run game, and great blocks, good execution,” Pederson said.
VINTAGE ELI: Manning got the ball out quickly, didn’t take a sack and completed 35 of 47 passes for 366 yards, three scores and two picks on a deep ball and a deflected pass.
INJURY REPORT: Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle) and running back Orleans Darkwa (back) left in the fourth quarter. The Eagles lost Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (calf), running back Darren Sproles (wrist) and linebacker Jordan Hicks (ankle) left in the first half.
Saints 34, Panthers 13
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Drew Brees did not want to head across the Atlantic Ocean three games behind the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers in the NFC South.
The veteran quarterback made sure the Saints could rest a little easier on their eight-hour flight to London for next week’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
Brees shredded the league’s top-ranked defense, throwing for 220 yards and three touchdowns as the Saints beat the previously undefeated Panthers 34-13 on Sunday for their first win of the season.
Brees led six scoring drives and threw TD passes to Michael Thomas, Brandon Coleman and ex-Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. Rookie Alvin Kamara put the game away with a 25-yard TD run with 4:42 left.
Carolina had only allowed six points in its previous two games.
“We know they’re a contender and that defense was one of the best in the league,” Brees said. “We knew we needed to be efficient today — and we were.”
Brees completed 22 of 29 passes. The Saints (1-2) piled up 149 yards rushing as part of a balanced attack and didn’t turn the ball over.
The Saints’ defense, which came in ranked 32nd in the league, intercepted Cam Newton three times and sacked him four times before he was replaced late in the fourth quarter. Many of Newton’s throws were either too hard or high as the seventh-year quarterback continued to struggle with his rhythm following offseason shoulder surgery.
“We showed that we can be a great defense,” said Saints linebacker A.J. Klein. “This is momentum for London next week. We just need to keep this thing rolling.”
Newton said he was ready to play despite not throwing much in practice last week while resting his shoulder. But he left the stadium frustrated with what he called “a lackluster performance.”
“I feel like if I play better the outcome is different,” Newton said. “The onus is on me.”
The Panthers (2-1), who were already without injured Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, lost wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the first quarter to a knee injury; his leg got bent back awkwardly after being dragged down from behind. Benjamin tore his ACL in the same knee two years ago. Coach Ron Rivera offered no indication on the seriousness of the injury, saying Benjamin will be re-evaluated by doctors on Monday.
Carolina’s only real offense was essentially limited to rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, who had 101 yards receiving on nine catches.
“We can’t keep letting teams off the hook by having a long drive and getting in the red zone and coming away with three points,” Newton said.
NO DOUBTING THOMAS: Carolina had no answer early on for Thomas, who caught five passes for 50 yards and a touchdown on the Saints’ opening drive. Thomas finished with 87 yards receiving on seven catches. “We came out with more intensity and a sense of urgency,” Thomas said. “We attacked them; we did not let them attack us.”
The Saints led 17-6 when Ginn beat cornerback James Bradberry down the middle of the field for a 40-yard touchdown reception to break it open. It was the same type of big play Ginn provided for the Panthers in previous seasons. The Panthers didn’t re-sign Ginn after he became a free agent earlier this offseason. “It felt great,” Ginn said. “It meant a lot to me. My teammates were behind me.”
Brees has thrown for 1,252 yards and 12 touchdowns with three interceptions in his last four games against the Panthers. Newton entered the game with 19 career touchdown passes and seven interceptions against the Saints. This marked the first time he’s ever thrown more than one interception in a game against New Orleans.
GANO STAYS PERFECT: Panthers kicker Graham Gano entered training camp in a battle for his job, but the veteran added two more field goals on Sunday and is 8 for 8 on the season.
DICKSON A NONFACTOR: Ed Dickson replaced Olsen at tight end for the Panthers, but was a nonfactor in the passing game. Instead, most of Newton’s underneath passes went to McCaffrey. Olsen’s streak of playing in 160 straight games came to an end due to a broken foot.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: At least a dozen Saints players sat on the bench for the national anthem. None of the Panthers players on the sideline sat or kneeled in protest.
Saints: DT David Perry, added to the 53-man roster this week, left with a left leg injury in the first half.
Panthers: In addition to Benjamin, LB Thomas Davis left briefly with a rib injury, but did return.
Saints: They head across the ocean to face the Miami Dolphins in London next Sunday.
Panthers: They travel to New England next Sunday.
Falcons 30, Lions 26
DETROIT (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons escaped Detroit, holding on for a win thanks in part to an NFL rule that went in their favor.
Matthew Stafford’s pass to Golden Tate was ruled to be just short of the end zone in the final seconds after a review, allowing Atlanta to beat the Lions 30-26 on Sunday.
The call on the field was touchdown when Stafford connected with Tate on a slant from the 1 with 8 seconds left, but it was overturned because the receiver was down before the football reached the goal line. By rule, 10 seconds had to run off the clock and that ended the game because Detroit didn’t have any timeouts.
“Had the call on the field been correct initially, the clock would have run out,” FOX analyst Dean Blandino, an ex-NFL officiating chief, explained in a tweet: “That’s the spirit of the rule.”
Lions coach Jim Caldwell agreed that the call was made correctly and the rule was applied properly. He added, though, that Stafford could have taken another snap if the call on the field was made correctly initially that Tate was down inside the 1.
“Certainly,” Caldwell said. “We practice it all the time.”
Cornerback Desmond Trufant, who extended Detroit’s last drive with two penalties, was unaware of the rule that proved to be favorable for the Falcons.
“I thought we were going to have to play another down,” Trufant acknowledged.
The defending NFC champion Falcons (3-0) overcame Matt Ryan’s three interceptions and many other mistakes.
Trufant was called for pass interference in the end zone on a third-and-10 from the Atlanta 19, giving the Lions a first down at the 1 with 19 seconds left. Trufant was flagged for holding on a second-and-30 from the Falcons 38 earlier in the drive, allowing Detroit pick up a first down.
Detroit (2-1) never led in the game, and failed to pull off another comeback in the fourth quarter.
“I wish I could’ve gotten us in,” Stafford said. “It’s kind of what I do, and didn’t get it done.”
END OF A STREAK
Ryan hadn’t thrown an interception in nine games, including three games during the last postseason, before getting picked off three times at Ford Field. Safety Glover Quin stepped in front of one pass and returned it 37 yards for a score in the second quarter, cutting Atlanta’s lead to 17-13. His other two interceptions were deflected, one through Mohamed Sanu’s hands. Ryan finished 24 of 35 for 294 yards with a tiebreaking, 40-yard TD pass to Taylor Gabriel early in the fourth on a screen and a 4-yard strike toSanu early in the game.
Devonta Freeman scored on a 1-yard run to put Atlanta up 17-3 in the second quarter and finished with 106 yards rushing — 35 more than Detroit’s entire team had on the ground.
BY THE NUMBERS
Stafford was 25 of 45, missing some targets and having Eric Ebron drop two, for 264 yards and an 11-yard TD pass to Tate in the third quarter that cut Atlanta’s lead to 23-20. Ameer Abdullah had 14 carries for 47 yards after running for 86 yards Monday night in a win over the New York Giants. Detroit’s Darius Slay picked off two deflected passes, matching his total number of interceptions in each of the previous three seasons.
TAKING A KNEE
Detroiter Rico Lavelle, who sang the anthem, added a new layer to pregame protests around the league. Just before finishing the song and belting out “brave,” Lavelle went down on his right knee, bowed his head and raised his right fist wrapped around the microphone. Eight Lions and two Falcons also took a knee on the sideline as owners for both teams locked arms with players and coaches.
Falcons: Atlanta was without three starters: defensive end Vic Beasley (hamstring), defensive end Courtney Upshaw (knee/ankle) and Ryan Schraeder (concussion). The Falcons appeared to miss Schraeder in particular because his replacement, Ty Sambrailo, gave up two sacks in the first half.
Lions: Detroit was also missing a trio of first-string players: linebacker Jarrad Davis (concussion), safety Tavon Wilson (shoulder) and center Travis Swanson (ankle). Lions defensive end Anthony Zettel left the game with an injured right knee, but was able to return.
Falcons: Host Buffalo next Sunday.
Lions: Play at Minnesota next Sunday.
Buccaneers 17, Vikings 34
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Case Keenum has carved out a place in the NFL as a capable backup quarterback, an undrafted former practice squad player who’s on his third team in six years.
He was much more than a fill-in for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, bewildering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once again.
Keenum passed for three touchdowns and a career-high 369 yards without a turnover in a sterling performance in place of Sam Bradford, steering the Vikings to a 34-17 victory over the Buccaneers .
“He looked like the best player in the NFL again today,” Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said, with a touch of exasperation. “He hit those deep balls and gave his receivers a chance, and they made the plays. They mixed it up well, so hats off to them.”
Keenum has beaten the Buccaneers in three straight seasons, the previous two with the Rams. His totals: 53 completions in 76 attempts (69.7 percent) for 793 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception with three sacks.
While Bradford sat out for a second consecutive game because of an ailing left knee, Keenum was far more comfortable at home behind a big early lead than the previous week at Pittsburgh in a 26-9 defeat. Bradford wasn’t ruled out until the morning of that game against the Steelers, but this time the decision came on Friday.
With a 45-yard completion to Adam Thielen on the first drive that ended with Dalvin Cook’s first career touchdown run, Keenum quickly settled in. He was barely touched by the Buccaneers pass rush. Stefon Diggs had 173 yards receiving , with two of his eight catches for scores.
“It’s fun when that guy’s on the field,” Keenum said. “He’s a special dude.”
Keenum finished 25 for 33 for a 142.1 passer rating, also a career best.
“We kind of prepped the game plan more toward Case,” coach Mike Zimmer said, repeatedly praising offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and his assistants. “I thought they did a great job.”
Zimmer was so pleased he strayed from routine by presenting the game ball on the spot in the locker room to Keenum , who was then swarmed by his teammates in celebration.
“Case made some great decisions in crucial situations and made some high-level plays,” Diggs said. “I’m just proud of him.”
Here are some other key developments from the game:
Jameis Winston completed 28 of 40 passes for 328 yards, but three of them were intercepted, including two in the end zone . The Vikings did not force a turnover in either of their first two games, but they turned the first two into 10 points and ran out the clock after the last one.
“Bad decisions,” Winston said, adding: “I’ve got to protect the football at all costs.”
After cutting the lead to 31-17, the Buccaneers forced the Vikings into their only three-and-out of the game. But Andrew Sendejo picked off an errant pass by Winston that was intended for DeSean Jackson and returned it 36 yards to the Buccaneers 35, setting up a field goal that gave the Vikings a three-score lead.
Wide receiver Mike Evans was so upset about the turnover once he reached the sideline that he stomped around by the bench before kicking a water bottle and shoving over a towel cart .
“I have to fight my emotions better than that,” Evans said. “I have to understand it’s just one game.”
The Vikings are 7-3 in regular-season games at U.S. Bank Stadium since it opened last year and 6-1 in September home games under Zimmer.
“You have to come in with the attitude that no one can come into your house and put their feet on your furniture,” said defensive end Everson Griffen, who had one of two sacks of Winston. “You have to go out there and hit someone in the mouth.”
Evans and Jackson each took a knee near the Bucs bench during the national anthem, joining an estimated 130 players who declined to stand for the “Star Spangled Banner” before the nine NFL games with early afternoon kickoffs. They both put a hand over their heart, their intent to show support for the military while protesting social injustice by kneeling.
Players and owners around the league were especially riled up this weekend by President Donald Trump’s obscene criticism at a rally of the players who have kneeled during the song.
“Hopefully we can find a way to get things resolved and not be talked down upon from someone supposed to be our leader, supposed to be worrying about running our country, not tweeting and texting and speaking on NFL guys and what their rights are,” Jackson said. “It’s crazy to me. It’s a joke. He’s a clown.”
Seahawks 27, Titans 33
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are proving they can put on quite an offensive show.
Just wait for the second half.
This time, Marcus Mariota threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns as Tennessee scored 24 points after halftime in rallying to beat the Seattle Seahawks 33-27 Sunday.
Running back DeMarco Murray rushed for 115 yards, including a 75-yard TD run. Ryan Succop also kicked four field goals as Tennessee (2-1) scored at least 30 points for a second straight week. The Titans scored 31 points in the second half last week in beating Jacksonville 37-16.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey had a simple explanation for the difference after halftime.
“Just patience and just playing,” Mularkey said.
The Seahawks (1-2) scored a bunch of touchdowns with Russell Wilson throwing for 373 yards and four TDs. His second TD, a 10-yarder to Chris Carson , put Seattle up 14-9 in the third quarter.
Then the Titans took control with Mariota answering with TDs on the next two drives for Tennessee.
Mariota tossed a screen pass to Rishard Matthews, who ran 55 yards to the end zone for a 16-14 lead midway through the third. Matthews and tight end Jonnu Smith celebrated taking pretend selfies in the end zone.
On the next possession, Mariota found a wide-open Jonnu Smith for a 24-yard TD and a 23-14 lead.
Murray’s TD gave Tennessee a 30-14 lead late in the quarter, and Tennessee finished with 195 yards rushing.
Wilson pulled Seattle within 33-27 with his fourth TD, an 8-yarder to Paul Richardson with 1:50 left. But Titans tight end Delanie Walker recovered Seattle’s onside kick.
The Seahawks had one last chance with the Titans lined up to punt on fourth-and-3 with 11 seconds left. Then officials flagged the Seahawks for 12 men on the field, Tennessee the clinching first down.
“We’ve got a big challenge, and we’ve got to get together,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Both teams talked and agreed not to take the field for the national anthem on a day of protests around the NFL, and Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk joined her players in the locker room. Meghan Linsey, a runner-up in “The Voice,” took a knee when she finished singing.
Then each quarterback locked arms with at least one teammate and walked onto the field. Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo said both teams wanted to keep from exposing a few players from being attacked like Colin Kaepernick and others.
“It’s unity. We’re going to do this together …,” Orakpo said. “We’re a team. We need to respect everybody’s wishes. And that’s why both sides agreed to stay inside with the anthem and protest in a positive way.”
The Seahawks finished with 11 penalties for 98 yards, with a trio of penalties on separate plays in the first quarter. The second came when three-time All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman was flagged three times on a play erasing Kam Chancellor’s interception. Sherman was flagged for pass interference and holding on Titans veteran wide receiver Eric Decker, and unsportsmanlike conduct. Sherman later was flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting Mariota on the sideline, setting off a scrum that wound up with offsetting penalties.
Sherman explained how he drew the first unsportsmanlike penalty for talking to an official about a flag thrown after the interception only to be told to get away. “You flagged me for taking my helmet off and asking you a question,” Sherman said. “I thought that was a poor call.”
Titans rookie Adoree Jackson had an 80-yard punt return late in the second quarter erased by an illegal block in the back.
PRE-LEGION OF DOOM
Murray’s TD was the longest allowed by the Seattle defense since Frank Gore had an 80-yarder against the Seahawks in 2009. That was before Carroll was hired in January 2010. It was the eighth-most yards rushing allowed by Seattle under Carroll.
Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who caught 10 passes for 105 yards and a TD, left in the fourth quarter with an injured groin. … Seattle lost linebacker Dewey McDonald to a knee injury on the opening kickoff. He did not return, and Carroll said there are concerns the ACL is involved.
Titans rookie LB Jayon Brown was cleared of a concussion after going through the protocol.
Seahawks: Host Indianapolis next Sunday.
Titans: Visit Texans next Sunday.
Bengals 24, Packers 27 OT
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers looked around the locker room before Green Bay’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals and noticed all the Packers starters sidelined with injuries. Defensive lineman Mike Daniels, receiver Randall Cobb and left tackle David Bakhtiari, just to name a few.
“But we’ve had a rallying cry at the beginning of the season,” Rodgers said. “No excuses.”
And no way were the Packers going to lose Sunday after Rodgers figured out the Bengals defense.
He threw for three touchdowns and 313 yards, including a 72-yard pass to Geronimo Allison to set up the winning field goal in the Packers’ 27-24 victory in overtime over the winless Bengals (0-3).
Reliable veteran Mason Crosby kicked the 27-yarder with 6:26 left in overtime after Allison’s big gain came on a free play for Green Bay (2-1).
Defensive end Michael Johnson was whistled for offside on third-and-10 from the Packers 21. Officials let the play continue and Rodgers found Allison on a throw that sailed about 43 yards before the receiver beat a couple defenders to get inside the 10.
Rodgers also connected with Jordy Nelson for a 3-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 24, completing a 12-play, 75-yard drive. Cornerback Dre Kilpatrick narrowly missed batting away the bullet thrown by the quarterback into the front right corner of the end zone.
“Far too many chunk plays against a good quarterback like that. That ended up being the difference in the football game,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said.
A two-time NFL MVP, Rodgers added a couple more bullet points to his extensive resume.
—He has now beaten all 32 teams in his 13-year NFL career, the last 10 as a starter.
—He won his first game in overtime.
One play that he’d like to forget: Cornerback William Jackson returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter for Cincinnati. It was just the second career interception returned for a touchdown for Rodgers, and his first at Lambeau Field.
“A lot of time, a lot of time left. We’ve been down before,” said Rodgers, who finished 28 of 42.
Other notes and takeaways from Sunday’s game:
BENGALS OFFENSE: At least Cincinnati’s offense finally got into the end zone. Receiver A.J. Green’s 10-yard touchdown catch on the game’s first possession snapped a season-opening streak of 25 possessions without a touchdown. Until Sunday, they were only able to muster three field goals over the first two weeks.
LAZOR SHOT: Quarterback Andy Dalton was 21 of 27 for 212 yards and two scores in a game that featured Bill Lazor’s debut as Bengals offensive coordinator. Lazor replaced the fired Ken Zampese. The Packers, though, made some adjustments after halftime and got to Dalton with more pressure. The Bengals were held to just Randy Bullock’s 46-yard field goal after halftime.
“I thought we got the ball to our guys and got it to them in space and let them make plays,” Dalton said about the switch to Lazor. “I thought it was a good start for us, but we’ve got to find a way to win.”
G-MAN: With Cobb out with a chest injury, Allison got more snaps. He made some big catches after halftime, including the 72-yarder in overtime. Rodgers actually threw the pass from the 13 after dropping back. Allison caught the ball at the Bengals 44, sidestepped two defenders before being taken down inside the 10 by cornerback Josh Shaw.
“Make the play. I see it. I’m locked in on it and just trust my hands make the play on it,” Allison said.
HEY ROOKIES: The future might have arrived for the Packers’ young secondary. Rookie Kevin King, a second-round draft pick, got his first career start at cornerback with Davon House out with a quad injury. He had an up-and-down game matched up much of the day with Green.
Fellow second-round pick Josh Jones, a safety, displayed athleticism with 12 tackles, two sacks and two quarterback hurries. He stepped up with Kentrell Brice missing the game with a groin injury and Marwin Evans leaving the game in the second half with cramps.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: Most members of each team interlocked arms on their respective sidelines when the national anthem was played before kickoff. “We’ve got to stick together and show people that it doesn’t matter what skin color or where you come from, we can stand as one. That’s what we did today,” Green said.
Across the field, Rodgers stood at the sideline locking arms with tight end Richard Rodgers and backup quarterback Brett Hundley. Three Packers sat on the bench during the anthem: King, along with tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks.
Chiefs 24, Chargers 10
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — For the first quarter and a half, the Kansas City Chiefs looked like maybe the best team in the NFL.
Alex Smith was crisp and accurate in throwing two touchdown passes. The Chiefs intercepted Philip Rivers three times, twice by Terrance Mitchell.
Then it turned into a defensive slog, before the Chiefs (3-0) came alive in the final minutes to put away a 24-10 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers (0-3).
Smith was excellent early, throwing two touchdown passes in the first 9 1/2 minutes against what used to be his hometown team.
Following a defensive struggle for most of the second half, the Chiefs had two high-impact plays in the closing minutes. First, Justin Houston broke through and sacked Rivers for an 11-yard loss. Then Hunt scored on a 69-yard run to seal the victory.
The Chiefs beat the Chargers for the seventh straight time and have won 12 straight AFC West games.
Afterward, they were self-critical.
“I feel like, man, we still haven’t put a great game together yet,” Houston said. “We left too many plays on the field. We not nowhere near where we need to be. I’m glad we’re winning. I hope the guys appreciate the win because it’s tough to come by, but to get where we going we’ve got to do better.”
The defending AFC West champion Chiefs want to go far deeper than last season, when they lost a home divisional round playoff game to Pittsburgh.
Some things to know from the Chiefs’ win against the Chargers at the 27,000-seat StubHub Center soccer stadium:
ALEX SMITH: “It was weird not playing the Chargers in San Diego,” said Smith, who played high school, college and NFL games at what used to be called Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. “I grew up with the San Diego Super Chargers, but it was cool to play here.”
He threw two touchdown passes in the first eight plays from scrimmage, a 30-yarder to Tyreek Hill and a 6-yard shovel pass to Albert Wilson for a 14-0 lead.
“There’s not too much good to talk about,” he said. “We didn’t make adjustments to what they were doing. But in the fourth quarter we came through, then the O-line made big plays. It seems like every game in this division comes down to the end. They’re all great rivalries.”
HUNT’S BIG RUN: Coach Andy Reid simply wanted the rookie to get a first down on first-and-10 from the 31. Instead, he took it to the house.
“He’s a young guy and it’s a tough thing to do. I told him we only need a first down but when you get out there and see the end zone in front of you it’s tough to stop,” Reid said. “He came over to me and said he should have gone down. I don’t want to ruin a good thing for him. He’s young.”
Hunt has six touchdowns, four rushing and two receiving, in his first three games, tied with Billy Sims (1980 Detroit Lions) and Dutch Sternaman (1920 Decatur Staleys) for the most touchdowns by a player in his first three games.
Said Hunt: “The offensive line did a really good job of shielding guys off and I was able to make one guy miss and I just went.”
RIVERS’ AIR WOES: It was the ninth time Rivers threw three interceptions. He led the NFL in pickoffs twice in the past three seasons, including last year when he had a career-high 21.
“It was a rough day,” Rivers said. “All three were throws, poor decisions. I just never got in any kind of groove the whole day. You hate to be the guy that let’s down the group. We Just have to get back up and get back to work.”
SAME BOLTS: A new locale hasn’t changed the Chargers’ fortunes. They’ve lost 26 of their past 35 games dating to the start of the 2015 season, and have lost 14 of their past 15 in the division.
“It wasn’t good enough,” said rookie head coach Anthony Lynn, who was hired the day after chairman Dean Spanos announced the team was leaving San Diego after 56 seasons. “You might say we’re the same ol’ Chargers, and right now we are. So we’ve got to go back to work, and we’ve got to get better.”
There were a few bright spots. Melvin Gordon scampered for an 11-yard TD run and Melvin Ingram had a career-high three sacks.
ANTHEM: With widespread rebuke around the league toward President Donald Trump for his obscene criticism of the kneeling by players during the national anthem in protest of social injustice, five Chargers either knelt or sat during the national anthem. Many of their teammates linked arms and stood, including team Spanos. About 10 Chiefs sat.
Raiders 10, Redskins 27
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Convinced no one outside their locker room gave them a chance to beat the Oakland Raiders, the Washington Redskins put together the kind of complete performance that made them worthy of the prime-time spotlight.
Kirk Cousins threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns, Chris Thompson had 188 all-purpose yards and a score and the Redskins sacked Derek Carr four times, forced three turnovers and held the Raiders to 128 yards in a dominating 27-10 victory on Sunday night.
“We wanted to show everybody what the Washington Redskins really could do because everybody didn’t give us a heck of a chance,” cornerback Josh Norman said. “Our boys showed up and they played some heck of a ball tonight and I can’t be more proud of them.”
Cousins was a spectacular 25 of 30, including TD passes to Thompson, Vernon Davis and a 52-yarder to Josh Doctson. Thompson had 150 yards receiving and 38 yards rushing, joining Jamaal Charles as the only running backs to put up 150 yards receiving against the Raiders (2-1) since they moved to Oakland in 1995.
“It’s just on us as running backs and receivers, offensive line, just basically beating our matchups and winning our matchups and Kirk, he’s going to get us the ball,” Thompson said. “I knew it was about time for him to have a big game, and he did a great job.”
Thompson was again a difference maker and has four of Washington’s seven offensive touchdowns this season. The Redskins (2-1), who piled up 472 yards, improved to 4-6 in prime-time games under coach Jay Gruden and tied the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East.
Under pressure all night, Carr was 19 of 31 for 118 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Carr had thrown 112 consecutive passes before being picked off by Montae Nicholson on the second play of the game.
“I’ve got to take care of the ball better and I will,” Carr said. “This isn’t alarming, but we did get punched in the mouth and it’s all about how we respond.”
Oakland’s rushing offense, which came in ranked fifth in the NFL, managed just 32 yards.
“Days like this can happen,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “You just don’t want it to happen very often.”
The Raiders went 0 of 11 on third down as part of their anemic offensive effort. Their 47 first-half yards were their fewest since Week 14 against Denver in 2015, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Oakland’s only touchdown, a 21-yard pass from Carr to Jared Cook, came after the Redskins’ Jamison Crowder muffed the punt return and the Raiders recovered at the Washington 18. The Raiders had scoring drives of 18 and 8 yards.
REDSKINS SACK MASTERS
The Redskins’ defensive front dominated the Raiders’ offensive line for much of the games. Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan each had a solo sack and rookie Jonathan Allen was in on two — with Junior Galette and Matt Ioannidis.
“We pride ourselves on being a physical group on offense and defense,” Allen said. “To go out there and have a team performance like we did is something special.”
It was the most sacks of Carr since the 2015 finale against Kansas City (six).
Washington’s Dan Snyder followed the lead of a handful of other owners by linking arms with his players on the sideline during the national anthem. Seven Redskins players kneeled: tight ends Jordan Reed and Niles Paul, receivers Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Brian Quick and linebackers Chris Carter and Ryan Anderson.
“One brother, you mess with one, you mess with us all,” Norman said. “Nobody is divided in this. We were in unity, and we wanted to stand for something.”
A vast majority of Raiders players sat on the bench arm in arm. Carr was among those standing, along with Del Rio.
Raiders: WR Michael Crabtree left with a chest injury. … CB Sean Smith returned from a neck injury and was beaten down the field by Davis and others.
Redskins: Reed (chest/rib), RB Rob Kelley (rib), and LB Mason Foster (shoulder) were all inactive . … RB Samaje Perine injured his hand on the play he fumbled in the fourth quarter. … OT Ty Nsekhe suffered a groin injury.
Raiders: Visit the Denver Broncos in an AFC West matchup Sunday.
Redskins: Visit the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, Oct. 2.
Cowboys 28, Cardinals 17
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Dak Prescott kneeled with his teammates and team owner before the game, flipped head over heels for a touchdown in the first half and capped his night with a 37-yard TD pass that proved to be the game winner.
The Dallas Cowboys erased last week’s ugly memory on Monday night, with their young quarterback leading the way.
“He just kept battling,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.
“He kept making good decisions. Obviously he made some good plays, big-time throws, but as much as anything else he’s got an amazing spirit and our players follow him.”
The Cowboys (2-1), bouncing back from a 42-17 pummeling in Denver, began the game kneeling at midfield with owner Jerry Jones in a show of unity that followed widespread protests across the NFL of critical comments by President Donald Trump over the weekend.
After they kneeled, they stood and walked to the sideline and stood for the anthem.
“We planned and it was executed that we would go out and kneel,” Jones said, “and basically make the statement regarding the need for unity and the need for equality.”
Prescott, 13 of 18 for 183 yards, broke a 14-14 tie with a 37-yard scoring pass to Brice Butler with 11:52 to play.
“I immediately scrambled and when I scrambled Brice took the right angle and the right initiative going to the back of the end zone,” Prescott said.
Arizona, with a spectacular catch by Larry Fitzgerald for 24 yards on a third-and-18 play, moved downfield but the drive stalled. Phil Dawson’s 37-yard field goal cut the lead to 21-17 with 6:35 left.
Ezekiel Elliott, who gained 8 yards on nine carries against Denver and drew criticism for not hustling after a couple of late interceptions, was bottled up much of the game, but still gained 80 yards on 22 attempts, 30 on one play. He ran 8 yards for the final Cowboys touchdown.
The Cardinals (1-2), in their home opener, got a big game from Fitzgerald, who caught 13 passes for 149 yards, in the process moving ahead of Marvin Harrison into eighth in career receiving yards. The 13 receptions tied a career high.
“That’s Fitz. It’s Monday night,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s a money player. It was a great performance by him. It’s a shame we couldn’t play better around him.”
Carson Palmer had a big first half, completed 15 of 18 for 145 yards and finished 29 of 48 for 325 yards and two scores. He was sacked six times, a career-high three by DeMarcus Lawrence.
The Cardinals dominated the first half statistically, but were deadlocked with the Cowboys at 7-7. Arizona had a 152-57 advantage in yards and dominated time of possession 19:34 to 9:41.
Arizona took the opening kickoff and went 82 yards in eight plays. Palmer was 5-for-5 on the drive, capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown.
Before Dallas even had a first down, Arizona mounted a nearly nine-minute drive but a touchdown pass to Brown was negated by a holding penalty and Phil Dawson’s 36-yard field goal try was wide right. It was the third mid-range miss for the 41-year-old kicker this season.
And the miss left the door open for the Cowboys to get back in it.
Prescott scored on a 10-yard run, flipping head-first over the goal line to tie it at 7-7 with 3:33 left in the half.
TAKING A KNEE: Jones has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, so the speculation was that he would not allow his players to kneel during the national anthem.
Following a weekend of kneeling and protesting across the NFL, the Cowboys and their owner displayed their own version of unity Monday night, kneeling on the field before rising as a group and going to the sideline for the national anthem.
Numerous boos rang out across University of Phoenix Stadium as the Cowboys kneeled and continued as the players rose, still arm-in-arm, and stepped back to the sideline as the flag was unfurled across the field. They remained connected as Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem.
The Cardinals had their own symbol of unity after a weekend of protests in the NFL, gathering along the goal line arm-in-arm during the national anthem. They were joined by team president Michael Bidwell, his family and general manager Steve Keim.
“It’s just to show unity,” Cardinals team captain Frostee Rucker said. “There’s so much negativity going on. People are trying to pull us apart. We always want to stay together.”
More than 200 NFL players kneeled, sat or prayed during the national anthem on Sunday after President Trump said any player who does not stand for the national anthem should be fired.
Sparks, whose father Phillippi played in the NFL, had “PROV 31:8-9” written on her hand while she sang the anthem.
The bible verse says: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”