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Here is a recap of Week 4 of the 2017 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Bears 14, Packers 35
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers keep finding ways to win despite more key injuries.
The Chicago Bears never recovered from a miserable start by quarterback Mike Glennon.
Rodgers connected with Davante Adams and Randall Cobb on short touchdown passes to help build a 21-0 lead in the second quarter of a game delayed 45 minutes by lightning between the first two periods. The Packers overpowered the Bears down the stretch to slog out a win as intermittent rain fell at Lambeau Field.
“We knew were going to get into a grind of a game. The turnovers were huge for us,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
The Packers (3-1) lost two more key players to injuries. Adams left the field on a stretcher after getting hit in the head during a tackle by Danny Trevathan in the third quarter. Running back Ty Montgomery was knocked out in the first quarter with a chest injury.
But the Packers capitalized on an awful start by Glennon, who accounted for four turnovers.
“The number one thing I obviously have to fix is the turnovers,” Glennon said.
He fumbled on his first snap on a strip sack by Clay Matthews. Rodgers hit Cobb for a 2-yard touchdown pass three plays later for a 7-0 lead.
The rout was on.
Glennon fumbled on his next series, too, but the Packers couldn’t score on that drive.
It was only a matter of time because the mistakes kept mounting.
Glennon threw his second interception with 2:54 left in the third quarter. Six plays later, receiver Jordy Nelson caught his second touchdown pass, an 8-yarder from Rodgers, to make it a 28-point lead.
“This was a big character win for us,” Rodgers said. “It’s been a next-man-up, no-excuses policy.”
Rodgers was 18 of 26 for 179 yards. He picked apart the Bears (1-3) on short, quick passes, a game plan in part necessitated by a patchwork offensive line. The Packers played without starting tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, and their three backup tackles are already on injured reserve.
The injury to Adams cast a pall late in the third quarter. The game was delayed for about 5 minutes while medical personnel tended to the receiver, who gave a thumbs-up signal as he was wheeled off the field.
The Packers said Adams was conscious and taken to a hospital for evaluation for possible head and neck injuries, and that he had feeling in all of his extremities.
“The news I was given on Davante — everything looks positive. That’s a great sign,” McCarthy said.
Green Bay at least gets a long weekend to rest after another costly week on the field. Both the Packers and Bears were coming off overtime wins Sunday.
For Chicago, questions from Bears fans will persist about whether coach John Fox should turn to No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback following another lackluster night for Glennon. He finished 21 of 33 for 216 yards and one touchdown.
“Obviously a very poor performance. I think it starts at the top. We got outcoached, we got outplayed in every area,” Fox said.
The Packers are 95-94-6 against the Bears, their first lead in the series since 1933. It’s the oldest rivalry in football, dating to 1923. … Matthews’ sack on Glennon in the first quarter was the 75th of his career, breaking the franchise record since 1982 held by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.
RUN IT UP
Bears: Jordan Howard ran for 53 yards on 18 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Packers: Rookie Aaron Jones, a fifth-round draft pick, had a team-high 49 yards on 13 carries and a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. He was the only active running back left on the roster with Montgomery and backup Jamaal Williams (knee) both knocked out of the game.
Players, coaches and other staffers locked arms on the sidelines during the national anthem. Many fans at Lambeau Field cheered and chanted “USA! USA!” while a large American flag was unfurled at midfield before the anthem.
Packers players released a statement this week saying they would intertwine arms before the game as a show of unity. They asked fans to join in the stands and at home, though it didn’t appear that many fans locked arms. Many people in the crowd held up small flags during and after the anthem.
Bears: Host the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 9.
Packers: Visit the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 8.
Saints 20, Dolphins 0 @London Wembley
LONDON (AP) — Alvin Kamara wasn’t sold on it when the New Orleans Saints installed a shovel pass at practice during the week. On Sunday, he became a believer.
Kamara scored a touchdown on that very play, taking Drew Brees’ left-handed toss 12 yards to the end zone, and the Saints used it to punctuate their 20-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins on a rainy afternoon at Wembley Stadium.
A rookie out of Tennessee, Kamara finished with a season-high 96 all-purpose yards, including 71 receiving, and had Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael to thank.
“That’s one of those special plays where we’re like, ‘All right, we’re practicing it, but are we going to run it?'” said Kamara, who scored with 3:57 remaining. “We dialed it up and ran it.”
Brees threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns, with Michael Thomas catching the other, as New Orleans (2-2) picked up the first shutout in 19 games held in Britain’s capital.
It was the first time the Saints didn’t allow a point since Dec. 16, 2012, a 41-0 win against Tampa Bay. Miami (1-2) finished with 186 total yards — its fewest since its last shutout, a 19-0 loss at Buffalo on Dec. 22, 2013.
“The defense got a shutout,” Brees said. “Offensively, we sustained drives. We did all the things you need to do for winning football.”
It was expected to be a big homecoming for the Dolphins’ Jay Ajayi, who was born in the city, but the running back finished with 46 yards on 12 carries.
Jay Cutler completed 20 of 28 passes for 164 yards with an interception for Miami, which has now scored only once in its last eight quarters — a touchdown on the final play of a loss at the New York Jets in Week 3.
“On offense, we need to have some pride in ourselves, some respect for ourselves,” Ajayi said. “Put some points on the board. We’re not doing that. We need to get back to what we know we can do.”
The teams threatened to have the first scoreless opening half since Week 14 of the 2011 season until Saints kicker Will Lutz connected from 43 yards with no time remaining.
Lutz made two other field goals, a 43-yarder and a 45-yarder, and Thomas, who had eight catches for 89 yards, caught a 4-yard pass from Brees to push the score to 10-0 in the third quarter.
STREIF’S STRIFE: Saints right tackle Zach Streif, active despite missing time in practice during the week with a knee injury, left the game after sustaining a knee injury on the first play of the fourth quarter when a Dolphins defender fell on his legs. He did not return.
Also leaving the game injured were Saints TE Josh Hill (concussion) and LB Alex Anzalone (shoulder), and Dolphins LB Mike Hull (shoulder), none of whom returned.
The Dolphins were also without cornerback Byron Maxwell, who injured a hamstring in the team’s walk-through on Saturday and was replaced by rookie Cordrea Tankersley, a third-round pick out of Clemson who was inactive for the Dolphins’ first two games.
HOMETOWN HEARTBREAK: Ajayi, who was with the Dolphins for their last international trek in 2015 but did not play because of an injury, expected 30 to 40 family members to attend the game, including his three younger siblings, all of whom were born in the United States and had never before been to London.
“This was all that mattered for the trip, this game on Sunday,” Ajayi said. “Regardless of anything else I did these last couple of days, this was the primary objective, and we didn’t get that done.”
FLAGS FLYING: The teams combined for 19 penalties, 11 by the Dolphins, with five called in a four-minute span at the end of the second quarter. Saints coach Sean Payton was not pleased. “Don’t get me going here,” he joked after the game. “I’m in a good mood.”
CRAWLEY’S CATCH: With P.J. Williams taken out of the starting lineup as punishment for a violation of team rules, cornerback Ken Crawley made the most of his second consecutive start, intercepting Cutler on a fade intended for tight end Julius Thomas to end the game’s opening drive. “I saw it,” Crawley said, dismissively. “It’s a tight end … and I just played the fade.”
Saints: A Week 5 bye means they’ll next be in action at home against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 15.
Dolphins: The home debut, at last, against the Tennessee Titans — Miami’s latest opener since 1987.
Steelers 26, Ravens 9
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers finally got their offense running. The wait continues for the Baltimore Ravens.
Le’Veon Bell rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and the Steelers beat the Ravens 26-9 on Sunday in a duel for first place in the AFC North.
Though held to a touchdown over the final 30 minutes, Pittsburgh (3-1) mounted enough of an attack before halftime to earn its first win in Baltimore since 2012.
“Not a perfect game, but a great team effort by us,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’re moving in the right directions in a lot of areas: run game development, taking care of the football.”
Coming into the game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked to identify the problem with a Pittsburgh offense that had produced only six touchdowns in 12 quarters.
“The quarterback needs to play better,” he said.
Roethlisberger went 18 for 30 for 216 yards and a touchdown. He threw one interception, but it was on a deflection that required a replay reversal.
“I still feel I personally didn’t make all the plays,” Roethlisberger said. “My goal this week was to take what they give us, don’t turn the ball over, and punting isn’t a bad thing. And I thought we did a pretty good job of that.”
Bell carried 35 times to help the Steelers amass 381 yards in offense.
After being held to 61 yards in an overtime loss to Chicago last week, Bell ripped through the Ravens for huge chunks of yardage.
“He’s the best and his numbers weren’t showing it,” Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey said. “There’s been a lot of pressure on him to go out there and produce at a high level, and we’re real happy he did it.”
The Ravens (2-2), meanwhile, looked every bit like the 32nd-ranked offense in the NFL. Baltimore trailed 19-0 at halftime, generated only 154 yards through three quarters and stumbled through a second straight game with only one touchdown.
Joe Flacco completed 31 of 49 passes for 235 yards, was sacked four times and intercepted twice.
“It starts with me,” Flacco said. “I wasn’t good enough to get us back in the game.”
Baltimore closed to 19-3 in the third quarter after an interception by Ravens safety Eric Weddle. The turnover occurred only after a challenge by Baltimore coach John Harbaugh overturned the original ruling of a catch and a tackle.
After Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell missed a 44-yard field goal, Alex Collins promptly ran for 50 yards to set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Mike Wallace. The Ravens went for 2, made it, then lost the points after a replay showed Terrance West’s elbow hit the ground before the ball made it to the end zone.
In the fourth quarter, on a fourth-and-12 from the Pittsburgh 47, Flacco was picked off by Mike Hilton with 5 ½ minutes left, launching a rapid exit by many of the fans.
That led to Bell’s second 1-yard touchdown run with 2:26 to go.
The Steelers’ first drive of the game covered 84 yards, lasted nearly 10 ½ minutes and ended with a 30-yard field goal.
“That first drive where we went down and put points on the board, that was a good start for us,” receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said.
It got a whole lot better for Pittsburgh.
Boswell made it 6-0 with a 49-yarder midway through the second quarter after Roethlisberger connected with Smith-Schuster for 19 yards on a third-down play.
A fumble by Collins set up a touchdown run by Bell, and Roethlisberger threw an 11-yard TD pass to Smith-Schuster for a 19-point cushion.
All the Steelers stood on the sideline during the national anthem. So did the Ravens, but only after taking a knee in unison before the song began.
Last week, the Steelers remained off the field in Chicago during the anthem.
Ravens TE Benjamin Watson had to go through concussion protocol in the second quarter and returned in the third.
Ravens LB Terrell Suggs thrilled the crowd during the pregame introductions by coming out of the tunnel in the same mask worn by the villain Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises” movie.
Suggs came out with a gladiator mask before a 2014 game against Pittsburgh and was ultimately fined by the NFL.
Steelers: After two straight road games, Pittsburgh hosts Jacksonville on Sunday. The Jaguars lead the series 12-11.
Ravens: Having already ventured to London for a game, the Ravens take a shorter journey next Sunday: to the West Coast for a matchup with the Oakland Raiders.
Bills 23, Falcons 17
ATLANTA (AP) — The Buffalo Bills stand alone atop the AFC East at the latest point in a season in nine years.
For that, coach Sean McDermott offered both cheers and restraint.
“It feels good,” McDermott said before adding, “still a long way to go.”
Stephen Hauschka kicked a tiebreaking, 56-yard field goal with less than five minutes remaining and the Bills made a last-minute defensive stand to beat Atlanta 23-17 on Sunday after the Falcons lost wide receiver Julio Jones to a hip injury.
This is the latest the Bills (3-1) have been alone in first place in their division since Week 7 in 2008, when they were 5-1.
Hauschka padded the lead with a 55-yarder with about three minutes remaining.
“It’s a fun position to be in when you want to kick like that at the end of the game,” Hauschka said.
Buffalo’s defense stopped the Falcons at the Bills 10 with less than a minute remaining when Matt Ryan couldn’t complete a fourth-down pass to Taylor Gabriel. Atlanta became the last NFC team to lose this season.
Tre’Davious White returned a fumble recovery 52 yards for a third-quarter touchdown as the tough Buffalo defense delivered again even in a game it gave up its first passing touchdown of the season.
Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes hit Ryan’s arm as Ryan was trying to pass, forcing the fumble.
“I didn’t hear the whistle, so I just ran full speed,” White said.
It was one of three turnovers by Atlanta. Micah Hyde intercepted two of Ryan’s passes, giving Ryan five in his last two games.
There will be an emphasis on protecting the ball in coming bye week for Atlanta (3-1).
“More important than anything for us, let’s get our turnover margin in order,” said coach Dan Quinn.
Jones left the game in the second quarter with a hip flexor injury. Atlanta’s receiving corps took another hit when starter Mohamed Sanu was ruled out with a hamstring injury in the third quarter.
Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews said losing the team’s top two receivers was no excuse.
“We know we’re good enough to score even if we’re missing a couple guys,” Matthews said.
Hauschka’s go-ahead field goal was set up by Tyrod Taylor’s 34-yard pass to tight end Charles Clay, who had five catches for 112 yards.
The Falcons failed to take advantage of Andre Roberts’ 61-yard kickoff return following the field goal. The Bills stopped Atlanta when Hyde intercepted a pass off the hands of receiver Nick Williams.
The teams traded long scoring drives in the fourth quarter. Buffalo’s 19-play drive, which lasted 11 minutes and 20 seconds, ended with a 24-yard field goal by Hauschka for a 17-10 lead.
The Falcons answered with a 10-play touchdown drive capped by Ryan’s 3-yard scoring pass to Justin Hardy . It was the first scoring pass allowed by the Bills this season.
Taylor threw a 9-yard scoring pass to Jordan Matthews in the second quarter.
Bills: S Colt Anderson left in the first quarter with an arm injury and was ruled out. Buffalo also lost LB Ramon Humber (thumb), WR Jordan Matthews (thumb), and CB E.J. Gaines (groin).
Falcons: Jones left the game in the second quarter with a hip flexor injury and was ruled out for the game. Quinn said Jones wanted to return but could not have played with his usual explosiveness. Jones was limited during practice this week with a lower back injury. Sanu (hamstring) and DT Jack Crawford (biceps) also were ruled out.
LeSean McCoy had 20 carries for 76 yards and three catches for 32 yards. … Taylor completed 12 of 20 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown. … Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman had nine carries for 79 yards and four catches for 65 yards. … Ryan completed 24 of 42 passes for 242 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. … Tight end Austin Hooper led Atlanta’s thin receiving corps with five catches for 50 yards.
Six Buffalo players knelt during the national anthem. The group included defensive end Jerel Worthy, wide receiver Kaelin Clay, cornerback Shareece Wright, running back Taiwan Jones, fullback Mike Tolbert and defensive tackle Cedric Thornton. Cornerback Leonard Johnson stood beside those kneeling.
Falcons players stood for the anthem.
PROTECT THE BALL
The Bills set a team record for most consecutive quarters without a turnover (15). The previous team record was 12, set in 2015.
Bills: Play at Cincinnati next Sunday.
Falcons: After their bye week, host Miami on Oct. 15.
Titans 14, Texans 57
HOUSTON (AP) — After dealing with a revolving door at quarterback since he was drafted in 2013, Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins couldn’t hide his glee when asked what it felt like to be a part of the best offensive day in franchise history — thanks to another big game by rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson.
“It means a lot,” Hopkins said Sunday after a 57-14 walloping of the Tennessee Titans. “You have to thank the organization for going out and moving up and getting a guy like Deshaun Watson. Taking that risk on moving up and trading draft picks to get a guy that they know can do this for this organization.”
In his third NFL start, Watson threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as the Texans scored the most points in franchise history. Watson, the 12th pick in this year’s draft, became the first rookie to throw four touchdown passes and run for another one since Fran Tarkenton in 1961 and tied an NFL record for most TDs by a rookie quarterback.
“Just growing with my confidence,” Watson said. “Being able to operate and run this offense, making sure we’re in the right plays and just bringing the energy and leadership to this team. And I try and do that each and every play, make sure we’re in the right play and just kind of continue to grow from there.”
The Texans (2-2) outdid their previous highest point total of 45 set in a victory over the Titans in 2014 and scored the most points in the NFL since Seattle scored 58 on Dec. 9, 2012 against Arizona.
The Texans rave about the confidence Watson brings to the huddle and believe his attitude is contagious.
“Just seeing your quarterback have that swagger and that demeanor to want to win and want to keep the ball going down the field, that gets everybody going,” running back Lamar Miller said. “I know me and it makes me want to play even harder to get the win.”
Houston’s defense got things going when Andre Hal intercepted Marcus Mariota on the game’s third play. It was the first of four interceptions for Houston’s defense. Mariota, who became the first Titans quarterback with two rushing touchdowns in a game since Steve McNair in 2003, injured his hamstring and didn’t play after halftime. Matt Cassel took over for the Titans (2-2) and threw for 21 yards with two interceptions.
Watson then led Houston’s offense to touchdowns on three straight possessions for a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. It was the first time since Oct. 19, 2008 that Houston scored a touchdown on each of its first three possessions.
The first score came on a 2-yard run by Miller. Watson then found Hopkins on an 8-yard pass before connecting with Will Fuller on a 16-yarder.
“We didn’t do a very good job of stopping them defensively, but their quarterback played extremely well,” Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey said. “I was thoroughly impressed with him … a number of times, we had him on the run and he escaped or made great throws. We’ve got to do a better job.”
Mariota had touchdown runs of 34 and 2 yards in the second quarter sandwiched around a field goal by Houston to cut the lead to 24-14. But Watson’s 1-yard touchdown scamper pushed Houston’s lead to 30-14 at halftime after the kick failed.
Watson was 25 of 34 for 283 yards. Mariota threw for 96 yards and ran for 39 before he was injured.
Watson found Fuller again in the third quarter on a 10-yard strike to make it 37-14. His fourth TD throw came early in the fourth quarter on an 8-yard pass to Miller.
Ka’imi Fairbairn made a 40-yard field goal to extend the lead to 47-14.
Rookie Dylan Cole added to the lead when he returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown with about nine minutes remaining.
Hopkins finished with 10 receptions for 107 yards for his first 100-yard game this season and the 14th of his career.
Jadeveon Clowney sacked Cassel and forced a fumble later in the fourth quarter which the Texans recovered. Backup Tom Savage took over for Watson and the Texans added a 33-yard field goal.
Mularkey said they’ll know more about Mariota’s injury after he has an MRI on Monday. … Houston receiver Tyler Ervin injured his knee in the first quarter and didn’t return.
Houston’s 445 yards were its most since 2014. … The Texans’ 33 first downs were the second most in franchise history. … Houston’s defense finished with five turnovers, its most since also getting five on Nov. 23, 2008 against Cleveland. … The Texans tied a franchise record with four interceptions. It was the first time they’d had four in a game since Nov. 12, 2006 against Jacksonville.
Titans: Visit the Dolphins next Sunday.
Texans: Host the Chiefs on Sunday night.
Jaguars 20, Jets 23 OT
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Long runs, bad breaks, big plays and wacky moments. This one had them all.
Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 41-yard field goal with 28 seconds left in overtime, lifting the New York Jets to a 23-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
“Crazy is right,” Jets quarterback Josh McCown said with a grin. “I’m glad we were on the right side of it, though.”
After Catanzaro split the uprights, he and his teammates celebrated wildly in the middle of the field — but then had to wait a moment because there was a penalty flag on the field. The officials ruled there actually was no penalty on the play — giving the surprising Jets (2-2) the win.
“What you saw there was a complete team effort,” running back Bilal Powell said.
Powell rushed for a career-high 163 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown , and rookie Elijah McGuire had a 69-yard score and finished with 93 yards rushing as the Jets ran all over the Jaguars (2-2).
But New York blew a 10-point, fourth-quarter advantage — and then had to hold on in the extra period.
“We fought back,” coach Todd Bowles said. “We had the lead and gave it away. Guys didn’t get down. They didn’t blink.”
On fourth-and-5 from the Jets 25, Lachlan Edwards boomed a 70-yard punt that was misjudged by Marqise Lee, who had the ball bounce away from him before he recovered. Jacksonville was called for an illegal block in the back on the play, putting the ball at the Jaguars 3.
Jacksonville went three-and-out, but on the punt, Paul Posluszny was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for taunting as the Jets’ Dylan Donahue went down on the Jaguars sideline with an elbow injury. It put the ball on the Jacksonville 25, and after two 1-yard runs, Josh McCown spiked the ball to set up Catanzaro’s field goal.
“Those long runs, my stupidity at the end of the game,” Posluszny said, “you can’t win with stuff like that.”
McCown finished 22 of 31 for 224 yards with an interception and the Jets outgained the Jaguars 471-311 in total yards, including 256-175 on the ground.
Blake Bortles was 15 of 35 for 140 yards with a TD and an interception.
“We’ve got to find ways to make plays offensively and score touchdowns and put games like that away,” Bortles said.
It appeared the Jets were heading for a win-sealing drive after a 41-yard pass to Robby Anderson got them to the Jaguars 14. But McCown tossed a backward pass to Powell and the ball bounced off the running back’s shoulder pad — ruled a fumble — and Myles Jack recovered and went 81 yards for a touchdown to cut the Jaguars’ deficit to 20-17 with 10:20 left in the fourth quarter.
“I wasn’t ready for it,” Powell said, “but we bounced back from it.”
With 3:19 left in regulation and New York still leading by three, A.J. Bouye picked off McCown after Powell slipped right in front of the cornerback and gave the Jaguars the ball at the Jets 35.
Leonard Fournette took a short pass from Bortles and scored a 23-yard touchdown — but it was wiped out by a holding call on Arrelious Benn.
Four plays later, Kony Ealy knocked down a pass from Bortles on third-and-goal from the 4, and the Jaguars settled for Jason Myers’ 22-yard tying field goal with 46 seconds remaining.
FLYING JETS: McGuire had given the Jets a 17-10 lead with 10:02 left in the third quarter with his 69-yard TD run. It marked the first time in franchise history that the Jets had two touchdown runs of 60 or more yards in the same game.
BOOM-BOOM-POWELL: After Fournette’s 10-yard TD catch midway into the first quarter gave the Jaguars a 7-0 lead, the Jets answered right back on their next play from scrimmage. Powell went up the middle and appeared to get tripped up as he leaped over Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith, but smartly got up — after not being touched by Smith — and took off for a 75-yard touchdown. It was upheld by video review, resulting in the Jets’ longest touchdown run since Bruce Harper went 78 yards in 1983.
FAKE PUNT: The Jets used some trickery to try to take a halftime lead when Edwards faked the punt on fourth-and-21 and passed to cornerback Marcus Williams, who gained 30 yards on the play to put the ball at the Jaguars 22. After a delay of game penalty on Edwards — who was celebrating the previous play — cost the Jets 5 yards, Catanzaro was wide left on a 45-yard attempt that kept it tied.
ANTHEM: The Jets players all linked arms during the anthem, as they did last week. Acting owner Christopher Johnson was among them once again. All of the Jaguars players took a knee a few moments before the anthem, as they announced they would. They all stood during the singing of the anthem by Heather Hill, the daughter of the late Winston Hill, a member of the Jets’ Ring of Honor.
STILL STRUGGLING: The Jaguars were road favorites after being underdogs for the last 44 games away from home. Jacksonville still hasn’t won consecutive road games since 2013.
Jaguars: at Pittsburgh next Sunday.
Jets: at Cleveland next Sunday.
Bengals 31, Browns 7
CLEVELAND (AP) — Lost for three weeks, Andy Dalton and the Bengals finally found their footing in a familiar place.
All it took was a trip to the shores of Lake Erie.
Dalton threw three of his four touchdown passes in the first half and Cincinnati’s offense found the perfect opponent to work out some early season struggles as the Bengals rolled to a 31-7 win Sunday over the overmatched Browns.
Dalton only missed on one throw in the first half, going 17 of 18 for 215 yards as the Bengals (1-3) built a 21-0 lead, cleared out FirstEnergy Stadium and won their sixth in a row over their in-state rival.
“This was the next one on the schedule and we wanted to do whatever we could to get a win,” said Dalton, who completed 16 straight passes in one stretch. “We needed it. There’s one.”
Cincinnati has won its past four games in Cleveland by a combined 121-20.
Entering as the NFL’s No. 30 ranked quarterback, Dalton connected with A.J. Green, Tyler Croft and Giovani Bernard in the first half while dissecting the young Browns (0-4), who were again plagued by mistakes and were down three defensive starters.
Dalton finished 25 of 30 for 286 yards. His second TD to Croft in the third quarter made it 31-0, and sent even some of the most die-hard Browns fans toward the exits.
The performance continued a stunning turnaround for Dalton, who didn’t throw a TD pass and had four interceptions in his first two games. In the past two weeks, he has six TDs and no picks.
This was the breakthrough the Bengals were looking for after a sluggish start, which included coach Marvin Lewis firing offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after the offense failed to score a TD in its first two games.
But after a solid performance last week with Bill Lazor calling plays in an overtime loss at Green Bay, the Bengals broke free against the Browns.
Cleveland fell to 1-19 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson, who has been handed the league’s youngest roster and is trying to break in rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer without many weapons.
The Browns are hurting themselves with unforced errors, but they’re also regressing since a 21-18 loss to Pittsburgh in Week 1.
“I am not going to let this team go backward,” Jackson said. “We did today. There is no question about that. We have some work to do. I think to a man in there, we will go back to work. We will put our heads down and get better.”
Following the game, Jackson embraced his former boss, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who was asked what he told his good friend.
“Don’t let them quit on you,” Lewis said.
The Browns were again without top pick Myles Garrett. The rookie pass rusher returned to practice Thursday and didn’t report any problems, but the Browns are being cautious and will delay his regular-season debut at least one more week. They were also missing starting outside linebacker Jamie Collins (concussion) and massive tackle Danny Shelton (calf).
Dalton dominated the rest of Cleveland’s defense.
Already up by two TDs, the Bengals got the ball back with 1:40 left in the first half and appeared content to play it safe and maybe get into field-goal position.
But the Browns blitzed and Dalton alertly dumped the ball into the right flat to the speedy Bernard. With a convoy of blockers in front of him, Bernard streaked untouched to the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown.
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict returned from his three-game suspension, giving Cincinnati’s defense some pop — literally. Burfict made his presence known with his typical hits and he was also flagged for roughing Kizer in the fourth quarter, a shot that will likely earn him more league discipline.
Kizer was only sacked once after being dropped 10 times in the first three games, but he absorbed some punishment while going 16 of 34 for 118 yards.
“Those guys are big,” he said. “You are going to feel every hit you take. Got out of there with no bumps and bruises.”
Since winning in Cincinnati on Nov. 6, 2014 to improve to 6-3, the Browns are 4-38.
The Browns remain the only team in the league not to lead at any point through four games. They had an early chance after Emmanuel Ogbah’s strip sack of Dalton on Cincinnati’s first possession.
But Cleveland didn’t gain a yard in three plays and rookie Zane Gonzalez missed a 48-yard field goal.
Adam “Pacman” Jones, who turned 34 on Saturday, helped set up Cincinnati’s first touchdown with a 40-yard punt return.
Bengals: H-back Ryan Hewitt injured his knee in the first half and didn’t return. C T.J. Johnson also went out with a neck injury.
Browns: WR Jordan Leslie (hamstring), LB Dominique Alexander (knee).
Bengals: Host Buffalo.
Browns: Host the New York Jets, led by former Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown.
Panthers 33, Patriots 30
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have been patiently waiting for the kind of performance from Cam Newton that had elevated him to the elite among NFL quarterbacks.
He finally delivered — against the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Graham Gano hit a 48-yard field goal as time expired, Newton threw for three touchdowns and ran for another and the Panthers stunned the New England Patriots 33-30 on Sunday.
The winner served as redemption for Gano, who missed an extra point in the third quarter. It was also the first signature game of 2017 for Newton, who threw four interceptions and just two touchdowns in Carolina’s first three games.
“I felt this was a breakthrough game for us, a statement game,” Newton said. “We had some careless turnovers, including (my) interception. But for us to come into a hostile environment, to battle, face some adversity early on, and still hold on at the end — it was a great team win for us.”
Jonathan Stewart rushed 14 times for 68 yards to pass DeAngelo Williams and become the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.
It was the second home loss this season for the usually unbeatable Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The defeat marked just the second time since 2012 that Tom Brady has lost two home starts within a season.
Newton finished 22 of 29 for 316 yards and an interception, picking apart a New England defense that was giving up an NFL-worst 461 yards and 31.7 points per game. The Patriots forced a pair of turnovers, but had trouble containing Newton’s stable of targets. After exiting’s last week’s loss to New Orleans, receiver Kelvin Benjamin started and caught four passes for 104 yards.
“A lot of people counted us out this game,” Stewart said. “There are a lot of guys on this team that deserve their credibility. …We expected to win today.”
Carolina (3-1) finished with 444 total yards, marking the fourth straight game the Patriots have given up at least 300 yards.
“So much stuff went wrong today,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “Giving up 30 points a game, 400-something yards. If it was one thing, we’d be better one of these weeks. It’s just all of us. It’s all 11 guys who are out there not playing good football.”
Brady finished 32 of 45 for 307 yards and two scores.
The Patriots cut a 30-16 deficit in half on an 8-yard run by Dion Lewis with 8:46 remaining. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower forced a punt on Carolina’s next drive when he sacked Newton on third down.
Brady then found Danny Amendola in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1 to tie the game. But two penalties on New England’s defense on the Panthers’ final drive set up Gano’s winner.
If not for Gano’s missed extra point, Carolina could have taken 15-point lead early in the fourth quarter following Newton’s 7-yard touchdown run. He said he didn’t let it deter him when his number was called again. Prior to the final drive Gano said receiver Devin Funchess told him, “We’ll get you in range, don’t even worry.
“This game meant a lot us,” Gano said. “We had a lot of doubters out there. We have a great football team and I feel like we proved it today.”
Newton mostly had his way with the Patriots in the opening 30 minutes as the Panthers took a 17-16 lead into the locker room. He led them to a field goal on their first series of the game, completing passes of 14, 2 and 13 yards.
Newton tried to get too creative on their second drive, tossing into double coverage. He was intercepted by Malcolm Butler.
But after the Patriots took a 10-3 lead on a 2-yard pass from Brady to Chris Hogan, Newton led Carolina on a six-play, 75 yard drive capped by a 28-yard touchdown on a screen pass to Fozzy Whittaker .
He was spot-on again late in the half, leading Carolina on a nine-play, 84-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard strike to Funchess.
New England was able keep pace thanks to three first-half field goals by Stephen Gostkowski. It included a team-record 58-yarder as time expired in the second quarter.
No player kneeled during the anthem prior to the game. Stewart and linebacker Thomas Davis stood with their hands pressed in front of them as if in prayer. The Patriots all stood with one hand over their heart and the other on the shoulder of the player next to them.
Panthers: S Kurt Coleman left in the second quarter with a knee injury and did not return; WR Damiere Byrd left in the second quarter with a forearm injury and also did not return; Funchess limped off late in the fourth quarter.
Patriots: S Eric Rowe exited the game in the third quarter with a groin injury; LB Elandon Roberts left with a groin injury.
Panthers: Play at Detroit on Sunday.
Patriots: Play at Tampa Bay on Thursday night.
Rams 35, Cowboys 30
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Todd Gurley can help make Jared Goff’s second go-round in the NFL much more enjoyable than the first.
What better way for the Los Angeles Rams running back to show it than to lead a win over last year’s dynamic rookie duo of Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott and 2016 NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott?
Gurley scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 53-yard catch-and-run while generating 215 total yards, Greg Zuerlein kicked a career-high seven field goals and the Rams beat the Cowboys 35-30 on Sunday.
Gurley finished with 121 yards rushing and 94 receiving as the Rams overcame two first-half touchdowns from Elliott the day before a federal appeals court hearing related to the star running back’s blocked six-game suspension over a domestic incident in Ohio.
“Me being able to step up takes a lot of stress off everybody, and we obviously have a lot of guys that can do a lot of things, just being able to have diversity on offense,” Gurley said.
The Rams (3-1) rallied from 11 points down late in the first half and matched their start from a year ago, when they went 1-11 the rest of the way as Goff, the No. 1 overall pick, was sitting and later lost the first seven starts of his career.
Goff showed more poise in first-year coach Sean McVay’s offense, throwing for 255 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He has seven TD passes and one interception this season.
The Cowboys (2-2) are already a loss shy of their total from last season when Prescott, the 135th pick in Goff’s draft, was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for the top-seeded team in the NFC.
And Prescott is already one interception away from last year’s total of four after a play that was originally ruled a fumble was changed to a diving pick by linebacker Mark Barron at the Dallas 29. Zuerlein’s sixth field gave the Rams 19 straight points and a 32-24 lead.
“We’re not going to lose confidence,” Prescott said. “We feel like we’re getting better. Even in a loss, we’re going to find a way to get better.”
Dallas held the Rams to 131 yards in the first half, but the absence of All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) showed up after halftime. After punting on their first possession of the second half, the Rams scored five straight times, including Gurley’s long TD catch.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, punted on their first three possessions of the second half after scoring on all four first-half drives. Prescott’s interception came on the fourth possession after halftime against a defense led by former Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips.
“Just had little corrections we had to fix here and there,” said All-Pro Aaron Donald, who had Prescott wrapped for a sack in the first half before losing his grip as Prescott ducked and spun away on an 18-yard throw to Dez Bryant. “Once we did that we were solid.”
Prescott was 20 of 36 for 252 yards with three touchdowns, including a 10-yarder to Elliott. Bryant had five catches for a season-high 98 yards.
MINI-ME, MINI-ME TWO
Gurley had 30 touches: 23 carries and a team-high seven catches. Receiver Tavon Austin had six carries for 48 yards and at one point had 40 yards rushing to Gurley’s 41. “Tavon, I guess he’s the mini-running back now and I’m the mini-receiver,” Gurley said.
Elliott had 85 yards on 21 carries for his third straight sub-100-yard game, matching the longest such streak from last season. Backup Alfred Morris had the longest Dallas run of the season and longest of his career, a 70-yarder to set up Elliott’s second TD. The 1-yard plunge came after a review overturned a touchdown. Both times, Elliott took the ball to his mom in a field-level suite behind the end zone. Morris had 76 yards.
TRY, TRY AGAIN
Terrance Williams dropped a potential tying 2-point conversion pass on the third try midway through the fourth quarter after Prescott’s 28-yard scoring toss to James Hanna got Dallas within 32-30. Center Travis Frederick was called for holding when Prescott ran in the first attempt. Dallas got another shot after a defensive holding call.
Zuerlein said he never before had more than five field goals in a game at any level. The sixth-year pro had five in a 22-7 win over Denver in November 2014. He had a 44-yarder on the final play of the first half, and the long was from 49.
Rams: Will be in first place for first meeting next Sunday with Seattle, winner of three NFC West titles in the past four seasons.
Cowboys: Green Bay returns to Arlington next Sunday after beating the top-seeded Cowboys on their home field in a divisional playoff last January.
Lions 14, Vikings 7
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The identity of these Detroit Lions has been undeniably forged through the air, on the strength of Matthew Stafford’s right arm and all his fourth-quarter rallies.
The Lions sure enacted a different formula to finish the first quarter of their schedule tied for first place in the NFC North.
They left Minnesota behind with a defining, few-frills performance that looked a lot like the one the division rival Vikings have been used to relying on.
Anthony Zettel led a ferocious performance by Detroit’s defense with two sacks, four quarterback hits and a fumble recovery, as the Lions forced three turnovers while holding Minnesota scoreless in the second half on the way to a 14-7 victory over the Vikings on Sunday.
“Being on this defense, I’m very blessed,” Zettel said. “Every guy in this locker room is pulling the same direction. We really truly care about one another, and it translates to the field. You can see how we play. Everybody’s got each other’s back.”
The Lions (3-1) turned two fumbles lost by the Vikings in the third quarter into 11 points, taking the lead on Ameer Abdullah’s 1-yard touchdown run five plays after rookie Dalvin Cook fumbled at the Minnesota 29 as his left knee buckled beneath him during a cut gone bad.
The Vikings (2-2) were concerned that Cook tore his anterior cruciate ligament , which would sideline him for the rest of the season.
The Vikings were already without quarterback Sam Bradford for the third straight game because of a sore left knee, and the scars from last year’s ruinous injuries starting with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s left knee dislocation have not quite faded.
“Unfortunately, I’m getting used to it,” coach Mike Zimmer said.
The Lions managed to make the playoffs last season, despite forcing only 14 turnovers over 16 games. This year, through four games, they already have 11 takeaways. Keeping that pace will be tough, of course, but so was trying to score, for the Vikings.
Running back Jerick McKinnon took a direct snap and faked an inside handoff to Cook early in the third quarter before fumbling as he started a read option play .
Zettel recovered that one. Tahir Whitehead secured the other two, forced by Tavon Wilson and Glover Quin . Detroit leads the NFL in turnover margin at plus-9.
Here are some other key developments from the game:
ZIGGY AND ZETTEL
Zettel, who was drafted in the sixth round out of Penn State last year, had the first two-sack game of his career and leads the Lions this season with four sacks.
“I just want to keep stacking the blocks and build this defense,” Zettel said.
His pass-rushing prowess at left end has emerged as a valuable complement to Ziggy Ansah, who has three sacks, on the right side.
“I love the way he plays, and because of the kind of effort he gives play after play after play, he’s always around the ball. If it’s held long enough, and our coverage is good to keep them holding the ball for a while, one of those guys is going to get him,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “They know where Ziggy is, but I think they’ll have to start looking for Zettel more, too.”
Cook, who entered the game second in the league in rushing, had 13 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown before he was hurt. He has 354 yards, the most to start a career with the Vikings through four games since Adrian Peterson (383) in 2007.
“Worried,” defensive end Everson Griffen said. “He started off strong. He is an excellent running back. I pray for him, that everything comes out negative. I just hope he bounces back.”
ON THE OTHER SIDE
For the 10th time in 52 regular-season games under Zimmer, the Vikings posted five-plus sacks. They gave up only one touchdown and limited the Lions to 251 yards. Still, there were plenty of missed opportunities to lament.
Xavier Rhodes, Anthony Barr and Trae Waynes all broke up passes that could’ve realistically been intercepted, with the attempt by Waynes coming the play before Abdullah scored.
“Obviously we want to catch the football when we get the chance. Stafford’s an excellent quarterback, and he’s not really going to throw them to us,” Zimmer said.
“I thought the defense played their hearts out today. We didn’t tackle in some certain situations as well as I would’ve liked, but they had their backs to the wall after those first two turnovers, and I thought they fought.”
An injury to Abdullah’s right foot kept the Lions from stopping a dubious streak. Abdullah carried the ball 20 times for 94 yards, so the Lions have now gone 56 straight regular-season games without producing a 100-yard rusher.
He was cleared to return to action, but the Lions shifted strategy late in the game and kept him on the sideline.
“I want it every week, but it’s a long season,” Abdullah said, when asked about the elusive 100-yard work. “I just want solid outputs every game.”
The last player to reach triple digits was Reggie Bush, who rushed for 117 yards against Green Bay on Nov. 28, 2013. Abdullah, for his part, said he was more concerned about the limited production by the entire offense.
“We only had 14 points,” Abdullah said. “That’s not going to beat a lot of teams.”
Giants 23, Buccaneers 25
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Buccaneers insist their confidence in Nick Folk never wavered.
The veteran kicker brought in to help Jameis Winston win games missed two field goals and an extra point, giving the New York Giants a chance to breathe life into their season Sunday.
But with the clock running down and the Bucs (2-1) trailing by one point, though, Winston took a knee twice to position the ball in the center of the field for a 34-yard field goal that gave the Bucs a 25-23 victory and kept the Giants winless.
“After he missed that second one, I went to him and told him: ‘You’re going to win this game for us,'” Winston said after answering Eli Manning’s second TD pass with an impressive drive that began at his 25.
“He wasn’t down at all, his spirits were up … and he won it. I never had a doubt.”
The Giants (0-4) lost on a last-second field goal for the second straight week . They took a 23-22 lead on Rhett Ellison’s 2-yard TD reception with 3:16 remaining.
Manning threw to Odell Beckham Jr., in the rear of the end zone for a 2-point conversion that was disallowed because the receiver had stepped out of bounds before making the catch.
“It’s tough to lose two games in a row on walk-off field goals,” Manning said.
“A tough one there that came down to the end again,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said. “We’ve got a lot of fight in us, but so do a lot of teams in this league. We have to minimize the mistakes and maximize the details to give us a chance to win these games.”
Winston threw TDs passes of 6 yards to Mike Evans and 58 yards to rookie O.J. Howard in building an early 13-0 lead. His 14-yard scoring pass to Cameron Brate put the Bucs up 22-17 midway through the fourth quarter, setting the stage for an exciting close.
“The way Jameis was throwing the ball, I was confident we’d have a chance,” Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said after the third-year pro completed 22 of 38 passes without a turnover in what amounted to a complete turnaround from the previous week when Winston tossed three interceptions in a lopsided loss at Minnesota.
“When Jameis plays like (Sunday),” Koetter added, “we’re going to be hard to beat.”
A week after scoring his first two touchdowns of the season and being fined $12,154 for a dog-like TD celebration, Beckham had seven receptions for 90 yards, including a 42-yarder that led to Manning’s pass to Ellison for New York’s short-lived one-point lead.
Manning finished 30 of 49 for 288 yards and no interceptions. He threw a 4-yard TD pass to Wayne Gallman in the third quarter and also scored New York’s first rushing TD of the season on a 14-yard scramble.
The Giants are off to their worst start since 2013, when they started 0-6 before winning seven of 10 down the stretch to finish 7-9.
“It’s surprising,” Manning said. “We still have a good team. We’re doing some good things, but we’re not making enough plays to win the game. In this league you have to earn it. It’s not easy. We’re doing some good things, but not enough to win a game.”
Giants: Beckham left for the final four plays of New York’s first TD drive when he injured a finger on his right hand attempting to make a catch along the sideline. He returned on the team’s next possession. … DE Olivier Vernon left in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return. … DT Damon Harrison left in the third quarter with a bruised knee, but returned. … C Weston Richberg left in the second half with a concussion. RB Paul Perkins sat out part of the second half with a rib injury.
Buccaneers: They played without LBs Lavonte David (ankle) and Kwon Alexander (hamstring), as well as S T.J. Ward. … S Keith Tandy left in the second half with a hip injury and did not return.
NOWHERE TO RUN
The Giants continue to struggle running the ball, finishing with 91 yards on 28 attempts. Gallman finished with 42 yards and 11 carries. Manning was team’s second-leading rusher with 22 yards on three attempts. Jacquizz Rodgers led Tampa Bay with 83 yards and 16 attempts, filling in for Doug Martin, serving the final week of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancers.
IN THE BOOTH
The Fox broadcast crew working the game featured twin brothers Ronde and Tiki Barber, who played their entire NFL careers for the Bucs and Giants, respectively.
After playing together in college at Virginia, Ronde spent 16 years for Tampa Bay and Tiki starred for 10 seasons in New York. They were 2-2 in head-to-head meetings as pros.
Giants: Return home to face the Los Angeles Chargers.
Buccaneers: Remain at home, hosting New England on Thursday night.
Eagles 26, Chargers 24
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — LeGarrette Blount burst through the line, escaped an ankle tackle and shoved into the secondary, where he stiff-armed a Chargers rookie twice to cap a rampaging 68-yard run .
“From my vantage point, it was one of the most impressive runs I’ve seen in my life,” quarterback Carson Wentz said.
The Philadelphia Eagles are off to a tenacious start after another smash-mouth victory in a road stadium that felt like home.
Wentz passed for 242 yards, Blount rushed for 136 and the Eagles jumped to a big early lead before hanging on for a 26-24 victory over the winless Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Rookie Jake Elliott kicked four field goals for the Eagles (3-1), who had thousands of vocal fans in the Chargers’ temporary arena while they won on the road for the second time in 10 tries. Those fans roared their approval particularly after Philadelphia ran out the game with a bruising 13-play drive over the final 6:44, simply refusing to give a final chance to the Chargers’ offense.
“Even though we’re four games in, this team is really beginning to believe in themselves, believe in each other,” coach Doug Pederson said.
Playing without Fletcher Cox and several injured defensive regulars, the Eagles matched last season’s 3-1 start. They did it with an impressive running game: Blount combined with Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement to rush for 200 yards, with Blount picking up 88 yards in the fourth quarter, along with the clinching first down on that clock-chewing drive.
“I had a pretty good day,” Blount said after his biggest day yet for his new team. “Running behind the O-line I run behind, it’s pretty hard not to have a good day.”
Rookie Austin Ekeler rushed for a 35-yard score on his first NFL carry and Hunter Henry made a one-handed TD catch during the Chargers’ fourth-quarter surge.
Philadelphia ran out the clock after Henry’s TD catch, making a time-consuming drive that ended in the Victory formation.
Philip Rivers passed for 347 yards and two TDs for the Chargers, who have lost nine consecutive games dating to last season in San Diego.
Tyrell Williams caught a 75-yard touchdown pass , but the Chargers are off to their first 0-4 start since 2003 — three years before Rivers became their starting quarterback. New coach Anthony Lynn is still winless after Los Angeles’ new team wrapped up a three-game homestand.
“Never in a million years (had) I thought we’d be here at 0-4, but we are,” Lynn said. “I look at football in four quarters, just like the game, and we just stunk the first quarter of our season. We’ve got three quarters left to figure some things out and get this turned around.”
Blount’s 68-yard run eventually led to Smallwood’s TD dive with 9:14 to play after a penalty on Los Angeles’ Darius Philon kept the Eagles alive.
Henry made it 26-24, but the Eagles never gave up the ball.
“They wore down in the fourth quarter,” Eagles left tackle Jason Peters said of the Chargers. “Matter of fact, they wore down in the third quarter going into the fourth, and we took advantage of it.”
Blount had just 113 yards in his first three games with the Eagles, and he didn’t get a carry in their loss to Kansas City two weeks ago. The NFL’s 2016 leader in rushing touchdowns was at the center of Philadelphia’s attack this time, and he showed the tenacity that his teammates already knew he possessed from his Super Bowl-winning tenure with New England.
“I know what I can do,” Blount said. “I know I’m one of the better backs in this league. I’m always going to run with that passion and that confidence.”
Rivers grew frustrated in the second half, slinging his helmet into the bench and shouting at teammates and coaches when he wanted to go for it on fourth down.
“That’s why you have a head coach and not go off your emotions there,” Rivers said. “Without a doubt, the correct move was to punt.”
For the third straight week, the sellout crowd at the Chargers’ temporary home stadium had a healthy contingent of fans supporting the visiting team. The Philly faithful roared for the Eagles and booed the Bolts, although both fan bases joined together pregame for a rude chant about the Dallas Cowboys.
Eagles: Host the Arizona Cardinals to begin a stretch with four of five at home.
Chargers: Visit the winless New York Giants to begin a stretch with four of five on the road. “It’s a barn-burner, two 0-4 teams,” Rivers said.
49ers 15, Cardinals 18 OT
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers had made Larry Fitzgerald almost irrelevant on Sunday, until the final play that won the game for the Arizona Cardinals.
Carson Palmer threw 19 yards to Fitzgerald with 32 seconds left in overtime for the contest’s only touchdown and the Cardinals escaped with an 18-15 victory that kept the 49ers winless under new coach Kyle Shanahan.
“He’s the best I’ve ever seen,” Palmer said of his star receiver, “and I’ve seen some really good ones.”
The scoring had been limited to nine field goals on an ugly afternoon in the desert before Palmer directed a seven-play, 75-yard drive with 1:52 to play.
“We’re in two-minute, it worked better,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “We protected better. We gave him a chance. They were giving us Andre (Ellington) underneath, and he was taking it. Andre was making things happen.”
So, eventually, was Fitzgerald.
He had three catches for 13 yards before the winning grab as the 49ers made him the emphasis of their defense, except on the last play.
Palmer said he noticed two defenders were changing sides of the field, leaving Fitzgerald 1-on-1. Palmer loves those odds.
Arizona’s standout receiver, in his 14th pro season, rose to catch the ball under tight coverage by Rashard Robinson.
Fitzgerald, who matched a career high with 13 catches in last Monday night’s loss to Dallas, came down with the ball under his ribs, knocking the wind out of him.
“Consciously, I knew that we had just won the game,” he said, “but I couldn’t breathe so it was hard to really kind of be animated and celebrate.”
Robbie Gould kicked his fifth field goal, a 23-yarder with 2:24 left in overtime to put the 49ers ahead 15-12.
Phil Dawson — who had uncharacteristically missed a field goal in each of the first three games — made four for the Cardinals (2-2), whose two victories both have come in overtime.
The 49ers (0-4), losing to the Cardinals for the fifth time in a row, won the coin toss to start the overtime. They used up 7:36 of the extra session, which was shortened from 15 to 10 minutes this season.
Palmer went 6 of 7 for 77 yards on the winning drive. Under duress all day behind an injury-riddled offensive line, he completed 33 of 51 for 357 yards and was intercepted in the end zone on a tipped pass on the game’s opening series. Palmer was sacked six times, four in the fourth quarter, by a 49ers team that had three sacks total in the first three games.
Gould, who hasn’t missed a field goal since 2015 (21 for 21), connected from 49, 39, 47, 48 and 23 yards.
Dawson, replaced by Gould as 49ers kicker this season, was 4 for 4, making field goals of 29, 43, 50 and 32 yards.
San Francisco failed to score a touchdown for the third time this season and has lost its first four games for the first time since 2010.
There were a combined 23 penalties for 193 yards, 13 against the 49ers for 113 yards, 10 against Arizona for 80.
Carlos Hyde gained 68 yards in 16 tries for the 49ers. Brian Hoyer completed 24 of 49 for 234 yards with one interception.
“You got to throw and catch better,” Shanahan said. “It is as simple as that, at least it was in this game. Guys are open, you got the time, you got to hit them. When he does hit you, you have to catch it. I know nobody is perfect but there was way too much of that between both positions.”
Arizona took the opening kickoff and went 71 yards in 13 plays to the San Francisco 4. But on third down, Jimmie Ward tipped Palmer’s pass and Ray-Ray Armstrong intercepted in the end zone.
The Niners took the lead by moving from their 24 to the Arizona 31, where Gould’s 49-yard field goal made it 3-0. And the field goal fight was on.
ANTHEM: The 49ers, with whom the national anthem issue began with Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during it more than a year ago, had their first chance to react to President Donald Trump’s criticism of athletes kneeling during the song. The players formed two lines. Those in the front kneeled and the players in the back remained standing, setting off a round of boos at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Many of the standing players placed one hand on their heart, the other on the shoulder of a kneeling teammate in a sign of solidarity.
The most significant injury appeared to be a knee to Arizona outside linebacker Markus Golden in the overtime. Arians said he had no idea how serious it is. San Francisco lost wide receiver Marquise Goodwin with an apparent concussion and defensive back Adrian Colbert with a hamstring injury.
49ers: At Indianapolis next Sunday.
Arizona: At Philadelphia next Sunday.
Raiders 10, Broncos 16
DENVER (AP) — The Denver Broncos throttled running back Marshawn Lynch and put the hurt on quarterback Derek Carr .
They limited Lynch to 12 yards on nine carries and sent Carr to the locker room with a back injury in their grind-it-out 16-10 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Safety Justin Simmons’ interception of EJ Manuel at the Denver 8 in the closing minutes sealed Denver’s hard-fought win that sent them into their bye week at 3-1.
“It wasn’t really that ugly. It was a football game,” Denver defensive end Derek Wolfe said. “Don’t fans want to come see a good game? The fans want to come see a good, close game and this one came down to the defense having to make a stop at the end.”
Despite adding Lynch to their list of running backs they’ve stuffed this season , the Broncos found themselves in danger of frittering away an AFC West slugfest they had dominated when Riley Dixon’s punt traveled just 37 yards to the Oakland 42 with 4:16 remaining.
Manuel heaved a high toss to Amari Cooper just after the 2-minute warning but Simmons, who beat out three-time Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward this summer, came down with the ball just shy of the goal line and took it out to 8. The Broncos then ran out the clock.
“What I like about our football team right now,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said, is Denver’s run defense and the Broncos’ offensive ground game, which outgained Oakland’s 142 yards to 24. “My issue with our football team right now is we make a lot of critical errors.”
Like the ones that forced them to them stall four times in the red zone, miss a chip-shot field goal and the half-dozen penalties, including one that negated a 64-yard punt return.
“That has to stop,” Joseph said.
Oakland (2-2) had cut its deficit to six on Giorgio Tavecchio’s 38-yard field goal with 5:23 remaining. That came after Brandon McManus hit the left upright from 29 yards out after nailing kicks from 28, 36 and 46 yards.
Denver’s only touchdown was a doozy, a one-handed grab of Trevor Siemian’s 22-yard pass by tight end A.J. Derby.
The Raiders couldn’t do much against Denver’s fortified front seven that also stuffed Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Eliott and LeSean McCoy.
Add in Lynch and that foursome managed a measly 96 yards on 49 carries and zero touchdowns.
Carr left the game in the third quarter with a back injury after he was pin-balled by Shelby Harris and Adam Gotsis in the third quarter.
Oakland coach Jack Del Rio said Carr suffered back spasms.
“I’m glad he knows,” Carr said. “That’s awesome. That sounds good to me.”
Carr said he’ll get an MRI on Monday to be sure but noted he was in plenty of pain and not looking forward to the flight home.
“I tried to get down. As soon as I got down, I don’t know what happened,” said Carr, who grabbed for his lower back. “It happens so fast out there. I got blasted pretty good.”
Carr, noting he’s eternally optimistic, predicted he’ll return next week. But he was unable to loosen up in the locker room and throw without pain, so he watched his backup try to engineer a comeback.
“I thought EJ did a great job coming in in a tough situation,” Carr said.
FAKE FAIL: Four plays after Carr got hurt, the Broncos sniffed out a fake punt on fourth-and-11 from the Raiders 33 and wide receiver Jordan Taylor stuffed punter Marquette King, who was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct for throwing the football at fullback Andy Janovich as he got up.
The Broncos took over at the Oakland 15 but McManus missed from 29 yards out.
GIVE HIM A HAND: Derby’s one-handed touchdown grab came when he lined up from the fullback position and raced past rookie middle linebacker Marquel Lee, then reached with his right arm to snare the slightly overthrown pass from Trevor Siemian. He never broke stride — nor did he gather the ball with his other hand — on his last couple of steps into the end zone.
“I felt like it was three fingers,” on the ball, Derby said.
LONG TIME COMING: The Broncos looked like they were in prime shape late in the first half when Bennie Fowler downed a punt at the Oakland 1, but Carr instead produced Oakland’s first 99-yard touchdown drive since Oct. 2, 2011, against New England. He found Johnny Holton racing past safety Darian Stewart and hit him in stride for a 64-yard scoring strike .
MACK ATTACK: Khalil Mack had two of Oakland’s four sacks. His previous seven sacks in six games against Denver had all come in wins over the Broncos. He and former teammate, Denver right tackle Menelik Watson, embraced after the game.
Raiders: Return home to host the Baltimore Ravens.
Broncos: After a bye week, host the New York Giants for fourth home game, a stretch that will be followed by three consecutive road games.
Colts 18, Seahawks 46
SEATTLE (AP) — It took a trio of relative unknowns to wake up the Seattle Seahawks.
J.D. McKissic took the second carry of his career 30 yards for a touchdown and Bobby Wagner scooped up Marcus Smith’s forced fumble and rumbled 21 yards for a score in a 13-second span late in the third quarter, and the Seahawks beat the Indianapolis Colts 46-18 on Sunday night.
Justin Coleman added a 28-yard interception return for a TD in the first half and Seattle overcame a sleepy first 30 minutes from its offense to finally put away the Colts.
“It was a terrific night. It just took us a while again. … We finally got going,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
McKissic was once cut by Atlanta, but his athleticism earned him a spot in Seattle. Coleman was deemed expendable by New England and was acquired in a trade just before the start of the regular season. And Smith, who finished with 1 1/2 sacks, was a former first-round pick who was a bust with Philadelphia.
Their big plays turned boos that cascaded down at halftime with Seattle trailing 15-10 into cheers in a hurry. CenturyLink Field was left shaking after Wagner scooped up Smith’s forced fumble against quarterback Jacoby Brissett and weaved through tacklers for Seattle’s second defensive score and a 32-18 lead.
Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes and two interceptions, but his most important play was a 23-yard run in the third quarter to give Seattle an 18-15 lead. Adam Vinatieri pulled the Colts even at 18 as the Colts capitalized on Wilson’s second interception. Graham dropped a catchable pass and it was intercepted by Malik Hooker , his third straight game with an interception.
But Seattle answered with a 75-yard drive that was capped by McKissic’s touchdown sprint. Wilson added TD passes of 6 yards to Luke Willson and 27 yards to McKissic in the fourth quarter and the Seahawks outscored Indianapolis 36-3 in the second half.
“It’s the same thing that always happens. Slow start out of the gate and for whatever reason we pick it up the third and fourth quarter,” Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said.
Seattle’s win came appeared to come with a big blow in the final minutes when starting running back Chris Carson sustained a left leg injury. Trainers immediately placed an air cast on Carson’s leg and he was carted off the field. Carroll said Carson’s injury was significant.
Brissett threw an 18-yard strike to Donte Moncrief late in the first half to give the Colts the lead. Brissett was 16 of 29 for 157 yards and was sacked three times. The biggest play turned out to be Smith’s sack, knocking the ball from Brissett’s hands just before his arm moved forward as Seattle suddenly took a 14-point lead.
“They just outplayed us big time in the second half. We didn’t do a good job of adjusting. That’s on me,” Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said. “We’re a lot better than that, but it’s going to be the same old song and dance if we don’t get things cleaned up.”
Frank Gore finished with 46 yards rushing, leaving him 4 yards short of passing Eric Dickerson for seventh on the career rushing list.
New Hall of Famer Kenny Easley had his No. 45 retired by the Seahawks at halftime. Easley is the fourth player and the fifth number overall retired by the franchise, an honor held specifically for those players elected to the Hall of Fame. The Seahawks also have the No. 12 retired in honor of the fans.
Easley was the senior committee selection for induction to the Hall of Fame this year.
Colts: Center Deysahawn Boyd, already filling in for injured starter Ryan Kelly, was hurt on the second play of the game and did not return. Boyd suffered a knee injury. Adam Redmond took over for Boyd.
Seahawks: Defensive end Cliff Avril left in the first half with a neck injury and did not return. Avril appeared to lose feeling in his hands. He tweeted later that he was OK. Nickel cornerback Jeremy Lane was lost on the first drive of the game to a groin injury.
Colts: Indianapolis faces another NFC West opponent, hosting San Francisco.
Seahawks: Seattle plays its second NFC West game of the season, traveling to the Los Angeles Rams.
Redskins 20, Chiefs 29
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker drilled a 43-yard field goal with 8 seconds left in his first career game, atoning for an earlier miss and helping Kansas City to a 29-20 victory over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.
Signed off the Carolina practice squad earlier in the week, Butker missed a 46-yarder in the first half before hitting three attempts in the second. The first tied the score 17-all, the next gave the Chiefs the lead and the last made Kansas City (4-0) the league’s only undefeated team.
The Chiefs put an exclamation point on the win when linebacker Justin Houston picked up a fumble as the Redskins (3-2) were trying to keep the game alive and returned it for a game-ending touchdown.
The last time there was only one unbeaten team through the first four weeks of the season was 2010, when the Chiefs were the final team standing. They went on to win the AFC West.
Alex Smith threw for 293 yards with touchdowns on the ground and through the air, and it was his 37-yard strike to Albert Wilson on a broken play that set up Butker’s go-ahead kick.
Travis Kelce hauled in seven catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, while Chiefs rookie Kareem Hunt pounded away 21 times for 101 yards against the Redskins’ stout defensive front.
Kirk Cousins had 220 yards passing and two touchdowns for Washington, but his throw to the end zone with 50 seconds left was dropped by Josh Doctson and forced the Redskins to kick a field goal.
That missed opportunity came back to haunt them less than a minute later.
The Redskins stunned the Chiefs early when Cousins found Terrelle Pryor over star cornerback Marcus Peters for a 44-yard touchdown pass, then drove to the goal line before settling for a field goal.
But the plucky Chiefs slowly fought their way back into the game.
Smith started to find his athletic tight end down the seam, then hit Kelce with a 17-yard TD strike late in the first half. The two connected again on third down shortly after the break, and Smith scored a few plays later when he fooled the defense with a quarterback-keeper.
The Redskins needed fewer than 2 minutes to answer: Cousins’ 69-yard pass to Vernon Davis set up a short throw to Ryan Grant, who also beat Peters, for a touchdown and a 17-14 lead.
It was 17-all after Butker, signed to replace the injured Cairo Santos off Carolina’s practice squad, made his first career field goal. Then, the Chiefs picked apart a Redskins defense down to four healthy defensive backs to set up his 32-yard kick.
After the Redskins tied the game once more, Butker delivered the biggest kick of his life.
Flags flew at half-staff and there was a moment of silence before the game for victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The Redskins then locked arms for the national anthem, while everyone on the Chiefs side stood with the exception of cornerback Peters and linebacker Ukeme Eligwe.
Redskins cornerback Josh Norman departed in the second quarter with a rib injury , and his backup Quinton Dunbar left early in the fourth. Running back Rob Kelley and safety Deshazor Everett also left with injuries for Washington, while Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was sidelined by a left knee injury on their second offensive play.
Washington gets a bye week before hosting San Francisco on Oct. 13.
Kansas City returns to the road to face Houston on Sunday night.