2017 NFL Week 8 Tuesday Afternoon QB

Demarus Dye| BKD TV Insiders

Here is a recap of Week 8 of the 2017 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.

Bye: Cardinals, Giants, Packers, Rams, Jaguars, Titans

Dolphins 0, Ravens 40

Joe Flacco

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws to a receiver in the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was dazed and bleeding as he was helped off the field.

Diagnosed with a concussion after absorbing a late hit by Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso late in the second quarter, Flacco was taken to the locker room and did not return.

Fortunately for the Ravens, they didn’t need him in a 40-0 rout of the Dolphins on Thursday night.

Alex Collins ran for a career-high 113 yards, and Baltimore (4-4) returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the most lopsided shutout in franchise history.

In the midst of one of his best performances of the season, Flacco was hit high by Alonso while sliding at the end of an impromptu run. Flacco’s helmet flew off his head, and the 10-year quarterback appeared wobbly as he struggled to his feet.

Alonso was flagged for unnecessary roughness, providing Baltimore with a first down that ultimately turned into a touchdown.

Flacco was initially placed in concussion protocol, and by halftime was ruled out.

“Joe had a concussion and a cut ear,” coach John Harbaugh said. “They were stitching it up without any anesthesia, so he’s a tough dude. That’s as much as I know.”

Flacco went 10 for 15 for 101 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin.

After losing four of five to fall under .500 for the first time this season, the Ravens put it all together with a showing that included a 63-yard interception return by C.J. Mosley and a 50-yard pick-six by Jimmy Smith.

“We coached a lot better, obviously. And we played a lot better,” Harbaugh said. “It was just a much better game for us.”

The Dolphins (4-3) came in with a three-game winning streak after rallying from 17- and 14-point deficits in the previous two weeks. There would be no comeback in this one, not against a swarming Baltimore defense that limited Miami to 196 yards.

Matt Moore was making his first start of the season, for an injured Jay Cutler. Four days earlier, Moore engineered a victory over the Jets after Cutler left with fractured ribs.

In this one, Moore completed 25 of 44 passes for 176 yards. He was sacked three times, and both his interceptions turned into scores for Baltimore.

“This is tough. These are hard ones,” Moore said. “You don’t ever go into a week preparing and expect it to turn out like this. I don’t know what to say right now. It’s just tough, tough. We got to figure some stuff out. I got to figure some stuff out.”

Moore received little backing from the running game, which generated only 45 yards against the 32nd-ranked rushing defense in the NFL.

“It was inept. We’re not doing anything,” Miami coach Adam Gase said.

Baltimore went up 7-0 when Maclin slipped behind Bobby McCain and Nate Allen to haul in Flacco’s perfect pass on the right sideline.

Justin Tucker added field goals of 55 and 48 yards in the second quarter. After Cody Parkey missed from 50 yards for the Dolphins — his first misfire in nine tries this season — Flacco began the drive that would end in the end zone without him.

The late hit by Alonso gave Baltimore a first down at the Miami 5. Three plays later, Ryan Mallett threw a 2-yard TD pass to Benjamin Watson.

Mosley iced it with 14:15 left when he snared a poor throw by Moore near the line of scrimmage and turned it into his first career interception return for a touchdown.

As the Ravens were closing in on another score, a few players exchanged shoves and punches before Chris Moore pounced on a fumble in the end zone.

Overseeing an offense focused on protecting a sizable lead, Mallett went 3 for 7 for 20 yards.

CAT NAP

A cat ran onto the field in the fourth quarter, providing some amusement after the game had lost all suspense.

The feline reached the Miami sideline and skipped around a bit before running out of sight.

INJURIES

Dolphins: Allen hurt his calf in the second quarter and did not return.

Ravens: TE Vince Mayle was placed in concussion protocol in the second quarter. … LT Ronnie Stanley hurt his shoulder in the third quarter but returned to action.

UP NEXT

Dolphins: Miami plays the second of three straight night games, this one at home against Oakland on Nov. 5.

Ravens: Baltimore faces Tennessee on the road on Nov. 5, the first meeting between the teams since 2014.

Vikings 33, Browns 16 @ London Twickenham

Vikings Browns Football

Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon, left, scores on a 1-yard touchdown run as Vikings fullback C.J. Ham (30) holds back Cleveland Browns linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. (51) during the second half of an NFL football game against Cleveland Browns at Twickenham Stadium in London, Sunday Oct. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON (AP) — Case Keenum had one of the more miserable performances of his career the last time he played a game at Twickenham Stadium. That was not the case on Sunday.

Keenum threw for two touchdowns and Kai Forbath made four field goals as the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Cleveland Browns 33-16 in the last of four games held this season in Britain.

Adam Thielen had five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown for the NFC North-leading Vikings (6-2), who trailed 13-12 at halftime — the first time the Browns, 0-8 for the second consecutive year, claimed a mid-game lead this season.Keenum, who threw four interceptions while with the Los Angeles Rams a year ago, helped pull the Vikings out of their first-half rut. After an eight-play drive that, at 23-16, restored Minnesota’s lead, he oversaw a nine-play drive aided by 43 yards in defensive penalties that left the outcome no longer in doubt.

“We just weren’t executing (in the first half),” said Keenum, who finished 27 for 43 for 288 yards and also threw an interception. “I think we made a few good plays on first and second down that kept drives going in the second half, and obviously, converting on third downs on scoring drives.”

Cleveland scored first, taking a 6-0 lead on just its second play from scrimmage before kicker Zane Gonzalez’s missed extra point. Middle linebacker Joe Schobert’s interception return to the Vikings’ 37-yard line led to a 26-yard touchdown run by running back Isaiah Crowell.

A 1-yard run by rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer with 40 seconds remaining in the first half helped overcome Forbath’s first field goal and an 18-yard touchdown reception by Thielen to push Cleveland’s lead to 13-9.

Forbath ended the half with a 34-yard attempt to make it 13-12, then scored first in the third quarter when a fumble by Crowell set up a 43-yard attempt.

Although Gonzalez’s 23-yard field goal restored the Browns’ lead at 16-15 with 5:34 remaining in the quarter, the Vikings scored 18 unanswered points: A 1-yard touchdown run by running back Jerrick McKinnon — and McKinnon’s 2-point conversion — as well as a 5-yard touchdown reception by tight end Kyle Rudolph and, with 1:14 remaining, Forbath’s final field goal.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: Kizer, who entered the game with a league-high 11 interceptions, did not throw one for the first time this season. He completed 18 of 34 passes for 179 yards and ran five times for 18 yards and the touchdown.

“We walked into halftime with the lead, with momentum, and with the ball coming back to us,” Kizer said. “We tasted that same taste that we had after four victories in preseason. But this is a four-quarter game. This is a game where you’ve got to go out there and expect that the team who’s down is going to come back with a vengeance, and they’re going to make a push … and unfortunately, as an offense, we didn’t execute the way we should in the second half.”

DRANGO’S TURN: Spencer Drango started at left tackle, marking the first time since Dec. 31, 2006 that someone other than Joe Thomas started at the position.

Thomas tore his left triceps in the Browns’ overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans last week, ending a streak of 167 career starts — each one since he was taken No. 3 overall by the Browns in 2007. Thomas had never missed a snap before last Sunday.

STARTERS INJURED: Vikings right tackle Mike Remmers left after sustaining a concussion on the second drive and was replaced by Rashod Hill. Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return, and running back Duke Johnson exited late and was evaluated for a concussion, but was cleared.

Cleveland was missing three starters due to injury, including top overall draft pick Myles Garrett (concussion).

LONDON LIMIT: Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice president of international, said the league will take steps toward finalizing next year’s international schedule later this week, but expanding beyond four games at this point remains unlikely.

“I think we believe that the fan growth metrics are very positive, and I don’t think we’ll have to do five or six,” Waller said.

The NFL has a 10-year contract to begin playing games at the stadium English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur is currently constructing next year.

UP NEXT

Vikings: Could have QB Teddy Bridgewater back from a knee injury sustained in the summer of 2016 when they visit the Washington Redskins on Nov. 12 after a bye.

Browns: Will face the Detroit Lions on Nov. 12 after a bye. They have not defeated Detroit on the road since 1983.

 

49ers 10, Eagles 33

Carson Wentz

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) runs the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — LeGarrette Blount sees some Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles.

After winning two Super Bowls with the Patriots, Blount came to Philadelphia and now is part of the team with the best record in the NFL. Winning seems to follow the bruising back.

“This team is special, man,” Blount said with a big smile. “Special.”

Blount ran 12 yards for a touchdown, Wentz tossed two TD passes and Jalen Mills had a pick-6 in Philadelphia’s 33-10 victory over the winless San Francisco 49ers on a rainy Sunday.

The Eagles (7-1) have won six straight games. The 49ers are 0-8 for the first time in franchise history.

“I’m having a lot of fun here,” Blount said. “I didn’t know how good this team would be.”

His new team is playing so well it can win going away despite a sloppy effort.

“The first half was ugly,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “It wasn’t a great performance by us.”

Wentz was 18 of 32 for 211 yards and one interception. He threw a 53-yard TD pass to Alshon Jeffery and 1-yard TD pass to Ertz. The second-year pro leads the NFL with 19 TD passes, most by an Eagles quarterback through eight games.

C.J. Beathard shoveled a 21-yard TD pass to Matt Breida and finished 17 of 36 for 167 yards with two interceptions in his second career start.

Some things we learned from Philadelphia’s win over San Francisco:

PROTECTING CARSON: Wentz is taking too many hits. He was sacked three times plus one that was negated by penalty, took shots on a couple of scrambles, and had guys in his face throughout the game. It was Philadelphia’s first game without nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters.

“It’s a good defense,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “We didn’t execute the protection as well. We got it fixed and were able to kind of piece it together.”

NEED REINFORCEMENTS: The 49ers are banged-up in a big way. It was so bad after left tackle Joe Staley (eye) and right tackle Garry Gilliam (knee) went down that tight end Garrett Celek was next in line to play tackle. Defensive linemen Solomon Thomas (knee) and DL C.J. Jones (knee), safety Jimmie Ward (forearm) and wide receiver Pierre Garcon (neck) also didn’t finish the game. Shanahan said Staley injured his orbital and needed stitches in his eye. The team said he was staying overnight at a hospital.

“We can’t use it as an excuse,” Garcon said. “We just have to keep playing, regardless of who is in there.”

HAVING FUN: After he scored, Ertz flipped the ball to two-time American League MVP Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Trout, who grew up in nearby Millville, New Jersey, is a die-hard Eagles fan who sits in the first row on the field behind an end zone. Wentz gave him a football after a TD pass during a game last season.

Following Jeffery’s TD, Ertz pretended to start a brawl by hitting Jeffery with a pitch (football) as the players continued to celebrate certain TDs by playing baseball. Ertz was the pitcher, Jeffery was the batter and Wentz was the catcher.

“It’s a blast right now,” Ertz said. “We’re having a lot of fun, we’re playing extremely loose and we have a lot of confidence. We have a lot of unselfish guys.”

ONLY UP FROM HERE: The 49ers aren’t as bad as their record indicates. They’ve lost five games by a field goal or less and were competitive against the Eagles into the third quarter.

“This is where you find out a lot about guys when you’re 0-8. How do you act and how do you react?” Beathard said.

GOING DEEP: Wentz has already thrown five TD passes of at least 50 yards, one short of tying the team record. He only had one as a rookie last season and that was a 73-yard screen pass to Darren Sproles.

Falcons 25, Jets 20

Austin Hooper

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper (81) catches a pass in front of New York Jets outside linebacker Bruce Carter (54) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are done with the AFC East.

Good thing, too, considering how much they struggled against that division.

A 25-20 victory over the Jets in a driving rain Sunday snapped a three-game skid for the Falcons — all against New York’s division rivals. Next up for Atlanta is a more familiar opponent: the NFC South’s Carolina Panthers.

“It’ll be exciting to get back into the division,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “We started the NFC games early, in the conference, anyway, then took this trip up to the East, which did not go well for us.”

Atlanta lost 23-17 to Buffalo on Oct. 1, 20-17 to Miami on Oct. 15 and then 23-7 at New England last week in a dense fog. At MetLife Stadium, the conditions were even worse, with the game played in a storm with drenching rain and strong winds throughout.

“That was some of the hardest conditions I played just for the length of the game,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “I have played in situations where we had some heavy rain or tough wind or anything like that for a little bit. From kickoff to the end of the game it was coming down pretty hard.

“You just have to find a way and you have to do the best you can.”

Ryan fumbled four snap exchanges from center Alex Mack and lost two of them, and there were several dropped passes as the weather played a significant role. But Ryan and the Falcons (4-3) rallied in the second half, outscoring the Jets 12-3 in the final two quarters and slipping and sliding to a victory.

“Nobody flinched the entire game,” said Ryan, who threw touchdown passes to Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu.

The Jets (3-5) had their own issues. Josh McCown had a bad snap exchange and fumbled on another play — but recovered. He finished 26 of 33 for 257 yards with touchdown passes to Robby Anderson and Eric Tomlinson.

“Too many mistakes in the fourth quarter,” coach Todd Bowles said. “Can’t happen. Can’t put the ball on the ground. Can’t have timely mistakes.”

In a scheduling quirk, the Falcons are the only team in the NFL to not play a game against a division opponent. Six of their final nine games are against the NFC South, including their last four of the season.

“Our division always gets the attention from our team,” Quinn said. “As we get closer to that, that’ll be something we definitely discuss.”

Here are some other things to know about the Falcons’ close victory over the Jets:

STILL STRUGGLING: The loss marked the third straight for the Jets, following a three-game winning streak. In each of the defeats, New York has started strong only to blow a fourth-quarter lead.

“I can’t really figure out what it is, why we’re not finishing,” defensive end Leonard Williams said.

New York blew an early 14-0 lead against New England at home two weeks ago and then squandered a 28-14 fourth-quarter lead in a 31-28 loss to the Dolphins in Miami.

The Jets have a quick turnaround with a game against division-rival Buffalo on Thursday night.

“This is a must-win,” cornerback Morris Claiborne said. “Period, point-blank.”

NOT-SO-SPECIAL TEAMS: While Matt Bryant made all four of his field-goal tries for Atlanta, Chandler Catanzaro missed two of his four. Both misses — from 46 and 48 yards — led to touchdowns for the Falcons.

The usually sure-handed Jeremy Kerley muffed a punt in the fourth quarterthat led to Bryant’s final field goal.

“You’ve got a job of trying to catch the ball and make a play,” Kerley said. “I’m always trying to do something and make a play. It just so happens to put the team in a bad situation. It definitely changed the momentum.”

SILENT FALCON: Julio Jones was held mostly in check by Claiborne, who allowed the Falcons star receiver to catch just two passes for 21 yards.

But Claiborne left in the third quarter with a foot injury, and Jones caught a 53-yard pass to set up a field goal.

“I’m just here to do my job for my brothers,” Jones said.

SUPER BOWL HANGOVER?: With Atlanta mired in a three-game slump, some media and fans wondered if the Falcons’ season was about to spiral.

Just eight months ago, they were in the Super Bowl. But there were doubts as to whether this year’s squad would be a playoff-caliber team.

“Outside, there was a lot of noise, but there wasn’t inside,” Quinn said. “So, that kind of resiliency, that kind of toughness is what this group stands for.”

NOWHERE TO RUN: With the weather expected to be miserable, the Jets were aiming to run the ball a bunch. At least that’s what running back Matt Forte said. So, when New York finished with just 43 yards on the ground on 22 carries, Forte was a bit confused.

“(There) should have been at least one person getting 20 carries, something like that, with the way the weather was,” said Forte, who had four carries for 7 yards. “I thought we were going to grind them out on the ground like that, but it ended up not turning out that way.”

It was a bit of a shot — and a surprising one by the usually reserved Forte — at offensive coordinator John Morton.

“I don’t really think we ran the ball enough with the weather being the way it was,” Forte said. “I think that kind of hurt us.”

Bears 12, Saints 20

Mark Ingram

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) leaps for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees delivered accurate, aggressive throws downfield in tense moments, when conventional wisdom might have called for a more conservative play.

New Orleans’ defense came up with a fourth-down stop and rookie Marshon Lattimore’s interception on its final two series.

Kicker Wil Lutz hit from 45 and 49 yards in the second half, hitting the longer kick inside the final two minutes.

Frequent clutch performances in all phases allowed the surging Saints to once again overcome some potentially disastrous mistakes and win their fifth straight, 20-12 over the feisty Chicago Bears on Sunday.

“This was encouraging because I think in the past there’s been very little room for error,” said Brees, who completed 23 of 28 passes for 299 yards without an interception against a Bears defense that ranked sixth against the pass. “While it’s frustrating that I don’t feel like we’re playing our best football — really, anywhere near our best football — we’re still finding ways to win.”

Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara each ran for touchdowns for New Orleans (5-2). Ingram finished with 99 yards from scrimmage, including 75 on the ground, but his two late fumbles kept the Bears (3-5) in the game into the final minutes.

“I was terrible. I let my teammates down, put us in a bad position,” Ingram said. “The game was only close because I sucked.”

Kamara had 76 yards from scrimmage — 48 receiving, including his 34-yard, back-shoulder catch along the sideline in the fourth quarter.

The Saints were threatening to score both times the Bears stripped the ball from Ingram.

“We found a way to make it interesting,” Payton said. “To turn the ball over like we did, you don’t deserve to win games like that.”

Chicago converted the first fumble into its only touchdown with 3:43 left on Tarik Cohen’s short dive over a pile of players at the goal line. The second turnover occurred with a little more than two minutes left on the Bears 30, but Chicago was unable to get a first down as rookie Mitchell Trubisky’s fourth-and-1 pass fell incomplete.

Bears coach John Fox said he considered running the ball, which is his team’s strength, but stopped short of expressing regret over his decision.

“It was like flipping a coin,” Fox said. “It was 50-50.”

Chicago had one more chance to tie after Lutz’s field goal with 1:35 left, but Lattimore’s interception ended that threat.

“It’s hard to predict a rookie’s growth. But he has got exceptional ball skills and a lot of confidence,” Payton said of Lattimore.

Trubisky completed 14 of 32 passes for 164 yards in his fourth start. Chicago’s Jordan Howard had 102 yards rushing on 23 carries.

“We’re getting closer as an offense. Nobody has their heads down,” Trubisky said. “I’m really excited for where this team is headed.”

MISSED CHANCES

In the third quarter, Chicago had a TD overturned on video review after Zach Miller’s 25-yard catch, during which the tight end’s left leg bent unnaturally as he landed. As Miller was carted off the field with what Fox said was a dislocated knee, officials ruled that replay showed the ground caused the ball to loosen in Miller’s grasp as his upper body crashed to the turf.

On the game’s opening possession, Chicago’s defense was offside on a field goal attempt, putting New Orleans’ offense back on the field. The result was Kamara’s 8-yard touchdown run.

Later, Trubisky took a third-down sack by end Trey Hendrickson in Saints territory. That pushed back Connor Barth’s field goal attempt to 48 yards, and he hooked it.

TAKING SHOTS

Brees’ longest completion was a 53-yard heave to receiver Ted Ginn between two defenders late in the fourth quarter, flipping field position before Ingram’s second fumble. Brees also connected with Michael Thomas seven times for 77 yards.

“We were able to hit them a time or two,” said Brees, who became the NFL’s fastest to 6,000 completions, reaching the milestone in his 240th game. “We were also making some big plays down the field. … We’re going to call (downfield passes), and if they’re there, we’ll take the shots.”

INJURIES

Fox said Miller was taken from the game to hospital to have his knee injury treated.

“He’ll be in our thoughts and prayers on our flight home,” Fox said.

Injuries also struck two Bears offensive linemen. Right guard Kyle Long left the game with a hand injury in the first quarter and center Cody Whitehair left later with an elbow injury.

UP NEXT

Bears: Chicago gets its bye week before hosting Green Bay on Nov. 12.

Saints: Stay in New Orleans to play their second NFC South Division opponent this season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

 

Panthers 17, Buccaneers 3

Jonathan Stewart

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (28) dives over for a 1-yard touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — One day, Julius Peppers plans to sit down and reflect on his career as one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers.

Right now, he’s too busy helping the Carolina Panthers re-establish themselves as one of the league’s top defenses.

The Panthers (5-3) shut down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-3 Sunday, sacking Jameis Winston three times, forcing three turnovers and not allowing a touchdown on defense for the second straight week.

Peppers moved ahead of Hall of Famer Chris Doleman for fourth place on the career sack list with 151, taking down Winston in the second quarter and forcing a fumble to thwart one of only handful of scoring opportunities for the Bucs (2-5).

“Right now, I’m more excited about us getting a road win because this was really important for the team,” Peppers said after Carolina, coming off a 14-point road loss to Chicago , snap a two-game losing streak.

“I’m not trying to diminish the other stuff that happened because that’s a big deal too, but more important is what’s going on with everybody in this locker room. Everybody contributed today, everybody did their part, and it’s a big team win.”

Luke Kuechly returned from missing a game with a concussion and had a fourth quarter interception. Mike Adams had a pick to set up Cam Newton’s 25-yard TD pass to Kelvin Benjamin, and Mario Addison and Kyle Love joined Peppers in sacking Winston.

“The defense played exceptional,” said Newton, who rebounded from a subpar performance against the Bears to play efficiently — throwing for 154 yards with one interception, and leading Carolina with 44 yards rushing.

“They just created a lot of turnovers that we needed as a team, just for the morale, and just played very stingy,” Newton added. “Offensively, it took us a while to get going, but we’re going to have games like this, and we’ve just got to find ways to keep pushing forward to will a win.”

The Bucs (2-5) have lost four straight, with Winston playing the last two weeks with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder.

“Three turnovers by me, can’t win like that especially against a team like them. They have a great defense, but you turn the ball over three times, you’re not going to win. You score three points, you’re not going to win,” Winston said.

Newton led a 17-play TD drive that consumed more than half the opening quarter. The Panthers put the game away in the fourth, intercepting Winston twice and stopping another Tampa Bay possession in Carolina territory on downs.

The Bucs outgained the Panthers 279 yards to 254 yards but failed to score a touchdown in a game for the first time since 2014, the year before Winston’s arrival.

“The main thing is the offense isn’t scoring points,” coach Dirk Koetter said. “We have to score points.”

Carolina’s defense picked up where it left off in only allowing three points against Chicago, which returned a fumble and interception for the only touchdowns in a 17-3 victory that knocked Carolina out of first place in the NFC South .

The Bucs avoided a shutout with Patrick Murray’s 41-field goal in the third quarter.

“They played well, but not well enough for us to have three points,” Bucs receiver Mike Evans said. “We beat ourselves more than they beat us, but they played solid.”

NOT FLASHY, BUT EFFICIENT

Newton completed 18 of 32 passes with one interception. Jonathan Stewart scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter and finished with 34 yards on 11 carries.

The Panthers converted five third downs on the 17-play, 82-yard drive that produced Stewart’s 1-yard TD.

ALL BY MYSELF

Peppers has 7 ½ sacks. The Bucs, who didn’t have any Sunday, has seven as a team — last in the league.

INJURIES

Panthers: None reported during the game.

Buccaneers: Played without starting CBs Brent Grimes (shoulder) and Robert McClain (concussion).

UP NEXT

Panthers: Return home to face division rival Atlanta, a matchup of the last two teams to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Buccaneers: Play on the road for the third time in four weeks, traveling to New Orleans.v

Chargers 13, Patriots 21

Dion Lewis, Nick Novak

New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis (33) returns the opening kickoff of the second half past Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Novak (9) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — With his final attempt to bring his team back failed, Philip Rivers pulled off his helmet and flung it toward the Gillette Stadium turf. It bounced back perfectly and into his waiting hands.

It was one of the few things that a Los Angeles Chargers player executed well in their 21-13 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday.

Tom Brady passed for 333 yards and a touchdown, Stephen Gostkowski added four field goals to help the Patriots (6-2) hold on for the victory, their fourth straight.

The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Chargers.

New England got its lone touchdown via a 2-yard toss from Brady to Rob Gronkowski in the second quarter. The Patriots went 1 for 4 in the red zone, but were able to cobble together the Gostkowki field goals and a safety. The defense, which gave up 30 or more points three times in their first four games, has given up just 51 points total over its last four. And it did it this time without linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who sat out Sunday’s win and expected to miss the remainder of the season following shoulder surgery.

“We just wanted to come out here and play for him,” linebacker Kyle Van Noy said. “It’s always rough when you have a season-ending injury. …We just want to show our support that we’re holding it down for them.”

Los Angeles (3-5) got on the board first when Melvin Gordon found a seam on the outside and rumbled down the sideline for an 87-yard touchdown run . But the rest of the game was marked by Los Angeles’ mistakes and inability to move the ball offensively.

The Chargers cut the Patriots’ lead to 18-13 with 8:30 to play following a 24-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Travis Benjamin and failed 2-point conversion pass. They got the ball back a final time after New England added Gostkowski’s fourth field goal. But Rivers’ pass with 1 second remaining was intercepted at the goal line by Jonathan Jones.

Rivers finished 17 of 30 for 212 yards.

Los Angeles’ mistakes were highlighted in a wild way in the second quarter when Benjamin muffed a punt inside the Chargers 15, recovered it and retreated all the way to own goal line while trying to reverse field. He was corralled by a Patriots group that included Brandon King, Matt Slater and Jones, then finally wrapped up by King and tackled in the end zone for a safety.

“We weren’t going to let him escape,” Jones said.

Rivers had a similarly head-scratching play early in the third quarter when he rolled to the outside to escape the pass rush, but had the ball slip out of his hands for a fumble. He recovered, but the play resulted in a 20-yard loss and a sack credited to Van Noy.

INJURIES

Chargers: LB Hayes Pullard left the field after a collision late in the fourth quarter.

Patriots: RT Marcus Cannon left in the first half with an ankle injury. … WR Chris Hogan left with a shoulder injury from the same collision with Pullard.

STAGNANT OFFENSE

Other than Gordon’s touchdown run, the Chargers were mostly ineffective offensively in the opening 30 minutes. They ran only 19 total plays. By comparison, New England passed the ball 26 times in the first two quarters.

“We fought our way back to at least give ourselves a chance,” Rivers said. “Not a lot of room for error down the stretch if we want to accomplish all our goals we still have out there. But certainly, everything is still in front of us.”

QUOTABLE

“We prefer to win.” — Patriots coach Bill Belichick on if he minds the defense taking the lead over the past four wins as the offense has struggled in the red zone.

LONG RUN

Gordon’s 87-yard touchdown matched the longest run in Chargers history. Paul Lowe also had an 87- yard run against the Dallas Texans in 1961.

FAMILIAR TARGET

Gronkowski’s first-quarter touchdown catch from Brady marked the 72nd time the two of them have connected for a score. It is the most TDs among any NFL duo since Gronkowski entered the league in 2010.

UP NEXT

Chargers: Bye week, at Jaguars on Nov. 12.

Patriots: Bye week, at Broncos on Nov. 12.

Raiders 14, Bills 34

Raiders Bills Football

Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) fumbles the ball as he is hit by Buffalo Bills defensive back Leonard Johnson (24) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Kyle Williams is getting tired of hearing about the skeptics counting out the Buffalo Bills.

Perhaps, a 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday might get the doubters to start believing.

“I don’t know how many times we have to answer the question, but I don’t care what anybody thinks,” the 12-year veteran defensive tackle said.

“We bring guys in and they go out there and they play for the team and they give it all that they’ve got. There’s a lot to love about that.”

What’s not to love about a Bills team that improved to 5-2 to match its best start during a 17-year postseason drought — the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports leagues.

Rookie linebacker Matt Milano scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 40-yard fumble return on a rain-slick field. And the Bills injury- and star-depleted defense forced four turnovers while playing minus two starters in the defensive backfield and two days after trading their highest-paid player, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus , to Jacksonville.

“This team just shows you heart,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “It’s hard to go against the eye of the tiger, a team that will claw and fight you to the end. It’s hard to beat a team like that.”

After allowing Jamize Olawale to score on a 1-yard touchdown run on Oakland’s opening drive, the Bills responded by scoring the next 27 points.

Tyrod Taylor threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Andre Holmes and scored on a 1-yard run. McCoy had a season-best 151 yards rushing and also scored on a 48-yard run.

The Raiders (3-5) were sloppy and ineffective in being out-played in all three phases. Oakland lost for the fourth time in five games, and dreadfully failed to carry over the momentum following its dramatic 31-30 come-from-behind victory over Kansas City on Oct. 19.

“We know we’ve got a great offense, so when we’re not able to put plays together and finish drives, it’s definitely frustrating,” running back DeAndre’ Washington said. “We’ve got to dust ourselves off and have a great second half to the season.”

With a steady drizzle falling for much of the afternoon, Washington began the Raiders string of turnovers in the final minute of the first half.

Catching a short pass over the middle, he turned up field only to be struck from behind by cornerback Leonard Johnson. The ball popped loose and landed directly in the hands of Milano, who returned it up the right sideline.

The Raiders then turned the ball over on each of their first two possessions of the second half. Milano, starting in place of Ramon Humber (broken right thumb), forced Jalen Richard to fumble a punt return, and then Derek Carr’s pass over the middle was tipped by linebacker Preston Brown, and intercepted by safety Micah Hyde.

The turnovers led to Stephen Hauschka hitting 35- and 44-yard field goals.

“Clearly (turnovers) were the biggest factor,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “Not many people are winning with minus-4.”

QUARTERBACK COMPARISON

Raiders: Carr finished 31 of 48 for 313 yards and a 4-yard touchdown to Washington and two interceptions. After scoring on their opening drive on Jamize Olawale’s 1-yard run, the Raiders’ next eight possessions ended with four punts, three turnovers and a failed bid to score at the end of the second quarter.

Bills: Taylor went 20 of 27 for 165 yards to improve to 20-16, and 4-16 when Buffalo falls behind by four at any point of the game.

TURNOVER TIME

Along with Trae Elston intercepting Carr to end the Raiders’ final drive, Buffalo has forced three or more turnovers in each of its past four games.

That included a 30-27 win over Tampa Bay last weekend in which rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White forced and recovered receiver Adam Humphries’ fumble to set up Hauschka’s 30-yard game-winning field goal with 14 seconds left.

INACTIVES

Raiders: Played without two starters in their secondary with safety Karl Joseph (groin) sidelined along with cornerback David Amerson (foot). Dexter McDonald started in place of Amerson, while Shalom Luani started for Joseph. WR Seth Roberts was active but did not play after falling ill before the game, Del Rio said.

Bills: Buffalo was also missing two starting defensive backs with safety Jordan Poyer (right knee) sidelined along with cornerback E.J. Gaines (hamstring).

MINUS MARSHAWN

The Raiders managed just 54 yards rushing, with starting running back Marshawn Lynch serving a one-game suspension for coming off the bench and shoving an official against Kansas City.

UP NEXT

Raiders: Staying on the East Coast in preparing to play at Miami on Nov. 5

Bills: At the New York Jets on Thursday night.

Colts 23, Bengals 24

Carlos Dunlap, Joe Haeg

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) breaks away from Indianapolis Colts offensive tackle Joe Haeg, right, to score a touchdown on an interception in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Carlos Dunlap swatted Jacoby Brissett’s pass into the air, looked and saw the ball floating right above him.

Could it be so easy to change a game?

The lineman snatched the ball out of the air, tucked it under his arm and ran 16 yards for a game-turning touchdown Sunday, rallying the Cincinnati Bengals to a 24-23 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in a game neither team could afford to lose.

Dunlap’s uncanny ability to get his hands on passes made the difference. The defensive end excels at swatting away passes — he led NFL linemen last season — and changed the game with his third career score.

“The longest time was waiting for the ball to come down,” the two-time Pro Bowl lineman end said. “The 16 yards went pretty quick.”

For most of the game, the Bengals (3-4) couldn’t protect Andy Dalton or get much pressure on Jacoby Brissett, who was sacked 10 times during a 27-0 loss to Jacksonville the previous week — the first time Indianapolis was blanked in 15 years.

Brissett got them in position for a soothing win. His second touchdown pass put the Colts (2-6) in position. Instead, Dunlap snatched it away with 6:58 left.

“It’s a timing thing,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “He has a knack for that.”

Indianapolis had a chance in the closing minutes, driving to a fourth-and-4 at the Cincinnati 48-yard line. Brissett was hit as he threw an incompletion, ending it with 1:18 to go.

“Dunlap made a heck of a play,” Colts tight end Jack Doyle said. “That’s what stinks about the NFL. It’s hard right now.”

Dalton was 17 of 29 for 243 yards with a pair of touchdowns. The Bengals’ running game had little success against a defense that allowed the Jaguars to score on their first four possessions a week earlier, managing only 58 yards as it struggled again.

The Bengals had only one first down and 19 yards in the second half of a 29-14 loss in Pittsburgh the previous week. The offensive line couldn’t give Dalton much time or open holes for the running backs, leaving it up to the defense to make the decisive play.

Doyle had 12 catches for 121 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown . Brissett was 25 of 39 for 233 yards with the one interception — the only one he’s thrown in the past three games — and four sacks.

Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals for the Colts and moved into a tie with Gary Anderson for second-most points in NFL history with 2,434. The Colts couldn’t get the extra yards needed on their final possession to let him try for a 28th game-winning kick in the final minute. They’ve lost three in a row for the first time since 2015.

“At some point, good luck will come our way,” receiver T.Y. Hilton said. “It just didn’t go our way today.”

TAKE IT DOWN

Fans displayed a banner in the upper deck that said: “Hope Is Not A Plan.” The banner was removed a few minutes later. The game drew 57,901 fans, the largest for a game this season at 65,515-seat Paul Brown Stadium.

LESS-THAN-SPECIAL PLAY

In the first half, the Bengals blocked a punt, the Colts blocked a field goal, and Cincinnati’s Alex Erickson fumbled two punts, recovering one of them.

STATS

The Colts’ Frank Gore passed Barry Sanders for sixth on the NFL career list for carries. He started his 100th consecutive game, the first running back to do so since Curtis Martin started 119 in a row from 1998-2005. Gore finished with 82 yards on 16 carries. … Bengals RB Joe Mixon turned a screen pass into a 67-yard gain, setting up Cincinnati’s first touchdown. He also fumbled. Mixon managed only 18 yards on 11 carries.

INJURIES

Colts: Pierre Desir started at cornerback in place of Rashaan Melvin, who has a concussion.

Bengals: CB Adam “Pacman” Jones started after missing one game with a bad back. DL Michael Johnson hurt his back late in the first half and didn’t return.

UP NEXT

Colts: Indianapolis plays at Houston on Sunday. The Texans have won the past three in the series.

Bengals: Cincinnati plays at Jacksonville on Sunday, the first of three straight road games. The Bengals have won the past four in the series, their most recent meeting in 2014.

Texans 38, Seahawks 41

Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) pats the head of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) after an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 41-38. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE (AP) — It’s not often Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas spew compliments of an opponent, especially a rookie.

Watching the Seattle Seahawks defense get torn apart by rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans on Sunday had Sherman, Thomas and their teammates issuing praise rarely heard from one of the top defenses in the league.

“I’m not surprised at all. I think I ran my mouth too much this summer when we chilled,” Thomas said of Watson. “We got the same agent, spent a lot of time together. I expect that out of him. He did that against Alabama in a big game. He tried to do it today.”

Defense was optional as Watson and Seattle’s Russell Wilson put together two of the best regular-season quarterback performances in league history in Seattle’s wild 41-38 win over the Texans on Sunday. The Seahawks entered the week with the best scoring defense in the league, and proceeded to allow 21 points in the first 21 minutes of the game.

The 38 points was tied for the second most allowed by the Seahawks in a regular-season game since coach Pete Carroll’s first season in 2010. Shootouts have not been part of Seattle’s winning formula, yet Sunday showed they have the capability entirely because of Wilson.

Wilson was responsible for 472 total yards passing and running. Houston’s defense had shown vulnerability, especially with the loss of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the season due to injuries. But Wilson’s performance was special, capping it by going 80 yards in barely a minute and no timeouts, and hitting Jimmy Graham on an 18-yard strike with 21 seconds left to take the lead.

Sherman and others on Seattle’s defense said Wilson’s performance bailed out the Seahawks. Wilson disagreed.

“It’s not about bailing anybody out. It’s about finding a way to win,” he said.

Even more impressive is what Watson did to Seattle’s defense. The Seahawks pride themselves on not allowing big plays, yet surrendered 509 total yards to Houston. The Texans had 10 plays of 20 yards or more against the Seahawks, including touchdown passes of 72, 59 and 20 yards.

Watson was responsible for 469 yards passing and running. Watson’s first five starts were fantastic. His performance against Seattle — and willingness to attack secondary stars like Sherman and Thomas — was validation that going forward he can star against any defense in any environment.

“The whole defense has a lot of playmakers, future Hall of Famers, All-Pros, a lot of veteran guys, a very good team,” Watson said. “A very, very smart team. They make you earn it.”

Here’s what else to know about the wild game:

NO RUNNING: Seattle’s got to get its run game fixed. Wilson was the Seahawks leading rusher with 30 yards. The rest of Seattle’s rushers combined 3 yards on 17 carries. It was a pathetic performance in the run game that would be a bigger issue if not for Wilson’s late heroics.

In four of seven games this season, Seattle has failed to reach 100 yards rushing as a team.

“We didn’t think that was going to happen at all,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We wanted to get our rhythm and get going.”

ALL TDs: Perhaps teams need to stop focusing the majority of their attention on DeAndre Hopkins.

Will Fuller has 13 total receptions for the season and seven of those have gone for touchdowns. He had two long TDs against Seattle, including a 59-yarder on Houston’s opening drive, and another long catch down to the 2-yard line. Fuller missed the first three games due to a collarbone injury, but has been nearly unstoppable from finding the end zone since returning.

“When guys want to cheat to my side, you have to watch Will and Bruce (Ellington) as well. But Will has been playing his (tail) off,” Hopkins said.

PROTESTING: All but 10 members of the Texans took a knee during the national anthem, as the vast majority of the team protested the owner’s “inmates running the prison” comment. Left tackle Duane Brown said a meeting with owner Bob McNair went “not too well,” but the Texans were able to put aside any distraction from the issue.

Brown served as spokesman for the majority of the Texans players and didn’t speculate how the issue would be handled going forward.

“At this point we’re all just trying to play for each other. It will have to come up again at some point,” Brown said.

Cowboys 33, Redskins 19

Montae Nicholson, Ezekiel Elliott

Washington Redskins strong safety Montae Nicholson (35) hangs unto Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) during the second half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — After letting the ball slip out of his hands on his first carry, Ekeziel Elliott was determined not to let his Dallas Cowboys teammates down again.

Elliott bounced back from his fumble to run for 150 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys took advantage of a blocked field goal and three turnovers to beat the Washington Redskins 33-19 in a wet, sloppy game Sunday to move into sole possession of second place in the NFC East.

“We always talk about when you got that ball in your hands, that’s the team, so you’ve got to protect it,” Elliott said. “I had to do something.”

Playing in a driving rainstorm that made it difficult to hold onto the ball, let alone throw it, Dak Prescott completed 14 of his 22 passes for 143 yards as Dallas (4-3) heeded the message on Elliott’s cleats to “Feed Zeke.” With another hearing on his NFL suspension coming Monday, Elliott carried the ball 33 times, scored twice for the second consecutive game and surpassed 100 yards for the third time in a row.

“He’s hard enough when you have holes filled, let alone when you’re giving him a clear running lane,” Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “It is never going to be easy.”

Elliott said he didn’t think about his pending hearing, which could determine whether he’s suspended the next six games or will be available for the rest of the season. He didn’t have the chance to because he called conditions so treacherous that he struggled to hold on to the ball late because of the rain and cold.

What could be Elliott’s last game until mid-December turned in the second quarter when Dallas’ Tyrone Crawford blocked Nick Rose’s field goal attempt and Orlando Scandrick returned it 86 yards to set up a 1-yard Elliott TD run two plays later. Instead of the Redskins (3-4) leading 16-7, the Cowboys went up 14-13 and never trailed again.

“That block was huge,” Prescott said. “That might’ve been the turning point and just the key play in the whole game.”

Washington QB Kirk Cousins lost one fumble and kick returner Chris Thompson lost another. Cousins was 26 of 39 for 263 yards and a 1-yard TD pass to Josh Doctson that cut it to 26-19, but Rose missed the extra point and Dallas sealed it with an interception return for a touchdown by Byron Jones with 21 seconds left.

NO PROBLEM, NUGENT

Signed to fill in for injured kicker Dan Bailey, Mike Nugent was wide left from 49 yards on his first attempt for the Cowboys. Nugent, who worked out for the Redskins last week when they decided to sign Rose to replace the injured Dustin Hopkins, shook it off and made field goals from 36, 48, 27 and 37 yards in the second half.

“It’s one of those ones you want back, but I feel like I learned from it,” Nugent said. “I was happy to connect on the rest.”

FEEL THE RUSH

The Cowboys took full advantage of the Redskins’ bevy of injuries along the offensive line, sacking Cousins four times. Washington was without starting left tackle Trent Williams, center Spencer Long and right guard Brandon Scherff because of knee injuries and had two rookies making their NFL debuts — Chase Roullier at center and Tyler Catalina at right guard.

“The D-line has done a great job getting a lot of pressure: strip sacks, making plays,” Dallas linebacker Sean Lee said.

INVISIBLE PRYOR

Redskins WR Terrelle Pryor was a nonfactor for a second consecutive game. Cousins threw Pryor’s way just once, a week after four targets and two receptions in a loss at Philadelphia.

INJURIES

Cowboys: WR Cole Beasley left in the third quarter with a concussion.

Redskins: TE Jordan Reed injured his right hamstring late in the second quarter and did not return. … TE Niles Paul was concussed on a helmet-to-helmet hit during Rob Kelley’s 1-yard TD run in the first quarter. … LT T.J. Clemmings left with an ankle injury and LG Shawn Lauvao left with a stinger. … DL Matt Ioannidis broke his hand, S Stefan McClure suffered a hamstring injury and S Montae Nicholson a shoulder injury. … CB Bashaud Breeland was inactive with a knee injury.

QUOTABLE

Prescott, trying to explain playing in wet conditions: “The next rainy day, go outside, take a ball and see what you can do with it. And good luck with it.”

Redskins coach Jay Gruden: “I don’t know how you could have more injuries on the offensive line. I really don’t. It’s mind-boggling.”

Steelers 20, Lions 15

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) breaks downfield for a 97-yard touchdown run during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Oct. 29 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

DETROIT (AP) — JuJu Smith-Schuster scored on a 97-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger late in the third quarter and the Pittsburgh Steelers forced the Detroit Lions to turn the ball over on downs twice in a 20-15 win Sunday night.

The AFC North-leading Steelers (6-2) go into their bye week with a three-game winning streak.

“We weren’t perfect, obviously, but boy we showed fight,” coach Mike Tomlin said.

Detroit (3-4) was coming off its bye and lost for the fourth time in five games.

Pittsburgh’s defense put up a curtain in front of it end zone, forcing the Lions to settle for field goals. When they went for touchdowns, the Steelers stopped them.

Detroit coach Jim Caldwell chose to go for it on fourth down from the Steelers 1 trailing by one in the third quarter. Matthew Stafford was sacked as he stepped up out of a collapsing pocket and tried to run up the middle.

“Just as I thought I could do something, I got hit,” Stafford said.

A snap after missing wide-open tight end Jesse James on the ensuing drive, Roethlisberger dropped back into his end zone and perfectly lofted a pass to Smith-Schuster. The rookie receiver ran for about 70 yards after the catch, running past cornerback Quandre Diggs and pulling away from safety Glover Quin on his way to the end zone.

“I told him I didn’t know he had that much speed,” Roethlisberger recalled. “He said he didn’t, either.”

Matt Prater kicked his fifth field goal on the next possession after Caldwell didn’t want to go for it on another fourth down from the Pittsburgh 1, drawing boos from a crowd that included a lot of black-and-yellow clad, towel-twirling fans cheering for the visitors.

“We tried to be aggressive the first time,” Caldwell said. “And then it was later in the game, so we kicked it. We gave ourselves a chance to win the game.”

Then Golden Tate gave it away.

Detroit got the ball back with a chance to drive for a go-ahead TD, but Tate blew it with an unforced fumble at the Steelers 24.

“It just slipped,” Tate said. “It was just a bad play by me.”

The Lions’ defense forced Pittsburgh to punt again and they failed to take advantage. After the 2-minute warning, Stafford threw an incomplete pass from the Pittsburgh 8.

“Our red zone defense was amazing,” Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward said.

UNWELCOME COMPANY

Detroit had the third-highest yardage total without a TD in league history, according to Pro Football Reference. The Lions had 482 yards, trailing only Cincinnati’s 496 yards against Seattle in 1994 and San Francisco’s 501 against Washington in 1986 with a TD.

THROUGH THE AIR

Smith-Schuster, selected No. 62 overall out of Southern California, had season highs with seven receptions for 193 yards.

“A lot of people said, ‘He’s young, he’s immature,'” he said. “I’m 20 years old, but when I’m on the field, playing with my boys, I’m going to get the job done.”

His last catch converted a third-and-1 from the Steelers 32, allowing them to run out the clock.

“He’s not playing like a rookie,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s playing like a seasoned veteran.”

Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, blanketed for much of the night by cornerback Darius Slay, had five catches for 70 yards.

TJ Jones, drafted by Detroit in 2014, had career highs with four receptions and 88 yards. Marvin Jones had six receptions for 128 yards for the Lions, who moved the ball well until they got deep into Pittsburgh territory.

INJURIES

Steelers: S Mike Mitchell hurt his right ankle, and was replaced by Robert Golden. … OL Chris Hubbard was evaluated for a concussion.

Lions: RB Dwayne Washington left the game with a concussion. … OT Rick Wagner went out with an ankle injury, and was able to return.

UP NEXT

Steelers: Idle until playing Nov. 12 at Indianapolis.

Lions: Play at Green Bay on Monday, Nov. 6.

Broncos 19, Chiefs 29

Travis Kelce, Albert Wilson, Chris Harris Jr.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) makes a touchdown reception with wide receiver Albert Wilson (12) celebrating, as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (25) watches, during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs proved Monday night they can play a little defense, too.

The same group that struggled to contain the Steelers and Raiders in back-to-back losses shut down Denver, picking off Trevor Siemian three times, picking up two fumbles and taking one of them back for a touchdown in a 29-19 victory over their AFC West rivals.

It was precisely the kind of dominant performance the Chiefs (6-2) needed against the Broncos (3-4), whose own league-leading defense held Alex Smith and Co. in check all night.

“Our defense really stepped up tonight,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “They showed a lot of fire.”

Harrison Butker kicked five field goals for Kansas City, and Smith threw for 202 yards and a touchdown. Most of it went to Travis Kelce, who hauled in seven balls for 133 yards and the score.

But it was the turnovers that proved to be the difference in the game.

“That’s insane,” said Broncos coach Vance Joseph, who declined to say whether a quarterback change may be necessary. “You can’t win when you turn the ball over five times. The guys worked too hard to have a big game to give it away five times.”

Siemian finished 19 of 36 for 198 yards and a touchdown, and has now thrown eight picks and only three TD passes in the past five games. The Broncos have lost all but one of them.

“I just turned it over,” he said glumly. “A couple of bad decisions.”

It was a crucial bounce-back win for the Chiefs, who had their 12-game AFC West winning streak snapped 10 days ago in Oakland. The Chiefs had won five straight to start the season before losing to the Steelers and then to the Raiders on Derek Carr’s last-second touchdown throw.

It started just like old times, too: Jamaal Charles with a run, the Chiefs with a touchdown.

The only difference was Charles, who went to four Pro Bowls with the Chiefs, was back in Kansas City with the Broncos. And the TD came when the opportunistic Marcus Peters stripped him, picked up the loose ball and returned it 45 yards for the opening score.

“That definitely changed the dynamic of the game,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said.

When the Chiefs were on offense, they went right to Kelce, who also had success against the Broncos in both of their meetings last season. He beat Darian Stewart for a 29-yard TD catch and a 14-0 lead.

“I want the ball every single play. That’s just how I grew up playing,” he said.

The Chiefs were threatening to put the game out of reach later in the first quarter when Reid got cute with the play-calling. Rather than keep the ball in the hands of Smith, who hasn’t thrown a pick all season, he let wide receiver Tyreek Hill throw it — and he was intercepted in the end zone.

“I messed it up myself,” he said. “I know coach Reid isn’t going to let me throw another one.”

Still, Kansas City led 20-3 when the Broncos’ offense finally found some rhythm.

They marched 60 yards to set up their second field goal by Brandon McManus, and then capped an 80-yard drive with Booker’s touchdown run. It was just the second time Denver had reached the end zone in 13-plus quarters, but it got Joseph’s team within 20-13 with a quarter to play.

Butker answered with another field goal, and the Chiefs defense held on fourth-and-4 near midfield to get the ball back. Butker added two more field goals, the last with 4:41 left, giving him 18 straight made attempts and putting the game out of reach.

“It’s not what you want offensively,” Smith said with a wry grin. “You love having him on the team and making those, but I’d rather have him kicking PATs.”

INJURY REPORT

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) and LB Todd Davis (ankle) were inactive, as was Chiefs RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (knee). Kansas City lost WR Albert Wilson (hamstring) and OLB Dee Ford (back) in the first half and neither returned to the game.

UN-INJURED RESERVE

The Broncos activated LB Shane Ray and the Chiefs activated CB Steven Nelson before the game. Ray returned to the lineup after missing the first six games with a torn ligament in his left wrist, while Nelson had been on injured reserve following core muscle surgery.

HALL OF AN HONOR

The Chiefs renamed the broadcast booths at Arrowhead Stadium for Hall of Fame player and broadcaster Len Dawson before the game. The 82-year-old Dawson led the Chiefs to victory in Super Bowl IV. He is retiring from work as a radio color analyst after the season.

UP NEXT

Broncos: Visit Philadelphia on Sunday.

Chiefs: Visit Dallas on Sunday.

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