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Here is a recap of Week 10 of the 2017 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Bye: Ravens, Chiefs, Raiders, Eagles
Seahawks 22, Cardinals 16
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes to Jimmy Graham and the Seattle Seahawks added to their history of success in Arizona with a 22-16 victory over the Cardinals on Thursday night.
The Seahawks (6-3) limited Adrian Peterson to 29 yards in 21 carries in a game marred by a host of injuries, including a season-ending one to Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.
The Seahawks improved to 4-0-1 in Arizona in Bruce Arians’ five seasons as coach of the Cardinals (4-5). The only time the Seahawks haven’t beaten Arians’ team in Arizona was in last season’s 6-6 tie.
Seattle’s Kam Chancellor forced a fumble by Peterson on Arizona’s first offensive play and later tackled him in the end zone for a safety.
Sherman limped off the field in the third quarter, one of at least seven players who left the game with injuries. Coach Pete Carroll said after the game that Sherman had a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Wilson, sacked a season-high five times, completed 22 of 32 passes for 238 yards. Arizona’s Drew Stanton, in his second start since Carson Palmer went down with a broken arm, completed 24 of 47 for 273 yards and a touchdown. Larry Fitzgerald caught 10 passes for 113 yards for the Cardinals, topping 15,000 yards receiving for his career in the process.
The night’s biggest play came early in the fourth quarter. With his team leading 15-10, Wilson scrambled and spun his way out of serious trouble repeatedly before throwing from his heels to Doug Baldwin. Antoine Bethea fell down trying to knock the pass away and Baldwin raced downfield on a 54-yard play to the Arizona 2-yard line.
“That was an extraordinary play,” Carroll said. “I need to see it again because I can imagine all of those spins and all that stuff he was doing to find the time. ”
Arians called the play “probably the deciding factor in the game.”
“The defense played lights out, other than one play,” Arians said.
Wilson threw 2 yards to Graham on the next play and the Seahawks led 22-10 with 12:49 to play.
Kerwynn Williams scored on a one-yard run with 20 seconds to play for the Cardinals and Seattle recovered the onside kick try to seal the win.
There were injuries to important players on both sides.
Arizona left tackle D.J. Humphries and safety Tyvon Branch both left with right knee injuries early in the game. Humphries injured the same knee in the season opener. Branch was the Cardinals’ leading tackler through eight games with 68.
Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed left in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. And Seattle left tackle Duane Brown, in his second game since being acquired in a trade from Houston, went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter.
Seattle linebacker Michael Wilhoite (calf) and Arizona tight end Ifeanyi Momah (ankle) also had to leave the contest.
The Seahawks already were without safety Earl Thomas, who sat out the game with a hamstring injury.
Seattle entered the game as the most penalized team in the league with 82, nine more than its nearest competitor, the New York Jets and it looks like their lead in that category for another week is assured.
With their 12 penalties (for 108 yards) on Thursday, the Seahawks have 94 in nine games.
Four Seattle penalties for 41 yards aided the Cardinals on their first touchdown drive.
The Seahawks had 16 penalties for 138 yards in their home loss to Washington on Sunday.
The game came just four days after Peterson carried a career-high 37 times for 159 yards in a win at San Francisco.
Seahawks: Host Atlanta on Monday, Nov. 20.
Cardinals: Play at Houston on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Vikings 38, Redskins 30
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Members of the Minnesota Vikings’ offense leapfrogged over each other, then did the same to the Washington Redskins.
Case Keenum threw touchdowns to four different receivers to build a big lead, and the NFC North-leading Vikings won their fifth in a row by beating the Redskins 38-30 Sunday despite two second-half interceptions. With Teddy Bridgewater active for the first time since January 2016 after a devastating knee injury, Keenum was 21 of 29 for 304 yards and TD passes to Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, David Morgan and Jarius Wright.
Mixing the good with the bad, Keenum was picked off on consecutive throws by D.J. Swearinger.
“Case played outstanding,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “I wish the two throws he had in the second half he would have not made. He’s an excitable guy and he needs to understand when’s the good plays and bad plays sometimes.”
Thielen had eight catches for a season-high 166 yards, and the Vikings celebrated his TD by kneeling in a line the end zone while he and Diggs leapfrogged over them.
“We were just playing a little leapfrog, just taking it back to the playground,” Thielen said.
Latavius Murray also ran for a score as five players got into the end zone for Minnesota (7-2), which was 8 of 12 on third downs. The Vikings won their first game out of the bye week for the second time in eight seasons as they try to avoid a repeat of the swoon that cost them a playoff spot last season.
“This time around we just want to show that we’re a different team,” said Diggs, who had four catches for 78 yards. “We came back with a chip on our shoulders, and we still got a lot to prove.”
Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins had three TDs — two rushing and one passing — and was 26 of 45 for 327 yards with an interception . The Redskins (4-5) failed to build off an upset victory at Seattle and now find themselves on an uphill climb in the wild-card race.
“It seems like we’ve got this roller-coaster right now, where we’re up, down,” cornerback Josh Norman said after Washington allowed 406 yards and gained 394. “We’ve just got to get over that mark. And we will do that.”
BRIDGEWATER TEARS UP
Even though he didn’t get into the game, Bridgewater considered being active a major milestone and shed a “few tears of joy” during the national anthem.
“Opportunities like these don’t come along twice, so when you get that second opportunity, you cherish it, you hold it and you never want to let it go,” Bridgewater said. “Today, it got the best of me.”
WHAT A CATCH
A day after being called up from the practice squad, second-year Redskins receiver Maurice Harris came up with a highlight-reel grab: a diving, one-handed catch for a touchdown on the opening drive. The 36-yard play originally was ruled an incompletion, but the Redskins challenged and the call was reversed on replay review.
“I was surprised myself,” Harris said.”
This was Harris’ first game action this season — he last played in January — and the score represented the first TD of his career.
The Vikings’ leapfrog celebration was legal, but Diggs leaping into the base of the crossbar was good for a 15-yard penalty, even in the New Fun League .
“Something that won’t happen again,” Diggs said. “I won’t be giving out any more free hugs, so they got to pay for it now.”
Vikings: They played without DE Everson Griffen because of a foot injury. Griffen was the third player since the NFL began tracking sacks in 1982 to have one in each of his team’s first eight games of the season.
Redskins: Coach Jay Gruden said WR Ryan Grant is in the NFL’s concussion protocol. … RB Rob Kelley left with a knee/ ankle injury in the first quarter and will have an MRI. … S DeAngelo Hall sprained his right knee late in the second quarter, pressing CB Kendall Fuller to play out of position. … LB Will Compton left with a foot injury and will have an MRI.
Vikings: Host the high-scoring Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in a game that could sort some order in the crowded NFC playoff picture.
Redskins: Visit the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in a game they now badly need to win given their upcoming schedule.
Saints 47, Bills 10
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Mark Ingram scored a career-best three touchdowns and the New Orleans Saints won their seventh straight game by plowing through a porous Buffalo Bills defense in a 47-10 rout on Sunday.
Alvin Kamara also had a 3-yard touchdown rushing as the Saints blew the game open by scoring five times on their first six possessions, not including a one-play series to close the first half. Ingram finished with 131 yards rushing by scoring twice from 3 yards , and another on a 1-yard plunge.
The Saints finished with 298 yards rushing and 32 first downs.Their defense was just as dominating in limiting Buffalo to 198 yards, and 10 first downs. And five of those first downs came on Buffalo’s meaningless final drive that ended with backup quarterback Nathan Peterman hitting Nick O’Leary on a 7-yard touchdown pass.
New Orleans set a franchise record by scoring six touchdowns rushing, and it marked the most allowed by Buffalo in team history.
Even Saints quarterback Drew Brees got involved in the run of rushing touchdowns by scrambling in from 6 yards to put New Orleans up 37-3 in the final minute of the third quarter. Trey Edmunds capped the scoring with a 41-yard touchdown run with 3:04 left.
The Saints never punted, with the only thing to stop them was tight end Josh Hill losing a fumble at the Buffalo 9 in the first quarter.
The Saints (7-2) haven’t lost since dropping their first two games of the season to match their longest winning streak since closing the 2011 season 8-0. New Orleans has already matched its win total from each of the past three seasons.
The Bills (5-4) simply unraveled in losing their second straight and while dropping to 4-1 at home. The most notable cheer came with 4:53 remaining when Peterman replaced Tyrod Taylor and then immediately hit Deonte Thompson for a 10-yard reception along the right sideline.
After Stephen Hauschka capped a nine-play, 57-yard opening drive with a 37-yard field goal, the Bills never crossed midfield over their next eight possessions.
Taylor finished 9 of 19 for 56 yards and an interception. LeSean MCcoy was bottled up in finishing with 49 yards rushing and another 11 receiving.
As for the Bills defense, it followed up a poor-tackling effort in allowing 194 yards rushing and three touchdowns rushing in a 34-21 loss at the New York Jets on Nov. 2.
Buffalo allowed a season-worst 482 yards.
PICK BUT NO 6
Saints DT Sheldon Rankins nearly scored on an interception return only to be pushed out of bounds at the Bills 3 on Buffalo’s opening drive of the second half.
Taylor’s pass over the middle hit tight end Charles Clay in the chest and bounced directly into Rankins’ hands. Ingram scored his third TD on the next play from scrimmage.
Kelvin Benjamin, like much of the rest of the Bills offense, was rendered invisible in making his debut after being acquired in a trade with Carolina on Oct. 31. He finished with three catches for a team-best 42 yards.
Saints: Backup running back Daniel Lasco had feelings in his extremities after sustaining a spine injury while tackling Buffalo’s Brandon Tate on a kickoff return six minutes into the second quarter.
Lasco moved his leg and briefly raised his arm as he was loaded into an ambulance and transported to a Buffalo-area hospital.
Bills: DE Jerry Hughes did not return after hurting his shin late in the second quarter.
Saints: Starting offensive linemen Terron Armstead (chest) and Larry Warford (abdomen) are active despite being listed as questionable on the Saints final injury report.
Bills: TE Charles Clay returned after missing three games with a left knee injury. LT Cordy Glenn (left ankle/foot) and WR Zay Jones (left ankle/knee) did not play after both were hurt in a 34-21 loss at the Jets on Nov. 2.
Saints: Host Washington on Nov. 19.
Bills: Play next two on road starting at Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19.
Packers 23, Bears 16
CHICAGO (AP) — The Green Bay Packers would love nothing more than to have Aaron Rodgers return this season and lead a deep playoff run.
There’s no guarantee their superstar quarterback comes back from a broken collarbone. That means Brett Hundley is on the spot, at least for now.
“We’re trying to weather the storm until 12 gets back,” linebacker Clay Matthews said. “You got to get a win. That’s exactly what we did. We grinded it out.”
The Packers finally won without Rodgers, beating the Chicago Bears 23-16 on Sunday.
Hundley came through in his third start filling in for Rodgers, throwing for 212 yards and a touchdown. Nick Perry had three sacks, and the Packers stopped a three-game losing streak.
Beating the Bears (3-6) doesn’t solve all of Green Bay’s problems. But considering their season was in danger of slipping away, the Packers (5-4) can at least breathe a little easier.
Here are some things to know after the Packers beat the Bears:
TAKING ADVANTAGE: Hundley made the most of his chances after the Packers kept things simple the previous two games. He completed 18 of 25 passes even though his hamstring tightened. It helped that the Packers were also able to move the ball on the ground, rushing for 160 yards.
Ty Montgomery ran for a 37-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He sat out the second half with a rib injury, leaving the Packers without their top two running backs after Aaron Jones injured his knee.
Jamaal Williams stepped up with 67 yards over the final two quarters, and the run game allowed Green Bay to control the clock for 21:05 in the second half after the Packers had it for 12:48 in the first half.
FLAGGED DOWN: The Bears had seven penalties in the first half, not to mention three more that were declined. They were flagged for false starts on back-to-back plays in the first quarter.
But Chicago settled down with just one penalty in the second half.
“It seems uncharacteristic for us,” said quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who threw for a career-high 297 yards and a touchdown. “We were locked in, ready to go, but I guess we weren’t just focused at that moment. So we’re going to analyze that. We know that’s one of our weaknesses right now. I mean, we’re only hurting ourselves. It’s nothing they were doing schematically.”
It seemed a strange time for a lack of focus, considering the Bears were coming out of a bye week and had a chance to climb back into the division race.
“Everyone has their own interpretation,” coach John Fox said. “But we had an opportunity to win that game. Like some of the games before, not necessarily coming out of or into a bye, we just came up short.”
MONSTERS AT THE MIDWAY: Only one team had fewer sacks than Green Bay’s 13 coming into the game. So the Packers had to feel good after getting five against Trubisky.
Just as encouraging for them, they shut down the Bears’ run game. Sixth in the NFL in rushing coming in, Chicago managed 55 yards.
“We wanted to uphold our end of the bargain,” Matthews said. “We knew what we were going to get into with them running the ball. That’s what our defense has done very well.”
RECEIVER HELP: The Bears had struggled getting the ball completed to wide receivers all season, with Kevin White and Cameron Meredith on injured reserve. But in his first game for Chicago, former Chargers receiver Dontrelle Inman had six catches for 88 yards. Each represented the second-highest totals of the season by a Bears wide receiver.
Kendall Wright had seven catches Sept. 17 against Tampa Bay and Tre McBride had 92 yards receiving against New Orleans on Oct. 29 for team highs.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” Trubisky said. “He’s made a lot of great plays for us. He’s coming along really quick. It’s tough to get here on short notice and learn the playbook. So hats off to him for doing that.”
HOT SEAT: Fox was asked if he’s worried about his job security considering he’s 12-29 in 2 1/2 seasons with the Bears. He is also in the next-to-last year of his contract.
“I’ve been doing this too long,” Fox said. “I’ve never worried about my job security, and I won’t start going forward.”
Bengals 20, Titans 24
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker can pin down the biggest difference between the Titans this season and their often painful struggles of recent seasons.
These Titans don’t quit.
Marcus Mariota found DeMarco Murray for a 7-yard touchdown catch, with the running back shoving the ball across the goal line with 36 seconds left, as the Titans rallied to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-20 Sunday for their fourth straight win .
The Titans (6-3) have their longest winning streak since 2009 with the franchise’s best start since winning the first 10 games in 2008. That was the last time this team reached the postseason, a drought these Titans believe they can end.
“We’re never going to give up, and we’re going to continue to fight,” Walker said. “That’s the difference from years before. They didn’t have the fight. Now we have that fight.”
The Bengals (3-6) certainly know how to do that, sometimes to their own detriment. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was ejected in the second quarter for making contact with an official two plays after a late hit on Murray on the sideline. The Bengals lost for the third time in four games after two turnovers and 12 penalties for 84 yards.
“All we can control is our attitude, the way we work and keep fighting,” said Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, who was ejected a week ago for a fight.
Here are some things to know about the Bengals and Titans:
HELLO RED ZONE
The Titans scored three touchdowns inside the opponent’s 20 for a second straight week. Their TDs against a Cincinnati defense that came in as the NFL’s stingiest in the red zone were even more impressive. The Bengals had been allowing touchdowns on only 32.1 of opponents’ trips inside the Cincinnati 20 this season, and they had allowed only five TDs on 19 such trips over their previous four games.
The linebacker’s ejection left the Bengals without four defensive starters, with three deactivated before kickoff. Replays showed Burfict pushing aside the left arm of down judge Jeff Bergman on the sideline. Burfict didn’t leave immediately when referee Jeff Triplette announced the penalty, which is an automatic ejection. Burfict didn’t talk to reporters after the game.
“Sometimes what happens is you push back and you touch an official,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said. “You can’t do that. He knows better and we pay a price. We pay a price because it hurts us when it’s on the field that way and then he’s not on the field.”
The Titans are starting to use Adoree Jackson more on offense. Against the Bengals, Jackson trailed as the option for a pitch that never came on a 28-yard run by Mariota in the first quarter. Jackson did get the ball in the second quarter and went 20 yards . It’s the second straight week the cornerback has been used on offense and picked up 20 yards on a carry.
“I like my decoy plays a lot,” Jackson said. “Just to get out there on the offensive side is pretty cool, and to hear my name called and the defense saying ’25 is in the game. Look for 25,’ and everybody rallying to me, which was awesome. It reminds me of college and high school.”
The Titans came into this game leading the NFL having allowed only 16 passes of 20 yards or longer, and they didn’t yield even one a week ago in beating Baltimore. Andy Dalton had no problem finding Brandon LaFell wide open in the middle of the field for a 37-yard TD catch in the first quarter. The Titans later gave up a 70-yard TD pass to Green that gave the Bengals their first lead at 20-17 with 5:03 left.
Titans wide receiver Corey Davis nearly had his first NFL touchdown at the end of a 19-yard catch-and-run play. Unfortunately, the rookie stuck the ball out trying to reach it across the goal line only to fumble. Murray caught the ball but was out of bounds. Officials ruled the play a TD, but replay revealed the fumble and reversed the call, giving the ball to the Bengals.
“I shouldn’t have put my team in that position,” Davis said.
Steelers 20, Colts 17
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger’s old game plan still works.
Pittsburgh’s quarterback kept taking shots Sunday, and eventually the Steelers’ playmakers broke through.
Roethlisberger threw two second-half touchdown passes to erase a 14-point deficit and then hooked up with Antonio Brown on a 32-yard completion with 35 seconds left to set up Chris Boswell’s 33-yard field goal as time expired for a 20-17 victory at Indianapolis.
“Let’s not take this thing to overtime,” Roethlisberger said when asked about his thoughts on the final drive. “I felt that’s what we were kind of leaning toward.”
Roethlisberger made sure the Steelers (7-2) got out of town on time with a fourth straight win, padding their AFC North lead over Baltimore. Aside from the second-half comeback and frantic finish, things didn’t exactly go according to script.
Brown, the league’s top receiver, only caught three passes for 47 yards. Bell, the league’s No. 3 rusher, finished with 80 yards on 26 carries, and Roethlisberger wound up 19 of 31 for 236 yards after being picked off on the second play of the game.
And the Steelers never led until the final play.
But when it mattered most, Roethlisberger played his best ball, methodically moving around and buying just enough time to pick apart the Colts’ young secondary . It was no match for the 35-year-old comeback master.
“Big Ben is Big Ben and he finds guys, and we’ve got him in second-and-long and he finds a guy, and then he scrambles around and finds Antonio Brown,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “That’s what he does.”
For the Colts (3-7), it was just another frustrating in a series full of them. They’ve now lost five straight to the Steelers, this one perhaps being the flummoxing yet.
They appeared to be in control after Jacoby Brissett threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief early in the second quarter and a 61-yard TD pass to Chester Rogers just our plays into the third quarter to make I 17-3.
Roethlisberger came right back.
The two-time Super Bowl champion hooked up with JuJu Smith-Schuster on a 7-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 17-9. And after Ryan Shazier picked off Brissett’s pass at the Colts’ 10-yard line, Roethlisberger scrambled long enough to find a wide open Vance McDonald for another 7-yard score early in the fourth. The 2-point conversion pass tied the score at 17 with 11:52 to go.
He did it again on the final drive, too, completing two third-down passes before finding Brown on the final 70-yard drive for the winning kick.
“You give up some big plays, you have a chance to lose football games,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’re fortunate to win this game giving up those two long touchdown passes. So, we’ll get back in the lab and go back to work.”
Steelers: After managing only 100 yards in offense in the first half, Pittsburgh finished with 316. Smith-Schuster had five catches for 97 yards, and the Steelers finished with three sacks.
Colts: Indy had four first downs and 99 yards of offense in the second half, 61 of those yards coming on the TD pass to Rogers. Brissett was 14 of 24 for 222 yards with two TDs and one interception. Frank Gore ran 17 times for 54 yards.
Boswell’s winning kick was the culmination of an otherwise rugged day.
He had an extra point blocked that was nearly returned for two points by Colts safety Matthias Farley.
Boswell also had a chance to give Pittsburgh the lead with a 37-yard field goal with 6:17 left but the ball hit the right goal post and bounced off.
Steelers: Cornerback Joe Haden broke his left leg and Tomlin did not have an update on how much time he might miss. Starting safety Mike Mitchell left on a cart with an injured right ankle and did not return. Linebacker James Harrison missed the game with a back injury.
Colts: Brissett did not come to the podium after the game because he developed concussion-like symptoms following, the Colts said. The team said he had passed the concussion protocol in the third quarter. Cornerback Kenny Moore left in the third quarter with a concussion and tight end Darrell Daniels and linebacker Darnell Sankey both left with hamstring injuries in the fourth quarter. None of the three returned.
Steelers: Host Tennessee on Thursday night, their first home game since Oct. 22.
Colts: Will have a much needed bye before hosing Tennessee on Nov. 26.
Jets 10, Buccaneers 15
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — For Ryan Fitzpatrick, beating the New York Jets was not as much about getting the best of his old team as it was helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get back on track.
Filling in for the injured Jameis Winston, the 34-year-old quarterback was steady if not overly impressive in leading the Bucs to a 15-10 victory that snapped a five-game losing streak.
“I didn’t play great by any stretch of the imagination. But we won the game, and I’m getting too old now to worry about that other stuff,” Fitzpatrick said. “My job filling in right now is to do the best I can and try and grind out wins. That’s what we did today.”
Tampa Bay (3-6) sacked Josh McCown six times, nearly doubling its total for the entire season. The Jets (4-6) were held to less than 200 yards of offense until late in the fourth quarter, when McCown took to the air almost exclusively after Fitzpatrick’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Charles Sims put the Bucs up 15-3.
“The quarterback was getting hit. He wasn’t comfortable all day, and that’s what football is all about,” Bucs cornerback Brent Grimes said. “If you can make the guy that’s controlling the game uncomfortable, it’s going to be a lot easier for everybody.”
Fitzpatrick, facing the team for which he played the past two seasons, completed 17 of 34 passes for 187 yards and was intercepted once.
The 13th-year pro, one of just four players in NFL history to throw TD passes for seven different teams, led a nearly eight-minute drive that produced a field goal in the first quarter. He finished a 15-play, 81-yard march, also lasting more than seven minutes, with his TD pass to Sims.
“Gritty, that’s what Ryan is. He’s a get-it-done kind of guy. He’s going to make some plays that you don’t expect him to and he might miss a couple plays you’d like him to make,” Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. “He’s a tough guy. He’s a competitor, and you can’t have enough of those kinds of guys on your team.”
McCown, also facing one of his former teams, was 23 of 39 for 263 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Robby Anderson caught a 38-yard TD pass in the final minute for the Jets, scoring for the fourth straight game to give New York one last chance.
But Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin recovered the ensuing onside kick, ending any hope of New York completing a comeback.
The loss was especially disappointing for the Jets, considering how well they played in beating Buffalo the previous week.
“Very frustrating,” McCown said. “(But) we understand this is the National Football League. You’ve got to bring your A-game every week. We just didn’t come out and play at the level we’re capable of.”
Winston hurt his shoulder on Oct. 15 and made three more starts before the Bucs decided to shut him down for a minimum of two weeks. The Bucs also played without leading receiver Mike Evans, suspended one game by the league for his role in a sideline skirmish the previous week at New Orleans.
In addition to turning the ball over twice and allowing six sacks, the Jets hurt themselves with several costly penalties.
Jets coach Todd Bowles was unable to explain how his team could play so well against the Bills, then struggle against an opponent that had lost five in a row.
“You don’t explain it. It’s week by week,” Bowles said. “You’ve got to show up every week in this league or you’ll get it handed to you. We didn’t show up today.”
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
Despite finishing with 275 yards to Tampa Bay’s 271, the Jets failed to move the ball with any consistency for more than three quarters. More than 100 yards came on New York’s last two possessions, with McCown throwing on almost every play to try to cut into a 12-point deficit.
The Bucs entered the game with eight sacks, last in the league. Six players — Robert Ayers Jr., Gerald McCoy, Kendell Beckwith, Darryl Tapp, Clinton McDonald and Will Clarke — got to McCown.
Jets: Played without RB Matt Forte, who didn’t practice all week because of swelling in his surgically repaired right knee. … CB Morris Claiborne left in the first half with a foot injury.
Buccaneers: CB Vernon Hargreaves III left the game in the second half with a sore hamstring and did not return.
Jets: Bye. Next game at home vs. Carolina on Nov. 26.
Buccaneers: At Miami next Sunday, beginning stretch of three consecutive road games. Rescheduled from Sept. 10 because of Hurricane Irma.
Browns 24, Lions 38
DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford started slow, getting sacked on his first snap and throwing a pick on his second drive.
He bounced back and threw three touchdown passes in the second half to help the Detroit Lions come back and beat the winless Cleveland Browns 38-24 Sunday.
The Lions (5-4) rallied from first- and second-half deficits to earn consecutive victories for the first time since winning the first two games this season.
“I’ve had a lot of bad situations,” Stafford said. “I knew there was a whole lot more time left.”
Browns coach Hue Jackson may be running out of time to save his job.
Cleveland (0-9) is headed toward NFL infamy a year after losing the first 14 games in Jackson’s debut season and finishing 1-15.
Jackson is 1-24, a 25-game record since 1960 that is better than only Tampa Bay’s John McKay 0-25 mark.
After the Lions became the only team to go 0-16 in 2008, they drafted Stafford No. 1 overall and he has done enough for the franchise to get the richest contract in the league.
In Stafford’s latest comeback win, he was 17 of 26 for 249 yards with three TD passes and an interception.
After trailing by seven, Stafford threw an 8-yard pass to Theo Riddick for a TD, had the scoring toss to Ebron and a screen pass to Golden Tate that he turned into a 40-yard score to put Detroit up 38-24 with 4:36 to go.
“There are no easy wins in this league,” Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said.
The Browns looked as if they might finally win when they led 10-0, giving them their first double-digit lead of the season, and again as they led 24-17 in the third quarter after DeShone Kizer led two consecutive touchdown drives.
Cleveland’s chances were hurt when Kizer took a shot to the ribs by blitzing defensive back Quandre Diggs late in the third and didn’t return until late in the game.
In the final seconds of the first half, the Browns blew a chance to score when the clock ran out when they had no timeouts left at the Detroit 2 after their rookie quarterback was stopped on a run that wasn’t called in the huddle.
“DeShone took it upon himself to sneak it, which is not a bad thing to do,” Cleveland tight end Seth DeValve said.
Kizer, who came back to play late in the fourth, completed 21 of 37 passes for 232 yards with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt in the first quarter. Kizer ran seven times for 57 yards, including a go-ahead, 1-yard run with 6:01 left in the third.
He converted three fourth downs with throws on his final drive before getting picked off by Darius Slay in the end zone with 1:19 remaining.
“I thought DeShone played his best game,” Jackson said. “We had an NFL quarterback on the field today in every way. He was making plays and he was leading the team. Is he perfect? No, but this was the best version of him that we’ve seen this year.”
Isaiah Crowell had a season-high 90 yards and a score that pulled the Browns into a 17-all tie in the third. Kizer had a 20-yard run, helping him outrush Duke Johnson who had 54 yards on 10 carries. Cleveland had a season-high 201 yards rushing and three players with 50-plus yards on the ground for the first time in a game since 1974.
Detroit’s Ameer Abdullah ran for 52 yards on 11 carries, Theo Riddick had 35 yards rushing on four attempts and both had a run of 20-plus yards. Stafford made some key plays with his legs, gaining 17 yards on four runs.
Browns: LB Jamie Collins left the game with a knee injury when he intercepted a pass early in the game and wasn’t cleared to play. RT Shon Coleman (concussion) and TE Randall Telfer (eye) were also hurt during the game. While Kizer was out, Cody Kessler was 1 of 3 for 5 yards in relief.
Lions: RB Dwayne Washington left the game with a hip injury after picking up a first down on a 10-yard catch in the fourth quarter. LT Taylor Decker made his season debut, coming back from shoulder surgery. Decker appeared to have his snap count limited, leading to him spending some time on the sideline when Detroit had the ball. DE Ezekiel Ansah was inactive with a back injury.
Browns: Host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Lions: Visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Chargers 17, Jaguars 20 OT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars never would have been able to overcome this kind of misfortune in recent years.
Mistakes, turnovers, adversity, they had no chance.
But with soaring confidence stemming from sustained success in all three phases, the Jaguars have seemingly found a way to deal with difficult situations. There was plenty of evidence following a 20-17 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
The Jaguars (6-3) trailed 17-14 at the two-minute warning, threw two interceptions down the stretch and still managed to eke out a win against the Chargers (3-6).
“If any of those things, half of those things, happen two years ago, we fold and it’s over,” quarterback Blake Bortles said. “The guys we have in the locker room that we have now, the leadership, for guys to be able to overcome adversity, overcome mistakes, overcome turnovers and lead us and do all that is pretty impressive.”
The Jaguars probably needed a victory such as this to take the next step in their development.
After all, all five of their previous wins had been by 16 or more points and decided long before the closing minutes.
“That’s a difference between this team, honestly,” receiver Marqise Lee said. “The last 50 seconds, I wasn’t worried. And not just me, the whole team. … That’s the biggest thing about this team is the last couple of years we would have one or two turnovers and things like that and we would shut down. This year’s a lot different.
“We get ourselves into situations like we did and find a way to get out.”
The game went to overtime after a weird final two minutes of regulation that included a fumble, two interceptions, a taunting penalty and a costly flag for roughing the passer.
Jacksonville punted to start overtime, but the Chargers gave the ball right back — along with the game.
A.J. Bouye wrestled a deep pass away from Travis Benjamin on third down and returned it to the 2-yard line. A taunting call on cornerback Aaron Colvin pushed the Jaguars back 15 yards, but still well within Josh Lambo’s range.
“I just look at it like you’re trying to take food out of my daughter’s mouth,” Bouye said.
Lambo’s 30-yarder gave the Jaguars a third straight win and ended a six-game losing streak in the series.
“Your true character shows when you have adversity and we had a lot of adversity today,” Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said. “Nothing’s going our way, but nobody blinked. We believed and we made it happen.”
Here are some other observations from the Chargers-Jaguars game:
Melvin Gordon, who entered the game with an NFL-leading eight touchdowns, was on the sideline in crunch time. And it cost the Chargers.
Rookie Austin Ekeler fumbled while trying to run out the clock with a three-point lead in the final two minutes.
Ekeler, who turned two short receptions into touchdowns earlier in the game, had better numbers than Gordon. But having a rookie handling the ball in a crucial situation raised questions.
“I’m sure he’s beating himself up over that fumble,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “But he made some great plays, too. He was one of the reasons why we were in the game. So he’s just going to have to learn from it and keep it moving.”
Jaguars running back Corey Grant had a 56-yard touchdown run on a fake punt in the first quarter. It was his second huge gain on a fake punt this season and put him in elite company.
Grant has two runs of at least 50 yards on fourth down this season, which is as many as all other active players have combined in their careers. Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy and Kansas City’s Albert Wilson have one such run each.
Lynn was frustrated with safety Tre Boston, who inexcusably ran out of bounds at the 10-yard line following his second interception late in regulation. Jacksonville had three timeouts and got the ball back in good field position.
“That was one of the dumb things,” Lynn said. “Never seen it before.”
Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman played his first game of the season following an ankle injury and did some good and some bad.
He finished with a team-high nine tackles, but also whiffed trying to stop Jaguars rookie Leonard Fournette on one play early.
“I made some plays and missed a couple of tackles, and I got to get that down,” Perryman said.
Former Jaguars head coach and current Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley returned to Jacksonville 11 months after being fired. Bradley, who went 14-48 in three-plus seasons in Jacksonville, saved most of his reunions for after the game.
He had a lengthy embrace with Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith afterward and spent time with a number of players and coaches.
Texans 7, Rams 33
LOS ANGELES (AP) — In the NFL’s largest stadium, even a crowd of 60,032 screaming fans can look undersized.
But anyone who fixates on the empty seats in the cavernous Coliseum is missing the hometown momentum building around the Los Angeles Rams, according to the players and coaches creating it with an increasingly special season.
One year after the Rams went 4-12 in the franchise’s return to a sophisticated sports city that got along just fine without the NFL for 21 years, Los Angeles is 7-2 and rolling, with four consecutive wins and the league’s highest-scoring offense.
The Houston Texans are the latest opponent to get flattened after the Rams awoke for a 21-point third quarter in a 33-7 victory on Sunday.
“I think the fans are getting into it, and we just need to keep it up,” said LA-area native Robert Woods, who caught eight passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns, including a brilliant 94-yard score.
Jared Goff passed for a career-high 355 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in the No. 1 pick’s latest superb performance in coach Sean McVay’s offense. Woods caught a 94-yard TD pass to break it open before Sammy Watkins and Woods made TD catches 19 seconds apart late in the third quarter, with rookie linebacker Samson Ekubam’s forced fumble sandwiched between.
Goff thanked the fans who showed up for the Rams’ first home game in five weeks — an unfortunate absence caused by a quirk of the NFL schedule. With two East Coast road trips and a “home” game in London, the Rams were thousands of miles away from LA when they began this spectacular four-game streak in which they’ve outscored their opponents 144-41.
“I hope the people liked it,” Goff said. “It was fun. They were loud. I think we’re still new. We’re only two years into LA, so it’s still building that fan base, but I think today may have taken that next step. It had a little bit more of a family feel, and hopefully we can keep that going.”
The Rams struggled mightily last season after relocation, losing 11 of their final 12 games amid evaporating fan interest. McVay has transformed them into a playoff contender in remarkably short order — yet the Rams still hadn’t been great at the Coliseum. This blowout was just the Rams’ third win in 11 games in Los Angeles.
“It’s good to be back,” McVay said. “I thought there was some good energy, and fans were excited today. Players made a lot of big-time plays across the board. We enjoyed that atmosphere for sure.”
The defense also shut out Houston in the second half on the way to the Rams’ best start since 2001, when they went 8-1 in St. Louis on the way to the Super Bowl. A franchise with 13 consecutive non-winning seasons is just two victories away from breaking that streak.
“I’ve never been 7-2 before, so I feel good,” fourth-year defensive lineman Aaron Donald said.
Tom Savage passed for 221 yards with two interceptions for Houston, which has lost three straight, four of five, and two in a row since losing rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson for the season with a knee injury.
Here are some other items of interest from the Coliseum:
Todd Gurley didn’t get in the end zone, but the Rams’ versatile running back put up 68 yards rushing and 68 yards receiving. Gurley remains the NFL’s top-scoring non-kicker with 10 touchdowns.
The Texans are missing their two highest-profile players with Watson and J.J. Watt sidelined, but DeAndre Hopkins keeps making plays . The receiver had seven catches for 111 yards, hitting triple digits for the third time this season. Savage completed only 11 passes to the rest of Houston’s roster, including a 26-yard TD pass to Bruce Ellington in the second quarter.
Donald forced a fumble on Houston’s opening possession while sacking Savage, his college teammate at Pitt. But the Rams couldn’t get in the end zone early, and they trailed for the first time since Oct. 15 when the Texans put together a 75-yard drive in the second quarter, capped by Ellington’s untouched catch-and-run TD.
NFL scoring leader Greg Zuerlein kicked four field goals for the Rams. Zuerlein surpassed his previous career high when he made his 27th field goal of the season shortly before halftime, and he added another in the second half. The sure-footed veteran has missed just one field goal all season.
Cowboys 7, Falcons 27
ATLANTA (AP) — Adrian Clayborn must’ve thought he was the one replacing Ezekiel Elliott in the Dallas Cowboys’ backfield.
Clayborn spent most of Sunday running around back there, making life miserable for Dak Prescott with one of the greatest pass-rushing performances in NFL history.
A solid player but hardly a star, Clayborn set an Atlanta record with six sacks and forced a pair of fumbles to lead the Falcons past the Cowboys 27-7, a game that showed just how much Dallas missed one of its key offensive players.
No, not Elliott, though that was certainly a blow. After three legal reprieves, the star running back finally began serving a six-game suspension for allegations of domestic abuse .
The Cowboys were also without left tackle Tyron Smith, who couldn’t go because of groin and back injuries. Third-year player Chaz Green stepped into the spot — and had a thoroughly miserable day trying to stop Clayborn.
Leaving Green grasping at air, Clayborn blew by him to force two fumbles — one of which he recovered himself by ripping the ball away from Prescott — and surpass the team record of five sacks in a game, held by Chuck Smith and Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey.
“You always envision it,” Clayborn said. “I was finally in my groove.”
Clayborn matched the second-most sacks in NFL history. Derrick Thomas, Osi Umenyiora and Fred Dean are the only other players credited with six sacks in a game, while Thomas holds the league record with seven for Kansas City against the Seahawks on Nov. 11, 1990.
Clayborn had more sacks in this contest than any other season except for his rookie year in 2011, when he had 7.5.
He came into Sunday with two sacks on the season and 22.5 over his seven-year career.
“AC went crazy today,” Falcons receiver Julio Jones said.
Simply put, Green couldn’t cope with Clayborn’s speed.
“It just hurts because I feel I let the team down,” Green said. “I’ve just got to get better. It’s on me.”
While Clayborn and the defense dominated the Elliott-less Cowboys, Matt Ryan threw a pair of short touchdown passes and reached 40,000 career passing yards in fewer games than any other quarterback in NFL history. Ryan has 40,073 yards in 151 games, surpassing the previous mark of 152 held by Drew Brees.
Ryan hooked up with Justin Hardy on a 3-yard pass for Atlanta’s first offensive touchdown in the third quarter all season. Early in the fourth, Ryan put the game away for the Falcons (5-4) by tossing one to Austin Hooper for a 1-yard score.
Things started promisingly enough for the Cowboys (5-4), who jumped ahead 7-0 on Prescott’s 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The score was set up by Xavier Woods’ interception off a deflected pass.
Atlanta took control from there, ending Dallas’ three-game winning streak.
After Matt Bryant’s 50-yard field goal, Tevin Coleman powered over from the 1 to give Atlanta a 10-7 halftime lead.
The third quarter was a trouble spot for the Falcons, whose only touchdown in the period had come way back in Week 2 on Desmond Trufant’s fumble return. Atlanta had managed only one field goal in the third over its previous five games, a major reason the Falcons lost four of those contests.
Coleman, who took over the running duties after Devonta Freeman went out early in the game with a concussion, got the Falcons rolling on the first play of the second half with a 17-yard romp. Ryan went to Jones with a 24-yard pass on the next play, and just like that Atlanta was in Dallas territory.
On third-and-goal at the 3, Hardy slipped free in the back of the end zone and hauled in the scoring pass that pushed Atlanta’s lead to 17-7.
Dallas’ last hope faded away when Mike Nugent, filling in for injured kicker Dan Bailey, clanked a 38-yard field goal attempt off the upright late in the third quarter.
Atlanta marched right down the field again. Ryan went to Taylor Gabriel on a 34-yard pass before connecting with Hooper from the 1.
The Cowboys started former Pro Bowler Alfred Morris at running back, but he didn’t have much of an impact beyond a 20-yard run.
Morris finished with 53 yards on 11 carries.
Rod Smith ran three times 14 yards, while Darren McFadden was thrown for a 2-yard loss on his lone carry.
Prescott chipped in with 42 yards on six carries.
Freeman was hurt on Atlanta’s second offensive play. After gaining one yard on first down, he took a blow to the side of the head from Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens.
Wobbly after the hit, Freeman walked off the field with the help of trainers. After a brief stint in the observation tent, he was taken to the locker room and didn’t return.
Dallas linebacker Sean Lee also went out in the first quarter with a hamstring injury.
Cowboys: Return home to face the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) next Sunday night.
Falcons: Travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks (6-3) in a Monday night game.
Giants 21, 49ers 31
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — As the clock ticked down, coach Kyle Shanahan got doused with some Gatorade on a celebratory sideline for the San Francisco 49ers.
This win had been a long time coming.
C.J. Beathard threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third score to lead the 49ers to their first win of the season with a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.
“You lose 9 in a row, you learn to savor the moment and enjoy these,” Shanahan said. “It was tough work to get our first win and we got it. The guys knew how much it meant to me and I knew how much it meant to them.”
Beathard connected on an 83-yard TD to Marquise Goodwin and a 47-yarder to Garrett Celek in the second quarter as the 49ers (1-9) took advantage of another listless effort by the Giants (1-8) to win for the first time under coach Kyle Shanahan.
Beathard’s time as starting quarterback in San Francisco figures to be numbered after the team acquired Jimmy Garoppolo two weeks ago in trade from New England. Garoppolo has been learning the offense and could take over when the team returns from the bye in two weeks.
But for now, the Niners are happy to be able to celebrate a win as they rest up for the stretch run.
“I’ve been a part of a lot of wins with this franchise over the 11 years I’ve been here,” left tackle Joe Staley said. “This win felt just as good as winning the NFC championship. It was unbelievable.”
While the Niners could be making a quarterback change soon, this performance will only heighten the questions about whether the Giants will need to change coaches. Ben McAdoo has been under fire after a report this past week from ESPN that quoted an anonymous player as saying the players have given up on the season and don’t view McAdoo as a leader.
The Giants have not fired a coach during the season since 1976 when Bill Arnsparger was let go after a 0-7 start and replaced by John McVay, who had more success as an executive who helped build the 49ers dynasty in the 1980s.
“That doesn’t have anything to do with anything,” McAdoo said of his job security. “We have to find a way to win a game. We have to address what happened out here on the field today, take a look at the tape and be honest with each other.”
This was a historically bad matchup, marking the first time in 33 years that two teams with only one combined win met this late in a season. Then the teams committed three penalties before the second offensive play of the game.
The Niners were the only team to pick up their play from there, using the two big TD passes from Beathard to take a halftime lead and then dominating the second half.
PLAYING WITH A LEAD
The Niners took a lead for the first time since Oct. 1 at Arizona when they got a field goal from Robbie Gould on the opening drive. The five games without holding a lead tied a franchise worst set in 1963. San Francisco also got its first first down while holding a lead of the season on a 40-yard pass from Beathard to Louis Murphy in the third quarter. That drive ended when Olivier Vernon had his first career INT when dropping into coverage on a screen.
Giants rookie TE Evan Engram caught a TD pass for the fourth straight game as he has excelled after Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris were all lost for the season. Engram has five TD catches, tying the Giants record for a rookie tight end set by Bob Tucker in 1970.
The 49ers used the deep pass to great success with the 83-yarder to Goodwin the longest TD pass for San Francisco since Tim Rattay and Brandon Lloyd connected on an 89-yarder on Sept. 25, 2005, against Dallas.
Three players took a knee during the national anthem. Goodwin and Eric Reid protested for the 49ers while Vernon was the only Giants player to do it. No one else kneeled during the afternoon games on Veterans Day weekend.
“Our protest is against systemic oppression like we always say,” Reid said. “I didn’t feel the need to stand today. I have a military background in my family. I’ve spoken to family members who don’t feel disrespected.”
DT Damon Harrison (ankle), LG Justin Pugh (back) and LB Kelvin Sheppard (groin) left the game with injuries for the Giants.
Giants: Host Kansas City on Sunday.
49ers: Host Seattle on Nov. 26.
Patriots 41, Broncos 16
DENVER (AP) — Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes and the New England Patriots matched their own AFC record with their 12th consecutive road victory, pummeling the Denver Broncos 41-16 on Sunday night.
These teams have represented the AFC in the last four Super Bowls, and the Broncos (3-6) were hoping a visit from their rivals would help shake them from their funk, one that included a 28-point loss at Philadelphia a week earlier. With a win, “the swag, the energy in this locker room, it’ll skyrocket,” suggested Aqib Talib.
Instead, the Broncos fizzled.
They saw their losing streak reach five games, their longest skid in seven seasons, and they lost back-to-back games to the Patriots (7-2) in Denver for the first time since 1966.
Avoiding Von Miller all night and throwing for 266 yards on 25-of-34 passing, Brady improved to 8-9 against the Broncos, the only team he has a losing record against, and won for just the fourth time in 11 trips to Denver.
His 86th regular-season road win broke a tie with Peyton Manning for most all-time.
The Patriots also won a dozen consecutive road games from 2006-08. The NFL record is 18 set by the Joe Montana-led San Francisco 49ers from 1988-90.
Speaking of historic, the Patriots for the first time since 1979 had a special teams takeaway, a blocked punt and a kickoff return for a touchdown, a trifecta that fueled a comfortable 27-9 halftime lead.
The Patriots went three-and-out to start the game but rookie Isaiah McKenzie’s muffed punt — his fifth fumble of the year — led to Brady’s 14-yard TD toss to running back Rex Burkhead and set the tone for another head-scratching performance by the bungling Broncos, who that fancied themselves contenders after a 3-1 start.
After kicking a 39-yard field goal, Brandon McManus failed on the ensuing kickoff to get in front of returner Dion Lewis, whose 103-yard return down Denver’s demoralized sideline made it 14-3.
Then, Burkhead sliced through the line to block Riley Dixon’s punt at the Broncos’ 30-yard line, leading to Stephen Gostkowski’s second field goal.
When the Broncos finally forced another punt in the fourth quarter, they were whistled for 12 men on the field, giving the Patriots a fresh set of downs. Brady took advantage of that gaffe by throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to James White, making it 41-16.
That capped a 16-play, 94-yard drive that ate up 7 minutes, 31 seconds.
Brock Osweiler hooked up with Emmanuel Sanders five times for 114 yards in the first half but Denver stalled twice in the red zone and also at the Patriots 21, settling for field goals while the Patriots were scoring touchdowns.
Brady hit tight end Dwayne Allen from 11 yards out, Allen’s first catch of the year giving the Patriots a 27-9 halftime lead.
Even when the Broncos finally found the end zone on Demaryius Thomas’ 8-yard TD catch, the Patriots responded quickly with a 7-yard TD run by Lewis.
BENNETT’S BACK: Tight end Martellus Bennett was active — and productive — for New England just a few days after he saying the Green Bay Packers of pressuring him to play through a shoulder injury. Green Bay waived Bennett with the designation that he “failed to disclose a physical condition,” but Bennett said the Packers were aware of his balky shoulder when he signed him. He said it got worse during the season and he elected to have surgery. When the Packers waived him, the Patriots grabbed him.
His first catch covered 27 yards.
MILESTONE WIN: Patriots coach Bill Belichick moved into a third-place tie with Tom Landry on the all-time head-coaching list for wins, with 270. He trails only Don Shula (347) and George Halas (324).
INJURIES: Patriots special teams ace Matthew Slater went out in the first half with a pulled hamstring.
Broncos tight end A.J. Derby was knocked out with a shoulder injury.
Umpire Jeff Rice was carted off in the third quarter after hitting his head on the ground when Patriots linebacker Trevor Reilly bowled him over on during a Denver punt.
Patriots: At Oakland Raiders at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca (elevation 7,280 feet). The Patriots are staying in Colorado all week, practicing at the Air Force Academy (elevation 6,621) feet to acclimate to the altitude.
Broncos: Host the Cincinnati Bengals.
Dolphins 21, Panthers 45
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton was tired of the Carolina Panthers’ defense getting all of the glory.
Newton took it as a challenge when the defense vaulted to the league’s No. 1 ranking last week, saying it was time for the offense to strive to match them.
Newton did his part on Monday night, throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns and running for 95 more as the Panthers piled up a franchise-record 548 yards in a 45-21 rout of the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s nice to see them have this type of breakout game,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of the offense, which had 30 first downs and converted 11 of 14 third downs.
Said Newton: “I still feel like we are scratching the surface of our potential in this offense. We have to trust in our ability to execute our coach’s plan.”
Newton improved to 5-1 in Monday night games, while averaging 270.5 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions.
“There is something about this stage with him,” Rivera said. “He played a tremendous game.”
Jonathan Stewart ran for a season-high 110 yards, and Newton had a 69-yard jaunt on a read option as the Panthers racked up 294 yards on the ground. It was Stewart’s first 100-yard game since last December at Washington.
Rookie Christian McCaffrey scored touchdowns rushing and receiving, and Devin Funchess caught five passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns as the Panthers (7-3) remained a half-game behind the NFC South-leading Saints heading into their bye week.
Newton had his share of fun on the field.
After being tackled on his 69-yard run, an exhausted Newton laid on the ground smiling and shaking his body as if trying to get feeling back into his legs.
Teammates joked with Newton that backup quarterback Derek Anderson could have scored on the play.
“When you ain’t got no gas left and your check engine light is on and blinking, get gas at the next stop or so, man, you just have to try to celebrate when you can celebrate, brother,” Newton said. “I was just hoping coach didn’t come back with another run play for me.”
He tiredly handed off on the next two plays.
“Everything was fun out there,” said Funchess, who became the team’s No. 1 receiver when Kelvin Benjamin was traded to Buffalo two weeks ago.
Jay Cutler had 213 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception for the Dolphins (4-5), who have lost three straight. Jarvis Landry and Julian Thomas both caught TD passes for Miami.
The game turned with 41 seconds left in the first half, when Luke Kuechly made a leaping interception along the sideline with Carolina leading 10-7.
Four plays later, Newton connected with tight end Ed Dickson on a 7-yard touchdown pass. That opened the floodgates as the Panthers scored touchdowns on five straight possessions in their most explosive output of the season.
“In an eight-minute span, the game got away from us,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “It snowballed. We couldn’t prevent the big runs once they got going.”
The Panthers had entered the game 21st in the league in total offense and 24th in scoring.
“We get to watch them — that’s the fun part,” Kuechly said of the offense.
It was a big game for Stewart, who fumbled twice in last week’s 20-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
“He might have been playing with a chip on his shoulder, but we just wanted to get him to that second level,” Panthers offensive tackle Matt Kalil said.
The Dolphins have put themselves in a difficult situation in a tight AFC playoff race.
“There are pieces in the locker room. I truly believe that,” Cutler said.
The Panthers gave McCaffrey the start at running back over Stewart, who fumbled twice last week against the Falcons. McCaffrey didn’t let them down, combining for 50 yards and two scores, including a nifty 4-yard touchdown run where he faked out two Miami defenders.
Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald returned to the starting lineup after serving an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, but it didn’t help the struggling Dolphins defense.
DRAKE’S BIG RUN
Kenyan Drake provided the big play for the Dolphins, breaking free for a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Newton passed Dan Marino for the third-most total yards (passing and rushing) in a quarterback’s first seven seasons. Newton trails only Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan in that category.
Dolphins: Reported no injuries.
Panthers: Rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury after dropping a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone. … Center Tyler Larsen suffered a foot injury but returned to the game.
Dolphins: Host the Buccaneers on Sunday in a game that was rescheduled from Week 1 because of Hurricane Irma.
Panthers: Visit the Jets on Nov. 26 after a bye.