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Here is a recap of Week 11 of the 2017 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Bye: Panthers, Colts, Jets, 49ers
Titans 17, Steelers 40
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Another uninspiring half in the books in a season littered with them for a team that expects to play deep into January and beyond, Ben Roethlisberger decided he had seen enough.
So the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback decided it was time to speak up. The defense had kept the Tennessee Titans and star Marcus Mariota in check, yet a game that had the makings of a blowout didn’t feel like one mostly because the offense kept squandering chance after chance.
“He didn’t call anyone out, he called all of us out,” guard David DeCastro said. “Linemen. Receivers. Himself. Running backs. Purely positive. It was a challenge. He challenged us. The guys responded.”
None better than the 35-year-old Roethlisberger. Running the no-huddle offense to near perfection, Roethlisberger threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns, three to Antonio Brown, as the Steelers pulled away for a 40-17 victory.
“I don’t care if you’re old or young, just someone has to step up and make a play for this team or else we are going to keep relying on our defense,” said Roethlisberger, who went 20 of 23 for 185 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. “It is time that we step up and do something.”
Brown caught 10 passes for 144 yards and the three scores, including an acrobatic grab in the back of the end zone in which he pinned the ball to his helmet before bringing it in to put Pittsburgh up 20 in the fourth quarter as the Steelers set a season-high for points and margin of victory.
“We’ve talked so much about having the potential in this room, but we can still strive for more,” said defensive end Cam Heyward, who had two of Pittsburgh’s five sacks. “We’re a hungry group that still has a lot to prove. We’re chasing ghosts. We’re trying to be the best defense. That’s what we strive for.”
For long stretches, the Steelers (8-2) looked the part while extending their winning streak to five.
Though Mariota ran for a touchdown and threw for another, he was also picked off a career-high four times as the Titans (6-4) saw their four-game winning streak come to a crashing halt. Mariota finished 22 of 33 for 306 yards but was under pressure much of the night.
“When you play teams that are this caliber that are contenders, that win week in and week out, that’s the blueprint,” Mariota said. “We’re going to learn from it. We’re going to get better from it and hopefully we’ll see them again.”
There’s plenty to work on. Tennessee appeared to be in it when Mariota found Matthews with a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second half to get to 16-14.
Then Roethlisberger and the NFL’s highest-paid offense got going. Finally. Roethlisberger dropped some very not subtle hints that he wanted the freedom provided by the no-huddle after the Steelers used it to pick the Colts apart during the winning drive last Sunday in Indianapolis.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley appeared to be listening.
Pittsburgh opened in the no huddle and needed just six plays to take the lead as Roethlisberger took advantage of a free play and hit Brown with a 41-yard rainbow. Mike Hilton then returned Mariota’s interception to set up the first of Chris Boswell’s four field goals and the Steelers appeared on the verge of another prime-time blowout at home.
The blowout did eventually arrive, just not quickly.
The offense ground to a halt for the rest of the half, held in check by former defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. The Hall of Famer spent 12 years building a defense that helped Pittsburgh to two Super Bowl victories before being ushered out in favor of protege Keith Butler in January 2015. The 80-year-old is in the middle of his latest project with the steadily improving Titans.
Yet the gap between Tennessee and Pittsburgh remains significant. The proof came after Mathews’ long catch-and-run appeared to give the Titans momentum.
The Steelers reeled off three straight touchdown drives. Roethlisberger found a leaping Brown for a 5-yard score restored a nine-point lead, executed a perfect play-action fake at the goal line before flipping it to a wide-open Jesse James for a 1-yard strike and put the Titans away with a lob to the back corner of the end zone that Brown somehow hauled in from 10 yards out that made it 37-17.
Pittsburgh rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster knelt down and bowed to Brown during the giddy celebration. Hard to blame the 20-year-old. For the first time all season, the Steelers put it all together and looked every bit like a team with a legitimate threat to live up to its own hype.
Titans: Visit Indianapolis on Nov. 26. Tennessee beat the Colts 36-22 on Oct. 16.
Steelers: Welcome the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 26, the second of four straight prime-time games for Pittsburgh.
Chiefs 9, Giants 12
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — After weeks of turmoil, adversity and questions about their effort, the New York Giants showed they have some fight left in them.
Beating the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday not only gave them a good feeling, it also left many wondering if the Chiefs might have joined them on the ropes.
Roger Lewis Jr. made a spectacular catch to set up the winning 23-yard yard goal by Aldrick Rosas in overtime, and the Giants beat the anemic Chiefs 12-9 on a blustery, cold Sunday for only their second win in 10 games.
Rosas, who missed an earlier extra point, breathed a sigh of relief after the kick, then was mobbed by teammates.
“It’s joy, exuberance, just happy,” linebacker Jonathan Casillas said after the Giants snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the first time at home in five games. “It’s such a great play that Roger Lewis made to get us down in position to win the game. It’s just ecstatic, everybody is excited and the energy was there, the crowd was there. You can’t ask for a better ending than that.”
The winning kick came two plays after Lewis was yanked to the ground by cornerback Phillip Gaines on a deep pass from Eli Manning, but still caught the ball while flat on his back for a 34-yard completion on a fourth-down heave. Had he not caught it, flags flew for pass interference.
“I want 10 (Manning) to believe in me, and that’s what I got to do, make that play,” Lewis said.
Rosas, who had missed a field goal in each of the last four games, had no problem splitting the uprights from point blank range.
“To come through for my teammates and for them to put me in a position to win, it was pretty special,” said Rosas, who said the only thing he remembered after the kick was getting hit.
The Giants came into the game in turmoil, with questions about the future of coach Ben McAdoo and many wondering whether the Giants had quit in one-sided losses to the Rams and then the winless 49ers in the past two weeks.
Few expected them to beat the Chiefs, especially with Andy Reid’s record coming off a bye week. He was 16-2.
“It’s tough to win in the National Football League,” Reid said. “There is parity. It doesn’t matter if you are 1-8 or whatever it might be. There is opportunity. You have to bring you’re A-game every week and we have to get ourselves back to playing better. It’s my responsibility to do that.”
The Giants not only won, they intercepted Alex Smith twice, setting up their first nine points. Orleans Darkwa scored on a 1-yard run after Damon Harrison’s interception . Rosas kicked a 26-yard field goal to give the Giants a short-lived 9-6 lead with 1:38 left in regulation after Janoris Jenkins’ interception .
With one time out, Smith drove the Chiefs 69 yards in nine plays, the big shot a 32-yard pass to tight end Travis Kelce . Harrison Butker tied the game with a 23-yard field goal — his third short one — with :01 left in regulation. The drive was kept alive when Jenkins’ interception was nullified by a pass interference penalty against him.
“We’re out of rhythm,” said Smith, who finished 27 of 40 for 230 yards. “That’s the thing that jumps out, especially the last couple of weeks. Even when you’re stalling, there are a lot of times you are going and you’re not scoring. You’re still getting in a rhythm, and we aren’t. We got to find a way to get going earlier.
McAdoo pulled out every trick in his book, using a fake punt; a halfback option that was intercepted; an odd formation with his tackles lined up 5 yards wide; and then the decision to go on fourth-and-5 from the Chiefs 36 with just over two minutes to play.
The Giants took the lead early in the second quarter after defensive tackle Harrison intercepted a deflected shovel pass and returned it to the Kansas City 26-yard line. Led by DT Robert Thomas’ blocking, Darkwa scored from 1 yard after Marcus Peters was called for pass interference in the end zone.
Rosas’ extra point was pushed wide right by the wind.
Kansas City cut the lead in half on the next series, driving 61 yards in more than nine minutes. Butker ended up with his first 31-yard field goal.
The Giants’ unexpected performance came less than a week after co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said the embattled McAdoo would remain in charge through at least the end of the season. Days later, McAdoo and his team held what he termed “a brutally honest” team meeting in which mistakes and lack of effort plays were shown for all to see after the two losses by a combined 82-38 margin.
The Giants were missing two key starters. WR Sterling Shepard was out after having a career game against San Francisco, making 11 catches for 142 yards. He was added to the injury report Saturday with an illness and could not play. CB Eli Apple was at home with his mother, who had brain surgery on Thursday. “He’s My best friend, my nurse and part time ninja,” Annie Apple tweeted Sunday morning. …Thanks for being my side every step of the way.”
MANNING: Manning started his 209th consecutive game, moving into second place ahead of his brother, Peyton. Brett Favre holds the record of 297. Manning finished 19 of 35 for 205. Shane Vereen threw the Giants’ interception on the option pass.
Chiefs: Host Buffalo next Sunday.
Giants: at Washington on Thanksgiving night.
Ravens 23, Packers 0
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The deep, wobbly pass appeared to be underthrown and the receiver slipped. Ravens safety Eric Weddle stepped up in the open field for an interception so easy it looked as if he was the intended target.
It’s been a while since Baltimore has been this good in keeping opponents off the scoreboard.
Weddle’s pick was one of five turnovers forced by the Ravens in their third shutout of the season, a 23-0 win on Sunday over the Green Bay Packers.
Baltimore last accomplished the feat when the Ray Lewis-led defense had four shutouts for the Super Bowl-winning team in 2000; the last NFL team to have three was New England in 2003.
Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey also intercepted Brett Hundley for Baltimore (5-5), which led the NFL in picks entering the weekend.
“Defense, obviously, was off the charts,” coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s about as good as you can play on defense.”
C.J. Mosley forced a fumble and had one of Baltimore’s two fumble recoveries. Terrell Suggs, Matthew Judon and Willie Henry each had two sacks apiece.
Leave it to Suggs to add some perspective to the defense’s feel-good day.
“Don’t mean (anything) if we don’t make the playoffs,” the veteran edge rusher said sternly about the shutouts. “It’s good, but if we don’t get in … you won’t remember them.”
A problematic offense couldn’t generate a touchdown drive until Joe Flacco’s perfect deep ball to Mike Wallace over two defenders for a 13-point lead nearly two minutes into the third quarter. Flacco threw for 183 yards, going 22 of 28 with an interception.
His lone touchdown pass was still enough of a cushion against a Packers team struggling without two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, out with a broken collarbone.
The Packers were last shut out on Nov. 19, 2006, when then-starter Brett Favre left with an elbow injury in the first half of a 35-0 loss to New England. Rodgers, then in his second year in the league, finished off that loss in relief.
Hundley, Rodgers’ replacement this season, didn’t fare any better.
He was 21 of 36 for 239 yards. But he threw interceptions on the Packers’ first two series. On the third drive, backup running back Devante Mays fumbled on his first carry of the season.
“Our guys were playing so fast and covering so well, it just made it tough on” Hundley, Harbaugh said.
Any big gains the rest of the day were negated by busted plays or penalties. The Packers (5-5) have lost four of their past five games.
“You have to take care of the football,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Offensively, that was way too much for us to overcome.”
Davante Adams was a lone bright spot, torching the Ravens’ strong secondary for 126 yards on eight catches. The Packers actually outgained the Ravens 265-219. But turnovers sapped any momentum.
“We’re not in panic mode, everything is still in front of us,” Adams said. “We’ve got to get a grip of it real quick here. Otherwise, we will be in panic mode.”
Justin Tucker kicked three field goals for Baltimore. Alex Collins added a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:12 left. That score came a play after Hundley threw his third interception, returned 15 yards by Humphrey.
Collins had 49 yards on 20 carries, while Wallace finished with 56 yards on four catches.
Ravens: Harbaugh picked up his 100th career win, counting regular-season and postseason victories.
Packers: Lost in the lackluster performance on offense was a solid outing for a defense that allowed a season-low in total yards. It was the fewest yards allowed by Green Bay since giving up 189 to Chicago in Week 7 last season.
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews suffered a groin injury midway through the first quarter. He returned for one play on the next defensive series, then watched the rest of the first half from the sideline. Matthews did have a sack before getting hurt, his first sack since Week 4, to give him 3½ for the season. Another starter, defensive lineman Kenny Clark, was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
“It’s pretty ugly. Not what we expected when we went out there.” — WR Jordy Nelson on the offense taking a step back after a 23-16 win last week against Chicago.
The Ravens were whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after punting the ball in the third quarter to the Packers after referee Jeff Triplette said a player on the sideline “verbally abused an official.”
Ravens: Host the Houston Texans on Nov. 27.
Packers: Visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 26.
Jaguars 19, Browns 7
CLEVELAND (AP) — With a smack-talking, quarterback-sacking defense, Jacksonville is all alone atop the AFC South.
The Jaguars intend to stay there.
Blake Bortles threw a touchdown pass , linebacker Telvin Smith recovered a fumble for a TD with 1:14 remaining on Sunday and the surprising Jaguars won their fourth straight, 19-7 over the winless Browns to move into sole possession of first place in their division.
Jacksonville’s top-ranked “Sacksonville” defense forced five turnovers, including two in the final two minutes when the Browns were still within six points.
“We’ve got some good players on that side of the ball,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said of a defense that has recorded 40 sacks and allowed a league-low 141 points. “There’s not really a lot you can do, trying to win the game on the other side. It’s hard to sit back there. I see it in practice.
“You’ve got those cats coming at you and those guys covering. They did a nice job.”
The Jaguars (7-3) built a 10-0 lead and turned things over to a defense gaining confidence and developing a nasty reputation. They intercepted Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer twice, recorded five sacks and blanked the Browns (0-10) in the second half.
Cleveland’s last hopes ended when Yannick Ngakoue swarmed Kizer and knocked the ball into the end zone, where Smith recovered . Earlier, Ngakoue and Calais Campbell combined to sack Kizer, who fumbled as he fell and it was recovered near mid-field by Dante Fowler with 1:48 left.
With the win, Jacksonville is leading its division after 10 games for the first time since 1999, when the Jags were atop the AFC Central at 9-1.
It’s a stunning turnaround for a team that went 3-13 last year and wasn’t expected to do much.
Josh Lambo kicked a pair of field goals for the Jaguars, who have held six opponents to seven points or less.
On a blustery, rainy and snowy afternoon along Lake Erie, the warm-weather Jaguars were unable to move the ball with much success. But their defense came through again with another impressive performance, and backed up safety Tashaun Gipson’s prediction that Jacksonville would keep the Browns winless.
Earlier in the week, Gipson, a former Pro Bowler in Cleveland, ripped the Browns’ front office and said his former team will “probably go 0-16.” He also predicted a shutout.
While his forecast was slightly off, the Jaguars extended their longest winning streak since 2007 and continued their climb.
“I would have had to play quarterback if I had to for us to get a win,” Gipson said. “I knew we couldn’t leave out of here without a win, but they definitely kind of got me nervous a little bit at about the five-minute mark. Blood started rising a little bit like, ‘Man I can’t leave Cleveland with a loss, man.’ I’m going to have to delete my social media.”
The Browns fell to 1-25 under coach Hue Jackson and are 4-43 since Nov. 30, 2014 — the worst 47-game stretch in NFL history.
“I am trying to win,” he said. “These players are trying to win. … This team is in games. This team is hanging around games. The defense is playing good. The offense will make a play here and there. We just do not make enough NFL plays to win the game. That is what we have to do, and we have to do it better.”
With the wind affecting every pass, the Jaguars stayed on the ground. Rookie Leonard Fournette, who has been slowed by a sore ankle, finished with 111 yards on 28 carries.
“He’s a tough kid,” Bortles said. “He’s a guy that everyone loves to have on their team. The offensive lineman love blocking for him. I love giving him the ball as much as possible cause he runs his tail off.”
Browns DE Emmanuel Ogbah will likely miss the rest of the season with a broken foot. Jackson said the second-year pro will be out for “some significant time.” Ogbah has been playing well lately.
“I hate that for him, I really do,” cornerback Jason McCourty said. “I saw the look in his eyes at halftime, and it was tough. He’s been playing really well and you just want to see him continue to grow.
Browns: WR Sammie Coates sustained an injury to his right knee and ankle in the first quarter and did not return. … DT Jamie Meder’s day was ended by a left ankle injury in the first.
Jaguars: WR Marqise Lee limped off the field in the first quarter but returned after having his left ankle re-taped. … WR Kellan Cole bruised his ribs in the first quarter but came back.
Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon worked out on the field before the game. Gordon was recently re-instated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being suspended for the past two seasons. He can begin practicing this week and will be eligible to play for the first time since 2014 on Dec. 3 when Cleveland visits the Los Angeles Rams.
A Pro Bowler in 2013 when he led the league with 1,646 yards receiving, Gordon has missed 53 of Cleveland’s last 58 games.
Jaguars: At Arizona.
Browns: At Cincinnati.
Redskins 31, Saints 34
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Alvin Kamara climbed into the Superdome stands, stood in the first row with his arms folded and soaked in the adulation of fans who were relishing their decision to stick around after all had looked lost.
Kamara’s celebration of his 18-yard touchdown reception had an air of presumption, given New Orleans still needed a 2-point conversion to erase what had been a 15-point deficit when the Washington Redskins scored with 5:58 left in regulation. Then again, the Saints’ confidence was understandable; they haven’t lost in more than two months.
Kamara climbed back down in time to take a pitch into the end zone for the needed conversion, and the Saints won their eighth straight when Wil Lutz’s 28-yard field goal capped a 34-31 triumph in overtime.
“We just kind of hung in there. Guys believed,” said Saints coach Sean Payton, whose mind seemed to be racing as he labored to recall details of the frenzied final stretch. “There were a lot of things happening in a short period of time.”
Drew Brees passed for 385 yards and two touchdowns, going 11 of 11 for 164 yards and his only two touchdowns on New Orleans’ final two possessions of regulation. His first TD went to tight end Josh Hill from 3 yards out with 2:53 to go and the last to Kamara with 1:05 left.
“I tip my hat to Brees. That’s what he does. That’s what great quarterbacks do. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to make plays,” said Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger, whose first-quarter interception was Brees’ first turnover in four games. “We didn’t do our job. We beat ourselves for sure.”
The unlikely comeback made New Orleans the first team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to win eight straight after starting 0-2.
“We haven’t encountered a game like this in a while, and it was great to watch the team rally,” said Brees, whose team won its previous seven games more convincingly. “We have the confidence to win in a lot of different ways. We have the personnel to do it and the right attitude to do it.”
The Saints (8-2) set up their final drive by stopping Samaje Perine on third-and-1 at the two-minute warning when a first down would have allowed Washington (4-6) to run out the clock.
Washington moved into winning field-goal range in the final minute of regulation, only to be pushed back by a fluky grounding penalty that appeared to result from Kirk Cousins’ miscommunication receiver Jamison Crowder, followed by a sack.
The Redskins received the ball first in overtime, but the Saints’ hobbled defense, which gave up more yards than in any game during its winning streak, forced a quick punt thanks in part to Cameron Jordan’s sack.
“We had a surplus of emotion and a surplus of confidence,” Jordan said. “That was the difference-maker.”
Mark Ingram capped a 134-yard rushing performance with gains of 20 and 31 yards on back-to-back carries to set up Lutz’s clinching kick.
Cousins passed for 322 yards and three touchdowns, finishing 22 of 32 with no interceptions. His touchdowns went for 40 yards to Ryan Grant, 16 to Chris Thompson and 7 to Jeremy Sprinkle. Grant’s TD, which made it 24-13 in the third quarter, capped a drive extended by a successful fake punt on fourth-and-1 from the Redskins 15-yard line.
Perine carried 23 times for 117 yards, including his 1-yard TD.
New Orleans entered the game without veteran safety Kenny Vaccaro and then lost top cornerback Marshon Lattimore on Washington’s first possession when he twisted his left ankle diving to break up a pass in the end zone. Leading tackler A.J. Klein (ankle) also missed his first game.
The Redskins gained 456 yards — their second most this season — against a defense that hadn’t allowed more than 347 yards in any game during New Orleans’ winning streak.
Cousins said he understood why the pivotal grounding penalty was called when he threw to an empty spot where Crowder had vacated, but he disagreed with officials’ interpretation.
“If he had turned and looked at me and the ball had been 10 feet over his head, I can just say the ball slipped out of my hand,” Cousins said. “That’s what I didn’t understand — how do you separate an inaccurate throw from no eligible in the area? I felt like an eligible was in the area, so I threw it in the area.”
Redskins: Running back Chris Thompson was carted off the field with what the Redskins said was a broken right fibula in the third quarter.
“Chris was one of our best players if not our best player this year,” Cousins said. “It’s going to be challenging to continue to move the ball with all the guys we’ve had injured, but we’ll find a way.”
Guard Shawn Lauvao left in the first half with what team officials described as a stinger. Reserve defensive end Terrell McClain left in the first half with an injured toe.
Saints: Lattimore tried to return for the first defensive series of the second half, but lasted one play. Defensive end Alex Okafor left in the fourth quarter, favoring his left leg.
Redskins: Host the New York Giants on Thanksgiving night.
Saints: Travel to Los Angeles to play the Rams.
Rams 7, Vikings 24
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Case Keenum sure took it to his old team.
He gave the Minnesota Vikings another reminder of his ability for good measure, with his status as the starting quarterback still not secure.
Latavius Murray rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns , Adam Thielen turned a short catch into a 65-yard score and the Vikings smothered the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in a 24-7 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Keenum completed 27 of 38 passes for 280 yards and no turnovers against the team that benched him last season for No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff. He guided the Vikings (8-2) to their sixth straight victory in a matchup of division leaders.
“I’m not at my best if I’m using a percentage of my mind in worry about other things,” he said, “so I shut that out and I come out to play.”
For another week, Keenum kept the Teddy Bridgewater talk on the backburner.
“It’s going to be hard to yank him out of there right now,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “I still have really high hopes for Teddy, and a lot of things happen throughout the course of the season, so we’ll just see how it goes.”
Minnesota’s defense started the second half by forcing four punts in a row by the Rams (7-3), whose four-game winning streak in which they scored 144 points was finished in lopsided fashion. The Rams entered the week with a league-best third-down conversion rate of 46.7 percent. They were just 3 for 11 against the Vikings.
“Football is really simple: You line up the man in front of you. You beat him,” said Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, who returned from a foot injury, but had his eight-game sack streak stopped.
The Los Angeles defense was trampled in the second half for 288 yards, and Keenum went without a sack for the sixth game this season. Thielen handed him the longest touchdown pass of his career, by turning a simple curl route early in the fourth quarter into a game-breaking score after spinning past Rams cornerback Dominique Hatfield. Injuries took two of their top three cornerbacks out of the game for the second half.
“We talk about it every single week that you’ve got to be ready to go, because it is a very humbling league,” Rams coach Sean McVay said, “and I felt we got humbled today by a very good team.”
Thielen finished with 123 yards on six receptions, giving him 916 yards this season. The only player in Vikings history to reach 900 yards receiving by the 10-game mark was Randy Moss, who did it in 2000 and 2003.
Thielen’s connection with Keenum has been especially strong, with Keenum continually finding Thielen open down the field even with the pressure on .
“We get the same Case every week: a guy who just prepares and busts his tail and is in there in the quarterback room before everybody else is probably waking up,” Thielen said. “Just the way he prepares, it’s pretty inspiring.”
Vikings safety Anthony Harris, starting for the injured Andrew Sendejo, single-handedly turned the momentum of the game by stripping the ball from Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp at the 1-yard line and recovering the fumble with 4:03 remaining in the second quarter. The game was tied 7-all at the time. Harris led the Vikings with seven tackles and broke up a pass, too.
Goff and the Rams stretched their streak of scoring on their first drive to five straight games, with a nine-play, 75-yard march that Todd Gurley capped with a short up-the-gut touchdown run.
With the crowd noise reverberating off U.S. Bank Stadium’s translucent roof, Goff had to walk back and forth to the wide receivers to call the plays amid the din to keep McVay’s fast-paced, no-huddle scheme going. It was stuck in neutral after that opening possession.
Goff went 22 for 37 for 225 yards and no turnovers, taking one sack. After the first drive, Gurley ran the ball 11 more times for a net of 17 yards.
“Seeing their defense and all the different looks they do and all the talent they have, especially up front with the pass rush, makes that team special,” Goff said.
Special enough, perhaps, to play deep into the postseason.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to see these guys again,” Gurley said.
Rams: CB Kayvon Webster (concussion) didn’t play after halftime. … Nickell Robey-Coleman, the nickel CB, hurt his thigh in the second quarter and did not return.
Vikings: RT Mike Remmers (concussion) sat out for the second straight game and was replaced by Rashod Hill, who left in the fourth quarter with a leg injury. … DE Brian Robison (back) was inactive for the first time since Dec. 23, 2012, a streak of 76 straight games including playoffs.
Rams: Host New Orleans next Sunday, their second consecutive matchup with an NFC division leader.
Vikings: Visit Detroit this Thursday, their second straight Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions, who won 14-7 at Minnesota on Oct. 1.
Cardinals 21, Texans 31
HOUSTON (AP) — Rookie D’Onta Foreman had the best game of his young career on Sunday, running for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to help the Houston Texans to a win over the Arizona Cardinals.
But in a season of disappointment, that high was followed with another low as Foreman was carted off the field with an ankle injury after his second touchdown.
Foreman’s big day helped the Texans, who have already lost stars J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson to season-ending injuries, snap a three-game skid with the 31-21 victory.
“It was a bittersweet day,” Foreman said, adding that he didn’t yet know how serious his injury was.
The Texans (4-6) went on top when Foreman scored his first career touchdown on a 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals were stopped for a loss on a fourth-and-1 later in the fourth. Coach Bruce Arians said he regretted not punting on that play.
“Very simple — I cost our team the game … when you can’t gain a foot, you deserve to lose, especially if you make the decision I made and the play I called,” he said. “There’s your headline, you can write it.”
Foreman dashed 34 yards on the next play to push the lead to 31-21 with about six minutes left.
“I just wanted to get something started,” Foreman said. “I felt like in … the first half I didn’t really play like I wanted to play and I knew in the second half I just had to go out there and try to make some plays and try to help us win the game and I feel like I did that.”
Foreman was injured on the play, falling to the ground in the end zone. He appeared to be in a lot of pain as he reached for his ankle. He was looked at on the field for a few minutes before he was helped to the cart and taken off the field as the crowd chanted: “Foreman, Foreman.”
Blaine Gabbert threw for 257 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in his first start of the season with Drew Stanton dealing with a sprained knee and Carson Palmer out for the season with a broken arm. But Gabbert threw interceptions on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter to seal Arizona’s fate.
The Texans won despite two turnovers by Tom Savage, who has lost six fumbles and thrown three interceptions in just four starts this season. He finished 22 of 32 for 230 yards and two touchdowns in his third start since Deshaun Watson was injured.
Rookie Ricky Seals-Jones, who didn’t have a catch entering Sunday, finished with 54 yards receiving and two touchdowns for the Cardinals (4-6). Seals-Jones, who is from nearby Sealy, Texas, added his second touchdown on a 28-yard grab to make it 21-17 with about five minutes left in the third quarter.
“Ricky has been really impressive in practice against our defense,” Arians said. “We put some plays in for him, and he responded well.”
Houston took a 17-14 lead when the team opened the second half with a drive capped by a 28-yard touchdown reception by DeAndre Hopkins. He grabbed a 34-yard pass on third-and-8 on the play before to keep the drive going.
The Texans took a 7-0 lead when Lamar Miller grabbed a 7-yard pass from Savage before falling out of bounds early in the second quarter. Miller, a sprinter at Miami, then started a relay baton celebration where he ran before pretending to hand off to Hopkins, who passed it on to Braxton Miller, who finished the bit by handing it off to Bruce Ellington.
Savage was sacked by rookie Budda Baker later in the second quarter and fumbled. Baker recovered the ball to give Arizona possession at the Houston 17.
Two plays later, Gabbert connected with Larry Fitzgerald on the 20-yard touchdown pass to tie it at 7-7. Fitzgerald passed Tony Gonzalez (15,127) for the fifth-most receiving yards in NFL history on that play and ended the day with 91 yards receiving to give him 15,157 yards.
Patrick Peterson intercepted Savage and returned it 22 yards late in the third quarter to give Arizona great field position again. This time Gabbert found Seals-Jones on an 11-yard TD pass to put the Cardinals up 14-7.
The Texans added a 34-yard field goal late in the second quarter to cut the lead to 14-10 at halftime.
Houston CB Kevin Johnson left the game in the fourth quarter after sustaining a concussion.
Houston inducted Andre Johnson as the inaugural member of the Texans Ring of Honor on Sunday. Johnson spent 12 seasons in Houston and is the team’s leader in yards receiving (13,597), receptions (1,012) and touchdown receptions (64). He was given a red jacket and feted with a halftime ceremony attended by dozens of former Texans.
Johnson said he never thought about the possibility of being honored like this when he was playing.
“I just wanted to come here and play. Just do things the right way,” he said. “I just wanted to be a good football player.”
Cardinals: Host the Jaguars next Sunday.
Texans: Visit the Ravens on Nov. 27.
Lions 27, Bears 24
CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Prater booted the go-ahead field goal through the gusting wind right down the middle with enough room to clear the crossbar.
He also gained some revenge against a coach who cut him.
Prater kicked a 52-yard field goal with 1:35 remaining, Matthew Stafford threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns and the Detroit Lions held on to beat the Chicago Bears 27-24 on Sunday.
Detroit (6-4) took the lead after Tarik Cohen had tied it for Chicago (3-7) with a 15-yard touchdown run that ended with him leaping across the goal line.
Prater kicked the winner after Stafford led a 42-yard drive to the 34. The Lions escaped with their third straight win when the Bears’ Connor Barth was wide right on a 46-yarder in the closing seconds.
“It was pretty difficult, just with the winds gusty, couldn’t really tell what it was doing,” said Prater, a two-time Pro Bowl selection. “Good thing I had (holder) Sam (Martin) kind of caddie me, said play it at the left upright. Then I think he was almost jumping on me. And I kind of lost it. I don’t know, I started yelling at coach Fox maybe, but it was fun.”
Fox was coaching Denver in 2014 when the Broncos cut Prater. They did that just days before he was to rejoin the team following a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy to start that season.
As for Barth?
He wasn’t even close as he attempted to force overtime. He is now 11 of 16 on the season, all five misses from 40 and beyond.
“I think I hit the ground a little bit and just didn’t make good contact,” he said. “So, it was a tough one.”
Stafford completed 21 of 31 passes. Marvin Jones Jr. had four receptions for 85 yards and a TD.
DJ Hayden ran back a fumbled snap for a touchdown to give Detroit seven return TDs this season, tying a team record. And the Lions beat the Bears for the eighth time in nine games.
Detroit also improved to 3-0 against the NFC North. All those wins are on the road, with one coming at division leading-Minnesota. The Lions host the Vikings on Thursday.
“I think we’re a confident group no matter what time of the game it is,” Stafford said. “Fourth quarter, first quarter, it doesn’t matter. We go out there and just try to play as good a football as we can. I’ve got confidence into the fourth quarter with the guys around me.”
Chicago dropped its third straight even though Jordan Howard ran for 125 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell Trubisky faded after a strong start, throwing for 179 yards and a TD. His 19-yard scramble on fourth-and-13 in the final minute put the ball on the Detroit 43.
He then hit Dontrelle Inman with a 15-yard pass, giving Barth a chance to force overtime. But the Bears once again came up short after a rough loss to Green Bay that reignited the heat on Fox.
“It’s always frustrating losing,” Cohen said. “It adds to that when you know you’re right on the fringe of being a successful team. More than not a couple games we’ve lost have come right down to the wire. We know that if we do certain things right the game could come out totally different.”
Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd was taken from the field on a cart early in the fourth quarter with what Fox described as a “fairly serious” knee injury he suffered trying to defend a run.
Several teammates kneeled nearby as the medical staff tended to him on the field. Cornerback Kyle Fuller was seen bleeding from his left wrist after the play, though he returned to the game.
Moments after Floyd went down, Prater kicked a 27-yard field goal to make it 24-17 with about 10 minutes left.
“I liked the fight we had in us. I think we all recognize the fact that we put ourselves in that position, but I liked the way we came out of it. Oftentimes, particularly on the road, some teams take a nosedive when they get behind and don’t come back.” — Coach Jim Caldwell on the Lions rallying from 10 down to take a four-point halftime lead.
Lions: DE Ezekiel Ansah (back) missed his second straight game. … RB Dwayne Washington (hip) was inactive.
Bears: WR Josh Bellamy got shaken up blocking on a pass play in the third quarter and entered the concussion protocol. … RG Kyle Long (finger) was back in the lineup after being limited to one special-teams play last week. … LB Danny Trevathan (calf) and TE Dion Sims (illness) were inactive for the second straight week.
Lions: Host the Vikings on Thursday.
Bears: Visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 26.
Buccaneers 30, Dolphins 20
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay gave up big play after big play. The Buccaneers wasted a 13-point lead. They were an inch or two shy of giving up a safety that probably would have changed everything in the final minutes.
It doesn’t sound like a winning formula.
Against the blundering Miami Dolphins, it was good enough.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, Patrick Murray kicked a 35-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining and the Buccaneers snapped a six-game road slide by topping the penalty-prone Dolphins 30-20 on Sunday.
“That’s really all that matters is having more than they’ve got at the end,” Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said. “We had a lot of opportunities … you’re always going to have some adversity on the road, we had more than our share today, and at the end of the day when things are going bad you’ve got to rise up and do something. And we were able to pull it out.”
Jay Cutler threw three first-half interceptions and didn’t play in the second half because of what the Dolphins said was diagnosed as a concussion. Matt Moore went 17 of 28 for 282 yards and a game-tying touchdown with 3 minutes left, but Miami couldn’t overcome five turnovers and 17 penalties — one shy of the franchise all-time record.
“Got to catch the ball, got to hold onto the ball,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “Penalties, pre-snap stuff, that’s just ridiculous.”
Miami (4-6) tied the game at 20-20 on a 61-yard touchdown pass from Moore to Kenny Stills. Fitzpatrick coolly moved the Buccaneers 58 yards on the ensuing drive, and Murray delivered what essentially was the winner.
“I was proud even before we kicked that field goal,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everyone knew we were going to get it done.”
Adarius Glanton got a bonus touchdown for Tampa Bay (4-6) on the final play, when the Dolphins’ lateral-filled last-ditch attempt at a kickoff return turned into a Bucs’ score.
“Shouldn’t have to win it like that when it’s 5-0 in the turnover margin,” Koetter said. “But, you know, a win is a win is a win in the NFL and you never apologize for it.”
O.J. Howard and DeSean Jackson had touchdown catches for the Buccaneers, who outscored Miami 17-0 in the second quarter to take a 20-7 halftime lead.
“Hats off to them for changing their plan up in the second half and making some plays,” said Tampa Bay cornerback Brent Grimes, a former Pro Bowler for the Dolphins. “We made enough to win.”
The Bucs also stuffed three straight 1-yard-to-go runs by the Dolphins at the Tampa Bay 34 in the fourth quarter, forcing a turnover on downs on a day when Miami had more mistakes than points.
Stills caught seven passes for 180 yards, and Jarvis Landry had six catches for 95 yards and another touchdown for Miami, which has lost four straight for the first time since 2013 and now faces a steep climb in the playoff chase.
“We understand the position that we’re in,” Dolphins defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh said. “We knew this was a big game. We made mistakes.”
The Dolphins had their three longest passing plays of the season — the 61-yard touchdown pass to Stills, a 49-yarder to Landry and another 45-yard strike to Stills. Before Sunday, Miami’s longest pass play was a 36-yard throw from Cutler to Stills against the Jets on Oct. 22. A 69-yard run by Damien Williams on Miami’s second snap was also the longest ground gain for the Dolphins this season.
The Dolphins challenged a call late after Fitzpatrick appeared to be tackled in the end zone, a play that would have gotten Miami within 20-15. After review, the ball was spotted just outside the goal line. “Looked like a safety to me,” Miami defensive end Cameron Wake said. “But, it wasn’t. Moving on.”
Buccaneers: RG Evan Smith left in the first half and was diagnosed with a concussion.
Dolphins: Besides Cutler’s concussion, the Dolphins lost RG Jermon Bushrod in the third quarter to a left foot injury. LB Chase Allen, who started in place of Rey Maualuga — who was arrested early Saturday in a dispute over a bar tab and quickly waived by the Dolphins — also was evaluated for a concussion in the second half. LB Stephone Anthony had a knee injury, the specifics were not announced.
PLENTY OF BIRTHDAYS
Howard, the Bucs’ rookie tight end, celebrated his 23rd birthday Sunday. For the Dolphins, CB Cordrea Tankersley turned 24 and DE Terrence Fede turned 26.
Buccaneers: Visit Atlanta on Nov. 26, the second game in a three-week stretch of road contests.
Dolphins: Visit New England on Nov. 26, the start of a three-week stretch when Miami will see the Patriots twice.
Bills 24, Chargers 54
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Nathan Peterman’s first NFL start for the Buffalo Bills was going just fine until his third pass deflected off his receiver’s hands. It was snatched by the Chargers’ Korey Toomer, who took it back for a touchdown.
That bad break triggered an avalanche of interceptions for the fifth-round pick, whose day devolved from a disappointment to an embarrassment — and finally to a full-fledged fiasco.
And even after throwing five interceptions in the first half of a 54-24 loss to Los Angeles on Sunday, Peterman might get another chance to get it right next week.
Casey Hayward made two of the Chargers’ five interceptions, and Toomer returned the first pick 59 yards for a touchdown on Buffalo’s opening drive. Peterman threw two more interceptions in the first quarter and two additional picks in the second while the Chargers became the first team in the last two decades to make five interceptions in a first half.
“I didn’t play very well,” Peterman said. “When those things start to happen, I’ve got to be able to let it go.”
Peterman was pulled from his first NFL start with a 37-7 halftime deficit afterjust 14 pass attempts for the Bills (5-5), who lost their third straight.
“Guys all over the team were saying encouraging things,” Peterman said. “They were saying, ‘Hey, you’re young, and you’re going to learn from this,’ and telling me a lot of their stories, too. I’ve got a lot of great teammates.”
Buffalo benched Tyrod Taylor and promoted the fifth-round pick from Pitt earlier this week despite being in playoff position. Coach Sean McDermott replaced Peterman with Taylor in the second half, and the veteran went 15 of 25 for 158 yards, throwing one TD pass and rushing for another score.
Afterward, McDermott said he hasn’t decided who will start next Sunday against Kansas City. He plans to evaluate film of this game “and take my time.”
“It wasn’t what he had hoped for, or what we had hoped for,” McDermott said. “At the same time, when you put a young player out there, a young quarterback, there’s going to be some ups and downs. Today is not indicative of who he is as a player.”
The Chargers (4-6) thoroughly capitalized on Peterman’s mistakes, putting up a 27-point second quarter and their highest-scoring performance in Philip Rivers’ 195 consecutive starts since 2006. Los Angeles set a franchise record for points in a first half during the Bills’ worst defensive half since 1977, and the Chargers posted a resounding win for coach Anthony Lynn, who finished last season as Bills interim coach.
“Sometimes (takeaways) come in bunches, and they came today in bunches,” Lynn said. “And our offense took advantage of them most of the time. … Regardless of who they started at quarterback, we didn’t play dumb football.”
Joey Bosa particularly harassed Peterman, with his pressure contributing to Peterman’s second and third picks. Bosa also forced a fumble while sacking Taylor on fourth down in the third quarter, and Melvin Ingram returned it 39 yards for a touchdown.
Peterman threw his third interception to Tre Boston while getting planted on his back by Bosa, and Allen then caught his first touchdown pass since the Chargers’ opener on a beautiful back-shoulder throw by Rivers.
Los Angeles took a 47-10 lead in the third quarter and got many of its regulars off the field in the second half to rest for its Thanksgiving game at Dallas.
Taylor hit LeSean McCoy with a 12-yard TD pass on fourth down in the fourth quarter. McCoy also rushed for 114 yards and an early score.
“I still plan to support Nathan if he’s the guy,” Taylor said. “Of course I believe in my ability. I think I’m a starter. … There’s definitely some things that we have to talk about as a leadership council. I’m pretty sure over the next couple of days things are going to definitely have to be talked about.”
One week after a heartbreaking overtime loss in Jacksonville, the Chargers snapped a two-game skid and got back into fine form on both sides of the ball. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler rushed for TDs, and Nick Novak kicked four field goals.
Rivers passed for 250 yards and Keenan Allen had 12 receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns for the Chargers.
“It felt good,” Rivers said. “The defense obviously helped out quite a bit. We had optimal field position, but we executed at a much better level offensively, much better rhythm and flow.”
Bills: Buffalo lost new WR Kelvin Benjamin to a right knee injury after a 20-yard catch on their opening drive, and S Micah Hyde injured his knee early in the second half. McDermott had no postgame update on either player.
Rivers spent the week in the NFL’s concussion protocol after reporting symptoms on Monday , but he was cleared in time to keep alive his streak of consecutive starts since the 2006 opener. The veteran went 21 of 33 before Kellen Clemens played the fourth quarter.
Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka set an NFL record by making his 13th consecutive field goal of 50 yards or longer during the third quarter.
Bills: At Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Chargers: At Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.
Patriots 33, Raiders 8 @ Mexico City
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The New England Patriots approached their nine-day trip to Denver and Mexico City the way they do just about everything else under coach Bill Belichick.
They were all business.
And now they head home with two convincing wins over AFC West opponents as the Patriots once again appear to be peaking at just the right time of the season following their sixth straight win.
Tom Brady threw for 339 yards and three scores , the Patriots forced two key first-half turnovers and Stephen Gostkowski kicked a team-record 62-yard field goal to lead New England to a 33-8 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
“These trips come down to whether you win or lose,” Brady said. “You remember it when you win, but if you lose, you want to forget it as fast as you can. … You really have to focus in on what you have to do, and you’ve got to try to keep your routine as best you can so that, when you come out there and play, you’re ready to go.”
After starting the trip with a 41-16 win over the Broncos , the Patriots (8-2) spent the week at the Air Force Academy to acclimate themselves to the thin air at 7,200 feet elevation at Azteca Stadium.
They arrived in Mexico City on Saturday and thoroughly dominated the Raiders to the delight of a crowd that featured many fans chanting “Brady! Brady!” throughout the game.
“We talked about it, when we took off to go to Denver, about a long trip but making it worthwhile,” safety Devin McCourty said. “Being away from home meant preparing, doing a good job of preparing, and being together, executing our game plan. I think, both sides of the ball, we did that today.”
The game turned during a key sequence late in the first half. The Raiders (4-6) were driving and poised to cut into a 14-0 deficit when Seth Roberts caught a pass inside the 5. Roberts held the ball loosely as he fought for more yardage and Marquis Flowers knocked the ball loose . Patrick Chung recovered with 33 seconds left at the New England 7.
The Patriots managed to move 48 yards in four plays and ended the half with Gostkowski’s field goal that was tied for the sixth-longest field goal in NFL history.
“That was a 10-point swing right there,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “That was a tough one to swallow.”
Here are some other takeaways:
NAVY MAN: Belichick has long ties to the Naval Academy because his father spent years there as a scout and coach. That made it a little unusual for him to walk into his postgame news conference wearing an Air Force hoodie. The sweat shirt was a gift from academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria after the Patriots spent the week practicing there.
“I’ll always be a Navy man,” Belichick said. “Just want to give a shoutout and a big thanks to General Silveria and his staff at the United States Air Force Academy and the work we had there.”
FAILED EXPERIMENT: With starting cornerback David Amerson sidelined a third straight game with a foot injury and the secondary struggling as a whole, Del Rio moved rookie Obi Melifonwu outside. The second-round safety had played only seven snaps on defense all season because of a leg injury that sidelined him for eight weeks. But he struggled in his start at cornerback against the Patriots, allowing a 64-yard TD catch by Brandin Cooks on the opening drive of the second half when he bit on a double move. The Raiders have no interceptions this season, tying the 1976-77 49ers for the longest streak ever without picking off a pass.
“We need more production,” Del Rio said. “I’m willing to try just about anything.”
STEPPING UP: The Patriots thrived despite missing two starting offensive linemen. Center David Andrews (illness) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) both were inactive, giving an opportunity to center Ted Karras and right tackle LaAdrian Waddle. New England averaged 4.5 yards per rush and gave up just one sack.
DROPSIES: The Raiders once again struggled to hold onto passes with Roberts dropping one on third down to stop Oakland’s first drive, Michael Crabtree dropping one later in the first quarter and Oakland finishing with five overall in the game. There was also another deep pass that bounced off Johnny Holton’s shoulder pad for an interception by Juron Harmon .
“I’ve got to throw the ball better,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “The drops, it’s got to be something to do with me.”
RETURN TRIP: Before the game, the NFL announced that the league has extended its deal to play games in Mexico through 2021. The current three-year contract is set to end in 2018. The announcement didn’t specify where the games will be played or what teams would come. There is a new stadium in Monterrey that also could accommodate an NFL game.
“They’ve done a nice job for us the past couple of years,” Del Rio said. “If this was a road game, I’d enjoy it.”
Bengals 20, Broncos 17
DENVER (AP) — Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals only made things tougher on the Denver Broncos 48 hours after their boss labeled them as soft.
Dalton’s three touchdown throws and a defense that contributed two takeaways helped the Bengals beat the Broncos 20-17 Sunday for their first win in Denver since 1975, when franchise founder Paul Brown was their head coach.
“I didn’t know that stat,” Dalton said. “It feels good anytime you can win. It’s tough to win on the road. For us, this is big.”
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis conveniently left out the fact that the Bengals had lost 10 in a row at Denver in prepping his team for this game.
“These guys weren’t even alive in ’75, were they?” Lewis said.
That year, Brown’s Bengals prevailed 17-16 at the old Mile High Stadium, which is now a parking lot.
“No, I don’t remember that,” cracked A.J. Green, who wasn’t born until 1988. “I don’t keep up with history a lot.”
Denver’s dive is certainly reaching historic proportions.
Not only did the Broncos see their 10-game home winning streak against Cincinnati (4-6) snapped, but they lost their sixth straight game, their longest skid since 1990.
“This isn’t the culture here,” lamented quarterback Brock Osweiler, who just two years ago helped as the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. “The standard here is to win championships, get to the playoffs every year and contend for Super Bowls, and right now we’re not playing football like that. So, it’s very frustrating.”
The Broncos (3-7) have been outscored by 100 points during their skid that led general manager John Elway to suggest over the weekend that “we got a little bit soft” after a 3-1 start that followed a perfect preseason.
“I was initially offended, but in some aspects he’s right,” said Broncos rookie coach Vance Joseph, who also received a vote of confidence from Elway, who suggested it was up to the players, not the coaching staff, to pull Denver out of its doldrums.
Players’ reactions to Elway’s insult ranged from anger to acceptance.
“None of us are soft,” fumed Brandon Marshall.
“He was telling the truth,” allowed Von Miller.
Trailing by a field goal, the Broncos got the ball back with 1:52 left on their 20-yard line, and on fourth-and-4 Osweiler’s low throw to Emmanuel Sanders was broken up by Dre Kirkpatrick, whose big play in the first half set the tone for Cincinnati’s historic win.
Kirkpatrick’s interception return nearly covered 102 yards. But he fumbled the ball at the Denver 15-yard line before smothering it at the 1.
“I’ve got to punch that in,” lamented Kirkpatrick.
Dalton had his back, connecting with Tyler Kroft for the score three plays later.
Because his first completion had lost a yard, Dalton had this oddball stat line: zero passing yards but one TD throw.
Dalton only ended up throwing for 154 yards while completing 15 of 25 passes, but he had a 29-yard TD toss to Alex Erickson for a 13-7 halftime lead, and an 18-yarder to Green, which made it 20-10 with just under nine minutes remaining.
Demaryius Thomas’ 17-yard touchdown catch pulled the Broncos within 20-17 with five minutes left.
But cornerback Bradley Roby, burned for the last two touchdowns, committed a crucial pass interference call on a third-down incompletion to Green which allowed the Bengals to burn off more time.
“We’re still in it,” Bengals receiver Brandon LaFell said. “You look around the league, there’s a lot of teams 4-6, 5-5. So, we’re right in the thick of things.”
And the Broncos are still stuck in reverse.
FAST START: Shaq Barrett’s blocked punt set the Broncos up at the Bengals 29 in the opening minutes.
Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who has stubbornly stuck with three-receiver sets as his base formation during Denver’s nosedive, emptied his backfield on third-and-3 from the Cincinnati 4. That’s when Osweiler’s pass was picked off by Kirkpatrick.
The Broncos reached the Cincinnati 3 on their next drive and again lined up with an empty backfield. Only this time, C.J. Anderson motioned in from the left, took the handoff and sneaked across the goal line for Denver’s first rushing touchdown in the first quarter all season.
Brandon McManus’ extra point put Denver ahead 7-6. McManus nailed a 61-yarder at the end of the first half, but Marvin Lewis had called a timeout, and his do-over was blocked by KeiVarae Russell.
Anderson had a crucial fumble at midfield early in the fourth quarter that led to Cincinnati’s second touchdown.
TASTING A TURNAROUND: The Bengals are hoping this is the start of a season-saving run and they become the third team to reach the playoffs after a 3-6 start.
“Yeah?” Vontaze Burfict said when told the Bengals are only a game back in the wild card race. “Don’t count us out yet.”
QUARTERBACK QUAGMIRE: Osweiler fell to 0-3 since supplanting Trevor Siemian, who was leap-frogged by Paxton Lynch for the first time Sunday when Lynch was the backup and Siemian inactive.
Asked if it was time to see conclusively if Lynch is a first-round bust or just a late bloomer, Joseph said, “We’ll see. We’re going to watch the tape and see where we are as an offense. Obviously, he’s healthy now. He’s a young player with talent.”
Osweiler said he’s not worried about getting benched.
“I’m never going to look over my shoulder,” he said.
Bengals LB Vincent Rey pulled his left hamstring in the second quarter and didn’t return.
Bengals: Host the Cleveland Browns next Sunday.
Broncos: Travel to Oakland seeking season sweep of the Raiders, whom they edged 16-10 on Oct. 1 before beginning their slide.
Eagles 37, Cowboys 9
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — No kicker, no problem for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Carson Wentz threw for two touchdowns and three 2-point conversions after Philadelphia lost kicker Luke Elliott to a head injury, and the Eagles all but wrapped up the NFC East with a 37-9 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
The Eagles (9-1) outscored the Cowboys 30-0 in the second half while extending their winning streak to eight games, their longest since 2003-04 and tied with New Orleans for the best current run in the NFL.
Philadelphia leads the second-place and defending division champion Cowboys (5-5) by four games with six to play after handing Dallas its worst home loss at 8-year-old AT&T Stadium.
Dallas’ Dak Prescott threw a career-high three interceptions and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in his second straight loss without star running back Ezekiel Elliott, serving a six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence.
Luke Elliott’s injury wasn’t a factor for nearly a half because the NFL-leading Eagles couldn’t get in scoring position. They failed to get a first down on five straight first-half drives, starting with one at the Dallas 15 when Elliott missed a 34-yard attempt and soon after left the field.
Trailing 9-7 at halftime, Wentz led the Eagles on scoring drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards, the middle one boosted by Jay Ajayi’s 71-yard run against his hometown team in his second game since getting traded by Miami.
Ajayi had 91 yards on seven carries and LeGarrette Blount added 57 on 13 carries, including a 30-yarder leading to the last offensive touchdown.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson declared at halftime that he would go for every fourth down and try 2-point conversions after every touchdown.
It came into play right away when Corey Clement scored on an 11-yard run to open the second half and ran in a screen pass behind three blockers for the 2-pointer.
The first fourth-down try was Wentz’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery for a 29-9 lead. That 2-point pass failed. Torrey Smith had the other TD catch, an 11-yarder.
After Derek Barnett hit Prescott’s leg and arm as he was throwing, Nigel Bradham picked up the loose ball and ran it 37 yards for a touchdown. Wentz’s pass to Trey Burton provided the final margin.
The Cowboys appeared to have fixed the problems of missing injured left tackle Tyron Smith and 2016 All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee from a week earlier, when they allowed eight sacks of Prescott along with three Atlanta scoring drives following Lee’s injury in a 27-7 loss to the Falcons.
But after protecting Prescott fairly well before halftime, Dallas allowed three sacks and 180 of Philadelphia’s season-high 215 yards rushing in the second half.
Prescott was 18 of 31 for 145 yards for a career-worst 30.4 passer rating before backup Cooper Rush took mop-up duty.
BRING A JACKET
The Cowboys had their retractable roof open for the first time this season despite a game-time temperature of 54 degrees, chilly for the Texas types. It was just the sixth time the roof was open while the huge sliding glass doors behind each end zone were closed since $1.2 billion AT& Stadium opened in 2009.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, embroiled in what has become a public dispute with fellow owners over a contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell, received his Hall of Fame ring in a halftime ceremony. He shared the stage with wife Gene Jones and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker.
Eagles: After missing wide right on the 34-yard field goal in the first quarter, Jake Elliott was evaluated for a head injury. He was in on the tackle on Switzer’s long return on the opening kickoff, but made an extra point and kicked off again before the missed field goal.
Cowboys: Already missing Lee, replacement Anthony Hitchens left with a groin injury.
Eagles: Home against Chicago next Sunday.
Cowboys: Los Angeles Chargers visiting for annual Thanksgiving game.
Falcons 34, Seahawks 31
SEATTLE (AP) — Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons did enough through 3 ½ quarters that even the best comeback attempt by Russell Wilson fell short this time.
A couple of yards short to be exact.
Ryan threw a pair of touchdown passes, Adrian Clayborn returned a fumble 10 yards for a score and the Falcons watched Blair Walsh’s 52-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds fall short, holding off the Seattle Seahawks for a 34-31 win on Monday night.
Atlanta won its second straight to stay on the heels of New Orleans and Carolina in the NFC South, and handed Seattle a second consecutive home loss.
“What an absolute team win from the guys tonight,” Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. “Coming here, in this environment, with the crowd, we thought it would be two competitive, tough teams that were going to battle for it in the biggest way.”
Ryan threw TDs to Mohamed Sanu and Levine Toilolo, while Tevin Coleman added a 1-yard TD run on Atlanta’s opening possession.
But it was Clayborn’s fumble return that helped break the game open early in the second quarter and gave Atlanta a 21-7 lead. He scooped up a loose ball after Wilson was crunched by Takk McKinley and Courtney Upshaw.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction. We keep proving we can finish games and beat guys. We have to take the momentum and keep rolling with it,” Clayborn said.
With Seattle down 11 points, Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a 29-yard TD with 3 minutes left and then threw to Jimmy Graham for the two-point conversion. Seattle got the ball back and moved in range for Walsh, whose attempt was on line but landed short of the crossbar.
“That was in our range, and in hindsight I would have just driven it more,” Walsh said. “I would have driven it more and not left it short. I was too accurate and didn’t have enough on it.”
Wilson again was the entirety of Seattle’s offense, throwing for 258 yards and two touchdowns, and running for another 86 yards and a TD.
But it was an awful night for the Seahawks, filled with more injuries and questionable decisions by coach Pete Carroll. He called for a fake field goal late in the first half rather than attempting a 35-yard kick. He also made a questionable challenge in the fourth quarter that didn’t go his way and left Seattle with just one timeout.
That lack of timeouts came back to haunt Seattle on the final drive when seconds ticked away and rather than running one more play, Walsh was sent out to attempt the 52-yard kick. His long for the season is 49 yards.
The conclusion only amplified Carroll’s baffling decision at the end of the first half, when Seattle ran a fake field goal rather than having Walsh attempt a 35-yarder that would have pulled Seattle within 24-20. Holder Jon Ryan completed his shovel pass to Luke Willson, but Grady Jarrett read the play and tackled Willson for a 4-yard loss.
Willson said Atlanta’s defense on the play was different than what Seattle had seen on film.
“It would have been a really good call if we had made it,” Carroll said. “Terrific opportunity right where we wanted it and the defensive tackle made a better play.”
Seattle played a game for the first time since the end of the 2010 season without Richard Sherman. His streak of 99 consecutive starts in the regular season was snapped because of a torn Achilles tendon suffered against Arizona. The Seahawks were also without safety Kam Chancellor because of a neck injury, leaving their vaunted secondary with several new faces.
“Those two are phenomenal players. … It was a lot different,” Sanu said. “They did a lot of different things but we just had to take advantage of our routes.”
Ryan was more than happy to pick on a defense without Sherman and Chancellor. He was 19 of 27 passing for 195 yards and rarely faced pressure. Seattle had one sack, and the Falcons went 9 of 14 on third-down conversions.
Sanu made a great one-handed grab for a 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Ryan found Toilolo on a 25-yard TD in the third quarter to give Atlanta a 31-20 lead. Matt Bryant added a 19-yard field goal with 3:49 left to put the Falcons ahead by 11, and Wilson’s late heroics weren’t enough.
Ryan’s streak of 64 straight games passing for at least 200 yards was snapped.
Seattle’s injury woes continued. The Seahawks lost rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin to a concussion on the second play of the game, forcing newly signed veteran Byron Maxwell into a more prominent role than expected.
Early in the second half, promising running back Mike Davis was lost to a groin injury after taking a screen pass 21 yards. Davis had two receptions and had carried six times for 18 yards before getting hurt. Seattle also lost starting guard Oday Aboushi in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.
Atlanta got a scare when safety Keanu Neal was checked for a concussion in the first half. He was cleared to return.
Falcons: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday to open a three-game homestand.
Seahawks: Travel to division foe San Francisco on Sunday.