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Here is a recap of Week 13 of the 2017 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Redskins 14, Cowboys 38
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott was getting X-rays on his swollen right hand when rookie Ryan Switzer scored his first career touchdown on an 83-yard punt return.
The extra time with the Dallas offense on the sideline kept Prescott from missing any plays, and last year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year led the Cowboys to their first win after three straight losses without suspended star running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Prescott threw two touchdown passes, including a franchise record-breaker to Dez Bryant , in the Cowboys’ 38-14 victory over the Washington Redskins on Thursday night.
The injury happened in the second quarter when Prescott’s right hand was hit by linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons just as he made an option pitch to Rod Smith. Thanks to Switzer’s dash to the end zone, Prescott didn’t miss a snap. He said the X-rays came back negative.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever broken my hand,” Prescott said. “I couldn’t grip initially right after because the (hand) swelled up on me so bad. As I said, they wrapped it up, got the swelling down and I was fine.”
Bryant’s leaping 13-yard catch in the end zone was the 2014 All-Pro’s first score in six games and 72nd of his career, one more than Hall of Famer Bob Hayes.
The Cowboys (6-6) never trailed despite a sluggish start to the offense, thanks to three first-half turnovers and four overall by the Redskins (5-7). Dallas kept it going after halftime with a 21-7 scoring edge after getting outscored 72-6 in the second half during the three-game skid.
Alfred Morris, Elliott’s replacement during the six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence, had 127 yards rushing and a clinching touchdown.
The Cowboys forced NFL-leading Philadelphia to wait until at least Sunday to clinch the division title. But Dallas still faces a steep climb to playoff contention, and two more games without Elliott.
The Redskins had already been eliminated in the division race and are virtually out of the postseason picture after Kirk Cousins threw two interceptions and lost a fumble while throwing two touchdown passes.
Jamison Crowder let the pass go through his hands on Cousins’ first interception and fumbled on a Dallas punt a few plays later in the Redskins’ fourth straight loss to the Cowboys, the longest such streak in the series since 2003-04.
“It was just miscues,” Cousins said. “A dropped ball here, we had a nice drive down the field the second drive, just a tough turnover, and then it was one thing after another that were just mistakes. They happen, and we have to correct them.”
By the time the Redskins answered Switzer’s punt return with a 75-yard drive that ended with Cousins’ 20-yard scoring pass to Ryan Grant , Prescott was ready to return. He had been holding his right hand in his helmet once he returned to the sideline.
Rookie backup Cooper Rush had his helmet on when the Redskins punted.
“If we didn’t have the return by Switz, Cooper Rush would have got in the ballgame at that point,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We got the return, Dak was able to come back out.”
Prescott only threw for 102 yards but didn’t have a turnover after throwing five interceptions and losing three fumbles without a touchdown pass during the losing streak.
And the Cowboys looked more like the offense they have when Elliott is around, with Morris picking up big yardage on clock-killing drives with the Cowboys in front.
Cousins moved the Washington offense sporadically because he was consistently harassed behind a patchwork offensive line that had to shuffle some more because of injuries. Cousins, who was 26 of 37 for 251 yards, was replaced by Colt McCoy late in the fourth quarter.
SACKS ARE BACK
DeMarcus Lawrence, the NFL sacks leader most of the first half of the season, had two of Dallas’ four sacks, ending a two-game drought for the entire team and extending his career high to 13 1/2. Cousins was hit hard by David Irving on a sack in the fourth quarter.
Bryant still hasn’t had a 100-yard game, his longest drought to start a season since his second year in 2011. But the 61-yard effort included a 24-yarder that set up his record-setting TD on the first play of the fourth quarter. “I was talking about that demeanor and that attitude that we carried,” Prescott said. “I give him credit. He kind of brought it this week and pretty much tonight and you kind of felt it early.”
MORE OL SHUFFLING
Redskins right tackle Morgan Moses didn’t return after injuring an ankle in the first half, forcing Ty Nsekhe to that spot after he was a fill-in starter at left guard on a patchwork line that’s been dealing with injuries all season.
Left tackle Trent Williams left the field briefly in the third quarter. He’s been inactive three of the past six games because a knee injury that will require surgery. Washington was already missing center Chase Roullier because of a hand injury.
Redskins: At Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 10.
Cowboys: At New York Giants on Dec. 10 to start a season-ending stretch of three of four on the road.
Vikings 14, Falcons 9
ATLANTA (AP) — The Vikings frustrated Matt Ryan, blanketed Julio Jones and kept the Atlanta Falcons out of the end zone.
Minnesota’s eighth straight victory was all about defense.
Case Keenum threw a pair of touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score on the first play of the fourth quarter, but the guys on the other side of the line were largely responsible for the Vikings extending their winning streak to eight in a row Sunday with a grind-it-out, 14-9 victory over the Falcons.
“It was a hard one,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “We’ve got a good bunch of fighters on this football team, and I think maybe they really believe now.”
Keenum strengthened his hold on the starting job by going 25 of 30 for 227 yards. He hooked up with Jerick McKinnon on a 2-yard scoring play in the second quarter and went to Kyle Rudolph for a 6-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter , capping an 89-yard drive that consumed more than 8 minutes.
Minnesota (10-2) turned in a stellar defensive effort against a team that led the league in scoring a year ago and seemed to be finding its stride during a three-game winning streak, averaging nearly 32 points.
The Falcons (7-5) were held without a touchdown for the first time since Dec. 13, 2015, when they were blanked 38-0 by Carolina . Ryan’s streak of 30 straight games with a TD pass also ended, going down as the eighth-longest in NFL history.
The league’s reigning MVP, Ryan finished 16 of 29 for just 173 yards — his lowest output since he threw for 172 yards in a 33-10 loss to Seattle in 2013.
“They are a very good defense,” Ryan said. “We knew it was going to be tough sledding at times, but we’ve got to be more productive.”
Jones was held to a pair of catches for 24 yards, one week after he had 12 receptions for 253 yards in a victory over Tampa Bay.
“We know how great a player he is, how talented he is,” Zimmer said. “It’s important that we try to take away some of the opponent’s strengths each week.”
With the win and Detroit’s loss to Baltimore, the Vikings took a four-game lead in the NFC North. They also gained on Philadelphia in the race for the NFC’s top seed when the Eagles (10-2) lost at Seattle on Sunday night.
The loss could be a crucial one for Atlanta, which is two games behind New Orleans and one behind Carolina in the NFC South. Seattle’s win put the Falcons out of position for a wild card.
After Matt Bryant’s third field goal gave the Falcons a 9-7 lead early in the third quarter, the Vikings took control with a bruising drive that included three third-down conversions. Once they flipped ends of the field at the end of the third quarter, Keenum found Rudolph all alone in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score. The tight end beat cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, who took over with Desmond Trufant held out because of a concussion.
While Rudolph and his teammates celebrated, Wreh-Wilson looked around as though he was expecting help.
Atlanta’s last gasp ended when Bryant missed a 45-yard field goal with 4:58 remaining after the Falcons passed on a chance to go for it on fourth-and-4.
Minnesota held the ball the rest of the game , essentially sealing the victory when Keenum connected with Adam Thielen on a third-down pass that went for 22 yards. The Vikings kneeled down deep in Falcons territory as the clock ran out.
THIRD DOWN DIFFERENCE
The Falcons were leading the league with a 48 percent conversion rate on third down.
They finished 1 of 10 against the Vikings.
Minnesota, on the other hand, converted 6 of 10 third-down chances.
“That really ended up being a big factor in the game,” Zimmer said.
REMEMBRANCES OF ’98
McKinnon, an Atlanta native, celebrated his touchdown by breaking into the “Dirty Bird,” the end-zone dance made famous by Jamal Anderson during the Falcons’ run to the Super Bowl in 1998.
“It was a tribute to my hometown,” he said. “I grew up watching the Falcons. I’ll give myself an ‘A’ for it.”
The Falcons also remembered that season by honoring Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen, whose 38-yard field goal in the NFC championship game gave Atlanta a stunning 30-27 overtime victory over heavily favored Minnesota.
Vikings: TE David Morgan went out in the first quarter with a concussion. He was the top backup to Rudolph.
Falcons: G Andy Levitre sustained a triceps injury in the first quarter and didn’t return. Ben Garland took his spot on the offensive line. In addition to Trufant, the defense was missing nickel back Brian Poole (back), who appeared to make progress during the week but was downgraded to questionable on Saturday.
Vikings: Their third straight road game will be against another NFC South opponent, Carolina.
Falcons: Face a short turnaround before hosting a must-win Thursday night game against their bitter division rival, the Saints.
Lions 20, Ravens 44
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens got another ball-swiping performance from their opportunistic defense, and this time — for a change — the offense also contributed to a significant victory.
Joe Flacco threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns, and the Ravens forced three pivotal turnovers Sunday in a 44-20 win over the Detroit Lions.
Flacco helped Baltimore take a 20-0 halftime lead and directed three scoring drives in the fourth quarter to keep the Ravens in front.
After relying heavily on their defense for much of the season, the Ravens (7-5) finally received an ample boost from the league’s 31st-ranked offense.
Flacco went 23 for 36, Alex Collins ran for 75 yards and two scores, and Baltimore stretched its season-high winning streak to three games with its most complete performance of the season.
“The offense kept answering. That’s what team victories are all about,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It was a team victory across the board.”
Matthew Stafford completed a team-record 20 straight passes in the second half, twice cutting the deficit to a touchdown. But Detroit (6-6) lost a second straight following a three-game winning streak.
“Get within one score, and the bottom falls out,” coach Jim Caldwell said.
Stafford left late in the fourth quarter with a bruised right hand after being stepped on. He went 24 for 29 for 292 yards.
“You know, that’s a really, really good defense we just played,” Stafford said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game and we knew there were going to be times we were going to struggle on offense. We just had to keep trying to plug away.”
Despite getting the Lions within 20-13 and 27-20, Stafford never could quite make up the difference.
Maybe it’s because Flacco wouldn’t let him.
“I really felt good about how we responded to them scoring some points in the second half, and we were able to keep getting into the end zone as well,” Flacco said.
“We’ve struggled to get the ball into the end zone at times, so it was really big to get the touchdowns today when we really needed them.”
The Ravens came in with three shutouts and an NFL-best 26 takeaways.
They upped that total to 29 with three huge plays: A strip-sack of Stafford by Eric Weddle that led to a touchdown in the second quarter; a fourth-quarter interception that set up a game-clinching TD run by Collins with four minutes to go; and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by Weddle against Jake Rudock with 2:26 remaining.
Baltimore’s third straight victory came at a price. Standout cornerback Jimmy Smith left in the second quarter after hurting his Achilles tendon without being touched.
“Looks like Jimmy has a torn Achilles,” Harbaugh said. “That’s tough. It looks like he’ll be out the rest of the year.”
Smith has been bothered by a sore Achilles for much of the season. The seven-year veteran has missed several practices, but started all 12 games and is second on the team with three interceptions.
He was replaced by rookie Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore’s top draft choice. Humphrey intercepted Stafford in the fourth quarter.
Stafford’s 20 straight completions broke the record held by …. Matthew Stafford. He threw 13 successive complete passes on Dec. 4, 2016, against New Orleans.
PRATER PULLS IT
Detroit kicker Matt Prater was wide left on a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter and wide left on a conversion kick after Detroit’s second TD.
Lions: Former Ravens OT Rick Wagner (ankle) was carted off the field in the second quarter and did not return. … DE Ezekiel Ansah left with an ankle injury and returned. … G T.J. Lang was sidelined with a foot injury and returned. …. DE Cornelius Washington left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.
Ravens: Smith has battled injuries throughout his career. Only twice has he played 16 games in a season. … LB C.J. Mosley underwent concussion protocol early in the second quarter and was quickly cleared.
Lions: At Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Ravens: Sunday night showdown against AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, who beat Baltimore 26-9 in the first meeting.
Broncos 9, Dolphins 35
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins took an early lead for a change, and it grew from there.
Xavien Howard returned an interception for the Dolphins’ second touchdown in a seven-second span during the first half, and they went on to snap a five-game losing streak by beating the reeling Denver Broncos, 35-9.
The Dolphins were ahead at halftime for only the second time all season, and led after three quarters for the first time.
“It changes a lot,” coach Adam Gase said. “We’re able to turn those four pass rushers loose. It makes a big difference and puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They get there quick.”
Thanks to a dominating defense, Miami (5-7) won for the first time since Week 7. The Broncos (3-9) went from bad to worse, losing their eighth game in a row to extend the franchise’s longest skid in 50 years.
“It’s a tough situation,” three-time Denver All-Pro linebacker Von Miller said. “A lot of stuff going on. The defense isn’t playing well enough to win. I’m not playing well enough to win. The whole team is included in this one. Tough times.”
Miami scored two safeties in a game for the first time in franchise history and held Denver to 1 for 13 on third-down conversions. Trevor Siemian, the Broncos’ third starting quarterback in as many weeks, went 20 for 42 for 219 yards with three interceptions and three sacks.
“It has been hard to find a guy to operate efficiently for us so we can win a football game,” embattled first-year Denver coach Vance Joseph said. “We’ll watch the film and see who the best option is for us next week.”
Kenyan Drake rushed for 120 yards for Miami on 23 carries, both career highs. He scored on a 42-yard touchdown run — only the Dolphins’ second rush for a TD this year.
Howard scored on the first interception by a Miami outside cornerback all season, and added another pick in the fourth quarter to set up the Dolphins’ final touchdown.
Gase didn’t hold back coaching against Joseph, his close friend. Miami pulled off a successful onside kick in the fourth quarter while leading 33-9.
“We’re just playing for 60 minutes,” Gase said. “We’re not going to slow down, and I don’t care what the score is.”
Jay Cutler went 18 for 31 for 235 yards and two scores but threw two interceptions. Justin Simmons scored Denver’s touchdown on a 65-yard interception return.
Drake had his first 100-yard rushing game and made three receptions for 21 yards. He said the workload was his heaviest since high school.
“I could have ran it 20 more times the way the O-line was blocking,” Drake said. “Give all the credit to them.”
The Dolphins won for the first time since they traded running back Jay Ajayi on Oct. 31.
Miami’s Julius Thomas celebrated a 9-yard scoring catch on his knees with a ride-’em-cowboy dance. One play later, Howard stepped in front of a pass intended for Demaryius Thomas for his first career interception and sprinted to the end zone.
Denver fell to 0-6 on the road and looked lost. Miami took a 2-0 lead when the Broncos botched a third-down play at their 5. Mark Paradis’ high snap deflected off Siemian’s hands, and the ball squirted out of the back of the end zone.
Denver’s Isaiah McKenzie fumbled on a punt return and recovered in his end zone for another safety in the fourth quarter.
Dolphins: C Mike Pouncey left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. … CB Cordrea Tankersley left the game with an injured shoulder, returned and departed again because of an ankle injury.
Broncos: S Justin Simmons was evaluated for a possible concussion and cleared to return. … LB Joseph Jones was helped off the field in the fourth quarter. … Reserve RB Devontae Booker saw limited action because of the flu.
The Dolphins host New England on Monday, Dec. 11. The Patriots beat Miami 35-17 a week ago.
Denver returns home to face the New York Jets next Sunday.
Buccaneers 20, Packers 26 OT
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — It’s hard to remember the last time that the Green Bay Packers won a game with only 84 yards passing.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers might be able to spice up the offense again soon, as long as the running game keeps churning out yards and the defense gets sacks in victories to stay in the playoff race.
Aaron Jones’ 20-yard scoring run on his only carry , with 5:59 left in overtime, gave Green Bay a 26-20 win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.With the passing game struggling, the Packers (6-6) wore down the Buccaneers on the ground. Rodgers’ replacement, Brett Hundley, had runs of 18 and 7 yards on the drive to start overtime.
Getting seven sacks from the defense along with a blocked punt by Kyler Fackrell, the Packers grinded out a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. They still trail NFC North leader Minnesota by four games, but there is renewed optimism at Lambeau Field with the possibility of Rodgers returning from a collarbone injury in a couple weeks.
“When you can grind it out and do things a different way and your team’s successful … we’re a better team today, not only because we won the game but how we won,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
Jameis Winston threw two touchdown passes to Cameron Brate in the quarterback’s shaky return from a shoulder injury. But the defense couldn’t hold up in overtime for the last-place Buccaneers (4-8).
“I think it speaks volumes about the character of our football team,” McCarthy said. “You know, we had some rough moments, but they just kept fighting.”
Mason Crosby’s 22-yard field goal tied the game at 20 with 2:01 left, giving the team a lift after the Bucs tried to wear out the Packers on the run.
Peyton Barber had 102 yards for 23 carries. Winston finished 21 of 32 for 270 yards, including an 11-yard scoring pass to Brate for a 20-17 lead with 6:02 left.
But Winston had defenders in his face all day and had trouble holding on to the ball. Linebacker Clay Matthews had 2 1/2 sacks of Green Bay’s seven sacks.
“We didn’t protect Jameis,” Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. “That’s probably our worst protection game we’ve had all year.”
Back after missing three games with a right shoulder injury, Winston fumbled on a sack by Kenny Clark in the second quarter. Defensive lineman Dean Lowry snatched the loose ball in the air and rumbled 62 yards for a touchdown and Lambeau leap with a 17-7 lead.
“I don’t even know how the ball came out,” Winston said. “When I reared it back (my arm) hit something.”
Hundley finished 13 of 22 for 84 yards, adding seven carries for 66 yards. Jamaal Williams ran for 113 yards on 21 carries for Green Bay.
The Packers think they need to win their last four games to have a shot at the postseason. If they can beat the Cleveland Browns next week, it could set up a scenario in which Rodgers could return the following week at Carolina.
“Honestly I’d be fine with throwing 87 yards if we win them all,” Hundley said.
Rodgers returned to practice on Saturday for the first time since getting hurt on Oct. 15 at Minnesota.
“But for us to kind of grind these games out and, specifically speaking about the defense, understanding what we are, and trying to force turnovers … I think we realize we have to find a way to steal a few plays here and there.” — Matthews on the defense stepping up with Rodgers out.
Winston also fumbled in the fourth quarter following Evan Smith’s early snap. He was whistled for an illegal forward pass on the next play, but the mistakes were erased by the second touchdown pass to Brate on third-and-11.
The quarterback refused to blame his offensive line for poor protection, though there were a couple communication issues with Smith, who was a last-minute replacement at center after starter Joe Hawley was scratched just before the game due to illness.
“So I don’t think it’s right to be able to say that they did subpar when they overcame so much in this day,” Winston said.
Two other offensive line starters were placed on injured reserve earlier in the week.
Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan departed in the fourth quarter with a neck injury. Also, line judge Tom Stephan had to be helped to board a cart that took him off the field after he got hurt on a third-down play with 11:08 left in the first quarter.
Buccaneers: Host the Detroit Lions on Dec. 10.
Packers: Visit the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 10.
Patriots 23, Bills 3
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Rob Gronkowski was apologetic for pile-driving his shoulder into the back of Bills rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White’s head.
Bills safety Micah Hyde was livid, calling it a dirty play.
Injuries and accusations overshadowed New England extending its winning streak to eight games and closing in on its ninth consecutive AFC East title following a 23-3 win on Sunday.Buffalo’s playoff hopes could be jeopardized after starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor hurt his left knee and had a towel draped over his head while being carted off the sideline early in the fourth quarter. And Gronkowski’s hit on White added to the Bills’ frustrations.
White was being evaluated for a concussion after he was struck by Gronkowski while lying on the ground after Buffalo’s rookie first-round pick intercepted a Brady pass with 4:50 remaining.
“That’s just dirty football. There’s nowhere in our game for that,” Hyde said. “I don’t know if it was a shoulder, elbow, I’m not sure what it was. That was dirty.”
New England’s tight end was remorseful following the game.
“I’m not in the business of that. It was a lot of frustration,” he said. “I just want to apologize to Tre’Davious White. I don’t really believe in those type of shots.”
Bills players were surprised Gronkowski wasn’t ejected, a sentiment shared by Dean Blandino , the NFL’s former officiating director, who now is Fox TV analyst.
“In my opinion that was a play where Gronkowski should have been ejected from the game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a substantial fine and maybe even a suspension going forward,” Blandino said following the game.
The hit sparked a shoving match between Hyde and Patriots receiver Danny Amendola. Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was so upset he was flagged for making contact with an official. Gronkowski, Hyde and Amendola were penalized for unnecessary roughness.
“Obviously, it didn’t hurt the team there, but it definitely can in the future,” Gronkowski said. “And you definitely got to keep your cool.”
It wasn’t lost on Hyde that the two division rivals will meet at New England in three weeks.
“I’m sure you guys will talk about it,” Hyde said to reporters. “Obviously, this is something we’re going to be thinking about.”
Rex Burkhead scored on 1 and 14-yard runs on the Patriots first two drives of the second half, and Stephen Gostkowski hit three field goals in a game New England never trailed.
The Pats (10-2) won their 14th consecutive road game — the second-longest streak in NFL history — and reached double-digits in victories for the 15th consecutive season. New England also improved to 30-5 against Buffalo since Patriots coach Bill Belichick was hired in 2000.
Tom Brady went 21 of 30 for 258 yards and an interception, while improving to 27-3 over Buffalo and breaking Brett Favre’s NFL record for most wins by a quarterback against any one opponent. Favre had 26 wins over Detroit.
Buffalo (6-6) lost for the fourth time in five games and continued sliding out of the playoff picture
Taylor’s status is uncertain. He would only nod “yes” when asked by The Associated Press if he was all right while limping heavily on his left knee as he boarded a cart and was driven out of the stadium.
Taylor continued playing despite being hurt on the first series.
“He was in pain. You could see it on his face, the expressions he was making,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “It shows you a true warrior.”
Coach Sean McDermott provided no update except to say Taylor was being evaluated.
Minus Taylor, the Bills would have to back to rookie Nathan Peterman. The fifth-round draft pick proved he wasn’t ready two weeks ago, throwing five interceptions in the first half of a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers .
On Sunday, Peterman went 6 of 15 for 50 yards. His opening drive ended on downs at the Patriots 1 when his fade pass intended for Zay Jones was batted away by cornerback Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo’s 2012 first-round draft pick. Gilmore spent his first five seasons in Buffalo before signing with the Patriots in free agency this past offseason.
The Bills introduced some trickery in a bid to spark their offense by using third-string quarterback Joe Webb in several wildcat formations.
Webb had three rushes for 27 yards, including a 22-yarder up the middle to open Buffalo’s fourth possession. Five snaps later, facing second-and-10 from New England’s’ 37, Webb slightly overthrew Travaris Cadet, who was open deep over the middle.
NO BEEF WITH BRADY
Late in the first quarter after the Patriots finished a 14-play drive that ended with a 50-yard field goal by Gostkowski, CBS cameras caught Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in a heated discussion on the sideline.
“It’s just football,” Brady said. “We’ve been around each other a lot. I love Josh.”
Patriots: Play second of three straight on road at Miami on Dec. 11
Bills: Continue three-game homestand, hosting Indianapolis on Dec. 10.
Chiefs 31, Jets 38
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Brutal start, wild finish and quite an impressive victory for the New York Jets. As for Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs, this one surely stings.
Josh McCown scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 2:15 left , and the Jets bounced back from an early deficit Sunday and held on for a wacky 38-31 win that was filled with big plays, bad penalties and lots of lead changes.
“When you see it go back and forth, it’s hard, because eventually one team gives in,” McCown said. “We just stayed together.”
Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 21-yard field goal to put the Jets (5-7) ahead with 3:55 left. But Kansas City’s Bennie Logan was called for a personal foul for hitting long snapper Thomas Hennessy in the head on the play. That gave the Jets the ball at the 1 with a new set of downs.
After two running plays, McCown threw incomplete — but Steven Nelson was penalized for defensive holding, making it first-and-goal from the 2. Three plays later, McCown kept the ball and shoved his way into the end zone.
McCown’s pass on the 2-point conversion was incomplete, but Nelson was called for holding. An enraged Marcus Peters picked up the penalty flag and tossed it into the stands , drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Peters was not ejected, but thought he was and headed straight to the locker room — before returning later without his socks. Elijah McGuire ran it in moments later to convert the 2-point play and make it 38-31.
“Probably a little frustration there,” Reid said. “I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have been called. I’ve got to look at the tape on that. You’re down there and competing and we’ve had a few of those games where we’ve had that. It’s a bit frustrating.”
McCown finished with 331 yards passing and a touchdown to Matt Forte, and ran for two scores — including the winner. Jermaine Kearse had nine catches for 157 yards and Robby Anderson caught eight passes for 107 yards as the Jets dominated in time of possession, but still had to hold their breath in the end.
After Tyreek Hill’s 40-yard catch put the ball at the Jets 23, Smith completed a 4-yard pass to Travis Kelce, who had two early touchdowns. But Smith was then incomplete on three straight passes.
“It’s big, good to win one,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “You can breathe a sigh of relief before you move on to next week.”
The loss by the Chiefs (6-6) ruined the return of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who made his debut with Kansas City after signing a two-year deal last week. Revis, who played eight years over two stints with the Jets, started for the Chiefs, but spent the second half on the sideline.
“It was great to be back out there,” said Revis, who had five tackles. “I haven’t played a football game in 12 months, so I think that’s why coach made that call in the second half.”
Kansas City has dropped six of its last seven after opening the season 5-0, but remains in the mix in the AFC West playoff hunt.
“I go on to the next game,” Reid said. “I go on to what I can help to control. You look back, correct the mistakes, and pick the urgency level up and get ourselves better.”
Meanwhile, New York kept its faint playoff hopes alive by snapping a two-game skid and holding on to a fourth-quarter lead. The Jets had blown leads in the fourth quarter of three of their last four losses.
“To come out and win one of these finally,” Bowles said, “it’s refreshing.”
Hill had put the Chiefs ahead 31-30 on a 40-yard touchdown catch . The drive was helped by a personal foul penalty on the Jets’ ArDarius Stewart on the kickoff.
Smith finished with 366 yards passing, with four TD tosses, two to Hill, who had six receptions for 185 yards.
Smith and the Chiefs got things going early against the Jets, marching down the field 75 yards on five plays — capping the drive with a 22-yard touchdown catch by a wide-open Kelce just 2:38 in.
Reid confirmed an earlier ESPN report that he handed the offensive play-calling duties to coordinator Matt Nagy, and it appeared to work well early.
After the Jets went three-and-out on their opening possession, Smith found Kelce — wide open, again — for a 36-yard score to make it 14-0 less than five minutes in.
The Jets showed some signs of life, though, with Bilal Powell scoring on a 1-yard run. New York tied it at 14 late in the opening quarter on McCown’s quarterback sneak from 1 yard.
Smith helped set up a field goal for the Chiefs when he scrambled out of trouble on second-and-10 from the 14 and took off for a career-best 70 yards late in the second quarter.
It was the Chiefs’ longest run of the season, but not the best ever by a Kansas City quarterback. That was Steve Bono’s 76-yarder against Arizona in 1995.
New York linebacker Darron Lee was a surprise inactive, which Bowles said was a coach’s decision. Also, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was benched for most of the first quarter — also a coach’s decision — before entering with 39 seconds before the second quarter.
Kansas City’s Harrison Butker was wide right on a 38-yard attempt in the second quarter. It ended his franchise record of 23 straight field goals made. Butker’s only previous miss was a 46-yarder against Washington on the first attempt of his NFL career.
Chiefs: Center Mitch Morse was carted to the locker room with a foot injury. Zach Fulton replaced him and Bryan Witzmann took over Fulton’s spot at left guard.
Chiefs: home vs. Oakland next Sunday.
Jets: at Denver next Sunday.
Texans 13, Titans 24
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans may not impress many people with how they’re playing.
If they keep piling up victories, that’s all that matters.
LeShaun Sims intercepted a pass intended for DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone with 1:02 left, and the Titans beat the Houston Texans 24-13 on Sunday to stay atop the AFC South.
Marcus Mariota also ran for a touchdown and threw for another, but the Titans needed the interception to preserve the win with Tom Savage throwing for a career-high 365 yards despite the Texans losing four offensive players to injuries during the game.
“Man, we like the Comeback Kids, you know?” Titans tight end Delanie Walker said. “I hate that we not starting fast and playing all 60 minutes of football. But we do it at the end. We come back. We fight. We never give up. I love that.”
The Titans (8-4) won their second straight and sixth of their past seven. They improved to 4-1 in the AFC South to stay ahead of Jacksonville, a winner over Indianapolis.
“That’s our goal,” Mariota said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”
Tennessee didn’t look ready to take advantage of a chance for a little payback against Houston for the 57-14 beat-down the Texans put on them Oct. 1 when Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt were healthy. The Titans even fell behind 10-0 before rallying to tie it up at halftime.
Injuries have taken a toll on the Texans (4-8), and coach Bill O’Brien called it one of the tougher days he’s ever had personally.
“I’ve never been in this situation, so I’m learning on the job, too, as far as being in a losing situation right here,” O’Brien said.
Houston’s rearranged offensive line only gave up four sacks. Savage, evaluated at halftime for a concussion, even made up for three consecutive false starts by Jeff Allen, who slid over to left tackle, after having fourth-and-4. Savage found Stephen Anderson with a 22-yarder.
Sims, who came off the bench to replace injured teammate Logan Ryan, beat Hopkins for the interception on the next play. Derrick Henry ran 75 yards up the left sideline for a TD three plays later to seal the win. Henry finished with 109 yards rushing.
“That was a great play, as good a play as you can make on a ball that he made,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of Sims’ interception.
The Titans quarterback ran for only four TDs combined through his first two seasons. He ran for a 9-yard TD in the second quarter, giving him a career-high five TD runs through 11 games. He also tossed a 24-yard TD pass to Walker in the third quarter, which gave Tennessee its first lead.
TEXANS KICKER STRUGGLES
Ka’imi Fairbairn struggled mightily. He clanked a 48-yard field goal attempt off the left upright with 38 seconds left in the first half, and the Titans responded with a field goal to tie it up at 10 at halftime.
The second-year kicker, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, yanked a 23-yarder late in the third quarter so wide to the left that he missed the net behind the goal posts. Fairbairn had missed only twice all season on 16 attempts.
He connected from 42 yards with 4:37 left to pull Houston within 17-13.
Houston’s lengthy injury report only grew longer. Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz went out in the second quarter and didn’t return after being evaluated for a concussion. Receiver Braxton Miller and running back Alfred Blue also suffered concussions. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph was ruled out just after halftime with an injured shoulder. Receiver Bruce Ellington also couldn’t finish with an injured hamstring.
“I’ve never been a part of something like that with that many guys out,” Savage said.
Defensive end DaQuan Jones, who had 1½ sacks for Tennessee, had a biceps injury in the third quarter, and cornerback Logan Ryan suffered a concussion.
Texans: Host San Francisco.
Titans: Visit Arizona.
49ers 15, Bears 14
CHICAGO (AP) — Robbie Gould pumped his right arm. He screamed at the Chicago sideline. Kicking the winning field goal sure made it a sweet return to Soldier Field.
Gould nailed a 24-yarder in the closing seconds, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 293 yards in his first San Francisco start, and the 49ers beat the Chicago Bears 15-14 on Sunday.
Gould made all five field goals — none longer than 35 yards — in his first appearance at Soldier Field since Chicago cut him prior to the 2016 opener. The Bears’ all-time leader in points and field goals made, he let it all out after he booted the winner right down the middle.
“I wanted this one really bad,” Gould said. “I downplayed it all week for my own peace of mind, to be honest with you. I’m just happy it went this way.”
Garoppolo was solid in his first start since the 49ers (2-10) acquired him from New England before the trade deadline in October. The suburban Chicago and Eastern Illinois product completed 26 of 37 passes with an interception. And the 49ers picked up the win after losing their first five road games.
Garoppolo grew up a Bears fan but never attended an NFL game until he entered the league, so this was quite an experience.
“I tried to say all week that it was just a normal game, but obviously, I’d never come back to Chicago like this,” Garoppolo said. “It’s exciting. I had a ton of people here. It was one of the more fun games I’d been a part of.”
Marquise Goodwin had eight catches for 99 yards. Trent Taylor added 92 yards receiving, including a 33-yarder that kept the winning drive going even though he was sick to his stomach.
Chicago (3-9) dropped its fifth straight, and coach John Fox fell to 12-32 in three seasons with the Bears.
“It was hard to even talk to the team after this loss,” he said.
Then again, what is there to say? The Bears are wrapping up their fifth straight season without a winning record and will finish below .500 for the fourth year in a row. They went from getting pounded by a championship contender at Philadelphia to losing to one of the league’s worst teams.
Mitchell Trubisky was 12 of 15 for 102 yards and a touchdown. Not exactly the bounce-back performance he wanted coming off a rough outing against the Eagles.
“I mean, there’s two ways to handle it: positively and negatively,” Trubisky said. “You put your head down and come up here and sound like a loser. Or you can just believe in what you know, go back to work and just know the guys in the locker room have your back and have their back, and have the faith that it’s going to turn around.
Tarik Cohen returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown. That made him the first NFL rookie with rushing, receiving, passing and punt return TDs in a season since Gale Sayers in 1965.
Garoppolo showed his poise on the winning drive, leading San Francisco from its 8 to the Chicago 6.
His 33-yard pass to Taylor on third down put the ball on the Bears 18 with two minutes left and helped set up Gould’s big kick.
“(Garoppolo) never seems too high, never seems too low, which is what you want in a quarterback,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He kept that throughout the game. … The guy never changed, which is what you want to see. It allows you to overcome mistakes.”
The 49ers dominated in total yards (388-147) and time of possession (38:47-21:13). But they committed eight penalties, several near the end zone. That helped explain why they failed to score touchdowns on five trips inside the 20.
In another twist to the homecoming story, Gould said his father-in-law taught Garoppolo in high school.
49ers: Starting RT Trent Brown (shoulder) started after being listed as questionable. S Adrian Colbert also started after missing last week’s 24-13 loss to Seattle following thumb surgery.
Bears: LB Pernell McPhee suffered a shoulder injury on the game’s opening drive. … DE Mitch Unrein (knee) was hurt in the second quarter. … RG Kyle Long (shoulder) sat out the second half. … K Cairo Santos tweaked his groin. … LG Josh Sitton started after being listed as questionable because of a concussion. … S Adrian Amos (hamstring) and his backup Deon Buswere inactive.
49ers: Visit Houston on Dec. 10.
Bears: Visit Cincinnati on Dec. 10.
Colts 10, Jaguars 30
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars were an NFL laughingstock the previous six years, losing 74 of 96 games and failing to finish even close to .500.
They were far from competitive, providing more punchlines than punches.
They ended the futility streak Sunday with another defensive gem, another solid outing by Blake Bortles and another fake punt.
Bortles threw two touchdown passes, Leonard Fournette scored for the first time in six weeks and the Jaguars reached eight wins for the first time since 2010 with a 30-10 victory against Indianapolis.
“We expected to be undefeated, but (stuff) happens,” cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. “It’s fun. We’ve got a cool little vibe around here. Different than last year, so it’s cool.”
The Jaguars (8-4) bounced back from a last-second loss at Arizona, swept the season series with the Colts (3-9) for the second time since joining the AFC South in 2002 and remained in the thick of the playoff picture.
Indianapolis lost its third straight and sixth in the past seven games, and was eliminated from the division race.
“This is tough. You never want to get used to losing,” Colts safety Darius Butler said. “It sucks. It sucks, man. It’s as simple as that. We work our (butt) off all week and then to come out here and not follow our way, we got roughed up today. We’ve got to find a way to draw a line in the sand and make things happen.”
Bortles had a lot to do with this one. He completed 26 of 35 passes for 309 yards, with TD passes to Marqise Lee and Keelan Cole. Bortles has 12 touchdown passes and just three interceptions in eight games against the Colts.
Fournette found little room for the third time in the past four games. He finished with 57 yards on 20 carries and limped off the field with an ankle injury late in the third quarter.
But Fournette found the end zone for the first time since Oct. 15 when he went untouched for a 5-yard score to open the second half.
“I don’t focus too much on it,” Fournette said. “As long as the team wins, I win. It’s not about me. I don’t care about getting 1,000 rushing yards. It’s frustrating sometimes, but it doesn’t matter as long as we win.”
Jacksonville’s top-ranked defense kept the Colts from generating much most of the game. The only blemish was a 40-yard touchdown pass from Jacoby Brissett to T.Y. Hilton on a fourth-and-2 play in the third quarter.
The Colts trailed 10-0 early and 24-3 after the break before Hilton got loose. Indy finished with 290 yards, allowed four sacks and had two turnovers.
“You just can’t make the mistakes we’re making and win football games,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said.
The Jaguars got the lopsided result started with a fake punt on their opening possession.
Facing fourth-and-7 near midfield, punter Brad Nortman found tight end James O’Shaughnessy wide open over the middle for a 29-yard gain.
Bortles hit Lee five plays later for Jacksonville’s seventh opening-possession score of the season. It was Jacksonville’s third fake punt of the season — all successful and all leading to touchdowns.
MOVING ON UP
Frank Gore is in the top five on the NFL’s career rushing list .
The 34-year-old Gore ran 13 times for 61 yards, passing Jerome Bettis (13,662) for sixth in the second quarter and topping LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) for fifth in the third.
Gore has 13,697 yards rushing in 13 NFL seasons, the first 10 with San Francisco and the past three with the Colts.
Curtis Martin holds the fourth spot with 14,101 yards.
Defensive end Calais Campbell became Jacksonville’s single-season sack leader in his first year with the Jaguars.
Campbell took down Brissett in the first quarter, giving him 12½ sacks in 2017 and breaking the previous franchise record set by Tony Brackens (12) in 1999.
HOOP IT UP
The Jaguars have been relatively quiet all season in terms of touchdown celebrations, but they turned in a unique one against Indy.
After Fournette scored, he lined up in front of the goal post and shot a free throw over the crossbar with teammates standing on both sides of the makeshift lane. It was good.
Colts: Center Mike Person, playing in place of starter Ryan Kelly (concussion), limped off the field in the fourth quarter. … Cornerback Pierre Desir (left shoulder) left the game in the first half and did not return.
Jaguars: Fournette re-entered the game after limping off the field. … Left tackle Cam Robinson (ankle) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (hamstring) also returned after injuries.
Colts: Plays at Buffalo.
Jaguars: Continues a three-game homestand by hosting Seattle.
Browns 10, Chargers 19
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — After Adrian Phillips’ late interception sealed the Los Angeles Chargers’ third straight victory, they left their new home field as a first-place team.
Their miserable 0-4 start to the season seemed as if it happened years ago.
The 0-12 Cleveland Browns’ nightmare still won’t end. Not even against the only opponent they’ve beaten in nearly two years.
Philip Rivers passed for 344 yards and hit Keenan Allen for a touchdown, and the surging Chargers moved into a tie for first in the AFC West with a 19-10 victory over the winless Browns on Sunday.
Allen had 10 catches for 105 yards in his third straight big game for the Chargers (6-6), who have won six of eight to pull even with Oakland and slumping Kansas City atop the division with four games to go.
“No one ever flinched,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “At 0-4, we still had a lot of football left, and that’s how we’ve always looked at it. To be in this position doesn’t surprise me at all, because guys have worked hard and they’re committed to the process. They never stopped believing.”
New kicker Travis Coons hit four field goals as the Chargers grinded out a win over the Browns, whose only victory in their previous 30 games was a 20-17 win over the then-San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve last season.
Cleveland trailed 19-7 entering the fourth quarter, and Zane Gonzalez hit an early field goal before the Browns mounted a long drive.
But Joey Bosa forced a fumble with a vicious sack of DeShone Kizer deep in Chargers territory, and Denzel Perryman recovered with 4:48 to play. The Browns had another drive deep into scoring territory, but Phillips’ pick ended it.
“They’re a good young team, but we make plays,” Perryman said. “We’re going into our fourth-quarter phase of the season now, and it’s time to finish. We control our destiny.”
Josh Gordon had four catches for 84 yards in his first NFL game since 2014 for the Browns. The talented receiver had been suspended for over 2½ seasons for numerous violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policies, but was reinstated last month.
“It was real familiar, man,” Gordon said. “Football is something I have been doing my whole life. New stadium, that’s about it, you know?”
Kizer passed for 215 yards and hit rookie David Njoku for a 28-yard TD late in the first half for the Browns, who took their 30th loss in 31 games since late in the 2015 season.
“All season, you can see that we’re very close to getting where we want to go,” said Kizer, who went 15 for 32 and was sacked three times. “But I can definitely sense in this locker room that close isn’t cutting it anymore. We need to get over that hill.”
The Browns are 1-27 under coach Hue Jackson, who broke John McKay’s NFL record for the slowest start to a coaching tenure with a franchise. Cleveland has four games left to avoid becoming the fifth winless team in NFL history and only the second in a 16-game season.
BIG GAME KEENAN
Allen made three catches on the Chargers’ only scoring drive, and his 7-yard TD grab gave him four scores in three games. The fifth-year pro became the first player in NFL history with at least 10 catches for 100 yards and one touchdown in three consecutive games. He surpassed 1,000 yards for the first time since his rookie season in 2013. Allen directed praise back to Rivers.
“He’s so consistent,” Allen said. “He’s been amazing right now, getting us in the right place. He’s making the right reads. He has eyes in the right places all the time.”
BACK IN THE GAME
Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward had three tackles and two passes defensed despite missing the week of practice to be in Georgia with his family after his brother was killed in a car accident on Monday night. “When I got back out here, I just focused on football,” Hayward said.
Coons went 4 for 5 on field-goal attempts as the fourth person to attempt placekicks for the Chargers this season. The former Browns kicker was signed this week to replace Nick Novak, who hurt his back last week against Dallas. Coons missed a 38-yard field goal on LA’s opening drive, but subsequently hit from 21, 40, 22 and 27 yards.
Browns: TE Randall Telfer was evaluated for a possible concussion during the game. … Rookie DB Jabrill Peppers injured his knee in the second half. He will have an MRI on Monday.
Chargers: Rookie WR Mike Williams and starting DT Corey Liuget were inactive.
Browns: Return home to host the Green Bay Packers (6-6).
Chargers: Stay home to face the Washington Redskins (5-7) with postseason hopes in play.
Panthers 21, Saints 31
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints rookie sensation Alvin Kamara took the brunt of a hard collision near the goal line with Carolina linebacker Shaq Thompson, who is 2 inches taller and 15 pounds heavier than runner he was trying to prevent from scoring on fourth down.
Kamara bounced backward but remained upright, then slithered out of defensive end Wes Horton’s ankle grab and dived under linebacker Luke Kuechly’s lunge to find the end zone.
“That was just: I’ve got to get in there by any means,” Kamara said. “I got hit and got it on in.”
Kamara added a second tackle-shedding touchdown from 20 yards, New Orleans took advantage of a couple Carolina special teams gaffes, and the Saints reclaimed sole possession of first place in the NFC South with a 31-21 victory over the Panthers on Sunday.
Carolina coach Ron Rivera seemed at a loss to pinpoint what his defense could have done better to stop Kamara, whose production as a runner and receiver as a rookie are placing him in distinguished company.
“You prepare for everything you want, but he has got some elite ability,” Rivera said.
Kamara finished with 126 yards from scrimmage, capping his day with a serpentine, 22-yard gain on a third-and-10 screen pass at the two-minute warning. The first-down gain allowed New Orleans to run out the clock.
“He’s a monster,” fellow Saints running back Mark Ingram said. “He’s always balling, doing his thing, running and catching. He’s definitely the rookie of the year. He’s savage. Cold-blooded.”
Carolina entered the game ranked second defensively overall and third against the run, allowing 83.2 yards per game. The Saints rushed for 148 yards, with Ingram gaining 85.
Ingram gained 122 yards from scrimmage, highlighting his day with a 72-yard run that set up his 3-yard TD.
Drew Brees passed for 269 yards, including a 10-yard TD to Michael Thomas a few plays after Panthers punter Michael Palardy lost his handleon the ball as he was about the kick it away. Palardy aborted the punt and threw incomplete, giving New Orleans the ball on the Carolina 31.
In the fourth quarter, a fumble by Panthers punt returner Kaelin Clay near midfield set up Wil Lutz’s 31-yard field goal to give New Orleans a 31-14 lead.
Cam Newton passed for 183 yards and touchdowns of 21 yards to Christian McCaffrey and 24 yards to Devin Funchess. Newton also ran for 51 yards . Jonathan Stewart added a short TD run for Carolina, which had its four-game winning streak ended.
The Panthers’ comeback attempt was hindered by their inability to convert a fourth-and-6 play deep in Saints territory in the fourth quarter. Newton connected with Funchess, who was stopped a yard short by cornerback Ken Crawley.
“That’s a good team,” Newton said of the Saints, who allowed Carolina to convert only three of 10 third-down plays. “We just have to move forward, be optimistic of our opportunities knowing that the world just doesn’t stop because the Panthers lost today. We have to learn from this.”
Kamara has touchdowns in six straight games, the first time a Saints rookie has done so in the team’s 51-year history. Kamara needs three touchdowns to break George Rogers’ rookie franchise record of 13.
Meanwhile, Kamara’s 614 yards receiving and 606 yards rushing this season make him one of only three rookies in NFL history to have at least 600 yards as both a runner and receiver, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Charley Taylor and Billy Sims.
Brees, who completed 25 of 34 passes, reached 6,127 career completions, surpassing Peyton Manning (6,125) for the second-most all-time. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre has more with 6,300.
Saints rookie quarterback Taysom Hill made his NFL debut — on special teams.
Saints coach Sean Payton said “it just made sense” because Hill, who was undrafted out of BYU, is 6-foot-2, 221 pounds and runs well.
Hill had a couple of tackles in kick coverage and almost blocked a punt.
“I love it. What a stud,” Brees said. “It’s not every day you say, ‘Hey quarterback who’s never played special teams — ever. We’re going to have you play in an NFL game and run down on kickoffs and rushing punts and tackling people.'”
Panthers played without tight end Greg Olsen, ruled out before the game because of soreness in his broken foot.
Saints rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore also was scratched for a second straight week as he recovers from a Week 11 ankle injury.
Panthers: Host Minnesota on Sunday.
Saints: Visit Atlanta on Thursday night.
Rams 32, Cardinals 16
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — For the first time in 14 years, the Rams will have a winning season.
And maybe much more.
Jared Goff passed for two touchdowns, Los Angeles took advantage of two early interceptions thrown by Blaine Gabbert, and the Rams solidified their grip on first place in the NFC West with a 32-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
The Rams (9-3) won for the sixth time in seven games to clinch their first winning season since 2003, when they were in St. Louis.
“Long time and very cool,” Goff said, “but no means are we finished.”
They took the season series with the Cardinals for only the second time in the last 14 years and first since 2012.
The Rams had routed the Cardinals in London 33-0 on Oct. 22 and were in the lead almost from the start of this one. Gabbert’s interceptions helped Los Angeles score 16 early points, including Alec Ogletree’s 41-yard interception return for a touchdown, and the Rams led the rest of the way.
The Cardinals (5-7) cut the lead to 16-13 in the second quarter and were down 19-13 at the break.
The Rams added an 11-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Sammy Watkins in the third quarter and got a blocked field goal from Michael Brockers in the fourth, when Arizona could have cut the lead to seven.
With Adrian Peterson sitting out with a neck injury, and despite playing with cracked ribs, Kerwynn Williams carried 16 times for 97 yards, three shy of his career best.
“Knowing Kerwynn, he was going to give us everything he had all day,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “… He was a sparkplug to get us back in the game.”
Goff was 21 of 31 for 220 yards with one interception. Todd Gurley carried 19 times for 74 yards and caught six passes for 84 yards.
“I thought we kind of battled through,” first-year coach Sean McVay said. “It wasn’t always perfect, especially offensively.”
Gabbert, in his third game since taking over as Cardinals starter, completed 18 of 32 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown. Larry Fitzgerald caught 10 passes for 98 yards and a score.
Arizona, entering the game last in the NFL in rushing, gained 56 yards in eight plays on the ground in a drive capped by Elijhaa Penny’s 2-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 16-7.
After a three-and-out by the Rams, Williams’ 25-yard run started a six-play, 70-yard TD drive that culminated with Gabbert’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald. The conversion kick was blocked and Arizona was down 16-13 with 3:25 play.
The Cardinals barely kept Los Angeles out the end zone on the Rams’ final drive and Zuerlein’s 20-yard field goal put LA up 19-13 at the break.
The Rams opened the game right where they left off in that blowout win in London. They got a 56-yard field goal from Zuerlein on the game’s first possession and, on Arizona’s first play from scrimmage, Gabbert’s deep pass was intercepted by Lamarcus Joyner and returned 46 yards to the Cardinals 23. Seven plays later, on fourth-and-goal from the 1, Goff threw to Gerald Everett for the touchdown. Zuerlein missed the extra point and it was 9-0.
Ogletree intercepted Gabbert’s pass near the line of scrimmage and returned it 41 yards for the touchdown, flipping head-over-heels into the end zone, to make it 16-0 later in the first quarter.
“I saw him kind of fumble the ball and then he actually threw it,” Ogletree said. “I was able to jump up, kind of tip it to myself and catch it. I looked around and saw the open area and took off running and was able to outrun the lineman.”
The Rams were terrific on special teams with a blocked field goal and a blocked extra point.
In the third quarter, Johnny Hekker punted 70 yards from the Rams 9-yard line. After a three-and-out by Arizona, Pharoh Cooper returned a punt 30 yards to help set up Goff’s TD pass to Watkins.
FITZGERALD MOVES UP
Fitzgerald moved ahead of Isaac Bruce for fourth in NFL career yards receiving with 15,267. He needs 26 yards to pass Randy Moss into third. Fitzgerald is third in career receptions (1,207).
During the game, he joined Jerry Rice and Tony Gonzalez as the only players to top 1,200 career receptions.
Ogletree left the game in the first half with a hyperextended left elbow and did not return.
“For the record, it didn’t happen on the touchdown (flip),” he said.
Rams: home against Philadelphia on Sunday.
Cardinals: host Tennessee on Sunday.
Giants 17, Raiders 24
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Marshawn Lynch turned back the clock to his Beast Mode days and powered the Oakland Raiders back into first place in the AFC West.
Lynch had a 51-yard touchdown run and his first 100-yard rushing game since coming out of retirement, leading the Raiders to a 24-17 victory over the Giants on Sunday in New York’s first game without Eli Manning starting in 13 years.
“He’s still got it,” Raiders linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “Just to see him running the way that he’s run for so many years. I know exactly what that defense is facing, and he’s a hard tackle.”
Lynch’s big game helped Oakland (6-6) overcame the absences of starting receivers Michael Crabtree (suspension) and Amari Cooper (injury) to win consecutive games for the first time since the opening two games of the season.
The win moved the Raiders a three-way tie for first place with Kansas City and the Chargers despite a four-game losing streak earlier in the season. Oakland still has trips to the Chiefs and the season finale at Los Angeles that will go a long way in determining their playoff hopes.
“You have to stay the course,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “There’s a lot of adversity that happens every season. You wish you could just go out and win them all and do it in a good way. That just hasn’t been our road this year. It’s been a little bit more difficult, a lot of it because of ourselves. But we’re in a situation where all of our goals are right in front of us.”
The Giants (2-10) are playing for the future, having made a quarterback change this week and facing speculation about the job security of coach Ben McAdoo. New York hasn’t fired a coach during the season since 1976.
“I’m going to coach this team as long as my key card works,” McAdoo said.
Geno Smith lost two fumbles before throwing a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to Evan Engram for the Giants (2-10) while Manning spent the day on the sideline watching.
New York benched Manning earlier in the week, ending his streak of 210 straight regular-season starts, and he spent his first game as a spectator since Nov. 14, 2004, walking around the sideline with no helmet and listening to the play calls with an ear piece.
Smith finished 21 for 34 for 212 yards.
“I just hate to lose,” Smith said. “I don’t want to lose at all in anything. I was upset that we lost. I felt like we had some opportunities and we couldn’t take advantage of them.”
Lynch delivered his biggest game since ending his retirement and joining the hometown Raiders this season, gaining 101 yards on 17 carries. His 51-yard run on Oakland’s opening drive staked the team to the lead and his 21-yard catch and run on a third-down pass in the fourth quarter set up a 9-yard TD run by DeAndre Washington that made it 17-7.
Lynch has averaged 93 yards from scrimmage since returning from a one-game suspension with four TDs in four games.
“I’ve seen a little more pep in his step,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “I can’t speak for him. I just know what I see. It’s been good. I welcome it and we’re taking full advantage of it.”
Carr then engineered the drive that put the game away, throwing a 59-yard pass to Cordarrelle Patterson that set up a 9-yard TD to Johnny Holton . Carr finished 22 for 36 for 287 yards.
The Giants were inside the Oakland 30 twice in the first half and came up empty thanks to strip sacks by Oakland.
New York drove to the 29 midway through the second quarter when Bruce Irvin broke free and knocked the ball loose from Smith for a fumble recovered by NaVorro Bowman.
The Giants then got a break when Marquette King was tackled at his 9when he tried to get a punt off. But Khalil Mack came in and ripped the ball away from Smith on a sack and fumble recovery.
The Raiders took a 10-7 lead late in the second quarter thanks to a dropped interception by Landon Collins. Carr’s second-down pass went right to Collins, who couldn’t hold on near the 10. Two plays later, Giorgio Tavecchio kicked a 39-yard field goal for Oakland.
Oakland’s Jalen Richard had three fumbles on punt returns, but the Raiders managed to recover all of them, with Richard getting one and Keith McGill the other two.
Giants OL Chad Wheeler left the game with a concussion.
Giants: Host Dallas on Sunday.
Raiders: Visit Kansas City on Sunday.
Eagles 10, Seahawks 24
SEATTLE (AP) — The Seahawks felt they were being written off, with injuries and the schedule converging to create doubt about whether Seattle was still among the NFC’s elite.
With Russell Wilson, the Seahawks seemingly always have a chance.
“He was in the zone,” Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. “I told him whatever that felt like, he’s got to hold on to it because we need him to be in that mode for the rest of the season, because if he does that, we’ll be unstoppable.”
Wilson was masterful while throwing three touchdown passes, the last a 15-yard strike to J.D. McKissic with 7:29 left, and the Seahawks stayed in the NFC playoff hunt with a 24-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.
Seattle (8-4) snapped Philadelphia’s nine-game winning streak thanks largely to another brilliant performance by its quarterback. Wilson was 20 of 31 for 227 yards and threw touchdowns of 11 yards to Jimmy Graham, 1-yard to Tyler Lockett and the TD to McKissic after the Eagles had trimmed the lead to seven.
“I thought Russell was phenomenal tonight. I thought that was Russell showing you everything he’s all about,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “From start to finish, from the first play of the game he was on it.”
Philadelphia (10-2) was the highest-scoring team in the NFL with 31.9 points per game. But the Eagles got just 10 points out of seven drives that reached Seattle territory. Twice this year Seattle has faced what was the top scoring offense in the NFL at the time. Both times they scored 10 points against the Seahawks.
“I felt like everybody was sleeping on us and nobody expected us to win this game,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “But we expected to win this game. This is not a surprise to us.”
Carson Wentz was 29 of 45 for 348 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Wentz had a costly fumble at the Seattle 1 on the opening drive of the second half that could have pulled the Eagles even at 10-all.
Wentz was inches shy of breaking the plane when Sheldon Richardson ripped the ball free. The loose ball bounced around the end zone and eventually over the end line for a touchback and Seattle’s ball. It was a major turning point, as Seattle went 80 yards in 11 plays, capped by Wilson’s 1-yard pass to Lockett for a 17-3 Seattle lead. The touchdown was set up by a 47-yard pass to Doug Baldwin on third-and-10, beating a Philadelphia blitz.
“I make my big plays here and there,” Richardson said.
Seattle snapped a rare two-game losing streak at home mostly because of Wilson. It wasn’t his best game in numbers, but it might be one of his best performances. He came up with key throws when needed, kept plays alive with his legs and pulled out some unexpected improvisation just went the Seahawks needed it.
“We had a good game plan going against (Wilson),” Philadelphia safety Corey Graham said. “But as you see, you know how it is, better in person than it is on film.”
Wentz started a Philadelphia rally on the first play of the fourth quarter. Facing third-and-13 at the 16, Wentz was pressured from the pocket. As he was about to be dragged down by Quinton Jefferson, Wentz hit Nelson Agholor for 51 yards. Four plays later, and again facing third-and-long, Agholor beat Maxwell again and Wentz found him for a 27-yard TD to pull the Eagles within 17-10.
Agholor had seven catches for 141 yards.
LATERAL OR PASS?
Wilson pulled out a little more magic on what proved to be Seattle’s decisive drive that ended in McKissic’s TD. Facing third-and-8 at the Philadelphia 42, Wilson was forced to scramble. Six yards downfield and short of the first down, Wilson lateraled the ball to Mike Davis as he was about to be hit. Davis took the lateral another 17 yards for a first down. It was a borderline play that appeared close to a forward pass, but Philadelphia didn’t challenge.
“Real time, it looked fine. It looked legit. We didn’t get all the necessary looks, because they hustled to the line,” Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson said. “But at the same time, it looked good. I trust the guys upstairs in making those decisions.”
Graham had just three catches for 26 yards but continued to be Wilson’s favorite target near the goal line. Graham has touchdowns in four straight games and nine in the past seven games.
Philadelphia failed to score at least 20 points for the first time in 15 games, a streak dating to last season. The Eagles were the only team in the league to score at least 20 in every game this season.
FIRST QUARTER FINALLY
Seattle became the first team to score an offensive touchdown in the first quarter against the Eagles on Graham’s 11-yard TD catch. The Eagles had allowed just 18 points in the first quarter coming into the game, but allowed points on two of Seattle’s first three possessions.
Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz left in the third quarter to be evaluated for a head injury and did not return. Ertz was injured trying to make a difficult catch across the middle that was broken up by Bradley McDougald.
Eagles: At the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Seahawks: At Jacksonville on Sunday.
Steelers 23, Bengals 20
CINCINNATI (AP) — No matter how high the stakes, how big the deficit or how late in the game, Ben Roethlisberger and his tough-to-catch playmakers always find a way to leave the Bengals wondering what just happened.
Chris Boswell kicked a field goal on the final play shortly after Antonio Brown caught a 6-yard touchdown pass — taking a hit to the head while landing in the end zone — and the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled off another improbable comeback against the stunned Bengals, rallying for a 23-20 victory Monday night.
Down 17-0 early, the Steelers (10-2) extended their best start since 2004 in a physical game with a couple frightening injuries. Brown’s touchdown tied it at 20 with 3:51 to go — safety George Iloka was penalized for hitting him in the head after the catch. Boswell won it with 38-yard field goal, his second straight winner in the closing seconds.
Both teams know the script.
“It sort of reminded me of the playoff game — what was it, two years ago?” Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward said. “It’s sort of the best reality TV show out there — better than the Kardashians.”
Two years ago, the Steelers came to Paul Brown Stadium and pulled out an improbable 18-16 playoff win set up by Cincinnati’s fumble and personal fouls on Vontaze Burfict and Adam “Pacman” Jones. Boswell won that one with a 35-yard kick with 14 seconds left.
Desperate for a win to salvage their playoff hopes, the Bengals (5-7) still couldn’t find a way to beat their Ohio River rival, not even after getting off to the big early lead. They’ve dropped six straight and nine of 10 against Pittsburgh.
“Very disappointing,” said Bengals receiver A.J. Green, who had two touchdown catches in the first half. “We had it.”
Nope. They never do, not against the Steelers.
“We’ve got a no-blink group,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’ve been in this situation before, and in this stadium before.”
The hard-hitting game was full of personal fouls, penalties and injuries that could have a long-term effect, especially for the AFC North leaders.
Pittsburgh lost leading tackler Ryan Shazier to a back injury in the first quarter. The linebacker was taken off the field on a cart and taken to a hospital for evaluation. Tomlin had no details about his injury or his prognosis after the game. ESPN reported that Tomlin went to the hospital after the game to check on Shazier.
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was carted off in the fourth quarter after JuJu Smith-Schuster leveled him with a high hit, then taunted him by walking over him. There were 11 personal fouls in another acrimonious rematch in their hard-edged series. The Bengals self-destructed with 13 penalties for a team-record 173 yards.
The Steelers remain tied with New England for best record in the conference. They host the Patriots on Dec. 17.
Bottled up by Cincinnati’s aggressive defense in the first half, Pittsburgh’s playmakers made the difference down the stretch, just as they have all season. They rallied to beat the Packers 31-28 last Sunday on Boswell’s 53-yard field goal on the final play, which was set up by Brown’s incredible sideline catch.
After missing practice last week with an injured toe, Brown ran gingerly in pregame warmups and had another big game, finishing with 101 yards in eight catches.
Le’Veon Bell ran for 76 yards and had another 106 yards on five catches, including a 35-yard touchdown play in which he remarkably kept his balance along the sideline — cornerback William Jackson pulled up, thinking there was no way he could stay inbound.
It’s the first time that Bell and Brown each had 100 yards receiving in the same game. Ben Roethlisberger was 24 of 40 for 290 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception.
The Steelers have won 11 straight prime-time games, including four already this season against the Lions (Sunday night), the Titans (Thursday night) and the Packers (last Sunday night). It’s been a horrific time slot for the Bengals, who are 11-24 on Monday night, dropping their past four.
Roethlisberger has won his last seven prime-time starts, throwing 26 touchdowns and five interceptions. In those games, Brown has 58 catches for 883 yards with 15 touchdowns.
IN YOUR FACE
Bell and Burfict have a long-running feud on Twitter, and it got in-your-face right away. After Jones picked off a pass to end the Steelers’ opening possession, Bell shoved Burfict’s facemask and drove him to the ground, drawing a personal foul.
Steelers: Brown missed practice last week with a toe injury. He moved slowly during pregame warmups but started and finished with eight catches for 101 yards.
Bengals: Jones injured his groin on his first-quarter interception and didn’t return. Running back Joe Mixon suffered a concussion late in the first half.
Steelers host second-place Baltimore (7-5) next Sunday night in their fourth prime-time game of the season. They won at Baltimore 26-9 on Oct. 1.
Bengals host the Bears (3-9), completing a stretch of three straight home games. Cincinnati is 3-2 at Paul Brown Stadium this season.