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Here is a recap of Week 4 of the 2018 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Bye- Redskins & Panthers
Vikings 31, Rams 38
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jared Goff hit Cooper Kupp in stride with a 70-yard touchdown pass that was just as gloriously wide-open as Rams coach Sean McVay had predicted when they drew it up this week.
While his teammates celebrated, Goff ran to the sideline and pointed at McVay, who accepted the challenge with a celebratory chest bump.
“I was fired up for him,” Goff said. “I told him after, ‘I didn’t mean to knock you over there.'”
Although the big quarterback knocked the headset off his smaller coach’s head, both men were left smiling. With that throw and several more of similar brilliance, Goff turned a phenomenal first half into the biggest game of his career.
And it was still just barely enough to beat Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings.
Goff passed for career highs of 465 yards and five touchdowns, winning a scintillating duel with his Minnesota counterpart and leading unbeaten Los Angeles to a 38-31 victory Thursday night.
Goff hit Kupp with two of his four TD throws during a 251-yard first half in which the third-year quarterback flawlessly executed the offense created by McVay. Goff finished 26 of 33 with a perfect 158.3 passer rating for the Rams (4-0), who won their third home game in 12 days.
“It was just great command by him,” McVay said. “I think he’s having fun. No moment is too big for him, and it gives you confidence when you see him playing like this.”
But McVay then had to watch apprehensively while his former prize pupil nearly executed a comeback for the Vikings (1-2-1). McVay was Cousins’ offensive coordinator in Washington before he became Goff’s head coach on the West Coast last season.
Cousins passed for 422 yards and three touchdowns, but the Vikings lost when Los Angeles rookie defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers strip-sacked Cousins near midfield with 1:18 to play.
“It’s fun for us, personally,” Goff said of his duel with Cousins. “I don’t know if it’s fun for the whole team, but it’s cool. Kirk is a guy we watched on film forever last year. Got a lot of respect for him and the way he plays, and I just think he’s such a great quarterback. To get a chance to go against him like that and kind of duke it out, I told him after the game how much I appreciated the battle with him.”
Todd Gurley finished with 83 yards rushing and 73 yards receiving for the Rams. Gurley and Brandin Cooks had first-half TD catches, but the Vikings trimmed LA’s lead to 31-28 late in the third quarter with Adam Thielen’s 45-yard TD catch and a 2-point conversion.
Goff promptly surpassed his previous career highs for yards passing during a swift drive ending in Robert Woods’ 31-yard TD catch, and the Rams’ defense hung on while the offense went scoreless in the fourth quarter.
One week after giving up 27 points in the first half and getting blown out as 16 1/2-point favorites in Buffalo, the Vikings gave up 28 before halftime against LA.
“We did not play well defensively,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “Offensively we moved the ball well, but we had too many missed tackles, and too many people were left wide open. I’ve not ever had a team that’s been this poor in pass coverage. We are going to have to look at everything.”
A healthy throng of purple-clad fans turned out for the Vikings’ first game in Los Angeles since 1993. They saw a show from Cousins, who hit Aldrick Robinson for two first-half scores.
Goff found Kupp with two beautiful TD throws in the first half, the first hitting Kupp in stride on that 70-yard sprint , and the second eluding two Vikings and dropping into Kupp’s hands deep in the end zone.
“Jared put it in about a 6-inch box that only he could fit it into,” McVay said.
Less than 2 1/2 minutes later, Goff hit Cooks down the middle for a 47-yard score. Goff’s four TD passes were the most in a first half by a Rams quarterback since Kurt Warner did it in 1999.
Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen posted a message on Instagram expressing his gratitude for support from his team and family. Griffen has been away from the Vikings while undergoing a mental health evaluation, and he didn’t get to return to the Coliseum, where he starred for USC. Griffen said he doesn’t know exactly when he’ll be back in uniform, but he plans to “return as a much-improved person and player.”
Vikings: RB Dalvin Cook had 20 yards on 10 carries after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury. … Goff’s third and fourth TD throws beat CB Trae Waynes, who missed the second half with a concussion.
Rams: TE Tyler Higbee injured his knee early on. He returned later in the first half. … CB Marcus Peters played after injuring his calf last week.
Vikings: At the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Oct. 7.
Rams: At the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Oct. 7.
Dolphins 7, Patriots 38
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Patriots’ losing streak is over.
And so is the Dolphins’ undefeated start.
Tom Brady threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns and the New England Patriots handed Miami its first loss of the season in a 38-7 rout on Sunday.
It denied the Dolphins (3-1) their first 4-0 start since Hall of Fame coach Don Shula’s last season in 1995.
“I thought we got what we needed from our team today,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.
Brady improved to 15-1 as a starter against Miami.
“We hadn’t played well in the last weeks,” Brady said. “This game’s great. But you’ve gotta turn the page.”
New England (2-2) may be doing that without one of its best players. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, one of Brady’s favorite targets, left the game in the third quarter with a right ankle injury and did not return.
It put a slight damper on an afternoon in which New England showed the kind of consistency on both sides of the ball that had been missing in back-to-back losses to Jacksonville and Detroit. Since 2002, the Patriots are 8-0 after back-to-back losses.
In its two losses, New England’s offense struggled to find its rhythm and sustain drives on third down.
It did both Sunday, taking advantage of a Dolphins defense that couldn’t seem to match the Patriots’ speed.
Running back James White finished with a rushing and receiving touchdown. Rookie running back Sony Michel also rushed 25 times for 112 yards and his first career touchdown. It was perfect timing after Rex Burkhead went on injured reserve last week with a neck injury.
Miami struggled in every phase and looked very much like the team that has lost 10 straight road games to New England.
Ryan Tannehill finished 11 for 20 for 100 yards and an interception. He was pulled in the fourth quarter in favor of Brock Osweiler. Osweiler connected with Frank Gore for a 6-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter for Miami’s lone score.
“Not a lot went right for us,” Tannehill said.
Miami was just 3 of 11 on third down and managed only 172 total yards. The Dolphins also had two turnovers and were whistled for 10 penalties, totaling 89 yards
“I feel like it’s nothing they did,” running back Kenyan Drake said. “I felt like we out there and the penalties and all those things killed us.”
Miami had a strong start on defense, intercepting Brady on New England’s second offensive series.
But following a quick Dolphins’ punt, the Patriots bounced back with a 55-yard TD pass from Brady to Cordarrelle Patterson to take a 10-0 lead.
The 55-yard pass was New England’s longest play of the season. Patterson caught the pass over his shoulder along the sideline and stutter-stepped past safety T.J. McDonald to find a clear path to the end zone.
Then about midway through the second quarter, Tannehill fumbled a snap to begin a series that was recovered by Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy on the Dolphins 2 . White ran it in for a touchdown on the next play to make it 17-0 .
The Patriots then ended the half with a 15-play, 85-yard drive capped by an acrobatic touchdown grab in the end zone by Phillip Dorsett.
Dorsett, who had no catches in last week’s loss to Detroit, finished with four catches for 55 yards.
Patriots receiver Josh Gordon made his debut Sunday, marking his first playing time in New England since his trade from the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 17.
Gordon made his first reception at the 7:27 mark of the first quarter, hauling in a 13-yard grab.
New England dealt for the embattled receiver about 48 hours after the Browns announced their intention to cut ties with him, saying they had “reached a point where we feel it’s best to part ways and move forward.”
Gordon was inactive in Week 3 in New England’s loss to Detroit with a hamstring injury and was limited in practice this week.
He finished with two catches for 32 yards.
“I have no doubt I can take advantage of this opportunity,” Gordon said. “I’m more than blessed, I’m extremely grateful to be in this scenario. I think the only thing right for me to do is take advantage of it.”
Dolphins running back Frank Gore became the eighth running back in NFL history to appear in 200 NFL games.
Gore took the field in the first quarter of Miami’s matchup with the Patriots.
With 14,124 rushing yards, Gore entered the day ranked fourth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list behind only Emmitt Smith (18,335), Walter Payton (16,726) and Barry Sanders (15,269).
SPREAD IT AROUND
Patterson became the 70th different player to catch a touchdown pass from Brady.
It tied Brady with Vinny Testaverde for the most players with a touchdown reception from a single quarterback in NFL history.
Dolphins center Daniel Kilgore left the game in the first half with an arm injury. Safety Bobby McCain left with a knee injury.
Patriots defensive lineman Adam Butler was helped off the field in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Elandon Roberts also limped off late.
The Dolphins visit Cincinnati next Sunday.
The Patriots host the Colts on Thursday night.
Bengals 37, Falcons 36
ATLANTA (AP) — Watching from the Cincinnati sideline, Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick couldn’t stop smiling as he watched Bengals receivers Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green shred the Atlanta Falcons’ secondary on the game-winning drive.
“They went crazy,” Kirkpatrick said. “Watching them do what they do puts big smiles on everybody’s faces. This is what it’s about.”
Andy Dalton threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Green with 7 seconds remaining, lifting Cincinnati to a 37-36 win over the Falcons on Sunday in a game that extends the first-place Bengals’ strong start.
Dalton completed four passes to Boyd, including two on fourth downs, as he moved the Bengals 75 yards on 16 plays in about four minutes.
Green, the former University of Georgia star making his first return to the state of Georgia, made a diving catch in the right side of the end zone to cap the drive. He had four catches for 78 yards.
Running back Joe Mixon, who missed his second straight game for Cincinnati while recovering from knee surgery, ran down the sideline to celebrate with Green in the end zone.
“Every time we were in the huddle we were encouraging each other and saying we’ve got to find a way,” said tight end C.J. Uzomah. “We made it happen.”
Giovani Bernard ran for 69 yards and two touchdowns for Cincinnati (3-1).
Kirkpatrick said the Bengals are “fighting for each other, standing up for each other, believing in each other. In previous years, we haven’t had that.”
Matt Ryan continued his resurgence by throwing three scoring passes, including two to rookie Calvin Ridley, for the Falcons.
As was the case last week, when he had his first career game with five touchdown passes in a 43-37 overtime loss to New Orleans, Ryan had too little support from a defense missing three injured starters, despite three sacks from Takk McKinley .
The Falcons (1-3) topped 30 points for the third straight week. Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP, has thrown eight touchdown passes in his past two weeks and has 10 through four games after throwing only 20 in 2017.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said his team lacks the instinct needed “to close the door” with a lead. “We’re going to develop that instinct,” he said. “We do not have it as we need it right now.”
The Bengals, protecting at least a share of the AFC North lead, have enjoyed a strong start despite playing three of their first four games on the road. They play six of their next eight at home.
Atlanta’s Matt Bryant, who kicked three field goals, including a 55-yard field goal in the second quarter, was good from 32 yards to give the Falcons a 36-31 lead with 4:15 remaining.
That was too much time for Dalton, who completed 29 of 41 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns and one interception.
Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert had four catches for 38 yards, including a 15-yard scoring catch in the first quarter, before suffering a gruesome lower right leg injury early in the third quarter.
Eifert, the team’s third-leading receiver entering the game, caught a 2-yard pass and was tackled by De’Vondre Campbell and Jack Crawford. Eifert brought his hands up to his helmet as he was on his back in obvious pain. His leg stabilized by the medical staff, Eifert received encouragement from teammates before he was carted off the field.
Bengals halfback Mark Walton did not return and was being treated for a possible concussion after a helmet-to-helmet penalty hit by Brian Poole near the end of the third. Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett had an ankle injury late in the fourth and did not return.
Kirkpatrick talked during the week about winning bragging rights with fellow former Alabama star Julio Jones, who had nine catches for 173 yards. Kirkpatrick was impressed with Ridley, another former Alabama player who had four catches for 54 yards. Ridley had scoring catches of 11 and 30 yards, giving him five in his past two games and six for the season.
“That Ridley kid, the boy is about to take the NFL by storm,” Kirkpatrick said. “That boy if not this year, if not next year, he’s definitely going to be top 10 in the league.”
Former President Jimmy Carter was given a No. 39 Falcons jersey, as the 39th U.S. president. In a pregame ceremony, Carter was presented a birthday cake by team owner Arthur Blank one day before Carter’s 94th birthday.
Carter also rang the pregame train horn and yelled “Rise Up” to Falcons fans.
Each team was without its top running back. Devonta Freeman missed his third straight game for Atlanta with a sore right knee. Mixon was held out for the second straight week for the Bengals after having debris removed from his right knee.
The Bengals lead the series 9-5 following their first win in Atlanta since a 16-10 victory on Nov. 15, 1987, at old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
Bengals: host Miami Dolphins next Sunday.
Falcons: Visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in first road game since opening season at Philadelphia.
Bills 0, Packers 22
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Always the perfectionist, that Aaron Rodgers.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback looked a little more mobile playing for a third straight week with a brace on his injured left knee. But he felt like he didn’t have his best day on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
The defense had his back.
The Packers had seven sacks and pitched a shutout for the first time in eight years in a 22-0 win over the Buffalo Bills.
“Yeah, we were championship defensive level and non-playoff team offensive level today. That was not great by any stretch of the imagination,” Rodgers said.
And that was after a shutout.
Rodgers was 22 of 40 for 298 yards with one touchdown. Green Bay (2-1-1) had decisive edges in total offense (423-145) and first downs (22-11).
Rodgers also threw an interception off a deflected pass and fumbled the ball away on a sack early in the fourth quarter. The offense wasn’t as productive in the second half after a fast start.
“It was as bad as we’ve played on offense with that many yards in a long time,” Rodgers said.
When considering that the two-time NFL MVP is playing through an injury, and that the offense didn’t have Randall Cobb because of a sore hamstring, the Packers weren’t actually that bad. Two 52-yard field goals from Mason Crosby helped bail the offense out, too.
“Aaron’s just gutting it out, I thought he played really well,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think what he’s fighting through is a tremendous asset to our football team.”
The Bills (1-3) were much worse.
Rookie quarterback Josh Allen accounted for three turnovers, including two interceptions and a fumble late in the fourth quarter that stood on review. He was 16 of 33 for 151 yards.
The Bills had a much tougher time on the road in the NFC North, a week after a stunning win at heavily favored Minnesota.
“I take this one on my shoulders,” Allen said. “We can only go as far as the quarterback goes.”
Buffalo did manage to force Rodgers to throw his first interception of the year . But a 16-0 lead at the half was more than enough cushion against Buffalo’s feeble offense. Even the return of running back LeSean McCoy, who missed a game because of a rib injury, didn’t help Buffalo.
“We were out of rhythm on offense. We needed to find some consistency,” coach Sean McDermott said.
GOING TO GRAHAM
Rodgers and Jimmy Graham connected on their first touchdown pass of the year . Signed in the offseason as a free agent, the athletic tight end made his first official Lambeau Leap after a touchdown earlier this season was wiped out by a flag.
“Usually they come in bunches, so hopefully this is the beginning,” said Graham, who finished with 21 yards on three catches.
Aaron Jones added 65 yards and a score on 11 carries for the Packers, who slowed in the second half after a fast start on offense. A slasher with big-play ability, Jones could eventually emerge as the top ballcarrier in the Packers’ crowded backfield.
A physical defense for Green Bay held the Bills to eight punts and three turnovers on their first 11 drives. Kyler Fackrell had three sacks.
Things went so well for the D that linebacker Clay Matthews was credited for a half-sack after drawing roughing-the-passer penalties in each of the first three weeks.
“We’ve got to make sure we establish the line of scrimmage and that sets up the running game, that sets up the pass game,” McDermott said. “But you’ve got to make sure you’re winning your one-on-one, whatever that is.”
McCoy finished with 24 yards on five carries, and 13 yards on three receptions. He walked out of the locker room after the game with what appeared his left hand heavily wrapped. … Bills WR Kelvin Benjamin had one catch for 34 yards before leaving in the third quarter to be evaluated for a head injury… S Micah Hyde had a disappointing return to Lambeau after leaving in the first quarter with a groin injury. Hyde left the Packers as a free agent after the 2016 season. … Packers WR Geronimo Allison left in the third quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.
Bills: Host Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Packers: Visit Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Texans 37, Colts 34 OT
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ka’imi Fairbairn took advantage of his final chance Sunday.
The third-year kicker missed a 59-yarder to win the game at the end of regulation, then a 37-yarder near the end of overtime. But the Indianapolis Colts had called timeout just before that one, and Fairbairn finally made the decisive kick as time expired to help Houston snap the league’s longest losing streak with a 37-34 victory at Indianapolis.
“It was a rollercoaster. I was just trying to steady,” Fairbairn said. “That’s exactly what we needed.”
Nothing went according to the script.
Just moments earlier, Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s new career field goals leader, thought he might get to it.
But after Andrew Luck bounced a short pass to Chester Rogers on fourth-and-4 from his own 43-yard line, Deshaun Watson got the ball back with 24 seconds left and no timeouts and found DeAndre Hopkins for a 24-yard completion to get Fairbairn into position.
His first try sailed wide as the crowd roared. But coach Frank Reich called timeout in an effort to ice Fairbairn, who made the second one .
The bigger question, though, was about Reich’s decision to go for it rather than punt and settle for a tie.
“We’re not playing to tie,” Reich said. “We’re going for that 10 times out of 10. That (play) has just got to work.”
When it didn’t, the Texans’ nine-game losing streak was over with their first win since Nov. 19.
The most promising news for Houston (1-3), though, was that Watson & Co. appeared to be in sync.
Watson finished 29 of 42 with 375 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while running six times for 41 yards and another score. He connected with Hopkins 10 times for 169 yards and a score, and Keke Coutee 11 times for 109 yards. And Watson made enough plays late in regulation and overtime to give Fairbairn a chance.
The Texans’ defense harassed Luck all day, sacking him four times, limited Indy’s ground game to just 41 yards on 17 carries and converted two turnovers into 14 points.
“It was very unconventional, but we’ll take it,” J.J. Watt said after recording two more sacks and becoming the second-fastest in league history to 80.
It’s the third time in four weeks Indy (1-3) has fallen short in the closing minutes, this one spoiling Vinatieri’s milestone day.
The 45-year-old kicker became the league’s career leader in field goals when he made a 42-yarder with 2 seconds left in the first half. He extended the mark to 567 with a 44-yarder that gave Indy a 34-31 lead with 6 minutes left in overtime.
Vinatieri moved past Hall of Famer Morten Andersen, who had 565 career field goals.
But Fairbairn tied the score with a 29-yard kick and won it with the 37-yarder.
Luck was 40 of 62 for a career-high 464 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions but lamented his last throw.
“I did not get the ball to Chester to make the play and I’m sick about it,” he said.
Still, Luck gave Indy a chance after trailing 28-7 midway through the third quarter.
He threw a 14-yard TD pass to Nyheim Hines, a 5-yard TD pass to Eric Ebron and a 9-yard TD pass to Hines before tying the score at 31 with a 2-point conversion pass to Rogers with 45 seconds to go in regulation.
Vinatieri’s overtime field goal gave Indy a 34-31 lead but the defense couldn’t close it out.
“Any time you win a game, no matter how you win it, it’s great,” Hopkins said. “We knew what we were up against. We had to go out and finish it.”
Vinatieri also tied Gary Anderson for the second-most field-goal attempts in league history with 672, but he wasn’t the only record-breaker.
Luck broke the Colts’ single-game franchise record for attempts, tied the franchise mark for completions, wound up second in franchise history for single-game yards and came within a whisker of tying the franchise’s largest regular-season comeback (21).
Watt recorded two sacks in his second straight game, extending his own record to seven. And Coutee broke Andre Johnson’s franchise record for most receptions (six) in an NFL debut.
Texans: Hopkins started despite dealing with thumb, ankle and hamstring injuries all week. Will Fuller V left with a hamstring injury late in the first half and linebacker Brian Peters did not return after injuring his ankle.
Colts: Hilton suffered a chest injury in the first half and cornerback Kenny Moore II left with a concussion. Hilton returned but left later after hurting his hamstring.
Texans: Host cross-state rival Dallas next Sunday night.
Colts: Head to New England on Thursday night.
Lions 24, Cowboys 26
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott saw single coverage by a linebacker on Ezekiel Elliott with the Dallas Cowboys trying to get in position for a winning field goal against the Detroit Lions.
So did the 2016 NFL rushing leader.
“I lined up in the slot. I was excited,” said Elliott, who was face-to-face with leading Detroit tackler Jarrad Davis. “I was excited. I got them one-on-one with me. He made a perfect throw. One pass, we won the game.”
Prescott’s 34-yard toss on a deep throw to his star running backset up Brett Maher’s 38-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Cowboys to a 26-24 victory Sunday and once again spoiling Matthew Stafford’s homecoming.
Maher’s fourth field goal came after Elliott got a step or so behind Davis and made an over-the-shoulder catch on his way to a career-best 240 all-purpose yards. Elliott had 152 yards rushing and 88 receiving, also highlighted by a 38-yard touchdown on a screen in the second quarter.
“Anywhere you got him the ball, anywhere he had the ball in his hands, he was dominating the game and setting the tone, from the screens to the check-downs to that last play right there,” Prescott said. “It was just a dominating performance for him.”
The winning play came after Stafford had put the Lions (1-3) in front with 2:17 remaining on a 38-yard touchdown to Golden Tate, their second TD connection of the day.
The best day of the season for a previously struggling Dallas offense — 414 yards — handed Stafford his third straight loss at the home of the Cowboys (2-2), seven years after his only win in his first trip to AT&T Stadium. The former Dallas-area high school star threw for 307 yards.
“I would much rather be the guy with the ball last,” said Stafford, who lost a playoff game in his hometown almost four years ago. “But I think all of our players on defense are probably sitting out there going, ‘I want to be out there to make the stop.’ That’s just what we do.”
Trailing 20-10, Stafford led the Lions 75 yards to rookie Kerryon Johnson’s first career touchdown , an 8-yard run that started a back-and-fourth final quarter. Johnson ran 32 yards on the first play of the game and finished with 55 yards.
After the Cowboys settled for Maher’s third field goal on an 85-yard drive, Stafford found Tate for 35 yards into Dallas territory before Tate easily beat zone coverage down the sideline and strutted toward the end zone, just as he had on a 45-yard score in the first quarter.
Prescott had an answer while throwing for at least 200 yards for the first time this season. The Dallas quarterback saved the final drive by picking up his fumble when he was hit on the arm and scrambling before throwing the ball out of bounds.
Prescott then converted a third down and two plays later hit Elliott in stride on the decisive play. The Cowboys killed the clock to set up Maher, the kicker they chose over Dan Bailey — the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history — at the end of the preseason in a cost-cutting move.
“My craft is same every time I step on the field, no matter what,” said Maher, who has made all eight kicks since missing the first of his NFL career in an opening loss at Carolina. “I was going out there trying to be 1 for 1 again.”
Elliott had a season-high 25 carries for his 152 yards, and Prescott was 17 of 27 for 255 yards with two touchdowns, including tight end Geoff Swaim’s first career score .
Stafford was 24 of 30 with the two scores to Tate, who had eight catches for 132 yards.
ROUGHING THE PASSER
The touchdown screen to Elliott was set up by a roughing-the-passer penalty against Romeo Okwara. The question was whether the whistle had blown when he hit Prescott, who was trying to escape pressure when he stumbled out of an attempted tackle and went to a knee. Prescott popped up but had stopped moving, anticipating that he was down, when Okwara knocked him to the ground.
Dallas receiver Terrance Williams was a healthy scratch for the first time in his six-year career. The Cowboys have struggled for consistency with their pass catchers in the first season without Jason Witten and Dez Bryant. They have seven receivers on the 53-man roster. Williams was the odd man out this week, and was a no-show at practice Friday.
DeMarcus Lawrence matched his career high with three sacks after Stafford came in having been brought down just three times combined in the first three games. Those were all three Dallas sacks. Lawrence has at least half a sack in all four games and 5½ for the season.
Lions: RG T.J. Lang didn’t return after sustaining a concussion in the first quarter.
Cowboys: DT Antwaun Woods left in the first half with a calf injury. Woods was questionable before the game because of a groin injury.
Lions: Green Bay at home next Sunday.
Cowboys: At Houston next Sunday.
Eagles 23, Titans 26 OT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Vrabel took a timeout late in overtime with the Tennessee Titans facing their third fourth down, then the first-year coach pulled kicker Ryan Succop off the field.
Marcus Mariota, Corey Davis and the rest of the Titans rewarded Vrabel for his big show of confidence.
Mariota hit Davis with a 10-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds remaining in overtime, and the Titans beat the Philadelphia Eagles 26-23 on Sunday for their best start since 2013.
“He believes in us, believes we can go get that first down and go win the game,” Mariota said of Vrabel letting the offense go for a third fourth down on the final drive. “When you have a head coach that believes in you, man that means the world.”
Succop was lining up for a 50-yard attempt when Vrabel took the timeout. Only 17 seconds remained with the Titans facing third-and-goal when Mariota finally ended the game after 3 hours, 36 minutes.
“I got my heart pills coming,” Vrabel joked. “I got a prescription, a big bottle. But I’m just proud of them being able to execute in the most critical of situations.”
The Titans trailed by 14 in the third quarter before rallying for the lead. They also trailed 23-20 in overtime before coming back again behind Mariota, who in his first start since being knocked out of the season opener with an injured elbow threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns while also running for a score.
On the game-winning drive, the Titans converted three fourth downs, one by penalty. Mariota hit Taywan Taylor with a 19-yarder on fourth-and-15, and Mariota found a wide-open Dion Lewis on fourth-and-2 for a 17-yard gain. Mariota lofted the ball a bit knowing Davis would have room in the end zone for his first TD catch in the regular season.
“I got tackled by a bunch of teammates, but it felt good,” said Davis, who finished with 161 yards receiving.
The Titans (3-1) also came up with four sacks. Rookie Harold Landry got his first and also stripped Carson Wentz of the ball within the first minute of the fourth quarter, setting up the second of Succop’s two field goals.
The Eagles (2-2) had their chances to win both at the end of regulation and in overtime but were forced to settle for a pair of field goals by Jake Elliott.
“This hurts,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “This stings. Losses like this sting, and it’s something we use as fuel for our emotion moving forward.”
Philadelphia had three chances inside the Tennessee 20 to win in regulation after DeAndre Carter returned a punt 42 yards to the Titans 39 with 1:41 left, but Wentz threw incomplete on first and third down. Elliott kicked a 30-yarder to force overtime.
In the extra period, the Eagles had first-and-10 at the Tennessee 17 but had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Elliott for the lead.
The Eagles led 10-3 at halftime and 17-3 after a masterful drive that ate up more than 7 minutes of the third quarter before Wentz hit receiver Alshon Jeffery with a 16-yard TD .
Mariota finally got the Titans’ offense going after just two offensive touchdowns through the first three games. He capped a 75-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run to pull Tennessee within 17-10 late in the third, and he hit Tajae Sharpe with an 11-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles outgained Tennessee 432-397 with Wentz throwing for 348 yards. Jeffery finished with 105 yards receiving and a TD, and Zach Ertz had 10 catches for 112 yards.
WHY PLAY FOR A TIE?
“I don’t know the point of having a tie in the NFL,” Titans cornerback Logan Ryan said. “I don’t know what it really does for the standings. I don’t know who feels good about it. It probably feels like a loss. We were comfortable with the decision no matter how it went down. That puts a lot of trust in your quarterback and your offense right there.”
Mariota had his sixth game-winning drive since the start of the 2017 season, not counting his playoff comeback in January. Mariota had been tied with Case Keenum coming into Sunday with five in that span. Mariota now has 11 such drives in his career for the Titans.
Eagles: Right guard Brandon Brooks limped to the sideline late in the fourth quarter.
Titans: Linebacker Wesley Woodyard, Tennessee’s leading tackler, hurt his shoulder in the first quarter and did not return. Safety Kenny Vaccaro went to the locker room with trainers late in the first half with an injured right elbow and watched the second half with his arm in a sling on the sideline.
Eagles: Host Minnesota.
Titans: Visit Buffalo.
Buccaneers 10, Bears 48
CHICAGO (AP) — From the moment they identified him as the quarterback to lift their struggling franchise, the Chicago Bears envisioned big games from Mitchell Trubisky.
As breakthroughs go, this was a huge one.
Trubisky threw a career-high six touchdown passes — one shy of the NFL record — and the NFC North-leading Bears pounded the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-10 on Sunday.
The Bears (3-1) won their third straight with Trubisky delivering the sort of performance general manager Ryan Pace envisioned when he traded up a spot to draft the prized quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick last year.
He finished one TD pass short of the franchise mark set by Sid Luckman against the New York Giants in 1943. Luckman is tied with seven others in NFL history to throw seven TD passes in a game. The Bears also racked up 483 yards in this one, nearly matching their record of 488 in that same game, on the way to their highest point total since 51-20 victory over Tennessee in 2012.
“It’s very humbling because you know the history of the Bears and how many great players have come through this organization,” Trubisky said. “For me, you’re just trying to create your own legacy and try to make a path.”
The defense did its part, harassing Ryan Fitzpatrick before Jameis Winston took over to start the second half. And the Bears (3-1) matched their longest win streak since a 3-0 start in 2013.
Trubisky had never thrown for more than two touchdowns in a game. But he tossed five in the first half alone as Chicago grabbed a 38-3 lead. The only other player with more in a single half since 1991 was Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers with six in the first two quarters against the Bears in a romp at Lambeau Field in November 2014.
Trubisky had no trouble finding wide-open receivers against a struggling secondary, completing 19 of 26 passes for 354 yards.
“Hopefully, this is a day where we look back down the road here,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said, “and say, ‘Remember that day where he had that great game?’ And it helped catapult him into being a great quarterback.”
Khalil Mack had a strip-sack in the first half against Fitzpatrick. That made him the first player with a sack and forced fumble in four straight games since Robert Mathis for Indianapolis in 2005. He also appeared to tip the ball as Winston released a pass that Danny Trevathan picked off on the first drive of the second half.
Coming off a tight loss to Pittsburgh on Monday night, the Buccaneers (2-2) were simply overwhelmed in this one.
“We should fire every person that was on that field today, starting with me. That was horrific,” coach Dirk Koetter said.
Koetter said Winston “probably” did enough to regain the starting job, but wouldn’t quite commit to that.
Tampa Bay decided to stick with Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback even though Winston was back from a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
But after becoming the first player in NFL history to top 400 yards passing in three consecutive games, Fitzpatrick was 9 of 18 for 126 yards and got sacked twice. Winston was 16 for 20 with 145 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Chicago’s Tarik Cohen had a career-high 121 yards receiving and a touchdown. Taylor Gabriel had a personal-best 104 yards receiving to go with two TD catches.
Trey Burton caught a 39-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive and finished with 86 yards.
Allen Robinson caught a 14-yarder late in the first quarter — his first TD since signing with Chicago in the offseason.
Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks was ejected for pushing an official late in the first half.
The incident occurred after Eddie Jackson intercepted a pass by Fitzpatrick. Hicks was involved in a scuffle away from the play with a Buccaneers player. Down judge Mike Carr had separated them when Hicks charged back and pushed the official, referee Jerome Boger told a pool reporter.
“It was just a deliberate act, when he knew the official was there in-between,” Boger said.
Hicks remained on the sideline for a few plays before leaving the field and threw his shoulder pads and jersey into the stands.
There were no obvious protests by either team.
Buccaneers: TE O.J. Howard left in the first half because of a knee injury. … CB Carlton Davis III aggravated a groin injury.
Bears: LB Sam Acho left in the first half with a pectoral injury.
Buccaneers: Have bye week. At Atlanta on Oct. 14.
Bears: Have bye week. At Miami on Oct. 14.
Jets 12, Jaguars 31
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Blake Bortles felt as though Jacksonville’s offense wasted a dominant defensive performance last week.
He refused to let it happen again.
Bortles threw two touchdown passes, including a 67-yarder to Donte Moncrief, and the Jaguars offense gave the defense plenty of help in a 31-12 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. Bortles ended up with a career-high 388 yards passing, topping 375 yards for the second time in three games.
“(The defense) played incredible again today,” Bortles said. “There were some sloppy parts of the game that we’ve got to clean up, but to give them some points to go play with the lead was good.”
It was a much different story a week ago, when the Jaguars (3-1) managed just two field goals in a 9-6 loss to Tennessee.
Bortles was clearly off in that one. He was much sharper against the Jets (1-3), who have dropped three straight.
He found T.J. Yeldon wide open for a 31-yard score in the second quarter and then beat a blitz with the deep pass to Moncrief down the sideline.
The pass to Moncrief was Jacksonville’s lone offensive highlight in an ugly second half. The Jaguars had three turnovers that led to nine points for the Jets.
“It’s just growth. That’s the easiest way to say it,” Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. “We’ve got to be consistent like this all time. Offense dropped the ball last week, so to speak, but this week they picked it up and put 500 yards on the board.
“That’s the best measure of a man and a football player — to put that turmoil behind you and move on and show your growth, and we did that.”
Jets rookie Sam Darnold was harassed early and often, getting sacked three times and nearly throwing three interceptions. Tashaun Gipson’s pick was overturned by a holding penalty on the other side of the field, and Pro Bowl cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey each dropped INTs that would have ended New York’s first two scoring drives.
Regardless, the Jaguars allowed 178 yards, allowed 10 first downs and recorded its first safety since 2014. It was the team’s best defensive output since holding Cincinnati to 148 yards last November.
The Jets scored their lone touchdown following Yeldon’s fourth-quarter fumble, a 2-yard pass from Darnold to Jordan Leggett. It was hardly the “identity game” the Jets had wanted.
“I felt we took a step back today,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “Nobody played well. We gave up a bunch of yards. We usually fight to be in ballgames. We’re usually in every ballgame. But we shot ourselves in the foot too much in the first half today. It’s back to the drawing board in every phase — offense, defense, special teams. It’s back to the drawing board.
“The other three games, we lost on silly things but we were in ballgames. Today, I don’t think we were in the ballgame. We didn’t give ourselves a chance.”
It was about what the confident Jaguars expected. They improved to 6-1 following losses in coach Doug Marrone’s two seasons.
Jacksonville’s biggest concern coming out of the victory was the health of running back Leonard Fournette, who re-injured his strained right hamstring. Fournette missed the last two games while trying to get back to full speed, but tweaked it during his return.
Fournette ran 11 times for 30 yards before leaving the game for good. Marrone said he’s worried about the relapse.
“I’d be (lying) if I said no,” Marrone said. ‘Anytime you come back and you’re ready to go and then all of a sudden you get injured again, it’s not a good sign.”
Bortles completed 29 of 38 passes, with an interception on a ball tipped at the line of scrimmage.
Darnold was 17 of 34 passing for 167 yards. The 1-2 punch of Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell combined for 26 yards rushing.
“We’ve got to make plays that were there,” Darnold said. “I’ve got to make throws that are there and not think too much, take what they give me and we’ll start to find completions and get into a rhythm.”
Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams and Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue recorded their first sacks of the season. Williams took down Bortles in the second quarter. Ngakoue sacked Darnold on the last play of the first half.
Jaguars center Brandon Linder was ruled out at halftime with a back injury. … Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne left game with a stomach illness, and linebacker Josh Martin was ruled out with concussion-like symptoms.
Jets: Host Denver next Sunday.
Jaguars: Play at Kansas City next Sunday.
Browns 42, Raiders 45 OT
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jon Gruden smiled as soon as Matt McCrane’s kick sailed through the uprights.
After nine years in the broadcast booth, three straight weeks of blown second-half leads and a roller-coaster game that featured three lead changes and 38 points after the start of the fourth quarter, Gruden finally won his first game in 3,591 days.
“It feels like my first win in 100 years,” he said. “It’s great to be back.”
Derek Carr threw four TD passes and a game-tying 2-point conversion with 30 seconds left in regulation to set up McCrane’s 29-yard field goal in overtime that gave the Raiders a come-from-behind 45-42 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
McCrane missed a 50-yard field goal on the opening possession of overtime in his NFL debut and a 47-yarder earlier in the game before getting another chance when Carr drove the Raiders (1-3) back down the field again after a defensive stop for the game winner with 1:46 left in the period.
“As soon as I saw it, it was an exciting feeling,” McCrane said. “I’ve been working hard. It’s something that I wanted as a kid, to play in the National Football League.”
The field goal dealt the Browns (1-2-1) another tough loss as they blew a 14-point lead in the second half and then allowed to get the game-tying TD and 2-point conversion in the final seconds of regulation to spoil Baker Mayfield’s NFL starting debut .
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick, threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns to put Cleveland on position to win but also committed four turnovers, losing two fumbles and throwing two interceptions, including one that Gareon Conley returned 36 yards for a TD .
The Browns were seeking their first back-to-back wins since November 2014 after snapping a 19-game winless streak by beating the Jets last week.
“I’m tired of growing pains,” coach Hue Jackson said. “I think we can do those things better. Those things hadn’t reared their ugly head until now. We can do better. Baker can do better. Our offense can do better. Special teams can do better, defense can do better. So, we’ve got to play better.
Carr threw for 437 yards, Marshawn Lynch ran for 130 yards for his most productive game in four years, and Amari Cooper (128 yards) and Jared Cook (110) each topped the 100-yard mark.
The Browns broke out to a 28-14 lead midway through the third quarter only to fall behind 34-28 early in the fourth thanks in part to Mayfield losing two fumbles deep in his own territory to set up TD passes by Carr.
But the Raiders squandered a fourth-quarter lead for the second straight week, falling behind 42-34 after Mayfield’s 59-yard pass to Antonio Callaway set up Carlos Hyde’s 1-yard run and rookie Nick Chubb ran 41 yards for his second long TD of the game.
It looked as if that would decide the game when the Browns forced Carr into two incompletions from the 9 with under two minutes left to lead to a turnover on downs.
Cleveland appeared to be in position to run out the clock when Hyde converted a first down, but a replay review determined he was down just short of the marker and the Browns punted.
“That was huge,” Hyde said. “That was a chance to put the game away right there. Definitely. That was a game-changer right there.”
Carr then engineered a 53-yard touchdown drive capped by a 7-yard pass to Jared Cook with 30 seconds to play. The Raiders still needed the 2-point conversion to tie it and they got it when Jordy Nelson came down with a fade despite physical coverage by ex-Raider TJ Carrie.
Carr has 14 fourth-quarter comebacks but just two since his breakthrough season in 2016 when he did it seven times.
“It did feel like the old times,” he said. “The way we did that, it helps our team going forward to know what it takes.”
Chubb had just three carries on the day, but the first went for a 63-yard score in the second quarter and the last went for 41 yards and another TD. He finished with three carries for 105 yards.
GO FOR 2
Jackson went for a 2-point conversion twice in the first half. Mayfield’s pass to Callaway was incomplete on the first attempt before Duke Johnson ran in the second try to make it 17-7.
The Raiders were upset by a quick whistle that possibly cost Lynch a long TD run. Lynch ran left and linebacker Joe Schobert tried to tackle him but Lynch appeared to spin out of it without going to the ground. He kept running for what could have been a 75-yard TD but the play was blown dead.
The Browns were hurt by a quick whistle in the fourth quarter when Carr was ruled in the grasp, negating a fumble recovery that might have resulted in a TD.
Browns S Terrance Mitchell left the game with a broken arm in the first half. … Raiders RT Donald Penn left in the second half with a leg injury and LF Kelechi Osemele also left with an undisclosed injury.
Browns: Host Baltimore on Sunday.
Raiders: Visit Chargers on Sunday.
Seahawks 20, Cardinals 17
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Sebastian Janikowski’s 40-year-old leg had failed him twice earlier in the game on Sunday.
But when it mattered most, the kick went through.
Janikowski kicked a 52-yard field goal as time expired to give Seattle a 20-17 victory over Arizona on Sunday and spoil the strong debut of Cardinals rookie Josh Rosen as the starting quarterback.
Jankowski had missed field goals of 38 and 52 yards.
“There is always a next kick,” Janikowski said. “You turn the next page and you try to forget the first one, but it was rough today. My confidence is always there. I prepare myself in practice. I know what I can do but it is all mental.”
The Seahawks (2-2) mounted their winning drive after Arizona’s 43-year-old kicker, Phil Dawson, missed a 45-yard field goal that would have given the lead to Arizona (0-4) with 1:50 to play.
“It was a terrible kick, no excuses,” Dawson said. “I didn’t do my job, just a good, old-fashioned miss.”
The Cardinals are 0-4 for the first time since 1986, two years before they moved from St. Louis, but at least they could point to the poised play of their young QB in his starting debut.
“Hopefully, I can play in the NFL for a while,” he said afterward.
Rosen completed 15 of 27 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. He had several passes dropped.
“I can’t keep saying it enough,” Arizona first-year coach Steve Wilks said. “The guy’s very poised, very confident and I like him back there commanding the huddle and running this offense. You can see the difference.”
He threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Chad Williams to tie it at 17-17 with 8:59 to play, then directed the drive to set up Dawson’s errant field goal try. Dawson also missed from 50 in the game.
Seattle’s Earl Thomas was hurt on the Arizona TD pass and carted to the locker room with a left leg injury. After the game, coach Pete Carroll said Thomas had a lower leg fracture. The Seattle player, embroiled in a contract dispute with the team, made an obscene gesture toward the Seattle side of the field as he was being carted off.
“Earl wanted an extension and at the end of the day he didn’t get that,” Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark said. “It sucks to see a guy who puts his heart into something, put his all into his team and he doesn’t get what he deserves.”
DAVIS’ BIG DAY
It was by far the biggest day of Mike Davis’ career.
“I just feel like I have been slept on ever since I came into the NFL,” he said, explaining his touchdown celebration routine, when he lies as if asleep and then bursts awake. “It’s just a reminder that I will wake them up one day.”
Davis rushed for 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 21 carries after being pushed into extra duty by the absence of starter Chris Carson, out with a hip injury.
Davis scored on a 20-yard sweep early and bulled in from a yard out for the go-ahead touchdown with a minute left in the third quarter.
Seattle improved to 5-0-1 in its past six trips to the desert.
David Johnson had his best game of the season for Arizona, rushing for 71 yards and catching three for 41 yards.
With the score tied at 10, the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson threw to David Moore on a 30-yard play to the Arizona 23. After a pair of penalties against the Cardinals, Davis scored on a 1-yard run to put Seattle back in the lead at 17-10.
But Rosen had completions of 31 yards to Ricky Seals-Jones and 30 yards on a screen to Johnson before throwing 22 yards to Chad Williams for his first NFL TD to tie it at 17-17 with 8:59 remaining.
Arizona led 10-7 at the half on Johnson’s 1-yard TD run and Dawson’s 23-yard field goal.
Seattle used up 7:46 of the third quarter with a 14-play drive that ended with Janikowski’s 40-yard field goal that tied it at 10-10 with 4:59 left in the quarter.
INJURIES & INACTIVES
In the first quarter, rookie Will Dissly, the Seahawks’ starting tight end, was carted into the locker room with a knee injury. Thomas was hurt defending Williams on the TD catch.
After losing his starting job to Rosen, Sam Bradford was inactive. Mike Glennon was the backup quarterback, active for the first time this season.
Seahawks: host the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday.
Cardinals: play the 49ers in San Francisco next Sunday.
Saints 33, Giants 18
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — In a game when Drew Brees didn’t throw a touchdown and NFL leading receiver Michael Thomas was limited to four catches, the New Orleans Saints won with other options — Alvin Kamara and a defense that didn’t live up to its much-maligned status.
Kamara ran for three second-half touchdowns, Wil Lutz matched his career high with four field goals and the Saints’ defense shut down the New York Giants after giving up an early touchdown in a 33-18 win on Sunday.
“This was a complete game, everything came together,” said Kamara, who ran for 134 yards and scored on runs of 9, 4 and 49 yards. “Lutz making big kicks, those were as big as anything. The defense came up big, the O-line did a great job. That was the big difference. You know, the running game has been building. I just get behind those big guys and we get some big runs.”
The win was the third straight for the Saints (3-1) and it sent the offensively inept Giants to their third loss in four games under new coach Pat Shurmur. New York is averaging just over 20 points — 27 came in the win at Houston — and this was a season low.
“It seems like it shouldn’t be this hard but it is,” said New York star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. “We got to come with the energy like our game last week. It’s not one person doing this or one person doing that. It’s got to be everybody. We’ve just got to stick together It’s definitely not the results we want, the outcome. It’s not the way we want to play.”
If there was a surprise, it was the Saints’ defense, which came in ranked 30th in the league. After giving up a 2-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Sterling Shepard on the Giants’ opening drive, New Orleans limited New York to a 33-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas in the third quarter and a late 1-yard TD run by Saquon Barkley , followed by a 2-point conversion pass from Manning to Shepard.
The defense allowed only four plays of 20 or more yards after giving up 37 points in an overtime win over Atlanta last weekend.
“What pressure would there be on us?” said Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan. “There was no place to go but up. We talked about trying to get better as a defense and we take every game as a challenge.”
The Saints certainly met this challenge.
The anticipated shootout between the 39-yard old Brees and the 37-year-old Manning never materialized.
Brees, who came in needing 418 yards passing to break Peyton Manning’s NFL career mark, finished 18 of 32 for 217 yards. Manning was 31 of 41 for 255 yards as the Giants (1-3) finished with just 299 total yards.
“We got off to a good start, had a good drive,” Manning said. “We thought we’re capable of moving the ball and making plays on this team. We just weren’t able to do it. ”
Lutz connected from 42, 34, 37 and 26 in the first half. Kamara stretched the lead to 19-7 with 9-yard run that capped a nine-play, 69-yard drive on New Orleans’ opening possession of the second half.
The 49-yard run capped a 97-yard drive for the Saints after Ted Ginn Jr. bobbled a kickoff following the Barkley score. The Saints had drives of 74 and 80 on the other touchdowns and finished the game with 392 total yards.
Rosas closed the gap to 19-10 in the third quarter, but the Saints took control with Kamara’s final two TD runs in the fourth quarter.
The Giants had scored on the opening possession with Manning capping a 10-play, 75-yard drive with his short TD pass to Shepard. After that, New York gained 22 yards the rest of the half.
Saints coach Sean Payton used backup quarterback Taysom Hill in a number of roles. He completed a 10-yard pass on a fake punt on New Orleans’ second possession. It set up Lutz’s first field goal. He also threw an incompletion on a red zone pass, had four runs for 28 yards, and returned a kickoff for 16 yards. Coming into the game, he had not thrown a pass and had three rushes for 39 yards.
Saints: No injuries were announced.
Giants: Beckham finished the first half in the locker room getting an IV. He returned in the second half and finished with seven receptions for 60 yards.
Saints: Home against Washington for a Monday night game on Oct. 8.
Giants: At Carolina next Sunday.
49ers 27, Chargers 29
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — After all they’ve been through, a two-touchdown deficit wasn’t going to faze the San Diego Chargers.
“We’ve been rock-bottom, so it’s only up,” running back Melvin Gordon said after the Chargers rallied for a 29-27 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
“We know how to respond when we go down. We always feel like we got the players to be in the game, regardless of how much someone goes up.”
Gordon played a significant part in the comeback, rushing for 104 yards on 15 carries to go with his seven receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown. It is the sixth 100-yard rushing game of Gordon’s career and his first since last Oct. 29 against New England.
“He ran outstanding. There are some times when he could have gone out of bounds but he stayed between the yard lines and made plays,” coach Anthony Lynn said.
Philip Rivers threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns as the Chargers improved to 2-2, the first time since 2015 that they are .500 after the first quarter of the season and a long way from their 0-4 start last season.
“It was good to see the resiliency of this team and how they bounced back. We played good, complementary football,” Lynn said.
Gordon and Austin Ekeler averaged 5.6 yards per carry against a Niners defense that was 10th against the run and allowing only 97 yards per game. It is the first time in 11 games that San Francisco had allowed a 100-yard rusher.
“Gordon was playing very well. He opened up in the second half,” 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster said.
The Chargers trailed 17-6 with 4:59 remaining in the second quarter then scored 20 straight points, including 11 in the final 47 seconds of the first half to tie it at 17 at halftime.
Caleb Sturgis had three field goals, including one from 21 yards with 7:41 left that gave the Chargers the lead, but he had an eventful day with two missed extra points.
C.J. Beathard, who got the start for San Francisco (1-3) after Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending knee injury, was 23 of 37 for 298 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The last interception came with 2:38 remaining when Isaac Rochell picked off a pass intended for Alfred Morris at the Niners 19. The Chargers then ran out the clock.
“I thought he played well,” Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He played very tough. Made some great plays, especially in some of the situations. With a lot of guys going in and out, he handled a lot of adversity well and a little chaos due to injuries.”
Beathard’s first TD toss of 2 yards to Kendrick Bourne gave the Niners a 14-0 lead with 3:53 remaining in the first quarter. His 82-yarder to George Kittle with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter helped end of run where they had three three-and-outs and an interception.
“It felt a lot more comfortable being out there and being in control. It definitely felt a lot more comfortable than last year,” said Beathard, who lost five of six starts last season.
The Chargers have missed eight PATs since the start of last season, which is the most in the league. Los Angeles has missed 10 extra points since the kick was moved back in 2015 and is one of eight teams in the league to have missed 10 or more.
Gordon and Ekeler each caught touchdowns, the first time the Chargers have had two running backs catch touchdowns since Jacob Hester and Darren Sproles did it on Nov. 22, 2010, against Denver.
Ekeler’s 22-yard reception on a go pattern drew the Chargers within 17-14 late in the second quarter. Gordon’s 6-yard catch in the third quarter would give Los Angeles a 23-17 lead.
Rivers, who was 25 of 39, completed passes to eight players with Gordon and Ekeler combining for nine receptions and 81 yards.
MOVING ON UP
Rivers surpassed John Elway for the eighth-most yards in NFL history. He has 51,504 yards in his 15-year career while Elway had 51,475.
“Those are guys I had posters of on my wall, so just to be mentioned with them is definitely special,” Rivers said.
HELD IN CHECK
San Francisco’s Matt Breida came in tied for the league lead in rushing (295 yards) but he was held to 39 yards on nine carries.
Lynn said after the game that stopping the run was something they put extra emphasis on in practice all week.
Niners: Wide receiver Dante Pettis and left tackle Joe Staley suffered knee injuries. Staley’s injury meant San Francisco had to reshuffle its offensive line, moving first-round pick Mike McGlinchey to left tackle and putting Garry Gilliam at right tackle.
Chargers: Wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who missed the past two games due to a foot injury, did not play during the second half. He had a catch for 2 yards. Left tackle Russell Okung did not play in the second half due to a groin injury.
Ravens 26, Steelers 14
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Eric Weddle walked into the interview room in full uniform. Then the Baltimore Ravens well-bearded safety did a little dance and made a proclamation.
“I told you,” Weddle said. “These ain’t the same Ravens.”
After two years and two painful near misses, he might be right. Baltimore can win in Pittsburgh again, fueling confidence the Ravens can win anywhere.
The proof came in a cruelly efficient 26-14 victory over their AFC North rivals on Sunday night that looked an awful lot like how it used to look when Baltimore had it going earlier in head coach John Harbaugh’s tenure.
Joe Flacco threw for a 363 yards and a pair of scores. Justin Tucker kicked four second-half field goals. Baltimore’s defense did the rest, keeping Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown under wraps over the final 30 minutes as the Ravens (3-1) ended a three-game losing streak to the Steelers (1-2-1).
“You can’t become a true Raven until you win in Pittsburgh,” Weddle said. “I’ve officially become a Raven. What a great team win.”
Pittsburgh managed just 47 yards in the second half, sputtering in a place the Steelers have so often soared. Not this time. Not on a night they converted just 2 of 12 third downs and didn’t take a snap in Baltimore territory after halftime.
“I just didn’t make enough plays, point blank,” Roethlisberger said. “I’ll take ownership on this game. Squarely on me.”
Two years ago, the Ravens fell on Brown’s “Immaculate Extension” on Christmas night. Last winter, Baltimore scored 38 at Heinz Field … and got beat on a field goal in the final minute. Those memories have been hard to shake.
“I think it was all in the back of our heads,” Weddle said. “The way we’ve lost here has not been fun.”
Maybe that’s what made this one a little sweeter than most. Even Harbaugh admitted this wasn’t just another opponent and this wasn’t just another victory, answering loudly “yes it does” when asked if there was a different vibe this time around.
The Steelers (1-2-1) came in having won nine straight Sunday night appearances. Baltimore brought Pittsburgh’s run to an abrupt end. Roethlisberger finished 27 of 47 for 274 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Steelers. Brown caught five passes for 62 yards, including his second touchdown pass in as many weeks.
Yet Pittsburgh couldn’t generate anything in the second half. The Steelers mustered three first downs after the break and there was no balance to be found. Pittsburgh ran the ball 11 times for 19 yards, the absence of All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell — who has yet to sign his franchise tender — growing more acute by the week.
Harbaugh awarded one of the game balls to the defense. Defensive coordinator Don Martindale accepted after putting together a plan that Weddle said had the Ravens a step ahead.
It certainly looked that way. While Pittsburgh floundered, Flacco put together a string of clock-consuming possessions that ended with field goals by the ever reliable Tucker as Baltimore proved its strong start was no fluke.
Harbaugh called Flacco’s play “phenomenal.” Flacco isn’t quite ready to go that far. If anything, he was angry the two teams were tied at the half after Baltimore let an early 14-point lead get away.
“I really felt like we could have had 28, 30, 35 points out there at halftime,” Flacco said. “These guys and the way these games have been … especially the last couple years, you don’t want to leave points out there.”
The Steelers came in hoping the defense was slowly starting to find itself after forcing four turnovers last Monday night in Tampa during a victory Pittsburgh believed would resuscitate its season.
Flacco wasted little time helping Baltimore race to a 14-0 advantage. He found John Brown open on a 33-yard touchdown pass on Baltimore’s opening possession. Brown was double covered when Flacco let the ball go. By the time Brown chased it down in the end zone, both Steelers were two steps behind him and the Ravens were in front.
Three snaps later Baltimore had the ball back thanks to a strip by safety Tony Jefferson. It took the Ravens just four plays to go up two touchdowns, when Flacco flipped the ball in the flat to a wide-open Collins. The score marked the 13th straight red-zone trip by Baltimore that ended with a Ravens touchdown, the longest streak to start a season in NFL history.
Baltimore’s 14th red-zone trip ended up far differently and briefly swung momentum. The Ravens had the ball at the Pittsburgh 2 with a chance to move ahead three scores when Steelers free safety Sean Davis ripped the ball from Collins and Pittsburgh rookie strong safety Terrell Edmunds recovered.
Pittsburgh put together a lengthy drive that resulted in a Chris Boswell field goal to get within 14-6. The Steelers tied it with 2:50 left in the first half on a pretty 26-yard back-shoulder throw by Roethlisberger to Brown in the end zone and the ensuing 2-point conversion grab by Conner.
Baltimore, however, kept coming as Pittsburgh crumbled.
Ravens: Visit Cleveland next Sunday.
Steelers: Host Atlanta next Sunday. Pittsburgh has won its last two meetings against the Falcons.
Chiefs 27, Broncos 23
DENVER (AP) — Patrick Mahomes is athletic, agile — and ambidextrous, apparently.
Thanks in part to a nifty left-handed throw as he was about to get sacked by Von Miller at midfield on the game-winning drive, the right-handed Mahomes rallied the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs past the Denver Broncos 27-23 on Monday night.
By overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, the Chiefs (4-0) took a two-game lead over the Broncos (2-2), their AFC West rivals whom they’ve now beaten six straight times.
The only other remaining unbeaten team is the Los Angeles Rams.
Down 23-13, Mahomes directed a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ate up more than six minutes and culminated with a 2-yard TD toss to tight end Travis Kelce.
After a three-and-out by Denver, Mahomes added a 60-yard touchdown drive, handing off to Kareem Hunt for the 4-yard scorewith 1:39 remaining.
On that last drive, Mahomes was getting dragged down by Miller on third-and-5 at midfield when he shifted the ball to his left hand and threw it to Tyreek Hill a yard past the first-down marker at the Broncos 49.
“He’s actually more athletic than people” realize, Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall said. “People talk about his arm, but he can move out of the pocket and make the necessary throws.”
Even with his left hand.
“I didn’t know he threw it with his left hand,” marveled Miller. “He’s a great quarterback.”
“Patrick worked real hard on that left-handed throw,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid quipped. “Some amazing plays there. We’ve seen it in practice but not under those conditions.”
Mahomes proved slippery all night.
“We played well and we got to him but he would scramble out to his right as he likes to do,” Marshall said. “It’s almost like we’d have him in our fingertips and he’d scramble away and throw for a first down.
“The kid can play. He’s going to be really good. He’s really good right now, but we should have won the game.”
It was the first time since 2004 that the Broncos blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead at home.
RUN, ROOKIES, RUN
In between Kansas City’s scoring drives, the Broncos, who had run roughshod over the Chiefs all night — a 7.2-yard average per run — suddenly abandoned their ground game in favor of three-wide receiver sets that resulted in a quick three-and-out that sent Denver’s exhausted defenders right back out.
“We ran the ball to control the game,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said, “but you throw the ball to score.”
After the three-and-out, struggling Broncos punter Marquette King shanked a 35-yarder out of bounds, giving the Chiefs the ball at their 40 with 4:35 left.
“He’s got to perform better,” Joseph said. “We’re at home and it’s his job to flip the field. It ain’t happening.”
If anything, the Broncos’ 1-2 punch of rookie running backs needed more work.
Phillip Lindsay ran 16 times for 69 yards and a TD and Royce Freeman ran eight times for 67 yards and a TD.
Freeman took a toss from Case Keenum and slipped seven tackles on his way to a 14-yard touchdown in which he dragged linebacker Anthony Hitchens across the goal line in the first half.
Mahomes overcame a couple of flags that put Kansas City in a second-and-30 hole from their 31 and completed consecutive passes covering 23 and 35 yard to reach the Broncos’ 11 at the 2-minute warning.
That last play never should have counted because the play clock expired well before the snap. But referee Craig Wrolstad’s crew missed it. Joseph said he raised the issue with an official who insisted the Chiefs had gotten the play off in time.
“I disagree. I disagree,” Joseph said.
Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said there should be some recourse when the officials blow a call.
“If a ref messes up on a call, yeah, you should be able to fix it. Go back and fix. Like, ‘Dude, look how long the clock was on zero?’ I mean, c’mon,” Harris said. “That wasn’t the reason we lost the game. We still had plenty of chances but that was a huge, huge no-call.”
The officials had another blunder when Mahomes was about 1½ yards past the line of scrimmage when he scrambled and hit Kelce for a 29-yard catch to the 3 early in the second half. Joseph appeared to be reaching for his red challenge flag but never threw it.
Denver’s defense bailed out its coach by forcing the Chiefs to settle for a field goal.
Thomas and Broncos teammate Brandon Marshall both stood with their teammates during the national anthem. Since the preseason, both players had been retreating to the tunnel nearest their bench during the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Chiefs: Wide receiver Sammy Watkins pulled a hamstring in the second quarter and didn’t return. Linebacker Dee Ford (groin) left in the fourth quarter.
Broncos: Right tackle Jared Veldheer left in the first quarter with a knee injury and was replaced by Billy Turner.
Chiefs: Host Jacksonville on Sunday to begin a stretch of three home games in four weeks.
Broncos: Visit the Jets on Sunday, the first of three road games in four weeks.