Demarus Dye| BKD TV Insiders
Here is a recap of Week 8 of the 2018 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Bye: Falcons, Cowboys, Chargers, Redskins
Dolphins 23, Texans 42
HOUSTON (AP) — This is the Deshaun Watson the Houston Texans have been waiting for all season.
Watson matched his career high with five touchdown passes to lead the Texans to their fifth straight victory, 42-23 over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night.
The second-year quarterback has played well at times this year but hadn’t had a breakout game while dealing with rib and lung injuries over the past few weeks.
The Texans (5-3) have left their 0-3 start behind with their longest single-season winning streak since reeling off six victories in a row in 2012.
“I think we’ve got the best offense in the NFL,” receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. “What we put up tonight against a pretty good defense, what we’ve shown in these past five games that we’ve won, we’re up there with the best of the best.”
Watson threw touchdown passes of 13, 2, 73, 49 and 2 yards to give him 34 career scoring passes, moving ahead of Dan Marino (32) for second-most in NFL history after 15 games.
“This offense can be very explosive,” Watson said. “We can do a lot of good things, put a lot of points on the board.”
Miami’s Brock Osweiler, who had one tough season in Houston after signing a $72 million contract in 2016, threw for 241 yards with an interception in his third straight start in place of injured starter Ryan Tannehill.
Kenyan Drake had a touchdown run and touchdown reception for the Dolphins (4-4). They lost for the second straight week.
“I’m fairly irritated right now,” Miami coach Adam Gase said. “I’m going to re-evaluate everything this weekend and figure out how to get better on defense, figure out how to sustain drives and get the ball into the end zone on offense.”
Rookie Jordan Thomas caught the first two touchdown passes of his career, Hopkins had 82 yards receiving and two scores, and Will Fuller added 124 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Texans running back Lamar Miller, who grew up in Miami and spent his first four seasons with the Dolphins, had 133 yards rushing and a touchdown for his second straight 100-yard game.
Houston led by eight when Watson threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 35-20.
Watson found the speedy Fuller in front of the defense for a 73-yard touchdown that left Houston up 28-17 late in the third quarter. It was the longest touchdown pass of Watson’s career and the longest reception of Fuller’s. Fuller has caught 11 touchdown passes in 11 career games with Watson.
The Dolphins used a 41-yard field goal to cut the lead to 28-20 with less than a minute left in the third quarter. That score came after a drive featuring a crazy 46-yard pass by Osweiler . He threw the ball to Jakeem Grant, who lost it after being hit by two Texans defenders, but it sailed down the field and into the hands of DeVante Parker for the big gain.
A 58-yard run by Miller got the Texans to the 9-yard line early in the third quarter. Houston extended the lead to 21-10 when Watson found Thomas again, this time on a 2-yard pass.
The Dolphins used some trickery later in the third quarter when Osweiler pitched a lateral to Danny Amendola, who threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Drake to cut the lead to 21-17.
Houston CB Johnathan Joseph injured his ankle in the first quarter and didn’t return. … ILB Zach Cunningham left in the first quarter with a knee injury and didn’t return. … Fuller left the game after injuring his knee in the fourth quarter.
THE CATCH THAT WASN’T
Hopkins scored his second touchdown on a 2-yard reception with about eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, but his most impressive play of the night came on a catch that didn’t count . Hopkins reached back and grabbed the ball with one hand and weaved it between his legs in the air before crashing to the ground. But it was brought back after he was called for pass interference.
“I knew the guy had my other arm, so I couldn’t put my other arm to catch the ball, so I knew I had to pin it up against something just to hold onto it,” Hopkins said.
Miami defensive end Robert Quinn again raised his right fist during the anthem as he has done in past weeks.
Dolphins: Host the New York Jets on Nov. 4.
Texans: Visit Denver on Nov. 4.
Eagles 24, Jaguars 18 @ London
LONDON (AP) — After watching a fourth-quarter lead slip away twice this season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz didn’t want to see it happen again.
Thanks to his defense, it didn’t.
The Eagles held onto a 24-18 victory at Wembley Stadium on Sunday after the Jacksonville Jaguars were twice held to a field goal in the fourth quarter, and failed to convert on fourth down with 3:41 remaining.
“We finished it,” said Wentz, who threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns, all to different players. “At the end of the day, we finished it. We still didn’t finish the way we wanted offensively. We had a chance to seal the deal but went three-and-out, and the defense stepped up. So I think at the end of the day, we finished well this week.”
Philadelphia (4-4) surrendered a 17-point lead in the final quarter of a loss to the Carolina Panthers a week earlier, and lost in overtime to the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 30 despite holding a seven-point advantage.
Although the Eagles failed to pick up a first down when they got the ball back with 6:52 remaining — and rookie running back Josh Adams nearly fumbled on the first play, if not for the call being overturned on replay review — they otherwise converted 7 of 12 third-down opportunities.
Jacksonville entered the fourth quarter down 17-12 after a failed 2-point conversion, and a pair of field goals by Josh Lambo kept them within six points even after the Eagles extended the lead on a 5-yard touchdown reception by tight end Zach Ertz.
Blake Bortles, restored as the starter despite being pulled in a loss to the Houston Texans a week earlier, ran for 4 yards on fourth down with 4:26 left to prolong what would be the Jaguars’ final drive. But he could not connect with Donte Moncrief on fourth-and-2 four plays later to seal the fate for Jacksonville (3-5).
“They were on a roll,” said Jaguars coach Doug Marrone. “They were getting on third down. We were having a tough time containing the quarterback … and obviously, we couldn’t contain the run.”
The Eagles finished with 395 total yards, their third-highest total this season, against the Jaguars, who entered the game with the league’s second-ranked defense. Philly gained 133 rushing.
Jacksonville claimed a 6-3 lead on two field goals by Lambo, including a career-long 57-yard attempt, but saw that disappear by halftime when rookie tight end Dallas Goedert had a 32-yard touchdown reception at the end of the second quarter.
A 95-yard drive at the start of the third quarter ended with the Eagles taking a 17-6 lead after running back Wendell Smallwood took a screen pass 32 yards into the end zone, but the Jaguars marched 75 yards over nine plays and found the end zone when Bortles connected with Dede Westbrook under the uprights to trim their deficit to 17-12.
That set the stage for the comeback, but the Jaguars’ inability to get past the goal line despite two trips into the red zone ended their hopes of a fourth consecutive win at Wembley.
NO BLAME FOR BORTLES
Marrone said that Bortles was not the reason for the Jaguars’ inability to win. Bortles, who went 24 for 41 with 286 yards and a touchdown, led the team in rushing with 43 yards on eight attempts.
“He gave us a chance,” Marrone said. “He went out there and gave us a chance. He ran the ball well (and made) quick decisions. I don’t think we have a problem. I don’t think he’s the player that cost us the game. He played well overall. A total team effort.”
LAST IN LONDON
The game, played before a record, pro-Eagles crowd of 85,870 fans, was the last of three played at Wembley this season. The Jaguars, who have played at the venue since 2013, have a contract to hold one game there annually through the 2020 season.
Philadelphia: RT Lane Johnson injured his left knee on the Eagles’ opening drive and did not return. LT Jason Peters was evaluated for a concussion late in the second quarter but returned after halftime. OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill left in the first half after an unspecified injury but was able to return, and CB Jalen Mills (foot) was injured a minute into the third quarter and missed the rest of the game.
Jacksonville: FS Barry Church was evaluated for a concussion midway through the fourth quarter, but scans were negative. CB Quenton Meeks (knee), starting for the injured A.J. Bouye, left in the fourth quarter. LB Telvin Smith (shoulder) and CB Ronnie Harrison (knee) left the game in the second quarter but returned.
Philadelphia: Host the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 11 after a bye week.
Jacksonville: Face the Indianapolis Colts on the road on Nov. 11, also after a bye.
Redskins 20, Giants 13
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — There’s a cockiness about the Washington Redskins’ defense.
They’re shutting down some of the NFL’s top running backs, making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks, not giving up many points — and doing a lot of talking.
Why not? The unit is the major reason the NFC East-leading Redskins (5-2) have matched their best start since 2008.
Safety D.J. Swearinger intercepted two passes, Matt Ioannidis had 2½ sacks, and the Redskins rode their defense to a third straight win, a 20-13 decision over the offensively inept New York Giants on Sunday.
The Redskins sacked a battered Eli Manning seven times, forced the two turnovers, limited Saquon Barkley to 38 yards rushing and made big play after big play in sending New York (1-7) to its fifth straight loss.
“We still have done nothing around here,” Swearinger said. “We beat them, but we haven’t won the division. We haven’t won the championship. We haven’t won the Super Bowl. There’s no room for lackadaisical. We haven’t done nothing yet. We’re just getting started. We’re just turning the stove on. We ain’t even put the grease in yet.”
In some sense that’s true. The Redskins are winning and their offense is not lighting it up.
Adrian Peterson caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith and ran for a season-high 149 yards, with the last 64 coming on a touchdown jaunt with 3:06 to play. Dustin Hopkins added field goals of 53 and 39 yards for the Redskins
“I think we’ve invested some resources in the defense, hoping they would pay off,” said Redskins coach Jay Gruden, whose team has a 1½-game lead in the division. “We hoping this is what we’re trying to build. In this division, you’ve got to play great defense, in my opinion. This is critical for our success; until we get going offensively we have to win games like this. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
The three-game winning streak is their longest in two seasons.
Aldrick Rosas kicked field goals of 37 and 21 yards for the Giants. Manning, 30 of 47 for 316 yards, hit Evan Engram on a 2-yard touchdown pass with :17 to play.
Engram also let a scoring chance slipped away at the Redskins 32 when a short fourth-down pass went through his fingers with New York down 10-3 early in the fourth quarter.
The Giants came into the game wondering whether the trades this past week of starting cornerback Eli Apple and 2016 All-Pro defensive tackle Damon Harrison would be a problem. New York’s defense was fine. Its offense wasn’t, and the Redskins’ defense was very, very good.
“We are not scoring enough points,” Manning said. “We are playing in close games and we are just not finding ways to win them, unfortunately. We have to be able to move the ball more consistently and we have to control the clock to help out our defense.”
A major difference was Washington capitalized in the red zone, especially in the first half. Smith (20 of 32 for 178 yards) capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive with a TD pass to Peterson, who stepped out of a tackle by backup linebacker Nate Stupar at the 4-yard line.
New York had two trips inside the Washington 20. Swearinger ended the first, stepping inside of Odell Beckham Jr., to intercept a slant pass at the 8-yard line.
Rosas kicked a 37-yard field goal on the second drive after passes of 11 yards to Beckham and 24 to Saquon Barkley got New York in scoring position.
Beckham had seven catches for 125 yards.
Hopkins missed a 41-yard field goal after the Swearinger interception.
Washington never lost the lead in the second half as its defense kept Manning ducking most of the day.
“Our confidence is already high,” Redskins linebacker Zach Brown. “We don’t care what running back is back there. You’ve got to deal with us at the end of the day. We’re going to make you get out of that running game. We don’t want you to run the ball. We don’t want you to control the clock. We want you to pass the ball and we’ll let our boys back there do their thing.”
Redskins: T Trent Williams (dislocated thumb), RB Kapri Bibbs (dislocated shoulder), S Troy Apke (aggravated a hamstring) and LB Ryan Anderson (sprained knee-MCL) were hurt during the game.
Giants: RT Chad Wheeler left in the second half with an ankle injury and was replaced by Brian Mihalik.
Redskins: host Atlanta on Sunday.
Giants: a much-needed bye. Return at San Francisco for Monday game on Nov. 12.
Bucs 34, Bengals 37
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals had four interceptions, six sacks and a late 18-point lead. They needed all of it — and every last second on the clock as well — to salvage a win that was more relief than anything.
Jessie Bates returned Jameis Winston’s fourth interception for a touchdown Sunday, and the Bengals overcame Ryan Fitzpatrick’s late rally for a 37-34 victory that left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a question at quarterback.
The Bengals (5-3) put together their only drive of the second half to pull it out. Andy Dalton had completions of 23 and 9 yards to A.J. Green that got them in range for Randy Bullock’s 44-yard field goal on the final play.
“A win is a win, but this one feels a little weird,” Bengals linebacker Preston Brown said.
Weird all around.
Cincinnati was coming off a 45-10 loss at Kansas City on Sunday night that was their second-worst drubbing in coach Marvin Lewis’ 16 seasons. The Bengals gave up 576 yards to the Bucs (3-4) and managed only 95 yards in the second half — 50 on the final drive.
“We’re not very happy with how we performed,” Bates said.
Tampa Bay’s biggest problem earlier this season was its porous defense, which led to a change of coordinators. This time, their quarterback play was their downfall.
Winston opened the season on suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He’s had seven turnovers in the past two games, creating an opening for Fitzpatrick to reclaim the job that was his at season’s start.
Winston was benched after matching his career high with four interceptions, the third time he’s thrown so many in his career. He has thrown 10 interceptions, one fewer than all last season.
“I’m definitely the reason we came up short with this game, and I know that I have to fix it,” said Winston, who was 18 of 35 for 276 yards with five sacks.
Winston went to the bench, and Fitzpatrick pulled Tampa Bay even.
He threw a 72-yard touchdown to Mike Evans , his fifth TD pass of at least 50 yards this season — most in the NFL. He also led an 88-yard drive to the tying score, hitting O.J. Howard for an 18-yard touchdown and completing another pass for the conversion with 1:05 left.
Fitzpatrick finished 11 of 15 for 194 yards and a passer rating of 154.9 that’s just shy of perfect.
Now, the Bucs have to decide which one will lead the NFL’s top-ranked offense.
“Today is not the day I need to decide that,” coach Dirk Koetter said.
DeSean Jackson caught a 60-yard touchdown pass that moved him ahead of Jerry Rice for the NFL record. He has 24 TDs of at least 60 yards. It also was Jackson’s 29th career TD of at least 50 yards , tying Randy Moss for second-most since the 1970 merger behind Rice’s 36.
Cincinnati couldn’t hold a 27-6 lead set up by a big first half. Joe Mixon ran for 114 yards in the half and scored on runs of 1 and 8 yards. Tyler Boyd had six catches for 112 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown.
LOTS OF INTs
Winston has thrown at least two interceptions in five straight games, tied for the most since 1990. His 13 interceptions over that span are tied with Fitzpatrick for the most in a five-game stretch over the past five seasons.
LOTS OF EMPTY SEATS
The game drew 45,134 fans, the smallest crowd at Paul Brown Stadium since 41,273 showed up for a 23-16 win over Arizona on Dec. 24, 2011.
BLOWING IN THE WIND
Both kickers missed extra-point attempts in a gusty, swirling wind.
NO SAD SACK
Buccaneers end Jason Pierre-Paul had a pair of sacks. He’s had at least one in six straight games, tying Simeon Rice for the most consecutive games with a sack in team history.
Buccaneers: RB Ronald Jones II suffered a hamstring injury in the second half.
Bengals: G Clint Boling hurt his back late in the first half. DE Carl Lawson hurt his right knee, reportedly an ACL tear. CB Dre Kirkpatrick left in the third quarter with an Achilles injury that kept him out of practice, but he returned.
Buccaneers: Play at Carolina on Sunday, finishing a stretch of four road games out of five.
Bengals: Have their bye week, followed by a home game against the Saints.
Seahawks 28, Lions 14
DETROIT (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks celebrated a touchdown by acting out a baseball game in the end zone. Later, their punter ran for a first down when he was supposed to take a safety.
Fair to say they’re playing with confidence again.
Russell Wilson finished with a perfect passer rating, throwing three touchdown passes in Seattle’s 28-14 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The Seahawks and Lions came into the game with .500 records, but this matchup didn’t seem all that even. Seattle forced three turnovers , and after scoring three TDs in the second quarter, the Seahawks led comfortably the rest of the way.
“We’re having fun, we’re in our groove and it feels good,” linebacker K.J. Wright said. “It’s a perfect time, coming off the bye week, to just really take off. We have a home game next week and we just have to start stacking these wins on top of each other.”
After one second-quarter touchdown, the Seahawks (4-3) celebrated in the end zone with a baseball scene. Tyler Lockett was the pitcher and fellow receiver Doug Baldwin was the batter. The “pitch” was Lockett throwing the football toward Baldwin, and when Baldwin was hit by the ball, he ran at Lockett as if charging the mound.
Two other receivers were involved: Jaron Brown acted as the catcher, and David Moore served as the umpire.
“World Series, so we had to try to do something,” Moore said.
The Lions (3-4) weren’t having nearly as much fun. Down 14 late in the fourth quarter, they allowed punter Michael Dickson to run for a first down. Dickson took the snap in his own end zone and was supposed to take a safety, but Detroit reacted so poorly that after drifting across the back of the end zone, Dickson figured he had a chance for a first down and took off running.
“Obviously, that part of the game we’re trying to do anything we can to get the ball and get after it,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “They were trying to take the safety and play that play there, and we obviously let him out and let him run. He saw the space and he took it.”
Other items of note from Seattle’s victory:
Detroit’s rookie running back, Kerryon Johnson, was held to 22 yards on eight carries after running for a career-high 158 yards in his previous game against Miami.
QUITE A LINE
Wilson was 14 of 17 for 248 yards and three touchdowns, for a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
“Beautiful game,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Not just that, Russell’s doing more than just that. We ran the ball for 170-something yards today. He found some opportunities to run it and fix some things for us and took advantage of the game plan. He did a great job.”
Defensive tackle Damon Harrison played his first game for the Lions since being acquired in a trade from the New York Giants. He had seven tackles and a sack, but Detroit was outrushed 176-34.
IN THEIR THOUGHTS
The Seahawks dedicated a game ball afterward to owner Paul Allen, who died Oct. 15. This was Seattle’s first game since then.
“He meant so much to us, all of us players,” Wilson said. “The culture that he was able to create that will forever live on here for the Seattle Seahawks and the impact that he’s made, not just for us as individuals, as a team, but also as a city. There’s probably not too many people that have impacted the world more than he has.”
The Seahawks host the Los Angeles Chargers next weekend, while Detroit plays at Minnesota.
Jets 10, Bears 24
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bears got the win they sorely needed, only to lose another key player.
Guard Kyle Long had to be helped off the field in the closing minutes with an injured right foot, putting a damper on a 24-10 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.
Mitchell Trubisky threw for two touchdowns, and the Bears (4-3) came out on top after dropping two in a row to fall out of the NFC North lead. But they might have to get by without their three-time Pro Bowl lineman after Long was injured in the closing minutes. That was another hit for a team that was already missing star pass rusher star pass rusher Khalil Mack (right ankle) and No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson (groin).
Long was hurt when tight end Dion Sims rolled into him as the two were blocking for Jordan Howard on a run, adding to a long list of injuries for the star lineman.
He had surgery on his right ankle following the 2016 season and operations on his shoulder, elbow and neck after he was shut down late last year. Coach Matt Nagy said the team will know more about Long’s latest injury in the next few days.
“Can’t say enough about Kyle, how much he loves this organization,” Trubisky said. “To see a guy go down like that, it hurts. We’ll just try to pick him up and rally behind him any way we can. He knows we love him and we’re just gonna hope for the best.”
Though the Bears were missing their best defensive player, Sam Darnold struggled and the Jets (3-5) managed just 207 yards in losing their second straight game.
Trubisky was shaky but did enough to help the Bears come out on top. He connected with Tarik Cohen for a 70-yard touchdown on a screen in the first quarter and threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Anthony Miller in the third, making it 14-3. But the second-year pro was wild again after struggling with his control against New England the previous week.
Trubisky was 16 of 29 for 220 yards. He also ran for 51 on six attempts.
“Overall, we just found a way and ground it out,” he said. “It was a lot better in the second half than the first half. We stuck together, stuck to the plan and executed our plays.”
Cohen’s lone reception was the big touchdown. He also ran for 40 yards on five carries.
Howard ran for 81 yards and a touchdown. He scored from the 2 to make it 24-10 midway through the fourth quarter, sealing the win after tight losses to Miami and the Patriots.
Coming off his worst game as a pro with three interceptions, Darnold was 14 of 29 for a career-low 153 yards in his eighth NFL start. On the plus side, he did not throw an interception in this one.
“I mean, we just couldn’t really get anything going,” running back Isaiah Crowell said. “I’ve got to watch the film, but I mean it was frustrating at the same time.”
Chicago grabbed a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Cohen turned a screen from Trubisky against an all-out blitz into a 70-yard touchdown. It was the longest play from scrimmage by the Bears this season.
“It was just a great call by the offensive staff,” Cohen said. “We ran the screen into a blitz and usually that’s a good thing. When I turned upfield, I just didn’t see anybody. I was kind of nervous not to see anybody and I just saw green grass so I took it.”
Jets inside linebacker Avery Williamson said he blew the coverage on that play.
“I had to hug him up and I didn’t,” he said. “Mental error, so that was on me. Just got to know what I got to do in that situation. It was a miscue.”
There were no protests by either team during the national anthem.
Jets: TE Neal Sterling left with a concussion in the second quarter when he got hit by Chicago’s Kyle Fuller after making a catch. Coach Todd Bowles confirmed Sterling has a concussion. .. DL Steve McLendon suffered an ankle injury.
Bears: TE Ben Braunecker left because of a concussion. … Nagy said Mack’s status was “literally hour to hour” before the Bears decided in the morning not to suit him up, and they hope to have him playing next week. The two-time All-Pro missed his first game since Oakland drafted him with the fifth overall pick in 2014.
Jets: At Miami next Sunday.
Bears: At Buffalo next Sunday.
Browns 18, Steelers 33
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Shaken by an unspeakable tragedy, this city needed something to ease its pain.
The Steelers brought some joy to their grieving community.
Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to Antonio Brown, James Conner ran for two scores, and Pittsburgh beat the Cleveland Browns 33-18 on Sunday while offering some solace to an area still in shock after a synagogue shooting.
The Steelers (4-2-1) overcame a slow start and their own mistakes to win their 15th straight at Heinz Field over the Browns (2-5-1), who have lost 25 consecutive road games — one shy of the NFL record.
Maybe more importantly, the win delivered a few hours of comfort to Pittsburgh’s fans and Western Pennsylvania still in shock a day after a gunman stormed into the Tree of Life Synagogue and killed 11 people. A moment of silence was observed before the game and several signs with the Steelers’ helmet logo — inlaid with a Star of David — were displayed by fans.
“We’re thankful for a victory, but we also understand that there are bigger things,” Roethlisberger said. “There’s life. I’m glad that we could give people maybe three hours of a break of maybe not thinking about it all the time, and that’s what sports does sometimes is it helps you to kind of heal. But it’s over and people are going to celebrate and enjoy this, but reality still sets in for a lot of people.”
The shooting was felt by all Pittsburghers, and was close to the Steelers. Michele Rosenthal, the team’s former community relations manager, had two brothers, Cecil and David, killed in the attack.
“We love you Michelle and we’re thinking about you,” said Roethlisberger, who was not surprised to the city pull together. “I know the Boston Strong thing, but it’s true everywhere. That’s what Pittsburghers are. We’re family. There’s so much love here in this town — for the sports, for each other, for all the different races, ethnicities, religions and everything we have.”
Roethlisberger connected on TD passes of 43 and 1 yard with Brown , and Conner continued to minimize Le’Veon Bell’s absence. Conner ran for 60 yards on a 78-yard drive he capped with a 12-yard TD run in the third quarter that put the Steelers ahead 23-12.
Conner’s 22-yard run with 2:04 left made it 33-12 before the Browns scored a late TD.
“Today was much bigger than a game of football,” said Conner, who played at Pitt before joining the Steelers and ran for 146 yards Sunday. “It was good that we got the win to try and uplift some spirits and vibes of everybody in our city. It’s really a tragedy. Our city took a hit and our hearts are with all of the victims and their families. We still have those in mind.”
Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield threw a pair of TD passes, but the Browns squandered some early scoring chances and remain winless in Pittsburgh since 2003.
The loss will put further heat on embattled Browns coach Hue Jackson, who dropped to 3-36-1 in two-plus seasons. Cleveland has lost three straight since beating Baltimore in overtime.
“It’s disheartening,” Jackson said. “We’ve got work to do.”
Conner’s first TD came after Steelers return man Ryan Switzer inexplicably allowed a free kick following a safety to roll free and the Browns recovered at Pittsburgh’s 24-yard line.
The Steelers then committed three penalties — roughing the passer, interference and holding — to give Cleveland a first down at the 1. On the next play, Mayfield avoided pressure and lofted his scoring pass to rookie Antonio Callaway, who caught it despite being held to pull the Browns within 16-12.
But with the momentum in Cleveland’s favor, Pittsburgh grabbed control of the game and in turn soothed some pain after Saturday’s stunning shooting.
“We have a lot of healing to do,” said defensive tackle Cameron Heyward. “Our city can overcome this, but everybody’s gotta love and care. We’ll continue to do our part. I know everybody in this locker room cares so much for everybody that was involved in that and we’re going to continue to care.”
Conner, who has filled in while Bell holds out in a contract dispute, ripped off runs of 30 and 16 yards and then broke several tackles on his scoring run.
Roethlisberger’s second TD pass with 10 seconds to go in the first half put the Steelers ahead 14-6, and left the Browns thinking about settling for Greg Joseph field goals and not getting touchdowns.
Pittsburgh gambled by going on fourth-and-1 at the 4 on the previous play before Roethlisberger drilled his pass to Brown, who lined up wide and came back toward his QB to make the catch and step into the end zone. The score completed an 87-yard drive that ate up 7:12 and included the Steelers maintaining possession after Roethlisberger appeared to fumble before replay review showed his knee was down.
The Steelers started slowly, failing to get a first down in the first quarter when they were outgained 119-16.
But the Browns failed to score a touchdown on three trips inside the Pittsburgh 27-yard line, and after Joseph missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt that would have put Cleveland ahead 9-0, Pittsburgh pounced.
Roethlisberger’s pump fake fooled Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward, allowing Brown to get behind him down the left sideline, and Roethlisberger made an easy throw to his favorite target.
Roethlisberger’s second TD pass to Brown moved him past Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (342) on the career list. Eli Manning (346) is seventh. Peyton Manning holds the record with 539 TD passes.
Roethlisberger and Brown have combined for 67 TDs, tied for seventh most in league history. Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne also had 67 scores.
The Browns had two more takeaways to give them 22 — 9 more than all last season. The 22 takeaways are their most through eight weeks since 1982.
Steelers: CB Coty Sensabaugh left with a foot injury in the second half.
Browns: RB Duke Johnson injured his leg while running after a screen pass on the game’s second play and was ineffective afterward.
Steelers: Visit Baltimore on Nov. 4.
Browns: Host Kansas City on Nov. 4.
Ravens 21, Panthers 36
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers didn’t wait until the fourth quarter to turn it up a notch on offense.
The result was an impressive win against the league’s top-ranked defense.
Newton completed 21 of 29 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 52 yards and another score as the Panthers soundly defeated the Baltimore Ravens 36-21 on Sunday for their ninth straight win at home.
Christian McCaffrey had two touchdowns and the Panthers continued to get electrifying performances from different players. This time, it was rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore, who turned in his best game as a pro with 129 yards from scrimmage.
“We present a lot of issues for defenses and that is what this offense was kind of built for,” Newton said. “We have dynamic players all around the field.”
Unlike last Sunday when they needed three fourth quarter touchdowns to erase a 17-0 deficit and beat the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles 21-17, the Panthers took it to the Ravens early and often.
After spotting the Ravens a 7-0 lead on the game’s first possession, the Panthers (5-2) scored on four straight drives in the final 16 minutes of the first half to break the game open and take a 24-7 halftime lead.
Newton threw an 11-yard TD pass to Greg Olsen , McCaffrey ran for a 11-yard score and leaped into the air to corral a 6-yard TD pass that ricocheted off the hands of safety Eric Weddle and into his arms in the end zone. And when Baltimore (4-4) climbed to within 13 late in the third quarter, Newton was there to calmly drive the Panthers 85 yards in nine plays, racing in untouched from 12 yards out on a naked bootleg to put the game away early.
The Panthers rolled up 386 yards against a Ravens defense that had come in allowing a league-low 280.6 yards and 14.4 points per game.
Baltimore seemed a step behind all day long, unable to figure out the Panthers multiple misdirection plays.
“They present a lot of misdirection and formations, different plays and was tough to get in a rhythm with them and Cam played an outstanding game,” Ravens safety Eric Weddle said.
When asked why Carolina’s misdirection offense was so effective, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith held up one hand and said, “Look at my hand. Now if I smack you with this one (my other hand), you won’t see it coming. That’s how it works.”
Carolina showed it can still play a little ‘D’ as well, forcing three turnovers.
The momentum-turning play came in the first quarter when defensive tackle Kyle Love crashed through the line and delivered a vicious hit on Ravens running back Alex Collins, jarring the ball loose. Defensive tackle Vernon Butler came up with the loose ball at the Ravens 12 after Luke Kuechly unsuccessfully tried to scoop and score. Three plays later, Newton found Olsen on a slant route giving Carolina a 14-7 lead it would never relinquish.
“Sometimes you’re unblocked and you have to make a play,” Love said.
FLACCO: GOT BUTTS KICKED
Baltimore’s Joe Flacco finished 22 of 39 for 192 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and said the Panthers were more physical and simply played better.
“We got our butts kicked today,” Flacco said.
The loss was the second straight for the Ravens.
“There is obviously a bigger threat to let this stuff affect you mentally and how we are jelling together, so we have to combat that by being ourselves and being as tough as we can,” Flacco said.
GETTING HIS KICKS
Panthers kicker Graham Gano extended his streak to 39 consecutive field goals made at home — and 28 straight overall — after connecting from 54, 44 and 30 yards.
How many coaches have the guts to make this call? Leading 7-0 in the first quarter at Carolina, Ravens coach John Harbaugh went for a fake punt from his own 10-yard line on a fourth-and-1 — and Baltimore appeared to pick it up easily with Anthony Levine plowing ahead for an 8-yard gain. However, the Ravens were called for an illegal shift on the play, wiping out the first down, and they wound up punting.
Harbaugh also went for a first down on fourth-and-1 from his own 34 and got it on a Flacco sneak.
The Panthers used their own brand of trickery to steal three points just before halftime.
Facing a fourth-and-7 at the Baltimore 44, coach Ron Rivera sent in backup QB Taylor Heinicke to throw an apparent Hail Mary with Newton’s shoulder still sore from last week’s game. But after the Ravens defense backed off, Heinicke saw Olsen alone lined up to the left side and he hauled in a 13-yard pass and ducked out of bounds with 2 seconds left. Gano came on to boot a 54-yard field goal to give Carolina momentum heading into the second half.
Panthers safety Eric Reid continued to protest against social and racial injustice by kneeling before the national anthem. Also, several fans took a knee during the national anthem outside of the stadium in support of Reid’s cause.
Ravens starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley was helped off the field in the third quarter with a knee injury, but did return. The Panthers reported no injuries.
Ravens: Host Pittsburgh next Sunday.
Panthers: Host Tampa Bay next Sunday.
Broncos 23, Chiefs 30
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes had another 300-yard passing day with four touchdowns. Kareem Hunt had another hurdling, tackle-breaking touchdown that gave the Chiefs a lead they’d never surrender.
Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins produced huge games, too, as the high-powered Kansas City offense once again made the incredible look downright casual in a 30-23 victory over Denver on Sunday that finished off a season sweep of the Broncos.
“When we’re clicking and spreading the ball around,” Mahomes said, “we’re really tough to stop.”
You could make a case for nearly impossible. The only team to beat the Chiefs (7-1) so far has been New England, and it took the Patriots scoring 43 points at home to win by a field goal.
The Broncos (3-5) never came that close Sunday.
Mahomes finished with 303 yards passing for his franchise-record seventh consecutive 300-yard performance.
He joined Andrew Luck (eight games in 2014) and Drew Brees (seven games in 2011) as the only quarterbacks in league history with seven consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards in a season.
Mahomes also became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw at least four touchdown passes in three consecutive games, joining Brees (three games in 2011), Peyton Manning (five games in 2004) and Hall of Famer Dan Marino (four games in 1984).
Watkins had 107 yards and two of the TD catches, and Kelce and Hunt had the other two, as the Chiefs won for the 19th time in their past 21 games against the AFC West rivals.
“There were some good individual efforts there,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, rattling off most of those same names before adding, almost as an afterthought: “Obviously our young quarterback was involved, too.”
Case Keenum had 262 yards passing and two scores for the Broncos (3-5), while Phillip Lindsay had a big day in his first career start. The undrafted rookie had 95 yards rushing and a TD while catching three passes and providing a spark out of the backfield.
Still, that production couldn’t help the Broncos overcome their own sloppiness. They were flagged 10 times for 83 yards, several of the penalties wiping out big gains — and that doesn’t include a few that were declined or offsetting, including a personal foul on defensive tackle Derek Wolfe.
“We can’t beat ourselves against this team. We know that,” said Broncos cornerback Chris Harris, whose team has lost seven straight to the Chiefs. “We got to be smart and we didn’t play smart enough here. We got to figure it out, why we keep having these same things happen every week.”
Kansas City failed to score on its initial drive for the first time all season, and instead it was the Broncos jumping in front when Lindsay scored from a yard out midway through the first quarter.
The Chiefs quickly found their stride, though.
Harrison Butker hit a chip-shot field goal, Kelce made a tough touchdown catch in traffic and Watkins found the soft spot in the middle of the Denver defense to haul in his first TD grab. Denver had no answer until the closing seconds, when Tim Patrick had his first career touchdown catch.
Still, the Chiefs took a 16-14 lead into the locker room. And they weren’t done.
Watkins, signed in the offseason to take some pressure off Tyreek Hill, showed his own game-breaking ability early in the third quarter. He had a 24-yard reception to move Kansas City downfield, and his 10-yard strike from Mahomes added to the Chiefs’ cushion.
The Broncos, meanwhile, kept stumbling through costly miscues. Two more penalties on their first possession of the half resulted in a shanked punt that gave Kansas City prime field position, and it took just four plays for Hunt to reach the end zone for the 10th time this season.
The reigning NFL rushing champion took an inside pitch from Mahomes — a pass, technically — and ran through two tackles, hurdled Will Parks and dragged fellow safety Justin Simmons into the end zone.
The highlight-reel catch-and-run came after another hurdling run by Hunt a week ago.
Denver tried to come back in the fourth quarter, when Jeff Heuerman caught a fourth-down touchdown catch. But the Broncos failed to convert the 2-point conversion, then Keenum threw a pick after they’d managed to get the ball back, foiling their best chance to make it a game.
“It is disappointing, but you got to go back to work on Sundays,” Lindsay said. “It’s time to get us a win. What better way than to go back home and get a win against the Texans?”
STATS AND STREAKS
Denver has lost four of five. … Reid won his 201st game, tying Dan Reeves for eighth-most in NFL history. … Butker had a streak of 61 consecutive PATs snapped in the first half.
Broncos: The Broncos were missing RB Royce Freeman (ankle), RT Jared Veldheer (knee) and strong safety Darian Stewart (neck). LBs Brandon Marshall (knee) and Von Miller (ankle) were active.
Chiefs: WR Tyreek Hill appeared to tweak his groin on a long catch early in the game. He left late in the fourth quarter. … LBs Anthony Hitchens (ribs) and Frank Zombo (hamstring) also left late.
Hill showed up at Arrowhead Stadium wearing an inflatable sumo wrestler suit. That came after Mahomes posted video of himself on social media this week wearing a Tyrannosaurus Rex outfit while playing a pingpong game with practice squad wide receiver Gehrig Dieter, who also wore a sumo suit.
Broncos: Return home to face Houston next Sunday.
Chiefs: Head to Cleveland next Sunday.
Colts 42, Raiders 28
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts appear to have a potent running game, an offensive line that can protect and a record-setting kicker.
Combined all that with a healthy Andrew Luck and the results are impressive.
Luck threw his third touchdown pass of the game to break a tie with 5:28 to go, Adam Vinatieri set the career scoring mark and the Colts beat the Oakland Raiders 42-28 on Sunday to win in back-to-back weeks for the first time in three years.
“I think we’re believing it now, I really do,” Luck said. “I think we’re proving to ourselves that we can do it, that this is a winning formula.”
Marlon Mack ran for a career-high 132 yards and two touchdowns, breaking the personal mark he set last week against Buffalo with 126 yards. The Colts finished with 222 yards rushing and didn’t allow a sack for the third straight game as the investments made in the offensive line are paying off.
The Colts are the first team since the 1970 merger to go consecutive games with at least 200 yards rushing, no sacks and no giveaways.
“I think you’d like to establish your identity in Week 1 and get that going right from the start,” coach Frank Reich said. “On offense, it’s taken us a few weeks to get that going, but right now I like where we’re at.”
Mack’s second TD came after Doug Martin lost a fumble for Oakland and sealed the victory as the Colts won in consecutive weeks for the first time in three years.
Luck connected with all three of his tight ends with the 10-yard pass to Jack Doyle putting the Colts (3-5) up 35-28. Luck connected earlier in the game on passes to Mo Alie-Cox and Eric Ebron and finished with 239 yards against an overmatched defense for the Raiders (1-6).
Derek Carr threw three TD passes and ran for a fourth just days after Oakland traded his top receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas . But it wasn’t enough to prevent another loss in what is quickly becoming a lost season to begin coach Jon Gruden’s second stint with the team.
“I’m not going to give up. Period,” Gruden said. “I just hope Raiders fans out there understand we’re doing everything we can. I know it gets ugly at times, but in a lot of ways I’m excited about the future.”
The Colts started fast with Mo Alie-Cox making a one-handed 26-yard touchdown catch and Vinatieri adding a field goal to make it 10-0 before the Raiders finally found their stride.
“He swallowed the ball with his hands,” Luck said. “It was truly like there was a gravitational pull flopped it in there. What an awesome job our tight ends group does to complement this offense, complement the wideouts and to complement each other.”
Carr threw a pair of touchdown passes in the second quarter to put Oakland on top and added a 1-yard sneak for a score on fourth down to make it 21-13 early in the third.
The game went back and forth from there with Luck tying it with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Eric Ebron and a 2-point conversion pass to Chester Rogers.
Carr then avoided a sack before finding Brandon LaFell for a 6-yard touchdown late in the third before the Colts tied it back up early in the fourth on Mack’s 4-yard run .
MOST POINTS IN NFL HISTORY
Vinatieri set the record as the NFL’s top all-time scorer in the first half. He kicked a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter to tie Morten Andersen with 2,544 points and then added a 25-yarder late in the second to set the record . Vinatieri scored three more points, giving him 2,550 for his career.
“He’d done it for so long and for so many years and so prolifically, that I just thought, ‘Man, it’s untouchable.'” Vinatieri said. “But I guess as you keep going, you stack years upon years, the numbers start stacking up.”
Carr scored on a 1-yard sneak on fourth down in the third quarter for the Raiders for his first career touchdown run. Oakland hadn’t had a quarterback run for a TD since Terrelle Pryor scored on a 93-yard run against Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2013. Only the Chargers had gone longer without a TD run for a QB.
“I had a dance planned, but they threw a flag,” Carr said. “I’ll have to get another one.”
BACK TO BACK
Mack followed up last week’s big game with another strong performance. This is just the sixth time the Colts have had a 100-yard rusher during Luck’s seven NFL seasons and the first time since Joseph Addai did it in 2007 that a back topped the century mark in consecutive games.
The Raiders lost backup OL T.J. Clemmings to a knee injury in the second half. … Colts S Mike Mitchell left in the second half with a calf injury.
Colts: Host Jacksonville on Nov. 11.
Raiders: Visit 49ers on Thursday night.
Packers 27, Rams 29
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Aaron Rodgers can’t lead a game-winning drive if he never gets the ball.
That was the whole idea when Los Angeles’ Ramik Wilson forced a fumble from Green Bay’s Ty Montgomery on a late kickoff return. That was also Todd Gurley’s thought moments later when he stopped running with a clear path to the end zone, keeping Rodgers stuck on the sideline in the unbeaten Rams’ eighth victory.
“Man, forget fantasy,” Gurley said with a grin. “Forget Vegas. We got the win, so that’s all that matters.”
Greg Zuerlein hit a 34-yard field goal with 2:05 left before Wilson forced and recovered Montgomery’s fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and Gurley’s prudent decision to go down wrapped up the Rams’ 29-27 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Jared Goff passed for 295 yards and three touchdowns while the Rams (8-0) were sternly tested by the Packers (3-3-1).
Both teams rallied from 10-point deficits to take a lead in front of a rollicking, bipartisan Coliseum crowd, but the Rams extended their best start since 1969 by capitalizing on two crushing special-teams mistakes by Green Bay.
Rodgers threw for 286 yards, but he didn’t get a snap in the final 5:20.
“That was a high-caliber, back-and-forth game,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “This team has demonstrated through eight games that while we have a long way to go, this team is capable of winning games in a bunch of different ways.”
Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers with 8:50 left to put the Packers ahead 27-26, but Goff and Gurley drove the Rams into range for Zuerlein’s second field goal of the fourth quarter after a 25-yard punt by JK Scott.
Montgomery then coughed up his return, and Wilson pounced on the ball.
“That play didn’t lose the game, but it took away an opportunity to win,” Rodgers said.
Montgomery declined to talk after the game, but Wilson called his fumble-forcing hit “one of the biggest collisions I’ve been in.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the return man was supposed to take a touchback.
“You trust your players on tough decisions, close decisions,” McCarthy said. “I think Ty was just trying to make a play.”
In the final minute, Gurley ran 17 yards for a key first down and stopped before reaching the end zone, allowing the Rams to run out the clock.
Josh Reynolds caught two touchdown passes for Los Angeles. Gurley had 114 yards rushing and 81 yards receiving, and he scored a touchdown in his franchise record-tying 11th consecutive game on a 30-yard pass in the third quarter .
“That was probably my favorite (win) of the year,” said Goff, who went 19 for 35 without an interception.
The Rams faced their largest deficit of the remarkable season when they trailed 10-0 early in the second quarter, but they calmly turned it into a 23-13 lead late in the third.
Rodgers answered with two touchdown drives to grab a one-point lead for Green Bay in the fourth quarter, but Goff countered his fellow Cal product and childhood hero after Aaron Donald sacked Rodgers on third down to stop the Packers’ next drive.
“The urgency has to pick up, but there’s no momentum gained from a loss,” Rodgers said. “We can play with anybody, but we already knew that before this game. It’s not like this was some revelation.”
Both teams had loud contingents of fans at the Coliseum, where Green Bay won the first Super Bowl in 1967. The Packers were greeted by a rowdy bunch of California Cheeseheads in Green Bay’s first trip to Los Angeles since the NFL returned in 2016.
After Reynolds scored on a 19-yard grab late in the third, the Packers responded with Aaron Jones’ 33-yard TD draw run up the middle with 13 seconds left.
GURLEY AND CRAZYLEGS
Gurley’s scoring catch put Los Angeles ahead in the third quarter. The grab also extended Gurley’s TD streak to tie the Rams record set by Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch in 1950-51. Gurley leads the NFL with 15 touchdowns, and he became the fourth player in league history to score at least 15 touchdowns in the first eight games of a season, joining Jim Brown (17 in 1958) and Priest Holmes (15 in 2002 and 2004).
Sam Shields made several big plays for LA against his former team. The veteran defensive back caught a pass from Johnny Hekker on a fake punt, and he later downed a punt at the Green Bay 1 to set up the Rams’ defense for its safety. Shields played seven seasons with the Packers before his fourth concussion in 2016 nearly ended his career, but he returned to the NFL with the Rams this season.
Packers: WR Randall Cobb had four catches for 40 yards in his return from a three-game absence with a hamstring injury.
Rams: WR Cooper Kupp missed his second straight game with a knee injury, opening the chance for Reynolds to shine.
Packers: At New England on Nov. 4.
Rams: At New Orleans on Nov. 4.
49ers 15, Cardinals 18
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Rookie Josh Rosen came into the huddle to start Arizona’s final drive with a few choice words.
“We’re going to win this (expletive) game,” he said.
And the Cardinals did just that.
Rosen threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie Christian Kirk with 34 seconds to play to rally the Arizona Cardinals to an 18-15 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in a matchup of teams with two of the worst records in the NFL.
“That was a lot of fun,” Rosen said. “That’s why sports are fun.”
The Cardinals, winners at home for the first time under first-year coach Steve Wilks, beat San Francisco for the eighth straight time and second time in three weeks.
“Our defense gave us a very good chance to win that, giving us three turnovers and getting us a 12-point lead,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We didn’t capitalize on them enough for touchdowns and we didn’t make the plays at the end when we needed to.”
Arizona (2-6) got two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Rosen after the 49ers (1-7) had built a 15-3 lead.
Rosen’s 13-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald cut the lead to 15-10 with 11:06 to play. Fitzgerald also caught a 2-point conversion pass after Kirk’s TD.
Fitzgerald, in his 15th NFL season, caught eight passes for 102 yards, his best game of the season. He had four catches for 81 yards in the fourth quarter and the crowd chanted “LAR-RY, LAR-RY.”
“I threw him the ball and he caught it, whether it was a good ball or a bad ball,” Rosen said. “That’s why he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I’m going to be telling my kids one day that I got to throw to him.”
Fitzgerald even spiked the football after the 2-point catch, something he said he’d never done before.
“We don’t spike the ball in our house,” Wilks said, “but I’ll let that one slide. I think he got carried away.”
Fitzgerald joked that he’d been upset because his oldest son had chosen to go to the state fair instead of the game.
C.J. Beathard connected with Marquise Goodwin on a 55-yard play for the 49ers’ only touchdown.
San Francisco was slogging along with a 5-3 lead before Goodwin beat Patrick Peterson and took a short pass over the middle, then raced to the end zone to make it 12-3 in the third quarter. Robbie Gould’s second field goal of the game, from 20 yards, boosted the lead to 15-3.
San Francisco appeared to get a critical turnover with 4:44 to play, needing a coach’s challenge to get it. Arizona tight end Jermaine Gresham fumbled along the sideline and the 49ers’ Fred Warner recovered at the San Francisco 31. Officials initially ruled a 49er touched the ball while out of bounds, but the 49ers challenged and replays showed the player tried but failed to touch it.
But the Niners couldn’t move the ball and Arizona went 73 yards in 12 plays for the winning score, using 1:42.
The two TD drives came under the direction of new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who was promoted from quarterbacks coach after Mike McCoy was fired.
“We really didn’t change much in the offense,” Rosen said. “One thing I think Byron’s really good with is just his demeanor. … He’s got really good timing with a lot of his play calls. He’s got that poise. He’s a steadying force. It wasn’t a pretty one by any means, but baby steps here.”
San Francisco scored first when, backed up deep in Arizona territory, Rosen was called for intentional grounding in the end zone. The resulting safety made it 2-0.
The only real scoring drive of the first half resulted in Dawson’s 31-yard field goal that put Arizona up 3-2. The 12-play, 78-yard drive was kept alive by a third-down pass interference penalty on Reuben Foster.
The only turnover of the first half set up San Francisco’s go-ahead field goal. Jaquiski Tartt stepped in front of intended receiver Kirk and intercepted Rosen’s pass, returning it 21 yards to the Cardinals 12. But the 49ers couldn’t move the ball and Gould’s 27-yard field goal put San Francisco ahead 5-3.
FITZ HITS 112
Fitzgerald’s 112th career touchdown catch moves him past Tony Gonzalez alone into seventh on the NFL career list. He’s caught a TD pass in each of his last two games after getting none the first six games of the season. He needs three to tie Antonio Gates for sixth.
The already beat-up 49ers lost two important defensive players.
Foster left early with a hamstring injury. Tartt was knocked out with a shoulder injury.
49ers defensive back Amare Exum Jr. left in the fourth quarter with a head injury.
49ers: host Oakland on Thursday night.
Cardinals: have bye week, play at Kansas City on Nov. 11.
Saints 30, Vikings 20
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — No miraculous play was needed for New Orleans to win this game in Minnesota, no where-were-you moment that instantly went viral.
Drew Brees and the Saints simply scored some revenge for their last-second loss in the playoffs last season by taking advantage of two key turnovers, including a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by P.J. Williams, in a 30-20 victory over the Vikings on Sunday night.
“This one had a little extra special meaning,” Brees said, flashing a slight smile after he went 18 for 23 to maintain his league-leading 77.4 completion percentage.
Alvin Kamara scored twice, Wil Lutz made three field goals and Sheldon Rankins had two of the four sacks by the Saints (6-1), who needed only 120 passing yards by Brees to beat the Vikings (4-3-1) this time with far less tension down the final stretch and stay undefeated in four road games this year.
“It’s everything we wanted it to be,” Rankins said.
Stefon Diggs had 119 receiving yards and a score in his curtain call after the “Minneapolis Miracle” catch in the NFC divisional round here in January, but he stopped his drag route in a miscommunication with quarterback Kirk Cousins right before Williams picked the ball off for the pivotal third-quarter touchdown.
Adam Thielen had another record-setting performance for the Vikings with 103 yards and a score, but he lost a fumble that was returned 54 yards by Marshon Lattimore to set up the go-ahead touchdown for the Saints.
“We’re a really good football team, but you can’t make mistakes in this league and win, especially on critical situations when you have the ball in the red zone,” Thielen said. “Obviously I’m going to think about that one for a while, and I’m definitely disappointed in myself.”
The Vikings had the edge on both sides of the ball during the first half. Harrison Smith handed Brees his first interception of the season after 231 attempts without one, putting the Vikings in position to stretch a 13-10 lead.
Late in the second quarter, Thielen drove forward for extra yards after a short completion and had the ball pried loose by Williams and Alex Anzalone at the 14. Lattimore scooped it up and raced the other way, before Laquon Treadwell took him down. Treadwell then slammed his helmet on the turf in frustration, drawing a devastating 15-yard penalty to give the Saints the ball at the 18 with 57 seconds remaining before halftime. Kamara soared into the end zone two plays later.
“I was giving up a few plays,” Williams said, “but a turnover always turns the game around.”
The Vikings started the second half with the ball and went for it on fourth-and-1 at their own 45. With an empty backfield, Cousins had Treadwell open over the middle, but Lattimore broke up the pass to change possession and set up Lutz’s second field goal.
“I told the team I was going to be aggressive,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Every fourth down that was close, we were going to go for it.”
The first evening kickoff of the season at U.S. Bank Stadium created an extra-energetic atmosphere, and the pregame hype video montage with replays of the last-snap catch and run by Diggs for the winning touchdown in the playoffs against the Saints only enhanced it.
Defensive end Everson Griffen, returning from a five-game absence for mental health treatment, led the sprint out of the replica Vikings ship for introductions. Diggs was saved for last. Then the action came fast and furious.
Kamara capped the opening touchdown drive by catching a forward flip on a jet sweep play with both backup quarterbacks, Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, lined up as wide receivers. Hill had taken a turn at quarterback earlier and threw a 44-yard pass to Michael Thomas, his second highlight-reel reception during that drive.
Thielen climbed over the neck of Williams for a tricky third-down catch on the ensuing possession for the Vikings, who kept on attacking the third-year nickel cornerback. Diggs beat him with a back-shoulder grab at the goal line and again four plays later on a toe-tap touchdown at the edge of the end zone on fourth down.
Williams had a pass interference penalty on the next drive for the Vikings. That set up a short scoring run by Latavius Murray, who tossed the ball back to Cousins earlier on that possession for a 28-yard flea-flicker throw to Thielen.
Thielen tied Calvin Johnson’s all-time NFL record of eight straight 100-yard receiving games, set in 2012 with Detroit. He also matched Patrick Jeffers with a fifth consecutive game with 100-plus yards and at least one touchdown, a mark set in 1999 for Carolina.
Saints: CB Eli Apple, acquired in a trade with the New York Giants, made his debut in place of Ken Crawley, who was inactive but not on the injury report.
Vikings: CB Xavier Rhodes (foot) was one of six starters held out with injuries. … Backup RB Roc Thomas left with a hamstring injury.
Saints: Return home to host the Los Angeles Rams (8-0) next Sunday.
Vikings: Stay home to face the Detroit Lions (3-4) next Sunday.
Patriots 25, Bills 6
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Devin McCourty returned an interception 84 yards for a touchdown, and the New England Patriots’ defense smothered the Buffalo Bills’ anemic offense in a 25-6 win on Monday night.
James White scored on a 1-yard run, and the Patriots relied more on Stephen Gostkowski’s leg than on Tom Brady’s arm for their fifth straight win, which improved their AFC East-leading record to 6-2. Brady finished 29 of 45 for 324 yards, but was held without a touchdown pass for the first time this season.
Gostkowski hit four of five field-goal attempts, including two from 25 yards after New England drives stalled inside Buffalo’s 10.
“They made it tough on us,” Brady said. “We couldn’t get anything going in the red zone, not enough positive plays down there.”
McCourty sealed the win with 5:54 remaining by intercepting Derek Anderson’s pass over the middle intended for Charles Clay and taking it to the end zone.
Two plays before the pick, Bills tight end Jason Croom’s diving one-handed touchdown catch was negated following a video review. Replays clearly showed Croom never had possession in attempting to make the 25-yard catch, which would have made it a one-score game.
McCourty’s interception also came after White scored to cap a 10-play, 85-yard drive to put New England ahead 18-6 with 9:58 remaining.
“I felt like once our offense got one in the end zone, it was big for us to go out there and try to get a stop,” McCourty said. “And it ended up being a turnover for a touchdown.”
Buffalo lost its third straight and dropped to 2-6 for its worst start since opening the 2010 season with eight losses.
Credit the Bills’ defense for not playing the role of the expected pushover against a Brady-led offense that had scored 38 or more points in each of its past four games.
“You come out and you hold those guys to one touchdown and still can’t get a win. It’s tough, man,” Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White said.
Buffalo’s problem continued to be an offense that has managed just 87 points this season, and was held to under seven points for the fourth time. Stephen Hauschka accounted for the scoring by hitting field goals from 51 and 47 yards.
“It’s clearly not good enough,” coach Sean McDermott said of his sputtering offense. “I thought the defense came out and played well at times. Offensively, we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit there, and just couldn’t get it going enough.”
Anderson was escorted off the field with 1:25 left when he was sacked by Kyle Van Noy. Anderson was making his second start in place of rookie Josh Allen, who’s listed as week to week with a sprained elbow on his throwing arm.
Anderson finished 22 of 39 for 290 yards and two interceptions.
Brady continued his string of career-long dominance over the Bills by improving to 29-3, extending the NFL record for most wins by a quarterback against one opponent.
The Patriots beat Buffalo for the seventh straight time and improved to 32-5 in their last 37 meetings under coach Bill Belichick.
The highlight for Bills fans was a halftime ceremony in which the team retired Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas’ No. 34.
He became the third player in Bills history to receive the honor. Jim Kelly had his No. 12 retired in 2001, and Bruce Smith’s No. 78 was retired in 2016.
With the lights turned out at the sold-out stadium, highlights from Thomas’ Hall of Fame career were shown on the video scoreboard while two spotlights projected 34s onto the field. “When I look up and see the No. 34 retired under my name, I’ll be reminded that number doesn’t just belong to me,” Thomas said. “It belongs to the Bills fans everywhere.”
The receiver- and quarterback-needy Bills had free agent Terrelle Pryor in for a visit earlier in the day. Pryor is a seventh-year player who was released by the New York Jets on Oct. 20 with an injury settlement after hurting his groin.
Patriots: Rookie RB Sony Michel (left knee) and starting LB Dont’a Hightower (knee) were inactive.
Bills: Rookie starting middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds did not return in the second half after being diagnosed with a concussion.
Patriots: Prepare for a Brady-vs.-Aaron Rodgers showdown, hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
Bills: Host the Chicago Bears on Sunday.