Demarus Dye| BKD TV Insiders
Here is a recap of Week 13 of the 2018 NFL Season with a Tuesday Morning QB & thanks again to AP Sports/ Pro 32 for photos & articles.
Saints 10, Cowboys 13
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott desperately scrambled for a first down in a game of fourth-quarter keepaway, then took three knees starting from the New Orleans 1 to run out the clock by the narrowest possible margin.
Anything to keep Drew Brees and the NFL’s highest-scoring offense on the sideline.
Ezekiel Elliott scored the only Dallas touchdown on a 16-yard screen pass and the Cowboys stifled Brees and the Saints, ending New Orleans’ 10-game winning streak with a 13-10 victory Thursday night.
The Cowboys (7-5) won their fourth consecutive game and assured they will at least remain tied for the NFC East lead.
The Saints (10-2) were shut out in the first half, had their fewest points in three years and finished with a season-low 176 yards. They missed a chance to perfectly match Dallas from two years ago, when then-rookie sensations Elliott and Prescott won 11 straight after dropping the opener.
“Everybody knew it. We had to keep the ball away from Brees,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “We needed to play this kind of game. I must tell you, the defense played beyond my expectations. They played like a championship defense.”
Brees had his fewest yards passing in a first half since joining the Saints in 2006 with 39, and couldn’t get a potential winning drive going in the final minutes.
Instead, Jourdan Lewis’ interception — just the third for Brees while he became the NFL’s first with at least 30 TD passes in 10 seasons — gave the Cowboys a chance to run out the clock from the New Orleans 1 after an interference penalty in the end zone.
Brees said he was trying to throw the ball away behind pass-catching back Alvin Kamara, who cut outside just as Brees threw it and Lewis dove forward, barely keeping the ball off the ground.
“As an offense, we think complementary football,” Brees said. “Let’s put together a drive. Let’s keep our defense off the field. Let’s control the game, control the clock, control the ball. Just never felt like we really did that as an offense like we’ve done this year.”
The Cowboys spent the fourth quarter trying to protect their three-point lead, with Prescott breaking several tackles on an 11-yard scramble on third-and-10 and Cole Beasley catching a third-down pass and diving for 5 yards on third-and-5.
But Prescott fumbled on his season-high seventh sack with Dallas in position for at least a field goal, giving Brees another chance from his 15 with more than two minutes remaining.
Brees’ interception came two plays later, then Marshon Lattimore was called for interference against Amari Cooper in the end zone, giving Dallas a first down at the 1 with 1:58 remaining.
The Cowboys had just enough time to end the game, with the play clock matching the game clock down to zero after Prescott took a knee for the third time.
Brees was 18 of 28 for 127 yards, actually the second straight game and third overall under 200 yards for the MVP contender. The running game didn’t do much either, with Kamara getting 36 yards rushing while the Saints had 65 as a team after averaging 177 the previous four games.
The only touchdown drive for the Saints was aided by three first downs on Dallas penalties. The biggest was Randy Gregory’s roughing-the-punter penalty on Thomas Morstead.
Two plays later, Brees dropped a deep throw to a backpedaling Keith Kirkwood in the end zone for a 30-yard score to get New Orleans within 13-10.
Prescott had 194 of his 248 yards passing while helping the Cowboys to a 13-0 halftime lead — the first scoreless first half for the Saints since 2014, also against the Cowboys, and their first deficit in five games.
Elliott had 136 scrimmage yards with 76 rushing and 60 receiving on six catches.
MATCHING ZEKE, RAISING HIM $2
After forcing and recovering a fumble by Cooper in the first half , Lattimore ran to one of the giant red Salvation Army kettles behind an end zone, pulled $23 out of his uniform and dropped it in. Lattimore is No. 23. In the Thanksgiving game a week earlier, Elliott (No. 21) dropped $21 into the other kettle on the same end of the field.
GIL BRANDT IN RING OF HONOR
The Cowboys inducted former director of player personnel Gil Brandt into the team’s ring of honor at halftime. The 85-year-old joins former coach Tom Landry and former general manager Tex Schramm, both deceased, in the 22-person group. Those three held their titles for the franchise’s first 29 years before Jerry Jones bought the team.
Jones fired Landry immediately, and Schramm resigned less than two months later. Jones fired Brandt after the owner and general manager’s first draft in 1989. Brandt has been nominated as a contributor for next year’s voting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
THIS AND THAT
New Orleans DT David Onyemata had his first two sacks of the season in the first half. … Kirkwood’s TD was the second of his career, and second in as many weeks. … Cooper had eight catches for 75 yards, and rookie Michael Gallup had five for 76, highlighted by a 40-yarder to set up the first of Brett Maher’s two field goals.
Saints: At Tampa Bay on Dec. 9 in second of three straight road games.
Cowboys: Philadelphia on Dec. 9 in last of three straight home games.
Bears 27, Giants 30 OT
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants finally have a signature win to carry them through the rest of the season and maybe beyond.
While beating the NFC North-leading Bears wasn’t pretty and involved blowing up a 10-point lead in the final 1:13, the Giants showed character in a wild game in the rain highlighted by trick plays — and a reminder of William “The Fridge” Perry.
The Giants (4-8) won for seventh time in 28 games over the past two seasons as Aldrick Rosas kicked a 44-yard field goal in overtime in a 30-27 win Sunday, snapping the Bears’ five-game winning streak.
“The takeaway is, and I told the team this, some people are fond of talented people, some people are fond of smart people. I’m fond of tough, resilient people,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. “When you are trying to flip culture and when you are trying to build something, you have to dig in on that. There was some toughness and resiliency when they came back to tie things up.”
Rosas’ third field goal of the game came on the opening series of overtime. It was set up by a 29-yard run by rookie Saquon Barkley, who finished with 125 yards on 24 carries.
“It speaks to the resiliency of the guys,” Giants left tackle Nate Solder said after the team refused to fold following the Bears’ late heroics. “It speaks about the type of guys we have in the locker room and we just got to keep doing it and moving forward and believing in each other and doing it together.”
The Giants didn’t nail down the win until Janoris Jenkins knocked away a deep fourth-down pass to Taylor Gabriel after quarterback Chase Daniel fumbled on consecutive plays on the rainy afternoon to set up a fourth-and-8.
Chicago (8-4) forced overtime by getting a 21-yard field goal by Cody Parkey and a 1-yard touchdown pass from halfback Tarik Cohen to Anthony Miller as time expired in the fourth quarter. The trick-play touchdown was set up by a recovered onside kick by Daniel Brown on a play Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. did not dive for the loose ball. Then came a questionable pass interference call in the end zone against cornerback B.W. Webb with :03 to go.
“I’m proud of them for fighting to the end. Not every team will do that,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “We’ve got a bunch of high-character guys that will fight till the end and that’s a credit to them. We’ve got to figure out how to learn from this. This is part of that callus that goes on.”
Besides the Cohen pass on what appeared to be a sweep, the Giants saw Beckham throw and catch touchdowns, and Chicago nose tackle Akiem Hicks dive over on fourth down from 1 yard on a play made famous by Perry in the Bears glory days in the mid-1980s.
The Giants seemed to have it wrapped up when Rosas kicked a 37-yard field goal for a 27-17 lead with 1:49 to play. But the Bears rallied behind Daniel (26 of 39 for 285 yards, a TD and two interceptions) and several mistakes by the Giants, who were called for 12 penalties for 107 yards.
New York had two penalties on the tying drive, which featured a 23-yard, fourth-down pass from Daniel to Cohen to the Giants 9 with 11 seconds left in regulation.
Cohen finished with 12 catches for 156 yards.
Linebacker Alex Ogletree intercepted two passes, scoring on an 8-yard return on the second play from scrimmage. The Giants forced three turnovers and had a season-high five sacks against Daniel, who was starting his second game for the injured Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder).
The Giants made many big plays in the second half. Beckham threw a 49-yard TD pass to Russell Shepard and caught a 1-yard, fourth-down TD from Eli Manning (19 of 35 for 170 yards and an interception) as New York opened a 24-14 lead in the third quarter.
Beckham said primary target Bennie Fowler was double covered and he was about to run until he saw Shepard.
“I saw him down the middle of the field and I was like, this can’t be real, and I just launched it to him,” said Beckham, who has thrown two touchdowns this season.
A 36-yard field goal by Parkey got the Bears within 24-17 in the third quarter.
“That’s definitely not our best,” Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “We had moments of it, we just didn’t play four quarters, which is what we need to do when we have tough games like this.”
Rosas, who kicked a 57-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to make it 14-10, and added a 37-yard field goal after Sean Chandler recovered Gabriel’s fumble deep in Bears territory.
The Bears came right back and forced the overtime.
Daniel had a 2-yard touchdown pass by Daniel to Adam Shaheen in the first quarter. Hicks scored in the second.
New York now has won 3 of 4 since its bye week.
The Giants started the game without LB B.J. Goodson out with a neck problem. His backup, Tae Davis, left the game in the first half with an ankle injury. Ukeme Eligwe played and had his first three tackles of the season. WR Shepard had a rib injury in the first half and returned. S Landon Collins was on and off the field with a shoulder problem. He had five tackles.
Rosas’ 57-yard field goal was the longest in Giants history. The record was 56 by Ali Haji-Sheikh, who converted from that distance twice in 1983.
Ogletree, who had a team-high 10 tackles, has four interceptions this season and has scored touchdowns on returns in two straight home games. He tallied on a 15-yarder against Tampa Bay on Nov. 18. … The Bears fumbled six times and lost one. Daniel had four fumbles and didn’t lose any.
Bears: Host Rams on Sunday night in matchup of division leaders.
Giants: at Washington next Sunday.
Rams 30, Lions 16
DETROIT (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams returned to their lockers in the Motor City, where NFC West championship shirts and hats were waiting to be worn.
The victors, though, refuse to be spoiled by this accomplishment.
Todd Gurley ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns to help the Rams overcome a sputtering start to beat the Detroit Lions 30-16 Sunday and clinch the division title for a second straight season.
“We’re not satisfied yet,” said defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who had two sacks and forced a fumble. “But we’re headed in the right direction.”
The Rams (11-1) moved a step closer to earning home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, taking a one-game lead over New Orleans after it lost to Dallas on Thursday night. It is a cushion Los Angeles needs because its only loss was against the Saints last month.
“We’re in a position right now that we feel good about,” coach Sean McVay said. “If we take care of our business, all the rest of that stuff takes care of itself.”
The Lions (4-8) have lost five of six since a surge of success gave them a winning record in late October.
“I’m extremely tired of losing,” center Graham Glasgow said.
Detroit’s defense held Los Angeles’ high-powered offense in check for three quarters, giving the slumping team a shot to potentially pull off a stunning upset. The Lions, though, failed to make the most of the opportunity because their offense struggled to move the ball and score.
Donald helped seal the win by forcing Matthew Stafford to fumble midway through the fourth quarter. The star defensive tackle had two strip-sacks in his last game on Nov. 19, a 54-51 win over Kansas City.
“He held the ball and was loose with it,” Donald said. “I just took advantage.”
Donald has an NFL-high 16½ sacks this season, and the Rams say he should be an MVP candidate.
“He’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” quarterback Jared Goff said of the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year.
Linebacker Samson Ebukam recovered Stafford’s fumble at the Detroit 24 and Gurley scored on a 13-yard run three snaps later, giving the Rams a 23-13 lead.
Goff, perhaps rusty coming off a bye week, was off the mark on many passes and lost a fumble to help keep the game close. His lackluster performance led to Los Angeles settling for Greg Zuerlein kicking three field goals. Goff was 17 of 33 for 207 yards with a tiebreaking, 8-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods late in the second quarter. Goff also threw an interception on an overthrown pass in the second quarter and lost a fumble in the third quarter.
The Rams were able to lean on Gurley, who has a single-season franchise record with 15 rushing touchdowns. The star running back also caught three passes for 33 yards.
Stafford was 20 of 33 yards for 245 yards with an 11-yard touchdown pass to tackle Taylor Decker, who faked the Rams out by blocking for a moment before releasing into the flat where he was left wide open. Decker’s touchdown pulled Detroit within three points late in the third quarter.
The Lions had a chance to cut its deficit to three again late in the game, but Kenny Golladay couldn’t get both feet in the end zone on a pass from Stafford and they had settle for Matt Prater’s third field goal.
Gurley converted a third down late in the game, and after breaking free, he chose not to score to run more time off the clock and force Detroit to take timeouts. It proved a good move because Gurley ran for a 2-yard score with 1:54 left and the Lions were left with no timeouts on their final drive. That ended with Troy Hill intercepting a pass in the end zone with 12 seconds left.
“I wanted to waste some time,” Gurley said.
SUH OR BOO?
Rams defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh played against Detroit for the first time and made six tackles.
“I got a warm welcome back,” he said.
Detroit drafted Suh No. 2 overall eight years ago and he left for Miami as a free agent in 2015. After the Dolphins cut him earlier this year, he signed a one-year deal with the Rams.
When he played for the Lions, the fans would say his last name after he made a play. When his name was announced after his first tackle Sunday, the crowd seemed to jeer him.
“I don’t believe it was a boo,” Suh said.
Los Angeles receiver Brandin Cooks, who had four receptions for 62 yards, became the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards receiving in three straight years with three different franchises. He helped set up a field goal that gave the Rams a 13-3 halftime lead.
Cooks surpassed 1,000 last year with New England and in 2016 with New Orleans. Cooks also had a 1,000-yard season with the Saints in 2015.
Rams: RB Malcom Brown left the game with a shoulder injury. CB Aqib Talib played for the first time since going down with an ankle injury in Week 3.
Lions: LB Devon Kennard went out with a hip injury.
Rams: Play at Chicago on Sunday night.
Lions: Play at Arizona on Sunday.
Panthers 17, Buccanneers 24
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got after Cam Newton all game long, sacking the Carolina star four times and intercepting four of his passes.
“The ‘D’ was fantastic,” coach Dirk Koetter said after Sunday’s 24-17 victory over the reeling Panthers.
Truth is, though, the Bucs go as Jameis Winston does.
The fourth-year pro delivered another strong performance in his second start since regaining the starting quarterback job, outplaying Newton and fueling hope for a season-ending turnaround.
Winston threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover, Andrew Adams had three of the defense’s takeaways, and Tampa Bay (5-7) suddenly has its first winning streak since starting the year 2-0.
“Jameis’ production when we don’t turn the ball over — when he doesn’t turn the ball over — is always going to be there,” Koetter said.
“Jameis is a fantastic player, and sometimes that gets negated by turnovers,” Koetter added. “You could see the last two weeks when we don’t turn the ball over we’re a lot harder to beat.”
Winston completed 20 of 30 passes, following up on a turnover-free outing during the previous week’s 27-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. He also led the Bucs in rushing with 48 yards on five attempts.
“I thought Jameis hurt us big time with his mobility, tucking the ball and running a couple times and converting some early first downs for them. That kept us off-balance,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “A couple times he got outside. And when he did, he was able to find the receivers open.”
Meanwhile, Adams led a spirited defensive effort against Newton, who came into the game feeling he’s been playing the best football of his career this season, even though the Panthers (6-6) have lost four straight after a 6-2 start.
“I take this one personally. I just have to play better, that’s what it comes down to,” Newton said.
“As a signal-caller, as a quarterback, it’s hard to point blame when you’ve got to account for yourself in the mirror,” Newton added. “And when I look back at this game, it really comes down to myself protecting the football. … You can’t just keep throwing the ball up for grabs. I’m a better player than that, and I know that.”
Winston threw TD passes of 3 yards to Adam Humphries and 13 yards to Chris Godwin in the first half, moving the No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 draft ahead of Josh Freeman as Tampa Bay’s career touchdown pass leader with 81.
Newton completed 28 of 41 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns, an 8-yarder to Christian McCaffrey in the first half and a 10-yarder to Devin Funchess that finished a 92-yard drive and trimmed a 14-point deficit to 24-17 late in the third period.
Tampa Bay couldn’t put anything together offensively to put the game away after that, and Carolina’s chances of getting closer were thwarted by two fourth-quarter interceptions.
“We gave ourselves a chance at the end of the game, but you’ve got to make some plays earlier so it doesn’t come down to that,” Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly said. “We did some good things, but obviously we didn’t do enough.”
A week after setting a Carolina franchise record with 237 total yards from scrimmage during a 30-27 home loss to Seattle, McCaffrey rushed for 106 yards on 10 carries and had nine receptions for 55 yards.
Godwin, starting in place of the injured DeSean Jackson, finished with five catches for 101 yards.
STREAK STILL ALIVE
Newton has thrown at least two TD passes in 11 straight games, extending his franchise record. In addition to being sacked four times, the Bucs hit him as he delivered the ball on his past two interceptions.
Rivera said the quarterback was “a little sore” by the end of the day.
“We’ll see what the doctor has to say,” the coach said. “For the most part we’ve been able to get through it, but he got really sore at the end of this game.”
The Bucs went seven consecutive games without forcing a turnover before creating six takeaways — all interceptions — the past two games.
That’s after only having one interception in the first 10 games of the season.
The first two picks Sunday led to a field goal and Winston’s TD pass to Godwin.
Panthers: TE Greg Olsen limped off after re-injuring his right foot in the second quarter and did not return. … G Trai Turner also left in the first half with a neck injury.
It’s Olsen’s third injury to the same foot. He missed nine games last season with a broken foot, had surgery and returned to play. He re-broke it this year, did not have surgery and came back quickly.
“Today, my foot just kind of had enough, kind of ruptured on me,” Olsen said. “I’ve been able to manage it since I came back (from surgery). But today it popped pretty good on me.”
Buccaneers: Played without three starters, Jackson (thumb), CB Brent Grimes (knee) and T Demar Dotson (knee/hamstring). … S Justin Evans (toe) left in second quarter and did not return. … S Isaiah Johnson was evaluated during the second half for a concussion and did not return.
Panthers: at Cleveland, their fourth road game in five weeks.
Buccaneers: vs. New Orleans, finishing stretch of three consecutive home games.
Cardinals 20, Packers 17
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The lowly Arizona Cardinals pulled off an upset at Lambeau Field that was so much a stunner that the Green Bay Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy after the game.
Zane Gonzalez kicked a 44-yard field goal with 1:41 left, Green Bay’s Mason Crosby missed a 49-yard attempt as time expired and the Cardinals braved wintry conditions to hold on for a 20-17 victory on Sunday.
The Packers (4-7-1) announced McCarthy’s dismissal following the postgame availabilities with the media. Team president Mark Murphy made the move after Green Bay took another debilitating hit to its fading playoff hopes.
“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers,” Murphy said in a statement. “As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately.”
For McCarthy, a tenure highlighted by a Super Bowl win in the 2010 season ends with a loss to Arizona (3-9), one of the worst teams in the league.
After the game, but before the Packers fired McCarthy, the Cardinals were joking and yelling in the visitor’s locker room as if they didn’t believe what had just happened.
“We did that! We did that,” some emotional players yelled.
Cardinals rookie Josh Rosen struggled for much of the afternoon, but hit Larry Fitzgerald for a sliding 32-yard completion on third-and-23 to help set up Gonzalez’s winning kick.
“It’s hard to win in this league and it’s been a long time since we won a football game,” coach Steve Wilks said.
It was Oct. 28, to be exact, when the Cardinals beat San Francisco at home. Until Sunday, their only other victory this season came on the road against the 49ers.
Crosby pushed his kick wide right, with the flags atop Lambeau blowing in toward the field at the time of the play. Green Bay’s playoff hopes took another significant blow.
“It was clearly a very disappointing loss, it was a game we needed to win,” McCarthy said in his final press conference, before his firing was announced.
Gonzalez just joined the team this week after Phil Dawson was placed on injured reserve. The Cardinals had a patchwork offensive line, which didn’t bode well for what had been the league’s worst offense coming into the day.
“All the things that were said on the outside, these guys circled the wagons and came together,” Wilks said.
Green Bay has lost three straight and five of six.
Aaron Rodgers was 31 of 50 for 233 yards and a touchdown. A couple throws looked off, especially in the first half, and receivers had a few drops.
The offense regained some swagger after Rodgers orchestrated a 95-yard drive that led to Aaron Jones’ 8-yard touchdown run with 5:26 left, tying it at 17. Davante Adams tip-toed the sideline for a 19-yard catch to extend that drive.
But too many missed opportunities and drops caught up with the Packers in the end. They struggled on third down, going 3 for 14 in the continuation of a season-long theme.
Rookie Chase Edmonds ran for two touchdowns for Arizona. Rosen was 11 of 26 for 149 yards, making just enough plays in front of a makeshift offensive line.
“Other than (center Mason Cole), I don’t think a single one of those guys start the season,” Rosen said. “They’re doing a hell of a job.”
Fitzgerald’s 32-yard reception gave him 1,281 for his career, matching Hall of Famer Jerry Rice for most receptions in NFL history with one team.
“I’m not big on the records,” Fitzgerald said. “This is a difficult place to get a win and we needed it badly. It’s been a rough year. Mostly, I’m just happy we were able to come out victorious.”
Rodgers said his focus was getting his teammates to “play with that pride” and focus on the next four games. The Packers still have a chance to make the postseason, however slim.
“Yeah, I mean I’m not even thinking about that right now,” Rodgers said when asked if he would have any role with Murphy or general manager Brian Gutekunst about what direction they should go with the coaching staff.
McCarthy’s dismissal was announced about an hour later.
The offensive players, Rodgers said, bear blame for whatever happens in the future.
“Yeah, a lot probably. We haven’t played very well,” he said.
Rosen’s 32-yard completion to Fitzgerald sapped momentum from the Packers after Arizona was pushed back to its own 12. Dean Lowry sacked Rosen on first down, and Rosen threw an incompletion on second-and-18 following a botched snap. Wilks said he likes how Rosen shook off earlier struggles.
A 16-yard completion to Adams with 13:42 left in the second quarter gave Rodgers the team record for attempts without an interception. Hall of Famer Bart Starr set the previous mark of 294 from 1964-65.
Cardinals: LG Mike Iupati was carted off the field in the third quarter with a knee injury. Arizona was already starting rookies at center and right tackle.
Packers: RG Byron Bell and RT Bryan Bulaga each left in the second quarter with knee injuries.
Cardinals: Host the Detroit Lions on Dec. 9.
Packers: Host the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 9.
Ravens 26, Falcons 16
ATLANTA (AP) — The Baltimore defense made life miserable for Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense — and gave rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson plenty of room for error.
The Ravens turned in a dominating defensive performance, limiting Atlanta to its fewest yards in almost two decades while Jackson guided Baltimore to its third straight victory, 26-16 on Sunday.
The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, making his third straight start and first on the road, completed only 12 of 21 passes for 125 yards but did plenty of damage with his legs. He carried 17 times for 75 yards, including a 13-yard scoring run in the first quarter that turned out to be the Ravens’ lone offensive touchdown.
Not much offense was needed.
Not the way the Ravens played on the other side of the line.
Baltimore held the Falcons to 131 total yards — Atlanta’s worst showing since a 105-yard effort against San Francisco on Dec. 12, 1999 .
“Our defense, they’re rolling,” Jackson said.
The Ravens sacked Matt Ryan three times — one of which forced a fumble that Tavon Young returned 11 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory midway through the fourth quarter. Baltimore held a nearly 2-to-1 edge in time of possession (39:39-20:21) and limited the Falcons to 2 of 9 on third-down conversions.
When the Falcons went for it on fourth-and-1 at midfield, Ito Smith had barely taken the handoff when he was swarmed over by the Ravens for a 1-yard loss. Atlanta finished with just 34 yards rushing on 15 carries.
“The defensive line did a great job of containing the run,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “Once a defense gets a team one-dimensional, that’s when you can definitely go to work on their offense.”
For Ryan, it was the fewest passing yards in a game he played from start to finish in his 11-year career. The only times he threw for fewer yards were in 2009, when he passed for 15 yards against Tampa Bay before being knocked out of the game with a toe injury, and a 106-yard performance in the 2011 regular-season finale, also against the Buccaneers, when the Falcons built a big lead and rested their starters heading into the playoffs.
“We never really got anything going,” Ryan said. “That makes it tough when you really are not moving it and you’re letting them kind of dictate the game. That’s a tough pill to swallow.”
The Ravens (7-5) have bolstered their AFC wild-card position since Jackson took over at quarterback for the injured Joe Flacco. The rookie had some shaky moments — and left for one series to be checked for a possible concussion after getting hit in a head by a teammate — but he was good enough to send the Falcons (4-8) to their fourth straight loss.
“I wanted to get back out on the field and help my team win,” Jackson said.
Justin Tucker connected on field goals of 41, 21, 45 and 47 yards.
The Falcons, mired in their longest losing streak since a six-game skid in 2015, played before thousands of empty seats at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and heard plenty of boos with the clock winding down.
“This is as challenged as we’ve been in a while, certainly since I’ve been here,” said Dan Quinn, in his fourth season as the Falcons coach.
The only excitement was provided by defensive end Vic Beasley, who picked up a fumble after Grady Jackson knocked the ball loose from Jackson. Beasley took off on a 74-yard return , huffing and puffing toward the end but finding enough energy to spike the ball over the goalposts, giving the Falcons a short-lived 10-7 lead. The Ravens tied it up before halftime and dominated the final two quarters, outgaining Atlanta 193-44.
The Falcons finally scored their lone offensive touchdown on Ryan’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper with 4:18 remaining, getting a big assist from a pass interference penalty.
RAVENS’ OTHER ROOKIE
Baltimore continued to get good production out of rookie running back Gus Edwards, who followed up two straight 100-yard performances by grinding out 82 yards on 21 carries.
Edwards is an undrafted player out of Rutgers who spent the first five games on Baltimore’s practice squad.
An injury to Alex Collins, whose season ended Saturday when he was put on the reserve list, opened the door for the 238-pound Edwards. He’s sure taken advantage of his opportunity.
Ravens: Jackson missed one series in the third quarter, clearing the way for Robert Griffin III to get his first significant playing time since 2016. Griffin went 2 of 4 for 21 yards, guiding the Ravens to a field goal before Jackson returned to the field. Also, G Alex Lewis left with a shoulder injury.
Falcons: TE Logan Paulsen went out in the second quarter with a knee injury. LB Foyesade Oluokun (knee) left briefly but was able to return.
Ravens: Play their second straight road game at AFC West-leading Kansas City.
Falcons: Travel to Green Bay to face the slumping Packers, knowing they must win their final four games just to avoid their first losing season since 2014.
Browns 13, Texans 29
HOUSTON (AP) — After the Houston Texans extended their franchise record with a ninth straight win on Sunday, J.J. Watt was asked to reflect on how far the team has come in the past year.
“I was on the couch a year ago so this is a lot better,” said Watt, who missed the last 11 games of Houston’s 4-12 2017 season with a broken leg. “I was in a lot of pain. So it’s good for us to be winning … this is what it’s supposed to feel like. Honestly this is how you dream it up.”
Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and the Texans intercepted rookie Baker Mayfield three times, returning one for a score, to get the 29-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday that extended the streak.
The Texans (9-3), who opened the season 0-3, haven’t lost since Sept. 23 to take a commanding lead atop the AFC South. While they appreciate what they’ve done to turn things around, they’re quick to note that they still have plenty of work left to do.
“It means a lot especially from where we came from 0-3 … but it’s not the Super Bowl so we’re still fighting,” receiver DeAndre Hopkins said.
Houston raced out to a 23-0 halftime lead and added two second-half field goals by Ka’imi Fairbairn to give him five on Sunday.
Mayfield, the top overall pick in this year’s draft, had his worst game of the season, throwing three interceptions for the first time since he was a freshman at Texas Tech in 2013. He entered the game having thrown nine touchdown passes with just one interception in the past three games as the Browns (4-7-1) won consecutive games for the first time since 2014.
Mayfield lamented the mistakes he made in this one.
“(If) I would’ve taken care of the ball, this game would’ve been very close,” he said.
He finished with 397 yards passing and had a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter after throwing a career-best four in a win over the Bengals last week. Houston’s fearsome pass rush, led by Watt and Jadeveon Clowney didn’t sack Mayfield, but they hurried and harassed him for much of the day.
His interceptions all came before halftime to help the Texans build the big early lead.
“He probably wasn’t feeling too dangerous in the first half, but he was feeling a little more dangerous in the second half,” Watt said.
Houston was up 3-0 after an early field goal when Watson, who finished with 224 yards, connected with rookie Jordan Thomas on an 11-yard touchdown pass. Hopkins set up that score when he made a 24-yard reception after T.J. Carrie grabbed his dreadlocks in an attempt to slow him down two plays earlier.
Zach Cunningham made it 17-0 when he grabbed his first career interception and ran 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Officials first ruled him down at the 1, but the play was reviewed and changed to a touchdown.
Kareem Jackson was called for a 47-yard pass interference penalty on Cleveland’s next drive to put the Browns at their 20. But Mayfield threw another interception two plays later and it was returned 18 yards by Johnathan Joseph.
Houston added another field goal to make it 20-0 with about three minutes left in the second quarter.
Mayfield’s third interception came late in the second quarter when Andre Hal grabbed the ball in the end zone.
Lamar Miller had 103 yards rushing for his second straight 100-yard game and fourth of the season and Hopkins had seven receptions for 91 yards.
Cleveland continued to struggle in late-season games, and the Browns fell to 9-39 in December and January games since 2008.
Nick Chubb got the Browns on the board in the third quarter when his 2-yard TD run cut the lead to 23-7 with about 9½ minutes left. Rashard Higgins had a 17-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, but the 2-point conversion failed to leave the Browns down 29-13.
Houston added another field goal after that before a mistake-filled possession by the Browns. First Mayfield threw what looked to be a 76-yard touchdown pass to rookie Antonio Callaway, but it was brought back because of a holding penalty by left tackle Greg Robinson.
Two plays later, Mayfield connected with Callaway again and he gained 71 yards before rookie Justin Reid chased him down from behind and knocked the ball out of his hands just before he would have scored. It bounced into the end zone where it was recovered by the Texans.
“It was just trying to make something happen,” Reid said. “I didn’t want him to score so just make a play on the ball and see if it would come out. Good thing for us it did.”
Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward left in the first half with a concussion. … Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi injured his biceps in the second quarter and didn’t return. … Joseph didn’t return after injuring his neck in the second quarter. … LB Brennan Scarlett injured his leg and didn’t return. … Houston offensive tackle Kendall Lamm left in the second half with a concussion.
REMEMBERING PRESIDENT BUSH
The Texans observed a moment of silence before the game for former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday night in Houston at 94. Bush was a frequent visitor to Houston’s games and had participated in the coin toss at several contests. During the moment of silence pictures of Bush at various games were shown on the video screens flanked by huge 41’s made out of a collage of pictures as a further tribute to the nation’s 41st president.
Browns: Host the Panthers next Sunday.
Texans: Host the Colts next Sunday.
Bills 17, Dolphins 21
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jordan Phillips’ eagerness to get the last word backfired on the Buffalo Bills.
The animated defensive tackle drew a costly penalty for taunting his former team, setting up a touchdown with nine minutes left that helped the Miami Dolphins rally past Buffalo 21-17 on Sunday.
Miami turned away two Bills drives down the stretch, and Charles Clay made a diving try but failed to catch Josh Allen’s desperation fourth-down pass at the goal line in the final minute.
“This one hurts a lot,” Allen said.
The rookie quarterback threw for 231 yards and ran for 135 to set a franchise record for rushing yards by a quarterback for the second week in a row. Miami won despite being outgained 415-175.
“It beats the heck out of the alternative,” said Miami’s Ryan Tannehill, who threw three touchdown passes .
The Dolphins (6-6) snapped a two-game losing streak and won for only the third time since Week 3, helping their slim playoff chances. The Bills (4-8) will play their customary role of spoilers in the final weeks, assured of finishing at .500 or worse for the 16th time in the past 19 years.
Phillips had said he was eager to settle old scores with the Dolphins after they released him in Week 5, and Miami was trying to rally from a three-point deficit when he tackled Kenyan Drake for a 4-yard loss deep in Bills territory.
Phillips rose, pushed Drake’s leg away and drew a 15-yard penalty for taunting.
When asked to describe the call, Phillips said, “Borderline is very generous. … I hit someone’s foot, and that’s an unsportsmanlike conduct? OK.”
Bills coach Sean McDermott tempered his critique of Phillips’ penalty.
“He’s playing emotional football,” McDermott said. “He made a great play in the backfield, but at the same time, you can’t beat yourself. If that’s how they’re going to call it, that’s how they’re going to call it, and we have to play smarter than that.”
On the play after the infraction, the Bills stopped Miami for another loss, and Phillips directed showy applause toward the Miami bench. Bills coaches then took him out of the game, and he watched from the sideline as Tannehill hit Kenny Stills with a 13-yard scoring pass for a 21-17 lead.
Allen then drove the Bills to the Miami 23 before he was sacked on consecutive plays, and Stephen Hauschka missed a 55-yard field goal attempt.
The Bills drove 65 yards in the final 2 1/2 minutes but again came up short — literally. A completion to Zay Jones at the 6 was overturned by a replay review. Allen’s final pass was off-balance, wobbly and underthrown, but Clay said he should have made the grab.
“I just didn’t come down with it,” Clay said. “You’ve just got to catch it. I feel like I let everybody down.”
Allen threw touchdown passes of 15 and 25 yards to Jones, and the duo also connected on a 2-point conversion. But Allen was intercepted twice by Xavien Howard and twice missed open receivers for potential scores.
A muffed punt by the Bills’ Isaiah McKenzie led to the Dolphins’ second touchdown, which put them ahead 14-6.
After the game, Phillips walked toward the Miami sideline and traded hugs with many of his former teammates.
Meanwhile, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes confronted an official in the tunnel near the locker room. Hughes accused the official of calling him a vulgar name.
“I’ll catch you. I’ll catch you, guaranteed,” Hughes shouted, waving his index finger, as he was pulled away by Bills officials.
Hughes later declined to elaborate on the reason for his anger.
“I was angry?” he said. “I lost the game, so I am supposed to be angry.”
Bills C Russell Bodine left in the first quarter with a left leg injury and did not return.
Dolphins reserve CB Cornell Armstrong left with a knee injury.
The Dolphins play host to AFC East New England on Sunday. The Patriots won the earlier meeting 38-7 in Week 4.
The Bills play at home Sunday against the New York Jets, who lost an earlier meeting 41-10 in Week 10.
Broncos 24, Bengals 10
CINCINNATI (AP) — Nobody’s overlooking 5-foot-8 Phillip Lindsay anymore, not with the way he’s run the Broncos right back into playoff contention.
The rookie rushed for a career-high 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns Sunday as Denver adapted to a windy afternoon and got its third straight victory, 24-10 over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Broncos (6-6) have emerged from their bye week and knocked off the Chargers, Steelers and Bengals to stay in contention in December.
“Four games left, and they’ve got to be our best four,” linebacker Von Miller said. “We took a long way to get there, and there’s still a long way to go.”
Denver handled an unseasonably warm day: 66 degrees at kickoff with wind gusts up to 40 mph that redirected kicks and throws. The plan was to give it to their 190-pound running back and let him live up to his new nickname.
They’ve started calling him “Pit Bull.”
“I like it,” said Lindsay, who really didn’t have a choice in the matter. “The defensive line gave me the name. When the defensive line gives you a name, you take it.”
He took it and ran with it, just like he has since he joined the Broncos as an undrafted rookie from Colorado.
“Oh man, I’m so happy he’s on our team,” defensive lineman Domata Peko said. “In training camp and OTAs he was wearing No. 2 and all the guys were like, ‘Who the hell is No. 2? He’s making all these plays on us, man.’
“And now the whole word knows it’s Phillip Lindsay, man.”
Lindsay ran for TDs of 6 yards and 65 yards — the longest of his career — as Denver got up 21-3 in the third quarter and closed it out against the unraveling Bengals (5-7), who lost for the sixth time in seven games. Lindsay’s two touchdowns matched his career high.
Lindsay also became the first undrafted rookie in Broncos history to top 1,000 combined yards rushing and receiving in a season.
“I don’t know what else to say about him except the league knows about him, opponents know about him and key on stopping him, but he continues to do so,” said Case Keenum, who completed 12 of 21 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. “He’s having a heck of a year.”
The Bengals’ season continues to implode under 16th-year coach Marvin Lewis, who has also coordinated the defense in the last three losses. The crowd of 44,392 was the smallest at Paul Brown Stadium since 2011.
The Bengals lost Andy Dalton to a torn ligament in his passing thumb last week. Jeff Driskel made his first NFL start Sunday and went 25 of 38 for 236 yards with a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and four sacks.
Standout receiver A.J. Green returned after missing three games with an injured toe on his right foot, hoping to give the Bengals’ offense a lift, but he lasted only one quarter. Green reinjured the foot while running a route and came off the field for perhaps the last time this season, slamming his helmet on the ground before leaving on a cart.
“He was obviously battling just to play,” Bengals receiver Alex Erickson said. “I’m sure it’s devastating to him and to the team.”
Broncos: LB Brandon Marshall was inactive for the fourth straight game with a knee injury. He practiced last week and was listed as questionable. CB Chris Harris Jr. broke his lower right leg in the first quarter. DE Derek Wolfe suffered a rib injury in the second quarter.
Bengals: LB Vontaze Burfict suffered a concussion in the second half.
Cincinnati was penalized eight times in the first half, its most in an opening half since 2009. The Bengals finished with 12 penalties for 100 yards.
LT Cordy Glenn was inactive for a second straight game with a bad back, prompting the Bengals to juggle their line. Guard Clint Boling started at left tackle, and Trey Hopkins started at guard. The line got three penalties for holding, two for false starts and one for an illegal block.
FEELING THE LOVE
Peko was one of the Bengals’ most popular players during his 11 seasons in Cincinnati, when he’d urge the crowd to get loud during games. Fans cheered him throughout his first game back at Paul Brown Stadium.
“It felt really good to get the love from the fans,” Peko said. “Being here for 11 seasons, I was always getting the crowd loud.”
NOTHING TO SAY
Fans in the upper deck tape a large banner to the front of a seating section before each game. On Sunday, they taped up a blank banner — nothing left to say about this season.
Broncos: play at the 49ers next Sunday.
Bengals: play at the Chargers next Sunday.
Colts 0, Jaguars 6
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jalen Ramsey reached out and briefly offered to help Andrew Luck off the ground , only to quickly withdraw his hand and walk away.
Ramsey and the Jacksonville Jaguars refused to give the Indianapolis Colts anything Sunday, turning in one of the most dominant defensive performances in franchise history and carrying the team to a 6-0 victory.
“Truthfully, I do that almost every week,” Ramsey said of his fake-out moment with Luck. “People just caught it this week.”
The Jaguars (4-8) needed that kind of defensive effort to make up for a lackluster offense. They stopped a seven-game slide and snapped Indy’s five-game winning streak, leaving the Colts (6-6) in need of some help to get back into the AFC wild-card picture.
Ramsey was at his best while playing through a knee injury. He helped hold T.Y. Hilton to eight catches for 77 yards and also made a game-ending tackle on Erik Swoope with 8 seconds remaining.
Ramsey hit Swoope near the sideline at the end of a third-and-6 play at the Jacksonville 29, and the tight end seemed to land out of bounds. But officials ruled Swoope’s forward progress had been stopped and kept the clock running. The Colts were out of timeouts and could only watch the clock wind down.
“I didn’t feel very sharp,” Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said. “I didn’t feel I was putting the ball in the right places to give the guys a chance to catch them, but again, give credit to their coverage. I think all the guys in the locker room right now feel that we didn’t hold up our end of the bargain as players. I know I can be sharper. I know I need to be sharper. I’m discouraged, but in a sense I’m also encouraged to get back to work and improve on things.”
Luck completed 33 of 52 passes for 248 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times after getting hit just five times in the entire month of November. He was sacked once in the previous five games.
The Colts entered with the fourth-most points in the league, having averaged more than 34.6 a game during their win streak. Luck had thrown three or more touchdown passes in eight consecutive games, one shy of the club record.
Jacksonville shut them down and out.
“It feels great to get in the win column,” Jaguars defensive tackle Calais Campbell said. “It’s been way too long.”
Indy left the stadium with plenty of regret and surely some second-guessing.
The Colts passed up two field-goal tries in the first half, including taking one successful kick off the scoreboard, and had another solid chance in the fourth quarter.
Facing fourth-and-1 at the Jacksonville 19 with 2:38 remaining, rookie safety Ronnie Harrison sacked Luck for a 10-yard loss . Harrison was making his first career start in place of benched veteran Barry Church.
The Colts finished 0 for 3 on fourth down — all of them in field-goal range.
“It made sense. They gambled on themselves,” Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack said. “They’re high in the red zone, high on third down, so fourth down, play the lottery. That’s what they did, and they lost.”
The most costly one: Adam Vinatieri made a 29-yard field goal in the second quarter, but Jaguars rookie defensive tackle Taven Bryan was flagged for roughing the snapper. That gave Indy a first-and-goal at the 5. Jordan Wilkins caught a short pass on fourth down, but was stopped short of the goal line.
“All the numbers say strong go there, and we liked the play we called,” Colts coach Frank Reich said.
Indy finished with 265 yards and was 5 of 18 on third down. For Jacksonville, it was the seventh shutout in franchise history and first at home since beating the New York Jets 41-0 in 2006.
Cody Kessler, who replaced the benched Blake Bortles this week, completed 18 of 24 passes for 150 yards and won for the first time in nine career starts. Kessler was sacked three times but played turnover-free football — barely. He had one interception dropped and managed to wrestle away a fumble of his own. He also was evaluated for a concussion early in the game but returned.
Colts: Center Evan Boehm (neck) left in the fourth quarter, forcing third-team center Josh Andrews into the game. The Colts were already without starter Ryan Kelly. Safety Mike Mitchell (calf) and linebacker Skai Moore (knee) also left the game.
Jaguars: Defensive tackle Abry Jones (shin) left the game. Right tackle Jermey Parnell (foot) left briefly but returned.
Colts: Play at AFC South rival Houston next Sunday.
Jaguars: Play at AFC South rival Tennessee on Thursday night.
Chiefs 40, Raiders 33
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs still had plenty of firepower on offense even without star running back Kareem Hunt.
Mahomes threw four touchdown passes Sunday to join Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only QBs to reach the 40 TD mark through 12 games, sending the Chiefs to a 40-33 victory over the Oakland Raiders in the first game since releasing Hunt.
“The mindset of this team is whenever you get your opportunity, you make the most of it,” Mahomes said. “I think every single game someone else steps up. We kept our mind on that and just playing football, a game we love.”
The Chiefs (10-2) cut ties with Hunt after a months-old video surfaced on TMZ on Friday, showing him shoving and kicking a woman. No charges have been filed in the case from February, but the Chiefs let Hunt go because he misled them about the incident .
Spencer Ware replaced Hunt as starter and scored on a direct snap on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the third quarter.
“That’s my brother,” Ware said about Hunt. “It’s a tough situation. But like I said, the men in this circle, the men in our locker room, the organization, Chiefs kingdom — we got one goal to win the Super Bowl. We got to stay distraction free. I don’t have anything else to say about that.”
Mahomes did most of the rest of the damage against the Raiders (2-10) with his arm.
He connected on two short touchdown passes to Travis Kelce in the first half, then found another tight end, Demetrius Harris, on a 13-yard pass late in the third quarter one play after an apparent TD to Kelce was called off by a replay review.
“Man, he ticked me off today,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “It’s a credit to the guy. He made a third-and-15 play that was right on our sideline. I was outside myself I was so upset some of the plays he made today.”
Mahomes finished 23 for 38 for 295 yards and engineered a late TD drive capped by a 2-yard pass to Chris Conley after Oakland cut the deficit to three.
Oakland added a late field goal, but the Chiefs recovered the onside kick to seal the win.
Mahomes has 41 TD passes on the season, joining Manning (44 in 2004, 41 in ’13) and Brady (41 in 2007) as the only QBs with at least 40 in the first 12 games of a season.
Kelce had 12 catches for 168 yards, topping the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season.
Derek Carr threw three TD passes for the Raiders, but Oakland lost three fumbles that led to three scores for the Chiefs and reached double-digit losses for the 12th time in 16 seasons.
“It’s disappointing,” said running back Doug Martin, who lost one of the fumbles. “I don’t think it should have been that close. We should have been on top. The turnovers really, really hurt us.”
The Raiders got on the board on Martin’s 1-yard run to cut Kansas City’s lead to 13-7. But Mahomes needed just 57 yards to drive the length of the field. Demarcus Robinson had a 38-yard catch and raced across the entire width of the field to get out of bounds with 12 seconds left and the Chiefs having no timeouts.
Mahomes then found Kelce for his second TD of the game on the next play. Arden Key blocked the extra point to keep the score 19-7.
Oakland’s Jared Cook and Kansas City’s Eric Murray got into a scuffle late in the first half when they were jostling near the sideline well after the play. Both players were called for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play.
GIVE IT AWAY
The Chiefs got off to a rough start when Kelce lost a fumble on the opening play from scrimmage. It didn’t hurt the Chiefs, who got the ball back when the Raiders were unable to get a first down and punted after Rodney Hudson was called for a hold on a fourth-down run.
Martin and DeAndre Washington then lost fumbles for Oakland in the first half, leading to field goals for Harrison Butker. Oakland’s other halfback, Jalen Richard, lost a fumble in the third quarter that led to a TD for the Chiefs.
Chiefs: Host Ravens next Sunday.
Raiders: Host Steelers next Sunday.
Jets 22, Titans 26
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans could not have started much uglier.
They sure showed they can finish.
Mariota threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis with 36 seconds left, and the Tennessee Titans rallied from a 16-point deficit and beat the New York Jets 26-22 on Sunday.
The Titans (6-6) snapped a two-game skid to keep themselves on the fringes of the AFC playoff chase. Mariota, who had an interception returned for a touchdown in the first quarter, notched the 12th game-winning drive of his career and eighth since the start of the 2017 season.
“Marcus isn’t going to be the guy giving pep talks,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of his quarterback. “He’s very calm, cool, collected. He takes control of the huddle, and you can see him in the most critical situations he’s at his best. And so that’s great to see.”
The Jets (3-9) had one last chance to snap their own losing streak, but Malcolm Butler intercepted Josh McCown’s pass with 21 seconds left to seal Tennessee’s victory and the Jets’ collapse. New York now has lost six straight with this latest loss leaving Jets coach Todd Bowles “fuming.”
“Dumb mistakes at dumb times cost us ballgames, and that’s why we’re in the position we’re in,” Bowles said.
Mariota looked nothing like the quarterback who turned in the second-best single-game performance in NFL history last week completing 95.7 percent of his passes in a loss at Houston. Home fans booed early and often as Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson got only his second interception this season and ran it back 31 yards for an early TD and a 10-0 lead.
It was the Jets’ first takeaway after the franchise tied a league record for futility for not forcing a turnover in five straight games. The Jets also sacked Mariota three times.
Mariota threw for 220 of his 282 yards in the second half. He also led the Titans with 43 yards rushing, including a 25-yard scramble on the game-winning drive where he recovered his own fumble at the end.
“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and I got lucky,” Mariota said.
A facemask penalty on Johnson during the play added to the end, and Mariota hit Anthony Firkser for 25 yards. Three plays later, he found Davis who ran in for the TD and the Titans’ first lead of the game.
McCown started his third straight with Sam Darnold still limited with an injured foot, and the 39-year-old veteran threw for only 128 yards as the Titans outgained the Jets 403-280 in total offense.
New York led 22-13 on Jason Myers’ fifth and final field goal, a 39-yarder with 26 seconds left in the third quarter.
“You can’t do that,” McCown said. “You’ve got to get seven points when you’re down there, and we didn’t do that. And yeah, if you do that too much in the NFL, it will come back to get you, and it certainly did us today.”
The Titans had their chances to avoid the dramatic ending with first-and-goal on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter only to settle for a pair of field goals by Ryan Succop. The Titans forced the Jets to punt with 1:46 left and found themselves starting at their own 14 to set up the game-winning drive.
The Jets got production from across the board on special teams. Kevin Pierre-Louis blocked a punt in the second quarter to set up Myers’ third field goal, and Henry Anderson blocked Succop’s extra-point attempt inside the final minute of the first half. Andre Roberts opened the third quarter with a 61-yard kickoff return.
The Jets were flagged 11 times for 96 yards, including three times on the Titans’ final drive with one offsetting. The Titans, who came in as the NFL’s least penalized team, had eight for 75 yards.
Jets O-lineman Spencer Long had an illness, so Dakota Dozier started at LG in his place. … Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne hurt a shoulder, but returned.
Jets: Visit Buffalo next Sunday.
Titans: Host Jacksonville on Thursday night.
Vikings 10, Patriots 24
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Patriots have thrived in the final month of the season since Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s arrival.
They’re hoping their 24-10 victory over the Vikings is the start of another memorable December.
Tom Brady passed for 311 yards and a touchdown, Bill Belichick earned his 250th victory, including playoffs, as Patriots coach in Sunday’s victory over Minnesota.
Including his 37 regular-season and postseason wins with the Browns, Belichick has 287 wins overall.
Brady completed 24 of 32 passes and has 579 touchdown passes, including the playoffs, tying him with Peyton Manning for the most all time. He also has 508 regular-season TD passes, which ties him with Brett Favre on the career list. Manning is first with 539 and Drew Brees is next with 518.
James Develin added a career-high two touchdown runs . New England finished with 471 yards. Brady said the diversity of their attack was his biggest takeaway.
“Seven guys running, eight guys catching — that makes it hard for them to defend us,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”
The Patriots (9-3) have won eight of nine since starting the season 1-2. Belichick improved to 65-13 in December. Brady is 59-11. Both marks are NFL records for the most wins during that month for a coach and player.
The Patriots have clinched their 18th straight winning season. It is the second-longest streak in NFL history. The record is held by the Cowboys at 20 seasons from 1966-85.
Minnesota (6-5-1) has lost two of its past three. The defeat prevented Minnesota from gaining ground on the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears, who lost 30-27 in overtime to the New York Giants.
The Vikings entered the game allowing the third-fewest rushing yards in the league (93.6 per game). But New England was able to spread them out, rushing for 160 yards.
Kirk Cousins kept Minnesota in the game early, before faltering down the stretch. He finished 32 of 44 for 201 yards and touchdown but had two late interceptions.
Brady improved to 5-0 against Minnesota, one of five teams (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Tampa Bay) he has a perfect regular-season record against.
With New England leading 10-7 in the third quarter, Stephen Gostkowski missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt wide right at the 6:26 mark. It snapped a streak of 35 straight makes in the regular season of less than 50 yards, going back to October of last season.
The Vikings tied the game on the ensuing series with Dan Bailey’s 39-yard field goal.
But the Patriots bounced back, needing just four plays for Brady to cap a 75-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon that put the Patriots back in front 17-10.
Following Minnesota’s punt, the Patriots picked up where they left off. This time they needed only six plays to set up a 2-yard TD run by Develin that made it 24-10.
The Vikings survived a challenge by Belichick of a spot on a fourth down rush by Latavius Murray on their next possession. Belichick’s challenge led to a brief verbal exchange between him and receiver Adam Thielen. It included linebacker Kyle Van Noy coming to his coach’s defense.
“Everybody’s out there battling,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “Sometimes football comes down to a yard. … But Bill’s fiery. We see it every day.”
But facing a fourth-and-11 seven plays later, the Vikings turned it over on downs after Cousins’ pass to Laquon Treadwell came up short.
Thielen said it’s a wakeup call for the Vikings.
“Obviously we’ve got to get better. I’ve got to get better,” Thielen said. “I didn’t make the plays I needed to.”
Minnesota got the ball back quickly after Brady threw his first interception in five games to Eric Kendricks. But a pass into the end zone by Cousins was tipped by J.C. Jackson and intercepted by Duron Harmon .
“Every guy on the offense, they’re hungry. You know, just like the defense. We’re all hungry,” Patriots receiver Cordarrelle Patterson said. “We all know our role and we embrace it.”
Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer pulled out his red challenge flag at just the right time late in the first half to help get his team on the scoreboard.
The Vikings successfully challenged the referee’s spot after an apparent first down completion to Rob Gronkowski. It left the Patriots with a third-and-1 on their 26.
Minnesota stopped the ensuing run by James White and New England was forced to punt.
Cousins went to work in the two-minute offense, opening Minnesota’s drive with completions of 24 and 23 yards to Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph. He added another 10-yard completion to Diggs four plays later to set up a 5-yard touchdown pass to Thielen that trimmed the Patriots’ lead to 10-7 at the half.
RUN BRADY RUN
Brady reached another milestone: 1,000 yards rushing in his career.
Brady hit the mark on a 5-yard scramble in the first quarter. He slid to a stop, popped to his knee and signaled for a first down.
He finished with two rushes for 5 yards. He avoided losing a yard when he kneeled down on the final play of the game .
“I’m not trying to go backward,” he said. “I don’t want us to go backwards anymore.”
Never considered much of a mobile quarterback, it took Brady 19 years and 265 games to reach the 1,000-yard milestone — the most by a player since the merger. At 41, he is also the oldest player to reach 1,000 career rushing yards since 1970.
He has averaged 1.7 yards per carry and 3.8 yards per game, with his most “prolific” season in 2002 when he ran for a total of 110 yards.
Vikings: CB Trae Waynes was evaluated for a concussion in the second quarter and ruled out for the rest of the game.
Patriots: S Patrick Chung was helped off the field in the fourth quarter.
Vikings: At Seattle for “Monday Night Football” matchup on Dec. 10.
Patriots: At Miami next Sunday.
49ers 16, Seahawks 43
SEATTLE (AP) — It was pointed out this week by San Francisco’s Richard Sherman that he was witness to watching Seattle’s Russell Wilson throw five interceptions in one game.
He didn’t see Wilson throw any interceptions on Sunday. Instead, he watched Wilson throw four touchdowns and the Seahawks stay in the middle of the NFC playoff race with a 43-16 blowout win over the 49ers.
Wilson tossed three first-half touchdowns on just four completions as the Seahawks (7-5) won their third straight game, jumping to a 20-0 lead and beating the 49ers for the ninth straight time.
“We didn’t throw it that much but we were able to make some huge plays when we did,” Wilson said.
Seattle won’t be NFC West champs after the Los Angeles Rams clinched the division on Sunday. But the Seahawks continue to make a case they will be part of the NFC playoff field. And Wilson continues to play with an efficiency that may be the best of his career.
Wilson wasn’t asked to do much in the first half, but the little he did found the end zone. He hit Jaron Brown on a 4-yard TD pass in the first quarter, found Tyler Lockett for a 52-yard score and connected with Doug Baldwin on a 1-yarder. According to Sportradar, Wilson throwing three touchdowns on four completions made for the fewest TDs/completions in a first half dating to 1991. The previous low was six.
Wilson finished 11 of 17 for 185 yards and has thrown at least two touchdowns in eight straight games. It was the eighth time in the regular season Wilson has thrown four or more TD passes. His last came on an 18-yard strike to Brown early in the fourth quarter after he broke free from Sherman’s coverage.
Wilson has 29 touchdown passes and five interceptions on the season. Rashaad Penny added a 20-yard run on the first offensive play of the second half following an 84-yard kickoff return by Lockett for a 27-3 lead.
“It’s phenomenal that he’s able to continue to execute those plays and the receivers are doing a fantastic job,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Bobby Wagner capped a blowout with a 98-yard interception return touchdown, the first of his career and the longest in franchise history. It was a big day for Seattle’s defensive leader, including a forced fumble and recovery in the first half ripping the ball away from San Francisco running back Jeff Wilson Jr. at the Seattle 5. He then stepped in front of Nick Mullens’ pass near the goal line and outran the rest of the 49ers for the longest interception return in team history.
Most of the attention centered on Sherman’s first game back in Seattle after spending seven seasons with the Seahawks before being released and signing with the 49ers (2-10) last March. He greeted former teammates during pregame warmups — even giving a brief handshake and hug to Wilson — and then had a mostly uneventful return. Early in the third quarter Wilson hit Baldwin on a short route and Sherman’s close friend shook off the tackle attempt and raced 21 yards for a first down.
Sherman downplayed his return. He spent several minutes on the field postgame exchanging jerseys with Baldwin.
“I’m a ballplayer and at the end of the day the field is the same length and everything else is the same,” Sherman said. “You just go out there and play your game and try to give your team the best chance to win, and unfortunately we didn’t get the win today.”
Dante Pettis had two touchdown receptions , including a 75-yard catch early in the fourth quarter, for San Francisco. Mullens was 30 of 48 for 414 yards.
Seattle’s wide receivers had plenty of chances to work on their touchdown celebrations.
The first after Brown’s 4-yard catch in the first quarter was a nod to Sherman and Seahawks history. The group created a re-enactment of the famous tip play by Sherman in the 2013 NFC championship game against the 49ers. Late in the fourth quarter, Sherman tipped an end zone pass from Colin Kaepernick into the arms of Malcolm Smith for an interception that secured Seattle’s berth in the Super Bowl.
Brown was the quarterback on the play ‘s re-enactment. Baldwin played the role of Sherman and David Moore was in the role of Smith, who is also playing for the 49ers.
“We thought it’d be nice to give him a tribute if we had the opportunity to do so. I know it’s kind of weird. We’re scoring. He’s on the other team. We’re doing a tribute, but that was in our hearts this week,” Baldwin said.
They capped their day of celebrations with the “Macarena ” following Brown’s second TD.
Seattle may have suffered a significant loss when guard D.J. Fluker had to be helped to the sideline early in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Carroll said it was a significant pull. Fluker has been a key part of Seattle’s run-game resurgence and appeared very angry on the field about the injury. He did not return and left the field on a cart.
Seattle running back Chris Carson suffered a dislocated finger in the fourth quarter but wasn’t deemed significant.
San Francisco starting RB Matt Breida played only sparingly. He had five carries and three receptions.
49ers: San Francisco returns home to host Denver next Sunday.
Seahawks: Seattle hosts Minnesota next Monday night.
Chargers 33, Steelers 30
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Philip Rivers watched Ben Roethlisberger do what the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback so often does — lead a game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter — and decided it was time for the Los Angeles Chargers to do something they so rarely do: win a big one on the road against a team with Super Bowl aspirations of its own.
So the longtime Los Angeles quarterback gathered his teammates around him and delivered a very blunt message.
“It was ‘Let’s go win it,'” Rivers said. “‘Let’s make this the last drive and win it.'”
Done and done. Rivers drove the Chargers 64 yards in 11 plays to set up Michael Badgley’s 29-yard field goal on the final snap as the Los Angeles rallied for a 33-30 victory on Sunday night.
Badgley’s initial 39-yard attempt sailed wide left, but the Steelers were called for offsides. Badgley’s ensuing 34-yard attempt was blocked, but Pittsburgh’s celebration was cut short when the Steelers were again flagged for crossing the line of scrimmage early. The Steelers jumped once more Badgley’s 29-yarder, but the Chargers gleefully declined the penalty as they spilled onto the field.
“There was no worry or doubt,” Badgley said. “It’s just one of those things where you stay tough. It’s a situation you never really plan out there where you get three in a row like that. You just have to go do what you know how to do.”
Down 23-7 at the half, the Chargers (9-3) became the first visiting team to win in Pittsburgh after trailing by 16. The Steelers (7-4-1) had been 174-0-1 when up by that much at home. Now Pittsburgh heads into the final quarter of the season having its once comfortable lead in the AFC North trimmed to just a half-game over surging Baltimore (7-5).
“Don’t need to panic,” Roethlisberger said. “Don’t need to worry.”
Might be time to start. The Steelers have dropped two straight for the first time this season and seemingly had no answer for the Chargers in the second half.
Rivers completed 26 of 36 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns for Los Angeles. Keenan Allen caught 14 passes for 148 yards and a score and Justin Jackson ran for 63 yards and a touchdown in place of injured starter Melvin Gordon. Desmond King added a 73-yard punt return for a score as the Chargers bolstered their postseason chances by winning in Pittsburgh for just the fourth time in 19 tries.
“These guys, they believe,” Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said. “When you believe in something strongly, you can will it to happen.”
Roethlisberger threw for 281 yards with two scores and an interception for the Steelers. Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for a season-high 154 yards and a touchdown. James Conner added 60 yards rushing and two touchdowns before leaving in the fourth quarter with a leg injury.
STEELERS SOAR … THEN STUMBLE
Roethlisberger and Brown are among the most productive quarterback/wide receiver tandems in the league but that didn’t stop Roethlisberger from publicly tweaking Brown following a loss to Denver last week, though the star wide receiver stressed he understood it was nothing personal.
The minor dust-up certainly didn’t seem to have an impact on their play. Roethlisberger hit Brown for a 9-yard gain on Pittsburgh’s second play from scrimmage and again for 46 yards on the following snap. The two connected on a 28-yard score late in the second quarter that seemed to put Pittsburgh firmly in control on a night the franchise celebrated the 1978 and 2008 Super Bowl champion squads.
Suddenly, a team that looked capable of joining them appears to be in a bit of a tight spot with a somewhat daunting final month ahead that includes games against New England and New Orleans.
“There’s a quarter left of football,” Brown said. “We’ve got to continue to figure out a way to win and get ourselves to the dance.”
GETTING A HEAD START
Down 13-0 in the first quarter, the Chargers appeared to be in trouble before Rivers hit a streaking Travis Benjamin for a 46-yard touchdown to get Los Angeles on the board on a play that began with Chargers right tackle Sam Tevi standing up and shuffling his feet backward an instant before the ball was snapped.
Several Steelers pointed at Tevi as the play began looking for a penalty, but there were no flags on the field when Rivers lofted a rainbow down the right sideline to Benjamin.
Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin called it “unfortunate” but declined to criticize the officials.
“I am going to keep my mouth shut,” Tomlin said. “I am going to do that because I send enough money to (the NFL in fines).”
It marked the second time this season Los Angeles benefited from a non-call on what appeared to be a pre-snap penalty. The Chargers scored a touchdown in Cleveland in October on a play in which left tackle Russell Okung moved before the ball was hiked to Rivers.
Austin Ekeler was given the first crack at filling in for Gordon but managed just one yard on eight carries in the first half. The Chargers turned to Jackson, a rookie seventh-round pick from Northwestern, in the second half. Jackson’s quickness appeared to catch Pittsburgh’s defensive front off guard, and his 18-yard dart up the middle early in the fourth quarter marked the first touchdown of his career.
Pittsburgh WR Justin Hunter, given a spot on the game-day roster over rookie James Washington, left in the first half and did not return after injuring himself while diving for a Roethlisberger pass in the end zone. … Steelers WR Ryan Switzer was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion after taking a vicious hit by Los Angeles linebacker Jatavis Brown in the fourth quarter.
Chargers: Host Cincinnati next Sunday.
Steelers: Travel to Oakland to play the Raiders next Sunday.
Redskins 13, Eagles 28
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz was at his best back on the move again.
Wentz tossed two touchdown passes, Darren Sproles ran for a score and the Philadelphia Eagles stayed in the hunt for the NFC East title with a 28-13 victory over the depleted Washington Redskins on Monday night.
The Eagles (6-6) won consecutive games for the first time since Nick Foles led them to a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
The Redskins (6-6) lost backup quarterback Colt McCoy to a serious right leg injury in his second game replacing Alex Smith, who broke his right tibia and fibula on Nov. 18. Mark Sanchez took his place.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden said after the game that, from what he understands, McCoy fractured his fibula and will miss the rest of the season.
Adrian Peterson ran 90 yards for a touchdown on Sanchez’s first play under center, giving the Redskins a 10-7 lead. It was the longest run Philadelphia has allowed in franchise history but Washington’s lead didn’t last long.
Wentz, who hasn’t scrambled much since returning in Week 3 from surgery to repair two knee ligaments, didn’t run for any yards. But he ran around and made big plays when he improvised and on designed rollouts.
“Anytime he can extend plays with his legs, he’s such a great athlete, that’s an advantage to the offense,” coach Doug Pederson said. “Being able to do that allows us to stay on the field. He’s gifted in doing that. It comes natural to him.”
Sproles put Philadelphia up 14-10 on a 14-yard TD run in the second quarter. Wentz tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Jordan Matthews and connected with Golden Tate on a 2-point conversion to extend the lead to 22-13 early in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles twice failed to score inside the red zone and still managed their second-highest point total this season.
They had a first down at the Redskins 2 in the second quarter, but Josh Adams was stopped for a loss on fourth down from the 1.
They had a first down at the Redskins 5 in the third quarter, but Wentz threw an interception right to Josh Norman.
Wentz finished 27 of 39 for 306 yards. He came out firing and led the Eagles to a score on their opening drive for only the third time season.
First, he scrambled out of the pocket, motioned Tate to go deep and lofted a 19-yard pass down the left sideline on a first-and-15. Wentz finished the drive by firing a 6-yard TD pass on the run to Tate.
“Play-action, bootlegs, nakeds, getting me on the edge, gives me a chance to make plays and we used that effectively,” Wentz said.
Dustin Hopkins kicked field goals of 47 and 44 yards for Washington.
“We have to get a plan ready for Mark moving forward,” Gruden said. “We’ve got to play great football around him, which we didn’t do tonight.”
Sanchez, a former first-round pick who led the New York Jets to consecutive AFC championship games in his first two seasons, is now a starter for the first time since he played for the Eagles in 2015.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity. I was praying for the opportunity,” he said, adding his “heart definitely breaks for” McCoy and Smith.
Sproles scored his first TD since Dec. 22, 2016. Sproles only played three games last season before he tore a knee ligament and broke his forearm on the same play. He was sidelined since Week 1 this year because of a hamstring injury.
“I’m really happy for him,” center Jason Kelce said. “I don’t usually know who is back there but when I saw it was him and he got in the end zone, I had a big sense of joy. He’s a phenomenal guy.”
Zach Ertz broke Brian Westbrook’s franchise record for receptions in a season. Ertz has 93 catches and is closing in on Jason Witten’s single-season record (110) for tight ends. Westbrook had 90 catches in 2007.
“That’s awesome, but I’m sure he’s just happy we won,” Wentz said.
Redskins: LG Jonathan Cooper (arm), RB Tony Bergstrom (ankle), CB Fabian Moreau (knee) and LB Ryan Anderson (hamstring) left the game.
Eagles: DT Tim Jernigan (back spasms) left in the first quarter and LT Jason Peters came out on the final series with an undisclosed injury.
Redskins: Host the New York Giants (4-8) on Sunday.
Eagles: Visit the Dallas Cowboys (7-5) on Sunday.