SAINTS 38, BUCCANEERS 3
Drew Brees threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns, regaining the NFL career TD pass lead and lifting the New Orleans Saints into first place in the NFC South with a 38-3 rout of Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night.
The three-time defending division champions won their fifth straight game, intercepting Brady three times and completing a season sweep of the Bucs (6-3).
The Saints (6-2) weren’t perfect – turning the ball over twice themselves – however the offence was extremely efficient with receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders back in the lineup, and the defence played its best game of the season.
Brees was 26-of-32 passing, including first-half TD throws of 14 yards to Tre’Quan Smith, 8 yards to Adam Trautman and 12 yards to Sanders, who missed the previous two games while on the COVID-19 list. The 41-year-old added a 3-yarder to Josh Hill to make it 38-0 with just over nine minutes remaining.
Brees regained the league career TD pass lead with 654, three more than the 43-year-old Brady, who had thrown for 17 touchdowns and just one interception over his previous six games.
BILLS 44, SEAHAWKS 34
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Josh Allen regained his early season groove by throwing three touchdown passes and rushing for a score, leading the Bills to the victory.
Buffalo’s defence played a major role in rattling Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who was sacked five times, threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles.
Buffalo (7-2) matched its best record through nine games since 1993, a season that ended with the Jim Kelly-led Bills making their fourth consecutive Super Bowl appearance.
Allen – playing one day after the death of his grandmother – finished 31 of 38 and equalled a career best with 415 yards passing. The Bills’ offence came alive after Allen combined for just 846 yards passing and five touchdowns – including one rushing – in splitting the previous four games.
The Seahawks (6-2) blew an opportunity to match to match their best record through eight games. They were 7-1 in 2013.
Seattle became the NFL’s sixth team to score 25 or more points in each of its first eight games, but was undone by turnovers and a defence that surrendered 420 yards.
DOLPHINS 34, CARDINALS 31
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Tua Tagovailoa threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns in his second NFL start and Miami rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Arizona.
Miami (5-3) has won four straight. The Cardinals (5-3) had their three-game winning streak snapped.
The 22-year-old Tagovailoa was on the winning end of an action-packed duel with Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray, who finished with 283 yards and three touchdowns. Murray also had 106 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Arizona’s Zane Gonzalez was short on a 49-yard field goal attempt that would have tied the game with 1:53 left.
Tagovailoa was more productive in his second start after throwing for 93 yards against the Rams last week. He showed great poise during two scoring drives in the fourth quarter. The left-hander also made some plays with his feet, extending drives with scrambles. He finished with 35 yards rushing.
The Cardinals pushed ahead 31-24 late in the third quarter on Murray’s 12-yard run. It was the seventh time in eight games the quarterback has thrown and run for at least one touchdown.
But the Dolphins and Tagovailoa fought back on the next series, delivering an impressive 10-play, 93-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Mack Hollins. Miami pushed ahead 34-31 with 3:30 left on a 50-yard field goal by Jason Sanders.
KANSAS CITY 33, PANTHERS 31
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Patrick Mahomes threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill each went over 100 yards receiving, and Kansas City held on to beat Carolina when Joey Slye missed a 67-yard field-goal attempt wide right on the final play.
Kansas City (8-1) were left clinging to the lead when Christian McCaffrey, just back from his ankle injury, scored from a yard out with 1:26 to go. The Panthers’ onside kick was recovered by Kansas City, but they used their three timeouts to get the ball back, and Teddy Bridgewater’s 23-yard pass to Curtis Samuel with 9 seconds remaining gave them hope.
Carolina (3-6) tried to get a bit closer with a pass to McCaffrey, but the incompletion brought on Slye, who had plenty of leg with the wind behind him. His kick dropped just outside the uprights, though, allowing the Chiefs to escape.
Slye also missed a 65-yard attempt late in a 27-24 loss to New Orleans in Week 7.
McCaffrey finished with 18 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown while catching 10 passes for 82 yards and another score. Bridgewater threw for 310 yards and two TDs with Samuel catching nine balls for 105 yards and the other score.
Kelce had 10 catches for 159 yards and Hill had nine for 113 and a pair of scores, helping the pass-happy Kansas City climb out of an early 14-3 hole and head into their bye with a bunch of new milestones and a big surge of momentum.
RAIDERS 31, CHARGERS 26
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) – Justin Herbert’s pass to Donald Parham Jr. for a 4-yard touchdown on the final play of the game was overturned after a replay review, and Las Vegas held on to beat Los Angeles.
Derek Carr threw two touchdown passes for Las Vegas (5-3), which improved to 4-1 on the road. Herbert was 26 of 42 for 326 yards and two touchdowns for the Chargers (2-6), all of whose losses have come by seven points or less.
This time, Los Angeles got the ball on its 25 with 4:37 remaining and drove to the Las Vegas 4. Herbert found Parham in the right corner of the end zone, but after a replay review, the touchdown was overturned when it was determined the tight end did not maintain possession throughout the catch.
The Raiders trailed 17-14 at halftime but scored on their first two drives of the second half. Carr hit Nelson Agholor for a 45-yard TD and then Darren Waller had a 3-yard score to give Las Vegas a 28-17 advantage with 7:49 remaining in the third quarter.
Michael Badgley’s second field goal brought the Chargers within 28-20. On LA’s next possession, Herbert threw a screen pass to Gabe Nabers for a 4-yard touchdown, but the 2-point conversion attempt failed with 9:12 remaining.
The Chargers forced a three-and-out, but Las Vegas’ Kyle Wilber recovered KJ Hill’s muffed punt at the LA 31. The Raiders took advantage on Daniel Carlson’s 31-yard field goal with 4:42 left.
STEELERS 24, COWBOYS 19
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Ben Roethlisberger threw all three of his touchdown passes after shrugging off a knee injury, rallying Pittsburgh past Dallas.
Pittsburgh is 8-0 for the first time in the storied franchise’s history despite an upset bid from the Cowboys, who were the biggest underdogs they’ve been at home in at least 31 years.
Garrett Gilbert was the fourth different starting quarterback in five games for Dallas (2-7), throwing a touchdown pass in his first career start and bringing some life to the offence for a team that lost its fourth straight game without Dak Prescott.
The Steelers erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter with three scoring drives, the last two aided by Dallas penalties that kept drives alive. The go-ahead score was an 8-yarder to Eric Ebron with 2:14 remaining.
The drive to the decisive score appeared to have stalled before it started when Roethlisberger threw incomplete on third down. But linebacker Jaylon Smith was called for hitting Roethlisberger’s face mask after the throw.
Gilbert had a last chance in the final minute after Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin tried to convert a fourth-and-1 instead of kicking a short field goal for an eight-point lead. But Gilbert’s pass to the goal-line as time expired was knocked away by Minkah Fitzpatrick.
RAVENS 24, COLTS 10
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Lamar Jackson turned up the tempo in the second half, and Baltimore broke the NFL record for consecutive 20-point games in its win over Indianapolis.
After Gus Edwards’ 1-yard plunge gave Baltimore the lead midway through the third quarter, Jackson sealed the win with a 9-yard TD run.
The Ravens (6-2) have scored 20 or more points 31 straight times – breaking a tie with Denver, which set the mark from 2012-14.
Baltimore has won 10 straight road games, the league’s longest active streak, and earned the franchise’s first win at Indianapolis in seven tries. The Ravens also had lost 20 straight games when trailing at halftime.
It was the first home loss for Indy (5-3) this season.
And, not surprisingly, the league’s reigning MVP turned the game this time by starting the second half with no-huddle against a stingy Colts defence. It changed everything after a sluggish first half in which the Ravens’ defence kept them in the game.
TITANS 24, BEARS 17
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Ryan Tannehill threw two touchdown passes, and Tennessee never trailed as it beat Chicago to snap a two-game skid.
The Titans (6-2) avoided their longest skid since Tannehill took over as starting quarterback and stayed atop the AFC South going into Thursday night’s division showdown against Indianapolis.
They got big help from an undermanned and struggling defence missing three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jadeveon Clowney with an injured knee.
Cornerback Desmond King picked up a fumble and ran 63 yards for a TD only days after the Titans picked up the 2018 All-Pro from the Chargers for a sixth-round pick. King didn’t join Tennessee until Saturday after clearing COVID-19 testing protocols and put the Titans up 17-0 late in the third quarter.
The Bears (5-4) came in trailing Green Bay in the NFC North dealing with their own injuries and COVID-19 issues. Chicago lost its third straight despite the defence coming up with three sacks and holding the NFL’s fifth-best offence to a season-low 228 yards.
Nick Foles made it interesting with a pair of TD passes within the final minutes. Amani Hooker recovered the Bears’ onside kick attempt for Tennessee with about a minute left.
VIKINGS 34, LIONS 20
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Dalvin Cook kept his brilliant season rolling by rushing for a career-high 206 yards and two scores on 22 carries, leading Minnesota past Detroit.
Kirk Cousins threw for three touchdowns – two to tight end Irv Smith Jr. – in his second straight turnover-free performance for the Vikings (3-5), who averaged 8.9 yards per play on the way to their first home win this season.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who didn’t practice all week due to coronavirus exposure protocols, left the game in the fourth quarter for concussion evaluation after taking a knee to the head during a sack. He was picked off on consecutive possessions in the third quarter, first at the Minnesota 12 and then in the end zone. Chase Daniel threw another interception after taking over.
The show again belonged to Cook, though, with his predecessor Adrian Peterson watching from the opposite sideline. Cook, whom Peterson admiringly called “a lethal weapon” this week, has 478 yards and six touchdowns from scrimmage in two games since missing one with a groin injury.
Peterson had eight carries for 29 yards while again dropping behind rookie D’Andre Swift in the pecking order for the Lions (3-5), who lost their ninth straight division game and are 2-13 against the NFC North under coach Matt Patricia. He’s 0-5 against the Vikings.
FALCONS 34, BRONCOS 27
ATLANTA (AP) – Matt Ryan took advantage of Denver’s thin secondary to throw three touchdown passes and Atlanta turned back Denver’s bid for a second consecutive comeback.
Ryan completed 25 of 35 passes for 284 yards with one interception. Atlanta (3-6) improved to 3-1 under interim coach Raheem Morris.
Atlanta led 20-3 at halftime. Drew Lock threw two touchdown passes and ran for a 10-yard score in the final quarter that made it 34-27. With Atlanta leading by seven points, the Broncos (3-5) took the ball at their 20 with 44 seconds remaining and no timeouts. Following three incompletions by Lock, a fumbled snap ended the possession.
One week after throwing three fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a win over the Chargers, Lock tried to spark another rally. With Atlanta leading 27-6, Lock threw a 20-yard scoring pass to Jerry Jeudy early in the fourth quarter. On Denver’s next possession, Lock was under pressure when he overthrew Jeudy and was intercepted by Ricardo Allen, who returned the ball 20 yards to the Denver 12.
Two plays later, Todd Gurley’s 4-yard scoring run extended Atlanta’s lead to 34-13.
Lock completed 25 of 48 passes for 313 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
GIANTS 23, WASHINGTON 20
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) – Daniel Jones completed his longest pass of the season, didn’t turn the ball over and New York held on to beat Washington.
Jones was 23 of 34 for 212 yards, including a 50-yard connection with Austin Mack and a touchdown pass to Evan Engram to build a 17-point halftime lead. The Giants (2-7) attempted to run things out in the second half and survived a couple of touchdown drives led by Alex Smith, who replaced injured Washington quarterback Kyle Allen.
Smith connected with Terry McLaurin on a 68-yard score, his first TD pass in 728 days, to cut New York’s lead to 23-20 in the fourth quarter. But Smith threw two interceptions in the final 2:18 to end the threat for Washington (2-6). Both Giants wins are against Washington.
Before things got hairy for the Giants, Wayne Gallman rushed for a touchdown, and Graham Gano made three field goals to extend his streak to 18 in a row.
Allen injured his left ankle late in the first quarter, forcing Smith into just his second NFL game since gruesomely breaking his right leg in November 2018.
Smith was 24 of 32 for 325 yards, the TD and three interceptions.
TEXANS 27, JAGUARS 25
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Deshaun Watson had touchdowns passes of 57 and 77 yards, the second one appearing to come after the play clock expired, and Houston beat Jacksonville for its sixth straight win in the series.
Jacksonville (1-7) lost its seventh straight and barely avoided making NFL history. The Jaguars would have become the first to allow at least 30 points in seven consecutive games in a single season. Instead, they will share the record with the 1968 Denver Broncos and the 1984 Minnesota Vikings.
Jacksonville had a chance to tie it late, but rookie Jake Luton’s 2-point conversion pass to DJ Chark landed at his feet. Luton, a sixth-round draft pick making his NFL debut in place of Gardner Minshew, scrambled for 13 yards to make it a two-point game with 1:39 remaining.
Luton stiff-armed rookie Jon Greenard and then spun away from Keion Crossen and into the end zone. Crossen recovered an onside kick that helped Houston (2-6) ice the game.
Both of Houston’s victories this season came against the Jaguars.
Watson was instrumental in each. He threw for 281 yards and two scores in this one, which came three weeks after his 301-yard, two-touchdown passing performance in Houston.