The Latest: Lions, Broncos rallying late
The Latest on the second Sunday of the NFL regular season (all times EDT):
The Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos are trying to stage big second-half rallies.
Matthew Stafford threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Michael Roberts with 3:27 remaining, and the Lions trail San Francisco 30-27. Detroit was down 30-13 with 11:21 left.
Denver was down 19-7 in the third quarter, but is now trailing Oakland 19-17 after a 1-yard TD run by Case Keenum with 5:58 to play in the fourth.
Detroit running back LeGarrette Blount has been ejected for coming off the sideline to shove a San Francisco player.
Blount took exception to Elijah Lee pushing Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford as he stepped out of bounds. Blount was standing on the sideline right in front of the play and went on the field and pushed Lee.
Blount was assessed a personal foul and ejected for the play.
San Francisco leads the Lions 30-20 in fourth quarter.
Eight months later and with the stakes not nearly as high, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots need another fourth-quarter comeback against Jacksonville. Blake Bortles has staked the Jaguars to a 24-10 lead going into the fourth with three touchdown passes.
The Jaguars were up 24-3 and in a rhythm when Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore punched the ball loose after a reception by DJ Chark Jr. Brady then threw a touchdown pass to Chris Hogan, who beat Jalen Ramsey on a slant.
Brady led the Patriots from a 20-10 deficit in the AFC title game in January.
The Detroit Lions have lost standout cornerback Darius Slay to a concussion.
Slay left in the third quarter, and if he misses additional games that could be a big problem for the Lions, who face questions about their depth at cornerback beyond Slay.
Shortly after Slay left, the San Francisco 49ers took a 27-13 lead over Detroit in the third quarter on a 66-yard touchdown run by Matt Breida.
On a day when extra points have been anything but routine, the Los Angeles Rams are doing just fine despite an injury to their standout kicker.
Greg Zuerlein injured his groin during pregame warmups, so the Rams have simply gone for 2 — and converted — after each of their three touchdowns. They lead Arizona 27-0 in the third quarter.
Punter Johnny Hekker is handling the kickoff duties and also made a 20-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, yet another team had issues with a PAT when Oakland had one blocked in the second quarter at Denver.
— Joe Reedy reporting from Los Angeles.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was on the mark in the first half against Denver, completing 18 of 19 passes for 158 yards.
His only incompletion came in the first quarter when he failed to connect on a short pass with Jordy Nelson. Carr’s longest completion was 23 yards to Nelson.
On the flip side, Case Keenum of the Broncos was just 5 of 11 for 38 yards with an interception deep in Oakland territory. Keenum has thrown four interceptions in his first two games in a Broncos’ uniform.
Oakland leads 12-0 at halftime.
A rough day for kickers is getting even worse.
Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein is questionable to return after injuring his groin during the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals.
Zuerlein was the NFL’s leading scorer last season, but was placed on injured reserve late in the season due to a back injury. After Todd Gurley’s 11-yard touchdown early in the second quarter opened the scoring against Arizona, the Rams tried a 2-point conversion and were successful.
Earlier, Cleveland’s Zane Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points in a 21-18 loss to New Orleans. His last attempt could have tied it in the final seconds.
Green Bay and Minnesota played to a 29-all tie . Daniel Carlson of the Vikings missed two field goals in overtime, and Mason Crosby missed one at the end of regulation for the Packers.
Miami’s Jason Sanders and New York’s Jason Myers were both wide on PATs in the Dolphins’ 20-12 victory over the Jets. Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell missed an extra point against Kansas City, and Tampa Bay’s Chandler Catanzaro did so as well against Philadelphia.
— Joe Reedy reporting from Los Angeles.
Teams in Jacksonville and Denver are contending with some unusually high temperatures.
It was 97 degrees at kickoff for the Jaguars and Patriots, with a heat index of 107. According to the NFL, it is the hottest game since Green Bay played at Arizona in 2003.
Meanwhile, Denver’s game against the Raiders is the hottest home game in franchise history for the Broncos, at 92 degrees.
The Patriots and Jaguars lost starters on consecutive plays. New England defensive end Trey Flowers was being evaluated for a concussion after he was struck in the head by teammate Keionta Davis. On the next play, the left knee of Jacksonville left tackle Cam Robinson buckled during pass protection. He was helped off the field until taking steps gingerly on his own.
Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat on a cooler for the national anthem, while Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas and linebacker Brandon Marshall went inside the tunnel.
Lynch rode a stationary bike just before the anthem before taking a seat behind the bench. He was surrounded by team personnel.
Elsewhere, Marquise Goodwin of the 49ers, who was out of uniform because of injury, raised a fist during the anthem before San Francisco’s game against Detroit.
The NFC North showdown between Minnesota and Green Bay has lived up to the hype.
The teams are in overtime, tied at 29, after Kirk Cousins threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen with 31 seconds remaining in regulation. Thielen somehow came up with that pass despite two Green Bay defenders in the area, and Cousins threw to Stefon Diggs for the tying 2-point conversion.
That Minnesota drive was aided by a roughing the passer call on Clay Matthews, after Green Bay appeared to have an interception.
Mason Crosby missed a 52-yard kick that would have won it for the Packers at the end of regulation.
Minnesota’s Daniel Carlson missed a 49-yard field goal attempt on the first possession of overtime.
Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has thrown for six touchdowns — and there’s still plenty of time to go.
Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill for a 29-yard score with 13:42 to play in the fourth quarter in Pittsburgh. He’s now thrown 10 TD passes through the first two weeks of the season, breaking the record of nine that was shared by Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Charlie Johnson.
Mahomes’ six touchdowns also tied Hall of Famer Len Dawson for the most in a single game in Kansas City history and tied the most allowed by the Steelers.
Kansas City leads 42-30 in the fourth quarter as it tries to win in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1986.
It’s slipping away again for the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns, seeking to end an 18-game winless streak, have wasted a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter at New Orleans. Tyrod Taylor threw an interception, giving the Saints the ball at the Cleveland 18, and New Orleans eventually scored a touchdown to take an 18-12 lead with 2:40 remaining.
Now it’s on Taylor and the Cleveland offense to try to rally.
The Browns opened the season with a tie against Pittsburgh, but they haven’t won since Dec. 24, 2016.
It’s been a rough second week of the NFL season for placekickers.
Not on field goals so much, but extra points.
Five were missed before any of the early Sunday games ended.
In Dolphins-Jets, both Miami’s Jason Sanders and New York’s Jason Myers were wide on PATs.
Cleveland’s Zane Gonzales missed at New Orleans, as did Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell against Kansas City, and Tampa Bay’s Chandler Catanzaro against Philadelphia.
At least the Steelers made up for Boswell’s error by later making a 2-point conversion.
Could this finally be the day for the Cleveland Browns?
Cleveland, which went 0-16 last season, snapped a 17-game losing streak with a season-opening tie against Pittsburgh. But it wasn’t a win.
Now the Browns lead New Orleans 12-3 after three quarters.
Cleveland’s defensive coordinator is Gregg Williams, who held the same post in New Orleans when the Saints won their only Super Bowl. The Browns have contained the New Orleans offense and scored the game’s lone touchdown so far on a 1-yard run by Carlos Hyde in the third quarter.
The defending champions have their hands full again.
The Philadelphia Eagles trail Tampa Bay 27-7 in the third quarter after a pair of 75-yard touchdown passes in the first half.
Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with former Eagle DeSean Jackson for one of those TDs on the first offensive play of the game.
Philadelphia had to hold on late for an 18-12 win over Atlanta in the season opener.
It took nearly 95 minutes, but the Buffalo Bills finally reached the end zone.
The Bills were the last NFL team that hadn’t scored a touchdown this season, but Chris Ivory scored on 1-yard plunge with 11:06 left in the third quarter against the Chargers. The TD cut Los Angeles’ lead to 28-13.
— John Wawrow reporting from Orchard Park, New York.
So much for Ben Roethlisberger’s achy right elbow.
The 36-year-old quarterback has thrown for 278 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied from an early deficit to pull into a 21-all tie with Kansas City. Roethlisberger missed two days of practice last week after injuring the elbow late in a Week 1 tie in Cleveland.
Kansas City led the Steelers 21-0 after the first quarter.
The Cleveland Browns are making another credible bid to end their winless streak.
The Browns took a 6-3 lead into halftime against the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans has moved the ball in stints, but has two turnovers on fumbles after receptions. The Saints also have missed a field goal.
Cleveland now has eight takeaways this season, including six in the season opener against Pittsburgh. That game ended in a tie, snapping a 17-game losing streak for the Browns.
Facing the Browns appears to have brought about a remarkable transformation of New Orleans’ defense, which gave up more than 500 yards in a 48-40 loss to Tampa Bay in Week 1.
Calvin Ridley has scored his first NFL touchdown.
Ridley, a first-round draft pick out of Alabama, hauled in an 11-yard scoring pass from Matt Ryan with 4:03 left in the first half, pulling the Atlanta Falcons into a 10-all tie with the Carolina Panthers.
On third-and-8, Ridley broke toward the middle on a slant, beat cornerback Donte Jackson and made the catch crossing into the end zone. He celebrated with an emphatic spike before being mobbed by his teammates.
Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins are dueling at Lambeau Field.
Rodgers’ 9-yard touchdown pass to receiver Davante Adams with 12:28 left in the second quarter gave the Green Bay Packers a 14-7 lead over the Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers is wearing a brace on his injured left knee.
He’s limited and slower than usual, though Rodgers does have some mobility. Rodgers is also getting outstanding protection from his offensive line after getting sacked to end his first series.
Cousins, meanwhile, hit his first nine passes for the Vikings. Minnesota gave up a special teams touchdown on a blocked punt.
Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee has been ejected from the game against Carolina for a vicious hit to the head of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton was struck after running for 10 yards on a fourth-and-4 play in Falcons territory.
The quarterback was sliding to the turf at the end of the play when Kazee dove low to deliver a helmet-to-helmet hit that snapped back Newton’s head. Teammate Torrey Smith raced in to deliver a hit that sent Kazee to the turf, also drawing a personal foul penalty but not an ejection.
Several skirmishes broke out. Newton was finally able to get up and head to the medical tent. As he walked off the field, he took off his helmet and let out a defiant scream.
While officials sorted out the penalties, Newton was quickly examined and returned to the field without missing a play.
Six plays later, Newton threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jarius Wright, giving the Panthers a 10-3 lead.
Kazee was making his second career start. He is the first player ejected for the league’s new helmet rule this season.
— Paul Newberry reporting from Atlanta.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is picking up right where he left off in the season opener. The 22-year-old threw three touchdown passes in the first quarter as the Chiefs raced to a quick 21-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mahomes threw four touchdown passes in a victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in the opener.
The Steelers finally got on the board in the second quarter to make it 21-7. The Chiefs are trying to win in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1986.
Rookie quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Josh Allen are facing early deficits.
Darnold got off to a better start than he did in the New York Jets’ opener at Detroit, when he threw an interception on his first career pass. But Darnold was picked off late in the first quarter against Miami on Sunday, and the Dolphins took advantage of a short field to take a 7-0 lead over the Jets.
Allen made his first start for the Buffalo Bills, but they fell behind 14-0 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Buffalo finally got on the board with a field goal in the second quarter.
The Bills remain the only NFL team that hasn’t scored a touchdown this season.
Blaine Gabbert started at quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, though Marcus Mariota is active against the Houston Texans.
Mariota hurt his elbow in the season opener, a 27-20 loss at Miami. Gabbert came out with the offense for its opening series after the Titans stopped the Texans’ opening drive. It was the 46th start of Gabbert’s career.
Rookie coach Mike Vrabel dipped into a bag of tricks to get the Titans on the board first on a fake punt . Safety Kevin Byard threw the ball to wide-open rookie Dane Cruikshank. He ran down the right sideline and faked out Texans returner Tyler Ervin for a 66-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee
Aaron Rodgers started for the Green Bay Packers against the Minnesota Vikings, wearing a brace on his left knee. Rodgers completed three passes on Green Bay’s first drive, which ended with a punt.
The Packers later took a 7-0 lead with a special teams touchdown. Geronimo Allison blocked a punt deep in Vikings territory after rushing up the middle. The ball was recovered by rookie Josh Jackson, who jumped to secure the ball and landed in the end zone.
Rodgers was questionable coming into the game after hurting the knee in the season-opening, come-from-behind win over Chicago. The Packers operated out of a shotgun or pistol formation on Rodgers’ first drive.
Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson again took a knee during the national anthem, this time before the team’s game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.
All of the Jets players linked arms, along with coach Todd Bowles and CEO Christopher Johnson while standing together on the sideline during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Last Sunday, Stills and Wilson also took knees, and were the only players in the NFL to do so.
Colin Kaepernick, then with the San Francisco 49ers, sparked the anthem controversy by kneeling during the pregame ritual in 2016 — his way of protesting police brutality and social injustice in America. He thanked both Stills and Wilson on Twitter last week for “their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed.”
League-wide, only about 10 players participated in any form of protests. On Thursday, Stills insisted that his pregame statements are not going away.
“It’s something I’m committed to forever,” he said.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Chargers tackle Russell Okung stood behind the line of Los Angeles players with his right arm raised and hand in a fist before the game at Buffalo.
— Dennis Waszak Jr. reporting from East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The NFL Foundation will contribute $1 million to Hurricane Florence relief efforts.
That contribution will be distributed to organizations that will address the immediate needs of those impacted throughout the Carolinas and other areas.
“The NFL family sends its support to the individuals, families and communities affected by Hurricane Florence,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Sunday. “Natural disasters like this are devastating. As communities in and around the Carolinas recover and rebuild, we hope these funds will provide some measure of relief in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
NFL fans are encouraged to text FLORENCE to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Hurricane Florence relief.
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