With Rodgers out, Vikings cruise past Packers 23-10
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Harrison Smith led Minnesota’s defense in a thorough dismantling of Green Bay, as the Vikings knocked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers out of the game on Sunday with a broken collarbone during a 23-10 victory that drastically altered the course of the NFC North.
Smith had 1½ sacks on safety blitzes, a diving interception and two pass breakups, helping the Vikings (4-2) limit the injury-depleted Packers to a season-low 227 yards.
Anthony Barr, who later left with a concussion, delivered the game-changing hit on Green Bay’s second drive when he took Rodgers hard to the turf as the two-time NFL MVP followed through on a pass.
Rodgers fell on his throwing shoulder, and the Packers (4-2) announced he could miss the remainder of the season.
Brett Hundley threw his first career touchdown pass in relief, connecting with Davante Adams in the second quarter after a 63-yard return by Clay Matthews of Jerick McKinnon’s fumble gave the Packers the ball at the 18.
Hundley was picked off three times and sacked four times. He finished 18 for 33 for 157 yards. The Packers had five first downs and 102 yards over the first three quarters.
Case Keenum, making his fourth start in place of the injured Sam Bradford, went 24 for 38 for 239 yards without top wide receiver Stefon Diggs. He threw 13 times to Adam Thielen, completing nine for 97 yards.
GIANTS 23, BRONCOS 10
DENVER (AP) — Eli Manning ignored the loss of four wide receivers, and reeling New York capped a stormy week of injuries and infighting with a stunning win over Denver.
The Giants (1-5) pulled off one of the season’s biggest upsets by dominating Denver in every phase from start to finish. The Broncos (3-2) blew a golden opportunity to close in on Kansas City in the AFC West after the Steelers knocked off the last unbeaten team in the league earlier Sunday.
Visiting teams went 8-5 in Week 6 and are 46-44 overall this upside-down NFL season.
Jason Pierre-Paul had a trio of sacks for the Giants, who came into Denver tottering from a tumultuous week in which three wide receivers landed on injured reserve, five other starters were sidelined with injuries and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended for insubordination.
PATRIOTS 24, JETS 17
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Tom Brady set the NFL record for regular-season victories by a quarterback, getting his 187th.
The Patriots (4-2) were playing their first game in 10 days after beating Tampa Bay 19-14 on Oct. 5, and appeared a bit rusty early as they fell behind 14-0 in the second quarter against the surprising Jets (3-3).
New York had a chance to tie the game after getting the ball back with 1:53 remaining, but the Patriots’ 32nd-ranked overall defense held on — forcing Josh McCown to throw incomplete on a desperation heave on fourth-and-17 from the 50, and ending the Jets’ three-game winning streak.
Brady broke a tie with Peyton Manning and Brett Favre for the record.
New York appeared to make it a one-score game again on its next possession as Austin Seferian-Jenkins took a short pass from McCown and reached over the goal line for a 4-yard touchdown.
But officials reviewed the score and said the video replay showed that Seferian-Jenkins slightly lost control of the ball as he went out of bounds on the side of the end zone, resulting in a touchback — despite the ball never hitting the ground. That gave the Patriots back the ball, with the Jets’ sideline irate.
STEELERS 19, CHIEFS 13
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Le’Veon Bell ran for 179 yards and a touchdown, Antonio Brown made an acrobatic touchdown catch in the fourth quarter and the Steelers handed the NFL’s only unbeaten team its first loss.
The Chiefs (5-1) still had a chance after Brown’s 51-yard reception made it 19-10, moving quickly downfield and getting a 33-yard field goal from Harrison Butker.
And when their defense forced a quick three-and-out, Tyreek Hill’s 32-yard punt return gave them the ball with 1:48 to go.
But after the Steelers (4-2) gave up a first down, James Harrison sacked Alex Smith on third-and-10, and the quarterback’s incomplete pass on fourth down left the NFL with no perfect teams.
Ben Roethlisberger was 17 of 25 for 252 yards for Pittsburgh, bouncing back from his abysmal five-interception performance against Jacksonville last week. His favorite target was Brown, who a few weeks ago was flipping over water coolers on the sideline but spent Sunday slinging high-fives. He finished with eight catches for 155 yards, often beating All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters.
CHARGERS 17, RAIDERS 16
OAKLAND, California (AP) — Nick Novak kicked a 32-yard field goal on the final play and the Chargers took advantage of a key missed extra point by Giorgio Tavecchio.
The Chargers (2-4) had been done in by poor kicks this season, losing twice on misses by former kicker Younghoe Koo. Novak missed a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter, but it was a missed extra point by Tavecchio — after a high snap by Jon Condo early in the fourth quarter — that was the difference in a fourth straight loss by the Raiders (2-4).
Philip Rivers took over at his 8 with 4:09 to play and used two long passes to Hunter Henry to move the Chargers into field-goal range. Five straight runs by Melvin Gordon and two kneeldowns moved the ball to the 14 and drained the clock, setting the stage for Novak’s winning kick.
The Raiders had taken the lead on a 47-yard end-around by Cordarrelle Patterson, but that and the return of quarterback Derek Carr weren’t enough to end this slide. Oakland last lost four in a row during an 0-10 start in 2014.
CARDINALS 38, BUCCANEERS 33
GLENDALE, Arizona (AP) — Adrian Peterson rushed for two touchdowns and 134 yards in an impressive Arizona debut and the Cardinals held off a furious second-half Tampa Bay rally.
The Buccaneers (2-3) lost quarterback Jameis Winston to a right shoulder injury in the second quarter, with the Cardinals (3-3) leading 21-0. But backup Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns to bring Tampa Bay back from a 31-0, early third-quarter deficit.
Fitzpatrick’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans cut the Arizona lead to 38-32 with 2:02 to play.
Larry Fitzgerald recovered the onside kick and, with no Tampa Bay timeouts remaining, the Cardinals ran out the clock.
Carson Palmer completed his first 14 passes and finished 18 of 22 for 283 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Fitzgerald caught 10 passes for 138 yards and a score.
Peterson, acquired in a trade with New Orleans on Tuesday, carried 26 times and scored on a 27-yard run to cap Arizona’s first possession. He added a 1-yard TD run after Tramon Williams’ interception near the goal line in the fourth quarter. The 32-year-old running back gained 47 more yards on Sunday than the 87 he had in four games with the Saints.
BEARS 27, RAVENS 24, OT
BALTIMORE (AP) — Connor Barth kicked a 40-yard field goal with 2:08 left in overtime, and the Bears used a 167-yard rushing effort by Jordan Howard to beat the Ravens.
The Bears (2-4) blew a 14-point lead in the second half before coming through in overtime behind Howard, whose 53-yard run put Chicago at the Baltimore 40. After rookie Mitchell Trubisky completed an 18-yard pass to Kendall Wright, Barth delivered the winner.
Making his first career start on the road, Trubisky directed a conservative game plan that leaned heavily on the run. The first-round draft pick completed 8 of 16 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
The Bears gained 231 yards on 54 rushing attempts.
Baltimore (3-3) trailed 17-3 in the third quarter and 24-16 late in regulation before using two long kick returns to get back in the game.
Bobby Rainey took a kickoff 96 yards for a score and Michael Campanaro brought back a punt 77 yards for a touchdown with 1:37 remaining. The 2-point conversion was successful, setting up overtime.
DOLPHINS 20, FALCONS 17
ATLANTA (AP) — Jay Cutler threw a pair of touchdown passes, Cody Parkey kicked a pair of field goals and the Dolphins rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit.
Matt Ryan had another crucial interception with the Falcons in position to at least attempt a tying field goal. Cordrea Tankersley got a hand on a pass intended for Austin Hooper and Reshad Jones swooped in to make the clinching interception with 39 seconds remaining.
Parkey put the Dolphins (3-2) ahead for the first time with 2:30 remaining, booting a 38-yard field goal after a gutsy play by receiver Jarvis Landry, who was hit by six players but still managed to power ahead for a key first down.
Cutler, who struggled in his first four games as the Dolphins’ fill-in starter after putting off retirement, completed 19 of 33 for 151 yards, including scoring passes to Landry and Kenny Stills. Jay Ajayi rushed for 130 yards.
The Falcons (3-2) appeared headed for an easy victory, building a big lead that looked even more comfortable against a team that had scored only three offensive touchdowns all season. But back came Miami.
RAMS 27, JAGUARS 17
JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) — Pharoh Cooper returned the opening kickoff 103 yards, one of two special teams touchdowns that helped the Rams.
The Rams (4-2) also blocked a punt for a score and a 10-point lead in the first half. Malcolm Brown returned the loose ball 8 yards for the franchise’s first such touchdown since 2005.
The Jaguars (3-3) botched a decent chance to tie the game early in the fourth period when Blake Bortles fumbled on one play and then threw an interception on the next. It cost Jacksonville a shot at ending its up-and-down start to the season.
Los Angeles essentially sealed its third road victory on Greg Zuerlein’s 29-yard field goal with 2:32 remaining. The Rams hadn’t started 3-0 away from home since 2001.
The Jaguars, coming off an impressive victory at Pittsburgh, still haven’t won consecutive games in more than a year and lost for the ninth time in 10 games at EverBank Field.
SAINTS 52, LIONS 38
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for 237 yards from scrimmage, the Saints’ resurgent defense forced five turnovers and scored a franchise-record three times.
New Orleans (3-2), which has a winning record for the first time since its last playoff season in 2013, built a five-touchdown lead, only to gut out a remarkable bid by Detroit to pull off the greatest comeback in NFL history.
Detroit (3-3) scored four straight TDs, including one on a punt return by Jamal Agnew and another on A’Shawn Robinson’s close-range interception near the Saints goal line, in less than 15 minutes off the game clock to pull as close as 45-38 with 6:41 to go. But after Agnew muffed a punt and barely got it out of the end zone, Saints defensive end Cam Jordan scored on virtually the same type of play as Robinson when he got his hand on Matt Stafford’s pass from the end zone.
The Saints’ defense produced its first points on Detroit’s first possession, when Alex Okafor sacked and stripped Stafford in the end zone and safety Kenny Vaccaro recovered. In the third quarter, rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans’ top draft choice last spring, made his first interception and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown.
Playing on a sore right ankle that visibly limited his mobility, Stafford was hit often, sacked five times and turned over the ball five times: twice on fumbles and three times on interceptions, two of which were tipped. New Orleans also batted down many of Stafford’s throws.
REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24
LANDOVER, Maryland (AP) — Washington’s Kirk Cousins threw for two touchdowns, ran for a score, and also had an interception as part of an inconsistent performance against his past — and possibly — future mentor Kyle Shanahan’s winless 49ers.
The Redskins blew a 17-point lead before barely holding on.
Cousins was hardly at his most accurate in completing 25 of 37 passes for 330 yards against the team he has been linked to for next season because of his connection with Shanahan. The 49ers (0-6) remain unsettled at quarterback: Shanahan benched Brian Hoyer for rookie C.J. Beathard, who threw for 245 yards, a touchdown and an interception and nearly led an impressive comeback.
Beathard, a third-round pick out of Iowa and grandson of former Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard, took over for Hoyer with about six and a half minutes left in the first half and the 49ers down 14-0. After Hoyer was 4 of 11 for 34 yards, Beathard went 19 of 36 in his first NFL action.
With the 49ers down by two in the final minute, Beathard led them toward field goal range. He was intercepted by Kendall Fuller on fourth down to seal the result.
The Redskins (3-2) weren’t helped by several injuries on defense. They benefited from playing a 49ers team that is now the first in NFL history to lose five consecutive games by three points or fewer. San Francisco’s past five losses have come by a combined 13 points.
TEXANS 33, BROWNS 17
HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first rookie in NFL history with at least three TD passes in three straight games. Watson has thrown 15 touchdown passes this season, the most in NFL history by a rookie in a team’s first six games. It equals the number of TD throws Brock Osweiler had in 15 games last season.
The Browns lost their 16th in a row on the road.
Cleveland made yet another change at quarterback this week, benching rookie DeShone Kizer, who had thrown a league-high nine interceptions, for Kevin Hogan to make his first NFL start. The results were much the same as Hogan threw three interceptions to keep the Browns (0-6) winless and drop coach Hue Jackson’s record in Cleveland to 1-21.
Johnathan Joseph had two interceptions, including one he returned for 82 yards to boost the Texans’ defense in their first game since J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus sustained season-ending injuries last week.
Watson threw TD passes to Will Fuller, Braxton Miller and DeAndre Hopkins as the Texans (3-3) set a franchise record by scoring at least 30 points for the fourth straight game.
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