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October 15, 2017

PACKERS-VIKINGS

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 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 announced he could miss the remainder of the season.

PATRIOTS-JETS

Brady gets wins record, Patriots hold off Jets 24-17

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Brady set the NFL record for regular-season victories by a quarterback, getting his 187th as the New England Patriots held on for a 24-17 win over the New York Jets on Sunday to claim first place in the AFC East.

The Patriots 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.

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 finished 20 of 38 for 257 yards with two touchdowns to Rob Gronkowski and an interception. Dion Lewis also had a 1-yard TD run.

BEARS-RAVENS

Bears beat Ravens 27-24 in OT

BALTIMORE (AP) — Connor Barth kicked a 40-yard field goal with 2:08 left in overtime, and the Chicago Bears used a 167-yard rushing effort by Jordan Howard to beat the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 on Sunday.

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 game 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.

Howard had 36 carries and the Bears gained 231 yards on 54 attempts.

49ERS-REDSKINS

Cousins struggles as Redskins barely hold on to beat 49ers

LANDOVER, Md. (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 San Francisco 49ers in a 26-24 victory Sunday.

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 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.

DOLPHINS-FALCONS

Dolphins rally from 17-point deficit to stun Falcons 20-17

ATLANTA (AP) — Jay Cutler threw a pair of touchdown passes, Cody Parkey kicked a pair of field goals and the Miami Dolphins rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit to stun the Atlanta Falcons 20-17 on Sunday.

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 game-clinching interception with 39 seconds remaining.

Parkey put the Dolphins 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 crucial 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 had a big game on the ground, rushing for 130 yards.

BROWNS-TEXANS

Watson tosses 3 TDs as Texans beat Browns 33-17

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, helping give the Houston Texans a 33-17 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

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 winless and drop coach Hue Jackson’s record in Cleveland to 1-21.

LIONS-SAINTS

Saints’ big-play defense fuels wild 52-38 win over Lions

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, and New Orleans took a 52-38 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday in a game full of crazy bounces and unusual plays.

New Orleans, which has a winning record for the first time since its last playoff season in 2013, built a five-touchdown lead, only to wind up gutting out a remarkable bid by Detroit to pull off the greatest comeback in NFL history.

Detroit 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.

Saints QB Drew Brees completed 21 for 31 passes for 186 yards and touchdowns of 20 yards to Ted Ginn and 2 yards to Michael Hoomanawanui. However, he was also intercepted for the first and second time this season.

STEELERS-CHIEFS

Steelers outlast Chiefs 19-13 to defeat NFL’s last unbeaten

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Le’Veon Bell ran for 179 yards and a touchdown, Antonio Brown made an acrobatic touchdown catch in the fourth quarter and the Pittsburgh Steelers held on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 19-13 on Sunday.

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 unbeaten 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.

The game in many ways resembled January’s divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, when Bell churned for 170 yards rushing and the Steelers’ defense shut down the Chiefs in an 18-16 victory.

RAMS-JAGUARS

Rams score twice on special teams, beat Jaguars 27-17

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Pharoh Cooper returned the opening kickoff 103 yards, one of two special teams touchdowns that helped the Los Angeles Rams beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-17 on Sunday.

The 4-2 Rams 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 3-3 Jaguars 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.

Rookie Leonard Fournette set the tone again by scoring on the first play from scrimmage. After Cooper’s kickoff return, Fournette took a handoff and went 75 yards for his sixth rushing touchdown and seventh score of the season.

Fournette also scored on his 28th and final carry last week against the Steelers, a 90-yard run that put an exclamation point on a blowout. So Fournette totaled 165 yards and two scores on back-to-back carries.

His latest touchdown also made history. The consecutive scores marked the first time in the Super Bowl era that any game had two touchdowns of at least 75 yards in the first 30 seconds of play.

Fournette finished with 130 yards on 21 carries.

CARDINALS-BUCCANEERS

Peterson scored twice as Cardinals hold off Bucs 38-33

GLENDALE, Ariz. (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 to beat the Buccaneers 38-33 on Sunday.

The 2-3 Buccaneers lost quarterback Jameis Winston to a right shoulder injury in the second quarter, with the Cardinals 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 for the 3-3 Cardinals.

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 31-year-old running back gained 47 more yards on Sunday than the 87 he had in four games with the Saints. Arizona ran for 160 yards after averaging 52 yards rushing through five games, by far the worst in the league. Of course, they are without the versatile but injured David Johnson.

CHARGERS-RAIDERS

Novak’s late kick leads Chargers past Raiders 17-16

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nick Novak kicked a 32-yard field goal on the final play of the game and the Los Angeles Chargers took advantage of a key missed extra point by Giorgio Tavecchio to beat the Oakland Raiders 17-16 on Sunday.

The 2-4 Chargers 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 proved to be the difference in a fourth straight loss by the 2-4 Raiders.

Philip Rivers took over at his 8 with 4:09 to play and used two long passes by 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.

Carr, who missed last week’s game with a broken bone in his back, threw for just 171 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown.

Rivers went 25 for 36 for 268 yards with one touchdown. Gordon ran for 83 yards and scored twice.

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