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NFL Today, Week 3

September 24, 2018

SCOREBOARD

Monday, Sept. 24

Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay, 8:15 p.m. Thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick and a talented collection of playmakers that include DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin, the Buccaneers (2-0) are off to their best start in eight years and have the NFL’s top-ranked offense. The Steelers (0-1-1) are not far behind at No. 2, however, inconsistency on defense has Ben Roethlisberger & Co. winless through two weeks.

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STARS

Passing

— Drew Brees, Saints, set the NFL record for career completions while passing for 396 yards and three touchdowns and also running for two scores, including a 1-yard keeper in overtime that lifted New Orleans past Atlanta 43-37.

— Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs, tossed three more touchdown passes and finished with 314 yards passing in a 38-27 victory over San Francisco. He has 13 TD throws and no interceptions through three games.

— Cam Newton, Panthers, threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others to help Carolina hand Cincinnati its first loss of the season, 31-21.

— Matt Ryan, Falcons, had his first career game with five touchdown throws and finished with 374 yards passing in Atlanta’s 43-27 overtime loss to New Orleans.

— Jared Goff, Rams, passed for 354 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-23 victory over the Chargers.

—Eli Manning, Giants, completed 25 of 29 throws for 297 yards and two TDs in a 27-22 victory at Houston.

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Rushing

— Christian McCaffrey, Panthers, racked up a career-high 184 yards rushing on 28 carries in Carolina’s 31-21 victory over Cincinnati.

— Adrian Peterson, Redskins, ran for 120 yards and a pair of 2-yard scores to help Washington top Green Bay 31-17.

— Chris Carson, Seahawks, finished with 102 yards, the first Seattle running back to top 100 yards since late in the 2016 season, and had a score in a 24-13 win over Dallas.

— Todd Gurley, Rams, rushed for 105 yards and a TD on 23 carries in the Rams’ 35-23 victory over the Chargers.

— Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, ran for 127 yards on 16 attempts in a losing cause as Dallas fell to Seattle, 24-13.

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Receiving

— Rookie Calvin Ridley, Falcons, caught three touchdown passes while finishing with 146 yards receiving on seven receptions in Atlanta’s 43-37 overtime loss to New Orleans.

— Robert Woods, Rams, had two touchdown catches to help Los Angeles beat the Chargers 35-23.

— Jordy Nelson, Raiders, had 173 yards receiving and a touchdown on six receptions in Oakland’s 28-20 loss at Miami.

— Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, Saints. Kamara had a career-high 15 catches for 124 yards and ran for 66 yards in New Orleans’ 43-37 win at Atlanta, while Thomas caught 10 passes for 129 yards.

— Adam Thielen, Vikings, had 14 receptions for 105 yards in Minnesota’s 27-6 loss to Buffalo.

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Special Teams

— Adam Vinatieri, Colts, tied Morten Andersen’s career record of 565 field goals by connecting on all three of his tries in Indianapolis’ 20-16 loss at Philadelphia.

— Justin Tucker, Ravens, kicked a pair of 52-yard field goals in Baltimore’s 27-14 win over Denver to give him six career games with multiple field goals of 50 yards or more, an NFL record.

— Joseph Jones and Justin Simmons, Broncos. Jones knocked away Sam Koch’s punt on Baltimore’s first possession, while Simmons blocked Justin Tucker’s 43-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter of Denver’s 27-14 loss.

— Cory Littleton and Blake Countess, Rams. Littleton blocked a punt in the end zone and Countess recovered it for a touchdown in a 35-23 win over the Chargers.

— Cody Parkey, Bears, kicked his third field goal of the day, a 43-yarder with 4:31 to play, to give Chicago the lead in a 16-14 victory over winless Arizona.

— Wil Lutz, Saints, kicked field goals of 49, 21 and 45 yards and made all four of his extra points in New Orleans’ 43-37 overtime win at Atlanta.

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Defense

— J.J. Watt, Texans, had three sacks, three tackles for losses, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble in Houston’s 27-22 loss to the New York Giants.

— Earl Thomas, Seahawks, intercepted Dak Prescott twice to help lift Seattle to a 24-13 victory over Dallas.

— Xavien Howard, Dolphins, had two interceptions in Miami’s 28-20 win over Oakland.

— Efe Obada, Panthers, had an interception, sack and two quarterback pressures to help Carolina beat Cincinnati 31-21 in his first NFL game. He’s the first player to make an NFL 53-man roster from the new International Pathways Program.

— Justin Houston, Chiefs, had two sacks and two forced fumbles while helping Kansas City top San Francisco 38-27.

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MILESTONES

With his 14th completed pass in New Orleans’ 43-37 overtime win at Atlanta, Drew Brees broke the record of 6,300 career completions set by Hall of Famer Brett Favre. Brees set the mark with a 17-yard pass to Michael Thomas in the second quarter. He has 6,326 completions. Brees also became the first player in NFL history with at least 350 passing yards, three TD passes and two rushing touchdowns without an interception in a game. ... Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri is tied with Morten Andersen with 565 career field goals. ... New Orleans’ Michael Thomas had 10 catches for 129 yards, giving him 38 receptions this year — the most by an NFL player in his team’s first three games to start a season. His 28 catches through two games also were a record. ... Adrian Peterson has 102 TD runs, breaking a tie at 100 with Marshall Faulk and Shaun Alexander to move into seventh place in NFL history behind Emmitt Smith’s record of 164. Next up at No. 6 is former Redskins star John Riggins, at 104.

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STREAKS & STATS

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes threw three TDs in a 38-27 win over San Francisco, giving him 13 this season without an interception. That total broke the NFL record of 12 for the first three weeks of a season, set by Peyton Manning during the 2013 campaign. ... Washington’s Alex Smith had his streak of 156 consecutive passes without an interception, the longest active run in the league, end in the second quarter of the Redskins’ 31-17 win over Green Bay. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix made the pick when Jordan Reed went one way and Smith threw another. ... Atlanta’s Matt Ryan threw five TD passes in a win over New Orleans, giving him 37 in his career against the Saints — the most by any player. He surpassed Joe Montana’s 33 TD passes against New Orleans. Ryan’s five TDs also tied the team record set by Wade Wilson on Dec. 13, 1992, at Tampa Bay. ... With running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring) inactive and the score so lopsided, Minnesota set a franchise record for fewest rushing attempts with six in a 27-6 loss to Buffalo.

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STARTS

Oakland, led by first-year coach Jon Gruden, is 0-3 for the first time since 2014, when it started 0-10. The Raiders have blown a second-half lead in all three defeats. ... Houston is also 0-3, the Texans’ worst start since dropping their first four games of 2008.

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BEATING THE ODDS

Buffalo became only the sixth 16-plus-point underdog winner in the NFL’s last 81 point spreads of that size by defeating Minnesota 27-6. According to ESPN research, the last such winner was Washington over Dallas on Dec. 3, 1995. “I don’t think we took them too lightly,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “I think they came out and kicked our butts.”

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LA STORY

Jared Goff passed for 354 yards and three touchdowns, and Todd Gurley rushed for 105 yards and another score, leading the Rams to a 35-23 victory over the Chargers on Sunday in the franchises’ first meeting since their relocations to Los Angeles. Two seasons after the Rams kicked off professional football’s return to the nation’s second-largest market after 21 years away, two NFL teams based in Los Angeles met on the field for the first time since Nov. 13, 1994.

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WELCOME BACK, WENTZ

Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz threw a touchdown pass on his first drive in nine months, helping lift the Eagles to a 20-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. “It was a long time coming,” Wentz said after playing his first game since he tore two ligaments in his left knee last Dec. 10. “It felt great.” Wentz finished 25 of 37 for 255 yards, one TD and one INT.

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IT’S TRICKY!

Trickery gave Miami its first lead of a 28-20 victory over Oakland in the fourth quarter when Ryan Tannehill handed off to Frank Gore, who tossed the ball to Albert Wilson on an end-around. Wilson — a quarterback in high school — then lobbed the first pass of his NFL career to a wide-open Grant, who outmaneuvered two Raiders to the end zone. Grant said the Dolphins work on the play every day in practice. Wilson later scored the clincher when he scooted around the end after taking Tannehill’s short pitch and scored as he high-fived Grant. Wilson also became the fourth player with a TD pass and TD reception of at least 50 yards in a game, joining Hall of Famer Jimmy Conzelman (1923), Tom Tracy (1960) and David Patten (2001).

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BIG MAC

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey, who tied a franchise record with 14 receptions last week against Atlanta, did his damage on the ground in a 31-21 win over Cincinnati. He surpassed his previous career high of 66 yards rushing with 184 on 28 carries, becoming the first player in franchise history to post a 100-yard receiving game and a 100-yard rushing game in back-to-back weeks.

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SLOPPY

Houston is searching for a way to eliminate penalties on offense after committing several false start and holding penalties in a 27-22 loss to the New York Giants. Right tackle Julien Davenport was the worst offender and had three false start and two holding penalties. “It’s the story of penalties, mistakes,” Davenport said. “I don’t know how many penalties I had, but way too much. Hurt this team badly. I’ve got to eliminate it all.”

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NO JOSHIN’

Buffalo rookie quarterback Josh Allen accounted for three touchdowns, helping the Bills beat the Vikings 27-6 on Sunday as 16½-point underdogs. The seventh overall pick in the draft out of Wyoming who took the job earlier than expected in relief of a struggling Nathan Peterman in the opener, completed 15 of 22 passes for 196 yards. That included a 26-yard touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Jason Croom. Though Allen took three sacks and fumbled three times, the Bills were able to recover all of them. Allen dived to finish a 10-yard run by beating Anthony Barr to the pylon to finish the game’s first drive. Later, on third-and-9, Allen hurdled over Barr to land past the first-down marker. He capped that possession with a 1-yard touchdown leap over the goal line on fourth down for a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter.

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IMMEDIATE IMPACT

Carolina defensive end Efe Obada had an interception, a key fourth-quarter sack and two quarterback pressures in his first NFL game while helping the Panthers to a 31-21 victory over Cincinnati. The Nigerian-born Obada is the first player to make a 53-man roster from the recently formed NFL International Pathways Program. He overcame being a victim of human trafficking as a 10-year-old in the United Kingdom to become an NFL player. One of Obada’s pressures was initially ruled sack-fumble in the second quarter, but later overturned by instant replay to an incomplete pass.

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SIDELINED

San Francisco fears quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will miss the rest of the season after injuring the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in Sunday’s 38-27 loss to Kansas City. C.J. Beathard would be in line to start at quarterback if Garoppolo is sidelined. Garoppolo was flushed from the pocket and headed for the sideline in the fourth quarter when he appeared to take an awkward step and his knee buckled just as Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson delivered a shoulder-to-shoulder blow. Garoppolo wound up leaving on a cart. Also in that game, cornerback Richard Sherman left with a calf injury. ... Tennessee QB Blaine Gabbert was knocked out of the game at Jacksonville in the first quarter with a concussion. Punt returner Adoree Jackson also left with a concussion. Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell left in the fourth quarter with a right ankle injury. ... Green Bay defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson was carted off in the second quarter against Washington with an ankle injury, and right tackle Bryan Bulaga left with a back injury. ... Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green left with a groin injury against Carolina. ... Rams cornerback Marcus Peters injured his leg during the first half against the Chargers and had to be helped off the field.

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SPEAKING

“Just NASCAR on grass.” — Miami wide receiver Jakeem Grant, who high-fived teammate Albert Wilson as the two sprinted downfield side by side for the final 30 yards as Wilson turned a short reception into a 74-yard score that sealed a 28-20 victory over winless Oakland.

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“Unfortunately, this league is going in a direction that a lot of people don’t like. I think they’re getting soft. The only thing hard about this league is the fines they levy down on guys like me that play the game hard. Maybe now pass rushers, guys getting after the quarterback, you’ll just have to attack the ball.” — Green Bay’s Clay Matthews, who was livid after being called for roughing the passer for the third straight game.

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