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DENVER (AP) — Brock Osweiler took one last dig at Denver’s fans after Houston’s 27-9 loss to the Broncos. He figured they would “be a little bit louder with the boos.”
Denver’s defenders ruined Osweiler’s homecoming by hurrying, hitting and harassing their ex-quarterback Monday night, even if his ears weren’t ringing from the crowd noise.
Osweiler famously declared upon signing his $72 million, four-year deal that he chose Houston over Denver because the Texans gave him the better chance to succeed.
“It’s not all about money in life,” said Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who recovered one of Osweiler’s three fumbles. “He had a great situation, great team here, better receivers to me. So, I think he already knows he made the wrong choice.”
Not so, said Osweiler.
“I never live my life looking in the rearview mirror,” Osweiler said after a night in which his head was on a constant swivel with the likes of Von Miller, Shane Ray and Derek Wolfe coming after him.
Coach Gary Kubiak returned to the sideline following his second health scare in three years, and he liked what he saw as the Broncos (5-2) snapped a two-game skid in sending Osweiler and the rest of the overwhelmed Texans home at 4-3.
C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker energized Denver’s sputtering ground game, both running for a touchdown. Anderson gained 107 yards on 16 carries and Booker had 83 on 17 hand-offs.
But the big story was Trevor Siemian, Peyton Manning’s surprise successor, outplaying Osweiler, who was groomed to be Denver’s next QB for the last four years.
Osweiler left for bigger numbers in Texas — both in his bank account and his stat sheet — but he spent the whole game quickly getting rid of the ball, constantly overthrowing DeAndre Hopkins in double coverage and otherwise running for his life from Miller & Co.
Miller wore a “REVENGE” hoodie to his postgame interview, but he said it was a shoutout to Drake, who wore Miller’s No. 58 jersey at a recent concert in Colorado.
“Me and Brock, we’re good. I love the guy. I wish him the best,” Miller said.
Osweiler was just 22 for 41 for 131 yards with no TDs and no interceptions. Siemian was 14 of 25 for 157 yards, a TD and no interceptions.
Osweiler also lost a fumble at his own 25-yard line. It was scooped up by Harris on the first play of the fourth quarter and led to Brandon McManus’ chip-shot field goal that made it 24-9.
Of the dozen passes thrown his way, Hopkins caught just five of them, covering 36 yards, and no other Texan gained more. And Houston was limited to Nick Novak’s field goals from 43, 43 and 39 yards.
Kubiak, who suffered a mini-stroke while coaching the Texans in 2013, missed Denver’s last game after suffering a complex migraine, which can mimic a stroke.
Like Osweiler, this was his first game against his former team, and cornerback Aqib Talib gave him a game ball afterward.
“Coaches get game balls when players play good, I can tell you that,” Kubiak said.
Osweiler, who skipped out on the Broncos’ White House trip and ring ceremony, embraced Siemian, Kubiak and several other Broncos after the game.
“It was really great to see some familiar faces and give those guys a hug,” he said.
STREAK BREAKER: Denver’s dazzling defense is a real dawdler , having allowed scores on five of six opening drives coming into the game. That didn’t stop them from deferring when they won the toss. The Texans went three and out on their first two possessions. “It was a big emphasis for us,” Miller said.
OH NO, OKUNG: Broncos left tackle Russell Okung cleared concussion protocol to make the start. But he was rusty a week after his pair of penalties resulted in a nullified touchdown and a safety in a 21-13 loss at San Diego. This time, he was whistled for a pair of holds that negated a nifty first-down run by Booker and a 28-yard grab by Thomas.
INJURIES : Texans right tackle Derek Newton was carted off the field with what looked like serious injuries to both knees in the first half. He crumpled to the grass while blocking Miller. Newton was dropping back to pass block midway through the first quarter when his left knee buckled first and then his right knee gave way. For Denver, linebackers Brandon Marshall (leg) and Dekoda Watson (head) left in the second half.
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Monday, Oct. 24
Houston at Denver, 8:30 p.m. EDT. Brock Osweiler returns to Denver for the first time since leaving the Super Bowl champs for a four-year, $72 million offer from Houston in the offseason. Osweiler went 5-2 as the starter last season in replacing Peyton Manning. And Osweiler’s coming off his best game as a Texan, leading Houston back from a 14-point deficit for a 26-23 overtime victory over the Colts last week.
—Andrew Luck, Colts, finished 27 for 39 for 353 yards and three touchdown passes in Indianapolis’ 34-26 win over Tennessee.
—Drew Brees, Saints, was 37 for 48 for 367 yards and three touchdown passes and an interception in New Orleans’ 27-21 loss to Kansas City. Brees is the first player in NFL history with 100 300-yard passing games.
—Andy Dalton, Bengals, finished 19 for 28 for 308 yards and two touchdown passes in Cincinnati’s 31-17 win over Cleveland.
—Jameis Winston, Buccaneers, finished 21 for 30 for 269 yards with three touchdown passes and an interception in Tampa Bay’s 34-17 win over San Francisco.
—Philip Rivers, Chargers, was 27 for 44 for 371 yards with a touchdown and an interception in San Diego’s 33-30 overtime win over Atlanta.
—Jay Ajayi, Dolphins, finished with 29 carries for 214 yards and a touchdown in Miami’s 28-25 win over Buffalo. Ajayi totaled 204 yards a week earlier in a win over Pittsburgh and tied the NFL record for consecutive 200-yard games held by O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.
— Jeremy Hill, Bengals, had nine carries for a career-high 168 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown, in Cincinnati’s 31-17 win over Cleveland. It was also the best by a Bengals running back in seven years.
—Jacquizz Rodgers, Buccaneers, had 26 carries for 154 yards in Tampa Bay’s 34-17 win over San Francisco.
—LeGarrette Blount, Patriots, had 24 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns in New England’s 27-16 win over Pittsburgh.
—DeMarco Murray, Titans, had 25 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown in Tennessee’s 34-26 loss to Indianapolis.
—Kevin Hogan, Browns, replaced the injured Cody Kessler at quarterback and had seven carries for 104 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown in Cleveland’s 31-17 loss to Cincinnati. It was the longest TD run by a quarterback in Browns history.
—Matt Forte, Jets, had 30 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown in New York’s 24-16 win over Baltimore. He also joined Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen, Thurman Thomas and Herschel Walker as the only players with 8,000 yards rushing, 4,000 yards receiving and 20 TD receptions.
—Melvin Gordon, Chargers, had 22 carries for 68 yards and two touchdowns, and added six receptions for 53 yards and another touchdown in San Diego’s 33-30 win over Atlanta.
— A.J. Green, Bengals, had eight catches for 169 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown on a desperation pass on the last play of the first half, in Cincinnati’s 31-17 win over Cleveland. Green has nine games with at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown catch, the fourth-most among players in their first six seasons. Only Hall of Famers Lance Alworth (13) and Jerry Rice (11), and Randy Moss (10) had more such games in their first six NFL seasons.
—Julio Jones, Falcons, had nine catches for 174 yards in Atlanta’s 33-30 loss to San Diego.
—T.Y. Hilton, Colts, had seven catches for 133 yards and a touchdown in Indianapolis’ 34-26 win over Tennessee.
—Tyrell Williams, Chargers, had seven receptions for 140 yards in San Diego’s 33-30 win over Atlanta.
—Michael Thomas, Saints, had 10 catches for 130 yards in New Orleans’ 27-21 loss to Kansas City.
—Mike Wallace, Ravens, had 10 catches for 120 yards in Baltimore’s 24-16 loss to the New York Jets.
—Josh Huff, Eagles, returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown in Philadelphia’s 21-10 win over Minnesota. It was the first time the Eagles have returned kickoffs for touchdowns in consecutive games.
—Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders, was 4 for 4 on field goals in Oakland’s 33-16 win over Jacksonville.
—Landon Collins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Giants. Collins and Rodgers-Cromartie each had two interceptions in New York’s 17-10 win over Los Angeles in London. Collins returned one 44 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. They are the first pair of teammates with multiple interceptions each in a game since 2013 (Seattle’s Byron Maxwell and Richard Sherman) and the first Giants duo to accomplish the feat since Kenny Hill and Terry Kinard on Sept. 14, 1986, against San Diego.
—Chris Moore and Matt Judon, Ravens. Moore recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown and Judon had two sacks in Baltimore’s 24-16 loss to the New York Jets.
—Daniel Sorensen, Chiefs, returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown in Kansas City’s 27-21 win over New Orleans.
—Robert Mathis, Colts, returned a fumble 14 yards for a touchdown in Indianapolis’ 34-26 victory over Tennessee.
—Adrian Clayborn, Falcons, returned a fumble 5 yards for a touchdown in Atlanta’s 33-30 loss to San Diego.
—Emmanuel Ogbah, Browns, had two sacks in Cleveland’s 31-17 loss to Cincinnati.
STREAKS & STATS
After failing to score more than 23 points in any of the first six games, the Bengals got their act together against one of the league’s worst defenses, piling up 559 yards — their most since 1990 in a 31-17 win over the Browns. The Bengals have won the past four in the series by scores of 30-0, 31-10, 37-3 and 31-17. … After giving up 171 yards rushing, including 111 to David Johnson, last Monday night at Arizona, the Jets held Baltimore to a franchise-low 6 yards on the ground. … The Dolphins outgained Buffalo 454 yards to 267 and had a 14-minute edge in time of possession, but were hurt by 13 penalties for 116 yards. Miami overcame an 11-point deficit with 16 minutes left to end a four-game winning streak by the Bills and beat them for only the second time in their past seven meetings. … The Raiders pounded the Jaguars 33-16 and improved to 4-0 on the road and moved to 5-2 for the first time since 2001. … The Chiefs won their ninth consecutive home game with a 27-21 victory over the Saints. … The Colts rallied to beat the Titans 34-26 for their 10th straight win against their AFC South rival. … The 49ers’ 34-17 loss to Tampa Bay was their sixth straight loss and their longest losing streak since 2008. … The Seahawks and Cardinals played to a 6-6 tie after Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro and Seattle’s Stephen Hauschka both missed short field goals in overtime. The tie was the Cardinals’ first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976. The last tie in the NFL came in 2014, when Carolina and Cincinnati tied 37-37.
The Colts’ Adam Vinatieri kicked a pair of field goals, and the second, a 33-yarder with 3:46 left in the third quarter, gave him an NFL-record 43 consecutive field goals made. His first tied him with former Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt, who made 42 straight between 2002 and 2004. … The Chiefs’ Andy Reid coached his 300th game Sunday. Most of those were over his 14 seasons in Philadelphia, where he was 140-102-1. He is 36-21 in his fourth season in Kansas City. Playing in his 100th game, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has 27,890 passing yards, the most by any player in his first 100 games to begin a career.
The Jets honored the late Dennis Byrd with a pregame video tribute after he was killed last weekend in a car accident in Oklahoma.
Byrd was an inspiration to many after he overcame brief paralysis and walked again just a few months after injuring his neck during a play in 1992. The defensive lineman, who played for the Jets for four seasons, died in a two-vehicle collision last Saturday. He was 50.
Geno Smith’s return to the starting lineup came to a premature end on Sunday, with the New York Jets quarterback exiting a 24-16 win over Baltimore with a right knee injury in the second quarter. Smith was hurt while taking a sack from Baltimore’s Matthew Judon. He was taken to the locker room and later returned to the field in street clothes, and he’ll have an MRI this week. … Cleveland’s quarterback woes continued with Cody Kessler suffering a concussion. Kessler was hit hard while throwing a shovel pass on a scramble, and he was replaced by rookie Kevin Hogan. … In Buffalo, LeSean McCoy’s nagging left hamstring issue flared up, with the NFL’s second-leading rusher being forced to leave the Bills’ game at Miami in the third quarter. Bills safety Aaron Williams suffered a head and neck injury when Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a block in the second quarter. … Washington cornerback Josh Norman was forced to leave the Redskins’ game against Detroit, suffering a concussion and appearing to injure his left shoulder while defending a catch by the Lions’ Marvin Jones. … In Philadelphia, Eagles cornerback Ron Brooks was carted off the field after suffering a right knee injury late while making a tackle in the first quarter.
“With (Matthew) Stafford, it’s never in the bag if it’s close. I call him (Brett) Farve Jr. because those are the kind of attributes and intangibles he has.” — Redskins safety Will Blackmon on quarterback Matthew Stafford after the Lions quarterback threw a last-minute TD pass in Detroit’s 20-17 win over Washington.
“We got outplayed, we got outcoached, we got out-everythinged. They were the more physical team today, there’s no doubt about that. They controlled the game.” Buffalo coach Rex Ryan — on his team’s performance in a 28-25 loss to Miami.
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Their momentum gone and the Pittsburgh Steelers surging behind backup quarterback Landry Jones, the New England Patriots needed something to get them going.
They found inspiration in the usual places: LeGarrette Blount’s churning legs, Tom Brady’s accurate right arm and Rob Gronkowski’s massive hands.
Twice the undermanned Steelers needed one stop to give their offense the ball with a chance to take the lead on Sunday afternoon.
And twice the Patriots instead went right down the field instead, pulling away for a 27-16 victory that left little doubt as to where the balance of power in the AFC sits as the season reaches its halfway point.
The Steelers were within 14-13 when Blount broke runs of 11 and 25 yards to set up a 36-yard touchdown from Brady to Gronkowski early in the third quarter.
When another Pittsburgh field goal brought Pittsburgh within four, the Patriots responded with another long touchdown drive fueled by a 37-yard catch-and-run by Gronkowski that set up Blount’s second touchdown of the game.
“It was good to score like that and good to make plays in the second half that we needed to,” Brady said. “They certainly made it tough on us.”
Maybe, but the Steelers (4-3) also made it tough on themselves. Pittsburgh scored one touchdown in four trips to the red zone and was flagged 10 times for 85 yards, including a holding call in the second quarter that wiped out a touchdown pass that would have tied the game.
Instead, Chris Boswell missed a 42-yard field goal and Pittsburgh never legitimately came close to evening the score again.
“You can’t waste red zone trips, you have to come off blocks and make tackles in the run game, you can’t give up explosion plays, we did,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “That’s why we lost.”
Brady, Blount and Gronkowski had plenty to do with it too. Brady completed 19 of 26 for 222 yards and two touchdowns to improve to 9-2 against Pittsburgh. Gronkowski caught four passes for 93 yards and his 68th touchdown catch, tying Stanley Morgan for the most in club history. Blount finished with 127 yards rushing and two scores against the team he walked away from 2014 .
“His runs were able to settle us down,” New England coach Bill Belichick said of Blount.
New England (6-1) remained perfect since Brady returned from his four-game “Deflategate” suspension and while the Patriots lost a pair of fumbles they also didn’t throw an interception, making them the third team since 1960 to get through the first seven weeks of the season without throwing it to the other team, joining the 1960 Browns and 2008 Redskins.
Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley hardly limited the playbook with Jones under center. The fourth-year quarterback did what Roethlisberger likes to do, particularly getting the ball to running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Bell finished with 149 yards of total offense and Brown caught seven passes for 106 yards, but too often Pittsburgh settled for field goals (or field goal attempts) when touchdowns were required.
“We just got to the red zone a lot of times and turned the ball over, you can’t have that,” Bell said. “I mean, it is a small margin for error against a team like that.”
The 39-year-old quarterback who once ran the 40-yard dash at the combine in a not-so fleet 5.28 seconds can still run away from the bad guys. Brady ran for three first downs in the first half, mashing his way on a quarterback sneak and twice escaping pressure and outrunning defenders a decade or more younger for the necessary yardage.
New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a regular season extra point during his rookie year in 2006 and then didn’t miss another one until last week against Cincinnati, an NFL record streak of 479 attempts between misfires (though there was that costly missed kick in last year’s AFC championship game ). Gostkowski didn’t have to wait nearly as long until watching a second one go astray. Gostkowski misfired on a third-quarter extra point that kept the Steelers within seven.
“This is a tough place to kick,” Belichick said. “I’m not making any excuses. The kicker on the other side of the field had trouble too.”
In addition to the 42-yarder he missed, Boswell misfired on a 54-yarder with the Steelers down two scores in the fourth quarter.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Seattle’s Stephen Hauschka and Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won it in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals tied 6-6 on Sunday night.
Hauschka’s 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro’s 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.
The last tie in the NFL came in 2014, when Carolina and Cincinnati tied 37-37. The tie was the Cardinals’ first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.
The Cardinals (3-3-1) dominated the game statistically and looked to be in shape to win it after Carson Palmer’s 40-yard pass to J.J. Nelson set up Catanzaro’s short kick.
The Seahawks (4-1-1), stuffed throughout regulation by the Arizona defense, took over and Russell Wilson completed passes of 31 yards to Jermaine Kearse and 27 yards to Doug Baldwin to give Houschka his short attempt. Both kickers made field goals on their teams’ first possession of overtime.
Catanzaro, who kicked field goals of 46 and 45 yards, also had a 39-yard field goal blocked by a stunning play by Bobby Wagner when he hurdled Arizona long snapper Aaron Brewer.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians argued loudly for a penalty and was charged with a timeout when he challenged a play that is not reviewable. That proved significant when the Cardinals couldn’t stop the clock to get off a short field goal attempt as the first half ended.
EAGLES 21, VIKINGS 10
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Josh Huff returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, Carson Wentz outplayed Sam Bradford and Philadelphia handed Minnesota its first loss of the season.
The Eagles (4-2) snapped a two-game slide while the rested Vikings (5-1) hardly looked like an unbeaten team after having a bye.
Bradford returned to Philadelphia for the first time since his trade to Minnesota eight days before the season opener paved the way for Wentz to start. Bradford was 7-7 in his only season with the Eagles and won his first four starts for the Vikings.
But the Eagles pressured and harassed their former quarterback all game, sacked him six times, and forced his first three turnovers this season.
DOLPHINS 28, BILLS 25
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jay Ajayi tied an NFL record by surpassing 200 yards rushing for the second game in a row. Ajayi rushed for 214 yards in 29 carries after totaling 204 yards a week earlier in a win over Pittsburgh. He scored on a 4-yard run , and busted a 53-yarder when the Dolphins were pinned at their 3 and trailing in the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins (3-4) used an extra lineman much of the time to clear big holes for Ajayi, who tied the NFL record for consecutive 200-yard games held by O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.
Miami overcame an 11-point deficit with 16 minutes left to end a four-game winning streak by the Bills (4-3) and beat them for only the second time in their past seven meetings.
Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy, ranked second in the NFL in rushing, started, but totaled only 11 yards in eight carries before departing with a hamstring problem.
CHARGERS 33, FLACONS 30
ATLANTA (AP) — Josh Lambo’s 42-yard field goal in overtime gave San Diego its first road win of the year as the Chargers rallied from a 17-point deficit.
The Chargers (3-4) trailed 27-10 in the second quarter. They had lost 11 of their past 12 road games.
Linebacker Denzel Perryman delivered two key plays late in the game. Perryman’s interception of Matt Ryan’s pass for Julio Jones set up Lambo’s tying 33-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining in regulation.
Perryman’s fourth-and-1 stop on running back Devonta Freeman gave San Diego the ball at Atlanta’s 43 for the Chargers’ winning drive. Perryman grabbed Freeman’s feet behind the line for the key tackle on the Falcons’ gamble.
CHIEFS 27, SAINTS 21
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes in another efficient outing, and Daniel Sorensen returned an interception of Drew Brees for another touchdown.
Spencer Ware ran for 77 yards to go with his 46-yard touchdown reception, and Tyreek Hill made an acrobatic 38-yard TD catch to help the Chiefs (4-2) win their ninth straight at home.
Brees got the Saints (2-4) within 24-21 with his touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman with 2:33 left, but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds. Kansas City added a 41-yard field goal, and the Saints could do nothing in the final 28 seconds.
Brees finished with 367 yards and three TD passes.
RAIDERS 33, JAGUARS 16
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Latavius Murray scored twice in his return from turf toe, and the Raiders gave coach Jack Del Rio a victory against his former team.
Murray, who missed the past two games, finished with 59 yards on 18 carries. Michael Crabtree caught eight passes for 96 yards and a touchdown from Derek Carr, Sebastian Janikowski kicked four field goals, and the Raiders played the kind of defense they’ve been looking for all season.
The result was the team’s most complete win of the season. Oakland improved to 4-0 on the road and moved to 5-2 for the first time since 2001.
The Jaguars (2-4), meanwhile, dropped a third straight at EverBank Field and added more speculation about the future of coach Gus Bradley. Jacksonville fell to 14-40 during Bradley’s four seasons, and the latest loss was filled with poor execution on both sides of the ball and a lack of discipline down the stretch.
LIONS 20, REDSKINS 17
DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford threw a go-ahead, 18-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin with 16 seconds left.
The Lions (4-3) extended their winning streak to three games. The Redskins (4-3) had won four straight.
Stafford, who set up game-winning kicks in the previous two games, led his team to another win in the 100th game of his career. He was 18 of 29 for 266 yards, one TD and no turnovers.
Kirk Cousins scored a go-ahead TD on a 19-yard run with 1:05 left.
The Redskins, though, failed to stop Stafford from throwing or running on his last possession and could not overcome mistakes that included turnovers, a missed field goal and penalties.
GIANTS 17, RAMS 10
LONDON (AP) — The Giants capitalized on four interceptions of Case Keenum in the first NFL game played at London’s home of English rugby, a sold-out and raucous Twickenham Stadium.
Keenum, coming off the best start of his career, had the Rams at the Giants’ 15-yard line with 50 seconds left when he lobbed a pass in the left corner of the end zone that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie easily picked off. Keenum’s intended target, Brian Quick, failed to get the quarterback’s audible and cut off his route early.
Keenum, who finished 32 of 53 for 291 yards and one touchdown, has thrown an interception on the Rams’ final offensive play of the last three games. That likely will fuel debate on a potential quarterback change to overall No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff.
Landon Collins returned his first of two picks 44 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also had two interceptions.
BENGALS 31, BROWNS 17
CINCINNATI (AP) — A.J. Green’s one-handed catch in the middle of an end zone scrum highlighted Cincinnati’s day full of big plays.
Green’s 48-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the first half helped the Bengals (3-4) regain their footing in the injury-depleted AFC North. The defending division champions piled up their most points since they beat the Browns 37-3 last December. Jeremy Hill had a 74-yard touchdown run as part of his 168-yard effort, the best by a Bengals running back in seven years.
The Browns (0-7) extended their worst start since 1999, when they were a first-year expansion team. The NFL’s only winless team also lost yet another quarterback — the theme of their season. Cody Kessler got hit hard while throwing a shovel pass in the second quarter, then went to the locker for a concussion evaluation and was ruled out. That left the offense in the hands of undrafted rookie Kevin Hogan, the Browns’ sixth quarterback of the season.
COLTS 34, TITANS 26
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Andrew Luck threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle with 1:55 left to put Indianapolis ahead to stay, and the Colts rallied to beat the Titans for their 10th straight win against their AFC South rival.
The Colts (3-4) came in having lost two of three, including blowing a 14-point lead in an overtime loss last week at Houston. But Luck he improved to 8-0 against the Titans with yet another comeback win. He finished with 353 yards passing and three TDs, the last after Tennessee went up 23-20.
T.Y. Hilton caught seven passes for 133 yards, including a 37-yard TD. The Colts shook off 12 penalties for 131 yards in pulling out their 15th win in 16 games against Tennessee.
The Titans (3-4) saw their two-game winning string end.
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a pair of field goals, and the second, a 33-yarder with 3:46 left in the third quarter gave him an NFL record 43 consecutive field goals made.
JETS 24, RAVENS 16
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced an injured Geno Smith and led the Jets on three scoring drives, and a rejuvenated defense came up with two rare interceptions.
Fitzpatrick came in for Smith in the second quarter and led the Jets on a go-ahead drive capped by a 13-yard touchdown catch by Matt Forte. Fitzpatrick finished 9 of 14 for 120 yards and a touchdown as the Jets (2-5) snapped a four-game losing streak.
Smith injured his right knee while taking a sack from Baltimore’s Matthew Judon. Fitzpatrick was efficient after losing his job earlier in the week.
Joe Flacco started for Baltimore (3-4), loser of four in a row, after being questionable with a sore shoulder. He went a team-record 176 consecutive throws without an interception before Buster Skrine picked off his pass in the third quarter.
BUCCANEERS 34, 49ERS 17
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Jameis Winston threw three touchdown passes and Jacquizz Rodgers ran for 154 yards.
The Bucs (3-3) fell behind by 14 points early before scoring 27 straight to deal the Niners (1-6) their sixth straight loss for San Francisco’s longest losing streak since 2008.
Mike Evans caught eight passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns, Russell Shepard scored on a 19-yard pass from Winston, and Peyton Barber iced the game with a 44-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to help Tampa Bay win its second straight game around its bye week.
Colin Kaepernick struggled in his second start of the season for the 49ers, going 16 for 34 for 143 yards and turning the ball over twice after kneeling once again for the national anthem.
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees passed for 465 yards and four touchdowns, Wil Lutz kicked a 52-yard field goal with 11 seconds left, and the New Orleans Saints pulled out a 41-38 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
With his 15th 400-yard game, Brees broke a tie with Peyton Manning for the most in the regular season.
Brees also led the Saints (2-3) to a second straight victory while Carolina lost its fourth straight despite the return of quarterback Cam Newton, who missed last week’s loss to Tampa Bay because of a concussion.
Newton passed for 322 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a 2-yard score and threw a 2-point conversion to Devin Funchess that tied the game at 38 with 2:58 left, and completed a comeback from an early 21-0 deficit.
However, he was also intercepted by Sterling Moore in the back of the end zone, stalling a promising drive in the first half — a turnover that came back to haunt the defending NFC champions, now 1-5.
COWBOYS 30, PACKERS 16
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Rookie Dak Prescott threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns, and the Cowboys forced four turnovers.
Prescott was 18 of 27, shaking off two fumbles and an interception — the first of his career — to lead the Cowboys (5-1) to their fifth straight win. He showed poise in the fourth quarter while marching the Cowboys on a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley for an 18-point lead.
The score left Packers fans stunned at Lambeau Field. They were booing at times following another choppy game for the offense. The four turnovers were a season high for Green Bay (3-2).
Even two-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn’t immune from the jeering. Rodgers finished 31 of 42 for a season-high 294 yards.
SEAHAWKS 26, FALCONS 24
SEATTLE (AP) — Steven Hauschka’s 44-yard field goal with 1:57 remaining capped the 20th career fourth quarter or overtime comeback for Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
After watching Matt Ryan blitz the Seahawks for 21 third-quarter points, it was Wilson’s turn in the fourth quarter. He led a 70-yarddrive that was capped by Christine Michael’s 1-yard run with 4:47 left, but a blocked extra point by Ra’Shede Hageman still had Seattle trailing 24-23.
Seattle then got a needed big play from its defense. Ryan’s pass slipped through Julio Jones’ hands, was tipped in the air by Richard Sherman and eventually landed in the arms of Earl Thomas, giving Seattle possession at midfield with 3:48 remaining. It was the first time in the game that Jones was targeted and didn’t make the catch.
Seattle stalled at the Atlanta 26. This time Hauschka was perfect after missing a 29-yard attempt earlier in the fourth quarter, the result of a bad snap.
Ryan was incomplete on his last four throws, including a breakup by Sherman on a long pass to Jones on which the Falcons screamed for a pass interference flag.
CHIEFS 26, RAIDERS 10
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Spencer Ware ran for a career-high 131 yards and a touchdown and Alex Smith picked apart Oakland’s struggling defense.
In their first game since getting blown out by 29 points in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, the Chiefs (3-2) efficiently handled a Raiders team that had overcome defensive shortcomings with a big-play offense to lead the AFC West.
Smith completed 19 of 22 passes for 224 yards, Jamaal Charles and big defensive lineman Dontari Poe each ran for scores, and the Chiefs forced two turnovers by Derek Carr to dampen a fast start to the season by the Raiders (4-2), who are trying to end a 13-year playoff drought.
Marcus Peters set up Ware’s TD run with an early interception of Carr and Dee Ford forced a fumble from Carr in the fourth quarter to end any hopes of a late comeback.
TEXANS 26, COLTS 23, OT
HOUSTON (AP) — Nick Novak made a 33-yard field goal in overtime to give Houston a comeback victory over Indianapolis.
Brock Osweiler threw a 36-yard pass to Jaelen Strong to get Houston to the 12 and Novak’s field goal came two plays later. Indianapolis (2-4) got the ball first in overtime, but Benardrick McKinney sacked Andrew Luck on third down to force a punt.
Osweiler shook off a tough start to throw two touchdown passes in less than 2 minutes in the fourth quarter as Houston (4-2) erased a 14-point deficit to tie it at 23 with 54 seconds left. He found Lamar Miller on a 10-yard catch-and-run TD with 2:47 remaining and, after a stop by the defense, connected with C.J. Fiedorowicz on a 26-yarder that tied it.
REDSKINS 27, EAGLES 20
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Kirk Cousins threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns and the Redskins ran roughshod over one of the NFL’s top defenses.
The three-headed running attack of Matt Jones, Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson combined for 231 yards and a touchdown as the Redskins (4-2) won their fourth consecutive game. After starting the season 0-2, Washington has its best record through six games since 2008, when it went 8-8.
The Redskins put up 493 offensive yards against the Eagles (3-2), who came in allowing an average of 266.8 yards and 12.6 points as the league’s second-best defense. Cousins connected with Jamison Crowder on a 16-yard touchdown and with Vernon Davis on a 13-yarder. Davis started at tight end in place of Jordan Reed, who was out with a concussion. Jones ran for a 1-yard touchdown and sealed the victory with a 57-yard run as part of his 135-yard day.
Malcolm Jenkins intercepted Cousins and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown. Philadelphia also got an 86-yard kickoff return touchdown by Wendell Smallwood.
DOLPHINS 30, STEELERS 15
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger missed one series because of a left knee injury and was held to 189 yards passing.
Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards and two scores on 25 carries for the Dolphins (2-4).
The Steelers (4-2) had scored 74 points in their previous two games, but were outgained 474-297. Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, the NFL’s leading receiver, was held to four receptions for 39 yards. Teammate Sammie Coates, playing with a hand injury, didn’t have a catch.
Roethlisberger had only 83 yards passing with 5 minutes left before he drove the Steelers 97 yards for a touchdown. Miami recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the victory, and on the next play Ajayi scored on a 62-yard run.
BILLS 45, 49ERS 16
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — LeSean McCoy scored three times and the Bills extended their winning streak to four. McCoy had 140 yards rushing and shook off what appeared to be a frightening injury to his right knee late in the second quarter.
Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdown passes in helping Buffalo (4-2) win four straight for the first time since the start of the 2008 season.
Colin Kaepernick provided the 49ers a spark in his first start in nearly a year. Blaine Gabbert was benched following a 33-21 loss to Arizona, and Kaepernick finished 13 of 29 for 187 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith. But San Francisco (1-5) couldn’t finish drives, settling for three field goals by Phil Dawson, in losing its fifth straight game.
Kaepernick was the target of numerous boos and chants when he kneeled during the national anthem in continuing his protest against racial oppression and police brutality.
PATRIOTS 35, BENGALS 17
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Playing in his first game in Foxborough since the end of his “Deflategate” suspension, Tom Brady had three touchdown passes and went over 5,000 completions for his career.
Brady finished 29 for 35 for 376 yards. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had seven receptions for a career-high 162 yards and a touchdown.
Cincinnati dropped to 2-4 for the first time since 2010, when it finished 4-12 — its worst season under coach Marvin Lewis.
The Bengals had their moments offensively, scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run by Andy Dalton and 5-yard pass from Dalton to Brandon LaFell. But New England (5-1) bounced back from some sluggish drives early with several big plays in the third quarter.
GIANTS 27, RAVENS 23
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — A banged-up Odell Beckham Jr. turned a short fourth-and-1 pass into a winning 66-yard catch and run with 1:24 to play as the Giants snapped a three-game losing streak.
The win was the 700th in franchise history. Beckham gave it to the Giants with a career day despite going to the locker room with a hip pointer in the second quarter. Beckham returned before the half and made the Giants (3-3) a winner with a spectacular second half. It featured a 75-yard touchdown catch and a 43-yard reception that set up one of Josh Brown’s two field goals.
The Ravens (3-3) lost their third straight.
Beckham finished with eight catches for 222 yards. His late heroics saved the Giants, who were on the verge of a fourth straight loss after Terrance West scored on a 2-yard run with a 2:04 to play, giving the Ravens a short-lived 23-20 lead.
LIONS 31, RAMS 28
DETROIT (AP) — Matt Prater made a tiebreaking, 34-yard field goal with 1:29 left and Rafael Bush followed with a victory-sealing interception two plays later. The Lions (3-3) have won two straight games with Prater making the winning kick and a defensive back following up with an interception on the ensuing possession.
The Rams (3-3) have lost two straight.
Case Keenum completed a Rams-record 19 straight passes, but couldn’t connect with Lance Kendricks on the long throw that Bush stepped in front of near midfield. Keenum finished 27 of 32 for 321 yards with three touchdowns — two to Kenny Britt, one to Kendricks — and an interception.
Britt had season highs with seven receptions and 136 yards, 47 of which came on a highlight-reel catch.
Matthew Stafford threw for four Detroit touchdowns. Golden Tate had eight receptions for a career-high 165 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Jones, Anquan Boldin and Andre Roberts also caught TDs for the Lions.
TITANS 28, BROWNS 26
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Marcus Mariota threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns, and the Titans got their second straight victory — the first time they’ve won consecutive games since the end of the 2013 season.
The Titans (3-3) matched their win total for all of last season when they went 3-13 and wound up with the No. 1 draft pick overall. They also beat a team other than Jacksonville on their own field for the first time since the 2013 season finale and improved to 3-16 in Nashville.
Cleveland (0-6) is mired in its worst start since 1999 when the Browns lost their first seven as an expansion franchise.
JAGUARS 17, BEARS 16
CHICAGO (AP) — Blake Bortles threw for 271 yards and hit a slipping Arrelious Benn for a 51-yard touchdown in the closing minutes.
The Jaguars (2-3) wiped out a 13-0 deficit in the fourth quarter in a matchup of last-place teams. And the go-ahead touchdown might have been helped by the oft-criticized turf at Soldier Field.
Benn slipped as he caught a slant and so did Tracy Porter as he tried to tag the receiver. That allowed Benn, who spent the past three seasons on injured reserve, to get up and run untouched for his first touchdown in five seasons.
That gave the Jaguars a one-point lead with 2:49 left and sent the Bears (1-5) to another loss after they dropped the previous game to Indianapolis on a late TD pass by Andrew Luck. Chicago came up short despite racking up 389 yards.
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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Music blared louder than normal in the San Diego Chargers’ locker room, and there was a sense of relief Thursday night after a victory over the Denver Broncos.
The Chargers had actually finished.
Philip Rivers threw for 178 yards and one touchdown, passing Hall of Famer Dan Fouts to become San Diego’s career passing leader, and the Chargers held off the Broncos 21-13.
The victory may have saved embattled coach Mike McCoy’s job .
The Chargers (2-4) were coming off a mistake-filled loss at Oakland, and earlier in the season lost three games in which they led at the 2-minute warning. There has been increasing fan discontent with the conservative McCoy, and the Chargers are trying to convince voters to approve a $1.1 billion public handout for a new downtown stadium in the form of an increase in the hotel occupancy tax.
“There is nothing like winning,” a misty-eyed McCoy said. “Especially beating a good football team in front of are home fans. It was great.”
The victory “meant a ton for Mike,” Rivers said. “It wasn’t talked about a lot on the team but veteran players … I felt it. Not that I expected it if it didn’t go well. I had no idea but you also you are not playing dumb. We knew we had to get this thing going in a hurry.”
The Broncos had the ball in the final seconds, but the Chargers — who had two turnovers on special teams —held.
“You can’t take winning for granted in this league,” defensive end Corey Liuget said. “When I saw it said 0:00 and that guy didn’t catch that ball, I was happy as hell. I got on my damn knee and said, ‘Thank you Lord. It’s over now.'”
What changed from those brutal losses, when the Chargers blew late leads?
“It was a mindset for us to go out there and finish, and everyone knew we were going to finish this game,” Li
The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos were coached by special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis after Gary Kubiak was ordered by doctors to sit this one out because of a migraine condition that mimics strokes.
“You have to give them credit,” DeCamillis said. “We know it would be a tough game because they have played a lot of close games and not won.”
The five-time defending AFC West champion Broncos (4-2) were mostly sluggish behind Trevor Siemian, who was back at quarterback after rookie Paxton Lynch struggled in a loss to Atlanta. They lost their second straight game and had their NFL-record 15 straight divisional road victories snapped.
The Chargers snapped their streak of 10 straight divisional losses dating to 2014.
Rivers, in his 13th season with the Chargers and 11th as starter, has 43,094 career yards passing. Fouts threw for 43,040 yards in 15 seasons with the Bolts.
Rivers threw a 5-yard scoring pass to rookie tight end Hunter Henry to cap the game’s first possession. Rivers finished 18 of 29.
Otherwise, the Chargers had to settle for Lambo’s career-high four field goals, of 37, 21, 31 and 32 yards.
LATE-FIRING BRONCOS: Denver didn’t get across the 50 on its own accord until there were just 2 minutes left in the third quarter. Denver’s first score came after a punt bounced off San Diego’s Travis Benjamin and the Broncos recovered at the San Diego 11. The refs initially ruled that the Broncos downed the punt, but Denver challenged and got the ball. Brandon McManus kicked a 29-yard field goal.
Siemian was 30 of 50 for 230 yards, with a 5-yard scoring pass to Bennie Fowler midway through the fourth quarter.
McManus kicked a 46-yard field goal with 27 seconds left, and Denver recovered the onside kick at its 46. It got to the San Diego 45 with eight seconds to go before Siemian’s desperation pass was batted down by Dexter McCoil.
DEFENSIVE STAND: The Broncos were threatening at the San Diego 20 with less than 5 minutes to go. But on consecutive plays they were whistled for holding, Siemian was sacked by rookie Jatavis Brown and San Diego’s Craig Mager recovered a fumble by Demaryius Thomas.
RIVERBOAT MIKE: McCoy went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Denver 20 early in the second half, with Melvin Gordon going over the top for a 1-yard gain. Rivers misfired on two straight passes and was flushed on third down, forcing the Chargers to settle for Lambo’s 37-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead. McCoy improved to 25-31 overall in four seasons.
NEW HOLDER: Veteran backup quarterback Kellen Clemens took over as holder for the Chargers after rookie Drew Kaser’s misadventure at Oakland on Sunday. Kaser mishandled the snap on a potential tying field goal with 2:07 left in the 34-31 loss. Kaser, who also shanked a punt, kept his job as punter but lost his job as holder.
ANTHEM WATCH: Chargers players Joe Barksdale, D.J. Fluker, Chris Hairston, Joshua Perry and Tyreek Burwell held up their right fists during the national anthem.
INJURIES: The Broncos said T Russell Okung was taken to a hospital with concussion-like symptoms. … Chargers rookie DE Joey Bosa was having his right hand worked on by the trainers after Denver’s first drive. He was back in for the next Broncos possession. … Broncos WR Cody Latimer left with a concussion in the second quarter. … Gordon limped off the field early in the fourth quarter. He had his right ankle taped and returned on San Diego’s next possession.
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CLEVELAND (AP) — The NFL had its chance to damage the Patriots while Tom Brady sat out his “Deflategate” suspension. Now it’s New England’s turn to punish the rest of the league.
Sure, Brady’s return — 406 yards passing, three touchdowns to Martellus Bennett , a 33-13 romp — came against the only winless team, the spiraling, injury-ravaged Browns. Still, you got the feeling had Brady thrown for five scores, a reasonable possibility Sunday, he would have been spelling out R-O-G-E-R for each of them.
You also get the feeling Brady might throw for multiple touchdowns every time out as he makes up for lost time.
Not that he will admit that Commissioner Roger Goodell provided extra motivation for the four-time Super Bowl champion and two-time league MVP with the four-game ban.
“This isn’t a time for me to reflect,” Brady said. “There’s no point at looking back at anything. Whether we won Super Bowls or lost championship games or the last four weeks, none of it matters. I’ve just moved on, man.”
He moves on to Cincinnati, another reeling team with a suspect defense after being plundered by Dallas. In Brady’s mind, he’ll get even sharper than he was at Cleveland. It’s a fair point because after a dominant first half, there was some slippage in the final period and a half he played.
“I think there was plenty of rust out there,” Brady said. “I could do better in a lot of areas. I think it was a good win today. It was one game, and like I said, 4-1 is a good point to be at for us. We have a long road ahead, so we have to stay focused.”
The more Brady is focused and the healthier the Patriots (4-1) get, the more unenviable it will become taking on New England. On offense, he has as many weapons as ever in 2015 All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski and his sidekick at the position, Bennett; Julian Edelman, Brady’s favorite target; and Danny Amendola, not a bad fourth option at all.
The running game isn’t so formidable, but it isn’t a debit if LaGarrette Blount can stay healthy, allowing James White to be a role player and third-down back.
Consider that the offensive line has been a jumble, yet New England leads an AFC East filled with mediocre or bad teams. Also consider that the defense, despite showing some leaks in the secondary, has been pretty effective.
It’s certainly tiresome for the other 31 NFL locales to hear, but getting anywhere near the Lombardi Trophy will require knocking off New England. With a ticked-off Brady at the helm.
“It’s super great. He’s our leader. He’s our guy,” Gronkowski said. “He came out here on fire and we did what we had to do all week as an offense as a whole. It was awesome. He’s our leader.”
Then Gronk the wordsmith really put things in perspective: “Everyone was intense today. Everyone was amped up. Tom always brings the ampness to the table.”
Even though he will never say it, Brady will bring that “ampness,” an extra edge to each game this year. It might not even be needed against the likes of the Jets, Dolphins and Bengals in an AFC that looks weaker by the week. Or against San Francisco.
But there are some challenges ahead: at Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Denver, home for Seattle and Baltimore, a team that tends to play New England tough.
Brady, of course, insists that he not only isn’t looking back, he’s not interested in the future docket, other than the Bengals next Sunday. His coach’s mantra registers when Brady speaks in public, even if it rings hollow when you see Brady in action on the field.
There’s no question he was extra pumped for his return. There should be no question, despite the verbiage, that he will be equally revved up forever to overshadow the suspicions of cheating sparked by “Deflategate.”
“I want to do the best job I can for the city, for all of New England and for my team base and my family,” he said. “With all of these players, you put a lot into it, and there’s a lot that goes in, you have to make certain choices in your life in order to play this game. You need a lot of support from your family and friends to do that.
“I love running out in front of 70,000 people that are cheering for us. I love running out to 20,000 fans that are cheering for us and 50,000 are against us. We’re just going to run out and play. If I have a chance to run out and play, I’m going to do it.
LIONS 24, EAGLES 23
DETROIT (AP) — Matt Prater kicked a 29-yard field goal with 1:28 left and Darius Slay made an over-the-shoulder interception on the next snap, helping the Lions hand Carson Wentz his first loss with a victory over the Eagles.
The Lions (2-3) had lost three straight.
The Eagles (3-1) turned the ball over for the first time this season with 2:34 remaining when Ryan Mathews fumbled on a hit by Slay. The loose football was recovered by Tyrunn Walker at the Philadelphia 45.
Matthew Stafford set up the game-winning kick by converting a third-and-4 from the Eagles 39 with a perfectly placed pass on a crossing route to Golden Tate, who drew an unnecessary roughness penalty on Malcolm Jenkins.
REDSKINS 16, RAVENS 10
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Redskins used an 85-yard punt return by Jamison Crowder and an uncharacteristically strong performance by their defense to beat the Ravens.
It was the third straight win for the Redskins (3-2), who came in with the league’s 29th-ranked defense. Washington allowed a touchdown on the game’s opening drive and smothered the Ravens (3-2) the rest of the way.
The game wasn’t decided until the final minute, when an apparent 23-yard touchdown catch by Baltimore’s Breshad Perriman was overturned by replay. Perriman got his right foot down in the end zone, but his left foot was out of bounds.
Crowder scored Washington’s first TD with a sensational run through the middle of the Baltimore punt return team in the second quarter.
COWBOYS 28, BENGALS 14
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ezekiel Elliott ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns, fellow rookie Dak Prescott threw for a score and ran for another TD, and the Cowboys beat the Bengals.
Prescott had his first turnover in five games starting in place of injured Tony Romo, a fumble when being sacked late in the third quarter. But Prescott extended his NFL rookie record to 155 passes without an interception to start his career. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 227 yards.
Elliott, on only 15 carries, became the first Cowboys rookie with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
Dallas (4-1) has won four in a row. The Bengals (2-3) already have a losing record a year after being 8-0 midway through the season.
FALCONS 23, BRONCOS 16
DENVER (AP) — Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons didn’t need another 300-yard performance from Julio Jones to decipher Denver’s dazzling defense and wreck Paxton Lynch’s first NFL start.
Using a steady dose of I-formation runs and short passes that put Denver’s linebackers in coverage, the Falcons (4-1) handed the Super Bowl champs their first loss since Dec. 20 at Pittsburgh and left the Minnesota Vikings (5-0) as the NFL’s last unbeaten team.
The Broncos (4-1) were on their heels having to respect the play-action because Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman were so effective running the ball, combining for 119 yards and a 4.4-yard average.
STEELERS 31, JETS 13
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger passed for 380 yards and four touchdowns and the surging Steelers pulled away in the second half for a win over the Jets.
Sammie Coates caught six passes for a career-high 139 yards and two scores, including a 72-yard catch-and-run for a score on Pittsburgh’s opening drive as the Steelers moved the ball at will against a secondary missing injured star Darrelle Revis.
Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell racked up 154 yards of total offense, including a career-high nine receptions, while Antonio Brown caught nine passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. The All-Pro receiver, who has been fined on multiple occasions this season for crossing the line during his celebratory dances, simply handed the ball to a fan in the stands.
Pittsburgh (4-1) played without starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert, but had little trouble protecting Roethlisberger from one of the NFL’s top defensive lines.
The Jets fell to 1-4.
BILLS 30, RAMS 19
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nickell Robey-Coleman returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown, LeSean McCoy rushed for 150 yards, and the Bills won their third consecutive game by defeating the Rams.
Robey-Coleman stepped in front of rookie receiver Pharoh Cooper and strolled down the sideline to put the Bills (3-2) ahead 23-16 with 3:54 left in the third quarter.
The big play allowed the Bills to finish off the Rams (3-2) and end their three-game winning streak. Robey-Coleman added another interception in the final minutes.
The Bills stopped Bradley Marquez on a fake punt at the Rams 25 with 3:41 remaining.
Tyrod Taylor then threw a 6-yard touchdown to Marquise Goodwin to put the game out of reach.
RAIDERS 34, CHARGERS 31
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Derek Carr threw a go-ahead 21-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree on a fourth-and-2 gamble and added another TD pass to Amari Cooper to lead the Raiders to a victory over the mistake-prone Chargers.
San Diego (1-4) committed four turnovers and then botched the hold on a potential tying field goal. Rookie Drew Kaser couldn’t hold the snap on what would have been a 36-yard field goal attempt.
The Raiders (4-1) took over with 2 minutes left and ran out most of the clock to get a third straight win for the first time in five years and hand San Diego its 10th straight division loss.
Oakland took the lead on a bold call late in the third quarter. Facing a fourth-and-2 at the 21 late in the third quarter trailing by five, coach Jack Del Rio once again trusted his offense to make a big play and it paid off.
Carr found Crabtree deep down the left side for the touchdown that put the Raiders up 25-24. A 2-point conversion pass to Cooper gave Oakland a three-point lead and Jamize Olawale added a 1-yard run that made it 34-24 on a drive set up by Kaser’s 16-yard punt.
TITANS 30, DOLPHINS 17
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Marcus Mariota threw for three touchdowns and ran for another score, helping the Titans overcome a handful of big plays by the Dolphins.
Mariota bounced back with a strong game after totaling three interceptions and no TD passes in losses the past two weeks. He went 20 for 29 for 163 yards with no interceptions, and ran seven times for 60 yards.
DeMarco Murray added 121 yards rushing for the Titans, who totaled 235 on the ground. They improved to 2-3, and Miami fell to 1-4.
Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense turned in another woeful performance aside from the occasional long gain. Rookie Jakeem Grant scored on a 74-yard punt return , Damien Williams had a 55-yard, catch-and-run to set up a touchdown, and DeVante Parker made a 50-yard reception that led to a field goal.
VIKINGS 31, TEXANS 13
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Adam Thielen caught a touchdown pass to cap Minnesota’s opening drive and finished with a career-high 127 yards, and the Vikings defense flustered Brock Osweiler and the Texans.
Marcus Sherels returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown and Cordarelle Patterson scored on another sharp throw by Sam Bradford, who produced another turnover-free game and deftly guided the Vikings (5-0) into their bye week.
Brock Osweiler was overmatched by Minnesota’s relentless rush and coverage, finishing 19 for 42 for 184 yards, one interception and a late touchdown pass while taking four sacks. The Texans (3-2) were denied on 12 of 13 third downs, unable or unwilling to do much other than dump off short passes. Lamar Miller only had eight carries for 20 yards during a dud of a performance by the Texans that felt a lot like the 27-0 loss at New England two weeks ago.
COLTS 29, BEARS 23
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck threw a 35-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton with 3:43 left to lead the Colts past the Bears.
It’s the first time the Colts (2-3) defeated the Bears in Indianapolis.
After hearing a clamoring for changes all week, Indy went to the hurry-up offense and Luck made the alterations look good early and late.
When the Colts opened up the passing game and took shots down the field, they were efficient. When they didn’t, they bogged down.
Brian Hoyer was solid in his third straight start throwing for 397 yards and two touchdowns for Chicago (1-4).
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BOSTON (AP) — By Tuesday, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney could tell his team needed a break. That victory against Louisville was dramatic and draining, and a long trip on short rest was looming.
Swinney eased up a bit on the third-ranked Tigers and they responded with a sharp performance when they easily could have come out flat, beating Boston College 56-10 on Friday night.
“It was a taxing week, but our guys didn’t complain,” Swinney said. “They just went through the grind. I love that mentality of that team.”
Deshaun Watson threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns, and the Heisman Trophy hopeful even helped clear the way for Wayne Gallman’s 59-yard scoring run with a solid block.
Clemson (6-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) extended its conference winning streak to 12 games and its road winning streak to eight, which matches a school record set from 1978-79.
“I’ve been doing this a long time. There’s a reason that record’s only eight. It’s really hard to do,” Swinney said, doing his postgame news conference with the big bronze O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy that goes to the winner of this rivalry sitting on the table next to him.
Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware said he planned to spend his rare Saturday off back home in Anderson, South Carolina, chowing down on some food from J.C.’s sandwich shop, riding his father’s new dune buggy and watching college football.
“I’m super pumped,” he said.
The Tigers definitely earned their break.
Boston College (3-3, 0-3) lost its 11th consecutive ACC game.
Clemson broke three plays of at least 50 yards in the first quarter, two for touchdowns and another that set up a score. Watson picked off a defender on the edge to help spring Gallman for the game’s first touchdown. Watson’s 59-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett made it 21-0 late in the first half. That was all the Tigers needed.
“Those three plays were costly right there,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “The last thing I wanted to see us do is give up some big plays.”
Clemson: Hard to expect an A-plus effort from the Tigers considering the circumstances, but there was nothing to complain about. Swinney said the team “hit a wall” in the middle of the week so he cut back on practice and had the coaches and players catch up on rest. There was no looking past BC and a trip to the place where Swinney earned his first win as Clemson coach back in 2008.
“We don’t look forward to the next game or (back at) game past,” Watson said.
There were plenty of Clemson fans in the sellout crowd of 44,500, but not much intensity in Alumni Stadium. Still, the Tigers took care of business and came out of the game relatively healthy.
Boston College: The Eagles just can’t match-up against this level of opposition. The Eagles have lost their last two ACC games by a combined score 105-10 to Virginia Tech and Clemson.
BC’s best first-half drive covered 80 yards and got inside the Clemson 1. Twice on fourth-and-goal, quarterback Patrick Towles fumbled the snap because center Jim Cashman, who was playing in place of the injured Jon Baker (ankle), was knocked into the backfield by Tigers tackle Scott Pagano. The first one was wiped out by an offside penalty by Clemson, so Pagano did it again.
Baker is Boston College’s best lineman.
“One of my fears was losing that guy and that happened,” Addazio said.
Beating one of the worst teams in the conference isn’t going to push Clemson up the polls, but the Tigers did nothing to lose support In the AP Top 25 , which comes out Monday instead of Sunday because of the postponed Georgia-South Carolina game.
Clemson star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, from Springfield, Massachusetts, had four tackles, two for loss, including a sack, in his first college game in his home state.
Clemson: The Tigers return home to face North Carolina State on Oct. 15.
Boston College: If the Eagles are going to break the ACC losing streak, the next game could be their best opportunity. Boston College hosts Syracuse on Oct. 22 in a matchup of one team that can’t play offense (BC) and another that can’t play defense (Syracuse).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Boise State expected its receivers to have a big day against New Mexico, and they did.
Brett Rypien threw five touchdown passes — three to Cedrick Wilson and two to Thomas Sperbeck — and No. 19 Boise State overwhelmed New Mexico 49-21 on Friday night.
“We expected a lot of cover zero, man, so we knew if we had the time to throw, we would get open,” he said. “It getting a lot easier for us to see the coverages and what’s coming and the blitzes. And I think our o-line did a great job picking it up.”
The Broncos (5-0, 2-0 Mountain West) scored touchdowns on seven consecutive possessions. New Mexico (2-3, 1-1) scored on its second possession, and didn’t reach the end zone again until the midway through the fourth quarter.
Rypien was 21 of 28 for 391 yards. Sperbeck had nine receptions for 198 yards and Wilson had nine catches for 167 yards.
Rypien said it was gratifying to have the two receivers complementing each other.
“We got into a rhythm,” Rypien said. “The game plan called for us to make plays. The first four games we relied on Jeremy (McNichols), but we had to step up and we did.”
In the last two seasons, Sperbeck has totaled 29 catches and 479 yards receiving against New Mexico. His performance last season wasn’t enough to prevent the Lobos’ upset, but it was a conference record for yards.
The unexpected loss last season wasn’t much of a motivating factor, but it did make the victory feel a little sweeter, according to Sperbeck.
“It is a little bit of factor,” he said. “It does feel good to get a win against anybody, obviously. But it feels little better since they beat us last year, but you can’t think too much into that. I think we did a great of preparation all week and it showed (Friday).”
It helped that Boise State was stifling New Mexico early.
“When the defense stands its ground like it did (Friday), it takes lot of pressure off the offense,” Sperbeck said. “It allows us to operate more smoothly. There’s not as much pressure to move the ball down the field. We can take the shots we want.”
Although Boise State downplayed last year’s loss to the Lobos was any kind of motivation, the Broncos certainly played like they meant to put New Mexico in its place.
“A lot of guys didn’t really like how the Lobos celebrated last year so I think it was kind of a chip on our shoulder for last year,” Wilson said. “We played pretty hard.”
This was the first game this season that New Mexico did not have a double-digit lead at some point in the game.
The Lobos came into the game having allowed nine scoring plays of 40 or more yards and Boise State added two more to that total.
Boise State: Hosts Colorado State on Oct. 15. The Broncos have readily handled the Rams in all five meetings since joining the conference. The closest game was 42-30 in 2013. Coming up, Boise State faces BYU at home Oct. 20 in a nationally televised game that could be the Broncos best chance to make a lasting impression against a name opponent – at least until the regular-season finale Nov. 25 against Air Force.
New Mexico: The Lobos travel to Dallas to face Air Force in the Cotton Bowl. For New Mexico, a loss to the Falcons would effectively end its chances at winning the Mountain Division.
Boise State had 391 yards passing, 368 of those coming in the first half.
“We could have had more if we cut them loose,” said Broncos coach Bryan Harsin. “This show could have gone on all night.”
New Mexico became the first team this season to top the century mark rushing against the Broncos, totaling 382. Lobos quarterback Lamar Jordan became the first player to rush for 100 yards against Boise State, finishing with 139, but he completed just four passes for 39 yards.
Boise State suffered no injures of note.
New Mexico played the game without leading rusher Teryion Gipson, who injured his hamstring last week against San Jose State. Cornerback Isaiah Brown was lost to a foot injury in the first half. He was replaced by true freshman Elijah Lilly, who Lobos coaches had hoped to redshirt.
“I tried to just block it out as much as I could and focus on the game,” Rypien said, speaking of losing his grandmother Terry Rypien this week. “Now I can go home and focus on family stuff that I need to focus on. It was hard the first part of the week, but having the team around me and the coaches around me made it lot better.”
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NEW YORK (AP) — The Denver Broncos are one of two teams off to a 4-0 start this season. However, they are alone at the top of the latest AP Pro32 poll released on Tuesday.
The defending champion Broncos received nine first-place votes for 381 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.
The Broncos used their stellar defense to shut down the Buccaneers 27-7 on Sunday.
“Who says old school football doesn’t work anymore?” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said. “The Broncos are living proof that great defense is still a formula for success. Another transcendent performance against the Bucs, and the Broncos continue to roll early.”
The Minnesota Vikings, the NFL’s other 4-0 team, moved up a spot to No. 2 after beating the New York Giants 24-10 on Monday night. The Vikings received one first-place vote for 367 points.
The New England Patriots, who were tied with the Broncos last week at the top of the poll, dropped to No. 3 after losing 16-0 at home to Buffalo. The Patriots received two first-place votes for 357 points.
The good news for the Patriots is that Tom Brady will return from his “Deflategate” suspension and face the Cleveland Browns in his regular-season debut on Sunday. The Browns are the league’s only winless team.
“Tom Brady is a welcome sight for the Patriots, who were shut out for the first time at home in 23 years,” Glauber said.
“His four-game suspension from Deflategate is over, and now the poor Browns get to face a quarterback with a chip on his shoulder the size of the skyscraper at 345 Park Ave. — the place where (Commissioner) Roger Goodell works.”
The Philadelphia Eagles, the only other unbeaten team in the league, remained after No. 4 after having a bye week.
The Seattle Seahawks moved up a spot to No. 5 after beating the New York Jets 27-17. And the Pittsburgh Steelers moved to No. 6 after routing the Kansas City Chiefs 43-14 on Sunday night.
The Green Bay Packers slipped two spots to No. 7 and will host the New York Giants coming off their bye week.
The Atlanta Falcons jumped from No. 17 to No. 8 after routing Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 48-33.
“A year before heading into their plush new home, the high-scoring Falcons are moving on up, led by revitalized Matt Ryan,” said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Oakland Raiders went from No. 16 to No. 9 after rallying past the Baltimore Ravens, who dropped to No. 10.
“Khalil Mack said the big road win against the Ravens proved Oakland is a ‘contender,'” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback. “They certainly look like a team that is growing into its high expectations.”
Denver Broncos (9)
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills took advantage of sloppy, Tom Brady-less New England to hand the Patriots their first home shutout at Gillette Stadium, winning 16-0 on Sunday.
It was the first loss of the season for New England (3-1), which was playing its final game before Brady returns from his four-game “Deflategate” suspension. The Patriots, who moved into Gillette Stadium in 2002, were last blanked at home 6-0 by the New York Jets in 1993 at Foxboro Stadium.
Tyrod Taylor connected with LeSean McCoy for a 7-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, Dan Carpenter added three field goals for Buffalo (2-2).
It was Buffalo’s second win in its last 16 visits to Foxborough. Including his tenure with the New York Jets, it gave Bills coach Rex Ryan his first regular-season road victory over Bill Belichick in eight tries. The last Bills’ shutout win away From Orchard Park was 23-0 over Washington in a Buffalo “home” game at Toronto on Oct. 30, 2011.
After struggling to maintain drives and finding a run-pass balance, Taylor was spot-on Sunday. He finished 27 for 39 for 246 yards, and directed a unit that was 7 for 15 on third downs. The Bills had been 10 of 36 combined in the first three games.
Buffalo’s defense also carried over its dominant effort from its 33-18 win over Arizona, sacking rookie Jacoby Brissett three times.
STEELERS 43, CHIEFS 7
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns passes for the fifth time in his career and Pittsburgh throttled Kansas City.
A week after suffering the franchise’s worst loss in 27 years, the Steelers (3-1) responded by overwhelming the erratic Chiefs (2-2).
Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown — wearing cleats featuring the profile of golf great and western Pennsylvania native Arnold Palmer — for a pair of scores.
Roethlisberger also found Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jesse James for touchdowns as the Steelers emphatically rebounded from a 31-point meltdown in Philadelphia. The quarterback finished 22 of 27 for 300 yards and a rating of 152.5, just shy of a perfect 158.3 rating.
Le’Veon Bell ran for 144 yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for 34 yards in his return from a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
COWBOYS 24, 49ERS 17
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Ezekiel Elliott ran for 138 yards and a touchdown and Dak Prescott threw for two scores to help the Cowboys overcome an early 14-point deficit to beat the 49ers.
The Cowboys (3-1) fell in a 14-point hole early in the second quarter before taking over the game behind a pair of rookies who have helped the team get off to a fast start this season with starting quarterback Tony Romo sidelined by a back injury.
Prescott threw for 245 yards and had a 20-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams and a 4-yarder to Brice Butler to tie the game at the half.
Elliott then took over with 96 yards rushing in the second half, including a 1-yard run that gave Dallas the lead for good late in the third quarter.
Blaine Gabbert got off to a fast start to help San Francisco (1-3) take the early lead but struggled to generate any offense after that.
RAIDERS 28, RAVENS 27
BALTIMORE (AP) — Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes, the last to Michael Crabtree with 2:12 left.
After the Ravens rallied from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to go ahead with 3 ½ minutes remaining, Carr directed a 66-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard strike to Crabtree in the back of the end zone.
Carr went 25 for 35 for 199 yards. Three of his TD passes went to Crabtree, who finished with seven catches for 88 yards to help Oakland (3-1) to its third road win.
The Ravens (3-1) trailed 14-3 in the second quarter and 21-12 with 11:11 to go before coming back.
A 52-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Steve Smith cut the deficit to 21-19. Ravens defensive tackle Lawrence Guy then forced a fumble by DeAndre Washington, and Baltimore recovered at the Oakland 17.
Four plays later, Terrance West scored from the 3 to give Baltimore its first lead.
FALCONS 48, PANTHERS 33
ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan shredded Carolina’s defense, passing for a team-record 503 yards and four touchdowns, Julio Jones had 12 receptions for a Falcons-record 300 yards. The totals by Ryan and Jones are the most ever allowed by Carolina.
One week after being held to one catch in a win at New Orleans, Jones had a 75-yard scoring catch late in the game as Atlanta solidified its early hold on the NFC South lead.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, the 2015 league MVP, left in the fourth quarter and was evaluated for concussion symptoms after taking a hit from Deion Jones on a successful 2-point run. There appeared to be helmet-to-helmet contact but there was no penalty on the hit.
The defending NFC champion Panthers (1-3) scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including scoring passes from Newton’s replacement, Derek Anderson, to tight end Greg Olsen and Corey Brown. Robert Alford’s 30-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:14 remaining clinched the win for the Falcons (3-1).’
BRONCOS 27, BUCCANEERS 7
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Paxton Lynch made his NFL debut sooner than expected, stepping in for injured starter Trevor Siemian to help the Broncos remain unbeaten with a victory over the Buccaneers.
Siemian left the game with two minutes remaining in the first half with what the defending Super Bowl champions described as an injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder. He remained in uniform and watched the second half from the sideline, wearing a baseball cap while Lynch — the 26th pick in this year’s draft— finished the Broncos’ ninth consecutive win.
Siemien threw a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, capitalizing on Aqib Talib’s interception and 25-yard return to the Bucs 11 on Tampa Bay’s opening possession. The ex-Buc cornerback also set up another first-half TD with a second interception that led to C.J. Anderson’s 1-yard run for a 14-7 lead.
For the second straight week, play was stopped in the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium because of inclement weather. The game was suspended for 1 hour, 26 minutes with 6:52 remaining Sunday, with only a few thousand fans returning to their seats for the conclusion.
SAINTS 35, CHARGERS 34
SAN DIEGO (AP) —Drew Brees led New Orleans to two touchdowns in the final 4 minutes, 50 seconds to rally the Saints to a stunning victory against Philip Rivers and the Chargers, who blew a 13-point lead by committing two crucial turnovers..
Brees overcome two interceptions to win in his return to San Diego, where he played his first five NFL seasons before being allowed to leave as a free agent. It was also the first win this season for the Saints (1-3).
After the final gun, Brees ran over to the stands and greeted Saints fans.
With the Chargers (1-3) trying to protect a 34-21 lead, Melvin Gordon fumbled and Darryl Tapp recovered at the San Diego 13, setting up Brees’ 5-yard TD pass to Michael Thomas on fourth-and-2 to pull to 34-28 with 4:50 to go.
Travis Benjamin then fumbled after a reception and Nate Stupar recovered at the San Diego 31. Seven plays later, fullback John Kuhn scored his third TD of the game, on a 1-yard run. The PAT made it 35-34.
Rivers, who was Brees’ understudy for his first two NFL seasons, was intercepted by B.W. Webb with 1:10 to go.
RAMS 17, CARDINALS 13
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Tavon Austin returned a punt 47 yards to set up Case Keenum’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Brian Quick with 2:41 to play, and the Rams improved to 3-1 for the first time in a decade with a victory over the Cardinals (1-3).
Arizona’s Carson Palmer threw for 288 yards and a touchdown but left the game to be evaluated for a concussion after his head slammed to the turf on a sack by Aaron Donald with 5:40 to play.
The play forced a Cardinals punt and Austin raced past would-be tacklers to the Arizona 34. A facemask penalty against Ifeanyi Momah moved the ball to the 19 and the Rams went ahead when Quick caught a pass under tight defense for the score.
Arizona backup Drew Stanton was intercepted twice in the final minutes, including on a Hail Mary on the game’s final play.
JAGUARS 30, COLTS 27
LONDON (AP) — Blake Bortles threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Jacksonville held off a furious Indianapolis Colts rally for the Jaguars’ first win of the season. The victory at a raucous Wembley Stadium elevated Jacksonville into a tie with Indianapolis at 1-3 in the AFC South.
Andrew Luck led the Colts on three fourth-quarter touchdown drives to rattle the Jaguars’ nerves. But his fourth-and-1 pass at the Jacksonville 49 with 1:36 remaining fell from the hands of tight end Dwayne Allen to preserve the victory for under-fire Jaguars coach Gus Bradley.
The Jaguars got a semblance of a running game going for the first time this season. T.J. Yeldon carried 13 times for 68 yards and Bortles added seven scrambles for 36 yards, including a 1-yard run that put Jacksonville ahead 14-6 midway through the second quarter.
The Colts repeatedly self-destructed on offense with dropped balls and another costly Luck interception that led to Jacksonville’s opening touchdown. The Colts proved just as reckless on defense as pass interference and unnecessary roughness penalties extended three Jacksonville scoring drives.
The Jaguars led 23-6 after three quarters before the Colts mounted a tenacious comeback.
SEAHAWKS 27, JETS 17
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Russell Wilson was sharp and efficient despite playing with a sprained knee, throwing three touchdown passes.
Wilson injured the medial collateral ligament in his left knee last week against San Francisco and wasn’t his usual mobile self in this one, but his arm was plenty good. He finished 23 of 32 for 309 yards while wearing a brace on his leg as the Seahawks (3-1) won at MetLife Stadium for the first time since beating the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in 2014.
Jimmy Graham, questionable with back spasms earlier in the week, had six catches for 113 yards, including an impressive 17-yard one-handed grab in the opening quarter, while giving the Jets (1-3) fits all game.
Wilson missed the first snap of his career due to injury last weekend after getting pulled down by San Francisco’s Eli Harold. The Seahawks quarterback has also dealt with a sprained right ankle from the opener against Miami. He was efficient against the Jets, especially in the first half when he went 10 of 11 for 191 yards and two TDs and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating. He finished with minus-5 yards on five rushes for Seattle, which has a bye next weekend.
Wilson helped Seattle, making the first of three East Coast trips this season, improve to 8-5 in its last 13 games with a 1 p.m. Eastern start time.
Richard Sherman had two interceptions and Earl Thomas one as Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets couldn’t get much going against the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense.
REDSKINS 31, BROWNS 20
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes, including two to tight end Jordan Reed, and the Washington Redskins cashed in on several trips to the red zone.
The Redskins (2-2) scored four red zone touchdowns against the Browns (0-4) after going 3 for 14 in their first three games. Cousins connected with Reed for 8- and 9-yard touchdowns, Chris Thompson for a 5-yard score, and running back Matt Jones scored from 1 yard as part of his 117-yard performance.
Jones eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the first time this season, and Cousins finished 21 of 27 for 183 yards and also had an interception.
Browns running back Isaiah Crowell ran for 112 yards and a touchdown, and Cody Kessler was 27 of 38 for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But turnovers on three consecutive second-half possessions cost Cleveland a chance at its first victory.
TEXANS 27, TITANS 20
HOUSTON (AP) — Will Fuller had a tiebreaking 67-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was the first time Houston (3-1) played without its star defensive end J.J. Watt since the 2010 season. Watt, out for the season after back surgery, had started 83 straight games since being drafted in 2011.
Fuller also had 81 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Tennessee (1-3) was driving with less than two minutes remaining, but Marcus Mariota’s pass to former Texan Andre Johnson on fourth down was broken up.
The Texans squandered an early 14-point lead and their offense was struggling in the second half when Fuller took the first return of his career for a touchdown to make it 27-20. Fuller, who ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the combine, took the punt and quickly made a trio of Titans miss before outrunning everyone else down the sideline for the score.
BEARS 17, LIONS 14
CHICAGO (AP) — Brian Hoyer threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns, and the Bears (1-3) got a win after starting 0-3 for the second time in as many seasons under coach John Fox.
They also stopped a six-game home losing streak as well as a six-game slide against Detroit (1-3), though things got tight near the end.
Chicago was leading 17-6 when Andre Roberts returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown. Golden Tate then caught a 2-point conversion pass from Matthew Stafford to cut it to 17-14 with 1:52 left, but the Bears recovered the onside kick.
Hoyer was on target in his second straight start with Jay Cutler nursing a sprained right thumb. He was 28 of 36 passes against a defense missing the injured Ezekiel Ansah and DeAndre Levy.
Eddie Royal caught seven passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Jordan Howard ran for a career-high 111 yards for Chicago.
The Lions dropped their third straight.
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NEW YORK (AP) — The Denver Broncos are off to a perfect start under quarterback Trevor Siemian. The New England Patriots also are 3-0 despite playing without superstar Tom Brady.
The past two Super Bowl winners also share the top spot in the latest AP Pro32 poll released on Tuesday.
The Patriots received six first-place votes and the Broncos earned five and both have 377 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.
It’s the second consecutive week for a tie at the top spot in the poll. Last week the Patriots and Steelers were tied at No. 1.
The Patriots will play their last game without the suspended Brady when they host the Bills on Sunday.
“The genius of Bill Belichick has the Patriots in early control of the AFC East. As per usual,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.
“One more week to go before Tom Brady returns, presumably picks up where he left off and keeps the Jets, Bills and Dolphins spinning their wheels in hopeless pursuit of the perennial AFC East champs and Super Bowl contenders.”
The defending champion Broncos will try to stay unbeaten when they head to Tampa Bay.
The Vikings, who are 3-0 despite injuries to Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson, received the other first-place vote and are No. 3 in the poll.
“Getting off to a 3-0 start despite losing their franchise QB, once-in-a-generation RB and starting LT in the span of a few weeks is Patriots-esque,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback.
“Credit to head coach Mike Zimmer.”
The Eagles, led by rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, are also 3-0 and in first place in the NFC East. Philly jumped 11 spots to No. 4 in the poll after routing the Steelers 34-3 on Sunday.
“More popular than Philly cheesesteaks, rookie QB Carson Wentz has already won over a demanding fan base,” said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Packers jumped four spots to round out the top five.
Seattle also made a big leap, moving six spots to No. 6.
AFC North rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh are tied for No. 7. The Chiefs are No. 9 after forcing eight turnovers in a rout of the Jets.
“What a performance by the Chiefs defense, which is still missing Justin Houston but has the league’s next great young cornerback, Marcus Peters,” Vrentas said.
And the Panthers, despite being 1-2 on the season, round out the top 10.
“Cam Newton is getting pummeled in the early going, as the Panthers continue the trend of Super Bowl losers who struggle the year after,” Glauber said.
“Eight sacks, three interceptions and a sore ankle for Newton in a lopsided home loss to the resurgent Vikings.”
After consecutive losses in prime time, the Bears replaced the Browns at the bottom of the poll at No. 32.
“After three demoralizing weeks, Soldier Field is an afterthought compared to Wrigley Field,” Kaufman said.
Denver Broncos (5)
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, a fierce defense shut down Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3 on Sunday to remain unbeaten.
The rookie No. 2 overall pick connected with Darren Sproles on a 73-yard, catch-and-run TD and tossed a 12-yard TD pass to Jordan Matthews.
After beating the Browns and Bears in the first two games, the Eagles (3-0) proved they could compete with the big boys. The Steelers (2-1) averaged 31 points the first two weeks and are considered Super Bowl contenders.
Pittsburgh was 19-2 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004. But Wentz is no ordinary rookie.
Everyone is jumping on the Wentz wagon in Philadelphia. And he was the No. 3 quarterback until Sam Bradford was traded to Minnesota just eight days before the season opener.
Sproles finished with six catches for 128 yards and Kenjon Barner and rookie Wendell Smallwood each had their first career rushing TDs.
BRONCOS 29, BENGALS 17
CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevor Siemian threw a career-high four touchdown passes in his first road start and was nearly perfect under fourth-quarter pressure, rallying Denver over Cincinnati.
The defending Super Bowl champions are 3-0 under Siemian, who took over after Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler went to Houston. He completed 11 of 12 passes while rallying the Broncos to a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
The previous Bronco to throw for four touchdowns was Manning in 2014 against the Dolphins. Siemian went 23 of 35 for 312 yards and a passer rating of 132.1.
Siemian had a 41-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders to get it started, and stood in under a heavy rush and connected with Demaryius Thomas on a 55-yard score with 4:23 left to clinch it. Sanders finished with nine catches for 117 yards.
The Bengals got their dormant running game going, but were still out of sync as they fell to 1-2 for the first time in five years. Jeremy Hill ran for a pair of touchdowns and 97 yards.
PACKERS 34, LIONS 27
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw for 205 yards and four touchdowns, including two in the first half to Jordy Nelson, and Green Bay snapped out of its offensive funk before holding off Detroit.
Rodgers was 15 of 24, leading the Packers to touchdowns on their first three series. Nelson had 101 yards on six catches, returning to the form that made him one of the NFL’s best receivers before missing the 2015 season with a knee injury.
The Packers (2-1) led 31-10 at the half before the Lions slowly chipped away.
Marvin Jones’ 35-yard touchdown catch with 3:34 left got Detroit (1-2) within seven. Jones had a career-high 205 yards on six receptions.
Matthew Stafford passed for 385 yards and three scores for the Lions, who held advantages in total yardage (418-324) and time of possession, holding the ball for 35 minutes.
COWBOYS 31, BEARS 17
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass, and the Cowboys beat Chicago to snap an eight-game home losing streak.
With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without injured quarterback Tony Romo over three seasons before the rookie fourth-round pick showed up. Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas’ first home win since last year’s opener.
Prescott’s first TD pass was a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he’s up to 99 throws without an interception to start his career. Philadelphia rookie Carson Wentz has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals in NFL history.
Rookie Ezekiel Elliott had his first 100-yard game for Dallas, finishing with 140 yards on 30 carries and a 14-yard run when he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski.
Chicago is 0-3.
VIKINGS 22, PANTHERS 10
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Sam Bradford threw a touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph, Marcus Sherels returned a punt for a score and Minnesota snapped Carolina’s 14-game home winning streak.
The Vikings (3-0) put the clamps on Cam Newton, intercepting the league’s reigning MVP three times and sacking him eight times, one of those resulting in a safety by Danielle Hunter.
The eight sacks were the second-most ever against Newton.
The Panthers (1-2) had come in averaging 42 points per game in their past three home games, but could do little after bolting to a 10-0 lead. The Vikings held Carolina receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess without a catch.
Bradford improved to 2-0 as the Vikings starter, completing 18 of 28 passes for 171 yards. With Adrian Peterson injured, Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon combined for 70 yards rushing on 22 carries. Rudolph had seven catches for 70 yards, including a 15-yard TD catch to put the Vikings ahead for good in the early in the third quarter.
SEAHAWKS 37, 49ERS 18
SEATTLE (AP) — Russell Wilson threw for 243 yards and a touchdown before suffering a left knee injury and Seattle rolled to a rout of San Francisco.
Wilson was injured with about 10 minutes to go in the third quarter getting pulled down awkwardly on a sack by San Francisco’s Eli Harold. Harold was called for a horse collar penalty, but the bigger concern was how he fell on Wilson’s left leg.
Wilson stayed down on the field for a few moments before walking off. Wilson missed the first play of his career due to injury, but returned to throw one more pass. The completion led to the third of Steven Hauschka’s three field goals for a 27-3 lead and after that Wilson’s day was done.
COLTS 26, CHARGERS 22
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck shook off a sore throwing shoulder, then watched T.Y. Hilton break a tackle on a 63-yard touchdown pass with 1:17 to play, giving Indianapolis a victory over San Diego.
It’s the second time this season Luck has produced a late score to give Indy a lead in the waning seconds.
But, unlike the season opener two weeks ago, the Colts (1-2) recovered two fumbles in the final 62 seconds to preserve the win.
Luck finished 24 of 37 for 331 yards with one TD and one interception to earn his 15th come-from-behind win — not bad for a guy who missed practice Wednesday and did limited work Thursday in practice because of the injury.
REDSKINS 29, GIANTS 27
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Dustin Hopkins kicked a 37-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter for his fifth of the game and Washington Redskins avoid a near-disastrous 0-3 start with a win over the penalty-and error-prone New York.
Kirk Cousins threw touchdown passes of 44 yards to DeSean Jackson and 55 to Jamison Crowder as the banged-up Redskins (1-2) handed new coach Ben McAdoo his first loss with the Giants (2-1).
Su’a Cravens ended the Giants’ final drive with an interception in New York territory. It was Eli Manning’s second pick of the quarter, with the other coming in the end zone by Quinton Dunbar after New York got to the Redskins 15 on a big play by Odell Beckham Jr.
RAMS 37, BUCCANEERS 32
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Case Keenum threw for the Rams’ first touchdown since relocating back to Los Angeles, and Todd Gurley rushed for two more scores in a victory over Tampa Bay.
The Rams (2-1), who did not get into the end zone in the first two games of the season, also scored on Ethan Westbrooks’ 77-yard fumble return and Tavon Austin’s 43-yard reception in the fourth quarter before thunder and lightning caused a 69-minute weather delay with two minutes remaining.
Keenum, who used three field goals to beat Seattle 9-3 in Week 2, completed 14 of 25 passes for 190 yards, two TDs and one interception, which Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander returned 38 yards for a first-quarter touchdown.
In addition to throwing a TD pass to Austin for a late 11-point lead, he got the Rams on track early with his 44-yard scoring pass to Brian Quick for the franchise’s first TD as the L.A. Rams since 1994.
Jameis Winston threw for 405 yards and three TDs for Tampa Bay (1-2). He threw an interception that set up one of Gurley’s two 1-yard touchdown runs and was stripped by the Rams’ Robert Quinn on the fumble that Westbrooks returned up the left sideline for a 31-20 lead.
CHIEFS 24, JETS 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs returned two turnovers for touchdowns, intercepted three passes in the end zone and forced eight turnovers total in a victory over New York.
Marcus Peters had two of the picks for the Chiefs (2-1), including the first of four off the Jets’ Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter. Daniel Sorenson had another, Derrick Johnson returned his 55 yards for a touchdown, and D.J. White snagged his in the end zone with 1:54 left in the game.
The eight turnovers were the most by the Jets (1-2) since they set a franchise record with 10 in a loss to the New England Patriots on Nov. 21, 1976.
Alex Smith was 25 of 33 for 237 yards and a touchdown for Kansas City, while Spencer Ware added 75 yards rushing. But it was the performance of the defense — and all those Jets turnovers — that helped the Chiefs bounced back from their first regular-season defeat in 12 games.
RAVENS 19, JAGUARS 17
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Justin Tucker kicked a 54-yard field goal with 1:02 remaining, lifting Baltimore over Jacksonville.
Tucker raised both arms in celebration as his fourth field goal of the day split the uprights with plenty of distance. The Ravens improved to 3-0 for the third time in franchise history and first since 2009.
The Jaguars fell to 0-3 for the third time in the last four years and surely will hear more talk about coach Gus Bradley’s job security. Bradley is now 12-39 in four seasons, the second-worst winning percentage of any NFL coach with at least 50 games.
Tucker also made kicks of 43, 42 and 37 yards.
BILLS 33, CARDINALS 18
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — LeSean McCoy scored twice and safety Aaron Williams returned a botched field-goal snap 53 yards for a touchdown in leading Buffalo over Arizona.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor also scored on a 20-yard run at a time the Rex Ryan-coached Bills spent the past week taking the brunt of criticism after opening the season 0-2.
The win also came on the heels of Ryan firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman and replacing him with running backs coach Anthony Lynn.
McCoy scored on 24- and 5-yard runs, and finished with 110 yards rushing after combining for just 117 in his first two games. Taylor had 76 yards rushing, including a 49-yarder, the longest by a quarterback in team history.
Arizona is 1-2.
RAIDERS 17, TITANS 10
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Carr threw for 249 yards and a touchdown, and Oakland beat Tennessee with its defense finally coming up with some big plays.
The Raiders (2-1) forced three turnovers and had a sack after coming into this game having given up more yards than any team since at least 1940 through the first two games. Coach Jack Del made a couple of lineup changes, starting linebacker Cory James and rookie safety Karl Joseph, their top draft pick.
Oakland never trailed and took control in the second quarter, scoring 10 points and outgaining the Titans 129-40 to take a 17-3 lead into halftime.
The Titans (1-2) rallied from a 15-3 deficit a week ago in beating Detroit 16-15, and they thought they at least had forced overtime when Marcus Mariota found Andre Johnson alone in the end zone for a touchdown. But officials flagged Johnson for interference on Raiders cornerback TJ Carrie.
DOLPHINS 30, BROWNS 24, OT
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jay Ajayi scored on an 11-yard run with 8:26 left in overtime, and Miami escaped with a win over Cleveland.
Ajayi’s winner came one play after Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill found a wide-open Jarvis Landry for a 32-yard gain, as the Dolphins (1-2) avoided what would be their first 0-3 start since 2011.
Tannehill threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns for Miami, and Landry caught seven of those passes for 120 yards.
Cody Parkey missed three field goals for Cleveland, including a 46-yarder as time expired in regulation.
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) —- Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson left in the third quarter against Green Bay with an injured right knee.
Peterson was injured after a 5-yard run late in the third quarter. He was not able to put any pressure on his leg has he hobbled off the field and needed to be helped back to the locker room for further testing. Upon arriving in the locker room, Peterson was quickly ruled out for the rest of Sunday night.
Peterson tore the ACL in his left knee in the second-to-last game of the 2011 season.
He was on crutches after the game, wearing a brace on his right leg. Coach Mike Zimmer said he was told the injury had “calmed down.”
“He might miss a week. I don’t know if he will or not,” Zimmer said.
Peterson finished the game with just 19 yards on 12 carries against the Packers.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was knocked out of New England’s game against Miami with a shoulder injury, meaning the highest-profile replacement in the NFL needed a replacement of his own.
Garoppolo — filling in for suspended quarterback Tom Brady — took a big hit from Miami’s Kiko Alonso in the second quarter of the Patriots’ game against the Dolphins on Sunday and left for further evaluation.
The Patriots did not disclose the severity of the injury, but said Garoppolo was ruled out for the rest of the game. The Patriots held on to beat the Dolphins 31-24.
Garoppolo was 18 of 27 passing for 234 yards and three touchdowns in less than a half, as New England rolled to a 24-3 halftime lead. He was replaced by rookie Jacoby Brissett, a South Florida native who found himself facing essentially his hometown team in his pro debut. New England didn’t need another quarterback, but if it did the likely choice figured to be wide receiver Julian Edelman — who played QB in college at Kent State.
There was a very scary scene in the first half of Sunday’s early games as well.
Cornerback P.J. Williams of the New Orleans Saints needed to be placed on a backboard and taken off on a cart after he took multiple blows to the head while trying to make a tackle in his team’s game against the New York Giants. Fox Sports reported that Williams was moving his extremities at a nearby hospital and was being evaluated for a concussion.
Also, Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware broke his right forearm early in the third quarter against Indianapolis.
Coach Gary Kubiak said the team will see the extent of the injury on Monday morning and “whether we think it’s something he can play with or something that has to be fixed.”
On the play he was hurt, Ware just missed wrapping up Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and appeared to run into a teammate. He walked off holding his right arm.
The 34-year-old Ware had a half-sack in the game.
In other injuries Sunday:
— Cleveland center Cameron Erving left the Browns’ stadium by ambulance as a precaution, the team said. Erving cramped late in the game and had discomfort in his upper body. The Browns said he’s been diagnosed with a pulmonary contusion and he will remain in the hospital overnight for observation.
— Danny Woodhead left in the first quarter of San Diego’s game against Jacksonville with an apparent right knee injury, and was taken off the sideline on a cart on his way to further evaluation. The Chargers lost Keenan Allen last week, so if Woodhead’s injury is serious then San Diego’s offense would take another hit.
— Colts receiver WR Donte Moncrief left in the second quarter with a head and neck injury. Offensive lineman Denzelle Good left in the fourth quarter with a back injury.
— Tampa Bay tight end Luke Stocker (ankle) left in the first quarter. And after a 1-yard gain on Tampa Bay’s first play of the second quarter, running back Doug Martin left with a hamstring injury. Defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. left with an ankle injury late in the second quarter. Finally, wide receiver Cecil Shorts III left with a hamstring injury in the third quarter.
— Redskins nose tackle Kedric Golston injured his right hamstring on the first play from scrimmage and missed the rest of Washington’s 27-23 loss to Dallas. He was replaced by Ziggy Hood.
— Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah left in the first quarter against Tennessee with a left ankle injury. Detroit also lost running back Ameer Abdullah and tight end Eric Ebron in that game, one in which the Lions wasted a 15-3 lead and lost 16-15.
— Jaguars left tackle Kelvin Beachum had a concussion late in the third quarter. The stadium was hushed as he was placed on a back board and lifted onto a cart, which drove him off the field.
— Dolphins running back Arian Foster left the game in New England with a groin injury and was ruled out for the second half. Foster was hampered in the week leading up to this game with a hamstring problem, and is coming off surgery to repair his Achilles as well. Miami also lost linebacker Spencer Paysinger in the first half.
— Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart was taken to the locker room after suffering a hamstring injury in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers, and was eventually ruled out for the rest of the game. Stewart was replaced by Fozzy Whittaker.
— Houston wide receiver Braxton Miller hurt a hamstring and did not return. He’s expected to be further evaluated on Monday.
Monday, Sept. 19
Philadelphia at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. EDT. The Eagles’ Carson Wentz, the No. 2 overall draft pick, looks to build off an impressive NFL debut in which he threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns in his debut against Cleveland, completing 22 of 37 passes in a turnover-free performance. Jay Cutler and the Bears, meanwhile, will try to avoid an 0-2 start for the second straight season.
— Cam Newton, Panthers, threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns in Carolina’s 46-27 win over San Francisco in its home opener.
— Matt Ryan, Falcons, passed for 396 yards and three scores, helping Atlanta past Oakland 35-28.
— Philip Rivers, Chargers, matched his career high with four touchdown passes, including two to Travis Benjamin, in a 38-14 victory over Jacksonville.
— Eli Manning, Giants, had 368 yards passing with no TDs or turnovers in New York’s 16-13 victory over New Orleans.
— Carson Palmer, Cardinals, tossed three touchdown passes and finished with 308 yards in Arizona’s 40-7 rout of Tampa Bay.
— Dak Prescott, Cowboys, ran for a 6-yard TD and went 22 for 30 for 292 yards, helping Dallas beat the Washington Redskins 27-23.
— Sam Bradford, in his Minnesota debut, completed 22 of 30 passes for 286 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers to lead the Vikings to a 17-14 victory over the Packers
— Isaiah Crowell, Browns, ran for 133 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown, on 18 carries in Cleveland’s 25-20 loss to Baltimore.
— LeGarrette Blount, Patriots, had 123 yards rushing and a TD to help lead New England past Miami 31-24.
— Fozzy Whitaker, Panthers, rushed for a career-best 100 yards on 16 carries after Jonathan Stewart left with a hamstring injury in a 46-27 win over San Francisco.
— DeAngelo Williams, Steelers, ran for 94 yards on a career-high 32 carries in Pittsburgh’s 24-16 victory over Cincinnati.
— Melvin Gordon, Chargers, had a career-high 102 yards rushing and a score to help San Diego top Jacksonville 38-14.
— Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers, had seven receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns in Carolina’s 46-27 win over San Francisco, his second game back from ACL surgery that cost him all of 2015.
— Jarvis Landry, Dolphins, caught 10 passes for 137 yards in Miami’s 31-24 loss at New England.
— Travis Benjamin, Chargers, caught six passes for 115 yards and two scores as San Diego topped Jacksonville 38-14.
— Marvin Jones, Lions, had eight catches for 118 yards in Detroit’s 16-15 loss to Tennessee.
— Sterling Shepard, Giants, caught eight passes for 117 yards in New York’s 16-13 win over New Orleans.
— Stefon Diggs, Vikings, caught nine passes for 182 yards and a touchdown in a 17-14 win over Green Bay.
— Tavon Young, Ravens, scooped up the ball after Lawrence Guy got a hand on Patrick Murray’s extra point and returned it for a 2-point defensive conversion in Baltimore’s 25-20 win at Cleveland.
— Greg Zuerlein, Rams, kicked three field goals — the longest a 47-yarder in the fourth quarter — and Los Angeles defeated the Seattle Seahawks 9-3.
— Janoris Jenkins, Giants, returned Johnathan Hankins’ block of a field goal attempt 65 yards for a touchdown in New York’s 16-13 victory over New Orleans. Josh Brown kicked a 23-yard field goal as time expired in his first game after returning from a one-game suspension.
— Nick Novak, Texans, booted field goals of 32, 24, 31 and 43 yards, helping Houston top Kansas City 19-12.
— Von Miller, Broncos, had three sacks, including a sack-strip of Andrew Luck that was recovered by Shane Ray and returned for a touchdown that sealed Denver’s 34-20 win over Indianapolis.
— Marcus Cooper, Cardinals, intercepted two passes and returned one 60 yards for a touchdown in Arizona’s 40-7 rout of Tampa Bay.
— Shaq Thompson, Panthers, scored his first career touchdown when he scooped up Carlos Hyde’s fumble and returned it 9 yards to give Carolina a 7-3 lead in a 46-27 victory.
— Aqib Talib, Broncos, returned an interception 46 yards early in the fourth quarter of Denver’s 34-20 win over Indianapolis.
Victor Cruz, who had a winning fourth-quarter touchdown catch against Dallas last week, hauled in a 34-yard third-down pass from Eli Manning to set up Josh Brown’s winning 23-yard field goal as time expired. The Giants got off to their first 2-0 start since 2009 with a 16-13 win over New Orleans Saints on Sunday. … Indianapolis is off to its third straight 0-2 start after a 34-20 loss at Denver.
New Orleans’ Drew Brees (61,589) threw for 263 yards against the New York Giants and passed Dan Marino (61,361 yards) for No. 3 in NFL history. The Giants’ Eli Manning passed for 368 yards, giving him 44,762 and moving him past Drew Bledsoe (44,611) for 10th place. … Houston’s J.J. Watt finished with 1 1/2 sacks against Kansas City to give him 76 in his 82nd career game. He’s the second fastest in NFL history to reach 75 sacks behind Hall of Famer Reggie White, who did it in 65 games. … Houston rookie receiver Will Fuller finished with four receptions for 104 yards to become the first rookie drafted in the first round with consecutive 100-yard receiving games to start his career. The 21st overall pick in this year’s draft had 107 yards receiving in his NFL debut last week. … Aqib Talib’s interception return for a touchdown in Denver’s 34-20 win over Indianapolis was the ninth score of his career and fifth with the Broncos, a team record.
STREAKS & STATS
New England is 21-1 at home vs. the AFC East since 2009 after beating Miami 31-24. It was the Patriots’ eighth straight home victory over Miami (0-2). … Dallas won for only the second time in its past 16 games without Tony Romo — and both of those victories came at Washington, including a 27-23 win Sunday. … With a 25-20 victory, Baltimore improved to 15-2 against Cleveland under coach John Harbaugh. … Isaiah Crowell’s 85-yard TD run was the second-longest scoring run in Cleveland history, with Bobby Mitchell’s 90-yarder in 1959 the only one to top it. … Jacksonville fell to 2-11 on the West Coast and 0-4 in San Diego. The Jaguars haven’t won on the West Coast since 2004 and have been outscored 260-93 during an eight-game losing streak, falling by double digits in seven of those.
Cleveland took a 20-2 lead against Baltimore, the Browns’ largest lead after one quarter since Dec. 3, 1961, when they led Dallas 21-0 en route to a 38-17 win. But the Ravens rallied back, helped by a returned blocked extra point, and won 25-20. … The usually reliable Stephen Gostkowski missed a 39-yard field goal with 1:08 to play. The 2015 All-Pro was 33 for 36 on field goals last year, making all 17 from 39 yards or closer. Last week, he went 3 for 3 against Arizona.
Jimmy Garoppolo had three touchdown passes before leaving in the second quarter with a right shoulder injury as the New England Patriots outlasted the Miami Dolphins 31-24 on Sunday. Garoppolo was replaced by rookie Jacoby Brissett, who led New England to a touchdown on its first possession of the second half. Brissett was 6 of 9 for 92 yards.
The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks 9-3 on Sunday, a game that marked the return of pro football to the nation’s second-largest market for the first time in nearly 22 years. There was an announced crowd of 91,046 on a searing day at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Rams marked the long-awaited occasion by wearing blue-and-gold throwback uniforms for their regular-season home debut.
The expected duel between star wide receivers Antonio Brown and A.J. Green never materialized in Pittsburgh’s 24-16 win over Cincinnati. Brown caught just four passes for 39 yards for the Steelers, and even had a rare drop while running free in the middle of the field in the first half. A week after dominating Darrelle Revis for 12 catches and 180 yards and a touchdown against the Jets, Green had just two receptions for 38 yards.
For the first three quarters, it looked as though Tennessee and Detroit might threaten a 65-year-old NFL record. The Lions finished with 17 penalties for 138 yards, and the Titans were flagged 12 times for 83 yards. The record is 37 penalties by Cleveland (21) and Chicago (16) on Nov. 25, 1951. The Lions and Titans were nearly halfway there after two quarters, having combined for 18. They were at 26 by the end of the third.
In 1937, Detroit was called for only 19 penalties for 139 yards all season — two records that still stand. The Lions nearly reached both of those totals in one game Sunday.
Detroit’s Anquan Boldin had a touchdown catch in the Lions’ 16-15 loss to Tennessee, joining Terrell Owens as the only players in NFL history to have at least 1,000 career receptions and a touchdown catch with four teams. Boldin has played for Arizona, San Francisco, Baltimore and Detroit.
In that same game, Tennessee’s Andre Johnson caught the winning touchdown with 1:13 remaining. He has 1,057 career catches and has a TD reception with three teams (Houston, Indianapolis, Tennessee), joining Boldin, Owens, Jerry Rice and Cris Carter to accomplish the feat.
Tampa Bay held Arizona’s David Johnson to 45 yards rushing in 12 attempts, but he caught three passes for 98 yards. The longest came on a check-down from Carson Palmer, a play that went for 58 yards.
Carolina’s Greg Olsen had a 78-yard touchdown catch and San Francisco’s Vance McDonald had a 75-yarder in the Panthers’ 46-27 win over the 49ers, marking the first game in NFL history in which a tight end on each team had a touchdown catch of at least 75 yards.
Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson limped off in the third quarter of a win over Green Bay with a right knee injury. He had to be helped to the locker room. … New England quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was knocked out against Miami on Sunday with a shoulder injury, meaning the highest-profile replacement in the NFL needed a replacement of his own. Garoppolo — filling in for suspended quarterback Tom Brady — took a big hit from Miami’s Kiko Alonso in the second quarter of the game against the Dolphins on Sunday and left for further evaluation. The Patriots did not disclose the severity of the injury, but said Garoppolo was ruled out for the rest of the game. The Patriots held on to beat the Dolphins 31-24. … Cornerback P.J. Williams of the New Orleans Saints needed to be placed on a backboard and taken off on a cart after he took multiple blows to the head while trying to make a tackle in his team’s game against the New York Giants. Fox Sports reported that Williams was moving his extremities at a nearby hospital and was being evaluated for a concussion. … Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware broke his right forearm early in the third quarter against Indianapolis. Coach Gary Kubiak said the team will see the extent of the injury on Monday morning and “whether we think it’s something he can play with or something that has to be fixed.” … Danny Woodhead left in the first quarter of San Diego’s game against Jacksonville with an apparent right knee injury, and was taken off the sideline on a cart on his way to further evaluation. … After a 1-yard gain on Tampa Bay’s first play of the second quarter, running back Doug Martin left with a hamstring injury. … Cleveland center Cameron Erving left the Browns’ stadium by ambulance as a precaution, the team said. Erving cramped late in the game and had discomfort in his upper body. The Browns said he’s been diagnosed with a pulmonary contusion and he will remain in the hospital overnight for observation. … Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah left in the first quarter against Tennessee with a left ankle injury. Detroit also lost running back Ameer Abdullah and tight end Eric Ebron in that game, one in which the Lions wasted a 15-3 lead and lost 16-15. … Dolphins running back Arian Foster left the game in New England with a groin injury and was ruled out for the second half. … Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart was taken to the locker room after suffering a hamstring injury in the first quarter against San Francisco.
“Everybody thinks we’re in the morgue or something. We’re not dead, by no means.” — Washington’s Josh Norman on the Redskins’ 0-2 start.
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sam Bradford had a Minnesota debut almost as dazzling as the new $1.1 billion building itself, completing 22 of 30 passes for 286 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers to lead the Vikings to a 17-14 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
The defense did the rest, sacking Aaron Rodgers five times and producing two turnovers in the fourth quarter that quashed the comeback and sent the crowd of 66,813 into a deafening frenzy in celebration of first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Adrian Peterson limped off in the third quarter with a right knee injury, and only 19 yards on 12 carries, but the Vikings (2-0) proved they still have a lot of options. Stefon Diggs caught nine passes for 182 yards a touchdown. They held the Packers (1-1) to 65 total yards in the first half, withstanding an early touchdown pass by Rodgers to Jordy Nelson on a drive aided by two penalties by cornerback Terence Newman.
Trae Waynes, who had two penalties himself, intercepted Rodgers’ pass in Vikings territory in the closing minutes to seal the victory. The previous drive was killed when Brian Robison knocked the ball out of the hands of Rodgers, who ran for 29 yards and a touchdown. He began to find a groove throwing the ball late, but Bradford was the better quarterback on this night.
PATRIOTS 31, DOLPHINS 24
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo had three, first-half touchdown passes before leaving in the second quarter with a right shoulder injury.
It was the Patriots’ eighth straight home victory over Miami (0-2). It came at a price as New England (2-0) was dealt another blow at quarterback with Tom Brady already out his four-game “Deflategate” suspension.
Garoppolo’s injury came in a flash. On third down with less than five minutes left in the first half, he was chased out of the pocket and got off a completion to Malcolm Mitchell. Garoppolo was driven into the ground on his shoulder by Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Garoppolo initially got up, before going down to one knee and being attended to by the training staff. He ended his day 18 of 27 for 234 yards and the three scores.
He was replaced by rookie Jacoby Brissett, who led New England to a touchdown on its first possession of the second half. Brissett was 6 of 9 for 92 yards. LeGarrette Blount rushed 29 times for 123 yards and a touchdown. Martellus Bennett also had five catches 114 and a touchdown.
Miami rallied in the second half but couldn’t catch up.
STEELERS 24, BENGALS 16
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns to offset a pair of interceptions.
DeAngelo Williams churned out 94 yards on a career-high 32 carries and added a 4-yard touchdown grab. Tight ends Jesse James and Xavier Grimble also caught scoring passes from Roethlisberger as the Steelers (2-0) kept Cincinnati in check at rainy Heinz Field.
Andy Dalton passed for 366 yards and a touchdown, but needed 31 completions to reach that total, working almost exclusively on dump offs to running backs and tight ends while Pittsburgh clamped down on star wide receiver A.J. Green, who had just two receptions for 38 yards.
The rematch of the Steelers’ ugly 18-16 win in the wild-card round in January was downright tame. The teams combined for just 10 penalties and only one personal foul.
RAMS 9, SEAHAWKS 3
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Greg Zuerlein kicked three field goals, the longest a 47-yarder in the fourth quarter, and the Rams marked the return of pro football to Los Angeles for the first time in nearly 22 years with a win.
Plenty of penalties slowed down the game for the announced crowd of 91,046 on a searing day at the Memorial Coliseum, where the Rams commemorated the long-awaited occasion by wearing blue-and-gold throwback uniforms.
The Rams (1-1) are still without a touchdown after losing 28-0 at San Francisco in their s opener. With field goals accounting for all the offense, it was hardly the high-scoring show Los Angeles sports fans are known to crave.
Seattle (1-1) racked up 10 penalties for 114 yards; the Rams had nine penalties for 78 yards.
BRONCOS 34, COLTS 20
DENVER (AP) — Von Miller gave the Denver fans a reminder of his Super Bowl 50 MVP performance, sweeping in for the sack-strip of Andrew Luck that sealed the win.
With the Broncos clinging to a six-point lead with 1:51 remaining, Miller burst past right tackle Joe Reitz and swiped the ball from Luck’s grasp. Fellow linebacker Shane Ray scooped up the ball and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown.
Miller added a sack on the last play as the Broncos (2-0) sent the banged-up Colts limping to their third consecutive 0-2 start.
They did it by rattling Luck, who started 5 for 18 before he engineered a couple of second-half touchdown drives. Luck completed just 21 of 40 passes for 197 yards and was sacked five times.
FALCONS 35, RAIDERS 28
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Justin Hardy caught a deflected 8-yard touchdown pass to break a tie midway through the fourth quarter.
Matt Ryan threw three TD passes, but got lucky on the go-ahead one in the fourth quarter. His third-down throw to Tevin Coleman was broken up, but the ball bounced high in the air and Hardy caught it in the end zone to put Atlanta (1-1) up 28-21.
The Raiders (1-1) appeared to tie on the next drive when Amari Cooper caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr. But officials ruled Cooper went out of bounds voluntarily before making the catch, although the Raiders contended he was pushed by Desmond Trufant.
Oakland coach Jack Del Rio then went on fourth-and-2, but Jalen Richard was stopped on a 1-yard gain.
BUCCANEERS 40, CARDINALS 7
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Carson Palmer threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns and Arizona (1-1) intercepted Jameis Winston four times.
Marcus Cooper, acquired off waivers from Kansas City on Sept. 2, had two interceptions, returning the second 60 yards for a score. Winston also fumbled the ball away once.
Winston, who had four touchdown passes against Atlanta in the opener and was NFC player of the week, threw 51 passes, the most in his two NFL seasons, completing 27 for 243 yards for the Bucs (1-1).
Palmer completed 18 of 31 passes with no interceptions before sitting out most of the fourth quarter. All three of Palmer’s scoring passes came in the first half,— to Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Jaron Brown.
CHARGERS 38, JAGUARS 14
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Philip Rivers matched his career-high with four touchdown passes, including two to Travis Benjamin and Melvin Gordon ran for one score and had his first 100-yard game.
The Chargers (1-1) bounced back from their stunning loss at Kansas City, when they blew a 21-point third-quarter lead and fell 33-27 in overtime.
The Jaguars started 0-2 for the fourth time in five seasons. They crossed midfield only six times and committed three turnovers.
Casey Hayward led the Chargers’ defense with two interceptions of Blake Bortles.
Gordon, a second-year pro, scored on a 3-yard run on the game’s opening drive, his first TD at Qualcomm Stadium. Gordon went in standing up, and then right guard D.J. Fluker lifted him off the ground in celebration. He finished with 102 yards on 24 carries.
COWBOYS 27, REDSKINS 23
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Alfred Morris scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 4-yard run with under five minutes left, leading the Cowboys over his former team.
Washington’s Kirk Cousins threw an end-zone interception that set up a long Dallas drive to the winning score.
With rookie quarterback Dak Prescott looking poised throughout and scrambling for a 6-yard TD run in the second half, Dallas (1-1) won for only the second time in its past 16 games without the injured Tony Romo — and both of those victories came at Washington (0-2).
Prescott finished 22 for 30 for 292 yards.
GIANTS 13, SAINTS 10
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz on a third-down 34-yard pass to set up Josh Brown’s winning 23-yard field goal as time expired. The Giants got off to their first 2-0 start since 2009, while New Orleans lost its second straight.
Brown’s third field goal capped an 11-play, 70-yard drive that featured two key third-down passes by Manning and a pass interference call on a throw to Odell Beckham Jr.
The game was also redemption for the Giants’ defense. After allowing Drew Brees to throw for 511 yards and an NFL-tying seven touchdowns, New York limited him to one touchdown, 263 yards passing and 288 yards in total team offense.
RAVENS 25, BRONCOS 20
CLEVELAND (AP) — Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes to Mike Wallace and the Ravens rallied from a 20-point first-quarter deficit.
Justin Tucker kicked three field goals and the Ravens (2-0) withstood Cleveland’s final drive to improve to 15-2 against the Browns under coach John Harbaugh.
C.J. Mosley intercepted Browns quarterback Josh McCown at the goal line with 13 seconds left to seal the win.
Baltimore was a point from trailing by three touchdowns in the opening quarter before blocking an extra point and returning it for two points and igniting the comeback.
McCown stayed in despite an injured left shoulder for the Browns (0-2), who were hurt by a missed field goal and three costly penalties in the fourth quarter.
PANTHERS 46, 49ERS 27
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns, and the Panthers overcame four turnovers.
Newton threw two TD passes to Kelvin Benjamin and one each to Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess to pass Jake Delhomme for most TD passes in franchise history with 122.
Newton showed no ill effects from the four helmet-to-helmet hits he took in Carolina’s season-opening loss to Denver. He took one shot to the head from linebacker Eli Harold late in the game after a pitchout on an option play, but quickly got to his feet.
Newton’s first pass was tipped and intercepted by Antoine Bethea, leading to a 49ers field goal. But the 2015 league MVP locked in after that, completing 24 of 40 passes while running for 37 yards on six carries.
Olsen gave the Panthers the lead for good in the second quarter when he hauled in a career-long 78-yard touchdown pass after the 49ers bit hard on play-action. That left the Pro Bowl tight end wide open on a seam route. Olsen finished with five catches for 122 yards.
TITANS 16, LIONS 15
DETROIT (AP) — Marcus Mariota converted a fourth down with a perfectly lofted 9-yard pass TD pass to Andre Johnson with 1:13 left.
Mariota dropped the pass over linebacker Tahir Whitehead to Johnson just before safety Rafael Bush could get to the veteran receiver.
Tennessee went 93 yards on 13 plays over nearly 6 minutes on the game-winning drive.
The Titans (1-1) ended a five-game losing streak, dating to last December, when Mariota threw two TD passes in the fourth quarter after trailing 15-3.
The Lions (1-1) had an opportunity to drive for a second straight winning field goal, but Matthew Stafford threw an interception to Perrish Cox at midfield in the final minute.
TEXANS 19, CHIEFS 12
HOUSTON (AP) — DeAndre Hopkins had 113 yards receiving and a touchdown and Nick Novak kicked four field goals. Novak connected from 32, 24, 31 and 43 yards for the Texans (2-0).
Cairo Santos made three field goals in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 19-12, but Houston recovered the onside kick with less than a minute left.
The Texans showed that they are a much different team than the one embarrassed in a 30-0 wild-card playoff loss to the Chiefs (1-1) in January.
Houston’s defense set a franchise record by recovering three fumbles in the first half.
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Monday, Sept. 12
Pittsburgh at Washington, 7:10 p.m. EDT. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown will be without running back Le’Veon Bell, suspended the first three games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The matchup to watch is Brown vs. All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman. This is the first time they’re facing each other since 2014, when Norman was in Carolina and before he became a star and signed a $75 million, five-year deal with the Redskins.
LA Rams at San Francisco, 10:20 p.m. EDT. Case Keenum will start at quarterback for Los Angeles and Blaine Gabbert will go for San Francisco. Rams running back Todd Gurley was the 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year. San Francisco RB Carlos Hyde has shown bursts of stardom while battling injuries his first two seasons.
—Drew Brees, Saints, was 28 for 42 for 423 yards and four touchdowns in New Orleans’ 35-34 loss to Oakland. It was Brees’ 14th game with at least 400 yards passing, tying Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history.
—Alex Smith, Chiefs, finished 34 for 48 for 363 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception, and added a 2-yard rushing TD in overtime in Kansas City’s 33-27 win over San Diego.
—Jameis Winston, Buccaneers, was 23 for 33 for 281 yards and four touchdown passes and an interception in Tampa Bay’s 31-24 victory over Atlanta.
—Carson Wentz, Eagles, finished 22 for 37 for 278 yards and two touchdown passes in his first regular-season start in Philadelphia’s 29-10 win over Cleveland. He is the first Eagles rookie to start at quarterback in a season opener since Davey O’Brien in 1939.
—Matthew Stafford, Lions, finished 31 for 39 for 340 yards and three touchdowns in Detroit’s 39-35 win over Indianapolis.
—Andy Dalton, Bengals, was 23 for 30 for 366 yards with a touchdown and an interception in Cincinnati’s 23-22 win over the New York Jets.
—Andrew Luck, Colts, was 31 for 47 for 385 yards and four touchdowns in Indianapolis’ 39-35 loss to Detroit.
—Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots, went 24 for 33 for 264 yards and a TD in his first NFL start, a 23-21 win at Arizona.
—Matt Forte, Jets, had 22 carries for 96 yards and five receptions for 59 yards in New York’s 23-22 loss to Cincinnati.
—Spencer Ware, Chiefs, had 11 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown, and seven receptions for 129 yards in Kansas City’s 33-27 overtime win over San Diego.
—Lamar Miller, Texans, had 28 carries for 106 yards in Houston’s 23-14 win over Chicago.
—Melvin Gordon, Chargers, had 14 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns in San Diego’s 33-27 overtime loss to Kansas City.
—A.J. Green, Bengals, had 12 catches for 180 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown, in Cincinnati’s 23-22 win over the New York Jets.
—Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks, Saints. Snead had nine receptions for 172 yards and a touchdown, while Cooks had six catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns, including a 98-yard TD which was the longest scoring play in Saints history. However, Oakland rallied for a 35-34 win, and Amari Cooper had six receptions for 137 yards.
—Jordan Matthews, Eagles, finished with seven receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in Philadelphia’s 29-10 victory over Cleveland.
—Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, made eight catches for 81 yards and two TDs in a 23-21 loss to New England. Fitzgerald’s second touchdown reception was the 100th of his career.
—Dan Bailey, Cowboys, was 4 for 4 on field goals, including a 56-yarder and 54-yarder in Dallas’ 20-19 loss to the New York Giants.
—Blair Walsh, Vikings, was 4 of 6 on field goals in Minnesota’s 25-16 win over Tennessee.
—Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter, Vikings. Kendricks returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown and Hunter returned a fumble 24 yards for a TD in Minnesota’s 25-16 win over Tennessee.
—Leonard Williams and Steve McLendon, Jets. Williams had 2½ sacks and McLendon added two of New York’s seven sacks of the Bengals’ Andy Dalton in New York’s 23-22 loss.
—Whitney Mercilus, Texans, had two sacks and a forced fumble in Houston’s 23-14 win over Chicago.
—Jerry Hughes, Bills, had two sacks in Buffalo’s 13-7 loss to Baltimore.
BIG PLAY IN THE BAYOU
Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks, Saints, connected for a franchise record 98-yard scoring play against the Raiders. Seeing the speedy Cooks in single coverage on first down from his 2-yard line, Brees lofted a pinpoint pass down the left sideline that hit Cooks in stride. Cooks easily sped away from cornerback Sean Smith and free safety Reggie Nelson. The play also was Brees’ longest career completion. The previous longest scoring play in Saints history was a 90-yard pass from Billy Joe Hobert to Eddie Kennison against Atlanta on Oct. 10, 1999. The Saints’ previous longest play from scrimmage was as 96-yard passing play — not for a TD — from Billy Kilmer to Walter Roberts on Nov. 19, 1967, the franchise’s inaugural season.
JUST FOR KICKS
Five teams saw their kickers miss extra points Sunday, with only one being costly. The New York Jets lost 23-22 to Cincinnati, with Nick Folk missing an extra point kick for the first time in his 10-year NFL career. It ended a streak of 312 straight made PATs; he had also set the NFL record for most extra points without a miss with 322 overall, including the playoffs. Other who missed but saw their teams win were Blair Walsh of the Vikings, Randy Bullock of the Giants, Steven Hauschka of the Seahawks, and Matt Prater of the Lions.
Four games have been decided by exactly one point in Week 1, the most on NFL kickoff weekend. … Houston’s Will Fuller became the first player in franchise history to have 100 yards receiving in a debut with 107 yards and a touchdown in Houston’s 23-14 win over the Bears. Brock Osweiler threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns in his debut with Houston after the Texans lured him from Denver with a $72 million contract. … The Cowboys fell to 1-12 without Tony Romo since the first of two broken collarbones last season in Week 2. Because of Romo’s back injury, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott were the first rookie quarterback-running back combo to start an opener for the Cowboys since Roger Staubach and Calvin Hill in 1969. New York beat Dallas in an opener for the first time in nine tries. … Tennessee is 2-15 since the start of the 2014 season on its home field, with both wins coming against Jacksonville. The Titans lost to Minnesota 25-16. … Oakland rookie running back Jalen Richard had a 75-yard rushing touchdown on his first career carry in the Raiders’ victory. Richard is the fourth player in NFL history with a rushing touchdown of at least 75 yards in his NFL debut. He joined Oran Pape (78 yards, Sept. 28, 1930), Alan Ameche (79 yards, Sept. 25, 1955) and Ottis Anderson (76 yards, Sept. 2, 1979). … The Bengals beat the Jets for the first time in 10 meetings in New Jersey with a 23-22 win.
Houston middle linebacker Brian Cushing and San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen left their respective games with injuries. Allen left the field on a cart after suffering what looked like a serious right knee injury with less than two minutes left in the first half. Cushing’s diagnosis was only slightly more optimistic. He also hurt one of his knees but walked off the field under his own power. Cushing also missed significant playing time with a range of injuries in 2012 and 2013, but started every game last season. … Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas III was also carted off the field, after spraining a knee on a kickoff return on the final play of the first half against Dallas. … Bucs defensive end Jacquies Smith was carted off the field with a right knee injury against Atlanta. Indianapolis defenders T.J. Green (sprained knee) and Patrick Robinson (medical evaluation) went down in the same series in the first half, and stayed out for the rest of the game against Detroit.
“Everyone knew about our strategy. I didn’t really ask for any feedback there. I said, ‘When we score here, we are going to go for two and win it right here.'” — Raiders coach Jack Del Rio on the decision to go for a 2-point conversion in the final minute of Oakland’s 35-34 win over New Orleans.
“Joe is as tough as a $2 steak. What’s a $2 steak nowadays?” — Ravens coach John Harbaugh on quarterback Joe Flacco.
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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Larry Fitzgerald heard the report about this being his last season and quickly swatted it down.
“I don’t talk about my future,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m have for dinner tonight, let along what I’m doing next year.”
There’s no reason to look that far ahead. He’s too busy still playing well right now.
Looking 23 not 33, Fitzgerald was at his sure-handed best against the New England Patriots on Sunday night to kick off his 13th NFL season. He caught balls in traffic with ease, shed tacklers to add yards after the catch and made the spectacular look routine.
By the end of the night, it wasn’t enough.
Despite Fitz being Fitz, the Cardinals opened the season with a 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday night after Chandler Catanzaro missed a 47-yard field goal in the final minute.
“We had it going a little bit, but nothing sustained,” Fitzgerald said. “We have to find a way to be able to get it going and maintain the positive drives to be able to score.”
Fitzgerald got one task out of the way quickly, snaring a pass on Arizona’s opening drive to extend his NFL-record streak to 180 games with a catch. He reached for the pylon on a 3-yard pass from Carson Palmer in the second quarter, moving into a tie for 10th on the NFL’s all-time receiving touchdowns list.
Fitzgerald lit up the highlight reels with an over-the-shoulder 1-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter for his 100th TD reception. That moved him into a tie with Steve Largent and Tim Brown for eighth all-time , four behind Antonio Gates for seventh.
“That’s the GOAT right there,” Cardinals tackle D.J. Humphries said. “He’s always going to show up.”
Fitzgerald also was key in getting the Cardinals into position for a potential game-winning kick, catching three passes for 46 yards on Arizona’s final drive.
He finished with eight catches for 81 yards, but had to watch from the sideline as the final play unfolded.
It came in the form of a wide-left field goal by Catanzaro after a low-and-wide snap by new long snapper Kameron Canaday.
More history, more great plays, but still one frustrating loss.
“Obviously, we would have loved to be able to get down and score a touchdown, but we weren’t able to do that,” Fitzgerald said. “That ended up costing us the game.”
CHIEFS 33, CHARGERS 27
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith dived for a touchdown on the first possession of overtime, completing the Kansas City Chiefs’ frantic rally from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the San Diego Chargers 33-27 in their season opener Sunday.
Smith threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns, the second a back-shoulder fade to Jeremy Maclin with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter that trimmed the Chiefs’ deficit to 27-17.
Cairo Santos kicked a 33-yard field goal a few minutes later, and after forcing a three-and-out, Spencer Ware finished off a four-play drive with a touchdown plunge to knot it at 27.
Kansas City needed 10 plays to march 75 yards in overtime, and Smith finished off the biggest comeback in franchise history with his keeper from the 2-yard line on third-and-goal.
RAIDERS 35, SAINTS 34
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Oakland gambled with a 2-point conversion that Derek Carr converted with a pass to Michael Crabtree for the winning points with 47 seconds left.
Carr hit Seth Roberts for a 10-yard touchdown setting up the gutsy call by second-year Raiders coach Jack Del Rio.
Oakland had to overcome a 14-point second-half deficit and a 424-yard, four-touchdown performance by Drew Brees. It also had to sweat out rookie kicker Wil Lutz’s last-second field goal attempt from 61 yards, which narrowly missed wide left as the Superdome crowd briefly erupted before realizing the kick was no good.
Brees eclipsed 400 yards passing for the 14th time in his career, tying Peyton Manning for the most such performances in NFL history.
BENGALS 23, JETS 22
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Mike Nugent kicked a 47-yard field goal with 54 seconds left, lifting the Bengals over the Jets.
Andy Dalton threw for 366 yards and a touchdown to A.J. Green, who caught 12 passes for 180 yards to help the Bengals beat the Jets for the first time in 10 meetings in New Jersey.
Josh Shaw sealed the victory with an interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the closing seconds, helping Cincinnati improve to 7-7 in openers under coach Marvin Lewis. The Bengals won despite Dalton being sacked a career-high seven times, including 2 1/2 by Leonard Williams and two by Steve McLendon.
Nick Folk kicked a go-ahead 23-yard field goal with 3:23 remaining, but Dalton marched the Bengals (1-0) downfield for the winning drive. The first missed extra point in Folk’s career and a blocked 22-yard attempt came back to haunt the Jets (0-1).
EAGLES 29, BROWNS 10
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz had 278 yards passing and two touchdowns in a stellar NFL debut and the Eagles beat Robert Griffin III and the Browns.
Promoted from No. 3 quarterback to starter just eight days ago, the No. 2 overall pick from North Dakota State looked like a franchise player. Wentz played mistake-free football despite missing the last three preseason games with injured ribs. He finished 22 of 37 with a 101.0 passer rating.
A new quarterback (Griffin) and new coach (Hue Jackson) couldn’t help the Browns (0-1) avoid losing their opener for the 12th straight season.
Wentz threw a 19-yard TD pass to Jordan Matthews on the opening drive and tossed a perfect 35-yard TD pass down the right side to Nelson Agholor for a 22-10 lead in the third quarter.
BUCCANEERS 31, FALCONS 24
ATLANTA (AP) — Jameis Winston bounced back from an early interception to throw four touchdown passes, and Tampa Bay claimed a winning record for the first since 2012 by opening the season with a victory over the Falcons.
Winston began his second year as a pro by going 23 of 33 for 281 yards, using just about every weapon at his disposal in the matchup between NFC South rivals. He hooked up with receiver Mike Evans, running back Charles Sims III and tight ends Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and Brandon Myers on scoring plays.
The Falcons grabbed a 10-3 lead late in the first quarter after Winston’s pass for Vincent Jackson was picked off by Desmond Trufant, who returned it 13 yards to the Tampa Bay 9. There was a mix-up between the quarterback and receiver, as Jackson broke outside while Winston’s threw to the inside.
VIKINGS 25, TITANS 16
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Eric Kendricks returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter and Danielle Hunter scored a 24-yard TD off a fumble return and the Vikings beat the Titans.
The Vikings wound up forcing three turnovers in the span of just under seven minutes and also had two sacks.
The defending NFC North champs needed the help from their defense in scoring 25 straight points after being shut out in the first half and Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s 2015 rushing leader, being smothered.
Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer did his best to hide his starter at quarterback after the Vikings lost Teddy Bridgewater to a major knee injury Aug. 30, and after they traded their 2017 first-round draft pick to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford .
PACKERS 27, JAGUARS 23
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading the Packers to a victory against the Jaguars.
Rodgers looked every bit like, well, a two-time league MVP. He extended plays with his feet, escaped sacks and had precision accuracy all over the field.
He completed 20 of 34 passes for 199 yards, with TD passes to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. He was sacked once for no yards and didn’t turn it over.
He helped the Packers win their second opener in the last five years. This one came on a sweltering, late-summer day that left some players cramping and others completely exhausted.
RAVENS 13, BILLS 7
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Ravens used a touchdown pass by Joe Flacco, two field goals and a throwback defensive performance to beat the Bills.
Against former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, now Buffalo’s head coach, the Ravens limited the Bills to 160 yards and sacked former teammate Tyrod Taylor twice.
That’s how Baltimore played defense under Ryan from 1999-2008, and that’s how it won the 2012 Super Bowl.
Returning from a knee injury that ended his season last November, Flacco went 23 for 34 for 258 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown pass to newcomer Mike Wallace in the second quarter that put the Ravens ahead for good.
That, plus field goals of 50 and 37 yards by Justin Tucker, was enough for Baltimore’s first season-opening victory since 2012.
TEXNAS 23, BEARS 14
HOUSTON (AP) — Brock Osweiler threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns in his debut with Houston to lead the Texans and their revamped offense win over the Bears.
Osweiler, who signed to a $72 million contract from Denver in the offseason, was helped by an offense filled with playmakers.
He completed passes to eight different receivers, led by rookie first-round pick Will Fuller, who became the first player in franchise history to have 100 yards receiving in a debut with 107 and a touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins added 54 yards and a score and running back Lamar Miller had 106 yards rushing in his first game with the Texans.
Osweiler’s day started with a hiccup when he threw an interception on the first drive, but soon got going and looked comfortable after that.
SEAHAWKS 12, DOLPHINS 10
SEATTLE (AP) — Hobbled by an ankle injury, Russell Wilson pulled off another fourth-quarter comeback, throwing a 2-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin with 31 seconds left, giving the Seahawks a win over the Dolphins.
The expected contenders in the NFC looked flawed offensively and buckled defensively in the fourth quarter, giving up an 86-yard touchdown drive to Ryan Tannehill that gave the Dolphins a 10-6 lead with 4:08 remaining.
That’s when Wilson went to work, playing on a right ankle that twisted badly in the third quarter as he was sacked by Ndamukong Suh. Seattle converted fourth-and-1 early in the drive on a 7-yard run by Christine Michael, but the big play was Wilson finding Baldwin for 22 yards on a crossing route on fourth-and-4 near midfield.
Wilson hit Baldwin in the corner of the end zone to give Seattle the lead. The extra point was partially blocked by Miami’s Jason Jones, but it didn’t matter.
GIANTS 20, COWBOYS 19
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Victor Cruz in his first game in nearly two years, and the Giants beat the Cowboys.
The Giants (1-0) won the debut of coach Ben McAdoo after 12 years and two Super Bowl titles under Tom Coughlin while spoiling the first game for Dallas’ Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Because of Tony Romo’s back injury, Prescott and Elliott were the first rookie quarterback-running back combo to start an opener for the Cowboys since Roger Staubach and Calvin Hill in 1969.
The game ended with Dallas in position for a roughly 57-yard field goal, but Terrance Williams didn’t get out of bounds after a catch and the clock ran out. Dan Bailey had four field goals, including two from more than 50 yards.
Cruz, who missed most of 2014 with a knee injury and all of last season with a bad calf, broke free in the end zone for a 3-yard TD with 6 minutes remaining, prompting his trademark salsa dance.
LIONS 39, COLTS 35
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Matthew Stafford took advantage of one last chance Sunday and Matt Prater redeemed himself with a 43-yard field goal with 8 seconds to give the Lions a victory at Indianapolis.
Prater missed an extra point wide right with 4:04 left in the season opener, a miscue that nearly cost the Lions.
Detroit won for only the second time in Indy, and it came just 37 seconds after it looked like Andrew Luck had rallied the Colts for an improbable last-minute victory.
It just wasn’t enough to avoid Indy’s third straight opening day loss in a wild finish.
After Prater’s miss, Luck drove the Colts 75 yards and hooked up with Jack Doyle on a 6-yard TD pass with 37 seconds left. Adam Vinatieri’s extra point gave the Colts a 35-34 lead.
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DENVER (AP) — Cam Newton will get a few extra days to recover from his latest beating by Von Miller and crew. At least he won’t have to seethe for seven months.
Denver’s dominant defense came up big against Newton again and the Broncos escaped with a 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers Thursday night when Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining.
The Broncos collected three sacks and hit Newton eight more times, not counting the abuse he took on his 11 runs.
“We wanted to make sure we got to him,” safety T.J. Ward said. “Every time he ran we tried to put helmet and shoulder pads on him. If you’re not going to slide we’re going to put something on you. We saw him limping throughout the game so that running stuff, you can’t do that all game.”
Three of the hits were of the helmet-to-helmet variety but none resulted in any penalty yardage.
Miller hit him high when DeMarcus Ware was taking him down, linebacker Brandon Marshall hit him in the face just as he released a pass and safety Darian Stewart leveled him in the final minute, but because Newton was whistled for intentional grounding on the play, the penalties were offsetting.
“It’s not my job to question the officials,” Newton said after finally emerging from the trainer’s room. “I really like this officiating crew, so it wasn’t something I know they did intentionally. But it’s not fun getting hit in the head.”
A wobbled Newton appeared to have done just enough to get a measure of revenge for that bludgeoning in Super Bowl 50, when Miller stripped the ball and the Lombardi Trophy from his grasp.
Newton put the Panthers on the cusp of victory with a 16-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin at the Denver 37 in the closing seconds, and another short pass to Ted Ginn Jr. put Gano well within his range.
Gano, whose practice kick hugged the right upright after Denver had called timeout, missed wide left moments later.
“I was going to drill it, no doubt in my mind,” Gano said. “But this happens. It’s not going to define my season.”
Newton, the NFL’s reigning MVP, was 18 of 33 for 194 yards, with one TD and one interception.
Just as he did over and over in the Super Bowl, Miller made a big play late, sweeping past right tackle Mike Remmers and sacking Newton at the 2-minute warning. A penalty on fourth-and-21, however, kept the Carolina drive alive until Newton retreated to the sideline when Gano came in for the potential game-winner.
His miss only piled on the pain for Newton, who stayed on one knee in disbelief as the stadium rocked and Trevor Siemian trotted out for one victory formation snap and a win in his first NFL start.
“We’ve got a heck of a team, a resilient team, I think you saw that tonight,” said Peyton Manning’s successor, who finished 18 of 26 for 178 yards with one TD, two interceptions and two sacks.
The Panthers took a 17-7 led into the fourth quarter of the first Super Bowl rematch to start a season since 1970, but Siemian hit running back C.J. Anderson for a 25-yard touchdown on the next snap.
Newton’s next pass was intercepted by Harris at the Carolina 23. Ten plays later, Anderson bulled his way in from the 1 to give Denver its first lead at 21-17 with 9:26 remaining.
After Gano’s 36-yard field goal brought the Panthers to 21-20, Carolina forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at its 40 with 3:06 remaining.
TAKE A KNEE: Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, a college teammate of Colin Kaepernick, kneeled during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem during San Francisco’s preseason games, explaining it was to protest racial oppression and police brutality in the United States. “I’m not against the military, I’m not against America,” Marshall said. “I’m against social injustice.”
OLD TIMES: Manning made his first appearance at Mile High as a retiree, walking through the tunnel with the Lombardi Trophy. Manning said he spoke with Siemian on the eve of the game and told him he was in his corner.
POACHING PANTHERS: Carolina led the league with 39 takeaways last season and had three in the opener, including two on Denver’s first two drives. Shaq Thompson recovered rookie Devontae Booker’s fumble at the Carolina 29 and Bene Benwikere intercepted Siemian’s pass at the Panthers’ 10.
FIELD FLIP: Punter Andy Lee, who surrendered a Super Bowl-record 61-yard punt return to Jordan Norwood in February, pinned the Broncos back with a franchise-record 76-yard punt in the third quarter. His next punt traveled 61 yards.
FULLBACK FUN: Rookie Andy Janovich was brought in to bore holes for Anderson, but he surprised the Panthers with a 28-yard TD run after Denver’s first two drives ended in turnovers.
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Cincinnati Bengals were so sharp against Jacksonville that Andy Dalton and several teammates were done long before halftime.
Dalton led the Bengals to two touchdowns in three possessions, earning him a little extra rest in a 26-21 loss to the Jaguars in the preseason Sunday night.
“It was a good outing for us,” said Dalton, who completed 6 of 10 passes for 77 yards and a TD. “Two touchdowns in the first half of a preseason game is pretty good, and we got them both ways. … It’s a good feeling to do it both ways.”
The Bengals (1-2) felt good on both sides of the ball, too. Dalton found Giovani Bernard for a 19-yard score on a third-down play, and then Jeremy Hill capped a 9-minute drive with a 1-yard scramble to the pylon. Defensively, the Bengals held Jacksonville to just 90 yards in the first half. Jacksonville’s first three drives: turnover, three-and-out and three-and-out.
Cincy’s only concern in the regular-season dress rehearsal was the health of three Pro Bowlers.
Receiver A.J. Green left in the first quarter with a bruised right knee, but said he’s fine. Cornerback Adam Jones strained his right calf in preseason warmups and did not play. And special teams ace Cedric Peerman broke his left forearm and could be out for the season.
“It’s unfortunate guys have injuries, but you can’t worry about that,” Dalton said. “You’ve got to worry just about the stuff you can control.”
Safety Tashaun Gipson (bruised knee) was Jacksonville’s only injured starter.
The Jaguars (1-2) had bigger problems — the offense and defense both failed to show — that raised questions about what’s supposed to the franchise’s most talented team in nearly a decade.
T.J. Yeldon fumbled on the opening possession. Center Brandon Linder and quarterback Blake Bortles each were flagged for false starts to open drives. And the left side of Jacksonville’s revamped offensive line was mostly manhandled.
“We kind of killed ourselves. We did some stupid things, really, at every position,” Bortles said. “They didn’t do necessarily anything to stop up, which is a good sign because it’s a good defense. … We were comfortable and confident in what we were doing. We just didn’t execute it and get things done.”
VIKINGS 23, CHARGERS 10
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Teddy Bridgewater was sharp in his return from a sore arm, completing 12 of 16 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown in the first half for the Minnesota Vikings in a 23-10 exhibition victory Sunday over the San Diego Chargers in the official unveiling their new stadium.
After sitting out last week, Bridgewater found Kyle Rudolph for a 27-yard score to cap a crisp 2-minute drill and led the Vikings to points on three of five possessions. Bridgewater even juked strong safety Adrian Phillips to further a 22-yard run that set up one of three field goals by Blair Walsh.
“The shoulder’s feeling great,” Bridgewater said. “I had some fun out there playing with the guys, and I can’t wait to get back out there.”
Melvin Gordon, aiming to rebound from a rough rookie season, cruised through the middle of Minnesota’s starting defense for a 39-yard touchdown after Philip Rivers audibled to a run upon sensing a blitz. San Diego lost running back Branden Oliver, though, to an Achilles tendon injury on his right leg that required a cart to take him off. The loss of Oliver, the primary kickoff returner and a contributing backup behind Gordon and Danny Woodhead, left the Chargers in a somber mood.
“I went up there as a friend and just prayed for him,” Woodhead said. “That’s the only thing you can do in that situation.”
With sunlight streaming in from the floor-to-ceiling glass on the west side and through the translucent, space-age roof, the Vikings enjoyed a gleaming debut for U.S. Bank Stadium in front of a sold-out crowd of 66,143.
“It’s a beautiful place,” coach Mike Zimmer said, as purple-clad fans watched his postgame press conference from a lounge area the team walks through to reach the field. “It’s just getting used to everything.”
The Chargers undoubtedly felt some envy, with their decade-and-a-half quest to replace 49-year-old Qualcomm Stadium unfulfilled and a move to Los Angeles a possibility. This game was conveniently scheduled for national broadcast on Fox, in case folks in San Diego were still on the fence about public funding.
Rivers went 5 for 9 for 54 yards and an interception for the Chargers.
With Adrian Peterson resting on the sideline, Jerick McKinnon rushed eight times for 56 yards for the Vikings.
NFL training camp buzz: Romo injury makes rookie Prescott sudden starter for Cowboys
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott grew up rooting for the Dallas Cowboys in Louisiana. He suddenly finds himself in line to start their opener as a rookie quarterback with Tony Romo sidelined by yet another back injury.
Receiver Brice Butler believes the fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State pictured this years ago.
“He ends up getting drafted here. Now he’s the starting quarterback,” Butler said Sunday. “I don’t know if he thought it was going to happen this soon. But I’m pretty sure when he got here, he was like, I’m going to be the future of this franchise.
“He’s in a situation now where he’s the starter and basically that comment I just said is going to depend on how he plays. And I think he’s ready for it.”
The 23-year-old Prescott was the No. 3 quarterback for the Cowboys going into training camp before backup Kellen Moore broke his right ankle in practice.
Prescott was impressive enough in the first two preseason games to make owner and general manager Jerry Jones comfortable with him as Romo’s backup, rather than bringing in a veteran.
After Romo broke a bone in his back on the third play of the third preseason game at Seattle, Jones is ready to roll with Prescott. Assuming the Cowboys do grab a veteran, it figures to be a backup for now. The current No. 2 is Jameill Showers, a second-year player who hasn’t appeared in a regular-season game.
“I don’t know if this stuff will ever hit me,” said Prescott, set to be the first rookie quarterback to start the opener for Dallas since Quincy Carter 15 years ago. “I feel like I belong here. This is where I’m supposed to be. I just come in every day with the right attitude.”
The Cowboys haven’t said how long Romo will be out following his fourth back injury in less than four years, but it’s likely to be the opener at the very least. Jones and his son, executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones, have said they are comfortable giving Prescott a shot as the starter.
The next question is whether Prescott plays in the preseason finale against Houston on Thursday night. Starters generally sit out that game and turn their focus to the regular season. The Cowboys open Sept. 11 at home against the New York Giants.
Coach Jason Garrett wouldn’t say whether Prescott will be held out against the Texans. Dallas has just the two quarterbacks on the roster, not counting Romo.
“I don’t know if a number of snaps makes a difference if I’m ready or not,” said Prescott, who is 39 of 50 passing for 454 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in three preseason games. “I’m going to be ready. Practice is going to get me ready. We are going to game plan the right way. And I’m going to be focused.”
Dallas went 1-11 without Romo last season when he was twice sidelined by a broken left collarbone, and the Cowboys slumped to 4-12 a year after winning the NFC East at 12-4. Because of that, Jerry Jones opened training camp by declaring Dallas would no longer pin its hopes on star players returning from injuries.
The Cowboys might not have envisioned this severe a test this soon.
“The mentality is different,” said receiver Dez Bryant, who missed seven games last season because of a broken foot. “It ain’t even just with the backup quarterback. It’s like with all the players. It’s just different strategy, believing in one another. Like I said, keeping each other lifted and building real chemistry.”
Prescott, who also has two rushing touchdowns, led a scoring drive in his first full possession against the Seahawks after Romo’s injury. He took the Cowboys to a field goal in the final two minutes of the first half. He has looked comfortable running the offense and made strong throws down the field.
The eighth quarterback taken in the draft with the 135th overall pick, Prescott is likely to be the first of those to start in the regular season.
“How do you create a name for yourself without stepping up on those situations and becoming that guy?” cornerback Brandon Carr asked. “Dak has been in the fire early and often. He has done well. It’s going to take all guys to help each other out.”
A.J, Green injured
The worst-case scenario for the Bengals’ preseason game against Jacksonville looked to be coming true in the first quarter Sunday.
A.J. Green made a cut near the sideline and immediately came up hobbling and signaling to come out of the game. The star receiver ran one more route but then gingerly limped to the sideline with a right knee injury.
After trainers sat him down, Green paced the sideline. Bengals officials stated the injury was not serious and said if this had been a regular-season game, Green would have returned.
It, of course, was not a regular-season game, so Green gave up his helmet and called it a night. Green never went into the locker room to have the injury further evaluated.
— Paul Dehner, Jr., Cincinnati Enquirer
Colts catch a break
Indianapolis Colts guard Jack Mewhort will not miss the 2016 season after fears Saturday night that he’d torn an ACL.
Team owner Jim Irsay tweeted Sunday: “Mewhort 2-4 weeks/No Surgery(Initial test results).”
Mewhort may be the most reliable starter on an offensive line that has too often performed poorly in front of quarterback Andrew Luck.
Blow for Bolts
The San Diego Chargers’ running back depth took a hit Sunday when Branden Oliver tore his right Achilles in a presason game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Oliver is a versatile player, but his loss likely means more work for Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead moving into the season.
Colts add RB
Free agent running back Steven Ridley signed with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Ridley was cut Thursday by Detroit, which had signed the sixth-year veteran in April.
Ridley, 5-11, 220 pounds, has played in 60 career NFL games with 26 starts. He went to a Super Bowl with New England in 2011, his rookie year, when he was a third-round selection, and again in 2014, when he was hurt.
Indeed, he’s been injury prone, appearing in six games for the Patriots in 2014 and nine for the Jets last year.
He has 685 carries for 2,907 yards and 22 touchdowns in his career.
— The Associated Press
Goldson finds new home
The Atlanta Falcons signed veteran free-agent safety Dashon Goldson on Sunday.
The Falcons will be without rookie starting strong safety Keanu Neal, the first-round pick, for at least the first two regular-season games with a right knee injury. He will have arthroscopic surgery on Monday.
Coach Dan Quinn has said that backup Kemal Ishmael would fill in for Neal as the starting strong safety.
Goldson, a 2012 All-Pro with the 49ers, had 110 tackles in 15 starts with the Redskins in 2015. He spent his first six seasons with San Francisco and played with Tampa Bay in 2013-14.
— The Associated Press
Titans say Walker OK
Delanie Walker needed an hour to catch his breath after leaving the Titans’ 27-14 preseason victory against the Raiders on Saturday night at O.co Coliseum, and the Titans are awaiting the results of blood tests to determine what happened, the Pro Bowl tight end told The Tennessean.
One source indicated Walker is OK, however, and that the incident could have been an “isolated circumstance.” Another source said only Walker’s blood pressure was tested.
On Sunday afternoon, Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Walker was “fine” and should practice on Monday.
“He’s doing good. … He just had congestion in his chest,” Mularkey said. “He just went back and did a little, the kind of thing you do if you have asthma, and it cleared him right up. We just felt at that point, be smart with him. … He should practice tomorrow.”
Walker said he’d never before had a similar experience.
Walker left the game in the second quarter, as the Titans marched 85 yards in 14 plays. The drive lasted nearly 8½ minutes.
He did not return to the sideline.
— Jason Wolf, The Tennessean
Jets keep Marshall out
Sore hips held New York Jets receiver Brandon Marshall out of the team’s third preseason game Saturday night, a 21-20 loss against the Giants, according to Jets head coach Todd Bowles.
Had it been a regular-season game, however, Bowles said that Marshall would have played, and didn’t seem to be concerned with the No. 1 receiver’s health.
“I just need him ready for opening day,” Bowles said in his postgame press conference. “I think he will be.”
Starting inside linebacker David Harris played Saturday, but left the game with a shoulder injury. Bowles said Harris would undergo more tests Sunday to determine the extent of the injury.
Last season, Marshall caught 109 passes for 1,502 yards (a franchise single-season record) and 14 touchdowns (tying a Jets record).
Harris, meanwhile, led the team with 108 tackles in 2015.
Neither is expected to play in the team’s fourth and final preseason game Thursday against the Eagles.
— Lorenzo Reyes
Ravens lose Watson
The Baltimore Ravens are once again dealing with a depleted tight end corps.
Ben Watson, who signed with the team in the offseason after a stellar 2015 campaign with the New Orleans Saints, tore an Achilles during Saturday night’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions. His season is almost certainly over.
Fellow tight end Dennis Pitta, who’s trying to return from a broken hip for the second time, has been sidelined in recent weeks by a broken finger.
Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams should enter the season as the top options at the position in Baltimore.
The Ravens also lost rookie running back Kenneth Dixon to a left leg injury.
Rams lock up Austin
The Los Angeles Rams have extended receiver Tavon Austin’s contract. The team announced a four-year extension Saturday that will keep him in L.A. through the 2021 season.
According to multiple reports, Austin will receive $42 million in new money with $30 million guaranteed. Incentives could boost the entire value to $52 million.
“Tavon has been an integral part of our offense and special teams since we drafted him in 2013,” coach Jeff Fisher said in a statement. “It is important to our organization to retain players we’ve drafted and invested in, and Tavon is an example of that. We’re excited for him to continue his career with the Rams.”
Austin, a first-round pick in 2013, had a career best 907 yards from scrimmage in 2015 (473 receiving on 52 receptions and 434 more on 52 carries) last season. He is also the team’s primary punt returner.
Big return for Browns WR Gordon
Not much went right for the Cleveland Browns on Friday night in the preseason game against Tampa Bay, but the return of Josh Gordon was a bright spot.
Gordon, playing for the first time since 2014, caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Robert Griffin III and reminded Browns fans of what they had missed while he served his suspension throughout the 2015 season.
Earlier in the game, the two connected for a 44-yard gain.
The Browns denied reports earlier this week they were looking to trade Gordon.
Nelson will not play for Packers
Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson was inactive for the preseason game against the 49ers on Friday night.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is active for the first time this preseason.
Suh, Julio expected to be OK; Falcons rookie out 3-4 weeks
The Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons appear to have averted injuries to their star players on Thursday.
Dolphins Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh sustained an ankle injury but is OK, Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones also left the game with an ankle injury, but coach Dan Quinn said he likely could have returned and will be back in action shortly.
Keanu Neal, the Falcons’ safety and first-round pick, left the game with a knee injury. The team announced Friday he woulld require arthroscopic surgery and miss 3-4 weeks.
Whitner sets visit with Panthers
The Carolina Panthers appear to be weighing whether to add a veteran presence in the secondary.
Safety Donte Whitner will work out for the Panthers, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.
Whitner, 31, would bring an additional veteran presence to a Carolina defense led by linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. Beyond Bene’ Benwikere, the Panthers’ top options at cornerback are all rookies (James Bradberry, Daryl Worley and Zack Sanchez).
Patriots pull off another trade
One day after dealing center Bryan Stork to the Washington Redskins, the New England Patriots have swung another trade.
The Patriots are acquiring linebacker Barkevious Mingo from the Cleveland Browns, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Mingo was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft but struggled to establish himself in Cleveland. He has just seven career sacks in three years, though he primarily was used as a coverage linebacker the last two seasons.
In NewEngland, he should add depth to the pass rush. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich is recovering from a torn triceps and could miss regular-season games.
Watt expected to practice next week
J.J. Watt could be nearing his return to the Houston Texans.
The defensive end and three-time defensive player of the year is expected to practice next week for the first time since undergoing back surgery in July, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.
On Wednesday, Watt tweeted a picture of himself with the caption “Soon.”
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SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Chargers didn’t score an offensive touchdown and it didn’t matter against the Arizona Cardinals on Friday night.
The Chargers forged ahead early and cruised past the Cardinals, 19-3.
With Carson Palmer limited to three series and Philip Rivers not playing, the first half was mostly a competition between veteran backup quarterbacks Kellen Clemens and Drew Stanton.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was on the sideline for the game.
Arians was released from the hospital on Wednesday after an overnight stay. The 63-year-old coach was taken to the hospital Tuesday night after complaining of stomach pain as the Cardinals prepared for a joint practice.
“I’m fine,” Arians said after the game.
On their way to a 16-0 halftime lead, the Chargers (1-1) took advantage of two turnovers for 10 first-quarter points.
Brandon Flowers intercepted Palmer’s pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.
“The defense started fast and that’s what we wanted to do,” Flowers said.
“You don’t let it frustrate you,” Palmer said. “You just continue to find ways to get better and look at all the areas that are good, look at all the areas that are bad and evaluate then and move forward.”
Stanton was then picked off in his first series by Jahleel Addae. He brought it back 61 yards to the Arizona 9. The Chargers settled for a 20-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.
Kicker Josh Lambo was the game’s key offensive player. He made four field goals to pace the Chargers.
One week after allowing a league-high 288 rushing yards, the Chargers limited the Cardinals to 63.
Chandler Catanzaro made a 52-yard field goal for Arizona (0-2).
REDSKINS 22, JETS 18
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Even though the Washington Redskins rested several key starters, they couldn’t avoid injuries in their second preseason game.
With quarterback Kirk Cousins, receiver DeSean Jackson and cornerback Josh Norman watching from the sideline, top running back Matt Jones left in the first quarter of the Redskins’ 22-18 victory over the New York Jets with a sprained left shoulder.
Jones couldn’t raise his hand above his head even after the game, but coach Jay Gruden was cautiously optimistic about the situation.
“We’ll continue to get him checked out, get rehab and hopefully it won’t be too long,” Gruden said. “It’s a little upsetting, but I think he’s going to be OK. I don’t think it’s going to be a long injury.”
Jones looked good with 31 yards on seven carries before Calvin Pryor landed on him after pushing him out of bounds. The Redskins (1-1) can ill afford to lose Jones given their lack of experienced depth behind him.
Third-down back Chris Thompson, rookies Robert Kelley and Keith Marshall and second-year player Mack Brown split the bulk of the carries after Jones left. Wide receiver Rashad Ross was among the standouts for Washington with seven catches, including two touchdowns, for 58 yards.
“I thought Ross played outstanding,” said quarterback Colt McCoy, who learned he was starting as he came out of the tunnel before the game and was 13 of 16 for 159 yards. “Ross brings speed to the table, and that’s a big asset. When he uses it that way, it’s good for the offense.”
Having all of the options is better for the offense, but Gruden opted to rest Cousins, Jackson and Pierre Garcon — and Norman, cornerback Bashaud Breeland and linebackers Will Compton and Ryan Kerrigan on defense — to see other players in important spots.
The Jets (1-1) saw good things out of undrafted rookie receiver Robby Anderson, who made six catches for 131 yards. The Temple product hauled in a 50-yard pass from third-stringer Bryce Petty and made a 42-yard touchdown catch.
“He’s got a very, very sneaky way of making hard catches look easy,” Petty said. “He’s made a bunch of those catches in practice, so it’s nice to see that transition to the game.”
Cornerback Darrelle Revis made an impact in his preseason debut, picking off McCoy in the end zone during Washington’s opening drive. Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was 4 of 9 for 35 yards, and Bilal Powell ran for 23 yards on three carries.
Rookie Nate Sudfeld led Washington on the game-winning drive, completing it with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Kendal Thompson with 29 seconds left.
COWBOYS 41, DOLPHINS 14
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tony Romo led a touchdown drive in his preseason debut once the Dallas offense stopped committing holding penalties, rookie backup quarterback Dak Prescott had a strong encore and Ryan Tannehill finally got the Miami Dolphins moving.
Alfred Morris finished the second of Romo’s two possessions with a 15-yard scoring run before Prescott ran for two touchdowns and threw for two scores, including another one to Dez Bryant, in the Cowboys’ 41-14 exhibition victory Friday night.
Tannehill had two scoring tosses to Kenny Stills.
Dallas (1-1) had three holding penalties in the first five plays of an opening drive that stalled. Then Romo completed all three passes, including a pair to trusty tight end Jason Witten, before the scoring run from Morris, who had 13 carries for 85 yards.
Romo was 4 of 5 for 49 yards, and the Dallas offense had 300 yards at halftime.
“It was a good start. We needed that,” Witten said. “It’s been a long offseason. We have Tony leading the way. We had a lot of energy.”
Tannehill, who played late into the first half with the Dolphins (1-1) trying to move past a rough opener for the first-team offense last week, had scoring passes of 13 and 3 yards to Stills. Tannehill led another drive inside the 5 that ended on downs and finished 12 of 20 for 162 yards.
“I liked the mentality that he had going into that first half,” first-year coach Adam Gase said. “I liked the fact that the ones wanted to stay in and do another series. That’s what I wanted to see.”
Prescott has two touchdowns passes in each of the two preseason games and is 22 of 27 for 338 yards without an interception after completing his first eight passes following a 10-of-12 showing in his NFL debut against the Los Angeles Rams last week.
The fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State had a 20-yard scoring run and a 1-yard sneak that was held up on review. Prescott tossed a short touchdown pass to Brice Butler the play after a 58-yarder to the speedy wideout.
Prescott had an overthrow for what would have been his first interception in the second quarter, but it was wiped out by a roughing-the-passer penalty against Andre Branch.
“It’s been a great start for him, and he’s excited about it,” Romo said. “You just keep building on it every day, but you can’t ask for a better start.”
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Ken Stabler built a Hall of Fame career on moments more than raw numbers.
Stabler threw more interceptions than touchdowns, completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes, and posted a quarterback rating of 90 or better just twice in 15 NFL seasons.
Yet Stabler was the offensive leader of the great Oakland Raiders teams of the 1970s, helping the team win its first Super Bowl and make it to four other conference championship games in a five-year span.
“Sometimes we forget how smart Kenny Stabler was,” his former coach John Madden said. “He was a brilliant quarterback with a brilliant football mind. He would set things up. There’s a thing that they don’t even judge anymore, called field general. Ken Stabler was a true field general. The offensive players really believed and followed him. Anything that came out of his mouth, they totally believed.”
Madden called the shaggy-haired Stabler, whose wild style on the field and off helped earn him the nickname “The Snake,” the perfect Raider. Madden said if he had one drive to win a game and could choose any quarterback who ever played to lead it, Stabler would be his choice.
“The hotter the game, the hotter I got, and Kenny was truly just the opposite; the hotter the game, the cooler he became,” Madden said.
That calm demeanor helped Stabler play a key role in some of the NFL’s most famous moments — so much so they are universally known by their nicknames.
Stabler scored the go-ahead touchdown in the “Immaculate Reception” playoff game against Pittsburgh in 1972 that ended with Franco Harris’ improbable touchdown and a Steelers victory.
His late TD pass that Clarence Davis caught in a “Sea of Hands” helped knock out two-time defending champion Miami the next season. Stabler’s late “Ghost to the Post” pass to Dave Casper in the 1977 playoffs helped force overtime against Baltimore in a game Oakland finally won in the second extra period.
And his heady play to fumble forward in the closing seconds of a regular-season game against San Diego in 1978 led to a touchdown by Casper on a play forever known as the “Holy Roller” that led to a rule change the following season.
“The cat was a cool, calm and collected guy,” said his former receiver Cliff Branch. “He was a chess player on the football field and he put people in checkmate in a minute on the defensive end.”
The only thing missing when Stabler is inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 6 will be Stabler himself. The honor comes just over a year after he died in July 2015 died at age 69 from complications of colon cancer. Stabler also suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a form of repetitive brain trauma, according to his family.
“I told my wife, we’ll just dig him up and prop him in a chair at the Hall of Fame so he can enjoy it,” said former Raiders receiver Fred Biletnikoff. “I’m excited about it. I can’t wait to go back there this year and go through that whole process and watch the excitement in his family’s face.”
Stabler was elected in February by the Seniors Committee as the capper to a career that started when he was a second-round draft pick out of Alabama and the second quarterback selected by the Raiders after Eldgridge Dickey in the 1968 draft.
After spending most of his first four seasons as a backup. Stabler became the starter in 1973. He was the NFL MVP in 1974, then won the Super Bowl following the 1976 season as he put the Raiders right up alongside Pittsburgh and Miami as the class of the AFC.
Stabler is the Raiders’ all-time leader in yards passing and TD passes. He finished his 15-year career with Houston and New Orleans, but will most definitely remembered as a Raider.
It took his death last summer for Stabler to get another shot at the Hall of Fame honor his teammates believe was long overdue.
“I always believed that Kenny should have been in the Hall of Fame before,” Biletnikoff said. “I know it’s a tough process for guys to get into the Hall of Fame. I was always disappointed that his name wasn’t brought up to the top year after year. I know it was there, but it was never a big factor. This year with that happening, I love it. I know it means the world to his family.”
FILE – In this Jan. 9, 1977, file photo, Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler celebrates completing a touchdown pass en route to his team’s 32-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL football Super Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. The only thing missing when Stabler is inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, 2016, will be Stabler himself. (AP Photo/File)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Von Miller got a monstrous contract, befitting a sack-happy Super Bowl MVP. Muhammad Wilkerson and Justin Tucker also received big paydays, shedding their franchise tags and getting new deals.
Kirk Cousins, Alshon Jeffery, Eric Berry and Trumaine Johnson, however, will all be playing this season under the value of their tags after they and their teams failed to agree on long-term contracts by the NFL’s Friday deadline.
Miller and Denver spent the offseason in a contract stare down this season, but the sides agreed to a six-year, $114.5 million deal that includes $70 million guaranteed.
Miller and agent Joby Branion parlayed patience into a record-breaking deal in terms of overall value and guarantees. The outside linebacker received $23 million at signing and will earn $61 million over the first eight months of the blockbuster deal that makes him the highest-paid player outside of quarterbacks in NFL history.
Miller’s camp had rejected the $38.5 million the Broncos offered in guarantees, and Miller threatened to sit out the season barring a long-term deal. About two hours before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline, the cornerstone of the league’s best defense accepted the Broncos’ blockbuster offer and tweeted a photo of himself in his orange No. 58 jersey with the caption “For Life.”
In a statement, Miller thanked general manager John Elway, team owner Pat Bowlen, president and CEO Joe Ellis and coach Gary Kubiak.
“I’m also thankful for the way my teammates and our fans have supported me,” Miller said. “I’m excited for the future and ready to get back to work.”
The New York Jets pulled off a last-minute stunner, signing Wilkerson to a five-year extension shortly before the deadline.
Wilkerson had a career-high 12 sacks last season and was selected for his first Pro Bowl, but was unable to play after breaking his right leg in the season finale at Buffalo. The 2011 first-round draft pick said he was frustrated at not receiving a new deal from the Jets, who instead placed the franchise tag on him.
But just as many fans began to take to social media, upset at a deal not getting done, the Jets announced on Twitter that they had signed Wilkerson to a multiyear contract. The deal is worth more than $85 million, including $37 million in guarantees through the first two years, according to a person familiar with the contract. Through three years of the deal, Wilkerson will be paid $54 million in guaranteed money, added the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team does not announce financial terms of contracts.
“I give my all every Sunday on the field and play with so much love and passion for the game,” Wilkerson wrote on Twitter. “I’m thankful for everything that comes my way and proud to say I’m back on the green and white for a few more years.”
Tucker and the Baltimore Ravens agreed to a four-year contract, announced late Friday afternoon by the team.
Since joining the Ravens as a free agent in 2012, Tucker has made 130 of his 148 field goal tries — an 87.8 percent success rate that is second-best in NFL history. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2013 after making 38 of 41 field goal attempts, including a 61-yarder that beat the Detroit Lions
“Justin has become a cornerstone for our team, and we are happy to get this contract completed,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said.
Cousins will earn $19.95 million this season while playing under the franchise tag for Washington after the sides failed to agree on a long-term contract. Franchised players who didn’t sign deals by Friday now must wait until the offseason to re-open negotiations.
He’ll be the first quarterback to play a season on the tag since San Diego’s Drew Brees in 2005.
The 27-year-old Cousins started all 16 regular-season games for the Redskins last season, throwing for 4,166 yards and 29 touchdowns with 11 interceptions last season. In 30 career NFL games, the 2012 fourth-round pick has thrown 47 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.
Jeffery will be paid $14.6 million this season by Chicago. He missed seven games last season with injuries, but still led the team with 54 catches and 807 receiving yards while scoring four touchdowns. His per-game average of 89.7 receiving yards was the seventh-best mark in the NFL.
Kansas City general manager John Dorsey announced in a statement released by the team on Twitter that the Chiefs and Berry were unable to reach a long-term deal. Berry, the NFL Comeback Player of the Year last season after being diagnosed in November 2014 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, will play this season under the tag worth $10.8 million.
“Although both sides would have preferred a different outcome, Eric is a true professional and a tremendous football player, and we know that he will continue to be a leader in our locker room,” Dorsey said. “We look forward to resuming our discussions on a long-term agreement when the negotiating window reopens after the season.”
The Los Angeles Rams and Johnson also couldn’t close on a deal Friday, meaning the cornerback will under play his tag value, worth $13.952 million.
In four NFL seasons, Johnson has 15 interceptions, including seven last year in a breakout season for the Rams after being a third-round draft pick out of Montana in 2012.
AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton, and AP Sports Writers David Ginsburg and Stephen Whyno contributed to this report
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BATAVIA, N.Y. (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took the air out of reaching a settlement with Tom Brady following the Patriots star quarterback’s latest appeal of the league’s four-game “Deflategate” suspension.
“At this stage, no,” Goodell said Monday, noting there have been several previous bids to reach a settlement. “The courts will make their decisions, and we’ll move forward on that basis.”
Goodell spoke while attending Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly’s 30th annual charitable golf tournament being held outside of Buffalo.
The comments were Goodell’s first in two weeks since Brady’s lawyers asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a new hearing before an expanded panel of judges. The request comes after a three-judge panel in April reinstated Brady’s suspension for what the NFL ruled was the quarterback’s role in using underinflated footballs during the 2015 AFC championship game.
The type of appeal Brady is seeking is rarely granted.
Brady’s lawyers argue Goodell is biased because he was responsible for initial suspension and then backed his decision when the quarterback lodged an appeal. Brady was officially informed of his initial suspension by NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent.
Two of the three 2nd Circuit judges ruled the players had negotiated away their right to an impartial arbiter when they agreed to allow the commissioner to hear appeals.
Goodell was pleased with the judges backing his authority, though disappointed by the slow pace it’s taken in reaching a resolution.
“If there’s a better system (of appeals), we’ll do it, but when it comes to the integrity of the game, that’s the responsibility of the commissioner,” Goodell said. “And we’re not going to hand that integrity of the game off to somebody who doesn’t have any involvement in the game.”
Questions over the NFL commissioner’s authority as defined in the collective bargaining agreement were raised by sports attorney David Cornwell in 2009, when he was one of four finalists to replace the late Gene Upshaw as the NFL Players Association’s executive director.
Cornwell called the league’s disciplinary policy “draconian” and argued the process requires independent oversight.
DeMaurice Smith won the election and remains the NFLPA’s chief.
Goodell touched on several other topics including the status of the Oakland Raiders considering the possibility of relocating to Las Vegas.
Goodell said he’d prefer the Raiders staying in Oakland, but noted Las Vegas as being one of several sites the team is considering.
As for the Chargers’ future in San Diego, Goodell favors the team reaching a deal to have a new stadium built downtown. The first step is having the issue placed on ballot and voted upon in November.
“We’re going to be meeting with them in a couple of weeks. I think there’s real progress out there, but these projects are hard,” Goodell said. “Ultimately, it’s the community’s solution and the community’s decision.”
In Buffalo, Goodell said Bills’ new owners, Terry and Kim Pegula, are exploring their options as to whether a new stadium is required to keep their franchise competitive in the long term.
Ralph Wilson Stadium opened in 1973 and has undergone numerous renovations, with the latest upgrade costing $130 million in 2014.
The Pegulas proposed the possibility of building a new stadium during their successful bid in purchasing the team from the estate of late Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson in 2014.
Last summer, Terry Pegula said he was in no rush to build a new stadium, and noted there was plenty of time to devise a plan under the stadium’s current lease, which runs through 2022.
FILe – In this Aug. 31, 2015, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell leaves Federal court in New York. Goodell says he sees no avenue right now for a settlement with Tom Brady as the star Patriots quarterback appeals his four-game “Deflategate” suspension. Goodell told reporters Monday, June 6, 2016, that the league will move forward based on whether the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decides to grant Brady’s request for the full court to re-hear the case. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Mark Sanchez wasn’t about to let a weight room mishap keep him from running the Denver Broncos’ offense when the Super Bowl champs began OTAs.
Sanchez donned a black wrap on his surgically repaired left thumb and got in plenty of work Tuesday, defying the odds and enjoying some cachet among his teammates.
“That’s what you like to see in a competitor,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said.
Sanchez tore a thumb ligament on his non-throwing hand on May 13 and underwent surgery 48 hours later. He was originally expected to miss the start of organized team activities this week, which might have stalled his quest to win the starting job ahead of first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch and second-year pro Trevor Siemian.
Instead, he led the way during individual and 7-on-7 drills before giving way to Lynch and Siemian during the team periods.
“Anytime you’re not in there full go, you’re just itching to get back into the swing of things,” Sanchez said. “But this was better than nothing and we’ll just take it smart, slow and steady.”
Coach Gary Kubiak said it was obviously important for Sanchez to lead the offense during Denver’s first practice since the Broncos hoisted the Lombardi Trophy back on Feb. 7.
“Oh, I thought it was huge,” said Sanchez, who termed his injury a “minor setback” and “no big deal” and soon he’ll look back on it and “it will be nothing.”
This was the first real opportunity for Sanchez to face the league’s top defense, the one that throttled Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl.
“There’s not a lot of room out there on the field,” Sanchez said. “Those guys cover ground quickly and there’s a reason they got so much publicity last year.”
When Sanchez retreated to the sideline, Lynch and Siemian showed off strong arms.
Whereas Sanchez drew kudos for playing hurt, Lynch was quick to make a strong impression himself.
“The rookie looked really good,” receiver Emmanuel Sanders said.
“He looked like, hey, that’s why we drafted him in the first round,” safety Darian Stewart said. “He definitely has what it takes.”
And what about Siemian, who was a seventh-rounder in 2015 and has but one snap to his pro resume? He has the most experience in Kubiak’s system and it certainly showed.
“Not many guys are asking about him, but I’m really excited about Trevor,” Kubiak said. “He’s got a chance to be a really good player. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He basically took the first group today.”
Harris said Siemian “has a great maturity to him.”
“He’s kind of a sleeper I would say because of course Mark and Paxton are going to be the headlines but Trevor, man, he knows the offense, and he’s very comfortable and he can throw the ball, too,” Harris said. “And we’ve also seen him make big plays in the preseason games under the lights. So, I wouldn’t sleep on Trevor winning the job, either.”
Lynch, who hit Jordan Taylor with his first TD pass as a pro, is adjusting to the West Coast offense after running the spread at Memphis. So, he’s going to have to adjust to making calls and reading defenses at the line of scrimmage and while backpedaling after taking the snap from under center rather than in the shotgun.
“It’s kind of my first time doing it, being under center, having routes and throwing on time. But today I felt pretty good,” Lynch said.
He looked good, too, Harris said.
“I think he still has some things to process a little bit faster. We’re very vanilla. Everything is very vanilla. Everything will turn up as OTAs go on,” Harris said. “I think for the first day coming out against us, I think he did a great job.”
Working with three QBs splitting snaps isn’t ideal, but “we’re not the first team that has ever dealt with a little quarterback controversy,” Sanders said. “The thing is, competition always brings the best out of guys. We’re going to see who the best guy is at the end of this process.”
Notes: OLB DeMarcus Ware (back) and DE Kenny Anunike (knee) were held out. … TE Virgil Green recently underwent finger surgery and will “miss probably a good portion of OTAs,” Kubiak said.
Denver Broncos- quarterback Mark Sanchez looks to hand off the ball during NFL football practice, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, at the team’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
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CHICAGO (AP) — For once, the key to the first round of the NFL draft doesn’t belong to the team picking first.
With the Rams and Eagles having traded up to secure the top two spots, where they have said they will take quarterbacks, it’s San Diego that likely will determine the flow on Thursday night. What will the Chargers do with the third selection?
Perhaps defensive back Jalen Ramsey of Florida State, considered one of the best athletes and most NFL-ready players available. Maybe Laremy Tunsil, the Ole Miss offensive tackle who can pile-drive blockers into submission.
Pass rushers Joey Bosa of Ohio State and DeForest Buckner of Oregon could be in the mix, too. Maybe linebacker Myles Jack of UCLA.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco has not been shy about making draft-day deals, either.
“Like Tom talked about last week at his press conference,” coach Mike McCoy said in a web chat with fans, “we were looking at every scenario with trade possibilities. When those two teams traded ahead of us, that settled things down a bit. The phones weren’t ringing quite as often.
“We’re excited to get on the clock at pick No. 3.”
Dallas follows right behind San Diego, and the Cowboys could be thinking defense or even running back if Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott suits their tastes. Their offensive line is strong enough from recent drafts that selecting Tunsil is a long shot.
Then again, some scouts have rated Tunsil the top prospect in the entire crop, and left tackles are a premium commodity. So a bunch of other clubs in need of help on the O-line could be lining up to get the fourth overall pick.
Two other intriguing selections in the top 10 belong to San Francisco and Cleveland. Both could be in the market for a quarterback such as Paxton Lynch; Colin Kaepernick has said he would like out of San Francisco, and the Browns, despite adding Robert Griffin III, always are looking for a QB.
The 49ers have the seventh spot, and the Browns, after trading down from No. 2, will go eighth.
Of course, considering the mega-trades pulled off so far, the top 10 could look very different by the time Los Angeles opens the selection process. Not to mention how the rest of the 31-pick round (New England forfeited its pick in the deflated footballs saga) might go.
1. Los Angeles Rams (from Tennessee Titans) – Jared Goff, QB, California: Everything is in place in Hollywood (including a football team) to serve as a near-ideal supporting cast for a rookie passer – stud RB Todd Gurley, an ascending O-line and defense that could border on elite if paired with a competent offense. Now comes Goff to go atop the marquee. He won’t be slinging the ball like he did at Cal – at least not initially – but his accuracy, decision making and toughness will be welcome on a team that’s only been held back by subpar play at the game’s most vital position.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (from Cleveland Browns) – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State: It’s been 17 years since Philly drafted QB Donovan McNabb second overall. He sat behind Doug Pederson until he was ready to play, and that panned out OK. Like McNabb, Wentz is a strong-armed, mobile passer, and his experience in a pro-style system should ease his transition from the Football Championship Subdivision to the pros. But assuming he’s not NFL-ready by Week 1, Pederson, now the Eagles’ coach, can use vets Sam Bradford – maybe? – or Chase Daniel as a bridge to Wentz.
3. San Diego Chargers – Laremy Tunsil, T, Mississippi: The Bolts could use a jolt on defense, so DB Jalen Ramsey and DL DeForest Buckner should be strong considerations. But when your best player is a 34-year-old quarterback who’s been sacked 155 times over the last four seasons, it might be a good idea to get a new bouncer for Philip Rivers. Tunsil, arguably the top player in this draft, would theoretically keep Rivers on his feet for the remainder of his career while creating operating room for the feet of last year’s first rounder, RB Melvin Gordon, who too often had nowhere to go for the AFC’s worst run game.
4. Dallas Cowboys – Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State: Suspensions and free agency suggest Dallas’ pass rush may be non-existent in 2016, at least for the first month of the season. But it’s an area they should fret over Friday considering they can pick Ramsey, quite possibly the best defender coming out this year. The former track star is a freakish athlete who can play throughout the secondary, able to guard WR Odell Beckham one week and TE Jordan Reed the next. Ramsey and 2015 first rounder Byron Jones would form quite the dynamic DB duo for years to come.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA: Dave Caldwell sure doesn’t sound like a general manager who might be spooked by a reportedly questionable prognosis on Jack’s surgically repaired knee. Given Jack’s ability to surgically repair a defense burned for an AFC-worst 448 points in 2015, why shouldn’t Caldwell take a chance? Like most NFL teams, Jacksonville doesn’t have a player who can range from sideline to sideline … and rush off the edge … and cover the slot … and play deep safety … and be a red-zone threat as a tailback … and return kicks …
6. Baltimore Ravens – DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon: A perfect fit for a defense trying not to deteriorate. Buckner can close running lanes, get after quarterbacks, tie up blockers so aging edge rushers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil can get home and, as a last resort, his 6-7, 291-pound frame should get in the way of quite a few passes at the line of scrimmage.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: Per usual, we’re trying to figure out what’s up in San Francisco, including the future of QB Colin Kaepernick. The Niners could certainly be a suitor for Memphis QB Paxton Lynch and have the lone playbook in the league that might feasibly allow the raw prospect to comfortably start in Week 1. But here’s what we do know: new coach Chip Kelly covets multiple running backs who can capably power his hyperkinetic offense. Elliott is a more explosive and, apparently, more durable player than former Buckeyes teammate Carlos Hyde, currently the 49ers’ starter. And Elliott’s presence would immediately make Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert or whomever is starting a more effective passer.
8. Browns (from Miami Dolphins via Eagles) – Ronnie Stanley, T, Notre Dame: At minimum, he should be an upgrade over departed free agent RT Mitchell Schwartz and bolster the protection for oft-injured QB Robert Griffin III. But Stanley would also provide a succession plan at left tackle and might even help the Browns facilitate a deal of perennial all-pro Joe Thomas, who’s been on the trade block for some time. Thomas might be the last asset Cleveland can divest for the draft picks it continues to stockpile in the franchise’s latest reboot.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: This scenario represents a bit of a tumble for Bosa, the No. 1 player on some boards heading into the scouting combine. But Tampa Bay might be an ideal home for the native Floridian. Bosa is an excellent technician, doesn’t take plays off and effectively smothers both running backs and quarterbacks. DT Gerald McCoy would certainly welcome him on his flank.
10. New York Giants – Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Georgia: Yes, the Giants already opened their checkbook for DE Olivier Vernon and re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul. But JPP is again in prove-it mode and only under contract for 2016, which would give Floyd time to beef up his 6-6, 244-pound frame. In the interim, he could certainly bring needed fuel to DC Steve Spagnuolo’s coveted NASCAR pass rush packages considering New York had a meager 23 sacks in 2015.
11. Chicago Bears – Jack Conklin, T, Michigan State: One way to prevent another regression by QB Jay Cutler, who’s been forced to endure another offensive coordinator switch, is to fill the vacuum on his blind side.
12. New Orleans Saints – William Jackson III, CB, Houston: Their failed pursuit of CB Josh Norman tells you how the Saints regard a defense that allowed the most points in the NFL (476) last year. Jackson’s height (6 feet) would give him a fighting chance against monstrous NFC South receivers Julio Jones, Kelvin Benjamin, Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson.
13. Dolphins (from Eagles) – Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida: Tailback seems to be the spot Miami is desperate to fill, but it will have to wait unless they manage to snag Elliott. And Hargreaves is hardly a consolation prize. His ability to defend the slot is an ideal complement to newly acquired CB Byron Maxwell, who’s not as equipped to mirror quicker receivers like Sammy Watkins and Julian Edelman.
14. Oakland Raiders – Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville: He’s on the short side (6-1, 299) but compensates with excellent quickness and would provide three-down interior playmaking ability to a defense that already appears set on the perimeter.
15. Titans (from Rams) – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: He’d supply a nice dose of nasty to a line charged with better safeguarding QB Marcus Mariota and opening bigger holes for new RB DeMarco Murray. Decker appears best suited to the right side, which would allow LT Taylor Lewan to stay put.
16. Detroit Lions –Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama: A year after dumping Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, Detroit doesn’t have much inside aside from 32-year-old DT Haloti Ngata. Reed is a plug-and-play type who improves the run defense and should help unleash DE Ziggy Ansah off the edge.
17. Atlanta Falcons – Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State: The biggest deficiency of an improving unit is a linebacker who can run make plays in space and hold up in pass coverage. Problem solved with Lee.
18. Indianapolis Colts – Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama: GM Ryan Grigson is determined not to reach for a player – the blue-chip tackle crop looks rather exhausted here – yet knows he must provide better blocking in front of QB Andrew Luck if he’s going to survive to sign that (minimum) $150 million contract that’s in his future.
19. Buffalo Bills – Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson: A high-effort player who consistently invades enemy backfields. Rex Ryan is a lover of all things Clemson but, more importantly, would appreciate a relentless edge presence to replace the disappointment Mario Williams was in 2015 when this defense woefully underachieved.
20. New York Jets – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis: Given the splashy trades that have been a prologue to Thursday night, don’t be shocked to see another one executed by a club that falls in love with Lynch. But if he’s available here, the Jets should pounce given Ryan Fitzpatrick is not a long-term solution (and maybe not a short-term solution); they’re likely to find themselves in a Rams conundrum – too good to draft high, not good enough to seriously contend without a franchise QB; and have a wizened assistant in OC Chan Gailey, who could be the ideal guru for Lynch until he’s prepared to play.
21. Washington Redskins – Andrew Billings, DL, Baylor: Adding Norman last week was an unexpected bonus, but he’s always had the benefit of a strong front seven. So don’t be remotely surprised if GM Scot McCloughan drops a 311-pound anchor into his 26th-ranked run defense. Billings’ athleticism also suggests he could develop into a decent pass rusher.
22. Houston Texans – Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame: Brock Osweiler has a big arm, so why not stretch it with the draft’s fastest (4.32 40 speed) receiver? Keeping opposing secondaries honest with a few fly patterns from Fuller could really soften up the rest of the field for Pro Bowl WR DeAndre Hopkins and speedy RB Lamar Miller.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi: Maybe the draft’s top receiver, Treadwell’s size (6-2, 221) could make him Minnesota’s most productive red-zone target since Randy Moss.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor: His lightning speed would add a new dimension to an offense that’s already fairly diverse with WR A.J. Green, TE Tyler Eifert and a multi-faceted ground game. Cincinnati also needs to reload at wideout after losing its depth behind Green during free agency.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State: Their first round-strategy? Best. Available. Corner. This is one bad Apple, and his size (6-1, 199) and physical style should get under the skins of AFC North receivers like A.J. Green and Steve Smith while addressing a glaring need for a defense that allowed the most passing yards in the AFC in 2015.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech: Seattle has lost every starting offensive lineman from its Super Bowl title team two years ago, including LT Russell Okung this offseason. The 6-6, 316-pound Clark would be a nice rebuilding block and could become a star under the watchful eye of line coach Tom Cable.
27. Green Bay Packers – A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama: DE Mike Daniels needs some help on the Pack’s three-man front. Robinson, 21, has major upside for a defense that hasn’t finished in the top 10 since Green Bay last won the Super Bowl five years ago.
28. Kansas City Chiefs – Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama: ILB Derrick Johnson will be 34 this year. Ragland, an excellent value here, would certainly benefit by playing alongside the graybeard backer for a year or two before becoming the main man in the middle of K.C.’s D.
29. Arizona Cardinals – Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Mississippi: He fills a hole with loads of ability. Fellow DL Calais Campbell can help hone Nkemdiche’s talent, while coach Bruce Arians and DB Tyrann Mathieu ensure a player with trouble in his past stays squeaky clean off the field.
30. Carolina Panthers – Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia: Yes, they just cut the cord with Norman, something GM Dave Gettleman would not have done if he was worried about the cornerback position. But Carolina also has an issue at safety after opting not to re-sign Roman Harper. Joseph could be a rangier version of Bob Sanders – unfortunately, that includes the injury risk – and is probably too good to pass up.
31. Denver Broncos – Kevin Dodd, DL, Clemson: The champs land at the intersection of ability and need with Dodd, a promising talent who could prove to be better than departed Malik Jackson after an apprenticeship under DC Wade Phillips.
Note: New England Patriots were stripped of their first-round pick for their alleged role in Deflategate
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CHICAGO (AP) — As far as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is concerned, the league is ready to move on from “Deflategate.”
Speaking two days after a major victory for the NFL in its dispute with New England quarterback Tom Brady and the players’ union, Goodell defended the league’s discipline process for players in the wake of critical comments by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. While praising Chicago’s work on the NFL draft, he offered no clues as to where it might be held next year.
A federal appeals court ruled Monday that Brady must serve a four-game suspension handed down by the NFL for the use of underinflated footballs at the AFC championship game in January 2015. The court overturned a ruling by a Manhattan judge while siding with the league in its battle with the NFL Players Association.
“It should have been the decision last year from the district court, and that’s what the appellate court said,” Goodell said Wednesday. “They reaffirmed our authority and the underlying facts to the case, so we think it came out in the right place. So we’re not planning any more steps. We obviously would like to put the matter behind us and move forward.”
The NFLPA could appeal the decision to the full 2nd Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court, but it likely would be a time-consuming climb even if the courts took the unusual step to consider it. A message was left Wednesday seeking comment from the union.
Brady and the NFL also could negotiate a settlement, a possibility left open by Goodell.
“We’re not going to sit here and hypothetically talk about what we’re going to do,” Goodell said. “We had a lot of discussions last year. But the determination by the appellate court was very clear and very strong. We will continue, obviously, to negotiate with the union on the commissioner discipline issue. We’ve done that in the past. We’ve made changes in the past and we’re still open to doing that.”
Put Brees in the camp hoping for more changes. Reacting to the NFL’s successful appeal of the Brady case, Brees told SI.com he thinks the commissioner has too much power and he doesn’t trust any investigation led by the league.
Goodell said the league strives for fairness when it comes to the rules.
“The rules apply to every player. They apply to every team. They apply equally, and that’s what we do,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re the first person on the roster or you’re the 53rd man on the roster, the rules apply to all teams fairly and equally.”
Goodell joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and some of the NFL’s top prospects for a football clinic for a group of kids in Grant Park on the eve of the NFL draft. The first round begins Thursday night at a downtown theater, but Goodell was quiet when asked about where it might be held in 2017.
He acknowledged Philadelphia was a possibility. He said the league wants to move it around, but declined to rule out a return to Chicago for a third straight year.
“Our staff’s been working on it,” Goodell said. “Once we get done with this event, we’ll sit down, we’ll evaluate this event and the alternatives, and then we’ll make a decision, probably I would guess in the next 60 days, 90 days.”
The timeline for resolving the Raiders’ situation in Oakland is more up in the air. Owner Mark Davis is flirting with moving the franchise to Las Vegas after a long dalliance with relocating to Los Angeles, but Goodell said there is nothing to talk about right now when it comes to such a move.
“Those are decisions that are made once there is an opportunity and where there’s an alternative. They’re far from that at this point in time,” he said. “The Raiders were given permission by the other clubs to evaluate their options and to consider other alternatives. They’re doing that.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, left, laughs with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during an NFL Play 60 event at Grant Park, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in Chicago before Thursday’s first round of the NFL football draft. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) —- Whether in St. Louis or now back in Los Angeles, the Rams are all about big trades.
They made a huge splash in their deal Thursday with the Tennessee Titans, one of the biggest draft-choice transactions in NFL history. Just like the one they pulled off four years ago with the Redskins that landed Robert Griffin III in Washington.
Of the four major pro sports in America, football features the fewest monster trades. Except, that is, when mostly draft choices are involved.
And certainly in recent times, except for when the Rams are involved.
St. Louis’ grab bag for sending the second overall spot in 2012 to the Redskins was plentiful, including No. 6 overall that year, plus two more first-rounders and a second-rounder. St. Louis didn’t exactly turn around the franchise with its selections: defensive tackle Michael Brockers, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, running backs Isaiah Pead and Zac Stacy; linebacker Alex Ogletree; tackle Greg Robinson; receiver Stedman Bailey; and offensive lineman Rokevious Watkins.
Only Brockers, Ogletree and Jenkins made much of an impact, and Jenkins left for the Giants in free agency this year. Meanwhile, the Rams have gone 27-36-1 since that deal.
The Redskins, of course, got an Offensive Rookie of the Year performance and an NFC East title out of RG3 in 2012, but he’s been injured and benched since, and now is with Cleveland.
Tennessee, meanwhile, now has the bevy of picks, something new general manager Jon Robinson, who previously worked in New England, foresees being transformational for the franchise.
“That’s the philosophy and the team-building process I cut my teeth on and that I came up in,” he said Thursday, “and I’m taking that same approach. It’s worked out pretty well for those guys up there.”
How did some other massive draft deals work out for the parties?
DALLAS AND MINNESOTA
Unquestionably the greatest heist in NFL trade annals.
Dallas already was 0-5 in 1989 while shopping star running back Herschel Walker, by far the Cowboys’ most sellable commodity. Minnesota was thinking Super Bowl and that Walker would be the final piece on a championship roster.
Basically, the Cowboys sent Walker, their third-round and 10th-round picks in 1990, and their third pick in 1991 to the Vikings for running back Darrin Nelson, cornerback Issiac Holt, linebackers Jesse Solomon and David Howard, defensive end Alex Stewart and Minnesota’s 1990 first-, second- and sixth-round picks in 1990.
But Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson had no intention of holding onto most of those veterans. Each of them had a draft pick attached so if Dallas released the player before Feb. 1, 1990, it would get those draft choices instead.
Most of the players were, indeed, cut — Nelson never even reported and was dealt to the Chargers for a second-round and a sixth-round selection.
Among those the Cowboys took with the draft choices: career rushing leader Emmitt Smith; stud DT Russell Maryland; ace safety Darren Woodson; solid cornerback Kevin Smith; and special teams standout Clayton Holmes.
Dallas won three Super Bowls in a four-season span after that. Minnesota still hasn’t sniffed another Super Bowl.
NEW ORLEANS AND WASHINGTON
Theater of the absurd, courtesy of Mike Ditka.
In 1999, then coaching New Orleans, Ditka was so enamored of Texas running back Ricky Williams that he moved the Saints up to fifth overall. In return, he sent all seven of the Saints’ selections, beginning with the 12th overall slot, plus a first-round and third-round choice the next year, to Washington. Then Ditka allegedly lit up a cigar and headed for the golf course.
Williams was a good, not great, player for the Saints, hardly worth an entire collection of picks. The Redskins wound up, through other moves, getting cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker LaVar Arrington.
Who got the best of that one? Washington and Denver: Bailey built Hall of Fame numbers with both franchises.
NEW YORK GIANTS AND SAN DIEGO
This one doesn’t have the quantity, but, boy, the quality.
Eli Manning was top dog in 2004, but his family didn’t want San Diego taking him with the first overall selection. The Chargers seemingly called the Mannings’ bluff and took him anyway, and Eli couldn’t have been more sour or dour when he came on stage at Radio City Music Hall to be greeted by Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Three picks later, though, the Giants announced they’d acquired Manning in exchange for another highly regarded college QB, Philip Rivers. Suddenly, Eli was all smiles.
It turned out to be a great deal for New York as Manning has led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles and also could be Hall of Fame material. Rivers has been a long-time star for the Chargers, even though they don’t have a Lombardi Trophy in their possession.
AP Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker contributed to this report. FILE – In this Oct. 13, 1989 file photo, former Dallas Cowboys running back Herschel Walker smiles as he is introduced at a news conference to announce the trade of five players and seven draft choices by the Minnesota Vikings for the leading NFC rusher, in Bloomington, Minn. The Los Angeles Rams made a huge splash in their deal with the Tennessee Titans on Thursday, April 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)