AFC West

AP Power Rankings: Cowboys still No. 1 as top 6 stays same

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NEW YORK (AP) — The final month of the NFL’s regular season is when the playoff contenders begin to separate themselves from the also-rans.

That was reflected in the AP Pro32 poll released on Tuesday.

The top six spots (Dallas, New England, Oakland, Kansas City, Seattle and Denver) all remained the same from the previous week after each team won.

The Cowboys are No. 1 after receiving 11 first-place votes for 383 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

The Cowboys have won 11 in a row heading into Sunday night’s matchup at the NFC East-rival Giants. The Giants handed the Cowboys their only loss of the season in Week 1.

“They have tests the next three weeks, but a victory over the Giants ends all drama for the regular season,” said Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The Patriots received the other first-place vote and are No. 2 with 369 points.

The Raiders and Chiefs follow at Nos. 3 and 4 respectively. The AFC West rivals will open Week 14 in Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night.

“Thursday night’s highly anticipated clash between the Raiders and Chiefs sports an AFL feel,” said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Len Dawson will be in the KC broadcast booth. Where’s Daryle Lamonica?”

The first-place Seahawks are No. 5 after routing Carolina 40-7 on Sunday night.

And the Broncos remained at No. 6 after holding off the Jaguars. Denver stays in the mediocre AFC South this week when its faces the Titans.

The first change in the poll was the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions, who moved two spots to No. 7.

The surging Pittsburgh Steelers, who have won three in a row, jumped four places to No. 8.

Atlanta slipped a spot to No. 9 after its 29-28 loss to Kansas City on Eric Berry’s 99-yard return of a 2-point conversion.

Baltimore, tied with Pittsburgh for first place in the AFC North, moved up three spots to round out the top 10.

“The AFC North has been having a down year, but suddenly, both the Steelers and the Ravens look like teams who could go on a run if they get into the postseason,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback.

The Ravens will wrap up Week 14 by traveling to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to face Tom Brady and Patriots on Monday night.

“The loss of Rob Gronkowski to a season-ending back injury isn’t a factor in what turned out to be an easy win over the Rams, but the Patriots have to be concerned once the degree of difficulty goes way up in the playoffs,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.

“For now, the main task is trying to secure home-field advantage, no small feat with the Raiders and Chiefs also in play for the No. 1 seed.”

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(###) Number of first place votes
 
1
Record: 11-1
PV Rank

1

Points

383

2
Record: 10-2
2
369
3
Record: 10-2
3
361
4
Record: 9-3
4
344
5
Record: 8-3-1
5
340
6
Record: 8-4
6
321
7
Record: 8-4
9
312
8
Record: 7-5
12
283
9
Record: 7-5
8
279
10
Record: 7-5
13
277
11
Record: 8-4
7
276
12
Record: 7-5
14
251
13
Record: 6-5-1
9
236
14
Record: 6-6
19
222
15
Record: 7-5
11
220
16
Record: 6-6
14
205
17
Record: 6-6
23
182
18
Record: 6-6
17
179
19
Record: 6-6
18
176
20
Record: 6-6
16
170
21
Record: 5-6-1
25
137
22
Record: 5-7
21
127
23
Record: 5-7
22
120
24
Record: 5-7
20
118
25
Record: 4-7-1
26
106
26
Record: 4-8
24
88
27
Record: 4-8
27
72
28
Record: 3-9
29
58
29
Record: 3-9
28
51
30
Record: 2-10
30
35
31
Record: 1-11
31
26
32
Record: 0-12
32
12

NFL playoff picture: Buccaneers, Broncos in, while Cowboys clinch

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP / USA Today)   —   Here’s how the NFL playoff picture looks after Week 13’s Sunday games.

(Note: Bookmark this page — it will be regularly updated for the duration of the regular season.)

AFC
1. Oakland Raiders (10-2)AFC West leader. Strength of victory tiebreaker moves them back ahead of Patriots.
2. New England Patriots (10-2): AFC East leader.
3. Baltimore Ravens (7-5): AFC North leader. Their Week 9 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers currently gives Baltimore the advantage.
4. Houston Texans (6-6): AFC South leader. They could wind up in a three-way division tie with the Tennessee Titans (6-6), who are on bye, and Indianapolis Colts (5-6). But the Texans have beaten both teams, so they’ll remain in field despite Sunday’s loss.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3): Wild card No. 1.
6. Denver Broncos (8-4): Wild card No. 2. Their win combined with the Miami Dolphins’ loss moves the defending champions back into the field.

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NFC
x-1. Dallas Cowboys (11-1): NFC East leader. The Washington Redskins’ loss Sunday allowed Dallas to lock up this season’s first postseason berth.
2. Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1): NFC West leader.
3. Detroit Lions (8-4): NFC North leader.
4. Atlanta Falcons (7-5): NFC South leader. They’re tied with the Bucs but keep the higher seed due to a superior division record (the teams split their season series).
5. New York Giants (8-4): Wild card No. 1.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5): Wild card No. 2. Their fourth consecutive win moves them past Washington.

x-clinched playoff spot

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SCOREBOARD

Monday, Dec. 5

Indianapolis (5-6) at New York Jets (3-8), 8:30 p.m. ET. Andrew Luck will be back under center for the Colts after a concussion sidelined him for one game. Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting again for New York despite calls by some fans and media for the Jets to give second-year quarterback Bryce Petty an extended look.

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STARS

Passing

— Tom Brady, Patriots, became the NFL’s career leader in victories by a quarterback, earning his 201st by throwing for 269 yards and a touchdown to lead New England past Los Angeles 26-10.

— Joe Flacco, Ravens, threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns, and had a franchise-record 36 completions on 47 attempts in Baltimore’s 38-6 rout of Miami.

— Carson Palmer, Cardinals, had three touchdown passes while going 30 of 46 for 300 yards in Arizona’s 31-23 win over Washington.

— Andy Dalton, Bengals, threw for 332 yards and two TDs as Cincinnati sent Philadelphia to its most lopsided loss of the season, 32-14.

— Matthew Stafford, Lions, passed for 341 yards and two touchdowns, and Detroit beat New Orleans 28-13.

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Rushing

— Jordan Howard, Bears, ran for 117 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, and the Bears handed San Francisco its 11th straight loss, 26-6.

— LeSean McCoy, Bills, rushed for 130 yards and caught seven passes for 61 yards in Buffalo’s 38-24 loss at Oakland.

— Thomas Rawls, Seahawks, had 106 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in Seattle’s 40-7 rout of Carolina.

— Le’Veon Bell, Steelers, ran for 118 yards on 29 carries to help lead Pittsburgh past the New York Giants 24-14.

— LeGarrette Blount, Patriots, ran for 88 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in New England’s 26-10 win over Los Angeles.

— Latavius Murray, Raiders, rushed for 82 yards and two TDs in Oakland’s 38-24 win over Buffalo.

— Devonta Freeman, Falcons, had two 1-yard touchdown runs in Atlanta’s 29-28 loss to Kansas City.

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Receiving

— Golden Tate, Lions, had eight receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown in Detroit’s 28-13 win at New Orleans.

— Travis Kelce, Chiefs, caught eight passes for 140 yards in Kansas City’s 29-28 win at Atlanta.

— Jordy Nelson, Packers, had 118 yards receiving and a score on eight catches to help Green Bay top Houston 21-13.

— Dennis Pitta, Ravens, caught two of Joe Flacco’s four touchdown passes in Baltimore’s 38-6 win over Miami, his first trips to the end zone since December 2013.

— Ladarius Green, Steelers, had six catches for 110 yards and a score in Pittsburgh’s 24-14 victory over the New York Giants.

— Julio Jones, Falcons, caught seven passes for 113 yards in a losing cause as Atlanta fell to Kansas City, 29-28.

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Special Teams

— Matt Prater, Lions, had field goals of 27, 29, 32, 27 and 52 yards in Detroit’s 28-13 win at New Orleans.

— Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots, kicked field goals of 28, 48, 45 and 45 yards in New England’s 26-10 win over Los Angeles.

— Steven Hauschka, Seahawks, booted four field goals in Seattle’s 40-7 rout of Carolina.

— Johnny Hekker, Rams, had a 76-yard punt in the fourth quarter of Los Angeles’ 26-10 loss at New England. It was his third punt this season of 75 or more yards.

— Ra’Shede Hageman, Falcons, blocked Cairo Santos’ first extra-point attempt in Atlanta’s 29-28 loss to Kansas City.

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Defense

— Eric Berry, Chiefs, returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown, and then brought back another pick 99 yards for a 2-point conversion that gave Kansas City a 29-28 victory over Atlanta.

— Bradley Roby, Broncos, returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown, helping Denver beat Jacksonville 20-10.

— Vontaze Burfict, Bengals, intercepted Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz twice in Cincinnati’s 32-14 victory.

— Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks, Bears. Each had two sacks in Chicago’s 26-6 win over San Francisco.

— Lavonte David and Keith Tandy, Buccaneers. David had a 15-yard interception return for a score in Tampa Bay’s 28-21 win over San Diego. Tandy intercepted Philip Rivers in the end zone with 2:56 left to seal the victory.

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STREAKS & STATS

Detroit became the first team in 60 Saints home games to stop Drew Brees from throwing a touchdown pass, as the Lions pulled away from New Orleans, 28-13 on Sunday. It was also the Lions’ first victory in a road game following Thanksgiving since 1974, snapping a streak of 22 losses in such games. … San Francisco (1-11) extended its franchise-record losing streak to 11 games with a 26-6 defeat at Chicago, and set a club low with 6 yards net passing on a day when Colin Kaepernick got lifted for Blaine Gabbert. … Los Angeles entered its game against New England ranked 31st in total offense, averaging just 295 yards per game. Those struggles continued in a 26-10 loss, with the Rams managing 25 yards in the first half, the fewest by a team in a game this season. Los Angeles was outgained 402-162 for the game. … Miami was limited to 62 yards rushing in a 38-6 loss at Baltimore, its lowest output since gaining 51 in a loss to Tennessee on Oct. 9 — also its last loss. The Ravens’ win ended a six-game winning streak for the Dolphins.

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MILESTONES

Tom Brady became the league’s leader in career victories among quarterbacks, earning his 201st by throwing for 269 yards and a touchdown to lead New England past Los Angeles 26-10. Brady, who was 33 of 46, had tied Peyton Manning last week in a win over the New York Jets. … Atlanta’s Matt Bryant tied the franchise record for longest field goal with a 59-yarder, matching Morten Andersen (1995) in a 29-28 loss to Kansas City. It was the second-longest field goal of Bryant’s career, with a 62-yarder with Tampa Bay in 2006 the only one longer. … Green Bay’s Julius Peppers had a sack against Houston, giving the 15-year veteran 142 1/2 for his career, snapping a tie for fifth on the career list with Michael Strahan. Chris Doleman is fourth on that list with 150 1/2. … Arizona’s David Johnson became the second player in NFL history to top 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the first 12 games of a season. Edgerrin James was the other. Johnson carried the ball 18 times for 84 yards and caught nine passes for another 91 in a 31-23 win over Washington.

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COWBOYS IN

Dallas (11-1) became the first team in the league to clinch a postseason berth, due to Washington’s 31-23 loss at Arizona. The Cowboys beat Minnesota 17-15 on Thursday night.

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HANGING 10

New England (10-2) clinched its 14th consecutive season with at least 10 wins, the second-longest streak in NFL history, with a 26-10 victory over Los Angeles. The 1983-98 San Francisco 49ers (16) are the only franchise with more consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins.

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BERRY GOOD

Kansas City safety Eric Berry intercepted a 2-point conversion attempt and returned it for the go-ahead score with 4:32 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs’ 29-28 victory at Atlanta. It was the first game-winning defensive 2-point conversion scored when his team was trailing since the rule was adopted in 2015. Berry, who also returned an interception 37 yards for a TD, is the first player to return an interception for both a touchdown and a 2-point conversion in the same game.

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MISFIRING

Neither San Francisco nor Chicago completed a pass in the first quarter of the Bears’ 26-6 win — something that hadn’t happened in an NFL game since the Jets and Patriots did it on Nov. 13, 1988, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. San Francisco set a club low with 6 yards net passing on a day when Colin Kaepernick got lifted for Blaine Gabbert. Kaepernick completed just one of five passes for 4 yards and was sacked five times. He also ran for 20 yards on six attempts before Gabbert replaced him in the fourth quarter. Chicago’s Matt Barkley finished 11 of 18 for 192 yards.

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FITZ KEEPS GOING

Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald had 10 catches for 78 yards in the Cardinals’ 31-23 win over Washington, giving him 1,106 for his career. Fitzgerald, the youngest player in NFL history — at 33 years, 95 days — to reach 1,100 career catches, passed Hall of Famers Cris Carter (1,101) and Marvin Harrison (1,102) for the third-most receptions in NFL history. Fitzgerald has also recorded a catch in 191 consecutive games, surpassing Harrison (190) for the third-longest streak in NFL history.

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COMEBACK KIDS

Derek Carr threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns to rally the Oakland Raiders to their biggest comeback in 16 years with a 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. After falling behind 24-9 following touchdowns on the first two drives of the second half for Buffalo, the Raiders took the game over with 29 straight points and won their sixth straight. Oakland scored touchdowns on three straight drives, including scoring strikes from Carr to Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper for his sixth fourth-quarter comeback of the season. This was the biggest comeback for the Raiders since overcoming a 21-point deficit to Indianapolis to win 38-31 on Sept. 10, 2000.

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BELL TOLLS

Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell ran for 118 yards in a 24-14 victory, becoming the first player to rush for 100 or more against the New York Giants since Adrian Peterson in Week 16 of the 2015 season. Bell touched the ball 35 times — 29 rushes and six receptions — and had his third straight 100-yard rushing performance.

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LOTS OF LOSING

Jacksonville’s 20-10 loss to Denver was the seventh in a row for the Jaguars (2-10), who became the fifth team in NFL history to post double-digit defeats in six consecutive seasons, joining Tampa Bay (1983-94), Detroit (2001-06), Oakland (2003-09) and Cleveland (2008-13).

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STEEL CONNECTION

Ben Roethlisberger’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh’s 24-14 victory over the New York Giants marked the 49th time the two have connected for scores. That ties them with Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann for the most TD passes from a quarterback to a receiver in franchise history.

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SPECIAL TEAMS WOES

Jacksonville has had special-teams meltdown for seven straight games, including Alex Ellis getting flagged for unnecessary roughness on a punt return in the final minute of the first half in the Jaguars’ 20-10 loss to Denver. The streak includes five muffed punts — including three turnovers — a punt return for a touchdown and two long punt returns that set up scores.

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SIDELINED

Seattle safety Earl Thomas broke a bone in his lower left leg during a first-half collision with teammate Kam Chancellor while trying to intercept Cam Newton’s pass in the Seahawks’ 40-7 win over Carolina. X-rays revealed a “cracked tibia,” coach Pete Carroll told Seattle’s radio broadcast. … New England wide receiver Danny Amendola left late in the third quarter of the Patriots’ 26-10 win over Los Angeles with an ankle injury and did not return. He was later spotted walking on crutches in the tunnel underneath Gillette Stadium. Cornerback Eric Rowe also did not return after leaving with a hamstring injury. … Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul left in the second quarter of New York’s 24-14 loss at Pittsburgh with a groin injury. New York also lost cornerback Coty Sensabaugh to a rib injury. … Atlanta lost left tackle Jake Matthews to a left knee injury in the first half of the Falcons’ 29-28 loss to Kansas City. … Houston wide receiver Braxton Miller (shoulder) left in the first half of the Texans’ 21-13 loss at Green Bay and did not return. … Tampa Bay wide receiver Cecil Shorts III was taken off the field on a cart after sustaining a knee injury on a hard hit by San Diego’s Jahleel Addae following a catch on the Bucs’ first possession of a 28-21 win.

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SPEAKING

“I shed a few tears before the game, I shed a few tears during the game and I shed a few after. It was just a lot of emotions. I tried to contain them and let it show through my play.” — Kansas City’s Eric Berry who returned an interception for a score and also brought back another 99 yards for a 2-point conversion that gave the Chiefs a 29-28 victory over Atlanta. Berry, who grew up in suburban Atlanta, was playing in the city for the first time as a professional. It’s where he was treated after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma near the end of the 2014 season.

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“That’s a record that I don’t think will ever be broken. He’ll continue to build on it, I’m sure.” — New England running back LeGarrette Blount on Tom Brady’s NFL record of 201 wins by a quarterback.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

NFL Roundup: Brady breaks QB wins record, Patriots beat Rams 26-10

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Derek Carr threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns to rally the Oakland Raiders to their biggest comeback in 16 years with a 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

After falling behind 24-9 following touchdowns on the first two drives of the second half for Buffalo (6-6), the Raiders (10-2) took the game over with 29 straight points and won their sixth straight to remain one game ahead of Kansas City in the tough AFC West.

Oakland scored touchdowns on three straight drives, including scoring strikes from Carr to Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper for his sixth fourth-quarter comeback of the season. This was the biggest comeback for the Raiders since overcoming a 21-point deficit to Indianapolis to win 38-31 on Sept. 10, 2000.

The defense also tightened by forcing three straight three-and-outs and then getting a turnover when Khalil Mack deflected Tyrod Taylor’s pass that Nate Allen intercepted .

SEAHAWKS 40, PANTHERS 7

SEATTLE (AP) — Thomas Rawls ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, Tyler Lockett took a reverse 75 yards for a score to open the second half and Seattle routed Carolina.

Another prime-time game in Seattle was clouded with odd story lines right from the outset when Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was benched for the first play, only to watch backup Derek Anderson throw an interception.

The Seahawks (8-3-1) rolled up a season-high 534 yards and kept a three-game lead over Arizona in the division with four remaining.

Rawls finished with 106 yards on 15 carries, quiet in the second half after briefly being checked for a concussion. Russell Wilson was 26 of 36 for 277 yards and a touchdown.

Seattle safety Earl Thomas broke a bone in his lower left leg during a first-half collision with teammate Kam Chancellor while trying to intercept Newton’s pass. X-rays revealed a “cracked tibia,” coach Pete Carroll told Seattle’s radio broadcast.

Carolina dropped to 4-8.

CHIEFS 29, FALCONS 28

ATLANTA (AP) — Eric Berry returned an interception for a touchdown, and then brought back another pick for a 2-point conversion that gave Kansas City an improbable victory over Atlanta.

The Falcons (7-5), rallying from a 27-16 deficit, went ahead 28-27 on Matt Ryan’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson with 4:32 remaining.

Atlanta decided to go for 2, looking to stretch the margin to a field goal. But Berry stepped in front of Ryan’s pass and ran 99 yards the other way to give the Chiefs (9-3) their winning margin. It came after Denver won a game in similar fashion last month, returning a blocked PAT for the winning points at New Orleans.

Berry had another huge play with less than a minute to go in the first half, picking off Ryan’s pass over the middle and bringing it back 37 yards for a touchdown. After reaching the end zone, the suburban Atlanta native handed the ball to his mother sitting in the stands at the Georgia Dome.

Those weren’t the only big plays for the Chiefs.

CARSDINALS 31, REDSKINS 23

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Carson Palmer threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns and David Johnson scored twice.

The loss by the Redskins (6-5-1) clinched a playoff spot for the 11-1 Dallas Cowboys.

Palmer’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Johnson with 11:09 to play put Arizona ahead 24-20, the fourth lead change of the second half.

After a Washington field goal, Palmer’s 42-yard pass to J.J. Nelson with 1:56 padded gave the Cardinals (5-6-1) a 31-23 lead.

Washington drove to the Arizona 28-yard line before Patrick Peterson’s interception of Kirk Cousins’ pass with 41 seconds left sealed the victory.

Johnson, who also scored on a 1-yard run, became the second player in NFL history to top 100 yards from scrimmage in the first 12 games of a season. Edgerrin James was the other.

STEELERS 24, GIANTS 14

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns, Le’Veon Bell rolled up 182 yards of total offense, and Pittsburgh’s resurgent defense harassed Eli Manning into a flurry of mistakes.

Antonio Brown edged good buddy Odell Beckham Jr. in their personal showdown, catching six passes for 54 yards and an acrobatic scoring grab at the back of the end zone. Tight end Ladarius Green added six receptions for 110 yards, both career highs, and a touchdown as the Steelers (7-5) won their third straight to keep pace with Baltimore atop the AFC North.

Manning completed just 24 of 39 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns and two picks in the red zone for the Giants (8-4), whose six-game run ended with a thud. Beckham was largely a non-factor despite a game-high 10 receptions for 100 yards.

BUCCANEERS 28, CHARGERS 21

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jameis Winston threw a go-ahead, 12-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Brate midway through the fourth quarter and Keith Tandy intercepted Philip Rivers in the end zone with 2:56 left to give the Buccaneers their fourth straight victory.

Rivers had the Chargers on the move in the final minutes before Tandy got in front of a pass to Dontrelle Inman and picked it off. Tandy’s momentum carried him into the end zone, giving the Bucs the ball on their 20. They ran out the clock.

The Bucs (7-5) pulled into a tie with Atlanta atop the NFC South.

Rivers threw two second-half interceptions, including Lavonte David’s pick-6.

The Chargers (5-7) were trying to get back to .500 for the first time since Week 2.

PACKERS 21, TEXANS 13

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns, and the Packers pulled away with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

The Packers (6-6) weathered snowy conditions at Lambeau Field, making just enough plays on the cold turf.

Brock Osweiler connected with DeAndre Hopkins for a 44-yard touchdown pass with 1:51 left to get within eight for Houston. Nick Novak missed the extra point, with footing slippery at Lambeau.

The Texans (6-6) had one last shot after the Packers failed to run out the clock. But Osweiler’s last-ditch pass-and-lateral play from Houston’s 12 with 4 seconds left failed, handing Houston its third straight loss and dropping it into a tie with Tennessee atop the AFC South.

Nelson finished with eight catches for 118 yards and a touchdown for Green Bay.

LIONS 28, SAINTS 13

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Matthew Stafford passed for 341 yards and two touchdowns.

Golden Tate exploited a coverage breakdown on third-and-long for a 66-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Detroit (8-4) was clinging to a six-point lead. The Lions, who’ve won seven of eight, dominated statistically, but four opportunities inside the New Orleans 20 ended with Matt Prater field goals, allowing the Saints (5-7) to stay close until the fourth quarter.

This time, however, the Lions pulled away for their most comfortable victory of the season after seven previous victory margins of one to seven points.

The Lions also became the first team in 60 Saints home games to stop Drew Brees from completing a touchdown pass, although tight end Coby Fleener had a pass bounce off his hands at the goal line.

RAVENS 38, DOLPHINS 6

BALTIMORE (AP) — Joe Flacco threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns, and the Ravens overwhelmed the Dolphins in the first half to end Miami’s six-game winning streak.

Baltimore (7-5) led 24-0 at halftime behind Flacco and a dominant performance from the league’s second-ranked defense. Flacco went 27 for 34 for 258 yards and three scores over the first 30 minutes, and the Ravens yielded only 115 yards and intercepted a Ryan Tannehill pass.

That was enough to provide the Ravens with their fourth win in five games. Miami also is 7-5.

Flacco finished with a franchise-record 36 completions in 47 attempts, by far his most impressive outing in an uneven season. He entered with 11 TD passes and 10 interceptions.

PATRIOTS 26, RAMS 10

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady became the NFL’s career leader in victories by a quarterback, earning his 201st by throwing for 269 yards and a touchdown. Brady, who was 33 of 46, had tied Peyton Manning last week in a win over the New York Jets.

His lone touchdown came on a 14-yard pass to Chris Hogan in the first quarter. LeGarrette Blount scored the game’s first touchdown , rumbling for a 43-yard, ankle-breaking score in the first quarter while spinning around safety Maurice Alexander in the process. He finished with 88 yards on 18 carries.

The Patriots (10-2) have won seven of their last eight.

On the same day that Los Angeles coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead were given contract extensions, the recently relocated Rams (4-8) proved they still have a long way to go after losing for the seventh time in eight outings.

BRONCOS 20, JAGUARS 10

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Bradley Roby returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown, helping the Broncos gain ground in the AFC playoff picture.

Roby picked off Blake Bortles’ wobbler across the middle in the third quarter and went untouched the other way. Star linebacker Von Miller hit Bortles as he released the ball.

It was the 11th pick-6 of Bortles’ three-year career and his third in the last four games. Houston and Detroit also returned interceptions for touchdowns in games the Jaguars lost by less than seven points.

The latest one resulted in a seventh consecutive loss for Jacksonville (2-10) and secured another miserable milestone for the small-market franchise. The Jaguars became the fifth team in NFL history to post double-digit losses in six consecutive seasons, joining Tampa Bay (1983-94), Detroit (2001-06), Oakland (2003-09) and Cleveland (2008-13).

Jacksonville had a chance to tie in the final minutes, but Bortles fumbled trying to make a play in the pocket.

The Broncos (8-4) rebounded from an overtime loss against Kansas City, and with Miami’s loss at Baltimore, moved into position to get one of the conference’s wild-card spots.

BENGALS 32, EAGLES 14

CINCINNATI (AP) — Andy Dalton threw a pair of touchdown passes and Cincinnati finally got its depleted offense moving without receiver A.J. Green.

The Bengals (4-7-1) got their first win since Oct. 23, beating a team that’s in a swoon of its own. The Eagles (5-7) opened the season with three straight wins, but have dropped seven of nine.

Dalton had completions of 50, 44, 29, 23 and 21 yards. The Bengals scored on each of their first six possessions for a 29-0 lead, reinventing themselves with Green and running back Giovani Bernard sidelined by injuries. The previous time they scored on their first six possessions was 2009 against the Bears.

The only bad moment: Mike Nugent missed another PAT kick wide to the right, his fourth miss in a span of five tries. Nugent made field goals from 32, 33, 26 and 38 yards, the last one deflecting off the left upright.

BEARS 26, 49ERS 6

CHICAGO (AP) — Jordan Howard ran for 117 yards and a career-high three touchdowns and the Bears handed San Francisco its 11th straight loss.

The 49ers (1-11) extended their franchise-record losing streak and set a club low with 6 yards net passing on a day when Colin Kaepernick got lifted for Blaine Gabbert.

The Bears (3-9) finished with a season high in points and picked up a rare win in a matchup between two of the NFL’s worst teams.

Matt Barkley, making his second start with Jay Cutler sidelined by a season-ending shoulder injury, went nearly the entire first half without a completion. But he led a touchdown drive near the end of the second quarter and finished 11 of 18 for 192 yards.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

NFL Week 13: Can Giants slow Big Ben, Steelers?

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today)   —   After Antonio Brown received yet another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Thanksgiving dismantling of the Indianapolis Colts, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said the wide receiver needed to rein in his touchdown celebrations.

Yet for Pittsburgh, reveling in the reason for those celebrations is a welcome development after a four-game losing streak threatened the season.

Viewed as a potential preseason conference favorite, the Steelers stand at 6-5, putting them a game back for the AFC North lead as well as the final wild-card berth. But the franchise had the same mark and a similarly uncertain outlook last season before reeling off four wins in five games to seal a spot in the playoffs.

To begin a similar push on Sunday, the Steelers likely will lean on Roethlisberger again to push the offense past the New York Giants.

An offseason overhaul has yielded immediate results for New York, which is tied for sixth in scoring defense (19.4 points per game) after ranking 30th in 2016. But the Giants have feasted on sub-par offenses during their six-game win streak, making Sunday’s showdown something of a proving ground.

One of the key battles could be up front, as the Steelers have allowed just 14 sacks this season. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has revitalized New York’s pass rush with 5 1/2 sacks in his past two games, and his showdown with right tackle Marcus Gilbert could set the tone for the day.

The task of containing Brown likely falls on cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who has fared well against top receivers but employs a gambling style that could yield a game-breaking play in either direction. The Giants’ massive defensive tackle tandem of Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins have helped form the league’s fifth-ranked run defense, but running back Le’Veon Bell remains a substantial threat in the passing game for a linebacking corps that has struggled in coverage.

Here are four other matchups that will define Week 13 in the NFL:

Falcons RT Ryan Schraeder vs. Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali

The marquee matchup in this game might be Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones’ showdown with Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, but Matt Ryan has shown a willingness to look beyond his top option. Kansas City’s best option for short-circuiting the league’s highest-scoring offense likely runs through its pass rush.

Schraeder has held strong this season against some of the league’s best threats off the edge while remaining a stalwart in the run game. Establishing offensive balance with running back Devonta Freeman will be paramount in keeping Kansas City from unleashing its rushers in full force. Ryan could also find big opportunities if his protection holds, as cornerback Phillip Gaines was repeatedly burned last week by the Denver Broncos.

The Chiefs present one of the deepest set of pass rushers in the NFL with Tamba Hali and Dee Ford. But Houston showed why he’s the premiere threat last week, posting three sacks in just his second game back from a knee injury.

Ravens’ run defense vs. Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi

Even with Ajayi’s production slowing down in recent weeks, Miami has strung together a six-game win streak. Baltimore ranks first against the rush, but the defense could be in for a long day if it has any lapses.

Ajayi gained just 45 yards on 18 carries last week against the San Francisco 49ers, who rank last in rushing yards allowed. But the second-year back remains an offensive focal point with at least 19 touches in each of his previous six games.

Baltimore hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher this season, and slipping against Ajayi could cost it the lead in the AFC North. Ryan Tannehill has displayed an increased comfort in Adam Gase’s system, as evidenced by a 67.6% completion rate and just one interception during Miami’s ongoing streak. Ravens linebackers C.J. Mosley and Zach Orr could be difficult for an ailing Dolphins offensive line.

Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham vs. Panthers defense

Graham missed last season’s NFC divisional playoff loss to the Panthers, but he burned them for eight catches and 140 yards in the regular-season matchup. Now the tight end could play a crucial role in helping Seattle’s offensive regain its footing after last week’s unraveling against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Seahawks converted just one of 11 third-down attempts last week, and they rank 25th in the league with a 35% conversion rate on the season. The 6-7 tight end might be the best option for addressing this deficiency. With Russell Wilson likely to remain under constant pressure behind a struggling offensive line and no certainty of improvements in the run game, Graham may need to provide a spark on jump balls and with yards after the catch.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly and safety Kurt Coleman are both sidelined with concussions this week, leaving the Panthers even more vulnerable against Graham. Carolina is tied for third with 31 sacks this season, and it will need its defensive line to corral Wilson and ease the burden for an overextended secondary.

LeSean McCoy vs. Raiders’ front seven

With the No. 1 seed in the AFC within reach, Sunday could serve as a litmus test for Oakland’s playoff readiness. McCoy and the Bills’ second-ranked rushing attack are an imposing matchup for a defense that has given up the most yards per carry (4.62) in the AFC.

Despite its inconsistencies, Buffalo’s offense remains an ever-present big play threat. McCoy had just 5 yards on eight carries in the first half last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he later broke a 75-yard touchdown run and added another score on a 25-yard reception.

Oakland’s defense yielded three rushing touchdowns last week, and its best bet for stopping McCoy might be to force Buffalo into obvious passing situations. Tyrod Taylor has been sacked 30 times this season, and Khalil Mack earned AFC defensive player of the month honors in November after the edge rusher tallied four sacks and two forced fumbles in his last three games.

NFL Playoffs: Cowboys could clinch playoff berth this weekend

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP / USA Today)   —  Here’s how the NFL playoff picture looks heading into Week 13.

(Note: Bookmark this page — it will be regularly updated for the duration of the regular season.)

AFC
1. New England Patriots (9-2): AFC East leader. If the Pats and Raiders both win, Oakland would move back into the top spot due to a superior strength of victory tiebreaker.
2. Oakland Raiders (9-2)AFC West leader. If they lose, they’re in jeopardy of relinquishing a high speed and the division lead to Kansas City.
3. Baltimore Ravens (6-5): AFC North leader. A loss combined with a Pittsburgh Steelers win would knock Baltimore from the field.
4. Houston Texans (6-5): AFC South leader. They could wind up in a three-way division tie with the Tennessee Titans, who are on bye, and Indianapolis Colts. But the Texans have beaten both teams, so they’d remain in field even in defeat.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (8-3): Wild card No. 1. They retake AFC West lead with a win and Oakland loss but can do no worse than their current seed.
6. Miami Dolphins (7-4): Wild card No. 2. A loss combined with a Denver Broncos win drops Miami out. Otherwise, they’ll remain in sixth spot.

NFC
1. Dallas Cowboys (10-1): NFC East leader. They’ll be first team to clinch a playoff berth by beating the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, then hoping either the Redskins or Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose.
2. Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1): NFC West leader. They’re comfortably ahead in their division, but a loss could cost them control of attaining a first-round bye.
3. Detroit Lions (7-4): NFC North leader. They’ll remain atop division win or lose but have chance to overtake Seattle.
4. Atlanta Falcons (7-4): NFC South leader. They’ll remain atop division win or lose and also might overtake Seattle.
5. New York Giants (8-3): Wild card No.1. They’re locked into this spot for Week 13.
6. Washington Redskins (6-4-1): Wild card No. 2. A loss would open door for Tampa Bay or Minnesota, who are both 6-5, to move into the sixth spot.

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Here’s a measure of just how good things are going in Big D. One team can clinch a playoff berth this weekend: the Cowboys.

Dallas visits Minnesota on Thursday night. With a victory and either a loss by Washington or a loss/tie by Tampa Bay gets the Cowboys into the postseason parade.

Minnesota’s defense should provide a decent challenge for rookie sensations Ezekiel Elliott, the league’s leading rusher, and quarterback Dak Prescott. If the Vikings can get some sort of penetration through the best offensive line in football, they could have a chance.

But they must steer clear of falling behind against Dallas, something most Cowboys opponents haven’t avoided.

The Cowboys are ranked atop the AP Pro32 as they go for an 11th straight win since their opening loss to the Giants, who they take on next week.

Minnesota (No. 14 (tie), AP Pro32) has fallen on hard times since being the league’s last unbeaten team at 5-0 and now is 6-5 — and a 3-point underdog at home.

Dallas takes the first step toward that playoff clinching.

COWBOYS, 24-16

KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP: Haven’t liked anything we’ve seen lately from Houston, so put on those Cheeseheads and take GREEN BAY.

No. 9 (tie) Detroit (plus 4 1-2) at No. 22 New Orleans

A somewhat unusual selection for Pro Picks’ Best Bet, but Lions should cover, Saints should win. So …

BEST BET: SAINTS, 31-29

No. 9 (tie) Washington (plus 3) at No. 25 Arizona

Redskins get the proper amount of rest — and then some — this time.

UPSET SPECIAL: REDSKINS, 26-21

No. 14 (tie) Tampa Bay (plus 3 1-2) at No. 21 San Diego

Far more interesting matchup than it appeared three weeks ago.

CHARGERS, 28-27

No. 23 Indianapolis (minus-1) at No. 28 New York Jets

Far less interesting matchup than ESPN hoped.

JETS, 24-22

No. 24 Carolina (plus 6 1-2) at No. 5 Seattle

A bit less interesting matchup than NBC hoped when schedule came out.

SEAHAWKS, 23-20

No. 16 Buffalo (plus 3) at No. 3 Oakland

Raiders showed lots of grit last week, might need it again.

RAIDERS, 23-17

No. 6 Denver (minus 4) at No. 30 Jacksonville

Tough spot for Broncos after that war with Chiefs? Probably not.

BRONCOS, 20-10

No. 4 Kansas City (plus 4) at No. 8 Atlanta

Tough spot for Chiefs after that war with Broncos? For sure.

FALCONS, 26-16

No. 18 Houston (plus 3 1-2) at No. 19 Green Bay

Texans seem as if they are chasing Titans despite leading AFC South.

PACKERS, 24-16

No. 27 Los Angeles (plus 13) at No. 2 New England

Patriots haven’t been real force in past month. That changes here.

PATRIOTS, 33-13

No. 20 Philadelphia (pick-em) at No. 26 Cincinnati

Both teams can look to 2017 now.

EAGLES, 19-17

No. 11 Miami (plus 3 1-2) at No. 13 Baltimore

By far the most perplexing game this week.

RAVENS, 16-14

No. 7 New York Giants (plus 6) at No. 12 Pittsburgh

2004 first-round QBs and Super Bowl winners Eli vs. Ben. Giants’ winning string ends here.

STEELERS, 27-24

No. 31 San Francisco (plus 4) at No. 29 Chicago

Won’t get many worse matchups than this one.

49ERS, 14-13

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Last Week: Against spread (10-6). Straight up: (11-5)

Season Totals: Against spread (84-84-6). Straight up: (103-71-2)

Best Bet: 6-6 against spread, 8-4 straight up.

Upset special: 5-6-1 against spread, 5-7 straight up

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NFL Roundup: Hill scores by run, pass catch and return in 30-27 OT win

DENVER (AP) — Cairo Santos’ 34-yard field goal hit the left upright and bounced through as time expired Sunday night to give the Kansas Chiefs a 30-27 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.

That avoided the third tie in the NFL this season, something that hasn’t happened since 1973 before the league introduced overtime.

The winner followed a risky move by Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who sent his kicker out for a 62-yard try with 1:01 left only to see Brandon McManus come up short.

That gave the Chiefs possession at the Denver 48 with one timeout and just over a minute remaining. The Chiefs reached the Denver 16 before Santos ended the snoozer-turned-thriller in perfect fashion. Even his teammates hesitated as they ran out to celebrate, unsure if the ball had clanked through or not.

The Chiefs (8-3) kept up with the Oakland Raiders (9-2) in the AFC West race and the Broncos (7-4) could find themselves fighting for a wild card now.

Both teams kicked field goals on their opening possession of overtime, McManus from 44 yards and Santos from 37. That followed Kansas City’s amazing tying drive in the final 3 minutes of regulation.

Alex Smith threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to rookie Tyreek Hill and a 2-point conversion pass to tight end Demetrius Harris with 12 seconds left to tie it at 24.

RAIDERS 35, PANTHERS 32

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Derek Carr came back from an injured pinkie to lead another fourth-quarter comeback and the Raiders won their fifth straight game.

Carr threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns despite missing a series after the injury, leading the Raiders (9-2) back from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter to clinch their first winning season since 2002.

After leading a tying drive earlier in the fourth quarter, Carr hit Michael Crabtree on a 49-yard pass on third-and-9 to help set up Sebastian Janikowski’s 23-yard field goal with 1:45 left.

Cam Newton led the Panthers (4-7) into Oakland territory on the final drive. But Greg Olsen dropped a pass on third down that would have put Carolina in field goal range, and Khalil Mack stripped Newton on a fourth-down sack to seal the win.

The Panthers scored the first 25 points in the second half after Carr left the game when he hurt his right pinkie while fumbling a snap on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter.

GIANTS 27, BROWNS 13

CLEVELAND (AP) — Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes to Odell Beckham Jr., Jason Pierre-Paul returned a fumble for a TD, and the New York Giants extended their winning streak to six, holding off Cleveland to keep the Browns winless.

Manning had three TD passes. They don’t overwhelm anyone, but the Giants (8-3) do just enough to win and are in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they won the Super Bowl.

Manning threw a 32-yard TD pass to Beckham in the second quarter and added a 4-yarder to the star wide receiver with 5:10 left to finally put away the Browns (0-12).

Cleveland has lost 15 in a row since last season. It is 3-30 since ending the 2014 season with five consecutive losses.

BUCCANEERS 14, SEAHAWKS 5

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jameis Winston threw a pair of touchdown passes to Mike Evans and Tampa Bay’s rejuvenated defense shut down Russell Wilson and Seattle.

Evans scored on receptions of 3 and 23 yards in the opening quarter, a grieving Alterraun Verner had one of two interceptions off Wilson, and the Bucs sacked the Seattle quarterback six times.

The Bucs (6-5) have won three straight to climb back into contention for a playoff berth. In addition to stopping Seattle’s three-game winning streak, they remained one game behind first-place Atlanta in the NFC South.

The Seahawks are 7-3-1.

Playing two days after the death of his father, Verner picked off Wilson to stop a promising drive in the final minute of the opening half. The reserve cornerback was embraced on the sideline by teammates, who continued to play inspired defense in the second half.

PATRIOTS 22, JETS 17

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Brady tied Peyton Manning for the most wins by a quarterback in NFL history, getting his 200th by throwing a go-ahead 8-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell with 1:56 left.

Trailing 17-16 with 5:04 left and the ball on the Patriots 17, Brady led an efficient drive by completing six passes. After James White stretched for 4 yards on fourth-and-4, a 25-yard catch by Chris Hogan put the ball at the 8. Brady then zipped a pass to Mitchell to put the Patriots (9-2) ahead.

A 2-point conversion try by White was initially ruled good, but the call was reversed because the ball never crossed the goal line — giving the Jets (3-8) a final chance.

But Chris Long hit Ryan Fitzpatrick before he could throw, resulting in a fumble that was recovered by Trey Flowers.

It was the 500th win in franchise history for the Patriots, who became the first original AFL franchise to reach the mark.

FALCONS 38, CARDINALS 19

ATLANTA (AP) — Taylor Gabriel took two short passes for touchdowns and the Atlanta Falcons returned from a bye week to add to Arizona’s misery.

Gabriel, cut by the winless Browns before the season, scored on plays of 35 and 25 yards that showed off his speed.

His second score finished the Cardinals, who began the season touted as a Super Bowl contender but have been one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams.

The Falcons (7-4) began the day leading the NFC South and moved a step closer to their first playoff berth since 2012. The Cardinals (4-6-1) have lost two straight and three of their past four, putting them in danger of missing the postseason a season after reaching the NFC championship game.

Coach Bruce Arians was on the sideline after falling ill and being briefly hospitalized early in the week, but it did little to inspire his team.

CHARGERS 21, TEXANS 13

HOUSTON (AP) — Philip Rivers threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns against the mistake-prone Texans.

Dontrelle Inman had 119 yards receiving and a touchdown to help San Diego (5-6) to the victory.

The Texans (6-5) lost in Houston for the first time this season after winning their first five here. Playing a large part were four turnovers, including three interceptions by Brock Osweiler.

The Chargers were up by four in the fourth quarter when Rivers evaded the rush and delivered a 25-yard pass to Inman. Kareem Jackson was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play, leaving San Diego at the 12-yard line. Rivers delivered a touchdown pass to rookie Hunter Henry on the next play to push the lead to 21-10.

Osweiler’s second interception came after that when he badly overthrew C.J. Fiedorowicz and Dwight Lowery made the easy grab.

Houston added a field goal with 37 seconds left and recovered an onside kick. But Osweiler’s first shot at the end zone was knocked down, and the second one was intercepted as time expired.

TITANS 27, BEARS 21

CHICAGO (AP) — Marcus Mariota threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns, and the Titans hung on to beat the depleted Bears.

The Titans (6-6) gave their playoff hopes a boost, though they watched as Chicago (2-9) cut a 20-point lead to six in the fourth quarter. The Titans moved a half-game out of first place in the AFC South.

Matt Barkley, starting for the injured Jay Cutler, led the late surge. The Bears had a first down at the Tennessee 7 in the final minute when Josh Bellamy dropped a pass in the end zone on first down. Barkley’s next three attempts fell incomplete, preserving the win for Tennessee.

Mariota, putting together one of the best seasons ever by a Titans quarterback, came through with another solid performance. The second-year pro completed 15 of 23 passes.

SAINTS 49, RAMS 21

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees passed for 310 yards and four touchdowns and Mark Ingram scored twice.

Playing 10 days after being knocked unconscious in a Thursday night loss at Carolina, Ingram rushed for 146 yards on 14 carries, including a 61-yard scamper and a 10-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-1 play. He also scored on a 21-yard screen to the right side of the field, which was wide open as the Rams (4-7) tried to pressure Brees.

Two of Brees’ scoring strikes went to rookie Michael Thomas, whose touchdowns of 6 and 21 yards were part of a nine-catch, 108-yard performance. Brees’ other touchdowns went to Ingram and Brandon Coleman from 6 yards for New Orleans (5-6).

Saints coach Sean Payton also victimized his former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, with some razzle-dazzle that produced a 50-yard touchdown pass from receiver Willie Snead to running back Tim Hightower.

DOLPHINS 31, 49ERS 24

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Ndamukong Suh tackled Colin Kaepernick 2 yards short of the goal line as time ran out, and the Dolphins handed the 49ers a franchise-record 10th consecutive loss.

Ryan Tannehill threw for 285 yards and three scores to compensate for a sputtering Miami ground game.

With the 49ers trailing by seven, Kaepernick moved them from their 38 to the 6 in the final 1:44. But he threw incomplete on first down, and then was tackled from behind by the 305-pound Suh on the final play.

The Dolphins (7-4) extended their winning streak to six games, their longest since 2005. Kaepernick passed for three TDs, but the 49ers (1-10) still haven’t won since the season opener.

RAVENS 19, BENGALS 14

BALTIMORE (AP) — Justin Tucker kicked four field goals and Baltimore shut down the Bengals’ depleted offense.

Joe Flacco threw for 234 yards and a touchdown to help Baltimore (6-5) snap a five-game losing streak against the Bengals (3-7-1), whose playoff hopes took another serious blow.

The victory was not assured until Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton fumbled when sacked by Elvis Dumervil, and defensive end Lawrence Guy recovered at the Baltimore 21 with 1:05 left and the Ravens up 19-12.

Cincinnati got a safety on the final play when Baltimore punter Sam Koch ran out of the end zone while his blockers intentionally held Cincinnati rushers. A game can end on an offensive penalty.

At this point, the Bengals will need a sensational finish to extend their run of consecutive playoff appearances to six.

BILLS 28, JAGUARS 21

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — LeSean McCoy scored twice, including a career-best 75-yard run.

Tyrod Taylor’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter with 10:46 remaining put the Bills ahead for good during a second half in which the teams traded the lead five times. Taylor also scored on a 7-yard run in helping keep Buffalo in the playoff hunt.

The Bills (6-5) won for the second straight week when trailing at halftime after doing so just once last season. Taylor also produced just the second fourth-quarter comeback of his career.

The Jaguars (2-9) lost for the sixth straight game, their longest skid since opening the 2014 season at 0-6.

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For more NFL coverage: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

NFL Week 12: Can Chiefs break through vs. Broncos?

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today)   —    With three strong postseason contenders, the AFC West has shaped up to have the most intriguing finish of any division in the NFL. The Oakland Raiders enter Sunday with a one-game lead, but the prime time tilt between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos, who both sit at 7-3, may serve as the first step in establishing a pecking order.

In a matchup of two teams with well-established identities, there’s little mystery to be expected in the game plan.

Even as Kansas City’s offense struggled in the last month, Andy Reid’s crew hasn’t deviated from the cautious, methodical approach with which it has become synonymous. Alex Smith has just nine touchdown passes in as many games, and his 54 rushing yards reflect his diminishing contributions on the ground. The rushing game hasn’t cracked 100 yards in the last four games.

All that may add up to a seemingly disastrous setup against the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense. But Denver ranks 29th against the run, which could prompt a change in approach for a Kansas City team that has thrown the ball on more than 61% of its plays.

Spencer Ware has averaged 4.9 yards per carry, though he’s yet to have a breakout game since clearing the concussion protocol. Denver’s defense will have to be ready for his straight-ahead style, though it should be boosted by the expected returns of defensive end Derek Wolfe and cornerback Aqib Talib.

What could make the ultimate difference for the Chiefs’ offense, however, is its defense’s ability to generate turnovers and provide short fields. Kansas City ranks first iwith 23 takeaways, though its outlook against Trevor Siemian takes a severe hit if top cornerback Marcus Peters is forced to sit again with a hip injury.

Here are four other matchups that will define Week 12:

Panthers QB Cam Newton vs. Raiders DE Khalil Mack

After Carolina’s 15-1 regular season and NFC championship last year, Oakland has taken over the role of breakout team in 2016. But Ron Rivera’s teams have been strong in the second half of the season, and Carolina could revive its postseason aspirations with a win Sunday.

Newton’s follow-up to his MVP campaign has been a severe disappointment, due in large part to a shaky offensive line and receiving corps offering little help. But the star quarterback is also culpable for the regression, as he’s completing a career-low 56.5% of his passes and has just 11 touchdowns through the air. With Oakland’s surging offense taking on a struggling Carolina defense that will be without linebacker Luke Kuechly, Newton will have to be in top form just to keep pace on Sunday.

After a slow start to the year, Mack has seven sacks in his last five games. But he’s one of the lone disruptive forces on a defense that ranks 28th against the pass and last in sacks. Oakland hasn’t faced a quarterback of Newton’s caliber during its four-game win streak, and it could have a tough outing if it’s unable to generate consistent pressure on him.

Falcons WR Julio Jones vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson

Individual matchups don’t get much more appealing than this. Both players look to be the premiere talent at their respective positions at this point, and Sunday should provide a rare showcase for players of their caliber to clash in such a direct fashion.

Jones has had at least 100 receiving yards in four of his last five games, and he leads the NFL with 1,105 on the season. He also scored the overwhelming victory in the last meeting with Peterson, a 2014 Falcons win in which Jones posted 10 catches for 189 yards and one touchdown.

Peterson has admitted he still carries that loss with him and that this matchup has special meaning to him. Without the Cardinals providing the ample help many other teams assign to Jones, the all-pro cornerback has a platform to reaffirm his standing. At 4-5-1, Arizona can’t afford for him to falter against Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan.

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans vs. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman

If Jones and Peterson’s showdown is the top receiver-cornerback matchup of Week 12, Evans vs. Sherman isn’t far behind. Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter says he expects the Seahawks cornerback to shadow his star receiver throughout the game.

Don’t expect the Buccaneers to fully avoid Sherman, however. Evans has only had fewer than 11 targets in two games this season, and he’s been the intended recipient on 31.4% of Jameis Winston’s passes. “I like my guy in that matchup,” Winston said this week.

But Sherman has allowed opposing passers a league-low 59.1 passer rating when he’s been targeted, according to Pro Football Focus. Even though Evans still holds a size advantage at 6-foot-5 and 231 pounds, he won’t be able to count on winning jump balls against the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Sherman.

Eagles receivers vs. Packers secondary

Something has to give Monday night when two of the league’s most maligned units meet. Philadelphia’s receiving corps has had repeated lapses, but Green Bay’s defensive backs have been hurting all season.

For Carson Wentz, this might be the opening for a needed breakthrough. In its last two games, Green Bay has given up 670 passing yards and seven touchdowns through the air. Damarious Randall, the only Packers cornerback with an interception this season, could return Monday after missing the last five games with a groin injury.

But offensive success is no guarantee for Philadelphia, especially with running back Ryan Mathews (knee) out and Darren Sproles (rib) ailing. Jordan Matthews has been the only reliable receiver, and the team has more questions than ever following Nelson Agholor’s crucial mistakes last week. Zach Ertz could figure prominently in this week’s game plan, as the Packers’ defense has been notably vulnerable to tight ends.

NFL playoff picture: How Sunday’s action will shape field

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Here’s how the NFL playoff picture looks after Week 12’s Thanksgiving games, along with an explanation of what’s at stake this weekend.

(Note: Bookmark this page — it will be regularly updated for the duration of the regular season.)

AFC
1. Oakland Raiders (8-2): AFC West leader. They currently own top seed based on strength of victory.
2. New England Patriots (8-2): AFC East leader. They can reclaim No. 1 seed Sunday since they can improve conference record, while Oakland cannot.
3. Houston Texans (6-4): AFC South leader. They will retain division lead win or lose.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5): AFC North leader. They will drop out of division lead if the Baltimore Ravens, who beat Pittsburgh in Week 9, defeat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3): Wild card No. 1. If they beat the Broncos and Oakland loses to the Carolina Panthers, K.C. reclaims AFC West lead.
6. Denver Broncos (7-3): Wild card No. 2. They can move up to fifth seed by beating Chiefs. A loss and Miami Dolphins win would drop Denver from the field.

NFC
1. Dallas Cowboys (10-1): NFC East leader. All six teams will remain locked in their spots this weekend.
2. Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1): NFC West leader.
3. Detroit Lions (7-4): NFC North leader.
4. Atlanta Falcons (6-4): NFC South leader.
5. New York Giants (7-3): Wild card No.1.
6. Washington Redskins (6-4-1): Wild card No. 2.

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Separation in the AFC, a jumble in the NFC.

Closing in on December, fans can expect New England to grab a bye in the AFC, as well as whoever emerges from the NFL’s best division, the AFC West. Two wild cards out of the West wouldn’t be a surprise either, while the North is a two-team crawl and the South likely belongs to Houston if it can find a way to win a road game.

The NFC has powerhouses in Dallas and Seattle, and, well, who knows?

No team in the North is particularly inspiring, and Atlanta keeps coming back to the field in the South. The East is intriguing with no teams under .500, and there remain five head-to-head matchups among the Cowboys, Redskins, Giants and Eagles.

Maybe the surest bet in the entire league is that the Browns and 49ers will bumble it out for the top overall draft pick. Imagine opening with a win and then losing 15 straight — and not getting the first selection next spring. Could happen to San Francisco.

A look at the division races with Thanksgiving behind us.

AFC EAST

The only unexpected item here might be that the Patriots (8-2) haven’t clinched yet. They went 3-1 without the suspended Tom Brady, and he’s come back with a vengeance, among the league leaders in passing. But New England has shown some vulnerability on defense — not that Miami (6-4), Buffalo (5-5) nor the Jets (3-7) have shown a penchant for doing much with the ball.

The Dolphins, riding a five-game winning streak, are in the wild-card mix, with their only opponent that currently owns a winning mark being the Patriots in the finale.

AFC NORTH

A two-team slog between banged-up Pittsburgh and inconsistent Baltimore. As long as the Steelers have their offense on track, they are dangerous. And the Ravens, who beat Pittsburgh earlier, have a solid defense.

This one could come down to Christmas Day in the Steel City, though Baltimore must navigate successive matchups with the Dolphins, Patriots and Eagles before then.

AFC SOUTH

No one outside of Houston seems to want to believe in the Texans, yet they have a relatively simple path to the division crown. They have no one on the upcoming schedule that currently has a winning record, and have three of their final four contests within this weak sector.

Tennessee might be the team of the future in this division, but seems too fragile to steal the AFC South title this year.

AFC WEST

The league’s best group — yeah, we know that everyone in the NFC East is at or above .500.

Oakland (8-2), for the first time since it went to the Super Bowl in 2002, seems headed for a winning record. Who knows, the Raiders could challenge the Patriots for home-field advantage throughout the AFC postseason.

But they need to get stingier on defense, and they have to navigate games at all three division rivals.

That not only makes for an intriguing December in the AFC West, but perhaps a wild scramble with the defending NFL champion Broncos (7-3) and the usually study but currently injury-prone Chiefs (7-3).

And don’t discount San Diego (4-6) playing a spoiler role.

NFC EAST

How ’bout them Cowboys? At 10-1, with a dynamic offense led by rookie stars Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott and the league’s best line, they seem destined to win this highly competitive division. The stumbling block could be the Giants (7-3), whose five-game winning string pales compared to Dallas’ 10-gamer. Of course, that opening loss for the Cowboys was at home to the Giants.

New York will need someone else to knock off Dallas, a major challenge right now, and also must beat the Cowboys in prime time on Dec. 11.

Washington (6-4-1) and Philadelphia (5-5) would be in the mix anywhere else in the NFC and might finish on the outside despite being better than some playoff qualifiers.

NFC NORTH

Green Bay’s collapse, due to injuries, poor blocking and some strange coaching decisions, opened the path for Detroit (7-4) and Minnesota (6-5). The Lions’ big win on Thanksgiving — yet another comeback success — gave them a sweep of the Vikings, and a clear path to their first division crown since 1993.

The Packers (4-6) have dropped four in a row and don’t look capable of any sort of surge.

NFC SOUTH

The Falcons (6-4) got off to their second straight fast start. They faded badly to 8-8 in 2015 and they haven’t looked great in dropping three of their last five. They sure can score — a league-high 320 points — and are well coached. But their defense, like Oakland’s, needs shoring up.

Carolina’s plummet to 4-6 has been almost shocking, leaving Tampa Bay (5-5) as the closest challenger. Similar to the Titans, the Bucs need more nurturing, but are getting closer to true contention.

New Orleans (4-6) plays lots of tight games, usually losing them. As long as Drew Brees is around, the Saints will scare opponents, though their defense never does.

NFC WEST

Seattle (7-2-1) has a habit of coming on as the mercury decreases, and seems to be doing so again despite a long line at the infirmary. Russell Wilson has the look of an MVP candidate, and the Seahawks’ passing offense is formidable. They need to find a running game, and Thomas Rawls’ return to health is essential.

That defense is as physical as they come and will keep Seattle in every game.

The rest of the West is hard to look at, especially the Cardinals (4-5-1), a club many called the most talented in the NFL back in September. All that talent has wilted in the desert this season.

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MNF: Carr helps Raiders rally past Texans 27-20 in Mexico City

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — The party in the stands started early in the second NFL regular season game ever played in Mexico with loud cheers and chants from before kickoff until the final whistle. The Oakland offense took a little longer to get going, but once they did Derek Carr and the Raiders came out with yet another win.

Carr woke up a struggling offense by throwing two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as the Raiders capped a successful trip to Mexico with a 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans on Monday night.

“We got punched in the mouth,” Carr said. “We weren’t doing things the way we usually want to do things executing wise. But there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that we’d come back and win the football game.”

Oakland had been held to 120 yards through three quarters with the running game going nowhere and Carr finding few open receivers downfield. But that suddenly changed in the fourth quarter to give the Raiders (8-2) their fourth straight win for the first time since 2002 .

With star receiver Amari Cooper lined up in the backfield, Carr found fullback Jamize Olawale open for a 75-yard catch and run that tied Houston (6-4) at 20.

“We felt like that was the momentum shifter,” Cooper said.

Then Oakland took advantage on two questionable spots by the officials to take over on downs at the 15 and drove 85 yards in five plays to take the lead on a 35-yard pass to Cooper to send the Texans to their fourth loss in five games outside of Houston.

“Very tough loss,” defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney said. “We should have won the game, we are trying to win every game. You don’t leave the game in the ref’s hands.”

That set off loud celebrations from the pro-Raiders crowd of 76,743 in the second regular season game ever played in Mexico. What was originally scheduled as an Oakland home game featured Raiders music during stoppages, Tommie Smith lighting the Al Davis torch in a memorable return to Mexico City nearly a half-century after his Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics and frequent “RAI-DERS!” chants.

While the atmosphere was electric, the field was a bit slippery leading to some falls and the high elevation 7,380 feet above sea level played a factor. The Raiders needed to use a timeout on defense at one point in the fourth to catch their breath and receiver Michael Crabtree was seen gasping for breath at one point.

“To be able to play here was amazing,” Carr said. “There’s so much history, so much rowdiness. I love soccer and it gave me a kind of soccer feel.”

CLOSE SPOTS: The Texans were upset on two spots on the fourth-quarter drive before Oakland went ahead. On third-and-2, Lamar Miller was stopped just short of the first down even though Houston believed he got it. Coach Bill O’Brien went for it on fourth down but Akeem Hunt was stopped about an inch short on fourth down and the play stood after a replay challenge.

LASER SHOW: Houston QB Brock Osweiler had to deal with an unusual distraction during the game as a fan with a green laser frequently shined it on the Houston quarterback as he dropped back to pass in an act more familiar in soccer games played here than in NFL games. That wasn’t the only soccer tradition imported for this game. Fans also used a homophobic chant on kickoffs. Mexico’s soccer federation has been punished by FIFA in the past for the chant during World Cup qualifiers. Fans threw paper airplanes on the field in the third quarter with Oakland’s Sean Smith taking a turn throwing one that reached the field during a break.

STREAK BROKEN: Carr had thrown 170 straight passes without an interception before getting picked by A.J. Bouye on a deep ball on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. It was Carr’s fourth interception of the season and the first since Kansas City’s Marcus Peters got one Oct. 16.

INTERNATIONAL SCORER: With his extra point in the second quarter, Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski scored a point in his third country, having previously done it in the United States and United Kingdom. Joe Nedney is the only other player to score in Mexico, the U.S. and the U.K. Five other players have scored in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.: running back Steven Jackson and kickers Robbie Gould, Matt Bryant, Dan Carpenter and Jay Feely.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

NFL kickers miss 12 PAT attempts, most in Super Bowl era

SCOREBOARD

Monday, Nov. 21

Houston vs. Oakland at Mexico City, 8:30 p.m. ET. It’s the second regular-season game in Mexico City and first since 2005. … Houston’s Brock Osweiler is averaging a league-low 5.6 yards per pass. The Texans have been outscored by 27 points despite 6-3 record. Houston is one of four teams not to allow a 300-yard passer. Raiders DE Khalil Mack sacked Osweiler five times last season when Osweiler played in Denver. Mack has six sacks in his past four games. Raiders QB Derek Carr has 155 consecutive passes without an interception. Oakland is going for its first four-game winning streak since 2002.

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STARS

Passing

—Tom Brady, Patriots, was 24 of 40 for 280 yards and four touchdown passes in New England’s 30-17 win over San Francisco. Brady has 199 victories, tied with Hall of Famer Brett Favre for the second-most in NFL history. Brady needs one win to tie Peyton Manning (200) for the most all time.

—Dak Prescott, Cowboys, finished 27 for 36 for 301 yards and three touchdowns in Dallas’ 27-17 win over Baltimore. He joined Hall of Famer Dan Marino (1983) as well as Russell Wilson (2012) as the only rookie quarterbacks since 1970 to have multiple touchdown passes in five consecutive games.

—Eli Manning, Giants, was 21 of 36 for 227 yards and two touchdowns in New York’s 22-16 win over Chicago.

—Marcus Mariota, Titans, was 25 for 38 for 290 yards and two touchdowns in Tennessee’s 24-17 loss to Indianapolis.

—Jameis Winston, Buccaneers, was 24 for 39 for 331 yards and a touchdown in Tampa Bay’s 19-17 win over Kansas City.

—Andrew Luck, Colts, was 15 of 28 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in Indianapolis’ 24-17 win over Tennessee.

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Rushing

—Le’Veon Bell, Steelers, had 28 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown in Pittsburgh’s 24-9 win over Cleveland.

—LeGarrette Blount, Patriots, had 19 carries for 124 yards in New England’s 30-17 win over San Francisco.

—David Johnson, Cardinals, had 22 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown in Arizona’s 30-24 loss to Minnesota.

—Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, had 25 carries for 97 yards in Dallas’ 27-17 win over Baltimore. Elliott’s 1,102 yards rushing are the third-most in NFL history in a player’s first 10 games, trailing only Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (1,223) as well as Adrian Peterson (1,197).

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Receiving

—Rishard Matthews, Titans, had nine receptions for 122 yards in Tennessee’s 24-17 loss to Indianapolis.

—Travis Kelce, Chiefs, had seven catches for 108 yards in Kansas City’s 19-17 loss to Tampa Bay.

—Mike Evans, Buccaneers, had six catches for 105 yards in Tampa Bay’s 19-17 win over Kansas City.

—Doug Baldwin, Seahawks, had four catches for 104 yards in Seattle’s 26-15 win over Philadelphia.

—Steve Smith, Ravens, had eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in Baltimore’s 27-17 loss to Dallas. Smith became the 14th player with 1,000 catches.

—Dez Bryant, Cowboys, had six catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas’ 27-17 win over Baltimore.

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Special Teams

—Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings, returned a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown in Minnesota’s 30-24 win over Arizona.

—Andre Roberts, Lions, returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown in Detroit’s 26-19 win over Jacksonville.

—Roberto Aguayo, Buccaneers, was 4 for 4 on field goals in Tampa Bay’s 19-17 win over Kansas City.

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Defense

—Xavier Rhodes, Vikings, had two interceptions and returned one of them 100 yards for a touchdown in Minnesota’s 30-24 win over Arizona.

—Rafael Bush, Lions, returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown in Detroit’s 26-19 win over Jacksonville.

—Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants, had 2½ sacks and a forced fumble in New York’s 22-16 win over Chicago.

—Stephon Tuitt and Javon Hargrave, Steelers. Tuitt had 2½ of Pittsburgh’s eight sacks and Hargrave recovered a fumble in the end zone of a 24-9 win over Cleveland.

—Stephon Gilmore, Bills, had two interceptions in Buffalo’s 16-12 win over Cincinnati.

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OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT

NFL kickers missed like never before Sunday, setting a record with 12 failed extra point attempts. Kickers missed left, right, had kicks blocked and hit the uprights. Kickers missed in the wind and indoors. Kickers had the most misses in one week since the NFL merger. Cincinnati’s Mike Nugent and Robbie Gould of the New York Giants each missed two extra-point attempts. Chicago’s Connor Barth, Minnesota’s Kai Forbath, Jacksonville’s Jason Myers, Cleveland’s Cody Parkey and New England’s Stephen Gostkowski each missed one. Seattle’s Steven Hauschka and Detroit’s Matt Prater had kicks blocked. At night, Washington’s Dustin Hopkins also hit the upright.

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STREAKS & STATS

The Lions scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of the team’s 26-19 comeback victory over Jacksonville. The Lions, who are the first team in NFL history to have each of its first 10 games decided by seven points or fewer, have trailed in the fourth quarter in all 10 games. Detroit is the first team in NFL history to have six wins when trailing in the fourth quarter in the team’s first 10 games of a season. … The Cowboys set a franchise record with their ninth straight win after beating the Ravens 27-17. … The Giants have won five straight games after Sunday’s 22-16 win over the Bears. The winning streak is New York’s longest in the regular season since 2010. … The Dolphins rallied past the Rams 14-10 for their fifth straight victory. The winning streak is Miami’s longest since 2008. The Dolphins also became the second team this season to win a game after it was scoreless entering fourth quarter. The Jaguars did it against Chicago in Week 6. … The Colts held off the Titans 24-17 and have won 11 straight against Tennessee and still have not lost to the Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in 2008. … The Steelers came in with a league-low 13 sacks before racking up eight in a 24-9 win over the Browns. Ben Roethlisberger improved to 20-2 in starts against Cleveland. The Browns fell to 0-11 on the season. Three NFL teams previously went 0-11 before winning a game — the 1975 Chargers, 1984 Bills and 2000 Chargers — while seven had even worse starts. … After a season-opening shutout against the Rams, the 49ers have lost nine in a row. … Jacksonville has dropped five straight after a 26-19 loss to Detroit.

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MILESTONES

Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison is the club’s career sack leader. Harrison dropped Cleveland’s Cody Kessler in the third quarter to pass Jason Gildon (77) for the most sacks in the Steelers’ storied defensive history. … The Vikings became the first team since the 1962 Dallas Cowboys to have a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 100-plus-yard kickoff return for a TD in the same game. The Cowboys’ Amos Marsh had a 101-yard kickoff return touchdown and Mike Gaechter had a 100-yard interception return touchdown in Dallas’ 41-19 win over Philadelphia. … Steve Smith became the first player in NFL history to have at least 1,000 catches, at least 1,000 punt return yards and at least 2,000 kickoff return yards. … With a 33-yard field goal in the first quarter, San Francisco’s 41-year-old kicker, Phil Dawson, became the 10th player in NFL history to reach 400 field goals. … Dallas’ Dak Prescott is the first rookie in NFL history with at least 300 yards passing, multiple passing TDs and no interceptions in back-to-back games.

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SIDELINED

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green significantly hurt his hamstring in the opening minutes of a loss to the Buffalo Bills. Green got his right foot caught awkwardly while trying for a contested catch on Cincinnati’s first pass of the game. Green grabbed his right hamstring as he hit the ground and stayed down for several minutes. … The Bills lost two of their top offensive players in the first half: receiver Robert Woods injured his knee while being tackled after a catch, and LeSean McCoy hurt his left thumb late in the second quarter. It’s unclear how long each will be sidelined. … Chicago Bears rookie linebacker Leonard Floyd had the day’s scariest injury. The first-round draft pick from Georgia left on a stretcher with less than six minutes remaining in a loss to the New York Giants. Bears coach John Fox said Floyd injured his neck and the team said Sunday night that Floyd was released from the hospital and returned to Chicago. Chicago also lost tight end Zach Miller to a foot injury after he caught three passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. … The Philadelphia Eagles lost two of their top running backs as Ryan Mathews (knee) and Darren Sproles (ribs) were both knocked out against Seattle.

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SPEAKING

“They have a great organization, they always have. They inspired a lot of kids here in the Bay Area in my time growing up, and I was one of them.” — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was back home in the Bay Area playing on San Francisco’s home field for the first time. Facing the team he cheered as a boy, Brady threw four touchdown passes in the Patriots’ 30-17 victory.

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NFL Roundup: Brady throws 4 TD passes in triumphant Bay Area return

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Tom Brady threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns and the New England Patriots beat San Francisco 30-17 on Sunday in Brady’s first road game against the 49ers team he rooted for as a boy.

Brady found Danny Amendola for a 5-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter then later hit Malcolm Mitchell on a 56-yard score for his fourth TD pass.

Brady also threw short touchdown passes to Julian Edelman and James White on his first two possessions and completed 24 of 40 passes. The AFC East-leading Patriots (8-2) bounced back from last week’s loss to the Seahawks on a rainy day at Levi’s Stadium.

With his 199th career victory, Brady tied Hall of Famer Brett Favre for second-most wins by a quarterback in NFL history. With his next win, Brady will match Peyton Manning for the top spot.

REDSKINS 42, PACKERS 24

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Kirk Cousins went deep late and often, throwing for 375 yards and three touchdowns to lead Washington past free-falling Green Bay.

Cousins and the Redskins (6-3-1) have won six of their past eight games going into a showdown with the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys, the winners of nine in a row. The Packers (4-6) have lost four consecutive games and five of six, allowing 30 or more points in all of those defeats.

Robert Kelley ran for a career-best 137 yards and three touchdowns against a Green Bay defense that allowed completions of 70, 53 and 44 yards. Cousins was 21 of 30, connecting with Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder for touchdowns and becoming the franchise leader in 300-yard games.

Aaron Rodgers was 26 of 41 for 355 yards and three touchdowns, but he couldn’t keep up with what his defense gave up. Washington gained 517 yards and converted on 64 percent of third-down attempts.

SEAHAWKS 26, EAGLES 15

SEATTLE (AP) — Russell Wilson threw for 272 yards and a touchdown, and caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Doug Baldwin and Seattle rolled past Philadelphia.

Wilson became the first quarterback in franchise history to catch a touchdown, a perfect end-around pass from Baldwin to Seattle’s athletic QB as he ran down the left sideline and dove into the end zone to give the Seahawks (6-2-1) a 23-7 lead.

Wilson was already causing headaches for the Eagles (5-4) well before his TD catch. He scrambled and threw across his body to find Jimmy Graham on a 35-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the second quarter as Seattle built a 16-7 halftime lead that was more than enough. Rookie C.J. Prosise had a 72-yard touchdown run on Seattle’s fifth offensive play — the longest run ever by a Seattle player since CenturyLink Field opened in 2002.

STEELERS 24, BROWNS 9

CLEVELAND (AP) — Le’Veon Bell scored on a 1-yard touchdown run long after time expired in the first half and Pittsburgh had eight sacks and snapped a four-game losing streak with a win over winless Cleveland.

The Steelers (5-5) scored eight points with zeroes showing on the clock before halftime after they were awarded two extra plays because of defensive penalties against the Browns (0-11). Three NFL teams previously went 0-11 before winning a game, while seven had even worse starts.

Steelers defensive tackle Javon Hargrave recovered a fumble by QB Josh McCown for a TD with 3:36 left to seal Pittsburgh’s win. The Steelers came in with a league-low 13 sacks before unloading on the Browns.

Bell finished with a season-high 146 yards rushing. Ben Roethlisberger improved to 20-2 in starts against Cleveland, still paying for not drafting the Ohio native in 2004.

COWBOYS 27, RAVENS 17

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott threw three touchdown passes, two to Dez Bryant, in the first game with Tony Romo as his backup, and the Cowboys set a franchise season record with their ninth straight win.

The Cowboys (9-1) punted on their first four possessions — a first this season — against the NFL’s No. 1 defense. They marched 92 and 88 yards on their first two drives of the second half to break a 10-10 tie. Both drives ended with TD passes to Bryant , who had six catches for 80 yards.

Romo, who broke a bone in his back in a preseason game, was active for the first time since Thanksgiving last year, and was the Dallas backup for the first time in 10 years.

The Ravens (5-5) lost to Dallas for the first time in five games in franchise history.

VIKINGS 30, CARDINALS 24

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Xavier Rhodes returned one of his two interceptions 100 yards for a touchdown and Cordarrelle Patterson took the second-half kickoff 104 yards for a score as the Vikings stopped their four-game losing streak.

The Vikings (6-4) used those momentum-shifting plays they’d been missing to hold onto a first-place tie with Detroit in the NFC North, with a rematch against the Lions looming in four days. After fueling a 5-0 start with four return touchdowns, the Vikings didn’t produce any over their last four games.

Danielle Hunter had two of the team’s four sacks, the most by the Vikings since their most recent victory six weeks ago.

David Johnson rushed for 103 yards and a score and tacked on 57 yards and a touchdown receiving, but the Cardinals (4-5-1) netted only 27 yards after halftime. They fell further into the background of the NFC playoff picture with four more road games remaining.

DOLPHINS 14, RAMS 10

LOS ANGELES (AP) — DeVante Parker caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill with 36 seconds to play, and Miami rallied for two late scores to spoil Jared Goff’s NFL debut with a victory over Los Angeles.

Tannehill passed for 172 yards in the fifth straight victory for the Dolphins (6-4), who were dominated by the Rams’ defense until their final two drives on a rainy day at the Coliseum. Miami barely kept alive its longest winning streak since 2008.

After Jarvis Landry caught a 10-yard TD pass with 4:02 to play, the Dolphins got the ball right back and drove downfield for Parker’s diving TD reception in the corner.

Goff went 17 of 31 for 134 yards in a quiet debut by the NFL’s No. 1 pick in the Rams’ 10th game of the season.

Todd Gurley scored on a 24-yard run in the first quarter for Los Angeles (4-6), but neither team managed much offense until Miami’s late surge.

BUCCANEERS 19, CHIEFS 17

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jameis Winston sliced up a Kansas City defense missing top cornerback Marcus Peters, and Tampa Bay snapped the Chiefs’ five-game winning streak.

Winston threw for 331 yards to help set up four field goals by Roberto Aguayo, and hit tight end Robert Cross for a touchdown with just over six minutes left to give the Buccaneers (5-5) a cushion.

The Chiefs (7-3) marched swiftly downfield, and Alex Smith hit Albert Wilson with a short touchdown pass with just over two minutes left. But their defense couldn’t stop Mike Evans on third-and-3 just moments later, and the big wide receiver’s sixth reception gave the Buccaneers a first down.

It was the Buccaneers’ fifth straight win over Kansas City dating to 1993.

BILLS 16, BENGALS 12

CINCINNATI (AP) — LeSean McCoy ran 7 yards for a touchdown before suffering a thumb injury, for the Bills (5-5), who had lost three straight heading into their bye week.

Playing their first game in nearly a month at Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals (3-6-1) couldn’t move the ball consistently or make an extra point. They also lost receiver A.J. Green to an injured right hamstring on the first pass of the game; he was taken off on a cart.

Buffalo’s defense clinched it by knocking down Andy Dalton’s desperation pass into the end zone on the final play. The Bengals managed only five first downs while being shut out in the second half.

The Bills lost two of their top offensive players in the first half. Receiver Robert Woods suffered a knee injury as he was tackled after a catch. McCoy hurt his left thumb late in the half.

GIANTS 22, BEARS 16

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Eli Manning threw a go-ahead 15-yard touchdown pass to rookie Sterling Shepard in the third quarter as the Giants rallied for their fifth straight win.

Manning (21 of 36 for 227) also threw a third-quarter touchdown to Will Tye, Rashad Jennings scored on a 2-yard run and Robbie Gould kicked a 46-yard field goal on a day he missed two extra points in a gusty MetLife Stadium.

The Giants (7-3) got a second-half shutout from their defense and a clinching interception from Landon Collins as injuries on the offensive line finally caught up with the Bears (2-8) and left Jay Cutler under constant pressure.

The winning streak is New York’s longest in the regular season since 2010, while the Bears’ start matches their worst since 2002.

COLTS 24, TITANS 17

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck led the Indianapolis Colts to a big early lead, and the defense held on in the second half. Indianapolis (5-5) evened its record by winning back-to-back games for the first time this season.

And by earning their 11th straight victory in the series, the Colts climbed into second place in the AFC South.

For Tennessee (5-6), it was more frustration against an old nemesis.

Luck was 15 of 28 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and one interception as the Colts scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions.

Tennessee came back with a 3-yard TD pass from Marcus Mariota to DeMarco Murray in the final minute of the first half and a 34-yard TD pass from Mariota to Tajae Sharpe midway through the third quarter. But the Titans never caught up.

LIONS 26, JAGUARS 19

DETROIT (AP) — Eric Ebron had a go-ahead 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Ebron’s first carry of his career, a handoff as he went from left to right after lining up as an off-the-line tight end, was set up by his career-long, 61-yard catch.

The Lions (6-4) have won five of six despite trailing in the fourth quarter of every game. For a change, Matthew Stafford didn’t have to lead a winning drive in the final minutes.

Jacksonville (2-8) has lost five straight.

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AP Power Rankings: Cowboys own No. 1 spot

NEW YORK (AP) — Big D has made a big move all the way to the top.

The Dallas Cowboys, who have the NFL’s best record, moved into the No. 1 spot in the latest AP Pro32 poll , which was released Tuesday.

Dallas received 10 first-place votes for 382 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

The Cowboys (8-1) have won eight in a row going into Sunday’s home game against Baltimore.

“A case can be made that right here, right now, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is the MVP, Offensive Player of the Year AND Offensive Rookie of the Year,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.

The Seattle Seahawks jumped three spots to No. 2 for 359 points.

“Pete Carroll says he likes this Seahawks team better than any he’s ever coached — up to and including the teams that won a Super Bowl and got there the next year,” Glauber said. “His win over the Patriots tells you why he has that conviction.”

New England dropped from the top spot to No. 3 after Sunday’s 31-24 loss to Seattle. The Patriots (7-2) still received the other two first-place votes for 358 points.

“Bill Belichick and his staff still have some work to do with a defense that misses the presence of Jamie Collins,” said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Collins was traded to the Browns last month for a conditional draft pick.

AFC West teams own the next three spots in the poll.

The Kansas Chiefs remained at No. 4. The Oakland Raiders, tied with the Chiefs for first place at 7-2, dropped two spots to No. 5 after a bye week.

And the Denver Broncos (7-3) inched up a spot to No. 6 after their 25-23 win over the Saints .

The New York Giants, in second place in a tightly bunched NFC East, moved up to No. 7 after Monday’s 21-20 win over the reeling Bengals.

“A dormant pass rush came alive Monday night to bury Andy Dalton while raising the playoff hopes of Big Blue supporters,” Kaufman said.

The Atlanta Falcons dropped two spots to No. 8 going into their bye week.

The Washington Redskins at No. 9 and the Philadelphia Eagles rounded out the top 10 as the entire NFC East was represented in the top one-third of the poll.

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(###) Number of first place votes
 
1
Record: 8-1
PV Rank

2

Points

382

2
Record: 6-2-1
5
359
3
Record: 7-2
1
358
4
Record: 7-2
4
349
5
Record: 7-2
3
344
6
Record: 7-3
7
330
7
Record: 6-3
8
296
8
Record: 6-4
6
291
9
Record: 5-3-1
10
276
10
Record: 5-4
13
260
11
Record: 6-3
12
254
12
Record: 5-4
11
250
13
Record: 5-4
16
244
14
Record: 5-4
19
221
15
Record: 5-4
9
207
16
Record: 5-5
25
202
17
Record: 4-4-1
20
201
18
Record: 4-5
15
196
19
Record: 4-5
14
160
20
Record: 4-5
21
137
21
Record: 4-6
17
136
21
Record: 3-5-1
18
136
23
Record: 4-5
22
132
24
Record: 4-5
23
131
25
Record: 3-6
24
112
26
Record: 4-5
26
101
27
Record: 4-5
27
91
28
Record: 3-7
28
57
29
Record: 2-7
29
43
30
Record: 2-7
30
39
31
Record: 1-8
31
29
32
Record: 0-10
32
12

Golf Roundup: John Elway honorary chairman of 2018 US Senior Open

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DENVER (AP) — John Elway will trade in the gridiron for the greens when the 39th U.S. Senior Open comes to Colorado Springs in 2018. The Denver Broncos boss was named honorary chairman of the tournament at the Broadmoor Golf Club on Tuesday.

“The guys that are playing in this tournament are the guys that I looked up to when I was growing up,” Elway said. “To be involved, it’s truly an honor.”

The ever-competitive Elway also hinted he might try to qualify for the tournament itself.

“I might give it a shot,” said Elway, a 1.9-handicap golfer, well under the requisite 3.4.

To make that a reality, he’d have to improve his putting.

“But I’m like every other amateur, too, you don’t go to the putting green, you go to the driving range, right?” Elway said. “If I went to the putting green it might help a little bit.”

Elway, 56, took up golf during the springs of his Hall of Fame playing career and really refined his game after retiring in 1999. But he hasn’t had as much time to hit the greens ever since rejoining his beloved Broncos as their chief front office executive in 2010.

He doesn’t get to play much before the NFL draft in April but sneaks in as many rounds as he can before training camp begins in late July, then hits the greens now and then during September and October.

Although he doesn’t really have the chance to work on his game anymore, he appreciates the game’s difficulties.

“It’s a game that you can play forever and I think that it’s a game that is different every single day. It’s a game that you can never, ever get your arms around every time,” Elway said. “It’s a different game day in and day out, so it’s a tremendous challenge.

“And I think that most importantly it gives us ex-athletes a chance to really compete.”

Elway guided the Broncos to all three of their Super Bowl titles, two as their quarterback and last year’s as their general manager and vice president of football operations.

His golf resume includes two Colorado Senior Open appearances and he is past president of Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver.

The 2018 U.S. Senior Open will be held at the Broadmoor Golf Club’s East Course from June 28-July 1.

“Those are greens that I’ve never really seen anywhere else,” Elway said. “I think the last time I played there, I think I hit 18 greens and shot 85. It has my number. But it’s a beautiful setting and a great, great golf course.”

Elway, who counts as his golf highlight his first hole-in-one that came on his 40th birthday, said it’s probably easier to covert a fourth-and-2 on the road than to sink a 3-foot putt with the quietude of the course.

“I will say I’d probably have more confidence on the fourth-and-2,” Elway said. “Especially at the Broadmoor.”

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Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

NFL Roundup: Goal line defense works out for Seahawks this time

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — This time, Seattle won it at the goal line.

It certainly won’t make up for the Super Bowl loss two seasons back, but the Seahawks’ goal-line stand lifted them to a 31-24 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday night.

Tom Brady couldn’t connect with Rob Gronkowski on a fade pattern on fourth down as New England (7-2) failed four times from inside the 2 in the dying moments.

It was reminiscent of how the Seahawks (6-2-1) lost the 2015 Super Bowl when Malcolm Butler intercepted at the goal line to win the NFL title for the Patriots.

Doug Baldwin caught three touchdown passes, including a 15-yarder for the final margin. Strangely, Seattle went for 2 points and failed on the conversion, leaving the Patriots a chance to tie with a touchdown and an extra point kick.

But LeGarrette Blount, who earlier rushed for three touchdowns, couldn’t get into the end zone from close range, nor could Brady on a pair of sneaks.

BRONCOS 25, SAINTS 23

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Denver’s Justin Simmons used a perfectly timed leap over the offensive line to block an extra-point kick that would have given New Orleans a late lead, Will Parks ran it back 84 yards for a defensive 2-point conversion, and the Broncos pulled out a wild victory.

The decisive play came while the Superdome crowd was still celebrating Brandin Cooks’ twisting, 32-yard touchdown catch between two defenders. That put New Orleans (4-5) in position to take the lead with 1:28 left. Simmons’ block of Wil Lutz’s kick was scooped up by Parks, who nearly stepped out of bounds as he raced down the left sideline.

It was the first such play to provide the winning points in an NFL game. The rule was instituted last year.

The Broncos then recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock.

Safety Darian Stewart intercepted Drew Brees twice and recovered a fumble for the Broncos (7-3), while Trevor Siemian overcame two interceptions by passing for touchdowns to Jordan Taylor and Demaryius Thomas.

COWBOYS 35, STEELERS 30

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ezekiel Elliott ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns — both in the final two minutes — and had an 83-yard catch-and-run for a score as the Cowboys pulled off a thrilling victory for their eighth straight win.

Dak Prescott overcame an early fumble to pass for 319 yards and two scores for Dallas (8-1), which matched the longest single-season win streak in club history behind the two rookies who hardly seem bothered by the stage. Dez Bryant added six catches for 116 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown reception.

Ben Roethlisberger threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns. Antonio Brown caught 14 passes for 154 yards, including a 15-yard score with 42 seconds left after Roethlisberger faked a spike to surprise the Dallas defense.

The heady play — a throwback to Hall of Famer Dan Marino’s move while leading Miami to a victory over the New York Jets in 1994 — gave the Steelers (4-5) a one-point lead.

It also gave Prescott and Elliott too much time.

Dolphins 31, Chargers 24

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Kiko Alonso intercepted Philip Rivers’ pass and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown with 1:01 left to give Miami a fourth straight win. The Dolphins (5-4) intercepted Rivers four times, all in the fourth quarter.

Alonso jumped in front of Tyrell Williams and outraced everybody into the end zone for the winning score.

Two plays into the ensuing drive, Rivers was intercepted again, by Tony Lippett, his second of the game.

Rivers threw three touchdown passes to move past John Elway for eighth place on the career list with 301. Rivers’ 51-yard touchdown pass to Williams with 4:04 left gave the Chargers (4-6) a 24-21 lead.

Miami came right back to get a 27-yard field goal from Andrew Franks to tie it. That was set up by Ryan Tannehill’s 56-yard pass to DeVante Parker and a roughing-the-passer call that put the ball on the San Diego 10.

CARDINALS 23, 49ERS 20

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired. Catanzaro missed twice on winning field goal tries earlier in the season, most memorably a 24-yarder in overtime of a 6-6 tie against Seattle.

But this attempt was right down the middle as Arizona (4-4-1) narrowly averted a devastating loss.

The 49ers (1-8) lost their eighth in a row despite a strong game by Colin Kaepernick, who tied it 20-20 on a 4-yard run with 1:55 to play.

That was enough time for Carson Palmer to gain redemption after three second-half turnovers, the last an interception by Gerald Hodges that led to the tying touchdown. Palmer completed 4 of 7 passes for 64 yards, including a leaping 26-yard grab by Michael Floyd, as the Cardinals drove from their 15 to the San Francisco 16 to set up the winning kick.

CHIEFS 20, PANTHERS 17

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Marcus Peters stripped Kelvin Benjamin with 20 seconds left, Cairo Santos kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired, and the Chiefs overcame a 17-point deficit.

The game was tied when Benjamin caught a pass from Cam Newton, and Peters ripped the ball from his arms. Santos’ fourth field goal of the day split the uprights, lifting the Chiefs (7-2) to their fifth straight victory and 17th win in their last 19 games.

Eric Berry also returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown as Kansas City’s defense came up with big plays when needed. The Chiefs failed to score an offensive touchdown.

Newton threw for 261 yards and a touchdown and ran for 54 yards and a score for the Panthers (3-6).

EAGLES 24, FALCONS 15

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ryan Mathews ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns, while a tenacious defense held down the league’s highest-scoring offense.

Carson Wentz threw for 231 yards and led the Eagles (5-4) to a comeback victory for the first time this season. Caleb Sturgis made three field goals, including a clutch kick from 48 yards to seal the win.

Matt Ryan threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Gabriel in the fourth quarter to give Atlanta (6-4) a 15-13 lead, but Philadelphia answered.

Mathews ran in from the 5 and also converted the 2-point conversion for a 21-15 lead. On Atlanta’s ensuing possession, Julio Jones dropped a pass on third-and-12 and the Falcons punted. Jones couldn’t make a difficult catch on fourth-and-5 on Atlanta’s next drive.

REDSKINS 26, VIKINGS 20

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Kirk Cousins threw for two touchdowns, Preston Smith had two sacks and a game-altering interception in Washington’s first victory in almost a month.

Washington (5-3-1) got all of its second-half points off the foot of Dustin Hopkins, who hit four field goals, including a 50-yarder. The Redskins shut out Minnesota (5-4) in the second half, and Smith sacked Sam Bradford in the final seconds to hand the Vikings their fourth consecutive loss.

Cousins was 22 of 33 for 262 yards with touchdown passes to Vernon Davis and Jamison Crowder. Robert Kelley ran for 97 yards, helping Washington bounce back from a rough 6-minute stretch.

Bradford was 31 of 39 for 307 yards, two touchdowns and the interception that Smith tipped and caught with 5:44 left. Stefon Diggs had 13 catches for 164 yards.

TITANS 47, PACKERS 25

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Marcus Mariota threw for 295 yards and four touchdowns in the rout. Five Titans scored a touchdown in the first half as Tennessee put together its best scoring performance this season with 35 points.

With the win, the Titans (5-5) also matched their five victories over the past two seasons combined.

DeMarco Murray set the tone on the opening play from scrimmage, running 75 yards for a touchdown. He finished with 123 yards and also threw a TD pass, becoming the first non-quarterback to do that for this franchise in the same game since Earl Campbell on Sept. 7, 1980, for the then-Houston Oilers.

Brian Orakpo had two of Tennessee’s five sacks, and the Titans also forced three turnovers.

The Packers (4-5) started a three-game road swing by losing their third straight.

TEXANS 24, JAGUARS 13

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Brock Osweiler threw two touchdown passes and Kareem Jackson returned an interception 42 yards for a score. The Texans (6-3) scored on offense and defense and set up another score with special teams, a complete team effort that led to their first road win of the season. It kept them perfect (3-0) against the AFC South. They won their fifth in a row against Jacksonville.

The Jaguars (2-7) lost their fourth straight and fell to 0-4 at home. Coach Gus Bradley’s team rallied late, with Blake Bortles hitting Allen Robinson for a touchdown and again for a 2-point conversion.

The loss dropped Bradley’s record to 14-43 in four seasons and prompted even the most loyal supporters to question why owner Shad Khan hasn’t made a change.

BUCCANEERS 36, BEARS 10

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jameis Winston threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns against mistake-prone Chicago.

Winston threw for TDs of 10 yards to Cameron Brate and 43 yards to Freddie Martino, the latter set up by a bizarre highlight-reel play. The No. 1 pick in last year’s draft scrambled 23 yards backward into his end zone before avoiding a safety and launching a 39-yard completion to Mike Evans at the Chicago 38.

Martino, a former practice squad player with two career receptions, scored his first NFL touchdown after a delay-of-game penalty pushed the Bucs (4-5) back to the 43.

Two weeks after returning from injury and helping the Bears (2-7) beat NFC North leader Minnesota, Jay Cutler threw two interceptions and fumbled twice, one resulting in a third-quarter safety that put the Bucs up 29-10.

The Bucs forced four turnovers overall and sacked Cutler four times.

RAMS 9, JETS 6

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Alec Ogletree intercepted Bryce Petty with just under two minutes left to clinch this snoozer. Petty made his first NFL start in place of an injured Ryan Fitzpatrick, but couldn’t get much going against the Rams’ defense.

After getting the ball with 2:55 remaining and down by three, Petty tried to lead the Jets (3-7) downfield. But Petty’s pass to Quincy Enunwa was picked off by Ogletree and Enunwa tried to wrestle it away from the linebacker to no avail.

Greg Zuerlein kicked three field goals, including a go-ahead 34-yarder with 6:52 left, helping the Rams (4-5) snap a four-game losing streak and avoid their first five-game skid since Weeks 9-13 last season.

The game featured 15 punts — eight by the Jets and seven by the Rams.

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NFL Week 10: Can Seahawks throw off Tom Brady?

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today)   —-    The Seattle Seahawks will get their long-awaited chance for Super Bowl XLIX redemption Sunday against the New England Patriots, but the challenge looks even more imposing this time around.

Tom Brady has been nearly flawless in guiding an offense scoring 34 points a game since his return. In four games this season, Brady has completed 73.1% of his passes with 12 touchdowns and no interceptions. And he is second only to Russell Wilson with a 57.1% completion mark on throws more than 20 yards downfield.

But even with their offense consistently finding big plays, the Patriots might revert to a more methodical approach on Sunday. The Seahawks’ defense is predicated on forcing teams to string together long drives, and teams have been doing just that in the last few games.

Seattle’s defense has allowed scores on 10 of opponents’ past 16 possessions. In its past two games, the group has allowed conversions on 65.6% of third-down opportunities. Adding to the troubles was the Bills’ 40:17 time of possession last week.

And perhaps no offense is more patient and meticulous in its death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts approach than Brady and New England.

Even with quick passes limiting the defensive line’s impact, Seattle still needs its front to be disruptive. Defensive end Michael Bennett’s absence could loom large, but Cliff Avril, who missed Super Bowl XLIX with a concussion, is having a career year with nine sacks.

Julian Edelman and Martellus Bennett provide reliable threats for Brady to keep the chains moving, and how the team fares in picking up yards after catch could set the game’s tone. But Rob Gronkowski, who has 474 yards and three touchdowns the four games Brady has played, remains the most significant threat. Kam Chancellor’s return should boost the Seahawks’ secondary, but a group effort required for Gronk reveals the pick-your-poision nature of the Patriots’ attack.

Here are other matchups that will define Week 10 in the NFL:

The action began Thursday night with Baltimore’s 28-7 victory over Cleveland that left the winless Browns at a historic low point in franchise history.

Cleveland (0-10) has opened a season with 10 consecutive losses for the first time since joining the NFL in 1950. The Browns have lost 11 straight on the road since winning in Baltimore in October 2015.

Joe Flacco threw three touchdown passes for Baltimore (5-4).

Off this week are Detroit (5-4), Buffalo (4-5), Indianapolis (4-5) and Oakland (7-0).

Kansas City (6-2) at Carolina (3-5)

Sure, the Panthers have a much inferior record to the Chiefs. And KC has won 16 of its last 18 regular-season matches.

Yet there’s a feeling that the Panthers are beginning to get things in order with two straight wins. If they can avoid turnovers — the Chiefs are an NFL-best plus-13 in turnover margin and lead the league in takeaways with 20 — they could still get in the playoff mix.

“The season’s not over yet. You’re speaking as if this is a wash season,” Cam Newton told reporters this week. “We’re right where we want to be. We’re in a position to compete and challenge teams and they know that.”

Dallas (7-1) at Pittsburgh (4-4)

The Cowboys seek an eighth straight victory, which would tie their 1977 team for the longest single-season winning streak in club history. That team won the Super Bowl. This one has gained at least 400 yards in a franchise-record six consecutive games.

Players to watch are two of the game’s best targets. Dallas tight end Jason Witten needs five receptions to pass Andre Johnson for ninth on all-time list (1,062). Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is 12 receptions from passing Heath Miller for second on the franchise list (592).

Atlanta (6-3) at Philadelphia (4-4)

A big assignment for the slumping Eagles, who have dropped three straight to Atlanta. Philly’s secondary has been a sieve — Eli Manning tore it up for four TDs last week — and now it takes on Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the NFL’s second-ranked offense.

Also ominous for the hosts is that the Falcons have found a pass rush. But the Eagles have scored 20-plus points in 10 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Minnesota (5-3) at Washington (4-3-1)

Although they don’t meet up that often, this is one of the NFL’s best and tightest series, tied 12-12.

It’s also a matchup of Minnesota’s strong defense, ranked third, and Washington’s No. 4 offense.

The issues for the Vikings, losers of three in a row, are when they have the ball or when they are kicking it. The offense has stagnated with the line a jumbled mess and no rushing attack, and ranks at the bottom. Blair Walsh is having a mysteriously poor place-kicking season.

Washington surely will miss standout LT Trent Williams, who begins serving a four-game suspension under the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Denver (6-3) at New Orleans (4-4)

Another top defense — Denver is fourth overall, No. 1 against the pass — going up against a dangerous offense. Drew Brees, having another sensational season, leads the NFLs’ best passing attack.

“You look at it, and you’re like, ‘another top offense,'” Broncos linebacker Shane Ray says. “But it’s another opportunity to be great. It’s another opportunity to go out and compete against someone that is looked at as the best. It’s a challenge we want every week.”

New Orleans rekindled its running game a week ago against San Francisco, rushing for a season-high 248 yards. Mark Ingram rushed for 158 yards, including a career-long 75-yard TD.

Cincinnati (3-4-1) at New York Giants (5-3), Monday night

Two teams that can light up the Big Apple skyline with their passing games; forget the Giants’ rushing attack, which is nonexistent.

Eli Manning threw for four TDs last Sunday and in Odell Beckham Jr. has one of the NFL’s most dangerous targets. On the other side, Andy Dalton has a 100-plus rating and no interceptions in four of the last five games. And he has A.J. Green as his top receiver: Green leads the NFL with 59 receptions, ranks No. 2 with 896 yards receiving, and has 17 catches for 290 yards and a touchdown in the past two games.

Green Bay (4-4) at Tennessee (4-5)

It might seem shocking that the Titans have the higher-ranked offense than the Packers, and it’s not really close.

The key here is whether DeMarco Murray, second in the NFL with 807 yards rushing and tied for second with nine total TDs, can get going against the league’s stingiest rush defense.

This is the start of a three-game road trip that could make or break Green Bay’s season.

Miami (4-4) at San Diego (4-5)

The first stop on a California vacation, uh, business trip for the Dolphins, who will remain out west after this before taking on Oakland.

Miami has won three in a row and has found a ground game thanks to Jay Ajayi, who has rushed for well over 500 yards combined in the last three games.

San Diego has a strong running attack, too, with Melvin Gordon, also in his second NFL season, coming off a career-best 196-yard performance in a win over the Titans. He also scored his NFL-high 11th touchdown.

Houston (5-3) at Jacksonville (2-6)

The Texans swept the series the last two years, but they are 0-3 away from Houston and play four of their next five on the road. Their best weapon could be WR DeAndre Hopkins, who torched the Jaguars last season, catching 17 passes for 237 yards and two TDs in two games.

Houston’s road woes might not matter much at EverBank Field, where the Jags are 0-3.

San Francisco (1-7) at Arizona (3-4-1)

Here’s how poorly Chip Kelly has fared in his debut season with the 49ers: Kelly’s college teams at Oregon lost seven games in four seasons; his 49ers have lost seven in a row. They rank last in defense, and Arizona star receiver Larry Fitzgerald makes a living against them. He has more TD catches against the Niners (16) than any other player in NFL history.

The Cardinals won 33-21 at San Francisco in early October.

Los Angeles (3-5) at New York Jets (3-6)

Lots of QB angst here. For LA, fans want top overall pick Jared Goff on the field and veteran Case Keenum on the bench. Jets fans want Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is dealing with knee issues, put on the sideline for Bryce Petty.

The Rams have dropped four in a row and can’t get 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year running back Todd Gurley on track. New York ranks fourth in rushing defense, but is vulnerable in the air.

Chicago (2-6) at Tampa Bay (3-5)

Jay Cutler returned to the Bears in Week 8 before they had their bye and actually had a positive effect in an upset of the Vikings. Chicago is getting strong contributions from rookie running back Jordan Howard (505 yards rushing) and tight end Zach Miller, who comes off a seven-reception, 88-yard performance against Vikings.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston has been effective with eight TD passes and one interception in the past three games. But Tampa Bay lost two of those.

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NFL: Patriots remain atop AP Pro32, followed by Dallas, Oakland

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NEW YORK (AP) — No surprises at the top of the AP Pro32 power rankings this week: New England and Dallas, at 7-1 owning the NFL’s best records, are 1-2.

Moving up to the third spot for their highest ranking ever in the AP Pro32 are the Oakland Raiders.

In voting by 12 media members who regularly cover the NFL, the Patriots are a unanimous choice once again for the top spot, even though they didn’t play last weekend. Dallas, coming off an easy victory at winless Cleveland (No. 32) is a solid second, 21 points ahead of Oakland.

The Silver and Black earned the third spot with their convincing win over Denver, beating out AFC West rival Kansas City by nine points in the balloting Tuesday. The Raiders haven’t made the postseason since winning the 2002 AFC championship.

“Derek Carr continues his MVP-caliber season with a massive win over the Broncos, and the Raiders’ defense is finally starting to live up to its potential,” says Bob Glauber of Newsday. “They’re not in a class with the Patriots, but they’re getting closer.”

Adds Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee: “Nobody beats up the Raiders in the trenches anymore, and 25-year-old Carr has emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate.”

Seattle ranks fifth, followed by Atlanta, Denver, the New York Giants, Minnesota and Washington.

The Falcons particularly impress Glauber and Kaufman.

“With 23 touchdown passes, Matt Ryan has already surpassed last year’s total (21) in just nine games,” Glauber notes. “That’s the difference for a Falcons team that is now in solid control of the NFC South.”

Adds Kaufman: “This defense can be had, but the NFL’s most prolific attack has not been held below 23 points all season.”

This week’s biggest movers up the AP Pro32 rankings are the Ravens (up 8 to No. 16), Giants (plus 6) and Lions (plus 6 to 11th). Baltimore’s defense shut down the Steelers on Sunday, while the Giants held off the Eagles and Detroit won at slumping Minnesota.

Falling the furthest are Buffalo, down six spots to 22nd, and Tennessee, also down six to 25. The Bills took almost as hard a hit in the voting as they did from the officiating in their loss at Seattle on Monday night. The Titans were outscored by San Diego.

Down at the bottom are the Browns, 13 points behind No. 31 San Francisco.

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(###) Number of first place votes
 
1
Record: 7-1
PV Rank

1

Points

384

2
Record: 7-1
2
372
3
Record: 7-2
7
351
4
Record: 6-2
4
342
5
Record: 5-2-1
5
339
6
Record: 6-3
6
333
7
Record: 6-3
3
312
8
Record: 5-3
14
284
9
Record: 5-3
8
269
10
Record: 4-3-1
13
251
11
Record: 5-4
17
250
12
Record: 5-3
12
244
13
Record: 4-4
10
230
14
Record: 4-4
9
229
15
Record: 4-4
11
210
16
Record: 4-4
24
202
17
Record: 4-5
20
177
18
Record: 3-4-1
15
168
19
Record: 4-4
21
165
20
Record: 3-4-1
18
162
21
Record: 4-4
21
160
22
Record: 4-5
16
156
23
Record: 4-5
27
145
24
Record: 3-5
23
139
25
Record: 4-5
19
114
26
Record: 3-5
25
80
27
Record: 3-5
26
75
28
Record: 3-6
28
66
29
Record: 2-6
29
55
30
Record: 2-6
30
33
31
Record: 1-7
31
26
32
Record: 0-9
32
13

NFL HALFWAY: Surprises and disappointments in AFC

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It’s not difficult to pinpoint the teams that have unexpectedly prospered or just as stunningly plummeted halfway through the 2016 season.

Yep, we’re looking at you, Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals. Last January, you played for a spot in the Super Bowl. Right now, you’re hanging with the mediocrities (or worse) of the NFL.

Nor is it hard to spot the surprisingly successful teams putting themselves in the championship mix, from the Dallas Cowboys to the Oakland Raiders.

But what about the individuals who are rising or flopping? The Associated Press sports writers who cover the 16 AFC teams suggest the following.

BALTIMORE

Surprise: LB Zachary Orr leads the team in tackles as a third-year player.

Disappointment: QB Joe Flacco has looked tentative in the pocket and has more interceptions than TDs. Granted, the Ravens have no running game and the left side of the O-Line has been injured, but still …

BUFFALO

Surprise: LB Lorenzo Alexander, maybe the most pleasant development in the NFL this season. The free-agent addition, a journeyman in his 10th season, is among the league leaders in sacks.

Disappointment: WR Sammy Watkins (left foot) is hobbled by injury for the third straight season and is on IR, though he could return this month.

CINCINNATI

Surprise: WR A.J. Green was leading the NFL in receptions when Cincinnati went on its bye despite being the focus of opposing defenses on every passing play.

Disappointment: DT Geno Atkins had 42 tackles and 11 sacks last season. Through eight games, he has only 16 tackles and 3½ sacks, and the Bengals are 3-4-1.

CLEVELAND

Surprise: WR Terrelle Pryor only made the conversion from quarterback last season and has quickly developed into a playmaker. Through the first nine games, Pryor had 46 catches and four touchdowns.

Disappointment: QB Robert Griffin III. Not his fault, but he broke a bone in his shoulder in the season opener that deprived him of a chance at a comeback and the Browns from seeing if he could be their long-term answer.

DENVER

Surprise: QB Trevor Siemian was an afterthought when Peyton Manning retired. Now he’s the starting QB on a playoff contender.

Disappointment; OT Russell Okung, who went through a stretch of five holding calls in three games and gave up a sack-strip.

HOUSTON

Surprise: DE Jadeveon Clowney, finally healthy after two injury-filled years. His move from outside linebacker has helped the Texans make up for the loss of J.J. Watt.

Disappointment: QB Brock Osweiler got a $72 million contract and has thrown the same number of interceptions (nine) as touchdowns. Houston’s passing game ranks among the worst in the league.

INDIANAPOLIS

Surprise: TE Jack Doyle, claimed off waivers from Tennessee in 2013, has steadily progressed each season and already surpassed his previous career totals in yards and TD catches.

Disappointment: Coach Chuck Pagano. After signing a four-year deal, being given more authority over some decisions and armed with a healthy Andrew Luck, it looked as if Pagano would take his second chance and run with it. Instead, the Colts have gotten stuck in neutral.

JACKSONVILLE

Surprise: DE Yannick Ngakoue, a third-round pick from Maryland who has four sacks and three forced fumbles and has replaced Dante Fowler in the starting lineup.

Disappointment: QB Blake Bortles has been so inaccurate and inconsistent that he brought in a mechanics coach for a two-day refresher course, a last-ditch effort to turn his season around.

KANSAS CITY

Surprise: WR Tyreek Hill, a fifth-round pick expected to be primarily a kick returner, already has 19 catches for 223 yards and four touchdowns.

Disappointment: OLB Tamba Hali signed a three-year, $21 million contract when the Chiefs realized they would be without Justin Houston most of the season, but he’s aging before their eyes.

MIAMI

Surprise: RB Jay Ajayi has turned a weak ground game into a strength by averaging 6.0 yards per play and has six TDs.

Disappointment: WR DeVante Parker, a 2015 first-rounder, has done little to establish himself as a complement to top target Jarvis Landry.

NEW ENGLAND

Surprise: RB LeGarrette Blount, whose production over the first four games coming off hip injury last season helped take the pressure off Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett.

Disappointment: CB Cyrus Jones, a second-rounder, has struggled in his limited action returning punts, was ejected at Cleveland and hasn’t played since.

NEW YORK JETS

Surprise: WR Quincy Enunwa, a sixth-rounder in 2014, has blossomed into a legitimate playmaker in Chan Gailey’s offense. With Eric Decker out, Enunwa has stepped up as the No. 2 receiver behind Brandon Marshall.

Disappointment: CB Darrelle Revis, a former shutdown defender, has looked mostly mediocre this season, no longer resembling the guy who left opposing teams’ best receivers stranded on “Revis Island.”

OAKLAND

Surprise: RB Jalen Richard, an undrafted free agent, has helped provide depth behind Latavius Murray.

Disappointment: CB Sean Smith, a major free agent addition who got benched in the opener and struggled earlier in the season before showing some improvement of late.

PITTSBURGH

Surprise: WR Sammie Coates led the league in yards per reception (21.3) before injuring his left index finger. He’s been a long-distance threat.

Disappointment: LB James Harrison is hardly the only disappointment on an underwhelming defense, but the 38-year-old got his first two sacks of the season this past weekend. He’s seen his playing time slowly decrease.

SAN DIEGO

Surprise: Top draft pick DE Joey Bosa. After a holdout and hamstring injury that cost him four games, he has become a force on the Chargers’ defense, particularly in opposing backfields.

Disappointment: That the team couldn’t get the rookie defensive end signed in time for training camp. A squabble over money he was due and offset language caused the No. 3 overall pick to miss camp. After signing, Bosa pulled the hamstring and the Chargers went 1-3 without him.

TENNESSEE

Surprise: RB DeMarco Murray. For a player who looked washed up in Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia last season and cost the Titans only swapping 13 spots in the fourth round of the draft, what a bargain.

Disappointment: Rookie LB Kevin Dodd, the 33rd pick overall, has been a minimal contributor. The Titans could use more pressure from someone who had 12 sacks and 23½ tackles for loss last season at Clemson.

NFL Roundup: Raiders run past Broncos 30-20 for AFC West lead

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Latavius Murray ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns and the Oakland Raiders showed they were ready for prime time, beating the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos 30-20 on Sunday night.

In what was being billed as the biggest game in Oakland since the team went to the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, the Raiders (7-2) put together a complete effort to overpower the Broncos (6-3) and take over sole possession of first place in the AFC West.

Derek Carr threw for 184 yards and did not turn the ball over, Khalil Mack had two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery and the Raiders outrushed Denver 218-33.

The performance was to the delight of an energetic crowd at the Coliseum, excited to host a prime time Sunday night game for the first time in more than a decade.

Trevor Siemian looked shaky at times for Denver but did throw two touchdown passes, including a short pass behind the line that Kapri Biggs turned into a 69-yard touchdown catch and run in the fourth quarter.

LIONS 22, VIKINS 16, OT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Matthew Stafford threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate, who vaulted into the end zone in overtime to lift Detroit past Minnesota.

After Matt Prater kicked a 58-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime, Tate finished the opening drive when he ran through arm tackles by Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith and leaped in for the winning score.

Stafford completed 23 of 36 passes for 219 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Lions (5-4), who have won four of their past five games. Tate had 11 catches for 79 yards.

Sam Bradford completed 31 of 40 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings (5-3), who started the season 5-0 but have imploded since coming out of the bye. Stefon Diggs had a career-high 13 catches for 80 yards.

GIANTS 28, EAGLES 23

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Eli Manning threw for four touchdowns and New York’s defense had two interceptions and three stops on fourth downs to beat Philadelphia.

The Giants (5-3) won their third straight game, holding off the Eagles (4-4 after a 3-0 start) after Manning was intercepted with less than two minutes to go.

Two of Manning’s touchdowns went to Odell Beckham Jr., with the others to Roger Lewis Jr. and Sterling Shepard.

Manning moved into ninth place in yards passing with 46,428. Manning, in his 13th NFL season, threw for 257 yards against Philadelphia. He passed Vinny Testaverde, who had 46,233 yards through the air.

RAVENS 21, STEELERS 14

BALTIMORE (AP) — Joe Flacco threw a 95-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace, and Baltimore frustrated an ineffective Ben Roethlisberger in a victory over Pittsburgh.

Baltimore (4-4) snapped a four-game losing streak and moved into a tie atop the AFC North with the Steelers (4-4), who have dropped three in a row.

Three weeks after undergoing surgery on his right knee, Roethlisberger returned well ahead of schedule. Playing for the first time since Oct. 16, the 13-year veteran looked out of sync until the fourth quarter, when he directed a 75-yard drive that got the Steelers to 21-7 with 8:38 remaining.

Before that, Pittsburgh’s offense produced only two first downs and was limited to 69 yards. The Steelers finished with 36 yards rushing, 32 by Le’Veon Bell.

Roethlisberger ran for a 4-yard score with 48 seconds left, but Chris Boswell botched the onside kick — barely knocking it off the tee — and Baltimore ran out the clock.

CHARGERS 43, TITANS 35

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Melvin Gordon ran for a career-high 196 yards and scored the go-ahead TD on a 1-yard run, and defensive backs Dwight Lowery and Brandon Flowers scored on turnovers by Marcus Mariota to lead the Chargers over Tennessee, which still hasn’t won in San Diego since 1990.

The Chargers (4-5) won two days before the team will ask voters to approve a billion-dollar subsidy for a new downtown stadium to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium. The measure was polling well short of the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass.

Gordon, who leads the NFL with 11 touchdowns, scored on a 1-yard run with 5:28 left in the third quarter to give the Chargers a 26-21 lead. He ran 32 times, and broke a 47-yard run in the closing minutes. He also caught four passes for 65 yards.

Mariota, who led the Titans to a 21-19 lead by guiding two quick scoring drives on either side of halftime, helped the Chargers surge to a 12-point lead when he fumbled late in the third quarter. Lowery picked up the ball ran 43 yards for a touchdown and a 33-21 lead.

The Titans (4-5) have lost seven straight in San Diego since 1993, when they were the Houston Oilers. The franchise’s last victory in San Diego was in 1990.

COLTS 31, PACKERS 26

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Frank Gore rushed for two touchdowns, Jordan Todman had a tone-setting 99-yard return on the opening kickoff and Indianapolis held on for a win over Green Bay.

Andrew Luck shook off two interceptions in the first quarter to finish with 281 yards passing and a touchdown. The Colts, who had allowed an NFL-worst 31 sacks coming into the game, gave their quarterback decent protection.

Indianapolis (4-5) heads into a bye week with a confidence-building victory after surviving a vintage Aaron Rodgers comeback.

His 3-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with 3:29 left got Green Bay (4-4) within five, capping a 14-point spurt in four-plus minutes.

Rodgers finished 26 of 43 for 297 yards with three scores and an interception.

SAINTS 41, 49ERS 23

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Drew Brees threw a pair of touchdown passes to Michael Thomas and another to Mark Ingram, who also ran for a 75-yard score a week after being benched and New Orleans beat lowly San Francisco.

Ingram, replaced by Tim Hightower during last Sunday’s 25-20 win against Seattle after fumbling for a second straight game, scored his second straight TD for the Saints on a career-long run to answer immediately after DuJuan Harris caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick. Ingram’s run also was the second-longest in Saints history and he wound up with 158 yards rushing as San Francisco allowed an opposing 100-yard runner for the seventh straight game.

The Saints (4-4) have grabbed back some momentum and returned to the race in the NFC South. They won for the fourth time in five games following an 0-3 start and eighth in the past 10 regular-season meetings with San Francisco. The Niners (1-7) didn’t have nearly enough to avoid their seventh straight loss since shutting out the Rams to start the season.

PANTHERS 13, RAMS 10

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cam Newton persevered through five sacks to pass for 225 yards and a touchdown, and Carolina’s defense shut down Los Angeles.

Greg Olsen caught a touchdown pass in the first half and Graham Gano added two fourth-quarter field goals for the Panthers (3-5), who won their second straight after a four-game skid.

Newton’s offense managed just 244 yards against the Rams’ vaunted defense, but the Panthers nearly shut out Los Angeles in a defense-dominated game.

Case Keenum passed for 296 yards for the Rams (3-5), who have lost four straight after a strong start to their homecoming season. Los Angeles’ scoreless streak reached 102 minutes, 12 seconds before Greg Zuerlein’s 25-yard field goal with 8:01 to play.

DOLPHINS 27, JETS 23

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Rookie Kenyan Drake scored untouched on a 96-yard kickoff return with 5:15 left, and Miami won a seesaw battle with New York Jets.

Jay Ajayi rushed for 111 yards and helped to run out the clock after the Dolphins came from behind for the third time.

A botched Dolphins punt led to a touchdown that put New York ahead 23-20. On the ensuing kickoff , New York’s Antonio Allen was called for being offside, so the Jets had to kick again. Drake took the kickoff, found a lane and sped past the final Jet — kicker Nick Folk — into the clear.

The Dolphins (4-4) won their third game in a row, while New York (3-6) fell deeper into last place in the AFC East. The Jets hurt themselves with four personal foul penalties, two interceptions thrown by Ryan Fitzpatrick and numerous missed chances.

COWBOYS 35, BROWNS 10

CLEVELAND (AP) — Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott threw three touchdown passes and kept any talk for Tony Romo unnecessary, leading Dallas over winless Cleveland.

Rookie Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 92 yards and scored twice and durable tight end Jason Witten had 134 yards receiving for the Cowboys, off to their best start since 2007.

Prescott has won seven straight starts since losing the season opener, and with the Cowboys (7-1) leading the NFC East and getting better, there’s no reason for the team to accelerate Romo’s return from a back injury.

The miserable Browns (0-9) dropped their franchise-record 12th straight game going back to last season and are 3-27 in their past 30. They also started 0-9 in 1975.

CHIEFS 19, JAGUARS 14

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City stuffed Jacksonville on fourth down with less than 2 minutes left deep in its own territory, preserving a victory despite finishing without five offensive starters.

Nick Foles threw for 187 yards and a first-half touchdown toss to Albert Wilson, and helped to set up four field goals by Cairo Santos, as Kansas City (6-2) won its 10th consecutive home game.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars (2-6) couldn’t overcome four turnovers — including a fumble at the goal line in the fourth quarter — in their first game with quarterback coach Nathaniel Hackett directing the offense.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

NFL Week 9: Can Carson Wentz jolt Eagles against Giants?

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Halfway through his rookie year, Carson Wentz finds himself in a position the Philadelphia Eagles likely wanted to keep him out of at all costs.

The No. 2 overall pick’s promising start has been set off course by protection problems and ball security issues (five fumbles, three interceptions in last four weeks). Doug Pederson’s offense has responded by turning to an approach so low on risk that it may actually be damaging. In last week’s 29-23 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Wentz attempted just one pass more than 15 yards downfield and averaged just 4.7 yards per attempt.

The performance illustrated how far off Wentz’s situation is from the outlook for Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, whose strong play has been boosted by a stellar supporting cast. Now Wentz has to find a way to lift his own group up when facing a promising, albeit inconsistent, New York Giants defense on Sunday.

Philadelphia’s problems are feeding into one another, as the offensive line’s struggles have hindered a wide receiving corps lacking a consistent deep threat. Facing a Giants pass rush that has just nine sacks in seven games, however, might give Wentz the opening he needs to take a few more risks.

New York ranks 22nd against the pass but has allowed just seven touchdowns through the air this season. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins remains a dangerous playmaker, and safety Landon Collins had two interceptions against the Los Angeles Rams in London.

Here are four other matchups that will define Week 9 in the NFL:

Derek Carr vs. Broncos’ pass rush

Solving Denver’s defense remains the towering hurdle for Carr and Oakland in the hunt for AFC West supremacy. Clearing that challenge may mean the difference between a second-half surge and a reality check.

Even with a league-low 2.7% sack rate, Carr has been composed under pressure so far this season. But the Broncos’ defense, which is tied for the NFL lead with 26 sacks, is operating on a different level than the rest of the league. Beyond defensive player of the year front-runner Von Miller and the recently returned DeMarcus Ware, defensive end Derek Wolfe and outside linebacker Shane Ray have combined for 8.5 sacks so far this season.

Carr will have to be decisive yet mindful with his throws, though the Broncos will be without cornerback Aqib Talib. Amari Cooper has the most yards after catch (293) of any receiver, so providing him with opportunities to turn upfield could aid Carr if the deep passing game dwindles.

Titans OTs Taylor Lewan, Jack Conklin vs. Chargers DE Joey Bosa, OLB Melvin Ingram

A revamped running game has Tennessee at 4-4 and in the hunt for the AFC South. Though running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry deserve praise for capitalizing on their opportunities, the Titans’ offensive line might be the biggest catalyst for this season’s revival.

Lewan has been a standout in both pass protection and the run game, while Decker has held down the right side. But Bosa and Ingram might be two of their biggest tests to date.

An extended holdout didn’t slowed Bosa, who has four sacks in as many games and been a disruptive presence in opponents’ backfields. Ingram, meanwhile, has continued to establish himself as one of the best young 3-4 linebackers in the NFL today. Both can make the kind of plays that would derail Tennessee’s rushing attack, though the Titans have proven resilient with a near 50% third-down conversion rate.

Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph vs. Lions’ secondary

Minnesota’s previously resilient offense is in dire straits at midseason. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner stepped down after a nightmarish showing against the Chicago Bears on Monday night. The offensive line is in shambles, and the running game is on pace to have the lowest yards per carry (2.66) of any team since the 1953 New York Giants.

Getting Rudolph going against Detroit could be one of the best options for new coordinator Pat Shurmur to turn the offense around. The Lions have allowed eight touchdowns to tight ends in eight games so far this season.

Of course, Bradford will need improved protection to have time to find Rudolph and wide receiver Stefon Diggs downfield. Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah has been held in check and backup Armonty Bryant is suspended, but Kerry Hyder has been a revelation with five sacks.

Colts QB Andrew Luck vs. Packers LB Nick Perry

Having already taken an NFL-high 31 sacks this season, Luck can’t expect any improvement from his protection. Indianapolis has put an undue burden on him given his surrounding parts, so it will be up to him to find a remedy.

The hits are already starting to take their toll on Luck, as he struggled while taking six sacks and 12 hits in last week’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. T.Y. Hilton’s being cleared after a hamstring injury should help, but it’s unclear how much the Colts’ top weapon will be able to contribute.

Green Bay, meanwhile, is counting on its pass rush to cover for an ailing secondary. Its top two cornerbacks are already out, with two others listed as questionable. Perry is on track for a career year with 5.5 sacks so far, and his importance could be even greater given Clay Matthews’ uncertain status for the game with a hamstring injury.

AP Power Rankings: Patriots still own No. 1 spot

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NEW YORK (AP) — With the NFL’s regular season at about the halfway point, one team clearly stands out above the rest: the New England Patriots.

For the second consecutive week, Tom Brady and Patriots are the unanimous No. 1 in the latest AP Pro32 poll , which was released Tuesday.

The Patriots again received all 12 first-place votes for 384 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

The Patriots enter their bye week at 7-1 and have a three-game lead in the AFC East.

“Tom Brady has 12 touchdowns, no interceptions and no losses,” said Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The Dallas Cowboys (6-1), the league’s only other one-loss team, remained at No. 2 after rallying for a 29-23 overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

“Dak Prescott was far from perfect against the Eagles, but his clutch play in overtime with the game-winning TD pass to Jason Witten off a scramble offers yet another glimpse into his upside and offers further proof that it’s not time for Tony Romo,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.

AFC West rivals took the next two spots, as the Denver Broncos moved up a spot to No. 3 and the Kansas City Chiefs jumped three places to No. 4.

The Seattle Seahawks fell two spots to No. 5 after losing 25-20 at New Orleans.

The NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons jumped four spots to No. 6 after rallying for a 33-32 win over the Green Bay Packers, who fell a spot to No. 9.

“Behind MVP candidate Matt Ryan, the Falcons head into a Thursday night matchup in Tampa leading the league in scoring offense, total offense and big-play capability,” said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Oakland Raiders, who are tied with the Broncos for first in the AFC West at 6-2 and host them on Sunday night, moved up two spots to No. 7.

“The Raiders have been perfect on the road,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback. “Now, with the Broncos coming to town, they’ll have to find a way to win at home if they want to make gains in the wide-open AFC West.”

The Minnesota Vikings, who have lost two straight after a 5-0 start and still have a one-game lead in the NFC North, dropped three spots to No. 8. The Eagles dropped four spots to round out the top 10.

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1
Record: 7-1
PV Rank

1

Points

384

2
Record: 6-1
2
372
3
Record: 6-2
4
357
4
Record: 5-2
7
333
5
Record: 4-2-1
3
325
6
Record: 5-3
10
321
7
Record: 6-2
9
320
8
Record: 5-2
5
304
9
Record: 4-3
8
287
10
Record: 4-3
6
282
11
Record: 4-3
11
269
12
Record: 5-3
17
239
13
Record: 4-3-1
13
238
14
Record: 4-3
16
214
15
Record: 3-4-1
18
202
16
Record: 4-4
15
190
17
Record: 4-4
14
185
18
Record: 3-4-1
12
174
19
Record: 4-4
25
160
20
Record: 3-5
19
149
21
Record: 3-4
26
140
21
Record: 3-4
20
140
23
Record: 2-5
27
117
24
Record: 3-4
24
113
25
Record: 3-4
22
108
26
Record: 3-4
23
107
27
Record: 3-5
21
104
28
Record: 3-5
28
73
29
Record: 2-6
30
56
30
Record: 2-5
29
34
31
Record: 1-6
31
26
32
Record: 0-8
32
13

 

CFB Roundup: Davis’ big night sends No. 17 Broncos past Ball State, 52-20

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MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Western Michigan receiver Corey Davis used a nationally televised game as his own personal proving ground Tuesday night.

He got open all game. He made spectacular plays when given the chance. And, of course, he kept the 17th-ranked Broncos unbeaten.

By the time the show-stopping senior finally left the 52-20 victory over Ball State, he had caught 12 passes for a Mid-American Conference-record 272 yards, tied the conference mark for career touchdown receptions (47) and celebrated a school-record 11th consecutive victory.

“It’s kind of like The Masters out there when there’s no wind blowing and it’s just a beautiful day, and you’re just feeling really good,” coach P.J. Fleck said before joking about a couple of drops Davis had. “But I told him, ‘You left some meat on the bone out there.'”

At 6-foot-3, 213 pounds, some NFL scouts think Davis has what it takes to be a first-round draft pick next year. Some of them watched the game from the press box.

If Davis plays like he did Tuesday night, some team could get a real steal this spring.

It seemed like Davis burned the Cardinals’ secondary on every play, catching TD passes of 57, 35 and 62 yards while moving within 296 yards of Trevor Insley’s 17-year-old national record (5,005). Davis has 4,709 yards.

Western Michigan (9-0, 5-0 MAC, No. 23 CFP) knew just how talented Davis was after watching him the past four years.

The rest of a curious college football world may have gotten its first long look at him Tuesday when quarterback Zach Terrell went 23 of 34 for 367 yards with the three TD passes.

Ball State (4-5, 2-3) made too many mistakes to have a chance after Jarvion Franklin gave Western Michigan the lead for good with a 23-yard TD run in the first quarter.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t execute at a high level like we needed to in order to have a chance to win against a football team like Western Michigan,” first-year Ball State coach Mike Neu said.

THE TAKEAWAY

Western Michigan: The conference’s top team and one of five remaining unbeaten teams certainly did not disappoint on national television. But will a blowout over a struggling MAC opponent be enough to help the Broncos climb the College Football Playoff rankings? Probably not.

Ball State: Neu doesn’t have the talent or depth to compete with a team as strong as Western Michigan, but the opportunity to play a good team certainly gives Ball State a glimpse into how much it needs to improve to compete for a conference crown.

TOUGH BREAK

Ball State junior Jack Milas replaced injured quarterback Riley Neal, and Milas finished 20 of 38 for 199 yards with one touchdown. Milas threw two interceptions in the first half and two other interceptions were dropped by Western Michigan defenders.

KEY NUMBERS

Broncos CB Darius Phillips picked off Milas’ sixth pass of the game and returned it for a 75-yard touchdown — his third pick-six of the season. … Franklin, the MAC’s No. 2 rusher after eight games, ran 17 times for 109 yards and two scores. The Broncos were plus-3 on turnovers after starting the day at plus-12. … Ball State’s James Gilbert only needed one quarter to extend his streak of consecutive 100-yard games to five. Gilbert finished with 29 carries for 155 yards and one score.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Western Michigan: After becoming the first 9-0 team in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the only unbeaten outside the top four will watch this weekend to see if anyone else loses. If the Broncos win their next two, against teams that are a combined 5-12, Western Michigan should continue ascending.

Ball State: The Cardinals have lost two straight, are under .500 and in last-place in the MAC West.

UP NEXT

Western Michigan: The steamrolling Broncos head to Kent State (3-6, 2-3) next Tuesday, and will have to deal with yet another team trying to send a national message.

Ball State: The Cardinals hope to gain some momentum next Tuesday when they welcome Eastern Michigan. Ball State has won 10 of the last 11 in the series.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org

NFL Today, Week 8

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SCOREBOARD

Monday, Oct. 31

Minnesota at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. EDT. Sam Bradford and the Vikings (5-1) are coming off their first loss, a 21-10 defeat against Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler is set to return for the Bears (1-6), who are off to their worst start since the 2000 team dropped seven of its first eight.

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STARS

Passing

— Derek Carr, Raiders, threw for a franchise-record 513 yards — completing 40 of 59 passes without an interception — including a 41-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts with 1:45 remaining in overtime, leading Oakland past Tampa Bay 30-24.

— Tom Brady, Patriots, went 22 of 33 for 315 yards and threw four touchdowns in leading New England to a 41-25 win over Buffalo.

— Drew Brees, Saints, passed for 265 yards and a touchdown, and scored on a quarterback keeper in New Orleans’ 25-20 win over Seattle.

— Carson Palmer, Cardinals, was 35 of 46 for 363 yards with three touchdowns, including two to J.J. Nelson, in a losing cause as Arizona fell to Carolina 30-20.

— Matt Ryan, Falcons, tossed three touchdown passes and finished 28 of 35 for 288 yards in Atlanta’s 33-32 win over Green Bay.

— Kirk Cousins, Redskins, threw for 458 yards and two TDs on 38-of-56 passing with an INT in Washington’s 27-27 tie with Cincinnati in London.

— Dak Prescott, Cowboys, threw for 287 yards and two scores, including a winning 5-yarder to Jason Witten in overtime, to lead Dallas past Philadelphia 29-23.

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Rushing

— Melvin Gordon, Chargers, rushed for 111 yards on 23 carries in San Diego’s 27-19 loss at Denver.

— Tim Hightower, Saints, ran for 102 yards on 26 carries as New Orleans’ first 100-yard rusher this season after replacing the benched Mark Ingram in a 25-20 win over Seattle.

— Jonathan Stewart, Panthers, ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns in Carolina’s 30-20 victory over Arizona.

— Matt Forte, Jets, rushed for 82 yards and two second-half TDs in New York’s 31-28 win at Cleveland.

— Rob Kelley, Redskins, carried 21 times for 87 yards and his first rushing touchdown, a juking 4-yard carry up the gut on Washington’s opening drive in a 27-27 tie with Cincinnati.

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Receiving

— Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, Raiders. Cooper had 12 catches for 173 yards and a TD in Oakland’s 30-24 overtime win at Tampa Bay, while Crabtree caught eight passes for 108 yards.

— Dez Bryant, Cowboys, caught four passes for 113 yards, including a game-tying 22-yard touchdown, in his return after missing three games with a hairline fracture of a bone in his right knee to help Dallas to a 29-23 overtime victory over Philadelphia.

— A.J. Green, Bengals, caught nine passes for 121 yards in Cincinnati’s 27-27 tie with Washington.

— Rob Gronkowski, Patriots, had five catches for 109 yards and a TD, the 69th of his career to break a franchise record previously held by Stanley Morgan, in New England’s 41-25 win over Buffalo.

— Jamison Crowder, Redskins, caught nine passes for 107 yards and a score in Washington’s 27-27 tie with Cincinnati.

— Tyler Eifert, Bengals, had seven receptions for 102 yards and a TD as Cincinnati and Washington played to a 27-27 tie.

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Special Teams

— Wil Lutz, Saints, kicked field goals of 22, 53, 21 and 41 yards in New Orleans’ 25-20 win over Seattle.

— Graham Gano, Panthers, had field goals of 43, 52 and 21 yards in Carolina’s 30-20 win over Arizona.

— Shaq Barrett, Broncos, blocked an extra-point attempt by Josh Lambo in Denver’s 27-19 win over San Diego.

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Defense

— Dee Ford, Chiefs, had 3 1/2 sacks in Kansas City’s 30-14 win at Indianapolis.

— Star Lotulelei, Panthers, had three of Carolina’s eight sacks of Carson Palmer in a 30-20 victory over Arizona.

— Bradley Roby, Broncos, scored on a 49-yard interception return in Denver’s 27-19 win over San Diego.

— Earl Thomas, Seahawks, returned a fumble forced by Cliff Avril 34 yards for a touchdown in Seattle’s 25-20 loss at New Orleans.

— Thomas Davis, Panthers, returned a fumble 46 yards for a score — the first of his 12-year career — to help Carolina top Arizona 30-20.

— Casey Hayward, Chargers, had a 24-yard interception return for a score in San Diego’s 27-19 loss at Denver.

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STREAKS & STATS

New York outgained the Browns 287-133 in the second half and the Jets put together the biggest second-half road comeback in team history, winning 31-28 after trailing 20-7 at halftime in Cleveland. … Tom Brady has 20 regular-season games with four touchdowns throws or more, and six have been against Buffalo — including four TDs in a 41-25 victory Sunday. … Drew Brees has a TD pass in 58 consecutive home games, extending his NFL-record streak with one in a 25-20 win over Seattle. … Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was Green Bay’s leading rusher in a 33-32 loss at Atlanta with a career-high 60 yards on six carries. He broke his previous best of 57 yards in 2012, and posted the highest rushing total by a Packers quarterback since Don Majkowski’s 88-yard effort in 1990. … Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott ran for 96 yards on 22 carries in a 29-23 overtime win over Philadelphia, ending his NFL rookie record of four straight games with at least 130 yards rushing.

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MILESTONES

Oakland’s Derek Carr became the third player in NFL history with 500 or more yards passing, four or more TD throws and no interceptions in a game, joining Y.A. Tittle (1962) and Ben Roethlisberger (2014). Carr was 40 of 59 for a franchise-record 513 yards — surpassing Cotton Davidson’s 427 in 1964 — with four TDs in the Raiders’ 30-24 overtime win at Tampa Bay. … Rob Gronkowski’s 53-yard touchdown catch in New England’s 41-25 win at Buffalo was the 69th of his career and 68th receiving, breaking the previous marks held by Stanley Morgan. … With two TD runs in New York’s 31-28 win at Cleveland, the Jets’ Matt Forte joined Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk and Herschel Walker as the only players with at least 50 rushing TDs (51), 500 receptions (507) and 20 TD catches (20). … With 458 yards passing in Washington’s 27-27 tie with Cincinnati, Kirk Cousins tied Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen for the most games with 300 yards or more passing in franchise history with 15. … Dallas’ Jason Witten broke Ed “Too Tall” Jones’ franchise record with his 204th start in the Cowboys’ 29-23 overtime victory over Philadelphia.

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ROUGH START

Cleveland’s 31-28 loss to the New York Jets dropped the Browns to 0-8, their worst start since the 1975 team dropped its first nine games en route to going 3-11. The Browns have lost 11 straight overall dating to Week 14 of last season and are 3-26 over their last 29. Three of the losses this season have come with the Browns ahead at the break.

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BRADY CORRALS BILLS

Tom Brady asserted his on-field ownership of the Buffalo Bills again Sunday, matching an NFL record in beating them for the 26th time. Brady went 22 of 33 for 315 yards and threw four touchdowns in leading New England to a 41-25 win. He improved to 26-3 against Buffalo , matching a record set by Brett Favre, who went 26-9 against Detroit.

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LOTS OF LAUNDRY

Oakland overcame an NFL-record 23 penalties for 200 yards to remain unbeaten on the road with a 30-24 overtime win at Tampa Bay. The Raiders hurt themselves repeatedly with penalties, including a delay of game on first-and-goal and an offensive pass interference call against WR Michael Crabtree that nullified a touchdown. They wound up settling for Sebastian Janikowski’s 31-yard field goal that trimmed a second-quarter deficit to 10-3. Oakland was penalized four times, twice on third-and-1 for lining up with 12 men on defense, during the fourth-quarter drive Jameis Winston used to put Tampa Bay up 24-17.

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STEPPING IN

Nick Foles threw two touchdown passes in relief of the injured Alex Smith to help the Kansas City Chiefs hold off Indianapolis 30-14 on Sunday. Smith was checked for a concussion in the first half and cleared to return, which he did in the second quarter. He left again early in the third quarter after Clayton Geathers shoved Smith’s head to the turf as the quarterback tried to slide underneath the tackle. Smith was then diagnosed with a concussion and did not return. Foles was 16 of 22 for 223 yards with no interceptions.

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ALL TIED UP

The Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals played to a 27-27 draw Sunday in London as the NFL got its second tie game in a season for the first time since 1997. Washington (4-3-1) appeared to have the game won with 2:13 left in overtime, but Dustin Hopkins hooked his 34-yard field goal attempt wide left. Seattle and Arizona tied 6-6 last Sunday. Oddly, the last time the NFL had two ties in a season also happened in back-to-back weeks. In Weeks 12 and 13 of the 1997 season, Baltimore and Philadelphia tied 10-10, followed seven days later by Washington and the New York Giants’ 7-7 draw.

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BIG-MAN TD

Oakland offensive lineman Donald Penn, who was with Tampa Bay for eight years before being released after the 2013 season, caught a 1-yard TD pass that made it 10-10 early in the third quarter of the Raiders’ 30-24 overtime win at Tampa Bay. The 315-pound tackle crossed his arms and struck a pose for the announced crowd of 61,058. “I had to let them know they made a big mistake in cutting me,” Penn said. “I had to let them know I’m back.”

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SLOPPY

Washington and Cincinnati’s 27-27 tie in London was marred by penalties, particularly by the Redskins. Washington was flagged 15 times for 106 yards, leading to eight Bengals first downs and damaging Washington’s overtime drives into Bengals turf. Cincinnati had seven penalties for 85 yards.

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SIDELINED

Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was carted off the field and taken to the hospital for observation Sunday after being upended by a San Diego player who was blocked into the Denver sideline. The team said the 69-year-old coach had movement in all his extremities. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon was blocked into Phillips while trying to catch Bradley Roby during an interception return. … Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith was twice forced out of the game by hits to the head, leaving for good early in the third quarter with a concussion. Running back Spencer Ware was also concussed during the 30-14 victory over the Colts on Sunday. Left guard Parker Ehinger also left the game in the third quarter with a sprained right knee. … The Colts didn’t go unscathed. Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis and right tackle Joe Reitz both left the game with concussions and did not return. … In Buffalo, NFL sack leader Lorenzo Alexander hurt his hamstring during a punt return early in the second quarter and was ruled out for the remainder of the loss to New England. … The NFC championship game rematch won by Carolina over Arizona included the departure of two stars. Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu left in the first half with a shoulder injury, and Panthers center Ryan Kalil also hurt his shoulder.

___

SPEAKING

“Enough is enough. I don’t think there’s a person that can go through what I go through and keep their head, you know what I’m saying? Hits to the head, that’s one thing, but when you’re not protected in the pocket, that’s another thing. It became the story of my life ever since I came in (to the league). It’s always, ‘Oh, we missed that, I’m sorry.’ That’s bull c—.” — Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, criticizing NFL officials for their lack of calls and his perception that he is treated differently from other QBs, after the Panthers’ 30-20 win over Arizona.

___

“It’s weird. On one hand, you’re mad, because there’s a couple plays that if we make, we can win. But at the same time, we didn’t lose. It’s bittersweet, you know? I’m glad we didn’t take the ‘L,’ but I’m upset we didn’t win.” — Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson after Cincinnati and Washington tied 27-27 in London on Sunday.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

NFL Roundup: Prescott rallies Cowboys to OT win over Eagles 29-23

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten in overtime, giving the Dallas Cowboys their sixth straight win with a 29-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.

Prescott rallied the Cowboys with a late tying touchdown pass to Dez Bryant and won the rookie quarterback duel with Carson Wentz. Dallas (6-1) took a two-game division lead after rallying from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

The 23-year-old Prescott recovered from a shaky start, finishing 19 of 39 for 287 yards with two scores and an end zone interception that cost the Cowboys points late in the first half.

Wentz had the Eagles (4-3) in position for a win with another efficient performance. But he couldn’t move Philadelphia late in regulation with the game tied. The Eagles never got the ball in overtime after Prescott led the 75-yard scoring drive.

RAIDERS 30, BUCCANEERS 24, OT

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Derek Carr threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts with 1:45 remaining in overtime, capping a record-breaking day for Oakland.

Carr threw for a franchise-record 513 yards, completing 40 of 59 passes without an interception, and the Raiders overcame an NFL-record 23 penalties for 200 yards.

Carr also threw touchdowns to offensive tackle and ex-Buc Donald Penn, Amari Cooper and Mychal Rivera as the Raiders (6-2) improved to 5-0 on the road.

Jameis Winston threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns for the Bucs (3-4), who took a 24-17 lead on a 1-yard run by Jacquizz Rodgers and 2-point conversion.

Carr threw his TD pass to Rivera to tie it with 1:38 remaining, and Sebastian Janikowski missed a 50-yard field goal as time expired to send it into overtime.

Janikowski misfired again from 52 yards on Oakland’s first possession of the extra period.

REDSKINS 27, BENGALS 27

LONDON (AP) — Washington and Cincinnati played to the second NFL tie game in seven days, the first time there have been two draws in a season since 1997.

The sold-out crowd of 84,000 at Wembley Stadium left deflated and even puzzled as the regulation-time shootout between Kirk Cousins and Andy Dalton turned into an overtime comedy of errors.

Washington (4-3-1) appeared to have the game won with 2:13 left in overtime, but Dustin Hopkins hooked his 34-yard field goal attempt wide left.

The Redskins got the ball back with 1:11 remaining when Dalton fumbled at the Bengals 47 on a quarterback sneak. Cousins couldn’t connect downfield and tossed his final desperate pass tamely into the sideline to preserve the draw. Cincinnati is 3-4-1.

The unlikely result came one week after the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals tied 6-6.

FALCONS 33, PACKERS 32

ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu with 31 seconds remaining, rallying the Falcons.

The Falcons (5-3) snapped a two-game losing streak, driving 75 yards for the winning score after Aaron Rodgers put the Packers (4-3) ahead with his fourth TD pass of the game.

With Julio Jones shut down in the second half, Ryan turned to Sanu to bail out Atlanta. He caught five passes for 50 yards on the final possession, the last a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone after he lined up in the slot and got matched against linebacker Jake Ryan.

Sanu finished with nine catches for 84 yards, both season highs in his first season with the Falcons. Ryan was 28 of 35 for 288 yards and three touchdowns.

Rodgers threw for 246 yards, teaming up with a bunch of unknown receivers as the banged-up Packers played without six starters. Linebacker Clay Matthews and receiver Randall Cobb were among those who couldn’t go.

BRONCOS 27, CHARGERS 19

DENVER (AP) — The Denver Broncos took turns picking off and pummeling Philip Rivers.

But defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was taken to a hospital after getting knocked down during Brady Roby’s 51-yard touchdown return in the second quarter, tempering their enthusiasm.

San Diego running back Melvin Gordon was blocked into the 69-year-old assistant, who was strapped to a backboard and carted off the field. The Broncos said Phillips was alert and had movement in his arms and legs when he arrived at the hospital via ambulance.

With linebackers coach Reggie Herring taking over Denver’s defensive calls for Phillips, the Broncos (6-2) had a goal-line stand in the closing minutes and picked off Rivers twice more in the second half. They only turned one of those takeaways into points, however, and that allowed the hard-luck Chargers (3-5) to stay in it until the end, forcing Denver to make two stands in the closing minutes.

SAINTS 25, SEAHAWKS 20

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees passed for 265 yards and a touchdown and scored on a quarterback keeper.

The victory wasn’t assured until New Orleans’ much-maligned defense, ranked 29th, came up with a stop on Seattle’s final drive. Russell Wilson took the Seahawks (4-2-1) to the New Orleans 10, where on one final play he lofted a pass toward the corner of the end zone. Jermaine Kearse caught the ball, but landed out of bounds.

Wilson finished with 253 yards passing and was intercepted once by linebacker Nathan Stupar — a play that set up the Saints’ first TD on Brees’ 1-yard dive over a pile of players. Brees’ lone touchdown pass went to Brandin Cooks on a 2-yard slant, which gave the Saints the lead for good early in the fourth quarter.

Wil Lutz kicked field goals of 22, 53, 21 and 41 yards for the Saints (3-4).

PATRIOTS 41, BILLS 25

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady asserted his on-field ownership of the Bills again, matching an NFL record in beating them for the 26th time.

Brady went 22 of 33 for 315 yards and threw four touchdowns. He improved to 26-3 against Buffalo , and matched a record set by Brett Favre, who went 26-9 against Detroit.

The Patriots (7-1) have won four straight since Brady returned after opening the season serving the NFL’s four-game “Deflategate” suspension. His absence included New England’s only blemish, a 16-0 home loss to Buffalo (4-4) on Oct. 2, the first time the Patriots were shut out at home since 1993.

After a Bills field goal, Brady threw touchdowns passes on his first two drives. They included a 53-yarder to former Bills receiver Chris Hogan.

The Patriots then broke the game open by scoring 27 points over five consecutive possessions. The surge began with Brady’s 53-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski with 4:18 left in the second quarter, and ended when Brady took a seat and was replaced by backup Jimmy Garoppolo with 4:29 left.

PANTHERS 30, CARDINALS 20

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Jonathan Stewart ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, Thomas Davis returned a fumble 46 yards for a score and the Panthers.

In a game reminiscent of last season’s NFC championship, a 49-15 Carolina victory, the Panthers jumped to a 24-0 lead and kept the pressure on Carson Palmer all day.

Carolina, which has struggled to generate a pass rush all season, sacked Palmer eight times — three of those by Star Lotulelei — and forced two turnovers. The Panthers also limited running back David Johnson to 24 yards rushing.

Forced into a one-dimensional game, Palmer finished 35 of 46 for 363 yards with three touchdowns, two to J.J. Nelson.

Carolina (2-5) needed a boost to save a sinking season and got one from Davis, its longest-tenured player and emotional leader, on the opening series. Lotulelei sacked Palmer, who attempted to push the ball forward to avoid the sack while in the grasp of the 315-pound defensive tackle. Davis picked up the loose ball and delivered a stiff arm on the way to the first touchdown of his 12-year NFL career.

Davis later left with a left knee injury.

Arizona is 3-4-1.

CHIEFS 30, COLTS 14

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nick Foles threw two touchdown passes in relief of the injured Alex Smith.

It was a rough game for the Chiefs (5-2), who lost Smith twice after hits to the head and finished with Charcandrick West as their only healthy running back.

Smith was checked for a concussion in the first half and cleared to return. He left again early in the third quarter after Clayton Geathers shoved Smith’s head to the turf as the quarterback tried to slide underneath the tackle.

Smith was then diagnosed with a concussion and did not return.

Foles’ 14-yard TD pass to Travis Kelce early in the second quarter made it 10-0. Smith made it 17-7 at halftime with a 13-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin, and after Smith’s second departure, Foles hooked up with Tyreek Hill on a 34-yard scoring pass for a 24-7 lead.

Andrew Luck finished 19 of 35 with 210 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and one fumble lost for the Colts (3-5).

TEXANS 20, LIONS 13

HOUSTON (AP) — Brock Osweiler bounced back from an ugly performance by throwing for 186 yards and a touchdown to help the Texans remain perfect at home. Osweiler has struggled in his first season in Houston, but has been better at home where he’s thrown eight of his nine touchdown passes.

The Texans (5-3) have lost all of their road games, including a 27-9 loss to Denver on Monday, but they’ve had no such trouble in Houston.

Matthew Stafford threw for 240 yards and a touchdown for Detroit (4-4), which had a three-game winning streak snapped as the Lions were unable to continue a string of late-game comebacks.

JETS 31, BROWNS 28

CLEVELAND (AP) — Matt Forte ran for 82 yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns, helping the Jets rally to a second straight victory.

Ryan Fitzpatrick shook off an ugly first half to throw for 222 yards and a touchdown while leading the Jets (3-5) on three long scoring drives after spotting the Browns (0-8) a 13-point lead.

Josh McCown passed for 341 yards with two touchdowns to Andrew Hawkins and two interceptions in his return to the lineup from a broken collarbone. Terrelle Pryor caught six passes for 101 yards, but couldn’t keep Cleveland from its worst start since the 1975 team dropped its first nine games.

The Browns have lost 11 straight overall dating to Week 14 of last season and are 3-26 over their last 29. Cleveland blew a halftime advantage for the third time during the streak.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

AP Power Rankings: Patriots take No. 1 spot

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —-    With Tom Brady back at quarterback, the New England Patriots once again lead the NFL in wins.

And because of that, they also lead the latest AP Pro32 poll , which was released Tuesday.

The Patriots received all 12 first-place votes for 384 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

“Best record in the league, best point differential in the league and the best coach-quarterback tandem in the history of the league. Any questions?” said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Patriots (6-1) have won all three games since Brady’s return from his “Deflategate” suspension to start the season.

And on Sunday, the Patriots face the Buffalo Bills on the road in a rematch of their only loss of the season, a 16-0 shutout in Week 4.

The Dallas Cowboys moved up two spots to No. 2 despite having a bye last week.

And the Seattle Seahawks remained at No. 3 after their 6-6 tie against Arizona on Sunday night.

“They have not averaged under 100 yards rushing per game since Pete Carroll’s first season in Seattle in 2010,” said Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The defending champion Denver Broncos also moved up two spots to No. 4 after their 27-9 win over former teammate Brock Osweiler and the Houston Texans.

“John Elway is right. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make. Case in point: Brock Osweiler turning down Denver’s offer to take the cash in Houston,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.

“The Broncos’ GM watches bargain-basement QB Trevor Siemian get the best of Osweiler in a resounding Monday night win.”

The Minnesota Vikings dropped four spots to No. 5 after suffering their first loss, which came against the Philadelphia Eagles, who jumped six spots to No. 6 after the 21-10 win.

The Eagles face the Cowboys on Sunday night in a key NFC East matchup.

“Dak Prescott vs. Carson Wentz for control of the NFC East, just like the schedule-makers drew it up,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback.

The Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West) and Green Bay Packers (NFC North) each moved up three spots, to No. 7 and No. 8, after wins last week.

The Oakland Raiders, tied for first place with Denver in the division, jumped four spots to No. 9 to give the AFC West three teams in the top 10.

______

(###) Number of first place votes
 
1
Record: 6-1
PV Rank

2

Points

384

2
Record: 5-1
4
364
3
Record: 4-1-1
3
356
4
Record: 5-2
6
342
5
Record: 5-1
1
340
6
Record: 4-2
12
312
7
Record: 4-2
10
303
8
Record: 4-2
11
301
9
Record: 5-2
13
289
10
Record: 4-3
5
285
11
Record: 4-3
8
260
12
Record: 3-3-1
14
245
13
Record: 4-3
9
228
14
Record: 4-3
17
226
15
Record: 4-3
7
224
16
Record: 4-3
16
215
17
Record: 4-3
15
188
18
Record: 3-4
19
180
19
Record: 3-4
22
166
20
Record: 3-4
25
145
21
Record: 3-4
27
133
22
Record: 3-3
24
125
23
Record: 3-4
20
122
24
Record: 3-4
18
120
25
Record: 3-4
21
112
26
Record: 2-4
23
87
27
Record: 1-5
26
78
28
Record: 2-5
29
72
29
Record: 2-4
28
62
30
Record: 1-6
30
34
31
Record: 1-6
31
24
32
Record: 0-7
32
14

MNF: Denver gives Osweiler rude welcome in 27-9 win over Houston

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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.

Anderson scored on a 7-yard run and Siemian hit Demaryius Thomas from 4 yards out as the Broncos took a 14-6 halftime lead.

Novak’s 29-yarder made it 14-9, but Darian Stewart punched the ball from running back Alfred Blue’s grasp and linebacker Todd Davis plucked it out of the air . That led to Booker’s 1-yard TD run .

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.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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