Denver Broncos

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 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

TNF: Panthers beat Saints 23-20 in game marred by injuries

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — When Luke Kuechly was carted off the field with a concussion, the tears streaming down his face as he left, it appeared the Carolina Panthers might be ready for another collapse.

Their defensive leader was gone and another big fourth-quarter lead was crumbling.

Instead, the Panthers did just enough to hold on and beat the New Orleans Saints 23-20 on Thursday night in a game marred by injuries to key players.

When Kuechly went down the lead was at 10, and players gathered around him as he was put on a cart near midfield. Carolina would give up another score, but hold on for itsr third win in four games.

“We rally behind that guy,” defensive end Charles Johnson said about Kuechly. “He’s our leader. When you see a leader go down like that, we just rally behind him. I’m keeping Luke in my prayers.”

The Panthers, who surrendered a 17-point lead and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs last week, entered the fourth quarter with a 23-3 lead before injuries began to take their toll. Along with Kuechly, the Panthers lost two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil (shoulder), top pass rusher Mario Addison (foot) and cornerback Leonard Johnson (chest) to injuries. The Saints lost running back Mark Ingram to a head injury in the third quarter.

“It was the Grim Reaper walking around out there,” Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees seemed to seize the momentum.

Brees, who had been held to 171 yards and no touchdowns in the first three quarters, rallied the Saints back to 23-20 with touchdown passes to Brandon Coleman and Coby Fleener.

But an 18-yard reception by Kelvin Benjamin on a third-and-10 with 2:39 left in the game proved pivotal, taking enough time off the clock where Brees only had 14 seconds to work with on his final drive. He couldn’t manage to get his team into field goal range.

Newton finished 14 of 33 for 192 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. as the Panthers (4-6) pulled even with the Saints for third place in the NFC South.

“Our mantra is to Keep Pounding and it speaks volumes in situations like this,” Newton said. “I will take an ugly win over a pretty loss.”

Jonathan Stewart also ran for a touchdown and Graham Gano had three field goals.

Carolina’s next two games are on the West Coast — at Oakland and Seattle.

“Hopefully, the time off will give us enough time to heal up for this long road trip,” safety Kurt Coleman said. “And also you wonder if it wasn’t a Thursday game and it was a Sunday game, would there be these type of injuries? You never know. … I’m just going to pray for everybody. Not only our team but their team.”

BETTER DEFENSE

Brees finished with 285 yards passing.

That was a dramatic difference from the last time the two teams met on Oct. 16 when Brees threw for 465 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-38 win over the Panthers.

“They did exactly what we hoped and that was keep the ball it in front of them,” Rivera said of his young secondary. “You can’t ask for the guys to do a better job.”

KICKING WOES

Saints coach Sean Payton was upset after the game about the team’s continuing struggles on special teams, including a blocked field goal that was returned 73 yards by Kuechly before the half to set up Ginn’s touchdown catch.

Last week the Saints lost to Denver when a potential game-tying extra point was blocked and returned for a 2-point defensive conversion.

“Fundamentally we’ve got to be able to kick an extra point. … We’ve got to be able to, you know, kick a field goal that’s a makeable one,” Payton said. “We’ve just struggled in that area. It cost us at New York, it cost us last weekend (against) Denver and it cost us again tonight. And we’ve got to be smart enough in the game early to understand that the turnovers aren’t good.”

LOSE SOME, WIN SOME

Maybe Ginn is just too fast for officials.

In the first quarter Ginn appeared to score on a 14-yard run, but officials reviewed the play and ruled his knee was down at the 1-yard line taking away a touchdown. Then, in the closing seconds of the second quarter, officials ruled Ginn was out of bounds on a pass from Cam Newton. But after instant replay officials overturned the ruling and gave Ginn a 40-yard touchdown catch.

UNDER PRESSURE

Newton was under heavy pressure for most of the first half, taking a sack on third down that took his team out of field goal range — the second time he has done that in as many weeks.

A COOL BREES

Brees eclipsed 3,000 yards passing for the 13th consecutive season, tying Peyton Manning for the second-longest streak in NFL history.

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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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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

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

TNF: Rivers leads Chargers to 21-13 victory against Broncos

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Music blared louder than normal in the San Diego Chargers’ locker room, and there was a sense of relief Thursday night after a victory over the Denver Broncos.

The Chargers had actually finished.

Philip Rivers threw for 178 yards and one touchdown, passing Hall of Famer Dan Fouts to become San Diego’s career passing leader, and the Chargers held off the Broncos 21-13.

The victory may have saved embattled coach Mike McCoy’s job .

The Chargers (2-4) were coming off a mistake-filled loss at Oakland, and earlier in the season lost three games in which they led at the 2-minute warning. There has been increasing fan discontent with the conservative McCoy, and the Chargers are trying to convince voters to approve a $1.1 billion public handout for a new downtown stadium in the form of an increase in the hotel occupancy tax.

“There is nothing like winning,” a misty-eyed McCoy said. “Especially beating a good football team in front of are home fans. It was great.”

The victory “meant a ton for Mike,” Rivers said. “It wasn’t talked about a lot on the team but veteran players … I felt it. Not that I expected it if it didn’t go well. I had no idea but you also you are not playing dumb. We knew we had to get this thing going in a hurry.”

The Broncos had the ball in the final seconds, but the Chargers — who had two turnovers on special teams —held.

“You can’t take winning for granted in this league,” defensive end Corey Liuget said. “When I saw it said 0:00 and that guy didn’t catch that ball, I was happy as hell. I got on my damn knee and said, ‘Thank you Lord. It’s over now.'”

What changed from those brutal losses, when the Chargers blew late leads?

“It was a mindset for us to go out there and finish, and everyone knew we were going to finish this game,” Li

The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos were coached by special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis after Gary Kubiak was ordered by doctors to sit this one out because of a migraine condition that mimics strokes.

“You have to give them credit,” DeCamillis said. “We know it would be a tough game because they have played a lot of close games and not won.”

The five-time defending AFC West champion Broncos (4-2) were mostly sluggish behind Trevor Siemian, who was back at quarterback after rookie Paxton Lynch struggled in a loss to Atlanta. They lost their second straight game and had their NFL-record 15 straight divisional road victories snapped.

The Chargers snapped their streak of 10 straight divisional losses dating to 2014.

Rivers, in his 13th season with the Chargers and 11th as starter, has 43,094 career yards passing. Fouts threw for 43,040 yards in 15 seasons with the Bolts.

Rivers threw a 5-yard scoring pass to rookie tight end Hunter Henry to cap the game’s first possession. Rivers finished 18 of 29.

Otherwise, the Chargers had to settle for Lambo’s career-high four field goals, of 37, 21, 31 and 32 yards.

LATE-FIRING BRONCOS: Denver didn’t get across the 50 on its own accord until there were just 2 minutes left in the third quarter. Denver’s first score came after a punt bounced off San Diego’s Travis Benjamin and the Broncos recovered at the San Diego 11. The refs initially ruled that the Broncos downed the punt, but Denver challenged and got the ball. Brandon McManus kicked a 29-yard field goal.

Siemian was 30 of 50 for 230 yards, with a 5-yard scoring pass to Bennie Fowler midway through the fourth quarter.

McManus kicked a 46-yard field goal with 27 seconds left, and Denver recovered the onside kick at its 46. It got to the San Diego 45 with eight seconds to go before Siemian’s desperation pass was batted down by Dexter McCoil.

DEFENSIVE STAND: The Broncos were threatening at the San Diego 20 with less than 5 minutes to go. But on consecutive plays they were whistled for holding, Siemian was sacked by rookie Jatavis Brown and San Diego’s Craig Mager recovered a fumble by Demaryius Thomas.

RIVERBOAT MIKE: McCoy went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Denver 20 early in the second half, with Melvin Gordon going over the top for a 1-yard gain. Rivers misfired on two straight passes and was flushed on third down, forcing the Chargers to settle for Lambo’s 37-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead. McCoy improved to 25-31 overall in four seasons.

NEW HOLDER: Veteran backup quarterback Kellen Clemens took over as holder for the Chargers after rookie Drew Kaser’s misadventure at Oakland on Sunday. Kaser mishandled the snap on a potential tying field goal with 2:07 left in the 34-31 loss. Kaser, who also shanked a punt, kept his job as punter but lost his job as holder.

ANTHEM WATCH: Chargers players Joe Barksdale, D.J. Fluker, Chris Hairston, Joshua Perry and Tyreek Burwell held up their right fists during the national anthem.

INJURIES: The Broncos said T Russell Okung was taken to a hospital with concussion-like symptoms. … Chargers rookie DE Joey Bosa was having his right hand worked on by the trainers after Denver’s first drive. He was back in for the next Broncos possession. … Broncos WR Cody Latimer left with a concussion in the second quarter. … Gordon limped off the field early in the fourth quarter. He had his right ankle taped and returned on San Diego’s next possession.

___

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

AP Power Rankings: Vikings grab No. 1 spot

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NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Zimmer’s Minnesota Vikings are the last unbeaten team left in the NFL.

Despite dealing with several significant injuries, the Vikings are 5-0 entering their bye week.

That perfect mark helped them move up one spot to the top of the latest AP Pro32 poll , which was released Tuesday.

The Vikings received seven first-place votes for 379 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

“Mike Zimmer is hands down the NFL’s coach of the year so far,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said. “He’s winning despite having lost his starting quarterback and All-Pro running back, and his defense is the best there is right now.”

The New England Patriots, now with Tom Brady at quarterback, moved up a spot to No. 2. The Patriots received four first-place votes for 370 points.

“Brady looked phenomenal,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said of the Patriots’ superstar, who had 406 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-13 win over Cleveland.

The Pittsburgh Steelers jumped three spots to No. 3.

The Seattle Seahawks, who are coming off their bye week, moved to No. 4 and received the other first-place vote.

The Denver Broncos dropped four spots to No. 5 after falling to the Atlanta Falcons, who moved up to No. 7.

“The only question they haven’t answered is: How in the world did you lose to the Bucs?” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Charean Williams asked of the first-place Falcons.

On Sunday, Atlanta plays at Seattle, where Falcons coach Dan Quinn won a Super Bowl as defensive coordinator of the Seahawks.

Broncos coach Gary Kubiak will take a week off after experiencing a “complex migraine condition” Sunday night. Joe DeCamillis will be the interim coach for Thursday’s game at San Diego.

The Green Bay Packers edged up to No. 6 after defeating the New York Giants 23-16.

“Not a perfect night for Aaron Rodgers, with two interceptions, but good enough against the Giants to make this the usual two-team NFC North race with the Vikings,” Glauber said.

The Philadelphia Eagles dropped four spots to No. 8 after suffering their first loss of the season.

The Dallas Cowboys, who moved to 4-1 after routing the Cincinnati Bengals, jumped three spots to No. 9.

“Why are the Cowboys converting 50 percent of their third downs behind a rookie quarterback?” asked Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Credit a dominating offensive line that keeps Dak Prescott in favorable down-and-distance situations.”

The Oakland Raiders, tied with Denver for first place in the AFC West, round out the top 10.

___

(###) Number of first place votes
 
1
Record: 5-0
PV Rank

2

Points

379

2
Record: 4-1
3
370
3
Record: 4-1
6
349
4
Record: 3-1
5
335
5
Record: 4-1
1
333
6
Record: 3-1
7
327
7
Record: 4-1
8
326
8
Record: 3-1
4
298
9
Record: 4-1
12
292
10
Record: 4-1
9
289
11
Record: 3-2
17
244
12
Record: 2-2
15
227
13
Record: 3-2
10
226
14
Record: 3-2
19
217
15
Record: 3-2
13
212
16
Record: 2-3
11
211
17
Record: 2-3
20
206
18
Record: 3-2
14
202
19
Record: 2-3
17
163
20
Record: 2-3
27
139
21
Record: 1-4
16
136
22
Record: 2-3
28
134
23
Record: 2-3
29
119
24
Record: 2-3
24
118
25
Record: 1-3
22
92
26
Record: 1-4
21
88
27
Record: 1-4
25
77
28
Record: 1-3
23
71
29
Record: 1-4
26
57
30
Record: 1-4
30
45
31
Record: 1-4
31
40
32
Record: 0-5
32
14

CFB Roundup: Watson and No. 3 Clemson take of care business at BC, 56-10

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BOSTON (AP) — By Tuesday, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney could tell his team needed a break. That victory against Louisville was dramatic and draining, and a long trip on short rest was looming.

Swinney eased up a bit on the third-ranked Tigers and they responded with a sharp performance when they easily could have come out flat, beating Boston College 56-10 on Friday night.

“It was a taxing week, but our guys didn’t complain,” Swinney said. “They just went through the grind. I love that mentality of that team.”

Deshaun Watson threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns, and the Heisman Trophy hopeful even helped clear the way for Wayne Gallman’s 59-yard scoring run with a solid block.

Clemson (6-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) extended its conference winning streak to 12 games and its road winning streak to eight, which matches a school record set from 1978-79.

“I’ve been doing this a long time. There’s a reason that record’s only eight. It’s really hard to do,” Swinney said, doing his postgame news conference with the big bronze O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy that goes to the winner of this rivalry sitting on the table next to him.

Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware said he planned to spend his rare Saturday off back home in Anderson, South Carolina, chowing down on some food from J.C.’s sandwich shop, riding his father’s new dune buggy and watching college football.

“I’m super pumped,” he said.

The Tigers definitely earned their break.

Boston College (3-3, 0-3) lost its 11th consecutive ACC game.

Clemson broke three plays of at least 50 yards in the first quarter, two for touchdowns and another that set up a score. Watson picked off a defender on the edge to help spring Gallman for the game’s first touchdown. Watson’s 59-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett made it 21-0 late in the first half. That was all the Tigers needed.

“Those three plays were costly right there,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “The last thing I wanted to see us do is give up some big plays.”

TAKEAWAY

Clemson: Hard to expect an A-plus effort from the Tigers considering the circumstances, but there was nothing to complain about. Swinney said the team “hit a wall” in the middle of the week so he cut back on practice and had the coaches and players catch up on rest. There was no looking past BC and a trip to the place where Swinney earned his first win as Clemson coach back in 2008.

“We don’t look forward to the next game or (back at) game past,” Watson said.

There were plenty of Clemson fans in the sellout crowd of 44,500, but not much intensity in Alumni Stadium. Still, the Tigers took care of business and came out of the game relatively healthy.

Boston College: The Eagles just can’t match-up against this level of opposition. The Eagles have lost their last two ACC games by a combined score 105-10 to Virginia Tech and Clemson.

BC’s best first-half drive covered 80 yards and got inside the Clemson 1. Twice on fourth-and-goal, quarterback Patrick Towles fumbled the snap because center Jim Cashman, who was playing in place of the injured Jon Baker (ankle), was knocked into the backfield by Tigers tackle Scott Pagano. The first one was wiped out by an offside penalty by Clemson, so Pagano did it again.

Baker is Boston College’s best lineman.

“One of my fears was losing that guy and that happened,” Addazio said.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Beating one of the worst teams in the conference isn’t going to push Clemson up the polls, but the Tigers did nothing to lose support In the AP Top 25 , which comes out Monday instead of Sunday because of the postponed Georgia-South Carolina game.

HOMECOMING

Clemson star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, from Springfield, Massachusetts, had four tackles, two for loss, including a sack, in his first college game in his home state.

UP NEXT

Clemson: The Tigers return home to face North Carolina State on Oct. 15.

Boston College: If the Eagles are going to break the ACC losing streak, the next game could be their best opportunity. Boston College hosts Syracuse on Oct. 22 in a matchup of one team that can’t play offense (BC) and another that can’t play defense (Syracuse).

___

Boise State wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (1) makes a first-half reception against New Mexico during an NCAA ciollege football game Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in Albuquerque, N.M. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP)

Rypien throws 5 TD passes, No. 19 Boise State rolls

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Boise State expected its receivers to have a big day against New Mexico, and they did.

Brett Rypien threw five touchdown passes — three to Cedrick Wilson and two to Thomas Sperbeck — and No. 19 Boise State overwhelmed New Mexico 49-21 on Friday night.

“We expected a lot of cover zero, man, so we knew if we had the time to throw, we would get open,” he said. “It getting a lot easier for us to see the coverages and what’s coming and the blitzes. And I think our o-line did a great job picking it up.”

The Broncos (5-0, 2-0 Mountain West) scored touchdowns on seven consecutive possessions. New Mexico (2-3, 1-1) scored on its second possession, and didn’t reach the end zone again until the midway through the fourth quarter.

Rypien was 21 of 28 for 391 yards. Sperbeck had nine receptions for 198 yards and Wilson had nine catches for 167 yards.

Rypien said it was gratifying to have the two receivers complementing each other.

“We got into a rhythm,” Rypien said. “The game plan called for us to make plays. The first four games we relied on Jeremy (McNichols), but we had to step up and we did.”

In the last two seasons, Sperbeck has totaled 29 catches and 479 yards receiving against New Mexico. His performance last season wasn’t enough to prevent the Lobos’ upset, but it was a conference record for yards.

The unexpected loss last season wasn’t much of a motivating factor, but it did make the victory feel a little sweeter, according to Sperbeck.

“It is a little bit of factor,” he said. “It does feel good to get a win against anybody, obviously. But it feels little better since they beat us last year, but you can’t think too much into that. I think we did a great of preparation all week and it showed (Friday).”

It helped that Boise State was stifling New Mexico early.

“When the defense stands its ground like it did (Friday), it takes lot of pressure off the offense,” Sperbeck said. “It allows us to operate more smoothly. There’s not as much pressure to move the ball down the field. We can take the shots we want.”

THE TAKEAWAYS:

Although Boise State downplayed last year’s loss to the Lobos was any kind of motivation, the Broncos certainly played like they meant to put New Mexico in its place.

“A lot of guys didn’t really like how the Lobos celebrated last year so I think it was kind of a chip on our shoulder for last year,” Wilson said. “We played pretty hard.”

This was the first game this season that New Mexico did not have a double-digit lead at some point in the game.

The Lobos came into the game having allowed nine scoring plays of 40 or more yards and Boise State added two more to that total.

UP NEXT

Boise State: Hosts Colorado State on Oct. 15. The Broncos have readily handled the Rams in all five meetings since joining the conference. The closest game was 42-30 in 2013. Coming up, Boise State faces BYU at home Oct. 20 in a nationally televised game that could be the Broncos best chance to make a lasting impression against a name opponent – at least until the regular-season finale Nov. 25 against Air Force.

New Mexico: The Lobos travel to Dallas to face Air Force in the Cotton Bowl. For New Mexico, a loss to the Falcons would effectively end its chances at winning the Mountain Division.

KEY NUMBERS

Boise State had 391 yards passing, 368 of those coming in the first half.

“We could have had more if we cut them loose,” said Broncos coach Bryan Harsin. “This show could have gone on all night.”

New Mexico became the first team this season to top the century mark rushing against the Broncos, totaling 382. Lobos quarterback Lamar Jordan became the first player to rush for 100 yards against Boise State, finishing with 139, but he completed just four passes for 39 yards.

INJURY REPORT

Boise State suffered no injures of note.

New Mexico played the game without leading rusher Teryion Gipson, who injured his hamstring last week against San Jose State. Cornerback Isaiah Brown was lost to a foot injury in the first half. He was replaced by true freshman Elijah Lilly, who Lobos coaches had hoped to redshirt.

LAST WORD

“I tried to just block it out as much as I could and focus on the game,” Rypien said, speaking of losing his grandmother Terry Rypien this week. “Now I can go home and focus on family stuff that I need to focus on. It was hard the first part of the week, but having the team around me and the coaches around me made it lot better.”

AP Power Rankings: Broncos alone at No. 1

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Denver Broncos are one of two teams off to a 4-0 start this season. However, they are alone at the top of the latest AP Pro32 poll released on Tuesday.

The defending champion Broncos received nine first-place votes for 381 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

The Broncos used their stellar defense to shut down the Buccaneers 27-7 on Sunday.

“Who says old school football doesn’t work anymore?” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said. “The Broncos are living proof that great defense is still a formula for success. Another transcendent performance against the Bucs, and the Broncos continue to roll early.”

The Minnesota Vikings, the NFL’s other 4-0 team, moved up a spot to No. 2 after beating the New York Giants 24-10 on Monday night. The Vikings received one first-place vote for 367 points.

The New England Patriots, who were tied with the Broncos last week at the top of the poll, dropped to No. 3 after losing 16-0 at home to Buffalo. The Patriots received two first-place votes for 357 points.

The good news for the Patriots is that Tom Brady will return from his “Deflategate” suspension and face the Cleveland Browns in his regular-season debut on Sunday. The Browns are the league’s only winless team.

“Tom Brady is a welcome sight for the Patriots, who were shut out for the first time at home in 23 years,” Glauber said.

“His four-game suspension from Deflategate is over, and now the poor Browns get to face a quarterback with a chip on his shoulder the size of the skyscraper at 345 Park Ave. — the place where (Commissioner) Roger Goodell works.”

The Philadelphia Eagles, the only other unbeaten team in the league, remained after No. 4 after having a bye week.

The Seattle Seahawks moved up a spot to No. 5 after beating the New York Jets 27-17. And the Pittsburgh Steelers moved to No. 6 after routing the Kansas City Chiefs 43-14 on Sunday night.

The Green Bay Packers slipped two spots to No. 7 and will host the New York Giants coming off their bye week.

The Atlanta Falcons jumped from No. 17 to No. 8 after routing Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 48-33.

“A year before heading into their plush new home, the high-scoring Falcons are moving on up, led by revitalized Matt Ryan,” said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Oakland Raiders went from No. 16 to No. 9 after rallying past the Baltimore Ravens, who dropped to No. 10.

“Khalil Mack said the big road win against the Ravens proved Oakland is a ‘contender,'” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback. “They certainly look like a team that is growing into its high expectations.”

___

(###) Number of first place votes
 
1
Record: 4-0
PV Rank

1

Points

381

2
Record: 4-0
3
367
3
Record: 3-1
1
357
4
Record: 3-0
4
340
5
Record: 3-1
6
332
6
Record: 3-1
7
327
7
Record: 2-1
5
317
8
Record: 3-1
17
280
9
Record: 3-1
16
272
10
Record: 3-1
7
266
11
Record: 2-2
14
265
12
Record: 3-1
14
257
13
Record: 3-1
12
253
14
Record: 3-1
19
234
15
Record: 2-2
9
220
16
Record: 1-3
10
200
17
Record: 2-2
11
185
17
Record: 2-2
21
185
19
Record: 2-2
20
174
20
Record: 1-3
13
169
21
Record: 1-3
18
136
22
Record: 1-3
29
107
23
Record: 1-3
30
95
24
Record: 1-3
25
92
25
Record: 1-3
23
91
26
Record: 1-3
26
86
27
Record: 1-3
23
85
28
Record: 1-3
22
83
29
Record: 1-3
27
64
30
Record: 1-3
32
57
31
Record: 1-3
28
46
32
Record: 0-4
31
13

NFL Roundup: Bills’ offense confident after shutout win over Patriots

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills took advantage of sloppy, Tom Brady-less New England to hand the Patriots their first home shutout at Gillette Stadium, winning 16-0 on Sunday.

It was the first loss of the season for New England (3-1), which was playing its final game before Brady returns from his four-game “Deflategate” suspension. The Patriots, who moved into Gillette Stadium in 2002, were last blanked at home 6-0 by the New York Jets in 1993 at Foxboro Stadium.

Tyrod Taylor connected with LeSean McCoy for a 7-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, Dan Carpenter added three field goals for Buffalo (2-2).

It was Buffalo’s second win in its last 16 visits to Foxborough. Including his tenure with the New York Jets, it gave Bills coach Rex Ryan his first regular-season road victory over Bill Belichick in eight tries. The last Bills’ shutout win away From Orchard Park was 23-0 over Washington in a Buffalo “home” game at Toronto on Oct. 30, 2011.

After struggling to maintain drives and finding a run-pass balance, Taylor was spot-on Sunday. He finished 27 for 39 for 246 yards, and directed a unit that was 7 for 15 on third downs. The Bills had been 10 of 36 combined in the first three games.

Buffalo’s defense also carried over its dominant effort from its 33-18 win over Arizona, sacking rookie Jacoby Brissett three times.

STEELERS 43, CHIEFS 7

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns passes for the fifth time in his career and Pittsburgh throttled Kansas City.

A week after suffering the franchise’s worst loss in 27 years, the Steelers (3-1) responded by overwhelming the erratic Chiefs (2-2).

Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown — wearing cleats featuring the profile of golf great and western Pennsylvania native Arnold Palmer — for a pair of scores.

Roethlisberger also found Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jesse James for touchdowns as the Steelers emphatically rebounded from a 31-point meltdown in Philadelphia. The quarterback finished 22 of 27 for 300 yards and a rating of 152.5, just shy of a perfect 158.3 rating.

Le’Veon Bell ran for 144 yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for 34 yards in his return from a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

COWBOYS 24, 49ERS 17

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Ezekiel Elliott ran for 138 yards and a touchdown and Dak Prescott threw for two scores to help the Cowboys overcome an early 14-point deficit to beat the 49ers.

The Cowboys (3-1) fell in a 14-point hole early in the second quarter before taking over the game behind a pair of rookies who have helped the team get off to a fast start this season with starting quarterback Tony Romo sidelined by a back injury.

Prescott threw for 245 yards and had a 20-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams and a 4-yarder to Brice Butler to tie the game at the half.

Elliott then took over with 96 yards rushing in the second half, including a 1-yard run that gave Dallas the lead for good late in the third quarter.

Blaine Gabbert got off to a fast start to help San Francisco (1-3) take the early lead but struggled to generate any offense after that.

RAIDERS 28, RAVENS 27

BALTIMORE (AP) — Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes, the last to Michael Crabtree with 2:12 left.

After the Ravens rallied from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to go ahead with 3 ½ minutes remaining, Carr directed a 66-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard strike to Crabtree in the back of the end zone.

Carr went 25 for 35 for 199 yards. Three of his TD passes went to Crabtree, who finished with seven catches for 88 yards to help Oakland (3-1) to its third road win.

The Ravens (3-1) trailed 14-3 in the second quarter and 21-12 with 11:11 to go before coming back.

A 52-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Steve Smith cut the deficit to 21-19. Ravens defensive tackle Lawrence Guy then forced a fumble by DeAndre Washington, and Baltimore recovered at the Oakland 17.

Four plays later, Terrance West scored from the 3 to give Baltimore its first lead.

FALCONS 48, PANTHERS 33

ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan shredded Carolina’s defense, passing for a team-record 503 yards and four touchdowns, Julio Jones had 12 receptions for a Falcons-record 300 yards. The totals by Ryan and Jones are the most ever allowed by Carolina.

One week after being held to one catch in a win at New Orleans, Jones had a 75-yard scoring catch late in the game as Atlanta solidified its early hold on the NFC South lead.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, the 2015 league MVP, left in the fourth quarter and was evaluated for concussion symptoms after taking a hit from Deion Jones on a successful 2-point run. There appeared to be helmet-to-helmet contact but there was no penalty on the hit.

The defending NFC champion Panthers (1-3) scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including scoring passes from Newton’s replacement, Derek Anderson, to tight end Greg Olsen and Corey Brown. Robert Alford’s 30-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:14 remaining clinched the win for the Falcons (3-1).’

BRONCOS 27, BUCCANEERS 7

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Paxton Lynch made his NFL debut sooner than expected, stepping in for injured starter Trevor Siemian to help the Broncos remain unbeaten with a victory over the Buccaneers.

Siemian left the game with two minutes remaining in the first half with what the defending Super Bowl champions described as an injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder. He remained in uniform and watched the second half from the sideline, wearing a baseball cap while Lynch — the 26th pick in this year’s draft— finished the Broncos’ ninth consecutive win.

Siemien threw a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, capitalizing on Aqib Talib’s interception and 25-yard return to the Bucs 11 on Tampa Bay’s opening possession. The ex-Buc cornerback also set up another first-half TD with a second interception that led to C.J. Anderson’s 1-yard run for a 14-7 lead.

For the second straight week, play was stopped in the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium because of inclement weather. The game was suspended for 1 hour, 26 minutes with 6:52 remaining Sunday, with only a few thousand fans returning to their seats for the conclusion.

SAINTS 35, CHARGERS 34

SAN DIEGO (AP) —Drew Brees led New Orleans to two touchdowns in the final 4 minutes, 50 seconds to rally the Saints to a stunning victory against Philip Rivers and the Chargers, who blew a 13-point lead by committing two crucial turnovers..

Brees overcome two interceptions to win in his return to San Diego, where he played his first five NFL seasons before being allowed to leave as a free agent. It was also the first win this season for the Saints (1-3).

After the final gun, Brees ran over to the stands and greeted Saints fans.

With the Chargers (1-3) trying to protect a 34-21 lead, Melvin Gordon fumbled and Darryl Tapp recovered at the San Diego 13, setting up Brees’ 5-yard TD pass to Michael Thomas on fourth-and-2 to pull to 34-28 with 4:50 to go.

Travis Benjamin then fumbled after a reception and Nate Stupar recovered at the San Diego 31. Seven plays later, fullback John Kuhn scored his third TD of the game, on a 1-yard run. The PAT made it 35-34.

Rivers, who was Brees’ understudy for his first two NFL seasons, was intercepted by B.W. Webb with 1:10 to go.

RAMS 17, CARDINALS 13

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Tavon Austin returned a punt 47 yards to set up Case Keenum’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Brian Quick with 2:41 to play, and the Rams improved to 3-1 for the first time in a decade with a victory over the Cardinals (1-3).

Arizona’s Carson Palmer threw for 288 yards and a touchdown but left the game to be evaluated for a concussion after his head slammed to the turf on a sack by Aaron Donald with 5:40 to play.

The play forced a Cardinals punt and Austin raced past would-be tacklers to the Arizona 34. A facemask penalty against Ifeanyi Momah moved the ball to the 19 and the Rams went ahead when Quick caught a pass under tight defense for the score.

Arizona backup Drew Stanton was intercepted twice in the final minutes, including on a Hail Mary on the game’s final play.

JAGUARS 30, COLTS 27

LONDON (AP) — Blake Bortles threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Jacksonville held off a furious Indianapolis Colts rally for the Jaguars’ first win of the season. The victory at a raucous Wembley Stadium elevated Jacksonville into a tie with Indianapolis at 1-3 in the AFC South.

Andrew Luck led the Colts on three fourth-quarter touchdown drives to rattle the Jaguars’ nerves. But his fourth-and-1 pass at the Jacksonville 49 with 1:36 remaining fell from the hands of tight end Dwayne Allen to preserve the victory for under-fire Jaguars coach Gus Bradley.

The Jaguars got a semblance of a running game going for the first time this season. T.J. Yeldon carried 13 times for 68 yards and Bortles added seven scrambles for 36 yards, including a 1-yard run that put Jacksonville ahead 14-6 midway through the second quarter.

The Colts repeatedly self-destructed on offense with dropped balls and another costly Luck interception that led to Jacksonville’s opening touchdown. The Colts proved just as reckless on defense as pass interference and unnecessary roughness penalties extended three Jacksonville scoring drives.

The Jaguars led 23-6 after three quarters before the Colts mounted a tenacious comeback.

SEAHAWKS 27, JETS 17

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Russell Wilson was sharp and efficient despite playing with a sprained knee, throwing three touchdown passes.

Wilson injured the medial collateral ligament in his left knee last week against San Francisco and wasn’t his usual mobile self in this one, but his arm was plenty good. He finished 23 of 32 for 309 yards while wearing a brace on his leg as the Seahawks (3-1) won at MetLife Stadium for the first time since beating the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in 2014.

Jimmy Graham, questionable with back spasms earlier in the week, had six catches for 113 yards, including an impressive 17-yard one-handed grab in the opening quarter, while giving the Jets (1-3) fits all game.

Wilson missed the first snap of his career due to injury last weekend after getting pulled down by San Francisco’s Eli Harold. The Seahawks quarterback has also dealt with a sprained right ankle from the opener against Miami. He was efficient against the Jets, especially in the first half when he went 10 of 11 for 191 yards and two TDs and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating. He finished with minus-5 yards on five rushes for Seattle, which has a bye next weekend.

Wilson helped Seattle, making the first of three East Coast trips this season, improve to 8-5 in its last 13 games with a 1 p.m. Eastern start time.

Richard Sherman had two interceptions and Earl Thomas one as Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets couldn’t get much going against the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense.

REDSKINS 31, BROWNS 20

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes, including two to tight end Jordan Reed, and the Washington Redskins cashed in on several trips to the red zone.

The Redskins (2-2) scored four red zone touchdowns against the Browns (0-4) after going 3 for 14 in their first three games. Cousins connected with Reed for 8- and 9-yard touchdowns, Chris Thompson for a 5-yard score, and running back Matt Jones scored from 1 yard as part of his 117-yard performance.

Jones eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the first time this season, and Cousins finished 21 of 27 for 183 yards and also had an interception.

Browns running back Isaiah Crowell ran for 112 yards and a touchdown, and Cody Kessler was 27 of 38 for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But turnovers on three consecutive second-half possessions cost Cleveland a chance at its first victory.

TEXANS 27, TITANS 20

HOUSTON (AP) — Will Fuller had a tiebreaking 67-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was the first time Houston (3-1) played without its star defensive end J.J. Watt since the 2010 season. Watt, out for the season after back surgery, had started 83 straight games since being drafted in 2011.

Fuller also had 81 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Tennessee (1-3) was driving with less than two minutes remaining, but Marcus Mariota’s pass to former Texan Andre Johnson on fourth down was broken up.

The Texans squandered an early 14-point lead and their offense was struggling in the second half when Fuller took the first return of his career for a touchdown to make it 27-20. Fuller, who ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the combine, took the punt and quickly made a trio of Titans miss before outrunning everyone else down the sideline for the score.

BEARS 17, LIONS 14

CHICAGO (AP) — Brian Hoyer threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns, and the Bears (1-3) got a win after starting 0-3 for the second time in as many seasons under coach John Fox.

They also stopped a six-game home losing streak as well as a six-game slide against Detroit (1-3), though things got tight near the end.

Chicago was leading 17-6 when Andre Roberts returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown. Golden Tate then caught a 2-point conversion pass from Matthew Stafford to cut it to 17-14 with 1:52 left, but the Bears recovered the onside kick.

Hoyer was on target in his second straight start with Jay Cutler nursing a sprained right thumb. He was 28 of 36 passes against a defense missing the injured Ezekiel Ansah and DeAndre Levy.

Eddie Royal caught seven passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Jordan Howard ran for a career-high 111 yards for Chicago.

The Lions dropped their third straight.

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AP Power Rankings: This time it’s Pats, Denver tied at No. 1

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Denver Broncos are off to a perfect start under quarterback Trevor Siemian. The New England Patriots also are 3-0 despite playing without superstar Tom Brady.

The past two Super Bowl winners also share the top spot in the latest AP Pro32 poll released on Tuesday.

The Patriots received six first-place votes and the Broncos earned five and both have 377 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

It’s the second consecutive week for a tie at the top spot in the poll. Last week the Patriots and Steelers were tied at No. 1.

The Patriots will play their last game without the suspended Brady when they host the Bills on Sunday.

“The genius of Bill Belichick has the Patriots in early control of the AFC East. As per usual,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.

“One more week to go before Tom Brady returns, presumably picks up where he left off and keeps the Jets, Bills and Dolphins spinning their wheels in hopeless pursuit of the perennial AFC East champs and Super Bowl contenders.”

The defending champion Broncos will try to stay unbeaten when they head to Tampa Bay.

The Vikings, who are 3-0 despite injuries to Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson, received the other first-place vote and are No. 3 in the poll.

“Getting off to a 3-0 start despite losing their franchise QB, once-in-a-generation RB and starting LT in the span of a few weeks is Patriots-esque,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback.

“Credit to head coach Mike Zimmer.”

The Eagles, led by rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, are also 3-0 and in first place in the NFC East. Philly jumped 11 spots to No. 4 in the poll after routing the Steelers 34-3 on Sunday.

“More popular than Philly cheesesteaks, rookie QB Carson Wentz has already won over a demanding fan base,” said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Packers jumped four spots to round out the top five.

Seattle also made a big leap, moving six spots to No. 6.

AFC North rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh are tied for No. 7. The Chiefs are No. 9 after forcing eight turnovers in a rout of the Jets.

“What a performance by the Chiefs defense, which is still missing Justin Houston but has the league’s next great young cornerback, Marcus Peters,” Vrentas said.

And the Panthers, despite being 1-2 on the season, round out the top 10.

“Cam Newton is getting pummeled in the early going, as the Panthers continue the trend of Super Bowl losers who struggle the year after,” Glauber said.

“Eight sacks, three interceptions and a sore ankle for Newton in a lopsided home loss to the resurgent Vikings.”

After consecutive losses in prime time, the Bears replaced the Browns at the bottom of the poll at No. 32.

“After three demoralizing weeks, Soldier Field is an afterthought compared to Wrigley Field,” Kaufman said.

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(###) Number of first place votes
 
1
Record: 3-0
PV Rank

1

Points

377

1
Record: 3-0
3
377
3
Record: 3-0
5
360
4
Record: 3-0
15
333
5
Record: 2-1
9
326
6
Record: 2-1
12
314
7
Record: 2-1
1
306
7
Record: 3-0
11
306
9
Record: 2-1
13
287
10
Record: 1-2
4
279
11
Record: 2-1
8
242
12
Record: 2-1
7
240
13
Record: 1-2
6
232
14
Record: 2-1
17
230
14
Record: 1-2
10
230
16
Record: 2-1
16
215
17
Record: 2-1
19
207
18
Record: 1-2
14
175
19
Record: 2-1
25
167
20
Record: 1-2
27
151
21
Record: 1-2
30
130
22
Record: 1-2
27
126
23
Record: 1-2
20
117
23
Record: 1-2
21
117
25
Record: 1-2
18
109
26
Record: 1-2
23
99
27
Record: 1-2
22
81
28
Record: 1-2
24
66
29
Record: 0-3
26
58
30
Record: 0-3
29
37
31
Record: 0-3
32
26
32
Record: 0-3
31
16

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

NFL Week 2: Peterson, Garoppolo hurt; Williams taken off after scary hit

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)     —-    Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson left in the third quarter against Green Bay with an injured right knee.

Peterson was injured after a 5-yard run late in the third quarter. He was not able to put any pressure on his leg has he hobbled off the field and needed to be helped back to the locker room for further testing. Upon arriving in the locker room, Peterson was quickly ruled out for the rest of Sunday night.

Peterson tore the ACL in his left knee in the second-to-last game of the 2011 season.

He was on crutches after the game, wearing a brace on his right leg. Coach Mike Zimmer said he was told the injury had “calmed down.”

“He might miss a week. I don’t know if he will or not,” Zimmer said.

Peterson finished the game with just 19 yards on 12 carries against the Packers.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was knocked out of New England’s game against Miami with a shoulder injury, meaning the highest-profile replacement in the NFL needed a replacement of his own.

Garoppolo — filling in for suspended quarterback Tom Brady — took a big hit from Miami’s Kiko Alonso in the second quarter of the Patriots’ game against the Dolphins on Sunday and left for further evaluation.

The Patriots did not disclose the severity of the injury, but said Garoppolo was ruled out for the rest of the game. The Patriots held on to beat the Dolphins 31-24.

Garoppolo was 18 of 27 passing for 234 yards and three touchdowns in less than a half, as New England rolled to a 24-3 halftime lead. He was replaced by rookie Jacoby Brissett, a South Florida native who found himself facing essentially his hometown team in his pro debut. New England didn’t need another quarterback, but if it did the likely choice figured to be wide receiver Julian Edelman — who played QB in college at Kent State.

There was a very scary scene in the first half of Sunday’s early games as well.

Cornerback P.J. Williams of the New Orleans Saints needed to be placed on a backboard and taken off on a cart after he took multiple blows to the head while trying to make a tackle in his team’s game against the New York Giants. Fox Sports reported that Williams was moving his extremities at a nearby hospital and was being evaluated for a concussion.

Also, Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware broke his right forearm early in the third quarter against Indianapolis.

Coach Gary Kubiak said the team will see the extent of the injury on Monday morning and “whether we think it’s something he can play with or something that has to be fixed.”

On the play he was hurt, Ware just missed wrapping up Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and appeared to run into a teammate. He walked off holding his right arm.

The 34-year-old Ware had a half-sack in the game.

In other injuries Sunday:

— Cleveland center Cameron Erving left the Browns’ stadium by ambulance as a precaution, the team said. Erving cramped late in the game and had discomfort in his upper body. The Browns said he’s been diagnosed with a pulmonary contusion and he will remain in the hospital overnight for observation.

— Danny Woodhead left in the first quarter of San Diego’s game against Jacksonville with an apparent right knee injury, and was taken off the sideline on a cart on his way to further evaluation. The Chargers lost Keenan Allen last week, so if Woodhead’s injury is serious then San Diego’s offense would take another hit.

— Colts receiver WR Donte Moncrief left in the second quarter with a head and neck injury. Offensive lineman Denzelle Good left in the fourth quarter with a back injury.

— Tampa Bay tight end Luke Stocker (ankle) left in the first quarter. And after a 1-yard gain on Tampa Bay’s first play of the second quarter, running back Doug Martin left with a hamstring injury. Defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. left with an ankle injury late in the second quarter. Finally, wide receiver Cecil Shorts III left with a hamstring injury in the third quarter.

— Redskins nose tackle Kedric Golston injured his right hamstring on the first play from scrimmage and missed the rest of Washington’s 27-23 loss to Dallas. He was replaced by Ziggy Hood.

— Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah left in the first quarter against Tennessee with a left ankle injury. Detroit also lost running back Ameer Abdullah and tight end Eric Ebron in that game, one in which the Lions wasted a 15-3 lead and lost 16-15.

— Jaguars left tackle Kelvin Beachum had a concussion late in the third quarter. The stadium was hushed as he was placed on a back board and lifted onto a cart, which drove him off the field.

— Dolphins running back Arian Foster left the game in New England with a groin injury and was ruled out for the second half. Foster was hampered in the week leading up to this game with a hamstring problem, and is coming off surgery to repair his Achilles as well. Miami also lost linebacker Spencer Paysinger in the first half.

— Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart was taken to the locker room after suffering a hamstring injury in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers, and was eventually ruled out for the rest of the game. Stewart was replaced by Fozzy Whittaker.

— Houston wide receiver Braxton Miller hurt a hamstring and did not return. He’s expected to be further evaluated on Monday.

___

SCOREBOARD

Monday, Sept. 19

Philadelphia at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. EDT. The Eagles’ Carson Wentz, the No. 2 overall draft pick, looks to build off an impressive NFL debut in which he threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns in his debut against Cleveland, completing 22 of 37 passes in a turnover-free performance. Jay Cutler and the Bears, meanwhile, will try to avoid an 0-2 start for the second straight season.

 ___

STARS

Passing

— Cam Newton, Panthers, threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns in Carolina’s 46-27 win over San Francisco in its home opener.

— Matt Ryan, Falcons, passed for 396 yards and three scores, helping Atlanta past Oakland 35-28.

— Philip Rivers, Chargers, matched his career high with four touchdown passes, including two to Travis Benjamin, in a 38-14 victory over Jacksonville.

— Eli Manning, Giants, had 368 yards passing with no TDs or turnovers in New York’s 16-13 victory over New Orleans.

— Carson Palmer, Cardinals, tossed three touchdown passes and finished with 308 yards in Arizona’s 40-7 rout of Tampa Bay.

— Dak Prescott, Cowboys, ran for a 6-yard TD and went 22 for 30 for 292 yards, helping Dallas beat the Washington Redskins 27-23.

— Sam Bradford, in his Minnesota debut, completed 22 of 30 passes for 286 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers to lead the Vikings to a 17-14 victory over the Packers

.

___

Rushing

— Isaiah Crowell, Browns, ran for 133 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown, on 18 carries in Cleveland’s 25-20 loss to Baltimore.

— LeGarrette Blount, Patriots, had 123 yards rushing and a TD to help lead New England past Miami 31-24.

— Fozzy Whitaker, Panthers, rushed for a career-best 100 yards on 16 carries after Jonathan Stewart left with a hamstring injury in a 46-27 win over San Francisco.

— DeAngelo Williams, Steelers, ran for 94 yards on a career-high 32 carries in Pittsburgh’s 24-16 victory over Cincinnati.

— Melvin Gordon, Chargers, had a career-high 102 yards rushing and a score to help San Diego top Jacksonville 38-14.

___

Receiving

— Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers, had seven receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns in Carolina’s 46-27 win over San Francisco, his second game back from ACL surgery that cost him all of 2015.

— Jarvis Landry, Dolphins, caught 10 passes for 137 yards in Miami’s 31-24 loss at New England.

— Travis Benjamin, Chargers, caught six passes for 115 yards and two scores as San Diego topped Jacksonville 38-14.

— Marvin Jones, Lions, had eight catches for 118 yards in Detroit’s 16-15 loss to Tennessee.

— Sterling Shepard, Giants, caught eight passes for 117 yards in New York’s 16-13 win over New Orleans.

— Stefon Diggs, Vikings, caught nine passes for 182 yards and a touchdown in a 17-14 win over Green Bay.

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Special Teams

— Tavon Young, Ravens, scooped up the ball after Lawrence Guy got a hand on Patrick Murray’s extra point and returned it for a 2-point defensive conversion in Baltimore’s 25-20 win at Cleveland.

— Greg Zuerlein, Rams, kicked three field goals — the longest a 47-yarder in the fourth quarter — and Los Angeles defeated the Seattle Seahawks 9-3.

— Janoris Jenkins, Giants, returned Johnathan Hankins’ block of a field goal attempt 65 yards for a touchdown in New York’s 16-13 victory over New Orleans. Josh Brown kicked a 23-yard field goal as time expired in his first game after returning from a one-game suspension.

— Nick Novak, Texans, booted field goals of 32, 24, 31 and 43 yards, helping Houston top Kansas City 19-12.

___

Defense

— Von Miller, Broncos, had three sacks, including a sack-strip of Andrew Luck that was recovered by Shane Ray and returned for a touchdown that sealed Denver’s 34-20 win over Indianapolis.

— Marcus Cooper, Cardinals, intercepted two passes and returned one 60 yards for a touchdown in Arizona’s 40-7 rout of Tampa Bay.

— Shaq Thompson, Panthers, scored his first career touchdown when he scooped up Carlos Hyde’s fumble and returned it 9 yards to give Carolina a 7-3 lead in a 46-27 victory.

— Aqib Talib, Broncos, returned an interception 46 yards early in the fourth quarter of Denver’s 34-20 win over Indianapolis.

___

STARTS

Victor Cruz, who had a winning fourth-quarter touchdown catch against Dallas last week, hauled in a 34-yard third-down pass from Eli Manning to set up Josh Brown’s winning 23-yard field goal as time expired. The Giants got off to their first 2-0 start since 2009 with a 16-13 win over New Orleans Saints on Sunday. … Indianapolis is off to its third straight 0-2 start after a 34-20 loss at Denver.

___

MILESTONES

New Orleans’ Drew Brees (61,589) threw for 263 yards against the New York Giants and passed Dan Marino (61,361 yards) for No. 3 in NFL history. The Giants’ Eli Manning passed for 368 yards, giving him 44,762 and moving him past Drew Bledsoe (44,611) for 10th place. … Houston’s J.J. Watt finished with 1 1/2 sacks against Kansas City to give him 76 in his 82nd career game. He’s the second fastest in NFL history to reach 75 sacks behind Hall of Famer Reggie White, who did it in 65 games. … Houston rookie receiver Will Fuller finished with four receptions for 104 yards to become the first rookie drafted in the first round with consecutive 100-yard receiving games to start his career. The 21st overall pick in this year’s draft had 107 yards receiving in his NFL debut last week. … Aqib Talib’s interception return for a touchdown in Denver’s 34-20 win over Indianapolis was the ninth score of his career and fifth with the Broncos, a team record.

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STREAKS & STATS

New England is 21-1 at home vs. the AFC East since 2009 after beating Miami 31-24. It was the Patriots’ eighth straight home victory over Miami (0-2). … Dallas won for only the second time in its past 16 games without Tony Romo — and both of those victories came at Washington, including a 27-23 win Sunday. … With a 25-20 victory, Baltimore improved to 15-2 against Cleveland under coach John Harbaugh. … Isaiah Crowell’s 85-yard TD run was the second-longest scoring run in Cleveland history, with Bobby Mitchell’s 90-yarder in 1959 the only one to top it. … Jacksonville fell to 2-11 on the West Coast and 0-4 in San Diego. The Jaguars haven’t won on the West Coast since 2004 and have been outscored 260-93 during an eight-game losing streak, falling by double digits in seven of those.

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SWINGS

Cleveland took a 20-2 lead against Baltimore, the Browns’ largest lead after one quarter since Dec. 3, 1961, when they led Dallas 21-0 en route to a 38-17 win. But the Ravens rallied back, helped by a returned blocked extra point, and won 25-20. … The usually reliable Stephen Gostkowski missed a 39-yard field goal with 1:08 to play. The 2015 All-Pro was 33 for 36 on field goals last year, making all 17 from 39 yards or closer. Last week, he went 3 for 3 against Arizona.

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STEPPING IN

Jimmy Garoppolo had three touchdown passes before leaving in the second quarter with a right shoulder injury as the New England Patriots outlasted the Miami Dolphins 31-24 on Sunday. Garoppolo was replaced by rookie Jacoby Brissett, who led New England to a touchdown on its first possession of the second half. Brissett was 6 of 9 for 92 yards.

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WELCOME BACK

The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks 9-3 on Sunday, a game that marked the return of pro football to the nation’s second-largest market for the first time in nearly 22 years. There was an announced crowd of 91,046 on a searing day at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Rams marked the long-awaited occasion by wearing blue-and-gold throwback uniforms for their regular-season home debut.

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STUD DUD

The expected duel between star wide receivers Antonio Brown and A.J. Green never materialized in Pittsburgh’s 24-16 win over Cincinnati. Brown caught just four passes for 39 yards for the Steelers, and even had a rare drop while running free in the middle of the field in the first half. A week after dominating Darrelle Revis for 12 catches and 180 yards and a touchdown against the Jets, Green had just two receptions for 38 yards.

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SLOPPY

For the first three quarters, it looked as though Tennessee and Detroit might threaten a 65-year-old NFL record. The Lions finished with 17 penalties for 138 yards, and the Titans were flagged 12 times for 83 yards. The record is 37 penalties by Cleveland (21) and Chicago (16) on Nov. 25, 1951. The Lions and Titans were nearly halfway there after two quarters, having combined for 18. They were at 26 by the end of the third.

In 1937, Detroit was called for only 19 penalties for 139 yards all season — two records that still stand. The Lions nearly reached both of those totals in one game Sunday.

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FAMILIAR FACES

Detroit’s Anquan Boldin had a touchdown catch in the Lions’ 16-15 loss to Tennessee, joining Terrell Owens as the only players in NFL history to have at least 1,000 career receptions and a touchdown catch with four teams. Boldin has played for Arizona, San Francisco, Baltimore and Detroit.

In that same game, Tennessee’s Andre Johnson caught the winning touchdown with 1:13 remaining. He has 1,057 career catches and has a TD reception with three teams (Houston, Indianapolis, Tennessee), joining Boldin, Owens, Jerry Rice and Cris Carter to accomplish the feat.

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DO-EVERYTHING JOHNSON

Tampa Bay held Arizona’s David Johnson to 45 yards rushing in 12 attempts, but he caught three passes for 98 yards. The longest came on a check-down from Carson Palmer, a play that went for 58 yards.

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BIG TARGETS

Carolina’s Greg Olsen had a 78-yard touchdown catch and San Francisco’s Vance McDonald had a 75-yarder in the Panthers’ 46-27 win over the 49ers, marking the first game in NFL history in which a tight end on each team had a touchdown catch of at least 75 yards.

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SIDELINED

Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson limped off in the third quarter of a win over Green Bay with a right knee injury. He had to be helped to the locker room. … New England quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was knocked out against Miami on Sunday with a shoulder injury, meaning the highest-profile replacement in the NFL needed a replacement of his own. Garoppolo — filling in for suspended quarterback Tom Brady — took a big hit from Miami’s Kiko Alonso in the second quarter of the game against the Dolphins on Sunday and left for further evaluation. The Patriots did not disclose the severity of the injury, but said Garoppolo was ruled out for the rest of the game. The Patriots held on to beat the Dolphins 31-24. … Cornerback P.J. Williams of the New Orleans Saints needed to be placed on a backboard and taken off on a cart after he took multiple blows to the head while trying to make a tackle in his team’s game against the New York Giants. Fox Sports reported that Williams was moving his extremities at a nearby hospital and was being evaluated for a concussion. … Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware broke his right forearm early in the third quarter against Indianapolis. Coach Gary Kubiak said the team will see the extent of the injury on Monday morning and “whether we think it’s something he can play with or something that has to be fixed.” … Danny Woodhead left in the first quarter of San Diego’s game against Jacksonville with an apparent right knee injury, and was taken off the sideline on a cart on his way to further evaluation. … After a 1-yard gain on Tampa Bay’s first play of the second quarter, running back Doug Martin left with a hamstring injury. … Cleveland center Cameron Erving left the Browns’ stadium by ambulance as a precaution, the team said. Erving cramped late in the game and had discomfort in his upper body. The Browns said he’s been diagnosed with a pulmonary contusion and he will remain in the hospital overnight for observation. … Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah left in the first quarter against Tennessee with a left ankle injury. Detroit also lost running back Ameer Abdullah and tight end Eric Ebron in that game, one in which the Lions wasted a 15-3 lead and lost 16-15. … Dolphins running back Arian Foster left the game in New England with a groin injury and was ruled out for the second half. … Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart was taken to the locker room after suffering a hamstring injury in the first quarter against San Francisco.

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SPEAKING

“Everybody thinks we’re in the morgue or something. We’re not dead, by no means.” — Washington’s Josh Norman on the Redskins’ 0-2 start.

NFL Roundup: Patriots’ Garoppolo injured, still beat Dolphins 31-24

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sam Bradford had a Minnesota debut almost as dazzling as the new $1.1 billion building itself, completing 22 of 30 passes for 286 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers to lead the Vikings to a 17-14 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.

The defense did the rest, sacking Aaron Rodgers five times and producing two turnovers in the fourth quarter that quashed the comeback and sent the crowd of 66,813 into a deafening frenzy in celebration of first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Adrian Peterson limped off in the third quarter with a right knee injury, and only 19 yards on 12 carries, but the Vikings (2-0) proved they still have a lot of options. Stefon Diggs caught nine passes for 182 yards a touchdown. They held the Packers (1-1) to 65 total yards in the first half, withstanding an early touchdown pass by Rodgers to Jordy Nelson on a drive aided by two penalties by cornerback Terence Newman.

Trae Waynes, who had two penalties himself, intercepted Rodgers’ pass in Vikings territory in the closing minutes to seal the victory. The previous drive was killed when Brian Robison knocked the ball out of the hands of Rodgers, who ran for 29 yards and a touchdown. He began to find a groove throwing the ball late, but Bradford was the better quarterback on this night.

PATRIOTS 31, DOLPHINS 24

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo had three, first-half touchdown passes before leaving in the second quarter with a right shoulder injury.

It was the Patriots’ eighth straight home victory over Miami (0-2). It came at a price as New England (2-0) was dealt another blow at quarterback with Tom Brady already out his four-game “Deflategate” suspension.

Garoppolo’s injury came in a flash. On third down with less than five minutes left in the first half, he was chased out of the pocket and got off a completion to Malcolm Mitchell. Garoppolo was driven into the ground on his shoulder by Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Garoppolo initially got up, before going down to one knee and being attended to by the training staff. He ended his day 18 of 27 for 234 yards and the three scores.

He was replaced by rookie Jacoby Brissett, who led New England to a touchdown on its first possession of the second half. Brissett was 6 of 9 for 92 yards. LeGarrette Blount rushed 29 times for 123 yards and a touchdown. Martellus Bennett also had five catches 114 and a touchdown.

Miami rallied in the second half but couldn’t catch up.

STEELERS 24, BENGALS 16

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns to offset a pair of interceptions.

DeAngelo Williams churned out 94 yards on a career-high 32 carries and added a 4-yard touchdown grab. Tight ends Jesse James and Xavier Grimble also caught scoring passes from Roethlisberger as the Steelers (2-0) kept Cincinnati in check at rainy Heinz Field.

Andy Dalton passed for 366 yards and a touchdown, but needed 31 completions to reach that total, working almost exclusively on dump offs to running backs and tight ends while Pittsburgh clamped down on star wide receiver A.J. Green, who had just two receptions for 38 yards.

The rematch of the Steelers’ ugly 18-16 win in the wild-card round in January was downright tame. The teams combined for just 10 penalties and only one personal foul.

RAMS 9, SEAHAWKS 3

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Greg Zuerlein kicked three field goals, the longest a 47-yarder in the fourth quarter, and the Rams marked the return of pro football to Los Angeles for the first time in nearly 22 years with a win.

Plenty of penalties slowed down the game for the announced crowd of 91,046 on a searing day at the Memorial Coliseum, where the Rams commemorated the long-awaited occasion by wearing blue-and-gold throwback uniforms.

The Rams (1-1) are still without a touchdown after losing 28-0 at San Francisco in their s opener. With field goals accounting for all the offense, it was hardly the high-scoring show Los Angeles sports fans are known to crave.

Seattle (1-1) racked up 10 penalties for 114 yards; the Rams had nine penalties for 78 yards.

BRONCOS 34, COLTS 20

DENVER (AP) — Von Miller gave the Denver fans a reminder of his Super Bowl 50 MVP performance, sweeping in for the sack-strip of Andrew Luck that sealed the win.

With the Broncos clinging to a six-point lead with 1:51 remaining, Miller burst past right tackle Joe Reitz and swiped the ball from Luck’s grasp. Fellow linebacker Shane Ray scooped up the ball and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown.

Miller added a sack on the last play as the Broncos (2-0) sent the banged-up Colts limping to their third consecutive 0-2 start.

They did it by rattling Luck, who started 5 for 18 before he engineered a couple of second-half touchdown drives. Luck completed just 21 of 40 passes for 197 yards and was sacked five times.

FALCONS 35, RAIDERS 28

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Justin Hardy caught a deflected 8-yard touchdown pass to break a tie midway through the fourth quarter.

Matt Ryan threw three TD passes, but got lucky on the go-ahead one in the fourth quarter. His third-down throw to Tevin Coleman was broken up, but the ball bounced high in the air and Hardy caught it in the end zone to put Atlanta (1-1) up 28-21.

The Raiders (1-1) appeared to tie on the next drive when Amari Cooper caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr. But officials ruled Cooper went out of bounds voluntarily before making the catch, although the Raiders contended he was pushed by Desmond Trufant.

Oakland coach Jack Del Rio then went on fourth-and-2, but Jalen Richard was stopped on a 1-yard gain.

BUCCANEERS 40, CARDINALS 7

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Carson Palmer threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns and Arizona (1-1) intercepted Jameis Winston four times.

Marcus Cooper, acquired off waivers from Kansas City on Sept. 2, had two interceptions, returning the second 60 yards for a score. Winston also fumbled the ball away once.

Winston, who had four touchdown passes against Atlanta in the opener and was NFC player of the week, threw 51 passes, the most in his two NFL seasons, completing 27 for 243 yards for the Bucs (1-1).

Palmer completed 18 of 31 passes with no interceptions before sitting out most of the fourth quarter. All three of Palmer’s scoring passes came in the first half,— to Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Jaron Brown.

CHARGERS 38, JAGUARS 14

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Philip Rivers matched his career-high with four touchdown passes, including two to Travis Benjamin and Melvin Gordon ran for one score and had his first 100-yard game.

The Chargers (1-1) bounced back from their stunning loss at Kansas City, when they blew a 21-point third-quarter lead and fell 33-27 in overtime.

The Jaguars started 0-2 for the fourth time in five seasons. They crossed midfield only six times and committed three turnovers.

Casey Hayward led the Chargers’ defense with two interceptions of Blake Bortles.

Gordon, a second-year pro, scored on a 3-yard run on the game’s opening drive, his first TD at Qualcomm Stadium. Gordon went in standing up, and then right guard D.J. Fluker lifted him off the ground in celebration. He finished with 102 yards on 24 carries.

COWBOYS 27, REDSKINS 23

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Alfred Morris scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 4-yard run with under five minutes left, leading the Cowboys over his former team.

Washington’s Kirk Cousins threw an end-zone interception that set up a long Dallas drive to the winning score.

With rookie quarterback Dak Prescott looking poised throughout and scrambling for a 6-yard TD run in the second half, Dallas (1-1) won for only the second time in its past 16 games without the injured Tony Romo — and both of those victories came at Washington (0-2).

Prescott finished 22 for 30 for 292 yards.

GIANTS 13, SAINTS 10

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz on a third-down 34-yard pass to set up Josh Brown’s winning 23-yard field goal as time expired. The Giants got off to their first 2-0 start since 2009, while New Orleans lost its second straight.

Brown’s third field goal capped an 11-play, 70-yard drive that featured two key third-down passes by Manning and a pass interference call on a throw to Odell Beckham Jr.

The game was also redemption for the Giants’ defense. After allowing Drew Brees to throw for 511 yards and an NFL-tying seven touchdowns, New York limited him to one touchdown, 263 yards passing and 288 yards in total team offense.

RAVENS 25, BRONCOS 20

CLEVELAND (AP) — Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes to Mike Wallace and the Ravens rallied from a 20-point first-quarter deficit.

Justin Tucker kicked three field goals and the Ravens (2-0) withstood Cleveland’s final drive to improve to 15-2 against the Browns under coach John Harbaugh.

C.J. Mosley intercepted Browns quarterback Josh McCown at the goal line with 13 seconds left to seal the win.

Baltimore was a point from trailing by three touchdowns in the opening quarter before blocking an extra point and returning it for two points and igniting the comeback.

McCown stayed in despite an injured left shoulder for the Browns (0-2), who were hurt by a missed field goal and three costly penalties in the fourth quarter.

PANTHERS 46, 49ERS 27

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns, and the Panthers overcame four turnovers.

Newton threw two TD passes to Kelvin Benjamin and one each to Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess to pass Jake Delhomme for most TD passes in franchise history with 122.

Newton showed no ill effects from the four helmet-to-helmet hits he took in Carolina’s season-opening loss to Denver. He took one shot to the head from linebacker Eli Harold late in the game after a pitchout on an option play, but quickly got to his feet.

Newton’s first pass was tipped and intercepted by Antoine Bethea, leading to a 49ers field goal. But the 2015 league MVP locked in after that, completing 24 of 40 passes while running for 37 yards on six carries.

Olsen gave the Panthers the lead for good in the second quarter when he hauled in a career-long 78-yard touchdown pass after the 49ers bit hard on play-action. That left the Pro Bowl tight end wide open on a seam route. Olsen finished with five catches for 122 yards.

TITANS 16, LIONS 15

DETROIT (AP) — Marcus Mariota converted a fourth down with a perfectly lofted 9-yard pass TD pass to Andre Johnson with 1:13 left.

Mariota dropped the pass over linebacker Tahir Whitehead to Johnson just before safety Rafael Bush could get to the veteran receiver.

Tennessee went 93 yards on 13 plays over nearly 6 minutes on the game-winning drive.

The Titans (1-1) ended a five-game losing streak, dating to last December, when Mariota threw two TD passes in the fourth quarter after trailing 15-3.

The Lions (1-1) had an opportunity to drive for a second straight winning field goal, but Matthew Stafford threw an interception to Perrish Cox at midfield in the final minute.

TEXANS 19, CHIEFS 12

HOUSTON (AP) — DeAndre Hopkins had 113 yards receiving and a touchdown and Nick Novak kicked four field goals. Novak connected from 32, 24, 31 and 43 yards for the Texans (2-0).

Cairo Santos made three field goals in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 19-12, but Houston recovered the onside kick with less than a minute left.

The Texans showed that they are a much different team than the one embarrassed in a 30-0 wild-card playoff loss to the Chiefs (1-1) in January.

Houston’s defense set a franchise record by recovering three fumbles in the first half.

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

TNF: Forte scores 3 TDs in leading Jets to 37-31 win over Bills

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Matt Forte scored three touchdown runs and Ryan Fitzpatrick finally solved Rex Ryan’s defense, leading the New York Jets to a 37-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night.

Forte’s 3-yard run put New York ahead 27-24 with 2:12 left in the third quarter. He sealed the win by patiently waiting for a seam to open before scampering into the end zone from 12 yards to put New York up 37-24 with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter.

Forte finished with 100 yards rushing, and the offseason free-agent addition became the 13th New York player to score three rushing touchdowns in a game.

The Jets (1-1) bounced back from a season-opening loss to Cincinnati and snapped a five-game skid against their AFC East rivals.

Fitzpatrick finished 24 of 34 for 374 yards and a 5-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker.

In beating one of his former teams, Fitzpatrick also overcame the stinging memories of last year’s season finale, a 22-17 loss at Buffalo that eliminated the Jets from playoff contention. Fitzpatrick closed the loss by throwing interceptions on each of the Jets final three possessions.

“I think it means a little bit more than a regular game because this was my life for four years being here,” Fitzpatrick said about spending 2009-12 with the Bills. “But I’m more excited about our team and the way we responded in the second half.”

The Bills (0-2) are suddenly reeling in Ryan’s second season as coach , and two years after he has fired by the Jets.

“Obviously, we never expected this,” Ryan said. “The Jets were a much better team than we were today, especially their offense against our defense looked like a mismatch today. You look for a difference in the game and that was the difference in the game.”

The Bills’ offense sputtered in a 13-7 loss at Baltimore on Sunday, and now it was their defense that showed cracks against the Jets.

New York finished with 493 yards offense, 28 first downs and had seven drives cross midfield.

Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor rebounded five days after he was limited to 111 yards passing against the Ravens.

He went 18 of 30 for 298 yards and three touchdowns and an interception. Marquise Goodwin scored on an 84-yarder catch, Greg Salas scored on a 71-yard catch and running back Mike Gillislee made it close, by catching an 18-yard touchdown pass with 1:17 remaining.

The Jets scored on each of their first four possessions to build a 20-7 lead.

The Bills responded by scoring on three straight possessions spanning halftime to go up 24-20. Safety Nickell Robey-Coleman capped the run by returning Jalin Marshall’s fumble 36 yards for a touchdown.

GOING DEEP

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis got off to another tough start. After having difficulty covering Bengals receiver A.J. Green on Sunday, Revis was burned by Goodwin on his 84-yard touchdown catch. Goodwin burst past Revis up the right sideline at midfield and had two steps on him when he caught Tyrod Taylor’s pass in stride at the Jets 35 and ran it in.

It was Buffalo’s longest touchdown pass at home in team history, and longest since Fitzpatrick hit Terrell Owens for a 98-yard touchdown strike at Tennessee on Nov. 15, 2009.

Adding in Salas’ 71-yard TD catch and Taylor became Buffalo’s fifth quarterback to throw two 70-plus yard touchdown passes in the same game, and first since J.P. Losman did it in 2006.

FOURTH DOWN

Forte’s final touchdown came after the Jets defense stopped the Bills twice for no gain at midfield, including run up the middle by LeSean McCoy on fourth-and-1. The Bills converted 3 of 10 third-down chances and were 1-for-2 on fourth down.

QUICK HEALER

Jets receiver Brandon Marshall proved to be a quick healer. It appeared as if he sustained a serious injury when his left knee twisted beneath him while cornerback Stephon Gilmore brought him down by the facemask in the second quarter. Marshall immediately grabbed his knee and lay on the field for a few minutes before getting up on his own.

Marshall returned for the next series and made a 21-yard catch after having his knee examined. The catch helped set up Decker’s 5-yard touchdown catch that put the Jets up 20-7.

INJURIES

Jets: Coach Todd Bowles said Marshall had a slight sprain. WR Quincy Enunwa continued playing despite sore ribs. LB Erin Henderson did not return because of a foot injury. OG James Carpenter injured a calf.

Bills: Goodwin left the game late and was being for a potential concussion.

THEY SAID IT:

Fitzpatrick on Marshall returning to field: “I thought he was down for the count, for sure.”

Bills LB Jerry Hughes: “We just didn’t play good football today. Just bad ball all around. … We just didn’t show up today.”

RETIRING NO. 78

The Bills honored NFL career sacks leader and Hall of Famer Bruce Smith by retiring his No. 78 during a halftime ceremony.

“I don’t know if I’m worthy or lucky enough for all this,” Smith told reporters before the game. He joins Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, whose No. 12, is the only number the Bills have retired.

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

NFL may find out anthem protests not going away

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —-    The kneeling was noticeable quickly enough. To some, the raised fists seem almost ominous.

On the first week of the NFL season there was almost as much going on during the national anthem as there was on the field. Players were making statements, and they didn’t seem afraid of disrupting the highly choreographed spectacle that is an NFL game.

At some point the league may have to find a way to deal with the newfound social consciousness of some of its employees. There’s no upside for the NFL if images of players holding clenched fists aloft during the national anthem begin to overshadow those of men colliding with each other on the field of play.

So far that hasn’t happened, though the season is young. Still, the sight of players making silent protests during the national anthem has to be disconcerting to a league that has always demanded conformity and blind obedience from its workers.

It barely qualified as an NFL issue before Colin Kaepernick took a knee during an exhibition game. Now Commissioner Roger Goodell walks a fine line, voicing support for the right of players to speak out while in the same breath saying he wants them to respect the flag and most everyone who has ever put on a uniform.

Goodell has so far been relatively restrained, and he has reason to tread lightly. The league he heads has profited greatly over the years, in no small part because it wraps itself around the flag and embraces the military and police at every opportunity.

But two-thirds of its players are black. And they — fueled by the constant feedback from social media — are finding their voice about things they see wrong in the communities they grew up in.

And sports may never be the same.

“I think we’ve come to a point in the history of sports that really for the first time in my lifetime — and I’ve spent 50 years doing this — you’re seeing athletes getting involved in social justice issues,” said Richard Lapchick, director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. “You had the occasional heroic athlete stand up in the ’60s or ’70s, but they were very few and far between and they paid the price for it.”

Some may pay the price for this, too. Denver’s Brandon Marshall quickly lost two endorsements after he took a knee before last week’s opener. The outcry against Kaepernick and others on social media has been ugly at times.

And in a league where players are desperate to make rosters, it wouldn’t be a surprise if taking a stand meant a greater chance of being told to hit the road.

That wasn’t an issue when LeBron James and fellow members of the Miami Heat donned hoodies in 2012 for a team picture in support of slain Miami teen-ager Trayvon Martin. Too much star power there, and the NBA is a little more socially aware than the NFL.

Lapchick points to the hoodie protest as the start of a new generation of athletes becoming socially active. Some WNBA members also took a stand, wearing warmup shirts on behalf of Black Lives Matter this summer.

The handling of that by the WNBA was botched a bit, and surely the NFL learned lessons from that. Goodell has said all the right things so far, but it’s still early in the game.

“It’s an issue that sports is going to have to make an informed decision on how they are going to treat it,” Lapchick said. “This isn’t something that is going to go away, whether it’s in the form of the national anthem or wearing T-shirts or other paraphernalia. From my viewpoint it’s here into the indefinite future.”

That may worry some, but it pleases Lapchick to no end. He’s not only crusaded for civil rights his entire life, but paid the price for it himself.

Lapchick was a 5-year-old when he looked out his bedroom window in New York to see men hanging an image of his father. Joe Lapchick was the coach of the New York Knicks, and his crime was to sign Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, the first black player in the NBA in 1950.

Years later, as an anti-apartheid activist, Lapchick was attacked by two men in a library at Virginia Wesleyan College, who held him down and carved the N-word into his stomach.

He’ll be watching closely as Goodell navigates his way through uncharted waters. We’ll all be watching to see how a commissioner who fancies himself to be a disciplinarian deals with things that discipline can’t solve.

The way the NFL handles anthem protests may turn out to be as significant in the long run as the protests themselves.

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Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

NFL Thursday Night: Broncos win Super Bowl rematch over Panthers 21-20

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DENVER (AP) — Cam Newton will get a few extra days to recover from his latest beating by Von Miller and crew. At least he won’t have to seethe for seven months.

Denver’s dominant defense came up big against Newton again and the Broncos escaped with a 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers Thursday night when Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining.

The Broncos collected three sacks and hit Newton eight more times, not counting the abuse he took on his 11 runs.

“We wanted to make sure we got to him,” safety T.J. Ward said. “Every time he ran we tried to put helmet and shoulder pads on him. If you’re not going to slide we’re going to put something on you. We saw him limping throughout the game so that running stuff, you can’t do that all game.”

Three of the hits were of the helmet-to-helmet variety but none resulted in any penalty yardage.

Miller hit him high when DeMarcus Ware was taking him down, linebacker Brandon Marshall hit him in the face just as he released a pass and safety Darian Stewart leveled him in the final minute, but because Newton was whistled for intentional grounding on the play, the penalties were offsetting.

“It’s not my job to question the officials,” Newton said after finally emerging from the trainer’s room. “I really like this officiating crew, so it wasn’t something I know they did intentionally. But it’s not fun getting hit in the head.”

A wobbled Newton appeared to have done just enough to get a measure of revenge for that bludgeoning in Super Bowl 50, when Miller stripped the ball and the Lombardi Trophy from his grasp.

Newton put the Panthers on the cusp of victory with a 16-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin at the Denver 37 in the closing seconds, and another short pass to Ted Ginn Jr. put Gano well within his range.

Gano, whose practice kick hugged the right upright after Denver had called timeout, missed wide left moments later.

“I was going to drill it, no doubt in my mind,” Gano said. “But this happens. It’s not going to define my season.”

Newton, the NFL’s reigning MVP, was 18 of 33 for 194 yards, with one TD and one interception.

Just as he did over and over in the Super Bowl, Miller made a big play late, sweeping past right tackle Mike Remmers and sacking Newton at the 2-minute warning. A penalty on fourth-and-21, however, kept the Carolina drive alive until Newton retreated to the sideline when Gano came in for the potential game-winner.

His miss only piled on the pain for Newton, who stayed on one knee in disbelief as the stadium rocked and Trevor Siemian trotted out for one victory formation snap and a win in his first NFL start.

“We’ve got a heck of a team, a resilient team, I think you saw that tonight,” said Peyton Manning’s successor, who finished 18 of 26 for 178 yards with one TD, two interceptions and two sacks.

The Panthers took a 17-7 led into the fourth quarter of the first Super Bowl rematch to start a season since 1970, but Siemian hit running back C.J. Anderson for a 25-yard touchdown on the next snap.

Newton’s next pass was intercepted by Harris at the Carolina 23. Ten plays later, Anderson bulled his way in from the 1 to give Denver its first lead at 21-17 with 9:26 remaining.

After Gano’s 36-yard field goal brought the Panthers to 21-20, Carolina forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at its 40 with 3:06 remaining.

TAKE A KNEE: Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, a college teammate of Colin Kaepernick, kneeled during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem during San Francisco’s preseason games, explaining it was to protest racial oppression and police brutality in the United States. “I’m not against the military, I’m not against America,” Marshall said. “I’m against social injustice.”

OLD TIMES: Manning made his first appearance at Mile High as a retiree, walking through the tunnel with the Lombardi Trophy. Manning said he spoke with Siemian on the eve of the game and told him he was in his corner.

POACHING PANTHERS: Carolina led the league with 39 takeaways last season and had three in the opener, including two on Denver’s first two drives. Shaq Thompson recovered rookie Devontae Booker’s fumble at the Carolina 29 and Bene Benwikere intercepted Siemian’s pass at the Panthers’ 10.

FIELD FLIP: Punter Andy Lee, who surrendered a Super Bowl-record 61-yard punt return to Jordan Norwood in February, pinned the Broncos back with a franchise-record 76-yard punt in the third quarter. His next punt traveled 61 yards.

FULLBACK FUN: Rookie Andy Janovich was brought in to bore holes for Anderson, but he surprised the Panthers with a 28-yard TD run after Denver’s first two drives ended in turnovers.

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

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

NFL: Miller, Wilkerson, Tucker shed franchise tags with big deals

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NEW YORK (AP) — Von Miller got a monstrous contract, befitting a sack-happy Super Bowl MVP. Muhammad Wilkerson and Justin Tucker also received big paydays, shedding their franchise tags and getting new deals.

Kirk Cousins, Alshon Jeffery, Eric Berry and Trumaine Johnson, however, will all be playing this season under the value of their tags after they and their teams failed to agree on long-term contracts by the NFL’s Friday deadline.

Miller and Denver spent the offseason in a contract stare down this season, but the sides agreed to a six-year, $114.5 million deal that includes $70 million guaranteed.

Miller and agent Joby Branion parlayed patience into a record-breaking deal in terms of overall value and guarantees. The outside linebacker received $23 million at signing and will earn $61 million over the first eight months of the blockbuster deal that makes him the highest-paid player outside of quarterbacks in NFL history.

Miller’s camp had rejected the $38.5 million the Broncos offered in guarantees, and Miller threatened to sit out the season barring a long-term deal. About two hours before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline, the cornerstone of the league’s best defense accepted the Broncos’ blockbuster offer and tweeted a photo of himself in his orange No. 58 jersey with the caption “For Life.”

In a statement, Miller thanked general manager John Elway, team owner Pat Bowlen, president and CEO Joe Ellis and coach Gary Kubiak.

“I’m also thankful for the way my teammates and our fans have supported me,” Miller said. “I’m excited for the future and ready to get back to work.”

The New York Jets pulled off a last-minute stunner, signing Wilkerson to a five-year extension shortly before the deadline.

Wilkerson had a career-high 12 sacks last season and was selected for his first Pro Bowl, but was unable to play after breaking his right leg in the season finale at Buffalo. The 2011 first-round draft pick said he was frustrated at not receiving a new deal from the Jets, who instead placed the franchise tag on him.

But just as many fans began to take to social media, upset at a deal not getting done, the Jets announced on Twitter that they had signed Wilkerson to a multiyear contract. The deal is worth more than $85 million, including $37 million in guarantees through the first two years, according to a person familiar with the contract. Through three years of the deal, Wilkerson will be paid $54 million in guaranteed money, added the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team does not announce financial terms of contracts.

“I give my all every Sunday on the field and play with so much love and passion for the game,” Wilkerson wrote on Twitter. “I’m thankful for everything that comes my way and proud to say I’m back on the green and white for a few more years.”

Tucker and the Baltimore Ravens agreed to a four-year contract, announced late Friday afternoon by the team.

Since joining the Ravens as a free agent in 2012, Tucker has made 130 of his 148 field goal tries — an 87.8 percent success rate that is second-best in NFL history. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2013 after making 38 of 41 field goal attempts, including a 61-yarder that beat the Detroit Lions

“Justin has become a cornerstone for our team, and we are happy to get this contract completed,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said.

Cousins will earn $19.95 million this season while playing under the franchise tag for Washington after the sides failed to agree on a long-term contract. Franchised players who didn’t sign deals by Friday now must wait until the offseason to re-open negotiations.

He’ll be the first quarterback to play a season on the tag since San Diego’s Drew Brees in 2005.

The 27-year-old Cousins started all 16 regular-season games for the Redskins last season, throwing for 4,166 yards and 29 touchdowns with 11 interceptions last season. In 30 career NFL games, the 2012 fourth-round pick has thrown 47 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.

Jeffery will be paid $14.6 million this season by Chicago. He missed seven games last season with injuries, but still led the team with 54 catches and 807 receiving yards while scoring four touchdowns. His per-game average of 89.7 receiving yards was the seventh-best mark in the NFL.

Kansas City general manager John Dorsey announced in a statement released by the team on Twitter that the Chiefs and Berry were unable to reach a long-term deal. Berry, the NFL Comeback Player of the Year last season after being diagnosed in November 2014 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, will play this season under the tag worth $10.8 million.

“Although both sides would have preferred a different outcome, Eric is a true professional and a tremendous football player, and we know that he will continue to be a leader in our locker room,” Dorsey said. “We look forward to resuming our discussions on a long-term agreement when the negotiating window reopens after the season.”

The Los Angeles Rams and Johnson also couldn’t close on a deal Friday, meaning the cornerback will under play his tag value, worth $13.952 million.

In four NFL seasons, Johnson has 15 interceptions, including seven last year in a breakout season for the Rams after being a third-round draft pick out of Montana in 2012.

___

AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton, and AP Sports Writers David Ginsburg and Stephen Whyno contributed to this report

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