Vikings outlast Rodgers, Packers on game-ending field goal
MINNEAPOLIS – Greg Joseph made a 29-yard field goal as time expired to give the Minnesota Vikings a 34-31 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, finishing a classic back-and-forth with Aaron Rodgers by making sure the three-time NFL MVP didn't get to touch the ball last.
Kirk Cousins passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns for the Vikings (5-5), who watched yet another game come down to the final play after Rodgers threw three of his four touchdown passes in the second half.
Unable to practice much at all this week because of a toe injury, after missing much of the first half of the month with COVID-19, Rodgers finished 23 for 33 for a season-high 385 yards.
Justin Jefferson had eight receptions for 169 yards and two scores, including a third-down catch against rookie Eric Stokes that Cousins delivered for a 23-yard touchdown while being decked on a blitz by Darnell Savage. Dalvin Cook ran in the 2-point conversion to make up for an earlier missed extra point by Joseph.
Then on the next play from scrimmage, Rodgers threw a rainbow to Marquez Valdes-Scantling streaking past safety Xavier Woods for a 75-yard score to tie the game just before the two-minute warning.
When the Vikings regained the ball, Cousins nearly cost himself the comeback by slightly underthrowing Jefferson, whom Savage darted in front of to intercept the ball. He bobbled it on the way down, though, and a replay review overturned the call.
Taylor runs up the score with five TDs as Colts humble Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Coach Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts discovered an easy fix to their problems holding fourth-quarter leads: Keep feeding Jonathan Taylor the ball.
The second-year running back set a franchise record by scoring five times, and took over the NFL lead in both yards rushing and touchdowns, in a 41-15 rout of the unraveling Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
"When J.T. turns on the jets, he's gone," tight end Mo Alie-Cox said of Taylor, who scored on runs of 1, 2, 3 and 10 yards and a 23-yard reception. "Like the one play at the goal line, I'm blocking and I just turn my head and I just see him flying through the air like a superhero."
All that was missing was a cape for Taylor, who scored three times in the first half as Indy built a 24-7 lead and finished with a season-best 185 yards rushing.
The Colts (6-5) have won five of six to get back into the AFC playoff race. Taylor helped ease the concerns of a team that had squandered three fourth-quarter leads this season.
"It meant a lot. I mean, that's something that we're going to have to do if we want to get to where we want to go at the end of the year," Taylor said. "We're going to have to be able to put games away in the fourth quarter, we're going to have to put points up."
Taylor became the NFL's first player to score five TDs in one game since New Orleans' Alvin Kamara had six TDs rushing in a 52-33 win over Minnesota last Christmas Day, and the first to do so against Buffalo.
Garoppolo again throws two TDs, 49ers dominate Jaguars
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jimmy Garoppolo threw two touchdown passes for the third consecutive week, and the San Francisco 49ers dominated Jacksonville 30-10 on Sunday for their third win in four games.
Coming off their best game of the season – a 31-10 stunner against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night – the 49ers (5-5) traveled cross-country on a short week and looked every bit like a playoff contender for the second time in six days.
They scored on their first five possessions, including opening the game with a 20-play field-goal drive that took more than 13 minutes, and set the tone for what would be another long day for the Jaguars (2-8).
San Francisco ran 33 of the game’s first 37 plays and had more first downs (14) than Jacksonville had yards (12) midway through the second quarter.
Garoppolo completed 16 of 22 passes for 176 yards. He connected with Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle for scores. It was Kittle’s third TD in as many weeks. Deebo Samuel ran eight times for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Jalen Hurts runs for three TDs as Eagles hand Saints third straight loss
PHILADELPHIA – Jalen Hurts ran for three touchdowns, Darius Slay returned an interception for a score and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New Orleans Saints 40-29 on Sunday.
The Eagles (5-6) have won two in a row for the first time this season and rookie coach Nick Sirianni earned his first victory at home in five tries.
The Saints (5-5) dropped their third straight since losing quarterback Jameis Winston to a season-ending ACL injury during a 36-27 win over Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay.
Trevor Siemian threw three touchdown passes and two picks and ran for a score without several missing starters around him. Four-time Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara and tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk didn’t play.
The Eagles led 20-7 with under a minute left in the second quarter when Slay stepped in front of Siemian’s pass intended for Deonte Harris and returned it 51 yards for his third TD in four games. He had a 32-yard fumble recovery for a score against the Lions on Oct. 31 and returned a fumble 82 yards for a TD last week at Denver.
Freeman TD lifts Ravens over Bears with Jackson sidelined
CHICAGO – Subbing for star quarterback Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley led a winning drive capped by Devonta Freeman's 3-yard run with 22 seconds remaining, and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Chicago Bears 16-13 on Sunday.
Jackson was sidelined by illness for the AFC North-leading Ravens (7-3), who ruled him out 90 minutes before kickoff after he took some throws on the field. The 2019 MVP was a full participant in practice Friday after being held out the previous two days. Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday the illness was not COVID-19.
Justin Tucker kicked three field goals, and the Ravens came away with the win after losing the previous week at Miami.
Chicago's Andy Dalton threw two touchdowns, including a 49-yarder to Marquise Goodwin in the closing minutes. Justin Fields had left the game with a rib injury in the third quarter.
The Bears (3-7) lost their fifth straight.
Texans snap eight-game skid by halting Titans' six-game streak
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – David Culley relished a big win a couple of hours from his Tennessee hometown with his brother and sister watching.
Just not enough for the first-year Texans coach to hand out game balls.
"We ain't won enough ballgames to get any game balls," said Culley, a native of Sparta who played at Vanderbilt.
The Texans snapped the NFL's longest active skid by beating the Titans 22-13 to end the league's longest winning streak on a wet and rainy Sunday. The Texans (2-8) came in having lost eight straight since winning their season opener and hadn't scored a TD on the road since Sept. 19.
Desmond King had two of the Texans' four interceptions that tied a franchise record -- three in the fourth quarter to snuff out the Titans' attempted rally. Houston turned those and a muffed punt into 13 points. The Texans also had two sacks.
"It's just huge to get this thing rolling," Houston linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill said. "It's been tough. It's been super tough. To come out here and get a big win on the road against probably one of the best teams in the AFC, that's huge. So, we're excited."
Chiefs lean on D to make life miserable for Prescott, Cowboys in win
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 63 yards and a touchdown in his return from injured reserve, Chris Jones and the Kansas City defense made life miserable for Dak Prescott, and the Chiefs beat the Dallas Cowboys 19-9 on Sunday.
Patrick Mahomes was 23 of 37 for 260 yards with an interception and a fumble for Kansas City, but he was bailed out by a defense that played its best game of the year. Charvarius Ward picked off Prescott in the end zone near the end of the first half, and Chris Jones had 3 1/2 sacks while forcing and recovering a fumble.
The result: The Chiefs (7-4) improved to 4-0 against the NFC East with their fourth straight win overall.
Prescott was held to 216 yards passing and two interceptions for the Cowboys, though he was missing a whole lot of help. Left tackle Tyron Smith missed his third straight game with an ankle injury, Amari Cooper tested positive for COVID-19 and fellow wide receiver CeeDee Lamb sustained a concussion just before halftime.
Ezekiel Elliott, who appeared to tweak his ankle early in the game, finished with nine carries for 32 yards. Linebacker Micah Parsons was the biggest highlight for the Cowboys (7-3), forcing a fumble and piling up three more sacks.
Mixon's two TDs help Bengals snap skid, topple slumping Raiders
LAS VEGAS – Joe Mixon rushed for 123 yards and scored two touchdowns and the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 32-13 on Sunday.
The well-rested Bengals (6-4) came out of their bye week and snapped a two-game skid to climb back into the AFC North race, while the Raiders (5-5) lost their third straight since their bye week when they led the AFC West.
Joe Burrow was 20 of 29 for 148 yards and threw one touchdown for Cincinnati, while Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Ja'Marr Chase hauled in three passes, including one TD. Chase leads all rookies with eight touchdowns this season.
Bengals kicker Evan McPherson became the 13th player with three field goals of 50 yards or more in a game. McPherson finished with four field goals.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati's defence limited the Raiders to 278 yards, the second time the Bengals held an opponent to fewer than 300 yards in a game. It was the third-lowest tally for Las Vegas this season.
McCoy airs it out to lead Cardinals to decisive win over Seahawks
SEATTLE – Colt McCoy was outstanding filling in for Kyler Murray, throwing for 328 yards and two touchdowns, and the Arizona Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks 23-13 on Sunday.
For the second straight season, McCoy was a backup thrust into a starting role in Seattle and walked away with a victory. Last year, McCoy was with the New York Giants. This season, it was with Murray missing a third straight game due to an ankle injury.
McCoy went 35 of 44 and thoroughly outplayed Seattle's Russell Wilson in his first home start since undergoing finger surgery. McCoy threw touchdown passes of 1 and 2 yards to Zach Ertz in the first half, got a bit of luck in the third quarter when a potential interception was overturned on replay, and had his first 300-yard passing game since 2014.
Herbert throws for 382 yards, Chargers hold off Steelers
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Justin Herbert threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams with 2:17 remaining and the Los Angeles Chargers held off the Pittsburgh Steelers 41-37 on Sunday night.
Los Angeles (6-4) had a 27-10 lead going into the fourth quarter before the Steelers (5-4-1) rallied to take a 37-34 lead on Chris Boswell's 45-yard field goal with 3:24 left. Los Angeles took over at the 25 and scored four plays later when Williams was wide open and went untouched up the left sideline.
"We originally called an out route to Keenan, but the cornerback was covering the flat really hard. Justin told me to be ready. I was open and ran straight to the end zone,'' Williams said.
Herbert was 30 of 41 for 382 yards and three touchdowns. He had 90 yards rushing, which is the most by a Chargers quarterback in a game. Keenan Allen had nine receptions for 112 yards, and Williams had 97 yards on five catches.
"We did a great job moving the ball and answering back when we needed to,'' Herbert said. "It got a little too close for sure. We had our opportunities to put it away. The defence did a great job coming up with stops and then we put points up on what was a huge day for us.''
Austin Ekeler had a career-high four touchdowns. Ekeler, who had 115 scrimmage yards (65 receiving, 50 rushing), is the ninth player in the Super Bowl era with at least two rushing and two receiving scores in a game.
The Chargers generated 533 yards of offence, their fourth most since 2000. It is also tied for the eighth most that the Steelers have allowed in a game in franchise history.