Banged-up Colts overcome injuries to defeat Cardinals, continue late-season surge
Rodgers becomes Packers' all-time leader in TD passes as Green Bay beats Cleveland
Carson Wentz threw a pair of touchdown passes, Jonathan Taylor ran for 108 yards and the banged-up Indianapolis Colts continued their late-season surge with a gritty 22-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.
The Colts (9-6) have won three straight and six of their past seven. They earned the road win despite missing 2020 All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard — who was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier Saturday — and four starting offensive linemen.
Wentz made the game's biggest play midway through the fourth quarter, when he bounced around in the pocket for a few seconds before hitting Dezmon Patmon for a 14-yard touchdown on a perfectly placed ball in the back of the end zone. That gave the Colts a 22-13 lead.
Arizona's Matt Prater missed two field goals, including a potential go-ahead try early in the fourth quarter, and an extra point.
The Cardinals grabbed a 13-12 lead early in the third quarter when Murray hit Antoine Wesley for a 24-yard touchdown, which was the first of Wesley's NFL career.
WENTZ ➡️ PATMON<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> <a href="https://t.co/o6ulX7qAs0">pic.twitter.com/o6ulX7qAs0</a>—@Colts
Suddenly, the onus was on the Colts' patchwork offence to produce. That wasn't easy for a unit that came into the game missing three starting offensive lineman. By the end of the first half, left tackle Eric Fisher and tight end Jack Doyle were also on the sideline with injuries.
The Colts managed to cobble together a drive late in the third quarter capped by a 37-yard field goal for a 15-13 lead. Indianapolis caught a break a few minutes later in the fourth quarter when Prater's 41-yard field goal bounced off the right upright.
That set up a seven-play, 69-yard Indianapolis drive that ended with Wentz — who completed 18 of 28 passes for 225 yards — connecting with Patmon.
Taylor came into the game as the NFL's leading rusher by a wide margin with 1,518 yards on the ground. That's more than 400 yards ahead of Cincinnati's Joe Mixon, who sits at No. 2.
The Cardinals bounced back quickly after the Colts scored. Murray faked a handoff to Jonathan Ward, made a nice cut and ran 57 yards before being knocked down at the Indy 2. Two plays later, Chase Edmonds burst through the line for a 2-yard touchdown. Prater missed the extra point and the Colts kept a 7-6 lead.
The Colts added a safety late in the second quarter when Murray couldn't handle a low snap. The quarterback picked up the ball and flung it out of the end zone and was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, which is an automatic safety.
Rodgers sets team record as Packers hold off Cleveland
Aaron Rodgers surpassed Brett Favre to become Green Bay's all-time leader in touchdown passes and the Packers intercepted Baker Mayfield four times in a 24-22 victory over Cleveland on Saturday.
Rodgers went 24 of 34 for 202 yards with three touchdown passes to increase his career total to 445. Favre threw 508 touchdown passes during his Hall of Fame career, 442 of them with Green Bay.
But it was Green Bay's defence that sealed this victory by sacking Mayfield five times and forcing him into his first career four-interception performance. All three of the Packers' touchdowns came after Mayfield interceptions. The Packers (12-3) sealed the victory when Rasul Douglas picked off his second pass of the day with 43 seconds left.
Nick Chubb ran for 126 yards and a touchdown to lead Cleveland's 219-yard rushing effort that kept them in the game.
Missing at least eight regulars because of complications related to COVID-19, Cleveland trailed 24-12 in the third quarter but nearly came all the way back.
The 66th TD pass from <a href="https://twitter.com/AaronRodgers12?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AaronRodgers12</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/tae15adams?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tae15adams</a>, setting another <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Packers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Packers</a> record!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CLEvsGB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CLEvsGB</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoPackGo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoPackGo</a> <br><br>📺 FOX, NFLN + PRIME <a href="https://t.co/88aNGBtMcN">pic.twitter.com/88aNGBtMcN</a>—@packers
Cleveland (7-8) narrowed the deficit to 24-22 on Mayfield's 5-yard pass to Anthony Schwartz with 4:31 left. Cleveland then forced a punt and got the ball back at their 25 with 2:05 and three timeouts remaining. They had third-and-10 at the 50 when Douglas picked off Mayfield's pass intended for Donovan Peoples-Jones at the 40.
Darnell Savage and Chandon Sullivan also had interceptions. Rashan Gary had two of the Packers' five sacks against Cleveland, whose offensive line was decimated with left tackle Jedrick Wills and centre JC Tretter both on the COVID-19 list.
Until Cleveland produced their second-half threat, the day belonged to Rodgers, who broke Favre's record by throwing an 11-yard TD pass to Allen Lazard in the first quarter.
'Go get us another Super Bowl'
Rodgers spent his first three NFL seasons backing up Favre before taking over in 2008. Favre sent a message to Rodgers in a video that aired on the Lambeau Field scoreboard after the record-breaking touchdown pass.
"Hey, 12, congratulations, man, on passing my touchdown record," Favre said. "I have one request. Go get us another Super Bowl. Congrats."
Rodgers later threw two touchdown passes to Davante Adams, who had 10 catches for 114 yards. Adams has caught at least 10 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns in eight career games, the most of anyone in NFL history.
The Packers already have clinched the NFC North title and are seeking the conference's top playoff seed as they chase their first Super Bowl berth since their 2010 championship season. They have lost in the NFC championship game each of the last two seasons.