Mahomes, Kansas City put on offensive showcase in drubbing of Raiders
Packers win in Rodgers' return, Newton makes triumphant return to Panthers with victory
Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes and returned to his usual form after a surprisingly shaky stretch this season, and Kansas City moved into first place in the AFC West with a 41-14 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Mahomes and the Kansas City (6-4) showed little resemblance to the team that overpowered the AFC the past three seasons over the first nine weeks, raising questions about whether they could make it back to a third straight Super Bowl.
But they used a dominant performance over the Raiders (5-4) on a day everyone else in the division lost to return to the top of the standings.
Two plays later, Mahomes scrambled away from pressure and just before crossing the line of scrimmage lofted a deep pass across his body that Darrel Williams caught for a 38-yard TD that made it 34-14.
Mahomes added a 22-yarder to Byron Pringle and finished 35 for 50 for 406 yards. He also connected on an 8-yarder to Tyreek Hill in the first quarter and then 1-yarders to Hill and rookie tight end Noah Gray.
The Raiders have dropped back-to-back games after a promising start to the season as poor execution and off-field issues have done them in.
Packers shut out Seahawks in Rodgers' return
Aaron Rodgers was uneven in his return from COVID-19 but did more than enough to support a standout Green Bay Packers defence in a 17-0 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
A.J. Dillon rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the Packers, who handed the Seahawks their first shutout loss in a decade.
A week after he was forced to sit out a loss at Kansas City because of a positive COVID-19 test and the subsequent revelation that he was not vaccinated, Rodgers went 23 of 37 for 292 yards and threw an interception in the end zone in the third quarter.
Rodgers did not practice all week and was cleared to play Saturday under the NFL's protocols for unvaccinated players. The QB said before the season he was "immunized," and after his positive test, he detailed in an incendiary radio interview his reasons for seeking alternatives to vaccination and his skepticism about the shots' effectiveness. Rodgers later apologized for the misleading statement about his vaccination status.
Although Rodgers was hardly at his best, his return made this much clear: With him, the Packers (8-2) are among the best teams in the NFC and a Super Bowl contender.
Touchdown #2 for <a href="https://twitter.com/ajdillon7?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ajdillon7</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoPackGo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoPackGo</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SEAvsGB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SEAvsGB</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/CYSkZvvneX">pic.twitter.com/CYSkZvvneX</a>—@NFL
Bucs suffer stunning upset at hands of Washington
Tom Brady threw two interceptions in the first quarter as part of an implosion by the reigning Super Bowl champions, contributing to Washington upsetting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29-19 Sunday while losing Chase Young to injury.
Tampa Bay lost a second consecutive game on either side of its bye week and was dealt an extra blow in the last minute when nose tackle Vita Vea was carted off with an injury on the final play of a 19-play, 80-yard drive over 10:26 that sealed the victory for Washington (3-6).
Brady threw two picks just like the loss to New Orleans two weeks ago and finished 23 of 34 for 220 yards and two touchdown passes.
The Buccaneers (6-3) couldn't find much of a rhythm on either side of the ball in a rematch of their wild-card victory at Washington from January. Brady's interceptions on two of his first six throws — one off the hands of rookie Jaelon Darden and another inexplicable toss that was caught by Washington safety Bobby McCain — disjointed the NFL's best scoring and passing offence, which did not have a first-half touchdown for just the fifth time in the past two seasons.
19 PLAYS. 80 YARDS. OVER TEN MINUTES.<a href="https://twitter.com/WashingtonNFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WashingtonNFL</a> just iced the game with a historic TD drive. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WashingtonFootball?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WashingtonFootball</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBvsWAS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TBvsWAS</a> <a href="https://t.co/pgG0qi9P9V">pic.twitter.com/pgG0qi9P9V</a>—@NFL
Brady bounced back in the second half, throwing TD passes to Cameron Brate and Mike Evans. The 40-yard connection with Evans cut the Buccaneers' deficit to 23-19.
That's where the comeback bid faltered, when Tampa Bay's defence could not stop Washington's offence on the final, clock-draining drive. Coach Ron Rivera lived up to his "Riverboat Ron" nickname by going for it on fourth-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 1-yard line with 31 seconds to go, and Antonio Gibson's second touchdown run of the day put the game away and caused Vea's injury, which could linger for the Buccaneers.
Newton makes emphatic return in win over Cardinals
Cam Newton provided a flashback to his Superman days in his second debut with the Panthers, throwing for one touchdown, running for another and sparking Carolina to a 34-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Newton — the 2015 NFL MVP who was signed by the quarterback-thin Panthers earlier in the week — made his presence felt on his first play of the game, entering on third down and screaming "I'm back!" after barrelling into the right corner of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown.
CAM NEWTON IS BACK.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CARvsAZ?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CARvsAZ</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/6gM8zX7UMX">pic.twitter.com/6gM8zX7UMX</a>—@NFL
On Carolina's next drive, Newton threw a 2-yard TD pass to Robby Anderson as the Panthers (5-5) built a stunning 17-0 lead in the first quarter and a 23-0 advantage by halftime.
The Cardinals (8-2) had the best record in the NFL coming into the game but looked discombobulated from the beginning.
Vikings snap losing skid, hold off Chargers for win
Kirk Cousins threw a pair of touchdown passes to Tyler Conklin, Dalvin Cook rushed for 94 yards and a score, and the Minnesota Vikings bounced back after a trying couple of weeks to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-20 Sunday.
Justin Jefferson had nine receptions for 143 yards to help Minnesota (4-5) snap a two-game losing streak after it squandered late leads to Dallas and Baltimore.
The Vikings came into the game with five players on the COVID-19 list, including starting safety Harrison Smith and centre Garrett Bradbury. They also were missing four other defensive starters because of injuries.
Los Angeles (5-4) has dropped three of its past four.
Eagles stifle Broncos en route to 17-point win
Cornerback Darius Slay returned a fumble 82 yards for a touchdown and rookie DeVonta Smith hauled in two TD passes from Jalen Hurts in the Philadelphia Eagles' 30-13 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
The Eagles (4-6) won for the fourth time on the road and prevented the Broncos (5-5) from sweeping the NFC East teams on their schedule just one week after Denver dominated Dallas in one of the biggest upsets of the season.
The Broncos had trouble punching it in all afternoon, stalling at the Eagles 3, 10 and 11 before Melvin Gordon III took the handoff on fourth-and-1 from the Eagles 23 with the Broncos trailing 20-13 late in the third quarter. He gained the 2 yards necessary for the first down, but he coughed up the football before going down.
Slay scooped the ball from the pile, reversed direction just in front of his 10-yard line and then zig-zagged his way downfield through a smattering of orange jerseys.
Cowboys return to win column with rout of Falcons
Ezekiel Elliott ran for two touchdowns, Nahshon Wright recovered a blocked punt for a score a week after touching one kept Dallas from getting the ball, and the Cowboys routed the Atlanta Falcons 43-3 on Sunday.
Plenty of things that went wrong for the Cowboys in a blowout loss to Denver that ended a six-game winning streak a week ago went right to help the NFC East leaders get back on track.
Offensive execution was among them.
Dallas (7-2) looked much more like the NFL's No. 1 offence with Dak Prescott throwing two TD passes to CeeDee Lamb and Elliott finishing two drives kept alive by fourth-down conversions, all before halftime.
Dak Prescott will run it in! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ATLvsDAL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ATLvsDAL</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/WEQl9pUdrR">pic.twitter.com/WEQl9pUdrR</a>—@NFL
Bills roll past Jets with blowout victory
Josh Allen threw two touchdown passes, Buffalo ran for four scores and the Bills' top-ranked ranked defence intercepted Mike White four times and smothered the New York Jets in a 45-17 victory Sunday.
It was an impressive showing for the Bills (6-3), who rebounded from an embarrassing 9-6 loss at Jacksonville last week by thoroughly dominating the lowly Jets (2-7).
Allen was 21 of 28 for 366 yards with TD passes to Matt Breida and Stefon Diggs with an interception. Breida added a scoring run, as did Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie as Buffalo's offence looked alive and well.
Taron Johnson, Tre'Davious White, Levi Wallace and Jordan Poyer each intercepted White, who made his third straight start for the injured Zach Wilson — and it might have been his last.
Titans edge Saints to extend NFL-best winning streak to 6
Ryan Tannehill ran and threw for touchdowns as the Tennessee Titans held off the New Orleans Saints 23-21 Sunday for their NFL-best sixth straight victory.
The Titans (8-2) also became he second team in NFL history to win five straight over playoff teams from the season before, joining the 2003 Philadelphia Eagles. Tennessee improved to 7-0 overall against 2020 playoff teams this season.
The Saints (5-4) dropped their second straight since losing quarterback Jameis Winston to a season-ending ACL injury.
Against the Titans, they also played without a trio of starters in four-time Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara because of an injured knee, left tackle Terron Armstead (knee and shoulder injuries) and defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson (foot), who was just put on injured reserve.
Patriots overpower undermanned Browns in big win
Mac Jones threw three touchdown passes, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for a career-high 100 yards and two scores, and the New England Patriots rolled to a 45-7 victory over Cleveland Sunday as the Browns lost quarterback Baker Mayfield to a knee injury.
The Patriots (6-4) won their fourth straight game. The Browns (5-5) have dropped four of their last six and haven't won at New England since 1992, when Bill Belichick was their coach.
Jones finished 19 of 23 for 198 yards passing. Hunter Henry added a pair of TD receptions. Playing without star running back Nick Chubb, who missed the game after a positive COVID-19 test, the Browns were held to 217 total yards and were 1 of 11 on third down.
Mac Jones to Hunter Henry for the second time today! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForeverNE?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForeverNE</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CLEvsNE?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CLEvsNE</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/R31oAeWaJN">pic.twitter.com/R31oAeWaJN</a>—@NFL
Mayfield limped off the field after taking a pair of hits in the third quarter.
Edge rusher Deatrich Wise drove Mayfield into the turf and was penalized for roughing the passer. Two plays later, linebacker Matt Judon crunched into Mayfield's midsection, and the QB was slow to get up.
Colts almost fumble lead, narrowly beat Jags
Jonathan Taylor rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown, Indianapolis returned a blocked punt for a score and the Colts' defence held on for a 23-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Indy (5-5) has won four of five to reach .500 for the first time this season.
The Jaguars (2-7) have lost 12 consecutive road games and nine straight against AFC South foes.
Taylor has scored in seven straight games and posted at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of those, both league-highs. He's the fourth player during the Super Bowl era to achieve both feats and he's tied with two-time defending NFL rushing champ Derrick Henry for the league lead with 937 yards.
Steelers tie winless Lions
Playing without star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who entered the COVID-19 protocol on Saturday night, the Steelers slogged their way to a 16-16 tie with the Detroit Lions on Sunday in an ugly nearly four-hour marathon that produced more comedy than highlights.
Mason Rudolph completed 30 of 50 passes for 242 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but struggled with consistency while making a spot start. Najee Harris ran for 105 yards and at times appeared to be Pittsburgh's only legitimate offensive weapon as the Steelers (5-3-1) saw their four-game winning streak halted in the dank mist at rainy Heinz Field.
De'Andre Swift ran for a career-high 130 yards for the Lions (0-8-1), who relied heavily on the run to avoid a ninth straight loss with quarterback Jared Goff rendered almost completely ineffective.
The Steelers fumble with 8 seconds left in OT and the <a href="https://twitter.com/Lions?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lions</a> recover 👀 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DETvsPIT?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DETvsPIT</a> <a href="https://t.co/zu4rY1MqVU">pic.twitter.com/zu4rY1MqVU</a>—@NFL