Falcons hold on to beat Lions 30-26 thanks to NFL rule
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (18) and teammates celebrate his 40-yard touchdown run during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford's pass to Golden Tate was ruled to be just short of the goal line in the final seconds, overturning the call on the field and allowing the Atlanta Falcons to hold on for a 30-26 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Stafford threw a slant to Tate and a video review determined he was down just inside the 1 with 8 seconds left. By rule, 10 seconds had to run off the clock, and that ended the game because the Lions didn't have any timeouts.
Former NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino, now a Fox analyst, explained the call in a tweet:
"To recap in DET: ruling on the field was a TD which stops the clock. After review, Tate was short which would have kept the clock running ... This carries a 10-sec runoff. Had the call on the field been correct initially, the clock would have run out. That's the spirit of the rule."
The defending NFC champion Falcons (3-0) overcame Matt Ryan's three interceptions and many other mistakes, including on Detroit's last drive.
Detroit (2-1) never led in the game and failed to pull off another comeback in the fourth quarter.
EAGLES 27, GIANTS 24
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jake Elliott kicked a 61-yard field goal as the clock expired.
Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including a 77-yard score to Sterling Shepard, but Philadelphia (2-1) rallied twice.
Carson Wentz tossed a 19-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery to set up Elliott's kick. The rookie was a fifth-round pick by the Bengals and joined the Eagles after Caleb Sturgis was injured in Week 1. He was carried off the field by two teammates.
Elliott hit a 46-yard field goal to tie it with 51 seconds left after Aldrick Rosas kicked a 41-yarder to put the Giants ahead.
The Giants (0-3) hadn't scored 20 points in eight straight games before Manning led them to 21 in a span of 5:21. He tossed TD passes of 10 yards and 4 yards to Odell Beckham Jr. to tie it at 14. Manning then connected over the middle to Shepard, who broke a couple tackles and sprinted all the way for a 21-14 lead.
But Philadelphia (2-1) answered quickly. A 36-yard penalty for pass interference on Eli Apple put the ball at the 15 and rookie Corey Clement ran in on the next play for his first career TD to make it 21-21.
PATRIOTS 36, TEXANS 33
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady connected with Brandin Cooks for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left, his fifth TD throw of the game.
Brady finished 25 of 35 for 378 yards as New England (2-1) won its fifth straight regular-season meeting with Houston (1-2) and seventh of eight overall.
Cooks caught five passes for 131 yards and pair of scores. It was the fifth multi-touchdown game and eighth 100-yard game of his career.
Texans rookie Deshaun Watson was strong in his second career start. The Patriots were thin on the edge without linebacker Dont'a Hightower for the second straight week, and Watson took advantage, completing 22 of 33 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
But he did have two interceptions, including one that set up a New England first-half touchdown.
The Patriots extended their halftime lead to 28-20 in the third quarter before Houston used a 12-yard TD pass from Watson to Ryan Griffin, and a 31-yard Ka'imi Fairbairn field goal to edge back in front 30-28 early in the fourth quarter.
The Texans forced New England to punt with just over seven minutes to play, but had to settle for a 36-yard Fairbairn field goal with 2:24 left. Houston failed on a third-and-1 at the Patriots 18.
That left Brady room.
BEARS 23, STEELERS 17, OT
CHICAGO (AP) — Jordan Howard scored on a 19-yard run in overtime to lead the Bears.
Howard's winning score came two plays after rookie Tarik Cohen broke off an electric run for what appeared to be a 73-yard winning touchdown. But he was ruled out at the Pittsburgh 37. Howard took over from there, and the Bears (1-2) came away with a surprising victory.
Howard had 138 of Chicago's 220 yards rushing, making up for a lackluster performance by quarterback Mike Glennon.
The Steelers (2-1) stayed off the sideline for the national anthem in the wake of President Donald Trump's comments that players who kneel in protest should be fired. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, an Army veteran, stood near the tunnel with his hand over his heart.
Once the game ended, they found themselves in a familiar spot — losing to a lesser team and losing in Chicago, where they are 1-13.
Marcus Cooper committed an inexplicable fumble after the Bears blocked a field goal in the closing seconds of the half. With a clear path to the end zone, he slowed down and had the ball poked away at the 1.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards and a touchdown. Antonio Brown had 110 yards receiving and a touchdown.
BILLS 26, BRONCOS 16
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdowns and the Bills intercepted Trevor Siemian twice in the final 19 minutes.
Taylor went 20 of 26 for 213 yards with a 2-yard touchdown to Andre Holmes and a 6-yarder to Charles Clay. Taylor got lucky on the touchdown pass to Holmes , as the ball deflected off the hands of Zay Jones just inside the goal line and bounced directly to Holmes in the back of the end zone.
The Bills (2-1) overcame their struggling running attack courtesy of Taylor's arm and a stout defense in a game LeSean McCoy was limited to 21 yards on 14 carries. Though he had seven catches for 48 yards, McCoy's latest poor outing came after he was limited to 9 yards rushing in a 9-3 loss at Carolina.
The Bills allowed just one touchdown, while Brandon McManus rounded out Denver's scoring with three field goals.
In falling to 2-1, the Broncos turned over the ball on each of their final four possessions, with Siemian being intercepted by E.J. Gaines and Tre'Davious White. The Broncos also turned the ball over twice on downs.
JETS 20, DOLPHINS 6
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Josh McCown threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, Bilal Powell ran for a score, and the Jets' defense dominated Jay Cutler and the Dolphins.
While a lot of the focus heading into the season was on whether the revamped Jets roster would be good enough to win any games, New York made Miami look like the team in the middle of a rebuild.
McCown finished 18 of 23 for 249 yards, Chandler Catanzaro kicked two field goals, and the Jets (1-2) forced Cutler and the Dolphins (1-1) into mistakes all game. The Jets also avoided their first 0-3 start since 2003.
New York just missed having its first shutout since blanking Cincinnati 37-0 on Jan. 13, 2010 — in the Jets' last game at the old Giants Stadium. Cutler threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker on the final play. Cody Parkey missed the extra point, capping a miserable day for Miami in 88-degree heat at MetLife Stadium.
JAGUARS 44, RAVENS 7
LONDON (AP) — Marcedes Lewis caught three of Blake Bortles' four touchdown passes as the Jaguars won in their fifth game in Britain's capital.
Allen Hurns and Leonard Fournette also scored touchdowns for the Jaguars (2-1), who have won each of their last three games played at the venue. This one, by far, was the easiest. The Ravens (2-1) managed just 186 yards of total offense, including minus-1 yard in the first quarter. They managed 15 yards in the first half, and picked up only 12 first downs.
A 6-yard pass from Ryan Mallett, who entered in relief of Joe Flacco in the fourth quarter, to Benjamin Watson with 3:24 remaining prevented the shutout. It was their worst defeat since Nov. 9, 1997, when they lost 37-0 at Pittsburgh.
Baltimore crossed midfield three times — and not until the third quarter, when Terrance West gained 7 yards to reach the Jaguars 45.
On the next play, West failed to secure a handoff and fumbled, leading to linebacker Telvin Smith returning it 52 yards to set up Lewis' third touchdown.
Jacksonville punctuated the victory with a fake punt minutes later, with Corey Grant taking a direct snap 58 yards before Fournette punched the ball in from the 3.
VIKINGS 34, BUCCANEERS 17
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Case Keenum gave Minnesota a brilliant performance in relief of Sam Bradford, passing for three touchdowns and a career-high 369 yards without a turnover.
Stefon Diggs had 173 yards receiving and caught two of Keenum's throws for scores, one short and one long .
Dalvin Cook produced 169 total yards plus his first NFL touchdown , which capped a 75-yard drive by the Vikings (2-1) to start the game.
They never slowed down, building a 28-3 lead by early in the third quarter on their way to compiling 494 yards.
Trae Waynes and Harrison Smith each picked off Jameis Winston in the end zone , and Andrew Sendejo returned an interception 36 yards in the fourth quarter to set up one of two field goals by Kai Forbath.
Winston completed 28 of 40 passes for 328 yards, but the Buccaneers (1-1) simply couldn't overcome having to play from behind all afternoon. They converted only one of six third downs.
COLTS 31, BROWNS 28
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jacoby Brissett ran for two touchdowns, threw for another and the Colts held off Cleveland's late charge.
Brissett, acquired in a trade with New England earlier this month, looked much more comfortable in his second start, going 17 of 24 with 259 yards and running five times for 14 yards. Indy (1-2) avoided its first 0-3 start in six years.
Cleveland (0-3) lost its 15th consecutive road game despite being favored for the first time since 2015 and a road favorite for the first time since 2012.
Brissett was the primary reason for the Browns' latest loss. He started the scoring with a 5-yard TD run, broke a 7-7 tie by spinning away from pressure and scooting 7 yards for his second score, then hooked up with T.Y. Hilton on a 61-yard TD pass to make it 21-7 — all in the first half.
Frank Gore's 4-yard scoring run made it 28-7.
Cleveland spent the rest of the game playing catch-up, but had two second-half scoring chances snuffed out by Rashaan Melvin's interceptions.
SAINTS 34, PANTHERS 13
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Drew Brees shredded the league's top-ranked defense, throwing for three touchdowns and 220 yards. Brees led six scoring drives and threw TD passes to Michael Thomas, Brandon Coleman and ex-Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. as the Saints avoided an 0-3 start. Rookie Alvin Kamara put the game away with a 25-yard TD run with 4:42 left.
Carolina (2-1) had allowed six points in its previous two games.
The Saints' defense, which came in ranked 32nd in the league, intercepted Cam Newton three times and sacked him four times before he was replaced late in the fourth quarter. Many of Newton's throws were either too hard or high as the seventh-year quarterback continued to struggle with his rhythm following offseason shoulder surgery.
The Panthers, who were already without injured Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, lost wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the first quarter to a knee injury; his leg got bent back awkwardly after being dragged down from behind. Carolina's only real offense came from rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, who had 101 yards receiving on nine catches.
PACKERS 27, BENGALS 24
GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (AP) — Mason Crosby kicked a 27-yard field goal with 6:26 left in overtime set up by Aaron Rodgers' 72-yard pass to Geronimo Allison. Crosby's kick completed the Packers' comeback from a 21-7 halftime deficit.
On third-and-10 from his 21, Rodgers took advantage of yet another free play after defensive end Michael Johnson was whistled for offside. Officials let the play continue and the two-time NFL MVP found Allison on about a 40-yard pass before the receiver beat a couple defenders for more yards.
Crosby took care of the rest for the Packers (2-1).
The winless Bengals (0-3) won the toss in overtime but went three-and-out on their opening drive. It was so loud at Lambeau Field that they had to call timeout before their first overtime snap.
Rodgers thrived under the pressure. Rodgers finished 28 of 42 for 313 yards with three touchdowns and one score. Allison had six catches for 122 yards.
CHIEFS 24, CHARGERS 10
CARSON, California (AP) — Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes in the first 9 ½ minutes against what used to be his hometown team, Terrance Mitchell had two interceptions and rookie Kareem Hunt scored on a 69-yard run.
The Chiefs (3-0) beat the Chargers for the seventh straight time and have won 12 straight AFC West games. Los Angeles' Philip Rivers threw three interceptions and the Chargers fell to 0-3 in their first season playing in the 27,000-seat StubHub Center after moving from San Diego.
After a quick start, the Chiefs held on through a defensive struggle in the second half. They got two huge plays in the closing minutes: Justin Houston's sack of Rivers and then Hunt's sensational run when he cut back against the flow and raced 69 yards down the left sideline with 1:49 left. The rookie finished with 172 yards on 17 carries.
The game couldn't have started more differently for Smith, who grew up in the San Diego area, and Rivers.
Rivers was intercepted by Mitchell on the game's third play from scrimmage. Four plays later, Smith hit Tyreek Hill on a 30-yard touchdown pass.
TITANS 33, SEAHAWKS 27
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Marcus Mariota threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns as the Titans scored 21 straight points in rallying to beat the Seahawks.
Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray rushed for 115 yards, including a 75-yard TD run. Ryan Succop also kicked four field goals as Tennessee (2-1) scored at least 30 points for a second straight week.
The Seahawks (1-2) finally scored a bunch of touchdowns with Russell Wilson throwing for 373 yards and four TDs. His second TD, a 10-yarder to Chris Carson , put Seattle up 14-9 in the third quarter.
Then the Titans took control with Mariota answering with TDs on the next two drives for Tennessee.
Wilson pulled Seattle within 33-27 with his fourth TD, an 8-yarder to Paul Richardson with 1:50 left. But Titans tight end Delanie Walker recovered Seattle's onside kick. The Seahawks had one last chance with the Titans lined up to punt on fourth-and-3 with 11 seconds left. Then officials flagged the Seahawks for 12 men in the formation, giving Tennessee the clinching first down.
REDSKINS 27, RAIDERS 10
LANDOVER, Maryland (AP) — Kirk Cousins threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns and Chris Thompson had 188 all-purpose yards and a score as Washington sacked Derek Carr four times and held Oakland to 128 yards in a dominating victory.
Cousins was a spectacular 25 of 30, including TD passes to Thompson, Vernon Davis and a 52-yarder to Josh Doctson. Thompson had 150 yards receiving and 38 yards rushing, joining Jamaal Charles as the only running backs to put up 150 yards receiving against the Raiders (2-1) since they moved to Oakland in 1995.
Thompson was again a difference maker and has four of Washington's seven offensive touchdowns this season. The Redskins (2-1), who piled up 472 yards, improved to 4-6 in prime-time games under coach Jay Gruden and tied the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East.
Under pressure all night, Carr was 19 of 31 for 118 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Carr had thrown 112 consecutive passes before being picked off by Montae Nicholson on the second play of the game.