Seahawks make valiant stand to stop New England
Coaches and well-trained players will tell you that every win is worth the same. They’re wrong. No better examples can be found than the way Seattle, Dallas and Denver won on Sunday. Those victories are the kind that can define a season, catapult you to special things. 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
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
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
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
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 24yarder 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
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
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 2point 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
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
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 thenHouston 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
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
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 highlightreel 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
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. — AP
FOXBOROUGH: New England Patriots defensive backs Duron Harmon (30) and Devin McCourty (32) tackle Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (15) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, in Foxborough, Mass. — AP