NFL weekly round-up
THE Buffalo Bills made sure Tom Brady won’t return from his Deflategate suspension to helm a perfect Patriots team, embarrassing New England 16-0 on October 2 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
The fired-up Bills were pushing and shoving even before the game began, and they kept up the pressure to hand the Pats their first shut-out defeat in the 15-year history of Gillette Stadium.
It was just one upset of a day that started at London’s Wembley Arena with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 30-27 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Jags quarterback Blake Bortles threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another and Jacksonville’s defence repelled Andrew Luck’s fourth-quarter comeback bid as Jacksonville grabbed their first win of the season after an 0-3 start.
The Chicago Bears also picked up their first win of the season, holding Detroit’s potent offense in check in a 17-14 victory.
The New Orleans Saints stormed back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun the San Diego Chargers 35-34 and notch their first win of 2016.
In Baltimore, the upstart Oakland Raiders handed the Ravens their first defeat of the campaign. Derek Carr threw four touchdowns, including a 23-yard pass to Michael Crabtree with less than two minutes remaining in what would be a 28-27 triumph.
For the Patriots, this weekend’s result confirmed that Brady can’t be back soon enough. He became eligible to start practicing with the team on October 3.
New England’s last home shut-out defeat was back in 1993, and the last time they went scoreless was in 2006.
The Bills, meanwhile, held a foe scoreless on the road for the first time since 1990, bringing the Patriots back to earth with a thump after New England managed to start the season 3-0 without Brady.
The Patriots started Jacoby Brissett at quarterback for the second game in a row, but the Bills defence made him look like the rookie he is.
Buffalo linebacker Zach Brown was in on the biggest play of the game when he drilled Brissett in the second quarter to force a fumble and halt New England’s deepest penetration in the game.
The Patriots fumbled five times and had nine penalties.
Things were tense even before kickoff. Brissett, playing with his injured right thumb taped, was jogging down the sideline when the Bills took issue with where he was on the field and safety Robert Blanton shoved him, starting a fracas.
Things didn’t improve for Brissett, who got the starting nod over also-injured Jimmy Garoppolo.
“He’s a third-string quarterback,” Bills linebacker Zach Brown said. “So for us, it was we’ve got to make him look like a third-string quarterback. It’s a great win.”
Bills coach Rex Ryan called the win “satisfying”.
“But let’s face it,” Ryan added. “They had a player out. And we had our team [at full strength]. We expected to win.”
Falcons pummel Panthers
The struggles continued for reigning National Football Conference champions Carolina as the Panthers fell 48-33 to the high-flying Atlanta Falcons.
Matt Ryan’s 503 passing yards was a Falcons club record. He completed four touchdown passes as receiver Julio Jones caught 12 passes for a club record 300 yards and a 75-yard score.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, was knocked out of the contest with a concussion after absorbing a hard hit in the fourth quarter.
The Denver Broncos, who beat the Panthers in last season’s Super Bowl, trounced the Tampa Buccaneers 27-7 to remain undefeated but also saw their quarterback go down as Trevor Siemian departed with a shoulder injury in the second quarter.
There were no QB troubles in Pittsburgh, where Ben Roethlisberger threw four of his five touchdown passes before halftime and the Steelers bounced back from a 34-3 loss to the Eagles with a 4314 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Le’Veon Bell ran for 144 yards in his first game in more than a year. He tore a knee ligament on October 1, 2015, and missed the rest of the season, then was suspended the first three games of this year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. –
Jacoby Brissett (left) of the New England Patriots fumbles the ball as he is hit by Zach Brown of the Buffalo Bills in the first half at Gillette Stadium on October 2.