Keenum, Vikings add to NFC North lead
Case Keenum stood in the pocket to take a hit, dipped his right shoulder to slip out of a sack and shuffled his feet in the pocket to give his receivers more time to get open.
Looking like a savvy winner, instead of a journeyman, he picked apart Detroit’s defense with his arm and made plays with his legs to help the Minnesota Vikings beat the Lions 30-23 Thursday in Detroit.
Keenum threw for two touchdowns and ran for a score in the first half to give the Vikings a doubledigit lead and they went on to win a seventh straight game.
They took a huge step toward winning the NFC North by taking a threegame lead over the secondplace Lions.
Keenum, undrafted out of Houston in 2012, is suddenly 7-2 this season after going 9-15with the Houston Texas and the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams.
The Vikings signed him to be a backup and he has made themost of his opportunities with Sam Bradford injured and Teddy Bridgewater recovering from a knee injury.
Keenum was 21 of 30 for 282 yards with both TD passes going to Kyle Ru- dolph, giving the Vikings a 20-3 lead late in the second quarter.
“Case is amazing because he does so many small things to pick up first downs and keep drives alive,” Rudolph said. “Every time he finds a way to convert another third down, it means we’ve got three more plays to attack the defense. With the number of big-play guys we’ve got now, we can do a lot of damage with those three plays.”
Detroit (6-5) made mistakes in every phase of the game and Minnesota took advantage. Keenum’s 1-yard pass to Rudolph was made a little easier because the Lions had just 10 defenders on the field. And, Keenum’s 9-yard run came after Matthew Stafford was chargedwith a fumble while trying tohand offto Ameer Abdullah. CHARGERS BEAT FADING COWBOYS » Philip Rivers was more than comfortable on the Thanksgiving stage for the first time in his 14 NFL seasons.
Same with Keenan Allen, who didn’t have towait nearly that long.
Rivers threw for 434 yards and three touchdowns, Allen had a careerhigh 172 yards in his second straight huge game and the Los Angeles Chargers beat the fading Dallas Cowboys 28- 6 in Arlington, Texas.
Desmond King returned an interception 90 yards for the punctuating touchdown. The Chargers (5- 6) moved within 1 ½ games of AFC West-leading Kansas City after starting 0- 4 while the Chiefs won their first five.
“Playing on Thanksgiving was everything it was cranked up to be,” said Rivers, who was 27 of 33 in his ninth career 400-yard game . “As a quarterback, you want to play well and throw it to your guys, and we did a lot today. But I’m more excited about our team.”
The defending NFC East champion Cowboys (56) have lost three straight games by at least 20 points for the first time since 2004, all without suspended star running back Ezekiel Elliott in a damaging slide for their fading playoff hopes.
Dallas, playing its 50th Thanksgiving game, finally ended a touchdown drought at a team-record 10 quarters on Rod Smith’s 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys have been outscored 72- 6 in the second half of the three losses. WASHINGTON20, N.Y. GIANTS 10 » Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to compensate for a pick- 6 to lead Washington on a drab field in a drab game between two injury- depleted teams that did not look ready for prime time.
The first half, in particular, was devoid of highlights: The NFC East rivals combined for nine punts and only six points.
But Cousins led Washington (5- 6) on two TD drives in the second half, connecting with Jamison Crowder on a 15-yarder in the third quarter that broke a 3-all tie, and with Josh Doctson on a 14-yarder with 3 ½ minutes remaining in the game.
In the second half, the Giants (2- 9) had one possession end with an interception by Eli Manning, four end with punts and another when they turned the ball over on downs.
Vikings quarterback Case Keenum pulls away from the Lions defense to score on a 9-yard run Thursday.