Bengals keep Browns win­less de­spite Grif­fin’s re­turn from in­jury

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS -

CLEVE­LAND | Robert Grif­fin III re­turned from in­jury but couldn’t keep Cleve­land from fall­ing closer to in­famy as the Cincinnati Bengals built a big early lead and held off the win­less Browns 23-10 on Sun­day in the snow.

Andy Dal­ton threw two touch­down passes to Tyler Eifert as the Bengals (5-7-1) kept their play­off chances pul­sat­ing for an­other week.

Grif­fin started for the first time since get­ting hurt in the opener. He couldn’t pro­duce a win for the Browns (0-13).

RG3 did score on a 1-yard sneak in the third quar­ter, but the Browns lost their 16th straight dat­ing to Dec. 13 last sea­son. Cleve­land has lost 23 of 24 and 31 of 34 since the end of 2014.

The Browns have three games left to avoid join­ing the 2008 Detroit Lions as the NFL’s only 0-16 teams. They are mak­ing history with ev­ery loss. They are the sev­enth team since 1962 to start 0-13, join­ing the ‘08 Lions, 1980 Saints, 1976 Buccaneers, 2011 Colts, 2007 Dolphins and 1962 Raiders.

Grif­fin fin­ished 12 of 28 for 104 yards. Isa­iah Crow­ell was a bright spot for Cleve­land, rush­ing for 113 yards on 10 car­ries. Dal­ton, who has had some of his best games against Cleve­land, con­nected twice in the first half with Eifert as the Bengals bul­lied the NFL’s worst team for 30 min­utes.

Buccaneers 16, Saints 11

TAMPA, FLA. | Streak­ing Tampa Bay bol­stered its play­off hopes by build­ing an early lead and hold­ing off Drew Brees and New Or­leans for its fifth straight vic­tory.

Doug Martin scored on a 1-yard run, Roberto Aguayo kicked three field goals and an im­prov­ing de­fense in­ter­cepted Brees three times while hold­ing the NFL pass­ing leader with­out a touch­down pass.

Brees be­gan the day lead­ing the league in com­ple­tions, at­tempts, com­ple­tion per­cent­age, pass­ing yards and TD passes, but failed to throw for a touch­down for the sec­ond straight week, the first time he’s done that in con­sec­u­tive games since 2009.

Safety Keith Tandy picked off the quar­ter­back’s fi­nal pass on fourth-and-1 from near mid­field in the fi­nal minute.

The Bucs (8-5) have won five straight for the first time since 2002, the sea­son they went on to win their only Su­per Bowl.

Titans 13, Bron­cos 10

NASHVILLE, TENN. | DeMarco Mur­ray ran for 92 yards and a touch­down, and the Titans held on to and keep a piece of first place in the AFC South. With the win, the Titans (7-6) also climbed above .500 for the first time all sea­son.

The Titans came in with the NFL’s third-best rush­ing of­fense and the AFC’s top run­ner in Mur­ray, and they ran right over a Den­ver de­fense that came in 28th in that cat­e­gory. By half­time, the Titans ran 26 times for 138 yards — the sec­ond-most rushes by any team in the first half this sea­son and most al­lowed in the first half by Den­ver since 2014.

Ten­nessee then had to hold on as Trevor Siemian tried to rally Den­ver (8-5) de­spite a sprained left foot that kept him out last week. He threw a 3-yard TD pass to Em­manuel San­ders with 9:58 left and drove the Bron­cos to first-and-goal at the Ten­nessee 7 be­fore rookie Aaron Wal­lace sacked him.

Coach Gary Ku­biak set­tled for a 34-yard field goal by Bran­don McManus on fourth-and-goal at the 16 with 4:28 left.

Siemian was driv­ing the Bron­cos again when A.J. Derby fum­bled af­ter a catch. Safety Daimion Stafford re­cov­ered with 53 sec­onds left, and the Titans fin­ished off their big­gest win in years.

Packers 38, Seahawks 10

GREEN BAY, WIS. | Aaron Rodgers passed for 246 yards and three touch­downs and Green Bay routed Seat­tle.

Seat­tle’s Rus­sell Wil­son threw a ca­reer-high five in­ter­cep­tions and the Packers (7-6) won their third straight game to keep their play­off hopes alive.

They’re two games back of first-place Detroit in the NFC North, but play divi­sion op­po­nents in the last three weeks of the sea­son.

Green Bay gained more than 300 yards in the first game for the Seahawks (8-4-1) with­out for­mer Al­lPro safety Earl Thomas, who is out for the sea­son with a bro­ken leg.

Rodgers set the tone on the open­ing drive af­ter con­nect­ing with re­ceiver Da­vante Adams on a per­fectly-thrown pass down the right side­line for a 66-yard touch­down. Corner­back Jeremy Lane slipped on the play.

Steelers 27, Bills 20

OR­CHARD PARK, N.Y. | Le’Veon Bell scored three times and set a fran­chise record with 236 yards rush­ing in find­ing trac­tion on a slick, snow-cov­ered field.

The Steelers over­came three in­ter­cep­tions thrown by Ben Roeth­lis­berger to win their fourth straight and im­prove to 8-5 and keep pace in the AFC play­off race. The loss all but math­e­mat­i­cally elim­i­nated the Bills (6-7) from con­tention, and puts them in jeop­ardy of ex­tend­ing the NFL’s long­est ac­tive play­off drought to 17 years — the long­est since New Or­leans ended a 20-year drought by reach­ing the post­sea­son for their first time in 1987.

Af­ter scor­ing in the first half on 3- and 7-yard runs, Bell put the game away on the open­ing drive of the third quar­ter. He had nine rushes for 72 yards alone and capped the 82-yard drive by waltz­ing into the end zone from 5 yards

Bell also had 62 yards re­ceiv­ing to ac­count for 298 of the 460 yards gained by Pitts­burgh. It was the sec­ond three-TD game of his ca­reer, and first in which he scored three times rush­ing. Bell broke the fran­chise rush­ing record set by Wil­lie Parker, who had 223 yards against Cleve­land on Dec. 7, 2006

Fal­cons 42, Rams 14

LOS AN­GE­LES | Matt Ryan passed for 237 yards and three touch­downs and At­lanta forced five turnovers to beat the Los An­ge­les.

Deion Jones re­turned an in­ter­cep­tion 33 yards for a touch­down, and Vic Beasley forced a fum­ble by Jared Goff and re­turned it for an­other TD dur­ing At­lanta’s com­pre­hen­sive pum­mel­ing of the Rams (4-9), who have lost four straight and eight of nine in their in­creas­ingly mis­er­able home­com­ing sea­son.

Tevin Cole­man caught a TD pass and rushed for an­other score for the Fal­cons (8-5), who opened up a 42-point lead in the third quar­ter and stayed atop the NFC South with their fourth win in six games.

Vikings 25, Jaguars 16

JACK­SONVILLE, FLA. | Matt Asi­ata scored on a short touch­down run, Kai For­bath kicked four field goals and the Vikings won for just the sec­ond time in nine weeks.

Asi­ata had a chance to score three times, but he was stopped on a fourth-and-goal run in the sec­ond quar­ter and fum­bled at the goal line in the fourth. Those mis­takes hardly hurt against the hap­less Jaguars (2-11), who dropped their eighth con­sec­u­tive game and fell to 0-6 at EverBank Field this sea­son.

Min­nesota (7-6) hadn’t won on the road since Sept. 25 at Carolina. A loss to the Jaguars would have weak­ened their play­off chances.

Sam Brad­ford com­pleted 24 of 34 passes for 292 yards and a touch­down. His 3-yard TD toss to Kyle Ru­dolph with 2:13 re­main­ing sealed the vic­tory.

Vikings coach Mike Zim­mer re­turned af­ter a one-game ab­sence and was on the side­line. Zim­mer missed last week’s game against Dal­las be­cause of a de­tached retina and was un­sure ear­lier in the week whether he would be on the field or in an up­stairs box. Zim­mer, who needed a doc­tor’s clear­ance to fly to Jack­sonville, was wear­ing a patch over his right eye. He also had pro­tec­tive glasses on be­fore­hand, but ditched those when the game started.

Tex­ans 22, Colts 17

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS | La­mar Miller scored Hous­ton’s only touch­down and the Tex­ans de­fense stopped An­drew Luck on Indy’s fi­nal drive. Hous­ton (7-6) re­tained a share of the AFC South lead with Ten­nessee by end­ing its three-game los­ing streak.

The Tex­ans won for the sec­ond straight year in Indy, have won nine straight against divi­sion foes and got their first sweep of the Colts in fran­chise history. Luck drove the Colts (6-7) to the Tex­ans 42-yard line with 1:24 left. But on fourth-and-1, a blitz forced an er­rant screen pass to Robert Turbin.

Panthers 28, Chargers 16

CHAR­LOTTE, N.C. | Carolina’s de­fense forced five turnovers by Philip Rivers and had five sacks and a safety.

Cam New­ton was a pedes­trian 10 of 27 for 160 yards with one touch­down pass and one in­ter­cep­tion for Carolina (5-8), which snapped a two-game los­ing streak and kept its slim play­off hopes alive. Jonathan Ste­wart ran for 66 yards and a touch­down and Gra­ham Gano had four field goals.

But it was Carolina’s de­fense that set the tone early — and later put the game away.

De­spite play­ing with­out mid­dle line­backer Luke Kuechly and de­fen­sive end Charles John­son, the Panthers had four sacks on Rivers and forced three turnovers in the first half to build a 23-7 lead.

Dolphins 26, Cardinals 23

MIAMI GAR­DENS, FLA. | Ryan Tan­nehill threw three touch­down passes be­fore be­ing side­lined with a knee in­jury, and An­drew Franks kicked a 21-yard field goal as time ex­pired.

Tan­nehill limped to the locker room late in the third quar­ter af­ter be­ing hit around the legs by de­fen­sive tackle Calais Camp­bell as he re­leased a com­ple­tion. The Dolphins led 21-9 when Tan­nehill de­parted, and backup Matt Moore failed to lead Miami to a first down in his first three series.

Lions 20, Bears 17

DETROIT | Matthew Stafford ran for a go-ahead, 7-yard touch­down with 3:17 left af­ter throw­ing two in­ter­cep­tions in the fourth quar­ter, one that was re­turned for a score on the previous pos­ses­sion.

Matt Barkley com­pleted two passes that put the Bears in a po­si­tion to at least at­tempt a ty­ing field goal in the fi­nal minute, but both were negated by penal­ties, be­fore Chicago turned over the ball on downs from the Detroit 44.

Jets 23, 49ers 17

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. | Bi­lal Pow­ell ran for 145 yards, in­clud­ing the game-end­ing 19-yard touch­down in over­time, to help Bryce Petty and New York rally from 14 points down.

Petty threw an in­ter­cep­tion on his first pass of the game and the Jets (4-9) trailed 14-0 less than 5 min­utes into the game. San Fran­cisco (1-12) led 17-3 at half­time, but fell flat af­ter that and lost a fran­chise-worst 12th straight game.

Pow­ell took over from there and scored his sec­ond TD of the game on New York’s first pos­ses­sion of over­time af­ter Petty’s scram­ble and 26-yard pass to Robby An­der­son put the Jets in field goal range.


Cleve­land quar­ter­back Robert Grif­fin III started for the first time since get­ting hurt in the sea­son opener, but the Browns re­mained win­less with a 23-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sun­day.

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