Oct 25, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (93) tackles Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II (21) near the goal line during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Stafford, Lions pull off last-minute triumph over Falcons

Matthew Stafford completed an 11-yard scoring pass to T.J. Hockenson as the clock ran out and Matt Prater’s extra-point conversion gave the visiting Detroit Lions a 23-22 triumph over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

The Lions’ eight-play, 75-yard drive came after Atlanta took the late lead on a 76-yard drive.

A 29-yard pass to Kenny Golladay set up the tying score. Prater’s extra point was taken from 48 yards out after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Stafford threw for 340 yards and Golladay had six catches for 114 yards for the Lions (3-3). Prater kicked three long field goals.

Todd Gurley rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns for the Falcons (1-6). Matt Ryan passed for 338 yards and a score, while Julio Jones caught eight passes for 97 yards.

During Atlanta’s go-ahead drive, Ryan completed three passes to Russell Gage while Gurley picked up a key first down, putting Atlanta in range for a game-winning field goal. The Lions, out of timeouts, essentially allowed Gurley to score on the next play from 10 yards out to preserve clock time with 1:04 left. Ryan then found Calvin Ridley for a 2-point conversion to give the Falcons a 22-16 lead.

Atlanta led 14-10 at halftime on a Gurley rushing touchdown and a Ryan-to-Ridley hookup.

Stafford got the Lions into field-goal range with the clock winding down and Prater booted a 50-yard field goal on the last play of the half to pull Detroit within four points.

Prater drilled a 51-yard field goal midway through the third quarter to make it 14-13.

The Falcons drove inside the Lions 20 early in the fourth quarter. They passed on a field goal try on 4th-and-5 but Ryan threw an incompletion.

Prater missed a 46-yard try with 7:32 remaining, leaving the Lions with a one-point deficit.

He soon got another chance. Romeo Okwara sacked Ryan, who fumbled. Trey Flowers recovered at the Falcons 36-yard line. The Lions failed to pick up a first down, but Prater made a 49-yarder with 3:16 remaining to give his team the lead.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) dives in for the touchdown during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Mayfield throws 5 TDs as Browns top Burrow, Bengals

Baker Mayfield shook off a dreadful start to complete a franchise-record 21 straight passes and toss five touchdowns as the Cleveland Browns survived a big effort from Joe Burrow to beat the Bengals 37-34 on Sunday in Cincinnati.

Mayfield didn’t complete a throw (0-for-5 passing) in the first quarter. But the third-year quarterback finished 22 of 28 for 297 yards, and the five touchdown passes were a career high.

Mayfield’s only incompletion after the string of 21 came on a spike to stop the clock with 16 seconds left and the Bengals leading 34-31. On the next snap, Mayfield found rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones down the right sideline for a 24-yard game-winning touchdown reception with 11 seconds left.

Myles Garrett had two sacks and set a franchise record with a sack in a sixth straight game. Rookie tight end Harrison Bryant caught two touchdowns, and Kareem Hunt had 102 yards from scrimmage and a score as the Browns (5-2) picked up a season sweep over the Bengals (1-5-1).

Rookie quarterback Burrow was sensational as he completed 35 of 47 for a career-high 406 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Wide receiver Tyler Boyd had 11 catches for 101 yards and a score, and fellow flankers Tee Higgins (five catches, 71 yards, one touchdown) and A.J. Green (seven, 82 yards) tormented the Browns’ secondary continuously.

Burrow flipped a 3-yard touchdown to Giovanni Bernard on fourth down with 1:06 remaining to move Cincinnati in front. But Mayfield had enough time to complete three passes and spike the ball before throwing the game-winner.

For a second straight game, Mayfield was picked off on his first pass of the day. Darius Phillips had the honor for the Bengals, and Cleveland wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) was injured in trying to run Phillips down after the turnover. Beckham did not return.

Burrow scored on a 1-yard sneak three plays after the takeaway for a 7-0 lead.

Garrett’s strip-sack on Burrow set up a 43-yard field goal by Cody Parkey to make it 7-3 with 1:21 left in the first quarter.

Mayfield hit Bryant with a pair of touchdowns, a 3-yarder that tied it at 10 in the first half, and a 6-yarder that made the score 17-17 in the third.

Burrow capped a stellar first half by threading an 11-yard touchdown to Boyd with 15 seconds left for a 17-10 lead at the break. Burrow was 20-of-25 passing for 234 yards and the score in the first half.

The Bengals went back up 20-17 with Randy Bullock’s 23-yard field goal with 2:52 left in the third.

Mayfield’s 16-yard touchdown to David Njoku gave the Browns a 24-20 lead early in the fourth, but Burrow answered with a 16-yarder touchdown to Higgins.

Mayfield’s 18th straight completion was to a wide-open Hunt in the left flat for an 8-yard touchdown and a 31-27 Browns lead with 4:53 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is hit by Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams (98) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers edge Titans to remain unbeaten

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns as the Pittsburgh Steelers rode a big first half to a 27-24 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in Nashville.

The Steelers built a 20-point lead in the third quarter, then held on as Stephen Gostkowski missed wide right on a potential tying 45-yard field goal with 19 seconds left.

Pittsburgh (6-0) not only remained unbeaten but also knocked the Titans (5-1) from the ranks of the undefeated.

Roethlisberger was 32 of 49 with three interceptions and two touchdown passes to Diontae Johnson. Benny Snell added a touchdown run.

Ryan Tannehill completed 18 of 30 passes for 220 yards for Tennessee, with scoring passes to Corey Davis and A.J. Brown, who had 153 receiving yards. Derrick Henry ran for 75 yards and a touchdown.

The Steelers ate up 9:18 on the game’s first possession, moving 75 yards in 16 plays and taking a 7-0 lead on Roethlisberger’s 11-yard toss to Johnson, who beat coverage by cornerback Tye Smith.

Next time up, Pittsburgh moved 61 yards in 13 plays and went ahead 14-0 on Snell’s 1-yard sweep.

The Titans put together a 12-play, 75-yard drive and pulled to within 14-7 in the second quarter on Tannehill’s 4-yard scoring pass to Davis, who is just off the COVID-19 list.

The Steelers answered with Chris Boswell’s 38-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.

The Titans offense faltered, and Ray-Ray McCloud returned the resulting punt 57 yards to the Tennessee 17 with 1:35 left in the half. That was enough time for Roethlisberger and Johnson to hook up again, with Johnson spinning away from coverage at the 5 to polish off a 9-yard touchdown play for a 24-7 halftime score.

Boswell tacked on a 30-yarder in the third quarter for a 27-7 advantage.

Brown was untouched as he turned Tannehill’s short pass into a 73-yard scoring play to close it to 27-14.

Jayon Brown’s interception of a Roethlisberger pass set up Gostkowski’s 51-yard field goal to cut it to 27-17 heading into the fourth quarter.

Henry went airborne for a 1-yard touchdown to make it 27-24 with 10:13 left in regulation.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine (22) scores a rushing touchdown in front of Buffalo Bills cornerback Taron Johnson (24) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Bills overcome 10-point deficit to top winless Jets

Rookie Tyler Bass matched the franchise record with six field goals and the Buffalo Bills avoided a devastating defeat by escaping with an 18-10 victory over the winless New York Jets on Sunday afternoon at East Rutherford, N.J.

Josh Allen completed 30 of 43 passes for 307 yards and also rushed for a team-leading 61 yards for Buffalo (5-2), which ended a two-game losing streak. Cole Beasley caught 11 passes for 112 yards, Jerry Hughes had two sacks and one interception, and Dane Jackson also had a pick.

New York’s Sam Darnold returned from a two-game absence due to a shoulder injury to complete 12 of 23 passes for 120 yards and two interceptions. The Jets (0-7), who remain the NFL’s lone winless team, have scored just 20 total points over the past three games.

Bass connected on 6 of 8 attempts with the makes coming from 53, 48, 46, 37, 29 and 40 yards. He equaled the club mark set by Steve Christie, who made six against the Jets in 1996, also at the Meadowlands.

Bass’ fourth field goal of the day, a 37-yarder with 1:37 left in the third quarter, gave Buffalo its first lead of the game at 12-10. He added a 29-yarder with 6:01 left in the contest and a 40-yarder with 1:56 to go.

New York’s final opportunity ended when Hughes grabbed a deflected pass from Darnold for his interception with 1:08 left deep in Jets’ territory.

The Bills had big edges in total offense (422 to 190) and first downs (26 to 17) while completing a regular-season sweep of New York. Buffalo sacked Darnold six times.

Jets coach Adam Gase didn’t call the team’s plays for the first time in his 23 games at the helm. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains handled the duties.

The change was working early as New York had 104 yards and seven first downs in the opening quarter and 186 yards at halftime. But the Jets had just four yards in the second half — 12 in the third quarter and minus-8 in the fourth — as Buffalo took control of the game and racked up 233 second-half yards.

New York scored the game’s first 10 points. Sergio Castillo kicked a 29-yard field goal on the opening drive and La’Mical Perine scored on a 5-yard run with 7:22 left in the first half.

Bass kicked field goals of 53 and 48 yards — the latter on the final play of the first half. Andre Roberts returned the opening kickoff of the second half 58 yards to set up a 46-yarder by Bass that pulled the Bills within 10-9 with 10:35 left in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Malik Taylor (86) celebrates with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rodgers, Packers roll past Texans, 35-20

Aaron Rodgers tossed four touchdown passes, including a pair to Davante Adams, as the Green Bay Packers rolled to a 35-20 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday at NRG Stadium.

Rodgers and the Packers offense enjoyed a bounce-back effort following the poor showing last Sunday in Tampa Bay. Rodgers went 23-of-34 for 283 yards as the Packers (5-1) amassed 22 first downs and went 7-for-12 on third down against Houston (1-6) and its 30th-ranked defense.

Adams notched his second 150-plus-yard, two-touchdown game on the road this season, recording a career-high 13 receptions for 196 yards and touchdowns of 3 and 45 yards.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for 309 yards and two touchdowns but was sacked three times. Houston kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter after a holding penalty on Nick Martin erased a 16-yard gain to the Green Bay 5-yard line and snuffed any shot the Texans had for generating momentum prior to the intermission.

The Packers wasted little time asserting themselves offensively, covering 75 yards over 10 plays on their opening possession, a drive aided by a pair of Houston defensive penalties. Rodgers and Adams posted the first of their two scoring connections as Green Bay grabbed a 7-0 lead.

After the Texans punted on their opening possession for the seventh time, the only team to do so in every game, Rodgers hit Jace Sternberger on a 3-yard scoring pass for a 14-0 lead with 13:33 left in the first half. The Packers responded to the Fairbairn missed kick with a 9-play, 69-yard drive that culminated in a Rodgers scoring pass to Malik Taylor with 14 seconds left.

Even when the Texans found a measure of rhythm offensively, their defense responded by surrendering a scoring drive. Watson tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to David Johnson with 8:55 left in the third quarter that cut the deficit to 21-7 only for Adams to snag a 45-yard touchdown on third down on the ensuing Packers possessions.

Houston followed by squandering a blocked punt by Buddy Howell that yielded possession at the Green Bay 22 and settled for a second consecutive sub-40-yard field goal. Packers safety Adrian Amos sacked Watson on the previous Texans possession to thwart a potential touchdown march for Houston.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas (82) scores a touchdown  as Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (55) defends during the first half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington dumps Dallas to snap five-game skid

Kyle Allen tossed two second-quarter touchdown passes and Antonio Gibson rushed for a career-high 128 yards Sunday as the Washington Football Team snapped a five-game losing streak with a 25-3 defeat of the struggling Dallas Cowboys in Landover, Md.

Allen completed 15 of 25 passes for 194 yards as Washington (2-5) became the latest team to take advantage of the Cowboys’ leaky defense. Washington outgained Dallas 397-142 and controlled the ball for more than 36 minutes.

The lopsided loss for Dallas (2-5) came with more injuries for a team already dealing with plenty of them. After losing starting quarterback Dak Prescott in Week 5 to a season-ending broken ankle, the Cowboys saw backup Andy Dalton leave this game in the third quarter after absorbing an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit from linebacker Jon Bostic.

Bostic was ejected and Dallas had to use its third quarterback in three games, rookie Ben DiNucci. The seventh-round draft pick tried three passes, completing two for 39 yards, but there was little he could do to turn this game around.

Washington’s defense recorded six sacks, including a 16-yard strip-sack on Dalton from Landon Collins in the first quarter. The fumble was recovered in the end zone by Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz for a safety.

On the ensuing drive, Washington went 63 yards in seven plays. Gibson, a rookie from Memphis, capped the march with a 12-yard run at the 3:48 mark for a 9-0 lead.

The Cowboys scored their only points less than two minutes later on Greg Zuerlein’s 45-yard field goal, set up by a 67-yard kickoff return from Tony Pollard.

Allen put the game away in the second quarter. After finding Terry McLaurin on a 52-yard touchdown pass with 9:54 left in the first half, Allen connected with tight end Logan Thomas for a 15-yard score 3:08 before intermission for a 22-3 cushion.

Dustin Hopkins’ 30-yard field goal with 13:23 left in the game was the second half’s only scoring.

Dalton was 9 of 19 for 75 yards and an interception before leaving. The Cowboys said he was being evaluated for a concussion.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) jumps over the line for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Brees totals three TDs as Saints hold off Panthers

Drew Brees passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another as the host New Orleans Saints held off the visiting Carolina Panthers 27-24 on Sunday afternoon.

Brees completed 29 of 36 passes for 287 yards as the Saints (4-2) won their third consecutive game, defeating their NFC South rivals who fell to 3-4.

Teddy Bridgewater, who backed up Brees the last two seasons before signing with the Panthers in the offseason, completed 23 of 28 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns.

Wil Lutz’s 43-yard field goal with 7:59 remaining gave New Orleans a 27-24 lead.

Bridgewater, who helped lead the Saints to a 5-0 record while Brees was sidelined by a thumb injury last season, drove Carolina to the New Orleans 38. But he was sacked by Marcus Davenport on third down at the 47.

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule sent Joey Slye out to try what would have been an NFL-record 65-yard field goal, but Slye’s kick fell just short and the Saints ran out the clock.

Lutz’s 41-yard field goal gave the Saints a 24-17 lead midway through the third quarter.

Curtis Samuel’s 5-yard touchdown run pulled the Panthers even at the end of the third quarter.

The Saints held the football for more than eight minutes on the game’s first possession, driving to Brees’ 4-yard touchdown pass to Jared Cook on the 14th play of the drive.

Slye’s 43-yard field goal on the ensuing possession cut the lead to 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Brees leaped 1 yard for a touchdown before Bridgewater threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Moore, trimming the lead to 14-10.

After a fumble by Brees, Bridgewater’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Moore gave the Panthers their first lead at 17-14 with 1:44 left in the half.

Brees then drove the Saints 75 yards in the final minute and half, throwing a 4-yard touchdown to Deonte Harris with two seconds left in the quarter to take a 21-17 halftime lead.

The Saints allowed season ticket-holders into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the first time this season and the attendance was capped at 3,000.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (14) scrambles from Washington Football Team inside linebacker Cole Holcomb (55) in the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys QB Dalton leaves game after hit to head

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton exited the game in the third quarter Sunday after taking an illegal hit to the head from Washington Football Team linebacker Jon Bostic.

Scrambling up the middle for a 6-yard gain, Dalton was sliding feet-first to the ground when he was struck in the helmet by Bostic’s right shoulder.

Video replays showed Dalton’s head slamming backward into the ground. The cart came out, but he was able to walk to the locker room.

The Cowboys said Dalton was being evaluated for a concussion and would not return.

Bostic drew a 15-yard penalty flag and was ejected from the game with 6:31 remaining in the third quarter.

Rookie Ben DiNucci, a 2020 seventh-round draft pick from James Madison, replaced Dalton with the Cowboys trailing 22-3.

Dalton, who turns 33 on Thursday, was making his second start of the season after replacing the injured Dak Prescott.

The longtime Cincinnati Bengals starter completed 9 of 19 passes for 75 yards and one interception before leaving the game. Dalton was sacked three times and rushed for 16 yards on three carries.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) and teammates celebrate the 52-17 win following the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State climbs to No. 3 in AP Top 25

Ohio State jumped to No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll after opening the season with a 52-17 thumping of Nebraska on Saturday.

No. 1 Clemson (6-0) and No. 2 Alabama (5-0) held their spots and received 52 and 10 first-place votes, respectively.

The Buckeyes (1-0) climbed two places, knocking both No. 4 Notre Dame (5-0) and No. 5 Georgia (3-1) down a rung.

The rest of the top 10 released on Sunday saw Oklahoma State (4-0) holding steady at No. 6, followed by Cincinnati (3-0), Texas A&M (3-1), Wisconsin (1-0) and Florida (2-1).

Ohio State wasn’t the only Big Ten team to make a big move. The Badgers and No. 13 Michigan (1-0) each climbed five spots. No. 17 Indiana (1-0) joined the poll and achieved its highest ranking since 1993 after beating then-No. 8 Penn State (0-1), which tumbled to 18th.

No. 24 Oklahoma (3-2) rejoined the rankings and No. 25 Boise State (1-0) extended its streak to 19 straight seasons with at least one poll appearance.

Dropping out this week were Virginia Tech and North Carolina State of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten’s Minnesota, which fell 49-24 to the Wolverines.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (14) fumbles the ball on a hit by Washington Football Team strong safety Landon Collins (26) in the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington S Collins carted off with ankle injury

Washington Football Team safety Landon Collins was carted off the field with a right ankle injury in the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys and was ruled out.

The injury occurred with 10:48 remaining in the second quarter as Collins pursued scrambling Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton.

Collins’ strip-sack of Dalton halfway through the opening quarter led to a safety and a 2-0 lead for the Washington Football Team. He also had four tackles and a sack before leaving the game.

Collins has played in 81 career games, all starts, with the New York Giants (2015-18) and Washington. The three-time Pro Bowl selection and 2016 All-Pro entered Sunday with 591 tackles, six sacks, nine interceptions, three fumble recoveries and a touchdown in his career.

Washington was up 22-3 at halftime.

–Field Level Media