The Pittsburgh Steelers rallied behind Ben Roethlisberger to remain the lone unbeaten team in the NFL, beating error-prone Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens 28-24 Sunday in a duel for first place in the AFC North.
Roethlisberger threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes to bring Pittsburgh (7-0) back from a 10-point halftime deficit. After completing only four passes for 24 yards in the first half, the 38-year-old finished 21 for 32 for 182 yards.
Jackson threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles, turnovers that helped Pittsburgh stay within striking distance until its offence finally got on track.
The Steelers led 28-24 when the Ravens (5-2) faced a fourth-and-3 at the Pittsburgh 8 with 2 minutes left. Jackson ran a quarterback draw and lost the ball while being stopped short.
Baltimore got the ball back and moved to the Pittsburgh 23 before Jackson’s pass in the end zone was broken up on the final play.
Earlier, Robert Spillane took an interception back for a score to end Baltimore’s first possession; Jackson lost a fumble inside the Pittsburgh 5; and Alex Hightower set up a Steelers touchdown by picking off a pass on Baltimore’s initial offensive play of the second half.
Jackson went 13 for 28 for 208 yards and two interceptions, the most he’s had in a regular-season game since throwing three against Pittsburgh in October 2019.
After Hightower’s pick, Roethlisberger threw an 18-yard TD pass to Eric Ebron. The Steelers then went ahead 21-17 on a 1-yard touchdown run by James Conner.
Baltimore had scored in every quarter this season before being blanked in the third period.
Jackson made it 24-21 with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown with 11:52 to go, but Roethlisberger answered with an 80-yard drive capped by an 8-yard TD pass to rookie Chase Claypool.
The game carried the intensity expected when longtime division rivals clash in a showdown for first place. There were hard hits, late hits and head butts, the latter occurring when Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters popped Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson during a confrontation away from the play.
That brought players from both teams near the Baltimore sideline. Late in that fray, Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon was ejected for making contact with an official. It appeared the slap to the arm occurred while Judon was trying to break free from the grasp of an assistant coach.
Ravens All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley left with an ankle injury in the first quarter after being accidentally undercut by Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt. Stanley had an air cast applied to his left leg and was carted off the field.
A heavy rain let up just before the opening kickoff, but the combination of a wet field and two strong defences resulted in a first quarter with three turnovers — two by Jackson.
After Pittsburgh went up 7-0 on Spillane’s 33-yard touchdown, the Ravens pulled even on a 6-yard touchdown catch by Miles Boykin. Baltimore then drove inside the Steelers 10 before Bud Dupree jostled the ball from Jackson’s grasp and Vince Williams recovered at the 4.
Mahomes powers Chiefs past Jets
Patrick Mahomes did just about everything for the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
He even toted Tyreek Hill back to the sideline after a touchdown catch.
In near-flawless execution of coach Andy Reid’s run-pass option attack, the reigning Super Bowl MVP threw for 416 yards and five touchdowns, leading the AFC West-leading Chiefs to a 35-9 romp over the winless New York Jets.
Hill wound up with two of the touchdown catches.
Travis Kelce added 109 yards receiving and a touchdown, Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson also scored, helping the Chiefs (7-1) give Andy Reid his 229th win to move into a tie with Curly Lambeau for the fifth most in NFL history.
Le’Veon Bell, getting a crack at the Jets just a few weeks after they released him, was held to just 7 yards rushing with three catches for another 31 yards — though it wasn’t as if Kansas City needed him.
Darnold, who was without top receivers Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman because of injuries, was just 18 of 30 for 133 yards as the Jets fell to 0-8 for the first time since the 1996 team of Rich Kotite.
The Chiefs were astounding 19-point favourites coming into the game, and the opening series made it clear that wouldn’t be nearly enough. Mahomes was 5 of 5 for 85 yards, and he finished off the 90-yard drive with a 30-yard pass to Hardman.
Great team win! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChiefsKingdom?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ChiefsKingdom</a>
While the Jets answered with the first of three first-half field goals, the Chiefs kept scoring touchdowns.
Mahomes threw a dart over the middle to Hill for a 36-yard touchdown on their next drive, then he flipped a nifty pass underneath the Jets coverage to Kelce for his third TD pass of the half and a 21-9 lead at the break.
Mahomes hit Robinson from 26 yards out for his fourth TD pass, giving Kansas City a 28-9 lead late in the third quarter.
Mahomes capped his big day with his second touchdown throw to Hill early in the fourth. His five TD passes were second only to a pair of six-TD games he had against the Steelers and Rams — incidentally, the Jets have four touchdown passes all season — and his yardage total was the fourth most of his career.
Tagovailoa wins debut against Rams
Tua Tagovailoa threw his first career touchdown pass and then let his teammates take over with a succession of big plays, and the Miami Dolphins stamped themselves as playoff contenders Sunday by earning their third consecutive win, 28-17 against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Dolphins struck for scores 75 seconds apart on Andrew Van Ginkel’s 78-yard fumble return and Jakeem Grant’s team-record 88-yard punt return. They came up with four takeaways in the first half and at halftime led 28-10 despite being outgained 224-54.
The big plays helped Tagovailoa overcome a costly early turnover in his first NFL start. The No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft finished 12 of 22 for 93 yards.
Los Angeles’ Jared Goff went 35 for 61 for 355 yards and one score with two interceptions and two lost fumbles.
The Rams (5-3) did manage to give Tagovailoa a jarring NFL welcome. The first time the rookie tried to throw, the ball came loose when his arm was hit by Aaron Donald, and Tagovailoa was then driven to the turf by Michael Brockers as Leonard Floyd recovered the fumble.
Los Angeles scored a touchdown three plays later for a 7-0 lead.
Tagovailoa capitalized on their first takeaway by throwing a 3-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker. Tagovailoa retrieved the ball as a souvenir and carried it to the sideline, where the former Alabama star entertained teammates with a celebratory dance.
The Rams were threatening when Emmanuel Ogbah forced a fumble by sacking Goff. Van Ginkel scooped the ball up with nothing but open field in front of him and sprinted the distance to give Miami a 14-7 lead.
Barely a minute later, Grant sprinted through a seam in the Rams’ punt coverage for his fifth career return TD, and his third punt return for a score, both franchise records.
Shaq Lawson’s strip-sack of Goff and Kyle Van Noy’s return gave the Dolphins the ball at the 1, and they scored on the next play for a 28-7 lead.
Bills beat Patriots on Newton’s late fumble
Backup defensive lineman Justin Zimmer punched the ball out of Cam Newton’s arms and the fumble was recovered by safety Dean Marlowe at the Buffalo 13 with 31 seconds remaining to secure the Bills’ 24-21 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Zack Moss scored two touchdowns rushing and the AFC East-leading Bills are off to consecutive 6-2 starts for the first time since a six-year run from 1988 to 1993.
Buffalo snapped a seven-game skid against the division-rival Patriots, and beat a New England-coached Bill Belichick team for just the sixth time in 41 meetings, going back to 2000.
New England dropped to 2-5 and has lost four in a row, matching its worst skid since 2002.
The game was decided just as the Patriots were threatening to at least force overtime. Facing second-and-10 at the Buffalo 19, Newton took the snap and followed a line of blockers to his left.
Zimmer came diving in from behind and punched out the ball, which rolled directly into Marlowe’s arms.
Newton finished 15 of 25 for 174 yards passing, and added 54 yards rushing plus a touchdown. Damien Harris had 102 yards rushing and scored on a 22-yard run.
Josh Allen went 11 of 18 for 154 yards passing and also scored on a 2-yard run in a game the Bills never trailed. He had one interception, which led to the Patriots cutting Buffalo’s lead to 7-6 on Nick Folk’s 33-yard field goal with 8 seconds left in the first half.
Tyler Bass’ 28-yard field goal with 4:06 remaining broke the 21-21 tie, after Allen’s pass to Gabriel Davis sailed through the receiver’s arms in the end zone.
Cook shines as Vikings knock off Packers
Dalvin Cook gained 226 yards from scrimmage and became the first Viking in over four decades to score four touchdowns in a single game as Minnesota defeated the Green Bay Packers 28-22 on Sunday.
The Vikings withstood a three-touchdown performance from receiver Davante Adams, who had seven catches for 53 yards.
Green Bay had the ball at Minnesota’s 41-yard line with 12 seconds and no timeouts left, but D.J. Wonnum sacked Aaron Rodgers and knocked the ball loose. Eric Wilson recovered at the 24 as time expired.
Each of the Vikings’ first four possessions ended with Cook touchdowns. He ran for 163 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. Cook also had two catches for 63 yards, including a 50-yard score.
The only other Vikings to score four touchdowns in a game are Ahmad Rashad in 1979 and Chuck Foreman in 1975.
Adams’ 7-yard touchdown cut Minnesota’s lead to 28-20 with 2:42 left. Green Bay went a 2-point conversion got within 28-22 when replays determined the ball crossed the goal line on Jamaal Williams’ inside run.
When Cook wasn’t scoring for Minnesota, Adams was reaching the end zone for Green Bay on a 5-yard reception and a 1-yard catch.
Cook kept it going by racing 37 yards on the first play of the second half. He capped that drive with a 1-yard run that gave Minnesota its first lead at 21-14 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
Minnesota faced third-and-9 from midfield when Cook caught Kirk Cousins’ pass behind the line of scrimmage and worked his way around or past a variety of Packers defenders to put the Vikings ahead 28-14.