Sunday’s roundup: Jets stop Steelers, end 8-game skid
East Rutherford, N.J. — On a rare day for Rex Ryan, the embattled coach of the struggling Jets was able to smile after a game for the first time since Week 1.
It’s been that long since the Jets had won, so the relieved Ryan was feeling pretty good after a stunning 20-13 victory over the Steelers on Sunday.
“All right!” Ryan exclaimed. “Finally!”
Finally, indeed. Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes and the Jets (2-8) forced four turnovers, including two interceptions by Jaiquawn Jarrett, while shutting down Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers (6-4) and ending an eight-game losing streak.
“This team deserved to win, man,” Ryan said.
Roethlisberger threw six touchdown passes in each of his last two games, and was playing in front of a MetLife Stadium crowd that appeared nearly half-filled with Terrible Towel-waving Steelers fans. But the Jets wouldn’t allow Roethlisberger to get into much of a rhythm.
“There’s nothing mystical about the outcome of that football game,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “We talked all week about why that team struggled: because they were minus in the turnover ratio. … Well, they weren’t today. They were plus-4.
“You’re going to lose football games when you’re minus-4 in the turnover ratio, and we did today.”
Roethlisberger finished 30 of 43 for 343 yards and connected with Martavis Bryant for an 80-yard TD with 1:16 left. The Steelers attempted an onside kick, but Eric Decker recovered to seal it for the Jets — who avoided setting a franchise mark for consecutive losses.
“You can’t turn the ball over, and we did it too much,” Roethlisberger said. “This stings.”
The Jets weren’t happy, though, that Mike Mitchell tried to break up their victory formation, leaping over the top of center Nick Mangold, who slammed the Steelers safety to the ground, causing a brief shoving match.
“It’s a dirty play,” Mangold said.
But the Jets won by playing mostly a clean game Sunday, successful for the first time since beating Oakland on opening day.
“Today,” Vick said, “was going to be our day.”
Vick, who became the first quarterback in NFL history to run for 6,000 career yards, threw touchdown passes to T.J. Graham and Jace Amaro. Vick was 10 of 18 for 132 yards and ran eight times for 39 yards, and Ryan announced that the veteran will start again against Buffalo after the bye week.
The victory might help temper frustrations of Jets fans, one of whom had a banner-toting plane urging the team to fire general manager John Idzik circle the practice field early in the week. There was another one circling the stadium Sunday, which read: “JETS REBUILDING SINCE 1969.”
But, heading into the bye, Ryan’s job, as well as Idzik’s, appears safe — for now.
The Jets looked good on their first possession, but the 14-play drive stalled at the Steelers 5 and Nick Folk made a 23-yard field goal.
(At) Green Bay 55, Chicago 14: Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdown passes to tie the Green Bay game record and match the NFL record for a half.
Rodgers was 18 of 27 for 315 yards, throwing scoring passes of 73 and 40 yards to Jordy Nelson. The Packers led by four touchdowns early in the second quarter, and Rodgers watched most of the second half from the sideline.
The 190th meeting of the NFL's oldest rivalry quickly turned into a blowout. The 55 points tied a Packers record at Lambeau Field.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had another night to forget in Green Bay. He threw two interceptions, giving him 12 in four games in Titletown.
The Bears have lost five of their last six. They've given up at least 51 points in two consecutive games.
(At) Seattle 38, N.Y. Giants 17: Marshawn Lynch rushed for a season-high 140 yards and career-best four touchdowns for the Seahawks.
Russell Wilson threw two interceptions and the Seahawks committed three total turnovers, but the 350 total yards rushing by Seattle (6-3) were a franchise record and the most in the NFL this season. It was the most yards rushing by any NFL team since Cleveland had 351 vs. Kansas City in 2009.
Wilson added 107 yards on 14 carries and a 1-yard TD run with 5:19 left.
Kansas City 17, (at) Buffalo 13: Anthony Sherman recovered a fumble to set up Alex Smith’s 8-yard touchdown run with nearly 9 minutes left for the Chiefs.
Jamaal Charles also scored on a 39-yard touchdown run as the Chiefs (6-3) scored twice in span of 4:31 to overcome a 13-3 deficit. The Chiefs defense then made a stand at its own 15 by forcing Bills quarterback Kyle Orton to throw four consecutive incompletions and turn the ball over on downs with 2:32 left.
Smith scored two plays after Sherman punched the ball out of the hands of Bills punt-returner Leodis McKelvin and then pounced on the loose ball at Buffalo’s 26.
“I think there is something to winning these types of games,” Smith said. “There’s a different type of confidence you get when you win games like this.”
Orton hit Chris Hogan for a 25-yard touchdown pass for Buffalo (5-4). The Bills settled for two field goals, and Bryce Brown lost a fumble, in three trips inside the Chiefs 20.
Denver 41, (at) Oakland 17: Peyton Manning overcame a shaky start to throw five touchdown passes in less than 17 minutes and the Broncos handed the Raiders their 15th straight loss.
Manning threw a pair of early interceptions that put Denver (7-2) in a hole against the NFL’s only winless team. That all changed with a short pass that C.J. Anderson turned into a spectacular 51-yard catch and run.
Manning added two TD passes to Julius Thomas and two more to Emmanuel Sanders as the Broncos rebounded from last week’s loss at New England by beating up on the Raiders (0-9).
(At) Baltimore 21, Tennessee 7: Justin Forsett ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns to back a strong performance by the Baltimore defense, and the Ravens ended a two-game losing streak.
The Ravens (6-4) bottled up rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who went 16 for 27 for 179 yards and an interception in his first road start in the NFL. He was sacked five times and rarely got the chance to comfortably plant both feet in the pocket.
“They got a lot of dudes, they got a lot of studs in that front seven — and they know it,” Mettenberger said. “Early in the first half we did a lot of good things to kind of counteract their guys. We just got to … be able to play like that for 60 minutes.”
Tennessee didn’t get its initial first down of the second half until 4:37 was left in the game. Soon after that, newcomer Danny Gorrer, a former Lion, intercepted a pass to clinch the victory.
The Titans (2-7) have lost seven of eight.
Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17: In London, Tony Romo returned from injury and helped the Cowboys end a two-game losing streak, throwing three touchdown passes.
Romo injured his back two weeks ago and sat out last Sunday. He started this game for Dallas (7-3) and completed 20 of 27 passes for 246 yards against the Jaguars (1-9) at Wembley Stadium in the last of three regular-season NFL games this year in the British capital.
“Just sore. Anybody who’s had anything broken before knows it’s uncomfortable at times,” Romo said. “A little banged up. A lot of guys are banged up. At the end of the day, no one actually cares once you step out onto the field.”
Romo completed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten in the first quarter, and then hit Dez Bryant for a pair of TDs in the second, the first from 35 yards and the second from 68. He finished with a season-high passer rating of 138.8.
Joseph Randle ran in another touchdown in the second half, while former Michigan star Denard Robinson scored two touchdowns for the Jaguars.
Despite the poor results, though, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles insisted the team is enjoying the London trips.
“It’s been awesome,” Bortles said. “Tonight was a really great atmosphere.”
Atlanta 27, (at) Tampa Bay 17: Matt Ryan threw for 219 yards and one touchdown to help the Falcons end a five-game losing streak.
The Falcons (3-6) won for the first time since embarrassing their NFC South rivals 56-14 on Sept. 18, a game in which the Bucs (1-8) lost quarterback Josh McCown to a thumb injury.
McCown, a former Lion, returned to Tampa Bay’s starting lineup for first time since the 42-point loss, throwing for 301 yards and two TDs. His 1-yard scoring pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins put the Bucs ahead 17-16 early in the fourth quarter. But Ryan drove the Falcons down the field for a 5-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White and a two-point conversion throw to Harry Douglas to regain the lead.
“As you get older, the opportunities are less and less no matter if you’re a franchise quarterback or not,” McCown said.