Sunday’s roundup: Brady, Blount carry Patriots
Pittsburgh — Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount were too much for the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger or no Ben Roethlisberger.
Blount ran for 127 yards and two scores while Brady completed 19 of 26 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots pulled away for a 27-16 win on Sunday.
Steelers quarterback Landry Jones played capably while filling in for Roethlisberger, who watched from the sideline after undergoing left knee surgery last week.
Making just his third career start, Jones threw for 281 yards with a touchdown and an interception but undermanned Pittsburgh (4-3) lost its second straight when its defense failed to keep Brady under wraps.
“You can’t waste red zone trips, you have to come off blocks and make tackles in the run game, you can’t give up explosion plays, we did,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “That’s why we lost.”
New England (6-1) remained perfect since Brady returned from his four-game “Deflategate” suspension. Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski for a 36-yard touchdown in the third quarter then used another 37-yard catch and run by Gronkowski to set up Blount’s second touchdown run that put New England up 11 with just under 12 minutes to go.
“It was good to score like that and good to make plays in the second half that we needed to,” Brady said. “They certainly made it tough on us.”
Brady improved to 9-2 against the Steelers.
Le’Veon Bell (Michigan State) finished with 149 yards of total offense and Antonio Brown (Central Michigan) caught seven passes for 106 yards, but too often Pittsburgh settled for field goals (or field goal attempts) when touchdowns were required.
(At) Miami 28, Buffalo 25: Jay Ajayi tied an NFL record by surpassing 200 yards rushing for the second game in a row. Ajayi rushed for 214 yards in 29 carries after totaling 204 yards a week earlier in a win over Pittsburgh. He scored on a 4-yard run , and busted a 53-yarder when the Dolphins were pinned at their 3 and trailing in the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins (3-4) used an extra lineman much of the time to clear big holes for Ajayi, who tied the NFL record for consecutive 200-yard games held by O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.
Miami overcame an 11-point deficit with 16 minutes left to end a four-game winning streak by the Bills (4-3) and beat them for only the second time in their past seven meetings.
Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy, ranked second in the NFL in rushing, started, but totaled only 11 yards in eight carries before departing with a hamstring problem.
San Diego 33, Atlanta 30: Josh Lambo’s 42-yard field goal in overtime gave San Diego its first road win of the year as the Chargers rallied from a 17-point deficit.
The Chargers (3-4) trailed 27-10 in the second quarter. They had lost 11 of their past 12 road games.
Linebacker Denzel Perryman delivered two key plays late in the game. Perryman’s interception of Matt Ryan’s pass for Julio Jones set up Lambo’s tying 33-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining in regulation.
Perryman’s fourth-and-1 stop on running back Devonta Freeman gave San Diego the ball at Atlanta’s 43 for the Chargers’ winning drive. Perryman grabbed Freeman’s feet behind the line for the key tackle on the Falcons’ gamble.
(At) Kansas City 27, New Orleans 21: Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes in another efficient outing, and Daniel Sorensen returned an interception of Drew Brees for another touchdown.
Spencer Ware ran for 77 yards to go with his 46-yard touchdown reception, and Tyreek Hill made an acrobatic 38-yard TD catch to help the Chiefs (4-2) win their ninth straight at home.
Brees got the Saints (2-4) within 24-21 with his touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman with 2:33 left, but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds. Kansas City added a 41-yard field goal, and the Saints could do nothing in the final 28 seconds.
Brees finished with 367 yards and three TD passes.
Oakland 33, (at) Jacksonville 16: Latavius Murray scored twice in his return from turf toe, and the Raiders gave coach Jack Del Rio a victory against his former team.
Murray, who missed the past two games, finished with 59 yards on 18 carries. Michael Crabtree caught eight passes for 96 yards and a touchdown from Derek Carr, Sebastian Janikowski kicked four field goals, and the Raiders played the kind of defense they’ve been looking for all season.
The result was the team’s most complete win of the season. Oakland improved to 4-0 on the road and moved to 5-2 for the first time since 2001.
The Jaguars (2-4), meanwhile, dropped a third straight at EverBank Field and added more speculation about the future of coach Gus Bradley. Jacksonville fell to 14-40 during Bradley’s four seasons, and the latest loss was filled with poor execution on both sides of the ball and a lack of discipline down the stretch.
N.Y. Giants 17, Los Angeles 10: At London, England, the Giants capitalized on four interceptions of Case Keenum in the first NFL game played at London’s home of English rugby, a sold-out and raucous Twickenham Stadium.
Keenum, coming off the best start of his career, had the Rams at the Giants’ 15-yard line with 50 seconds left when he lobbed a pass in the left corner of the end zone that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie easily picked off. Keenum’s intended target, Brian Quick, failed to get the quarterback’s audible and cut off his route early.
Keenum, who finished 32 of 53 for 291 yards and one touchdown, has thrown an interception on the Rams’ final offensive play of the last three games. That likely will fuel debate on a potential quarterback change to overall No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff.
Landon Collins returned his first of two picks 44 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also had two interceptions.
(At) Cincinnati 31, Cleveland 17: A.J. Green’s one-handed catch in the middle of an end zone scrum highlighted Cincinnati’s day full of big plays.
Green’s 48-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the first half helped the Bengals (3-4) regain their footing in the injury-depleted AFC North. The defending division champions piled up their most points since they beat the Browns 37-3 last December. Jeremy Hill had a 74-yard touchdown run as part of his 168-yard effort, the best by a Bengals running back in seven years.
The Browns (0-7) extended their worst start since 1999, when they were a first-year expansion team. The NFL’s only winless team also lost yet another quarterback — the theme of their season. Cody Kessler got hit hard while throwing a shovel pass in the second quarter, then went to the locker for a concussion evaluation and was ruled out. That left the offense in the hands of undrafted rookie Kevin Hogan, the Browns’ sixth quarterback of the season.
Indianapolis 34, (at) Tennessee 26: Andrew Luck threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle with 1:55 left to put Indianapolis ahead to stay, and the Colts rallied to beat the Titans for their 10th straight win against their AFC South rival.
The Colts (3-4) came in having lost two of three, including blowing a 14-point lead in an overtime loss last week at Houston. But Luck he improved to 8-0 against the Titans with yet another comeback win. He finished with 353 yards passing and three TDs, the last after Tennessee went up 23-20.
T.Y. Hilton caught seven passes for 133 yards, including a 37-yard TD. The Colts shook off 12 penalties for 131 yards in pulling out their 15th win in 16 games against Tennessee.
The Titans (3-4) saw their two-game winning string end.
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a pair of field goals, and the second, a 33-yarder with 3:46 left in the third quarter gave him an NFL record 43 consecutive field goals made.
(At) N.Y. Jets 24, Baltimore 16: Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced an injured Geno Smith and led the Jets on three scoring drives, and a rejuvenated defense came up with two rare interceptions.
Fitzpatrick came in for Smith in the second quarter and led the Jets on a go-ahead drive capped by a 13-yard touchdown catch by Matt Forte. Fitzpatrick finished 9 of 14 for 120 yards and a touchdown as the Jets (2-5) snapped a four-game losing streak.
Smith injured his right knee while taking a sack from Baltimore’s Matthew Judon. Fitzpatrick was efficient after losing his job earlier in the week.
Joe Flacco started for Baltimore (3-4), loser of four in a row, after being questionable with a sore shoulder. He went a team-record 176 consecutive throws without an interception before Buster Skrine picked off his pass in the third quarter.
Tampa Bay 34, (at) San Francisco 17: Jameis Winston threw three touchdown passes and Jacquizz Rodgers ran for 154 yards.
The Bucs (3-3) fell behind by 14 points early before scoring 27 straight to deal the Niners (1-6) their sixth straight loss for San Francisco’s longest losing streak since 2008.
Mike Evans caught eight passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns, Russell Shepard scored on a 19-yard pass from Winston, and Peyton Barber iced the game with a 44-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to help Tampa Bay win its second straight game around its bye week.
Colin Kaepernick struggled in his second start of the season for the 49ers, going 16 for 34 for 143 yards and turning the ball over twice after kneeling once again for the national anthem.
(At) Arizona 6, Seattle 6: Seattle’s Stephen Hauschka and Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime. Hauschka’s 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro’s 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.
The last tie in the NFL came in 2014, when Carolina and Cincinnati tied 37-37.
The Cardinals (3-3-1) dominated the game statistically and looked to be in shape to win it after Carson Palmer’s 40-yard pass to J.J. Nelson set up Catanzaro’s short kick.
The Seahawks (4-1-1), stuffed throughout regulation by the Arizona defense, took over and Russell Wilson completed passes of 31 yards to Jermaine Kearse and 27 yards to Doug Baldwin to give Houschka his short attempt.
Both kickers made field goals on their teams’ first possession of overtime.
Catanzaro, who kicked field goals of 46 and 45 yards, also had a 39-yard field goal blocked by a stunning play by Bobby Wagner.