Sunday’s NFL roundup: Saints turn to run, beat Seahawks
New Orleans — Sean Payton had a surprise in store for a Seattle defense that thrives on harassing quarterbacks and physically intimidating receivers.
The Saints coach dialed back New Orleans’ prolific passing game and challenged his running backs and offensive line to deliver as much punishment to Seahawks defenders as they could.
Drew Brees wound up well short of his typical passing numbers in the Superdome — 265 yards and one touchdown — but the Saints (3-4) pulled out a 25-20 victory they sorely needed to improve their prospects for climbing back into the NFC playoff picture.
“It doesn’t really have to be aesthetically pleasing to be effective,” Payton asserted. “The key is winning.”
The victory wasn’t assured until New Orleans’ much-maligned defense, which entered the game ranked 29th in the NFL, came up with a stop on the Seahawks’ final drive, which started on the Seattle 32 with 1:50 left. Russell Wilson took the Seahawks (4-2-1) to the New Orleans 10, where he had one final play. He lofted a pass toward the corner of the end zone, where Jermaine Kearse caught the ball, but landed out of bounds.
“It was close. I tried to give him a shot,” Wilson said of his last throw to Kearse, adding that cornerback B.W. Webb “did a good job of trying to drive him out of bounds. I think he got one (foot) in and was trying to get the second one down. The last drive was a testament to our resilience.”
The Saints rushed 35 times and passed 35 times — certainly not the M.O. for a team that entered the game with a second-ranked passing offense and 28th-ranked running game. But it was effective. New Orleans gained 123 yards on the ground with Tim Hightower gaining 102, making him the first Saint this season to rush for 100. New Orleans also kept possession for 36:12 to Seattle’s 23:48.
“We knew coming in here it was going to be a physical game,” Hightower said. “In that fourth quarter, I looked over on their sideline and saw a couple of those guys on their knees and I said, ‘This is exactly where we want them.’”
Wilson finished with 253 yards passing and was intercepted once by linebacker Nathan Stupar, whose diving snag set up the Saints’ first TD on Brees’ 1-yard dive over a pile of players. Brees’ lone touchdown pass went to Brandin Cooks on a 2-yard slant , which gave the Saints the lead for good early in the fourth quarter.
Wil Lutz kicked field goals of 22, 53, 21 and 41 yards for the Saints, the latter coming with under two minutes left to put Seattle down by more than a field goal.
(At) Dallas 29, Philadelphia 23 (OT): Dak Prescott threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten in overtime, giving the Cowboys their sixth straight win.
Prescott rallied the Cowboys with a late tying touchdown pass to Dez Bryant and won the rookie quarterback duel with Carson Wentz. Dallas (6-1) took a two-game division lead after rallying from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
The 23-year-old Prescott recovered from a shaky start, finishing 19 of 39 for 287 yards with two scores and an end zone interception that cost the Cowboys points late in the first half.
Wentz had the Eagles (4-3) in position for a win with another efficient performance. But he couldn’t move Philadelphia late in regulation with the game tied. The Eagles never got the ball in overtime after Prescott led the 75-yard scoring drive.
Oakland 30, (at) Tampa 24 (OT): Derek Carr threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts with 1:45 remaining in overtime, capping a record-breaking day for the Raiders.
Carr threw for a franchise-record 513 yards, completing 40 of 59 passes without an interception, and the Raiders overcame an NFL-record 23 penalties for 200 yards.
Carr also threw touchdowns to offensive tackle Donald Penn, Amari Cooper and Mychal Rivera as the Raiders (6-2) improved to 5-0 on the road.
Jameis Winston threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns for the Bucs (3-4).
Carr threw his TD pass to Rivera to tie it with 1:38 remaining, and Sebastian Janikowski missed a 50-yard field goal as time expired to send it into overtime.
Janikowski misfired again from 52 yards on Oakland’s first possession of the extra period.
Washington 27, Cincinnati 27 (OT): In London, Washington and Cincinnati played to the second NFL tie game in seven days.
Washington (4-3-1) appeared to have the game won with 2:13 left in overtime, but Dustin Hopkins hooked his 34-yard field goal attempt wide left.
Washington also got the ball back with 1:11 remaining when Andy Dalton fumbled at the Bengals 47 on a quarterback sneak. Kirk Cousins (Michigan State) couldn’t connect downfield and tossed his final desperate pass tamely into the sideline to preserve the draw. Cincinnati is 3-4-1.
(At) Denver 27, San Diego 19: The Broncos defense had three interceptions and a goal-line stand.
They only turned one of those takeaways into points, however, and that allowed the Chargers (3-5) to stay in it until the end, forcing Denver (6-2) to make two stands in the closing minutes.
Safety Darian Stewart’s takeaway gave Denver the ball at the San Diego 10, and Devontae Booker’s 3-yard TD run made it 17-7.
The Chargers had a 98-yard touchdown drive that ended with Travis Benjamin’s one-handed TD grab. Shaq Barrett blocked Josh Lambo’s extra point, keeping the score 17-13.
New England 41, (at) Buffalo 25: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady asserted his on-field ownership of the Bills again, matching an NFL record in beating them for the 26th time.
Brady (Michigan) went 22 of 33 for 315 yards and threw four touchdowns. He improved to 26-3 against Buffalo , and matched a record set by Brett Favre, who went 26-9 against Detroit.
The Patriots (7-1) have won four straight since Brady returned after opening the season serving the NFL’s four-game “Deflategate” suspension. His absence included New England’s only blemish, a 16-0 home loss to Buffalo (4-4) on Oct. 2, the first time the Patriots were shut out at home since 1993.
After a Bills field goal, Brady threw touchdowns passes on his first two drives.
Kansas City 30, (at) Indianapolis 14: Nick Foles threw two touchdown passes in relief of the injured Alex Smith.
Foles’ 14-yard TD pass to Travis Kelce early in the second quarter made it 10-0. Smith made it 17-7 at halftime with a 13-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin, and Foles later hooked up with Tyreek Hill on a 34-yard scoring pass for a 24-7 Chiefs (5-2) lead.
Andrew Luck finished 19 of 35 with 210 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and one fumble lost for the Colts (3-5).
N. Y. Jets 31, (at) Cleveland 28: Matt Forte ran for 82 yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns, helping the Jets rally to a second straight victory.
Ryan Fitzpatrick shook off an ugly first half to throw for 222 yards and a touchdown while leading the Jets (3-5) on three long scoring drives after spotting the Browns (0-8) a 13-point lead.
Cleveland has its worst start since the 1975 team dropped its first nine games.
The Browns have lost 11 straight overall dating to Week 14 of last season and are 3-26 over their last 29.
(At) Carolina 30, Arizona 20: Jonathan Stewart ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, Thomas Davis returned a fumble 46 yards for a score and the Panthers.
In a game reminiscent of last season’s NFC championship, a 49-15 Carolina victory, the Panthers jumped to a 24-0 lead and kept the pressure on Carson Palmer all day.
Carolina, which has struggled to generate a pass rush all season, sacked Palmer eight times — three of those by Star Lotulelei — and forced two turnovers. The Panthers also limited running back David Johnson to 24 yards rushing.
Forced into a one-dimensional game, Palmer finished 35 of 46 for 363 yards with three touchdowns, two to J.J. Nelson.
Carolina (2-5) needed a boost to save a sinking season and got one from Davis, its longest-tenured player and emotional leader, on the opening series. Lotulelei sacked Palmer, who attempted to push the ball forward to avoid the sack while in the grasp of the 315-pound defensive tackle. Davis picked up the loose ball and delivered a stiff arm on the way to the first touchdown of his 12-year NFL career.
Davis later left with a left knee injury.
Arizona is 3-4-1.