Sunday's NFL: Lamar Jackson, Ravens hand Patriots their first loss
Baltimore — The New England Patriots’ unbeaten season crashed to an end under the weight of their own mistakes and inability to contain Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson ripped apart the NFL’s stingiest defense with his arm and legs, accounting for three touchdowns and directing a dominant running game in a 37-20 victory Sunday night.
Baltimore (6-2) zipped to an early 17-0 lead and let the Patriots (8-1) creep within striking distance before quelling the comeback with a 70-yard fumble return by Marlon Humphrey and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Nick Boyle early in the fourth quarter.
That made it 30-20, and not even six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady could bring New England out of the hole. Brady, who went 30-for-46 passing for 285 yards, threw an interception with 12:47 left.
Jackson then led a methodical 9½-minute drive that ended with his thrust into the end zone from the 1, with no small assist to right tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
“I was hoping I was in. Orlando pulled me,” Jackson said. “I didn’t even know it was him until I got up. He was like, ‘I pulled you in. I need half of that touchdown.’ It was cool.”
Jackson, the slick second-year quarterback, ran for 61 yards and two touchdowns and went 17-for-23 passing for 163 yards and a score. Mark Ingram rushed for 115 yards, and the NFL’s leading ground attack amassed 210 yards.
“We played tonight like it was a championship game,” Jackson said after Baltimore’s fourth straight victory. “We’ve just got to keep going.”
New England mixed up its coverages and blitz packages, and the Ravens responded accordingly.
“Nobody does it better than they do, and I thought our guys handled it really well, starting with the quarterback,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
The Patriots came in with a defense that had allowed only 7.6 points per game and forced 25 turnovers for a plus-17 differential. The defending Super Bowl champions picked up two fumbles, but they had two turnovers themselves and committed a costly penalty that contributed to Baltimore’s first touchdown.
New England was penalized seven times for 48 yards.
“We didn’t do anything well enough to deserve to win,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We’ve all just got to do a better job.”
Baltimore’s defense played a role, too. Patrick Onwuasor stripped the ball from Julian Edelman in the third quarter and Humphrey took it the other way for a score. Although Brady answered with a touchdown of his own to make it 24-20, the Patriots would not get closer.
And so ended New England’s 13-game winning streak, dating to last season and including the playoffs.
“We did a lot of things (wrong) we need to do better,” Belichick said, his voice barely louder than a whisper.
The Ravens opened with a crisp 75-yard drive in which Jackson went 4-for-4 passing for 41 yards and New England extended the march with an uncharacteristic mistake. As Baltimore lined up for a field goal try, Shilique Calhoun jumped into the neutral zone to give the Ravens a first down.
On the next play, Jackson skirted around left end for an easy 3-yard score .
After Brady went three-and-out on his first series, Baltimore rattled off another 11-play drive and added a field goal.
The third time the Ravens got the ball, a 53-yard run by Ingram set up a 12-yard touchdown burst by Gus Edwards to make the score a stunning 17-0.
New England punted again, and what followed for Baltimore was a deflating miscue let the Patriots back into it. Cyrus Jones muffed the kick, former Raven Justin Bethel recovered at the Baltimore 20 and Brady tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu.
New England added two field goals in the final 4 minutes of the half, the first of them after Ingram lost a fumble at the Baltimore 19.
“Here they come roaring back and we make a couple mistakes,” Harbaugh noted. “They made some mistakes, too. It was that kind of a football game.”
(At) L.A. Chargers 25, Green Bay 11: Melvin Gordon scored two touchdowns, Michael Badgley kicked four field goals and Los Angeles dominated the Green Bay.
Los Angeles (4-5) snapped a three-game home losing streak in what was easily its best game of the season. The offense moved the ball consistently in Shane Steichen’s first game as coordinator, and the defense kept Aaron Rodgers and the Packers out of the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter.
Steichen, who was promoted after Ken Whisenhunt was fired last Monday, called a good game as the Chargers weren’t faced with many third-and-long situations. Gordon, who came in averaging only 2.5 yards per carry, had 80 yards on 20 carries, including a pair of 1-yard TDs off left guard in the third and fourth quarters. Austin Ekeler added 70 yards as the Chargers rushed for a season-high 159 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry.
Philip Rivers completed 21 of 28 passes for 294 yards and Mike Williams had his first 100-yard receiving day in his three-year career with three receptions for 111 yards. Hunter Henry had 84 yards on seven catches.
Rodgers was 23 of 35 for 161 yards as the Packers (7-2) had their four-game winning streak snapped.
(At) Kansas City 26, Minnesota 23: Harrison Butker matched a career long with a 54-yard field goal to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, then drilled a 44-yarder as time expired to give Kansas City a thrilling victory over Minnesota.
The first person to greet Butker in celebration? Patrick Mahomes, the reigning league MVP, who missed his second consecutive game as he recovers from a dislocated kneecap.
Mahomes looked just fine rushing onto the field to party.
Matt Moore started in his place and threw for 275 yards and a touchdown without a pick, and he made the crucial plays when they mattered. Moore hit favorite target Tyreek Hill to convert a crucial third down and set up the tying field goal, then hit him again to make the winner more manageable.
Hill finished with six catches for 140 yards for the Chiefs (6-3), including a spectacular TD grab, while Damien Williams ran for 125 yards — most of it on a 91-yard touchdown run.
Kirk Cousins threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns for the Vikings (6-3), though he struggled to deal with the Chiefs’ blitzes late in the game. Dalvin Cook was held to 71 yards rushing while top wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a single catch for 4 yards.
(At) Seattle 40, Tampa Bay 34 (OT): Russell Wilson hit Jacob Hollister with a 10-yard touchdown pass on the opening possession of overtime, and Seattle rallied to beat Tampa Bay.
Wilson continued his brilliant season, tying his career high with five touchdown passes as Seattle (7-2) overcame Jason Myers’ missed 40-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of regulation and never gave Tampa Bay a chance in the extra session. Wilson was 5 of 8 for 70 yards in overtime, capping the winning drive by hitting the reserve tight end across the middle for his second touchdown of the game.
Wilson finished 29 of 43 for 378 yards. It was his third career game with five TD passes and capped Seattle’s wild second half after trailing 21-7 midway through the second quarter.
Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston was nearly Wilson’s equal throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Winston led Tampa Bay (2-6) to a tying score in the final minute of regulation on Dare Ogunbowale’s 1-yard run, but never got his hands on the ball in overtime.
(At) Pittsburgh 26, Indianapolis 24: Adam Vinatieri missed a go-ahead 43-yard field goal with 1:14 remaining, helping the Pittsburgh Steelers escape with a victory.
Vinatieri, whose 55-yard kick last week against Denver gave the Colts their third straight victory, pulled his attempt left of the uprights as the Colts (5-3) fell out of first place in the AFC South.
Mason Rudolph threw for 191 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Pittsburgh, and Minkah Fitzpatrick returned an interception 96 yards for a score as the Steelers (4-4) won their third consecutive game. Backup running back Trey Edmunds ran for a career-high 73 yards and Chris Boswell kicked four field goals as Pittsburgh reached the midpoint of the season at .500 despite losing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a right elbow injury in Week 2.
The Colts may have quarterback issues of their own after Jacoby Brissett left in the second quarter with a left knee injury. Brian Hoyer came on and threw for three touchdowns in Brissett’s absence and drove Indianapolis to well within field goal range in the final minutes thanks in part to a 40-yard pass interference penalty against Pittsburgh’s Steven Nelson.
Vinatieri, the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, had an extra point blocked in the third quarter and has been dealing with accuracy issues all season. The snap and hold were good, but his kick fluttered left of the upright into the open end of Heinz Field, allowing Pittsburgh to run out the clock on a day the Steelers mustered just 273 yards.
(At) Denver 24, Cleveland 19: Fourth-year quarterback Brandon Allen sparked Denver’s stagnant offense, throwing for two touchdowns in his first career NFL start and leading the Broncos past stumbling Cleveland.
In his first start in 1,402 days, Allen threw a 21-yard pass to Courtland Sutton and a 75-yarder to rookie tight end Noah Fant, and Phillip Lindsay ran nine times for 92 yards and a touchdown.
The Broncos (3-6) didn’t truncate the playbook with Joe Flacco (neck) on injured reserve, and Allen threw for 193 yards on 12 of 20 passing.
Allen, who was claimed off waivers from the Rams two months ago, added a wrinkle to an offense that Flacco criticized as too conservative last week by running twice for 16 yards. Denver hasn’t seen much mobility in the pocket from its quarterbacks since Tim Tebow’s tenure.
Denver’s defense stifled Baker Mayfield & Co. all afternoon, forcing the Browns (2-6) to settle for four short field goals and twice stuffing them on fourth down. The first stop came at the Denver 5-yard line and again at the Broncos 28 to get the ball back with 3:19 remaining and the Browns out of timeouts.
Lindsay gained 16 yards on a direct snap to gain the first down and allow the Broncos to go into victory formation.
Nick Chubb was held to 65 yards on 20 carries, and Mayfield finished with 273 yards passing.
Houston 26, Jacksonville 3: Deshaun Watson’s most impressive throw went backward – a flip under pressure to running back Carlos Hyde, whose 7-yard gain set up Houston’s first TD in a 26-3 runaway over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The rugby-style pitch was spot-on perfect for a game in London, where the locals are still recovering from England’s 20-point loss in the World Cup final on Saturday, and now must deal with the added insult of watching their adopted home team, the Jaguars (4-5), getting hammered just as badly.
But more than anything, the Watson-to-Hyde connection was indicative of both players’ days in general: They were very hard to stop.
Hyde finished with 19 carries for 160 yards for the Texans (6-3), including a 58-yard run that looked headed for a touchdown until Jags safety Jarrod Wilson stripped the ball at the 2.
Watson, meanwhile, finished 22 for 28 for 201 yards and a pair of 1-yard touchdown throws, along with 37 yards running. He did it all with his left eye still swollen and red, a week after getting kicked in the face just before throwing the winning touchdown pass against the Raiders.
Jaguars linemen Taven Bryan and Yannick Ngakoue were swarming Watson as he dropped back to pass in the second quarter with the Texans on the move. Seeing nothing downfield as the linemen closed, Watson instead flipped one back to Hyde, who took it to the Jacksonville 7.
Two plays later, Watson tossed a 1-yarder to Darren Fells for a 9-0 lead.
(At) Carolina 30, Tennessee 20: Christian McCaffrey had 166 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns, and Carolina bounced back from an embarrassing defeat with a victory over Tennessee.
Kyle Allen, who threw three interceptions in last week’s 51-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, threw TD passes of 7 yards to McCaffrey and 12 yards to Curtis Samuel to improve to 5-1 this season as Carolina’s starting QB.
Carolina’s defense forced three turnovers and sacked Ryan Tannehill four times one week after allowing the 49ers to run for 232 yards and four touchdowns.
The momentum of the game turned midway through the third quarter when the Panthers (5-3) converted a fake punt on fourth-and-4 from their 36-yard line. The decision came after the Titans had opened the second half with an impressive touchdown drive to cut Carolina’s lead to 17-7 and then stopped the Panthers on three plays to force a punting situation.
But when Colin Jones took the direct snap and ran for the first down on the fake punt it ignited the Panthers.
McCaffrey completed the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and then added a 58-yard burst midway through the fourth quarter for his 13th touchdown of the season.
(At) Miami 26, N.Y. Jets 18: Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes, two of them to rookie Preston Williams, and Miami got its first win of the season by beating former coach Adam Gase and New York.
The Dolphins avoided what would have been the second 0-8 start in franchise history, joining 2007. The win leaves Cincinnati (0-8) as the NFL’s lone winless team this season, and for now the front-runners to win the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft.
Fitzpatrick completed 24 of 36 passes for 288 yards and led the Dolphins to their highest point total of the season. It was also Miami’s fourth straight win over the Jets — the first three of those coming with Gase being the coach on the winning side.
Not this time. The Jets went 11 plays on the first drive of the game for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead, and their highlights were few and far between the rest of the day. The Jets (1-7) fell below Miami in the AFC East standings based on the head-to-head tiebreaker.
It was the Dolphins’ first win since the “Miami Miracle” over New England last season — which was followed by three straight losses to end 2018, making this a 10-game losing streak in all.
(At) Buffalo 24, Washington 9: Rookie Devin Singletary had 95 yards rushing, including a 2-yard touchdown, and Buffalo are off to its best start since 1993 following a win over Washington.
Josh Allen had a touchdown pass and scored on a 1-yard plunge for the Bills, who improved to 6-2 — a record built on victories over some of the NFL’s worst teams.
The Bills’ wins have come against teams that entered this weekend with a combined record of 7-31. And their latest came against a team that’s already fired its coach and was down to its third quarterback, with rookie first-round pick Dwayne Haskins making his first career start. Washington (1-8) matched its worst start since 1998.
Singletary took advantage of his most playing time this season, appearing to displace Frank Gore as Buffalo’s featured running back.
With three catches for 45 yards, Singletary had a team-leading 140 yards from scrimmage. Allen went 14 of 20 for 160 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley.
Haskins finished 15 of 22 for 144 yards passing and no turnovers while starting in place of Case Keenum, who is in the NFL’s concussion protocol.