Sunday NFL: Matthew Stafford throws for 4 TDs, outduels Brady and Bucs
Inglewood, Calif. — Matthew Stafford passed for 343 yards and four touchdowns as he outdueled Tom Brady and led the Los Angeles Rams to a 34-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday.
The loss snapped the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers' 10-game regular season and playoff winning streak going back to last season.
Stafford was off target on five of his first six attempts before getting in a groove as the Rams (3-0) scored on their next six drives. His best pass of the game came early in the third quarter, when he connected with a wide-open DeSean Jackson for a 75-yard score to extend Los Angeles' lead to 21-7.
Jackson got by Tampa Bay cornerback Carlton Davis III on a go-route, caught it at the Buccaneers 30 and then zig-zagged his way for the final 10 yards and into the tunnel, where he was eventually greeted by Rams coach Sean McVay. It is Jackson's ninth touchdown of at least 75 yards, tying him with Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for the most in the NFL history according to Elias.
Stafford — who completed 27 of 38 — has three touchdown passes of at least 56 yards this season. Cooper Kupp had nine catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns while Jackson finished with three receptions for 120 yards.
Brady — who completed 41 of 55 passes for 432 yards and two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) — joins Drew Brees as the only quarterbacks to throw for more than 80,000 yards.
Mike Evans finished with eight receptions for 106 yards for the Bucs (2-1).
Stafford went 8 of 8 for 74 yards on a 14-play, 95-yard drive that was capped off with Tyler Higbee’s 6-yard TD reception on a quick pass to give the Rams a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Tampa Bay tied it on the ensuing drive when Chris Godwin took a jet sweep 2 yards around the right end, but the game wouldn't stay even for long.
The Rams took a 14-7 lead into halftime when Kupp caught a 2-yard TD with 54 seconds remaining.
After Jackson's score, Brady got the Buccaneers within 21-14 on a 1-yard keeper, but the Rams put it out of reach with 10 straight points. Stafford threw his fourth TD of the game, 10 yards to Kupp, and Matt Gay added a 48-yard field goal with 3:14 remaining in the third to give the Rams a 17-point advantage.
After the teams traded field goals, Tampa Bay added a touchdown with 1:10 remaining when Giovani Bernard scored on a Brady reception from 7 yards.
Green Bay 30, (at) San Francisco 28: Aaron Rodgers completed two deep passes to Davante Adams on a last-minute drive, setting set up Mason Crosby’s 51-yard field goal on the final play of the game that gave the Green Bay Packers a 30-28 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.
Rodgers delivered for the Packers (2-1) after Jimmy Garoppolo gave San Francisco the lead on a 12-yard TD pass to Kyle Juszczyk with 37 seconds to play.
Green Bay had no timeouts but Rodgers completed passes of 25 and 17 yards to Adams to set up the game-winning kick and a raucous celebration in the end zone.
The comeback spoiled the first game for the 49ers (2-1) with fans since beating Green Bay in the 2019 NFC title game. San Francisco had rallied from 17 points down to take the lead before getting crushed by Rodgers.
Rodgers threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Packers to back-to-back wins after a season-opening 38-3 loss to New Orleans. Rodgers had six TD passes and no interceptions in wins over San Francisco (2-1) and Detroit.
The Niners returned home following back-to-back road wins back East but struggled to slow down Rodgers.
Los Angeles Chargers 30, (at) Kansas City 24: The Chargers capitalized on four Kansas City turnovers, including Patrick Mahomes’ second interception in the closing minutes, and Justin Herbert’s touchdown toss to Mike Williams with 32 seconds to go lifted Los Angeles to a victory.
Herbert finished with 281 yards passing and four touchdowns without an interception, outdueling Mahomes in a matchup not only of two of the game’s best young quarterbacks but two teams expected to compete for the AFC West title.
The Chargers (2-1) won for the third time in four trips to Kansas City to send the two-time defending conference champion Chiefs (1-2) to the division cellar.
Williams finished with seven catches for 122 yards and two TDs. Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen also had TD grabs.
The Chiefs trailed 14-0 early but climbed back into the game in the second half, taking a 24-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter. But the Chargers tied it on Tristan Vizcaino’s short field goal, and after Mahomes was picked off by Alohi Gilman with 1:42 to go, Herbert began the march for the go-ahead touchdown.
New Orleans 28, (at) New England 13: Jameis Winston threw two touchdown passes, Malcolm Jenkins returned an interception for a score, and New Orleans beat New England.
A week after a career-low passer rating Winston showed better command of the offense, completing 13 of 21 passes for 128 yards. Taysom Hill ran for a touchdown and Alvin Kamara rushed 24 times for 89 yards.
Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones entered the day hoping to stretch the field after two games in which the passing attack was mostly underneath. Instead, he found himself under pressure for most of the day and threw three interceptions, two leading to Saints touchdowns. New Orleans (2-1) sacked Jones three times and hit him 11 times. He finished 30 of 51 for 270 yards and a touchdown.
New England (1-2) trailed 21-13 following Jones’ 22-yard TD pass to Kendrick Bourne with 9:22 left in the fourth period. The Saints responded with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ate up 6:45 and ended with a 4-yard run by Hill that put them in front 28-13.
(At) Tennessee 25, Colts 16: Ryan Tannehill threw for 197 yards and three touchdowns and Tennessee held off Indianapolis to grab an early tiebreaker in the AFC South.
The road team had won the previous five games in this division rivalry, but the Titans (2-1) are the defending AFC South champs with a healthy Derrick Henry. The reigning AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year ran for 113 yards, topping the 100-yard mark for a sixth straight division game.
The Colts (0-3) are off to their worst start since 2011. Carson Wentz started after being questionable for Indianapolis with a pair of sprained ankles. He never ran even once, choosing to throw the ball away repeatedly when pressured. He finished with 194 yards passing.
The Titans outgained the Colts 368-265 and won despite three turnovers that Indianapolis turned into 10 points.
The Colts twice had first-and-goal inside the Titans 9 in the second half. Tennessee’s defense, much-maligned in 2020, held the Colts to a pair of field goals by Rodrigo Blankenship.
(At) Buffalo 43, Washington 21: Josh Allen threw four touchdown passes and scored another TD rushing in Buffalo’s rout.
Allen, who had been unhappy with his inconsistencies and 56% completion percentage through two games, finished 32 of 43 for 358 yards, while also surpassing the 100-touchdown plateau (including TDs rushing and one receiving) in his 47th career start.
It marked Allen’s fifth career game with four TDs passing and 300 yards passing, one more than the team record held by Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. And Allen’s 2-yard TD run in the fourth quarter was his 26th, breaking the franchise record for quarterbacks held by Jack Kemp.
Allen’s 101 touchdowns rank fourth among Bills quarterbacks, and one behind Kemp.
Washington (1-2) failed to carry over any momentum from a 30-29 win over the New York Giants on Sept. 16.
BROWNS 26, BEARS 6
(At) Cleveland 26, Chicago 6: Myles Garrett recorded a franchise-record 41 / 2sacks on Justin Fields and Cleveland brought down Chicago’s rookie quarterback nine times – holding him to one net yard passing – in his first NFL start.
Garrett had a field day against Fields, who was thrust into the lineup after veteran Andy Dalton injured his knee last week. The Bears (1-2) wanted to be patient and not play the No. 11 overall pick until he was ready.
The Browns (2-1) didn’t cut him any breaks, and their defense, which had been criticized for its performances in the first two games, got it together at Fields’ expense and held Chicago to only 47 yards and six first downs.
The former Ohio State star was under pressure from the start. He completed just 6 of 20 passes for 68 yards. The Bears’ biggest offensive play came on a pass interference that wiped out an interception and gained 48 yards.
Jadeveon Clowney added two sacks for the Browns.
BENGALS 24, STEELERS 10
Cincinnati 24, (at) Pittsburgh 10: Joe Burrow threw for 178 yards and three touchdowns, including two to rookie Ja’Marr Chase, and Cincinnati handled Pittsburgh.
Burrow connected on a 17-yard strike to Tyler Boyd and found Chase for 34-yard and 9-yard scores as the Bengals (2-1) won at Heinz Field for the first time since 2015.
Facing a pass rush missing injured All-Pro linebacker T.J. Watt, Burrow completed 14 of 18 passes, highlighted by the chemistry he and Chase have quickly rekindled since the Bengals selected Burrow’s former LSU teammate in the first round of the draft.
Their first touchdown was a beautiful rainbow down the sideline with 37 seconds to go in the first half that ended with Chase simply running past Pittsburgh cornerback James Pierre for the score that put Cincinnati up 14-7 at the break. Their second – in which Burrow had plenty of time to find Chase in the back of the end zone – put the Steelers in a 17-point hole midway through the third quarter from which Pittsburgh (1-2) never threatened to recover.
Atlanta 17, (at) New York Giants 14: Younghoe Koo kicked a 40-yard field goal on the final play for Atlanta to give coach Arthur Smith his first NFL win.
It marked the second straight week the Giants (0-3) lost on the final play of the game.
Matt Ryan hit passes of 28 yards to Cordarrelle Patterson and 25 to rookie tight end Kyle Pitts on the game-winning drive.
Ryan engineered two late drives and threw two touchdowns to rally the Falcons (1-2). It spoiled a day when the Giants retired the jersey of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and added his name to the Ring of Honor at MetLife Stadium.
Arizona 31, (at) Jacksonville 19: Byron Murphy intercepted two passes, including one he returned for a touchdown following a botched trick play, and Arizona rallied to beat skidding Jacksonville.
The Cardinals improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2015. The Jaguars (0-3) lost their 18th straight game, leaving them eight shy of the NFL record for futility.
This one unraveled late.
Jacksonville led 19-10 after James Robinson’s 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Coach Urban Meyer got the spark he had been looking for when Jamal Agnew returned a missed field goal a record-tying 109 yards for a score on the final play of the first half.
But it was all Arizona after Robinson’s first score of the season. James Conner capped two long drives with short TD runs, and Murphy delivered the game-changing play when he stepped in front of Jacob Hollister on a flea-flicker and took it the other way for 29 yards.
(At) Las Vegas 31, Miami 28 (OT): Daniel Carlson’s 22-yard field goal as time expired in overtime lifted Las Vegas over Miami.
It marked the second time in the Raiders’ first three games – both at home – they overcame a two-touchdown deficit to win in overtime. They also did so against Baltimore in Week 1.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr found Bryan Edwards for 34 yards before Peyton Barber put together runs of 27 and 8 yards to put Las Vegas (3-0) on the Dolphins’ 11-yard line, setting up the winning score.
Carr completed 26 of 43 pass attempts for 386 yards and two touchdowns.
Miami (1-2) tied it with 2 seconds left in regulation when Jacoby Brissett ran for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal and then passed to William Fuller for a 2-point conversion.
Both teams kicked field goals in overtime before Carlson’s winning kick.
(At) Minnesota 30, Seattle 17: Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes before halftime for Minnesota and guided three clock-draining field goal drives after that.
The Vikings beat Seattle for the first time in 12 years.
Alexander Mattison stepped in for the injured Dalvin Cook and racked up 171 total yards, rushing 18 times for 76 yards in the second half as the Vikings (1-2) seized control with 23 straight points. They beat Seattle (1-2) for the first time with Pete Carroll as coach and Russell Wilson as the quarterback.
(At) Denver 27, New York Jets 0: Von Miller led a Denver defense that sacked Zach Wilson five times, intercepted him twice and limited the rookie to 160 yards passing.
Denver is off to its first 3-0 start in five seasons thanks in part to a soft September schedule. But the victory could prove costly: The Broncos lost three more players to injuries, giving them seven so far.
The Jets (0-3) became the third NFL team to lose a dozen consecutive games in September, joining the 1994-97 Saints and the 2007-10 Rams, who hold the record with 13 consecutive losses in the month.