NFL Week 3 roundup: Brady, Patriots defense shine in 30-14 win over Jets
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes and the Patriots didn’t allow a defensive touchdown for the third straight week as New England dominated in a 30-14 win over the New York Jets on Sunday.
Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead each added a rushing touchdown for the Patriots (3-0), who won their seventh straight over the Jets and earned their ninth consecutive regular-season win at home over their AFC East rival.
It was the Patriots’ first game since releasing receiver Antonio Brown. The four-time All-Pro was cut by the team on Friday after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct.
Brown’s absence didn’t slow New England against a Jets team that was without starting quarterback Sam Darnold, still recovering from mononucleosis, and injured linebacker C.J. Mosley and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams. They seemed lost at times on defense and struggled to move the ball offensively — going 0 for 12 on third down — against the Patriots’ top-ranked defense in quarterback Luke Falk’s first NFL start.
Brady was 28 of 42 for 306 yards and headed to the sideline with 8:41 left in the fourth quarter and New England leading 30-7. He was briefly replaced by rookie Jarrett Stidham, who completed his first two passes before having his third intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Jamal Adams. Brady returned the following series.
Falk, who was on the practice squad a week ago, got the nod with Darnold still at least a week away from returning and Trevor Siemian sidelined for the season after injuring his ankle in New York’s loss to Cleveland last Monday night.
Falk finished 12 of 22 for 98 yards and had an errant pass in the third quarter intercepted by Devin McCourty deep in the Jets own territory.
The Jets dropped to 0-3 for the first time since the 2003 season.
Le’Veon Bell carried 18 times for just 35 yards. The Jets punted on their first six possessions and only crossed into New England’s territory once in the first half, reaching the Patriots 49 on the opening driving of the game. They punted on 10 of their 13 possessions.
New York didn’t get on the scoreboard until Gunner Olszewski muffed a punt late in the third quarter and it was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by Arthur Maulet.
The Patriots were also limited in the run game without running back James White. He missed the game to be with his expectant wife and fullback James Develin was also out with a neck injury.
But New England still scored on each of its first three possessions, building a 20-0 halftime lead.
Michel scored the game’s first touchdown, running it from 5 yards out to cap a 9-play, 88-yard drive.
Brady and offense then took to the air, spreading out New York’s secondary with multiple four-receiver formations. Phillip Dorsett had a 25-yard TD reception and Julian Edelman caught another score from 3 yards out early in the second quarter.
Edelman capped the score with an emphatic spike of the ball , a throwback to the celebration of choice by retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Edelman later left the game with a chest injury and didn’t return.
Cowboys 31, Dolphins 6
ARLINGTON, Texas — Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes to Amari Cooper before running for another score, and the Dallas Cowboys pulled out of a first-half funk as huge favorites in a 31-6 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
One of Prescott’s TD tosses to Cooper came before halftime, but the Dolphins had a great chance to lead at the break as 22-point underdogs when Kenyan Drake fumbled on first down from the Dallas 7-yard line in the final minute of the second quarter. DeMarcus Lawrence recovered to preserve a 10-6 lead.
Josh Rosen was 18 of 29 for 200 yards without a touchdown or interception in his first start for Miami, which went with him over Ryan Fitzpatrick after getting outscored 102-10. No team since 1961 had a worse point differential through two games.
The rebuilding Dolphins are 0-3 for the first time since losing their first seven in 2011. They have been outscored 133-16, the largest point differential through three games in the league history since 1950.
Prescott fueled the first Dallas team in 41 years to win its first two games while rolling up at least 400 yards and at least 30 points each time. And while the Cowboys reached 3-0 for the first time since 2008, it took them awhile to find that offensive form.
The second touchdown to Cooper was a 19-yarder that capped a 75-yard drive to open the second half, and came after a 74-yard TD toss to Randall Cobb was nullified by offsetting penalties.
Colts 27, Falcons 24
INDIANAPOLIS — Jacoby Brissett threw two touchdown passes in the first half Sunday, and Marlon Mack scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter to lead the Indianapolis Colts past Atlanta 27-24.
Indianapolis (2-1) has won two straight overall and seven in a row at home.
The Falcons (1-2) rallied from a 20-3 halftime deficit to get within three on Matt Ryan’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones with 4:11 to play. But the Falcons opted to kick deep and never got the ball back.
Brissett closed it out with an 11-yard pass to Jack Doyle on third-and-4. He finished 28 of 37 with 310 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. T.Y. Hilton caught eight passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but missed the second half after aggravating a quad injury that slowed him in practice this week.
Ryan was 29 of 34 with 340 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He passed John Elway for ninth on the league’s career completion list and broke a tie with Elway for No. 11 on the career TD passes list. Ryan now has 4,143 completions and 303 touchdown passes.
Brissett played brilliantly, completing his first 16 passes and leading the Colts to scores on all four of their first-half possessions, including two 90-plus yard drives.
But the Falcons flipped the script in the second half.
Vikings 34, Raiders 14
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — NFL rushing leader Dalvin Cook cruised past the 100-yard mark for the third straight game, Kirk Cousins rebounded from his rattled performance the week before with a turnover-free afternoon, and the Minnesota Vikings rolled by the Oakland Raiders 34-14 on Sunday.
The defense had plenty to do with the victory, too. An interception by Harrison Smith of an overthrow by Oakland’s David Carr set up the second of two touchdowns by Adam Thielen to give the Vikings a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. Eric Wilson had two of Minnesota’s four sacks.
Cook had 16 carries for 110 yards and a score in just three quarters, and his backups capably grabbed the baton. Rookie Alexander Mattison got his first NFL touchdown as the Vikings (2-1) rushed for 211 yards and didn’t even attempt a fourth-quarter pass for the second time in two home games. Last week in a loss at Green Bay, Cousins had three turnovers, including a first-and-goal interception in the end zone.
Cousins enjoyed a sack-free game for the first time in his Vikings career and finished a crisp 15 for 21 for 174 yards and one score to Thielen on their opening possession. That throw covered 35 yards, a rollout away from the play-action when he planted in front of a pressuring defensive tackle P.J. Hall and zipped the ball across the field, where Thielen was racing past safety Curtis Riley. That was one of three touchdown drives of 75-plus yards, and Thielen scored later on an inside handoff off a jet sweep at the goal line.
Lions 27, Eagles 24
PHILADELPHIA — Matthew Stafford threw a touchdown pass to Marvin Jones, Jamal Agnew returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score and the Detroit Lions held on for a 27-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
The Eagles had a chance after Malcolm Jenkins blocked Matt Prater’s 46-yard field goal try with 1:53 left. Rasul Douglas returned it to the Lions 22, but an illegal block on Jenkins pushed it back to midfield.
On fourth-and-5, Darren Sproles caught a pass for a first down but got called for Philadelphia’s third offensive pass interference. Wentz’s deep pass to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside fell incomplete with 41 seconds left.
The Lions (2-0-1) remain undefeated and the Eagles (1-2) have lost two in a row.
Jones had six catches for 116 yards, including a 12-yard TD reception that extended Detroit’s lead to 27-17 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Carson Wentz threw a pair of touchdown passes to Nelson Agholor, but came up yards short on a scramble on fourth-and-8 late in the fourth.
The Eagles’ injury-depleted offense missing its top two receivers was sloppy.
Miles Sanders and Agholor lost fumbles, there were a few drops, and wideout Mack Hollins committed two pass-interference penalties.
Packers 27, Broncos 16
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers threw for 235 yards and a touchdown, Aaron Jones tied a career high by running for two scores, and the Green Bay Packers beat the Denver Broncos 27-16 on Sunday.
Preston Smith matched a career high with three sacks as Green Bay got to Joe Flacco six times and forced three turnovers to lead the Packers (3-0) to the win despite being dominated in time of possession 35:34-24:26.
Rodgers found Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a 40-yard strike on the opening drive and finished 17 of 29. Jones’ touchdown runs both came from 1 yard out.
Flacco was 20 of 29 for 213 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. For the third straight game, Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Denver’s defense failed to record a sack or force a turnover. The Broncos (0-3) fell to 0-6-1 all-time on the road against the Packers.
Following Valdes-Scantling’s first score of the season, Flacco and the Broncos’ offense spoiled a 60-yard kickoff return by Diontae Spencer, going three-and-out on their first possession.
But Denver tied it at 7 on a 1-yard run by Phillip Lindsay at the start of the second quarter. The score capped a 15-play, 75-yard drive that ate up more than eight minutes.
Mason Crosby put the Packers ahead on a 42-yard field goal with 11:19 to go in the first half. The Broncos answered about 8 minutes later with a field goal of their own.
Giants 32, Buccaneers 31
TAMPA, Fla. — The Daniel Jones era is off to a rousing start for the New York Giants.
The rookie quarterback threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for two TDs, including the go-ahead score with 1:16 remaining as the Giants rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-31 on Sunday.
Jameis Winston threw for 380 yards and put the Bucs (1-2) in position to pull out a dramatic win, but rookie Matt Gay’s 34-yard field goal sailed wide right as time expired.
Jones scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter and put the Giants ahead with another 7-yarder on fourth-and-goal. The sixth pick in this year’s draft began New York’s comeback with a 75-yard TD pass to Evan Engram on the first play of the second half, and a 7-yarder to Sterling Shepard midway through the third quarter.
Winston threw TD passes of 21, 3 and 20 yards to Mike Evans to help Tampa Bay build a 28-10 halftime lead. His 44-yard completion to the Giants 9 set up the last-second field goal try by Gay, who also missed an extra point and had another blocked.
Jones, making his first NFL start in place of benched two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, completed 23 of 36 passes. With Saquon Barkley exiting with a right ankle injury late in the first half, Jones also led the Giants with 28 yards rushing on four attempts.
As impressive as the former Duke standout was, he was not perfect. Shaquil Barrett had four of Tampa Bay’s five sacks and forced a fumble that led to a field goal that put Tampa Bay up 31-25 with six minutes to go.
Panthers 38, Cardinals 20
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Kyle Allen threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns in place of the injured Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey ran for a 76-yard touchdown, and the Carolina Panthers beat the Arizona Cardinals 38-20 on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Allen was outstanding in his second career start, making several big throws — even when there was tight coverage. He was 19 of 26, including two touchdowns to Greg Olsen and one each to Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore.
McCaffrey had 24 carries for 153 yards, including the 76-yard score, which came in the third quarter when he darted straight through the middle of Arizona’s defense.
Newton was ruled out by the Panthers earlier this week because of a mid-foot sprain. The Panthers were confident Allen would be an adequate replacement and Sunday’s performance was validation.
Allen outplayed Arizona’s Kyler Murray, who was his former college teammate at Texas A&M. Murray also had some good moments, especially early, including a few long runs and a couple of short touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson.
But Murray’s costly interception late in the third quarter helped the Panthers (1-2) pull away for their first win. He finished 30 of 43 passing for 173 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for 69 yards.
Murray was sacked eight times by Carolina’s defense, which improved as the game progressed.
Saints 33, Seahawks 27
SEATTLE — Teddy Bridgewater threw two touchdown passes in his first start in place of Drew Brees, New Orleans also scored TDs on defense and special teams, and the Saints beat the Seattle Seahawks 33-27 on Sunday.
With Brees out for several weeks following surgery to repair a ligament near his right thumb, the Saints pulled off a stunner by taking advantage of Seattle’s sloppiness and handing the Seahawks their first home loss in the month of September under Pete Carroll.
Seattle had been 15-0 at home in September since 2010. The first loss will sting.
Bridgewater threw a 29-yard touchdown to Alvin Kamara late in the first half on a screen pass where he bounced off several tacklers on his way to the end zone. He added a 1-yard TD toss to Michael Thomas on fourth-and-goal on the first possession of the second half, a drive kept alive by an illegal formation penalty against Seattle on a missed field goal attempt.
But the key for New Orleans was a pair of first-half touchdowns with Bridgewater standing on the sideline.
Deonte Harris took a punt back 53 yards for a score in the first quarter, and Vonn Bell picked up Chris Carson’s third lost fumble in three games, and returned it 33 yards for a TD in the second quarter.
Texans 27, Chargers 20
CARSON, Calif. — Deshaun Watson threw for 351 yards and hit Jordan Akins with two of his three touchdown passes, and J.J. Watt had two of the Texans’ five sacks of Philip Rivers in their 27-20 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Akins made the first two TD catches of his career and fellow tight end Darren Fells also caught a TD pass for the Texans (2-1), who rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit with 20 consecutive points on the way to their franchise’s second-ever win over the Chargers (1-2).
Keenan Allen caught 13 passes for a career-high 183 yards and two touchdowns from Rivers, who passed for 318 yards in the Bolts’ second straight loss.
The Chargers have a losing record after three games for the fifth consecutive season. Los Angeles also started 1-2 last season before reeling off six straight wins during an 11-2 finish.
Houston went up 27-17 with 9:40 to play on a typically magical effort by Watson, whose escape abilities usually kept him one step ahead of the Chargers’ tough pass rush. The quarterback barely eluded a sack by Melvin Ingram and converted a broken play, hitting Akins for a 53-yard catch-and-run TD.
The Chargers trimmed the lead to seven points and then drove into Houston territory in the final minute, converting two fourth downs along the way.