Patriots stay on top in the AFC
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. — Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns to help the Patriots defeat the Titans 33-16 and hold onto the top spot in the AFC in a game that saw Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota exit with a knee injury in the first half.
The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft, Mariota left and did not return after being sacked to end consecutive second-quarter drives.
Brady completed 23 of 35 passes for 267 yards.
Joey Iosefa carried the ball 14 times for 51 yards to lead the Pats on the ground. Brandon LaFell had a team-high 88 receiving yards while James White and Rob Gronkowski each caught a scoring strike.
Delanie Walker caught two passes, both for touchdowns, for 64 yards for Tennessee. Zach Mettenberger completed 20 of 28 passes for 242 yards, two TD and two interceptions after replacing Mariota.
PANTHERS 38, GIANTS 35
Graham Gano's 43-yard field goal as time expired kept Carolina perfect this season with a wild 38-35 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.
Cam Newton threw for five touchdowns in building a 28-point lead before New York stormed back to tie it with 1:46 remaining. The rally tied the NFL record set by San Francisco against New Orleans in 1980. The big difference: The 49ers won their game; the Giants lost.
Newton led the Panthers (14-0) to their 18th straight regular-season victory. He has thrown for 19 touchdowns in the last five games and a career-best 33 in this so-far special season.
Carolina visits Atlanta and hosts Tampa Bay to finish the schedule. All three previous NFL teams to reach 14-0 — Miami in 1972, New England in 2007 and Indianapolis in 2009 — made the Super Bowl.
The Giants (6-8) fell one game behind Washington in the NFC East.
VIKINGS 38, BEARS 17
Teddy Bridgewater threw a career-high four touchdowns and ran for another, and the Vikings took a big step toward clinching playoff spot.
Bridgewater completed 17 of 20 passes for 231 yards without a turnover, connecting twice with Stefon Diggs for scores. Jerick McKinnon and Zach Line had the other touchdown catches on a remarkably productive afternoon for all of Minnesota's running backs.
Adrian Peterson missed some time because of an injury to his left ankle, but finished with 63 yards to maintain his NFL rushing lead. The Vikings are 9-5. The Bears are 5-9.
REDSKINS 35, BILLS 25
Kirk Cousins equaled his career high with four touchdown passes and ran 13 yards for another score, helping Washington win consecutive games for the first time in more than a year and stay atop the NFC East.
While the Redskins (7-7) moved closer to a playoff berth, the Bills (6-8) are now assured of missing the postseason for the 16th year in a row, the NFL's longest active drought.
Making first-year Bills head coach Rex Ryan's defense look inept, and helped by a key fourth-down encroachment penalty on Buffalo, the Redskins scored TDs on each of their first three possessions for the first time since September 1999, grabbing a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
CHIEFS 34, RAVENS 14
Kansas City capitalized on a variety of miscues by Baltimore, extended its winning streak to eight games and remain in the thick of the playoff picture.
Tyvon Branch returned a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and Marcus Peters clinched the victory with a 90-yard interception return for a score with 4:36 left.
Kansas City (9-5) also scored touchdowns following a drive-extending penalty by Baltimore and a failed fake punt.
With the win, the Chiefs became the first NFL team to follow a five-game slide with eight successive wins in the same season.
Baltimore (4-10) is 2-5 at home — the first time in its 20-year history the team has lost five home games.
TEXANS 16, COLTS 10
Brandon Weeden replaced injured quarterback T.J. Yates late in the first half and threw a go-ahead 8-yard TD pass to Jaelen Strong with 10:36 to play as Houston won at Indianapolis for the first time in 14 tries.
The Texans (7-7) took sole possession of the AFC South lead by snapping a two-game losing streak.
The Colts (6-8) have lost three straight and need help to make the playoffs.
The battle of backup quarterbacks didn't earn style points. Yates was 6 of 10 for 68 yards with one interception before hurting his left knee. Weeden went 11 of 18 with 105 yards, leading the Texans to three field goals and the decisive TD.
Hasselbeck was 17 of 30 with 147 yards and one interception and briefly gave way to Charlie Whitehurst in the fourth.
FALCONS 23, JAGUARS 17
Julio Jones scored for the first time in seven weeks, and Atlanta ended a six-game losing streak.
Jones finished with nine receptions for 118 yards and set the franchise record for catches in a season. He has 118, breaking teammate Roddy White's mark of 115 set in 2010.
The Falcons (7-7) had lost six straight and even had some wondering whether they had given up after losing 38-0 last week at Carolina.
The Jaguars (5-9) lost ground in the muddled AFC South and were all but eliminated in the division race.
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