FOXBOROUGH, Mass.– Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes and the New England Patriots toyed with the Atlanta Falcons– sound familiar?– 23-7 in a fog-filled Super Bowl rematch Sunday night that wasn’t particularly super.
New England scored the final 31 points to win the NFL championship in February. Placards and shirts reading 28-3 were ever-present in and around Gillette Stadium as the Patriots (5-2) scored the first 23 points in this prime-time mismatch. The Falcons (3-3), who led New England by that 25-point margin in the third quarter of the Super Bowl before folding, were outplayed throughout this one.
While Atlanta looked tentative, if not intimidated, Brady and his offense clinically tore apart the Falcons. Mixing runs and passes, New England controlled the clock and field position. And its defense, ranked at the bottom of the entire league through six weeks, stymied the NFL’s fifth-ranked offense.
Brady threw a shovel pass to Bradin Cooks that traveled perhaps a foot, and the receiver used his speed to get into the left corner of the end zone. The other TD was a 2-yarder to James White, who had three touchdowns, including the winner, in the Super Bowl.
STEELERS 29, BENGALS 14
PITTSBURGH– Ben Roethlisberger threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns, Le’Veon Bell added 192 total yards, and Pittsburgh’s defense dominated Cincinnati in the second half.
The Steelers (5-2) relied on their stars to take the lead, then on their reinvigorated defense to blunt Cincinnati and give themselves a significant cushion over the rest of the underwhelming AFC North.
The Bengals (2-4) came in looking to add some street cred to their resurgence after their 0-3 start, but instead spent the second half reverting to the kind of ineffective offense that got offense coordinator Ken Zampese fired two weeks into the season. The Steelers picked off Andy Dalton twice and sacked him three times over the final two quarters to pull away.
COWBOYS 40, 49ERS 10
SANTA CLARA, Calif.– Ezekiel Elliott gained 219 yards from scrimmage and tied a career high with three touchdowns just days after a legal reprieve put his suspension on hold.
Elliott was granted his second temporary restraining order on Tuesday, putting his six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations on hold, and then gave the Cowboys (3-3) a big boost on the field.
Elliott matched his season total of rushing touchdowns with two in the first quarter, then took a short pass from Dak Prescott 72 yards for another touchdown on Dallas’ first possession of the second half to put away the 49ers (0-7). Elliott ran for 147 yards on 26 carries to go with the big catch, setting a career high in scrimmage yards in a game.
CHARGERS 21, BRONCOS 0
CARSON, Calif.– Travis Benjamin returned a first-quarter punt 65 yards for a touchdown and caught a 42-yard TD pass in the fourth, and the Chargers played a dominant defensive game in the first home victory of their relocation season.
Joey Bosa had two of the Chargers’ five sacks while they sent the Broncos (3-3) to the franchise’s first shutout defeat since a 24-0 loss to the Los Angeles Raiders on Nov. 22, 1992.
Philip Rivers passed for 183 yards in his 100th victory, hitting Austin Ekeler for an early TD and Benjamin for the late clincher.
SEAHAWKS 24, GIANTS 7
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.– Russell Wilson threw three second-half touchdown passes and the Seahawks limited the New York Giants’ receiver-depleted offense to 177 yards.
Wilson hit Doug Baldwin with a go-ahead 22-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter. He put the game away with a 38-yard TD throw to Paul Richardson on a play that had to be reviewed because of simultaneous possession. He closed out the scoring with a 1-yard toss to Jimmy Graham with 2:14 to go.
The Seahawks (4-2) limited the Giants (1-6) to 46 yards rushing, 14 first downs and 24:34 in time of possession. The defense only forced one turnover, but the fumble by Eli Manning led to the Richardson touchdown.
TITANS 12, BROWNS 9, OT
CLEVELAND– Ryan Succop’s fourth field goal, a 47-yarder with 1:55 left in overtime, extended his NFL record for makes inside 50 yards to 55 straight and sent the Tennessee Titans to an ugly 12-9 win on Sunday over the winless Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland (0-7) lost durable Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas with an injury. A 10-time Pro Bowler, he missed his first play in 11 seasons. Thomas went out with a triceps injury that snapped his streak of 10,363 consecutive offensive plays. The No. 3 pick in 2007 has been the lone bright spot over the past decade for Cleveland’s franchise.
Succop’s clutch kick enabled the Titans (4-3) to get their second win in six days. Succop made five field goals in Monday night’s win over Indianapolis.
SAINTS 26, PACKERS 17
GREEN BAY, Wis.– Drew Brees threw for a touchdown and ran for another and Mark Ingram rushed for a score.
Will Lutz kicked two second-half field goals, including a 44-yarder to put New Orleans up for good 19-17 with 10:26 left in the game. Brees’ 1-yard sneak gave the Saints a two-score lead.
The sloppy Saints (4-2) were fortunate to get their fourth straight victory. The Packers lost their first game with Brett Hundley starting at quarterback for injured star Aaron Rodgers.
BILLS 30, BUCCANEERS 27
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.– Rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White forced and recovered a fumble to set up Stephen Hauschka’s 30-yard field goal with 14 seconds remaining.
LeSean McCoy had 91 yards rushing and scored twice, including a 7-yard run to tie the score with 2:28 remaining. Tyrod Taylor went 20 of 33 for 268 yards and a touchdown, while Buffalo’s defense forced three turnovers.
Coming out of its bye week, Buffalo improved to 4-2 under rookie head coach Sean McDermott. It marks just the fourth time the Bills have won at least four of their first six games during a 17-year playoff drought.
DOLPHINS 31, JETS 28
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.– Matt Moore replaced an injured Jay Cutler and threw two touchdown passes in the final 12 minutes, and the Dolphins pulled off another comeback win by erasing a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit.
Josh McCown threw three touchdown passes and ran for another for the Jets, but his interception in the final minute set up the winning field goal.
Bobby McCain stepped in front of a pass intended for Jermaine Kearse to give Miami the ball at the Jets 27 with 39 seconds left. Cody Parkey kicked a 39-yard field goal with 22 seconds to go for the Dolphins’ first lead of the game.
BEARS 17, PANTHERS 3
CHICAGO– Rookie safety Eddie Jackson became the first NFL player to score multiple defensive touchdowns of 75 yards or more in a game. Jackson ran back a fumble recovery 75 yards on the game’s opening possession and returned an interception of Cam Newton 76 yards for a score early in the second quarter to give Chicago a 14-0 lead.
He became the first Bears player since Fred Evans in 1948– and the first NFL player since Tennessee’s Zach Brown in 2012– with two defensive TDs in a game.
Chicago also sacked Newton five times and intercepted him twice.
VIKINGS 24, RAVENS 16
MINNEAPOLIS– Latavius Murray rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown and Kai Forbath kicked six field goals.
Forbath made kicks of 52, 51, 43, 43, 34 and 32 yards to back another suffocating effort from the defense for the Vikings (5-2). Minnesota sacked Joe Flacco five times and allowed just 208 yards. Everson Griffen had two sacks and has nine for the season.
JAGUARS 27, COLTS 0
INDIANAPOLIS– Blake Bortles threw for a season-high 330 yards and one touchdown, and T.J. Yeldon scored on a 58-yard run. By ending a four-game losing streak at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Jaguars (4-3) remained atop the AFC South.
Indy (2-5) lost its second straight, both to division foes.
Bortles and the offense looked good on a day when they played without rookie Leonard Fournette, the NFL’s second-leading rusher. Fournette was inactive because of a sprained right ankle.