Denver kicker Brandon McManus had six field goals and linebacker Malik Reed came up with a big sack late to help the Broncos hold on for an 18-12 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday in a game twice delayed following positive coronavirus tests for both teams.
Sunday’s game was originally scheduled for last week but got postponed twice, first by a day, then by seven. The delay was caused after multiple Patriots players tested positive for Covid-19, including quarterback Cam Newton and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. New England (2-3) rallied from an 18-3 deficit and nearly pulled off the comeback, but had three turnovers.
Green Bay Packers 10-38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
For Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, it was just like old times in a new uniform. Brady threw for 166 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Gronkowski, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rolled to a 38-10 win over the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers.
The two formed a prolific pair from 2010 to 2018 when both were with the New England Patriots. Gronkowski, a four-time All-Pro tight end, returned to the NFL after sitting out the 2019 season but got off to a slow start in his new home, catching just 12 passes over his first five games.
He caught five passes for a team-high 78 yards and a touchdown against the Packers. It was his first touchdown with Tampa Bay. The Packers fell to 4-1 for the season. They jumped to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter before Tampa Bay reeled off 38 straight points. The NFL’s only remaining unbeaten teams are the Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks.
Cleveland Browns 7–38 Pittsburgh Steelers
James Conner ran for 101 yards and a touchdown and the Steelers battered the Browns in a 38-7 blowout victory to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1978. Ben Roethlisberger added 162 yards passing and a score.
Pittsburgh emphatically ended Cleveland’s four-game winning streak and extended the Browns’ skid at Heinz Field to 17 and counting. The Browns (4-2) were unable to get anything going against a defense that sacked aching Baker Mayfield four times, picked him off twice and chased him late in the third quarter with the game out of reach. The NFL’s top rushing offense managed 75 yards on the ground, 113 below their season average, as the Steelers dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage in easily their best performance in 2020.
Chicago Bears 23–16 Carolina Panthers
Nick Foles threw for one touchdown and ran for another, Chicago’s defense forced three turnovers and sacked Teddy Bridgewater four times and the Bears held on to beat the Carolina Panthers.
Foles finished with 198 yards passing and a touchdown and David Montgomery added 58 yards on the ground as the Bears (5-1) opened the season 3-0 on the road for the first time since 2006, when they reached the Super Bowl. Bridgewater was under duress most of the game. He was held to a season-low 216 yards passing and was intercepted twice.
Baltimore Ravens 30-28 Philadelphia Eagles
Lamar Jackson threw for a touchdown and ran for a score and the Baltimore Ravens held on for a 30-28 victory over the depleted Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles (1-4-1) came in missing seven offensive starters, including four offensive linemen, and then lost two more when running back Miles Sanders left in the third quarter and tight end Zach Ertz exited in the fourth.
Still, the Ravens (5-1) needed to prevent a two-point conversion with 1:55 remaining to secure the win. Carson Wentz was stopped by LJ Fort and Matthew Judon trying to run it in. Wentz tossed two TD passes, was sacked six times and managed to finish the game along with center Jason Kelce as Philadelphia’s only healthy starters.
Washington 19–20 New York Giants
Joe Judge and the New York Giants have finally won, and they have rookie Tae Crowder and a risky gamble by Washington coach Ron Rivera for making them relevant again.
Crowder scooped up a fumble and ran 43 yards for a touchdown with 3:28 to play. That gave the Giants a 20-19 victory over Washington in a battle of the two of the NFL’s worst teams. The game wasn’t decided until Rivera rolled the dice after a 22-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Allen to Cam Sims with 36 seconds left in regulation.
Instead of playing for overtime, Rivera had Washington (1-5) go for the win with a two-point conversion in an attempt to get back in the mediocre NFC East race. Allen found no one open, scrambled to his left and had his pass under pressure fall incomplete.
Atlanta Falcons 40–23 Minnesota Vikings
Julio Jones returned from injury to catch two of Matt Ryan’s four touchdown passes, as the Atlanta Falcons beat the Minnesota Vikings for their first victory of the season one week after the firing of head coach Dan Quinn. Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions in the first half for the first time in his career, and the Falcons (1-5) turned those picks into 17 points to build a 20-0 lead at the break that proved to be solid enough for even this falter-prone team.
Cincinnati Bengals 27–31 Indianapolis Colts
After falling behind by 21 points, the Indianapolis Colts needed the biggest regular-season comeback in franchise history. Philip Rivers was up to the task.
After trailing 21-0, Rivers rallied the Colts with three touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score on the first play of the fourth quarter, for a 31-27 victory over Cincinnati.
It equaled the largest comeback in the franchise’s regular-season history. None of the previous four came at home, and the last time Indianapolis (4-2) achieved the feat came in 2003 at Tampa Bay. Only a 28-point comeback in the 2013 playoffs against Kansas City was a larger margin.
Houston Texans 36–42 Tennessee Titans
Derrick Henry took a direct snap and ran for a touchdown in overtime and the Tennessee Titans remained undefeated, rallying to beat the Houston Texans.
Henry, last season’s rushing leader, ran for 202 yards in regulation, including a 94-yard TD run. In overtime, he took a screen pass 53 yards on the second play. He capped the six-play, 82-yard drive with a wildcat snap for his second TD of the game, finishing with 212 yards rushing and 52 yards receiving.
New York Jets 0-24 Miami Dolphins
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes and the Miami Dolphins held the winless New York Jets without a third-down conversion until the fourth quarter to get their first shutout in six years, 24-0.
The game was so lopsided that Miami rookie Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in mop-up duty with 2:27 left. The Dolphins’ potential franchise quarterback ran onto the field to a big roar from the crowd of 10,772, and a grinning Fitzpatrick waved to encourage more cheers. The Dolphins (3-3) reached .500 for the first time under second-year coach Brian Flores and moved into second place in the AFC East behind Buffalo. The Jets (0-6) became the NFL’s only winless team and continued their worst start since 1996, increasing the heat on embattled coach Adam Gase.
Detroit Lions 34–16 Jacksonville Jaguars
Rookie D’Andre Swift ran for a career-high 116 yards and two touchdowns, Matthew Stafford got an elusive TD pass against the only team he hadn’t thrown one against in 12 NFL seasons and the Detroit Lions hammered the Jacksonville Jaguars. Detroit (2-3) made this one look easy, somewhat surprising considering the Lions had lost six straight in which they led by double digits. They’ve already done it three times this season, collapsing in losses to Chicago, Green Bay and New Orleans.