Aaron Rodgers was uneven in his return from Covid-19 but did more than enough to support a standout Green Bay Packers defense in a 17-0 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
AJ Dillon rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the Packers, who handed the Seahawks their first shutout loss in a decade.
A week after he was forced to sit out a loss at Kansas City because of a positive Covid-19 test and the subsequent revelation that he was not vaccinated, Rodgers went 23 of 37 for 292 yards and threw an interception in the end zone in the third quarter.
Rodgers did not practice all week and was cleared to play Saturday under the NFL’s protocols for unvaccinated players. The QB said before the season he was “immunized,” and after his positive test, he detailed in an incendiary radio interview his reasons for seeking alternatives to vaccination and his skepticism about the shots’ effectiveness. Rodgers later apologized for the misleading statement about his vaccination status.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson also struggled in his return after missing three games with an injury to the middle finger on his throwing hand. He went 20 of 40 for 161 yards with two interceptions. The Seahawks wasted two scoring opportunities when Kevin King and Adrian Amos picked off Wilson passes in the end zone.
Cleveland Browns 7-45 New England Patriots
Mac Jones threw three touchdown passes, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for a career-high 100 yards and two scores, and the New England Patriots rolled to a 45-7 victory over Cleveland on Sunday as the Browns lost quarterback Baker Mayfield to a knee injury.
The Patriots (6-4) won their fourth straight game. The Browns (5-5) have dropped four of their last six and haven’t won at New England since 1992, when Bill Belichick was their coach.
Jones finished 19 of 23 for 198 yards passing. Hunter Henry added a pair of TD receptions. Playing without star running back Nick Chubb, who missed the game after a positive Covid-19 test, the Browns were held to 217 total yards and were 1 of 11 on third down. Mayfield limped off the field after taking a pair of hits in the third quarter. Mayfield was 11 for 21 for 73 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
Carolina Panthers 34-10 Arizona Cardinals
Cam Newton provided a flashback to his Superman days in his second debut with the Panthers, throwing for one touchdown, running for another and sparking Carolina to a 34-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Newton the 2015 NFL MVP who was signed by the quarterback-thin Panthers earlier in the week made his presence felt on his first play of the game, entering on third down and screaming “I’m back!” after barreling into the right corner of the end zone for a two-yard touchdown.
On Carolina’s next drive, Newton threw a two-yard TD pass to Robby Anderson as the Panthers (5-5) built a stunning 17-0 lead in the first quarter and a 23-0 advantage by halftime. The Cardinals (8-2) had the best record in the NFL coming into the game but looked discombobulated from the start.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-29 Washington
Tom Brady threw two interceptions in the first quarter as part of an implosion by the reigning Super Bowl champions, contributing to Washington upsetting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while losing Chase Young to injury.
Tampa Bay lost a second consecutive game on either side of their bye week and were dealt an extra blow in the last minute when nose tackle Vita Vea was carted off with an injury on the final play of a 19-play, 80-yard drive that sealed the victory for Washington (3-6). Brady threw two picks just like the loss to New Orleans two weeks ago and finished 23 of 34 for 220 yards and two touchdown passes.
Atlanta Falcons 3–43 Dallas Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliott ran for two touchdowns, Nahshon Wright recovered a blocked punt for a score a week after touching one kept Dallas from getting the ball, and the Cowboys routed the Atlanta Falcons.
Plenty of things that went wrong for the Cowboys in a blowout loss to Denver that ended a six-game winning streak a week ago went right to help the NFC East leaders get back on track.
Offensive execution was among them. Dallas (7-2) looked much more like the NFL’s No 1 offense with Dak Prescott throwing two TD passes to CeeDee Lamb and Elliott finishing two drives kept alive by fourth-down conversions, all before halftime.
New Orleans Saints 21-23 Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill ran and threw for touchdowns as the Tennessee Titans held off the New Orleans Saints for their NFL-best sixth straight victory.
The Titans (8-2) also became the second team in NFL history to win five straight over playoff teams from the season before, joining the 2003 Philadelphia Eagles. Tennessee improved to 7-0 overall against 2020 playoff teams this season. The Saints (5-4) dropped their second straight since losing quarterback Jameis Winston to a season-ending ACL injury.
Detroit Lions 16-16 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Detroit Lions are still winless. They didn’t lose this week, though, after finishing their game in Pittsburgh in a draw. It was the first tie in the NFL this season.
The Lions had the ball four times in overtime but could not score. Ryan Santoso missed a 48-yard field goal. He also missed an extra point in the third quarter that would have given the Lions the win. Jack Fox punted 10 times for 464 yards for the Lions, including two in overtime.
Minnesota Vikings 27–20 Los Angeles Chargers
Kirk Cousins threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns while Dalvin Cook rushed for 94 yards and the game-clinching first down in the Minnesota Vikings’ 27-20 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Cousins completed 25 of 37 passes for Minnesota (4-5), with Justin Jefferson catching nine passes for 143 yards. Cook scored on a one-yard run with 9:29 left in the game, giving the Vikings a 27-17 lead.
Los Angeles drew within a possession when Dustin Hopkins converted a 24-yard field goal with 4:40 remaining, but Minnesota kept the ball for the game’s remainder. Cook powered for 4 yards on fourth-and-two just before the two-minute warning to seal the outcome.
Buffalo Bills 45–17 New York Jets
Josh Allen threw two touchdown passes, Buffalo ran for four scores and the Bills’ top-ranked ranked defense intercepted Mike White four times and smothered the New York Jets.
It was an impressive showing for the Bills (6-3), who rebounded from an embarrassing 9-6 loss at Jacksonville last week by thoroughly dominating the lowly Jets (2-7).
Allen was 21 of 28 for 366 yards with TD passes to Matt Breida and Stefon Diggs with an interception. Breida added a scoring run, as did Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie as Buffalo’s offense looked alive and well.
Taron Johnson, Tre’Davious White, Levi Wallace and Jordan Poyer each intercepted White, who made his third straight start for the injured Zach Wilson and it might have been his last.
Philadelphia Eagles 30–13 Denver Broncos
Cornerback Darius Slay returned a fumble 82 yards for a touchdown and rookie DeVonta Smith hauled in two TD passes from Jalen Hurts in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 30-13 win over the Denver Broncos. The Eagles (4-6) won for the fourth time on the road and prevented the Broncos (5-5) from sweeping the NFC East teams on their schedule just one week after Denver dominated Dallas in one of the biggest upsets of the season.
Jacksonville Jaguars 17–23 Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Taylor rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown, Indianapolis returned a blocked punt for a score and the Colts’ defense held on for victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Indy (5-5) have won four of five to reach .500 for the first time this season. The Jaguars (2-7) have lost 12 consecutive road games and nine straight against AFC South foes.