Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to Diontae Johnson, and the Pittsburgh Steelers remained perfect by holding off Tennessee for a 27-24 victory Sunday in a game originally postponed when the Titans came down with the NFL’s first Covid-19 outbreak of the season.
In a matchup of the AFC’s two remaining undefeated teams, the Titans rallied from 17 down. They failed to complete the comeback when Stephen Gostkowski, who made a 51-yarder earlier, missed from 45 yards wide right with 14 seconds left that sent the Steelers running around the field in celebration and the Titans (5-1) stunned.
The Steelers improved to 6-0 for their best start since 1978, when Pittsburgh won its first seven on the way to the Super Bowl. This was just the fifth time undefeated teams had met in Week 7 or later, and the winner of the previous four all made the Super Bowl.
Benny Snell Jr added a one-yard TD run, and Ray-Ray McCloud set up a touchdown with a 57-yard punt return. Pittsburgh scored at least 26 points for a sixth straight game to tie a stretch in 2015 for the longest in franchise history.
The Steelers were without cornerback Mike Hilton, one of their best blitzers, not that the NFL’s No 2 defense in both yards and points allowed missed him. Pittsburgh outgained Tennessee 362-292 and held the NFL’s second-best scoring offense under 31 points for the first time since the opening week of the season.
Cleveland Browns 37-34 Cincinnati Bengals
Baker Mayfield overcame a terrible start to throw for five touchdowns, including a 24-yard go-ahead score to Donovan Peoples-Jones with 15 seconds left, and the Cleveland Browns outdueled the Cincinnati Bengals 37-34 on Sunday.
Nursing sore ribs, Mayfield started 0 for 5 – including an interception on his first attempt of the game. He then completed the next 22 of 23 passes. The last was the leaping grab by People-Jones to win it for the Browns (5-2).
Cincinnati rookie Joe Burrow played another terrific game, but again it wasn’t enough. He hit 35 of 47 passes for a season-high 406 yards and three touchdowns, including a three-yard scoring pass to Giovani Bernard on fourth-and-one to give the Bengals a 34-31 lead with 1:06 left.
But the Bengals’ defense couldn’t stop Mayfield, who was roundly criticized after a poor performance in Cleveland’s loss to Pittsburgh last week, and Browns receivers who made some great catches as they worked down the field.
Mayfield was 22 for 28 for 297 yards. Rashard Higgins had six catches for 110 yards, and tight end Harrison Bryant had two touchdown catches.
With running back Joe Mixon out with an injured foot, the Bengals relied on Burrow, who has thrown for more than 300 yards in five of the seven games of his rookie year. Cincinnati managed only 81 yards on the ground, and that included 34 from Burrow.
Tyler Boyd had 11 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals (1-5-1)
Dallas Cowboys 3-25 Washington Football Team
Washington’s defense finally clamped down on a struggling opponent, piling up six sacks, an interception and a forced fumble that became a safety in a 25-3 blowout of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday that snapped a five-game skid.
Montez Sweat led Washington (2-5) with two and a half sacks, Cole Holcomb had one to go along with a red zone interception and Landon Collins knocked the ball out of Andy Dalton’s hands for an early safety before leaving with an ankle injury. Dalton was under siege all day behind a patchwork offensive line before being knocked out of the game in the third quarter on a shoulder-to-head hit from Jon Bostic, who was ejected.
Dalton was 9 of 19 for 75 yards before being injured and walking off under his own power to undergo concussion evaluation.
Washington allowed 142 total yards to win a game by double digits for the first time since November 2018.
Dallas (2-5) lost back-to-back games after Washington held Ezekiel Elliott to 45 yards rushing on 12 carries and rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb dropped a handful of passes thrown his way.
Buffalo Bills 18-10 New York Jets
Josh Allen and the Bills were held out of the end zone for the first time this season, but Tyler Bass tied a franchise record with six field goals to help Buffalo snap a two-game skid with an 18-10 victory over the winless New York Jets on Sunday.
It was the third game in 13 days for the Bills (5-2), who lost to Tennessee and Kansas City before their ugly win against the league-worst Jets (0-7).
The Bills fell behind 10-0 early and looked sluggish for most of the game, and the victory marked their first without getting a touchdown since they beat Washington 17-16 in 2007 on five field goals by Rian Lindell and a safety.
It was also the first time the Jets lost without giving up a touchdown since a 9-6 loss to the Rams in 2016, which was Jeff Fisher’s last win as an NFL head coach.
Bass kicked a 40-yarder with 1:56 left after also making kicks of 53, 48, 46, 37 and 29 yards. He also missed from 45 and 37 yards, but made enough to tie Steve Christie’s team mark set against New York in 1996.
New York had a chance late after Micah Hyde was called for an unnecessary hit on Breshad Perriman, who appeared unconscious for a few moments. The penalty put the ball at the Jets 32. But Sam Darnold was intercepted by Jerry Hughes on a tipped pass to seal it.
Carolina Panthers 24-27 New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees passed for 287 yards and two touchdowns without two top receivers and the Saints quarterback rushed for another score to lead New Orleans to a 27-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
The Panthers had driven across midfield in the final minutes when Marcus Davenport’s sack of Teddy Bridgewater led coach Matt Rhule to send out kicker Joey Slye for a 65-yard field goal on fourth-and-19. The kick fell just short of the crossbar and the Saints (4-2) were able to run out the final 1:55 while the Panthers (3-4) dropped their second straight game.
Brees completed 29 of 36 passes to eight targets despite not having receivers Michael Thomas (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19) in the lineup. His decision making and accuracy also helped New Orleans convert 12 of 14 third downs.
On their only two third-down failures, Wil Lutz came through with field goals of 41 and 43 yards.
Brees’ touchdown passes went for four yards to Jared Cook, who completed the catch after bobbling the ball in tight coverage, and four yards to Deonte Harris two seconds before half-time.
Alvin Kamara gained 148 yards from scrimmage, with 83 coming on 14 rushes.
Detroit Lions 23-22 Atlanta Falcons
The Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons have had their share of mishaps in the fourth quarter lately, so it was no surprise when their game against each other was full of them.
Ultimately, the Lions prevailed 23-22 on Matthew Stafford’s 11-yard touchdown pass to TJ Hockenson with no time remaining, but the victory wasn’t secure until Matt Prater made the extra point, and he had to kick it from 15 yards further back because of a penalty.
It looked like Detroit might not get the ball back at all, but Atlanta’s Todd Gurley scored a touchdown with 1:04 left when the Falcons could have run the clock all the way down for a winning field goal. Atlanta went ahead 22-16, but Stafford had the ball back and drove the Lions to victory.
That was just part of a flurry of close finishes in the early afternoon games.
Green Bay Packers 35-20 Houston Texans
Aaron Rodgers threw for 283 yards and four touchdowns and the Green Bay Packers rebounded from their first loss with a 35-20 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Rodgers played a near-flawless game and tied his season high for TD passes. The performance came after he threw two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown, with no TDs in a 38-10 loss to Tampa Bay last week.
Despite being without leading rusher Aaron Jones and left tackle David Bakhtiari, Green Bay (5-1) had no such trouble handling the woeful Texans (1-6) on Sunday as the Packers built a 21-0 lead by halftime.
Green Bay’s strong day on offense was aided by a career-high 196 yards receiving by Davante Adams, who had touchdown receptions of 3 and 45 yards.
Green Bay made it 35-13 when Jamaal Williams scored on a one-yard run with about four minutes to go.
Deshaun Watson threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller with about 90 seconds left before the Texans recovered an onside kick. But David Johnson fumbled after a reception on the next play and the Packers ran out the clock.
The home crowd, which was limited to 13,000, because of coronavirus restrictions, was filled with Green Bay fans in the team’s first trip to Houston since 2012. The stands were so overrun by Packers fans that players on Green Bay’s defense raised their arms to hype up the crowd when the Texans started a drive at their two in the second quarter.