NFL: Bengals get first victory, knock off Jets
CINCINNATI (AP) — Andy Dalton returned from his three-week exile Sunday and got a long-awaited win for the coach who benched him, throwing a touchdown pass during a 22-6 victory over the New York Jets that ended the longest losing streak in Cincinnati Bengals history.
The Bengals (1-11) had lost 13 in a row since the end of last season, with newcomer Zac Taylor waiting until December to get his first head coaching win. Taylor benched Dalton after the eighth loss, deciding to see whether Ryan Finley fit into the team’s long-term plans.
With the rookie struggling and the season careening toward 0-16, Taylor reversed course and went back to Dalton. He made the difference in front of the smallest crowd in Paul Brown Stadium history. Carlos Dunlap and Sam Hubbard dunked Taylor with ice water in the final seconds.
Dalton got beyond his initial bitterness over the benching and led the NFL’s lone winless team to the breakthrough victory in front of 39,804 fans. Dalton also set a couple of franchise passing marks along the way.
The Jets (4-8) had their three-game winning streak snapped, unable to extend their high-scoring momentum behind Sam Darnold.
STEELERS 20, BROWNS 13
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Steelers and Browns kept things civil in their highly anticipated rematch, which ended the way they always seem to end at Heinz Field: the Steelers walking off in triumph.
Devlin “Duck” Hodges threw for 212 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his second career start. Rookie Benny Snell ran for 63 yards and his first NFL touchdown, and the banged-up Steelers exacted revenge for their whipping at the hands of the Browns two weeks ago.
Pittsburgh (7-5) boosted its postseason chances by rallying from 10 points down thanks in large part to Hodges, a rookie undrafted free agent who happens to be a champion duck caller in his down time. He was aided by the emergence of wide receiver James Washington, who caught four passes for 111 yards and a juggling 30-yard score late in the first half.
The Browns (5-7) saw their three-game winning streak come to a crashing halt when they failed to handle a Pittsburgh offense riddled with injuries and inexperience at the skill positions. Baker Mayfield completed 18 of 32 passes for 196 yards with a touchdown and an interception; he played the entire second half with his right hand in a protective glove after smacking it against the face mask of Pittsburgh linebacker Bud Dupree.
RAVENS 20, 49ERS 17
BALTIMORE (AP) — Neither rain, wind nor the San Francisco 49ers’ top-ranked defense could prevent Lamar Jackson from guiding the Baltimore Ravens to their franchise-record eighth straight win.
Jackson weathered miserable conditions to run for 101 yards and Justin Tucker kicked a tiebreaking 49-yard field goal as time expired in a possible Super Bowl preview. The combination of driving rain, a stiff wind and San Francisco’s rugged defense was difficult for Jackson to handle. He completed only 14 of 23 passes for 105 yards and lost a fumble.
But the double-threat quarterback was solid when it counted. Not only did he fuel the NFL’s top-ranked rushing attack, he directed a clutch drive that lasted nearly 6½ minutes before Tucker ended it with a kick that tore through the raindrops and between the uprights.
CHIEFS 40, RAIDERS 9
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for a touchdown and ran for a touchdown, while Juan Thornhill returned a pick 46 yards for another score. LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson also had TD runs for the Chiefs (8-4), who took a two-game lead over the Raiders by finishing off a season sweep. That means Kansas City can clinch a fourth straight division title with a win over New England and an Oakland loss to Tennessee next weekend.
RAMS 34, CARDINALS 7
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Jared Goff threw for 424 yards and two touchdowns, and Robert Woods had 172 yards receiving. The Rams (7-5) bounced back from an embarrassing 45-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night by embarrassing the Cardinals and stayed in the hunt for a playoff berth.
BRONCOS 23, CHARGERS 20
DENVER (AP) — Brandon McManus’ 53-yard field goal as time expired, set up by a long interference call, capped a furious final 14 seconds.
TITANS 31, COLTS 17
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tye Smith returned a blocked field goal 63 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 5:02 left to play. Adam Vinatieri missed three field goals for Indy (6-6), with two being blocked, including the decisive kick that Dane Cruikshank got his hand on. Vinatieri has missed 14 kicks this season: eight field goals and six extra points.
DOLPHINS 37, EAGLES 31
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — DeVante Parker made two acrobatic touchdown receptions and kicker Jason Sanders also had a circus-like scoring catch. Miami (3-9) overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half with three touchdowns in less than 13 minutes — a remarkable achievement for one of the NFL’s lowest-scoring teams. The Eagles (5-7) lost their third game in a row and missed a chance to pull into a tie with Dallas atop the NFC East.
REDSKINS 29, PANTHERS 21
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Derrius Guice ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns and the Redskins made a late goal-line stand. Adrian Peterson added 99 yards and a score as the Redskins (3-9) piled up 248 yards on the ground and scored their most points this season.
BUCCANEERS 28, JAGUARS 11
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Nick Foles ended his first three drives with turnovers that Tampa Bay turned into touchdowns. It was Jacksonville’s fourth consecutive loss by at least 17 points and could mean the end of coach Doug Marrone’s tenure with the team. At the very least, the skid will have owner Shad Khan considering changes over the final month of the season.