Carolina still perfect; Cowboys snap skid
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton threw a career-high five touchdowns passes, and the Carolina Panthers improved to 10-0 on the season with a 44-16 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
Newton completed 21 of 34 passes for 246 yards and threw TD passes to five different receivers as Carolina stretched its regular-season win streak to 14 games, including eight straight at home.
The Panthers are the 16th team in the Super Bowl era to start 10-0. Of the previous 15, all made the playoffs and nine have advanced to the Super Bowl, with six winning it all.
The Panthers scored 27 points off five Washington turnovers, three of those by quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Newton became the first Carolina quarterback to throw four TD passes in the first half as the Panthers jumped to a 31-14 lead. Jonathan Stewart ran for 102 yards on 21 carries and caught a 12-yard touchdown pass. Mike Tolbert, Greg Olsen, Ted Ginn Jr. and Devin Funchess also caught TD passes.
Andre Roberts had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for the Redskins (4-6), who've lost nine straight on the road.
BUCCANEERS 45, EAGLES 17
PHILADELPHIA >> Jameis Winston and Doug Martin were an unstoppable combination.
Winston tied a rookie record with five touchdown passes, Martin ran for 235 yards for the Buccaneers. Winston completed 19 of 29 passes for 246 yards and had four of his TD passes in the first half to four different receivers. He tied Matthew Stafford's rookie mark in the third quarter on an 8-yard toss to Cameron Brate, the fifth receiver to catch a TD.
Martin had 177 yards in the first half, including runs of 84 and 58 yards. He finished 2 yards short of tying Barry Sanders' record for most without a TD. Sanders had 237 for the Lions against Tampa in 1994.
Tampa set a franchise record with 283 yards rushing and 521 total yards and were second most in franchise history in the regular season .
The Buccaneers (5-5) have won two straight games for the first time in two years. The Eagles (4-6) have lost two in a row, but are only one game behind the New York Giants (5-5) in the mediocre NFC East.
Mark Sanchez threw a pair of TD passes in his first start replacing injured Sam Bradford, but Chip Kelly's offense couldn't keep up with Winston and the Buccaneers.
COWBOYS 24, DOLPHINS 14
MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. >> Tony Romo pulled off his latest comeback victory, returning from a collarbone injury to throw for two scores as the Cowboys won for the first time since he was hurt in Week 2.
The Cowboys (3-7) snapped a seven-game losing streak, their longest in a single season since 1989. The Dolphins (4-6) increased the likelihood they'll miss the playoffs for the seventh year in a row.
Romo went 18 for 28 for 227 yards, and overcame two interceptions by throwing touchdown passes of 31 yards to Terrance Williams and 16 yards to Dez Bryant.
Dallas linebacker Rolando McClain scored the game's first points and his first career touchdown on a 12-yard interception return. Miami had the ball for only 21 minutes.
BRONCOS 17, BEARS 15
CHICAGO >> Brock Osweiler threw for two touchdowns, and the Broncos stopped Jeremy Langford on a 2-point conversion run in the final minute.
Langford scored on a 2-yard run with 24 seconds left to cap a 65-yard drive. But he ran into a crowd on a conversion attempt, and the Broncos (8-2) escaped.
Osweiler completed 20 of 27 passes for 250 yards with five-time MVP Manning staying back in Denver because of injuries to his foot, ribs and shoulder. Ronnie Hillman ran for 102 yards, and the AFC West-leading Broncos (8-2) got back to winning — against former coach John Fox, too — after dropping two in a row.
Osweiler threw a 48-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas on Denver's first possession of the game and a 10-yarder to Cody Latimer early in the fourth quarter to make it 17-9. The Bears (4-6) then drove to the Denver 4, only to have Jay Cutler's fourth-down pass to Langford in a crowd in the end zone get broken up.
RAVENS 16, RAMS 13
BALTIMORE >> Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco tore ligaments in his left knee during the closing seconds of a 16-13 victory over the Rams. The Ravens also lost running back Justin Forsett, who broke both bones in his right forearm.
Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal as time expired to end a mistake-filled game in which the Ravens rallied from a 10-point deficit.
One final miscue decided the issue: Rams quarterback Case Keenum fumbled when hit by Courtney Upshaw, and teammate Lawrence Guy recovered at the St. Louis 41 with 54 seconds to go.
Flacco moved the Ravens (3-7) to the 29 — injuring his knee along the way — before Tucker delivered the winning kick.
St. Louis (4-6) lost four fumbles and missed an extra point. In his first start of the season, Keenum went 12 for 26 for 136 yards and fumbled three times, losing two.
Baltimore won despite committing two turnovers and being penalized 10 times for 137 yards. The Ravens have lost seven games by a total of 32 points, but this close one went their way.
PACKERS 30, VIKINGS 13
MINNEAPOLIS >> Aaron Rodgers threw for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Datone Jones had two of Green Bay's six sacks and the Packers stopped a three-game losing streak to pull even in the NFC North race.
James Jones had six catches for 109 yards and a score, Eddie Lacy rushed for a season-high 100 yards on 22 carries, and the Packers (7-3) beat the rival Vikings for the 10th time in the last 11 meetings with Rodgers at quarterback. He has thrown for 28 touchdown passes with just three interceptions in those games.
The Vikings (7-3) had their six-game winning streak shoved back in their face by a proud Packers team that clearly wasn't ready to concede a division it has won four straight times. The rematch is on Jan. 3 in Green Bay to close the schedule.
Right after the ugliest of those three defeats, an 18-16 decision at home against Detroit, Rodgers and the Packers roared back with one of his vintage performances against the Vikings to the delight of the enemy fans chanting, "Go, Pack, Go!" throughout the evening.
SEAHAWKS 29, 49ERS 13
SEATTLE >> Rookie Thomas Rawls rushed for 209 yards and had two total touchdowns, while Tyler Lockett caught a pair of TD passes from Russell Wilson, and the Seahawks got back to .500.
Starting in place of Marshawn Lynch, out with an abdominal injury, Rawls posted his third 100-yard rushing game of his rookie season and the second time topping 160 yards. Rawls scored on a 2-yard run in the first quarter and added a 31-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Wilson in the fourth quarter to give Seattle (5-5) a 16-point lead. Rawls finished with 255 total yards.
Lockett caught a 24-yard TD pass in the first quarter and carried a San Francisco defender into the end zone on an 11-yard grab later in the first half.
Blaine Gabbert threw for 264 yards and one touchdown, but San Francisco (3-7) couldn't overcome the early 20-0 deficit.
COLTS 24, FALCONS 21
ATLANTA >> Relying on a pair of 40-somethings, the Colts rallied from a pair of two-touchdown deficits to beat the slumping Falcons.
Adam Vinatieri, the oldest player in the league at 42, added another winning kick to his sterling resume, booting a 43-yarder with 52 seconds remaining. The Colts won with 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck throwing a pair of touchdown passes filling in for injured Andrew Luck.
D'Qwell Jackson tied the game with just over 10 minutes remaining on a 6-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Then, it was Vinatieri who won it for the Colts (5-5), as he's done so many times in his brilliant career. In his 300th game, he came through with his 26th winning kick in either the final minute of regulation or overtime.
The Falcons (6-4) lost for the fourth time in five games after a 5-0 start. This one was on the offense, which totally bogged down in the second half.
TEXANS 24, JETS 17
HOUSTON >> T.J Yates tossed two TDs to DeAndre Hopkins, who had 118 yards receiving, and Alfred Blue caught a scoring pass from receiver Cecil Shorts.
The Texans (5-5) have won three games in a row for the first time since 2012. And they did it with Yates, who threw for 229 yards in his first start since Jan. 15, 2012 in the playoffs for Houston as a rookie.
Yates, signed on Oct. 28 after Ryan Mallett was released, started in place of Brian Hoyer, out with a concussion.
The game was tied in the third quarter when the TD pass by Shorts made it 17-10. Yates and Hopkins linked up for a 20-yard score on the next possession.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played after having surgery on his non-throwing thumb on Nov. 13, got New York (5-5) within 24-17 with a touchdown run with 4 1/2 minutes left, but was intercepted on the next two drives. The Jets have lost four of five.
CHIEFS 33, CHARGERS 3
SAN DIEGO >> Justin Houston intercepted Philip Rivers' pass and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown and 346-pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe leaped over the pile for a 1-yard TD.
Alex Smith won again at Qualcomm Stadium as the Chiefs (5-5) won their fourth straight game following a five-game losing streak.
The Chargers (2-8) lost their sixth straight.
Rivers had his worst game of the season, throwing for just 178 yards. Rivers attempted a pass to Danny Woodhead from the Chargers 23 and Houston intercepted it and ran it in for a 19-3 lead with 3:27 left in the third quarter.
Houston sacked Rivers four times in the 2014 season finale in which the Chargers were eliminated from the playoff race.
Smith, who led Helix High to consecutive city championships at Qualcomm Stadium, was 20 of 25 for 253 yards.
LIONS 18, RAIDERS 13
DETROIT >> Matthew Stafford ran for a go-ahead 5-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter and the Lions (3-7) won consecutive games for the first time this year. The Raiders (4-6) have a season-high three-game losing streak.
Matt Prater made three field goals on as many attempts in the first half to give Detroit a 9-0 lead.
The Raiders went ahead after their second drive of the third quarter. Latavius Murray's 1-yard touchdown run capped the opening possession of the second half and Sebastian Janikowski made a go-ahead, 48 yard field goal on Oakland's next possession.
After Detroit was held to 27 yards of offense in the third quarter, Stafford capped an 80-yard drive with a designed draw to put the Lions up 16-13 with 11:04 to play.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.