Tagged in: touchdown

Diggs scores 3 TDs for Bills in 41-7 rout of Titans

Josh Allen threw four touchdown passes, including three to Stefon Diggs, and the Buffalo Bills rolled past Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans 41-7 in their home opener on Monday night.

The Bills followed a season-opening 31-10 rout of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams by throttling an opponent that has been their nemesis in each of the past two seasons. Fullback Reggie Gilliam and linebacker Matt Milano, with a 43-yard interception return, also scored touchdowns for Buffalo.

Allen topped 300 yards passing for the 15th time of his career, completing 26 of 38 attempts for 317 yards, and sat out the entire fourth quarter. Diggs had 12 catches for 148 yards. He has exceeded 100 yards in each of his first two games, a feat accomplished previously for the Bills only by Hall of Famer Andre Reed.

“When we execute, how we know we’re supposed to execute, success typically leads to success,” Allen said. “We’re just trying to be the best version of ourselves.”

The Bills have topped 30 points twice after doing so nine times last year. And their defense limited Tennessee to 182 yards of offense and 12 first downs, while registering two sacks and forcing four turnovers.

The Titans, coming off a 21-20 season-opening loss to the New York Giants, opened 0-2 for the first time since 2012.

The two-time defending AFC South champions face numerous questions about a defense that gave up 313 yards passing a week after allowing 238 yards rushing. Meantime, Henry and their offense continue to sputter. The two-time rushing champion was limited to 25 yards on 13 carries while scoring on a 2-yard plunge.

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“We got our (butts) kicked, plain and simple,” coach Mike Vrabel said after the most lopsided loss in his four-plus seasons coaching the Titans.

“They outplayed us and they outcoached us, and that’s the definition of it. We’re going to go back to work and try to figure out how to win a football game.”

Injuries affected both teams, the most serious involving Bills cornerback Dane Jackson, who hurt his neck in a troubling collision with a teammate and was taken to a hospital for valuation. The Bills stated Jackson had full movement in his limbs.

Coach Sean McDermott stated Jackson was still awaiting test results.

The entire Bills team gathered around Jackson as he was loaded into an ambulance on the field.

“You go from being a coach to just a human. That’s a real moment,” McDermott said. “Just praying for him. It’s an unfortunate situation.”

Otherwise, the two-time defending AFC East champion Bills continued making a splash in their second consecutive prime-time appearance, while at the same time easing frustrations of the past, including a 42-16 loss to Tennessee in 2020.

Still stung by memories of Allen being stuffed for no gain on fourth down near the goal line in the final seconds of the last season’s loss 34-31 loss in which Buffalo squandered a seven-point fourth-quarter lead, the Bills scored on their opening drive and never looked back.

“When you can play a game like that, it doesn’t matter who it’s against,” Allen said. “That’s a good team that we played. It’s a very well-coached team. For us to go do that was great.”

Up 10-7, Allen and Diggs took over by connecting for two touchdowns spanning halftime. Faking left, Allen found Diggs in an opening for a 4-yard touchdown with a minute left in the second quarter.

Allen and Diggs then blew the game open by connecting on a 46-yard touchdown on Buffalo’s first possession of the second half. Given time in the pocket, Allen threw a perfectly placed pass to Diggs, who reached out to catch the ball before tumbling head-first into the end zone.

The wheels fell off for the Titans, who were outscored 24-0 in the third quarter. Tennessee rookie Kyle Philips muffed a punt for a second consecutive week, and Ryan Tannehill threw interceptions on consecutive possessions.

Tannehill concluded 11 of 20 for 117 yards and was benched following Milano’s interception with 3:49 left in the third quarter. Rookie Malik Willis took over, and if Tannehill continues to struggle, Tennessee fans will want to see more of the young backup.

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Stafford, Rams hold off Falcons for 31-27 victory

Jalen Ramsey was calm and collected, even in the maelstrom of the fourth quarter that saw the Atlanta Falcons putting together a late rally versus the Los Angeles Rams.

While most of the 71,802 inside of SoFi Stadium were dreading the worst Sunday, the All-Pro cornerback knew he was going to be a deciding factor in the final minutes.

With the Falcons driving for a potential go-ahead touchdown, Ramsey picked off Marcus Mariota’s pass intended for Bryan Edwards in the end zone, permitting the Rams to hold on for a 31-27 victory.

“I told my teammates it was gonna come back to me and it did,” Ramsey said. “I just continued to focus and do my job. That was going through my mind because in the past we pressed to make those plays. And when you do that, it doesn’t end up well for you.”

The defending Super Bowl champions led the entire game. But they nearly blew a 28-3 third-quarter lead that would have given the young Falcons an unlikely comeback of their own from that infamous score — Atlanta’s lead in the 2017 Super Bowl before New England rallied to win — to celebrate.

Mariota had second-half touchdown passes to Drake London and Olamide Zaccheaus to bring the Falcons within 31-17. Special teams and defense then came through to give the veteran quarterback a final chance.

Troy Anderson blocked a punt that Lorenzo Carter returned 26 yards for a touchdown, and a 2-point conversion pass from Mariota to London brought the Falcons within 31-25 with 5:06 left. It was their first blocked punt TD since 1990.

Los Angeles turned it over on their ensuing drive when Darren Hall forced Kupp to fumble and recovered it at the Rams 37. Mariota got the Falcons to the Rams 24 before throwing the fateful interception.

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“That’s on me, I’ve got to do a better job of communicating that across the board,” said Mariota, who was 17 of 26 for 196 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. “I think, kind of throughout the game I could have done a better job operationally and just communicating with the guys so that everybody’s on the same page.”

Los Angeles took a safety when returner Brandon Powell ran out of the end zone on punt formation after a three-and-out.

After the free kick, Atlanta took over at the Falcons 40, but Mariota was sacked before he could get a Hail Mary attempt off on the final play to ensure Atlanta’s fourth consecutive 0-2 start.

“There’s a lot of different, very uncharacteristic things, but they happened. And we still found a way,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “We’re not going to run away from some of the things that we didn’t do well today. But we’re also going to allow ourselves to appreciate being able to come away with a win.”

Matthew Stafford threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns and Cooper Kupp had two TD catches for the Rams, who bounced back from a disappointing defeat versus the Buffalo Bills in their season opener.

Stafford completed his first 12 passes en route to going 27 of 36. Kupp had 11 catches for 108 yards and touchdowns on consecutive drives in the second and third quarters.

Kupp made an over-the-shoulder catch on a fade pattern on second-and-3 from Atlanta’s 3 late in the first half to give the Rams a 21-3 lead. The Super Bowl MVP’s first score came three plays after Rams rookie cornerback Cobie Durant picked off a pass bobbled by Cordarrelle Patterson and returned it 51 yards up the right sideline to the Falcons 9.

The Rams then took the second half kickoff and extended their lead by another touchdown when Kupp caught a quick pass and juked safety Jaylinn Hawkins for a 10-yard TD.

The Falcons were able to move the ball in the first half, but were done in by mistakes. The Rams scored their 21 points after a missed field goal by Younghoe Koo, turnover on downs near midfield and Mariota’s first interception.

“Obviously it wasn’t perfect and we need to break through, but one thing about our guys, no matter what has happened, we have a chance until the last play to win it,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “Obviously we didn’t make enough plays, but the game playing gave us enough and the guys kept grinding out.”

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Kelce’s OT touchdown gives Chiefs 34-28 win over Chargers

Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have faced their share of challenges this campaign. The two-time defending AFC champions are peaking at the right time for another playoff push.

Kelce had a career-high 191 receiving yards and scored on a 34-yard pass from Mahomes in overtime as the Chiefs rallied for a 34-28 triumph over the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night.

Kelce caught a tying 7-yard touchdown pass with 1:16 left in the fourth quarter, then ended the game with his catch-and-run in overtime. On first-and-10, Kelce pulled in Mahomes’ pass at the 30 and eluded two tackles en route to the end zone, where he was swarmed by teammates.

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“I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a walk-off touchdown or anything like that, so to be in that moment, find him underneath and him making such a dynamic play where, I mean, he cut back, ran by people,” stated Mahomes, who completed 31 of 47 for a season-high 410 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. “You think he’s old. He can’t run by people. But he’s still running by people. And he got in the end zone.”

The Chiefs were 3-4 at the end of October but have won seven consecutive to improve to 10-4 and go up by two games in the AFC West.

Kelce had been held to six total receptions the past two games, but he broke out in a big way.

He had five of his 10 catches for 142 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime. He also had a 69-yard reception that led to Tyreek Hill’s 1-yard touchdown and a 2-point conversion that tied it at 21.

Mahomes bounced back after a costly fourth-quarter interception led to Austin Ekeler’s touchdown and gave the Chargers a 21-13 advantage. He was 10 of 16 for 197 yards and three TDs after the turnover.

“Obviously it (stinks) in the moment. I mean, I promise you I felt as bad as anyone about that throw and that situation, and knew how bad it looked. But you will get another chance and you better be ready for that moment,” Mahomes said.

Justin Herbert gave the Chargers a 28-21 lead with 2:19 left on a 8-yard TD pass to Keenan Allen, but couldn’t make it hold up. It is the second straight season the Chiefs have come to the Chargers’ Hollywood Park home and won in overtime.

“The goal is always to score. We needed to put up points, and we got in the end zone, and that was our mission,” Herbert said. “We would have loved to have been able to run the clock down and not have any time, but this is the NFL, and you have to get in the end zone.”

The Chargers fell behind 10-0 early in the second quarter before scoring on two straight drives to take a 14-10 lead at halftime. Herbert scored on a 1-yard keeper off left end and then connected with Jalen Guyton for a 4-yard TD on the next drive.

The Chiefs benefited off Chargers’ mistakes for their first 10 points. After Los Angeles turned it over on downs, Kansas City went 95 yards in 11 plays, culminating in Michael Burton’s 7-yard run up the middle.

The Chiefs then turned Anthony Hitchens’ interception of Herbert into points on Harrison Butker’s 30-yard field goal.

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Roethlisberger throws 2 TDs, Steelers top Broncos 27-19

Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers silenced the noise. At least for a week.

Funny how having something resembling a running game for the first time in a long time will do that.

Riding an offensive balance nonexistent for most of the last two years, the Steelers held off Denver 27-19 on Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak.

Rookie Najee Harris ran for a career-best 122 yards and a touchdown for Pittsburgh (2-3) before a cramping issue in his calves forced him to stand on the sideline while a late rally by Denver fell short.

The Broncos (3-2) trailed by 18 in the fourth quarter before a pair of Teddy Bridgewater touchdown passes brought them within striking distance.

Bridgewater’s fourth-down heave to the end zone with 11 seconds left was intercepted by James Pierre, permitting the Steelers to exhale. For a minute anyway.

Asked if the triumph will quiet withering criticism he’s endured over the last month, Roethlisberger just smiled.

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“Probably not,” he said. “But we won the game, and that’s all that matters.”

And won in a way they’re probably going to need to keep pace in the highly competitive AFC North. With Harris churning through holes that didn’t exist over the first four games, the Steelers didn’t have to rely exclusively on their 39-year-old quarterback to make something happen.

That was kind of the plan all along and got lost amid a difficult first month. The Steelers dropped three of four behind a retooled offensive line that at times looked overmatched.

Not so much versus the Broncos.

The Steelers gave up one sack and kept Denver outside linebacker Von Miller in check while running the ball 35 times and passing just 25, the kind of ratio Roethlisberger is more than happy to live with.

Several times Roethlisberger lined up in the shotgun with the option to run or pass, saw coverage that indicated he should probably throw it and opted to hand it off to Harris anyway because the 22-year-old runner and the five linemen in front of him had it going.

“Why take it out of his hand when you’re grinding it, you’re getting it?” Roethlisberger stated. “It was kind of fun to watch him excel and take over.”

Yet cramps forced out Harris in the middle of the fourth quarter. Bridgewater, who spent the bulk of the week in the NFL’s concussion protocol before returning to practice Friday, nearly drew the Broncos even.

Bridgewater completed 24 of 38 passes for 288 yards with a pair of scores: a 2-yard dart to Kendall Hinton and a 39-yard rainbow to Courtland Sutton with 5:46 to go that drew Denver within 24-19.

Bridgwater then drove Denver to the Pittsburgh 3 in the final seconds before Pierre’s first career interception ended the threat.

“We can’t wait until the game is out of hand to have a sense of urgency,” Bridgewater said.

The loss made Denver’s perfect September look more like a mirage. The Broncos piled up wins against the Giants, Jaguars and Jets last month. Tested by Baltimore and Pittsburgh in back-to-back weeks, the Broncos came up short.

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