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  • Browns beat Falcons with last-minute drive Nov 23, 2014 3:52 PM
    Josh Gordon picked right up where he left off for Cleveland. Fortunately for the Browns, Brian Hoyer had a short memory. Gordon turned in a huge performance in his first game of the season, catching eight passes for 120 yards, and Hoyer shook off three interceptions to lead a drive in the final minute that set up Billy Cundiff’s 37-yard field goal as time expired Sunday, giving the Browns a 26-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Taking advantage of the last of Hoyer’s picks, the Falcons drove for Matt Bryant’s 53-yard field goal with 44 seconds remaining to seize the lead. Turns out, they left too much time on the clock. Hoyer completed four straight passes, including a 24-yarder to Gordon down the middle of the field. The last of the throws went to Miles Austin, who took it to the Falcons 19. The Browns (7-4) hustled to the line, spiked the ball with 5 seconds left, and sent on Cundiff for his fourth field goal of the game. The Falcons (4-7) came in on a two-game winning streak and improbably tied for first with New Orleans in the woeful NFC South. But, with another fourth-quarter meltdown, Atlanta dropped to 0-7 against teams outside its division. Georgia native Isaiah Crowell scored a pair of touchdowns for the Browns, but it was Gordon who had the biggest impact. After serving a 10-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, he started for Cleveland and was targeted a game-high 16 times. The longest catch was his last one, taking the Browns to the Atlanta 45. Hoyer followed with a 15-yard completion to tight end Gary Barnidge, who bounced off a couple of tacklers to pick up some extra yards. Then Austin hauled in an 11-yarder that set up Cundiff for the winning kick. He also connected 33, 37, and 32 yards.

  • New dad Hilton leads Colts over Jaguars Nov 23, 2014 3:44 PM
    T.Y. Hilton delivered on the first promise to his first child, wrapping up his family’s big day with a rockin’ touchdown catch. Just hours after Hilton’s wife gave birth to a baby girl, the third-year receiver caught four passes for 122 yards and one touchdown to spur Indianapolis’ second-half turnaround in a 23-3 victory over Jacksonville. He celebrated by cradling the ball like a baby. Before leaving for Lucas Oil Stadium, Hilton promised to catch a touchdown pass for his new daughter. But it sure wasn’t easy on a day the Colts offense was mostly out of sync. Andrew Luck was sacked a season-high five times, fumbled three times and lost two of those — just in the first half. The Colts (7-4) wound up losing three of six fumbles in the game, still not enough to derail the AFC South leaders, who have won seven of nine and 11 straight against division foes. Luck finished 21 of 32 with 253 yards and the one score, though his streak of eight consecutive 300-yard games ended one game short Drew Brees’ NFL record (nine). All Jacksonville (1-10) could muster on an even worse day was a 28-yard field goal from Josh Scobee. That capped a 2-yard drive after Luck fumbled at his own 12-yard line. Bortles was 15 of 27 for 146 yards with one interception and Jacksonville managed just 194 total yards. But the Colts struggled mightily early with two key blockers out because of injuries, right tackle Gosder Cherilus (shoulder) and tight end Dwayne Allen (ankle). While Luck spent most of the first half dodging the Jaguars’ pass rushers, the Colts did just enough to take a 6-3 halftime lead. After Blake Bortles was picked off by Vontae Davis, Indy settled for a 46-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri to make it 3-0. Scobee’s field goal made it 3-3, and the Colts didn’t score again until Luck took them on a 52-yard march that ended with Vinatieri’s second field goal, a 20-yarder, with 12 seconds left in the half. Indy righted itself quickly in the second half. Trent Richardson scored on a 1-yard run midway through the third quarter to make it 13-3. Less than two minutes later, Hilton beat Dwayne Gratz for the 73-yard catch-and-run to make it 20-3. Vinatieri added a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth to make it 23-3, breaking a tie with Matt Stover for fifth place on the NFL’s career field goal list (472).

  • Dalton leads Bengals over Texans Nov 23, 2014 3:44 PM
    Andy Dalton finally got a win in his hometown. Dalton lost his first three games against the Houston Texans, including twice here in the playoffs, but threw for 233 yards and a touchdown to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to a 22-13 win on Sunday. It was his second strong game and he again relied on A.J. Green, who is healthy after dealing with a toe injury. Green finished with a career-high 12 receptions for 121 yards against a secondary playing without cornerback Kareem Jackson (knee). The Bengals (7-3-1) led throughout, but Houston (5-6) cut the lead to 3 late in the third quarter before Cincinnati tacked on two field goals in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Rookie Jeremy Hill scored on a 2-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter after an interception by Ryan Mallett for Cincinnati’s only touchdown of the second half. Mallett struggled in his second career start, finishing with 189 yards passing and often overthrowing open receivers. Houston’s only touchdown came on a 60-yard interception return by Johnathan Joseph in the third quarter. Rookie Alfred Blue ran for 46 yards filling in for Arian Foster for the second straight game. Foster, who entered the day third in the NFL in yards rushing, has a groin injury. Giovani Bernard had 45 yards rushing after missing the past three games with an injured shoulder and hip. But Hill still got plenty of carries, running 18 times for 87 yards. Dalton threw two incompletions in a row to bring out Mike Nugent for a 31-yard field goal to push the lead to 19-13 with about nine minutes left. Nugent added a 49-yard field goal with less than two minutes remaining. The Texans had a first down at the 8-yard line but their offense stalled after that and they settled for a 25-yard field goal by Randy Bullock to get within 16-13 late in the third. Joseph, who played his first five seasons with the Bengals, grabbed an interception and dashed 60 yards — high-stepping the last five — for a touchdown to cut the lead to 16-10 midway through the third quarter. Rey Maualuga intercepted Mallett on the first play of the second half to give the Bengals the ball at the Houston 22. Hill had five carries on the next drive capped by a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 16-3 early in the third. Mohamed Sanu grabbed a short pass from Dalton and dragged A.J. Bouye into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown that gave the Bengals a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Dalton’s pass to Green on fourth down from the 1 was incomplete in the second quarter. It didn’t matter much though, as Geno Atkins tackle Blue in the end zone on the next play for a safety to make it 9-0. The Texans had trouble getting things going on offense and they had to punt on their first two possessions before the safety on the third one. Bengals right tackle Andre Smith injured his left arm in the first quarter and didn’t return.

  • Niners squeak by Washington Nov 23, 2014 8:31 PM
    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco’s first-team offense that had failed to convert a fourth-quarter touchdown all season finally did so when the 49ers’ playoff hopes depended on it. Carlos Hyde ran for a go-ahead 4-yard touchdown with 2:59 remaining, and San Francisco barely squeaked by lowly Washington with a 17-13 win Sunday that kept them in the thick of the playoff chase. A fourth-down conversion in their own territory away from losing, the Niners finally capitalized with a rare touchdown in the final period on the way to their third straight victory. San Francisco (7-4) overcame three turnovers. Washington coach Jay Gruden won a challenge with 5:36 left that Vernon Davis hadn’t made a first down. San Francisco went for it and Frank Gore converted the fourth-and-1. On the next play, Colin Kaepernick hit Anquan Boldin for a 29-yard gain and safety Ryan Clark was flagged for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for his hit on Boldin. Boldin made a 10-yard reception two plays later, leading to Hyde’s score — the first TD by San Francisco’s first-team offense in the fourth quarter this season. Kaepernick threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Boldin on San Francisco’s initial series but did little else offensively to break open what was expected to be a lopsided game. San Francisco was a nine-point favorite in the opening betting line. Boldin, who caught a pair of touchdown passes in a win at Washington last November, finished with nine catches for 137 yards.

  • Cardinals can’t solve Seahawks Nov 23, 2014 8:31 PM
    After 10 games, the defending champions needed to ask the difficult questions of each other. Most of all, whether the Seattle Seahawks were willing to put aside egos and get back in the NFC West race. Led by a stingy Seattle defense reminiscent of a season ago and some more playmaking by Russell Wilson, the Seahawks handed the Arizona Cardinals their second loss of the season, 19-3 on Sunday. “There was something that was missing,” Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. “There was a subtle difference there and I feel like today we kind of found it. We talked about it throughout the week. Like I said, just trusting each other, respecting each other and going out there and playing for each other. “I definitely felt it today.” Seattle won for the fourth time in five games, putting aside the missed chances from last week’s loss in Kansas City and announcing the Seahawks aren’t done by knocking off the league-leading Cardinals. “Hard talks. Arguments. Like a family, and just like a family we came together,” Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. Wilson was sacked a season-high seven times by Arizona’s ultra-aggressive defense and the assortment of blitzes they called to confuse and fluster the Seahawks quarterback. But when Seattle (7-4) needed a scoring drive, after squandering advantageous field position throughout the game, Wilson delivered. Considering the circumstances, it was probably Seattle’s most important drive of the season, capped when Wilson found backup tight end Cooper Helfet on a 20-yard catch-and-run touchdown late in the third quarter. It was a must-win for Seattle if it had any hopes of catching Arizona (9-2) in the NFC West. “It’s a special win because we did it together,” Thomas said. “For the first time this year, I think we played for pure reasons, for no motives attached. That’s what you love about this team: We can put our egos aside and we can admit when we’re wrong. Guys stayed true.” Wilson finished 17 of 22 for 211 yards and added 73 yards rushing. He was at his best on the lone touchdown drive going 6 of 6 for 70 yards as Seattle moved the pocket and made him less vulnerable to the Arizona rush. He escaped the arms of Lorenzo Alexander for a possible sack and found Marshawn Lynch open for 23 yards. Wilson also ran for 15 yards on third-and-11 to get Seattle inside the Arizona 20. “I think we let Russell Wilson be Russell Wilson on too many occasions,” Arizona safety Tyrann Mathieu said. Helping out Wilson was Seattle’s defense that was finally healthy with the return of middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Arizona was held to a season-low 204 total yards. A week after throwing for a career-high 306 yards, Drew Stanton was 14 of 26 for 149 and one interception. Stanton was minus a weapon with Larry Fitzgerald inactive due to a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and wasn’t helped when Jaron Brown dropped a touchdown late in the first half. Fitzgerald sat for the first time in 110 games and for just the fifth time in his career due to the knee injury suffered last week against Detroit. John Brown continued his stellar rookie season with three catches for 61 yards, but Michael Floyd was shut out, defended much of the game by Richard Sherman. Arizona saw its six-game win streak snapped. “The second half, we had it right where we wanted it and we messed it up ourselves,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “Everything was self-inflicted. Give them credit, that’s a good football team, but we self-inflicted a lot of things.” Seattle missed plenty of chances to make the victory even more of a blowout. Wilson had a possible 49-yard touchdown run in the first half brought back on a downfield holding call. Lynch was corralled by Arizona’s third-best rush defense and held to 39 yards on 15 carries, making it 21 straight games the Cardinals have not allowed a 100-yard rusher. Seattle started three first-half drives inside Arizona territory, but never found the end zone. Steven Hauschka hit on field goals of 27, 32, 52 in the first half and a 40-yarder in the third quarter after DeShawn Shead blocked Drew Butler’s punt. It wasn’t a designed punt block but Shead noticed the Cardinals had only 10 players on the field and rushed. “Any way you look at it, it’s a big opportunity for us in the division and a really nice performance,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “I loved the way the guys rallied to play together.”

  • Chargers edge Rams in last minute Nov 23, 2014 8:31 PM
    In a game full of crazy twists and turns, Marcus Gilchrist had the capper. The strong safety intercepted journeyman Shaun Hill at the goal line with 56 seconds left to preserve the San Diego Chargers’ 27-24 victory against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday that helped tighten the AFC West race. Gilchrist jumped the route as Hill tried to force a pass to Kenny Britt, who also was covered by Shareece Wright, on second-and-goal from the 4. Hill had beaten Gilchrist on a 7-yard TD pass to Stedman Bailey with 2:04 left that pulled the Rams within three points. “My man didn’t really do too much, so I just looked back at the quarterback and I saw a crossing route coming up ad I was able to go at it,” Gilchrist said. His immediate reaction? “Thank you Lord,” Gilchrist said. “It’s one of those plays that as a kid you dream of. In basketball you want to make the game-winning shot, and in football you want to make the game-winning play, somehow.” The Chargers (7-4) won their second straight game after a three-game losing streak. They pulled into a second-place tie in the AFC West with Kansas City, which lost at Oakland on Thursday night. Denver rallied to beat Miami and leads the division at 8-3. “They had good coverage on my primary, and Kenny just kind of flashed and I pulled,” Hill said. “It was just a reaction. “The coaches put the ball in my hands with a chance to win the game, and I appreciate that,” Hill said. “I let them down. There’s no way you can sit there and second-guess the play calling. If you’re going to second-guess anything, second-guess the guy who didn’t execute the play, and that’s me.” The Rams had two touchdown passes nullified by penalties, although they ended up scoring on one of those drives, and had a field goal attempt blocked. “The plan was not to go down there and settle for a field goal. We were trying to win the game,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “It’s not Shaun’s fault. He got us there. He made some big throws earlier that kept us in the game.” St. Louis got the ball back at the Chargers 40 after a long punt return by Tavon Austin and a 27-yard pass from Hill to Britt gave the Rams the ball at the 6. Benny Cunningham gained 2 yards before Hill was intercepted. The Rams (4-7) were trying for consecutive wins for the first time this season, having upset Denver a week earlier. Ryan Mathews had a 32-yard touchdown run and linebacker Andrew Gachkar scored on a 13-yard fumble recovery 21 seconds later for the Chargers. Philip Rivers shook off a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown by Janoris Jenkins and threw a 29-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to Keenan Allen, who earlier had two turnovers. Rivers, playing with sore ribs, completed 29 of 35 passes for 291 yards. The Chargers’ third-quarter outburst started when Mathews took a delayed handoff and picked his way up the middle to cap their first possession of the second half for a 13-10 lead. It was his first touchdown since opening night. Mathews sprained his right knee in Week 2 and missed the next seven games. On the second play of the ensuring Rams drive, Chargers end Corey Liuget hit Hill as he was trying to pass, knocking the ball loose. Gachkar alertly swooped in, picked up the ball and scored for a 20-10 lead. Gachkar seemed to be the only player who realized it was a fumble. “It was pretty lucky,” Gachkar said. “I basically blacked out once I picked the ball up because I hadn’t scored since high school. I had no energy after it because my entire team basically hit me celebrating. It was pretty cool.” The Rams benefited from a fumbled punt when Chargers returners Allen and Chris Davis collided after Allen called for a fair catch, with Alex Bayer recovering. Austin scored on a 6-yard score on an end-around to pull the Rams to 20-17. Allen then fumbled after a reception and long run, with St. Louis’ Rodney McLeod recovering. Allen caught a screen pass from Rivers and picked his way through the defense to give San Diego a 27-17 lead with 8:09 to play. The Chargers had a third-and-goal from the Rams 8 early in the second quarter when Jenkins outmuscled Allen for the ball and outraced everyone down the field to give the Rams a 10-3 lead.

  • Not-so-happy homecoming for McCown Nov 23, 2014 9:00 PM
    The pregame pleasantries were expected for Josh McCown, who pleasantly surprised the Bears by quarterbacking them to 3 wins in five starts last season. “I talked to different guys. The list is long,” said McCown, Tampa Bay’s 35-year-old first-year starting quarterback, who was back in Chicago on Sunday.

  • McCoy, Eagles run past Titans Nov 23, 2014 3:49 PM
    Josh Huff got the Philadelphia Eagles started and LeSean McCoy kept them going. Huff returned the opening kickoff 107 yards, McCoy ran for 130 yards and the Eagles beat the Tennessee Titans 43-24 on Sunday. Mark Sanchez threw for 307 yards and one touchdown in his third start for the injured Nick Foles. He has 300 yards passing in three straight games, tying a team record. Rookie Zach Mettenberger had 345 yards passing and two TDs and Delanie Walker had 155 yards receiving for the Titans (2-9). Now, the Eagles (8-3) can shift their focus to the Cowboys (7-3) for a first-place showdown on Thanksgiving. The top two teams in the NFC East will play twice in 18 days, starting with Thursday’s game at Dallas. Coming off a 53-20 loss at Green Bay, the Eagles jumped ahead of the lowly Titans immediately and never let up. Huff ran up the right side, broke a tackle inside the 30, cut to the right sideline and stiff-armed a defender at the Titans 20 on his way to the end zone for his first career TD. His return was the longest in franchise history and the 10th non-offensive touchdown for Philadelphia this season. After the first of four straight three-and-outs to start the game by the Titans, the Eagles went up 14-0 on a 4-yard TD run by Darren Sproles. McCoy had a 2-yard TD run in the second quarter. Sanchez fired a 14-yard TD pass to James Casey in the third quarter. The Titans didn’t get a first down until Mettenberger threw a 40-yard TD pass to Justin Hunter on their fifth offensive series. Brandon Ghee intercepted Sanchez at the Eagles 30 to set up the score that cut it to 17-7. Mettenberger tossed a 68-yard pass to Delanie Walker to start the next drive to set up Shonn Greene’s 2-yard TD run, cutting the deficit to 20-14. Cody Parkey kicked field goals of 36, 26, 35, 40 and 50 yards but his 49-yard attempt hit the post at the end of the first half to snap his successful streak at 17. The Eagles sacked Mettenberger five times, including 2 1/2 by Connor Barwin and two for Trent Cole. McCoy, the reigning NFL rushing champion, hasn’t looked the same this year with his yards-per-carry average down more than one yard. He was irritated this week by questions from reporters suggesting he lost a step. So, McCoy responded with his third 100-yard performance in the past six games. He had a season-best 53-yard run. The Eagles beat the Titans for the first time. They were 0-4 against them after their move from Houston to Tennessee.

  • Broncos come back to beat Dolphins Nov 23, 2014 8:31 PM
    The Denver Broncos finally found the balance — and the win — they’ve so desperately sought to stop their November slide. Peyton Manning threw three of his four TD passes to Demaryius Thomas and C.J. Anderson ran for 167 yards and the go-ahead score in the Broncos’ 39-36 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Anderson’s 6-yard run with 5:01 left gave the Broncos (8-3) their first lead of the game at 32-28. Then, Ryan Tannehill’s pass skipped off Jarvis Landry’s left hand to T.J. Ward, whose 37-yard return set up Wes Welker’s insurance TD catch. The Broncos needed it after Tannehill drove the Dolphins (6-5) on another scoring drive, hitting Landry from a yard out with 1:34 left. Lamar Miller’s 2-point dive made it a three-point game. The Dolphins’ onside kick was recovered by — who else? — Anderson, who sealed the game with a 26-yard run. After the Broncos ran just nine times for 28 yards at St. Louis a week earlier, offensive coordinator Adam Gase said he could take some heat off his much maligned O-line by calling for more handoffs and fewer drop-backs. The Broncos ran the ball 35 times and threw it 35 times. Anderson, who had 27 carries, caught four passes for 38 yards. Manning became the third player in NFL history with touchdown passes in 50 consecutive games, joining Drew Brees (54) and Tom Brady (52). He completed 28 of 35 passes for 257 yards and no interceptions on a cool Colorado evening. Emmanuel Sanders led the way with nine catches for 125 yards a week after sustaining a concussion. Thomas finished with 10 catches for 87 yards, failing to match Calvin “Megatron” Johnson’s NFL record of eight straight 100-yard games. His consolation was three touchdowns. The Broncos’ O-line opened up holes and kept Manning upright — his only blemish was a “self-sack” in which he lost his footing on third-and-1 from the 7. Tannehill (26 for 36 for 227 yards with three TDs) kept the Dolphins a step ahead much of the afternoon until Ward’s interception. Two big blunders on special teams prevented the Broncos from taking control in the third quarter. After Denver drove to the Dolphins 7 on the strength of nine runs, Manning slipped on third-and-1 for a sack. Then, Brandon McManus clanked a 33-yard field goal try off the right upright. His teammates could hardly hide their anguish. On the sideline, center Manny Ramirez ripped his helmet off and hollered at McManus and Thomas slammed his helmet to the ground. The Broncos forced a quick punt by Miami, but Isaiah Burse fumbled the punt at his own 12, leading to Tannehill’s 5-yard TD toss to Landry that gave Miami a 28-17 lead. Manning drove the Broncos downfield and found Thomas from 5 yards out, then hit Sanders with the 2-point pass to pull Denver to 28-25 with 14:09 remaining. In a matchup of contenders with dominant defenses and suspect offensive lines, both the Dolphins and Broncos scored on three of their four first-half drives. Tannehill handed off for one, took one him himself and threw a TD pass. Manning threw TD passes of 5 and 14 yards to Thomas in the first half. The first was a dart with linebacker Jelani Jenkins blanketing the big receiver and the second came with 12 seconds left in the half and pulled the Broncos to 21-17 at the break. Von Miller was hit below the belt on the first snap from scrimmage and retreated to the sideline. From there, he watched the Dolphins march down the field for Daniel Thomas’ 3-yard TD run. The Broncos responded with McManus’ 38-yard field goal, but then cornerback Aqib Talib pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and the Dolphins capitalized with another touchdown drive. Tannehill’s 1-yard keeper made it 14-3. Talib came back, but was beaten badly on Mike Wallace’s 10-yard touchdown grab and then sat out the rest of the game. The Broncos also lost cornerback Kayvon Webster (shoulder) and leading tackler Brandon Marshall to a concussion. The Dolphins lost cornerback Jamar Taylor (shoulder), who started in place of Cortland Finnegan, who was deactivated with an ankle injury, and Miami left tackle Ja’Wuan James sustained a stinger.

  • Wolves fall 3-0 to Rockford Nov 23, 2014 8:23 PM
    Rockford left wing Garret Ross scored the first 2 goals and the Chicago Wolves could not find the net during a 3-0 loss in Illinois Lottery Cup action Sunday before 11,431 at the Allstate Arena.

  • Lions no match for Patriots Nov 23, 2014 3:44 PM
    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady threw for 349 yards and two touchdowns in a pass-heavy offense against the NFL’s stingiest rushing defense and the New England Patriots stretched their winning streak to seven games with a 34-9 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The Patriots led 24-6 at halftime as Brady repeatedly found wide-open receivers while the Lions struggled on offense. For the second straight game, Detroit failed to score a touchdown. New England (9-2) routed a division leader for the third consecutive game, following wins over Denver and Indianapolis. Detroit (7-4) lost for the second straight week against a conference leader. It fell to Arizona 14-6 last Sunday. LeGarrette Blount rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns three days after signing with New England after being cut by Pittsburgh.

  • Packers hang on to beat Vikings Nov 23, 2014 3:44 PM
    Aaron Rodgers gave the Green Bay Packers his usual confident, accurate, productive game. The biggest lift, powerful carry after powerful carry, came from Eddie Lacy. Lacy had 125 yards on 25 rushes, both season highs to help Rodgers and the Packers hang on for a 24-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Lacy scored twice, on a run in the first quarter and a catch in the fourth quarter. Then he rumbled through the line for two first downs to drain the clock after the Vikings (4-7) cut the lead to three with 3:23 remaining. Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and again avoided a turnover for the Packers (8-3), who stayed out of a potential trap against a struggling team with a game next week against surging New England. They also moved past Detroit into sole possession of first place in the NFC North when the Lions lost to the Patriots. Green Bay beat Philadelphia 53-20 and Chicago 55-14 the last two games. Rodgers engineered an 87-yard, 11-play drive he finished on a shovel pass to Lacy for a 10-yard score to give Green Bay a 24-13 lead with 8:34 left. Rodgers kept that moving with an 18-yard scramble on third-and-6, another reminder for the Vikings of how difficult he is to defend. Charles Johnson and Greg Jennings caught touchdown passes from Teddy Bridgewater, who finished 21 for 37 for 210 yards and an interception. He ran for 32 yards on five attempts, too, but far too many of his passes were off the mark. Bridgewater hit Jennings on a crossing pattern and Johnson on the same play for the 2-point conversion, but even if the Vikings had been able to contain Lacy and force a punt there would have been little time for them to come back. The Packers improved to 14-4-1 with five season sweeps against the Vikings under coach Mike McCarthy, including 9-1-1 in the last 11 games. Rodgers has 32 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 14 career starts. The Packers put up halftime scores the last two weeks found more often in video games, 30-6 over the Eagles and 42-0 against the Bears, so the Vikings had to be satisfied with a 14-10 deficit and the ball to start the third quarter. Despite all the overthrows by Bridgewater, he had only 5 fewer yards passing than Rodgers in the first half. The reality for the Vikings, though, was that with better quarterback play they probably would have had a comfortable lead by that point. Bridgewater, for all the poise he has shown, remains a rookie who has yet to prove he can be consistently accurate enough to win. His receivers were open plenty, more than the Packers were for Rodgers, and Bridgewater made a timely count by hitting Johnson in stride in the back of the end zone from 22 yards out to tie the game at 7 early in the second quarter. Bridgewater tried to go to Jennings on first down on the next drive, but the ball sailed again into traffic where Micah Hyde made a leaping interception before landing hard on his back at his own 47. Rodgers needed only four plays to put the Packers back in the end zone. He rolled to his right and heaved a high-arching throw across the entire width of the field to tight end Richard Rodgers standing alone in the far corner. Vikings cornerbacks Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Robinson and Xavier Rhodes covered the Packers well, holding Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson each under 100 yards for the fourth time this season. They did that at Lambeau Field in their earlier matchup, too. This was the first time these rivals played outside in Minnesota since 1981, with the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium temporarily after 32 seasons at the Metrodome. The weather, 49 degrees at kickoff, was a nonfactor. The hordes of green-clad fans provided the Packers plenty of support.

  • Bears’ defense applies the pressure, and it pays off Nov 23, 2014 10:00 PM
    The Bears had a season-high 5 sacks against the Bucs and quarterback Josh McCown on Sunday, including the first 2-sack game of Stephen Paea's four-year career.

  • Cowboys rally behind Romo, beat Giants Nov 23, 2014 11:11 PM
    Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes to Dez Bryant, the winner from 13 yards with 1:01 remaining, lifting the Dallas Cowboys to a comeback 31-28 victory over the New York Giants. Romo threw for two TDs in the third quarter. But the Giants (3-8), trailing 24-21, staged a 93-yard drive capped by Adrien Robinson’s first career TD catch, from 1 yard with 3 minutes left. Back came Dallas (8-3) on an 80-yard march in which Romo never was pressured. He found Bryant in the back of the end zone to win it, setting up an NFC East showdown with Philadelphia on Thanksgiving Day for first place. Thanks to Odell Beckham Jr.’s spectacular one-handed catch, one of the rookie’s two first-half touchdowns, New York built a 21-10 halftime lead. But the Giants lost their sixth straight and were eliminated from division contention.

  • Turnovers boost Bears over Bucs, 21-13 Nov 24, 2014 12:22 PM
    It took less than one quarter for the Bears to turn a horrendous performance into a second straight victory. After a thoroughly putrid first half of football, the Bears came out after the break looking like a different team, and took advantage of turnovers to defeat Tampa Bay 21-13 Sunday at Soldier Field.

  • Imrem: Bears so very fortunate to dodge a big mess Nov 23, 2014 8:21 PM
    The Bears dodged a bullet -- actually a spitball -- by beating the Buccaneers, Lovie Smith and Josh McCown. Just imagine the conversation today if they lost to them.

  • Wolves rally to tame Wild Nov 22, 2014 11:27 PM
    Philip McRae’s goal with 3:48 left lifted the Chicago Wolves to a 3-2 victory over Iowa on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.

  • Jay be nimble, Jay be quick to avoid getting sacked Nov 22, 2014 6:39 PM
    Quarterback Jay Cutler is all in favor of the decision to occasionally move him outside the pocket, as the Bears did successfully in Week 11 against the Vikings. Cutler was unsacked for the first time all season, despite throwing 43 passes.

  • Bulls suffer through another forgettable visit to Portland Nov 22, 2014 6:39 PM
    The Bulls had another rough visit to Portland on Friday, losing Taj Gibson to a sprained left ankle in a 105-87 loss to the Blazers. But at least it wasn't as bad as last year, when Derrick Rose was lost for the season with a knee injury.

  • Wolves end road trip with OT loss Nov 22, 2014 12:09 AM
    The Chicago Wolves’ nine-game road trip ended with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Milwaukee Admirals in an Amtrak Rivalry game at Bradley Center on Friday night.

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