Bucs outlast Saints, 48-40

Bucs outlast Saints, 48-40

Subbing for suspended starting quarterback Jameis Winston, veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns, including scoring passes of 58 and 36 yards to DeSean Jackson, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hung on for a 48-40 season-opening victory over the New Orleans Saints Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 28 passes and led the Bucs to scores on seven of their first nine possessions. His crucial 12-yard scramble on third-and-11 with 2 minutes left blunted a furious fourth-quarter rally by the Saints from a 24-point deficit with 8:54 left.

The Bucs did not punt until midway through the third quarter. Jackson had five catches for 146 yards before leaving with a concussion, and Mike Evans had seven catches for 147 yards and one touchdown.

The Bucs led 31-24 at halftime and scored on five of their first six possessions – three touchdowns and field goals of 33 and 36 yards by Chandler Catanzaro. They also got a 34-yard scoop and score by safety Justin Evans after a second-quarter fumble by newly acquired Saints running back Mike Gillislee.

Evans’ fumble return gave Tampa Bay a 31-17 lead late in the second quarter, but Drew Brees cut the deficit to 31-24 by taking the Saints 75 yards in nine plays and hitting wide-open Michael Thomas for 6-yard score 55 seconds before halftime.

Brees finished 37-of-45 passing for 439 yards and three scores.

The teams combined for 550 yards of total offense in the first half – 278 for Tampa Bay and 272 for New Orleans. In the first half, Fitzpatrick was 11-of-14 passing for 210 yards with touchdown passes of 58 yards to a wide-open Jackson and 9 yards to Chris Godwin. Fitzpatrick also scored from 3 yards out on a read option in the first quarter.

The Saints’ offense tried to keep pace, and Brees was almost perfect in the first half, going 17-of-21 for 238 yards and two scores. In addition to his 6-yard toss to Thomas, he threw 28 yards to Ted Ginn Jr. for a first-quarter TD, and the Saints also scored on a 5-yard run by Alvin Kamara and a 36-yard field goal by Wil Lutz.

Tampa Bay took control, 41-24, on Fitzpatrick’s 50-yard strike to Evans with 2:58 left in the third quarter. The Saints scored on Kamara’s 1-yard run and a 2-point conversion with 8:54 left, making it 48-32, and added another TD and 2-point conversion with 3:31 left, making it 48-40.

–Field Level Media

No time for Seahawks to recover from being overrun by Rams

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The idea the Seattle Seahawks would score 31 points and lose used to be unfathomable with Pete Carroll in charge.

It's happened now twice this season, both times to the division-leading Los Angeles Rams. And by the end of the season those two games of being unable to slow

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The idea the Seattle Seahawks would score 31 points and lose used to be unfathomable with Pete Carroll in charge.

It’s happened now twice this season, both times to the division-leading Los Angeles Rams. And by the end of the season those two games of being unable to slow down the Rams could end up being the difference between Seattle finding its way into the playoffs and being left home for the second straight year.

“I’m not a moral victories guy. A loss is a loss,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “We need to grow from it. It’s only good if we learn something from it and do better. We’ve got to do that. We have to apply that to the rest of the season.”

Seattle has little time to make corrections with Green Bay visiting on Thursday night in a matchup with major wild-card implications in the NFC. Seattle has dropped two straight, falling to 4-5 and can’t afford a third straight loss if it wants to remain in the playoff race.

Carroll believes there is still time for Seattle to make a playoff run. But its defense must improve starting this week.

“We’ve got to go. We’ve got to take these one week at a time and start piling up some wins. I like our style and I like our style in playoff mode. I’d like that opportunity,” Carroll said on Monday.

“We’ve got a lot of ball to play, there are a lot of games coming at us, lot of opportunities at home and we should have nothing but the thoughts that we should build on where we are right now and have a chance to get going and get better. Hopefully we can stay healthy and give us a chance to play with the same guys.”

For the second straight week, Seattle was terrible at stopping the run, especially in the first half. A week earlier against the Chargers, it was Melvin Gordon running wild as that Los Angeles franchise rolled up 160 yards rushing and averaged more than 7 yards per carry.

It didn’t get better against Todd Gurley and the Rams. Gurley rushed for 120 yards on just 16 carries and the Rams averaged 6.5 yards per carry. It was the third time this season Seattle has allowed its opponent to average more than 6 yards per rush — it happened just seven times in the previous eight seasons.

“We’ve just got to play better and not allow the big plays to happen,” Carroll said. “It’s just consistency. That’s the common denominator, the consistency at the line of scrimmage.”

The Rams are the only team this season to score 30 or more points against the Seahawks, but what was a rarity under Carroll’s regime has become more of an issue in the past two years.

From the middle of the 2011 season through the end of the 2016 season, the Seahawks allowed 30 or more points eight times, including none in the 2012 season — a span of 89 games.

In the past two seasons, including Sunday’s 36-31 loss to the Rams, the Seahawks have given up 30 or more points seven times in a span of 25 games.

Injuries can be blamed for some of the problems, but clearly the Seahawks defense is far more vulnerable than they’ve been in the past.

“We gave up too many plays, particularly early. It took us a while to zero in on what we needed to do to stop the running game. I really thought that was the key,” Carroll said. “They did a nice job again. They continue to just keep rolling on offense and we weren’t able to slow them down enough.”

NOTES: Center Justin Britt declined to comment about a postgame confrontation with Rams’ DT Aaron Donald. Donald rushed Britt near midfield at the end of the game and the players had to be separated. … Carroll was unsure the status of LB K.J. Wright who left Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Wright had knee surgery in August that caused him to miss the first six games. … Carroll said he expects RB Chris Carson and G D.J. Fluker to be able to play against the Packers. Both players sat out Sunday’s game in the hope of being able to play against Green Bay.

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Falcons miss opportunity to stay close in NFC wild-card hunt

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons picked a bad time to play their second-worst game of the year.

Losing by two touchdowns at Cleveland cost the Falcons (4-5) a chance to move one-half game back in the NFC wild-card race. They enter this week's home game against Dallas (4-5) two games

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons picked a bad time to play their second-worst game of the year.

Losing by two touchdowns at Cleveland cost the Falcons (4-5) a chance to move one-half game back in the NFC wild-card race. They enter this week’s home game against Dallas (4-5) two games behind Carolina for the final playoff spot.

Atlanta looked out of sync most of the day. Only in Week 5 in a blowout loss at Pittsburgh did the Falcons play worse, but quarterback Matt Ryan isn’t terribly concerned.

“There are seven games to go, and we are right in the mix,” Ryan said. “Probably the most important part of being a professional is being able to move on. That includes being able to move on from both positive experiences and negative experiences. We can’t begin to start feeling sorry for ourselves or anything like that.”

Coach Dan Quinn told his team Monday that he was satisfied with its effort against the Browns but not much else. There was a palpable lack of speed as the Falcons fell short of reaching “another spot that you go to, to play really exemplarily ball.”

Trailing 14-10 and getting the ball to begin the third quarter, Atlanta’s next four possessions ended with a fumble, two punts and a failure to score from the 1-yard line early in the fourth when Tevin Coleman was stopped for no gain and Ryan threw an incompletion.

In between, the Browns scored two touchdowns with Nick Chubb’s 92-yard run, the longest in Cleveland history, one of the most embarrassing plays of the season.

Linebacker Duke Riley froze and got blocked by center JC Tretter while right guard Kevin Zeitler pinned Derrick Shelby back at the line of scrimmage. Chubb dashed through the hole and was too fast to catch after free safety Damontae Kazee dove at his feet and whiffed near the Cleveland 22.

The Browns’ 211 yards rushing were the most Atlanta has allowed since Sept. 28, 2014, at Minnesota.

“It wasn’t the outcome we wanted and worked for but we can’t dwell on it,” Riley said. “We have to move forward like we did with the first couple of losses.”

The offense suffered a letdown when center Alex Mack sent a shotgun snap over Ryan’s head in the second quarter, causing the Falcons to settle for a field goal. Mohamed Sanu’s lost fumble to begin the third was even worse because he held the ball out to get an extra yard and was still 14 yards shy of the first-down marker.

Six plays later, the Browns were dancing in the end zone.

“We didn’t do our jobs the way we were supposed to,” Sanu said, “and you saw exactly what happened.”

Quinn will challenge his players to create more energy in practice this week.

“I thought over the last couple weeks defensively we knew we had faced some good runners with the Giants and certainly at Washington, and it was going to take that second and third guy jumping over the pile to get there,” he said. “I thought offensively we’ve been hitting it on that stride for a few weeks now.

“So for us not to find that speed, to create some of the explosive plays and same thing on the defensive side, not to create some of the speeds that create negative plays, those are things that I didn’t think was up to our standard.”

Notes: Quinn said MLB Deion Jones will practice for the second straight week in hopes that he can play against the Cowboys. Jones has been out since breaking his foot in the season-opening loss at Philadelphia. … It will likely be Thursday before Quinn knows if kicker Matt Bryant will be ready to return from a hamstring injury. Giorgio Tavecchio is 5 for 5 on field goals and has hit all eight of his extra-point tries in playing the past three games in Bryant’s spot.

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Houston RB Foreman could return to practice soon

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Texans running back D'Onta Foreman has recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered almost a year ago and could return to practice soon.

When Foreman returns to practice the team will have 21 days to take him off the physically unable to perform list and add him to

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Texans running back D’Onta Foreman has recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered almost a year ago and could return to practice soon.

When Foreman returns to practice the team will have 21 days to take him off the physically unable to perform list and add him to the active roster.

He believes he could return to practice as early as this week.

“I’m just waiting for them to let me know, but I think it will be this week,” he said. “I definitely think it will be this week. But … I’m just ready to go out there. Whenever they put my helmet in my locker and tell me: ‘Let’s go.'”

Foreman, a third-round pick in 2017 from Texas, ran for 327 yards with two touchdowns and had 83 yards receiving before his injury on Nov. 19.

Coach Bill O’Brien didn’t give an exact date for when he expects him to begin practicing, but said Monday that it would be “pretty soon.” After that they’ll evaluate him to see if he’s in good enough shape to return to the active roster.

“I think that there’s a lot of thought that goes into that for the player and for the team,” O’Brien said.

“He has not played football in a long time. He’s a very young player. He’s got a lot of talent, everybody saw that last year, but let’s see where he’s at. Let’s see where he’s at before we start handing him the ball in big games.”

Foreman, who won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top collegiate running back in 2016, said he’s feeling great now, but that his rehabilitation process was trying.

“At first it was difficult,” he said. “I just had a lot of up and down days not knowing if I would feel the same or how would I feel coming off of it. But … I’ve been rehabbing for a long time (and) I’m just looking forward to getting back out there.”

The Texans, who are coming off their bye, visit Washington on Sunday before hosting the Titans on Nov. 26.

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Patricia’s Lions reeling after 3rd straight loss

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Matt Patricia wants the Detroit Lions to stay the course.

The Lions have lost three games in a row — all by double digits — and are mired in last place. Their most recent defeat was an ugly one. Detroit fell behind 26-0 in the second quarter and

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Matt Patricia wants the Detroit Lions to stay the course.

The Lions have lost three games in a row — all by double digits — and are mired in last place. Their most recent defeat was an ugly one. Detroit fell behind 26-0 in the second quarter and eventually lost 34-22 at Chicago on Sunday.

Patricia’s first season as coach has been a disappointment so far, and if he has any easy, quick fixes at his disposal, he wasn’t sharing them in his Monday news conference.

“No time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Patricia said. “We have to just keep working and getting better.”

Offensive lineman Taylor Decker sounded a similar refrain.

“You’ve just got to play better,” Decker said. “At the end of the day, you’ve just got to perform better. I know that sounds cliche. It’s a simple answer, but it’s not easy to do.”

The Lions (3-6) lost their first two games of the season, then fought back to a 3-3 mark before this current losing skid. They traded receiver Golden Tate before going on the road to face Minnesota and Chicago, and Detroit never led in either of those games.

The past two games have been particularly rough from a pass protection standpoint. Detroit allowed 10 sacks against the Vikings and six against the Bears.

“Whatever the situation is, whatever the score is, we have to play better as an offensive line. We have to protect the quarterback,” Decker said. “Six sacks isn’t something that’s going to be acceptable, and we know that.”

So now the Lions are back where they were after those first two losses — playing catch-up. Only now, they don’t have a long season still in front of them. Detroit’s next three games are at home, but all are against teams with winning records in Carolina, Chicago and the Los Angeles Rams.

The Lions fired special teams coordinator Joe Marciano last week, but Patricia indicated no more staff changes are imminent. He said communication between him and the players is good.

“I think we understand (that) we’re working hard to try to get everything the right way. There’s not a big discussion about it, there’s not a big confrontation or anything like that. I don’t know where any of that really comes from outside the building,” Patricia said.

“Inside the building, we’re just trying to get better. We really are just working really hard to make sure we’re doing the right things and trying to find different ways, if we have to, to get those things done.”

Detroit went 9-7 last season and then fired coach Jim Caldwell, so that makes the decline in 2018 even more alarming. Quarterback Matthew Stafford turned 30 earlier this year, and although the Lions traded Tate — a potential free agent at season’s end — for a draft pick, this franchise doesn’t seem as if it’s in a rebuilding mode.

That means the rest of this season is significant. Whether they make the playoffs or not, the Lions need to show some progress — some reason for fans to trust that this roster and this coach are better than what the team has shown so far.

“I believe in this team and we’re going to work real hard every single day,” Patricia said. “I think the guys in that room, I have a great understanding of what they are and what we’re going to do as a team. We’re not hitting the panic button or anything like that right now. We’re just trying to get better.”

NOTES: P Sam Martin didn’t go into much detail about the medical issue that sent him to the hospital, other than to say he’s fine and will play this coming weekend. He said he got blocked during a return Sunday. … The Lions waived CB Lenzy Pipkins.

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49ers promote RB Matthew Dayes from practice squad

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers have promoted running Matthew Dayes to the active roster from the practice squad and waived defensive back Tyvis Powell.

Dayes was active for Monday night's game against the New York Giants in place of the injured Raheem Mostert.

The inactive players for the 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers have promoted running Matthew Dayes to the active roster from the practice squad and waived defensive back Tyvis Powell.

Dayes was active for Monday night’s game against the New York Giants in place of the injured Raheem Mostert.

The inactive players for the 49ers are receiver Pierre Garcon (knee), linebacker Reuben Foster (hamstring), safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder), quarterback Tom Savage, offensive lineman Erik Magnuson, defensive tackle Jullian Taylor and tackle Shon Coleman.

The inactive players for the Giants are quarterback Kyle Lauletta, receiver Jawill Davis, offensive lineman Evan Brown, defensive lineman RJ McIntosh, defensive lineman John Jenkins, cornerback Tony Lippett and safety Kamrin Moore.

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Gruden takes blame for Raiders’ 4th down throwaway

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Oakland coach Jon Gruden said he should take the blame for Derek Carr's bewildering fourth-down throwaway that ended any slim chance of a Raiders comeback.

Carr's decision to throw the ball at the feet of running back Jalen Richard when no one was open on a fourth-and-5 play in

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Oakland coach Jon Gruden said he should take the blame for Derek Carr’s bewildering fourth-down throwaway that ended any slim chance of a Raiders comeback.

Carr’s decision to throw the ball at the feet of running back Jalen Richard when no one was open on a fourth-and-5 play in the fourth quarter of a 20-6 loss Sunday to the Los Angeles Chargers summed up Oakland’s fifth straight loss.

Carr rolled right on the play looking for Richard in the flat. But with Melvin Ingram chasing him, Carr just threw the ball away rather than give any of his receivers even a chance at making a play.

“It was a terrible call by me,” Gruden said Monday. “It was a design for Jalen Richard against man-to-man coverage. There wasn’t a lot (Carr) could have done. He could have been Fran Tarkenton and done a 360 and reversed the field a few times. There wasn’t much there. You got to credit the play caller with that outcome.”

The Raiders (1-8) were probably hurt more by another fourth-down call on the opening drive. Gruden decided to go for it from the 1 and used a play other teams had success running on the Chargers in the past.

Receiver Dwayne Harris came across the formation to take a shovel pass from Carr, but was unable to get to the edge because of missed blocking assignments. Harris was stopped for no gain and the Raiders didn’t get into the end zone.

“Once again, it was not a very good play call because it didn’t work,” Gruden said. “A lot of people are running that play, as you know, in the tight red zone for obvious reasons. My first time using it wasn’t a great experience.”

Very little has been great for the Raiders this season as they are off to the third-worst start in franchise history, trailing only the 0-10 mark in Carr’s rookie season of 2014 and an 0-13 mark in 1962 — one year before Al Davis joined the franchise as coach and then owner.

The stretch the Raiders are currently on is as bad as any they’ve had in 59 seasons as a professional team. They have lost five straight by at least 14 points for the first time ever and are one 14-point loss shy of tying the single-season record for the most by any team since the merger.

Oakland has been outscored 75-9 in the past nine quarters and was held without a TD in consecutive games for the first time since 2012.

“I know it’s dark right now,” Gruden said. “It’s tough. It’s tough on our fans. I thank our fans for showing up and being with us. We’re going to bring this thing back. I’ve been a part of it before and we’ve got some great people to build around. We’ve got some resources to keep building. I’ll leave it at that.”

The Raiders will go ahead with some key injuries at receiver with Martavis Bryant out with an injured PCL in his knee. Jordy Nelson also hurt his knee and his status for this week remains unknown. Oakland already traded away No. 1 receiver Amari Cooper, leaving Brandon LaFell and Seth Roberts as the team’s top two options.

Those injuries could lead to an opportunity for rookie Marcell Ateman, who was promoted from the practice squad last month but hasn’t had a chance to play yet. Gruden also said he might bring in some receivers this week to try out.

The Raiders won’t be getting a boost from defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve Monday when he was unable to come back from knee surgery. Vanderdoes tore his ACL in the final game of the 2017 season and began this year on the physically unable to perform list after a setback in training camp.

He spent the past three weeks practicing but the team determined it was best to let him rest up for next year.

“We expected him to be ready in camp,” Gruden said. “I think right now it’s not 100 percent. He hadn’t had enough padded practices and been in the trenches enough to activate him, perhaps reinjuring that. I think it’s the wise thing to do. We will try to move forward without him and get him healthy for next year.”

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With Cook back, Vikings ready to run as weather turns cold

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Dalvin Cook's rush through the left side of the line for 70 yards last week was the longest gain of his professional career, an early game boost for the Minnesota Vikings in an important victory over Detroit before their bye.

That was the type of big running play that

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Dalvin Cook’s rush through the left side of the line for 70 yards last week was the longest gain of his professional career, an early game boost for the Minnesota Vikings in an important victory over Detroit before their bye.

That was the type of big running play that has been missing in most of Minnesota’s games this year, a 22.05 mph burst that was clocked by the NFL’s Next Gen Stats as the fastest in the league in 2018.

That also demonstrated what the Vikings will need more of down the stretch with a daunting schedule ahead.

Cook’s return from a hamstring injury that kept him out of five games was one of the most important developments of the season.

“When you go to the zoo and you want to see a white tiger and they say, ‘He’s not coming out today, you’re disappointed and you’re like, ‘That’s why I bought the ticket, to see the white tiger,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said after the Vikings beat the Lions 24-9 on Nov. 4. “That’s Dalvin. When you get him, he’s special.”

Though Latavius Murray has 439 total yards and five touchdowns over the past five games, Cook’s return will be vital toward continuing the revival of a running game that ranks 28th in the league with an average of 91.7 yards per game.

The Vikings (5-3-1) play at NFC North-leading Chicago (6-3) on Sunday night in a game for control of the division. That’s one of three games over the next four for the Vikings that will be on the road and outdoors in northern cities.

“I do think with some of these games as it starts to get colder, it is going to be more of a factor,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “I think we’re getting better at a lot of the areas in the running game. We have to continue searching for more ways to pound the ball.”

When Cook was healthy in the season opener against San Francisco, the Vikings had 116 rushing yards. They then went four straight games with fewer than 20 rushing attempts and 77 rushing yards or fewer, until Murray produced a 155-yard performance on 24 carries in a victory over Arizona on Oct. 14 .

Cook and Murray combined for 120 rushing yards against the Lions. The Vikings have averaged 124 rushing yards over the past four games, up from 65.8 yards per game on the ground over the first five weeks.

“He has got a chance to hit home runs,” Zimmer said of Cook. “I think it was really good for him to get out there and get some game time action. When you haven’t played in six weeks and you haven’t practiced all that much, I think he will continue to get better.”

The Vikings also claimed running back Ameer Abdullah last week after he was waived by the Lions. Abdullah, a second-round draft pick in 2015, only appeared in three games this year and carried the ball once. He averaged 3.8 yards per attempt in three seasons as the primary ball carrier, when he wasn’t injured, before being replaced by rookie Kerryon Johnson this season.

“I’m entering a backfield with a lot of talent, Dalvin, we have Latavius and all the guys who’ve been here,” Abdullah said after practice on Monday. “Just coming in today and seeing these guys welcome me the way they have has been amazing for me. It does a lot for my confidence. It does a lot for my focus.”

Abdullah will also be an option as a kickoff returner.

“I’m ready to work,” he said. “Anything the Vikings ask me to do, I’m willing to do just because I’m so appreciative of the opportunity.”

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Cowboys look for win streak after saving season in Philly

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott played off each other in a season-saving win over Philadelphia much the same way they did during their remarkable rookie year together in 2016.

Now the star quarterback and running back of the Dallas Cowboys need a winning streak, although it won't have to

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott played off each other in a season-saving win over Philadelphia much the same way they did during their remarkable rookie year together in 2016.

Now the star quarterback and running back of the Dallas Cowboys need a winning streak, although it won’t have to be as long as the franchise-record run two years ago, the last time they made the playoffs.

“I don’t go back and look and try to compare now to then,” Prescott said after throwing for a touchdown and running for one in a 27-20 win . “This is the team we have and this is when everything is clicking and we’re playing the way we need to be playing. This is what we’re capable of.”

The Cowboys (4-5) were in a desperate spot visiting the defending champion Eagles because of an up-and-down season notable for its struggles on offense. Now that they have their first road win, they have to do it again Sunday at Atlanta (4-5).

Dallas and Philadelphia trail NFC East-leading Washington by two games with seven remaining. The Cowboys have one more game against each rival, having lost to the Redskins on the road.

“We needed this just as bad as we need every win going forward,” defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford said. “I call it a movement because that’s the only thing we can do now is get ‘dubs.’ We can’t take no ‘L’s.”

Against Philadelphia, coach Jason Garrett dumped a conservative approach that was costly in a couple of losses by planning to go for it on fourth down in Dallas territory on the first play of the second quarter before a false start aborted that bold move.

The Cowboys faked a punt later in the quarter, which led to Elliott almost cleanly hurdling Tre Sullivan before a stumble on a clear path to the end zone forced Dallas to settle for a field goal. At the time, it sort of symbolized the season for an inconsistent offense.

Still, Elliott had 151 yards rushing and a touchdown, with another 36 yards receiving and a score. Prescott’s line looked similar to 2016 as well: 270 yards passing, no turnovers and a 100-plus rating.

The 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year led two 75-yard drives to touchdowns in the fourth quarter, both of them answers to tying TDs from the Eagles. Elliott finished off each of them after big plays to several receivers along the way.

“It just showed the attitude of this team going into this game,” said Elliott, who surged two spots to second in the NFL in rushing behind MVP contender Todd Gurley of the Rams. “We knew we had to win. I’m proud of these guys.”

The Cowboys ran off 11 straight wins when Prescott and Elliott were rookies on the way to an NFC-best 13 wins. Dallas slipped to 9-7 and out of the playoffs last season with a deteriorating performance from the offense.

The receivers have struggled without Dez Bryant, released in the offseason, but appear to be benefiting from the trade for Amari Cooper, acquired from Oakland for a first-round pick.

Injuries and mistakes in an offensive line that has been one of the NFL’s best in recent years have at times made things difficult for Elliott and contributed to Prescott already matching last year’s career high of 32 sacks barely more than halfway through the season. But that line stood out against the Eagles.

“This is a winning team and it’s great when you go on the road and win,” Prescott said. “It’s important to us just to feel that energy in the locker room and to make sure we don’t forget that. That’s what we’re trying to do every time that we go on the road, or every game.”

NOTES: Garrett said he received a “favorable report” on RG Zack Martin, who missed part of the Philadelphia game when he aggravated the left knee injury he’s been battling since hyperextending the knee in the preseason. … LG Xavier Su’a-Filo had a solid game filling in for injured rookie Connor Williams, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last week. Garrett said the team hasn’t made any determinations on who would start when Williams is ready to return.

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Johnson, pass rush positive signs from Arizona’s loss at KC

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Although the Arizona Cardinals went down to their seventh defeat of the season, there were positive aspects to their 26-14 loss at Kansas City.

David Johnson broke loose for his best game of the year and the Cardinals defense harassed Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes better than anyone has all

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Although the Arizona Cardinals went down to their seventh defeat of the season, there were positive aspects to their 26-14 loss at Kansas City.

David Johnson broke loose for his best game of the year and the Cardinals defense harassed Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes better than anyone has all season.

Johnson, who had been bottled up through the first half of the season as part of the worst-ranked offense in the NFL, accumulated 183 yards from scrimmage — 98 yards rushing (in 21 carries) and 85 yards receiving (on seven catches).

Johnson scored both of Arizona’s touchdowns, on a nine-yard pass from Josh Rosen and a one-yard run.

“It felt good,” Johnson said after the game. “Like I was saying, it made me feel like it was back to … the 2016 offense. We got some momentum going as an offense running the ball. We got some good confidence going as well.”

It was the second game for Arizona with Byron Leftwich as offensive coordinator.

“I thought it was a great game plan by the offensive coaches,” coach Steve Wilks said in his weekly Monday news conference. “I thought Byron did a tremendous job calling the game and getting into the flow and rhythm of the game. As we all have seen — and you guys have been here before myself — what David is capable of doing. We saw that with some hard runs inside the tackles and did some good things getting outside as well as in the pass game. I thought Byron did a tremendous job in just really trying to get him the ball.”

Johnson has topped 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the past two games after failing to do so in the first seven of the season.

“It means that we are moving in the right direction,” Wilks said. “It means that we’re evolving on the offensive side of the ball. We came into this game talking about trying to steal some possessions and trying to keep those guys off the field. We did that by sustaining drives — a 14-play drive and starting the third quarter with a 13-play drive, and they both ending in touchdowns. Where we came up short was the consistency after that, not being able to get back into the end zone.”

Arizona used up 6:01 in its first touchdown drive and 7:12 in the second.

The Cardinals had the ball down 26-20 and Rosen’s 23-yard pass to Johnson put the ball on the Arizona 40 early in the fourth quarter. But Rosen’s screen pass, intended for Johnson, was intercepted by Justin Houston at the Cardinals 35. That led to a Kansas City touchdown. After that, Rosen was battered behind some shaky pass protection as Arizona was forced to mainly abandon the run.

On defense, poor play in the Arizona secondary led to a quick Kansas City touchdown on the game’s first possession. But the Cardinals were tough after that, sacking Mahomes five times — two by Chandler Jones. Mahomes had never been sacked more than twice in a game before Sunday.

“I thought the D-line did a tremendous job of staying in their rush lanes,” Wilks said. “Coverage-wise, I thought those guys at times when we were able to get to him, he was holding the ball. So, we did a good job complementing one another. Then there were times we just pressured him. It was great to be able to get to him five times. I just wish we could have come up with some takeaways.”

The 26 points were a season low for Kansas City.

It might have been about as good as the Cardinals could have expected on the road against the Chiefs, who improved to 9-1.

“There are no moral victories in this game,” Wilks said. “We went to Kansas City to win a football game, and we came up short. Now, there are a lot of things we can build off to get better. It was very encouraging, some of the things you saw on both sides of the ball, as well as in special teams, and that’s what we are going to continue to try to do.”

The Cardinals will find themselves in the unusual position of being favored on Sunday when they host the Oakland Raiders.

Notes: Wilks said he hadn’t received the results of an MRI on right guard Justin Pugh’s injured knee.

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Saints, Brees piling up points at franchise-record rate

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The dynamic Saints running back duo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara agree that the word "savage" best describes New Orleans' offense.

Certainly, the Saints are scoring so often, and in so many ways, it's enough to bruise defenders' egos.

"I'm glad we don't have to play them," Saints

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The dynamic Saints running back duo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara agree that the word “savage” best describes New Orleans’ offense.

Certainly, the Saints are scoring so often, and in so many ways, it’s enough to bruise defenders’ egos.

“I’m glad we don’t have to play them,” Saints linebacker Alex Anzalone said Monday, a day after New Orleans broke the 50-point mark in a victory over Cincinnati.

Even by the lofty standards offensive-minded coach Sean Payton and record-setting quarterback Drew Brees have set since joining forces in 2006, New Orleans is putting points on the board with exceptional proficiency.

The Saints have never averaged better than 34.2 points per game for an entire season. That mark was set by New Orleans’ 2011 squad that featured Brees and four skill players that each gained more than 950 yards from scrimmage: tight end Jimmy Graham, receiver Marques Colston, and running backs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas.

The 2018 Saints, who host defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia on Sunday, currently lead the NFL with an average 36.7 points through nine games. Maintaining that pace for the rest of the regular season would put them third all-time in scoring behind the 2013 Denver Broncos (37.9 points per game) and the 2007 New England Patriots (36.8). And the way the Saints are playing, their current scoring average could very well increase before the season is out. They’ve scored at least 40 points in five of nine games so far.

They’ve also added yet another potential receiving target, signing veteran Brandon Marshall on Monday.

“He’s got good length and size. He’s another big target,” Payton said of the 34-year-old Marshall, who became a free agent when he was released by Seattle on Oct. 30. “I thought size was important but (also) experience and someone that we felt had strong hands.”

Eleven different Saints have gotten in the end zone this season, including Brees, who dove over the pile at the line of scrimmage for his third rushing TD this season during Sunday’s 51-14 triumph at Cincinnati. The 39-year-old QB also is having one of his most efficient seasons, completing 77.3 percent of his passes for 21 TDs and only one interception.

Brees’ completion rate arguably has been aided by his decision to often throw shorter passes, particularly to Kamara, who has 55 receptions for 473 yards and three TDs. But Brees asserts that Saints’ offensive production has stemmed in no small part from their ability to methodically sustain drives with high-percentage plays.

“It pays dividends as the game goes on,” Brees said. “You wear a defense down. … We say, ‘Don’t get bored with the (short) completions, the four-yard runs. They result in big plays if we keep it up.”

A case in point is Brees’ 72-yard game-breaking touchdown pass to receiver Michael Thomas in the final minutes of a Week 9 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, whose defenders crashed down to swarm Kamara on the play.

During the Payton-Brees era, the Saints have more often than not been a pass-heavy team. But not this season. New Orleans ranks eighth in yards rushing and seventh in yards passing.

“We’re hoping to have balance,” Payton said. “Our offensive line has played well. We’ve been consistent rushing the football. I feel like Drew’s playing at high level. … Having that ability to rush or pass is something that can help.”

And while Brees is in the twilight of his career, New Orleans is enjoying major production from two of its younger skill players.

The 23-year-old Kamara has 1,109 yards and 14 TDs from scrimmage on mix of runs and receptions. Thomas, 25, has caught 78 passes for 950 yards and seven TDs.

Saints right tackle Ryan Ramczyk is in only his second NFL season, but said even he can see the Saints’ offense is “definitely special.”

“The cohesiveness up front really helps us out. And then guys like Mark and Alvin and Drew, Michael — all those guys around us — are special athletes,” Ramzcyk said. “When we come together, we can make a lot of great things happen.”

And that takes a lot of pressure off the Saints’ defense, which yielded 48 points in a season-opening loss, but since has been good enough to help New Orleans win eight straight. Next up are the Philadelphia Eagles (4-5).

“We don’t have to be super heroes,” Anzalone said. “Things aren’t going to always go our way, but we just have to give our offense a chance, and we’ve been able to do that these past eight games.”

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Redskins lose another offensive lineman for season

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Rookie tackle Geron Christian is out for the rest of the season in the latest significant injury to the Washington Redskins' offensive line.

Coach Jay Gruden said Monday that Christian will miss the final seven games of the regular season and any in the playoffs after tearing the medial

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Rookie tackle Geron Christian is out for the rest of the season in the latest significant injury to the Washington Redskins’ offensive line.

Coach Jay Gruden said Monday that Christian will miss the final seven games of the regular season and any in the playoffs after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Christian, the Redskins’ third-round pick who was forced into action by a bevy of injuries, hurt his knee Sunday at Tampa Bay.

Christian’s season-ending injury is the third along Washington’s offensive line after knee injuries to starting guards Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao. Starting left tackle Trent Williams is expected to miss his third consecutive game this week against the Houston Texans after surgery for a dislocated right thumb.

Tackles Ty Nsekhe and Morgan Moses having been playing through injuries, and the team was forced to sign offensive linemen Jonathan Cooper, Austin Howard and Luke Bowanko last week. Cooper started at left guard, and Howard is the Redskins’ new swing tackle.

Gruden said wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who has missed the past five games with an ankle injury, would have an MRI with an eye toward practicing Thursday. Williams won’t practice this week, Gruden said, adding that the team is continuing to take a wait-and-see approach with third-down back Chris Thompson, who has missed the past two games with a rib injury.

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Buccaneers sticking with Fitzpatrick as starting QB

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are sticking with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their No. 1 quarterback.

Coach Dirk Koetter said Monday that the 14th-year pro, who failed to produce a touchdown in the previous day's 16-3 loss to Washington, will start next Sunday on the road against the New York Giants.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are sticking with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their No. 1 quarterback.

Coach Dirk Koetter said Monday that the 14th-year pro, who failed to produce a touchdown in the previous day’s 16-3 loss to Washington, will start next Sunday on the road against the New York Giants.

The Bucs (3-6) have dropped six of seven games following a 2-0 start, with Fitzpatrick starting four of the losses after leading the team to surprising victories over New Orleans and Philadelphia while Jameis Winston was serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

“We’re going to go with Fitz this week,” Koetter said, adding he still feels Fitzpatrick “gives us the best opportunity” to win and pull out of a tailspin that’s jeopardized the prospects of ending a long playoff drought.

Also, struggling kicker Chandler Catanzaro was waived.

Catanzaro was one for three on field goals against the Redskins, missing from 30 and 47 yards. In addition to being 11 of 15 through nine games, the fifth-year pro who signed as a free agent after spending last season with the New York Jets has missed four extra points.

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Titans saying all the right things about handling success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are saying all the right things about learning how to handle success.

After beating defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia earlier this season, the Titans lost three straight. Now they've rebounded with back-to-back wins, including Sunday's 34-10 rout of the reigning AFC champ in New England, and

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are saying all the right things about learning how to handle success.

After beating defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia earlier this season, the Titans lost three straight. Now they’ve rebounded with back-to-back wins, including Sunday’s 34-10 rout of the reigning AFC champ in New England, and are saying all the right things on staying focused after a big victory.

Lots of clichés.

“It’s just another step,” quarterback Marcus Mariota said of the big win. “If we just sit here and feel good about ourselves, the next week we’re not going to play very well. It’s nice to build off of it. It’s a great win for us. But, this is not where we want to be and not where we want to go. So, we have to continue to work.”

Three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said beating last year’s Super Bowl teams doesn’t matter.

“We got to keep on building week in and week out and get ready for the next opponent coming up next week,” Casey said.

That’s a very different tone than the one they had after knocking off the Eagles.

There were demands for respect issued by two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan and 2017 All-Pro safety Kevin Byard after the Titans knocked off the Eagles on Sept. 30. Then they went on the three-game skid.

So rookie head coach Mike Vrabel said after the win over the Patriots that he must do a better job helping the Titans handle success than the last time.

On Monday, Vrabel said keeping the Titans focused will be easy. All he has to do is start ticking off all the things the Colts (4-5) are doing well: winning three straight, averaging 29 points a game and not allowing a sack in three games.

“For me, to try to stand up here and make something up, I won’t have to do that …,” Vrabel said. “So, it won’t be hard for me to look for clips of Indianapolis playing good football.”

The Titans (5-4) also have never beaten Andrew Luck, losing all nine games against the quarterback. They swept the Colts last season for the first time since 2002; Luck missed both games with a shoulder injury that put him on injured reserve.

Tennessee’s offense has been showing signs of growth in the Titans’ last two wins and is coming off its best performance under first-year coordinator Matt LaFleur. The Titans scored touchdowns on their first two drives for the first time this season and scored a season-high 17 points in the first quarter and nearly matched their previous best in a game by halftime with 24.

That pairs nicely with the NFL’s stingiest scoring defense, now allowing only 16.8 points per game. The Titans also rank sixth in total yards allowed, 10th against the run and sixth against the pass.

The Titans, who lost three losses by a combined nine points, visit the Colts and then division leader Houston before finishing the season with four of their final five games at home where they are 3-1 this season. Tight end Jonnu Smith says they have to keep stacking wins.

“It means nothing if we can’t keep the momentum and get the win the next week,” Smith said.

Notes: Vrabel said RB David Fluellen did not tear an ACL when he went down untouched, but will be out this week.

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Backfield change: Panthers waive Anderson; sign Cadet

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers have waived backup running back C.J. Anderson, a 1,000-yard rusher last season with the Broncos.

Anderson played in nine games for Carolina and had 104 yards rushing on 24 carries. He had one reception for a 24-yard touchdown.

Carolina signed running back Travaris Cadet on Monday to

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers have waived backup running back C.J. Anderson, a 1,000-yard rusher last season with the Broncos.

Anderson played in nine games for Carolina and had 104 yards rushing on 24 carries. He had one reception for a 24-yard touchdown.

Carolina signed running back Travaris Cadet on Monday to replace Anderson on the roster.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney says “when we signed C.J. in the spring I think he saw his role evolving into more. But Christian (McCaffrey) has taken the majority of the role here.”

Hurney says Anderson did not ask to be traded or released.

Anderson, 27, ran for 1,007 yards last season for the Broncos but was not re-signed by Denver.

Cadet, 29, played for the Bills and Jets last season and had 23 carries for 96 yards.

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Confused Jags keep blowing assignments in 5th straight loss

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are busting defensive assignments at an alarming rate.

They are allowing receivers to get wide open across the field. They are letting tight ends go completely uncovered. They are missing calls, failing to communicate coverages and giving up explosive plays left and right.

A defense that

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are busting defensive assignments at an alarming rate.

They are allowing receivers to get wide open across the field. They are letting tight ends go completely uncovered. They are missing calls, failing to communicate coverages and giving up explosive plays left and right.

A defense that believed it could be generational a few months ago looks mostly generic the last few weeks.

The Jaguars (3-6) gave up 29 points and 306 yards in the first half to Indianapolis and lost 29-26 on Sunday . The Colts managed just 60 yards after the break, but dropped two passes that would have resulted in big gains.

Regardless, Jacksonville lost its fifth consecutive game and pretty much ruined its already slim chances of returning to the postseason. Inconsistent quarterback Blake Bortles and a growing number of injuries are partly to blame. But equally troubling is how the once-vaunted defense has fallen well short of expectations.

“I can’t say what’s going on in the next man’s head,” safety Tashaun Gipson said Monday. “We go over our in-game adjustments. The coaches tell us what to expect, what we learn from each play and things like that. I don’t know what those guys who are a part of those busted coverages are seeing. To be honest, it has to be just total brain farts.

“You’re looking at guys running wild in coverages that we’ve been playing here for (three years). Even back in 2016, we weren’t a great football team, but it wasn’t this many consecutive busts week in and week out.”

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey played his worst game in three years, getting caught in the wrong coverage twice against the Colts.

The 2017 All-Pro played man-to-man defense against T.Y. Hilton when he should have been in zone, leaving tight end Eric Ebron to run unmarked for a 53-yard touchdown reception on the opening drive. Ramsey played zone later in the first quarter when he should been in man, allowing Hilton to get loose for a 35-yard gain.

Ramsey also got burned for a touchdown by tight end Mo Alie-Cox.

Ramsey responded to criticism Monday via Twitter by saying, “When I’m gone from here, y’all gone miss me. I ain’t even trippin lol.”

Coach Doug Marrone said he understands fans being upset with the team’s performance and Ramsey’s remarks.

“There are people that support this team, that expected great things from this team, and we’re not performing at that level,” Marrone said. “At the end of the day, if you’re not strong enough to understand that, that’s not going to help the team get on the right track. Anyone.”

Safety Barry Church also blew a man-coverage scheme in the first half when he failed to line up properly, and Luck found Ebron all alone for a 12-yard score.

“The busts came up in the Dallas game, and they’ve just been a recurring theme since then,” Gipson said. “What to do about it? I don’t know. It’s hard to blame coaching for busts, but at the same time, everybody’s got to be accountable in this thing right here for sure.”

Jacksonville hosts Pittsburgh (6-2-1) on Sunday, a rematch from the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Jaguars held on for a 45-42 victory despite surrendering touchdowns on Pittsburgh’s final three possessions. Given how the Jags have played lately, especially in the first half against the Colts, no one would be surprised to see the Steelers pick up where they left off in January.

“As cliche as it may sounds, there’s only one way to go for this team right now,” Gipson said. “I think our backs are truly, truly against the wall. … I’ve been on terrible teams and I’ve been on teams that when you’re 3-6, you’re like, ‘Hey, man, that’s a lot better than I thought we would be nine games in.’

“The feeling right now, it’s tough on a lot of guys because this is not a 3-6 team.”

NOTES: Marrone said center Brandon Linder will have surgery on his right knee and miss the rest of the season. Linder, a third-round draft pick from Miami in 2014, will have missed 27 games in five years. He signed a five-year contract worth $51.7 million, with $24 million guaranteed, in July 2017. Linder also is the team’s third offensive lineman — second starter — to land on injured reserve.

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Chargers LB Denzel Perryman out for season with knee injury

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman will miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury.

Coach Anthony Lynn said Monday that Perryman injured the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee during the first quarter of Sunday's 20-6 win against Oakland.

Perryman, who has started

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman will miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury.

Coach Anthony Lynn said Monday that Perryman injured the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee during the first quarter of Sunday’s 20-6 win against Oakland.

Perryman, who has started every game at inside linebacker this season, was second on the Chargers with 51 tackles going into the Oakland game. He was drafted in the second round in 2015 and is in the final year of his contract.

Hayes Pullard and Kyle Emanuel, who both saw 16 snaps against Oakland, are in the mix to move into Perryman’s starting spot. Los Angeles (7-2), which has won six straight, hosts Denver this week.

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Browns much better, show promising growth under Williams

CLEVELAND (AP) — From disorganized and dysfunctional to disciplined — and according to rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, dangerous.

The Cleveland Browns are looking a lot better these days.

Not great, but improved. Greatly improved.

Two weeks after coach Hue Jackson's long overdue firing, the Browns showed a glimpse of a brighter future with

CLEVELAND (AP) — From disorganized and dysfunctional to disciplined — and according to rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, dangerous.

The Cleveland Browns are looking a lot better these days.

Not great, but improved. Greatly improved.

Two weeks after coach Hue Jackson’s long overdue firing, the Browns showed a glimpse of a brighter future with their best all-around game in several seasons, a convincing 28-16 victory on Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons.

Taking their cues from Mayfield and interim coach Gregg Williams, whose odds of becoming Cleveland’s next full-time coach may not be as ridiculous as they once seemed, the Browns (3-6-1) took apart a team with playoff hopes.

Cleveland was balanced on offense, sound defensively and the Browns’ special teams avoided the kind of fatal mistakes that led to so many tough losses earlier this season.

“We just finally put four quarters of football together,” said safety Damarious Randall. “Just to see us put it together now shows where this team is pointing and the direction we are going. We are going to keep on building on that and keep fighting.”

Mayfield’s leading the charge.

Matched up against one of the NFL’s best in Matt Ryan, Mayfield was nearly perfect while outplaying his more celebrated quarterbacking counterpart. Mayfield completed his first 13 passes, finished 17 of 20 for 217 yards and threw three touchdown passes as the Browns posted their largest win since Dec. 13, 2015 — a span of 44 games.

When it ended, with the rare sight of Cleveland fans actually still in their seats cheering and not heading toward the exits, Mayfield met Ryan and shared a hug with Atlanta’s star at midfield before filming a promotional selfie video for the team’s website and then sprinting off like a 10-year-old and leaping and bumping with Randall in the end zone.

Moments later, Mayfield playfully told reporters he woke up feeling “pretty dangerous.” He’s been scary over the past four weeks, throwing nine TD passes with just two interceptions and making better decisions.

It was Mayfield’s second game with offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, the team’s running backs coach thrust into the coordinator’s role when Todd Haley was fired after Jackson on Oct. 29. Kitchens has catered Cleveland’s offense to suit Mayfield’s strengths, and his quicker throws have been effective in moving the ball and keeping him safe.

For the first time this season, the Browns did not give up a sack.

Williams said the Mayfield-Kitchens pairing will only get better.

“Both of their styles and both of their personalities, they respect each other,” Williams said. “They both understand each other. When that respect is well enough, maybe they might even like each other later on, but there has to be a respect of those and us together with coaches and players that we both are on the same page and we know what we are doing for things to grow. I think Freddie and Baker are doing a great job with that.”

Williams, too, should take a bow. In no time, he’s made the Browns better.

Sometimes brash and boastful, Williams has toned down his public personality while providing strong, needed leadership to a team that had tuned out Jackson after two losing seasons. The Browns are responding to the 60-year-old Williams, who coached Buffalo from 2001-03 and worked his way back up the ranks after he was suspended by the league in 2012.

Williams laughed hard when asked if the past two weeks have reminded an “old timer” he still had what it takes to be a head coach.

“I never thought it left,” he said.

But as far as his future in Cleveland, Williams insists he’s not campaigning for the job. At this point, the Browns’ play is doing the lobbying for him.

When pressed about whether he would like to be the next coach of the Browns, Williams showed a politician’s elusiveness.

“You know what?” he said on a conference call as the Browns began their bye week. “I like being employed. I enjoy the head coaching part of it. I enjoy all these parts of it, but understand the big part of what we are doing is we get the players the focus, get me to focus on one day at a time and we have to keep on moving on in the right direction.”

NOTES: Williams only planned to give his players Tuesday off, but “threw them a bone” following the win and gave them Monday as well. The players are free this week with the exception of medical treatments and phone meetings. … Williams said LT Greg Robinson “played well” in his second start, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stay in the lineup following the bye. Rookie Desmond Harrison started Cleveland’s first eight games before being sidelined with an unspecified illness.

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Jaguars center Brandon Linder injures knee, out for season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars center Brandon Linder will have season-ending surgery on his right knee.

Linder injured his knee in Sunday's 29-26 loss at Indianapolis, and coach Doug Marrone said Monday the team captain will be placed on injured reserve.

A third-round draft pick from Miami in 2014, Linder will have

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars center Brandon Linder will have season-ending surgery on his right knee.

Linder injured his knee in Sunday’s 29-26 loss at Indianapolis, and coach Doug Marrone said Monday the team captain will be placed on injured reserve.

A third-round draft pick from Miami in 2014, Linder will have missed 27 games in five years. He signed a five-year contract worth $51.7 million in July 2017. It included $24 million guaranteed.

Linder also is the team’s third offensive lineman — second starter — to land on injured reserve. Left tackle Cam Robinson tore a knee ligament earlier in the season and was placed on IR. Robinson’s backup, Josh Wells, landed on IR with a groin injury.

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Ravens QB Flacco status for Sunday’s game ‘up in the air’

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is nursing a hip injury that could threaten his availability for Sunday's game against Cincinnati.

With the Ravens coming off a bye, Flacco received an additional week of rest and treatment after sustaining the injury on Nov. 4 in the opening minutes of

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is nursing a hip injury that could threaten his availability for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

With the Ravens coming off a bye, Flacco received an additional week of rest and treatment after sustaining the injury on Nov. 4 in the opening minutes of a 23-16 loss to Pittsburgh.

Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that Flacco’s status against the Bengals is “up in the air” and could be a game-time decision.

If the 11-year veteran can’t go, either Robert Griffin III or rookie Lamar Jackson will start for the first time with Baltimore.

The Ravens (4-5) reached their bye week with a three-game losing streak that ruined a decent start and left the team in recovery mode as it seeks to snap a run of three straight seasons without reaching the playoffs.

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Bye comes at good time for hobbled Dolphins

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Frank Gore walked slowly through the Miami Dolphins locker room Monday, a slight hunch in his posture and a slight limp in his gait, which made him look like the 35-year-old running back he is.

And he's among the healthy ones.

The Dolphins (5-5) hobbled into their bye week

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Frank Gore walked slowly through the Miami Dolphins locker room Monday, a slight hunch in his posture and a slight limp in his gait, which made him look like the 35-year-old running back he is.

And he’s among the healthy ones.

The Dolphins (5-5) hobbled into their bye week thankful for the timing of the break. Coach Adam Gase gave his players the rest of the week off, and said if his team had a game Sunday, finding 46 healthy players to fill the active roster would be a challenge.

“I don’t even know if we’d have enough,” Gase said.

“The bye week,” gimpy left tackle Laremy Tunsil said, “came at the perfect time.”

For one thing, the bye buys quarterback Ryan Tannehill an extra week to continue his recovery from an injured capsule in his throwing shoulder. After a period of rest he began a throwing program Sunday.

“They said it was a good first step and he felt good, so that’s a positive,” Gase said. “We’ll just progress through and see where we’re at next Wednesday.”

The goal remains for Tannehill to return for Miami’s next game Nov. 25 at Indianapolis.

“If we can get through this week and he feels great every day, then we’ve got a shot,” Gase said.

The odds seem against it. Tannehill was shut down after an earlier throwing program produced little progress, and missed his fifth game in a row Sunday when Miami was beaten at Green Bay.

Brock Osweiler fell to 2-3 replacing Tannehill. And as the Dolphins lost for the fifth time in seven games, their injury list grew longer.

Sidelined were cornerback Bobby McCain (concussion) and receivers DeVante Parker (shoulder) and Jakeem Grant (calf). Both receivers underwent MRIs on Monday, and their injuries are not believed to be season enders.

By the final whistle, Miami was without five former first-round draft picks. That included starting tackles Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James, who both missed the game with knee injuries. There’s a good chance they’ll return against Indy.

Given the way the Dolphins’ season is trending, it’s surprising the Colts game could be pivotal in the AFC wild-card race.

“We’re still in the hunt,” receiver Kenny Stills said. “We need to get healthy.”

Or healthier, at least.

Last week the Dolphins had 18 players on their injury report. But not Gore, the ageless veteran who ran for 90 yards in 13 carries Sunday. He became the first player to rush for 500 yards in 14 consecutive seasons, and hasn’t missed a game since 2011.

In the Dolphins’ locker room, that makes him an outlier.

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