NFL Sunday Recap: Darnold returns to give Jets their first win as 49ers stay perfect
Darnold throws two TDs in return as Jets knock off Cowboys
San Francisco improve to 5-0 for first time since 1990 season
Winston nightmare helps Panthers to win in London
Sam Darnold returned from mononucleosis to inspire his New York Jets team to their first win of the season, while condemning the Dallas Cowboys to a third straight defeat at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets led for most of the game and had a 21-9 lead in the fourth quarter. However, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offence powered back to within touching distance of the tie in the closing minutes. Needing a touchdown and a two point conversion.
Prescott ran in the touchdown himself with less than a minute to go but his pass on the conversion attempt fell short, largely thanks to a blitzing Jamal Adams. The Cowboys nearly had a final chance to win the game but after twice fumbling the onside kick Demaryius Thomas grabbed the ball to secure the Jets first win of the year and first under head coach Adam Gase (1-4). It was another disappointing night for Dallas though, now 3-3 after winning their first three games of the season.
Darnold, who missed three games while recovering from illness, finished 23 of 32 passing for 338 yards, on a huge night for the New York Jets, who eventually ran out 24-22 winners.
Seattle Seahawks 32-28 Cleveland Browns
Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes and ran in another as the Seattle Seahawks rallied for a big comeback win in a pulsating game against the highly fancied Cleveland Browns. Improving to 3-0 on the road in the process for the first time since 1980.
The Seahawks (5-1) gave up touchdowns on Clevelands first three possessions but were inspired by their star quarterback.
Wilson connected with Jaron Brown for two scores and Seattle's Mr.Cool then scampered 16 yards for a TD to put his team within two. The Browns (2-4) were architects of their own demise in the end however. Unable to overcome four turnovers and a blocked punt to fall to 0-3 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Baker Mayfield leads the league in interceptions and threw three more to to bring his season total to 11. Trying late on to bring his team back into the game, Mayfield, who left the game in the third quarter to be evaluated, was picked off by Seattle’s KJ Wright to seal yet another road win for the Seahawks.
New Orleans Saints 13-6 Jacksonville Jaguars
The New Orleans Saints moved to 4-0 wihtout injured quarterback Drew Brees, as Teddy Bridgewater found Jared Cook for a four yard tocuhdown early in the final quarter.
Coming off his huge 300 yard, four touchdown game against Tampa Bay, Bridgewater made much less of an impact against the Jags (2-4). But did enough for a Saints win, alongside a quality defensive display.
Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew was sacked twice, hurried throughout the game and threw his first interception as a starter. Minshew, a sensation so far this season, went for 163 yards, 14 of 29 passing and was held without a TD for the first time this season.
Michael Thomas had eight receptions for 89 yards and Alvin Kamara finished with 31 yards rushing while playing through an ankle injury. While Bridgewater was 24 of 36 passing for 240 yards for the Saints (5-1).
San Francisco 49ers 20-7 Los Angeles Rams
Jimmy Garoppolo recovered from a first half interception to help his San Francisco side remain unbeaten, thanks, in no small part, to a dominant defensive display against a struggling L.A. Rams.
George Kittle had eight catches for 103 yards for the Niners (5-0), who held Los Angeles’ once-unstoppable offense to 157 yards in coach Kyle Shanahan’s first victory against Rams coach Sean McVay in a game in which both of these NFC West rivals were playing their starters.
These longtime coaching colleagues’ teams are going in opposite directions after this one-sided showdown at the Coliseum. San Francisco used its possession offense and a sturdy defense to stay alongside New England as the NFL’s only unbeaten teams, while the Rams (3-3) are on their first three-game losing streak of McVay’s two-year tenure.
Garoppolo passed for 243 yards and ran in a touchdown and although the Niners didn't score a touchdown in the final 27 minutes, they are off to their fourth 5-0 start in franchise history, first since 1990.
Tennessee Titans 0-16 Denver Broncos
Denver's star defense was too much for Marcus Mariota and Tennessee, as he hit the bench and the Titans suffered their fourth loss of the season.
The Broncos (2-4) had seven sacks in a game for the first time since their 2015 Super Bowl season while also picking off three passes.
Chris Harris Jr and Justin Simmons intercepted Mariota, who was replaced by Ryan Tannehill after Simmons interception led to a two yard touchdown run that made it 13-0 and being sacked three times. That failed to improve things however, as Tannehill was sacked four times and picked off by Kareem Jackson on Tennessee's final drive, which had looked promising before two offensive penalties and a sack pushed the Titans back from Denver's five yard line to the 30.
On a tough night for offenses, both Denver and Tennessee (2-4) were 2 of 14 on third down, leading to 17 punts.
Philadelphia Eagles 20-38 Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins found Stefon Diggs for three of his four touchdowns, as he racked up a season high 333 passing yards in Minnesota's 18 point victory over Philadelphia.
Diggs scored on plays in the first half that covered 51 and 62 yards, becoming the first player since Randy Moss in 2000 to post two touchdown receptions of 50-plus yards in one game for the Vikings (4-2).
His most important catch came late in the third quarter, a double toe tap in the back of the end zone from 11 yards out that pushed the lead to 11 points after Carson Wentz and the Eagles (3-3) had pulled within 24-20 with 17 straight points.
The Eagles have been badly missing starting cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Avonte Maddox, and Cousins took full advantage with a first half that looked at times like passing drills against the scout team.
Washington Redskins 17-16 Miami Dolphins
Rookie receiver Terry McLaurin caught two passes in the n-zone, and Washington stopped Miami's two point conversion attempt with 6 seconds left, when a field goal would have been good enough for overtime. Redskins coming out on top in a battle of two winless teams in the NFL.
The coaching change appeared to have a positive impact on Adrian Peterson, who more than doubled his season rushing total with 118 yards. Washington intercepted Josh Rosen twice and sacked him five times before he was benched at the start of the fourth quarter with the Dolphins trailing 17-3.
Rosen’s replacement, Ryan Fitzpatrick, sparked a rally and led two touchdown drives, including a 75-yard march that began with 2:02 left. But after Fitzpatrick hit DeVante Parker for an 11-yard score to cut the deficit to one point, rookie coach Brian Flores decided to go for two.
Running back Kenyan Drake dropped Fitzpatrick’s quick pass with several defenders between him and the goal line.
Washington (1-5) looked like a different team after firing coach Jay Gruden, but the caliber of the opposition had something to do with that. The Dolphins (0-5) remain winless under Flores but helped their chances of securing the No 1 draft pick in April.
Cincinnati Bengals 17-23 Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson ran for a career-high 152 yards and a touchdown, threw for 236 yards and guided Baltimore past hapless Cincinnati.
Jackson carried 19 times, including three kneel-downs, and finished tantalizingly short of Michael Vick’s single-game record of 173 yards rushing by a quarterback. Jackson now has three career 100-yard rushing games, tied with Billy Kilmer for most by a quarterback in his first two seasons since 1950.
Regardless of where Jackson went, the Bengals (0-6) were usually a step behind. Jackson was also adept when throwing, going 21-for-33 without an interception.
Cincinnati jumped on top when Brandon Wilson took the opening kickoff 92 yards for a score, but Jackson responded quickly. Baltimore (4-2) finished with 497 yards of offense, and the Ravens retained sole possession of first place in the AFC North.
Carolina Panthers 37-26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Christian McCaffrey continued his push for greatness with two touchdowns as Carolina eased to victory in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
After starting the season 0-2 with Cam Newton at quarterback, the Panthers (4-2) have been on form with Kyle Allen in control of the offense. In London however, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was the key to victory for Carolina. His five interceptions were converted into 17 points by the Panthers.
McCaffrey and the defense have been for key for Carolina in their 4-0 run and they came up trumps again.
Winston did most of his damage after the game got out of hand late, throwing for 400 yards with a 10-yard TD pass to Cameron Brate in the fourth quarter that gave him 100 career touchdown passes.
Atlanta Falcons 33-34 Arizona Cardinals
Kyle Murray was in MVP type form as Arizona built up a big lead against Atlanta, before losing it and having to rally to secure the win.
Atlanta looked like they were about to tie the game with less than two minutes remaining after Matt Ryan found Devonte Freeman in the n-zone, but Matt Bryant missed the extra point and the Cardinals were able to run out the clock from there.
The Cardinals (2-3-1) took a seven point lead with 5 minutes remaining. David Johnson making a superb adjustment to make the 14 yard TD reception between two defenders.
The Cardinals won at home for the first time since last October, while the Falcons (1-5) have lost four straight games.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24-17 Los Angeles Chargers
Devlin Hodges won on his first NFL start as the Steelers were able to hold off the Chargers, thanks to James Conner's two touchdowns and a pair of recovered turnovers from Devin Bush.
Conner had his first game with both a rushing and receiving touchdown and accounted for 119 scrimmage yards (41 rushing, 78 receiving).
Hodges, who was elevated into the starting spot after Mason Rudolph suffered a concussion last week against Baltimore, didn’t look fazed. He completed 15-of-20 passes for 132 yards and benefited from a running game that helped control the clock. Benny Snell led the way with 75 yards on 17 carries for the Steelers (2-4). Bush forced turnovers on the Chargers second and third drives. The rookie linebacker scored his first NFL touchdown when he scooped up a backward pass from Philip Rivers that Melvin Gordon was unable to handle and went nine yards to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead. Bush got his second turnover four plays later when he intercepted a Rivers’ pass that was deflected by defensive end Tyson Alualu at the line of scrimmage. That would lead to Conner’s first TD.
The Chargers (2-4) trailed 24-0 after three quarters but rallied to get within seven on a Chase McLaughlin field goal and two TD passes from Rivers to Hunter Henry. But the Steelers held on though for their second win of the season.