ATLANTA (AP) — Julio Jones hauled in a short pass behind the line of scrimmage, got the blocks he needed and didn't stop running until he was well past the end zone.The Philadelphia Eagles never …
ATLANTA (AP) — Julio Jones hauled in a short pass behind the line of scrimmage, got the blocks he needed and didn't stop running until he was well past the end zone.
The Philadelphia Eagles never had a chance.
In the blink of an eye, Jones turned a fourth-down screen pass into a 54-yard touchdown with 2:10 remaining Sunday night. The Atlanta Falcons surrendered a huge play of their own on fourth down but came up with the defensive stop they needed to preserve a wild 24-20 victory.
Jones' speed on the winning play was stunning, reaching an estimated 20 mph as he glided away from a futile swipe by Rodney McLeod and left Andrew Sendejo far behind.
"OK, it's a footrace now," Jones said. "That was it. It really wasn't like I had to try hard or anything like that. I just had to stay on course."
A sluggish game turned thrilling in the final minutes. The Falcons (1-1) squandered a 17-6 lead against an injury plagued team that lost two of its top receivers, falling behind for the first time when Carson Wentz dove over from the 1 with 3:13 left and then connected on a two-point conversion pass to give the Eagles a 20-17 edge.
Philadelphia (1-1) had a chance at the end when Wentz converted on fourth-and-14, somehow getting off a pass with a rusher in his chest that Nelson Agholor hauled in between Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen for a 43-yard completion to the Falcons 18.
But Neal and Isaiah Oliver dragged down Zach Ertz less than a yard short of the marker on another fourth-down play inside the 10 to preserve a much-needed victory for Atlanta after a dismal performance in the season opener at Minnesota.
It was Jones who really bailed out the Falcons — and became the franchise's career leader in receiving yards with his winning score, passing Roddy White.
"He's had a lot of great ones, that's for sure," said quarterback Matt Ryan, who helped keep Philadelphia in the game with three interceptions. "It's special for him to break a record that way, in such a critical situation, in such a clutch moment. That's pretty cool."
On fourth-and-3 at the Falcons 46, Jones dropped behind the line to haul in Ryan's short pass and got just enough of a pick from fellow receiver Mohamed Sanu to take out cornerback Rasul Douglas. Left tackle Jake Matthews squashed another defender with a crunching block out on the edge.
Just like that, Jones was gone.
"A big little play," coach Dan Quinn called it.
Jones crossed over the goal line and kept right on going, disappearing down the tunnel. He finished with five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns, also hauling in a 4-yard score that gave the Falcons their 11-point lead early in the third quarter.
The Eagles were hampered by injuries that took out receivers DeSean Jackson (groin) and Alshon Jeffery (calf), forcing them to go with backups Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside much of the game.
'It was tough," Wentz said. "Some of the stuff tonight you can't make up. I've never seen guy after guy like that early in the ballgame, but guys stepped up. Guys were resilient. We came up a little short today, but I'm proud of the way the guys fought."
Wentz and the short-handed offense finally got going in the fourth quarter, completing eight straight passes for 72 yards on a drive that culminated with a quarterback sneak for the go-ahead touchdown. He finished 25 of 43 for 231 yards with two interceptions.
"What a game he had," Agholor said. "That's one of the best performances I've seen from our quarterback, man. He's very resilient, getting the ball to everybody."
BY THE NUMBERS
Jones now has 10,868 yards receiving in his career, pushing him past White's franchise mark of 10,863.
Ryan was 27 of 43 for 320 yards and three touchdowns, giving him 300 TD passes in his career. He is tied with John Elway for 11th place on the NFL's career list.
Atlanta's Calvin Ridley had the second 100 -yard receiving game of his career, hauling in eight passes for 105 yards including a 34-yard TD.
With Jackson and Jeffery sidelined, Agholor stepped up to make eight catches for 107 yards and a TD.
But he let a potential go-ahead score slip through his hands with under 2 minutes to go after breaking free down the left sideline.
Agholor lost the ball in the lights of the retractable-roof stadium but said, "I've still got to make that play. That's something we prepared for in pregame."
INJURY REPORT, PART II
Falcons rookie Kaleb McGary missed a good portion of the game after being helped off the field with a left knee injury.
The offensive tackle went down near the midway point of the second quarter while protecting on a pass play but was able to return in the fourth quarter.
Philadelphia lost another player before the game even began.
Dallas Goedert sustained a calf injury, apparently in pregame in warmups, which left Ertz as the Eagles' only tight end.
Philadelphia returns home next Sunday to host the Detroit Lions in the first meeting between the teams since 2016.
The Falcons hit the road to face Indianapolis, which has won 14 of 16 meetings between the teams.
NASHVILLE (AP) — Jacoby Brissett became the latest Indianapolis quarterback to top Tennessee, throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton with 4:38 left. Brissett had come up empty for Indianapolis against Tennessee, losing both games he started against the Titans in 2017. After Andrew Luck retired with a perfect 11-0 record against the Titans, Brissett picked up right where Luck left off. He passed for 146 yards and three TDs.
The Colts (1-1) also sacked Marcus Mariota four times on a day when Adam Vinatieri, the NFL's oldest player and career scoring leader but in an early-season slump, missed two extra points. It was Indianapolis' 14th win in its last 16 games against Tennessee overall.
The Titans (1-1) missed their chance for payback against Indianapolis after losing the 2018 regular-season finale, along with a playoff berth on the line for the winner. They haven't started 2-0 since 2008 when they won their first 10 games and last won the AFC South.
BEARS 16, BRONCOS 14
DENVER (AP) — Eddy Pineiro kicked a 53-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Chicago Bears a wild 16-14 win over the Broncos and their former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, whose gutsy 2-point call 31 seconds earlier had given Denver the lead.
The Broncos (0-2) thought time had expired when Mitchell Trubisky stepped up and threw a 25-yard pass to Allen Robinson on fourth-and-15 from his 40-yard line. Robinson was tackled at the Denver 35 by Chris Harris Jr.
The clock showed all zeroes and both teams milled around on the field not knowing whether to celebrate a win or lament a loss. Then referee Adrian Hill announced there was 1 second remaining and Chicago was using its last timeout.
Pineiro's winner sent the Bears (1-1) streaming back onto the field in celebration of a victory that seemed so unlikely after they'd surrendered the lead moments earlier.
RAMS 27, SAINTS 9
LOS ANGELES (AP) — With Drew Brees watching from the sideline with an injured hand, the Rams didn't need a no-call to beat the Saints again.
Jared Goff passed for 283 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score, and the Rams (2-0) stopped New Orleans from scoring an offensive touchdown for the first time since 2016.
The much-anticipated matchup changed dramatically when Brees was injured late in the first quarter. His throwing hand collided with Aaron Donald's outstretched hand while he threw an incompletion on the Saints' second drive. The NFL's career leader in yards passing spent the afternoon on the Coliseum sideline with his thumb heavily wrapped.
Teddy Bridgewater went 17 of 30 for 165 yards and Alvin Kamara rushed for just 45 yards for the Saints (1-1), who seemed discombobulated without their longtime quarterback. New Orleans didn't score an offensive touchdown for only the fourth time in 13-plus seasons under coach Sean Payton, who got a lengthy contract extension before the game.
Todd Gurley rushed for 63 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season late in the third quarter of this rematch of the Rams' 26-23 overtime win in New Orleans last January. That game turned on the infamous uncalled pass interference late in regulation by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who had six tackles in the rematch.
PATRIOTS 43, DOLPHINS 0
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Antonio Brown caught a 20-yard touchdown pass in his debut for the Patriots, and they scored twice on interception returns in a two-minute fourth-quarter span.
Brown also made an 18-yard catch on his first play for the Patriots (2-0), who signed him Monday. He finished with 56 yards on four receptions, all in the first half.
The NFL allowed the four-time All-Pro receiver to play despite a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday by his former trainer accusing him of sexually assaulting her on three occasions.
New England's defense outscored Miami (0-2) with interception returns for touchdowns of 54 yards by Stephon Gilmore and 69 yards by Jamie Collins Sr. The Patriots totaled seven sacks and four interceptions and earned their most lopsided win in the 108-game history of the series.
COWBOYS 31, REDSKINS 21
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Dak Prescott carved up the Washington defense with his arm and his legs, completing 26 of 30 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 69 yards.
A week after putting up a perfect 158.3 QB rating, Prescott responded from an interception to lead Dallas (2-0) on consecutive touchdown drives of 97, 83 and 75 yards. He's the first Cowboys quarterback to compile seven touchdown passes in the first two games of the season since Don Meredith in 1966.
On the verge of a contract extension that's expected to guarantee him over $30 million, Prescott connected with three receivers on the touchdowns: Devin Smith, Jason Witten and Amari Cooper. Less than two weeks removed from ending his holdout and agreeing to a $90 million, six-year deal, Ezekiel Elliott had his workload increased to 23 carries for 111 yards and ran for a touchdown.
The Redskins (0-2) got a rushing touchdown from Adrian Peterson and passing TDs from Case Keenum to Paul Richardson and rookie Terry McLaurin. But their banged-up defense playing without two starters struggled to contain Prescott or cover his receivers.
SEAHAWKS 28, STEELERS 26
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns for Seattle, including a 28-yard rainbow to DK Metcalf midway through the fourth quarter.
The Steelers lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a right elbow injury late in the first half and fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2013 despite solid play from backup Mason Rudolph, who threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes to Vance McDonald.
Roethlisberger began flexing his right arm after an incompletion late in the second quarter. He stayed in to finish the drive before jogging to the locker room. When the 37-year-old QB emerged for the second half, he was wearing a white cap while Rudolph, taken in the third round of the 2018 draft, took the first meaningful snaps of his career.
Rudolph completed 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards, the two scores and an interception, but couldn't quite keep pace with Wilson and the Seahawks (2-0).
Wilson was 29 of 35 for 300 yards and the three TDs, becoming the fifth-fastest quarterback in league history to reach 200 career touchdown passes (114 games). Wilson also ran four times for 24 yards, most of it coming on Seattle's final drive as the Seahawks protected a two-point lead.
A week after escaping Cincinnati with a one-point win, a game in which coach Pete Carroll said his team wasn't particularly crisp, the Seahawks took advantage of a series of mental mistakes by the Steelers (0-2) to win in Pittsburgh for the first time in 20 years.
PACKERS 21, VIKINGS 16
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw two early touchdowns on a day when the Packers honored late Hall of Famer Bart Starr at halftime.
Rodgers put on quite a show — particularly early. Rodgers completed nine of his first 10 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns and had a perfect 158.3 rating through the first quarter. He finished 22 of 34 for 209 yards.
The Packers improved to 2-0 under new coach Matt LaFleur after opening the NFL's 100th season with a victory at rival Chicago. They also beat the Vikings (1-1) for the fifth time in the past seven games at Lambeau Field.
Kevin King intercepted Kirk Cousins late in the end zone to preserve the win.
Minnesota's Dalvin Cook had a career-high 154 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. It was the third-year back's second consecutive game with over 100 yards rushing.
CHIEFS 28, RAIDERS 10
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes bounced back from the first scoreless opening quarter of his career in the regular season by throwing four touchdown passes in a near perfect second period.
The Raiders (1-1) held Mahomes in check for the opening 15 minutes before he carved up an overmatched defense with big play after big play in the second quarter for the Chiefs (2-0).
Mahomes didn't take long to strike, finding Demarcus Robinson open on a blown coverage for a 44-yard touchdown pass on the first play in the second quarter. He didn't slow down from there.
Mahomes finished 30 for 44 for 443 yards. Robinson had six catches for 172 yards and two scores and Kelce had seven catches for 107 yards and a TD to give the Chiefs their ninth win in the past 10 meetings in this long-time rivalry.
RAVENS 23, CARDINALS 17
BALTIMORE (AP) — Lamar Jackson kept the Cardinals guessing all afternoon, supplementing an effective passing attack with more than an occasional jaunt out of the pocket. Jackson threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 120 yards in a showdown between two of the league's most exciting young quarterbacks.
After achieving a perfect passer rating and throwing five TD passes in a season-opening 59-10 rout of Miami, Jackson wasn't quite as sharp through the air but far more effective with his legs. He ran 16 times (including two kneel-downs at the end), juking and twisting past defenders for key gains — especially when the Cardinals were dropping back in passing situations.
The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner outdid the 2018 Heisman winner, Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, who went 25 for 40 for 349 yards but fell short of carrying the Cardinals to a second straight fourth-quarter comeback.
Murray guided Arizona (0-1-1) on a four-play, 79-yard touchdown drive to make it 20-17 with 12:52 remaining. One week earlier, the former Oklahoma standout erased an 18-point deficit to salvage a tie against Detroit.
TEXANS 13, JAGUARS 12
HOUSTON (AP) — Justin Reid stopped Leonard Fournette on a 2-point conversion attempt with 36 seconds left.
Houston led by 13-6 in the fourth quarter when Jacksonville rookie Gardner Minshew led a long drive that included an 18-yard run on fourth-and-10, and he capped it with a 4-yard TD pass to DJ Chark. Instead of trying to tie it with a kicked extra point, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone opted to go for the potential win. But Fournette was stopped by Reid. The play was upheld by video review, giving the Texans (1-1) the victory.
Early in the fourth quarter, Whitney Mercilus used a nice spin move to evade a blocker and sacked Minshew to force a fumble, recovered by J.J. Watt on the 11-yard line. Carlos Hyde had an 8-yard run on second down, but was stopped short of a first down on the next play to bring up fourth-and-1. Deshaun Watson then scrambled in from 2 yards for the touchdown to make it 13-3.
Minshew, a sixth-round pick, threw for 213 yards and a touchdown for the Jaguars (0-2) in his first NFL start filling in for Nick Foles, who broke his collarbone last week.
BILLS 28, GIANTS 14
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Somewhat maligned Josh Allen ran for a touchdown, threw for another, and the Bills claimed the bragging rights of New York.
Buffalo has its first 2-0 start since 2014 and only the third in 11 mostly fruitless years.
Devin Singletary scored on a 14-yard run and Frank Gore iced the game with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone with 5:53 to play as the Bills completed the New York/New Jersey sweep at MetLife Stadium. They beat the Jets last weekend.
Allen finished 19 of 30 for 253 yards in becoming Buffalo's first quarterback to pass for 200 or more yards in seven straight games since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly in 1992. His touchdown pass covered 14 yards to Isaiah McKenzie and his TD run was 6 yards.
Giants coach Pat Shurmur gave Buffalo bulletin-board material earlier in the week when he said he felt Allen had the potential to be an NFL starter coming out of the 2018 draft. The Bills felt it a slight for the No.7 overall pick and posted it.
Allen, who had no turnovers after making four last week, played like a quarterback with something to prove.
Saquon Barkley ran for 107 yards and a game-opening 27-yard touchdown run, but the Giants went to 0-2 for their sixth such start since 2013.
49ERS 41, BENGALS 17
CINCINNATI (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo tied his career high with three touchdown passes and the 49ers completed a sweet and satisfying week in the Buckeye State.
Rather than return to the West Coast after their opening 31-17 win in Tampa Bay, the 49ers headed to Youngstown, Ohio, where they worked out on a soccer field, enjoyed a local ice cream shop and rested at a Holiday Inn. Then they started their trek west with a resounding and notable win.
The 49ers improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2012. They've opened the season with back-to-back road wins for the first time since 1989, when Joe Montana's crew was coming off its second Super Bowl win over the Bengals.
The Niners piled up 573 total yards, their highest total in seven years. They've topped 30 points in each of their first two games for the first time since 1998. The 41 points were the most allowed by the Bengals (0-2) in a home opener.
LIONS 13, CHARGERS 10
DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford threw a go-ahead, 31-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay midway through the fourth quarter and Darius Slay made an interception in the end zone with 1:03 left.
Detroit (1-0-1) overcame Stafford's two interceptions, Slay giving up a lot of receptions and Matt Prater missing an extra point and a field goal.
The Chargers (1-1) were in a position to attempt a 45-yard field goal to tie the game, but Philip Rivers tried to force a pass to Keenan Allen and Slay picked it off.
Stafford was 22 of 30 for 245 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. Rivers was 21 of 36 for 293 yards and an interception.
National Football League
Tampa Bay 20, Carolina 14
Dallas 31, Washington 21
Detroit 13, L.A. Chargers 10
San Francisco 41, Cincinnati 17
Houston 13, Jacksonville 12
Indianapolis 19, Tennessee 17
Baltimore 23, Arizona 17
New England 43, Miami 0
Buffalo 28, N.Y. Giants 14
Seattle 28, Pittsburgh 26
Green Bay 21, Minnesota 16
Kansas City 28, Oakland 10
Chicago 16, Denver 14
L.A. Rams 27, New Orleans 9
Atlanta 24, Philadelphia 20
Cleveland at N.Y. Jets, 8:15 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 19
Tennessee at Jacksonville, 8:20 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 22
Miami at Dallas, 1 p.m.
Oakland at Minnesota, 1 p.m.
Cincinnati at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Baltimore at Kansas City, 1 p.m.
Atlanta at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.
Detroit at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Denver at Green Bay, 1 p.m.
N.Y. Jets at New England, 1 p.m.
N.Y. Giants at Tampa Bay, 4:05 p.m.
Carolina at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.
Houston at L.A. Chargers, 4:25 p.m.
New Orleans at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.
Pittsburgh at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.
L.A. Rams at Cleveland, 8:20 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 23
Chicago at Washington, 8:15 p.m.
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