Jimmy Garoppolo threw three TD passes in the first half and Jason Verrett’s first interception in more than four years helped preserve the lead in Santa Clara, Calif., giving the San Francisco 49ers a 24-16 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.
Garoppolo bounced back after a rough performance last week in a loss to Miami when, struggling on a bum ankle, he got pulled at halftime. Sunday, he helped the defending NFC champion 49ers (3-3) snap a two-game skid.
He staked the Niners to a 21-6 halftime lead over the Rams (4-2) by relying mostly on short passes and connecting on TDs with Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk.
San Francisco’s defense stepped up with some key stops in the second half. Los Angeles got in the red zone on its first possession of the third quarter, but settled for a field goal after Andrew Whitworth committed a false start on third-and-1.
The Rams were in position to cut even more into the deficit before Dre Greenlaw stopped Darrell Henderson for a 1-yard loss on second-and-goal from the 1, Cooper Kupp dropped a pass in the end zone on third down and Verrett came up with the interception on fourth down.
Verrett has ended up on injured reserve in five of his six seasons in the NFL and played only 66 defensive snaps the past three years. But he has gotten back to his 2015 Pro Bowl level this season for the 49ers, helping fill the void created by an injury to Richard Sherman.
Verrett’s interception was part of a rough day overall for Goff, who also missed an open Kupp on a deep ball earlier in the second half. Goff went 19 for 38 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Garoppolo was unable to keep up his fast start to the game, but still finished 23 for 33 for 268 yards.
Steelers 38, Browns 7 — James Conner ran for 101 yards and a touchdown, and Pittsburgh (5-0) battered Cleveland to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1978. Ben Roethlisberger added 162 yards passing and a score as the Steelers extended the Browns' skid at Heinz Field to 17, their last win in Pittsburgh coming Oct. 5, 2003. Cleveland, off to its best start since 1994, couldn’t stop a defense that sacked aching Baker Mayfield four times, picked him off twice, and chased him late in the third quarter with the game out of reach. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick stepped in front of a Mayfield pass and raced 33 yards to the end zone for an early 10-0 lead. His second interception set up Roethlisberger’s ridiculously easy 28-yard touchdown throw to James Washington late in the second quarter. That gave the Steelers a 24-0 advantage they never flirted with giving away.
Ravens 30, Eagles 28 — Lamar Jackson threw for a touchdown and ran 37 yards for another as Baltimore (5-1) held on over depleted Philadelphia (1-4-1), which nearly came from 17-0 down, but had a potential tying 2-point run by Carson Wentz stuffed with 1:55 remaining. The Eagles — who did not attempt an extra point, going 2-for-4 on conversion tries — came in missing seven offensive starters, including four offensive linemen, and then lost two running back Miles Sanders in the third quarter and tight end Zach Ertz in the fourth. Wentz tossed two TD passes and was sacked six times. Jackson, the reigning NFL MVP, was efficient, passing for 186 yards and rushing for 108.
Bears 23, Panthers 16 — Nick Foles threw for one touchdown and ran for another, his defense forced three turnovers and sacked Teddy Bridgewater four times, and Chicago (5-1) won its third straight road game to begin the season. Bridgewater, consistently under duress, was held to a season-low 216 yards passing and was intercepted twice for Carolina (3-3), which had won three straight. Down, 20-6, late in the third quarter, the Panthers — who led in both yardage and time of possession — had two chances to tie it late. D.J. Moore couldn’t haul in a one-handed catch on fourth down from the Chicago 36, though, and DeAndre Houston-Carson intercepted Bridgewater after Carolina got the ball back.
Colts 31, Bengals 27 — Philip Rivers authored the biggest regular-season comeback in Colts franchise history, erasing a 21-0 second-quarter deficit with three touchdown passes, including the go-ahead, 14-yard score to Jack Doyle on the first play of the fourth quarter. Rivers wound up 29 of 44 with 371 yards and one interception for host Indianapolis (4-2). Rodrigo Sanchez added a 40-yard field goal and Julian Blackmon picked off Joe Burrow with 39 seconds left to seal the fifth time Cincinnati (1-4-1) has blown a 21-point lead in franchise history. Down, 28-27, the Bengals could have taken the lead with a 48-yard field goal with 8:02 to play, but Randy Bullock hit the right upright. Rookie receiver Tee Higgins had six receptions for a season-high 125 yards from Joe Burrow, who was 25 of 39 with 313 yards and the pick.
Dolphins 24, Jets 0 — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three short touchdown passes in the first half and Miami (3-3) held winless New York (0-6) without a third-down conversion until the fourth quarter in getting their first shutout victory in six years. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 18 for 27 for 191 yards for Miami, the game so lopsided that rookie Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in mop-up duty with 2:27 left. He had the Dolphins' only third-down conversion; the teams combined to go 3 for 26. Myles Gaskin had 18 carries for 91 yards. Joe Flacco, making his second start for injured Jets starter Sam Darnold, went 21 for 44 for 186 and an interception. He was sacked three times, once for 28 yards.
Lions 34, Jaguars 16 — Rookie D’Andre Swift ran for a career-high 116 yards and two touchdowns, and Detroit (2-3) made a double-digit lead hold up for the first time after losing its last six games in which it held one. Matthew Stafford completed 19 of 31 passes for 223 yards, with an interception on a tipped pass and a 1-yard TD toss to T.J. Hockenson on fourth down; he’s now thrown for a score against every NFL team but his Lions. Kenny Golladay finished with four receptions for 105 yards, making it the first time since 2013 that Detroit produced a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in the same game. Host Jacksonville (1-5) has lost five straight, allowing at least 30 points in all of them.
Giants 20, Washington 19 — In East Rutherford, N.J., rookie Tae Crowder — Mr. Irrelevant in April’s draft — scooped up a Kyle Allen fumble and ran 43 yards for a touchdown with 3:28 to play, the Giants (1-5) and Joe Judge earning their first win when Ron Rivera tried to win with a 2-point conversion in the final minute. After a 22-yard Allen touchdown pass to Cam Sims with 36 seconds left to cap a 10-play, 75-yard march, Allen evaded pressure with no one open, but threw incomplete for Washington (1-5). Daniel Jones was New York’s leading rusher with 74 yards, but threw for just 112 and ended a nine-minute drive with an interception as Washington erased a 10-point deficit.
Falcons 40, Vikings 23 — In Minneapolis, Julio Jones returned from injury to catch two of Matt Ryan’s four touchdown passes, as Atlanta (1-5) turned three first-half Kirk Cousins interceptions into 17 points and won its first under interim coach Raheem Morris; head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff were fired last Sunday night. Minnesota (1-5) had only rookies available at cornerback for more than half of the game, and Ryan completed 30 of 40 passes for 371 yards. Jones, who missed all but one half of the previous three games with hamstring trouble, had eight receptions for 137 of those. With the NFL’s leading rusher, Dalvin Cook, out with a groin injury, the Vikings netted only 32 rushing yards.