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NFL ROUNDUP

Tua remains starter, but benched in toothless Miami loss in Denver

Tua Tagovailoa was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick for Miami's final two drives on Sunday in Denver, the Dolphins having gone three-and-out on five of their first eight drives.
Tua Tagovailoa was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick for Miami's final two drives on Sunday in Denver, the Dolphins having gone three-and-out on five of their first eight drives.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Justin Simmons intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick’s pass in the end zone with 63 seconds left Sunday, sealing the Denver Broncos’ 20-13 win over the Miami Dolphins.

The Broncos (4-6) not only prevented Tua Tagovailoa from becoming just the second rookie in the past 40 years to win his first four starts, but they sacked him a half-dozen times and knocked him from the game in the fourth quarter. Although Tagovailoa walked gingerly to the sideline after his final sack, by Bradley Chubb, Miami coach Brian Flores said the move was simply to give the Dolphins (6-4) the best chance to win.

Tagovailoa, Flores said, remains the starter.

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Fitzpatrick entered the game with the Dolphins down 10 points, having five three-and-outs and six punts to show from their first eight drives, and drove them to a field goal that made it a one-score deficit. The Dolphins, who had won five in a row, turned away the Broncos at their 1, denying Melvin Gordon his third touchdown of the game when linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel punched the ball loose.

Fitzpatrick completed 12 of 18 passes for 117 yards — better than Tagovailoa’s line of 11-for-20 for 83 — but Simmons intercepted his underthrown pass in the end zone after he’d driven the Dolphins from their 1 to the Broncos 15-yard line.

The Broncos ran out the clock with Drew Lock completing a 61-yard pass to Tim Patrick on fourth-and-14 from his 16, a play that began with 4 seconds remaining. Lock completed 18 of 30 passes for 270 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. He started despite missing practice time during the week because of bruised ribs.

Chiefs 35, Raiders 31 — Patrick Mahomes threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce with 28 seconds to play, and Kansas City (9-1) avenged its only loss in the last 12 months in dramatic fashion, Mahomes (348 yards) leading two go-ahead scoring drives in the frantic fourth quarter. Las Vegas (6-4) led, 24-21, on Darren Waller’s TD catch on the first play of the fourth quarter, but Mahomes led a 91-yard scoring drive midway through the period capped by Le’Veon Bell’s first TD for Kansas City. Derek Carr and the Raiders replied with a crisp drive, ending on Jason Witten’s 1-yard TD catch with 1:43 left. Kelce ultimately caught eight passes for 127 yards.

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Colts 34, Packers 31 (OT) — After allowing three touchdown passes and 28 first-half points, Indianapolis (7-3) gave up only three second-half points, forced a game-changing fumble less than a minute into overtime, and beat Green Bay (7-3) with a Rodrigo Blankenship 39-yard field goal with 7:10 remaining. Philip Rivers was 24 of 35 with 288 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in a wild game that included Indianapolis erasing a 14-point halftime deficit, then failing to seal the win because of five holding calls on its final drive in regulation. Jonathan Taylor had 22 carries for 90 yards for the winners. Aaron Rodgers was 27 of 38 for 311 yards, the three scores, and one interception, but the Packers ran only 18 offensive plays in the final 33 minutes.

Browns 22, Eagles 17 — Kareem Hunt hurdled Jalen Mills on a touchdown run, Olivier Vernon stepped up with star Myles Garrett out with COVID-19 by getting three sacks and a safety, and Cleveland (7-3) found traction in their running game against Philadelphia (3-6-1) in a constant downpour. Hunt’s leaping 5-yard score came shortly after a dazzling 54-yarder by Nick Chubb, who had 114 of the hosts’s 137 rushing yards. Cleveland also got a 50-yard interception return TD in the first half by second-year linebacker Sione Takitaki. The Browns constantly harassed Carson Wentz, whose two interceptions gave him 14 and who was sacked five times, bringing his total to a league-worst 40.

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Washington 20, Bengals 9 — Top pick Joe Burrow was carted off with a presumably season-ending left knee injury before Alex Smith rallied Washington (3-7) past Cincinnati (2-7-1) in Landover, Md., to move a half-game back in the dreadful NFC East. The Bengals didn’t punt once in the first half with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at the helm, but after Burrow (22-of-34, 203 yards and a touchdown) left, the 36-year-old Smith led a go-ahead, 55-yard scoring drive that ended with a 3-yard TD pass to Steven Sims. Smith was 17 of 25 for 166 yards and had a pass intercepted after it was tipped late in the first half. Washington rookie running back Antonio Gibson ran for 94 yards and a TD.

Cowboys 31, Vikings 28 — Andy Dalton returned from a two-game absence to throw three touchdown passes, hitting Dalton Schultz for a 2-yard score with 1:37 left to end a four-game losing streak for Dallas (3-7), who tied their three cohorts in the NFC East on three victories. Dalton went 22 for 32 for 203 yards and one interception in Minneapolis, directing an 11-play, 66-yard drive down the stretch that was extended with a fourth-and-6 completion to Amari Cooper. Dodging pressure all afternoon, Kirk Cousins had 314 yards and three touchdowns to punctuate 75-, 81-, and 85-yard drives for Minnesota (4-6), Adam Thielen catching two, but the Vikings stalled out on their final two possessions. Both Ezekiel Elliott (103 yards) and NFL leader Dalvin Cook (115) ran for triple digits.

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Saints 24, Falcons 9 — Taysom Hill rushed for two touchdowns and passed for 233 yards in his first NFL start at quarterback, and New Orleans (8-2) won its seventh straight, cooling off rival Atlanta (3-6), which had won three of four. Hill, who started his career as a utility player with the Saints in 2017, completed 18 of 23 passes (78.3 percent) without an interception and used his all-around athleticism to run intermittently on scrambles or designed read-option plays; he had a team-high 51 of the Saints’ 168 rushing yards. Hill had a considerably better day than Matt Ryan, who was sacked eight times and finished 19-of-37 passing for 232 yards and two picks. Host New Orleans didn’t allow a touchdown for the second time in three games.

Steelers 27, Jaguars 3 — Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick intercepted two passes each and visiting Pittsburgh (10-0) steamrolled Jacksonville (1-9) and rookie quarterback Jake Luton, who completed just 16 of 37 passes and whose offense totaled just 206 yards. Ben Roethlisberger completed 32 of 46 passes for 267 yards and touchdowns to Chris Claypool and Eric Ebron. Diontae Johnson finished with 12 catches for 111 yards. James Conner ran 13 times for 89 yards, while rookie James Robinson was Jacksonville’s lone bright spot. He ran 17 times for 73 yards and caught two passes for 21 yards.

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Chargers 34, Jets 28 — In Inglewood, Calif., Keenan Allen set a franchise record with 16 receptions, Justin Herbert threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns, and Los Angeles (3-7) did enough to snap a three-game losing streak and officially eliminate New York (0-10) from the playoffs with six games to play. Allen’s sixth game with 13 or more receptions, the most by a player in NFL history, totaled 145 yards receiving and a 13-yard TD in the third quarter for a 31-13 lead. The Jets rallied on Frank Gore’s 1-yard run and Joe Flacco’s 6-yard pass to Chris Herndon, but their drive to the Chargers 32 with under a minute remaining ended in a turnover on downs.

Panthers 20, Lions 0 — In Charlotte, N.C., P.J. Walker threw for 258 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start, and the much-maligned defense of Carolina (4-7) earned its first shutout since 2015 to snap a five-game losing streak. Walker, a former XFL player, was made the starter less than two hours before kickoff when Teddy Bridgewater was officially ruled out with a knee injury. He threw a pair of interceptions in the red zone, but connected with D.J. Moore for seven catches and 127 yards, plus a touchdown to Curtis Samuel (eight for 70). Matthew Stafford, who played for Detroit (4-6) despite a thumb injury that prevented him from taking a snap under center all week in practice, was sacked five times. The Lions were without running back D’Andre Swift, plus wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola.