For an uncomfortably long time Sunday, it was a matter of ‘‘if’’ for Peyton Manning and the Broncos, not ‘‘how many.’’
Their supposedly lopsided matchup against the winless Jacksonville Jaguars turned into quite a tussle for much of a surreal afternoon in Denver. Not until Knowshon Moreno ran for his third touchdown did the Broncos have any sense of security.
Denver won, 35-19, but fell well short of covering that record 27-point betting line in Las Vegas.
Manning went 28 of 42 for 295 yards in his least impressive showing of the season. His two touchdown passes gave him 22 on the year, an NFL record through six games.
He also lost a pair of fumbles on slippery exchanges from center and threw his second interception of the season, which linebacker Paul Posluszny returned 59 yards for a touchdown to pull the Jaguars within 14-12 before the half.
At that point, it was clear this would be more than just another stat-padding day for Manning and Co. That feeling was reinforced when Chad Henne led the Jaguars on an 80-yard touchdown drive against the banged-up Broncos (6-0) to make it 21-19 after Manning opened the third quarter with a TD drive of his own.
Henne threw for 303 yards against Denver’s league-worst pass defense and Justin Blackmon had 14 catches for 190 yards for Jacksonville (0-6).
Cam Newton threw three TD passes and ran for another score as Carolina (2-3) romped in Minneapolis. Newton went 20 of 26 for 242 yards without a turnover, and found Brandon LaFell for a 79-yard touchdown to start the third quarter, putting Minnesota in a 21-3 hole.
The Vikings (1-4) rallied around Adrian Peterson, who learned Friday that his 2-year-old son died in South Dakota of injuries from alleged abuse. Peterson finished with 62 yards on 10 carries and 21 yards on three receptions.
‘‘It’s tough. It’s a crazy situation,’’ Peterson said. ‘‘Any time you lose a child, no matter the circumstances, it hurts. I can’t describe it. But I've got a good supporting cast.’’
Sam Bradford threw three TD passes, St. Louis added a score on defense and special teams, and the visiting Rams stunned mistake-prone Houston to win their second straight. The Texans (2-4) have dropped four in a row and lost embattled quarterback Matt Schaub to a right ankle injury.
The Rams (3-3) were up, 24-6, early in the third quarter before rookie Daren Bates returned Keshawn Martin’s fumble on a kickoff return for a touchdown. Rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree pushed the lead to 38-6 when he returned an interception by T.J. Yates 98 yards for a score. Yates was in after Schaub was injured in the third quarter when he was sacked by Chris Long.
Some Texans fans cheered while Schaub was on the ground, angering Houston’s players.
‘‘For them to cheer about something like that, it just shows they have no class,’’ receiver Andre Johnson said.
Seattle (5-1) won its 11th straight game at home but it was hardly easy. There was a careless turnover, missed defensive assignments, and a comical muffed field goal attempt that led to a Tennessee touchdown on the final play of the first half. But the Seahawks got two rushing TDs and 155 all-purpose yards from Marshawn Lynch to shake the Titans (3-3).
Russell Wilson was 23 of 31 for 257 yards as Seattle dominated in total yardage, 404-223.
Tennessee’s Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions. He made a costly decision to challenge Richard Sherman on the first play after Seattle took a 13-10 lead, and Sherman made the interception. Seattle immediately converted the turnover into points, with Lynch scoring from the 3 for a 10-point lead.
Starting fresh after being dominated by host Cleveland in the first half, Matthew Stafford threw three of his four TD passes after halftime to rally Detroit. The Lions (4-2) outscored the Browns, 24-0, in the second half, sealing their win when Stafford hooked up with rookie tight end Joseph Fauria on a 10-yard score with 2:01 left.
Fauria caught three TD passes for the Lions, who played like a completely different team in the second half after leaving the field trailing, 17-7, and looking listless and lifeless.
The Browns (3-3) had their chances at a comeback end when Brandon Weeden’s baffling shovel pass with 4:36 left was intercepted by Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy.
Aaron Rodgers threw a 64-yard TD pass to Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy ran for 120 yards, and Mason Crosby kicked four field goals as Green Bay held off host Baltimore. Rodgers (17 of 32 for 315 yards) persevered despite losing two receivers to injury.
Rodgers completed only seven passes after halftime, yet those plays totaled 199 yards. After the Ravens closed to 19-17 on an 18-yard TD catch by Dallas Clark with 2:04 remaining, Rodgers clinched the victory with a 52-yard completion to Jermichael Finley on third and 3.
The Packers (3-2) limited Baltimore (3-3) to 47 yards rushing and registered five sacks, including three by A.J. Hawk. Joe Flacco went 20 of 34 for 342 yards.
Vernon Davis caught TD passes of 61 and 35 yards and finished with a career-best 180 yards receiving, leading host San Francisco to its third straight victory. Kendall Hunter ran for a 6-yard score that sealed it for the 49ers (4-2) with 6:35 left.
San Francisco forced four turnovers for the second straight game, including a fumble that Arizona (3-3) lost deep in 49ers territory in the third quarter.
Nick Foles threw for a career-high three TDs and ran for a fourth and Philadelphia rolled up 425 total yards in Tampa while evening its record at 3-3.
With the injured Michael Vick active but not playing, Foles made his seventh career start and beat the Bucs (0-5) for the second time. Foles completed 22 of 31 passes for 296 yards and no interceptions. NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy gained 116 yards on 25 attempts.