Jacoby Brissett threw two touchdown passes in the first half Sunday, and Marlon Mack scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter to lead the Indianapolis Colts past visiting Atlanta, 27-24.
Indianapolis (2-1) has won two straight overall and seven in a row at home.
The Falcons (1-2) rallied from a 20-3 halftime deficit to get within three on Matt Ryan’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones with 4:11 to play. But the Falcons opted to kick deep and never got the ball back.
Brissett closed it out with an 11-yard pass to Jack Doyle on third-and-4. He finished 28 of 37 with 310 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. T.Y. Hilton caught eight passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but missed the second half after aggravating a quad injury that slowed him in practice this week.
Ryan was 29 of 34 with 340 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He passed John Elway for ninth on the league’s career completion list and broke a tie with Elway for No. 11 on the career TD passes list. Ryan now has 4,143 completions and 303 touchdown passes.
Brissett played brilliantly, completing his first 16 passes and leading the Colts to scores on all four of their first-half possessions, including two 90-plus yard drives.
Saints 33, Seahawks 27 — Teddy Bridgewater threw two touchdown passes in his first start in place of Drew Brees, New Orleans also scored TDs on defense and special teams, and New Orleans (2-1) took advantage of Seattle’s sloppiness and handed the Seahawks their first home loss in the month of September under Pete Carroll. Deonte Harris took a punt back 53 yards for a score in the first quarter, and Vonn Bell picked up Chris Carson’s third lost fumble in three games, and returned it 33 yards for a TD in the second quarter. Bridgewater, in with Brees out for several weeks following surgery to repair a ligament near his right thumb, didn’t take unnecessary risks. Bridgewater completed 19 of 27 passes for 177 yards; Seattle (2-1) had zero sacks and only two quarterback hits.
Bills 21, Bengals 17 — Frank Gore scored on a 1-yard run with 1:50 remaining in Orchard Park, N.Y., rallying Buffalo in its home opener past winless Cincinnati. Tight end Dawson Knox set up the score by bowling over two Bengals for a 49-yard gain. And cornerback Tre’Davious White sealed the win by intercepting Andy Dalton’s tipped pass on third-and-5 from Buffalo’s 28 with 12 seconds remaining. The Bills squandered a 14-0 lead and were forced to rally back after the Bengals scored 17 points to take the lead on three consecutive possessions, but improved to 3-0 for only the third time in 26 years. Bills starter Josh Allen finished 23 of 36 for 243 yards with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Knox and a costly interception, but Buffalo’s defense came to the rescue after appearing winded on a hot afternoon with temperatures in the 80s. The Bills, who host the Patriots next Sunday, forced four turnovers, with White finishing with two interceptions.
Lions 27, Eagles 24 — Matthew Stafford threw a touchdown pass to Marvin Jones, Jamal Agnew returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score, and Detroit (2-0-1) held on in Philadelphia, which lost its second straight. The Eagles (1-2) had a chance after Malcolm Jenkins blocked Matt Prater’s 46-yard field goal try with 1:53 left. Rasul Douglas returned it to the Lions 22, but an illegal block on Jenkins pushed it back to midfield. On fourth and 5, Darren Sproles caught a pass for a first down but got called for Philadelphia’s third offensive pass interference. Carson Wentz’s deep pass to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside fell incomplete with 41 seconds left, as the Eagles injury-depleted offense, missing top receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, was sloppy. Detroit hosts fellow unbeaten Kansas City next Sunday.
Texans 27, Chargers 20 — Deshaun Watson threw for 351 yards and hit Jordan Akins with two of his three touchdown passes, and J.J. Watt had two of Houston’s five sacks of Philip Rivers in Carson, Calif. Akins made the first two TD catches of his career and fellow tight end Darren Fells also caught a TD pass for the Texans (2-1), who rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit with 20 consecutive points. Keenan Allen caught 13 passes for a career-high 183 yards and two touchdowns from Rivers, who passed for 318 yards in the Bolts’ second straight loss. Houston went up 27-17 with 9:40 to play on a typically magical effort by Watson, who barely eluded a sack by Melvin Ingram and hit Akins for a 53-yard catch-and-run TD. The Chargers (1-2) trimmed the lead to seven points and then drove into Houston territory in the final minute, converting two fourth downs along the way, but a completion that would have put the Chargers inside the Houston 10 was wiped out by a holding penalty on left tackle Trent Scott with 24 seconds to play.
49ers 24, Steelers 20 — Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dante Pettis with 1:15 remaining in Santa Clara, Calif., and San Francisco overcame five turnovers to beat Pittsburgh and earn their first 3-0 start in 21 years. The Niners gave the ball away four times in the first half — twice on Garoppolo passes that hit his receivers’ hands, and another on a fumble of a bad snap — and then lost a fumble again in the fourth quarter, but Pittsburgh gave that final one right back. Thus, the hosts still managed to spoil Mason Rudolph’s first career start in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers, 0-3 for the first time since 2000. Rudolph (14 for 27 for 174 yards) threw two long touchdown passes in the second half, connecting on a 76-yarder to JuJu Smith-Schuster and a 39-yarder to Diontae Johnson that gave the Steelers a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter. but the Niners answered the first strike with a 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a 4-yard run by Jeff Wilson Jr. Garoppolo finished 22 for 32 for 277 yards.
Vikings 34, Raiders 14 — NFL rushing leader Dalvin Cook cruised past the 100-yard mark for the third straight game, Kirk Cousins rebounded from his rattled performance the week before with a turnover- and sack-free afternoon, and host Minnesota (2-1) rolled in the first of six straight weeks without the Raiders playing in Oakland. A Harrison Smith interception of an overthrow by Oakland’s David Carr set up the second of two touchdowns by Adam Thielen to give the Vikings a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. Cook had 16 carries for 110 yards and a score in just three quarters, and the Vikings rushed for 211 yards total, not even attempting a fourth-quarter pass for the second time in two home games.
Packers 27, Broncos 16 — Aaron Rodgers threw for 235 yards and a touchdown, Aaron Jones tied a career high by running for two scores, and Green Bay (3-0) got to Denver (0-3) quarterback Joe Flacco six times. The defence forced three turnovers to lead the Packers to the win despite being dominated in time of possession, 35:34-24:26. Rodgers found Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a 40-yard strike on the opening drive and finished 17 of 29. Jones’ touchdown runs both came from 1 yard out. Flacco was 20 of 29 for 213 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. For the third straight game, Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Denver’s defense failed to record a sack or force a turnover.
Cowboys 31, Dolphins 6 — Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes to Amari Cooper before running for another score in Arlington, Texas, and Dallas (3-0) turned it on after they were outgained in the first half by winless Miami — 0-3 for the first time since opening 0-7 in 2011. Josh Rosen was 18 of 29 for 200 yards without a touchdown or interception in his first start for the Dolphins, which went with him over Ryan Fitzpatrick after getting outscored 102-10 the first two weeks. The second touchdown to Cooper was a 19-yarder that capped a 75-yard drive to open the second half, and came after a 74-yard TD toss to Randall Cobb was nullified by offsetting penalties. Prescott ran 8 yards to cap the second straight TD drive to open the second half, pulling him within one of Roger Staubach’s career club record of 20 rushing touchdowns in just his fourth season. Ezekiel Elliott had his second straight 100-yard game, while rookie Tony Pollard, who became the top option behind Elliott while the two-time rushing champion was gone, clinched his first on a 16-yard run for his first touchdown.
Panthers 38, Cardinals 20 — Kyle Allen threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns in his second career start, Christian McCaffrey ran for a 76-yard touchdown, and Carolina (1-2) won in Glendale, Ariz. The 23-year-old Allen, in for the injured Cam Newton, made several big throws and was 19 of 26, including two touchdowns to Greg Olsen, and one each to Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore. McCaffrey had 24 carries for 153 yards, including the 76-yard score in the third quarter, when he darted straight through the middle of Arizona’s defense. Allen outplayed Arizona’s Kyler Murray, who was his former college teammate at Texas A&M. Murray also had some good moments, running for 69 yards, but he was sacked eight times, and a costly interception late in the third quarter effective ended any chance for Arizona (0-2-1).
Rams 20, Browns 13 — Wide receiver Cooper Kupp (11 receptions, 102 yards) caught two touchdown passes from Jared Goff and Los Angeles stopped Baker Mayfield four times from the 4-yard line in the final minute as the visiting Rams (3-0) hung on against the shorthanded Browns (1-2), who were missing eight starters — including their entire starting secondary. On the Browns’ final drive, Mayfield, who was under pressure most of the night, tried to force a pass to receiver Damion Ratley on fourth down. Safety John Johnson III picked him off.