Eagles

Best of NFL: Giants end Cowboys' 11-game win streak

Best of NFL: Giants end Cowboys' 11-game win streak

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With a no-huddle offense and no-fooling-around defense, the New York Giants snapped the Cowboys' 11-game winning streak with a 10-7 victory Sunday night, preventing Dallas from clinching the NFC East.

Dallas (11-2) hadn't lost since the season opener against the Giants (9-4), who solidified their position in the NFC playoff chase as the top-wild card team. New York still hopes to catch Dallas in the division, and it can thank a stingy, aggressive defense for still having that opportunity.

Missing star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants couldn't stop rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott from rushing for 107 yards. But New York's pressure stymied the other Cowboys rookie standout, quarterback Dak Prescott, blanked receiver Dez Bryant until 2:13 remained -- he fumbled away the ball on that play -- and held Dallas to one conversion in 15 third-down attempts.

The Giants had three sacks, continually made Prescott uncomfortable, and he threw two picks.

New York's offense was unsightly much of the night, blanked at halftime with only 84 net yards. Then it switched to the no-huddle and put together a short drive to Robbie Gould's 39-yard field goal, making it 7-3.

But Odell Beckham Jr., stepped up, as he often does, and sped through the Cowboys on a 61-yard touchdown play. Beckham caught Eli Manning's pass at the Giants 48 and raced all the way to the end zone for the lead the defense preserved.

Manning was 17 for 28 for 193 yards, one TD, one interception and two fumbles. His main adversary was linebacker Sean Lee, who had 18 tackles (see full recap).

Le'Veon Bell scores 3 TDs with 236 rushing yards in win over Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Le'Veon Bell scored three times and set a franchise record with 236 yards rushing in finding traction on a slick, snow-covered field, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 27-20 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon.

The Steelers overcame three interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger to win their fourth straight and improve to 8-5 and keep pace in the AFC playoff race. The loss all but mathematically eliminated the Bills (6-7) from contention, and puts them in jeopardy of extending the NFL's longest active playoff drought to 17 years -- the longest since New Orleans ended a 20-year drought by reaching the postseason for their first time in 1987.

After scoring in the first half on 3- and 7-yard runs, Bell put the game away on the opening drive of the third quarter. He had nine rushes for 72 yards alone and capped the 82-yard drive by waltzing into the end zone from 5 yards .

Bell also had 62 yards receiving to account for 298 of the 460 yards gained by Pittsburgh. It was the second three-TD game of his career, and first in which he scored three times rushing.

Bell broke the franchise rushing record set by Willie Parker, who had 223 yards against Cleveland on Dec. 7, 2006

He also extended his streak to four-straight games with 100 yards or more rushing, a span in which he's combined for 620 yards on the ground (see full story).

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay rout Seahawks 
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A hobbled Aaron Rodgers passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns and the Green Bay Packers routed the Seattle Seahawks 38-10 on Sunday.

Seattle's Russell Wilson threw a career-high five interceptions and the Packers (7-6) won their third straight game to keep their playoff hopes alive.

They're two games back of first-place Detroit in the NFC North, but play division opponents in the last three weeks of the season.

Green Bay gained 330 yards in Seattle's first game without former All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, who is out for the season with a broken leg.

Rodgers set the tone on the opening drive after connecting with receiver Davante Adams on a perfectly-thrown pass down the right sideline for a 66-yard touchdown. Cornerback Jeremy Lane slipped on the play.

Rodgers, who is already playing with a sore left hamstring, said he also hurt his right calf on that play. He finished 18 of 23 and left in the fourth quarter with his team leading by 25.

Stafford runs for go-ahead TD in Lions' win over Bears
DETROIT -- Matthew Stafford ran for a go-ahead, 7-yard touchdown with 3:17 left after throwing two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one that was returned for a score, and the Detroit Lions held on for a 20-17 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

"It's fourth quarter, go time, you've got to make a play," Stafford recalled thinking when he ran up the middle on the play designed for him to run. "I surely wasn't going to slide on the 2."

Matt Barkley completed two passes that put the Bears in a position to at least attempt a tying field goal in the final minute, but both were negated by flags, before turning the ball over on downs from the Detroit 44.

"You can't really recover from two holding penalties back to back," said Bears guard Ted Larsen, who was called for holding as was left tackle Charles Leno.

Chicago's chances of pulling off an upset were also hurt by three penalties for pass interference for a total of 74 yards, helping Detroit score both of its TDs.

The NFC North-leading Lions (9-4) have won five straight and eight of nine, moving them a step closer to winning a division title for the first time in 23 years.

"Our goals are much bigger than winning this game," receiver Anquan Boldin said.

Surging Bucs hold off Saints for 5th straight victory
TAMPA, Fla. -- The streaking Tampa Bay Buccaneers bolstered their playoff hopes by building an early lead and holding off Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints 16-11 for their fifth straight victory on Sunday.

Doug Martin scored on a 1-yard run, Roberto Aguayo kicked three field goals and an improving defense intercepted Brees three times while holding the NFL passing leader without a touchdown pass.

Brees began the day leading the league in completions, attempts, completion percentage, passing yards and TD passes, but failed to throw for a touchdown for the second straight week, the first time he's done that in consecutive games since 2009.

Rookie Vernon Hargreaves III and Brent Grimes, cornerbacks brought during the offseason, to overhaul a secondary, had two of the interceptions.

Safety Keith Tandy picked off the quarterback's final pass on fourth-and-1 from near midfield in the final minute.

The Bucs (8-5) have won five straight for the first time since 2002, the season they went on to win their only Super Bowl. The surge has them in contention for their first playoff berth since 2007.

Tannehill hurt as Dolphins beat Cards on late kick
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdown passes before being sidelined with a knee injury that could end his season, and Andrew Franks kicked a 21-yard field goal as time expired to help the Miami Dolphins beat the Arizona Cardinals 26-23 Sunday.

Coach Adam Gase said the Dolphins fear Tannehill tore his ACL, which would sideline him for the rest of the season.

"Doesn't look good," Gase said.

Tannehill limped to the locker room late in the third quarter after being hit around the legs by defensive tackle Calais Campbell as he released a completion.

The Dolphins led 21-9 when Tannehill left, and backup Matt Moore failed to lead Miami to a first down in his first three series (see full story).

Browns fall to 0-13 with loss to Bengals
CLEVELAND -- Robert Griffin III returned from injury but couldn't keep Cleveland from falling closer to infamy as the Cincinnati Bengals built a big early lead and held off the winless Browns 23-10 on Sunday in the snow.

Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes to Tyler Eifert as the Bengals (5-7-1) kept their playoff chances pulsating for another week.

Griffin started for the first time since getting hurt in the opener. He couldn't produce a win for the Browns (0-13).

RG3 did score on a 1-yard sneak in the third quarter, but the Browns lost their 16th straight dating to Dec. 13 last season. Cleveland has lost 23 of 24 and 31 of 34 since the end of 2014.

The Browns have three games left to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the NFL's only 0-16 teams.

Carson Wentz feels 5-1 Eagles 'just wired different this year'

Carson Wentz feels 5-1 Eagles 'just wired different this year'

There's something special going on around here, and Carson Wentz isn't afraid to say it.

“We’re made different this year," Wentz said after practice Thursday. "We have a different character make-up in that locker room, and nobody’s going to ever settle for anything less than greatness. So we’re going to go out there every day and attack it.”

The Eagles, 5-1, go for their fifth straight win Monday night against the Redskins, who they beat on opening day at FedEx Field.

Wentz, in only his second season, has elbowed his way into the NFL MVP conversation. His emergence as the unquestioned leader of this team has mirrored the team's emergence as one of the NFL's elite teams.

Wentz spoke Thursday about how he sensed something different, something special, as far back as spring workouts.

“You could just see it, even going back to OTAs," he said. "You could see the competitive nature, even in practice. You couldn’t wear pads. You couldn’t even press cover outside. You could just see the competitive nature.

"And then through training camp, it just kept getting elevated even more. You could just see it from the leadership on down. We’re just wired different this year.”

When Wentz tells his teammates to strive for greatness, they listen, because here's a kid who in just 22 career games has established himself as one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks. He has 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions this year and has posted a passer rating of 90 or higher in five of six games.

“It’s something that we always strive for," Wentz said. "And really, in everything we do in life, you strive for greatness.

"When we’re sitting where we’re at right now, we can just never let that slip. We can never let that slip from our preparation in the film room, the meeting room, the weight room, in practice, so that’s just something I feel like we have to always keep focusing on.

"Never settle, never settle, and just keep striving for that greatness.”

Wentz said he didn't feel anything lacking last year, when the Eagles went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for a third straight year.

It's just that head coach Doug Pederson is in Year 2, coordinators Frank Reich and Jim Schwartz are in Year 2 and Wentz is in Year 2.

The whole program is in Year 2 and there's a confidence, an attitude, a swagger that was nowhere to be found last year or really the last few years.

“I think it was just a natural growth," Wentz said. "You go back and look at last season again. We were so close in so many of those ballgames but [it's] just the natural growth that’s taken place both from coach and just really all of us being in this together and having a year under our belt."

Ronald Darby gets cheers from fellow DBs in 1st practice since injury

Ronald Darby gets cheers from fellow DBs in 1st practice since injury

There was a little more buzz around the Eagles' defensive backs at practice on Thursday. 

All eyes were on No. 41. 

For the first time since he left the season opener in Washington following a gruesome right ankle dislocation, cornerback Ronald Darby practiced on Thursday. He was limited and it seems rather unlikely he'll be able to play on Monday night, but it was still a boost for his teammates to see him back out on the field. 

"We were all just joking and letting him know the spotlight was on him," safety Rodney McLeod said. 

Doug Pederson said the "stars have to align" for Darby to play on Monday night against Washington (see story). So it seems unlikely. Still, it was a good sign to get him back to practice.

Darby was with the team from the start of Thursday's practice and went through the entire warmup and stretching period. He wore high black socks and didn't appear to have any sort of brace on his injured right ankle. 

When the Eagles broke into the individual portion of practice, Darby went through all of the backpedal drills; he was the last to go through each. 

So how did he look? 

"He looked good," corner Jalen Mills said. "The guy had some clean breaks. We did a couple deep-ball drills, you know, he jumped up and high-pointed the ball. A lot of DBs, we got excited when we saw him, cheering him on. He looked good."

Mills was maybe a little overly excited about how good Darby looked on Thursday. It was, after all, just his first day back. 

Defensive back Jaylen Watkins said Darby looked "better" but acknowledged it's "going to take time." Watkins pointed out Darby's recovery is largely about being able to trust his ankle and getting back into a groove. 

"He didn't do much but I think this is his first time being back with us in that capacity," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "I think he looked decent. I don't really know what to compare it to. Hopefully he feels good. I'm just concerned with him not having any kind of setbacks. I think he looked fine." 

What all of his defensive back teammates agreed on was that it was pretty crazy to see Darby practicing just seven weeks after he was carted off the field in Washington. At the time of the gruesome injury, it looked to be pretty obvious that Darby's season was over. 

When the play happened, Mills was on the other side of the field so he didn't see how bad the injury looked until after the game. He credited the training staff and Darby's dedication for getting him back on the field so soon. 

"In that moment, what you feel, for him to even be back out there at all, to have a possibility to get him back, is great," Jenkins said. "Because I think at first glance, everybody probably thought he was done for the season. Obviously, whenever he is 100 percent, he's going to instantly make our defense better."