Atlanta Falcons

Best of NFL: Ezekiel Elliott-less Cowboys a disaster in Atlanta

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Best of NFL: Ezekiel Elliott-less Cowboys a disaster in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- The Dallas Cowboys knew it would be tough to get by without Ezekiel Elliott.

Turns out, they missed Tyron Smith even more.

With their starting left tackle sidelined by back and groin injuries, the Cowboys surrendered six sacks to Adrian Clayborn in one of the greatest pass rushing performances in NFL history.

The result: an ugly 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

"The next man up has to be ready on a moment's notice," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We didn't handle the adversity of the day."

After three legal reprieves, Elliott finally began serving a six-game suspension for allegations of domestic abuse. There was certainly no replacing a dynamic back who led the league in rushing as a rookie.

Alfred Morris started in Elliott's place and broke off a 20-yard run, but the former Pro Bowler really didn't have much of an impact. He finished with 11 carries for 53 yards (see full recap).

Loss to winless 49ers increases heat on Giants coach McAdoo
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- C.J. Beathard threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third score to lead the San Francisco 49ers to their first win of the season with a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.

Beathard connected on an 83-yard TD to Marquise Goodwin and a 47-yarder to Garrett Celek in the second quarter as the 49ers (1-9) took advantage of another listless effort by the Giants (1-8) to win for the first time under coach Kyle Shanahan.

Beathard's time as starting quarterback in San Francisco figures to be numbered after the team acquired Jimmy Garoppolo two weeks ago in a trade from New England. Garoppolo has been learning the offense and could take over when the team returns from the bye in two weeks.

While the Niners could be making a quarterback change soon, this performance will only heighten the questions about whether the Giants will need to change coaches. Ben McAdoo has been under fire after a report this past week from ESPN that quoted an anonymous player as saying the players have given up on the season and don't view McAdoo as a leader.

The Giants have not fired a coach during the season since 1976 when Bill Arnsparger was let go after a 0-7 start and replaced by John McVay, who had more success as an executive who helped build the 49ers dynasty in the 1980s (see full recap).

Jared Goff leads Rams to 4th straight win
LOS ANGELES -- Robert Woods caught two of Jared Goff's three touchdown passes during a dominant third quarter, and the surging Los Angeles Rams returned after a month away from home for their fourth straight victory, 33-7 over the depleted Houston Texans on Sunday.

After struggling to a 9-7 lead during a quiet first half for the NFL's highest-scoring team, the Rams (7-2) ran away with a series of big throws by Goff, who passed for a career-high 355 yards.

Woods caught a 94-yard TD pass to break it open before Sammy Watkins and Woods made TD catches 19 seconds apart late in the third quarter. The Rams defense shut out Houston in the second half and won at the Coliseum for just the third time in 11 games since returning to Los Angeles last season.

Woods finished with eight catches for 171 yards, making the longest catch of his NFL career before following it up with a 12-yard TD.

Bruce Ellington caught a 26-yard TD pass for the Texans (3-6), who have lost three straight and four of five.

Tom Savage passed for 221 yards with two interceptions for Houston, which lost its second straight since losing rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson for the season with a knee injury (see full recap).

Best of NFL: After another reprieve, Ezekiel Elliott leads Cowboys over Chiefs

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Best of NFL: After another reprieve, Ezekiel Elliott leads Cowboys over Chiefs

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ezekiel Elliott ran for the go-ahead touchdown after another reprieve from his six-game suspension and the Dallas Cowboys overcame Tyreek Hill's improbable last-play touchdown in the first half, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 28-17 on Sunday.

Elliott's 2-yard plunge in the third quarter came after the Chiefs turned a 14-3 deficit into a 17-14 advantage, sparked by Hill's weaving 57-yard catch with the first-half clock expired and seven Dallas defenders inside their 25 trying to prevent the score.

Last year's NFL rushing champion as a rookie, Elliott had 93 yards, ending a streak of three straight 100-yard games but outgaining Kareem Hunt, this year's rushing leader in his first season entering the game.

Hunt matched a season low with nine carries, finishing with 37 yards as a club record-tying nine-game road winning streak ended for the Chiefs (6-3) in their third loss in four games since a 5-0 start.

Elliott got an emergency stay from a New York court Friday, stopping the suspension over alleged domestic violence for the third time (see full recap)

Cousins comes through late as Washington stuns Seattle
SEATTLE — Kirk Cousins drove Washington 70 yards in 35 seconds, capped by Rob Kelley's 1-yard touchdown run with less than a minute remaining, and the Washington Redskins rallied late to stun the Seattle Seahawks 17-14 on Sunday.

Seattle took a 14-10 lead with 1:34 remaining after Russell Wilson found Doug Baldwin for a 30-yard touchdown pass after the Seahawks had scuffled on offense all day. But Cousins had an unexpected answer.

Taking over at his 30-yard line, Cousins hit Brian Quick for 31 yards and Josh Doctson for 38 on consecutive throws to get to the Seattle 1 with 1:02 left. Doctson beat rookie Shaquill Griffin down the sideline and made an impressive diving catch. Kelley bulled his way in from the 1 on the next play.

Kelley finished with two touchdown runs, while Cousins was 21 of 31 for 247 yards. He was responsible for a fumble in the first half, but otherwise took care of the ball against Seattle's standout defense. He also withstood six sacks and a number of other quarterback hits behind a makeshift offensive line of backups and rookies (see full recap). 

Emotional Newton leads Panthers to 20-17 win over Falcons​
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton felt the Carolina Panthers needed an emotional lift. He gave them one on Sunday.

An energetic and seemingly motivated Newton ran for 86 yards and a scored on a head-first diving 9-yard touchdown run as the Carolina Panthers erased an early 10-point deficit to beat the NFC South-rival Atlanta Falcons 20-17.

Newton pumped his fist, flexed his muscles and played up to the crowd in a game he knew the Panthers (6-3) had to have to remain a half-game behind the first-place Saints in the NFC South.

"When the Panthers are emotionless, good things don't happen," Newton said. "If we can get Bank of America Stadium with a pulse, that's when we are at our best. And that is what I was trying to do."

Newton was coming off an emotional week in which his top target — and best friend on the team — Kelvin Benjamin was traded to the Buffalo Bills (see full recap.)

Goff throws career-best 4 TDs, Rams rout defenseless Giants​
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — If the last two games are any indication, the Los Angeles Rams are for real — and then some.

Jared Goff set career highs with four touchdown throws and 311 yards passing, Todd Gurley ran for two more scores and the surprising Rams made one big play after another in beating the defenseless New York Giants 51-17 on Sunday.

The win was the fifth in six games for the Rams, whose 6-2 start is the franchise's best since 2001, when the club went 14-2 in the regular season and eventually lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

What's even more impressive is that 31-year-old Sean McVay's team has won the last two games by a combined 84-17 margin, including a 33-0 win over the Cardinals in London (see full recap).

Derrick Gunn's NFL Week 7 Picks: Will Falcons avenge Super Bowl loss to Patriots?

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Derrick Gunn's NFL Week 7 Picks: Will Falcons avenge Super Bowl loss to Patriots?

Derrick Gunn makes his picks for Week 7 of the NFL season.

Redskins at Eagles (8:30 p.m. on ESPN)
Because they have the best record in the NFC, the Eagles have a huge target on their backs and everybody is gunning for them. On Monday night, the Washington Redskins are hoping to take them down a notch. The ‘Skins come limping to the Linc. Their star rookie defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is done for the year with a Lisfranc injury. Their starting cornerbacks Josh Norman (rib) and Bashaud Breeland (knee) both might miss this key divisional showdown.

Carson Wentz has the Eagles offense rolling, and the defense has been rock solid against the run. Kirk Cousins will go after a Birds secondary ranked 29th against the pass (273.5 yards per game). One of the key matchups to watch closely is how the Eagles will try to defend against ‘Skins running back Chris Thompson, who is Washington’s leading rusher. More importantly, he’s their leading receiver, averaging 18.9 yards per catch.

In Week One the Eagles sacked Kirk Cousins 4 times, but since then he’s only been sacked 4 times. The Birds broke the ‘Skins jinx in the season opener. I look for the home team to make it a season sweep.

Pick: Eagles 28, Redskins 24

Buccaneers at Bills (1 p.m. on FOX)
The good news for the Bucs is Jameis Winston is expected to play despite dealing with an AC joint sprain in his shoulder. The bad news for the Bucs is they’re playing against a Bills team coming off a bye and a Bills' defense that is No. 1 in the league in points allowed at 14.8 points per game. Tampa Bay is also winless on the road. That won’t change this week.

Pick: Buffalo

Panthers at Bears (1 p.m. on CBS)
The Panthers have had a long time to lick their wounds after their encounter with the Eagles. The Bears are riding high after a stunning road win at Baltimore. Until the Panthers learn how to run the ball effectively, better teams will make them one-dimensional. Chicago has a potent run game, averaging 136 yards, but has difficulty scoring, putting up just 17.5 points per game. The Panthers go into the Bears' den and claw out a win.

Pick: Carolina

Titans at Browns (1 p.m. on CBS)
Desperate men take desperate measures and Hue Jackson is desperate to change the misfortunes of his 0-6 Browns. Jackson is going back to rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer who has 3 touchdowns and 9 interceptions this year. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is still dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, but he fought through it last week and threw for 306 yards against the Colts. The combination of running backs Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray takes a lot of pressure off Mariota. Look for the Titans to ground and pound the Browns.

Pick: Tennessee

Saints at Packers (1 p.m. on FOX)
These are dark days for Packers fans with Aaron Rodgers on the shelf with a broken collarbone. Meanwhile, the Saints have been marching, winning three straight. New Orleans has averaged 35 points in its last three and Drew Brees hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 1. The Saints will be doing more Lambeau Leaps than the Packers will this Sunday.

Pick: New Orleans

Jaguars at Colts (1 p.m. on CBS)
At 3-3, the Jaguars are tied for first place in the AFC South with Houston and Tennessee. Indy is just one game off the lead at 2-4. Jags rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who is second in the league in rushing, is questionable with an ankle injury. These Jaguars are an odd bunch to figure out and their wins have come in Weeks 1, 3, and 5. Since this is an odd week, I guess you know who I’m picking here.

Pick: Jacksonville

Cardinals at Rams (1 p.m. on FOX)
Looks like all the Cards needed was to find a running back to cure their offensive problems. In his Arizona debut last Sunday, Adrian Peterson had 26 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns, along with a Cards win. The Rams have the league’s fourth-leading rusher in Todd Gurley. Both teams' offenses have the capability to light it up through the air, but if it comes down to the run game the Rams could be in trouble, as they allow 139.5 yards per game. With that said, I like the Rams at home in a close game.

Pick: Los Angeles

Jets at Dolphins (1 p.m. on FOX)
After falling behind 17-0 in Atlanta last week, the Dolphins mounted an impressive rally to pull off an upset win. The Jets have surprised many with limited offensive talent and have found a way to win three games. Division matches are usually difficult to pinpoint. The Jets are not the Falcons and since the Dolphins beat Atlanta on the road, they should handle New York at home.

Pick: Miami

Ravens at Vikings (1 p.m. on CBS)
Who are these Ravens? They look like contenders one week, then unravel against a team like Chicago the next week and look like pretenders. Minnesota’s defense is fast and rugged. Vikings quarterback Case Keenum has a firm grip on the offense. The Vikings will win their third in a row.

Pick: Minnesota

Cowboys at 49ers (4:05 p.m. on FOX)
These Niners are an interesting bunch. They haven’t won a game, but they’re in most of them. The Niners have set an NFL record by losing five consecutive games by three points or less. The 'Boys are coming off a bye and look to regroup. Their defense has been hot or cold. In this case, their D can be lukewarm because the 'Boys have just enough offensive firepower to hold off the Niners.

Pick: Dallas

Seahawks at Giants (4:25 p.m. on CBS)
This should be one of those good old rock’em sock’em type matchups. The Seahawks' and Giants' defenses can both bring it. Big Blue shocked the world last week by manhandling the Broncos in Denver. Russell Wilson is one of the best in the game at extending plays with his feet. Eli Manning is a stationary target with very few weapons to work with. Yes, I remember they found a run game against the Broncos but the legion of boom and company will be ready for it.

Pick: Seattle

Bengals at Steelers (4:25 p.m. on CBS)
The Steelers put it all together last week to hand the Chiefs their first loss. Do you want defense? This game is about defense. The Bengals are ranked second and the Steelers are third best in the NFL. The Bengals are well-rested coming off a bye and will be waiting for Le’Veon Bell. The wide receivers in this AFC North showdown are exciting … Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, John Ross. The Bengals two-game win streak stops in Da Burgh.

Pick: Pittsburgh

Broncos at Chargers (4:25 p.m on CBS)
Remember how we were all snickering at the Chargers for inventing new ways to lose close games? Well, laugh no more. The Chargers have won their last two by a grand total of six points. Meanwhile, the Broncos have lost two of their last three. This game features premier pass rushers on both sides —Von Miller, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. The Chargers are 0-3 at home. This is a pick’em game. After closing my eyes and throwing at a dart board, I’m picking the Chargers. Don’t ask me why.

Pick: Los Angeles

Falcons at Patriots (8:30 p.m. Sunday on NBC)
A rematch of last season’s Super Bowl. It would be a small measure of revenge for the Falcons, but Atlanta is having problems finding the end zone. In each of their last two games, the Falcons have been held to just 17 points and lost both. Brady and company know how to score, but the Pats' defense has been inconsistent stopping the opposition from scoring. However, maybe that’s changing. In its last two games, New England held Tampa Bay to 14 points and the Jets to 17 points. Atlanta presents a much bigger test, but never bet against Bill Belichick at home.

Pick: Patriots