NFL Week 4 Wrap: Purple Reign in Minnesota

Sam Bradford (R) and the Minnesota Vikings are 4-0. Photo / AP
Sam Bradford (R) and the Minnesota Vikings are 4-0. Photo / AP

The Ravens and Patriots cop their first defeats of the season, Cam Newton gets knocked out, Julio Jones reaches 300-yard record and the Purple reign in Minnesota.

All the week four action is in the NFL Wrap!


Minnesota's defence denied Odell Beckham Jr. all night and forced two turnovers that led to 10 points, and the Vikings mystified Eli Manning yet again during a 24-10 victory over the New York Giants.

Sam Bradford threw a touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph for the third straight game and kept his turnover-free streak intact, helping the Vikings (4-0) lead from start to finish after falling behind in each of their first three wins.

Beckham, who has yet to score this season, was smothered by cornerback Xavier Rhodes and had 23 yards on three catches. Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard were quiet, too, and Manning was erratic while finishing 25 for 45 for just 261 yards.

Rhodes picked him off in the third quarter, the 15th interception for Manning in eight career starts against the Vikings. He's 2-6 with only five touchdown passes.

Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon each ran for a touchdown as the Vikings rushed for a season-high 104 yards. Bradford went 26 for 36 for 262 yards.

The Vikings, who have allowed only 50 points in four games, have an NFL-best turnover margin of plus-10. The Giants (2-2) dropped to minus-8 for the season.

The Giants defensive backs are so depleted by injuries that wide receivers were playing safety in practice this week. Andrew Adams, promoted from the practice squad last week, started at safety for Nat Berhe. Trevin Wade started at cornerback for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and struggled all game.


Buffalo took advantage of sloppy, Tom Brady-less New England to hand the Patriots their first home shutout at Gillette Stadium, winning 16-0 Sunday.

It was the first loss of the season for New England (3-1), which was playing its final game before Brady returns from his four-game "Deflategate" suspension. The Patriots, who moved into Gillette Stadium in 2002, were last blanked at home 6-0 by the New York Jets in 1993 at Foxboro Stadium.

Tyrod Taylor connected with LeSean McCoy for a 7-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, Dan Carpenter added three field goals for Buffalo (2-2).

It was Buffalo's second win in its last 16 visits to Foxborough. Including his tenure with the New York Jets, it gave Bills coach Rex Ryan his first regular-season road victory over Bill Belichick in eight tries. The last Bills' shutout win away From Orchard Park was 23-0 over Washington in a Buffalo "home" game at Toronto on Oct. 30, 2011.

After struggling to maintain drives and finding a run-pass balance, Taylor was spot-on Sunday. He finished 27 for 39 for 246 yards, and directed a unit that was 7 for 15 on third downs. The Bills had been 10 of 36 combined in the first three games.

Buffalo's defence also carried over its dominant effort from its 33-18 win over Arizona, sacking rookie Jacoby Brissett three times.


Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes, the last to Michael Crabtree with 2:12 left.

After the Ravens rallied from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to go ahead with 3 ½ minutes remaining, Carr directed a 66-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard strike to Crabtree in the back of the end zone.

Carr went 25 for 35 for 199 yards. Three of his TD passes went to Crabtree, who finished with seven catches for 88 yards to help Oakland (3-1) to its third road win.

The Ravens (3-1) trailed 14-3 in the second quarter and 21-12 with 11:11 to go before coming back.

A 52-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Steve Smith cut the deficit to 21-19. Ravens defensive tackle Lawrence Guy then forced a fumble by DeAndre Washington, and Baltimore recovered at the Oakland 17. Four plays later, Terrance West scored from the 3 to give Baltimore its first lead.


Matt Ryan shredded Carolina's defence, passing for a team-record 503 yards and four touchdowns, Julio Jones had 12 receptions for a Falcons-record 300 yards. The totals by Ryan and Jones are the most ever allowed by Carolina.

One week after being held to one catch in a win at New Orleans, Jones had a 75-yard scoring catch late in the game as Atlanta solidified its early hold on the NFC South lead.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, the 2015 league MVP, left in the fourth quarter and was evaluated for concussion symptoms after taking a hit from Deion Jones on a successful 2-point run. There appeared to be helmet-to-helmet contact but there was no penalty on the hit.

The defending NFC champion Panthers (1-3) scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including scoring passes from Newton's replacement, Derek Anderson, to tight end Greg Olsen and Corey Brown. Robert Alford's 30-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:14 remaining clinched the win for the Falcons (3-1).


Paxton Lynch made his NFL debut sooner than expected Sunday, stepping in for injured starter Trevor Siemian to help the Denver Broncos remain unbeaten with a 27-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Siemian left the game with two minutes remaining in the first half with what the defending Super Bowl champions described as an injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder. He remained in uniform and watched the second half from the sideline, wearing a baseball cap while Lynch - the 26th pick in this year's draft- finished the Broncos' ninth consecutive win.

Siemien threw a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, capitalising on Aqib Talib's interception and 25-yard return to the Bucs 11 on Tampa Bay's opening possession. The ex-Buc cornerback also set up another first-half TD with a second interception that led to C.J. Anderson's 1-yard run for a 14-7 lead.

For the second straight week, play was stopped in the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium because of inclement weather. The game was suspended for 1 hour, 26 minutes with 6:52 remaining Sunday, with only a few thousand fans returning to their seats for the conclusion.

Jameis Winston scrambled 7 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, but had limited success against the Denver defence the rest of the way. In addition to throwing two interceptions, the second-year quarterback was sacked five times while going 17 of 35 for 179 yards.

A week after becoming the first player in league history with 300 passing yards, four TD passes and zero interceptions in his first career road start, Siemian was off to another solid start when he was sacked by Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, who slung the Broncos quarterback to the turf on his left shoulder for an 8-yard loss late in the second quarter. Siemian left the field on his power and later received a ride to the locker room on a cart.


Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns passes for the fifth time in his career and the Pittsburgh Steelers throttled the Kansas City Chiefs 43-14 on Sunday night.

A week after suffering the franchise's worst loss in 27 years, the Steelers (3-1) responded by overwhelming the erratic Chiefs (2-2).

Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown - wearing cleats featuring the profile of golf great and western Pennsylvania native Arnold Palmer - for a pair of scores.

Roethlisberger also found Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jesse James for touchdowns as the Steelers emphatically rebounded from a 31-point meltdown in Philadelphia. The quarterback finished 22 of 27 for 300 yards and a rating of 152.5, just shy of a perfect 158.3 rating.

Le'Veon Bell ran for 144 yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for 34 yards in his return from a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Smith was 30 of 50 for 287 yards and two inconsequential fourth-quarter touchdowns after things were well out of hand. Spencer Ware ran for 82 yards but also fumbled in the first quarter that kick-started Pittsburgh's record-setting run. The Chiefs allowed four sacks to a team that came in with an NFL-worst one on the season and could do little right.


Tavon Austin returned a punt 47 yards to set up Case Keenum's 4-yard touchdown pass to Brian Quick with 2:41 to play, and the Los Angeles Rams improved to 3-1 for the first time in a decade with a 17-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Arizona's Carson Palmer threw for 288 yards and a touchdown but left the game to be evaluated for a concussion after his head slammed to the turf on a sack by Aaron Donald with 5:40 to play.

The play forced a Cardinals punt and Austin raced past would-be tacklers to the Arizona 34. A facemask penalty against Ifeanyi Momah moved the ball to the 19 and the Rams (3-1) went ahead when Quick caught a pass under tight defence for the score.

Arizona backup Drew Stanton was intercepted twice in the final minutes, including on a Hail Mary on the game's final play. Keenum also had a 65-yard touchdown pass to Quick in the first quarter.


Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes in the final 4 minutes, 50 seconds to rally the New Orleans Saints to a stunning 35-34 victory on Sunday against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, who blew a 13-point lead by committing two crucial turnovers.

Brees overcome two interceptions to win in his return to San Diego, where he played his first five NFL seasons before being allowed to leave as a free agent. It was also the first win this season for the Saints (1-3). After the final gun, Brees ran over to the stands and greeted Saints fans.

It was the first time Brees played at Qualcomm Stadium since Dec. 31, 2005, when he injured his throwing shoulder in his final appearance as Chargers quarterback. He had surgery and was allowed to leave as a free agent, signing with New Orleans. That gave the starting job to Rivers. Brees led the Saints to a Super Bowl victory against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts after the 2009 season.


Ezekiel Elliott ran for 138 yards and a touchdown and Dak Prescott threw for two scores to help the Dallas Cowboys overcome an early 14-point deficit to beat the San Francisco 49ers 24-17 on Sunday.

The Cowboys (3-1) fell in a 14-point hole early in the second quarter before taking over the game behind a pair of rookies who have helped the team get off to a fast start this season with starting quarterback Tony Romo sidelined by a back injury.

Prescott threw for 245 yards and had a 20-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams and a 4-yarder to Brice Butler to tie the game at the half.

Elliott then took over with 96 yards rushing in the second half, including a 1-yard run that gave Dallas the lead for good late in the third quarter.

Blaine Gabbert got off to a fast start to help San Francisco (1-3) take the early lead but struggled to generate any offense after that. Gabbert finished 16 for 23 for 196 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

He had a chance to lead a late tying drive but he threw a 3-yard pass to Torrey Smith on fourth-and-6 from the Dallas 35 to end hopes at a comeback.


Russell Wilson was sharp and efficient despite playing with a sprained knee, throwing three touchdown passes.

Wilson injured the medial collateral ligament in his left knee last week against San Francisco and wasn't his usual mobile self in this one, but his arm was plenty good. He finished 23 of 32 for 309 yards while wearing a brace on his leg as the Seahawks (3-1) won at MetLife Stadium for the first time since beating the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in 2014.

Jimmy Graham, questionable with back spasms earlier in the week, had six catches for 113 yards, including an impressive 17-yard one-handed grab in the opening quarter, while giving the Jets (1-3) fits all game.

Wilson missed the first snap of his career due to injury last weekend after getting pulled down by San Francisco's Eli Harold. The Seahawks quarterback has also dealt with a sprained right ankle from the opener against Miami. He was efficient against the Jets, especially in the first half when he went 10 of 11 for 191 yards and two TDs and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating. He finished with minus-5 yards on five rushes for Seattle, which has a bye next weekend.

Wilson helped Seattle, making the first of three East Coast trips this season, improve to 8-5 in its last 13 games with a 1pm. Eastern start time.

Richard Sherman had two interceptions and Earl Thomas one as Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets couldn't get much going against the NFL's No. 1-ranked defence.


Blake Bortles threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Jacksonville held off a furious Indianapolis Colts rally for the Jaguars' first win of the season. The victory at a raucous Wembley Stadium elevated Jacksonville into a tie with Indianapolis at 1-3 in the AFC South.

Andrew Luck led the Colts on three fourth-quarter touchdown drives to rattle the Jaguars' nerves. But his fourth-and-1 pass at the Jacksonville 49 with 1:36 remaining fell from the hands of tight end Dwayne Allen to preserve the victory for under-fire Jaguars coach Gus Bradley.

The Jaguars got a semblance of a running game going for the first time this season. T.J. Yeldon carried 13 times for 68 yards and Bortles added seven scrambles for 36 yards, including a 1-yard run that put Jacksonville ahead 14-6 midway through the second quarter.

The Colts repeatedly self-destructed on offense with dropped balls and another costly Luck interception that led to Jacksonville's opening touchdown. The Colts proved just as reckless on defence as pass interference and unnecessary roughness penalties extended three Jacksonville scoring drives. The Jaguars led 23-6 after three quarters before the Colts mounted a tenacious comeback.


Will Fuller had a tiebreaking 67-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was the first time Houston (3-1) played without its star defensive end J.J. Watt since the 2010 season. Watt, out for the season after back surgery, had started 83 straight games since being drafted in 2011.

Fuller also had 81 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Tennessee (1-3) was driving with less than two minutes remaining, but Marcus Mariota's pass to former Texan Andre Johnson on fourth down was broken up.

The Texans squandered an early 14-point lead and their offense was struggling in the second half when Fuller took the first return of his career for a touchdown to make it 27-20. Fuller, who ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the combine, took the punt and quickly made a trio of Titans miss before outrunning everyone else down the sideline for the score.


Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes, including two to tight end Jordan Reed, and Washington cashed in on several trips to the red zone.

Washington (2-2) scored four red zone touchdowns against the Browns (0-4) after going 3 for 14 in their first three games. Cousins connected with Reed for 8- and 9-yard touchdowns, Chris Thompson for a 5-yard score, and running back Matt Jones scored from 1 yard as part of his 117-yard performance.

Jones eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the first time this season, and Cousins finished 21 of 27 for 183 yards and also had an interception.

Browns running back Isaiah Crowell ran for 112 yards and a touchdown, and Cody Kessler was 27 of 38 for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But turnovers on three consecutive second-half possessions cost Cleveland a chance at its first victory.


Brian Hoyer threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns, and the Bears (1-3) got a win after starting 0-3 for the second time in as many seasons under coach John Fox.

They also stopped a six-game home losing streak as well as a six-game slide against Detroit (1-3), though things got tight near the end.

Chicago was leading 17-6 when Andre Roberts returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown. Golden Tate then caught a 2-point conversion pass from Matthew Stafford to cut it to 17-14 with 1:52 left, but the Bears recovered the onside kick.

Hoyer was on target in his second straight start with Jay Cutler nursing a sprained right thumb. He was 28 of 36 passes against a defence missing the injured Ezekiel Ansah and DeAndre Levy.

Eddie Royal caught seven passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Jordan Howard ran for a career-high 111 yards for Chicago.

The Lions dropped their third straight.


Bengals receiver A.J. Green followed his disappointing game with a dominating one - 173 yards and a touchdown - and a Cincinnati defence inspired by Vontaze Burfict's return clamped down on the Miami Dolphins for a 22-7 victory on Friday (NZT).

The Bengals (3-1) rebounded from a 29-17 home loss to Denver on Sunday with a solid all-round game against a depleted team.

Green led the way, beating the Dolphins (1-3) on every type of route. He was upset with himself after he dropped a pivotal third-down pass and failed to make an impact against the Broncos. During the first three quarters, Green had 166 yards on catches while Miami had 152 total yards. The Bengals' season-long problem of stalling out near the goal line forced them to settle for Mike Nugent's season-high five field goals.

The Dolphins were missing four starting offensive linemen, two linebackers, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron.

They had one big play - Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills - but couldn't do anything else on offense. The Bengals' defence expected to get a lift from Burfict's return.

The volatile linebacker was suspended by the NFL for the first three games because of his illegal hits. He got a loud ovation when he ran onto the field during introductions wearing a baseball cap.

Burfict knocked down a pass and had three tackles. Mostly, it was Green's show. He caught a 51-yard pass off Andy Dalton's scramble in the first half, and had a 43-yard catch that set up another field goal in the third quarter for a 19-7 lead. He finished with 10 catches.


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