Cousins wins slugfest with Rodgers as Vikings beat Packers at the death

Greg Joseph made a 29-yard field goal as time expired to give the Minnesota Vikings a 34-31 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, finishing a classic back-and-forth with Aaron Rodgers by making sure the three-time NFL MVP didn’t get to touch the ball last.

Kirk Cousins passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns for the Vikings (5-5), who watched yet another game come down to the final play after Rodgers threw three of his four touchdown passes in the second half.

Unable to practice much at all this week because of a toe injury, after missing much of the first half of the month with Covid-19, Rodgers finished 23 for 33 for a season-high 385 yards.

Justin Jefferson had eight receptions for 169 yards and two scores, including a third-down catch against rookie Eric Stokes that Cousins delivered for a 23-yard touchdown while being decked on a blitz by Darnell Savage. Dalvin Cook ran in the two-point conversion to make up for an earlier missed extra point by Joseph.

Then on the next play from scrimmage, Rodgers threw a rainbow to Marquez Valdes-Scantling streaking past safety Xavier Woods for a 75-yard score to tie the game just before the two-minute warning.

When the Vikings regained the ball, Cousins nearly cost himself the comeback by slightly underthrowing Jefferson, whom Savage darted in front of to intercept the ball. He bobbled it on the way down, though, and a replay review overturned the call.

Cousins then went 3 for 3 for 51 yards on the next three snaps, Cook ran for one more first down, and then the Vikings kneeled down to set up the final kick by Joseph. They posted the highest score against the Packers since Green Bay’s 38-3 loss to New Orleans in the season opener.

Indianapolis Colts 41–15 Buffalo Bills
Jonathan Taylor rushed for 185 yards Sunday and scored a franchise-record five touchdowns as the Indianapolis Colts walloped the Buffalo Bills.

Taylor tallied four scores on the ground and another one on a pass as Indianapolis (6-5) made a mockery of the point spread that had Buffalo listed as a seven-point favorite. Taylor is the 16th player in NFL history to score at least five touchdowns in a game. It was the third loss in four games for the Bills (6-4), who fell a half-game behind surging New England in the AFC East. Buffalo’s performance was rife with mistakes, including seven penalties and four turnovers.

Houston Texans 22–13 Tennessee Titans
Tyrod Taylor ran for two touchdowns and threw for 107 yards and the Houston Texans snapped the NFL’s longest active skid by beating the Tennessee Titans to end the league’s longest winning streak on a wet and rainy Sunday.

The Texans (2-8) came in having lost eight straight since winning their season opener and hadn’t scored a TD on the road since 19 September.

Desmond King had two of the Texans’ four interceptions three in the fourth quarter to snuff out the Titans’ attempted rally. Houston turned those and a fumbled punt into 13 points. The Texans also had two sacks. The Titans (8-3) snapped their six-game winning streak with their first loss since 3 October.

Pittsburgh Steelers 37-41 Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers won an entertaining Sunday Night Football match-up with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Chargers looked set for victory with a 14-point lead in the fourth-quarter before the Steelers fought back. However, Justin Herbert completed a superb performance when he threw his third touchdown of the game to seal victory. Herbert also had 90 yards rushing on the night.

Dallas Cowboys 9–19 Kansas City Chiefs
Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 63 yards and a touchdown in his return from injured reserve, Chris Jones and the Kansas City defense made life miserable for Dak Prescott, and the Chiefs beat the Dallas Cowboys.

Patrick Mahomes was 23 of 37 for 260 yards with an interception and a fumble for Kansas City, but he was bailed out by a defense that played its best game of the year. Charvarius Ward picked off Prescott in the end zone near the end of the first half, and Chris Jones had 3.5 sacks while forcing and recovering a fumble.

The result: The Chiefs (7-4) improved to 4-0 against the NFC East with their fourth straight win overall.

Arizona Cardinals 23–13 Seattle Seahawks
Colt McCoy was outstanding filling in for Kyler Murray, throwing for 328 yards and two touchdowns, and the Arizona Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks.

For the second straight season, McCoy was a backup thrust into a starting role in Seattle and walked away with a victory. Last year, McCoy was with the New York Giants. This season, it was with Murray missing a third straight game due to an ankle injury.

McCoy went 35 of 44 and thoroughly outplayed Seattle’s Russell Wilson in his first home start since undergoing finger surgery. McCoy threw touchdown passes to Zach Ertz in the first half, got a bit of luck in the third quarter when a potential interception was overturned on replay, and had his first 300-yard passing game since 2014.

Detroit Lions 10-13 Cleveland Browns
Nick Chubb caught a touchdown pass and ran for 130 yards as the Cleveland Browns held on to avoid a season-wrecking upset and keep Detroit winless with a sloppy victory over the Lions. Chubb returned to Cleveland’s lineup after a one-game absence due to Covid-19. The star running back caught a five-yard TD pass from Baker Mayfield and then helped the Browns (6-5) run out the clock.

Washington 27–21 Carolina Panthers
Taylor Heinicke threw three touchdown passes to upstage former teammate Cam Newton, helping the Washington Football Team post a 27-21 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Newton was playing his first home game with the Panthers since 2019. He was signed as a free agent prior to last weekend’s upset victory at Arizona. Yet it was a good homecoming for Washington coach Ron Rivera, who guided the Panthers to the Super Bowl in the 2015 season. He was fired during the 2019 season.

Cincinnati Bengals 32-13 Las Vegas Raiders
Joe Mixon rushed for 123 yards and scored two touchdowns and the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders.

The well-rested Bengals (6-4) came out of their bye week and snapped a two-game skid to climb back into the AFC North race, while the Raiders (5-5) lost their third straight since their bye week when they led the AFC West.

Joe Burrow was 20 of 29 for 148 yards and threw one touchdown for Cincinnati, while Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Ja’Marr Chase hauled in three passes, including one TD. Chase leads all rookies with eight touchdowns this season.

San Francisco 49ers 30–3 Jacksonville Jaguars
Jimmy Garoppolo threw two touchdown passes for the third consecutive week, and the San Francisco 49ers dominated Jacksonville for their third win in four games. Coming off their best game of the season a 31-10 stunner against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night the 49ers (5-5) traveled cross-country on a short week and looked every bit like a playoff contender for the second time in six days.

New Orleans Saints 29–40 Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts ran for three touchdowns, Darius Slay returned an interception for a score and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New Orleans Saints.

The Eagles (5-6) have won two in a row for the first time this season and rookie coach Nick Sirianni earned his first victory at home in five tries. The Saints (5-5) dropped their third straight since losing quarterback Jameis Winston to a season-ending ACL injury during a 36-27 win over Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay.

Miami Dolphins 24–17 New York Jets
Tua Tagovailoa threw a go-ahead five-yard touchdown pass to Myles Gaskin early in the fourth quarter and the Miami Dolphins hung on to beat the New York Jets for their third straight victory.

A week after an impressive win over Baltimore, the Dolphins (4-7) overcame some penalties and the Jets had some sloppy plays of their own to get their first three-game winning streak since winning five in a row in the middle of last season. With the game tied at 14, Tagovailoa was facing heavy pressure when he got a throw off to Gaskin, who held onto the ball to put the Dolphins ahead 21-14 with 10:15 left despite getting hit by both CJ Mosley and Isaiah Dunn in the end zone.