This was not Peyton Manning’s greatest day. The Denver Broncos quarterback had three passes intercepted on Sunday, including one that was returned for a touchdown. But even in imperfection he found a way to keep the Broncos perfect.
He followed the interception for a score with a touchdown pass of his own, catching Emmanuel Sanders in stride for a 75-yard score and then moved Denver into position for a game-winning field goal in overtime to beat Cleveland 26-23 and keep the Broncos undefeated at 6-0.
“We’re certainly not playing as well as we’d like but we are playing well enough to win,” Manning said after the game.
He threw for 290 yards but only the one touchdown and with the three interceptions he finished with a passer rating of 55.3.
“I won’t be going to Vegas for my bye week,” he joked. “Not feeling lucky right now.”
A team that was finally feeling fortunate on Sunday was Detroit. After losing their first five games of the year – some in extraordinary ways – they finally won, beating Chicago 37-34 in overtime. Clearly better than their record would say, the Lions were precariously close to falling to 0-6 but quarterback Matt Stafford hit Calvin Johnson with a touchdown pass that put Detroit up by three with 21 seconds left in regulation. Chicago managed to tie the game on a field goal, but Stafford hit Johnson again for 57 yards to set up the winning field goal in overtime.
After losing a chance for a potential winning score two weeks ago in Seattle on a blown call, the Lions did get a touchdown on a controversial fumble by receiver Golden Tate, who caught a pass near the goal line and was stripped of the ball prompting the Bears to say it was an incomplete pass or a fumble. Officials ruled that Tate had completed the catch and come across the goal line for a score making the fumble moot.
No one could have imagined the Cincinnati Bengals would be undefeated at this point in the season, not the way quarterback Andy Dalton has been criticized the last couple of years. But on Sunday, Dalton was excellent again, throwing for 243 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-21 victory over Buffalo.
Dalton now has thrown for 1,518 yards and 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions. His passer rating stands at an astronomical 115.6 – almost 20 points above his career average.
Pittsburgh lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a few weeks ago and Sunday it lost Michael Vick, twice. The first time Vick took a hit to the head and had to leave for a brief time, later he injured his hamstring. So it fell to third-string quarterback Landry Jones to lead the Steelers to a 25-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals with two touchdown passes in the second half.
Now the Steelers have an interesting quandary. Does Jones start over Vick until Roethlisberger returns, which may be next week? Will Jones be the No2 when Roethlisberger does come back?
Washington was hoping to build continuity behind quarterback Kirk Cousins after he beat out Robert Griffin III for the starting job this season. On Sunday, however, he struggled in a 34-20 loss to the Jets that must continue to trouble Washington coach Jay Gruden. Cousins was intercepted twice and only threw for 196 yards on 43 attempts.
Equally disturbing for Washington is the fact it was unable to run against New York’s defense. Alfred Morris had only 21 yards.
Meanwhile, the Jets continue to rise behind quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns while running back Chris Ivory thundered through Washington’s defense for 146 yards and a touchdown himself. Don’t look now but the Jets are 4-1 and lurking just behind the Patriots in the AFC East.
Sunday was an awful day for Marcus Mariota, who was hit repeatedly by Miami defenders, was intercepted twice and injured his knee at one point, though he finished the game. The Dolphins 38-10 victory gave new coach Dan Campbell his first victory. It was clearly a different Miami team under Campbell. Not only did the defense play with a relentless frenzy but the offense might have been as balanced as it has been all season.
Many people believed the Kansas City Chiefs would win the AFC West this year, but the Chiefs offense has been a disappointment. On Sunday, they ran up 328 yards on Minnesota and yet scored one touchdown in a 16-10 loss to the Vikings.
Brian Hoyer continued to play well for Houston, throwing three touchdowns without being intercepted once in the Texans 31-20 victory over Jacksonville.
This article was written by Les Carpenter, for theguardian.com on Sunday 18th October 2015 23.34 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010