Injuries, cheap shots overshadow Patriots’ win over Bills

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Rex Burkhead scored twice and the Patriots won their eighth straight in an AFC East showdown overshadowed by injuries and cheap shots. Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor had a towel draped over his head while being carted off the sideline with a left-knee injury early in the fourth quarter.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, meanwhile, was accused of making a dirty hit after pile-driving shoulder-first into the back of the head of Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White, who was lying on the field after making an interception with 4 minutes 50 seconds remaining.

White was dazed as he got up and was immediately escorted to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. The hit sparked a shoving match between Hyde and Patriots receiver Danny Amendola. Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was so upset he was flagged for making contact with an official.

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Gronkowski was apologetic after the game.

Tom Brady went 21-of-30 for 258 yards and an interception, while improving to 27-3 over Buffalo and breaking Brett Favre’s NFL record for most wins by a quarterback against any one opponent. Favre had 26 wins over Detroit.

Brady needed to simply stand aside and let the Patriots’ rejuvenated rushing attack wear down the Bills in a game New England (10-2) never trailed. Dion Lewis had 92 yards rushing and Burkhead had 78.

New England won its 14th consecutive road game – the second-longest streak in NFL history – and reached double-digits in victories for the 15th consecutive season. New England also improved to 30-5 against Buffalo since Patriots coach Bill Belichick was hired in 2000.

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The Bills are 6-6.

Raiders 24, Giants 17

Marshawn Lynch had a 51-yard touchdown run and recorded his first 100-yard rushing game since coming out of retirement to lead the Oakland Raiders to a 24-17 victory over the Giants in New York’s first game without Eli Manning starting in 13 years. Oakland (6-6) overcame the absences of starting receivers Michael Crabtree (suspension) and Amari Cooper (injury) to win consecutive games for the first time since the opening two games of the season and move into a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West with Kansas City and the Chargers. Geno Smith lost two fumbles before throwing a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to Evan Engram for the Giants (2-10) while Manning spent the day on the sideline watching.

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JETS 38, CHIEFS 31

Josh McCown scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak with 2:15 left, and the Jets bounced back from a brutal start for a wild and wacky win over the spiralling Chiefs. Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 21-yard field goal to put the Jets (5-7) ahead with 3:55 left. But Kansas City’s Bennie Logan was called for a personal foul for hitting long snapper Thomas Hennessy on the play. That gave the Jets the ball at the one with a new set of downs. After two running plays, McCown threw incomplete – but Steven Nelson was penalized for defensive holding, making it first-and-goal from the 2. Three plays later, McCown kept the ball and shoved his way into the end zone. McCown’s pass on the two-point conversion was incomplete, but Nelson was called for holding. An enraged Marcus Peters picked up the penalty flag and tossed it away, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Elijah McGuire ran it in moments later to convert the two-point play and make it 38-31.

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PACKERS 26, BUCCANEERS 20 (OT)

Aaron Jones’s 20-yard touchdown run on his only carry, with 5:59 left in overtime, won it. With the passing game struggling, Green Bay (6-6) wore down the Buccaneers on the ground. Brett Hundley had runs of 18 and seven yards on the drive to start overtime. The Packers grinded out a win to stay in the playoff race.

TITANS 24, TEXANS 13

LeShaun Sims intercepted a pass intended for DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone with 1:02 left, and the stayed atop the AFC South. Marcus Mariota also ran for a touchdown and threw for another, but the Titans needed the interception to preserve the win with Tom Savage throwing for a career-high 365 yards despite the Texans losing four offensive players to injuries during the game.

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RAVENS 44, LIONS 20

Joe Flacco threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns, and the Ravens survived a strong comeback bid by Matthew Stafford and the Lions. After relying heavily on their opportunistic defence for much of the season, the Ravens (7-5) finally received an ample contribution from the league’s 31st-ranked offence.

JAGUARS 30, COLTS 10

Blake Bortles threw two touchdown passes, Leonard Fournette scored for the first time in six weeks and the Jaguars swept the series for the second time since they joined the AFC South in 2002.

DOLPHINS 35, BRONCOS 9

Xavien Howard’s 30-yard interception return for a touchdown highlighted a dominating defensive effort by the Dolphins, and they snapped a five-game losing streak. Trevor Siemian, the Broncos’ third starting quarterback in as many weeks, went 20-for-42 for 219 yards with three interceptions. The Broncos (3-9) lost their eighth in a row. Miami won for the first time since Week 7, while the Broncos went from bad to worse, extending their longest skid in 50 years.

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Chargers 19, Browns 10

Philip Rivers passed for 344 yards and hit Keenan Allen for a touchdown, and the surging Los Angeles Chargers moved into a tie for first place in the AFC West with a 19-10 victory over the winless Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Anthem update

Safety Eric Reid was among three San Francisco 49ers players who knelt during the U.S. national anthem before facing the Chicago Bears. In all, eight players around the NFL made some sort of statement during The Star-Spangled Banner before the early games.

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