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, capitalizing 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 defense 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.
Bills 16, Patriots 0
The Buffalo Bills took advantage of sloppy, Tom Brady-less New England to hand the Patriots their first home shutout at Gillette Stadium.
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.
Falcons 48, Panthers 33
Matt Ryan shredded Carolina's defense, passing for a team-record 503 yards and four touchdowns, Julio Jones had 12 receptions for a team-record 300 yards, and Atlanta improved to 3-1 with the victory at home.
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. The totals by Ryan and Jones are the most ever allowed by Carolina.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton left the game in the fourth quarter and was evaluated for concussion symptoms after taking a hit from Deion Jones on a successful two-point run. There appeared to be helmet-to-helmet contact but there was no penalty on the hit.
The Panthers 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. Alford picked off another pass from Anderson to end Carolina's final possession.
Jaguars 30, Colts 27
Blake Bortles threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Jacksonville held off a furious Indianapolis rally in London for the Jaguars' first win of the season.
Sunday's 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-one pass at the Jacksonville 49 with 1:36 left 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 one-yard run that put Jacksonville ahead 14-6 midway through the second quarter.
Bears 17, Lions 14
Brian Hoyer threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns, and Chicago earned its first win of the season over visiting Detroit.
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 two-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 defense 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.
Steelers 43, Chiefs 14
Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns passes for the fifth time in his career and Pittsburgh throttled visiting Kansas City in the night game.
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. Bell's return brought Pittsburgh's high-powered offense back to full strength for the first time this year, though he spent most of the first half watching Roethlisberger go to work.
Seahawks 27, Jets 17
Russell Wilson was sharp and efficient despite playing with a sprained knee, throwing three touchdown passes in Seattle victory over New York at East Rutherford, N.J.
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.
Cowboys 24, 49ers 17
Ezekiel Elliott ran for 138 yards and a touchdown and Dak Prescott threw for two scores to help the Dallas overcome an early 14-point deficit to beat host San Francisco.
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 four-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.
Redskins 31, Browns 20
Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes, including two to tight end Jordan Reed, and Washington cashed in on several trips to the red zone to beat Cleveland at Landover, Md.
The Redskins (2-2) scored four red zone touchdowns against the Browns (0-4) after going 3 for 14 in their first three games of the season. Cousins connected with Reed for eight- and nine-yard touchdowns, Chris Thompson for a five-yard score, and running back Matt Jones scored from one 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, with 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 of the season.
Texans 27, Titans 20
Will Fuller had a tiebreaking 67-yard punt return for a touchdown and Houston earned a win over visiting Tennessee in the Texans' first game without J.J. Watt.
It was the first time Houston (3-1) had played without its star defensive end since the 2010 season after Watt , who is 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.