Derek Carr came back from an injured finger to lead another fourth-quarter comeback and the Oakland Raiders won their fifth consecutive game by beating the Carolina Panthers, 35-32, on Sunday in Oakland.
Carr threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns despite missing a series because of the injury, leading the Raiders (9-2) back from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter to clinch their first winning season since 2002.
After leading a game-tying drive earlier in the fourth quarter, Carr hit Michael Crabtree on a 49-yard pass on third and nine from the 14 to help set up Sebastian Janikowski’s 23-yard field goal with 1:45 left that gave Oakland the lead.
Cam Newton led the Panthers (5-6) into Oakland territory on the final drive but Greg Olsen dropped a pass on third down that would have put Carolina in field goal range and Khalil Mack stripped Newton on a fourth-down sack to seal the win.
The Panthers scored the first 25 points in the second half after Carr left the game when he hurt his right pinky while fumbling a snap on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter.
Jonathan Stewart scored on short runs following Carr’s fumble and his interception to Thomas Davis when he returned. Newton hit two long touchdown passes, connecting on an 88-yarder to Ted Ginn Jr. and a 44-yarder to Kelvin Benjamin that made it 32-24 early in the fourth quarter.
But Carr did what he has done best by leading his team back despite needing a glove on his injured right hand and taking snaps solely out of the shotgun.
Carr led a 75-yard drive capped by a 12-yard pass to Clive Walford for his NFL-best 12th tying or go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. A 2-point conversion to Seth Roberts tied the game.
Buccaneers 14, Seahawks 5
Jameis Winston threw a pair of touchdown passes to Mike Evans and Tampa Bay’s rejuvenated defense shut down Russell Wilson and Seahawks' sputtering offense for a victory at Seattle.
Evans scored on receptions of three and 23 yards in the opening quarter, a grieving Alterraun Verner — playing two days after the death of his father — had one of two interceptions, and the Bucs sacked the Seattle quarterback six times.
The Bucs (6-5) have won three straight to climb back into contention for a playoff berth. In addition to stopping Seattle’s three-game winning streak, they remained one game behind first-place Atlanta in the NFC South.
Winston completed 21 of 28 passes for 220 yards and one interception. Evans had eight receptions for 104 yards, and Doug Martin rushed for 87 yards on 23 attempts for the Bucs.
Wilson completed 17 of 33 passes for 151 yards. The Seahawks (7-3-1) were held to one-yard net passing in the first half, when Wilson was sacked four times for 19 yards in losses.
Patriots 22, Jets 17
Tom Brady tied Peyton Manning for the most wins by a quarterback in NFL history, getting his 200th by throwing a go-ahead eight-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell with 1:56 left to lead New England to the win at East Rutherford, N.J.
Trailing 17-16 with 5:04 left and the ball on the Patriots 17, Brady led an efficient drive by completing six passes to drive New England down the field.
After James White stretched for four yards on fourth and four, a 25-yard catch by Chris Hogan put the ball at the 8. Brady then zipped a pass to Mitchell to put the Patriots (9-2) ahead.
A two-point conversion try by White was initially ruled good, but the call was reversed because the ball never crossed the goal line — giving the Jets (3-8) a final chance.
But on second and five from the 30, Chris Long hit Ryan Fitzpatrick before he could throw, resulting in a fumble that was recovered by Trey Flowers.
Brady and the Patriots then ran out the clock — helped by LeGarrette Blount’s 23-yard scamper — to win the closely played game that had been flexed out of a prime-time spot.
Falcons 38, Cardinals 19
Taylor Gabriel took two short passes for touchdowns as Atlanta returned from a bye week to add to visting Arizona’s misery.
Gabriel, who was cut by the winless Cleveland Browns before the season, scored on plays of 35 and 25 yards that showed off his speed.
His second score finished the Cardinals, who began the season touted as a Super Bowl contender but have been one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams.
The Falcons (7-4) began the day leading the NFC South and moved a step closer to their first playoff berth since 2012.
The Cardinals (4-6-1) have lost two straight and three of their past four, putting them in danger of missing the postseason a season after reaching the NFC championship game.
Chargers 21, Texans 13
Philip Rivers threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns to give San Diego the win over the mistake-prone Texans in Houston.
Dontrelle Inman had 119 yards receiving and a touchdown to help San Diego (5-6) to the victory.
The Texans (6-5) lost in Houston for the first time this season after winning their first five here. Playing a large part were four turnovers, including three interceptions by Brock Osweiler.
The Chargers were up by four in the fourth quarter when Rivers evaded the rush and delivered a 25-yard pass to Inman. Kareem Jackson was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play, leaving San Diego at the 12-yard line. Rivers delivered a touchdown pass to rookie Hunter Henry on the next play to push the lead to 21-10.
Osweiler’s second interception came after that when he badly overthrew C.J. Fiedorowicz and Dwight Lowery made the easy grab.
Houston added a field goal with 37 seconds left and recovered an onside kick. But Osweiler’s first shot at the end zone was knocked down, and the second one was intercepted as time expired.
Giants 27, Browns 13
Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes to Odell Beckham Jr., Jason Pierre-Paul returned a fumble for a TD and New York extended its winning streak to six games the victory over the winless Browns in Cleveland.
Manning had three TD passes as the Giants (8-3) won their sixth straight. They don’t overwhelm anyone, but the Giants do just enough to win and are in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Manning threw a 32-yard TD pass to Beckham in the second quarter and added a four-yarder to the star wide receiver with 5:10 left to finally put away the Browns (0-12).
Cleveland has lost 15 in a row since last season. It is 3-30 since ending the 2014 season with five consecutive losses. Browns quarterback Josh McCown, back in the lineup after rookie Cody Kessler sustained his second concussion last week, finished with 322 yards passing and threw a TD pass to rookie Corey Coleman.
With the Giants leading 14-6, Pierre-Paul rumbled 43 yards for his third career TD.
Ravens 19, Bengals 14
Justin Tucker kicked four field goals and Baltimore shut down visiting Cincinnati’s depleted offense for a victory that thrust the Ravens into a first-place tie in the AFC North.
Joe Flacco threw for 234 yards and a touchdown to help Baltimore (6-5) snap a five-game losing streak against the Bengals (3-7-1), whose playoff hopes took another serious blow.
The victory was not assured until Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton fumbled when sacked by Elvis Dumervil, and defensive end Lawrence Guy recovered at the Baltimore 21 with 1:05 left and the Ravens up 19-12.
Cincinnati got a safety on the final play when Baltimore punter Sam Koch ran out of the end zone. Dalton went 26 for 48 for 283 yards. He fumbled three times, losing two.
Dolphins 31, 49ers 24
Ndamukong Suh tackled Colin Kaepernick two yards short of the goal line as time ran out, and Miami handed visiting San Francisco a franchise-record 10th consecutive loss.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 285 yards and three scores to compensate for a sputtering Miami ground game.
With the 49ers trailing by seven, Kaepernick moved them from their 38 to the 6 in the final 1:44. But he threw incomplete on first down, and then was tackled from behind by the 305-pound Suh on the final play.
The Dolphins (7-4) extended their winning streak to six games, their longest since 2005. Kaepernick passed for three TDs, but the 49ers (1-10) still haven’t won since the season opener.
Tannehill went 20 for 30, ran for 34 yards and had no turnovers. He threw scoring passes of 16 yards to Dion Sims, 43 yards to Kenny Stills and 15 yards to rookie Leonte Carroo.
Kaepernick tried to keep up. Jeered loudly at the start of the game for his political views, Kaepernick went 29 for 46 for 296 yards and ran for 113 on 10 carries.
Bills 28, Jaguars 21
LeSean McCoy scored twice, including a career-best 75-yard run, and Buffalo won its second in a row with the victory at Orchard Park, N.Y.
Tyrod Taylor’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter with 10:46 remaining put the Bills ahead for good during a second half in which the teams traded the lead five times. Taylor also scored on a 7-yard run in helping to keep Buffalo in the playoff hunt.
The Bills (6-5) won for the second straight week when trailing at halftime after doing so just once last season. Buffalo trailed the Jaguars 7-6 after two quarters on Sunday, and overcame a two-point deficit in a 16-12 win at Cincinnati last week.
Taylor also produced just the second fourth-quarter comeback of his career, and improved to 2-11 when the Bills trail by four or more at any point in a game.
The Jaguars (2-9) lost for the sixth straight game — their longest skid since opening the 2014 season at 0-6.
Titans 27, Bears 21
Marcus Mariota threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns and Tennessee hung on to beat the depleted Bears in Chicago.
The Titans (6-6) gave their playoff hopes a boost, though they watched as Chicago (2-9) cut a 20-point lead to six in the fourth quarter.
Matt Barkley, starting for the injured Jay Cutler, led the late surge. The Bears had a first down at the Tennessee 7 in the final minute when Josh Bellamy dropped a pass in the end zone on first down. Barkley’s next three attempts fell incomplete, preserving the win for Tennessee.
The Titans moved one game out of first place in the AFC South.
Mariota, putting together one of the best seasons ever by a Titans quarterback, came through with another solid performance. The second-year pro completed 15 of 23 passes.