Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy expressed his gratitude for how his team handled "distractions" after their Thanksgiving triumph over the Detroit Lions.

The Bears scrapped to a 16-14 victory against the winless Lions on Thursday amid uncertainty over Nagy's future in Chicago.

Nagy had to answer questions about his future this week, following reports he had been told his final game would be against the Lions (0-10).

But after snapping a five-game skid, Nagy savoured Chicago's result as the Bears improved to 4-7.

"When there's distractions, which is in every sport, in all facets of life, there's always going to be distractions," Nagy told reporters.

"It's how you handle them. And again, we got the win today, and it could've went a lot of different ways. But the reason why we got the win is because of how they handled the distractions, you know? That's where to me, when you're in this business and you lead people, it's my job to make sure of honest and open communication.

"That's where, for me, I just can't tell you how much this win means today to me because of what they did."

Chicago's defence allowed a season-low 239 total yards and just 14 first downs against Detroit.

Andy Dalton fuelled the Bears with a touchdown on 24-of-39 passing for 317 yards – his 30th 300-yard career passing game and the most yards by a Chicago quarterback since November 2020.

"Again, for me, there is only my understanding, which is what it's been since the day I signed up to be this coach, is to win as many games as I can possibly win, and do it the right way," Nagy added.

"When you lose five games in a row, you understand. When you're 3-7, you know what territory it can get to. You know what I mean? That comes with the job. I knew that four years ago when I took this, and so here we are. Every week is a little bit different.

"This one was definitely different. This is one of those weeks where you use it moving forward. You don't make any predictions, but what you do is when you go home on that plane tonight and everyone's having a good time because they're able to celebrate and have fun watching the tape and enjoy their Thanksgiving and get back to being healthy and understand what games are next, but the only game that matters is Arizona coming up.

"That's it. So again, for me, the only thing I can say to those players is that I appreciate them and we have a hell of a group of guys, players and coaches, and they showed it today by getting a win."

The Chicago Bears scrapped to a 16-14 Thanksgiving win over the Detroit Lions, as the returning Jared Goff's wait for a first career win without Sean McVay went on.

Bears coach Matt Nagy had to answer questions about his future this week, but he was boosted by a trip to Detroit to play Goff and the winless Lions in Thursday's early game.

Goff – back after an oblique injury – is now 0-16-1 when not coached by McVay, having gone 42-20 in their four years together with the Los Angeles Rams, and this was another outing to forget.

Although a matchup between the teams ranked 29th and 30th for points per game heading into the week was never likely to be a classic, it started well for Goff when he connected with Josh Reynolds on a 39-yard touchdown.

D'Andre Swift soon went down with a shoulder problem to check Detroit's momentum, however, and Cairo Santos' field goal got the Bears on the board before two Andy Dalton passes broke the game open late in the half, as he threw 52 yards to Darnell Mooney and then 17 yards to Jimmy Graham up the middle for a TD.

That was quickly followed by a Goff fumble – his eighth of the year and the fifth he has lost – and the Lions continued to struggle to move the chains even after an Amani Oruwariye interception, instead allowing Santos to stretch Chicago's lead before half-time.

But Goff's work through the air was much improved and a patient third-quarter drive ended with a pass to T. J. Hockenson to edge the Lions in front.

The hosts came close to their first win of the season but were ultimately thwarted by the boot of Santos as Chicago's final drive led to a successful 28-yard field goal in the final seconds.

The Chicago Bears scrapped to a 16-14 Thanksgiving win over the Detroit Lions, as the returning Jared Goff's wait for a first career win without Sean McVay went on.

Bears coach Matt Nagy had to answer questions about his future this week, but he was boosted by a trip to Detroit to play Goff and the winless Lions in Thursday's early game.

Goff – back after an oblique injury – is now 0-16-1 when not coached by McVay, having gone 42-20 in their four years together with the Los Angeles Rams, and this was another outing to forget.

Although a matchup between the teams ranked 29th and 30th for points per game heading into the week was never likely to be a classic, it started well for Goff when he connected with Josh Reynolds on a 39-yard touchdown.

D'Andre Swift soon went down with a shoulder problem to check Detroit's momentum, however, and Cairo Santos' field goal got the Bears on the board before two Andy Dalton passes broke the game open late in the half, as he threw 52 yards to Darnell Mooney and then 17 yards to Jimmy Graham up the middle for a TD.

That was quickly followed by a Goff fumble – his eighth of the year and the fifth he has lost – and the Lions continued to struggle to move the chains even after an Amani Oruwariye interception, instead allowing Santos to stretch Chicago's lead before half-time.

But Goff's work through the air was much improved and a patient third-quarter drive ended with a pass to T. J. Hockenson to edge the Lions in front.

The hosts came close to their first win of the season but were ultimately thwarted by the boot of Santos as Chicago's final drive led to a successful 28-yard field goal in the final seconds.

Andy Dalton is expected to start at quarterback for the Chicago Bears on Thursday as Justin Fields recovers from a rib injury. 

NFL Network reported the short turnaround ahead of the trip to Detroit to face the Lions likely will keep Fields out of action, though Bears head coach Matt Nagy said Monday the team was still "gathering facts". 

Rookie QB Fields got pummelled by the Baltimore Ravens defence in a 16-13 defeat Sunday, leaving in the third quarter with rib problems. 

He had completed just four of 11 passes for 79 yards at the time. Dalton came on in relief and completed 11 of 23 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. 

Nagy acknowledged there could be a "safety issue" playing Fields against the Lions but remained vague about the team's plans. 

"‘We always want to make sure that we’re not putting our players at more risk, regardless of who you are," Nagy told reporters Monday.

"Obviously, there’s more magnitude to everybody else — and to us — with Justin. And being the quarterback and touching the football every play and throwing and that sort of thing. So we’ll have to keep that in mind.’’

Quarterback shuffling has been a season-long theme for the Bears (3-7), as the veteran Dalton started the first two games of the season before suffering a knee injury.

Sunday marked only his second appearance since then, as the 22-year-old Fields has had mixed results but generally shown improvement while settling into the starting role. 

The 11th overall pick in this year's draft threw for a career-best 291 yards in Chicago's previous game, a 29-27 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

The Lions (0-9-1) also are expected to be without their starting QB, as Jared Goff continues to deal with an oblique injury that kept him out of Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns. 

Tim Boyle likely will start again in Goff's place in the Lions' annual Thanksgiving Day showcase. 

 

 

Baker Mayfield declared he doesn't care about being booed by Cleveland Browns fans during what he acknowledged was a "s***" performance in a win over the Detroit Lions.

The Browns moved to 6-5 at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday but it was certainly not a vintage display as they ground out a 13-10 win.

Mayfield has been hampered by injuries all season and the quarterback played through the pain barrier once again before snubbing the media after the game.

Coming up against the only winless team in the NFL, Mayfield only completed 15 of 29 passes for just 176 yards, threw two interceptions and one touchdown pass for Nick Chubb.

A passer rating of 53.2 was his lowest of the season and the fourth-worst of his career.

Browns supporters vented their displeasure at Mayfield in no uncertain terms, but the 26-year-old signal-caller says he is not paying much attention to those who turned on him.

He told reporters on Monday: "Those are probably the same fans that won't be quiet while we're on offense and trying to operate. So, don't really care."

Mayfield says he did not fulfil his post-game media duties as he needed time to cool down after falling short of the standards he expects from himself.

"I've never dodged any questions or hid away from that. Just frustrated, removed the emotions and all that from it. Just decided it was best to wait," he added.

"Not one part of that's about not being accountable. I'd be the first to tell you I played like s***. I don't owe that to you guys, I owe that to my team-mates."

Mayfield marched straight off the field at the end of the game because he did not feel in the mood to celebrate the win.

"My guys know that all I care about is winning. But I'm going to be frustrated if I do stuff to make it harder on us. And I did yesterday. And that's just flat-out where it was," Mayfield said.

"But I'm never going to take winning for granted. That's something that's very hard to do in this league. And it hasn't been a very common thing around here for a long time.

"So, I'm just frustrated with how I played. That's how I've always been. [My team-mates] know how I'm going to come back and attack this week."

Tyler Huntley came in for unwell Baltimore Ravens superstar Lamar Jackson on a day fellow undrafted quarterback Tim Boyle also made his first NFL start.

Huntley has served as Jackson's backup in Baltimore for the past two years since going undrafted in 2020 but has so far been restricted to just 29 passes and 16 carries across five games in the regular season and playoffs.

He threw 13 passes in last year's playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills, completing only six for a passer rating of 59.8 after Jackson exited with concussion.

Huntley was given his chance from the start against the Chicago Bears with Jackson missing due to a non-coronavirus illness.

The absence of the 2019 NFL MVP came as a blow to the Ravens, whose offense is ranked second in the league with 414.1 total net yards per game this year. Jackson ranks ninth for passing yards (2,447) and seventh for rushing yards (639), leading all QBs in the latter.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Boyle lined up under center for the Detroit Lions against the Cleveland Browns as Jared Goff recovers from an oblique muscle injury.

Boyle had not previously featured for the Lions but did play 11 times across two seasons with the Green Bay Packers, albeit he threw for just 15 yards, was sacked for 11 yards and lost a further 16 rushing.

The Lions' offense ranks 27th (319.4 net yards), with Goff throwing just eight touchdowns and six interceptions across nine games.

Nick Chubb has been activated off the COVID-19/reserve list ahead of the Cleveland Browns' Week 11 game at home to the winless Detroit Lions.

Chubb missed the Browns' defeat to the New England Patriots last week after testing positive for coronavirus.

The two-time Pro Bowler has played just seven games this year, having also missed two weeks with a calf injury. Cleveland are 4-3 with their star running back and 1-2 without him.

Indeed, the Browns' numbers across the board without Chubb are a concern, making his a timely return.

Their points per game have fallen from 27.6 to 12.7 in his absence, while both their rushing yards per game (169.6 to 118.0) and yards per carry (5.37 to 4.92) also unsurprisingly drop.

Cleveland's 217 net yards against the Patriots were their fewest in any game since Kevin Stefanski became head coach prior to last season. 

Fellow backs Demetric Felton and John Kelly were likewise placed on the COVID list before that loss, while Kareem Hunt remains injured, going some way to explaining why the Browns have rushed on 50.6 per cent of plays with Chubb in the team but just 40.0 per cent without.

Rookie backup Felton was also activated ahead of taking on the Lions.

Chubb leads NFL RBs this year for yards per carry (6.01), trailing only Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (6.03) among all players.

Despite his various absences, Chubb is third for rushing yards in 2021 (721), behind Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor (both 937).

Chubb's six rushing touchdowns are tied for his most through seven games, while only in his career year in 2019 did he have marginally more rushing yards at this stage (738).

However, the Lions are 16-4 all-time against the Browns, and their rush defense (4.36 yards per play, ranked 18th) has been far more effective than their miserable pass defense (7.68 yards per play, ranked 32nd).

A tie is a rare result in the NFL, but for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris the 16-16 stalemate against the Detroit Lions came as a complete shock.

The first tie since Week 3 of the 2020 season took place on Sunday, with the Lions avoiding defeat but unable to earn a first win of 2021 after missing a field goal to win in overtime.

There was also disappointment for the Steelers, who were in prime position to win on multiple occasions in a chaotic extra 10 minutes.even with starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger absent due to coronavirus.

First-round draft pick Harris, who ran for 105 yards and caught all four of his targets for a further 28, had no idea game was over. 

"I didn't even know you could tie in the NFL," Harris said, per ESPN. "In my mind, I was sitting on the bench saying, 'I've got another quarter to go'. 

"But someone came to me and said, 'That's it'. I've never had a tie in my life before."

The Steelers (5-3-1) fumbled twice in overtime through Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth, meaning they failed to take full advantage of losses for the AFC North rivals the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns.

"Ties suck," added Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward. "I know it's a tie, but if it's not a win, I don't think you can really hang your hat on that."

Linebacker Joe Schobert added: "A tie in the NFL always feels like a loss when you get to the locker room because you're not adding one to the win column.

"It's a half-game. It might make a difference in the end. To let it slip away when you're that close definitely hurts."

But it could have been worse for the Steelers as the Lions (0-8-1) missed a golden opportunity to claim what would have been their first win since last December.

Ryan Santoso had a 48-yard field goal to win the game for the Lions, but saw his kick come up short of the goalposts.

There have now been 14 overtime games this season through 10 weeks of the season – only in 1995 (when there were 18) has there been more at this stage of an NFL campaign.

While games going beyond regulation have been common in 2021, this was the first to end all square, with Lions head coach Dan Campbell unsure how to feel.

"I'm in this twilight zone," he said. "I don't know what this is, really, and I'm sure I've been in a tie before as a player, but for some reason I can't remember that, if it was.

"I don't know how to feel about that, necessarily.

"It's like I told the guys, I was upset we didn't win, but I was also proud of them because of the fact that we put ourselves in position to win the game in overtime.

"We didn't win, but we didn't lose either. All you can ask for is improvement and we improved."

Star Steelers pass-rusher T.J. Watt went down with hip and knee injuries in the third quarter and was unable to return.

He did register a sack on Jared Goff in the play that caused his departure, meaning he has 62 in his career through his first 70 games. 

That is the second-best total ever, behind only Hall of Famer Reggie White (79) and above Derrick Thomas (61) and his brother J.J. (61).

Defending Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered a stunning second successive defeat as they were upset by the Washington Football Team in Week 10.

Despite injury issues at wide receiver and cornerback, normal service was expected to be resumed when the Buccaneers made the trip to FedEx Field having lost to the New Orleans Saints prior to last week's bye.

But a rematch from last season's Wild Card Round instead went the way of a Washington team who entered the week with just two wins to their name.

Taylor Heinicke, whose performance in that playoff matchup catapulted him to cult hero status, led a key game-winning drive in the fourth quarter to close out a 29-19 victory for Washington, who had earlier lost star defensive end Chase Young to what is believed to be a torn ACL, after the Buccaneers had pulled within one score.

Tom Brady was intercepted twice in the Bucs' first three offensive series, with Washington turning that second turnover into a touchdown as Heinicke connected with DeAndre Carter for a 20-yard touchdown pass to put the hosts 13-0 up following a pair of early field goals.

The Bucs' offense could only manage a pair of field goals, sandwiched by another for Washington from Joey Slye, in response before half-time and Tampa Bay continued to struggle to take advantage of what has been a porous defense thereafter even minus the presence of stud pass rusher Young.

They finally knocked down the door in the third quarter with a four-play, 43-yard drive that ended with Brady finding tight end Cameron Brate for the score, only for Washington to reply in kind as Antonio Gibson was pushed over the goal-line by a scrum of team-mates.

A Dax Milne fumble was followed by a 40-yard strike from Brady to Mike Evans to fray Washington nerves with over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. However, Ryan Succop missed the critical extra point to leave Tampa Bay four points adrift, before Heinicke led a clutch clock-killing drive that was capped with Gibson's second touchdown to drop the Bucs to 6-3 and deal their hopes of claiming the number one seed in the NFC a substantial blow.

Titans hold off Saints

The 8-2 Tennessee Titans remain the frontrunner for the top seed in the AFC, having stretched their extremely impressive winning streak to six games by edging the New Orleans Saints 23-21.

Ryan Tannehill threw for 213 yards and a touchdown while running for another, wideout Marcus Johnson emerging with a 100-yard game a day after Julio Jones was placed on injured reserve by Tennessee. The Saints pulled within two late in the fourth quarter when Trevor Siemian hit Marquez Callaway for a 15-yard touchdown, but both the two-point conversion and the subsequent onside kick came up short for New Orleans.

While the Saints lost for the second straight week, the Dallas Cowboys rebounded from a shock loss with a 43-3 rout of the Atlanta Falcons and the Buffalo Bills crushed the New York Jets 45-17 a week on from an upset in Jacksonville.

Lions finally don't lose, but don't win

The Detroit Lions' 2021 season has been one defined by gut-wrenching defeats.

They avoided such a fate on this week, but missed a golden opportunity to claim their first win since last December in a 16-16 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers, missing starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger due to coronavirus.

Ryan Santoso had a 48-yard field goal to win the game for the Lions in overtime after a Diontae Johnson fumble, but saw his kick come up short of the goalposts.

The Steelers appeared to be driving for a game-winning kick in the waning seconds of the extra period, yet Pat Freiermuth's fumble ensured a bizarre game ended level, Pittsburgh failing to take advantage of losses for AFC North rivals the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, whose quarterback Baker Mayfield was injured in a crushing 45-7 loss to the New England Patriots.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will miss Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. 

The team announced the move late Saturday, and Mason Rudolph is expected to start in Roethlisberger's place. 

Roethlisberger landed on the COVID-19 list the same day another veteran quarterback, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, was activated after missing last week's game at the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Rudolph figures to have an easier assignment than Rodgers' backup Jordan Love did, with Pittsburgh (5-3) hosting the winless Lions (0-8) Sunday. 

The 26-year-old Steelers backup has not played this season but started one game last year and eight games as a rookie in 2019 after Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury. 

Roethlisberger, 39, said in a recent interview that he has received the coronavirus vaccine. He could return for Pittsburgh's November 21 game at the Los Angeles Chargers. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers overcame the loss of kicker Chris Boswell for the whole second half as they beat the Cleveland Browns 15-10 on Sunday.

D'Ernest Johnson rushed 10 yards for the game's first touchdown in the third quarter to put Cleveland seemingly in control at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Steelers' chances were already damaged by the loss of Boswell to a concussion following a huge hit from Browns tackle Jordan Elliot, but Najee Harris' touchdown closed the gap to a point.

Ben Roethlisberger threw two yards on fourth down for Pat Freiermuth to earn the decisive score with a little over 11 minutes on the clock.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett came in costume as the Grim Reaper to mark October 31, his cape inscribed with the names of his sacked quarterbacks, but it was the Steelers' trick play that proved far from a treat in the first half: Boswell took a direct snap from 28 yards and, after rolling right and throwing for the end zone, he took a powerful hit from Elliot.

After rookie Harris had dragged Pittsburgh back into contention following Johnson's score, Roethlisberger, who is now 24-3-1 in career starts against the Browns, made his mark.

The 38-year-old, who finished 22 of 34 for 266 yards, almost saw his two-yard pass fumbled by Freiermuth but the tight end recovered to land both feet in the end zone.

By contrast, Jarvis Landry's handling let him down as he was stripped by Joe Schobert with a little over six minutes left.

The 4-4 Browns will hope for better next time out against the 5-3 Bengals, who were stunned by a New York Jets 34-31 comeback win in which Mike White threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns on his first NFL start.

Rams rout Texans, Lions looking toothless

The Philadelphia Eagles ran in four touchdowns as they snapped a two-game losing streak to crush the Detroit Lions.

As coach of the NFL's only winless team after eight straight defeats, Dan Campbell will head into a bye week to try to arrest a terrible run of results that culminated in Sunday's 44-6 loss, in which the Lions only got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.

The Houston Texans (1-7) are faring little better, their 38-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams (7-1) looking only a little more respectable after they ran in 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, Davis Mills throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns.

49ers down Bears through sensational Samuel

The San Francisco 49ers improved to 3-4 after a 33-22 defeat of the Chicago Bears in which Deebo Samuel set pulses racing with a spectacular 83-yard catch-and-run.

After being denied an apparent touchdown for being ruled out of bounds, Samuel's run still allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to score from two yards out just a handful of plays later to cut the Bears' advantage.

Not only did Samuel produce the Niners' longest play of the season, he passed Jerry Rice for the most receiving yards for the franchise across the first seven games of an NFL season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers head into Week 8 with a 6-1 record, though their form will be tested against the New Orleans Saints.

Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns and 211 yards in the Bucs' 38-3 thrashing of the Chicago Bears last week, though Tampa Bay's recent record against the Saints is poor.

The Los Angeles Rams are also 6-1, and are looking to extend their strong start when they take on the Houston Texans, who are out to avoid a franchise first.

Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase, meanwhile, have been linking up to superb effect for the Cincinnati Bengals, who are at the New York Jets on Sunday. 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-1) @ New Orleans Saints (4-2)

Tampa Bay may have picked up from where they left off last season, but their recent run against New Orleans has not been at all profitable.

New Orleans have won five straight games against NFC South rivals Tampa Bay, which is the longest active losing streak for the Buccaneers against any single opponent.

However, the Bucs did set franchise records for points in a first quarter with 21, and points in a first half with 35, in their 38-3 win over the Bears. The 21 first-quarter and 35 first-half points are also the most scored by any NFL team this season.

Mike Evans caught three touchdowns against the Bears with all of them coming in the first half. He joined Marvin Harrison, Marvin Jones Jr, Jerry Rice, and Sterling Sharpe as the only players since the merger to have multiple games with three first-half touchdown catches.

The Saints beat the Seattle Seahawks in their last outing, and had 35 passing attempts in that win. Both teams have combined to win 76.9 per cent of their games this season, the highest combined winning percentage that the teams have ever had when facing each other.

Los Angeles Rams (6-1) @ Houston Texans (1-6)

This will be only the fifth all-time meeting between the Texans and the Rams, and just the second game since the latter moved back to Los Angeles.

The Rams have outscored the Texans by an aggregate of 71-20 over the last two meetings, and, at 6-1, Los Angeles are enjoying their equal second-best start to a season this century, behind the 7-0 run in 2018.

They are also looking to win each of their first four road games of a season for the fourth time since 2000, having also done this in 2001, 2017 and 2018.

Matthew Stafford has thrown for 2,172 yards this season, the most by any Rams player in the team's first seven games of the season since Kurt Warner threw for 2,445 yards in the first seven games of 2000.

Houston, meanwhile, have lost six straight, with each of the last two losses coming by over 25 points. The Texans have not lost three straight games by at least 25 points in franchise history – the only team to do so in a single season in the last 25 years were the Miami Dolphins in 2019.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) @ New York Jets (1-5)

The Bengals have won each of the last three meetings between these teams, matching their longest-ever win streak over the Jets (1973-81). Cincinnati's 23-22 win in New York in 2016 snapped a nine-game losing streak when visiting the Jets.

Cincinnati only managed four wins in 2020, but they surpassed that figure with a brilliant 41-17 victory in Baltimore last week, with quarterback Burrow and wide receiver Chase turning in stellar performances.

Burrow passed for a career-high 416 yards and tied a previous career high with three touchdown passes. It was his seventh consecutive game with multiple TD passes, tying a franchise record set twice before by Carson Palmer (2004-05 and 2010).

Chase, meanwhile, had 201 receiving yards, the most all-time by a Bengals rookie and the most by any rookie since Mike Evans had 209 in 2014. Chase's 754 receiving yards in 2021 ranks are the most by any player through seven career games in NFL history.

The Jets' 54-13 loss to the Patriots last week was their largest defeat since a 45-3 loss in Week 13 of the 2010 season, which also happened in New England. The 54 points are the fourth-most that New York have allowed in a single game and the most since 1980.

Elsewhere...

The Detroit Lions are still winless, going 0-7 so far, but could snap the losing streak against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Lions have won three straight against Philadelphia, with each of the last two games being decided by three points or fewer. 

Strugglers the Miami Dolphins travel to Buffalo. With two receiving yards on Sunday, Stefon Diggs will reach 2,000 as a Bill in just his 23rd game with the team. That would be tied for the second fewest games needed by any player with any single team in the Super Bowl era (Odell Beckham Jr. – 21 with the Giants, Vincent Jackson – 23 with Tampa Bay, Brandon Marshall – 23 with Chicago).

Fresh from their win over the Jets, the Patriots will aim to maintain the momentum against the Los Angeles Chargers, against whom they have five straight wins and are 16-3 in the last 19 meetings.

An AFC North clash sees the Browns (4-3) host the 3-3 Steelers. Pittsburgh have not won in Cleveland since 2017, as the teams tied in 2018 before the Browns won in 2019 and 2020.

Matthew Stafford is happy to have put the storylines to bed after defeating his former team the Detroit Lions as the Los Angeles Rams improved to 6-1.

Stafford was traded from the Lions to the Rams in a deal agreed in January, with Jared Goff and two first-round picks going the other way in a blockbuster move that is working out brilliantly for Los Angeles.

The Rams were heavy favourites to see off the winless Lions, meaning the focus was primarily on the reunions for Stafford and Goff with the franchises they used to call home.

Despite a spirited effort from the Lions, for whom Stafford owns the franchise record in passing yards after throwing 45,109 over 12 seasons, the Rams emerged with a 28-19 victory.

Stafford was imperious, throwing for 334 yards and three touchdowns, and afterward, he expressed his satisfaction at being able to focus purely on games rather than the narrative surrounding this matchup.

"Am I happy it's over with? Yeah," Stafford said. "I've got a lot of great friends, got a lot of people that I care about that are on that team or from that city and I'm just glad to have this one over with and put the storylines away and just go out and play football the rest of the year."

Stafford, however, was touched to see some Lions fans who made the journey to Los Angeles still sporting his jersey.

"I thought to myself that was pretty cool," he added. "I really appreciate it. I've said it a bunch of times, and I truly mean it, I loved my time there. I loved all the people there that treated me, my family, my wife with a ton of respect and a ton of grace for a long time.

"It was cool to see that. Once the ball was snapped, it was football time, and I was ready to go play."

Tom Brady made history once again as Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rolled past the Chicago Bears 38-3 in NFL action Sunday. 

With a nine-yard strike to Mike Evans in the closing seconds of the first quarter, Brady became the first NFL quarterback to throw 600 touchdown passes.

The 44-year-old – 20-of-36 passing for 211 yards – would finish the game with 602 for his career, all four of his TD tosses going for fewer than 10 yards and three of them landing in Evans' hands. 

Blaine Gabbert took over at quarterback for Brady midway through the fourth quarter with the game well in hand as the Buccaneers improved to 6-1. 

Brady's opposite number, Bears rookie QB Justin Fields, had a brutal day as he was sacked four times and threw three interceptions as Chicago failed to find the end zone. 

Stafford, Rams survive Lions scare

The matchup between Super Bowl contenders the Los Angeles Rams and the winless Detroit Lions finished with the expected result, but the Rams' 28-19 win was much closer than anticipated. 

The Rams (6-1) trailed 19-17 entering the fourth quarter and needed a five-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Cooper Kupp early in the period to take the lead and a 47-yard Matt Gay field goal with just over a minute to play to seal the win. 

Stafford completed 28 of 41 passes for 334 yards and three TDs against the team he played for in the first 12 years of his career, while former Rams QB Jared Goff threw a pair of costly interceptions for the Lions (0-7).

Kupp became the first player in the Super Bowl era to have 800-plus receiving yards and nine-plus receiving touchdowns in his team's first seven games of a season.

While the Lions remained the only winless team in the league after Week 7, the Arizona Cardinals (7-0) maintained their status as the lone team with a perfect record, routing the Houston Texans 31-5 behind three TD passes by Kyler Murray. 

Kyle Shanahan needs to get the San Francisco 49ers winning again if their playoff potential is to be fulfilled, and this Sunday looks like a major opportunity.

To snap a three-game losing streak, the Niners (2-3) must get the better of an Indianapolis Colts side who, much like San Francisco themselves, have made an inconsistent start to the season.

By contrast, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are riding a three-game run of wins and have started 5-1 for just the fifth time in the history of the franchise, heading into a tussle with the Chicago Bears (3-3). Tom Brady has been a driving force so far as the Super Bowl winners carry on where they left off last season.

Patrick Mahomes has been hit and miss for the slow-starting Kansas City Chiefs, who will hope the NFL's highest-paid player can cut out throwing interceptions as they face the Tennessee Titans.


Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers

If coach Shanahan's 49ers are to turn around their season, then facing a Colts side who have begun 2-4 seems like a pretty good place to start. Yet the Colts have dominated this series of late, winning on their last four meetings, albeit most recently in 2017 when they snatched a 26-23 overtime success. It would not be stepping out of line to predict this could be tight, given the 49ers have played nine consecutive games that have been decided by eight or fewer points, going back to last season.

That is the longest active streak of such close games in the NFL and the longest streak in team history, and the Niners do not have the best recent return when games go close, posting a 3-6 record in this sequence.

San Francisco fell 17-10 to the Cardinals in their most recent game, two weeks ago, while the Colts hot-footed their way to a 31-3 trouncing of Houston last Sunday. That came despite Indianapolis earning just 15 first downs for the entire game. It was the first time the Colts had won by 28 or more points while only having 15 or fewer first downs since 1972 against New England.

In his 21st career game, Colts running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, meaning he surpassed 1,500 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and chalked up his 15th rushing touchdown in the NFL. Only four running backs in NFL history have hit all three of those milestones in fewer games than Taylor, with two of those doing so with the Colts – Edgerrin James and Marshall Faulk.

San Francisco will hope to be recharged after a bye week. Deebo Samuel scored the fourth rushing touchdown of his career against the Cardinals, with Jerry Rice (10) the only wide receiver with more rushing touchdowns in 49ers history.

Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a dispiriting loss to the Green Bay Packers last time out, the Chicago Bears encounter a Tampa Bay team in sparkling recent form. Tampa Bay have started the season 5-1, doing so for the fifth time in franchise history, and on each of the previous occasions (2005, 2002, 1997 and 1979) they backed it up by reaching the playoffs. History could be made on Sunday, given the Buccaneers have never started a season with six wins through their first seven games.

Yet this is a game in which the Bears have traditionally, and recently, had the upper hand. Chicago have stacked up 40 wins in 60 all-time meetings against Tampa Bay, which is the most wins by any team against the Bucs. The Bears have also won the last two in the series, scoring victories in 2018 and 2020.

Tampa Bay can seemingly do no wrong when Brady is pulling the strings so masterfully. Brady leads the NFL with 2,064 passing yards, the second-highest total he has ever had through six games of a season – beaten only by his 2,163 passing yards at this stage in 2011. Prior to this year, no Tampa Bay quarterback had ever thrown for more than 1,800 yards through six games.

What have the Bears got to offer? Chicago are averaging 246.2 net yards per game, which is more than 20 yards per game less than any other team. The 1,477 yards is the fewest Chicago has had through six games since the 1993 season. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields needs to make something happen, but others must step up too. In his first career start, Khalil Herbert ran for 97 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay last time out.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans

"He's trying to make things happen," said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, explaining away the two interceptions thrown by Patrick Mahomes in Week 6 against Washington. For Mahomes, that was a second straight game with at least two interceptions. He is tied with Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence in second position on the list of the most interceptions thrown this season, with his tally of eight so far only topped by Zach Wilson of the Jets.

This is only the second run that Mahomes has endured of throwing two or more interceptions in consecutive games, the previous dating back to Week 5 and 6 of the 2018 season, and Reid will hope his radar is better set for the clash with the Titans. Mahomes is still doing an awful lot right in 2021, but the fact remains he threw just six interceptions last season.

The Chiefs' unsteady 3-3 opening is their worst of the Mahomes era, and it was 2015 when they got off to a slower start. On that occasion they followed a 1-5 opening with 10 consecutive wins, a single-season record for Kansas City that was matched last season.

Tennessee's bright start has featured some notable performances. The Titans ran for 146 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns in the 34-31 win over Buffalo on Monday night, taking them to 985 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns for the season. It is the first time in franchise history that the Bills have 10 or more rushing touchdowns and at least 975 rushing yards through six games.

Running back Derrick Henry has 10 rushing touchdowns so far, beating his career best of seven through six weeks in 2020. It puts him tied for the fourth most rushing touchdowns of all time through six weeks (Jim Brown 14, Shaun Alexander 12, Emmitt Smith 11).

Elsewhere...

The Detroit Lions face a tall order on the road against the Los Angeles Rams (5-1). Detroit are 0-6 for the first time since their 0-16 season in 2008 and have not scored more than 17 points in any of their last five games. Former Rams quarterback Jared Goff, now with Detroit, has thrown zero touchdown passes and an interception in each of his last two games.

The 5-1 Baltimore Ravens have recent history on their side ahead of a clash with the Cincinnati Bengals, having won five successive games in their head-to-head series, including the last three by a brutal average of 31.7 points.

Heading into a home game against the Houston Texans (1-5), the Arizona Cardinals are on a 6-0 roll. This has only happened twice before in franchise history, but never before in Arizona. The St Louis Cardinals in 1974 and Chicago Cardinals in 1922 are the teams who both started their seasons 6-0 as well.

Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts could match an NFL record as the Eagles (2-4) tackle the Las Vegas Raiders. Hurts has rushed for two touchdowns in each of his last two games. Billy Kilmer, for San Francisco in 1961, is the only quarterback to achieve the feat in three straight games.

The Green Bay Packers last lost at home to Washington in 1988, winning five in a row since with home-field advantage, and they put a 5-1 season record to the test when the teams meet again. Washington (2-4) are yielding an NFL-worst 31.0 points per game in 2021, matching the team's worst mark through six games of a season in the Super Bowl era (1998).

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