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NFL Rewind: Eagles, Saints win but so do their pursuers

It's not easy keeping up with the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints, the two hottest teams in the National Football League, but the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons and Carolinas Panthers managed to do it on Sunday.

The Eagles maintained their lead in the NFC East with their sixth straight win to go 7-1 for the season, and the Saints won their fifth in a row to go to 5-2. Dallas, however, stayed in the hunt with a win at Washington while the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons snapped losing streaks to  stay within a game in the loss column of New Orleans. Atlanta escaped a fourth straight loss to AFC East opposition by beating the New York Jets at MetLIfe Stadium while Carolina pushed Tampa Bay deeper into the cellar in the NFC South with a 17-3 victory over the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

A Kansas City win over Denver at Arrowhead Stadium tonight would put the Chiefs two games up on the Broncos in the loss column and three up on the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders. Both the Raiders and Chargers came East on Sunday and lost to the Bills and New England Pa triots.

Minnesota won its fourth in a row to strengthen its lead in the NFC North. The Vikings went to London for a 33-16 victory over Cleveland.

The misery continues for the Browns and San Francisco 49ers who each dropped to 0-8. Each will get some relief next week. Cleveland will have its bye while the 49ers play at home to the Arizona Cardinals with the New York Giants visiting Santa Clara the following week.

A capsule look at Sunday's Week Eight NFL games:

Game of the day

Seahawks 41, Texans 38

The scoop: It's unthinkable that rookie Deshaun Watson would go into Seattle with its frightening crowd noise and rugged defense and light  up the Seahawks but he did, four touchdowns and 402 yards worth. It all went for naught because Russell Wilson of the Seahawks threw for 452 yards and four scores including the game-winner to Jimmy Graham from 18 yards with 21 seconds left. Watson had connected for 72 yards to DeAndre Hopkins for a 38-34 lead with 4:49 left. Houston led most of the game but never bymore than seven points.
Why the Seahawks won: When the shootout ended the decisive play was Earl Thomas' 72-yard interception return for Seattle which tied the game at 7-all in the first quarter.

Front runners

Patriots 21, Chargers 13
The scoop: After giving up the game's first score on an 87-yard Melvin Gordon run, New England came back to score its only TD of the game on Tom Brady's 2-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski early in the second quarter. The Pats took the lead, 9-7, when Travis Benjamin of the Chargers mishandled a punt, circled back to the end zone, fumbled but recovered the ball for a safety. After that New England's only points came on four Stephen Gostkowski field goals. Philip Rivers passed 24 yards to Benjamin to draw the Bolts to within five points (18-13) midway through the fourth quarter.
Why the Patriots won: Although he passed for only one touchdown, Brady controlled the game, completing 32 of 47 passes for 333 yards, his 81st career 300-yard game and fifth this season. He had no interceptions. Rivers was 17 for 30 for 212 yards and an interception for L.A.

Steelers 20, Lions 15

The scoop: Ben Roethlisberger connected on a 97-yard touchdown pass play to rookie wide receiver JuJu Schuster-Smith in the third quarter and it turnout out to be the winning score for Pittsburgh. The Steelers' other touchdown came on a 5-yard run by LeVeon Bell in the first half.

Why the Steelers won: They kept Detroit out of the end zone, limiting the Lions to five Matt Prater field goals.

Eagles 33, 49ers 10
The scoop: Philadelphia had a sluggish start but a 37-yard interception return by cornerback Jalen Mills with 1:24 left in the first half put them in front 17-0. Jake Elliott made it 20-0 with a 51-yard field goal in the third quarter, his fifth of the season for at least 50 yards, an Eagles record. Carson Wentz threw his second TD pass, 53 yards to Alshon Jeffery and LeGarrette Blount ran 12 yards for another score in the second half.
Why the Eagles won: They kept heavy pass rush pressure on 49ers rookie QB C.J. Beathard,  sacking him four times and intercepting him twice.

Saints 20, Bears 12
The scoop: Drew Brees did not pass for a touchdown, but he threw for 299 yards in the New Orleans victory. The Saints' touchdowns came on runs by rookie find Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Ingram lost two fumbles in the fourth quarter to keep Chicago in the game. The Bears converted one for a touchdown but lost the ball on downs with 1:51 left after the other.
Why the Saints won: Chicago rookie Mitch Trubisky passed for only 164 yards and the late defensive stand prevented another upset by the Bears.

Vikings 33, Browns 16
The scoop: Minnesota trailed, 13-12 at the half but allowed the Browns only a field goal after that as it continued to win with journeyman Case Keenum at quarterback. Keenum passed for two touchdowns and Kai Forbath kicked four field goals for the Vikes.
Why the Vikings won: Cleveland lost a fumble, missed a 35-yard field goal and went three-and-out three times in the second half.

Hanging in there

Cowboys 33, Redskins 19
The scoop: The Dallas offense produced only two touchdowns, both on runs by Ezekiel Elliott in the first half. Elliott's second score put the Cowboys in front to stay, 14-13 just before halftime. Mike Nugent, who is filling in for the injured Dan Bailey kicked four field goals in the second half. Byron Jones scored on a 31-yard interception return with 21 seconds left to end any Redskins' hopes of a comeback win. Elliott ran for 150 yards on 33 carries.
Why the Cowboys won: They sacked Kirk Cousins four times and pressure him into three turnovers.

Bengals 24, Colts 23
The scoop: Defensive end Carlos Dunlap might have saved the Bengals' season when he batted a Jacoby Brissett pass into the air, caught it and ran 16 yards for the winning touchdown with 6:58 left. It came after the Colts had extended their lead to six points on a 29-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal. Dalton passed for the other two Cincinnati touchdowns. Brissett passed for two Indianapolis touchdowns, one to tight end Jack Doyle who had 12 receptions for 121 yards.
Why the Bengals won: They blocked a Colts punt, converting it into an early field goal and sacked Brissett four times.

Falcons 25, Jets 20
The scoop: Matt Ryan lost two fumbles in the rain at MetLife Stadium but the Jets were able to get only three points out of the turnovers. New York led three different times in the game. Ryan's 8-yard pass to Mohammed Sanu gave the Falcons the lead for good, 22-17, with 12:22 left. Josh McCown passed for both New York touchdowns, each putting New York into the lead, and he was not intercepted.
Why the Falcons won: They shut down the New York running game, holding the Jets to 43 yards and a 2.0 average on the ground.

Dog of the day

Panthers 17, Buccaneers 3

The scoop: Is there a flatter team right now than the Bucs? Carolina drove 82 yards for its first touchdown late in the first quarter with Jonathan Stewart scoring from 1 yard. The other TD came in the fourth quarter on 25-yard pass from Cam Newton to Kelvin Benjamin, who outfought a Bucs defender in the end zonel. Newton completed 18 of 32 for 154 yards and ran 11 times for 44 yards. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.
Why the Panthers won: The NFL's third-ranked defense held Tampa Bay to 279 yards, 113 under its average (392.8) which was second in the league.

News wire services contribute to this report.


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