NFL

Patriots strike blow in race for one seed, Brady & Bucs survive against Colts

By Sports Desk November 28, 2021

The New England Patriots struck another blow in the race for the one seed in the AFC, defeating the banged-up Tennessee Titans to leapfrog them with a 36-13 victory at Gillette Stadium.

New England went into Sunday's heavyweight clash having won five successive games, and their ability to produce turnovers proved key in extending that streak to six.

Tennessee, minus their top offensive playmakers in injured running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver A.J. Brown, committed four giveaways while the Patriots produced a flawless game in that regard, rookie quarterback Mac Jones recording his second 300-yard passing game of a stellar first season.

Both teams now stand at 8-4, with the Patriots' victory giving them the tiebreaker over the Titans, with another test of New England's Super Bowl credentials to come a week on Monday when they face AFC East rivals the Buffalo Bills (7-4) on the road.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine's touchdown reception and a 68-yard rushing score from Dontrell Hilliard meant the Titans only trailed 16-13 at half-time.

But their first two drives of the second half, sandwiched by a field goal for New England, ended in a fumble and a punt and Tennessee's slow start to the third quarter was exacerbated when Kendrick Bourne's 41-yard catch and run for his second touchdown of the day gave the Patriots a 26-13 lead.

The Titans drove to New England's two-yard line in response, only for Ryan Tannehill to see a fourth-down pass to Cody Hollister tipped and intercepted by J.C. Jackson.

That allowed the Patriots to stretch the lead with Nick Folk's fifth field goal and, after another failed fourth-down attempt from Tannehill, Damien Harris capped things off for New England with a 14-yard run as they sent an emphatic message to the rest of the AFC.

FOURnette stars as Bucs win Colts thriller

Defending Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trailed by 10 points at the end of the half in a see-saw battle with the Indianapolis Colts.

But five Colts turnovers tipped the balance in the favour of the Bucs, Leonard Fournette's fourth touchdown securing a 38-31 victory and a 51st game-winning drive for Tom Brady, putting him three shy of Peyton Manning's all-time record, despite a late 71-yard kickoff return from Isaiah Rodgers that almost forced overtime.

The Bucs (8-3) have a commanding lead atop the NFC South, with the Carolina Panthers' defeat to the Miami Dolphins dropping them to 5-7. The 6-6 Colts remain firmly in the Wild Card picture in the AFC.

Bengals sweep Steelers

The Cincinnati Bengals moved within half a game of the AFC North lead as they completed their first season sweep of the Pittsburgh Steelers since the 2009 season.

It was a feat they achieved in style with a 41-10 rout, running back Joe Mixon the star of the show with 165 rushing yards and two touchdowns, with Joe Burrow's lone touchdown throw to Tee Higgins his 10th of 30 or more yards this season.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger endured a miserable day, throwing two interceptions and suffering three sacks to drop Pittsburgh to 5-5-1. The 7-4 Bengals will end the day atop the division if the Baltimore Ravens, who own the top seed with Titans' defeat, lose to the Cleveland Browns later on Sunday.

Related items

  • Browns reach agreement with Njoku on four-year extension Browns reach agreement with Njoku on four-year extension

    The Cleveland Browns have reached an agreement with tight end David Njoku on a four-year contract extension.

    Cleveland placed the franchise tag on Njoku in March and have now come to terms with a player they hope will be pivotal to their offensive success.

    According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Browns and Njoku have agreed a deal in principle worth $56.75million.

    He will receive $28million guaranteed, according to the report, with an average annual salary of $14.18million making him the fifth-highest paid tight end in the league.

    The Browns are betting on Njoku's upside, with the 2017 first-round pick yet to live up to expectations since Cleveland took him with the 29th overall selection five years ago.

    His best season in terms of receiving yards came back in 2018 when he finished with 56 catches for 639 yards, but Njoku has since struggled with injuries.

    He played in only four games in 2019 and 13 in 2020 as the Browns reached the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

    Njoku started 11 of his 16 games in 2021 and finished with 475 yards and four touchdowns in a campaign that saw a disappointing Browns team fail to qualify for the postseason, though his average of 13.2 yards per reception ranked fourth among all qualifying tight ends.

  • 'Find something else to talk about' - Lamar Jackson dismisses OTAs criticism 'Find something else to talk about' - Lamar Jackson dismisses OTAs criticism

    Lamar Jackson hit back at criticism of his absence from Baltimore Ravens' OTAs as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

    The 2019 NFL MVP has shown no willingness to engage in discussions with the Ravens over a contract extension.

    He has insisted he has no desire to part company with Baltimore, but Jackson has not been present as the Ravens have started early on-field preparations for the 2022 campaign with the OTAs – organised team activities.

    Jackson was criticised by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, who referenced previous comments from the Ravens star, who previously said he wanted to be the Tom Brady of his era.

    Simms said on PFT Live: "Brady wouldn't be missing OTAs in year four of his career. ... Brady didn't miss an OTA until he had played in four Super Bowls."

    Responding to those comments quoting a tweet featuring a clip of Simms' remarks, Jackson wrote: "Lamar wants to be Lamar Chris.

    "This part of OTAs is voluntary my guy I will be there, just not on your watch. It's probably other QBs not attending voluntary OTAs either but since it's Lamar it's a huge deal. Find something else to talk about."

    Simms responded, saying: "That’s all good my man. You be you. I am rooting for you. Yes I would like to see you at OTAs. But you got to do what’s best for you. Not singling you out.

    "We have discussed all QBs who have not attended OTAs. You are Lamar freaking Jackson!! Of course we r gonna talk bout you."

    Jackson won the MVP award in his second season after throwing for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He also ran for 1,206 yards and seven scores.

    However, the Ravens suffered a shock Divisional Round loss to the Tennessee Titans to end that season, and were eliminated at the same stage of the 2020 campaign by the Buffalo Bills.

    Jackson endured an injury-hindered 2021 season, throwing 16 touchdowns to 13 interceptions and adding a career-low two touchdowns on the ground as the Ravens missed the playoffs with an 8-9 record.

    No player in the NFL has a higher yards-per-carry average over the course of the last three seasons than Jackson's 6.36.

  • Brilliant Buttler blasts Royals into IPL final with another hundred Brilliant Buttler blasts Royals into IPL final with another hundred

    The latest episode in Jos Buttler's outstanding 2022 IPL took Rajasthan Royals through to the final and a rematch with Gujarat Titans.

    The Royals were beaten by the Titans in the first qualifier, forcing them to face Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday for a place in the season's showpiece.

    Buttler ensured RCB were soundly beaten, smashing an unbeaten 106 off 60 balls to clinch a seven-wicket victory.

    The Royals still had 11 balls to spare when Buttler's sixth six completed the job on 161-3.

    None of the England star's team-mates had to pass 25 runs as he did all the heavy lifting in partnerships of 61 with Yashasvi Jaiswal, 52 with Sanju Samson, 35 with Devdutt Padikkal and 13 with Shimron Hetmyer in reply to RCB's 157-8.

    A stunning Buttler catch had removed the dangerous Rajat Patidar (58) in the outstanding moment of the RCB innings, too, as his almost single-handed pursuit of the title continued.

    Buttler blowing away the competition

    This has long since been Buttler's best IPL campaign, and there remains a slim chance he also takes the tournament record. In pursuit of Virat Kohli's 973 runs in 2016, he moved on to 824 for this tournament with his fourth century. The rest of the players in this year's IPL have produced only four hundreds between them.

    As well as the most runs in the 2022 IPL, Buttler leads the way for fours (78, 26 clear of second place) and sixes (45, 11 clear).

    Top two tussle once again

    This will be the Royals' first final since the inaugural IPL in 2008, when they took the title, but Rajasthan will have their work cut out against a Titans side who are in their debut season.

    Gujarat finished two points ahead of the second-placed Royals in the points table, having won the match between the pair by 37 runs. The margin in the subsequent qualifier was seven wickets. Buttler top-scored for Rajasthan on both occasions, but their opponents have collectively shown they have the firepower to match him.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.