Courtland Sutton has signed a four-year contract extension with the Denver Broncos. 

Sutton's new deal, which runs until 2025, is reportedly worth up to $60.8million, with $34.9m of that guaranteed. 

The Pro Bowler follows fellow wide receiver Tim Patrick in putting pen to paper on a new deal with the 5-5 Broncos. 

A second-round pick in 2018, Sutton was in the last year of his rookie contract. 

The 26-year-old only played one game last year after suffering a torn ACL but has played in all 10 games for the Broncos this season, taking 43 catches for 617 yards and two touchdowns. 

Only Demaryius Thomas and Brandon Marshall racked up more receiving yards through their first 43 games for the Broncos than Sutton. 

Denver general manager George Paton said: "Courtland is one of our core players and among the best wide receivers in the NFL. 

"With his combination of size, speed, athleticism and work-ethic, Courtland is a special talent and an integral part of what we are building. 

"It's been a key priority to make sure he's a Bronco well into the future. We're thrilled to reach an agreement on this extension and look forward to Courtland's continued growth and impact for the Broncos." 

The NFL is a passing league. If a team has a quarterback who can elevate those around him and an offensive line that can protect him, chances are they will be well-positioned to contend for the playoffs.

Though the elite quarterbacks in the league can fit the ball into tight windows on a consistent basis, the odds of success on that side of the ball are much higher when those signal-callers are paired with receivers who can defeat man coverage and get into open space.

Excelling at finding the soft spot in zone coverage is also important, while the top play-callers in the NFL frequently engineer space for their receivers.

Yet receivers who can win one-on-one are a tremendous help to quarterbacks, especially those who can defeat the blitz regularly with their ability to efficiently read the field and find the open man.

While determining the 'best' receiver in the NFL is a subjective process that can hinge on an affinity for certain styles of play, success in beating defenders in coverage can be quantified.

Stats Perform has done so with its open percentage metric, which tracks how often a receiver gets open when they're matched up against man coverage and have enough time to run a route. Plays that break down before a matchup with a defender can take place or scramble drills where a receiver uncovers after running his initial route are discounted.

So who are the best and worst in that regard? Here we look at the top performers, some surprise names uncovering more often than perhaps expected and those who rarely separate from defenders.

THE ELITE

A year in which Cooper Kupp leads the NFL with 1,141 receiving yards has seen him established as arguably the premier route runner in the NFL.

That is reflected by his open percentage of 57.75, which is the highest of any player with more than 10 coverage matchups.

Getting open on 41 of his 71 matchups, Kupp has consistently excelled at creating separation. His burn percentage, which measures how often a receiver wins his matchup with a defender when he's targeted, of 65.2 is above the average of 60.3 for wideouts (min. 10 targets), while he is fourth in the NFL in burn yards per route (4.2).

Joining Kupp near the top of the tree is Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings. Proving his record-breaking rookie year was no fluke, Jefferson has faced 108 coverage matchups and got open on 55 of them, good for an open percentage of 50.93. 

Eleventh among receivers with a burn percentage of 73.4 and averaging 3.3 burn yards per route, there has been no sign of a sophomore slump from Jefferson, whose combination of separation ability and prowess at the catch point has turned him into one of the most dependable and dynamic receivers in the league.

Keenan Allen (53.16) is Kupp's closest challenger, the Los Angeles Chargers veteran underlining his status as one of the NFL's most underappreciated receivers by getting open at a rate that may only heighten frustrations around his team's underperforming offense.

Kansas City Chiefs star Tyreek Hill (47.78) boasts an elite open percentage that belies his underwhelming big play rate of 28.0 per cent, with Stefon Diggs' (47.62) success at getting open dispelling the notion of a drop-off from last year's receiving leader. Davante Adams (45.65) is unsurprisingly also among the league's best, yet he is accompanied by some eyebrow-raising names.

SURPRISE STUDS

It has been tough to watch an uninspired Pittsburgh Steelers offense this season and think anyone is getting open.

Almost every passing play the Steelers run seems to end in a contested catch, yet a wideout who thrives in those situations is also winning the vast majority of his coverage matchups.

Indeed, second-year wideout Chase Claypool ranks behind only Kupp and Allen in open percentage, uncovering from a defender on 35 of his 68 matchups (51.47). 

However, a burn yards per route rate of 2.5, just above the average of 2.3, and his struggles in the burn yards per target metric (10.30) indicate that, while Claypool is separating from coverage, he is not putting significant distance between himself and defenders. He will likely need to continue relying on his superiority at the catch point.

As with the Steelers, you won't find too many people who draw a sense of excitement watching a Teddy Bridgewater-led Denver Broncos offense.

There is no doubting the talent on Denver's attack. With Jerry Jeudy hurt and Noah Fant so far failing to take the second-year leap many expected, Courtland Sutton has shone brightest and is on course for a 1,000-yard season, though Tim Patrick's impact has been comparable.

Save for Kendall Hinton (47.83 on 23 matchups), it is the relatively unheralded Patrick who has proven Denver's best at separating, his open percentage of 44.44 from 90 matchups level with Dallas Cowboys star Amari Cooper.

A below-average burn yards per route of 2.0 speaks to a paucity of substantial separation, but Patrick is using the distance he is able to put between himself and defenders to create explosive plays, his big-play rate of 36.7 per cent comfortably above the average of 29.2.

Again leading tight ends in receiving yards (747), most would expect Travis Kelce of the Chiefs to top the list at that position for open percentage. Instead, it is a former AFC West standout in ex-Charger Hunter Henry.

Scoring seven touchdowns in as many games prior to being kept out of the endzone in Thursday's win over the Atlanta Falcons, Henry possesses an open percentage of 48.15. However, he has not been double-teamed this season.

Darren Waller has a double-team percentage of 17.2 and has still managed to get open 46.75 per cent of the time. The attention the Las Vegas Raiders star draws and his ability to succeed despite it illustrate his position as one of the league's biggest matchup nightmares and arguably the gold standard at tight end.

NO ROOM FOR MANOEUVRE

The Packers' offense has stuttered by its own high standards in recent weeks, with their underwhelming numbers not just a product of Jordan Love's struggles against the Chiefs.

Since Week 6, the Packers are averaging 213.2 net passing yards per game – 20th in the NFL. For the season, they are 16th in yards per pass play (6.46).

That mediocrity can, in part, be attributed to a lack of receiving depth beyond Adams, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling's issues getting open encapsulate that problem.

Valdes-Scantling is supposed to be the Packers' deep threat who can stretch defenses with his ability to separate vertically.

Open on only five of his 38 coverage matchups – a percentage of 13.16 – Valdes-Scantling is not fulfilling his role. The Packers will likely need to be more explosive in the playoffs if they are to go all the way, meaning Valdes-Scantling must up his game.

Bryan Edwards is in a similar situation in Las Vegas. Scarcely utilised last season, Edwards has seen a bump in targets in 2021, the Raiders often going to him downfield. 

Edwards' average depth of target is 17.2 yards, but he has found deep separation hard to come by, uncovering on 17 of his 111 matchups (15.32 per cent). Yet with a gaudy burn yards per target average of 15.01 and a big-play rate of 50.7 per cent that is third among receivers (min. 10 targets), Edwards is a player who takes full advantage of the little separation he gets when Derek Carr looks his way.

Edwards' former South Carolina team-mate San Francisco 49ers star Deebo Samuel is performing at the highest level of his young career. Samuel is second behind Kupp with 979 receiving yards and already has seven total touchdowns this season.

However, Samuel ranks near the bottom of the league in open percentage (15.07), with the difference between that number and his overall production a reflection of how he is used by San Francisco.

His average depth of target is 8.6 yards, below the NFL average for receivers of 11.0, speaking to the Niners' reliance on him on screens and short passes that are an extension of the run game.

Third in burn yards per route and leading all wide receivers with an average of 9.6 yards after catch per reception, Samuel takes advantage of those short targets with his speed, elusiveness and power, while he can win at the catch point downfield even without separation. The 49ers often get Samuel in space in the backfield but, for one of the league's most unique players, separation is not always a requirement.

Teddy Bridgewater acknowledged he "failed" the Denver Broncos when he "didn't give everything" on Darius Slay's 83-yard fumble return for a Philadelphia Eagles touchdown.

The Broncos headed into Week 10 on a high after a win at the Dallas Cowboys in which quarterback Bridgewater threw for 249 yards and a touchdown.

But that momentum was sapped by a defeat to another NFC East team on Sunday, with Denver coming up well short in a 30-13 defeat.

Bridgewater struggled to get the ball moving back at home, averaging 6.28 yards per attempt. He has advanced 6.4 yards per attempt in losses this year, versus 8.65 yards per attempt in wins.

But it was what Bridgewater did without the ball that attracted the most attention, as the former Carolina Panthers QB was widely criticised for his role in Slay's score at the end of the third quarter.

Davion Taylor knocked the ball free as Melvin Gordon attempted to get to ground on fourth and one, with Slay recovering the fumble and then running right by Bridgewater, who made no attempt to halt his opponent, en route to the endzone.

Bridgewater reflected on the episode on Monday and accepted he did not come out of it at all well.

"It definitely was [the toughest film session to sit through], especially when you slow it down," he said.

"In real time, it's like everything's happening fast, you've got the sideline to your advantage... and then when you slow it down with the clicker in your hand, it's like man, this is bad.

"Hopefully I never have to be put in that situation again, and if I am, make sure that I lay it all on the line.

"If I am, I'm going to make sure I lay it all on the line. I won't be the talk of social media or the internet or whatever. Hopefully we can just but this behind [us] and move forward."

Bridgewater added: "I'm right there, the opportunity to just dive, sacrifice, do whatever I can to help the team in that moment.

"I failed. And I owned up to it. It's unacceptable as a football player, as a member of this team.

"We play this game, and you lay it all on the line every week, and that's one of those moments where I've just got to accept the fact that I didn't give everything I had in me on that play.

"I understand, man; there's going to be some backlash that comes with it. I'm a grown man. I'm a professional athlete. I understand that's what comes with it – backlash and things like that.

"It doesn't define who we are as a football team, it doesn't define me as a man and as a football player."

The Dallas Cowboys managed to hold down the fort while Dak Prescott was sidelined with a calf strain, but everything fell apart as their quarterback returned to the line-up in Sunday's 30-16 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Prescott completed fewer than half of his pass attempts and could not lead Dallas to any points until the game was well out of reach in an emphatic home defeat against the Broncos that ended their six-game winning streak in the NFL.

Dallas turned the ball over on downs on their first two possessions and four times overall in the game, failing on all four of their fourth-down conversion attempts as they compiled a season-low 290 yards after averaging 454.9 entering the game.

"Frankly we were outcoached, we were outplayed all the way through," Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters. "This is the first time I've felt clearly our energy didn't exceed our opponent. That's disappointing."

The Cowboys had not trailed by double digits all season but found themselves down 30-0 by the time Prescott threw the first of two touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter.

Prescott entered the game leading the NFL with a 73.1 completion percentage but connected on just 19 of 39 attempts (48.7 per cent), matching the second-worst showing of his six-year NFL career. 

The Cowboys QB insisted he felt "fine" and there were no residual effects from the leg he injured on the game-winning touchdown pass three weeks earlier against the New England Patriots, but acknowledged he did not perform to his standards.

"I mean obviously I wasn't as clean as I normally am or as I have been. It's tough to say and blame that [injury]," Prescott said. "I'm not going to sit there and blame two weeks [off] when I had a great week of practice under my belt coming into this one.

"I just missed some throws and we weren't our normal selves in the passing game when we needed to be. We didn't execute…

"We got beat. We got thumped in every aspect of the game, especially on offence."

McCarthy could have been forgiven for pulling Prescott with the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, especially coming off an injury, but the quarterback said he never considered remaining on the sidelines no matter the margin. 

"There was game left out there to be played," Prescott said. "It never crossed my mind that I was coming out of the game. I think if somebody would have tried to make that decision, I would have told them I wasn't.

"We needed to get something going. We needed to get some energy, some momentum. We needed to show our fight, our resiliency, something that's won us a lot of games. When you're getting beat like that, you've got to show your character.

"I think that's where the path starts with all of us staying in the game and fighting to the end and trying to get some momentum or something going just to take from this game."

Baker Mayfield threw a 60-yard touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones as the Cleveland Browns won without Odell Beckham Jr in Week 9, although Joe Burrow contributed to the Cincinnati Bengals' 41-16 defeat.

The Browns made the short trip to Cincinnati with Peoples-Jones back from a groin injury and in the lineup after fellow receiver Beckham was released at the end of a week that began with his father criticising quarterback Mayfield.

Beckham had underwhelmed this year since his return to fitness and his absence certainly was not felt on Sunday as Cleveland moved to 5-4 in a big AFC North matchup.

Before Mayfield came to the fore, though, Burrow endured a miserable start. Moments after a penalty reprieve when he was sacked on third and goal, the Bengals QB threw straight to Browns cornerback Denzel Ward on the goal line, covering Ja'Marr Chase and racing away for a 99-yard defensive TD.

Joe Mixon replied with the first of his two rushing scores, but Nick Chubb battled through contact to finish Cleveland's first drive with a TD, which Peoples-Jones added to as he caught Mayfield's first target to a wideout.

Long scores were the name of the day for the Browns, as Chubb's second saw him go 70 yards to score in the third quarter.

Burrow, who had scored three TDs in each of his previous three games, tying a Bengals record, was then picked off again throwing to Chase – this time by John Johnson III. Chase had earlier fumbled for a turnover of his own on a miserable day for two of Cincinnati's offensive stars.

Mayfield finished with 218 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions on 14-of-21 passing. His second TD pass to David Njoku was set up by another throw to Peoples-Jones, who had 86 yards on just two catches.

Big upsets for Boys and Bills

The Dallas Cowboys had not lost since Week 1 but have a miserable record against the Denver Broncos, who had won the teams' past six meetings – their best ever run against a single opponent and the Cowboys' worst such streak. And six became seven as the Broncos won 30-16 in Dallas, holding their hosts scoreless until the fourth quarter despite Dak Prescott's return.

The Buffalo Bills also suffered a shock defeat as they went down 9-6 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game of zero touchdowns. Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen picked, sacked and recovered a fumble from his namesake, Bills QB Josh Allen.

However, the Baltimore Ravens survived a scare, as Lamar Jackson led them back from 17-3 down to make overtime, where Justin Tucker clinched a 34-31 win. Jackson is now 12-0 as a starter against NFC opponents.

Darnold spooked again

Sam Darnold said he was "seeing ghosts" when he threw four interceptions for the New York Jets against the New England Patriots in 2019, and Bill Belichick's defense has continued to spook the quarterback. He had three picks with the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and now has nine in just four career starts against New England, all four of which the Pats have won.

New England are hot on the heels of the Bills now, while AFC East rivals the Miami Dolphins snapped their seven-game losing run against the Houston Texans despite Tua Tagovailoa sitting out with a finger issue.

Dallas Cowboys star Dak Prescott said it is "safe to say" he will return from injury and start against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

A calf injury forced Prescott to miss last week's 20-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings, backup quarterback Cooper Rush sensationally fuelling the high-flying Cowboys.

After two weeks off to recover from a right calf strain, two-time Pro Bowler Prescott is now set to suit up to face the Broncos.

"Safe to say," Prescott told reporters on Thursday when asked if he would play on Sunday.

"I'm feeling good. Obviously I had two weeks to do a lot of rehab and recover, get everything that I needed to, the different modalities, and I feel good.

"Had two great days of practice and looking forward to Sunday."

The Cowboys (6-1) are averaging 40.3 points per game at home this season compared to 26.0 points per game on the road. Dallas have scored at least 36 points in five straight home games dating back to last season, according to Stats Perform.

In his first career NFL start, Rush threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, including a 73-yard touchdown pass to Cedrick Wilson. The last Dallas quarterback to have a 70-yard TD pass in their first career NFL start was Roger Staubach in 1969.

Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead rejected suggestions they are all-in on this season with the acquisition of All-Pro outside linebacker Von Miller, insisting he has been added with an immediate and long-term view.

The 7-1 Rams bolstered their defence by striking a blockbuster trade for Miller from the Denver Broncos on Monday, although the 32-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season under the deal.

The Rams gave up second and third-round picks in 2022 to the Broncos for the Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl 50 MVP, and will pay $9million of the $9.7m Miller is owed on his contract for the remainder of the season.

Miller's arrival is anticipated to substantially propel the Rams towards winning their first Super Bowl since 1999 but Snead insisted it was not an all-in approach to win an elusive title.

"We're actually looking at this from a standpoint of how soon can he help us, can he help us if we're fortunate enough to continue going and make the 2021 tournament, how can he help us there," Snead told reporters on Tuesday. "And then there's a long-term vision for Von as well."

On the draft picks exchanged, Snead added: "I even got a mug that my kids have given me about what I think about draft picks. I get the shallow narrative, it's fun and narrative but we like to think we use our picks innovatively and creatively… We're going to get four more compensatory picks based on players that signed elsewhere last year so we should have around eight total picks."

Miller joins a top-heavy defence that but boasts fearsome stars in the form of defensive tackle Aaron Donald, regarded by many as the best player in the NFL, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Rams defence leads the NFL with 25 sacks this season.

Since being drafted by the Broncos with the second overall pick in 2011, Miller has recorded 110.5 sacks – the most in the NFL, winning the Super Bowl 50 MVP award as he played a key role in delivering the Lombardi Trophy to Denver at the end of the 2015 season.

"Outside linebacker, very important in our defence especially someone who is or has a pedigree of affecting the passer like he has," Snead said. "We did feel like that adding Von to that front seven mix would be a player that would stress the protection, stress the opponent, the one-on-one matchup."

Miller is set to make his Rams debut on Sunday in a primetime clash with the Tennessee Titans, who will be without running back Derrick Henry, who may miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.

The Los Angeles Rams have substantially bolstered their defense by striking a blockbuster trade for Denver Broncos edge rusher Von Miller.

According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, Miller is saying his goodbyes to the Broncos after Denver agreed to deal him to the Rams for a pair of day-two draft choices.

The Broncos, according to Schefter, are paying $9million of Miller's remaining $9.7m salary as part of the trade.

Miller is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but the Rams will hope his addition to the defense can propel them to a Super Bowl title that has eluded them since the 1999 season.

He joins a top-heavy defense that has taken a step back in 2021 but boasts fearsome stars in the form of defensive tackle Aaron Donald, regarded by many as the best player in the NFL, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

And the Rams can afford to be confident they are getting a player still capable of delivering the pass-rush production that has defined his stellar career.

Since being drafted by the Broncos in 2011 with the second overall pick, Miller has recorded 110.5 sacks, the most in the NFL, winning the Super Bowl 50 MVP award as he played a key role in delivering the Lombardi Trophy to Denver at the end of the 2015 season.

Miller was inactive for the Broncos' Week 8 win over the Washington Football Team but has done an excellent job of creating pressure this campaign.

He has a pressure rate of 24.8 per cent, which was well above the pre-Week 8 average of 17.2 per cent for edge rushers.

Miller is set to make his Rams debut on Sunday in a primetime clash with a Tennessee Titans team that will be without running back Derrick Henry, who may miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.

Hall of Famer and Denver Broncos great Peyton Manning said he is not involved with any potential new ownership groups and the Super Bowl-winning quarterback is unsure if he would like to be.

Manning joined the Broncos from the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 and led the NFL franchise to Super Bowl 50 glory before retiring at the end of the 2015 season.

The Broncos could reportedly be sold next year if the children of late Pat Bowlen, who died in 2019, cannot agree who should be the majority owner.

Manning, however, is currently not interested in returning to the Broncos in an ownership capacity.

"I haven't had any serious conversations with anyone,'' two-time Super Bowl champion Manning said on Sunday. "Certainly, there's some people who have called me and said 'Hey, what do you think is going to happen with the Broncos? Are you going to try to own the team? I keep looking for that $3billion in my pocket, I can't find it, I think it's in a hidden account somewhere. That's not really on my radar.

"People are obviously interested, they're curious,'' Manning added. "I care because I live here and I go to the games, and I want to know what's going to happen like everyone else. But I have no relationship or agreement with anybody."

Manning – who was honoured before Sunday's 17-10 win over the Washington Football Team – added: "Even if I'm offered an opportunity, I haven't decided if I would even do it. I actually like what I'm doing now. I get to stay close to the game ... I get to coach [son] Marshall's flag football team, I went to a doubleheader softball game to see [daughter] Mosley play.

"I'm just taking everything on a one-year-at-a-time basis, next year who knows how I'll feel ... But I'll always be a part of the Broncos, I'll say that."

Tom Brady threw a costly pick-six to ice a 36-27 win for the New Orleans Saints over NFL Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

All eyes were on Saints quarterback Jameis Winston in his reunion with the Buccaneers, having moved to New Orleans in April last year following five mixed seasons with Tampa Bay.

But Winston was carted off the field in the second quarter against his former team, suffering a knee injury during a horse-collar tackle by Buccaneers linebacker Devin White.

Winston had completed six of 10 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown while scrambling for 40 yards before exiting the game with the score tied 7-7.

Led by veteran backup Trevor Siemian, the Saints (5-2) still held on to sink Brady's Buccaneers (6-2) on home turf, despite the latter becoming the all-time leader for most three-plus passing TD games in NFL history (98).

Four touchdown passes from seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady helped the Buccaneers overturn a 23-7 deficit – Tampa Bay moving ahead 27-26 following a 50-yard throw to Cyril Grayson just over five minutes from the end.

But Brian Johnson's field goal with less than two minutes remaining restored New Orleans' lead, albeit by two points, before P.J. Williams picked off Brady – his second interception of the contest – for a 40-yard interception return to seal the win.

 

Broncos block two field goals

The Denver Broncos and their defence held firm to see off the lowly Washington Football Team 17-10.

Denver blocked two field goals en route to their fourth win of the season, snapping a four-game skid.

Dre'Mont Jones (in the fourth quarter) and Shelby Harris (in the second period) each blocked field-goal attempts from Chris Blewitt as the Broncos avoided going winless in October for the first time since 1967.

Backup quarterback Case Keenum won the praise of Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski after he led the team to a narrow and crucial victory over the Denver Broncos.

Cleveland emerged from Thursday Night Football with a 17-14 home win despite playing without injured starting QB Baker Mayfield.

Star running back duo Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were also ruled out, putting the Browns under huge pressure as they looked to rebound from consecutive losses to the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals.

Defeat could have left the Browns – who are targeting a postseason run in 2021 – floundering, but instead they improved to 4-3, as Keenum played a clean game with 199 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers and ran for a key redzone fourth-down conversion in the second half.

"Case fought like he always does," Stefanski said after Keenum claimed his first NFL win since 2019.

"I thought he orchestrated the operation. He took care of the football and that was a huge play in the end zone there on fourth down. 

"Just to make a play, fighting for extra yardage. He did a great job fighting."

D'Ernest Johnson stepped in for Chubb and Hunt to record 146 rushing yards and his first career touchdown, while the Browns' defense was impressive with Myles Garrett getting 1.5 sacks and John Johnson intercepting Teddy Bridgewater.

"Unfortunately, some people are going to get hurt," said Keenum. "At the same time, you love other young guys getting chances.

"I felt calm and poised. It was a great first drive there. Kevin put together a great first 15 and the offensive line did a great job.

"Defense played really, really well. To hold those guys to what they did in some pretty clutch moments was big.

"It feels pretty good, it was a lot of fun. We have a great group of guys and they fought their tails off."

Mayfield has a shoulder fracture and a torn labrum but still hopes to be back for the Halloween clash against AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.

For the Broncos (3-4), pass-rusher Von Miller will undergo an MRI scan on Friday due to an ankle injury he suffered after colliding with a team-mate in the second quarter.

But head coach Vic Fangio believes Miller has just suffered a sprain while the player himself said he thinks he has "dodged a bullet".

"My pride is hurt more than anything," said the former Super Bowl MVP.

The Cleveland Browns have snapped their two-game skid without Baker Mayfield with a 17-14 victory over the Denver Broncos in Thursday Night Football.

Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson stole the show in his first career start, scoring the first touchdown after only five plays and finishing the game with 22 carries for 146 yards.

Case Keenum, making his first Browns start in place of the injured Mayfield, completed 21 from 33 attempts for 199 yards including one touchdown pass.

The result improves Cleveland to 4-3, while it means the Broncos have lost four in a row, sliding to a 3-4 record.

The Browns led 10-0 at half-time after Chase McLaughlin's 52-yard attempt, before the Broncos rallied with Melvin Gordon diving in at the corner from Teddy Bridgewater's touchdown pass to narrow the deficit.

Keenum found Johnny Stanton with a short touchdown pass to restore Cleveland's 10-point lead in the third quarter.

The Broncos scored late from a 17-play drive as Bridgewater, who completed 23 from 33 attempts for 187 yards but had one interception, found Javonte Williams for his second touchdown pass of the game.

Jon Gruden's resignation as head coach was used as a catalyst to inspire the Las Vegas Raiders to victory over the Denver Broncos, according to quarterback Derek Carr.

The Raiders were rocked last week when Gruden stepped down after an investigation revealed numerous offensive emails he sent while working as a television analyst.

Gruden apologised for any hurt caused by the messages, which are alleged to have contained racist, homophobic and sexist content.

A tumultuous week for the Raiders ended on a positive note, though, thanks to a 34-24 win over the Broncos on Sunday as they snapped a two-game losing run and improved to 4-2. 

Carr starred in Rich Bisaccia's first game as interim head coach, throwing 341 yards and two touchdowns in completing 18 of 27 passes.

The 30-year-old's passer rating of 134.4 was his highest in almost three years and came at the perfect time for his side. 

"We needed a win bad this week," he said. "Sometimes when you get punched in the gut, it's hard to bounce back. But we were able to do it.

"If anything, what's happened the this heightened our intensity, it heightened our focus. 

"More now than ever, we had to step up and be a voice. There will be a time for all the emotions, but now is not the time. 

"It sucks not hugging 'Gru' after a game like that. Some of the plays we ran, he would have been so fired up, but it is what it is and we need to move forward. 

"For those three hours, it's definitely easier to just focus on football."

Carr's fourth 300-plus passing yard game of the season is the second-most ever of any Raiders player after six games after Rich Gannon, who had five at this stage in 2002.

The Raiders forced four turnovers in defense and committed zero turnovers of their own – the first time that has happened since the 1988 season against the Kansas City Chiefs.

For Bisaccia, it marked a first win in what was his first game as a head coach at any level.

"The best part for me was to be able to get on the grass," he said after the triumph at Empower Field at Mile High. "The worst part for me was figuring out the headset! 

"Once you get on the field and the game goes, a lot of my responsibilities were the same. It's emotional for everybody, right? 

"I think they did a good job. It's a bunch of grown men, handling their emotions throughout the week, putting them in perspective when it was time to go play the game. 

"It's a job for all of us. They seemed to do a really good job with it. We'll see what goes on."

The Cowboys came from behind twice in the fourth quarter to force overtime before Dak Prescott's touchdown pass in the extra session gave Dallas a 35-29 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday. 

Prescott hit a wide-open CeeDee Lamb from 35 yards out with just under four minutes to play in overtime for the victory, the final strike in a game that saw the Dallas quarterback complete 36 of 51 passes for 445 yards and three TDs. 

The final touchdown capped a wild final few minutes in Foxborough, where Trevon Diggs momentarily stunned the New England crowd by intercepting rookie quarterback Mac Jones and returning it 42 yards for a score to give Dallas a 26-21 lead with 2:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Diggs has intercepted a pass in every game this season, with seven picks overall, and has returned two of them for touchdowns. He is the first NFL player in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to intercept at least seven passes with multiple touchdowns in his team's first six games of the season. 

But Jones answered on the very next play, hitting Kendrick Bourne for a 75-yard touchdown and passing for the two-point conversion to give New England a 29-26 lead with 2:11 to play. 

That was too much time to leave Prescott, though, and he drove the Cowboys (5-1) downfield to set up kicker Greg Zuerlein – who had missed from 51 yards minutes earlier – for a 49-yard field goal that sent the game to overtime. 

After the Dallas defence forced New England (2-4) to punt in the first possession of overtime, Prescott completed all five of his pass attempts on the game-winning drive. 

The Cowboys racked up 567 yards of total offence on the day, the first time the Patriots allowed at least 500 yards in a game since surrendering 538 to the Philadelphia Eagles in losing Super Bowl LII four years ago. 

Murray, Cardinals stay unbeaten

Kyler Murray threw four touchdown passes as the Arizona Cardinals remained the NFL's only unbeaten team with a 37-14 rout of the Cleveland Browns. 

Murray completed 20 of 30 passes for 229 yards and did not throw an interception as Arizona – without head coach Kliff Kingsbury due to COVID-19 – built a 20-0 lead, then saw Cleveland come back before half-time before pulling away after the interval. 

Baker Mayfield tossed a pair of touchdowns in the final 5:06 of the opening half before suffering a shoulder injury as the Cardinals' defence held Cleveland scoreless after the break on the way to their first 6-0 start since 1974.

In Denver, the Las Vegas Raiders held off the Broncos 34-24 in Rich Bisaccia's first game as interim head coach after Jon Gruden's resignation Monday. 

The Baltimore Ravens tied the NFL record for most consecutive 100-yard rushing games after head coach John Harbaugh made a conscious decision to keep a "meaningful" streak alive.

With a 23-7 win over the Denver Broncos already in hand, the Ravens could have taken a knee in the final seconds but, three yards shy of tying the Pittsburgh Steelers' record of 43 successive games with at least 100 rushing yards, Baltimore elected to call a designed run for quarterback Lamar Jackson, who duly picked up five to keep their run intact.

Though moving to 3-1 on the season was of chief importance, Harbaugh felt the achievement of equaling the rushing record had a significance that influenced his decision.

"One hundred per cent my call," Harbaugh said. "That's one of those things that's meaningful.

"It's one of those things that, as a head coach, you've got to be mindful of your team and your players and your coaches and what it means to them.

"It's a very, very tough record to accomplish and it's a long-term record. I'm not going to say it's more important than winning the game, for sure. It's certainly not.

"But as a head coach, I think you do that for your players and you do that for your coaches and that's something they'll have for the rest of their lives."

Jackson, who threw for 316 yards and a touchdown, had a relatively quiet day on the ground, finishing with just 28 yards rushing.

Despite his coach's words, statistics and records clearly mean little to the 2019 MVP.

"I'm happy we got the [win]," Jackson said. "I'm not going to lie. I didn't even care about the record."

The Ravens can break the record next Monday when they host the 1-3 Indianapolis Colts in Week 5.

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