Sunday’s Week 3 day games featured all sorts of late drama, but perhaps the best news for the NFL was that, for the most part, the league appeared to avoid the devastating spate of major injuries that marked Week 2. Possibly the worst injury, a likely ACL tear for Bears running back Tarik Cohen, marred what was otherwise a remarkable comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons that moved Chicago to 3-0.

Other teams that needed late scores to seal close wins included the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills. Carson Wentz scored a final-minute touchdown for his Philadelphia Eagles in a game that ultimately ended in a tie against the Cincinnati Bengals, while the visiting Carolina Panthers withstood a late push from the Los Angeles Chargers to hold on for an upset win.

The Seahawks’ 38-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys was the last of the day games to end, which was just fine with the NFL, given that the contest delivered all the excitement expected of it. Seattle also moved to 3-0, as did Buffalo, Tennessee and the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Falcons, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets — who again looked thoroughly awful — and New York Giants fell to 0-3.

What you need to know
September 27, 2020 at 8:10 PM EDT
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Seahawks hang on to beat Cowboys

By Des Bieler

The game between the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks was expected to be an exciting, high-scoring affair that, according to oddsmakers, was most likely to end with a Seattle win. The contest delivered on all counts, as the Seahawks used a final-minute interception of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in the end zone to hold on for a 38-31 home win.

With Dallas playing from behind for most of the game, Prescott threw for 455 yards and three touchdowns, but he also had another pick, in addition to the one that effectively iced the game. Seattle counterpart Russell Wilson continued his remarkably efficient, MVP-caliber start by completing 67.5 percent of his passes for 315 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

The last of Wilson’s scoring passes came with under two minutes left, after the Cowboys took a one-point lead, and landed in the arms of wide receiver DK Metcalf, who earlier in the game cost his team a touchdown by letting the ball get popped out of his arms for a touchback just before crossing the goal line. Seattle moved to 3-0, while Dallas fell to 1-2.

September 27, 2020 at 7:38 PM EDT
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Lions get last-second field goal to beat Cardinals

By Des Bieler

Matt Prater hit a 39-yard field goal as time expired to help his Detroit Lions beat the Arizona Cardinals, 26-23. That play capped a drive that began at the Lions’ 9-yard line with just under five minutes left.

Detroit got its first win of the season to improve to 1-2 and give embattled head coach Matt Patricia at least a temporary reprieve, while Arizona fell to 2-1. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray had an up-and-down day, as he threw for 270 yards with two touchdowns, adding 29 yards and another score on the ground, but also threw three interceptions.

September 27, 2020 at 7:36 PM EDT
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Another 300-yard day for Justin Herbert not enough for Chargers

By Mark Maske

Justin Herbert joined Cam Newton and Kyler Murray as the only quarterbacks to begin their NFL careers with two straight 300-yard passing games. But the Los Angeles Chargers fell to 0-2 in Herbert’s two starts with a 21-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Inglewood, Calif.

The Chargers nearly pulled off a 99-yard drive to win the game. They reached the Carolina 28-yard line and had two snaps from there. On the first, Herbert’s pass into the end zone for wide receiver Keenan Allen was broken up. On the second, the Chargers set up a nicely designed play on which Herbert threw a pass to Allen around the 14-yard line, with Allen attempting a lateral to running back Austin Ekeler. But Allen and Ekeler missed connections on the lateral, with plenty of open field ahead of Ekeler.

Herbert, taken sixth overall in the NFL draft in April, completed 35 of 49 passes for 330 yards. He had a touchdown pass and an interception. Herbert is starting because Tyrod Taylor is sidelined after suffering a punctured lung last week while being given a pregame painkilling injection, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.

Matt Rhule got his first NFL coaching victory for the Panthers.

September 27, 2020 at 7:30 PM EDT
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Broncos bench QB Jeff Driskel, bring in Brett Rypien

By Des Bieler

Down 18 early in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Denver Broncos benched quarterback Jeff Driskel and replaced him with Brett Rypien. At that point, Driskel had completed 17 of 30 passes for 176 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Rypien, an undrafted free agent last year who is the nephew of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, initially gave the Broncos a spark by completing his first eight passes, but his ninth was intercepted, two plays after he took a sack. Driskel, whose five sacks taken included a safety, started the game in place of Drew Lock, who is expected to be out for several weeks with a shoulder injury.

September 27, 2020 at 6:53 PM EDT
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Russell Wilson makes NFL history with fourth TD pass

By Des Bieler

Russell Wilson isn’t just cooking this season, he’s making history. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback became the first in NFL history, per reports, to start a season by throwing at least four touchdown passes in each of his first three games.

Wilson hit tight end Jacob Hollister in the third quarter Sunday for a one-yard scoring play, after connecting with wide receiver Tyler Lockett on Seattle’s first three touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys. A six-time Pro Bowler in his ninth season, Wilson has emerged in the early going as a leading contender for MVP honors.

September 27, 2020 at 6:36 PM EDT
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It’s shaping up as another dreadful day for the NFC East

By Mark Maske

Tying the lowly Cincinnati Bengals earlier Sunday in Philadelphia seemed like a disappointing result for the Eagles. By day’s end, it might qualify them as the kings for the day in the NFC East.

It’s entirely possible that the tie with Cincinnati might enable the Eagles to pick up ground on every other team in the lowly division in Week 3.

The New York Giants are 0-3 after losing at home to the San Francisco 49ers, 36-9. The Washington Football Team is 1-2 after losing at Cleveland, 34-20. The Dallas Cowboys trail, 30-15, in the third quarter in Seattle. A loss to the Seahawks would drop the Cowboys’ record to 1-2, and the victory required a miraculous Week 2 comeback against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Eagles are 0-2-1.

September 27, 2020 at 6:26 PM EDT
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Sam Darnold has thrown two pick-sixes as Jets trail big

By Mark Maske

Things are ugly for quarterback Sam Darnold and the New York Jets.

Darnold has thrown three interceptions, two of which have been returned for touchdowns by the Indianapolis Colts.

The Jets trail, 31-7, in Indianapolis and are well on their way to an 0-3 start.

September 27, 2020 at 6:16 PM EDT
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Bears fear torn ACL for RB Tarik Cohen

By Des Bieler

Week 3 has not been as brutal as the previous week was for the NFL in terms of major injuries, but that does not mean everyone is emerging unscathed. The Chicago Bears fear that running back Tarik Cohen, who left a win over the Atlanta Falcons with an injury, has a season-ending torn knee ligament.

“It looks like he did end up tearing his ACL,” Bears Coach Matt Nagy said of Cohen after Chicago’s 30-26, comeback win. “That’ll be a big blow to us.”

A fourth-year player out of North Carolina A&T, the small but speedy Cohen has had an important role in the Bears’ offense. Last week, he signed a three-year contract extension that reportedly guaranteed him approximately $9.5 million and could be worth up to $18.25 million.

September 27, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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Tom Brady throws three first-half touchdown passes

By Mark Maske

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are rolling in Denver.

Brady had three first-half touchdown passes and the Bucs lead, 23-10, at halftime. Two of Brady’s touchdowns went to wide receiver Mike Evans and the other was to fellow wideout Chris Godwin. Brady completed 15 of 24 passes for 166 yards. He even managed to involve tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had four catches for 31 yards.

The Broncos are struggling with Jeff Driskel starting at quarterback in place of the injured Drew Lock. They trailed, 23-3, before Driskel threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Tim Patrick 14 seconds before halftime.

September 27, 2020 at 5:42 PM EDT
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Seahawks’ DK Metcalf has sure TD punched away

By Des Bieler

This time, the Dallas Cowboys benefited from a “Leon Lett moment.” Playing the Seahawks Sunday, the Cowboys were able to get a touchback by punching the ball out of the arms of Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf, who was strolling just a bit too casually to the end zone.

Metcalf beat Dallas cornerback Trevon Diggs deep and caught a bomb from Russell Wilson for what should have been a 63-yard, first-quarter score, but the second-year receiver let the ball get jarred loose by Diggs at the 1-yard line. The result was a 62-yard pass and a fumble, in a game that has also featured a safety scored against the Cowboys and a Dallas extra point attempt that clanged off an upright.

Metcalf’s gaffe instantly reminded many observers of an infamous play from 1993, when Dallas’s Lett scooped up a Buffalo fumble and rumbled toward a sure score in Super Bowl XXVII, only to have Bills wide receiver Don Beebe knock it out of the defensive tackle’s outstretched arm just before he crossed the goal line.

September 27, 2020 at 5:20 PM EDT
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Browns have first winning record since 2014

By Des Bieler

The Browns entered Dec. 14, 2014, with a 7-6 record. They would go on to lose that day to the Cincinnati Bengals, and from then until Sunday — a span of 2,014 days — the Browns would not again have a winning record.

That dubious streak finally ended after Cleveland’s 34-20, Week 3 win over the Washington Football Team. In the interim, the Browns infamously posted records of 3-13, 1-15 and 0-16 from 2015 through 2017, and they missed a chance to end the 2018 season above .500, falling to 7-8-1 with a close loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the season finale.

This season began with a blowout loss to the Ravens, but Cleveland has righted the ship with consecutive wins over the Bengals and now Washington. The Browns’ streak without a winning record was the longest in the NFL heading into Sunday, but now the New York Giants are on the clock (per ESPN), at 55 straight weeks at or below .500.

September 27, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT
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Eagles tie Bengals after false start on overtime FG attempt

By Mark Maske

The Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals can’t beat anyone.

Not even when they’re matched against each other.

The Eagles and Bengals played to the first tie of this NFL season, 23-all, in a 1 o’clock game that stretched well into the 4 p.m. window. Each team is now 0-2-1.

The Eagles lined up for a 59-yard field goal attempt by kicker Jake Elliott with 19 seconds remaining in the 10-minute overtime. But Elliott never got to try the potential game-winning kick. The Eagles committed a false-start penalty and, rather than have Elliott attempt a 64-yarder, punted the ball to the Bengals.

Philadelphia had forced the overtime with a seven-yard touchdown run by quarterback Carson Wentz with 21 seconds left in regulation, followed by an extra point rather than by a two-point conversion attempt to try to win then.

September 27, 2020 at 4:34 PM EDT
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Foles, Bears complete major comeback against Falcons

By Des Bieler

Or, to phrase it slightly differently than the headline: Falcons, Coach Dan Quinn suffer another massive meltdown.

The hot seat under Quinn has to be at core-of-the-Earth levels after this latest disaster, in which Atlanta was up 26-10 at home in the fourth quarter to a Bears team that had already benched its starting quarterback, only to see the Bears win, 30-26. Chicago quarterback Nick Foles, who replaced Mitchell Trubisky once their team fell behind by 16, led the comeback by completing 16 of 29 passes for 188 yards, three touchdowns and an interception that was initially ruled a Chicago touchdown before being reversed.

Quinn’s Falcons memorably coughed up leads of 19 points and then, in the fourth quarter, 15 points before falling to the Dallas Cowboys. Now Atlanta is 0-3, while 3-0 Chicago, which traded for Foles in the offseason, might just have a new starting quarterback.

September 27, 2020 at 4:26 PM EDT
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Bills regroup to beat Rams, aided by interference call

By Mark Maske

The Buffalo Bills squandered a 28-3 lead but, aided by a controversial pass interference penalty, regrouped to beat the Los Angeles Rams, 35-32.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Kroft with 15 seconds remaining. That came after the Bills were given a first down on an interference call against Rams cornerback Darious Williams. He made light contact with Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis on a fourth-down incompletion but drew a flag.

Former NFL officiating czar Mike Pereira, now a rules analyst for Fox, said on the air he actually agreed with the debatable call.

“I agree with this…. I actually do like the call,” Pereira said.

The Rams, of course, benefited from the erroneous pass interference non-call in New Orleans in the NFC title game that allowed them, and not the Saints, to advance to the Super Bowl at the conclusion of the 2018 season. That led to the ill-fated experiment, abandoned after one season, of interference calls and non-calls being reviewable by instant replay in the NFL last year.

The Rams had scored 29 straight points to lead, 32-28, before Allen led the Bills on their winning drive.