Washington 20 — Cincinnati 9
LANDOVER (AP) — Top pick Joe Burrow was carted off with a left knee injury before Alex Smith rallied Washington past the Cincinnati Bengals 20-9 Sunday to keep his team in the thick of the NFC East race.
Burrow, Cincinnati’s franchise quarterback, was injured early in the third quarter when he was hit high and low by two Washington linemen after throwing a pass. His left leg bent awkwardly, and he couldn’t put any weight on it, ending his day at 22-of-34 passing for 203 yards and a touchdown.
His season appears over, too. Burrow tweeted: “Thanks for all the love. Can’t get rid of me that easy. See ya next year.”
Burrow’s departure allowed Smith and Washington (3-7) to take over and move a half-game back of Philadelphia for first place in the NFL’s weakest division. Just after Burrow left, the 36-year-old Smith — who broke his right tibia and fibula on the same field just over two years ago — led a go-ahead, 55-yard scoring drive that ended with a 3-yard TD pass to Steven Sims.
In his second start since that gruesome injury Nov. 18, 2018, Smith was 17 of 25 for 166 yards and had a pass intercepted after it was tipped late in the first half.
Washington rookie running back Antonio Gibson ran for 94 yards and a TD.
Burrow’s replacement, Ryan Finley, couldn’t do much for Cincinnati (2-7-1), which didn’t punt once in the first half with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at the helm. Finley was 3 of 10 for 30 yards and an interception in the final minutes.
YOUNG MAKES PLAY
Long before Burrow was injured, No. 2 pick Chase Young made the most of the first pro matchup against his old Ohio State teammate picked immediately before him in the draft. Young forced Burrow to fumble on the run during a fourth-and-goal play early in the second quarter, a sequence that ended with a touchback for Washington.
Cincinnati was without three assistants for COVID-19-related reasons: wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell, cornerbacks coach Steve Jackson and safeties coach Robert Livingston. The team also had assistants out last week at Pittsburgh.
Washington had its first coronavirus positive this week and put defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis on the COVID-19/reserve list but wasn’t missing anyone for the game. Ioannidis has been on injured reserve since Sept. 29 and didn’t travel for the game last weekend at Detroit.
Washington backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins raised his left fist in the air during the national anthem. Tight end Logan Thomas stayed in the bowels of the stadium for the song, emerging after it was over.
Bengals: Played a fourth consecutive game without running back Joe Mixon because of a foot injury. Mixon went on injured reserve Saturday, meaning he’ll miss at least the next two.
Washington: Was without starting left tackle Cornelius Lucas and free safety Deshazor Everett because of ankle injuries.
Washington has a short turnaround before visiting Dallas on Thanksgiving, while Cincinnati hosts the New York Giants next Sunday.
Browns 22, Eagles 17
CLEVELAND (AP) — With Myles Garrett not available, the Browns needed others to step up and make plays.
Kareem Hunt went above and beyond.
Hunt hurdled Philadelphia’s Jalen Mills on a touchdown run, Olivier Vernon made up for Garrett’s absence due to COVID-19 by getting three sacks and a safety, and Cleveland stayed firmly in the playoff picture with a wet 22-17 victory over the Eagles.
Hunt’s leaping 5-yard score came shortly after a dazzling 54-yard run by Nick Chubb as the Browns (7-3) finally found traction in their running game in a constant downpour.
“Nobody was stopping him from getting into the end zone,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said of Hunt, who came up just short of the goal line on a fourth-down run in the first half. “Those two guys push each other, root for each other and it’s a sight to be seen.”
Cleveland also got a 50-yard interception return TD in the first half by second-year linebacker Sione Takitaki, and the Browns constantly harassed Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz despite playing without Garrett, the NFL’s sacks leader.
Wentz’s 4-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert pulled the Eagles (3-6-1) within 22-17, but the Browns recovered an onside kick and secured win No. 7 — one more than they had in 2019 — under Stefanski.
On Friday, the Browns placed Garrett on the COVID-19 list, and it’s not known when they’ll get back the dynamic end. But his teammates stepped up and made the kind of big plays that he’s become known for.
Chubb and Hunt, who give Cleveland a devastating 1-2 punch, combined on the game’s biggest sequence in the fourth quarter.
After the Eagles closed within 12-10 on Jake Elliott’s 43-yard field goal, Hunt went on his long run, which included him flattening defensive end Joe Ostman with a stiff arm.
Two plays later, Hunt swept right and jumped over an unsuspecting Mills near the goal line to put the Browns up 19-10.
It was another tough day for Wentz and the Eagles, plagued by inconsistency and hurt by injuries all season. Wentz made a bad choice on his pick to Takitaki, threw a late interception — his 14th this season — and was sacked five times. Wentz has been sacked a league-leading 40 times.
Saints 24, Falcons 9
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Taysom Hill rushed for two touchdowns and passed for 233 yards in his first NFL start at quarterback, and New Orleans won its seventh straight.
With 41-year-old quarterback Drew Brees sidelined at least three games with multiple rib fractures, Saints coach Sean Payton gave Hill the nod over offseason free-agent acquisition Jameis Winston.
Hill, who started his career as a utility player with the Saints in 2017, looked comfortable running the scheme Payton designed for him this week. He completed 18 of 23 passes (78.3%) without an interception and used his all-around athleticism to run intermittently on scrambles or designed read-option plays, finishing with a team-high 51 yards rushing.
He had a considerably better day than Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who was sacked eight times and finished 19-of-37 passing for 232 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions to defensive backs Marcus Williams and Janoris Jenkins. Cameron Jordan sacked Ryan three times, while Trey Hendrickson and David Onyemata each had two sacks.
Because of Hill’s unconventional role, with duties ranging from change-of-pace option QB to tight end and special teams, he had played in 46 previous NFL games before finally getting his first start under center.
He entered having thrown just five passes with four completions for 86 yards this season, and was 10 of 18 for 205 yards in his career, leaving him relatively unproven as a passer.
Not anymore. Despite a level of athleticism that would have made scrambling a tempting default choice, he regularly showed patience and poise in the pocket and delivered accurate passes moments before impact from onrushing defenders.
Hill was among the last to leave the field after the game, raising one hand to acknowledge cheers of the pandemic-limited crowd of about 6,000.