The Buffalo Bills scored a touchdown on the opening possession of each half and remained alone in first place atop the AFC East by holding off the Los Angeles Chargers in a 27-17 victory Sunday at Orchard Park, N.Y.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw for 157 yards and one touchdown and ran for another score as the Bills improved to 8-3 in the chase for their first division title since 1995.
Devin Singletary rushed for 82 yards for the Bills and Stefon Diggs caught seven passes for 39 yards.
Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert was 31-of-52 passing for 316 yards and one touchdown, but Los Angeles (3-7) lost for the fourth time in its last five games.
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Chargers running back Austin Ecker, who played for the first time since Week 4 because of a hamstring injury, had 11 catches for 85 yards and ran for a team-leading 44 yards.
The Bills took their opening drive 63 yards on four plays, helped by a pass-interference penalty by the Chargers. Allen threw a 2-yard TD pass to Dawson Knox for a 7-0 lead. The Chargers answered with a 5-yard Herbert TD pass to Keenan Allen, but kicker Michael Badgley missed the extra point.
Buffalo owned the second quarter, using a trick play to score a touchdown when wide receiver Cole Beasley took a backward pass in the backfield and threw 20 yards to Gabriel Davis in the end zone. The Bills added a 45-yard field goal from Tyler Bass to take a 17-6 lead into halftime.
The Bills opened the second half with a 12-play, 57-yard drive, ending it on a 3-yard TD run from Allen as Buffalo took a 24-6 lead. It was Allen’s team-leading sixth rushing touchdown.
The Bills turned the ball over three times in the second half, including an Allen interception with 6:13 to play, but Herbert gave the ball right back on a Tre’Davious White interception with 5:17 remaining. The Chargers scored just three points off the three Bills’ second-half turnovers.
Bass put the Bills up 27-17 on a 43-yard field goal with 3:26 remaining. The game ended with the Chargers at the Bills’ 3-yard line.
Vikings score late TD to stun the Panthers
Kirk Cousins threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Chad Beebe with 46 seconds left and the Minnesota Vikings used a comeback for a 28-27 victory against the visiting Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis.
The outcome wasn’t secured until Joey Slye missed wide left on a 54-yard field goal with one second remaining. The result dampened a record-setting day for Panthers rookie safety Jeremy Chinn.
Chinn scored two touchdowns in an historic eight-second span early in the third quarter. There’s no other documented situation in NFL history where the same defensive player scored touchdowns on back-to-back snaps.
Cousins was 34-for-45 for 304 yards and three touchdown throws.
Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a former Vikings starter, went 19-for-36 for 267 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Bridgewater was back in action after sitting out Carolina’s victory a week earlier against Detroit.
Chinn returned a fumble 17 yards for a touchdown after a Cousins sack on the third snap of the second half, giving the Panthers their first lead of the game. It was Carolina’s first defensive touchdown of the season.
Then on Minnesota’s next first-down play, Chinn stripped running back Dalvin Cook and raced in 28 yards for another touchdown and a 21-10 lead. Cook was helped off the field after the fumble, but he later returned to action.
It’s the first time in franchise history that a Carolina defensive player had scored two touchdowns in a game.
New England connects on field goal as time expires to beat Arizona
Nick Folk made a 50-yard field goal as time expired to give the New England Patriots a 20-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Foxboro, Mass.
New England (5-6) overcame an early 10-0 deficit and was able to drive for Folk’s field goal after Arizona kicker Zane Gonzalez missed a 45-yard attempt with 1:47 remaining.
Folk’s kick was set up after Cam Newton ran 14 yards to the New England 46 and Isaiah Simmons was ruled for unsportsmanlike conduct, hitting Newton helmet-to-helmet while Newton was running out of bounds. The penalty placed the ball on the Arizona 39.
Two plays later, Folk lined up for his game-winning kick, his 19th consecutive successful attempt this season.
Henry stays hot as Titans hold off Colts
Derrick Henry ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns to help the visiting Tennessee Titans grab sole possession of first place in the AFC South with a 45-26 victory against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
A.J. Brown had a 69-yard touchdown reception and also returned an onside kick 42 yards for a score late in the game for the Titans (8-3), who built a 35-14 halftime lead.
Jacoby Brissett had two short TD runs for the Colts (7-4), who had beaten division rival Tennessee in Nashville on Nov. 12.
Ryan Tannehill finished 13 of 22 for 221 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a score.
Henry carried 27 times as Tennessee outrushed Indianapolis 229-56. The Colts entered the game having surrendered just 89.2 rushing yards per game.
Philip Rivers, making his 235th consecutive start, completed 24 of 42 for 295 yards and TD passes to Trey Burton (11 yards in the first quarter) and T.Y. Hilton (5 yards in the fourth quarter). Rivers threw one interception.