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Stewart runs for 3 TDs, Panthers beat Vikings 31-24

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jonathan Stewart ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns, and the Carolina Panthers snapped the Minnesota Vikings’ eight-game winning streak with a 31-24 victory Sunday.

Cam Newton threw for 137 yards and a touchdown and ran for 75 yards as the Panthers (9-4) racked up 216 yards on the ground against the league’s No. 2 ranked defense to pull even with the Saints atop the NFC South standings.

Carolina sacked Case Keenum six times and forced three turnovers to keep the Vikings (10-3) from clinching the NFC North division title.

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After the Panthers squandered an 11-point fourth quarter lead, Newton broke free of the pocket and raced 62 yards for a key first down with 2 minutes remaining. Stewart scored his career-high third TD when he jumped over the line of scrimmage, reaching the ball across the goal line for a 31-24 lead.

Minnesota couldn’t manage a first down on its final drive and turned the ball over on downs.

The Panthers seemed in control midway through the fourth quarter leading 24-13 after Newton made an off-balance throw to Devin Funchess for an 18-yard touchdown, and Mario Addison‘s strip-sack set up Graham Gano‘s field goal.

But the Vikings came charging back to tie it as Keenum hooked up on a 52-yard scoring strike on a crossing route. Blake Bell added 2-point conversion catch to cut the lead to three.

On Carolina’s next possession, Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo intercepted Newton on a ball that sailed off the hands of Christian McCaffrey and returned it to the Carolina 6. But Carolina’s defense had a huge stop, holding the Vikings to a field goal leaving the game tied with 3:07 left.

INJURIES:

Vikings: Linebacker Emmanuel Lamur left game with a foot injury and did not return.

Panthers: Tight end Greg Olsen left briefly after re-injuring his foot, but did return.

UP NEXT

Vikings: Host the Bengals next Sunday.

Panthers: Host the Packers next Sunday.

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Prescott throws 3 TDs as Cowboys spoil Eli’s return

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Dak Prescott threw three touchdown passes and the desperate Dallas Cowboys beat New York 30-10 Sunday to spoil Steve Spagnuolo’s debut as interim coach and the return of quarterback Eli Manning to the Giants’ starting lineup.

Prescott threw a go-ahead 20-yard score to tight end Jason Witten with 7:38 to play to break a 10-all tie.

Rod Smith scored on an 81-yard pass play with 4:08 to play and he added a 15-yard scoring run a little more than a minute later after an interception by linebacker Sean Lee.

Prescott, who was 20 of 30 for 332 yards also threw a 50-yard scoring pass to Dez Bryant as the Cowboys (7-6) stayed in the playoff hunt with three games left in the regular season. Dan Bailey added a 21-yard field goal as the Cowboys finished with 454 yards.

New York fell to 2-11.

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Manning, who got a standing ovation taking the field, threw a 1-yard TD pass to Rhett Ellison late in the second quarter that gave New York a brief 10-3 lead. Aldrick Rosas had a 39-yard field goal. Manning finished 31 of 46 for 228 yards with a touchdown and two late interceptions.

The game capped a hectic week for the Giants that started Monday with the firing of second-year coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese and saw Spagnuolo promoted from defensive coordinator to interim coach. He coached the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.

The moves came with the Giants spiraling out of control in a season where much was expected following their first playoff appearance since 2011. Fans were also upset with the benching of Manning days earlier in a loss to Oakland, a decision that ended the two-time Super Bowl MVP’s streak of 210 consecutive starts.

This game was close until the final minutes. Dallas broke things open with a 54-yard catch and run by Cole Beasley on a third-and-2 from the Dallas 26. Beasley broke a tackle by Landon Collins and Collins hurt his ankle eventually making the tackle.

With the Giants safety off the field, Prescott found Witten, a longtime Giants’ nemesis, all alone on the next play.

Smith took another short pass on a long TD catch and run and then he almost walked into the end zone.

Bailey, who usually never misses a field goal against the Giants, had a 53-yarder hit the right upright in the second quarter and he was wide right from 50 in the third.

The first half ended 10-all with both teams having long opening drives that ended in field goals and then getting late touchdowns passes.

Manning found Ellison from a yard out to cap a 68-yard drive and Prescott drove the Cowboys 75 yards in four plays with Bryant breaking a tackle and scoring from 50.

UP NEXT

Cowboy: at Oakland on Sunday night.

Giants: host Philadelphia on Sunday.

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Trubisky, Howard lead Bears over hapless Bengals 33-7

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CINCINNATI — Rookie Mitchell Trubisky threw for a touchdown and ran for another in his best showing yet, and the Chicago Bears ended a five-game losing streak by routing the lackluster Cincinnati Bengals 33-7 on Sunday, their most lopsided victory in five years.

Jordan Howard ran for 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Bears (4-9) dominated a matchup of the NFL’s worst offenses. Their rookie quarterback took full advantage of an injury-depleted defense, completing a career-high 25 passes out of 32 attempts for 271 yards. He also ran 4 yards for a score.

The Bengals (5-8) were coming off a 23-20 loss to the Steelers on Monday night that crushed their playoff hopes and gutted their defense.

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The Bears piled up a season-high 482 yards against a unit missing starting cornerbacks Adam “Pacman” Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick as well as linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil.

It was Cincinnati’s worst home drubbing since a 34-3 loss to Baltimore in 2008. Many of the 52,002 fans headed for the exits early in the fourth quarter.

Everyone in the NFL’s lowest-ranked offense had a big game. Tarik Cohen ran for 80 yards, and Kendall Wright caught 10 passes for 107 yards – the first Bears receiver to top 100 yards this season.

Andy Dalton was picked off for the first time since Oct. 22 in Pittsburgh, ending his career-best streak of 193 attempts without an interception. The interception set up Trubisky’s 1-yard touchdown pass that put the Bears in control 26-7 early in the fourth quarter, their biggest lead of the season.

INJURIES

Bears: Right guard Kyle Long went on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, but the Bears’ offensive line had its way as Chicago piled up 29 first downs, more than double Cincinnati’s total.

Bengals: Running back Joe Mixon was inactive because of a concussion suffered on Monday night. Giovani Bernard carried 11 times for 62 yards as Cincinnati’s offense managed only 234 yards.

UP NEXT

The Bears play at Detroit on Saturday. They lost to the Lions 27-24 on Nov. 19.

The Bengals play at Minnesota on Sunday, facing former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

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