Tom Brady won the battle of the marquee quarterbacks over Peyton Manning, while the Arizona Cardinals knocked off the Dallas Cowboys to claim the NFC’s best record.
Once again Brady got the upper hand over Manning by throwing four touchdown passes as the New England Patriots routed the Denver Broncos 43-21 in one of 11 NFL games on Sunday.
Brady now holds a commanding 11-5 lead in all-time head-to-head matchups against Manning as the highly-anticipated showdown between last season’s conference title participants ended in a blowout.
“He has always set a real high bar for how to play and I have tried to do the same,” said three-time Super Bowl winner Brady. “The only thing I really care about is the respect from my team, going out there and trying to earn it.”
The game marked the first in NFL history between starting quarterbacks with over 150 regular-season wins.
Brady completed 33-of-53 attempts for 333 yards with one interception while Manning had two interceptions to go with 438 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Both of Manning’s interceptions were converted into Patriot touchdowns. The Broncos committed 10 penalties, gave up an 84-yard punt return to Julian Edelman and were stopped four times on fourth down to have a four-game win streak halted.
“Well, I don’t usually stink, but I stunk today,” said the 38-year-old Manning. “I don’t make any excuses.”
New England took advantage of some Broncos errors in the second quarter to score 24 unanswered points. They led 27-7 at half-time.
Receiver Rob Gronkowski caught nine passes for 105 yards. Edelman added nine receptions totalling 89 yards with a touchdown and the 84-yard punt return.
New England has averaged 40.2 points in posting five straight victories since a 41-14 loss at Kansas City in week four.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger made NFL history at the weekend as he threw six touchdowns for the second successive week, to lead the Steelers to a 43-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens. His 12 passing scores in two weeks are the most in NFL history, beating a record shared by Oakland’s Tom Flores in 1963 and Brady in 2007.
Roethlisberger declared: “It means that guys are catching touchdowns and it’s fun.”
Confidence is “through the roof” at the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals after they took advantage of quarterback Tony Romo’s absence as they beat the Cowboys 28-17 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Carson Palmer threw three touchdowns for the Cardinals, who are 7-1 and off to their best start since 1974. Arizona also snapped a string of 14 straight regular season losses in Dallas.
Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said: “The confidence in this locker room right now is through the roof. No matter who we step on the field with, no matter what the scenario is, we feel we are the best team on the football field.”
In Minneapolis, Matt Asiata’s third touchdown of the game powered the Minnesota Vikings to a 29-26 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Robert Griffin returned to play for the first time since week two and was 18-of-28 for 251 yards with one touchdown and an interception for the Redskins, who had won their previous two games.
“I was not good enough to win and that’s all that matters,” said Griffin. “We lost the game. I have to play better.”
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick fumbled on the goal line with two seconds left and St. Louis sacked him eight times as the Rams stunned the 49ers 13-10 in a NFC contest.
Rams quarterback Austin Davis threw for 105 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. His eight-yard pass to Benny Cunningham on third-and-10 put Greg Zuerlein in a better position to kick the eventual game-winning field goal.
In other games it was Philadelphia 31 Houston 21, Kansas City 24 NY Jets 10, Minnesota 29 Washington 26, Cleveland 22 Tampa Bay 17, Cincinnati 33 Jacksonville 23, Miami 37 San Diego 0, Seattle 30 Oakland 24.
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