Cowboys tie Redskins for 1st in NFC East; Bears top Lions
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes to inexperienced receivers and the New Orleans Saints won their 10th straight game Thursday night with a 31-17 victory over Atlanta that eliminated the Falcons from contention in the NFC South.
Tommylee Lewis and Austin Carr each caught their second career touchdown pass, and rookie tight end Dan Arnold grabbed his first, as did rookie receiver Keith Kirkwood. All four entered the NFL as undrafted free agents within the past three years and had combined for zero touchdowns this season before Carr caught the first of his career last Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Falcons (4-7) lost three fumbles inside the Saints 20 — something no team facing streaking New Orleans (10-1) can afford this season.
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan was stripped by safety Marcus Williams on a third-and-2 from the Saints 3 and Williams recovered to end Atlanta’s opening drive. Julio Jones was stripped by linebacker Alex Anzalone after a catch on the New Orleans 17, and safety Vonn Bell recovered in the final minute of the second quarter to preserve a 17-3 lead going into halftime.
The Saints’ defense, which had a season-high six sacks, continued to come up with big plays in the second half, with Anzalone breaking up a fourth-down pass in the third quarter and linebacker A.J. Klein intercepting a pass tipped by defensive tackle Tyeler Davison in the fourth. The interception gave the Saints possession on the Atlanta 22, setting up Kirkwood’s diving 4-yard TD catch.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Amari Cooper had a 90-yard touchdown catch while finishing with 180 yards receiving and two scores and Dallas pulled even with Washington atop the NFC East.
Cooper had the most yards receiving for the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, along with the longest catch of his career and Dak Prescott’s longest completion in his three seasons. Cooper’s other TD was a 40-yarder.
Ezekiel Elliott ran for 121 yards with a score as the Cowboys (6-5) won their third straight game since their first home loss, to Tennessee in the Dallas debut of Cooper following a trade. Dallas beat Washington for the eighth time in nine Thanksgiving games, and second in three seasons.
The Redskins (6-5) lost for the third time in four games in Colt McCoy’s first start in four years coming off Alex Smith’s season-ending leg injury.
The former Texas Longhorns star threw three interceptions to offset two touchdown passes. McCoy won his two previous starts at the home of the Cowboys, one for the 2009 Big 12 championship and the other his most recent NFL victory with the Redskins in 2014.
Daniel set career highs with 230 yards passing and two touchdowns to keep Chicago rolling with a win over Detroit.
The NFC North-leading Bears (8-3) sealed their fifth straight victory with Kyle Fuller’s interception in the end zone with a little more than a minute left.
Detroit (4-7) has lost four of five, plummeting to last place in the division.
Chicago broke a 16-16 tie on Eddie Jackson’s 41-yard pick-6 with six minutes remaining. It was Jackson’s second consecutive game with an interception returned for a touchdown. It’s also the fifth career defensive touchdown for the 2017 fourth-round pick.