The Blitz Read: Vikings victorious to remain unbeaten


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And then there was one.

Following losses by the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings are the NFL's only undefeated team.

The Vikings steamrolled the Houston Texans on Sunday, improving to 5-0 with a 31-13 victory at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defense continues to carry a team that lost its starting quarterback, running back and left tackle with season-ending injuries. But quarterback Sam Bradford, acquired a week before the regular-season opener, has been stellar.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception with the Vikings, who are 5-0 for the first time since 2009. The Vikings joined the 1969 Los Angeles Rams as the only teams in NFL history to start 5-0 without an interception. 

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As good as Bradford has been for Minnesota, his play Sunday was overshadowed by the return of one of the NFL's greats.

Just in case you didn't hear, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returned from his four-game suspension and threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-13 win over the Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger has been on fire since running back Le'Veon Bell returned from a three-game suspension. Roethlisberger threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-13 win over the New York Jets. 

When Brady took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe in his second season, he had 162 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott is closing in on that record after going 18 of 24 for 227 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 28-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Prescott has the NFL's rookie record for pass attempts to start a career without an interception and is just eight attempts shy of breaking Brady's overall record.

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Things didn't go quite as well for Broncos rookie Paxton Lynch, making his first NFL start in place of injured Trevor Siemian. Lynch was sacked six times and threw an interception in a 23-16 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons (4-1), who now look like NFC contenders with wins over both Super Bowl 50 teams in consecutive weeks. 

Injury report

Miami Dolphins rookie tackle Laremy Tunsil was a late scratch from Miami's 30-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans after injuring his ankle during pre-game warmups. 

Browns quarterback Cody Kessler suffered injuries to his ribs and chest following a big hit by Patriots linebacker Tim Hightower in the first quarter and did not return to the game. 

Baltimore Ravens receiver Steve Smith left Sunday's 16-10 loss to Washington with an ankle injury and did not return. 

Houston defensive backs Johnathan Joseph (concussion) and Quintin Demps (calf) were two of five Texans players knocked out of Sunday's loss to the Vikings. 

Green Bay saw both Eddie Lacy and Randall Cobb exit in a 23-16 win over the New York Giants. Neither returned to the game, but Lacy (ankle) would seem to be a bit worse off. Cobb's injury occurred on the game's final drive and coach Mike McCarthy said he would be fine.

By the numbers

New England's 33-13 victory in Cleveland was the 227th career win for Patriots coach Bill Belichick to move him into fourth place in NFL history. Belichick broke a tie with former Packers coach Earl "Curly" Lambeau. Belichick, 64, is now 23 wins behind former Cowboys coach Tom Landry for third place. 

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Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore ran for 75 yards in Sunday's 29-23 win over the Chicago Bears to move past Hall of Famer Jim Brown for ninth place on the NFL's all-time rushing list. Gore now has 12,368 yards in his 12-year career.

The rookie record for most pass attempts to start a career without an interception was held briefly by Philadelphia's Carson Wentz. Then Prescott's game started. The Cowboys rookie did not throw a pick in Dallas' win over the Bengals and owns the NFL record with 155 pass attempts without an interception. Wentz saw his streak come to an end at 134 attempts with a late inter

ception in a 24-23 loss to the Detroit Lions. 

The Falcons had a perfect strategy to beat the Broncos' aggressive pass rush — check it down. Falcons running backs caught eight passes for 180 yards, the most combined receiving yardage by a team's running backs since the Kansas City Chiefs had 236 receiving yards out of the backfield in a 2013 win over the Oakland Raiders. 

Vikings cornerback Marcus Sherels returned a punt 79 yards in Minnesota's dominant win for the fifth punt return for a score in his six-year career. Sherels, who already owns the Vikings franchise record, is now one of four active NFL players with five or more career punt returns for touchdowns. He joins Devin Hester (14), Darren Sproles (7) and Adam Jones (5).  


Sherels wasn't the only player with a long punt return for a touchdown. Miami's speedy rookie receiver Jakeem Grant took a Tennessee punt 74 yards to the house, but the Dolphins lost.

Not to be left out was an 85-yard punt return by Washington's Jamison Crowder to get the Redskins on the board in their 16-10 victory in Baltimore.

Call this an anti-highlight for the Ravens. Baltimore linebacker C.J. Mosley picks off Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. But as Mosley tries to reach the ball over the goal line, he drops it and it rolls through the end zone for a touchback. The result was a 17-yard gain for the Redskins.

It's taken Amari Cooper awhile to get it going this season, but the Raiders receiver finally busted out Sunday with six catches for 138 yards and his first touchdown of the season with a 64-yard reception from Derek Carr. 

The Chargers were lining up for a game-tying field goal with 2:08 remaining, but punter and holder Drew Kaser fumbled the snap and the Raiders held on for a 34-31 victory. All four losses by the Chargers (1-4) this season came after they held a second-half lead. 

Held without a touchdown in four games to start the season, frustrated Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. finally found the end zone with an 8-yard grab on New York's final drive.

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The Texans have been whipped twice in three weeks by two of the NFL's best clubs in the Patriots and Vikings.

"That's two times facing an elite team and we didn't look good," Wilfork told reporters . "So, it's gut check time. We're way better than that, but we haven't shown that. Until we show it, maybe I'm seeing things a little bit different. Maybe I'm screwed up. Until we show it, that's who we are."

Brady threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns while completing 70 percent of his passes in his first game of the season, but he wasn't satisfied.

"I think there was plenty of rust out there. I could do better in a lot of areas," he said after the game. "It was a good win. It was one game, and like I said, 4-1 is a good point to be at for us. We have a long road ahead so we have to stay focused."

Thursday's game

Cardinals 33, 49ers 21

Sunday's games

Redskins 16, Ravens 10
Patriots 33, Browns 13
Lions 24, Eagles 23
Colts 29, Bears 23
Titans 30, Dolphins 17
Vikings 31, Texans 13
Steelers 31, Jets 13
Falcons 23, Broncos 16
Cowboys 28, Bengals 14
Bills 30, Rams 19
Raiders 34, Chargers 31
Packers 23, Giants 16

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Monday's game

Buccaneers at Panthers, 8:30 p.m. ET

Bye weeks

Jaguars, Chiefs, Saints, Seahawks