- Associated Press - Monday, September 16, 2019

NFL

LOS ANGELES (AP) - With Drew Brees watching from the sideline with an injured hand, the Los Angeles Rams didn’t need a no-call to beat the New Orleans Saints again.

Jared Goff passed for 283 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score, and the Rams stopped New Orleans from scoring an offensive touchdown for the first time since 2016 during Los Angeles’ 27-9 victory in a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game.

The much-anticipated matchup changed dramatically when Brees was injured late in the first quarter. His throwing hand collided with Aaron Donald’s outstretched hand while he threw an incompletion on the Saints’ second drive, and the NFL’s career leader in yards passing spent the afternoon on the Coliseum sideline with his thumb heavily wrapped.

Teddy Bridgewater went 17 of 30 for 165 yards and Alvin Kamara rushed for just 45 yards for the Saints, who seemed discombobulated without their longtime quarterback.



ATLANTA (AP) - Julio Jones hauled in a short screen pass on fourth down and took it 54 yards to the end zone with 2:10 remaining, giving the Atlanta Falcons a wild 24-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

A sluggish game turned thrilling in the final minutes. The Falcons squandered a 17-6 lead against an injury plagued team that lost two of its top receivers, falling behind for the first time when Carson Wentz dove over from the 1 with 3:13 left to give the Eagles a 20-17 edge.

Philadelphia had a chance at the end when Wentz converted on fourth-and-14, somehow getting off a pass with a rusher in his chest that Nelson Agholor hauled in between two defenders for a 43-yard completion to the 18.

But Atlanta held on, stopping Zach Ertz less than a yard short of the marker on another fourth-down play inside the 10 to preserve a much-needed victory.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns, including a 28-yard rainbow to DK Metcalf midway through the fourth quarter, and the Seattle Seahawks held off the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-26.

The Steelers lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a right elbow injury late in the first half and fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2013 despite solid play from backup Mason Rudolph, who threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes to Vance McDonald in relief.

Roethlisberger began flexing his right arm after an incompletion late in the second quarter. He stayed in to finish the drive before jogging to the locker room. When the 37-year-old QB emerged for the second half, he was wearing a white cap while Rudolph, taken in the third round of the 2018 draft, took the first meaningful snaps of his career.

Rudolph completed 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards, the two scores and an interception but couldn’t quite keep pace with Wilson and the Seahawks.

Wilson was 29 of 35 for 300 yards and the three TDs, becoming the fifth-fastest quarterback in league history to reach 200 career touchdown passes (114 games). Wilson also ran four times for 24 yards.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - Antonio Brown caught a 20-yard touchdown pass in his debut for the New England Patriots, and they scored twice on interception returns in a two-minute fourth-quarter span to beat the Miami Dolphins, 43-0.

Brown also made an 18-yard catch on his first play for the Patriots, who signed him Monday. He finished with 56 yards on four receptions, all in the first half.

The NFL allowed the four-time All-Pro receiver to play despite a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday by his former trainer accusing him of sexually assaulting her on three occasions. The NFL plans to meet with the woman on Monday.

New England’s defense outscored Miami with interception returns for touchdowns of 54 yards by Stephon Gilmore and 69 yards by Jamie Collins Sr. The Patriots totaled seven sacks and four interceptions and earned their most lopsided win in the 108-game history of the series.

BASEBALL

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Mike Trout’s season is over.

The Los Angeles Angels say the eight-time All-Star will have surgery on his right foot this week because of Morton’s neuroma, a thickening of tissue around a nerve leading to toes that causes pain.

Trout was scheduled to fly with the team to New York on Sunday evening for a series with the Yankees that starts Tuesday. He is to return to Los Angeles on Thursday and have surgery later in the week.

Trout finished with a career-high 45 home runs, 104 RBIs and a .291 batting average, putting him in contention to win his third AL MVP award along with four second-place finishes. The 28-year-old outfielder had 110 walks, a .438 on-base percentage and 1.083 OPS in his first season after agreeing to a $426.5 million, 12-year contract, baseball’s largest deal by total and average salary.

CHICAGO (AP) - Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo was pulled from the game with a sprained right ankle, putting a damper on the Chicago Cubs’ 16-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Rizzo was injured fielding a bunt at first base in the third inning. He had to be helped off the field and could not put pressure on the leg. X-rays taken at Wrigley Field showed no fractures, and an MRI has been scheduled for Monday.

Chicago’s postseason pursuit has already been hindered by an injury to shortstop Javier Báez, who is out for the rest of the regular season with a hairline fracture of his left thumb.

The Cubs maintained their one-game lead over Milwaukee for the second NL wild card. The Nationals are 1 1/2 games ahead of Chicago for the first wild card.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - California and Arizona State moved into the AP Top 25 college football poll to give the Pac-12 six ranked teams, the most for the conference in almost four years.

A weekend filled with blowouts left the top half of the AP media poll presented by Regions Bank mostly unchanged.

Clemson remains No. 1, with 57 of the 62 first-place votes, as the top nine held their spots. Alabama was No. 2, receiving five first-place votes, followed by Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Auburn and Florida.

The ninth-ranked Gators were the only top-10 team to play a competitive game. The others won by a combined 428-97.

Utah, the highest ranked Pac-12 team, moved up to No. 10. The last time the Pac-12 had six ranked teams was Nov. 8, 2015.

AUTO RACING

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Martin Truex Jr. raced his way into the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs with a victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the opening round of the postseason.

The win was Truex’s series-best fifth of the season and again cemented Joe Gibbs Racing as the team to beat in this 10-race playoff series. JGR has 14 wins in its Toyotas this season through 27 races.

Truex chased down Kevin Harvick, who was slowed by traffic, to cut into Harvick’s lead and eventually make the pass for the win - and the automatic second-round spot - on the outside with 20 laps remaining.

Las Vegas was a brutal opener for a handful of title contenders, including Kurt Busch, who crashed when his tire went flat and he finished last in the field. Erik Jones had an earlier mechanical issue and finished four spots higher in 36th.

The top 10 finishers were all playoff contenders as Truex was followed by Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Kyle Larson, reigning series champion Joey Logano and Ryan Newman.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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