Turnovers help Bills, Vikings pull off upsets of NFC favourites

The two teams to play in last season's NFC championship game entered the 2016 campaign as favourites in the NFC, but three weeks into the season, both the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals are 1-2. 

Turnovers plagued each team on Sunday as reigning MVP Cam Newton threw three interceptions in a 22-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, while Arizona's Carson Palmer was picked four times in the 33-18 loss at Buffalo.

Newton started hot, completing his first nine passes against the Vikings, but finished 21 of 35 for 262 yards. He was also sacked eight times, including a first-quarter safety by Danielle Hunter to get the Vikings on the board after Carolina jumped out to a 10-0 lead. 

Palmer was 26 of 50 for 287 yards without a touchdown after throwing five TDs and zero picks in Arizona's first two games. The Cardinals were favoured to beat the struggling Bills, but instead Buffalo's defense took over and the Cardinals have still just one victory in Buffalo -- a 28-23 win on Oct. 31, 1971. 

Minnesota's defense and special teams have scored three touchdowns in three games while racking up 15 sacks and five interceptions. 


T.Y. Hilton's 63-yard touchdown from Andrew Luck with 1:17 remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Indianapolis Colts a 26-22 win over the San Diego Chargers. 

There weren't many highlights for the Cardinals, but cornerback Patrick Peterson had an incredible one-handed interception early in the second quarter against the Bills.

The Los Angeles Rams offense finally scored its first touchdowns of the season, but the defense found the end zone as well. After Robert Quinn's strip-sack of Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston, Ethan Westbrooks picked up the fumble and rumbled 77 yards as the Rams waited out a 37-32 road victory. 


Aaron Rodgers stuck it to his critics after a slow start, throwing for four touchdowns in Green Bay Packers' 34-27 win over the Detroit Lions. That included two scores for Jordy Nelson, who went for 101 yards on six catches and now has touchdowns in each of his three games coming off an ACL injury.

Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns in Denver's win at Cincinnati. Siemian, a second-year quarterback from Northwestern, is the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 300 passing yards and four touchdowns without an interception to win his first career road start.

The Ravens had to sweat out a 19-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco turned in a record performance. Flacco finished 29 of 40 for 214 yards and two interceptions, but he completed a franchise-record 21 straight passes. Flacco's streak was just three shy of tying the NFL record for consecutive completions in the same game. Flacco's streak stopped on dropped pass by Mike Wallace in the corner of the end zone.



New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a rough outing Sunday with six interceptions as the Kansas City Chiefs forced eight turnovers in their 24-3 victory at Arrowhead Stadium. To put that into perspective, Packers quarterback Rodgers tossed eight interceptions all of last season, and has three seasons with six or fewer interceptions. 

But it happens to the best of them. Hall of Famer Ken Stabler is one of six quarterbacks in NFL history with seven interceptions in a game. Hall of Famers Brett Favre, Norm Van Brocklin, Joe Namath, George Blanda and Bobby Layne all threw six interceptions in a game. Namath and Blanda each had three such games. 



Bills coach Rex Ryan said his team is "going to enjoy" Sunday's upset of the Cardinals because not many gave the Bills much of a chance to get their first victory. But now it's onto next week's opponent and Ryan doesn't care who the New England Patriots use at quarterback after Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are both injured while Tom Brady is still suspended. 

"I don't care who plays quarterback because I know Brady ain't," Ryan said. "I don't care who plays quarterback. Steve Grogan can play quarterback.

"If [Bill] Belichick's playing quarterback, we're coming after him. I promise you that."




A Tony Romo-less Dallas Cowboys backfield is decidedly less interesting, but don't tell that to Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott.

The rookie contingent thus far has proven more than capable of driving the Cowboys' offense devoid its franchise quarterback, and that was on display as Dallas totalled 447 yards from scrimmage in an easy 31-17 win over the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium.




While the Cardinals and Panthers are struggling to start the season, the Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the NFC. The Eagles cruised to a 34-3 win over the previously unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots, Ravens and Broncos are the only 3-0 teams remaining in the AFC. 

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