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Dublin: 0°C Thursday 6 May 2021

While AFC sides were brawling, the NFC was balling in week 12 of the NFL

The Rams and Eagles had statement wins this weekend, in very different styles.

Michael Crabtree was ejected after attempting to fight the entire Denver Broncos roster.
Michael Crabtree was ejected after attempting to fight the entire Denver Broncos roster.
Image: Paul Kuroda/PA Images

JARED GOFF THREW for two touchdowns and kicker Greg Zuerlein booted four field goals as the Los Angeles Rams snapped the New Orleans Saints’ win streak at eight games with a 26-20 victory on Sunday.

Los Angeles won for the fifth time in six contests to improve to 8-3 on the season.

Quarterback Drew Brees threw for just one touchdown for the Saints who dropped to 8-3 atop the NFC South Division.

Goff, who lost to the Saints last year in his rookie season, completed 28-of-43 attempts for 354 yards, connecting for touchdowns with Sammy Watkins and rookie Josh Reynolds.

“You can see Jared get better week in and week out,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “He was making good decisions, we got the running game going later and the offensive line played well.”

Zuerlein added 12 points, kicking three field goals from at least 46 yards.

New Orleans was smothered by the Rams’ defence, which sacked Brees three times.

The Saints entered the game averaging 415 yards but were held to 346 on Sunday.

Brees, who directs the NFL’s second-best passing offence, was 22 of 32 for 246 yards and a score.

“They put us in some tough situations at times,” Brees said. “We were just unable to find a rhythm and maintain our drives.”

Elsewhere, Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes, two to tight end Rob Gronkowski, and the New England Patriots breezed to their seventh straight win with a 35-17 rout of the Miami Dolphins.

Running back Rex Burkhead also scored twice as the Patriots sent the Dolphins to their fifth straight defeat.

- Fighting on pitch -

Brady had a streak of 189 straight passes without an interception snapped, but went on to complete his 83rd game with at least three touchdown passes.

The Patriots improved to 9-2 on the season as Sunday’s win ensured their 17th straight winning season.

Brady grew up in the San Francisco area as a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, a team that racked up 16 straight winning seasons starting when he was just six years old.

“I was a kid growing up in San Mateo when the Niners were doing that, too,” Brady said. “Winning seasons are great. Obviously, we’re trying to win every game we play.

We started 2-2 and to be 9-2 with seven straight wins is pretty good, but we know our biggest games are ahead of us.”

In Oakland, quarterback Derek Carr threw two touchdown passes, Marshawn Lynch ran for a score, and the Oakland Raiders gave their playoff hopes a boost with a physical 21-14 victory over the Denver Broncos.

The Raiders (5-6) pulled to within one game of the first-place Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) in the AFC West.

The Broncos (3-8) lost their seventh straight game and trail Kansas City by three games.

The game was marked by a heated skirmish on the sidelines that broke out with 11:56 left in the first quarter.

Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib were ejected after fighting along the Denver side of the field as players from both teams raced toward the battle.

Talib and Crabtree have a history. When the Raiders and Broncos met last season in Denver, Talib ripped Crabtree’s chain off his neck on one play. The two started fighting Sunday after Talib grabbed Crabtree’s chain, again.

In Atlanta, Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones caught 12 passes for 253 yards and two scores as the Atlanta won their third game in a row, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-20.

© – AFP 2017

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