Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers threw two interceptions without a touchdown pass in a 32-23 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 11. But on Sunday, Rivers posted his second straight game with three-touchdown passes since that contest as the Colts defeated the Detroit Lions 41-21.
The victory lifted Indianapolis into a tie for the top spot in the AFC South at 5-2 with the Tennessee Titans, who lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 31-20 on Sunday.
Rivers threw three touchdown passes in the Colts' 31-27 victory over the Bengals on Oct. 18, and with Indianapolis coming out of its bye week on Sunday, the former Athens High School star picked up where he left off.
Rivers completed 23-of-33 passes for 262 yards and threw all three of his touchdown passes in the second quarter.
With the Colts trailing 7-0 after the first quarter, Rivers capped a four-play, 61-yard drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to running back Nyheim Hines, finished a 10-play, 73-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle and completed a six-play, 48-yard drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Hines with 56 seconds left in the first half.
Rivers' second-quarter outburst had Indianapolis in front 20-7 at halftime.
Rivers was among the 31 players from Alabama high schools and colleges (excluding Alabama and Auburn) who got on the field on the eighth Sunday of the NFL’s 101st season.
Five other former state players were at the Colts-Lions game:
· Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers (Columbia) made three tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.
· Lions guard Logan Stenberg (James Clemens) was designated as a game-day inactive.
· Nick Williams (Minor, Samford) started at defensive tackle for the Lions. Williams made two tackles.
· Colts cornerback Tremon Smith (Saks) was designated as a game-day inactive.
· Colts defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth (Murphy) played but did not record any stats.
In the other Sunday games:
Buffalo Bills 24, New England Patriots 21
· Bills defensive end Mario Addison (Tarrant, Troy) made a tackle for loss and registered a quarterback hit.
· Bills safety Siran Neal (Eufaula, Jacksonville State) made a special-teams tackle.
· Patriots offensive tackle Korey Cunningham (Montevallo) played but did not record any stats.
Cincinnati Bengals 31, Tennessee Titans 20
· Titans fullback Khari Blasingame (Buckhorn) had a 5-yard reception and returned a kickoff 11 yards.
· Malcolm Butler (West Alabama) started at cornerback for the Titans. Butler made eight tackles and broke up two passes.
· Shaq Calhoun (Restoration Academy) started at left guard for the Bengals. Calhoun made his 2020 debut in his first appearance for Cincinnati after being elevated from the practice squad on Saturday. Calhoun started seven games for the Miami Dolphins last season as an undrafted rookie, but he was released at the end of training camp in September.
· Ben Jones (Bibb County) started at center for the Titans.
Las Vegas Raiders 16, Cleveland Browns 6
· Browns linebacker Tae Davis (Oxford) played but did not record any stats.
· Chris Hubbard (UAB) started at right guard for the Browns.
· Rodney Hudson (B.C. Rain) started at center for the Raiders.
· Nicholas Morrow (Huntsville) started at strongside linebacker for the Raiders. Morrow made two tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage, and recovered a fumble. Morrow got on a fumble at the Las Vegas 27-yard line in the first quarter.
Minnesota Vikings 28, Green Bay Packers 22
· Vikings running back Ameer Abdullah (Homewood) had a 9-yard kickoff return.
· Za’Darius Smith (Greenville) started at outside linebacker for the Packers. Smith made six tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.
Kansas City Chiefs 35, New York Jets 9
· Tyreek Hill (West Alabama) started at wide receiver for the Chiefs. Hill caught four passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Hill caught a 36-yard pass with 1:17 left in the first quarter as the Chiefs took a 14-3 lead and a 41-yard pass with 10:58 left in the game to set the final score.
· Jets defensive end Bryce Huff (St. Paul’s Episcopal) made one tackle.
· Jets running back La’Mical Perine (Theodore) ran for 27 yards on eight carries and caught two passes for 6 yards.
Miami Dolphins 28, Los Angeles Rams 17
· Rams tight end Gerald Everett (UAB/South Alabama) caught five passes for 32 yards.
· Dolphins cornerback Tae Hayes (Decatur) made three tackles. Miami elevated Hayes from its practice squad on Saturday.
· Dolphins running back Jordan Howard (Gardendale, UAB) was designated as a game-day inactive.
· Bobby McCain (Oxford) started at safety for the Dolphins. McCain made two tackles.
· Darious Williams (UAB) started at inside linebacker for the Rams. Usually a cornerback, Williams made two tackles and broke up a pass.
Denver Broncos 31, Los Angeles Chargers 30
· Malik Reed (Dothan) started at outside linebacker for the Broncos. Reed made three tackles, including his fifth sack of the season.
· Chargers punter Ty Long (UAB) averaged 39.0 yards on three punts. Long had a 36-yard punt result in a fair catch at the Denver 13, but also had a 43-yarder go for a touchback.
· Chargers running back Troymaine Pope (Anniston, Jacksonville State) ran for 67 yards on 10 carries and caught five passes for 28 yards before leaving to be evaluated for a concussion. Pope entered the game with 70 yards on 23 rushing attempts and three receptions for 19 yards and one touchdown in 20 NFL appearances. On Sunday, Pope had a 26-yard run that is the longest of his career.
New Orleans Saints 26, Chicago Bears 23 (OT)
· Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama) started at left cornerback for the Saints. Jenkins made four tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.
· Darnell Mooney (Gadsden City) started at wide receiver for the Bears. Mooney caught five passes for 69 yards and one touchdown. Mooney had a 50-yard reception, but the second TD of his rookie season came on a 3-yard catch with 3:32 left in the fourth quarter.
· Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (Hueytown) did not play.
Seattle Seahawks 37, San Francisco 49ers 27
· Forty-Niners linebacker Kwon Alexander (Oxford) was designated as a game-day inactive. An ankle injury kept Alexander sidelined for the third game in a row.
· Forty-Niners quarterback Nick Mullens (Spain Park) completed 18-of-25 passes for 238 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions – all in the fourth quarter after taking over from Jimmy Garoppolo, who is dealing with an ankle injury. San Francisco trailed 30-7 when Mullens entered the game, and he directed three straight scoring drives.
· Forty-Niners safety Jaquiski Tartt (Davidson, Samford) was designated as a game-day inactive. A groin injury kept Tartt sidelined for the second straight game.
· Jimmie Ward (Davidson) started at free safety for the 49ers. Ward made six tackles.
Philadelphia Eagles 23, Dallas Cowboys 9
· Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins (Athens) did not play.
Week 8 started with the Atlanta Falcons' 25-17 victory over Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.
Week 8 concludes on Monday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the New York Giants at 7:15 p.m. ESPN will televise the game.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at?@AMarkG1.