The San Francisco 49ers remained unbeaten behind a stifling defensive display on Sunday, shutting down their California rival Los Angeles Rams with a convincing 20-7 victory in Los Angeles.
Running back Tevin Coleman and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo scored touchdowns, and Robbie Gould booted a pair of field goals as the 49ers scored the game’s final 20 points to improve to 5-0 on the NFL season. It is their first time they have won five straight to start the season since 1990.
“I had a feeling that if we just don’t turn it over, we’ll win this game,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I haven’t had that feeling very much in my career, and the defence definitely gave it to me the whole game.”
Robert Woods ran for the lone Los Angeles touchdown in the first quarter as the Rams lost their third straight game and dropped to 3-3 overall.
The Rams offence mustered just 165 total yards in front of a crowd of 76,700 at Memorial Coliseum.
After the Rams had scored on their opening possession, the 49ers answered with a two-yard score by Coleman late in the first quarter.
Garoppolo scored on a one yard plunge early in the third for a 14-7 lead. Garopplolo also passed for 243 yards.
Gould’s field goals were from 25 yards and 34 yards in the fourth for the margin of victory.
Elsewhere, the Houston Texans spoiled Tyreek Hill’s return for Kansas City, rallying with 20 unanswered points to hand the Chiefs their second straight NFL defeat, 31-24 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 280 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more TDs, getting the better of opposite number Patrick Mahomes in a clash of the league’s top young quarterbacks.
Star receiver Hill returned for the Chiefs after being sidelined with a shoulder injury since the season-opener and made a quick impact with a spectacular touchdown catch in the first quarter.
He finished with five catches for 80 yards and two TDs, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Texans at bay.
Houston’s Carlos Hyde rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown against his former team and DeAndre Hopkins’ nine catches for 55 yards included one within the last two minutes that let the Texans hang onto the ball and run out the clock.
Mahomes finished with 273 passing yards and three touchdowns, but also threw his first interception of the season.
In Baltimore, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson finished with almost 400 yards of total offence in a 23-17 victory over the winless Cincinnati Bengals.
Jackson connected on 21 of 33 passes for 236 yards and rushed for a career-high 152 yards – fourth-most by a quarterback in NFL history – as the Ravens improved to 4-2.
“It’s cool, I guess,” Jackson said when he learned that he was the first player in the Super Bowl era to produce more than 200 yards passing and 150 yards rushing in a regular-season game.
The Carolina Panthers pounced for a 37-26 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get the day started in London.
Christian McCaffrey scored two touchdowns and the Panthers parlayed five interceptions from Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston into 17 points on the way to a fourth straight victory.
The Panthers have bounced back from back-to-back defeats to open the season.
Kyle Allen has since stepped in for injured quarterback Cam Newton, but McCaffrey said it was the support of the “unbelievable” Panthers defence that made the difference at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“I felt like every single time they were on offence our defence had a chance to get a turnover or a sack,” he said.
It was an emotional day for Panthers defensive end Efe Obada, who was born in Nigeria but arrived as a 10-year-old in England where he ended up fending for himself on the streets of London.
He was made an honorary captain for the game.
“I had family in the stands which I loved,” Obada said. “Most of them don’t even understand what I’m doing, but they believe in me and have supported me for years.
“For me to be in London and just showing them, it was really special.”
Elsewhere, the Seattle Seahawks rallied for a 32-28 victory over the Browns in Cleveland to improve to 5-1 for the first time since 2013.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score as the Seahawks roared back after surrendering touchdowns on Cleveland’s first three possessions.
In Minneapolis, Kirk Cousins connected on four touchdown passes – three to Stefon Diggs – as the Vikings soared past the Eagles 38-20.
In New Jersey, Sam Darnold threw two touchdown passes in his return from mononucleosis, and New York held on to beat the Dallas Cowboys 24-22 for the Jets’ first win of the season.
In a battle of bottom-dwellers, Washington edged Miami 17-16.