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Leon Washington returns to weekly special teams honors

Leon Washinghton, Nolan Carroll AP

It’s been a while since Leon Washington has been named special teams player of the week.

Moving into a tie for first place in career kickoff return touchdowns has a way of snapping a drought. Washington took a kick back for the eighth time in his career during the Seahawks’ 24-21 loss to the Dolphins. That ties him with Josh Cribbs of the Browns for the most in history.

Washington’s 98-yard return gave the Seahawks the lead in the fourth quarter against the Dolphins, but Seattle couldn’t hold on for the win. Washington’s won the award two other times in his career, the last coming in 2010.

That was also the year Washington took a kick back for a score. He’s second in the league in kickoff return average this season and fourth in punt returns.

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Jets open up 14-0 lead on two Fitzpatrick touchdown passes

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29:  Brandon Marshall #15 of the New York Jets makes the catch for the touchdown as  Brent Grimes #21 of the Miami Dolphins defends on November 29, 2015 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

In their last four losses, the Jets have managed just one touchdown in the first half of their games.

Sunday’s start was a much more pleasant one. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a touchdown pass in both quarters and the defense kept the Dolphins from generating any positive momentum on the way to a 14-0 halftime lead on their home field.

Miami, which lost center Mike Pouncey and wide receiver Rishard Matthews to injuries in the first half, has 81 yards through the first two quarters of the game. Just eight of those yards have come on the ground and Ryan Tannehill threw an interception in the red zone to destroy their best scoring opportunity of the first half. It’s the kind of performance we’ve been accustomed to seeing from Miami in recent weeks, but a welcome change of form for a Jets defense that’s sprung some leaks of late.

The same is true of the offensive performance. Fitzpatrick is 15-of-26 for 173 yards and has had a lot of success throwing to Brandon Marshall, who has gotten the better of Brent Grimes all day. Marshall caught one touchdown and rookie Devin Smith, who caught flak from Todd Bowles after big drops last week, caught the other with eight seconds to play in the half.

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Kirk Cousins sneak puts Giants in 17-0 halftime hole

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 29: Wide receiver DeSean Jackson #11 of the Washington Redskins celebrates with quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the New York Giants at FedExField on November 29, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants came into Sunday with a chance to take a commanding lead in the NFC East, but there’s a good chance things are going to remain tight a little while longer.

The Redskins lead 17-0 at halftime after a Kirk Cousins quarterback sneak with 1:45 to play in the second quarter. Cousins appeared to have his second touchdown pass of the game on third down, but replay showed that Jamison Crowder’s knee was down just short of the end zone. Jay Gruden elected to go for it rather than take the field goal and Cousins was able to get just enough of the ball across the plane.

The Giants would get the ball again, but their offense continued to struggle and they punted after picking up one first down. With Geoff Schwartz lost to a broken leg, the Giants have backups across the interior of the line and the entire group has looked out of sorts through the first 30 minutes of the game.

The first two drives ended with interceptions off of the hands of Giants receivers and Eli Manning is 10-of-22 for 91 yards in the game. They’ve added just 32 yards on 10 rushes, so the issues run across the board offensively for the Giants thus far.

Cousins hit DeSean Jackson for a 63-yard touchdown and is 12-of-18 for 207 yards overall against a secondary that got Prince Amukamara back at corner while losing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the first half. He also hooked up with Matt Jones for a 45-yard gain to set up the second score, so big plays and a tight defense have the Redskins two quarters away from a share of first place with five weeks left to play.

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Texans hanging on, but Saints have actually made some stops

Drew Brees

The Saints finally got a few stops on defense this year, but it wasn’t enough to make a huge difference.

A pair of field goals cut the Texans lead to 14-6, after Brian Hoyer threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter.

For the Saints, allowing no points on a four-drive span feels like a triumph, for a bad defense that just got a coordinator fired. But the Texans have held up well, and Saints kicker Kai Forbath’s second field goal was a 57-yarder.

Hoyer’s a clean 15-of-18 for 112 yards, but his early momentum slowed.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees is 13-of-23 for 95 yards, as the Texans have limited him to a bunch of check-downs, with just two completions longer than 11 yards.

He did top the 3,000-yard barrier, however, the 13th time he’s done that. Only Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino and Tom Brady can match that.

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Rivers and Gates give Chargers a cushion

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Two touchdown passes from Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates have helped the Chargers open up a 21-9 halftime lead on the Jaguars.

Rivers threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter after the Chargers trailed 6-0 to start the game. The first went to Dontrelle Inman. Rivers is 16-of-23 passing for 184 yards.

The Jaguars’ points have come via three Jason Myers field goals. Blake Bortles is 16-of-24 passing for 179 yards. He was intercepted by Manti Te’o, which set up a quick score from Rivers to Gates just before halftime to extend the lead.

The Chargers have lost six straight and are winless on the road this season.

The 4-6 Jaguars have won two straight and are in the AFC South race.

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DeMarcus Ware to miss at least another week

Aaron Rodgers, DeMarcus Ware AP

One of the big questions this week in Denver was whether Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware will play against the Patriots. He won’t.

He also won’t play next week against the Chargers, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports.

Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, there’s also a good chance Ware will be out even longer than that.

According to the source, Ware’s initial timetable after aggravating the back injury was 4-6 weeks. Next week will be the fourth week. Under that preliminary estimate, Ware also could miss Week 14 against the Raiders an Week 15 against the Steelers.

Ware has 6.5 sacks in seven games this season, his second with the Broncos.

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Doug Martin tops 1,000-yard mark, Bucs up 12-6

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The Buccaneers offense has moved in fits and starts today, but the one thing they can count on — as it has been this season — is running back Doug Martin.

Martin just popped a 56-yarder, which put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

Martin entered the game with 188 carries for 941 yards, but just one touchdown. He has 12 carries for 90 yards against the Colts at halftime, but had a scoring run negated in the second quarter on a holding call.

The Bucs just went up 12-6 on a touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to Cameron Brate, though Connor Barth missed the extra point attempt, keeping this one moving in factors of three. There are moments where Winston appears to be gaining confidence, but the Bucs are still very much a work in progress.

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Colts and Bucs tied 6-6 in a field goal derby

Matt Hasselbeck AP

In a game between teams quarterbacked by a really old guy and a really young one, it’s the team with the old kicker that had the early edge.

The Colts and Bucs are tied 6-6 in the second quarter, with neither 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck nor 21-year-old Jameis Winston having much success in the red zone.

Hasselbeck has actually led a few promising drives (though the Colts can’t run at all), but they bogged down as he approached scoring position, leaving them to settle for a pair of Adam Vinatieri field goals.

The Buccaneers have shown some life of their own, but look like a young team. A Doug Martin touchdown was wiped out by a holding penalty, and the Bucs had to settle for a second Connor Barth field goal.

Neither team seems comfortable with the ball in their hands, and the result is a real barn-burner.

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Chiefs’ Justin Houston suffers knee injury

Justin Houston AP

The Chiefs are getting their butts kicked on their home field today against the Bills, and now they’ve added injury to insult.

Chiefs pass rusher Justin Houston suffered a knee injury and limped to the locker room. The team said he’s questionable to return.

If Houston’s injury is serious, that would be a major blow to the Chiefs’ defense. Houston leads the Chiefs with 7.5 sacks this season.

Early in the second quarter, the Bills have a 10-0 lead in Kansas City.

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Giants injuries mount as they fall behind in first half

New York Giants v New York Jets Getty Images

The Giants moved Geoff Schwartz from right guard to left guard on Sunday to cover for the absence of Justin Pugh, but now they’ll need to find another option.

Schwartz hurt his ankle late in the first quarter of the game and was initially called probable to return by the Giants. During a Redskins drive that resulted in a field goal, the outlook changed and Schwartz returned to the locker room for further evaluation. The Giants now call him questionable to return and Bobby Hart has replaced Schwartz on an interior line that also includes backup center Dallas Reynolds in place of Weston Richburg and John Jerry at right guard.

There’s some bad injury news on the defensive side of the ball as well for the Giants. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie couldn’t put any weight on his right foot while coming off the field before Dustin Hopkins’s field goal provided the first points of the game. He’s being called questionable with an ankle injury.

They could have used him on the next Redskins drive because DeSean Jackson blew past Jayron Hosley and Brandon Meriweather for a 63-yard touchdown that extended their lead to 10-0 with just over 10 minutes to play in the first half.

UPDATE 2:04 p.m. ET: The updates keep getting worse for Schwartz. He is out for the rest of the game and weeks to come with a fractured lower leg.

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Rivers TD pass gives Chargers the lead

Philip Rivers AP

A 2-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Dontrelle Inman has put the Chargers up, 7-6, on the Jaguars in the second quarter.

The touchdown drive covered 63 yards in seven plays.

The Jaguars have moved the ball but settled for two Jason Myers field goals in the first quarter.

The Jaguars are actually in the AFC South race at 4-6. The 2-8 Chargers hit a low point with a 33-3 home loss to the Chiefs last week and are looking for their first road win of the season. They last won in early October.

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Reggie Wayne could have been having “not fun” with Patriots

Prince Amukamara, Reggie Wayne AP

After the Patriots parted ways with veteran receiver Reggie Wayne following a training camp and preseason cup of coffee, a report emerged that Wayne asked to be cut because playing football in New England was “not fun.”

Given the rash of injuries at the receiver position for the Patriots, Wayne currently could be having some “not fun” with a 10-0 team will be playing tonight in prime time. Instead, Wayne is in Indianapolis, sitting one row in front of Ted Marchibroda (there’s a slim chance it’s Tony Bennett) at the Buccaneers-Colts game.

With Aaron Dobson out for the year, Julian Edelman out indefinitely, and Danny Amendola out for at least this week, Wayne could be getting plenty of chances to add to a career that has him eight catches behind Terrell Owens for No. 6 on the all-time list, 24 behind Tim Brown for No. 5, 31 behind Cris Carter for No. 4, and 32 behind Marvin Harrison for No. 3.

So while playing for the Patriots may have been “not fun,” finishing his career behind only Jerry Rice and Tony Gonzalez on the all-time reception list would definitely have been something other than “not fun.”

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Sammy Watkins having a big day in Kansas City

Tyrod Taylor, Jaye Howard AP

At times this year, the Bills have failed to make the most of receiver Sammy Watkins’s talents. That’s not the case today in Kansas City.

Just 14 minutes into the first quarter, Watkins already has 90 receiving yards, and the Bills are off to a 10-0 lead.

On the Bills’ opening possession, Watkins had a 48-yard catch that helped set up a field goal. Later in the first quarter, Watkins caught a 28-yard touchdown pass.

Tyrod Taylor is throwing the ball well and the Bills’ defense is taking care of the Chiefs’ offense, and through the first quarter it’s all Buffalo.

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Mike Pouncey carted to locker room in first quarter

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04:   Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins awaits the snap from Mike Pouncey #51 of the Miami Dolphins during the game against New York Jets at Wembley Stadium on October 4, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins may be without their starting center for the rest of the day at the Meadowlands.

Mike Pouncey took a cart to the locker room in the first quarter of the game after suffering a right foot injury. He was getting the foot checked out on the sideline after Miami’s second offensive possession of the game and took the ride back to the locker room during the ensuing Jets drive.

His return is called questionable, although CBS reported during the game that Pouncey could put no weight on the foot. Jamil Douglas will likely take over in the middle of the offensive line.

That Jets drive started when cornerback Marcus Williams intercepted Ryan Tannehill inside the Jets’ 10-yard-line. Williams started Sunday’s game in place of Darrelle Revis, who is out with a concussion. It ended with a touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall for a 7-0 lead.

The Dolphins also suffered an injury at wide receiver on their first drive when Rishard Matthews took a hard hit to the ribs from safety Calvin Pryor while trying to grab a pass thrown behind him by Tannehill. He’s also termed questionable to return.

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Two drives, two tip drill interceptions off Eli Manning

499164910 Getty Images

Redskins defenders are having an easier time holding onto Eli Manning’s passes today than his receivers.

Manning has been intercepted on each of the Giants’ first two possessions of the game, although there’s blame to be shared on both turnovers. Shane Vereen had a pass go off his hands and into linebacker Perry Riley’s waiting mitts on a third down to end the first Giants drive, but the pass could only be criticized for being short of the sticks.

The second pick came when Will Blackmon tipped a ball that wide receiver Dwayne Harris briefly grabbed before getting hit by Kyshoen Jarrett. The ball came loose and Blackmon dove to corral it before it hit the turf.

The good news for the Giants is that neither turnover came back to haunt them on the scoreboard. The Redskins punted after Riley’s interception and Jay Bromley blocked a Dustin Hopkins 51-yard field goal after the second pick.

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Texans get off to rare quick start over Saints

Brian Hoyer AP

The Texans haven’t been able to get off to many quick starts, but this one was nearly perfect.

For the first time this season, Houston scored on its opening possession, for a 7-0 lead over the Saints.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer was a perfect 7-of-7 for 55 yards and a touchdown to tight end Ryan Griffin.

The Texans haven’t gotten much from any of their tight ends this year, but Hoyer is spreading the ball around and involving them more, and it made a difference for a team that’s still tied for the division lead at 5-5.

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