EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Sam Darnold returned — and so did the New York Jets’ hopes to turn around a season that was quickly unraveling without him.
Darnold gave the Jets’ struggling offense a huge boost by throwing two touchdown passes in his return from mononucleosis, and New York held on to beat the Dallas Cowboys 24-22 Sunday for their first win of the season.
“I’m just really, really excited for the guys in this locker room,” Darnold said. “We were starving for a win.”
The Jets led 21-9 in the fourth quarter, but Dak Prescott and the top-ranked Cowboys offense stormed back — and had a chance to tie in the closing moments.
With Dallas marching down the field, officials called six straight penalties during one stretch, including four on the Jets, putting the Cowboys in scoring position.
Prescott ran for a 4-yard touchdown with 43 seconds left, making it a two-point game. Going for the tie, Prescott was met by Jamal Adams and his pass on the conversion try fell short of Jason Witten in the end zone.
The Cowboys (3-3) tried an onside kick, but Demaryius Thomas recovered for the Jets (1-4), who won for the first time under coach Adam Gase. It was the third straight loss for Dallas.
Texans 31, Chiefs 24: KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Deshaun Watson passed for 280 yards and a touchdown while running for two more TDs, outdueling Patrick Mahomes and leading Houston (4-2) to victory. Mahomes finished with 273 yards passing and three TDs, though he also threw his first interception of the season. Tyreek Hill returned for the first time since Week 1, when he broke his collarbone, to catch two TD passes for the Chiefs (4-2).
Saints 13, Jaguars 6: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Teddy Bridgewater found Jared Cook for a 4-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and New Orleans (5-1) held on to beat Jacksonville (2-4).
Vikings 38, Eagles 20: MINNEAPOLIS — Kirk Cousins passed to Stefon Diggs for three of his four TDs as Minnesota (4-2) ravaged Philadelphia’s secondary. Diggs’ biggest catch came late in the third quarter in the back of the end zone from 11 yards out that pushed the lead to 11 points after the Eagles (3-3) had pulled within 24-20.
Ravens 23, Bengals 17: BALTIMORE — Lamar Jackson ran for a career-high 152 yards and a touchdown, passed for 236 yards and guided Baltimore (4-2) past Cincinnati (0-6).
Panthers 37, Buccaneers 26: LONDON — Christian McCaffrey scored two touchdowns and Carolina turned five interceptions by Jameis Winston into 17 points as the Panthers (4-2) beat Tampa Bay (2-4).
Redskins 17, Dolphins 16: MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Rookie Terry McLaurin caught two TD passes and Washington (1-5) stopped a two-point conversion attempt by Miami (0-5) with six seconds left.
Broncos 16, Titans 0: DENVER — Denver’s swarming defense sent Marcus Mariota to the bench and Tennessee (2-4) to its fourth loss in five games. The Broncos (2-4) had seven sacks and picked off three passes.
Cardinals 34, Falcons 33: GLENDALE, Ariz. — Kyler Murray passed for 340 yards and three touchdowns and Arizona (2-3-1) built a big lead over Atlanta (1-5), lost it, and then rallied to win.
Steelers 24, Chargers 17: CARSON, Calif. — James Conner scored two touchdowns, Devin Bush recovered two turnovers and quarterback Devlin Hodges won his first NFL start as Pittsburgh (2-4) held off the Chargers (2-4).