Pittsburgh 28, Indianapolis 7
When: 8:30 PM ET, Thursday, November 24, 2016
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS – (Wire Service Report) – After a Nov. 13 loss to Dallas in Heinz Field, the Pittsburgh Steelers were 4-5 and riding a four-game losing streak. A once-promising season had all the makings of a possible meltdown with consecutive road games at Cleveland and Thanksgiving Night at Indianapolis up next.
The Steelers are somewhat more encouraged now after a 24-9 Sunday victory at Cleveland and a dominating 28-7 victory late Thursday night. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 221 yards and three touchdowns — each to Antonio Brown — and Pittsburgh recorded a 28-7 victory against Indianapolis (5-6), whose starting quarterback Andrew Luck was out with a concussion. Roethlisberger completed 14 of 20 passes, and Le’Veon Bell rushed 23 times for 120 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers (6-5) won for the second time in five days.
Starting in place of Luck, who suffered a concussion late in Sunday’s victory against Tennessee, Scott Tolzien completed 22 of 36 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown, but he was intercepted in the fourth quarter by free safety Mike Mitchell and cornerback William Gay during the final 7:51, the first setting up a 22-yard touchdown pass to Brown that extended the lead to 28-7.
“I was appreciative of the effort tonight,” Tomlin said. “It was a tough game. It’s a good win for us.”
While the Steelers out-gained the Colts 369-310, they ruined several other scoring chances with seven penalties for 67 yards.
“We had good balance, and then our defense made some really big plays,” Roethlisberger said.
Another key was Pittsburgh twice stopping the Colts on fourth and goal from the 1. Each time, a Tolzien pass fell incomplete. The second was the final play of a 19-play, 89-yard drive.
“Pittsburgh played extremely well,” Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said. “We had opportunities, and we didn’t take advantage of that. Pittsburgh’s third-down plays (7 of 11 successful conversions) killed us, and when you are at the goal line, you have to get it in.
“Scott hung in there and gave us a chance. He settled down after the first series and managed things. He made good decisions. On those fourth-down plays, we went for it from the 1 both times because we were trying to win the football game.”
Roethlisberger completed 9 of 13 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and Bell rushed 12 times for 73 yards and a score, helping the Steelers take a 21-7 lead through two quarters.
Pittsburgh scored touchdowns on each of its first three drives. Bell’s 5-yard touchdown run capped a seven-play, 52-yard drive the first time the Steelers had the ball, and the Steelers led 7-0 with 9:10 left in the first quarter.
Where: BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
WINSTON-SALEM – (Wire Service Preview) – There is quite a bit on the line Saturday when Wake Forest faces visiting Boston College in an ACC game. For the Demon Deacons, there is the chance to lock up their first winning season since 2008, while a bowl game awaits the Eagles if they are victorious.
“We’re at six wins and we’re going to try like crazy to get seven,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson told the media. “We still have a lot to play for and I’m really proud of our guys.” The Demon Deacons are hopeful that John Wolford will be back at quarterback for his 32nd career start after redshirt freshman Kyle Kearns was under center for last week’s 35-13 loss to Clemson. Wolford, who took over for injured sophomore Kendall Hinton during the season’s second game, is dealing with injuries of his own, including a sore shoulder, ankle and knee, but is unlikely to miss a chance to play for a winning season after the team went 3-9 in each of his first two years. The Eagles took advantage of a late non-conference game by shutting out Connecticut 30-0 last week and gave themselves a chance to qualify for a bowl for the third time under coach Steve Addazio. A close game should be expected as the teams have met every year since 2003 with the Eagles winning seven of the 13 matchups.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, RSN. LINE: Wake Forest -3
ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (5-6, 1-6 ACC): Getting Jeff Smith the ball will be critical for the Eagles as the sophomore has big play ability as a receiver and a runner. Smith leads the team in yards per carry (6.8) and is among the leaders in yards per reception (16.9). Sophomore Jon Hillman sees the most action out of the backfield, carrying 149 times for 455 yards and five touchdowns, but freshman Davon Jones (4.2 yards per 81 carries) is the more effective runner.
ABOUT WAKE FOREST (6-5, 3-4): The key to success for the Demon Deacons is in the running game with Wolford, freshman Cade Carney and sophomore Matt Colburn, but that could prove difficult against Boston College’s No. 8 rushing defense, which has limited opponents to 103 yards per game. In its victories, Wake Forest averaged 202 rushing yards compared to 80.8 yards in its five. Wolford, whose older brother Bobby is a senior fullback for Boston College, hasn’t exactly lit it up this season with his arm with 200 yards on only two occasions and has has more interceptions (32) than touchdowns passes (26) in his career.
1. Neither team starts particularly well as each is scoreless in the first quarter of seven games this season. Boston College owns a point differential of minus-71 and Wake Forest is minus-50 in the opening period.
2. Boston College QB Patrick Towles is similar to Wolford in that he can be effective running the ball, but won’t win the game with his arm as his 51.8 completion percentage, nine touchdowns and six interceptions attest.
3. In the last 13 meetings, Wake Forest has averaged 20.8 points compared to 21.8 points for Boston College and only two games were decided by more than 10 points.
Dallas 31, Washington 26
When: 4:30 PM ET, Thursday, November 24, 2016
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
ARLINGTON – (Wire Service Report) – Quarterback Dak Prescott completed 17 passes for 195 yards, ran for one touchdown and tossed a scoring strike to Terrence Williams as the Dallas Cowboys ran off with a 31-26 win over the Washington Redskins on Thursday before 93,099 at AT&T Stadium.
Prescott wasn’t flashy throughout, but got heated up when it mattered most in the fourth quarter and helped the Cowboys (10-1) to an NFL-best 10th straight win and a 2.5-game lead over the New York Giants in the NFC East.
It was a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive and a seven-play, 48-yard drive that helped separate things in the fourth quarter.
Prescott capped the first drive with a six-yard touchdown run and running back Ezekiel Elliott scored on the second drive with a one-yard run.
The Redskins (6-4-1) got a gem from franchise-tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins, but couldn’t come up with the magic late to make a push.
Washington didn’t get its first touchdown until the start of the 4th quarter and the Cowboys defense didn’t buckle in the final 6:29 of the game.
Cousins, who pulled the Redskins within 24-19 on a 67-yard scoring strike to DeSean Jackson, completed 41 passes for 449 yards and three touchdowns.
The Redskins made one final push, pulling within five points on a Jordan Reed touchdown catch with 1:53 remaining in the game.
Prescott got the Dallas offense off on the right foot in the first quarter, working the ball 75 yards in seven plays for the opening score.
Elliott got the first of his two scoring runs from four yards to make it 7-0 early.
Prescott connected on pass plays of 4 (Elliott) and 13 (Cole Beasley) yards to keep Washington off balance.
The Redskins couldn’t hit pay dirt in the first half, coming away with just two field goals despite Cousins completing 18 passes for 216 yards.
Dallas’ defense held up in the first half, thanks to some timely penalties and strong coverage downfield.
Cousins worked the Washington offense to the Dallas 19 yard line on its opening possession, but came away with nothing when kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 43-yard field goal attempt.
Hopkins connected later on field goals of 24 and 20 yards in the second quarter.
Washington finished with 505 total yards of offense while Dallas had 353 yards in a near-balanced attack.
NOTES: Cowboys TE Jason Witten extended his team record for consecutive games catching a pass to 130. … Elliott had 92 yards rushing to run his season total to 1,194 yards. … Backup LB Justin Durant had a hamstring injury in the first quarter after snuffing out a screen to Washington WR Jamison Crowder. … Three Redskins ball carriers produced only 56 yards. … Backup DE Anthony Lanier II went out in the first series against Dallas with a leg injury and did not return. … Ten different receivers caught passes from Kirk Cousins in the game, with DeSean Jackson (4-118, 1 TD) and Jordan Reed (10-95 2 TDs) leading the way.