(Reuters) - Defending Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks handed the Arizona Cardinals just their second loss of the season with a 19-3 win in their NFC West clash on Sunday despite quarterback Russell Wilson being sacked seven times.
The win keeps alive the slim hopes of Seattle (7-4) of catching the Cardinals (9-2) while the San Francisco 49ers kept themselves in contention with a 17-13 win over the Washington Redskins.
The only touchdown in Seattle came in the fourth quarter when Wilson, who had been sacked five times in the first half, found Cooper Helfet with a 20-yard pass to secure the win after four field goals from Steven Hauschka.
Arizona’s blitz caused Seattle’s offensive line plenty of headaches but the Seahawks’ defense restricted Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton to 149 yards on 14 of 26 passing.
The 49ers needed a four-yard rushing touchdown with 2:59 left from running back Carlos Hyde to get past the Redskins and scrape out a win ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving clash with the Seahawks in San Francisco.
In the NFC North, running back Eddie Lacy scored two touchdowns and rushed for 125 yards as the Green Bay Packers took sole control of the division with a 24-21 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was again without a turnover as he threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Lacy.
The Packers move to 8-3, giving them top spot in the division after the Detroit Lions fell 34-9 to the New England Patriots.
The Patriots’ win was their seventh straight and their 15th consecutive at home. Quarterback Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns and 349 yards while running back LeGarrette Blount rushed in two scores and put up 78 yards on 12 carries.
In the AFC West, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to beat the Miami Dolphins 39-36.
Miami grabbed a 28-17 lead in the third quarter but the Broncos scored three touchdowns in the fourth, the third coming after Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw an interception that led to a two-yard touchdown pass by Manning to Wes Welker.
A late touchdown for Miami, with Tannehill finding Jarvis Landry in the end zone with a one-yard pass, was followed by a two-point conversion but the Dolphins were unable to retrieve an onsides kick and the Broncos wrapped up the game.
Manning finished with four touchdowns for 257 yards while Tannehill threw three touchdowns and ran in another while throwing for 228 yards.
The Cleveland Browns’ impressive campaign continued as a 37- yard field goal from Billy Cundiff at game’s end gave them a 26-24 win at the Atlanta Falcons and moved them to 7-4.
The Cincinnati Bengals remain just ahead of the Browns in the AFC North after they won 22-13 against the Texans in Houston.
The Bengals’ A.J. Green had 121 yards receiving and quarterback Andy Dalton threw for one touchdown and 233 yards although he also threw an interception in the third quarter which was returned 60 yards for a score by Texans corner Johnathan Joseph.
The Indianapolis Colts took advantage of Houston’s loss to move clear in the AFC South (7-4) after a comfortable 23-3 win over struggling Jacksonville.
In the NFC East, Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez had another good day, passing for 307 yards and a touchdown as Philadelphia (8-3) beat the Tennessee Titans 43-24.
Editing by Gene Cherry