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NFL Week 12: After Mason Rudolph is benched, Devlin Hodges leads Steelers over winless Bengals, 16-10

Devlin “Duck” Hodges took over for struggling Mason Rudolph and threw a 79-yard touchdown pass Sunday, sparking the depleted Pittsburgh Steelers to a 16-10 victory that kept the Cincinnati Bengals the only winless team in the NFL.

Hodges connected with James Washington on the game-turning play in the third quarter, leaving Pittsburgh (6-5) with a quarterback decision as it moves forward without Ben Roethlisberger.

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The Steelers' defense has steadied them through the transition, and it had a major impact in Pittsburgh's 10th straight win over the hapless Bengals (0-11), who set franchise records for worst start and longest losing streak.

Tyler Boyd made a catch and was stripped by Devin Bush at the Steelers 8-yard line in the fourth quarter, preserving the lead. Bud Dupree sacked Ryan Finley and forced a fumble that he recovered with 2:38 left, closing it out.

What's left of the Steelers' offense — hollowed out by injuries and a suspension — struggled in the first half and prompted coach Mike Tomlin to switch from Rudolph to Hodges, who provided an immediate boost. His touchdown pass to Washington gave the Steelers a 10-7 lead and got thousands of Terrible Towels twirling at Paul Brown Stadium.

Hodges filled in for one game after Rudolph suffered a concussion and directed a 24-17 win over the Chargers on Oct. 13. Tomlin went back to Rudolph as soon as he was healthy.

Now, he's got a big decision as the Steelers try to stay in the playoff chase.

Hodges ran an offense missing three stars after a 21-7 loss to Cleveland that ended with ugliness — Myles Garrett clubbing Rudolph with the QB's own helmet. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey served the first of his two-game suspension Sunday for kicking and punching Garrett in the melee.

Also, receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was out with a concussion and running back James Conner had a shoulder injury from the Cleveland game. The Steelers got what they needed out of what was left, with Hodges leading the way. He went 5 of 11 or 118 yards with two sacks. Rookie Benny Snell Jr. returned from a knee injury and ran for 98 yards.

If the Bengals were going to end that long losing streak against their Ohio River rival, this was their chance. Instead, they saw another one slip away in the end, just like all the others.

The Bengals repeatedly dodged disaster in the first half and led 7-3, only their third halftime lead this season. They fumbled the opening kickoff but recovered. Finley was sacked and fumbled on Cincinnati's second possession, but Giovani Bernard fell on the ball. Finley later was sacked just in front of the goal line, avoiding a safety.

Finley was 12 of 26 for 192 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to Boyd.

Browns 41, Dolphins 24

Jarvis Landry caught two touchdown passes against his former team and the Browns won their third straight in their first game since losing star defensive end Myles Garrett to a season-ending suspension.

Landry couldn't wait to get back at the Dolphins (2-9), who had him for four seasons before they decided not to give him a long-term contract extension and traded him to Cleveland in 2018. He got his revenge, finishing with 10 catches for 148 yards.

Baker Mayfield had 327 yards passing and hit a TD pass to Odell Beckham Jr., and Joe Schobert had two interceptions as the Browns (5-6) continued their climb back into the AFC playoff hunt.

Jets 34, Raiders 3

Sam Darnold threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score for the Jets' first three-game winning streak in over two years.

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Brian Poole returned an interception 15 yards for a TD and the rest of the Jets defense made things miserable for Derek Carr, who was pulled by coach Jon Gruden with just under two minutes left in the third quarter.

The Raiders (6-5) came into a rain-soaked MetLife Stadium on a three-game winning streak with an eye on a possible AFC West first-place showdown at Kansas City next week. Instead, they got outplayed by a suddenly resurgent Jets (4-7) team that pulled away in the second half.

Bills 20, Broncos 3

Josh Allen threw two touchdowns passing and Shaq Lawson had two of Buffalo's four sacks. The Bills have their best record through 11 games in 23 years.

Buffalo improved to 8-3, to match its best start since Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly's final season in 1996, while keeping the Bills firmly in position to secure their second playoff berth in three years.

John Brown made a diving 34-yard touchdown catch, and Cole Beasley scored on an 18-yard reception. Allen finished 15 of 25 for 185 yards and threw his first interception in 172 attempts.

Frank Gore had 65 yards rushing to up his total to 15,289 and move ahead of boyhood idol Barry Sanders into third on the NFL career list. The 15-year veteran also increased his total to 19,154 yards from scrimmage to pass Marshall Faulk for fourth on the list.

Seahawks 17, Eagles 9

Rashaad Penny ran for a career-best 129 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown, Russell Wilson threw one TD pass and the Seattle Seahawks beat the Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 Sunday.

Missing their top three wide receivers, leading rusher and two Pro Bowl offensive linemen, the Eagles (5-6) couldn’t do much on offense and hurt themselves with three turnovers inside Seattle territory and another near midfield.

Saints 34, Panthers 31

Wil Lutz kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired, and the Saints took a four-game lead in the NFC South with five games left.

Drew Brees completed 30 of 39 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns, and led New Orleans from its 14-yard line with 1:51 left to the Carolina 15 with 3 seconds remaining to set up the winning kick. That capped a contest filled with late momentum shifts and critical errors — none bigger than Carolina kicker Joey Slye’s missed field goal from 28 yards with 2 minutes left.

Redskins 19, Lions 16

Quinton Dunbar intercepted Jeff Driskel in the final minute, Dustin Hopkins hit the go-ahead field goal from 39 yards with 16 seconds left as Washington snapped a four-game losing streak.

Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins picked up his first NFL win after leading Washington (2-9) into field goal range following Dunbar’s interception. Haskins finished 13 of 29 for 156 yards and an interception but made a couple fewer mistakes than Driskel, who was picked off three times as the Lions (3-7-1) lost their fourth in a row and third since starter Matthew Stafford went out with injury.

Buccaneers 34, Falcons 22

Massive defensive lineman Vita Vea turned receiver to haul in his first career touchdown, one of three scoring throws by Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay escaped last place in the NFC South.

Winston shook off two more interceptions to post his sixth straight 300-yard passing game, leading the Buccaneers (4-7) to just their second victory in the last seven games.

Bears 19, Giants 14

Khalil Mack set up a touchdown with a strip-sack and Allen Robinson had a season-high 131 yards receiving for Chicago.

Trying to salvage something from a disappointing season, the Bears (5-6) bounced back from a loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The Giants (2-9) dropped their seventh straight and clinched their third losing season in a row.

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