N.F.L. Scores: Houston Texans Kneel During Anthem in Protest

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CBS, which was broadcasting a golf event until 4 p.m. Eastern, did not air the anthem. Pictures and video showed more than 40 members of the team kneeling, with only a few standing.

On Friday, Texans’ offensive lineman Duane Brown told reporters the team would respond to McNair’s words.

“I think it was ignorant,” Brown said. “I think it was embarrassing. I think it angered a lot of players, including myself. We put our bodies and minds on the line every time we step on that field, and to use an analogy of inmates in prison, that’s disrespectful. That’s how I feel about it.”

On the opposite sideline Sunday, several members of the Seattle Seahawks sat on the bench during the anthem, including Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson and Cliff Avril. Linebacker Michael Wilhoite again took a knee.

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Seahawks score last in back-and-forth battle with Texans.

Distinguishing between the rookie quarterback on one side from the Super Bowl winner on the other was difficult all game, but it was veteran Russell Wilson, not Deshaun Watson, who walked away with a win. In an entertaining shootout, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Houston Texans, 41-38.

Watson set a tone for the game early with a soaring 59-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller on the game’s opening drive in which the speedy young wide receiver simply outran the entire Seattle defense. He would continue to be aggressive throughout the game, not letting Seattle’s vaunted secondary, or his three interceptions, change his approach.

But despite becoming the first quarterback to have 400 passing yards, 50 rushing yards, and four passing touchdowns in the same game, Watson found himself a hard-luck loser thanks to Wilson’s late-game heroics and a few of his own mistakes.

Wilson ended up completing 26 of 41 passes for 452 yards and four touchdowns, the last of which was an 18-yarder to Jimmy Graham with 21 seconds left that gave the Seahawks the victory. Seattle looked like it would lose when Wilson was intercepted with just under three minutes left in the game.

In the end, it was a handful of rookie mistakes by Watson that provided the scoring difference, as he was intercepted three times, with Richard Sherman accounting for two and Earl Thomas taking his back 78 yards for a touchdown. But even in the loss, the rookie proved he belongs in the N.F.L. and that his prolific passing in the last few weeks was not a case of picking on bad teams.

Seattle will have another tough test next week when the Washington Redskins come to town, but their 5-2 record has them tied with the Los Angeles Rams for the best record in the N.F.C. West.

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Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski scored against the Chargers in the first quarter.

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Stew Milne/USA Today Sports, via Reuters..

Patriots take advantage of Chargers’ miscue.

New England’s offense sputtered some on Sunday, but they got some help from the Chargers in a 21-13 victory.

It was a day of stalled out drives and costly penalties for both teams, but the key play for the Patriots came early in the second quarter when Ryan Allen’s punt was muffed by Travis Benjamin of the Chargers inside Los Angeles’ 10-yard line. Hoping to get something started in a 7-7 game, Benjamin recovered the ball and tried to cut back through his own team’s end zone to find room for a return, but he was tracked down by the Patriots’ gunners and crushed to the ground for a safety.

The Patriots got a field goal after the free kick, and the five-point surge gave New England a lead they would never surrender.

Tom Brady moved the ball with ease for most of the game, completing 32 of 47 passes for 333 yards, but other than a first-quarter touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski, New England’s offense had to settle for four field goals and four punts.

In a game where the Patriots’ offense could not finish drives, their much-maligned passing defense did a solid job of containing Philip Rivers and the Chargers. New England opened the season allowing 300 or more passing yards to each quarterback they faced in the first six weeks, but now have had their secondary play a big part in consecutive wins. Rivers completed 17 of 30 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown. The Chargers’ best play of the game came on an 87-yard touchdown run by Melvin Gordon early in the first quarter, which tied the Chargers’ franchise record for longest run.

New England improved to 6-2 and will now have a bye-week before traveling to Denver to face the Broncos on Nov. 12. The Chargers, who came into the game on a three-game winning streak, fell to 3-5 and will also have a bye-week before facing off against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Philadelphia Eagles are 7-1 after crushing the 49ers.

The Philadelphia Eagles got off to a slow start, punting on six of the team’s first eight possessions, but they found their offense and crushed the San Francisco 49ers 33-10.

The game was hardly competitive, as the Eagles, playing at home, improved to an N.F.L.-best 7-1 without a hint of a comeback from a 49ers team that fell to 0-8 for the first time in franchise history.

In familiar fashion, Carson Wentz was efficient and occasionally electric, completing two touchdown passes, one of which went for 53 yards to Alshon Jeffrey. It was Wentz’s fifth touchdown pass of 50 or more yards this season and he finished the day with a modest 211 yards thanks to the lopsided score.

C.J. Beathard was not able to keep up, completing just 17 of 36 passes for 167 yards. He had one touchdown and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, as he dealt with four sacks and 12 quarterback hits.

Philadelphia will stay at home to face the Denver Broncos next week, while the 49ers will try to find their first win in a home game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Niners continue their national anthem protests.

Seven members of the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the national anthem before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Eric Reid, Marquise Goodwin, Eli Harold and Adrian Colbert were among those kneeling. On the opposite sideline, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins raised his fist during the song.

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Browns receiver Sammie Coates fought off a tackle by the Vikings’ Xavier Rhodes during the early game in London.

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Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Around the N.F.L.

Bills beat Raiders: Rookie linebacker Matt Milano scored on a 40-yard fumble return on a rain-slick field, and the Buffalo Bills forced four turnovers in beating the Oakland Raiders 34-14 on Sunday.

Tyrod Taylor threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Andre Holmes and also scored on a 1-yard run for Buffalo. LeSean McCoy had a season-best 151 yards rushing and also scored on a 48-yard run. — AP

Saints top Bears: Drew Brees completed 23 of 28 passes for 299 yards against a Bears defense that ranked sixth against the pass, and the New Orleans Saints beat Chicago 20-12 Sunday for their fifth straight win.

Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara each ran for touchdowns for New Orleans (5-2). Ingram finished with 99 yards from scrimmage, including 75 on the ground, but his two late fumbles kept the Bears in the game into the final minutes. Kamara had 76 yards from scrimmage — 48 receiving. — AP

Panthers’ defense stops Bucs: Cam Newton threw for 154 yards and one touchdown and Carolina’s defense didn’t allow a TD for the second straight week, helping the Panthers snap a two-game losing streak with a 17-3 victory over the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Newton rebounded from a subpar performance in a 14-point road loss to the Chicago Bears, leading a 17-play, 82-yard TD drive that consumed more eight minutes of the opening quarter, then completed three passes to Christian McCaffrey to set up a field goal for a 10-0 halftime lead. — AP

Browns still winless: The Cleveland Browns took the lead three different times in their London matchup against the Minnesota Vikings Sunay morning, but after a field goal in the third quarter briefly put them up 16-15, they were scoreless the rest of the way, eventually losing 33-16. At 0-8, the Browns have hit the season’s midpoint without a win, and now have a bye-week to game plan for their Nov. 12 matchup against Detroit. The Vikings, on the other hand, go into their bye-week with four consecutive wins and an N.F.C. North-leading record of 6-2.

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Joe Lockhart with N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell before the Patriots played the Chiefs in September.

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Illustration by The New York Times; Photography by Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Battle-Scarred West Wing Veteran Scripting the N.F.L.’s Anthem Message.

In the late 1990s, when the Clinton White House was under siege amid revelations of the president’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and efforts by Congress to impeach him, it fell on Joe Lockhart, then the White House spokesman, day after day to defend his boss.

But unlike many of his predecessors, he did not just take his marching orders. In countless meetings with the president and his advisers, Lockhart helped shape the message he would convey, and he aggressively pressed it to reporters.

Last year, Lockhart took his pugnacious style to another embattled institution, the National Football League. Read Ken Belson’s story on Lockhart here.

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