Chargers triumph over fading Cowboys

The Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — Philip Rivers was more than comfortable on the Thanksgiving stage for the first time in his 14 NFL seasons.

Same with Keenan Allen, who didn’t have to wait nearly that long.

Rivers threw for 434 yards and three touchdowns, Allen had a career-high 172 yards in his second straight huge game and the Los Angeles Chargers beat the fading Dallas Cowboys 28-6 on Thursday.

Desmond King returned an interception 90 yards for the punctuating touchdown. The Chargers (5-6) moved within 1 1/2 games of AFC West-leading Kansas City after starting 0-4 while the Chiefs won their first five.

“Playing on Thanksgiving was everything it was cranked up to be,” said Rivers, who was 27 of 33 in his ninth career 400-yard game . “As a quarterback, you want to play well and throw it to your guys, and we did a lot today. But I’m more excited about our team.”

The defending NFC East champion Cowboys (5-6) have lost three straight games by at least 20 points for the first time since 2004, all without suspended star running back Ezekiel Elliott in a damaging slide for their fading playoff hopes.

Dallas, playing its 50th Thanksgiving game, finally ended a touchdown drought at a team-record 10 quarters on Rod Smith’s 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys have been outscored 72-6 in the second half of the three losses.

Quarterback Dak Prescott has looked lost without Elliott, his backfield mate for a pair of remarkable rookie seasons that led the Cowboys to the best record in the NFC last season. Prescott had two interceptions, giving him five in two games after throwing just four a year ago.

Last year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year has nine picks for the season and the Cowboys already have twice as many losses as a year ago with Elliott only halfway through a six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence.

“The last thing I’m doing is pointing a finger and saying, ‘We need this guy, we need that to happen,'” said Prescott, who was 20 of 27 for 179 yards in his third straight game without a TD pass.

Vikes have 3-game lead

DETROIT — Case Keenum and the Minnesota Vikings are breezing through this difficult stretch on their schedule.

Now they can lose a game or two and still win the NFC North.

Keenum threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns, and the Vikings never trailed in a 30-23 victory over Detroit on Thursday.

Minnesota extended its lead atop the division to three games over the Lions, and the Vikings have won seven straight since a 14-7 loss to Detroit on Oct. 1.

“We knew how important it was to win this game, especially after they beat us at home,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said. “This means that every goal we had at the start of the season is still on the table.”

Minnesota won at Washington and beat the Los Angeles Rams before coming to Detroit and winning. The Vikings (9-2) now have road games against Atlanta and Carolina.

But they’re sitting pretty compared to the Lions (6-5), who are now probably going to need a wild card to make the playoffs. Another slow start cost Detroit, and quarterback Matthew Stafford appeared to hurt his ankle in the fourth quarter.

Stafford came back into the game, but the Lions couldn’t complete another comeback after rallying from double-digit deficits against Chicago and Cleveland the previous two weeks.

“Dug a little bit too much of a hole, and we just didn’t perform well there at the onset, and any time you do that against a good team, it’s going to be tough,” Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said. “Some of those holes are a little bit too big to dig out of.”

Skins survive

WASHINGTON – Kirk Cousins’ second touchdown pass of the night, this one to Josh Doctson with under four minutes to play, lifted the Washington Redskins to a 20-10 win over the New York Giants.

Nick Rose tacked on a 33-yard field with 23 seconds to play to set the final as the Redskins improved to 5-6. The Giants, coming off their upset win over Kansas City, fell to 2-9.

Bears star LB done for year

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd was placed on injured reserve Thursday by the Chicago Bears, ending his season because of a knee injury.

Floyd suffered a knee injury Sunday in a 27-24 loss at Soldier Field to the Detroit Lions. He was attempting to make a tackle on a running play and collided with teammate Kyle Fuller.

Bears coach John Fox said on Monday that Floyd did not suffer a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but the damage to the knee is severe enough to keep him from playing again this season.

Floyd, the ninth overall pick in the 2016 draft, had 41⁄2 sacks this season and had seven as a rookie.

The Bears have promoted outside linebacker Howard Jones from their practice squad to take Floyd’s spot on the 53-man roster.