Rodgers wins in return from Covid, Bucs implode in Washington shock

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AJ Dillon ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the Green Bay Packers shut out the Seattle Seahawks 17-0 on Sunday in a game where both clubs welcomed back their starting quarterbacks.

Playing in a light snowfall, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned from a tumultuous 10 days and delivered a mediocre performance, but did just enough to get the Packers victory.

The reigning NFL Most Valuable Player missed last week's 13-7 loss to Kansas City after testing positive for Covid-19.

He came in for criticism when it emerged he hadn't received the Covid-19 vaccine, despite saying in August he was "immunized."

Rodgers was activated from the Covid-19 list on Saturday after a 10-day quarantine and completed 23 of 37 passes for 292 yards with one interception in front of a crowd of 54,300 at Lambeau Field.

He received a loud ovation by the Packers fans at the start of the game.

"I don't take these things for granted, walking off the field as a winner," Rodgers told reporters.

Asked why he didn't seem more excited, he replied, "It's been a long 10 days."

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson also returned Sunday after missing three games after finger surgery -- the first missed games of his career.

Wilson looked rusty, completing 20 of 40 passes for 161 yards with two interceptions as the battle between the NFC teams turned into a defensive struggle.

Both of Wilson's interceptions took place in the end zone as the Seahawks were held scoreless for the first time since 2011.

Running back Dillon finished with 66 yards on 21 carries, scoring touchdowns with a three-yard run at 10:37 of the fourth and from two yards with just under two minutes remaining.

- Washington stun Brady -

Elsewhere, Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady threw two interceptions in the first quarter as the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers were shocked 29-19 by the Washington Football Team.

The Bucs' second straight NFL defeat came in the wake of their bye week and was made more painful by the late-game departure of injured defender Vita Vea.

Superstar signal-caller Brady threw two interceptions, connecting on 23 of 34 passing attempts for 220 yards and two touchdowns.

Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke completed 26 of 32 passing attempts for 256 yards and a TD, his team improving to 3-6 as the Bucs fell to 6-3.

The Buccaneers' bad day included a welter of penalties in the first half, when for just the fifth time since Brady arrived last season they failed to score a touchdown before the break.

Washington's 13-point halftime lead was their biggest of the season.

Although Brady rebounded in the second half with scoring passes to Cameron Brate and Mike Evans to cut the deficit to 23-19, Tampa Bay couldn't complete the rally.

Heinicke piloted a 19-play drive, the longest in the league this season, that drained the clock and ended in Antonio Gibson's one-yard touchdown plunge with 29 seconds remaining.

- Newton's 'high frequency' -

In Arizona, Cam Newton ran for a touchdown and threw for a score in his first game back with Carolina as the Panthers stunned the Arizona Cardinals 34-10.

Newton signed with Carolina, which had made him the top pick in the 2011 draft, late in the week as a free agent.

"I'm just floating at an all-time-high frequency," Newton said. "It's almost scary."

The former league MVP Newton made his presence felt on his first play of the game, entering on third down and running for the touchdown to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.

On Carolina's next drive, Newton threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson.

In other games, the New England Patriots thumped Cleveland 45-7, the Browns also seeing quarterback Baker Mayfield exit in the third quarter with a knee injury after a hit from linebacker Matt Judon.

The Dallas Cowboys also posted a lopsided win, pummelling the Atlanta Falcons 43-3 as they bounced back from a loss to the Denver Broncos last week.

In the late game, Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes as the Kansas City Chiefs moved into first place in the AFC West with a 41-14 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

gph/bb/pst