|Close calls all around in NFL|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 21 September 2008 23:03|
If they had they would have missed some thrilling finishes Sunday.
Such as the Bills moving to 3-0 with a wild comeback capped by Rian Lindell's 38-yard field goal as time expired for a 24-23 victory over Oakland.
``It means a lot,'' quarterback Trent Edwards said after going 14-of-19 for 183 yards and a touchdown in producing scores on the final three drives. ``We're going to grow up a lot from this win.''
So might the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who got Matt Bryant's 21-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Bears 27-24.
``This is huge,'' coach Jon Gruden said. ``We lost a difficult game at the end of regulation in New Orleans, and we didn't want to lose another in a similar fashion.''
The Jaguars replicated Tampa Bay's blueprint, although they didn't quite need extra time to beat the Colts 23-21. Josh Scobee did the honors with a 51-yard field goal with 4 seconds left.
st New Orleans before holding on 34-32. Washington got a fluky late interception to set up the winning touchdown in a 24-17 victory against Arizona.
And the Super Bowl champion Giants were forced into overtime before getting a 22-yard field goal from John Carney to beat Cincinnati 26-23 and improve to 3-0.
With all those close encounters, it figured if there was a rout, it would be in New England. And it was, with the Miami Dolphins pulling off a stunner, 38-13 to snap the Patriots' NFL record 21-game regular-season winning streak.
``That was fun. It was obviously a pretty emotional deal,'' said first-year coach Tony Sparano, who took over a 1-15 team. ``They executed the game plan on both sides of the ball to perfection.''
Also remaining perfect this season were Tennessee, 31-12 over Houston; Baltimore, 28-10 over Cleveland; and Dallas, 27-16 at Green Bay.
Elsewhere, it was Philadelphia 15, Pittsburgh 6; Minnesota 20, Carolina 10; San Francisco 31, Detroit 13; Seattle 37, St. Louis 13; and Atlanta 38, Kansas City 14.
San Diego hosts the New York Jets on Monday night.
Bills 24, Raiders 23
ysfunctional Raiders (1-2) didn't matter for a Bills team off to its first 3-0 start since 1992.
The defeat spells trouble for Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, who is on the hot seat after Oakland opened the season with a 41-14 loss to Denver. Kiffin got a reprieve after a 23-8 win at Kansas City last weekend.
Buccaneers 27, Bears 24, OT
At Chicago, former Bears quarterback Brian Griese set up Matt Bryant's winning field goal with a 38-yard pass to Antonio Bryant.
The Buccaneers got a 35-yard field goal from Bryant with 3:11 left, and Griese orchestrated a 79-yard touchdown drive in the final 1:49, hitting Jerramy Stevens with a 1-yard pass in the closing seconds of regulation.
Tampa Bay (2-1) had a third-and-9 at its 8 when Griese hit Jerramy Stevens with a 2-yard pass. There was a pileup and Bears cornerback Charles Tillman jumped in late, leading to an unnecessary roughness penalty that gave the Buccaneers a first down at the 24. That new life led to the winning kick.
After blowing a 14-point lead in a 20-17 loss at Carolina last week, the Bears (1-2) couldn't protect a 24-14 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Giants 26, Bengals 23, OT
At East Rutherford, N.J., the Giants (3-0) got off to their best start since 2000 on Carney's kick.
from the Bengals 38. It was difficult to tell whether Toomer got both feet in bounds.
``I couldn't tell,'' Toomer said when asked if he was in bounds. ``I just got as many feet down as I could.''
Carney kicked four field goals for New York. However, the Bengals (0-3) drove 71 yards and got a 21-yard field goal from Shayne Graham on the final play of regulation to force OT.
Cowboys 27, Packers 16
At Green Bay, Wis., the Dallas Cowboys leaned on their defense and running game - then unleashed little-known wide receiver Miles Austin to put away the Packers (2-1).
Marion Barber ran for a career-high 142 yards and a touchdown, and rookie Felix Jones added a 60-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Austin, a backup who plays mostly on special teams, sealed the win with a 52-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
Tony Romo was 17-of-30 for 260 yards and Terrell Owens was held to two catches for 17 yards as Dallas (3-0) joined the reigning Super Bowl champion New York Giants as the NFC's only undefeated teams.
It was the Cowboys' first win at Lambeau Field. It also was a bump in the road for new Packers starter Aaron Rodgers, who completed 22 of 39 passes for 290 yards. However, he wasn't able to put together consistent scoring drives against Dallas' defense.
he third quarter that set up a field goal to cut Dallas' lead to four.
Romo answered with a 63-yard pass to Austin to set up first-and-goal at the Green Bay 3. Barber scored two plays later to put Dallas ahead 20-9.
Jaguars 23, Colts 21
At Indianapolis, Josh Scobee saved the game - and perhaps the season - with his 51-yard field goal.
It didn't look like Jacksonville (1-2) would need Scobee's boot after consuming more than 12 minutes on a marathon drive to open the fourth quarter capped by Scobee's 21-yarder for a 20-14 lead with 2:33 left.
But Peyton Manning needed just 1:26 to take the Colts 77 yards before giving the ball to Joseph Addai for a 2-yard TD run.
David Garrard followed that with his best impersonation of Manning and was helped by an 11-yard pass interference penalty on linebacker Freddy Keiaho when a fourth-and-1 pass fell incomplete with 25 seconds to go.
Indianapolis is 1-2, both losses coming in its brand new home stadium.
Broncos 34, Saints 32
At Denver, Martin Gramatica's 43-yard field goal try with 1:55 remaining was wide right, and the Broncos escaped. They improved to 3-0 for the first time in five years despite allowing Drew Brees to complete 39 of 48 passes for 421 yards and a touchdown, and Reggie Bush to pile up 178 all-purpose yards and two TDs.
in the second quarter.
Leading 34-32 late in the fourth quarter, Tony Scheffler fumbled away a reception at the New Orleans 5 as he was hit by linebacker Scott Shanle. Jason David scooped it up, giving New Orleans the ball at its 25-yard line. The Saints' drive stalled at the 25, and Gramatica, 8-for-8 as a member of the Saints before missing in the first half, missed.
Brandon Marshall led the Broncos with six receptions for 155 yards.
Redskins 24, Cardinals 17
At Landover, Md., Carlos Rogers returned a tipped interception to Arizona's 15-yard line. Two plays later, Santana Moss took a receiver screen for a 17-yard touchdown that gave the Redskins victory.
Jason Campbell completed 23 of 31 passes for 193 yards with two touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception this season, and the Redskins' no-turnover day kept Warner and the Cardinals in poor field position throughout the game.
Clinton Portis ran 21 times for 68 yards and a touchdown for the Redskins (2-1).
The Cardinals (2-1) had been looking to go 3-0 for the first time since 1974. But they committed their first turnovers of the season and ended a 10-game streak in which they scored 20 or more points.
Dolphins 38, Patriots 13
At Foxborough, Mass., Ronnie Brown scored a team record four touchdowns rushing and threw for another - with four of the scores coming on direct snaps to the running back.
e had trouble with a lot of things. That was one of them,'' Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. ``We had trouble a lot.''
Brown gained 113 yards on 17 carries and the Dolphins outgained the Patriots 461 yards to 216.
The loss ended the Patriots' NFL mark that began after a 21-0 loss to the Dolphins on Dec. 10, 2006. It also ended New England's chance for a second straight unbeaten regular season.
The Dolphins, who lost their first 13 games last year, won for just the second time in 22 games.
Titans 31, Texans 12
At Nashville, LenDale White ran for two touchdowns, Kerry Collins threw for another and Tennessee rolled to improve to 3-0 for only the third time in franchise history.
The Titans last won their first three games in 1999 - their first season in their current stadium - and in 1991 while still in Houston and playing as the Oilers. They have beaten the team that replaced them in Houston seven straight times and 11 of the 13 games in this series.
The Texans (0-2) wanted to provide an emotional boost to their hometown, where most people remain without power more than a week after Hurricane Ike hit. The hurricane forced the postponement of the Texans' home opener.
Collins started his second straight game with Vince Young watching and the 14-year veteran threw for 189 yards, making him the 15th NFL quarterback with at least 35,000 yards passing in his career.
s 28, Browns 10
At Baltimore, the Ravens turned two of Derek Anderson's interceptions into a pair of touchdowns during a 50-second span of the third quarter. Ed Reed returned one of the interceptions 32 yards for a score, and Le'Ron McClain scored his first two NFL touchdowns on a pair of 1-yard runs - both during a 21-point third quarter that turned a 3-point halftime deficit into a 28-10 lead.
Back from a knee injury, Willis McGahee rushed for 64 yards and a score for the Ravens (2-0), who were forced to take last week off when Hurricane Ike postponed their game at Houston.
The Browns (0-3) have scored only two touchdowns in their three defeats.
Eagles 15, Steelers 6
At Philadelphia, Brian Westbrook limped off the field in the first half, and Donovan McNabb missed part of the third quarter. So the Eagles did it with defense.
A swarming D had nine sacks, forced a safety and got three turnovers against the Steelers (2-1). Ben Roethlisberger had no time to throw and Willie Parker couldn't find any room to run. Juqua Parker had 2 1/2 sacks as the Eagles (2-1) banged around Big Ben, eventually knocking him out of the game.
Westbrook injured his right ankle on the first play of the second quarter. Coach Andy Reid said X-rays showed the ankle wasn't broken, but Westbrook will have an MRI on Monday.
Vikings 20, Panthers 10
At Minneapolis, Antoine Winfield's sack of Jake Delhomme and subsequent 19-yard fumble return for a touchdown right before halftime spurred the Vikings.
Replacing Tarvaris Jackson after a pair of woeful games by the offense, Gus Frerotte might have helped save the season for Minnesota (1-2) by completing 16 of 28 passes for 204 yards, with a touchdown to Visanthe Shiancoe.
Steve Smith gave Delhomme the downfield threat he missed during his two-game suspension for punching teammate Ken Lucas. But Delhomme finished 17-for-29 for 191 yards and was never in rhythm.
The swarming Minnesota defense held Carolina (2-1) to 49 yards rushing, and the Panthers were flagged 12 times for 67 yards.
49ers 31, Lions 13
At San Francisco, Frank Gore rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown, and Mike Martz's new offense methodically chewed up his former team's defense.
Isaac Bruce and Delanie Walker caught TD passes from J.T. O'Sullivan, and kick returner Allen Rossum scored a 1-yard TD rushing on fourth down near the goal line for San Francisco, which is 2-1 for the second straight season.
Detroit fired him as the scapegoat for the Lions' second-half collapse in 2007.
San Francisco gained 370 total yards against the Lions, just 4 fewer than the 49ers managed in any game last year.
Seahawks 37, Rams 13
At Seattle, Julius Jones ran for 140 yards on 22 carries and T.J. Duckett had his first two-touchdown rushing day in four years as the Seahawks sidestepped six injuries at wide receiver and rolled over the malfunctioning Rams.
Seattle (1-2) headed into its off week with the promise of a return to health while just one game out of the NFC West lead. The Seahawks have won the last four division titles.
The Rams (0-3) lost for the 16th time in 19 games, and for the seventh consecutive time to Seattle. They have been outscored 116-29 this season.
Falcons 38, Chiefs 14
At Atlanta, Michael Turner ran for three touchdowns and the Falcons scored the first 24 points, giving the Chiefs their 12th straight loss.
Turner had scoring runs of 4, 1 and 2 yards, his first game with three touchdowns rushing, while leading the Falcons (2-1) with 104 yards on the ground.
Tyler Thigpen, the third starting quarterback in three weeks for Kansas City (0-3), threw three interceptions in his first career start. The third interception, by cornerback Chris Houston, was returned 10 yards for a touchdown with 1:01 left in the game.