Bears distance themselves from Vikings
Cutler helps Chicago end two-game slide
Chicago Bears tight end Matt Spaeth (89) makes a catch in the end zone against Minnesota Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford (33) in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. After a review, the officials called that the play was a touchdown. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Jay Cutler threw for 188 yards and a touchdown after missing a game because of a concussion and the Chicago Bears ended a two-game losing streak with a 28-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Tied with Green Bay for the NFC North lead and just a game ahead of Minnesota (6-5) coming in, the Bears (8-3) grabbed a 25-3 halftime lead thanks to Cutler’s pinpoint passing. The defense held Adrian Peterson in check early on, although he finished with 108 yards rushing.
The win could prove costly. The Bears lost wide receiver Devin Hester (concussion), running back Matt Forte (ankle), cornerback Charles Tillman (ankle) and both starting guards to injuries.
Falcons 24, Buccaneers 23
Matt Ryan threw for 353 yards and overcame two big turnovers by leading another late touchdown drive to lift Atlanta over Tampa Bay.
Ryan teamed with Julio Jones on an 80-yard TD in the third quarter, but the NFC South leaders found themselves trailing 23-17 after the Bucs marched for a touchdown, then forced a fumble by Ryan to set up a field goal that put the Falcons in catchup mode.
Michael Turner’s 1-yard TD run put Atlanta ahead for good with 7:55 left. Connor Barth missed a 56-yard goal for Tampa Bay (6-5) in the closing minutes, and the Bucs’ four-game winning streak ended when Josh Freeman’s desperation pass fell incomplete in the end zone with no time remaining.
The win enabled the Falcons (10-1) to keep pace with Houston for the NFL’s best record. Turner also scored a fourth-quarter TD that helped the Falcons overcome mistakes to beat Arizona 23-19 last week.
BRONCOS 17, CHIEFS 9
Peyton Manning threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns, and Denver rallied for its sixth straight win.
Manning hit tight end Jacob Tamme late in the first half and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas in the third quarter, and that was more than enough to overcome three field goals by the Chiefs’ Ryan Succop as Kansas City lost its eighth straight game.
Knowshon Moreno added 85 yards rushing for the AFC West-leading Broncos (8-3). Moreno got the start in place of Willis McGahee, who went on injured reserve this week with a knee injury.
Jamaal Charles ran for 107 yards for the Chiefs (1-10), who failed again to punch the ball into the end zone. They still haven’t scored a touchdown since the first quarter against Pittsburgh on Nov. 12, a span of more than 11 quarters and 173 minutes of game time.
BENGALS 34, RAIDERS 10
Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes and Cincinnati showed its former quarterback, Carson Palmer, that it has moved on without him.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 129 yards and a touchdown against the NFL’s most generous defense. He had runs of 48 and 39 yards – the longest of his career – to set up scores.
Palmer had a tough time all-around in his return to Cincinnati, going 19-of-34 for 146 yards with four sacks and an interception.
With their third straight win, the Bengals (6-5) moved back into the playoff chase. Oakland (3-8) lost its fourth in a row.
A brawl in the fourth quarter resulted in Oakland’s Tommy Kelly and Lamarr Houston and Cincinnati’s Andrew Whitworth getting ejected.
BROWNS 20, STEELERS 14
Chris Rainey’s fumble with 2:25 left – Pittsburgh’s seventh of eight turnovers – was recovered by Cleveland’s Phil Taylor and the Browns handed their hated rivals a potentially devastating loss.
Charlie Batch, starting at quarterback for Pittsburgh because of injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich, was picked off three times and the Steelers (6-5) lost five fumbles, the last on the final play of the game to help the Browns (3-8) beat Pittsburgh for just the second time in 18 games.
Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden sustained a head injury in the final minutes. Backup Colt McCoy finished the win. Batch was 20-of-34 for 199 yards.
COLTS 20, BILLS 13
T.Y. Hilton scored on a 75-yard punt return and caught an 8-yard TD pass from Andrew Luck.
Hilton is the first player in franchise history to score by punt return and pass reception in the same game. Indy improved to 7-4.
Luck was 20-of-37 for 240 yards with a TD and an interception.
Buffalo (4-7) ended its red-zone drought with 11:30 left with a 1-yard TD pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Lee Smith to make it 20-13.
JAGUARS 24, TITANS 19
Chad Henne threw two touchdown passes, sparking the NFL’s worst offense for the second consecutive week.
The Jaguars (2-9) snapped a seven-game losing streak and were competitive at home for the first time this season.
Henne, making his first start in more than 13 months, found Cecil Shorts III on a 59-yard touchdown play in the third quarter and hooked up with rookie Justin Blackmon for a 7-yard score in the fourth.
DOLPHINS 24, SEAHAWKS 21
Dan Carpenter kicked a 43-yard field goal on the final play, and Miami scored 17 points in the last 8:08.
Rookie Ryan Tannehill drove Miami 65 yards in the final 92 seconds to set up the winning kick.
He finished 18-for-26 for 253 yards and a score.
Leon Washington returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the eighth time to tie the NFL career record and put Seattle ahead with eight minutes left. Miami answered with an 80-yard drive capped by Tannehill’s 29-yard scoring pass to Charles Clay, making it 21-all.
49ERS 31, SAINTS 21
Colin Kaepernick ran for one score that he made look easy and threw for a touchdown in another performance that validated Coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision to start him.
The San Francisco defense added its share of big plays and the 49ers ended the Saints’ three-game winning streak.
Ahmad Brooks and Donte Whitner each returned interceptions for touchdowns and the 49ers sacked Drew Brees five times.
RAVENS 16, CHARGERS 13, OT
Justin Tucker kicked a 38-yard field with 1:07 left in overtime to complete a stunning comeback.
San Diego led 13-3 on Nick Novak’s 30-yard field goal with 7:51 to go in regulation and seemed headed for its first win against a team with a winning record this season.
The Ravens (9-2) won their fourth straight and for the eighth time in nine games. The Chargers (4-7) were pushed closer to being eliminated from the playoff picture.
RAMS 31, CARDINALS 17
Janoris Jenkins became the first player in Rams history and the first NFL rookie since 1960 to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same game and St. Louis dominated the second half to hand Arizona its seventh loss in a row.
Arizona rookie Ryan Lindley was intercepted four times in his first NFL start.
Sam Bradford had a pair of 37-yard touchdown passes – to Lance Kendricks and Chris Givens – for the Rams (4-6-1), who snapped a five-game winless streak.