Texans win battle of AFC's big guns
Matt Schaub threw two touchdown passes, Arian Foster ran for two scores and the Houston Texans dominated a showdown of the AFC's two teams, routing the Baltimore Ravens, 43-13, yesterday.
Johnathan Joseph returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown and the Texans (6-1) beat Baltimore for the first time in seven meetings. Antonio Smith had two sacks, J.J. Watt deflected the pass that led to Joseph's interception and Houston's defense returned to form after an embarrassing loss to Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay last week.
Terrell Suggs, the 2011 defensive player of the year, had a sack and three tackles in his first action for Baltimore (5-2) since undergoing surgery on his right Achilles tendon last May. Joe Flacco threw two interceptions and was sacked four times.
Giants 27, Redskins 23
Eli Manning threw a 77-yard scoring pass to Victor Cruz with 1:13 to play and New York overcame a late touchdown by rookie sensation Robert Griffin III.
Manning's pass to Cruz came two plays and 19 seconds after Griffin capped what was a potential game-winning, 77-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss. The rookie had kept the drive alive with a 19-yard pass off a desperate scramble on a fourth-and-10 play deep in his own territory and a 24-yard run on the next play.
Cruz, however, blew by Josh Wilson and Madieu Williams and the more than 80,000 fans in MetLife Stadium celebrated as Manning triumphantly pumped his fist.
Griffin had Washington moving for another score when Moss was tackle by Chase Blackburn after an 11-yard reception and rookie Jayron Hosley recovered at the Washington 43.
Packers 30, Rams 20
Aaron Rodgers threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns and Green Bay's depleted defense flourished on the road.
Randall Cobb caught two touchdown passes and Jordy Nelson had eight receptions for a season-best 122 yards for the Packers (4-3), who brought a huge contingent of cheeseheads that was just as loud as the home fans and chanted "Go, Pack, Go!" during the Rams' final possession. Rookie Casey Hayward made his first start in place of injured Sam Shields and intercepted his fourth pass in three games.
Green Bay ended the Texans' unbeaten start at Houston last week, but had alternated losses and wins the first six weeks. Rodgers was 30-for-37 for his fourth 300-yard game this season.
Saints 35, Buccaneers 28
Jonathan Vilma played for the first time while appealing a season-long suspension for his role in the Saints bounty program and Drew Brees threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns in the come-from-behind win.
While it's debatable how much Vilma's return impacted the Saints defense, the unit turned back two drives near the end zone in the second half, including the final three plays of the game to preserve New Orleans' second straight win.
Brees extended his NFL record for consecutive games with at least one TD pass to 49, while leading long scoring drives on four straight possessions to turn a 14-point deficit into a 28-21 halftime lead.
Josh Freeman threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns for the Bucs. His bid to force overtime ended with three straight incompletions from inside the Saints 10.
Raiders 26, Jaguars 23, Ot
Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 40-yard field goal after Cecil Shorts III fumbled on the opening possession of overtime and Oakland rallied from 14 points down in the second half.
Carson Palmer threw one TD pass and ran for another to force overtime for the Raiders (2-4) before they won it after Lammar Houston forced a fumble that Joselio Hanson recovered at the Jacksonville 21.
After one play to center the ball, Janikowski came on to kick the winning field goal to end a rough day for the Jaguars (1-5).
The Jaguars lost star running back Maurice Jones-Drew to a left foot injury on the opening drive and quarterback Blaine Gabbert to an injured left shoulder in the second quarter and managed only two downs after halftime behind backup quarterback Chad Henne.
Colts 17, Browns 13
Andrew Luck became the first Colts quarterback to run for two touchdowns in a game since 1988.
Indy (3-3) has already won one more game than it did in 2011.
Brandon Weeden threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, but Trent Richardson, who tried to play through a rib cartilage injury, sat out the second half after running eight times for 8 yards in the first half. The Browns (1-6) have lost 11 straight road games.
Luck scored on runs of 3 and 5 yards in the first half.
Weeden threw a 14-yard TD pass to Greg Little in the second quarter, and a 33-yard TD pass to Josh Gordon in the third quarter.
Cowboys 19, Panthers 14
Dan Bailey made a go-ahead 28-yard field goal with 3:25 remaining to help Dallas end a two-game losing streak.
With Dallas trailing 14-13, Tony Romo led the Cowboys (3-3) into field goal range with a 10-play, 44-yard drive to send Dallas to its ninth consecutive regular-season victory over the Panthers (1-5).
Romo had 227 yards and a touchdown.
On a fourth-and-1 at their 39, the Panthers caught Dallas's defense changing personnel and Cam Newton quickly completed a pass for an apparent first down. But officials ruled the Cowboys called time out before the snap. On the ensuing play, Morris Claiborne collided with receiver Louis Murphy before the ball arrived, but no flag was thrown.
Bailey added his fourth field goal of the game with 53 seconds left.
Titans 35, Bills 24
Matt Hasselbeck hit Nate Washington for a 15-yard touchdown with 1:03 left in leading Tennessee.
It was Hasselbeck's 22nd career fourth-quarter comeback and second in consecutive weeks. It happened in a game in which running back Chris Johnson enjoyed a long-awaited breakout performance with 195 yards rushing and two scores.
Jamie Harper also scored twice for Tennessee (3-4). Jason McCourty's interception of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass set up the decisive drive.
Fitzpatrick finished 27-of-35 for 225 yards and three scores, but turned the ball over twice, including a lost fumble. Buffalo is 3-4.
Vikings 21, Cardinals 14
Adrian Peterson ran for 153 yards and a first-quarter touchdown, and Minnesota survived an ugly second half to hang on for the win.
Percy Harvin caught Ponder's only touchdown pass, but Ponder threw an interception that led to a second-quarter touchdown run by LaRod Stephens-Howling. Ponder has seven turnovers in the last three games; two of them were turned into touchdowns last week at Washington.
Arizona's John Skelton went 25-for-36 for 262 yards and two turnovers. Rookie Harrison Smith returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in the first minute of the second half, giving the Vikings enough of a cushion to withstand the offensive woes down the stretch.