Bears remain unbeaten after win over Steelers: NFL
Panthers smoke Giants, Bengals rally past Packers
PITTSBURGH — Chicago's defence forced five turnovers and scored twice, and the Bears beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 40-23 on Sunday night to remain unbeaten.
Major Wright returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, and Julius Peppers picked up Ben Roethlisberger's fumble and raced 42 yards for a score in the fourth quarter as the Bears (3-0) held off a late rally.
Roethlisberger completed 26 of 41 passes for 406 yards, and threw two touchdowns to Antonio Brown, but the Steelers fell to 0-3 for the first time since 1986 thanks to an avalanche of mistakes.
Jay Cutler passed for 159 yards and threw a 17-yard touchdown strike to Earl Bennett with just under 6 minutes remaining to give the Bears breathing room after the Steelers trimmed a 21-point deficit to four.
CINCINNATI, Ohio — Terence Newman returned a fumble 58 yards for a touchdown with 3:47 left, rallying the Cincinnati Bengals to a 34-30 victory over the Green Bay Packers in a game that came down to who made the final flub.
Each team had four turnovers, leading to wild momentum swings. The last one came on a goofy play.
The Packers (1-2) went on fourth-and-1 from the Cincinnati 30. Rookie Johnathan Franklin fumbled at the line and safety Reggie Nelson picked it up and started running.
Aaron Rodgers stripped the ball from Nelson, but Newman scooped it up and went the final 58 yards.
Cincinnati (2-1) clinched it by batting down Rodgers' fourth-down pass at its 20-yard line with 1:21 left.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes and ran for another, and Carolina's defence sacked Eli Manning seven times as the Panthers handed Tom Coughlin his worst defeat as coach of the New York Giants, 38-0 Sunday.
It was the largest margin of victory in Panthers history, and might help save coach Ron Rivera's job following a 0-2 start.
The Panthers allowed Newton to run out of the read option, which helped open up an offence that had been mostly stagnant in losses to Seattle and Buffalo.
Newton had 223 yards passing and threw two touchdowns passes to Brandon LaFell and one to Ted Ginn Jr. He ran for 45 yards and his first TD of the season.
The Giants are in trouble: Of the 161 teams that have started the season 0-3 since 1978, only five made the NFL playoffs.
SAN FRANCISCO — Andrew Luck threw for 164 yards and ran for a 6-yard touchdown while facing college coach Jim Harbaugh for the first time, and the Indianapolis Colts defeated the San Francisco 49ers 27-7 win Sunday.
Trent Richardson scored a 1-yard touchdown on his first carry in his Colts debut after being acquired on Wednesday from the Browns. He was drafted two spots behind top pick Luck at No. 3 last year.
Ahmad Bradshaw added a 1-yard TD run in the final minutes, and Adam Vinatieri kicked a pair of field goals before missing a 51-yarder early in the fourth.
It was Colin Kaepernick's first home loss at Candlestick Park as a starter.
There were few bright spots for Kaepernick as San Francisco struggled to establish a passing game with tight end Vernon Davis sidelined by a hamstring injury.
SEATTLE — Russell Wilson matched his career high with four touchdown passes — two each to Sidney Rice and Zach Miller — and the Seattle Seahawks dominated as expected in a 45-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Seattle improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2006, beginning a stretch of four straight games against the AFC South. And none will likely be easier than overwhelming the Jaguars.
Wilson connected with Miller twice in the first 16 minutes on TDs of 1 and 4 yards. He hit Rice for an 11-yard TD late in the first half and found him again on a 23-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.
Wilson checked out with 3:54 left in the third quarter and finished 14 of 21 for 202 yards. The four TD passes matched his performance last December against San Francisco.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes, including a go-ahead 69-yarder to Santonio Holmes in the fourth quarter, and the New York Jets overcame a team-record 20 penalties to hang on and beat the Buffalo Bills 27-20 in an ugly game Sunday.
Smith slightly outplayed EJ Manuel in a matchup of the first two quarterbacks selected in the NFL draft in April. But this one was tough to watch at times with the barrage of penalties. The Jets (2-1) rolled up 168 yards in penalty yardage, and nearly gave it away against the Bills (1-2).
Capping a drive kept alive by four straight penalties on the Jets, Manuel connected with Scott Chandler for a 33-yard touchdown, then hit Stevie Johnson for a 2-point conversion to tie it at 20 with 10:39 left in the game.
Bilal Powell ran for a career-high 149 yards for the Jets.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Ryan Tannehill lobbed a 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Dion Sims with 38 seconds left Sunday, and the unbeaten Miami Dolphins rallied past the Atlanta Falcons 27-23.
The score capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive after Atlanta's Matt Bryant missed a 35-yard field goal attempt with 4:46 left. Jimmy Wilson intercepted Matt Ryan to seal the victory.
Miami quickly fell behind 10-0 and trailed much of the game, but improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2002. The Falcons fell to 1-2.
Tannehill led the comeback and finished 24 for 35 for 236 yards and two scores. He overcame five sacks and two turnovers.
ARLINGTON, Texas — DeMarco Murray rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown, Tony Romo threw for three scores and the Dallas Cowboys beat the St. Louis Rams 31-7 Sunday.
Murray's first 100-yard game in more than a year came against the team he torched for a franchise-record 253 yards as a rookie two years ago. He went 14 yards on Dallas' first offensive play, then 36 more to start the second drive as the Cowboys went ahead 10-0 in the first quarter.
Ram quarterback Sam Bradford, Murray's old teammate at Oklahoma, didn't have nearly as much room to operate. He was sacked six times to end a four-game streak without one dating to last season.
DeMarcus Ware had two sacks and broke Harvey Martin's 30-year-old franchise record of 114.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to Kenbrell Thompkins, finally getting in sync with his rookie receivers and leading the New England Patriots to a 23-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Thompkins, an undrafted free agent, scored on plays of 16 and 5 yards, while Aaron Dobson, a second-round draft pick, finished with seven catches for 52 yards for the Patriots (3-0).
The Patriots led 17-3 at halftime as the Buccaneers (0-3) wasted several opportunities.
They turned the ball over twice on downs, Rian Lindell missed a 38-yard field goal attempt before making a 30-yarder and Josh Freeman threw an interception to former Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib with 11 seconds left in the first half.
Three plays later, Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 53-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
BALTIMORE — Daryl Smith scored on a 37-yard interception return, Tandon Doss took a punt 82 yards for a touchdown and the Baltimore Ravens smothered the Houston Texans' offence in a 30-9 victory Sunday.
The Ravens (2-1) won despite playing without running back Ray Rice for the first time since 2008. On the inactive list with a strained left hip flexor, Rice was replaced by Bernard Pierce, who ran for 65 yards and a touchdown.
Houston (2-1) led 6-3 before Smith picked off Matt Schaub's pass and took it into the end zone with 2:39 left in the first half. Less than two minutes later, Doss eluded several tacklers during his first career punt return for a touchdown.
The Baltimore defence did the rest. The Ravens have not allowed a touchdown in eight quarters since their season-opening 49-27 defeat in Denver.
Schaub went 25 for 35 for 194 yards and an interception.
LANDOVER, Md. — The Detroit Lions took advantage of a pair of fourth-quarter bobbles, including one by Robert Griffin III, in a 27-20 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
Matthew Stafford threw for 385 yards, and Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson both had 100 yards receiving for the Lions, who are 2-1.
Detroit beat the Redskins on the road for the first time since 1939, a 21-game streak that comes to a halt as the second longest in NFL history.
The score was tied at 17 when Griffin fumbled at the end of a scramble. The Lions recovered and kicked the go-ahead field goal on their next drive.
The Redskins (0-3) then had a touchdown pass overturned when video replay showed that Aldrick Robinson lost control of the ball.
NASHVILLE — Jake Locker threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie Justin Hunter with 15 seconds left and the Titans rallied to beat San Diego 20-17 Sunday.
It was their first win over the Chargers for the franchise since 1992 when the team was in Houston.
The Titans (2-1) had lost nine straight to San Diego in a skid that spanned two states and two decades.
Locker ended the slide by completing seven passes to six different receivers for 94 yards on the game-winning drive.
He finished with 299 yards passing and also ran for 68 yards.
The Chargers' final play featured a handful of laterals and even a kick of the ball trying to keep it alive before the game ended.
San Diego (1-2) led most of the game despite having four starters out because of injuries and lost a fifth to an injured foot in the first half.
MINNEAPOLIS — Jordan Cameron caught three touchdown passes, including the go-ahead grab in the back of the end zone with 51 seconds left, and the Cleveland Browns kept the Minnesota Vikings winless with a 31-27 victory Sunday.
Third-stringer Brian Hoyer threw for three scores for the Browns (1-2), the latest team to torch Minnesota's depleted secondary. He overcame three interceptions to pass for 321 yards, going 30 for 54. Josh Gordon had 10 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown in his season debut, and Cameron had six receptions for 66 yards.
Christian Ponder ran for two touchdowns for the Vikings (0-3), but he threw an interception, lost a fumble and took his sixth sack on the final play of the game.
NEW ORLEANS — With Drew Brees finding his usual rhythm, and the Saints defence showing vast improvement under new co-ordinator Rob Ryan, it appears that coach Sean Payton is putting together another contender.
Brees passed for three scores and scrambled for New Orleans' first touchdown rushing of the season, leading the Saints to a 31-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
The Saints quarterback was 29 of 46 for 342 yards, with two TD strikes to tight end Jimmy Graham and the other to Robert Meachem.
Brees was intercepted once by New Orleans native and former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu. That play ended a scoring threat, but only delayed the inevitable on a day when Arizona's short-handed defence was little match for the prolific passing attack of the Saints (3-0).
Arizona (1-2), whose defence was missing four starters by early in the second half, had no answer for the 6-foot-7 Graham, who caught nine passes for 134 yards, one week after catching 10 passes for 179 yards in Tampa Bay.