Surging Saints hand Falcons 1st loss, 49ers tie Rams: NFL roundup
Adrian Peterson helps Vikings squash Lions, Texans take down Bears
NEW ORLEANS — Jimmy Graham caught seven passes for a career-best 146 yards and two touchdowns, cornerback Jabari Greer made a diving, touchdown-saving pass breakup on a late fourth-down play, and the New Orleans Saints held on to hand the Atlanta Falcons their first loss, 31-27 on Sunday.
Graham and his Atlanta counterpart, veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez, both were superb in a game that showcased all the intensity and drama of one of the NFL's most passionate and longstanding rivalries
Gonzalez finished with 11 catches for 122 yards and two scores for Atlanta (8-1), and in the process became the first tight end to catch 100 touchdown passes.
Brees threw for 298 yards and three TDs as the Saints (4-5) won for the fourth time in five games, keeping alive hope of getting back into the wild card race after an 0-4 start.
SAN FRANCISCO — The St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers played the NFL's first tie game in four years as both team's kickers missed overtime field goals Sunday.
Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yarder, but the Rams were penalized five yards for delay of game. He tried again from 58 as coach Jeff Fisher played for the win, and missed wide right with 2:42 left in OT.
San Francisco's David Akers missed wide left on a 41-yard attempt that could have sealed it for the NFC West-leading 49ers (6-2-1), who lost quarterback Alex Smith to a first-half concussion.
On the first play of OT, Sam Bradford completed an 80-yard pass to Danny Amendola that took St. Louis (3-5-1) to the 2, but the play was called back for an illegal formation penalty. Some 49ers fans got up to leave, then returned to their seats.
CHICAGO — Arian Foster finished with 102 yards rushing and a touchdown catch, and the Houston Texans intercepted Jay Cutler twice before knocking him out of the game with a concussion on their way to a 13-6 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.
In a showdown between two of the NFL's best teams, the Texans (8-1) beat the Bears (7-2) at their own game. They came away with four takeaways and Tim Dobbins delivered the biggest blow when he drove his helmet into Cutler late in the second quarter.
Foster was the only reliable offensive weapon on either side, particularly in the first half when he ran for 85 yards and made a sprawling catch for a two-yard touchdown to put Houston ahead 10-3.
Otherwise, neither team got much going on a soggy night.
MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Peterson raced 61 yards for the game-sealing touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, padding his NFL rushing lead with 171 yards on 27 carries for the Minnesota Vikings in a 34-24 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon.
Peterson had 120 yards in the final 15 minutes, 10 ½ months after reconstructive surgery on his left knee. Ponder bounced back from a rough game with 221 yards and two touchdowns on 24-for-32 passing for the Vikings (6-4).
Calvin Johnson had 207 yards on 12 catches, including a touchdown that brought the Lions (4-5) a little closer with 1:53 left. But Johnson's lost fumble near midfield on the previous possession put Vikings rookie Blair Walsh in position for his fourth field goal.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns, Devin McCourty ended Buffalo's hopes with an interception in the end zone and the New England Patriots kept the surprisingly tough Bills winless at Gillette Stadium with a 37-31 victory on Sunday.
The Patriots (6-3) let a 17-3 lead slip to 34-31 with 7:47 left on Ryan Fitzpatrick's 2-yard touchdown pass to Donald Jones. Then the Bills (3-6) held the Patriots to a 27-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski with 2:06 remaining.
Buffalo then moved to a second-and-10 at the New England 15 before Fitzpatrick threw the ball right into the hands of McCourty while trying to hit T.J. Graham.
New England is 11-0 against the Bills at Gillette since it opened in 2002 and 20-2 overall in its last 22 games against Buffalo.
BALTIMORE — Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, and the Baltimore Ravens set a club record for points in a 55-20 rout of the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
The Ravens (7-2) scored on six of their first seven possessions against the struggling Raiders (3-6), who have yielded at least 40 points in two straight games for the first time since 1962. The 55 points tied an Oakland record for points allowed, a mark set in 1961 and matched in 1981.
Baltimore led 27-10 at halftime. In the third quarter, Flacco threw touchdown passes of 47 and 20 yards to Torrey Smith, and holder Sam Koch scored on a fake field goal in the third quarter to make it 48-17.
In the fourth quarter, Jacoby Jones took a kickoff 105 yards for 55-20 lead. Baltimore's previous record for points in a game was 48, against Detroit in December 2009.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Peyton Manning made sure John Fox's return to Carolina was a successful one, throwing for 301 yards and a touchdown to lead the Denver Broncos to a 36-14 win over the Panthers on Sunday.
Manning threw his 420th touchdown pass to move into a tie for second place on the NFL's all-time list with Dan Marino. He trails only Brett Favre (508).
Manning had plenty of help from his teammates.
Von Miller harassed Cam Newton all day and Trindon Holliday returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown as the Broncos (6-3) won for the fifth time in six weeks. The Broncos sacked Newton seven times, including once for a safety, and Miller pressured him into an interception Tony Carter returned 40 yards for a score.
Fox, who coached the Panthers for nine seasons, downplayed his return all week, but celebrated with a few fist pumps Sunday.
CINCINNATI, Ohio — Andy Dalton threw a career-high four touchdown passes — each to a different receiver — and the Cincinnati Bengals ended their four-game losing streak by beating the New York Giants 31-13 on Sunday.
The Bengals (4-5) took advantage of a fumble and Eli Manning's two interceptions, which set up third-quarter touchdowns. That helped A.J. Green back up his observation there are holes in New York's defence.
The defending Super Bowl champions have a lot of holes everywhere.
The Giants (6-4) head into their bye with back-to-back losses and a lot of issues, especially on offence. Manning had another subpar game, failing to live up his family legacy of beating the Bengals. Older brother Peyton improved to 8-0 against Cincinnati on the same field a week earlier, leading Denver to a 31-23 win.
The Giants turned it over four times in the second half.
TAMPA, Fla. — Josh Freeman threw two touchdown passes and the surging Buccaneers scored on a blocked punt and Leonard Johnson's 83-yard interception return to beat the Chargers 34-24 for their third straight win Sunday.
Freeman has thrown for 13 TDs with one interception in his past five games, helping the Bucs (5-4) win four times to climb back over .500 following a 1-3 start.
Rivers threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns for San Diego. He was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter to ruin any chance of the Chargers (4-5) coming from behind.
Bucs linebacker Quincy Black was carted off the field after tackling running back Ryan Matthews for a 1-yard loss late in the third quarter. There was no immediate announcement on the nature of the injury, however trainers examined the sixth-year pro for several minutes before immobilizing his neck and back and strapping him to a stretcher.
MIAMI — Colin McCarthy returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown, and four takeaways helped the Tennessee Titans beat the Miami Dolphins 37-3 Sunday.
The Titans came into the game on pace to set an NFL record for points allowed in a season, but they stymied Miami by intercepting Ryan Tannehill three times and recovering a Reggie Bush fumble to set up a touchdown.
Tennessee (4-6) rebounded from a 51-20 loss a week ago against the Bears that prompted owner Bud Adams to put the organization on notice. Last week the Titans trailed 28-2 after one quarter; this week they led 21-0 after 16 minutes.
For Miami (4-5), the home loss was the most lopsided since 1968.
SEATTLE — Russell Wilson threw touchdowns of 38 yards to Golden Tate and 31 yards to Sidney Rice, and the Seattle Seahawks sent the New York Jets to their worst start since 2007 with a 28-7 win on Sunday.
Wilson was harried for much of the day by the multiple looks from the Jets' defence. But the Seattle rookie responded with key throws, hitting Tate on the opening drive, then connecting with Rice early in the fourth quarter to give Seattle (6-4) a two-score advantage. Tate added a TD pass on a reverse to Rice later in the fourth quarter.
Mark Sanchez struggled in his reunion with Seattle coach Pete Carroll, his former coach at USC. Sanchez threw a costly interception at the goal line in the first half, then fumbled at the Seattle 32.
Muhammad Wilkerson's fumble return for a TD was the only score for New York (3-6).
PHILADELPHIA — Tony Romo threw a pair of touchdowns, Dwayne Harris had a 78-yard punt return for a score and Brandon Carr returned an interception 47 yards for a TD to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 38-23 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
The Cowboys improved to 4-5, and are second in the NFC East, 1 ½ games behind the New York Giants.
The Eagles (3-6) lost Michael Vick to a concussion after consecutive bruising hits in the second quarter and have lost five straight games under coach Andy Reid for the first time in his 14 seasons.
Nick Foles filled in for Vick and briefly rallied the Eagles until the Cowboys started showing some touchdown versatility. Romo hit Dez Bryant on a 30-yard pass on the final play of the third quarter, and Harris and Carr scored their TDs in the fourth quarter.