Sunday's NFL Capsules
Monday, November 14, 2011
ATLANTA (AP) — John Kasay kicked a 26-yard field goal in overtime to give the New Orleans Saints a 26-23 victory over Atlanta after Falcons coach Mike Smith decided to go for it on fourth down deep in his own territory Sunday.
The Falcons (5-4) rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, tying it on Matt Bryant's 27-yard field goal on the final play of regulation.
In overtime, Atlanta appeared to pick up a first down on a pass to Mike Cox, but he was ruled just short after referee Terry McAuley looked at the replay. Then, stunningly, Smith decided to go for it on fourth down from his own 29.
Michael Turner was stuffed, and Kasay kicked the winning field goal for the Saints (7-3).
New Orleans took control of the NFC South race, snapping Atlanta's three-game winning streak. But this one will be long remembered for Smith's gutsy call that backfired horribly.
PATRIOTS 37, JETS 16
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes, two to Rob Gronkowski, and New England took control of the AFC East with a convincing victory over New York.
After the Jets cut it to 23-16 early in the fourth quarter, Brady coolly led the Patriots (6-3) down the field on an 84-yard drive that was capped by an 8-yard touchdown catch by Deion Branch.
New England linebacker Rob Ninkovich sealed the victory — which snapped a two-game skid — on the Jets' next possession with a 12-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the final quarter.
The game was a showdown for the top spot in the division, but it was no contest as the Patriots took over sole possession by snapping the Jets' three-game winning streak. It was also the first home loss for the Jets (5-4).
CARDINALS 21, EAGLES 17
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — John Skelton threw a 5-yard TD pass to Early Doucet with 1:53 left to lift Arizona.
Michael Vick had another so-so performance and the Eagles (3-6) blew a fourth-quarter lead for the fifth time this season.
Starting for the injured Kevin Kolb, Skelton threw three touchdown passes to lead the Cardinals (3-6). Larry Fitzgerald had two TD catches and made a sensational, over-the-shoulder diving catch to set up the go-ahead score.
The defending NFC East champion Eagles were expected to be Super Bowl contenders after a slew of big-name acquisitions in the offseason. Instead, they've lost seven of their past eight home games.
BRONCOS 17, CHIEFS 10
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Tim Tebow hit Eric Decker on a 56-yard touchdown pass, one of his two completions in the game, to lift Denver.
Denver (4-5) played almost the entire game without leading rushers Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno. McGahee hurt his hamstring and Moreno went down with a knee injury in the first quarter.
Lance Ball ran for 96 yards and Tebow added 44 yards and a touchdown on the ground, helping the Broncos win for the third time in four games with the former Heisman Trophy winner under center.
Matt Cassel was 13 of 28 for 93 yards and a touchdown for Kansas City (4-5), which followed up a 31-3 loss to previously winless Miami with another miserable showing at home.
STEELERS 24, BENGALS 17
CINCINNATI (AP) — Rashard Mendenhall ran for a pair of touchdowns, and Pittsburgh intercepted rookie Andy Dalton twice in the fourth quarter.
Pittsburgh (7-3) got a needed win by putting together long, balanced drives while thousands of Steelers fans waved Terrible Towels in the first sellout crowd of the season at Paul Brown Stadium.
Dalton handled most of what Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau threw at him. He had two more touchdown passes, giving him 14 overall — the most by a rookie quarterback in his first nine games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
At the end, a Steelers defense that's finally getting healthy and forcing turnovers got to him. Cornerback William Gay anticipated Dalton's throw and stepped in front of Jerome Simpson for a clinching interception inside the Pittsburgh 20 with 2:27 left.
49ERS 27, GIANTS 20
Justin Smith batted down Eli Manning's pass in the closing seconds of a comeback try and San Francisco won its seventh straight game.
Manning completed a pair of long fourth-down passes and got the Giants (6-3) down to the 10, but on fourth-and-2 with 1:51 left, Smith made a leaping right-handed smack of the ball.
In a game between division leaders, the 49ers (8-1) didn't rely on Frank Gore, whose franchise-record streak of five straight games with 100 yards rushing ended with a knee injury.
BEARS 37, LIONS 13
CHICAGO (AP) — Charles Tillman and Major Wright returned interceptions for touchdowns early in the third quarter, and Chicago picked off Matthew Stafford four times.
The four interceptions by Stafford matched his season total entering the game and helped knock the Lions (6-3) into a second-place tie with Chicago in the NFC North. He was also involved in a skirmish that led to an ejection of Chicago's D.J. Moore early in the fourth quarter.
By then, the Bears (6-3) had locked up their fourth straight win thanks to a dominant defensive effort and another punt return for a touchdown by Devin Hester, who ran one back 82 yards. That extended his NFL record to 12.
SEAHAWKS 22, RAVENS 17
SEATTLE (AP) — Steven Hauschka matched a franchise record with five field goals, Marshawn Lynch scored on a 1-yard plunge and Seattle forced three turnovers.
A week after staking claim to the lead of the AFC North with a thrilling last-second win at Pittsburgh, the Ravens flopped on the West Coast in an all too similar fashion to letdowns twice already this season.
After routing Pittsburgh in its opener, the Ravens (6-3) were dominated in a loss at Tennessee. Just a few weeks ago, after an impressive win over AFC South-leading Houston, the Ravens lost to Jacksonville.
Lynch finished with 109 yards rushing and another 58 receiving for Seattle (3-6).
JAGUARS 17, COLTS 3
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Blaine Gabbert threw for a touchdown and Maurice Jones-Drew ran for another score to keep Indianapolis winless.
Jones-Drew carried 25 times for 114 yards and became the second player in franchise history to top 6,000 yards rushing. It was the first road win of the season for Jacksonville (3-6).
Indianapolis remained the NFL's last winless team, dropping to 0-10 for the first time since 1997.
Gabbert hooked up with Jarrett Dillard on an 11-yard TD pass late in the third quarter to break a 3-3 tie, and Jones-Drew capped an 8-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run late in the fourth to seal it.
TEXANS 37, BUCCANEERS 9
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Matt Schaub threw for two long touchdowns, while Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward each ran for scores to help AFC South-leading Houston.
The Texans (7-3) extended their winning streak while playing without star receiver Andre Johnson to four consecutive games and head into their bye week with their best record through 10 games. The Bucs (4-5) have lost three straight and four of five following a 3-1 start.
Jacoby Jones filled in for Johnson with an 80-yard TD reception on the first play from scrimmage. Foster turned a short pass into his second 78-yard scoring reception of the season for Houston.
Meanwhile, the NFL's top-ranked defense had four sacks, three interceptions and recovered a fumble.
TITANS 30, PANTHERS 3
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Chris Johnson ran for a season-high 130 yards and a touchdown, and Tennessee used a stifling defense to frustrate rookie Cam Newton.
The Titans (5-4) sacked Newton five times and took away Carolina's long passing game. Carolina (2-7) came in ranked fifth in the league on offense and first in plays of 20-plus yards, but the Titans limited Newton to 209 yards passing and held Steve Smith, the NFC's leading receiver, to 33 yards.
Johnson had 174 yards from scrimmage and eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the first time since Oct. 2. Marc Mariani returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown, and Matt Hasselbeck threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Damian Williams.
COWBOYS 44, BILLS 7
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tony Romo guided touchdown drives on his first four possessions, throwing for the score on three of them, and Terence Newman returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown.
The Cowboys (5-4) have won consecutive games and could be at the start of a big surge. Their next three foes went into this weekend a combined 6-18.
Romo completed his first 13 passes, including TD strikes of 34 yards to Dez Bryant and of 58 and 5 yards to Laurent Robinson. He finished 23 of 26, setting the franchise record for single-game accuracy by hitting 88.5 percent of his passes.
The Bills are 5-4.
DOLPHINS 20, REDSKINS 9
MIAMI (AP) — Reggie Bush scored two touchdowns and Miami twice intercepted Rex Grossman to earn their first home victory in nearly a year.
The Dolphins ended a franchise-record streak of seven consecutive losses in Miami since last Nov. 14.
Grossman was a surprise starter, replacing John Beck four weeks after being benched. Grossman threw for 215 yards but was sacked three times and had a passer rating of 58.7.
Miami (2-7) won for the second week in a row after starting 0-7. The Redskins (3-6) dropped their fifth consecutive game, the longest losing streak of Mike Shanahan's career as a head coach.
RAMS 13, BROWNS 12
CLEVELAND (AP) — Phil Dawson missed a 22-yard field goal attempt after a bounced snap with just over two minutes left as Cleveland bungled another chance to win a game.
Dawson made four field goals in blustery conditions, but his line-drive attempt with 2:09 sailed left and capped a series of late gaffes by the Browns (3-6).
Long snapper Ryan Pontbriand's snap appeared to hit the right leg of one of Cleveland's linemen, causing the ball to skip back to holder Brad Maynard, who did a great job of placing the ball. However, Dawson's timing was thrown off and he missed the chip shot.
Steven Jackson rushed for 128 yard for the Rams (2-7).