PATRIOTS 34, BRONCOS 31 (OT)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 31-yard field goal for New England after a misplayed punt return by Denver, lifting the Patriots to a 34-31 overtime victory over the Broncos on Sunday night.
Denver’s Tony Carter ran into Ryan Allen’s punt after it landed and Nate Ebner recovered for New England at the Broncos 13-yard line. After Tom Brady ran twice to line up the kick, Gostkowski connected for his 21st successful field goal attempt.
Brady threw for three touchdowns to lead the Patriots (8-3) back from a 24-0 halftime deficit to a 31-24 lead as New England scored on its first five possessions of the second half. Then Peyton Manning threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Demaryius Thomas for the Broncos (9-2), tying it at 31.
PACKERS 26, VIKINGS 26
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Backup quarterback Matt Flynn threw for 218 yards to help the Packers storm back from a 16-point deficit, but Minnesota and Green Bay could only muster field goals in overtime.
Mason Crosby hit from 20 yards at 10:28 of the extra period and Blair Walsh connected from 35 with 3:54 left.
Greg Jennings, playing his first game at Lambeau Field as a member of the Vikings (3-8-1), dropped a third-down pass with 2:11 left. The Packers (5-5-1) also stumbled on their next possession.
One last chance for the Vikings went nowhere with 1 second left, and the teams walked off with the first tie in the NFL since the Rams and 49ers ended 24-24 on Nov. 11, 2012. It was the first game under the tiebreaking rules instituted in 2012 that ended in a tie after both teams kicked field goals to begin the extra period. It was the second time a game had each team make field goals to open overtime; Houston won the other last November over Jacksonville.
COWBOYS 24, GIANTS 21
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Tony Romo threw two touchdowns and led a drive that set up Dan Bailey’ 35-yard field goal on the final play. Dallas ended the Giants’ four-game winning streak and most of their playoff hopes.
The victory moved the Cowboys (6-5) into a first-place tie with idle Philadelphia in the NFC East and left the Giants (4-7) wondering about what they gave away in two losses to Dallas.
Romo hit two crucial third-down passes on the 14-play drive that covered the final 4:45 after New York tied the game on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Louis Murphy Jr. and a 2-point conversion run by Andre Brown.
Romo hit Jason Witten on TDs of 20 and 2 yards, and Dallas got a defensive touchdown on a 50-yard fumble return by Jeff Heath.
BUCCANEERS 24, LIONS 21
DETROIT — Matthew Stafford’s fourth interception went in and out of Calvin Johnson’s hands to rookie Johnthan Banks inside the Tampa Bay 5 in the final minute, allowing the Buccaneers to hold on. Tampa Bay (3-8) has won three straight after losing its first eight, joining the 1978 St. Louis Cardinals as the only team to do that.
Tampa Bay rookie Mike Glennon, meanwhile, avoided mistakes. Glennon was 14 of 21 for 247 yards and threw two touchdowns to Tiquan Underwood, whose second score was an 85-yard reception early in the fourth quarter.
The Lions (6-5) have lost two straight for the first time this season. They can blame five turnovers for throwing away a chance to improve their playoff positioning because no one in the NFC North won Sunday.
Johnson had seven receptions for 115 yards, but he and the Lions didn’t take advantage of the Bucs playing the second half without cornerback Darrelle Revis (groin).
PANTHERS 20, DOLPHINS 16
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Make it seven wins in a row for the Carolina Panthers, and two consecutive late comebacks led by Cam Newton.
The Panthers quarterback converted a fourth-and-10 at his 20 with a completion to keep alive the winning drive, and Carolina went on to score a touchdown with 43 seconds left. Newton hit Greg Olsen with a 1-yard pass to cap a 12-play drive.
Carolina also rallied past the New England Patriots with a late drive last Monday.
The Panthers (8-3) overcame a 16-3 first-half deficit to extend their longest winning streak since 2003. Miami (5-6) fell to 2-2 since tackle Jonathan Martin left the team and the Dolphins’ bullying scandal began to mushroom.
Miami’s Ryan Tannehill nearly connected with Mike Wallace for a 60-yard score in the final seconds, but the pass fell incomplete at the goal line. Tannehill and Wallace earlier teamed up for a 53-yard touchdown and a 57-yard completion to set up a field goal.
RAMS 42, BEARS 21
ST. LOUIS — Tavon Austin’s 65-yard touchdown run — his fourth straight this season from beyond midfield — jump-started a 21-point first quarter. The Rams (5-6) followed a 30-point rout of Indianapolis in front of their largest crowd of the season, about half of them clad Bears orange, with another big win. Late scores by rookie backup running back Benny Cunningham and defensive end Robert Quinn helped finish off the Bears (6-5), who remained tied for the NFC North lead with Detroit.
Josh McCown passed for 352 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for Chicago, which had won four straight in the series. The Bears had a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown by Devin Hester nullified by a holding penalty in the fourth quarter.
The Long brothers — Chicago guard Kyle and St. Louis defensive end Chris — lined up close to each other all day and were the focal point of one skirmish in the first half. After McCown threw an incomplete pass to fullback Tony Fiammetta in the second half, Fiammetta and Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson squared off, causing players from both teams to rumble.
Kyle Long raced down the field get to Rams end William Hayes, and had him down before his big brother intervened. Chris Long, who had taken the play off, raced off the sideline to corral Kyle Long and drag him from the fight to the sideline.
CARDINALS 40, COLTS 11
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald, Karlos Dansby returned an interception 22 yards for a score and the Cardinals won their fourth in a row.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians beat the team that propelled him to coaching prominence last season, when he took over as Colts interim coach while Chuck Pagano fought leukemia. Arians was the NFL’s Coach of the Year for 2012.
Fitzgerald caught five passes for 52 yards, becoming the youngest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 yards receiving.
Arizona’s Michael Floyd had his second straight 100-yard receiving day with seven catches for 104 yards for the Cardinals (7-4).
Andrew Luck threw for 163 yards, but had only 84 through three quarters as the Colts (7-4) fell behind 34-3.
RAVENS 19, JETS 3
BALTIMORE — Joe Flacco threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones, Justin Tucker kicked four field goals and the Ravens shut down the sputtering offense of the Jets.
The defending Super Bowl champion Ravens (5-6) had lost four of five before bouncing back to beat New York (5-6) and keep their playoff hopes alive. Jones had four catches for 103 yards and returned five punts for 108 yards.
Baltimore won on the strength of its defense, however, as the Jets committed three turnovers and went 1 for 12 on third-down conversions. Rookie Geno Smith completed nine of 22 passes for 127 yards and two interceptions, both by Corey Graham.
New York had alternated wins and losses in its first 10 games, but the pattern ended here with its second straight defeat. Jets coach Rex Ryan, who helped run Baltimore’s defense from 1999-2008, fell to 0-3 against his former team.
STEELERS 27, BROWNS 11
CLEVELAND — Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes and beat Cleveland again as the Steelers moved back into the playoff picture. Roethlisberger connected on a 41-yard TD pass to Antonio Brown in the first half, and hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 4-yarder in the third quarter for the Steelers (5-6), who have turned their season around following an 0-4 start.
Roethlisberger finished 22 of 34 for 217 yards and improved to 16-1 against the Browns (4-7), who have lost five of six and seen a promising year turn into yet another miserable one.
Browns quarterback Jason Campbell sustained a concussion in the third quarter when he was sacked by cornerback William Gay. Campbell was struck in the helmet by Gay and his head snapped back and banged the turf.
Gay later picked off Brandon Weeden and returned it 21 yards for a TD, giving the Steelers a 27-3.
TITANS 23, RAIDERS 19
OAKLAND, Calif. — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Wright with 10 seconds remaining to cap a mistake-free performance that put the Titans back in playoff contention.
Fitzpatrick also threw a 54-yard TD pass to Justin Hunter and Rob Bironas added three field goals to give Tennessee (5-6) its second win in seven games. But despite the recent slump, the Titans find themselves in a six-way tie for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC with five weeks left in the regular season.
The Raiders (4-7) missed a chance to get into that group as the defense failed to hold onto a late lead and Sebastian Janikowski missed two field goals.
JAGUARS 13, TEXANS 6
HOUSTON — In a matchup of the AFC’s worst teams, the Texans couldn’t stop their skid.
Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a season-high 84 yards and a touchdown and the Jaguars extended the Texans’ losing streak to a franchise-record nine games. The two-time AFC South champions haven’t won since Sept. 15.
Jones-Drew’s touchdown on Jacksonville’s first drive put the Jaguars (2-9) on top, and they never trailed against an inept Texans offense.
Josh Scobee kicked field goals of 30 and 53 yards to help the Jaguars win for the second time in three games.
Case Keenum had the worst performance in his five starts, throwing for just 169 yards with an interception. Houston (2-9) was driving late when rookie Ryan Davis grabbed a one-handed interception off a deflection by Keshawn Martin to seal the win.