NFL Roundup: Colts get 21 in a hurry
HOUSTON (AP) ó Peyton Manning turned a colossal collapse by the Houston Texans into a stunning victory for the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts scored 21 points in a late span of 2:10 ó two touchdowns thanks to fumbles by Sage Rosenfels ó then intercepted Rosenfels’ last-ditch comeback attempt for a 31-27 win Sunday.
Manning threw two touchdown passes, connecting with Reggie Wayne on a 5-yarder with 1:54 remaining for the decisive points. Linebacker Gary Brackett returned a fumble by quarterback Rosenfels 68 yards for a score in between Manning’s TD throws.
Rookie Tom Santi caught the other late score, a 7-yarder to bring the Colts (2-2) within 27-17 with 4:04 to go. It was his first NFL touchdown.
Backup Rosenfels, playing for the ill Matt Schaub, had the winless Texans (0-4) ahead by 17 points before losing two fumbles and throwing an interception. Texans fans had wanted to see Schaub replaced all season, and Rosenfels was nearly flawless for three quarters. Then came one of the most worst collapses in the history of the young franchise.
After Manning found Santi for his touchdown, Indianapolis attempted an onside kick, but Houston recovered. On the next drive, Rosenfels ran right at defensive back Marlin Jackson, who upended him and knocked the ball loose. Brackett ran it in to make it 27-24.
On the ensuing drive, Robert Mathis sacked Rosenfels and stripped the ball at the Houston 19. Manning hit a leaping Wayne in the corner of the end zone, the play was reviewed, and the call was upheld.
The Texans played the 100th game in franchise history in their hurricane-damaged stadium with the retractable roof open; the roof couldn’t be repaired in time for Sunday’s game. Houston was supposed to host Baltimore in Week 2 when Hurricane Ike hit, but that game was postponed until Nov. 9.
Cardinals 41, Bills 17
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) ó The Bills lost their quarterback and, emphatically, their first game of the season.
Second-year quarterback Trent Edwards, a major reason Buffalo was one of three unbeaten teams entering the day, went down with a concussion on a fierce hit from safety Adrian Wilson on the third play of the game. It was the Bills’ defense that collapsed after that.
Rookie Tim Hightower had a pair of touchdown runs and Kurt Warner threw to Larry Fitzgerald twice for scores. Warner, who committed six of Arizona’s seven turnovers in last week’s loss at the Jets, bounced back to go 33-of-42 for 250 yards with no interceptions. The Cardinals (3-2) are 3-0 at home.
Without standout receiver Anquan Boldin (head injury), Arizona amassed 373 yards against what had been one of the stingier defenses in the league. Buffalo’s offense contributed, too, fumbling three times in Bills territory, resulting in 17 Arizona points.
J.P. Losman, who wanted an offseason trade after losing his job to Edwards, was 15-of-21 for 220 yards, most of them on an 87-yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans.
Broncos 16, Buccaneers 13DENVER (AP) ó The high-flying Broncos finally discovered a defense, generating a pass rush that sent Brian Griese to the sideline with an injured throwing shoulder.
Jay Cutler guided a patient Denver offense over the Buccaneers (3-2). Brandon Stokley hauled in Cutler’s pass in the right flat and followed Brandon Marshall’s big block for a 10-yard touchdown and Matt Prater kicked three field goals for Denver.
Griese, making his first visit to Invesco Field since his five frustrating years in Denver as John Elway’s successor, never looked at Champ Bailey barreling in on him from his right side. Griese was smothered at the goal line just as he released the ball late in the third quarter.
Griese was replaced by the more mobile Jeff Garcia, the man he supplanted after a loss to New Orleans in the opener. But Garcia had only slightly more success against the Broncos (4-1), who also hounded him, knocking him down several times.
Cowboys 31, Bengals 22IRVING, Texas (AP) ó After letting a 17-point lead shrivel to one, then breaking up a 2-point conversion that could’ve tied it, the Cowboys had plenty of reasons to celebrate.
Dallas (4-1) led 17-0 after only three drives, but ended up needing big plays from Terrell Owens, Tank Johnson and Keith Davis to stave off the bumbling Bengals (0-5).
Tony Romo was 14-of-23 for a season-low 176 yards, but threw three touchdown passes ó two in the fourth quarter. He also threw another interception, making it eight straight games, lost a fumble and was out of sync with T.O. until a 57-yard TD hookup in the fourth period.
Marion Barber turned 23 carries into 84 yards and rookie Felix Jones gained 96 yards on just nine carries. Jones went 33 yards for a touchdown on a fourth-and-1 during Dallas’ early game burst.
Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer returned after missing a game with a sore elbow and was 23-of-39 for 217 yards with two touchdown passes to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Chad Ocho Cinco had only three catches for 43 yards and didn’t score, so he didn’t “kiss the star” in the end zone as he’d hoped.
Patriots 30, 49ers 21SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ó From Randy Moss’ dynamic 66-yard touchdown catch to Kevin Faulk’s score on a direct snap, the Patriots returned to their usual regular-season form in an unusual place.
Faulk rushed for two scores, Matt Cassel had 259 yards passing and the Patriots won in San Francisco for the first time in franchise history.
Moss had five catches for 111 yards for the Patriots (3-1), who returned from their bye week with a comprehensive effort that should erase the bad taste of a stunning blowout loss to Miami last month, which ended their 21-game regular-season winning streak.
San Francisco (2-3) has won four of the five meetings at home against New England.
Dolphins 17, Chargers 10
MIAMI (AP) ó The Dolphins are winning the old-fashioned way. The single wing helped build a lead, and a goal-line stand preserved it.
Ronnie Brown scored the decisive touchdown from the formation the Dolphins revived two weeks ago, their smothering defense rose to the occasion at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, and Miami pulled off its second successive upset.
The single wing was less explosive than in the Dolphins’ win at New England, but running back Brown took a direct snap 11 times on running plays that netted 49 yards and Miami’s second touchdown.
Other formations were also effective ó Chad Pennington threw for 228 yards and Brown ran for 125, while Miami held LaDainian Tomlinson to 35 yards on 12 carries. The Dolphins were nursing a seven-point lead when they stopped Tomlinson for no gain on fourth-and-goal at the 1 in the first minute of the final period.
With back-to-back wins for the first time since November 2006, the Dolphins are 2-2 in the Bill Parcells era, doubling their victory total for all of last season. Defending AFC West champion San Diego fell to 2-3 and remained winless in six visits to Miami since a memorable overtime playoff victory in January 1982.
Titans 13, Ravens 10BALTIMORE (AP) ó The Titans are still unbeaten thanks to a late touchdown drive and a defense that outperformed the top-ranked unit in the league.
Kerry Collins threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Alge Crumpler with 1:56 left. The Titans (5-0) trailed 10-6 before Collins directed an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive. The march was aided by a penalty against Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs, who was flagged for a blow to Collins’ helmet ó although the hit appeared to be little more than incidental contact.
The call came on a third-and-10 from the 20. Collins was provided with a new set of downs and coolly directed Tennessee into the end zone.
Baltimore rookie quarterback Joe Flacco was then intercepted by Nick Harper, assuring the Ravens (2-2) a second straight defeat.
The game was marred by several skirmishes, most of which resulted in personal foul penalties. Tennessee was penalized 10 times for 78 yards, including two 15-yard infractions that fueled both Baltimore’s scoring drives.
The Ravens received 11 penalties for 91 yards in a matchup between two teams that once were, and seem to still be, bitter rivals.
Giants 44, Seahawks 6
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) ó The Giants are this year’s New England Patriots ó so far.
In a nearly flawless performance, Eli Manning threw two touchdowns, Brandon Jacobs ran for two more and the unbeaten Giants scored on their first five possessions.
The win was the eighth straight for the Giants (4-0) dating to last year’s playoffs, and it gave the Super Bowl champions their best start since 1990, when they posted a 13-3 record and also won the NFL title. The Giants rolled up 523 yards in total offense, their most since collecting 524 against Green Bay in 2002.
Not only did the Giants win, but they did so with leading receiver Plaxico Burress suspended for a game for missing a team activity on Sept. 22. They even did it after a bye week. New York had been 4-15 in post-bye week games.
For the Seahawks, this was another dreadful trip east. They are now 1-6 in their last seven cross-country flights and are 3-8 in their last eight road games overall.
Falcons 27, Packers 24
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) ó Aaron Rodgers played hurt and played hard. But he was upstaged by Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
Atlanta’s rookie quarterback turned in another sharp performance, completing 16 of 26 passes for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against the banged-up Packers.
Falcons receiver Roddy White caught eight passes for 132 yards and a touchdown, while Michael Turner ran for 121 yards and a touchdown as the new-look Falcons (3-2) earned their first road win of the season.
It was the third straight loss for the Packers (2-3).
Rodgers started for the Packers despite a sprained shoulder that kept him out of practice for most of the week. He got better as the game went on, even as the signs that his shoulder was bothering him became more obvious.
Rodgers was 25-for-37 for 313 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Redskins 23, Eagles 17
PHILADELPHIA (AP) ó Another road win against a division opponent has the Redskins in perfect position to make a run at the NFC East.
Clinton Portis ran for 145 yards and one touchdown and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El threw a TD pass. Washington (4-1) has made it through the first five games under new coach Jim Zorn better than anyone expected. The Redskins went to Dallas last week and handed the Cowboys their first loss, 26-24. They’ve now played all three division rivals on the road and their next three opponents ó Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis ó entered this week with a combined record of 1-10.
Shaun Suisham kicked three field goals beyond 40 yards, helping the Redskins overcome a 14-0 deficit. Jason Campbell threw for 176 yards and Washington’s offense didn’t commit a turnover for the fifth straight game.
The Eagles (2-3) are dangerously close to having to look ahead to next season. They were the only NFC East team to miss the playoffs in 2007, finishing last for the second time in three years, albeit at 8-8. They’re buried in last place again.
DeSean Jackson had a 68-yard punt return for a score, but the Eagles couldn’t generate much on offense. Brian Westbrook, back after missing a game with an ankle injury, had just 84 total yards.
Panthers 34, Chiefs 0
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) ó DeAngelo Williams had 123 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns and Panthers handed the Chiefs their first shutout in nearly six years.
The Panthers (4-1), who have missed the playoffs the past two seasons, are off to their best start since reaching the Super Bowl in the 2003 season.
Williams and Jonathan Stewart ran through a woeful defense that also couldn’t stop the pass. Steve Smith caught six passes for 96 yards, Muhsin Muhammad had a 47-yard touchdown catch and the Panthers moved to 3-0 at Bank of America Stadium after going 2-6 at home last season.
Kansas City’s only highlight in a miserable day was a personal milestone.
Tony Gonzalez caught a 6-yard pass from Huard late in the first quarter to move past Shannon Sharpe for the NFL’s career leader for yards receiving for a tight end. But that catch came on third-and-16, leading to one of Dustin Colquitt’s seven punts.
A week after the Chiefs (1-4) ended a franchise-record 12-game losing streak with a stunning win over Denver, coach Herm Edwards gave his former San Diego State teammate, Panthers coach John Fox, a bear hug on the field before the game. But it didn’t take long for Fox and the Panthers to show the rebuilding, youthful Chiefs had no shot for their first two-game winning streak in two years.
Bears 34, Lions 7
DETROIT (AP) ó Kyle Orton set career highs in yards passing, completions and quarterback rating while throwing two touchdowns. He was 24-of-34 for 334 yards and had a 121.4 rating, improving to 3-0 against the Lions.
Orton connected with Devin Hester for a touchdown and Charles Tillman intercepted a pass that went off Roy Williams’ hands and returned it for a score. Chicago (3-2) broke a first-place tie with the Packers to lead the lackluster NFC North.
The Lions (0-4) look like they might have trouble winning a game any time soon, and the move they made to fire team president Matt Millen appears to be moot because of the mess he left behind.
Chicago built a 31-0 lead before rookie Kevin Smith scored for the Lions midway through the third quarter.
Bears rookie Matt Forte scored on a 9-yard reception and a 1-yard run.