NFL Roundup: Plenty of fantastic finishes on sunday
The NFL roundup …
LANDOVER, Md. ó Josh Brown kicked a 49-yard field goal on the last play of the game Sunday, giving the Rams a 19-17 upset of the Washington Redskins to end an eight-game losing streak over two seasons. Jim Haslett was a winner in his St. Louis head coaching debut.
It took a fluke play for the two-touchdown underdog to pull off the stunner. The Rams got one at the perfect time in the first half.
The Redskins (4-2) overcame a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit and appeared set to win their fifth straight game when Clinton Portis’ 2-yard run with 3:47 left gave Washington a 17-16 lead. But Marc Bulger hit Donnie Avery down the right sideline for a 43-yard gain on third-and-13 to move into field goal territory.
But the Rams, being the Rams, nearly botched it. While St. Louis was trying to kill the clock to set up for an easy field goal attempt, offensive lineman Richie Incognito was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for aiming some choice words at an official. The 15-yard infraction made Brown’s kick longer, but he still managed to nail his fourth field goal of the game.
Two weeks ago, the Rams (1-4) looked like a team in need of a massive federal bailout. Instead, they fired coach Scott Linehan, reinstalled Bulger as the starting quarterback and used their bye week to get out of the dumps.
Cardinals 30, Cowboys 24, OTGLENDALE, Ariz. ó Sean Morey blocked Mat McBriar’s punt and Monty Beisel scooped up the ball and scored from 3 yards. Morey rushed untouched off the left side of the Dallas line to block the kick. Beisel, a backup linebacker, picked up the ball and bowled over the goal line.
McBriar had to be carted off the field in the din of a crowd that included the usual large portion of Dallas fans.
The stunning play by two of Arizona’s most unheralded players brought a conclusion to a game loaded with confusion, controversy and clutch performances.
Dallas scored 10 points in the final 2 minutes of regulation, sending the game into overtime when Nick Folk’s 52-yard field goal barely cleared the crossbar as the fourth quarter ended.
Folk was in field-goal range only because a 5-yard offside penalty was called against injured Arizona linebacker Travis LaBoy as he tried to limp off the field.
That was just one of the weird moments in Arizona’s sixth consecutive home victory.
Arizona scored 17 consecutive points, including a pair of touchdown passes by Kurt Warner, to go up 24-14 on Neil Rackers’ 40-yard field goal with 3:17 left.
Tony Romo, who threw for three touchdowns but fumbled twice, connected with Marion Barber on a 70-yard scoring play that cut it to 24-21 with 2:00 left.
Eagles 40, 49ers 26SAN FRANCISCO ó Donovan McNabb passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns without his top two receivers and his best running back, and the Eagles’ aggressive defenders forced three turnovers during a 23-point fourth quarter.
Donald Strickland returned a blocked field goal 41 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half for the 49ers (2-4), who went ahead 26-17 in the third quarter. They couldn’t sustain that momentum in their third straight loss against a Philadelphia defense that repeatedly made stunning plays in the final minutes.
After David Akers’ 38-yard field goal put Philadelphia (3-3) ahead with 7:46 to play, Quintin Mikell’s interception return to the San Francisco 7 set up another short field goal. Trent Cole then swatted the ball out of J.T. O’Sullivan’s hands, and Chris Clemons recovered to set up another field goal with 1:10 left.
San Francisco got past midfield with one last drive, but O’Sullivan threw a pass directly to Juqua Parker, who returned it 55 yards for a score with 38 seconds left.
Correll Buckhalter rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown while filling in for injured All-Pro Brian Westbrook. The Eagles also played without injured receivers Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown.
Packers 27, Seahawks 17SEATTLE ó Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay’s ailing quarterback, ran for a touchdown early, then threw two scoring passes in the second half to perhaps save the Packers’ season.
Seattle paid for having to start No. 3 quarterback Charlie Frye. It looked inept on offense while dropping to 1-4 ó the equal of the St. Louis Rams at the bottom of the NFC West the Seahawks have ruled the last four seasons. Seattle was last 1-4 in 2002, its most recent losing season.
Rodgers, again starting despite a sprained throwing shoulder, was 21-for-30 with 208 yards as Green Bay (3-3) won for the 10th time in 13 road games.
Frye completed 12 of 23 passes for just 83 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Seahawks, who lost for the second time in three home games. They entered the season an NFC-best 42-14 at home since 2001.
Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was out with a sore knee and backup Seneca Wallace out with a calf injury for Seattle.
Jaguars 24, Broncos 17DENVER ó Playing their best all-around game of the season, the Jaguars got superb performances from quarterback David Garrard and running back Maurice Jones-Drew, plus three takeaways by their defense.
Garrard completed 25 of 34 passes for 276 yards, one TD and no interceptions and Jones-Drew rumbled for 125 yards and two TDs on 22 carries.
The Jaguars (3-3) also won at Invesco Field last year, thanks to a franchise-record 18-play, 80-yard drive that chewed up nearly 12 minutes. This time, they wasted no time in sending the Broncos (4-2) to their first home loss since last Oct. 29 against Green Bay.
The Jaguars took the second-half kickoff and covered 80 yards in just three plays and 73 seconds with Jones-Drew bolting up the middle untouched for a 46-yard touchdown that put Denver in a 17-7 hole.
After Jay Cutler and a wide-open tight end Nate Jackson failed to connect on a 26-yard touchdown pass and the Broncos settled for Matt Prater’s 39-yard field goal, Jacksonville scored again, on Marcedes Lewis’ 30-yard TD catch that made it 24-10.
On the drive, cornerback Dre’ Bly was whistled for a questionable illegal contact call even though he was tossed to the grass by wide receiver Reggie Williams, turning a potential fourth-and-13 into an automatic first down.
Texans 29, Dolphins 28HOUSTON ó Matt Schaub threw interceptions on Houston’s first two possessions, but ran for a 3-yard touchdown with 3 seconds left. The Dolphins (2-3) had knocked down consecutive passes in the end zone before Schaub ran for the score. The 2-point conversion failed, but Houston had enough points.
That drive was kept alive when Andre Johnson caught a 23-yard pass on fourth-and-10.
Houston (1-4) got its first win in dramatic fashion a week after blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in a 31-27 loss to the Colts.
Ronnie Brown’s 6-yard run with less than 2 minutes remaining gave Miami the lead. Chad Pennington was intercepted by Eugene Wilson moments earlier, but Wilson fumbled on the return and Miami recovered, giving the Dolphins a new set of downs to set up Brown’s score.
Falcons 22, Bears 20ATLANTA ó Jason Elam made the most of his second chance, kicking a 48-yard field goal on the final play.
Elam appeared to be the goat after hooking a 33-yard attempt wide left with less than 3 minutes left. The Bears took advantage of Elam’s first miss in 31 attempts, quickly driving downfield and going ahead for the first time when Kyle Orton hit Rashied Davis on a 17-yard touchdown with 11 seconds remaining. Robbie Gould booted through the extra point that gave Chicago a 20-19 lead.
But the surprising Falcons, coming off an upset of the Packers in Green Bay, weren’t done. With many fans heading for the exits, Gould pooched the ensuing kickoff, and Harry Douglas managed a 10-yard return to the Atlanta 44.
Rookie Matt Ryan calmly threw a 26-yard pass to Michael Jenkins along the left sideline with 1 second left. After a short delay to allow officials to confirm the replay that Jenkins’ catch was good, Elam made the winning kick.
The Falcons erupted in a playoff-like celebration near the middle of the field. Rookie coach Mike Smith lifted Ryan in the air. Elam was swarmed over by his teammates, having atoned for his miss with his fifth field goal of the game.
Six games into what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, Atlanta already has matched its win total from a forgettable 2007 season.
Vikings 12, Lions 10MINNEAPOLIS ó A questionable pass interference penalty on Leigh Bodden put Minnesota’s woeful offense in position for a 26-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell with 9 seconds to go.
Detroit (0-5) outplayed the Vikings for the entire game in a spirited effort, but the Vikings (3-3) got a boost from a call by field judge Mike Weir. Trailing 10-9 in the final 3 minutes, Gus Frerotte threw deep down the sideline for Aundrae Allison, and the ball fell incomplete. But Weir whistled cornerback Bodden for pass interference despite what appeared to be minimal contact.
Bodden was livid, but the 42-yard penalty gave the Vikings the ball at the Detroit 26. Longwell converted five plays later.
Frerotte finished with 296 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but the Vikings were so bad offensively against one of the worst teams in the league that thousands chanted “Fire Childress!” throughout the second half at coach Brad Childress.
Adrian Peterson rushed for 111 yards, but lost two fumbles. Bernard Berrian had five catches for 131 yards, including an 86-yard touchdown that cut Detroit’s lead to 10-9 in the third quarter.
Making the first start of his career, Dan Orlovsky threw for 150 yards and a touchdown for Detroit, which lost for the 11th time in a row in the Metrodome. His blunder in the first quarter when he ran out of bounds in the end zone for a safety ultimately cost the Lions.
Eds: Colts 31, Ravens 3INDIANAPOLIS ó Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes to Marvin Harrison, a third to Reggie Wayne, and the Colts sputtering offense finally got itself righted, against the Ravens’ top-ranked defense.
The Colts (3-2) played with the precision, efficiency and passion coach Tony Dungy had been seeking, and they delivered their best overall performance in months.
Harrison caught two TD passes in a game for the first time since Dec. 24, 2006. Indy did that even after losing Pro Bowl running back Joseph Addai (hamstring) in the first quarter and third-string running back Mike Hart (knee) in the second quarter.
But the biggest difference was Manning, who finished 19-for-27 for 271 yards with three touchdowns, easily his best game of the season. The numbers could have been even better had the Colts not shut things down late.
Baltimore (2-3) was simply overwhelmed. Rookie QB Joe Flacco had three interceptions, lost a fumble, was sacked four times and botched a handoff that Ray Rice fell on.
Saints 34, Raiders 3NEW ORLEANS ó Drew Brees put on a clinic JaMarcus Russell would be wise to study. Connecting on 87 percent of his throws, Brees passed for 320 yards and three touchdowns.
Oakland’s Tom Cable spent his NFL head coaching debut watching in frustration as Russell completed only 13 of 35 passes for 159 yards, while throwing an interception and fumbling.
Reggie Bush scored two TDs on a 3-yard run and 15-yard reception. His 21-yard reception in the first quarter gave him 200 catches through the first 34 games of his young career, tying him with Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin as the quickest NFL players to reach 200 receptions.
Oakland (1-4), which finished with 226 total yards, had a tough time running as well. After holding Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson to 1.5 yards per carry a week ago, the Saints (3-3) were able to contain the Raiders’ trio of Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas and Michael Bush, who combined for only 74 yards.
Jets 26, Bengals 14EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Thomas Jones ran for two touchdowns, including a 1-yarder late in the game, and caught a pass from Brett Favre for a score.
The Jets (3-2) improved to 3-0 in games immediately following a bye under coach Eric Mangini, but this one was far from easy. With New York holding a 20-14 lead late in the game, the Jets needed a 10-play, 41-yard drive by Favre that ate up the clock and sealed the victory over the Bengals (0-6).
Facing third-and-4 from the Bengals 7, Favre hit Chris Baker for 6 yards. Jones followed with a 1-yard rumble into the end zone with 2:22 left.
Favre, coming off a six-touchdown performance in a 56-35 victory over Arizona, wasn’t nearly as explosive. He finished 25-for-33 for 189 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Jones had his first career three-TD game for the Jets, wearing their navy and gold throwback New York Titans uniforms for the second straight game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, playing for the injured Carson Palmer, couldn’t get much going for the Bengals. He was 20-of-33 for 152 yards as Cincinnati dropped to 0-6 for the third time since 2000.