NFL roundup: Ravens take first place
Published 12:00 am Monday, November 21, 2011
BALTIMORE ó Joe Flacco threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns, and the Baltimore Ravens squeezed by the Cincinnati Bengals 31-24 on Sunday to move into first place in the AFC North.
Flacco connected with rookie Torrey Smith on a 38-yard TD to give Baltimore (7-3) a 31-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Smith finished with six catches for 165 yards, while Ray Rice ran for 104 yards and two scores.
The Bengals (6-4) got to the Baltimore 7 in the final minute but could not score the tying touchdown.
The victory moved the Ravens into a first-place tie with Pittsburgh, but Baltimore is 2-0 against the Steelers and holds the tiebreaker advantage.
Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 373 yards but was intercepted three times.
49ers 23, Cardinals 7
SAN FRANCISCO ó Alex Smith threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns and San Francisco forced five turnovers on a soggy day at Candlestick Park.
Smith tossed scores to Kyle Williams and Vernon Davis on the first two drives of the third quarter to help the 49ers pull away for their eighth straight victory. San Francisco (9-1) can clinch the NFC West with a win at Baltimore on Thursday and a loss by Seattle against Washington next weekend.
Patrick Willis, Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson all intercepted passes by John Skelton.
Bears 31, Chargers 20
CHICAGO ó Jay Cutler threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, and Chicago won its fifth straight.
Chicago (7-3) continued its remarkable turnaround and handed the Chargers their fifth straight loss, their longest slide since an 0-5 start in 2003. But it wasnít easy.
Philip Rivers threw for 280 yards. For most of the game, he looked more like a Pro Bowl quarterback than the guy who had been turning it over at an alarming rate. But two late interceptions helped preserve the win for Chicago.
The Bears were leading 31-20 when San Diegoís Antoine Cason returned an interception 64 yards to the Chicago 20. But instead of driving for a touchdown, Rivers sealed it with an INT.
Falcons 23, Titans 17
ATLANTA ó Roddy White had seven receptions for a season-high 147 yards and Jonathan Babineaux led an Atlanta defense that held off Tennessee.
The Falcons (6-4) bounced back from an overtime loss to New Orleans, but it wasnít easy. Jake Locker took over for injured Matt Hasselbeck and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Nate Washington to make a game of it for the Titans (5-5).
Atlanta jumped ahead on Matt Ryanís 17-yard TD pass to Tony Gonzalez and was up 20-3 in the third quarter after Michael Turner scored on a 4-yard run.
Hasselbeck went out with a sprained elbow and Locker nearly led an improbable comeback.
Cowboys 27, Redskins 24 (OT)
LANDOVER, Md. ó Dan Bailey kicked a 39-yard field goal 9:21 into overtime to give Dallas its third straight win.
The Cowboys rallied after allowing a late fourth-quarter touchdown and improved to 6-4, keeping the pressure on the first-place New York Giants in the NFC East.
The Redskins lost their sixth straight, their longest skid since their 0-7 start in 1998. They sent the game to overtime on Rex Grossmanís 4-yard fade pass to Donteí Stallworth with 14 seconds remaining in regulation.
Washingtonís Graham Gano missed a 52-yard field goal in overtime.
Baileyís winning kick was set up by Tony Romoís 26-yard pass to Dez Bryant.
Brown 14, Jaguars 10
CLEVELAND ó Jacksonville rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbertís pass into the end zone on the gameís final play was incomplete, allowing the Browns to escape.
Gabbert rifled a 3-yard pass high over the middle that went off wide receiver Mike Thomasí outstretched hands, and the Browns (4-6) celebrated a win they nearly gave away.
Colt McCoy shook off an apparent injury and threw a 3-yard TD pass to Josh Cribbs in the fourth to give Cleveland a 14-10 lead. A missed field goal by Browns kicker Phil Dawson with 2:49 left gave the Jaguars (3-7) a final chance and Gabbert nearly pulled off the comeback.
Packers 35, Bucs 26
GREEN BAY, Wis. ó Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes and Green Bay survived a scare to remain unbeaten.
With the Packers leading by two points and trying to fend off a rally by Tampa Bay in the fourth quarter, Rodgers found Jordy Nelson for a clinching 40-yard touchdown with 2:55 left in the game ó Nelsonís second TD catch of the day.
The Packers ran their record to 10-0, leaving them as the NFLís lone undefeated team going into a Thanksgiving Day matchup at Detroit.
Josh Freeman threw for 342 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Bucs (4-6).
Raiders 27, Vikings 21
MINNEAPOLIS ó Carson Palmer threw for 164 yards and a touchdown and Oakland capitalized on several mistakes by Minnesota.
Michael Bush rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders (6-4).
Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was carted off the field with a neck injury in the fourth quarter. Coach Hue Jackson said Heyward-Bey had total movement in his limbs.
Adrian Peterson left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle and the Vikings (2-8) werenít able to complete a fourth-quarter rally.
Dolphins 35, Bills 8
MIAMI ó Miami set up two touchdowns with interceptions, Matt Moore threw for three scores, and the Dolphinsí improbable midseason surge gained momentum.
After losing their first seven games, the Dolphins (3-7) have three consecutive victories for the first time since 2008, winning by a combined score of 86-20. Buffalo (5-5) has been outscored 106-26 while losing three in a row.
To make matters worse for the injury-riddled Bills, they lost NFL rushing leader Fred Jackson in the third quarter when he hurt his leg.
Seahawks 24, Rams 7
ST. LOUIS ó Sidney Rice caught a touchdown pass and drew a pass interference that led to a field goal for Seattle. Chris Clemons had three of Seattleís five sacks on Sam Bradford, and he also forced the Rams quarterback to fumble twice, both leading to touchdowns.
Eagles 17, Giants 10
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Vince Young threw a go-ahead 8-yard touchdown pass to Riley Cooper with 2:45 to play and the undermanned Philadelphia Eagles finally got things right in the fourth quarter.
In what was a must-win game for Andy Reidís struggling team Sunday night, the Eagles, who had lost five games in the fourth quarter earlier this season, marched 80 yards in 18 plays over 8:51.
They converted six third-down plays with DeSean Jackson setting up the first-and-goal with a 10-yard catch to the 10.