Philadelphia Eagles 19, NY Giants 17
Is Philadelphia the team to beat in the NFC East? It sure looks like it. Although Michael Vick did take a lot of hits early, he stayed in the fight to guide Philly to their third comeback win. Eagles became the first team in NFL history to have each of their first three victories by two points or less (Elias sports Bureau). Sean McCoy led the way on the ground with 121 of his 123 yards rushing in the second half.
Eli Manning and the Giants effectively mixed the run and pass, finding Victor Cruz and Dominic Hickson multiple times. In the fourth, Manning tossed a 6 yard-TD pass to Bear Pascoe but the Eagles responded as Vick drove them to the Giants 2 yard line. Although he was sacked by Osi Umenyiora for a 6 yard loss on a third down, Philly’s Alex Henery he kicked the 26 yard field goal with 1:49 left to put Eagles ahead for good.
Atlanta Falcons 30, Carolina Panthers 28
The Falcons fought to the wire to pull out the “W” and beat Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers. Newton had a pretty stellar performance he connected on 15 of 24 passes for 215 yards and two TDs. Yet it was his fourth-quarter fumble that ultimately prevented the Panthers from getting the win. With just two minutes left as Newton was running for a first down that would have let them kill the clock, Newton’s fumble was recovered by Carolina but prevented a first down and forced them to punt.
The Falcons trailed 28-27 from their own 1 yard line with 59 seconds left and no timeouts. Matt Ryan hit Roddy White for 59 yards out of his own endzone, and then completed two more short passes to set up the game-winning field goal. Ryan completed 25 of 40 passes for 369 yards, three TDs, and an interception for the Falcons. They haven’t had this type of soaring 4-0 record since 2004. White caught eight passes for 169 yards and had 2 TDs.
Miami Dolphins 21, Arizona Cardinals 24
The Cardinals prevailed in another fantastic game that came down to the wire and into overtime. In OT it was one of Pro Player Insiders favorite kickers, Jay Feely, hitting a 46 yard field goal to put Arizona over Miami 24-21.
This win keeps the Cardinals at 4-0 and the last time the Cards started 4-0 was in 1974. It also puts the Dolphins at 1-3 and in the bottom of the AFC East. Arizona forced overtime when Kevin Kolb threw a 15-yard TD pass on fourth down to Andre Roberts with 22 seconds left.
“That’s how we do it,” Roberts said. “I don’t know what it is about us. We have to take it down to the last moment of the game, but we’re winning and that’s all that matters.”
Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill threw for an outstanding 431 yards, but his two turnovers on big plays by the Cardinals’ defense led to Arizona’s final two TDs. Arizona QB Kevin Kolb was 29 of 48 for 324 yards and three touchdowns, two to Roberts and one was to Larry Fitzgerald. He was sacked eight times, 4½ by Cameron Wake, and threw two interceptions.
Arizona won the toss to get the ball first in OT but went nowhere. After a punt, Tannehill was hit by Lenon as he threw and Rhodes brought in the ball and returned it 5 yards to the Miami 47. Five plays later, Feely’s field goal cleared the uprights.
New Orleans Saints 27, Green Bay Packers 28
After the debacle that cost the Packers the Monday night game in Seattle, Green Bay was able to put that behind them and get back to their winning ways. The 28-27 win by the Packers puts them at 2-2 while the Saints fall to a dismal 0-4.
“We’ve probably had to deal with more adversity than most of the teams I’ve played with, especially early on we’ve had some interesting games already,” Rodgers said. “We’re four games in. So, I think the character of this team is very strong. Winning games like this says a lot about the kind of men that we have.” Rodgers was starting to look like the Rodgers of last year, as he threw for 319 yards going 31 of 41 with four touchdowns and an interception.
Brees had another big game for the Saints getting 3 TDs and going 35/54 with 446 yards in the air. With the Packers trailing by 6, Rodgers threw an 11-yard bullet to Nelson as the Saints’ Corey White tried to wrap his arms around the ball, briefly re-creating a scene eerily similar to the controversial game-ender in Seattle on Monday.
This time, though, Nelson clearly had control of the ball and spiked it. “Yeah, it’s disappointing,” Brees said of the loss. “It stinks. But despite where we’re at, right now I think this team’s going to do something.”
Houston Texans 38, Tennessee Titans 14
The Texans are 4-0 for the first time in franchise history. They have a young, thirsty defense that helped the Texans come out strong with a 14 point start in the first quarter. Matt Schaub threw for 202 yards and two scores and Arian Foster ran for 86 yards and a touchdown. Tight ends Jared Cook and Craig Stevens also had solid performances leading Stevens to score his first touchdown of the season.
With Jake Locker out in the first quarter due to a shoulder injury, the Titans back up Matt Hasselback came in and provided reliable backup. The sole upside for the Titans was the Chris Johnson finally turned in a performance reminiscent of CJ2K, as he rushed for a season-high 141 yards.
Baltimore Ravens 23, Cleveland Browns 16
With replacement refs gone, Ray Lewis started the game off right, by hugging the ref after the refs received a standing ovation entering stadium. The Browns looked like they might be able to pull out the win, as they kept step with the Ravens and were only down 9-7 at the half.
Brandon Weeden began 5-of-13 for 38 yards, but finished 25-of-52 for 320 yards. Trent Richardson showed flashes of what was expected of him, as he scored a TD, caught 4 balls for 57 yards and added 47 yards rushing on 14 carries. Richardson was a beast, and looked impressive at times blasting through the Ravens defense.
The Ravens were scrappy but controlled enough to seal the win. Anquan Boldin got the Ravens flying in the third and ended up having nine catches for 131 yards. Although they had 11 penalties, Joe Flacco hit 28-of-46 for 356 yards and 2 TDs. Torrey Smith, despite dealing with the loss of his brother last week, scored a TD and finished with six receptions for 97 yards.
San Diego Chargers 37, Kansas City Chiefs 20
The Chargers bolted up and electrified the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Philip Rivers was 18 of 23 passing for 209 yards with two TDs, and Antonio Gates added three catches for 59 yards.
The Chiefs Matt Cassel struggled with three first-half interceptions. He had 24 of 42 passes for 251 yards and two TDs. Sadly, Kansas City turned the ball over six times to the charged up defense led by Takeo “TKO” Spikes. This was a strong victory for the Chargers who turned things around after their disappointing loss to the Falcons last week.
Cincinnati Bengals 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 10
Andy Dalton has led the Bengals to a 3-1 record that ties them with the Baltimore Ravens for first place in the AFC North. Dalton threw 2 TD passes and scored another himself finishing 20 of 31 for 244 yards. AJ Green’s been really turning things on, scoring a TD for the third came in a row.
The Jaguars were close until the fourth quarter when Blain Gabbert threw an interception. Gabbert ended 23 for 34 with 186 yards and a TD, but he had the one interception and he was sacked six times.
St. Louis Rams 19, Seattle Seahawks 13
Ram’s kicker Greg Zuerlein kicked four field calls, including a team record 60 yarder and another from 58 yards, as he was the Rams hero for the day. Sam Bradford threw for 221 yards on 16 of 30 passing. Stephen Jackson, fighting through a groin problem, ran 55 yards on 18 carries and Danny Amendola caught six passes for 55 yards and a TD. Rams head coach pulled out a trick play with punter Johnny Hekkor throwing a TD pass on a fake field call to seal victory.
Putting Monday night’s drama behind them, Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw for 160 yards but had three interceptions. Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch ran for 118 yards with a TD on 20 carries. Pete Carroll and Seattle wanted its first 3-1 start, but they fall to 2-2, looking up at the Cardinals and 49ers in the suddenly very competitive NFC West.
New England Patriots 52, Buffalo Bills 28
The game looked good for the Bills with 21-7 lead early in the third quarter. Scott Chandler grabbed 2 TDs and Donald Jones made a quick 68 yard reception for a TD. But Tom Brady would not be denied. Brady turned it up with an 18 yard TD pass to Danny Woodhead and a couple passes to Wes Welker.
The Pats stayed in the game because of its defensive line, notably Vince Wilfork. Brady was 22 of 36 for 340 yards with 3 scores and no picks. The New England QB hit Rob Gronkowski for a 28 yard TD and Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden combined for 3 TDs on the ground. Welker caught 9 passes for 129 yards.
The bright spot for the Bills was the play of rookie corner Steven Gilmore, who had solid coverage with four passes defensed and helped to set up Gronkowski’s fumble.
Minnesota Vikings 20, Detroit Lions 13
Minnesota’s special teams were the heroes in Detroit. The only TDs scored in the game came from Percy Harvin spectacular opening kickoff return and Marcus Sherels’ 77 yard punt return. The Vikings are the only team in league history to have touchdowns on a kick off and punt returns in 3 games.
San Francisco 49ers 34, NY Jets 0
San Francisco used a punishing running game, a tough defense, some of their own version of the Wildcat offense and even blocked a punt to run away with a 34-0 victory. The stomping came a week after a loss at Minnesota in which the 49ers played as flat as the Jets were Sunday.
“For sure, the whole week there was more of an edge; it was just a bad taste in your mouth,” Alex Smith said. “I don’t think that goes away in one day. We wanted to be 3-1 and got it done.”
Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick who came in to run the Wildcat option all ran for TDs. Their defense had an interception and three fumble recoveries, and special teams blocked Robert Malone’s punt to set up the final touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Jets lost their top wide receiver Santonio Holmes to what looked to be a serious left foot injury. It was the first time New York was shut out since losing 9-0 to Green Bay on Oct. 31, 2010, and the Jets’ biggest shutout home loss since falling 37-0 to Buffalo in 1989.
Alex Smith was once again efficient, going 12 of 21 for 143 yards and no touchdowns, but the more important thing, no interceptions. Sanchez had another rough game, going 13 of 29 for 103 yards and an interception and the 49ers defense held the Jets to 145 yards of total offense.
Oakland Raiders 6, Denver Broncos 37
The Broncos stampeded over the Raiders on Sunday afternoon to a 37-6 win. Putting in his best game as a Bronco, Manning led Denver to three third-quarter touchdowns and the first time that Denver has beaten its AFC West rival at home since 2007.
Denver (2-2) outscored the Raiders (1-3) 27-0 in the second half. “He’s getting more comfortable,” Broncos coach John Fox said of Manning. “Let’s not forget he didn’t play for over a year and this is a new team, new coaching staff, new city, new field, new everything for him. The type of guy he is, he’s going to get better and better.”
Manning was 30 of 38 with 338 yards in the air and 3 TDs. This is the second straight game where he didn’t throw an interception. Last week, he set a career high with 26 incompletions. This week though, he threw only eight balls that hit the ground, with 30 completions. Manning notched another 300 yard passing game, bringing his career total to 65, and looked like the old Colt’s Manning as he precisely picked apart the defense.
“It was nothing more than a good, old-fashioned butt-whupping,” said quarterback Carson Palmer, who finished with 202 yards passing and 19 of 34 for completions. The Broncos had allowed Darren McFadden 508 yards and three touchdowns over the last four meetings, held him to 34 yards on 13 carries.
By Theresa Villano & Alec Short
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