Broncos, Cowboys earn overtime wins
The Denver Broncos are reminding their fans of Super Bowl seasons past with their 5-0 start. The Dallas Cowboys are just relieved their season hasn't completely fallen apart heading into their bye week.
Kyle Orton led a 98-yard drive in the fourth quarter to tie the score and Matt Prater kicked a 41-yard field goal in overtime Sunday to lift Denver to a 20-17 victory over the New England Patriots.
"The electricity in the stadium was so great that we had to have it," Orton said. "When we got to overtime, we just had to win."
Josh McDaniels got a win over his old boss, Bill Belichick, and the Broncos opened the season with five wins for the first time since 1998, their last Super Bowl season.
At Kansas City, Mo., Miles Austin caught 10 passes for a franchise-record 250 yards and scored the winning touchdown in overtime, lifting the Cowboys to a 26-20 victory against the winless Chiefs.
Austin topped the record of 246 yards that Hall of Famer "Bullet" Bob Hayes set against Washington almost 39 years ago, and helped send the Chiefs (0-5) to their 28th loss in 30 games.
"It's a feeling that's unbelievable," he said. "It's amazing. I never seen that coming today. I was ready today, but you never expect a huge game like that."
Austin's tackle-breaking 59-yard catch-and-run from Tony Romo gave the mistake-prone Cowboys (3-2) a 20-13 lead with 2:16 left. Then after Matt Cassel's 16-yard TD pass to Dwayne Bowe tied it 20-20 with 24 seconds to go in regulation, Austin got free on a 60-yard scoring play on Dallas' second possession in overtime.
Orton threw for 330 yards and two scores and the Broncos held New England (3-2) scoreless in the second half.
Denver's fourth-quarter drive certainly wasn't "The Drive" — Elway's classic, 98-yard march that helped beat the Browns 23-20 back in the 1987 AFC title game — but it will go down as one of the best in this franchise's history.
Trailing 17-10 with 9:59 left, Orton was at his patient best during the game-tying drive that started at the 2. A 14-yard completion to Jabar Gaffney, a screen to Knowshon Moreno who sprung for 27. A 7-yard completion to Eddie Royal, who finished with 10 catches for 90 yards.
Brandon Marshall, who scored the game-winner last week against Dallas, did the honors this time, too, catching a pass on the sideline, then spinning and breaking a tackle for an 11-yard score that tied it at 17. It was his second touchdown of the game.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady went 19 for 33 for 215 yards, but only 63 of those came in the second half.
The teams traded a pair of possessions around midfield to close regulation, then the Broncos won the toss and drove 58 yards to set up the winning field goal with 10:09 left in OT.
Falcons 45, 49ers 10
At San Francisco, Roddy White had a 90-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown and a 31-yard TD reception, and Michael Turner ran for three scores to end San Francisco's five-game home winning streak.
White finished with eight catches for a career-high 210 yards against the 49ers' usually stingy defense. Six of those receptions were in the first half for 185 yards, as Atlanta (3-1) came out of its bye week sharp in all phases and finished with a 477-279 advantage in total yards. Matt Ryan completed 22 of 32 passes for 329 yards and two TDs and also ran for a late score.
San Francisco (3-2) flopped in its biggest test yet, falling to its worst defeat since a 41-0 loss at Kansas City on Oct. 1, 2006, under former coach Mike Nolan.
Cardinals 28, Texans 21
At Glendale, Ariz., Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown with 2:20 to go and the Arizona defense stopped the Texans three times at the 1-yard line in the final minute.
Matt Schaub brought the Texans back from a 21-0 halftime deficit to tie the game and had completed 11 straight when Rodgers-Cromartie, playing with a fractured right index finger, stepped in front of intended receiver Kevin Walter.
The young cornerback raced down the sideline, then high-stepped the final 20 yards for the score for the Cardinals (2-2).
Bengals 17, Ravens 14
At Baltimore, Carson Palmer threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 22 seconds left to cap an 80-yard drive fueled by Baltimore penalties.
All five of Cincinnati's games this season have been decided by seven points or fewer. Palmer masterfully directed the final drive for the Bengals (4-1) — with the help of three yellow flags. The third one was a pass interference penalty against Frank Walker on third-and-16 from the Baltimore 30 — although the infraction was called by the officials against Ed Reed.
On the next play, Palmer found Caldwell over the middle for the winning score, sending the Ravens (3-2) to their second straight loss.
Eagles 33, Buccaneers 14
At Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb showed he was fine after missing two games with a broken rib, throwing for 264 yards and three touchdowns.
Rookie Jeremy Maclin had two TD catches and the lopsided score allowed Michael Vick to take extra snaps at quarterback in the fourth quarter. He completed his first pass in 33 months and had an 11-yard run.
The Eagles (3-1) improved to 11-0 after a bye week under coach Andy Reid.
The Buccaneers (0-5) remained winless under new coach Raheem Morris and extended their losing to streak to nine games.
Steelers 28, Lions 20
At Detroit, Ben Roethlisberger had a season-high three touchdowns passes for the Steelers (3-2), supported by thousands of black-and-gold clad fans. They went ahead on Rashard Mendenhall's TD run midway through the first quarter and took a 15-point lead in the third on Roethlisberger's 47-yard pass to rookie Mike Wallace.
Detroit (1-4) drove into Pittsburgh territory on the ensuing series, but Daunte Culpepper's up-for-grabs pass was intercepted by Ryan Clark. Culpepper bounced back with a 25-yard TD to Dennis Northcutt to pull within eight with 4:57 to go.
Colts 31, Titans 9
At Nashville, Tenn., Peyton Manning's near-perfect start to the season continued as he had 309 yards and three touchdown passes, and the Colts never trailed in beating their AFC South rivals for their NFL-best 14th straight regular-season win.
Manning joined Kurt Warner and Steve Young as the only quarterbacks to open a season by throwing for at least 300 yards in each of the first five games. He will have to wait out a bye week to try and match them with a sixth.
Indianapolis (5-0) has not lost since its last visit to Nashville and leaves now with a firm grip on the AFC South. The Titans (0-5) have matched their 0-5 start in 2006.
Panthers 20, Redskins 17
At Charlotte, N.C., aided by a disputed call and Jake Delhomme's bold third-down run, the Panthers (1-3) jump-started a sagging season.
The Panthers scored the game's final 18 points, and Jonathan Stewart's 8-yard run with 9:21 left was the go-ahead touchdown. The TD was set up when the Panthers recovered a muffed punt at the Washington 12. The maligned Delhomme later ran a bootleg for a first down with just under 2 minutes left to give the Panthers their first win.
The Redskins (2-3) again lost to a previously winless team despite leading 17-2 early in the third quarter.
Giants 44, Raiders 7
At East Rutherford, N.J., Eli Manning threw two scoring passes and led the Giants on touchdown drives on their first four series before resting his sore heel.
Manning finished 8 of 10 for 173 yards on a day the Giants gained 483 yards. New York (5-0) is off to its best start since winning the Super Bowl in 1990. Backup halfback Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 110 yards and scored on runs of 1 and 9 yards.
Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell lost three fumbles and was sacked six times as the Raiders (1-4) were limited to 124 yards.
Vikings 38, Rams 10
At St. Louis, Brett Favre threw for 232 yards and a touchdown a day after his 40th birthday. Spry and efficient, Favre showed no signs of a letdown after beating the Packers last week, dodging defenders and winging passes in every direction to give Minnesota its first 5-0 start in six years.
Jared Allen returned one of his two fumble recoveries 52 yards for a touchdown and Adrian Peterson rumbled in for a pair of touchdowns, helping the Vikings to their 400th win (400-322-9).
St. Louis (0-5) wore throwback uniforms from 1999, a nod to the team's only Super Bowl victory.
Browns 6, Bills 3
At Orchard Park, N.Y., backup kicker Billy Cundiff hit an 18-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining for Cleveland, ending a display of offensive ineptitude.
Cundiff also made a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter, and punter Dave Zastudil downed seven of nine punts inside the Bills 20, including three inside the 5. Zastudil also provided the game-turning play when Roscoe Parrish muffed a rolling punt. The Browns (1-4) recovered at the Bills 16 to set up the winning score.
The Bills (1-4) have lost to winless teams in consecutive weeks following a 38-10 defeat at Miami. They've dropped 12 of their past 15.
The Browns ended a 10-game losing streak, one short of matching a franchise worst.