Published October 03, 2011
Matthew Stafford saw his defense start wiping out a 24-point deficit with interceptions returned for touchdowns midway through the third quarter, then he and Calvin Johnson took over from there, leading the Detroit Lions to a stunning 34-30 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
A week after turning a 20-point halftime deficit into an overtime win, the Lions provided further proof they're a legitimate contender this season.
Detroit is 4-0 and has won an NFL-best eight straight games. This also was its franchise-record fifth straight road win, avenging a loss here last November that had been its NFL-record 26th straight road loss.
Tony Romo and the Cowboys (2-2) continued to show there's no lead and no deficit too big for them. They blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead for the first time in franchise history in the opener.
Packers 49, Broncos 23
At Green Bay, Wisconsin, Aaron Rodgers threw for a career-high 408 yards, tied a personal best with four touchdown passes and ran for two more scores as Green Bay remained unbeaten.
Bengals 23, Bills 20
At Cincinnati, rookie quarterback Andy Dalton shook off a horrid first half and led his first comeback victory, culminating in Mike Nugent's 43-yard field goal as time ran out against previously unbeaten Buffalo.
Dalton threw a touchdown pass and ran 3 yards on a draw play, tying it with 4:09 to go. He scrambled for a first down on the winning drive and Nugent ended it with his third field goal in front of the smallest crowd of Paul Brown Stadium's history.
The Bengals (2-2) overcame a 17-3 halftime deficit to end a 10-game losing streak against Buffalo (3-1).
49ers 24, Eagles 23
At Philadelphia, the 49ers surged back from a 20-point deficit for the victory.
Vick wasn't hampered by his bruised right hand, throwing for a career-high 416 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 75 yards. But Philly's defense fell apart in the final 30 minutes, and Frank Gore capped a 77-yard drive with a 12-yard TD run with 3 minutes remaining.
Former Eagles kicker David Akers, who left for San Francisco as a free agent this summer, kicked the decisive extra point. His replacement, rookie Alex Henery, missed from 39 and 33 yards in the final period.
Philadelphia (1-3) has been outscored 36-0 in the fourth quarter of its last three games, all losses. The 49ers (3-1) are on top of the NFC West in Jim Harbaugh's rookie season as coach.
Texans 17, Steelers 10
Johnson left in the second quarter with a right hamstring injury and did not return though he was back on the sideline late to watch Houston (3-1) finish off the injury-plagued Steelers (2-2).
Ben Roethlisberger was under pressure all day and was sacked five times behind an offensive line missing two regular starters. The quarterback injured his left leg late in the game and left the stadium wearing a walking boot.
Foster, the 2010 NFL rushing champion, finally looked healthy after weeks of nursing a left hamstring strain.
Patriots 31, Raiders 19
At Oakland, California, Tom Brady bounced back from a four-interception performance by throwing for 226 yards, two touchdowns and committing no turnovers.
Wes Welker caught nine passes for 158 yards and a score, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley adding rushing touchdowns and the Patriots (3-1) played a mostly mistake-free game after last week's surprising loss in Buffalo.
This time the interception that changed the game was made by New England instead of thrown by Brady. Patrick Chung got a gift-wrapped pick in the end zone late in the first half when Jason Campbell inexplicably threw the ball right to the safety with no receiver in the area for the Raiders (2-2).
Redskins 17, Rams 10
In St. Louis, Ryan Torain ran for 135 yards and a 20-yard score, and Washington held off a late rally by winless St. Louis.
Titans 31, Browns 13
At Cleveland, Matt Hasselbeck's fresh start in Tennessee has his team off to an unexpected one.
The 13-year veteran quarterback, who left Seattle as a free agent after a playoff-filled decade, threw three TD passes in the first half and safety Jordan Babineaux returned an interception 97 yards for a TD for their third straight win under first-year coach Mike Munchak.
Hasselbeck threw for 194 yards in the first half while helping the Titans (3-1) build a 21-6 lead.
The 36-year-old finished 10 of 20 for 220 yards -- 26 on two completions after halftime.
Saints 23, Jaguars 10
The Saints scored TDs on their first two possessions and looked well on their way to reaching 30 points for the fourth consecutive week. But Brees threw two interceptions, and the Saints were forced to settle for three field goals in the second half.
It didn't matter against the Jaguars (1-3), who have scored just 39 points this season. They have two touchdowns in rookie Blaine Gabbert's two starts.
Gabbert completed 16 of 42 passes for 196 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
Bears 34, Panthers 29
Hester had earlier set up a TD run by Forte with a 73-yard kickoff return before he ran back a punt 69 yards in the second quarter to move ahead of Eric Metcalf on the all-time list. He performed three somersaults in the end zone with the lead at 24-10, but the celebration was a little early.
The Panthers cut the lead to four points at halftime and had their chances to take the lead in the second half but came up short, spoiling coach Ron Rivera's return to Soldier Field.
Rookie Cam Newton threw for 374 yards for the Panthers (1-3) and Steve Smith passed Muhsin Muhammad as the team's leading receiver, finishing with 181 yards on eight catches. He now has 9,414 in his career.
Chargers 26, Dolphins 16
Henne hurt his left shoulder at the end of a run on a broken play on the Dolphins' second possession and didn't return. Although backup Matt Moore led the Dolphins to the game's first TD, Rivers' passing eventually overpowered the Dolphins (0-4).
Rivers threw a 55-yard TD pass to Vincent Jackson to tie the game at 7 late in the first quarter. Ryan Mathews' 48-yard gain on a screen pass set up Mike Tolbert's 1-yard leap over the pile for a 20-10 lead for the Chargers (3-1) early in the third quarter.
Falcons 30, Seahawks 28
Ryan was brilliant in the first half. He started out 13-for-15 and had a 1-yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez on Atlanta's first possession. Michael Turner also ran for TDs of 21 and 1 yards in the first half.
Matt Bryant's 50-yard field goal early in the third quarter gave Atlanta (2-2) a 27-7 lead.
Tarvaris Jackson threw for three TDs, but the Seahawks (1-3) couldn't complete the comeback, and Steven Hauschka missed a 61-yard field goal attempt with 13 seconds left.
Giants 31, Cardinals 27
At Glendale, Arizona, Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes in a 58-second span late in the game to rally New York.
The scoring passes of 2 yards to Jake Ballard with 3:37 to go and 29 yards to Hakeem Nicks with 2:39 left came after the Cardinals (1-3) seemingly had taken control of the game 27-17 on Beanie Wells' third rushing touchdown of the game with 5:16 to go.
Manning completed 7 of 8 for 126 yards on the decisive drives as the Giants (3-1) won their third in a row. He finished 27 of 40 for 371 yards. Nicks caught 10 for 162 yards.
Wells rushed for a career-best 138 yards.
Chiefs 22, Vikings 17
Succop's accurate right leg had already staked Kansas City (1-3) to a 15-10 lead by the start of the fourth quarter when Cassel dropped back to pass. He saw Bowe get around Cedric Griffin, who had slipped just after the snap, and hit his Pro Bowl wide receiver in stride.
Bowe made a pirouette to get around safety Jamarca Sanford, then broke Griffen's tackle as the cornerback tried to recover, and trotted the last couple of yards for the touchdown.
Minnesota is 0-4.
Ravens 34, Jets 17
Baltimore scored three touchdowns on defense, all off turnovers by New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, and cruised to victory in a bizarre game that featured an NFL-record five returns for scores.
Baltimore's three touchdowns on defense were the most in franchise history. Jameel McClain took a fumble by Sanchez 6 yards for a score on New York's first offensive play, Jarret Johnson scored on a 26-yard fumble return and Lardarius Webb put the Ravens up 34-17 in the third quarter by taking an interception 73 yards into the end zone.
New York (2-2) has lost seven straight to the Ravens (3-1).