NFL Rdp: No unbeatens, lots of drama - and a tie

NFL Rdp: No unbeatens, lots of drama - and a tie
November 12, 2012, 5:06 am

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is helped up after being sacked in the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

(APWF)

There are no more unbeaten teams in the NFL. There are two teams with a tie, though.

New Orleans knocked off the last of the perfect teams when it beat archrival Atlanta 31-27 Sunday.

Jimmy Graham caught seven passes for a career-best 146 yards and two touchdowns, outdueling Tony Gonzalez as tight ends took the spotlight in the Big Easy.

Gonzalez finished with 11 catches for 122 yards and two scores for Atlanta (8-1), and became the first tight end to catch 100 touchdown passes.

``Tony, he kind of paved the way for me,'' said Graham, who like Gonzalez had a college basketball background before making the transition to NFL tight end. ``It seemed like every drive I'm kind of going up against the things that he did the last drive.''

Jabari Greer made a diving, touchdown-saving pass breakup on a late fourth-down play as the Saints (4-5) won for the fourth time in five games, keeping alive hope of getting back into the wild-card race after an 0-4 start.

Games can't get much wilder than San Francisco's 24-24 tie with St. Louis, the league's first stalemate in four seasons.

Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yard field goal in OT to win it - except the Rams (3-5-1) were penalized 5 yards for delay of game. He tried again from 58 as coach Jeff Fisher played for the win, and missed wide right with 2:42 left.

San Francisco's David Akers missed wide left on a 41-yard attempt that could have sealed it for the 49ers (6-2-1), who lost quarterback Alex Smith to a first-half concussion.

And just when it seemed the 49ers - and Akers' typically reliable left leg - would have one more chance to win it, San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis was flagged for holding Lance Kendricks on third down. That extended St. Louis' last drive, a costly mistake in a long list of them on an uncharacteristically sloppy day by coach Jim Harbaugh's team.

Akers made a tying 33-yarder with 3 seconds left in regulation after Sam Bradford threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis with 1:09 remaining.

``I have to say, I've been doing this a while. I don't think I've ever been in a game like this,'' Fisher said. ``As I told our guys, we had a number of chances to put the game away. And, unfortunately, we didn't.''

Also Sunday, it was Houston 13, Chicago 3; Baltimore 55, Oakland 20; Denver 36, Carolina 14; Tennessee 37, Miami 3; New England 37, Buffalo 31; Cincinnati 31, the New York Giants 13; Dallas 38, Philadelphia 23; Tampa Bay 34, San Diego 24; Minnesota 34, Detroit 24; and Seattle 28, the New York Jets 7.

On Thursday night, Indianapolis (6-3) beat Jacksonville (1-8) 27-10.

The Monday night game has Kansas City (1-7) at Pittsburgh (5-3).

Idle this week were Green Bay (6-3), Washington (3-6), Arizona (4-5) and Cleveland (2-7).

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SAINTS 31, FALCONS 27

At New Orleans, Drew Brees threw for 298 yards and three TDs for the Saints, who made a late goal-line stand to preserve the win. Brees is 11-2 against Atlanta since joining New Orleans in 2006.

``No one is going to go around crying or panicking or anything like that,'' Gonzalez said. ``We're a good team. Our confidence hasn't changed.''

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49ERS 24, RAMS 24

At San Francisco, on the first play of OT, Bradford completed an 80-yard pass to Danny Amendola that took St. Louis to the 2, but the play was called back for an illegal formation.

The previous NFL tie was between Philadelphia and Cincinnati, 13-13 in 2008. San Francisco played its first tie since 1986.

``It just feels like it's unfinished business,'' San Francisco cornerback Tarell Brown said.

``I think anyone would like to keep playing. I really don't know what good a tie does,'' Bradford said. ``It's frustrating when you play a game and you put so much into it during the week and during the course of it, today five quarters, you'd like to come away with either a win or a loss.''

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TEXANS 13, BEARS 6

At Chicago, the Texans improved the AFC's best record to 8-1, equaling Atlanta's mark in the NFC, as well, by beating another league power.

Arian Foster finished with 102 yards rushing and a touchdown catch, and the Texans intercepted Jay Cutler twice before knocking him out of the game with a concussion.

Foster was the only reliable offensive weapon on either side, particularly in the first half when he ran for 85 yards and made a sprawling catch for a 2-yard touchdown to put Houston ahead 10-3.

Cutler completed just 7 of 14 passes for 40 yards with two interceptions in the first half, while Jason Campbell threw for 94 yards in the second half for Chicago (7-2). Brandon Marshall managed 107 yards receiving but also dropped a pass in the end zone. Matt Forte never got going, running for 39 yards.

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RAVENS 55, RAIDERS 20

At Baltimore, Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns as the Ravens set a club record for points.

The Ravens (7-2) scored on six of their first seven possessions against the struggling Raiders (3-6), who have yielded at least 40 points in two straight games for the first time since 1962. The 55 points tied an Oakland record for points allowed, a mark set in 1961 and matched in 1981.

In the fourth quarter, Jacoby Jones took a kickoff 105 yards for 55-20 lead.

``Obviously, we had success,'' said Flacco, who also ran for a score. ``We ran the game plan and it worked well. We stuck with it. We scored points early and continued to score them.''

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BRONCOS 36, PANTHERS 14

At Charlotte, N.C., Peyton Manning threw for 301 yards and a touchdown. Manning threw his 420th touchdown pass to move into a tie for second place on the NFL's all-time list with Dan Marino. He trails only Brett Favre (508).

Denver coach John Fox, who coached the Panthers (2-7) for nine seasons, downplayed his return all week, but celebrated with a few fist pumps Sunday.

``You just feel good to win,'' Fox said. ``You put a lot into these things. It is seven days of hard work and countless hours. It's all for naught if you don't win.''

Von Miller harassed Cam Newton all day and Trindon Holliday returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown as the Broncos (6-3) won for the fifth time in six weeks. The Broncos sacked Newton seven times, including once for a safety, and Miller pressured him into an interception Tony Carter returned 40 yards for a score.

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TITANS 37, DOLPHINS 3

At Miami, the Titans made quite a turnaround defensively.

Colin McCarthy returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown, and Tennessee had four takeaways. The Titans came into the game on pace to set an NFL record for points allowed in a season, but they stymied Miami by intercepting Ryan Tannehill three times and recovering a Reggie Bush fumble to set up a touchdown.

Tennessee (4-6) rebounded from a 51-20 loss a week ago against the Bears that prompted owner Bud Adams to put the organization on notice.

For Miami (4-5), the home loss was the most lopsided since 1968.

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PATRIOTS 37, BILLS 31

At Foxborough, Mass., Devin McCourty ended Buffalo's hopes with an interception in the end zone and New England kept Buffalo winless at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots (6-3) let a 17-3 lead slip to 34-31 with 7:47 left on Ryan Fitzpatrick's 2-yard touchdown pass to Donald Jones. Then the Bills (3-6) held the Patriots to a 27-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski with 2:06 remaining.

Buffalo moved to the New England 15 before Fitzpatrick threw the ball right into the hands of McCourty while trying to hit T.J. Graham.

New England is 11-0 against the Bills at Gillette since it opened in 2002 and 20-2 overall in its past 22 games against Buffalo.

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BENGALS 31, GIANTS 13

At Cincinnati, Andy Dalton threw a career-high four touchdown passes - each to a different receiver - and the Bengals ended their four-game losing streak.

The Bengals (4-5) took advantage of a fumble and Eli Manning's two interceptions, which set up third-quarter touchdowns. A.J. Green caught one of the TD passes.

``I just feel like this is a good stepping block for us,'' said Green. ``I put a lot of pressure on myself.''

The Giants (6-4) head into their bye with back-to-back losses and a lot of issues, especially on offense. The Giants turned it over four times in the second half.

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COWBOYS 38, EAGLES 23

At Philadelphia, Dwayne Harris had a 78-yard punt return for a score, Brandon Carr returned an interception 47 yards for a TD and Tony Romo threw for two scores.

The Cowboys improved to 4-5, and are second in the NFC East, 1 1/2 games behind the Giants.

The Eagles (3-6) lost Michael Vick to a concussion after consecutive bruising hits in the second quarter and have lost five straight games under coach Andy Reid for the first time in his 14 seasons.

Nick Foles filled in for Vick and briefly rallied the Eagles until the Cowboys started showing some touchdown versatility. Romo hit Dez Bryant on a 30-yard pass on the final play of the third quarter, and Harris and Carr scored their TDs in the fourth.

``Critical win for us,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ``I thought the effort was there. I thought we were focused the whole game.''

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BUCCANEERS 34, CHARGERS 24

At Tampa, Fla., Josh Freeman threw two touchdown passes and the surging Buccaneers scored on a blocked punt and Leonard Johnson's 83-yard interception.

Freeman has thrown for 13 TDs with one interception in his past five games, helping the Bucs (5-4) win four times to climb over .500 following a 1-3 start.

Philip Rivers threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns for San Diego. He was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter to ruin any chance of the Chargers (4-5) coming from behind.

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VIKINGS 34, LIONS 24

At Minneapolis, Adrian Peterson raced 61 yards for the game-sealing touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, padding his NFL rushing lead with 171 yards on 27 carries for Minnesota.

Peterson had 120 yards in the final 15 minutes, 10 1/2 months after reconstructive surgery on his left knee, and has 1,128 yards on the ground. Christian Ponder bounced back from a rough game with 221 yards and two touchdowns on 24-for-32 passing for the Vikings (6-4).

Calvin Johnson had 207 yards on 12 catches, including a touchdown for the Lions (4-5), but Johnson's lost fumble near midfield on the previous possession put Vikings rookie Blair Walsh in position for his fourth field goal.

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SEAHAWKS 28, JETS 7

At Seattle, Russell Wilson threw touchdowns of 38 yards to Golden Tate and 31 yards to Sidney Rice.

Wilson was harried for much of the day by the multiple looks from the Jets' defense. But the Seattle rookie responded with key throws, hitting Tate on the opening drive then connecting with Rice early in the fourth quarter to give Seattle (6-4) a two-score advantage. Tate added a TD pass on a reverse to Rice later in the fourth quarter.

Mark Sanchez struggled in his reunion with Seattle coach Pete Carroll, his former coach at USC. Sanchez threw a costly interception at the goal line in the first half then fumbled at the Seattle 32.

Muhammad Wilkerson's fumble return for a TD was the only score for New York (3-6).

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