Miracles run out

Titans absorb first loss in new home

Posted: Monday, November 13, 2000

It took two rare gaffes by Al Del Greco for someone other than the Tennessee Titans to win at Adelphia Coliseum.

It took one early turnover forced by the Rams' maligned defense to send St. Louis -- without Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk -- on the way to a 38-24 win over the New York Giants to end their mild midseason slide.

In the end, the teams that contested last season's Super Bowl had identical records, 8-2.

The key play in the Rams-Giants showdown came on host New York's first possession, a third-down completion by New York's Kerry Collins to Amani Toomer that was pried loose and returned by Dexter McCleon to the Giants 2.

Trent Green, subbing for Warner, threw a TD pass to Roland Williams on the next play and the Rams, who had lost two of its last three, were on their way. They led 28-7 at halftime and the Giants (7-3) never got closer than 11 points -- 28-17 after a quick burst at the start of the second half.

But Green led the Rams to 10 straight points and New York's run-oriented offense wasn't able to answer.

Green finished 27 of 45 for 272 yards, threw four TD passes and ran for another score. And the Rams defense got three turnovers to the Giants' one.

Saints 20, Panthers 10

Ricky Williams hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the Saints (7-3), but broke his left ankle on the play and will be out 6-8 weeks. The defense held Carolina (4-6) to 53 yards on the ground.

''He is a good player, a good back, I mean he got 1,000 yards today,'' Saints coach Jim Haslett said . ''But he is out and we will have to move on.''

Keith Mitchell returned a fumble 90 yards for a touchdown and the Saints forced five turnovers and had eight sacks to win their sixth straight.

Vikings 31, Cardinals 14

Daunte Culpepper threw touchdown passes to Robert Smith, Randy Moss and Cris Carter, and ran for a fourth TD as the Vikings (8-2) remained unbeaten in the Metrodome after two road losses. Smith gained 117 yards on 20 carries to give him 1,025 yards rushing for the season.

MarTay Jenkins had a 98-yard kickoff return for Arizona (3-7), the first for the Cardinals since 1979.

Colts 23, Jets 15

Another big deficit, another loss for the Jets (6-4), who have dropped three in a row. New York won four games with fourth-quarter rallies, but has failed to finish off the comebacks last three weeks.

Host Indianapolis (7-3) opened a 17-0 lead and held on as Edgerrin James went over 1,000 yards rushing. He finished with 31 rushes for 130 yards and a touchdown. Mike Vanderjagt kicked three field goals.

Dolphins 17, Chargers 7

On an afternoon when the Chargers honored their past, Smith and the Dolphins added to the franchise's current misery, winning 17-7 to send the punchless Chargers to 0-10.

Lamar Smith scored on runs of 2 and 6 yards, the first coming on the game's third play, and Jay Fiedler completed his first nine passes for the AFC East-leading Dolphins (8-2). Smith has four touchdowns in the last two games and seven in four games.

Bucs 20, Packers 15

The Bucs knocked Brett Favre out of the game and Martin Gramatica extended his streak of consecutive field goals to 12 with fourth-quarter kicks of 54 and 51 yards.

The victory was the third straight for Tampa Bay (6-4), which has sandwiched a pair of three-game winning streaks around a four-game skid. That left the team with an uphill battle to successfully defend its NFC Central title.

Favre sprained his left foot when sacked by Warren Sapp midway through the third quarter and could miss his next game. Ryan Longwell kicked field goals of 52, 42 and 45 yards for the Packers, who took a 15-14 lead when Favre's backup, Matt Hasselbeck, tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Bubba Franks on a fake field goal. But Gramatica answered with his two long kicks.

Eagles 26, Steelers 23, OT

Two 42-yard field goals by David Akers and a recovered onside kick gave the Eagles one of their more improbable victories in years.

Akers kicked a game-winning field goal 4:16 into overtime after tying it with a hurried 42-yarder on the final play of regulation for the Eagles (7-4).

The Steelers (5-5), losing their second straight after winning five in a row, never got the ball in overtime.

Bills 20, Bears 3

After being pulled for Rob Johnson on the Bills' final series of the first half, Doug Flutie returned in the second half to help the Bills win. Flutie has now gone 3-1 as a starter Buffalo (6-4) after replacing Johnson when he separated his shoulder, But coach Wade Phillips plans to go back to Johnson as his starter.

Eric Moulds caught five passes for 89 yards, tying a franchise record by going 43 straight games with a catch. Keion Carpenter had two interceptions. The Bears (2-8), lost quarterback Jim Miller, who tore his left Achilles' tendon 10 minutes into the second quarter.

Lions 13, Falcons 10

Gary Moeller won his first game as Detroit's coach in place of Bobby Ross, who resigned, as the Lions (6-4) kept their playoff hopes alive against Atlanta (3-8).

Moeller was booed when he went for the tie when the Lions had the ball inches from the goal line on a fourth down with five minutes left in the game. Jason Hanson's 18-yard field goal tied it at 10.

Browns 19, Patriots 11

Phil Dawson kicked a career-high four field goals, and Doug Pederson efficiently moved the ball as the Browns snapped a seven-game losing streak. They improved to 3-8, one more win than in their initial season. New England dropped to call 2-8.

Cleveland's defense recovered three fumbles and intercepted a pass from New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who was questionable until gametime after jamming his right thumb last week. Bledsoe finished 21-of-35 for 212 yards and one TD.

Cowboys 23, Bengals 6

Tim Seder, a 26-year-old rookie kicker, took a pitch from holder Micah Knorr on a fake field goal and ran untouched for a 1-yard score for the Cowboys (4-6). Seder finished with 17 of Dallas' points, including field goals of 43, 35 and 42 yards.

Seahawks 28, Jaguars 21

Seattle (4-7) stopped Jacksonville at the 1-yard line with no time remaining to hang on. Jon Kitna threw a 4-yard pass to Ricky Watters with 2:01 left for the winning touchdown.

Seattle's Reggie Tongue was called for pass interference in the end zone with no time left. That brought the ball to the 1 and extended the game by one play. Mark Brunell looked for Alvis Whitted, but the two got their signals crossed and the ball fell harmlessly in the corner of the end zone to drop the Jaguars to 3-7.

49ers, 21, Chiefs 7

Charlie Garner ran for 102 yards and a touchdown, and Lance Schulters led an inspired defensive effort as San Francisco (3-8) snapped its five-game losing streak.

The 49ers defense, the league's worst in six statistical categories, dominated Kansas City's offense, which had scored 109 points in its last three games. The Chiefs (5-5) gained just 107 yards in the first half and needed Donnell Bennett's 1-yard TD run with 6:27 left to avoid being shut out for the first time in 101 games.

Jeff Garcia completed 20 of 25 passes for 244 yards and capped two second-quarter drives with short TD runs.

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