AP Photo/Tony Dejak Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (17) throws from behind the block of Keydrick Vincent (68) in the second quarter of the Steelers 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns Sunday in Cleveland.
AP Photo/Tony Dejak
CLEVELAND Ben Roethlisberger became the first rookie quarterback to begin 7-0 since the 1970 merger, and Jerome Bettis had two short touchdown runs, leading the Steelers to a 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
The Steelers (8-1) took smashmouth football to a new extreme. Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter bloodied Browns running back William Green in a fight during pregame drills. Both were ejected before the game began.
After handing New England and Philadelphia their first losses the past two weeks, Pittsburgh figured to be due for a letdown. That will have to wait until next week maybe as the Steelers remained the NFL's hottest team with their seventh consecutive win.
Bettis, starting in place of the injured Duce Staley for the second straight week, gained 103 yards on 29 carries. He scored on TD runs from 5 and 1 yards in the first half.
The Steelers put the game away when Aaron Smith stripped quarterback Jeff Garcia and safety Russell Stuvaints ran it in from 24 yards.
Garcia was just 7-for-16 for 110 yards. He was sacked four times and threw an interception for Cleveland (3-6). He was replaced by Kelly Holcomb with 9 minutes left.
Ravens 20, Jets 17, OT
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Matt Stover kicked a 42-yard field goal with 7:39 remaining in overtime. Last season, Stover kicked two game-winning field goals in overtime for Baltimore (6-3).
Kyle Boller got the Ravens in position for the winning score by converting a third-and-5 from the Baltimore 49 with a 21-yard pass to Kevin Johnson. Boller then completed a 10-yard pass to Travis Taylor on third-and-14 from the Jets 34 to put the Ravens in field goal range.
Boller was 19-of-33 for 213 yards with two touchdowns, both to rookie Clarence Moore. Jamal Lewis had 30 carries for 68 yards.
The Jets (6-3), losers of three of their last four games, led 14-0, but Ed Reed's end-zone interception of Lamont Jordan's halfback pass and return to the New York 36 turned things around.
Jaguars 23, Lions 17, OT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. David Garrard threw two touchdown passes, including a 36-yarder to Jimmy Smith in overtime. Garrard, making his first start in nearly two years, finished 19-of-36 for 198 yards and added 42 yards rushing.
Fred Taylor had a season-high 144 yards rushing as the Lions (4-5) were outgained on the ground for a second consecutive week and lost their third straight game. Washington's Clinton Portis ran for 147 yards against Detroit last week.
The Lions sent it to overtime because Eddie Drummond returned two punts for touchdowns in the fourth quarter, a 55-yarder and then an 83-yarder with 46 seconds remaining.
Smith finished with seven catches for 109 yards and passed James Lofton for 12th on the all-time receptions list.
Chicago Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye (93) gets a hand on the ball as he battles Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Fred Miller (71) for it in the end zone during overtime on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2004, in Nashville, Tenn. Miller recovered the ball in the end zone and the play resulted in a safety, giving the Bears a 19-17 win.
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
Bears 19, Titans 17, OT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. Alex Brown sacked backup Billy Volek in the end zone and knocked the ball loose for a safety and an overtime win.
It was only the second time an NFL game has ended in overtime on a safety. The first was Nov. 5, 1989, when Minnesota beat the Los Angeles Rams 23-21 when Mike Merriweather blocked Dale Hatcher's punt and the ball rolled out of the end zone.
The victory gave the Bears (4-5) their first three-game winning streak since the end of the 2001 season Chicago's last playoff appearance.
Tennessee (3-6) allowed Steve McNair another week to rest his bruised and aching chest, giving Volek the fourth start of his career. It turned into a sloppy, ugly game that featured 20 punts.
The Titans came up with five sacks and forced three turnovers while holding Chicago to 176 yards total offense. But Tennessee made some costly mistakes, including an interception returned for a touchdown by R. W. McQuarters and two fumbles by Chris Brown.
The Titans tried to win in regulation, but punter Craig Hentrich, who tries all field goals over 50 yards, had a 52-yard attempt blocked as time expired.
Colts 49, Texans 14
INDIANAPOLIS Peyton Manning threw five touchdowns for the third time this season and completed 18 of 27 passes for 320 yards.
Indianapolis (6-3) won its second straight and retained its share of the AFC South lead with Jacksonville.
Manning, the only player in NFL history to throw five TDs four times in a 12-month span, engineered three touchdown drives that used a total of 2:06. After three quarters, Manning had just one more incompletion (six) than he did touchdown passes, and he surpassed his last year's TD total of 29. The 2003 co-MVP now has 31 touchdown passes this year; Dan Marino's NFL record is 48.
Rams 23, Seahawks 12
ST. LOUIS Marc Bulger got off to a hot start and a beleaguered defense held Seattle to three field goals in five trips inside the 20, earning the Rams a first-place tie with the Seahawks in the NFC West.
The Rams (5-4) had drawn the ire of coach Mike Martz, who twice put the season on their backs after consecutive losses to the beat-up Patriots and previously winless Dolphins. They responded to Mad Mike by sweeping the season series with Seattle, this time benefiting from an early cushion rather than a fast finish. The Rams led 17-0 early in the second quarter in the rematch; they scored 17 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes of regulation of an overtime victory in Seattle on Oct. 10.
Packers 34, Vikings 31
GREEN BAY, Wis. Ryan Longwell's 33-yard field goal as time expired gave the Packers a victory over their archrivals and a tie atop the NFC North, both at 5-4.
The Vikings, losers of three straight, rallied to tie it with two touchdowns in the final 2:53.
After Daunte Culpepper's fourth touchdown toss, Robert Ferguson returned the kickoff to midfield, where Antoine Winfield forced a fumble. Officials ruled Packers tight end Ben Steele recovered, even though Minnesota's Larry Ned emerged from the scrum with the ball.
Brett Favre, who also threw four touchdown passes, calmly guided Green Bay to the Vikings 15, where Longwell split the uprights. It was Favre's 18th game with four or more touchdowns, second only to Dan Marino's 21.
Cardinals 17, Giants 14
TEMPE, Ariz. Just like the old days in Dallas, Emmitt Smith made life miserable for the Giants, who aided greatly in their own demise.
Smith rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Arizona sacked Kurt Warner six times, including four by Bertrand Berry. Smith rushed for 67 yards on 19 carries, 30 yards on Arizona's go-ahead touchdown drive. He had scoring runs of 2 and 3 yards en route to passing 18,000 yards rushing in his career.
It was the first time in two seasons Smith ran for two scores in a game.
Bengals 17, Redskins 10
LANDOVER, Md. Second-year quarterback Carson Palmer, displaying the smooth efficiency lacked by Redskins veteran Mark Brunell, completed 24 of 39 passes for 217 yards against the NFL's top-ranked defense.
Rudi Johnson added 102 yards on 31 carries for the Bengals (4-5), who have won three of four. They also broke a six-game road losing streak.
Palmer's day was marred by two interceptions, but he completed 45 of 71 passes for 429 yards over his last two games.
The Redskins (3-6) hit a new low in Joe Gibbs' comeback year, with fans booing from the opening drive.
Panthers 37, 49ers 27
SAN FRANCISCO Muhsin Muhammad caught three touchdown passes from Jake Delhomme in the second half, and punter Todd Sauerbrun made the go-ahead field goal with 4:25 left.
Delhomme was 19-of-34 for 303 yards 123 on six passes to Muhammad as the Panthers (2-7) overwhelmed the Niners' terrible defense with 34 points after halftime. The beleaguered defending NFC champions had no running game and no kicker, thanks to John Kasay's calf injury, but still snapped their six-game losing streak.
The Panthers scored 17 points in the final 7:12 after Brandon Lloyd's 30-yard TD catch gave San Francisco (1-8) a 27-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Saints 27, Chiefs 20
NEW ORLEANS Aaron Brooks threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Joe Horn midway through the fourth quarter and the Saints (4-5) rallied to win. With the score tied at 20, the Saints drove 72 yards to take the lead with 5:35 remaining.
The Chiefs (3-6) responded by driving to the Saints 17, but Derrick Blaylock could not handle a pass from Trent Green and linebacker Orlando Ruff grabbed it to preserve the victory.
The Chiefs gained 497 yards, and Green threw for 311 yards. Blaylock, playing for the injured Priest Holmes, had 33 carries for 186 yards and a touchdown.
Falcons 24, Buccaneers 14
ATLANTA Bouncing back after the officials denied an apparent defensive TD, Alge Crumpler hauled in a 49-yard scoring pass from Michael Vick to clinch the victory. Crumpler had four catches for a career-best 118 yards, and the Falcons rushed for 205 yards.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta defense had a season-high seven sacks to make life miserable for Brian Griese.
Patriots 29 , Bills 6
FOXBORO, Mass. Behind two touchdown passes by Tom Brady, the MVP in two of the last three Super Bowls, the Patriots showed another local champion, the Red Sox, that they can dominate just as well.
After Curt Schilling and Johnny Damon participated in a pregame ceremony for the World Series winners, Adam Vinatieri kicked five field goals, Corey Dillon rushed for 151 yards on 26 carries and the Patriots picked off four passes.
The Bills (3-6) scored only on a punt return of 70 yards by Jonathan Smith.
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