Brandon McManus kicked three field goals, including a 39-yarder with 1:51 remaining, and the Denver Broncos hung on to beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-20 Sunday to remain undefeated.
Peyton Manning, shaking off two interceptions, led the Broncos into position for the tie-breaking score with C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman also contributing key runs. Hillman had 103 yards rushing, including a 72-yard touchdown run.
Denver, off to a 4-0 start for the seventh time in franchise history and the second time in the last three years, sealed the win when blitzing safety T.J. Ward ended the last-ditch possession of Minnesota (2-2) at midfield by sacking quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and forcing a fumble that linebacker Von Miller recovered. Bridgewater previously extended the drive with an 11-yard run on third-and-10.
Up by a field goal at the half, the Broncos gained additional separation when Manning started the third quarter by leading the offense down the field, finishing the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to wide open tight end Owen Daniels.
But the Vikings came back to pull to within three points again. Facing fourth down and inches, the Vikings gave the ball to Adrian Peterson on a run up the middle. He broke through Denver's bunched-up defense at the line of scrimmage and into the clear for a 48-yard touchdown run cutting the Broncos' lead to 20-17 with 10:01 remaining.
Minnesota tied it at 20-all on Blair Walsh's second field goal, a 33-yarder with 5:11 left to play that was set up by safety Harrison Smith's interception of Manning, the Denver quarterback's second pick of the game. Manning was 17 of 27 for 213 yards.
Linebacker Anthony Barr stepped in front of wide receiver Andre Caldwell to intercept Manning the first time, returning it 32 yards to the Broncos' 27-yard line to set up the touchdown that pulled Minnesota to 13-10 at halftime.
Bridgewater completed successive passes to wide receiver Mike Wallace, the second a 4-yarder in the end zone with 12 seconds left in the second quarter.
Denver scored on the first play after Blair Walsh's 38-yard field goal try wide sailed wide left. With the ball at the Broncos' 28-yard line, Manning pitched the ball to Hillman. Daniels sprung him with a block on the edge and Hillman raced untouched down the left sideline en route to matching the fourth-longest touchdown run in Broncos' history.
NOTES: Broncos LB DeMarcus Ware is the only player in the league with at least one sack in each of the first four games. … Denver is the only team in the NFL this season yet to allow a point in the first quarter. … Rookie LT Ty Sambrailo missed the game with a shoulder injury. … Minnesota was without WR Charles Johnson because of a rib injury. Also held out was S Andrew Sendejo (knee). … The Vikings were in Denver for the first time since 2007, Adrian Peterson's rookie season.
The red zone had been like a gold mine for the Arizona Cardinals during their 3-0 start. They had scored touchdowns on 11 of their first 12 trips inside opponents' 20-yard line -- the second most such scores in the NFL.
Rookie Josh Lambo's 34-yard field goal with no time remaining lifted the San Diego Chargers past the Cleveland Browns 30-27 on Sunday.
Lambo was wide right from 39 yards with two second left, but defensive back Tramon Williams was called offside, giving Lambo another chance.
The Browns pulled to within 27-25 on tight end Gary Barnidge's 1-yard scoring catch with two minutes to play. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel caught Josh McCown's pass for a 2-point conversion to tie the game, 27-27.
Philip Rivers threw this third touchdown pass, a 1-yarder to tight end John Phillips, with 7:26 remaining. That gave the Chargers an eight-point lead, their biggest of the afternoon.
Phillip's score was set up by a 68-yard reception from wide receiver Dontrelle Inman.
Rivers completed 23 of 38 for three touchdowns and 358 yards.
McCown was 32 of 41 for two touchdowns and 356 yards
Travis Coons booted his fourth field goal, this one from 40 yards, to slice the Browns' deficit to 20-19 with 10 minutes to play.
The Chargers seized a 20-16 third-quarter edge when tight end Ladarius Green used his height advantage to reach over strong safety Donte Whitner for a 19-yard touchdown catch. Rivers placed the ball perfectly for Green, who is filling in for the suspended Antonio Gates.
Coons converted a 33-yard field goal with six minutes remaining in the third quarter. Coons' kick gave the Browns 16-13 advantage, with the big play of the possession being a 53-yard reception by running back Isaish Crowell.
The Browns ran a nifty two-minute offense toward the end of the half, with the result being Coons' 28-yard field goal, tying the game at 13-13.
Lambo's 46-yard field goal with 10 minutes left in the half tied the score, 10-10. The drive featured 30 yards rushing on two carries by running back Melvin Gordon.
McCown found a great match up early in the second quarter, spotting linebacker Donald Butler on running back Duke Johnson Jr. Johnson got at least a step on Butler and McCown hit Johnson with a perfect, arching pass in the back of the end zone. Johnson just did get two feet in and it was good for a 10-7 Browns cushion.
The Chargers took a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter when Rivers clicked with wide receiver Keenan Allen on a 28-yard scoring strike. Allen, in single coverage with cornerback Pierre Desire, made a diving catch near the goal line for the score. It was Allen's team-high third touchdown reception to cap the 80-yard drive.
The Browns struck first when Coons kicked a 36-yard field goal with 4:12 left in the first quarter.
NOTES: Injuries forced the Chargers' offensive line to be without three starters: LT King Dunlap (concussion), LG Orlando Franklin (ankle) and C Chris Watt. ... WR Malcom Floyd (concussion) left in the first quarter and didn't return. ... WR/KR Jacoby Jones (ankle) missed his third straight game. ... CB Brandon Flowers (concussion) didn't play the fourth quarter ... Browns CB Joe Haden (ribs) was idle. ... WR Brian Hardline (rib) left if the first quarter and didn't return. ... QB Johnny Manziel was a 28th round pick of the San Diego Padres.
They were already starting to think it was the "same old Jay" on Sunday at Soldier Field when he threw a fourth-quarter interception that the Oakland Raiders turned into a go-ahead field goal against Cutler's Chicago Bears.
But, despite the after-effects of a hamstring injury that kept him out of a game last week, Cutler instead played the hero instead of the goat. He drove the Bears 48 yards in the last two minutes, Robbie Gould kicked his third field goal of the game, a 49-yarder with two seconds remaining, and the Bears beat the Raiders, 22-20, for their first victory of the season.
Cutler deferred credit to a jury-rigged offensive line, juggled because of injuries, but the difference in the game was the patience he showed — maybe because the hamstring forced him to — in completing 28 of 43 passes, including 5 of 8 on the winning drive.
"There were a lot of moving parts up there, and those guys held their own," said Cutler, who acknowledged that he was limited "a little bit" physically by the hamstring and deliberately kept himself from trying to scramble out of the pocket.
"He's a tough son of a bug," Chicago coach John Fox said of his quarterback. "He's got an injury that some lesser guys might not have been out there."
Chicago started the game with a backup replacing injured left tackle Jermon Bushrod and then had to juggle further when center Will Montgomery suffered an apparent broken leg on the third play from scrimmage. As a result, left guard Matt Slauson slid into the center spot and that may have been at least partially responsible for a fumbled snap that led to an Oakland touchdown.
But staying in the pocket may prove the best strategy for Cutler, even when his hamstring is fully healthy, because it reduces the margin for error.
Instead, it appeared it was the Raiders who made the most grievous error by settling for a field goal with 2:05 remaining to take a 20-19 lead and effect the sixth lead change of the game, rather than play aggressively for a touchdown that might have made a Chicago comeback more difficult.
After they got to the Bears' 33-yard line with more than four minutes remaining, Oakland did not throw another pass, instead calling four consecutive running plays before Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 41-yard field goal.
"They were pretty conservative," Cutler said.
Oakland coach Jack Del Rio defended the play calling, saying, "I think we felt like we were moving it pretty good and thought we had a better shot to move the sticks on that third-and-two."
One problem for the Raiders was that, by that point in the game, Del Rio already had benched his leading rusher, Latavius Murray, because of a lost fumble and two dropped passes, one of which Murray bounced into an interception.
After the Janikowski kick, the Bears kick-started their winning drive with Cutler's fourth down completion to tight end Martellus Bennett, who caught 11 passes, second highest total of his career, for 83 yards.
With the Bears essentially conceding the sideline passes to Cutler — allowing not only completions but clock stappages — the Bears had plenty of time to work downfield. Cutler found Matt Forte for seven yards and then Marquess Wilson for six on 3rd-and-3.
After a downfield shot fell incomplete, Eddie Royal made a nifty sideline catch for 12 yards and then Wilson, who earlier on the drive dropped a pass, made a fingertip grab for nine.
That was pretty much all Chicago needed and, after running Forte into the line for two, the Bears called on Gould — who, to that point had been the difference in the game due to a blocked extra point.
Gould, whose other field goals were from 19 and 54 yards, nailed the winning kick with plenty to spare.
"It was awesome when we were celebrating with two seconds left on the clock," Gould said. "Those are the type of wins you want to see, and usually, those type of wins catapult a team and give them a lot of confidence for the next week."
There were "a couple of areas that will stand out," Del Rio said, and the most that gnawed on him most clearly was his team's third-down defense. The Bears, who had converted only 16 of 42 third downs into first downs in their three losses, were 10 for 17 in this game.
"They played well, and we didn't play as well as we're capable of," Del Rio said. "These things happen. They get paid, too."
NOTES: QB Jay Cutler returned to the lineup after missing one game but the Bears played without three injured regulars including No. 1 wideout Alshon Jeffery. Also missing were OLT Jermon Bushrod and NT Jeremiah Ratliff. … The Bears lost C Will Montgomery with an ankle injury on the third play of the game, causing shuffling on the line. LG Matt Slauson moved to center and Patrick Omameh went in at left guard. … Oakland WR Michael Crabtree left the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter but returned. … Bears FS Antrell Rolle was injured (ankle) on the first play of the third quarter and did not return.
With franchise quarterback Andrew Luck sidelined by a shoulder injury, the Indianapolis Colts turned to their two oldest players to salvage a 16-13 overtime victory Sunday against Jacksonville in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Kicker Adam Vinatieri's 27-yard field goal with 4:36 remaining in overtime gave the Colts (2-2) a much-needed victory. At 42, Vinatieri is the Colts' oldest player.
Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, 40, started in place of Luck and completed 30 of 47 passes for 282 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
Hasselbeck's 28-yard pass to tight end Coby Fleener -- just after Jaguars' kicker Jason Myers was wide left on a 48-yard field goal that would have won it with 8:13 left -- moved the Colts into scoring position.
Running back Frank Gore's 22-yard run set up Vinatieri's final kick.
Jacksonville (1-3) had an opportunity to win with one second remaining in regulation, but Myers' 53-yard field goal attempt was just wide right, forcing overtime.
The Colts wasted a golden scoring opportunity with 8:19 left in the fourth quarter when Gore fumbled at the Jaguars' 5-yard line, and defensive tackle Abry Jones recovered in the end zone. The fumble was forced by reserve safety Josh Evans and was the second by Gore coughed up in the opposing end zone this season.
Indianapolis tied it at 13 with 12:27 to go on Vinatieri's 32-yard field goal after the Colts drove 35 yards in eight plays for the second half's first score.
Jacksonville took a 13-10 halftime lead when Myers kicked a 32-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the second quarter, capping a 14-play, 65-yard drive that included a 19-yard pass from Blake Bortles to wide receiver Allen Hurns to the Colts' 16.
Indianapolis had pulled even at 10 with 6:04 left in the half on Hasselbeck's 2-yard touchdown pass to Fleener. That 13-play, 80-yard drive included five Jaguars' penalties - two pass interference calls, a roughing the passer, a personal foul and an illegal substitution.
Bortles 8-yard TD pass to Hurns with 11:37 remaining in the half pushed Jacksonville into a 10-3 lead, capping a 49-yard drive after strong safety Johnathan Cyprien recovered a fumble by Indianapolis running back Josh Robinson. The fumble was caused by linebacker Dan Skuta.
Each team kicked a first-quarter field goal - Vinatieri hitting from 54 yards with 4:59 left in the period and Myers from 20 yards at the 2:49 mark after Bortles completed passes of 26 and 48 yards.
Jacksonville out gained Indianapolis 210-118 during the opening 30 minutes when Bortles was 14 of 18 for 179 yards and no interceptions. Hasselbeck completed 12 of 21 for 110 yards in the first two quarters.
The Colts' 12 first half rushing attempts produced eight yards.
NOTES: Colts reserve CB Jalil Brown suffered groin injury in the first half and did not return ... Jaguars MLB Paul Posluszny, who made five first-half tackles, left the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter and did not return ... Before Sunday's game, the Colts were 10-4 all-time against Jacksonville in Indianapolis ... The Jaguars were penalized six times for 47 during the opening half ... In addition to Luck, the Colts played without inactives Greg Toler (CB), Tyler Varga (RB), T.Y. McGill (DT), Denzelle Good (OT), Todd Herremans (G) and Dwayne Allen (TE) ... Jacksonville's inactives were Marqise Lee (WR), Denard Robinson (RB), Sergio Brown (S), Brandon Linder (G), Julius Thomas (TE), Chris Smith (DE) and Sen'Derrick Marks (DT).
Superstar receiver Julio Jones stood on the sideline with his helmet off for most of the second half. The surprising Atlanta Falcons didn't need him.
Devonta Freeman scored three touchdowns for a second straight game, fueling the Falcons' 48-21 rout of the Houston Texans on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
The bye week might hold a double meaning for the Miami Dolphins, but coach Joe Phibin said Sunday it's no time to panic.
"It all seems like the walls are closing in on you. We all realize that. So we gotta look at things and be honest about where we are, what we're doing well and what we're not doing well," he said.
Philbin and his top lieutenants, defensive coordinator Frank Coyle and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, are under fire in the wake of a third consecutive loss, the latest a 27-14 whipping at the hands of the New York Jets at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
"I told the team look, I expected to be better than 1-3, (owner) Steve (Ross) expected to be better than 1-3, you expected to be better than 1-3. That's what we are," Philbin said. "There's an old saying in football, you are what you are."
Jets running back Chris Ivory Ivory ran for a career-high 166 yards and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 218 yards and one touchdown.
Philbin was hired entering the 2012 season, leaving the Green Bay Packers and edging then-Dolphins interim head coach Todd Bowles in the interview process. Bowles is 3-1 with the Jets in his first season as a permanent head coach.
"I was proud of them," Bowles said of the Jets.
The Dolphins do not play in Week 5 but return to the United States on Sunday night with plenty of baggage and loads of questions. They've lost to the Jaguars, Bills and Jets since holding off the Washington Redskins on the final possession of the fourth quarter to win 17-10 in Week 1.
Philbin said that after speaking with owner Stephen Ross, he's not concerned about his own future and has no plans to part with Coyle.
"I'm worried about getting our team fixed and straightened out and ready to play the Tennessee Titans. We have 14 days," Philbin said.
Fitzpatrick, who threw for 172 yards in the first half, connected on a 58-yard completion to wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the first play. Marshall had 107 yards receiving by halftime and finished with 128 on seven receptions for the Jets (3-1). Fitzpatrick was 16-of-29 passing and had one interception.
Anxious feelings persist because of continued problems generating yards (241 Sunday) on offense and little impact from $114 million free agent big fish Ndamukong Suh.
Ivory scored the first touchdown from 3 yards to start off his ninth career 100-yard game. Fitzpatrick later completed a 10-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Decker in the second quarter and running back Zac Stacy scored from the 2 in the third.
"Through four games, I'm happy," Bowles said. "For 16 games ... we'll see."
The Dolphins sputtered from the start on offense as Bowles called a bevy of blitzes -- at least 22 times in the game he sent an extra pass rusher -- to overwhelm Miami's undermanned offensive line playing again without left tackle Branden Albert.
The Jets finished with 207 yards rushing, including 34 from Fitzpatrick, and 425 total yards on offense.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill ended up with 198 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-44 passing.
The Dolphins were 0-for-12 on third downs and 0-for-4 on fourth downs.
NOTES: Sunday's game was the 12th regular-season game at Wembley Stadium, but the first intra-divisional game. ... Jets DL Leonard Williams (ankle) will not likely practice Tuesday before the team gets a week off during its bye, but coach Todd Bowles did not believe the injury to be serious. ... Jets S Calvin Pryor is dealing with a knee "bone contusion" per Bowles and will be re-evaluated this week. ... Suspended DT Sheldon Richardson can return to the team from a four-game ban on Monday.