The Denver Broncos and New England Patriots took care of that with impressive home victories over the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Peyton Manning had four TD throws and Denver (3-1) gained 568 yards the Broncos’ 41-20 victory over the Cardinals.
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”He’s not in the history books for nothing,” Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson said. ”He just came out here and lit us up.”
Tom Brady was nearly as impressive in a 43-17 romp over the Bengals, silencing critics who wondered why the Patriots (3-2) were so mediocre in splitting their first four games.
”We played better, we executed better, a lot of guys made a lot of big plays,” said Brady, who topped 50,000 yards passing for his career. ”It was a long week, we dug deep … proud of everybody, it’s a big win.”
The weekend began with Green Bay’s 42-10 rout of Minnesota on Thursday night. It ends Monday night when Seattle (2-1) visits Washington (1-3).
Off this week were Miami (2-2) and Oakland (0-4).
BRONCOS 41, CARDINALS 20
Manning joined Brett Favre with at least 500 touchdown passes and is closing in on Favre’s record. Manning moved within five of Favre’s 508. Manning found tight end Julius Thomas twice in the end zone, including the touchstone touchdown, a 7-yard dart in the first quarter.
”Football is the ultimate team game, and so I guess one man has to accept it and I really accept it on behalf of a lot of coaches and teammates,” Manning said.
Manning threw for 479 yards, and Demaryius Thomas set a franchise record with 226 yards on eight catches, beating Shannon Sharpe’s mark of 214 yards set against Kansas City in 2002.
Wes Welker’s seven receptions moved him past Rod Smith for the most catches in NFL history by an undrafted player. He has 854.
”I still can’t believe he was undrafted because that man can play some ball,” Demaryius Thomas said.
Arizona (3-1) saw quarterback Drew Stanton leave with a possible concussion, and coach Bruce Arians was livid about a chop block that injured defensive end Calais Campbell.
”I’ve been coaching for 37 years. It’s the dirtiest play I’ve seen in the National Football League,” Arians said. ”Somebody has got to answer to that. A fine isn’t going to do it, when (Campbell) is going to miss three or four weeks, on a blatant chop block.”
PATRIOTS 43, BENGALS 17
Brady rebounded from the second-worst loss of his career by throwing for two touchdowns and becoming the sixth quarterback to pass for 50,000 yards. Six days after a big loss at Kansas City, the Patriots’ offense broke out of its season-long slump. Brady threw for 292 yards and Stevan Ridley gained 117 of the team’s 221 yards rushing against a team that had allowed an NFL-low 11 points per game.
The Patriots surpassed that by scoring on their first two possessions on Ridley’s 1-yard run and Brady’s 17-yard pass to Tim Wright.
Cincinnati (3-1) lost three fumbles and failed to convert its seven third-down plays.
”If you turn the ball over and don’t make any third downs, you have a chance to have this happen to you,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said.
COWBOYS 20, TEXANS 17, OT
Dan Bailey kicked a 49-yard field goal in overtime after a miss at the end of regulation ended his franchise record streak of made kicks. Bailey’s kick was set up when Tony Romo threw off his back foot and Dez Bryant made a spectacular leaping catch for 37 yards.
The host Cowboys (4-1) have won fourth straight for the first time since 2011. The Texans (3-2) rallied behind Arian Foster, who had 157 yards rushing and a tying 1-yard score with 41 seconds left in regulation.
Bailey’s miss from 53 yards on the final play of regulation ended a franchise record streak of 30 straight made field goals.
BROWNS 29, TITANS 28
Brian Hoyer threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin with 1:09 left, and the Browns rallied from a 25-point deficit for the biggest comeback in franchise history and the NFL’s largest comeback by a road team.
The Browns (2-2) had never rallied from more than 20 points, and easily topped the comeback on Dec. 4, 1966, when Cleveland trailed the Giants 34-14 and won 49-40, according to STATS.
”I did tell them after the game they got to stop doing it,” first-year Cleveland coach Mike Pettine said. ”I have an EKG scheduled for tomorrow because my heart can’t take many more of these.”
Cleveland snapped a seven-game road skid by scoring 26 unanswered points, 16 in the fourth quarter.
The Titans (1-4) had their biggest blown lead since moving to Tennessee in 1997. QB Jake Locker didn’t return after hurting his right thumb in the second quarter.
SAINTS 37, BUCCANEERS 31, OT
At New Orleans, Khiry Robinson’s tackle-breaking, 18-yard touchdown run in overtime won it.
Pierre Thomas caught eight passes out of the backfield for 77 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 35 yards and a score to help New Orleans (2-3) overcome Drew Brees’ three interceptions – and an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Brees completed 35 of 57 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns, but two of his interceptions led directly to Buccaneers touchdowns. His third ended a potential winning drive in the final minute of regulation.
Making his second straight start for Tampa Bay (1-4), Mike Glennon was 19 for 32 for 249 yards and two touchdowns.
BILLS 17, LIONS 14
At Detroit, Dan Carpenter hit a 58-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining.
Kyle Orton, making his debut as Bills starter, went 30 of 43 for 308 yards with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Chris Gragg as Buffalo (3-2) overcame a 14-0 deficit. It was the eighth game Orton has won in overtime or when trailing in the fourth quarter.
Bills coach Doug Marrone said the team filed a complaint to NFL security officials alleging someone shined a laser pointer from the stands at his players during the game.
The Lions (3-2) were undone by kicker Alex Henery missing all three field-goal attempts, including a 50-yarder wide left with 21 seconds left. Receiver Calvin Johnson and running back Reggie Bush both injured ankles in the loss.
49ERS 22, CHIEFS 17
Phil Dawson kicked five field goals, while Frank Gore ran for 107 yards and the host 49ers (3-2) converted a fake punt.
On fourth-and-1 from their 29 early in the fourth quarter, a direct snap to Craig Dahl resulted in a 3-yard run up the middle. Dawson kicked a 27-yarder with 8:42 to play for the go-ahead score. Dawson also connected from 55, 52, 35 and 30 yards.
The 49ers held off former franchise quarterback Alex Smith and the Chiefs (2-3) twice in the closing moments. Smith threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
CHARGERS 31, JETS 0
At San Diego, Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Antonio Gates and rookie running back Branden Oliver’s big day included his first two NFL touchdowns.
The Chargers (4-1) heaped more pain on the Jets (1-4), who lost their fourth straight game and turned to Michael Vick at quarterback. Vick replaced Geno Smith on New York’s first possession of the second half, but wasn’t any more effective in the NFL’s first shutout this season.
The Chargers’ last shutout victory was 31-0 against Kansas City on Dec. 12, 2010. The Jets were blanked for the first time since losing 34-0 against San Francisco on Sept. 30, 2012.
PANTHERS 31, BEARS 24
Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes to Greg Olsen and the Panthers’ defense forced four turnovers to overcome a 14-point deficit.
With the game tied at 24, Carolina’s Antoine Cason stripped Matt Forte of the ball and the Kawaan Short recovered at Chicago’s 23. Six plays later, Newton found Olsen on a slant route for a 6-yard touchdown.
The Panthers sealed the win when Short sacked Jay Cutler and Charles Johnson recovered a fumble as the Panthers (3-2) snapped a two-game losing streak.
Cutler was 28 of 36 for 289 yards with two TDs, but turned over the ball tree times for the visiting Bears (2-3).
EAGLES 34, RAMS 28
At Philadelphia, the Eagles’ defense and special teams each scored.
The Eagles (4-1) rebounded from a loss at San Francisco with a strong all-around performance until the Rams came on at the end. Chris Maragos returned a blocked punt for a touchdown, Cedric Thornton recovered a fumble for a score and nearly took another one the distance.
But Austin Davis rallied the Rams (1-3) from a 34-7 deficit with three straight scores. The Rams had a chance to win when they got the ball at their 7 with 1:47 left. Davis threw a 43-yard pass to Quick on first down, but Philadelphia’s defense then held.
COLTS 20, RAVENS 13
At Indianapolis, Andrew Luck threw one touchdown pass and ran for another score and the defense held on late. Luck was 32 of 49 for 312 yards with two interceptions, but scored the winning points on a nifty 13-yard run with 8:56 left.
Indianapolis (3-2) has won three straight. Baltimore (3-2) lost for the first time since Week 1.
The teams combined for seven turnovers, and Joe Flacco was sacked four times – one more than he had been all season.
GIANTS 30, FALCONS 20
First-round draft pick Odell Beckham Jr. made his NFL debut, catching a go-ahead 15-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning.
Fellow rookie Andre Williams scored on a 3-yard run to ignite the second-half rally that saw the host Giants (3-2) come from 10 points down to win their third straight game.
Manning threw for two touchdowns and Josh Brown added two late field goals.
Matt Ryan threw for 316 yards and a touchdown playing behind a banged-up offensive line, and Atlanta (2-3) dropped to 0-3 on the road.
STEELERS 17, JAGUARS 9
Brice McCain returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown. McCain stepped in front of receiver Allen Hurns early in the fourth quarter, intercepted rookie Blake Bortles’ wobbly sideline pass and went untouched the other way.
It was just what the visiting Steelers (3-2) needed to gain a little breathing room.
The Jaguars (0-5) had dropped their past five games by double digits.
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