ATLANTA — John Kasay kicked a 26-yard field goal in overtime to give the New Orleans Saints a 26-23 victory over Atlanta on Sunday after Falcons coach Mike Smith decided to go for it on fourth down deep in his territory.
The Falcons rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, tying it on Matt Bryant’s 27-yard field goal on the final play of regulation.
In overtime, Atlanta appeared to pick up a first down on a pass to Mike Cox, but he was ruled just short after referee Terry McAuley looked at the replay. Then, stunningly, Smith decided to go for it on fourth down from the 29.
Michael Turner was stuffed, and Kasay kicked the winning field goal for the Saints.
New Orleans took control of the NFC South race, snapping Atlanta’s three-game winning streak. But this one will be long remembered for Smith’s gutsy call that backfired horribly.
Drew Brees went 30 of 43 for 322 yards, including a pair of touchdowns for the Saints. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completed 29 of 52 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns.
49ers 27, Giants 20
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco defensive end Justin Smith batted down Eli Manning’s pass in the waning seconds, stopping New York’s comeback in a matchup of NFC division leaders.
The 49ers won this one without relying on star running back Frank Gore, whose franchise-record streak of five games with 100 yards rushing ended with a knee injury and his first career game with zero yards.
Vernon Davis leaped from the 4-yard line over safety Kenny Phillips into the end zone to complete a go-ahead 31-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter.
Kendall Hunter ran for a 27-yard touchdown in the fourth, moments after Carlos Rogers made his second interception of the day.
David Akers kicked four field goals, setting up one with a surprise onside kick, as the 49ers won their seventh straight and meaningful home game at Candlestick Park since coming from 24 points down to stun the Giants 39-38 in the NFC wild card game on Jan. 5, 2003.
Bears 37, Lions 13
CHICAGO — Charles Tillman and Major Wright returned interceptions for touchdowns early in the third quarter, and Chicago picked off Matthew Stafford four times to pound Detroit in a heated NFC North matchup.
The four interceptions by Stafford matched his season total entering the game and helped knock the Lions into a second-place tie with Chicago. He also was involved in a skirmish that led to an ejection of Chicago’s D.J. Moore early in the fourth quarter. Chicago’s Devin Heste ran one back 82 yards. That extended his NFL record to 12.
Steelers 24, Bengals 17
CINCINNATI — Rashard Mendenhall ran for a pair of touchdowns Sunday, and Pittsburgh sealed a win over Cincinnati by intercepting rookie Andy Dalton twice in the fourth quarter.
Dalton handled most of what Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau threw at him. He had two more touchdown passes, giving him 14 overall the most by a rookie quarterback in his first nine games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
Pittsburgh came in with only two interceptions.
Texans 37, Buccaneers 9
TAMPA, FLA. | Matt Schaub threw for two touchdowns, and Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward ran for scores Sunday in Houston’s dismantling of Tampa Bay.
The Texans forced four turnovers and sacked Buccaneers Josh Freeman four times. Houston extended its winning streak while playing without star receiver Andre Johnson to four games. Tampa Bay has lost three straight and four of five following a 3-1 start.
Broncos 17, Chiefs 10
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tim Tebow hit Eric Decker on a 56-yard touchdown pass, one of his only two completions in the game, giving Denver a victory over AFC West rival Kansas City.
The Broncos played almost the entire game without leading rushers Willis McGahee (hamstring) and Knowshon Moreno (knee).
Lance Ball ran for 96 yards and Tebow added 44 yards and a touchdown on the ground, helping the Broncos win for the third time in four games with the former Heisman Trophy winner under center.
Cowboys 44, Bills 7
ARLINGTON, TEXAS | Tony Romo guided touchdown drives on his first four possessions, throwing for the score on three of them, and Terence Newman returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown, powering Dallas’ rout of Buffalo. The Cowboys have won two consecutive games, and the Bills have dropped two straight.
Romo completed his first 13 passes, including TDs of 34 yards to Dez Bryant and of 58 and 5 yards to Laurent Robinson. He finished 23 of 26, setting the franchise record for single-game accuracy by hitting 88.5 percent of his passes.
Cardinals 21, Eagles 17
PHILADELPHIA — John Skelton threw a 5-yard TD pass to Early Doucet with 1:53 left, and Arizona rallied to defeat Philadelphia, which blew a fourth-quarter lead for the fifth time.
Starting for the injured Kevin Kolb, Skelton threw three touchdown passes - two to Larry Fitzgerald - to lead the Cardinals to their second straight win.
Titans 30, Panthers 3
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chris Johnson ran for a season-high 130 yards and a touchdown, and the Tennessee used a stifling defense to frustrate Carolina rookie Cam Newton.
The Titans sacked Newton five times and took away the Panthers’ vertical passing game. Carolina came in ranked fifth in the league on offense and first in plays of 20-plus yards, but the Titans limited Newton to 209 yards passing and held Steve Smith’s, the NFC’s leading receiver, to 33 yards.
Rams 13, Browns 12
CLEVELAND — Phil Dawson missed a 22-yard field goal attempt after a bounced snap with just over two minutes left, allowing St. Louis to escape with a win over the Cleveland, which again failed to score a touchdown at home.
Dawson made four field goals in blustery conditions, but his line-drive attempt with 2:09 sailed left and capped a series of late gaffes by the Browns.
Jaguars 17, Colts 3
INDIANAPOLIS — Blaine Gabbert threw for a touchdown, and Maurice Jones-Drew ran for another score to lead Jacksonville over winless Indianapolis. Jones-Drew carried 25 times for 114 yards and became the second player in franchise history to top 6,000 yards rushing.
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