In what is turning into a memorable year for rookies, Andrew Luck and Doug Martin took the excellence to a record level.
Luck broke the NFL’s single-game rookie record by throwing for 433 yards in leading Indianapolis over Miami 23-20. He was 30 of 48 with two TDs and broke Cam Newton’s mark of 432 yards set last season. And it came on the day coach Chuck Pagano returned to Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time since being diagnosed with leukemia.
“His presence is felt every day in the facility,” Luck said. “But to see him in the flesh, in the locker room, to hear him speak I think gave all the guys a boost.”
Luck, the first overall draft pick, showed it the most as Indianapolis (5-3) won its third straight after winning only twice a year ago. He has four 300-yard passing games, tied with Peyton Manning (1998) for the most by a rookie in a season.
“The kid, he continues to amaze,” Reggie Wayne said after catching seven passes for 78 yards. “Hopefully I can help, you know, add on to his legacy that he’s about to build.”
Martin could be doing the same for Tampa Bay (4-4). The Buccaneers’ first-round pick rushed for a franchise-record 251 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-32 victory at Oakland _ his hometown. He scored on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards in the second half as he gashed what had been an improved run defense for the Raiders (3-5).
Martin, the 31st pick in April out of Boise State, became the first back since at least 1940 to score on three TD runs of at least 45 yards in one game, according to STATS LLC.
About 60 friends and family members witnessed Martin’s magic.
“Everybody was there. It was awesome,” he said. “It’s surreal right now. I’m just doing my job out there. I’m honored.”
He finished 45 yards shy of tying Adrian Peterson’s single game record of 296 set in his rookie season in 2007 and joined Denver’s Mike Anderson as the only backs with at least 250 yards rushing and four TDs in a single game.
“He’s turned into a heck of a player here these last two weeks,” Bucs veteran safety Ronde Barber said. “He’s really jumped onto the scene, just the way he’s handled the pressure that he’s had to be the main guy here in our offense these past couple of weeks. It’s impressive, man.”
In other games, it was Atlanta 19, Dallas 13 as the Falcons remained the league’s only unbeaten team; Chicago 51, Tennessee 20; Houston 21, Buffalo 9; Green Bay 31, Arizona 17; Denver 31, Cincinnati 23; Pittsburgh 24, the New York Giants 20; Baltimore 25, Cleveland 15; Seattle 30, Minnesota 20; Carolina 21, Washington 13; and Detroit 31, Jacksonville 14.
On Thursday night, it was San Diego 31, Kansas City 13.
Monday night’s game has Philadelphia (3-4) at New Orleans (2-5).
Off this week were New England (5-3), San Francisco (6-2), St. Louis (3-5) and the New York Jets (3-5).
FALCONS 19, COWBOYS 13
At Atlanta, Matt Bryant made four field goals and Michael Turner had a tiebreaking 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Turner had 20 carries for 102 yards and Matt Ryan had a season-high 342 yards passing for the Falcons (8-0).
Tony Romo completed all six passes for 78 yards, including a 21-yard scoring pass to Kevin Ogletree, on the Cowboys’ touchdown drive in the fourth period, but Atlanta used up 5 minutes, 4 seconds, leaving only 17 seconds left after Bryant’s 32-yard field goal.
The Falcons have never been undefeated halfway through a season.
BEARS 51, TITANS 20
At Nashville, Chicago’s defense was dominant once more.
Brian Urlacher returned an interception for a touchdown, while cornerback Charles Tillman forced four fumbles and Chicago created five turnovers while winning its sixth in a row.
The Bears (7-1) scored a franchise-record 28 points in the first quarter. They took control by forcing three turnovers in the first 13 minutes and turning them into 14 points. Urlacher went 46 yards for his score.
Jay Cutler threw three TD passes to Brandon Marshall.
The Titans (3-6) had only Chris Johnson’s 80-yard run as a highlight.
TEXANS 21, BILLS 9
At Houston, Matt Schaub threw two touchdown passes, Arian Foster ran for 111 yards against Buffalo’s NFL-worst rushing defense, and Andre Johnson caught eight passes for 118 yards. Foster scored for the fifth straight game for Houston (7-1), which has the AFC’s best record.
Mario Williams had a sack and five tackles in his return to Reliant Stadium after signing with the Bills (3-5) in the offseason. The Texans made Williams the No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft and he’s still Houston’s career sacks leader (53).
“I was at least going to get one,” Williams said. “I couldn’t just come in here and not. I had to at least somehow, some way get one. I wish it would have been more. I definitely had some more opportunities.”
PACKERS 31, CARDINALS 17
At Green Bay, Tom Crabtree’s 72-yard touchdown was the Packers’ longest of the season, and Randall Cobb added two TD catches. The Packers (6-3) also found a running game with a season-high 176 yards on 39 carries.
Green Bay goes into its bye week with a four-game winning streak. The break comes at a good time for the Packers, who lost star linebacker Clay Matthews, WR Jordy Nelson and tackle Bryan Bulaga to injuries.
Arizona (4-5) is going the other way with five straight losses.
BRONCOS 31, BENGALS 23
At Cincinnati, Peyton Manning overcame a pair of interceptions by throwing three touchdown passes, and Trindon Holliday returned a kickoff a Broncos-record 105 yards for a touchdown.
Manning improved to 8-0 against Cincinnati (3-5), which has lost four in a row for the first time in two years. But the four-time MVP threw a pair of interceptions _ one in the end zone _ that led to 10 points and a 20-17 Cincinnati lead early in the fourth quarter.
Then Manning threw a 1-yard touchdown to Joel Dreessen that put Denver (5-3) back ahead. After Andy Dalton was picked off by Champ Bailey, Manning put it away with a 4-yard pass to Eric Decker.
It marked Manning’s 48th winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, passing Hall of Famer Dan Marino (47) for the most in the NFL since 1970.
STEELERS 24, GIANTS 20
The Steelers arrived in New Jersey hours before the game because of logistical issues stemming from the superstorm. That might have accounted for their carelessness. They had the fewest giveaways in the NFL entering the game, but were careless with the ball and in pass coverage; cornerback Keenan Lewis had 87 yards on two pass interference penalties, and they wasted some great kick returns, too.
Still, Isaac Redman ran for 147 yards, and scored the winning touchdown from a yard out with 4:02 remaining. The Steelers (5-3) snapped New York’s four-game winning streak.
Temporary relief from the destruction of Superstorm Sandy was what New York’s fans sought, and the Giants (6-3) provided it for a while. Just not long enough.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone else who are going through so much,” said Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for two TDs. “There were so many emotions going on, I didn’t know what to expect from it. But maybe we were able to take their minds off their problems just a little.”
RAVENS 25, BROWNS 15
At Cleveland, the Ravens (6-2) kept up their dominance within the division. Joe Flacco threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith with 4:26 remaining as Baltimore won its 11th straight game inside the AFC North.
“Whew,” coach John Harbaugh said. “That was a fight. That’s a really good football team. They are well coached, tough and physical. They are building something here. They are an up-and-coming AFC North-style team. That was an AFC North battle.”
The Ravens beat the Browns (2-7) for the 10th consecutive time. It was also Baltimore’s 15th straight win following a loss.
Phil Dawson kicked five field goals for the Browns.
SEAHAWKS 30, VIKINGS 20
At Seattle, Marshawn Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown, rookie QB Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdowns, and Seattle overcame 182 yards rushing by Adrian Peterson in a matchup between the top two rushers in the NFL.
Lynch ran for a 3-yard TD in the third quarter, while Wilson threw TD passes of 11 yards to Sidney Rice, and TDs of 6 and 11 yards to Golden Tate for the Seahawks (5-4).
Peterson and the Vikings (5-4) had 197 yards on the ground in the first half, but only had 46 yards rushing in the second half.
PANTHERS 21, REDSKINS 13
Cam Newton passed for 201 yards with a touchdown and ran eight times for 37 yards and a score as Carolina snapped a five-game losing streak. The visiting Panthers (2-6) were in desperate need of a win after a series of close defeats that had players questioning the team’s leadership.
Referee Carl Cheffers admitted there was an inadvertent whistle by the line judge on a first-quarter play when Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams scored on a 30-yard run.
According to a pool report, Cheffers said the touchdown stood after the officials discussed the play because, “We just felt when the whistle blew, that the player would have already scored.”
Robert Griffin III was 23 for 39 for 215 yards, ran 11 times for 53 yards and was sacked four times as the Redskins (3-6) lost their third straight.
LIONS 31, JAGUARS 14
At Jacksonville, Mikel Leshoure ran for touchdowns of 7, 1 and 8 yards, becoming the first player in franchise history _ including Hall of Famer Barry Sanders _ to run for three touchdowns in the first half.
Leshoure finished with 70 yards rushing as Detroit improved to 4-4, and Calvin Johnson had five receptions for 99 yards before the Jaguars (1-7) even managed first down. He finished with seven catches for 129 yards despite playing through a knee injury.
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