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NFL Kickers, Underdogs Have Their Day

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It was a tough week for NFL quarterbacks. For long range kickers and underdog teams, it couldn't have been any better. The Atlanta Falcons knocked Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger unconscious, then finished off the favored Steelers 41-38. The Minnesota Vikings sidelined Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, then romped 31-13 on the Seahawks' home field.

And the Oakland Raiders lost Andrew Walter to a hamstring injury, but went on to win their first game of the season, 22-9 over the Arizona Cardinals.

In other upsets, Kansas City edged San Diego 30-27, Houston routed Jacksonville 27-7 and Tampa Bay nicked Philadelphia 23-21 on a last-second field goal by Matt Bryant that cleared the bar from a stunning 62 yards, the third longest in NFL history.

Atlanta also needed a wild overtime finish to knock off the Super Bowl champion Steelers on Morten Andersen's 32-yard field goal 7 minutes into the extra period.

In a remarkable game that included six lead changes, Atlanta thought it had won in regulation when Michael Koenen, who handles punting and long field goals, made a 56 yarder with 35 seconds remaining. But Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher called timeout just before the snap and the officials waved off the play.

Koenen tried again and missed, but Troy Polamalu drew a flag for running into the kicker. The Falcons then sent on Andersen, whose 52 yard try was short.

With Roethlisberger watching from the sideline after a hit knocked him out of the game, the Steelers (2-4) tied it at 38 with 3:19 remaining when backup Charlie Batch threw a 17 yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward.

Even that wasn't enough. Atlanta won the coin toss for overtime and never let the Steelers have the ball. Michael Vick converted on 3rd & 9 by scrambling away from Troy Polamalu and flipping a 26 yard pass to Alge Crumpler. Five plays later, the 46 year old Andersen came on to make the winning kick.

Vick was 18-30 for 232 yards, hooking up with tight end Crumpler on touchdowns of 22, 3 and 31 yards.

``Moments like this are the main reason I'm a Mike Vick fan,'' Mora said. ``For all the talk about what Vick can't do, I like to talk about what he can do.''

Coming off a near perfect 1st half the previous week against Kansas City, Roethlisberger was brilliant again before halftime, going 15-20 for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns.

But he was knocked out cold early in the 3rd quarter on a helmet to helmet hit by the Falcons' Chauncey Davis. Cowher said he wouldn't know for a few days if Roethlisberger would be able to play next Sunday at Oakland.

``We've dug a hole for ourselves, no question,'' Cowher said. ``But I know the character of this football team and we'll be back.''

Elsewhere, it was the New York Jets 31, Detroit 24; Green Bay 34, Miami 24; New England 28, Buffalo 6; Cincinnati 17, Carolina 14; Denver 17, Cleveland 7; Oakland 22, Arizona 9, Indianapolis 36, Washington 22.

On Monday night, it's the New York Giants at Dallas.

Chiefs 30, Chargers 27

Lawrence Tynes hit a career long 53 yard field goal with 6 seconds left, atoning for a 1st quarter miss and getting the win for host Kansas City (3-3).

The Chiefs forced turnovers on 3 of San Diego's first 4 possessions and converted 2 of them into touchdown passes by Damon Huard.

LaDainian Tomlinson figured in 2 4th quarter TD throws, one as the receiver and one as the passer, as the Chargers (4-2) came back from an early 17 point deficit to tie the score at 27.

Buccaneers 23, Eagles 21

Matt Bryant nailed a 62 yard field goal, the third-longest in NFL history, to give Tampa Bay (2-4) an improbable last second victory.

The kick ruined a gallant comeback engineered by Donovan McNabb after the Bucs built a 17-0 lead over the visiting Eagles (4-3), mostly on the strength of 2 interceptions that Ronde Barber returned for touchdowns.

Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam share the league record for the longest field goal, 63 yards. The only other kickers who have been successful from beyond 59 yards are Steve Cox and Morten Andersen, who both booted 60 yarders.

Texans 27, Jaguars 7

Houston (2-4) put up its biggest point total of the season, and did it against the only defense in the NFL with 2 shutouts.

Rookie Wali Lundy rushed for 93 yards and his first career touchdown and became the first Houston running back to score this season when he ran in from the 2 in the 4th to extend the host Texans' lead to 17-7.

The Jaguars (3-3) trailed 10-7 and had a first down inside the 30 when Antwan Peek forced a fumble by Fred Taylor which #1 pick Mario Williams recovered. The fumble was Taylor's first since 2004 and Williams' first career fumble recovery.

Packers 34, Dolphins 24

Ranked last in the NFL in pass defense, visiting Green Bay (2-4) intercepted Joey Harrington 3 times and Brett Favre threw 2 touchdown passes, including the clincher to David Martin with 6 minutes left.

Packers running back Ahman Green also scored on a 70 yard run.

The Dolphins (1-6), who came into the game tied for the NFL lead in losses, dropped their fourth game in a row.

Bengals 17, Panthers 14

With the minutes ticking away, Carson Palmer finally mastered the wind and led a 4th quarter drive that culminated in his 1 yard throw to T.J. Houshmandzadeh to lift host Cincinnati (4-2).

Delhomme then drove the Panthers (4-3) to the Cincinnati 10. On 3rd & goal, he tried to loft the ball through the wind to Keyshawn Johnson at the back of the end zone. Instead, the ball floated to safety Kevin Kaesviharn, whose interception essentially ended it with 3:50 to go.

Jets 31, Lions 24

Leon Washington rushed for 129 yards on 20 carries and scored the first 2 touchdowns of his career, and New York (4-3) held on win consecutive home games for the first time since 2004.

The Lions (1-6) put a scare into the Jets, who led the entire game, by getting within a touchdown with 2:22 left when an outstretched Mike Furrey caught the ball in the back right corner of the end zone. But New York got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff and ran out the clock to escape with a victory.

Chad Pennington finished 16-22 for 189 yards with a touchdown and an interception to lead the Jets.

Patriots 28, Bills 6

Corey Dillon's 2 touchdowns rushing in the 1st half and New England (5-1) went on to rout Buffalo (2-5).

Recharged after their bye week, the Patriots controlled the game from the start, getting contributions from their defense and special teams to seal the team's fifth straight road victory. Asante Samuel had an interception and Mike Vrabel forced a fumble, ending 2 Bills drives in New England territory in the 1st half.

Tom Brady finished 18-27 for 195 yards passing and 2 touchdowns.

Broncos 17, Browns 7

At Cleveland, the NFL's stingiest defense held its fifth straight opponent to single digits and Jake Plummer did enough to keep Denver's offense moving.

The Broncos (5-1) were less than 12 minutes from their first road shutout in 14 years when Plummer's interception led to a short Cleveland touchdown pass, only the second TD allowed by Denver this season.

The Browns (1-5) twice got the ball back but several dropped passes and Denver's pressure kept Cleveland from making it close.

Plummer finished 20-41 for 209 yards and 1 touchdown. Tatum Bell rushed 24 times for 115 yards and a TD, and Javon Walker had 9 catches for 107 yards.

Colts 36, Redskins 22

Two time MVP Peyton Manning threw 4 TD passes, including 3 in the 3rd quarter, for host Indianapolis.

Indy remained the AFC's only unbeaten team and became the ninth team in league history to start 6-0 in back to back seasons. Washington (2-5) lost its third straight.

Manning finished 25-35 and continued climbing the NFL's career charts. His last TD pass, # 256, sent him past Dan Fouts (254) and Sonny Jurgensen (255) into 10th in NFL history. He also passed Jim Hart for 14th on the career yardage list with a 342 yard day, giving him 34,809 career yards.

Marvin Harrison had 7 catches for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns, moving past Irving Fryar and into 8th on the league's career yardage list.

Vikings 31, Seahawks 13

Chester Taylor ran for a career high 169 yards on 26 carries, including a pivotal, 95 yard touchdown, as Minnesota ended Seattle's franchise record 12 game home winning streak.

Already without league MVP Shaun Alexander, Seattle (4-2) lost Hasselbeck to a right knee strain on the third play of the 2nd half.

The Vikings (4-2) won their second straight thanks to a 15 yard halfback option pass from Mewelde Moore to tight end Jermaine Wiggins that broke a 10-10 tie in the 3rd quarter.

Raiders 22, Cardinals 9

Andrew Walter threw a 32 yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss, ReShard Lee ran for a 1 yard score in the 1st quarter and host Oakland (1-5) overcame 5 turnovers for its first win of the season.

Despite getting 2 interceptions and recovering 3 Raiders fumbles, the Cardinals (1-6) lost their sixth straight game.

Moss had his biggest game of the season, with 7 receptions for 129 yards to help Oakland end an 11 game losing streak.

Rookie Matt Leinart was 13-32 for 203 yards and 2 interceptions to lose his third career start, Edgerrin James ran for 34 yards on 13 carries and Arizona only managed 3 field goals from Neil Rackers.
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