Rivers’ big day leads Chargers to win
game. He did an outstanding job getting them into the right play over and over again.
“He threw the ball as well as he’s thrown in a long, long time.”
Rivers’ biggest pass wasn’t necessarily his prettiest. He short-armed one over the middle to Gates, who slid behind linebacker Sean Lee to haul it in and score with 6:54 to go.
Lee had intercepted Rivers on a deflected pass and returned it 52 yards for a 21-10 lead late in the second quarter. Dallas didn’t score again.
“We were able to get some looks we thought we could take advantage of,” said Gates, who had 10 catches for 136 yards. “The way he threw that ball, he put it in the right place and I was able to make the play.”
San Diego’s defense came up with a big stop in the final moments. Tony Romo moved the Cowboys to the San Diego 7, where he hit Terrance Williams at the 1. Williams was stretching for the end zone when he was hit by Crezdon Butler and fumbled. San Diego’s Richard Marshall recovered for a touchback.
A week earlier, Butler was burned on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jake Locker to Justin Hunter with 15 seconds to play to give Tennessee a 20-17 victory. Butler was in against the Cowboys because Derek Cox left with a knee injury.
Seahawks 23, Texans 20
HOUSTON — Steven Hauschka kicked a 45-yard field goal in overtime to give Seattle the win over Houston and the first 4-0 start in franchise history.
Houston (2-2) failed to score on two possessions in overtime. The Seahawks got the win on their second drive in overtime after rallying from a 20-3 deficit.
A key play on the winning drive came when Doug Baldwin caught a 7-yard pass and Kareem Jackson was penalized for unnecessary roughness for dumping him into the ground. That got Seattle in field goal range and Hauschka’s kick came four plays later.
The Seahawks rallied to tie it at 20-20 on an interception return for a touchdown by Richard Sherman in the fourth quarter.
PATRIOTS 30, FALCONS 23
ATLANTA — Tom Brady threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns and New England held off a furious Atlanta comeback, beating the Falcons to improve to 4-0 for the first time since their near-perfect season in 2007.
New England built a 30-13 lead before the Falcons rallied.
They had a chance to tie it up in the final minute, but Matt Ryan’s fourth-down pass went off the hands of Roddy White in the end zone with 36 seconds remaining.
The Patriots seemed in control when LeGarrette Blount scored on a 47-yard run, and Brady threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to rookie Kenbrell Thompkins.
Thompkins finished with six catches for 127 yards — nearly as much as the first three games of his career. Julian Edelman chipped in with 118 yards on seven receptions.
Atlanta (1-3) is two games below .500 for the first time since 2007.
LIONS 40, BEARS 32
DETROIT — Reggie Bush’s 37-yard touchdown run helped Detroit score 27 points in the second quarter and he accounted for 173 yards of offense to help the Lions beat Chicago.
Detroit (3-1) moved into a first-place tie with Chicago (3-1) in the NFC North. The Lions scored 24 straight points, including three TDs in a span of 3 minutes, 26 second, after Matt Forte’s 53-yard TD run gave the Bears 10-6 lead early in the second quarter.
Jay Cutler, who had four turnovers, threw a pair of touchdown passes and 2-point conversions in the final 4 minutes to pull Chicago within eight points to make the score look respectable.
Lions receiver Kris Durham recovered the onside kick to seal the win.
VIKINGS 34, STEELERS 27
LONDON — Greg Jennings made two touchdown catches, Adrian Peterson ran for two scores and the Vikings’ defense made a big stop with time running out to preserve a win over the Steelers.
Playing at Wembley Stadium, Everson Griffen stripped Ben Roethlisberger on the 6-yard line with 19 seconds left. Kevin Williams recovered to seal the victory.
Jennings made a 70-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown and Peterson had a 60-yard score to help offset two scores by Pittsburgh rookie running back Le’Veon Bell and give Minnesota (1-3) some hope of turning its season around.
The Steelers fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1968.
Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel, starting in place of injured Christian Ponder, finished 16 of 25 for 248 yards and two touchdowns.
Roethlisberger was 36 for 51 for 383 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
BRONCOS 52, EAGLES 20
DENVER — The Broncos scored more points than they ever had in their 54-year history Sunday, led by Peyton Manning’s four touchdown throws.
With two TD passes each to Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker, Manning completed all but a half-dozen of his 34 throws for 327 yards. He didn’t even step on the field in the fourth quarter.
Manning’s 16 TD passes are the most in the first month of a season, besting the previous mark of 14 set by Don Meredith in 1966 and tied by Kurt Warner in 1999.
Manning also joined Milt Plum in 1960 as the only quarterbacks to throw that many touchdown passes without an interception.
Manning got off to a rather slow start, but drove the Broncos (4-0) on a trio of long touchdown drives in the third quarter to make this one another laugher against the Eagles (1-3).
TITANS 38, JETS 13
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jake Locker threw a career-high three touchdowns before being taken to the hospital with an injured right hip. Locker was hurt early in the third quarter when hit first by Muhammad Wilkerson after throwing an incomplete pass, then popped by Quinton Coples. He grabbed at his hip as he went to the ground and was carted off the field before being loaded into an ambulance. The Titans had no immediate word on the severity of his injury.
Alterraun Verner intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble, Karl Klug sacked Geno Smith and stripped him of the ball for a TD as the Titans turned Smith’s four turnovers into 28 points. Ropati Pitoitua had two of Tennessee’s five sacks as the Titans (3-1) continued their surprising start.
The Jets (2-2) couldn’t overcome Smith’s rookie mistakes.
REDSKINS 24, RAIDERS 14
OAKLAND, Calif. — Robert Griffin III threw a go-ahead touchdown pass late in the third quarter to help Washington overcome an early 14-point deficit for its first win of the season.
David Amerson returned an interception for another score for the Redskins (1-3).
Washington looked ready to extend the worst start for the franchise since 2001 when they fell behind 14-0 after the first quarter thanks to a blocked punt touchdown and a scoring pass from Matt Flynn.
But the much-maligned Washington defense allowed the Raiders (1-3) no more points, taking advantage of an offense that was without starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor the entire game and starting running backs Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece for most of it.
BILLS 23, RAVENS 20
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso’s second interception of the game with 57 seconds remaining sealed a win over Baltimore.
Converted safety Aaron Williams also intercepted Joe Flacco twice, while Fred Jackson had 87 yards rushing and a touchdown for Buffalo (2-2).
Robert Woods scored on a 42-yard touchdown reception. Buffalo totaled 203 yards rushing against a stout Ravens defense that had allowed just 224 in its first three games.
Joe Flacco threw a career-worst five interceptions, and finished 25 of 50 for 347 yards passing, and two touchdowns.
Torrey Smith had five catches for 166 yards and a 26-yard touchdown for the Ravens (2-2).
The Ravens’ last chance to tie the game ended when Flacco forced a pass over the middle intended for Dallas Clark. Safety Da’Norris Searcy got a piece of the ball, which bounced into the air and was intercepted by Alonso.
CARdS 13, BUCS 10
TAMPA, Fla. — Carson Palmer threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald, then Jay Feely kicked a 27-yard field goal with 1:29 remaining and Arizona rallied to beat Tampa Bay.
Patrick Peterson had two interceptions, one setting up Arizona’s first TD in six quarters, the other to ruin any chance of rookie Mike Glennon pulling off a comeback in his first NFL start for the winless Bucs (0-4).
Feely also kicked a 42-yard field goal for the Cardinals (2-2), who trailed 10-0 at halftime.
Starting in place of the benched Josh Freeman, Glennon was steady — if not spectacular — for most of the game. But it all unraveled after Peterson stepped in front of a pass for Vincent Jackson.
Fitzgerald beat cornerback Darrelle Revis on the next play for his 80th career TD reception.
BROWNS 17, BENGALS 6
CLEVELAND — Brian Hoyer, the local kid who always dreamed of being Cleveland’s quarterback, threw two touchdown passes in his first start at home to lead the Browns to a win over Cincinnati.
Hoyer’s 1-yard TD pass to Chris Ogbonnaya with 4:54 left gave the Browns (2-2) an 11-point lead and Cleveland turned it over to its vastly improved defense.
In his second start in place of injured Brandon Weeden, Hoyer finished 25 of 38 for 269 yards. He threw a 2-yard TD pass in the first half to Jordan Cameron, who had 10 catches for 91 yards.
The Bengals (2-2) couldn’t get anything going on offense and Andy Dalton was intercepted by Buster Skrine with 3:43 left, ending any chance of a comeback.
CHIEFS 31, GIANTS 7
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Alex Smith threw three touchdown passes, Dexter McCluster returned a punt 89 yards for another score and unbeaten Kansas City kept New York winless at 0-4.
Smith hit touchdown passes of 4, 2 and 35 yards for the Chiefs (4-0), who under Andy Reid have already doubled their victory total of 2012. They are the second team to go from a two-win season to 4-0 the next year.
The Giants, who trailed only 17-7 after three quarters, are 0-4 for the first time since 1987.
Eli Manning connected with Victor Cruz on a 69-yard scoring play for New York’s only score. The Kansas City defense sacked Manning three times. Smith was intercepted twice, the first giveaways by the Chiefs, who also lost a fumble.
COLTS 37, JAGUARS 3
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes, Trent Richardson ran for a score and Indianapolis became the latest team to beat Jacksonville by double digits.
The Colts (3-1) weren’t all that good, especially early in the first half, but they were plenty good against one of the worst teams in the league.
Indianapolis led 20-3 at halftime — Jacksonville (0-4) has been outscored 75-8 in the first half this season — and made it a laugher with consecutive touchdown drives in the third quarter.
Luck found Coby Fleener for a 31-yard score, a play in which even Fleener was surprised that he was so wide open, and then connected with Reggie Wayne in the back of the end zone from 5 yards.