The New England Patriots squandered a couple of big leads. That was merely a setup for Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri, who pulled out one of their typical last-minute wins.
Brady threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns before Adam Vinatieri kicked a 29-yard field goal with 17 seconds left to lead injury-plagued New England past the Falcons 31-28 on Sunday in Atlanta.
The Patriots avoided their first losing streak since 2002 despite blowing leads of 14-0 and 28-13.
Matt Schaub filled in admirably for the injured Michael Vick, matching Brady’s three TD passes, including a tying score with 3:52 remaining. Schaub threw a 14-yard TD to Dez White, then went to Brian Finneran for a 2-point conversion.
With Patriots backed up at their 26 on second-and-20, Atlanta cornerback Allen Rossum was called for a blatant pass interference on Deion Branch – the last of a four-penalties-in-four-plays stretch that gave New England a first down at the Falcons 44.
Patrick Pass broke off a 15-yard gain that set up the 19th game-winning kick of Vinatieri’s career.
Broncos 21, Redskins 19
In Denver, Ian Gold knocked away Mark Brunell’s pass on the 2-point attempt with 1:09 left to help the Broncos beat Washington for their fourth straight win.
Tatum Bell made the difference for Denver the rest of the time, rushing for 127 yards and two long scores.
Jaguars 23, Bengals 20
In Jacksonville, Fla., Byron Leftwich threw two touchdowns, Fred Taylor ran for a season-high 132 yards and the Jaguars handed Cincinnati its first loss of the season.
With the Bengals driving, Bobby McCray knocked the ball out of Carson Palmer’s hand at the Jacksonville 45-yard line with 1:28 to play. The Jags recovered and ran out the clock.
Buccaneers 14, Jets 12
In East Rutherford, N.J., Curtis Martin scored twice and 41-year-old Vinny Testaverde led New York to a win over Tampa Bay.
With 1 minute remaining the Bucs forced the Jets to punt, but ran out of time trying to get into field goal range.
Bills 20, Dolphins 14
In Orchard Park, N.Y., with Buffalo on the verge of squandering a 17-0 lead, Nate Clements stripped Miami running back Ronnie Brown of the ball with 1:37 left, securing the Bills’ win over the Dolphins.
The Bills snapped a three-game losing streak and gave Kelly Holcomb a win, the veteran backup getting his first start of the season in place of ineffective J.P. Losman.
Colts 28, 49ers 3
In San Francisco, Edgerrin James rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown, and Indianapolis intercepted four passes by No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith to remain unbeaten with a lackluster victory over the 49ers.
Peyton Manning went 23 of 31 for 255 yards and one score, throwing two interceptions. The Colts scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to blow open a surprisingly close game.
Titans 34, Texans 20
In Houston, Steve McNair threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another to lead Tennessee to a win over the hapless Texans.
The Texans went 0 for 13 on third-down conversions and managed just one touchdown. They are the only winless team in the league and are 0-4 for the first time in their short history.
Panthers 24, Cardinals 20
In Tempe, Ariz., Jake Delhomme threw two touchdown passes to Steve Smith, one for 65 yards in the first half and a 4-yarder with 6:54 to go, to give Carolina a come-from-behind victory over Arizona.
Arizona, leading 20-10 after three quarters, had the ball twice after Carolina’s go-ahead score but couldn’t do anything with it.
Lions 35, Ravens 17
In Detroit, Kevin Jones scored two first-quarter touchdowns and the Lions went on to beat Baltimore, helped in part by the Ravens’ 21 penalties – one short of the NFL record.
Dre Bly had two interceptions and recovered a fumble for the Lions.
The Lions never trailed, but turned the game into a rout by outscoring the Ravens 21-7 in the second half.
Browns 20, Bears 10
In Cleveland, Trent Dilfer connected with wide receiver Antonio Bryant for two touchdowns in a 38-second span late in the fourth quarter as the Browns rallied to a victory over sputtering Chicago.
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