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Last-Minute Kick Lifts Patriots Over Falcons

October 10, 2005|From Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons kept coming back, even without injured Michael Vick, but Tom Brady and the New England Patriots simply don't lose two in a row.

Brady passed for 350 yards and three touchdowns before Adam Vinatieri kicked a 29-yard field goal with 17 seconds left to lead injury-riddled New England past the Falcons, 31-28, on Sunday in Atlanta.

Matt Schaub filled in adequately for Vick, matching Brady with three touchdown passes and rallying the Falcons from deficits of 14-0 and 28-13 against the defending Super Bowl champions.

Atlanta (3-2) tied the score at 28-28 when Schaub threw a 14-yard scoring pass to Dez White with 3:52 left, then went to Brian Finneran for a two-point conversion.

New England (3-2) was coming off a dismal performance, falling to San Diego at home, 41-17, and faced the possibility of its first losing streak since 2002.

But, with the Patriots backed up at their 26 on second and 20, Atlanta cornerback Allen Rossum was called for pass interference on Deion Branch -- the last of a four-penalties-in-four-plays stretch that gave New England a first down at the Falcon 44.

Patrick Pass, replacing injured Corey Dillon, ran for 15 yards to set up the 19th winning kick of Vinatieri's career, including, of course, two Super Bowls.

Vick had gone out the previous week because of a strained ligament in his right knee. He barely practiced all week but was listed as probable until Saturday, when the Falcons downgraded him to questionable.

On Sunday, Vick watched from the sideline.

Schaub, in his second year out of Virginia, completed 18 of 34 passes for 298 yards.

New York Jets 14, Tampa Bay 12 -- The Meadowlands crowd welcomed Vinny Testaverde back with rousing cheers and a standing ovation, and the 41-year-old quarterback led the Jets to a victory despite a nine-month layoff.

Matt Bryant kicked four field goals for the Buccaneers (4-1), who played without injured running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams because of foot and hamstring injuries.

It took a little while for the Jets (2-3) to take their first lead, following their first possession of the second half. Justin Miller had a nice 32-yard return on the kickoff, and Testaverde went three for three for 32 yards on the series.

But it wasn't easy. After three straight runs, the Jets went for it on fourth and goal from the one. Curtis Martin plunged in for his second touchdown of the game and the season to put the Jets up, 14-9. Martin finished with 59 yards in 23 carries.

Detroit 35, Baltimore 17 -- Kevin Jones scored two first-quarter touchdowns at home for the Lions, who were helped in part by the Ravens' 21 penalties -- one short of the NFL record -- and two ejections.

Dre Bly had two interceptions and recovered a fumble for the Lions (2-2). Baltimore (1-3) lost defensive end-linebacker Terrell Suggs and safety B.J. Ward because of ejections late in the third quarter.

The Lions never trailed and turned the game into a rout by outscoring the Ravens, 21-7, in the second half.

Detroit's Joey Harrington completed 10 of 23 passes for 97 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Jones had 26 carries for 58 yards and two scores. Shawn Bryson's only carry was a 77-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Lions their 35-17 lead.

The Lions were without receiver Roy Williams for two-plus quarters because of a left leg injury, leaving them with only three receivers because Charles Rogers is suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Cleveland 20, Chicago 10 -- Trent Dilfer connected with wide receiver Antonio Bryant for two touchdowns in a 38-second span late in the fourth quarter at Cleveland. With the Browns (2-2) trailing, 10-6, Dilfer, making the 100th start of his career, connected with Bryant for a 33-yard touchdown with 3:02 left. The scoring strike was also the 33-year-old Dilfer's 100th touchdown pass. Five plays later, he got No. 101.

The Bears (1-3) were undone by costly mistakes and an offense that couldn't get much going behind Kyle Orton, who went 16 for 26 for 117 yards.

Cleveland rookie wide receiver Braylon Edwards remained hospitalized after surgery on Saturday to treat an infection in his right arm. The No. 3 overall draft pick practiced all week, but his arm became swollen after the club's walk-through and he was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic.

Indianapolis 28, San Francisco 3 -- Edgerrin James rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown, and the Colts (5-0) intercepted four passes by No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith, making his first start, to remain unbeaten with a lackluster win in San Francisco.

In its fourth loss in a row, San Francisco (1-4) failed to score an offensive touchdown for the second straight game despite a rare strong game from Kevan Barlow, who rushed for 99 yards.

Denver 21, Washington 19 -- Mark Brunell drove the Redskins (3-1) 94 yards for a touchdown, but Denver's Ian Gold knocked away his two-point conversion pass with 1:09 left to help the Broncos hang onto their fourth straight win on a sloppy, rain-soaked day in Denver.

Although Gold's big play saved the game, Tatum Bell made the difference for Denver (4-1) the rest of the time, rushing for 127 yards and two long scores to help Denver to a 21-10 lead.

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