Steelers and Falcons Pass Tough Tests in Division

A fierce defensive battle turned when Polamalu hit Joe Flacco’s arm on a safety blitz. The loose ball was returned 19 yards by Lamarr Woodley to the Baltimore 9, setting up Pittsburgh’s only touchdown.

After throwing two incomplete passes, Roethlisberger dumped a short toss over the middle to Redman, who broke two tackles on his way to the end zone.

Baltimore’s ensuing drive ended when Flacco bounced a fourth-down pass to Ed Dickson with 33 seconds remaining.

The victory left Pittsburgh (9-3) a game ahead of the Ravens (8-4) in the division.

¶Eric Weems scored on a 102-yard kickoff return and Matt Ryan threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins as the visiting Falcons rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Buccaneers, 28-24. Ryan led his sixth fourth-quarter comeback of the season for the Falcons, the N.F.C. South leaders at 10-2. The Falcons have won six in a row. Tampa Bay (7-5) dropped to 0-5 against teams with winning records.

Contenders Stumble

Jason Campbell ran for one touchdown and threw for another as the visiting stunned the , 28-13. The loss put a serious crimp in the playoff hopes of the Chargers; instead of keeping up with the first-place in the A.F.C. West, San Diego (6-6) is tied with Oakland, two games back.

¶ had two interceptions returned for touchdowns, then threw a fourth in overtime that set up David Buehler for a 38-yard field goal that gave the a 38-35 victory over the . Reggie Wayne had 14 catches for 200 yards, but the loss dropped the Colts (6-6) out of the A.F.C. South lead.


rallied the Saints to a 34-30 win over the Bengals by coaxing Cincinnati’s Pat Sims into jumping offside in the final minute. Trailing by 30-27, the Saints (9-3) had a fourth-and-2 at the Cincinnati 7 with 34 seconds left. Instead of attempting a tying field goal, New Orleans called timeout and ran a play called “No-Brainer Freeze.” In it, the Saints line up as if they are going to snap the ball and Brees tries to draw the opponent offside. To the surprise of the 59,963 fans in Cincinnati, that was exactly what happened. Sims’s mistake gave the shocked Saints a first down, and Brees threw the winning 3-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston on the next play. “What is that guy doing?” Saints defensive lineman Sedrick Ellis said. “You have to be smarter than that.” The Bengals (2-10) have lost nine in a row.

¶Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 186 yards on 31 carries in the Jaguars’ 17-6 victory over the . With their fourth win in five games, the visiting Jaguars (7-5) took over first place in the A.F.C. South, a game ahead of the Colts. Jones-Drew has run for at least 100 yards now in five straight games, but his latest might have been his easiest. Jacksonville ran on 15 of its first 17 plays, picking up 86 yards. “They ran it and we didn’t stop it,” Titans Coach Jeff Fisher said. Tennessee (5-7) has gone 13 quarters without an offensive touchdown.

Revenge for Chiefs

The Chiefs avenged a 20-point loss to Denver three weeks ago with a ragged 10-6 win over the . Jamaal Charles ran for 116 yards and Matt Cassel threw a 3-yard pass to Leonard Pope for the only touchdown as the Chiefs (8-4) improved to 6-0 at home and remained in first place in the A.F.C. West. Denver (3-9) has lost 17 of 22 under Coach Josh McDaniels.

¶The managed to look even more inept than the Browns, who stumbled to a 13-10 win when a last-minute turnover gave them the ball at the 2 and Phil Dawson kicked a 23-yard field goal on the final play. When lineman David Bowens deflected Chad Henne’s final pass with a minute left and the score tied, Mike Adams snatched the ball — Henne’s third interception — and ran 25 yards to set up Dawson’s winning kick.

¶Jay Cutler threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Brandon Manumaleuna one play after a questionable call midway through the fourth quarter, lifting the Bears to a 24-20 victory over the . The referee Ed Hochuli flagged Ndamukong Suh for unnecessary roughness after he seemed to hit Cutler’s shoulder pads, jolting him to the turf from behind when he was running downfield. The Lions (2-10) were livid, perhaps because Detroit also lost its first meeting this season with Chicago (9-3) when Calvin Johnson appeared to catch a winning touchdown only to have the officials rule that he did not complete the play.

In Other Games

Tarvaris Jackson threw two touchdown passes after replacing an injured on Minnesota’s first series, and the rolled over the visiting , 38-14. The Vikings (5-7) will have to wait to see if Favre will be able to extend his record of 297 consecutive starts. Favre was leveled by linebacker Arthur Moats on his first pass play, spraining his throwing shoulder. “He’s played 15,000 games straight now, so he’ll probably play 15,001 next week,” said Jackson, who threw three interceptions. The Bills (2-10) had five turnovers.

¶Donald Driver left a string of befuddled defenders in his dust on a rambling 61-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in the third quarter, providing the most critical play in the ’ 34-16 victory over the 49ers. “I don’t know what happened,” Driver said. “All I know is when I caught it, I just started making moves.” As Driver and the team celebrated, the crowd counted out the tackles he broke as the play was replayed on Lambeau Field’s video screens. Greg Jennings caught 6 passes for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Packers (8-4), who kept pace with the Bears in the N.F.C. North.

¶Marshawn Lynch rushed for a career-high 3 touchdowns, Lofa Tatupu returned an interception 26 yards for a score, and the used a 21-point third quarter to rally past the visiting , 31-14. Seattle (6-6) stayed even with St. Louis in the N.F.C. West race. Carolina is 1-11.

¶Steven Jackson rushed for 102 yards, including 27 on the game’s only touchdown, and the ended an eight-game losing streak against Arizona with a 19-6 victory over the Cardinals. Arizona (3-9) failed to score a touchdown for the second game in a row.

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