Monday November 12, 2012

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Ryan Fitzpatrick threw into the end zone to the open man. Unfortunately for the Bills, that man was Patriots safety Devin McCourty.

That easy interception with 23 seconds left decided the game the way every other Buffalo game at Gillette Stadium has ended -- with a New England victory.

On a day of dreadful defense by both teams, the Patriots held on for a 37-31 win over the surprisingly tough Bills on Sunday despite allowing 35 first downs, Buffalo’s most ever and the most ever allowed by New England.

"No matter what happens in the game, there’s nothing bigger than turnovers," McCourty said. "When the game gets toward the end, those big plays change the game."

The Patriots (6-3) let a 17-3 lead slip to 34-31 with 7:47 left on Fitzpatrick’s 2-yard pass to Donald Jones. Then the Bills (3-6) held the Patriots to a 27-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.

New England is 11-0 against the Bills at Gillette since it opened in 2002 and 23-2 overall in its last 25 games against Buffalo.

The Patriots were coming off a bye that followed their best game of the season, a 45-7 win over the St. Louis Rams in London. The Bills have lost five of six and need a sharp turnaround to avoid their 13th straight non-playoff season.

49ERS 24, RAMS 24

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A furious, thrilling finish to regulation ended with an overtime dud. A tie -- and nobody particularly likes a tie.


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Especially not the NFC West-leading 49ers, with a chance to separate themselves against a division rival.

San Francisco and St. Louis played the NFL’s first tie game in four years as kickers from both teams missed overtime field goals in Sunday’s 24-24 outcome.

Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yarder, but the Rams were penalized 5 yards for delay of game. He tried again from 58 as coach Jeff Fisher played for the win, and missed wide right with 2:42 left in OT.

San Francisco’s David Akers missed wide left on a 41-yard attempt that could have sealed it for the 49ers(6-2-1), who lost quarterback Alex Smith to a first-half concussion.

And just when it seemed the 49ers -- and Akers’ typically reliable left leg -- would have one more chance to win it, San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis was flagged for holding Lance Kendricks on third down. That extended St. Louis’ last drive, a costly mistake in a long list of them on an uncharacteristically sloppy day by coach Jim Harbaugh’s team.

Akers booted a tying 33-yarder with 3 seconds left in regulation after Sam Bradford threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis with 1:09 remaining.

On the first play of OT, Bradford completed an 80-yard pass to Danny Amendola that took St. Louis (3-5-1) to the 2, but the play was called back for an illegal formation. Some 49ers fans got up to leave, then returned to their seats.

The last tie was between Philadelphia and Cincinnati, 13-13 in 2008.

SAINTS 31, FALCONS 27

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Jimmy Graham caught seven passes for a career-best 146 yards and two touchdowns, cornerback Jabari Greer made a diving, touchdown-saving pass breakup on a late fourth-down play, and the New Orleans Saints held on to hand the Atlanta Falcons their first loss, 31-27 on Sunday.

Graham and his Atlanta counterpart, veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez, both were superb in a game that showcased all the intensity and drama of one of the NFL’s most passionate and longstanding rivalries.

Gonzalez finished with 11 catches for 122 yards and two scores for Atlanta (8-1), and in the process became the first tight end to catch 100 touchdown passes.

Brees threw for 298 yards and three TDs as the Saints (4-5) won for the fourth time in five games, keeping alive hope of getting back into the wild card race after an 0-4 start.

BRONCOS 36, PANTHERS 14

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Peyton Manning made sure John Fox’s return to Carolina was a successful one, throwing for 301 yards and a touchdown.

Manning threw his 420th touchdown pass to move into a tie for second place on the NFL’s all-time list with Dan Marino. He trails only Brett Favre (508).

Manning had plenty of help from his teammates.

Von Miller harassed Cam Newton all day and Trindon Holliday returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown as the Broncos (6-3) won for the fifth time in six weeks. The Broncos sacked Newton seven times, including once for a safety, and Miller pressured him into an interception Tony Carter returned 40 yards for a score.

Fox, who coached the Panthers for nine seasons, downplayed his return all week, but celebrated with a few fist pumps Sunday.

VIKINGS 34, LIONS 24

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Adrian Peterson raced 61 yards for the game-sealing touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, padding his NFL rushing lead with 171 yards on 27 carries for Minnesota.

Peterson had 120 yards in the final 15 minutes, 101Ž2 months after reconstructive surgery on his left knee. Ponder bounced back from a rough game with 221 yards and two touchdowns on 24-for-32 passing for the Vikings (6-4).

Calvin Johnson had 207 yards on 12 catches, including a touchdown that brought the Lions (4-5) a little closer with 1:53 left. But Johnson’s lost fumble near midfield on the previous possession put Vikings rookie Blair Walsh in position for his fourth field goal.

BUCCANEERS 34, CHARGERS 24

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Josh Freeman threw two touchdown passes and the surging Buccaneers scored on a blocked punt and Leonard Johnson’s 83-yard interception.

Freeman has thrown for 13 TDs with one interception in his past five games, helping the Bucs (5-4) win four times to climb back over .500 following a 1-3 start.

Rivers threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns for San Diego. He was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter to ruin any chance of the Chargers (4-5) coming from behind.

BENGALS 31, GIANTS 13

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Andy Dalton threw a career-high four touchdown passes -- each to a different receiver -- and the Cincinnati Bengals ended their four-game losing streak by beating the New York Giants 31-13 on Sunday.

The Bengals (4-5) took advantage of a fumble and Eli Manning’s two interceptions, which set up third-quarter touchdowns. That helped A.J. Green back up his observation there are holes in New York’s defense.

The defending Super Bowl champions have a lot of holes everywhere.

The Giants (6-4) head into their bye with back-to-back losses and a lot of issues, especially on offense. Manning had another subpar game, failing to live up his family legacy of beating the Bengals. Older brother Peyton improved to 8-0 against Cincinnati on the same field a week earlier, leading Denver to a 31-23 win.

The Giants turned it over four times in the second half.

RAVENS 55, RAIDERS 20

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, and Baltimore set a club record for points.

The Ravens (7-2) scored on six of their first seven possessions against the struggling Raiders (3-6), who have yielded at least 40 points in two straight games for the first time since 1962. The 55 points tied an Oakland record for points allowed, a mark set in 1961 and matched in 1981.

Baltimore led 27-10 at halftime. In the third quarter, Flacco threw touchdown passes of 47 and 20 yards to Torrey Smith, and holder Sam Koch scored on a fake field goal in the third quarter to make it 48-17.

In the fourth quarter, Jacoby Jones took a kickoff 105 yards for 55-20 lead. Baltimore’s previous record for points in a game was 48, against Detroit in December 2009.

TITANS 37, DOLPHINS 3

MIAMI (AP) -- Colin McCarthy returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown, and four takeaways helped Tennessee rout Miami.

The Titans came into the game on pace to set an NFL record for points allowed in a season, but they stymied Miami by intercepting Ryan Tannehill three times and recovering a Reggie Bush fumble to set up a touchdown.

Tennessee (4-6) rebounded from a 51-20 loss a week ago against the Bears that prompted owner Bud Adams to put the organization on notice. Last week the Titans trailed 28-2 after one quarter; this week they led 21-0 after 16 minutes.

For Miami (4-5), the home loss was the most lopsided since 1968.