Cowboys, Eagles and Ravens pull off comeback wins
Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys were big-time comeback kids in Week 3 of the NFL season.
So were Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Baltimore Ravens, too.
Peyton Manning rallied the Denver Broncos back in a Super Bowl rematch, but Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks came up with the victory - as they did seven months ago on football's biggest stage.
"I can't wait for those moments, those big-time moments and have guys to continue to believe in what we do," Wilson said after the Seahawks' 26-20 victory Sunday. "That was a great experience tonight."
The Cowboys had the biggest comeback of all.
Terrance Williams scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Bruce Carter returned an interception 25 yards for a TD on the next snap, and the Cowboys matched the largest comeback in team history to stun the St. Louis Rams 34-31.
DeMarco Murray's 1-yard run late in the first half began the rally for Dallas (2-1), which trailed 21-0. Dez Bryant caught a 68-yard scoring pass in the third quarter, and Carter's first career interception and touchdown came not long after he was evaluated for concussion-like symptoms on the bench.
"We never blinked, I can honestly say that," Bryant said.
This marked the fourth time this season a team has overcome a deficit of at least 17 points to win, tied for the most through the first three weeks of a season since the 1970 merger (2011). It was also the first time since 1982 that each of the first three weeks had at least 17 points.
Romo has 21 comeback victories in the fourth quarter or overtime, a franchise best.
"Tony went out there and did what Tony do," Bryant said.
Janoris Jenkins' 25-yard interception return, the fifth defensive touchdown in his three seasons, put the Rams (1-2) up 21-0 with 6:06 to go in the first half.
At Philadelphia, Jordan Matthews, the draft pick who replaced DeSean Jackson, and veteran Jeremy Maclin lifted the Eagles past the star receiver's new team. Philadelphia again stormed from behind to win, beating the Washington Redskins 37-34 as Matthews caught two touchdown passes and Maclin had one.
The Eagles are the first NFL team to start a season 3-0 after trailing by 10-plus points in each game.
"Man, that was an emotional one," said Matthews, who scored his first NFL touchdowns. "They are close (games), so I know that coach (Chip) Kelly is losing some hair."
The nasty game was marred by a fourth-quarter brawl near the Washington sideline after Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was blindsided by defensive lineman Chris Baker during an apparent interception return. Baker and Eagles left tackle Jason Peters were ejected - and then the INT was overturned by video replay. That led to Maclin's 27-yard touchdown to break a 27-27 tie.
At Cleveland, the Ravens pulled off a victory as Justin Tucker kicked a 32-yard field goal as time expired to give Baltimore a 23-21 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Tucker's boot capped another challenging week for the Ravens (2-1), who continue to be dogged by their handling of Rice's domestic violence suspension.
Following the game, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh addressed an ESPN report that claims he wanted the team to immediately release Rice after he was arrested for punching his then-fiancee. The report says Harbaugh was overruled by owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome.
"I can tell you this, we work together in our organization," Harbaugh said. "Every single football decision we make, we work together."
At Seattle, Wilson kept Manning and the Broncos from seeing the ball in overtime. He led Seattle on an 80-yard drive on the first possession of the extra session, capped by Marshawn Lynch's 6-yard touchdown run for the victory.
"We almost overcame them," Manning said, "but didn't quite do it today."
The Super Bowl rematch lived up to the billing of what everyone expected in February and never transpired. The 43-8 blowout by Seattle (2-1) was replaced this time by Denver (2-1) rallying from a 17-3 fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime by going 80 yards against the best defense in the NFL in the final minute of regulation.
And then Wilson upstaged Manning. After nearly getting sacked for a safety and throwing an interception in the fourth quarter, Wilson was brilliant in overtime rushing for 21 yards and completing four of six passes. Lynch went the final 6 yards for the win.
"I don't think anyone ever doubts Russell," Seattle tight end Zach Miller said. "He's just too good."
CARDINALS 23, 49ERS 14
At Glendale, Arizona, Drew Stanton threw a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes to rookie John Brown and the Cardinals rallied to beat San Francisco, snapping a four-game losing streak to the 49ers.
Tommy Kelly blocked a field goal for the Cardinals (3-0), who outscored San Francisco 17-0 in the second half.
The 49ers (1-2) mounted 80-yard touchdown drives the first two times they had the ball, then didn't score again, blowing a halftime lead for the second week in a row.
STEELERS 37, PANTHERS 19
At Charlotte, North Carolina, Ben Roethlisberger threw two 7-yard touchdown passes to Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell ran for 147 yards and Pittsburgh beat Carolina.
The Steelers had gone eight quarters without a touchdown before Roethlisberger's two scoring strikes in the third. They were set up by Cam Newton's fumble and Bell's 81-yard run. Roethlisberger finished 22 of 30 for 196 yards to help the Steelers (2-1) snap Carolina's eight-game home winning streak.
The Panthers were looking for their first 3-0 start since 2003 - the year they went to the Super Bowl.
COLTS 44, JAGUARS 17
At Jacksonville, Florida, Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes - three in a lopsided first half - and the Indianapolis Colts dominated the Jaguars for their first win.
It was a home opener to forget for the Jaguars (0-3), who trailed 30-0 at the break and benched quarterback Chad Henne. The only positive for Jacksonville was getting rookie Blake Bortles on the field. The third overall pick in May's NFL draft played the entire second half, finishing with two touchdown passes and two interceptions.
SAINTS 20, VIKINGS 9
Drew Brees passed for 293 yards and two touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints won for the first time this season, taking their home opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
For the Vikings (1-2), the loss capped a week of distractions as the club first announced that star running back Adrian Peterson would play, then later changed course and said Peterson would leave the team indefinitely to deal with child abuse allegations.
Minnesota then lost starting quarterback Matt Cassel with a toe injury early in the second quarter. He was replaced by rookie Teddy Bridgewater, who completed 12 of 20 for 150 yards while leading two scoring drives that both ended with field goals.
CHARGERS 22, BILLS 10
At Orchard Park, New York, Philip Rivers hit Eddie Royal for two scores in the San Diego Chargers' win over the Buffalo Bills.
Royal scored on 3- and 5-yard receptions and finished with four catches 42 yards. Malcom Floyd had two catches for 98 yards in a game the Chargers (2-1) never trailed against the Bills (2-1). Rivers finished 18 of 25 for 256 yards and extended his touchdown streak to 23 games to match the team record he set over the 2009-10 seasons.
Already missing starting running back Ryan Mathews (right knee), the Chargers lost backup Danny Woodhead to a right ankle injury. Woodhead did not return after being carted off following a 1-yard run 3-1/2 minutes in.
GIANTS 30, TEXANS 17
At East Rutherford, New Jersey, Rashad Jennings ran for a career-high 176 yards and a touchdown and Eli Manning threw two TD passes as the New York Giants overcame some early mistakes and beat the suddenly error-prone Houston Texans.
Victor Cruz made a 26-yard touchdown catch for the Giants (1-2), his first since Game 4 of last season, and danced the salsa. The defense intercepted three of Ryan Fitzpatrick's passes, and the special teams blocked a punt, setting up Manning's second TD against the Texans (2-1), who played without halfback Arian Foster (hamstring).
BENGALS 33, TITANS 7
Andy Dalton caught a touchdown pass - the first Bengals quarterback to pull off that feat - on a pass from wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and Cincinnati stayed undefeated with a victory at home over the Tennessee Titans.
The Bengals (3-0) head into their bye week with their best start in eight years. Dalton was the first NFL quarterback to score on a catch since Kansas City's Tyler Thigpen in 2008.
A few hours before kickoff, the Titans (1-2) learned that former kicker Rob Bironas had died overnight in a one-car crash in Nashville.
PATRIOTS 16, RAIDERS 9
At Foxborough, Massachusetts, Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass, Stephen Gostkowski kicked three field goals and the sluggish New England Patriots held on to beat the Oakland Raiders when defensive tackle Vince Wilfork intercepted a pass near his goal line.
Darren McFadden's potential tying touchdown run was nullified by a holding penalty. A play later, Wilfork grabbed the ball when Logan Ryan jarred it loose from intended receiver Denarius Moore with 51 seconds left.
The Patriots (2-1) won their 12th home opener in 13 seasons, while the Raiders (0-3) lost their 15th straight game in the Eastern time zone. Brady became the third quarterback with 150 regular-season wins behind Brett Favre (186) and Peyton Manning (169).
LIONS 19, PACKERS 7
Don Carey returned a fumble 40 yards for a touchdown, and Detroit's defensive front stuffed Green Bay, leading the Lions over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at home.
The Lions (2-1) sacked Rodgers twice and he threw for only 162 yards, and Green Bay (1-2) wasn't any better when running the ball.
Reggie Bush added a 26-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter for Detroit, which had never beaten Green Bay with Rodgers healthy for the whole game.
CHIEFS 34, DOLPHINS 15
At Miami Gardens, Fla., Alex Smith shook off five sacks to throw three touchdown passes and help the Kansas City Chiefs earn their first victory by beating the Miami Dolphins.
Smith led touchdown drives of 62, 76 and 66 yards in a span of four possessions as Kansas City took leads of 14-0 and 21-10. The Chiefs - without seven starters, including running back Jamaal Charles - improved to 1-2.
The Dolphins fell to 1-2, another wobbly start for a team that hasn't won a postseason game since 2000.