Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings gave one away - and are perfect no more.
Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings gave one away — and are perfect no more.
The New Orleans Saints are still undefeated, proving that no deficit is too large for their explosive offense to overcome.
Three times Sunday, the Vikings were ready to take the lead and possibly put away the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even for Favre, three chances weren't nearly enough to remain perfect against a defense that not only outplayed the Vikings but outscored them.
LaMarr Woodley returned Favre's fumble 77 yards for a touchdown and Keyaron Fox ran back an interception 82 yards for another score during the closing minutes, and the Steelers (5-2) turned three major defensive stands into a 27-17 victory Sunday to hand the Vikings (6-1) their first loss.
"We had three chances," Favre said. "It's easy to look back now and say we should've done this or should've done that."
At Miami, Brees and the Saints (6-0) fell behind for the first time all season, then overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Dolphins 46-34. The NFL's highest-scoring team topped 40 points for the fourth time and outscored the Dolphins 22-0 in the fourth quarter.
"There was no doubt on our sideline we would come back and win," said Brees, who threw for 298 yards. "They had given us their best shot, and we had played about as bad as we could play. All we had to do was string together a few drives and gain the momentum back. We knew it was going to happen, and it did."
At Pittsburgh, the anticipated quarterback showdown between Favre and Ben Roethlisberger became a defensive duel. And the Super Bowl champion Steelers are tough to beat in any game that's decided by defense.
The Vikings conceded as much in the third quarter when, after failing to score from a half-yard out on three plays in which Adrian Peterson got the ball only once, they settled for a field goal that kept Pittsburgh in the lead at 13-10.
"That's the biggest point of the game," safety Ryan Clark said. "You have the best running back in the world and you don't give it to him. They're saying they can't beat us running, and that's a major statement when you have the guy they have back there."
Brees had his worst day of the season, with three interceptions, a lost fumble and five sacks. But he led touchdown drives of 82, 79 and 60 yards on successive possessions in the second half.
Patriots 35, Buccaneers 7
At Wembley, England, Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes and had more than 300 yards as the Patriots (5-2) beat the winless Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium in the NFL's third regular-season game at the iconic London venue.
Cowboys 37, Falcons 21
At Arlington, Texas, Tony Romo and Miles Austin brought the Cowboys' offense to life and the defense gave up little more than long drives at the start of each half as Dallas (4-2) roared out of its bye with its most impressive win of the season and first against a team with a winning record.
Bengals 45, Bears 10
At Cincinnati, Carson Palmer threw five touchdown passes — four in a dominant first half — and Cedric Benson ran for a career-high 189 yards and a touchdown against the team that let him go.
Jets 38, Raiders 0
At Oakland, Calif., Mark Sanchez shook off the worst start of his young career by running for one touchdown and throwing for another, fellow rookie Shonn Greene ran for 144 yards and two scores and the Jets snapped a three-game losing streak.
The win came after the Jets (4-3) lost running back Leon Washington to a broken right leg.
Packers 31, Browns 3
At Cleveland, Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes, Ryan Grant rushed for 148 yards in a laugher against the Browns, who got over the flu but can't shake other problems.
Chargers 37, Chiefs 7
At Kansas City, Mo., Philip Rivers threw three touchdowns passes and LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 71 yards.
Rivers was 18 for 30 for 268 yards and three TDs as the Chargers (3-3) won their third in a row in Kansas City for the first time since 1981.
Bills 20, Panthers 9
At Charlotte, N.C., Jairus Byrd had two more interceptions, Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't make a big mistake in his first start at quarterback and the Bills took advantage of Carolina's miscues.
Colts 42, Rams 6
At St. Louis, Peyton Manning was 23 for 34 for 235 yards — ending his run of 300-yard games at five — and three touchdown passes, and the Colts' defense got its first score of the year on rookie Jacob Lacey's 35-yard interception return.
Cardinals 24, Giants 17
At East Rutherford, N.J., Arizona erased some bad memories in its last regular-season visit to Giants Stadium, forcing four turnovers and bewildering Eli Manning with its blitzes.
The Cardinals finished with a 3-15 record at the Meadowlands, but this win lifted the defending NFC champions into first place in the NFC West at 4-2 with their third straight win.
The Giants (5-2) lost their second straight.