St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

NFL roundup

©Associated Press

October 14, 2002

Chargers 35, Chiefs 34

Chargers 35, Chiefs 34

SAN DIEGO -- The Chargers picked up an improbable victory after committing five turnovers and having a punt blocked, coming back to win when Drew Brees threw a 2-yard touchdown to rookie Reche Caldwell with 14 seconds left.

"I think as many times as we shot ourselves in the foot, to have a chance at the end to win the game, you've got to think there's some kind of destiny involved," said Brees, who threw two interceptions, then had two scores in the final 8:06.

The Chargers had two fumbles by receiver Curtis Conway and a fumbled punt by Tamarick Vanover, a former Chief, before scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

"For us to be plus-4 in turnovers and lose, the Chargers had to be the better team," Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil said.

Out of timeouts with 2:24 to play, Brees led the Chargers 71 yards, completing 6 of 7. Caldwell caught the winner by beating cornerback Eric Warfield, who earlier had an interception and recovered a fumble.

"I couldn't drop it. He hit me right in the chest," said Caldwell, a former Florida Gator and Tampa Jefferson High standout.

The Chiefs inadvertently helped the Chargers when they called timeout with 19 seconds left and the Chargers facing third and 1 at the 2. The Chiefs saw 12 men in the Chargers' huddle, which the referees didn't see.

Vikings 31, Lions 24

MINNEAPOLIS -- Daunte Culpepper and Minnesota picked up the offensive tempo and their first win.

Culpepper threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to rally against Detroit.

Moe Williams got the clinching score on a 2-yard run with 2:12 to play. Culpepper threw a 25-yard pass to Randy Moss, their longest connection of the day, to set up the score.

The Vikings snapped an eight-game losing streak that began last season when the Lions, then 0-12, beat Minnesota at the Metrodome.

"We knew good things were eventually going to happen and today we made plays down the stretch and good things happened for our ballclub," Viking tight end Byron Chamberlain said.

After trailing for three quarters, Minnesota tied it on Culpepper's 45-yard screen to Michael Bennett, who eluded several defensive backs for a score with 5:25 left.

The Lions started at their 19 on the next possession, and Chris Hovan batted a third-down pass by Joey Harrington.

The Lions had a final chance when Harrington drove them from their 31 to the Minnesota 8. The rookie kept the drive going with a 23-yard pass to Az-Zahir Hakim on third down.

But on second and goal, Corey Chavous picked off Harrington to preserve the win, the first for coach Mike Tice.

Colts 22, Ravens 20

INDIANAPOLIS -- Mike Vanderjagt didn't think he had been kicking properly all season. Against Baltimore he got it right. Five times.

Vanderjagt's career high in field goals was capped by a 38-yard winner that completed Indianapolis' last-minute comeback.

"I haven't been real confident all year, but on Wednesday I kicked some field goals and kind of realized what I was doing wrong," Vanderjagt said. "To learn on Wednesday is a good time, because today I had a lot more confidence."

Vanderjagt was the league's most accurate kicker despite going 5-of-7 in the first four games.

The Colts closed in many times against the Ravens' stout defense, but struggled to put the ball in the end zone. Vanderjagt hit from 39, 50, 43 and 25 yards before the winner.

With a bit more than a minute left and Indianapolis facing fourth-and-10, Peyton Manning, under pressure, lobbed a pass for Qadry Ismail. He jumped for the ball and cornerback Gary Baxter plowed into him, drawing a 22-yard pass interference that put Indianapolis at the Baltimore 42.

"I heard the team holler 'ball' and all I did was jump," Baxter said. "It was a surprising call."

Five plays later, Vanderjagt was in position for the winner.

Indianapolis stuffed running back Jamal Lewis, limiting him to a 3.6-yard average, and forced seven fumbles, recovering two.

Bills 31, Texans 24

HOUSTON -- Three overtime games this season toughened Buffalo for just the kind of comeback it engineered against Houston.

Drew Bledsoe, the league's leading passer, threw two touchdowns in the final 10:39 and Travis Henry rushed for 159 yards and touchdowns of 1 and 23 yards.

"We just have tremendous confidence in each other and it all starts with Drew," Bills receiver Peerless Price said. "He led us back from 17-3, and with him we knew we can win."

Houston dueled with offensively potent Buffalo into the fourth quarter, taking a 24-17 lead on a halfback pass from James Allen to Billy Miller.

Bledsoe and the Bills didn't flinch.

He hit Eric Moulds, the league's leading receiver, with a 23-yard touchdown on a drive aided by two 15-yard penalties against Texans linebacker Jay Foreman. The most costly penalty was a taunting call on third down after an incomplete pass at Buffalo's 34 that gave the Bills a first down.

"I still can't believe that I did it," Foreman said. "It was a selfish play. I feel real bad. The last two weeks we've had 56 guys working hard, and then a stupid, bonehead play on my part helps them score, and that's the touchdown that ties it."

Bledsoe broke the tie with 3:55 left on a 26-yard strike to Price, who caught the ball, stepped back and ran past safety Matt Stevens.

Packers 28, Patriots 10

FOXBORO, Mass. -- New England fans booed every time ex-Patriot Terry Glenn touched the ball. Then they turned on their players.

The Super Bowl champs heard plenty of jeers as Brett Favre threw for three touchdowns to reach 301 for his career, moving past John Elway. Dan Marino had 420 and Fran Tarkenton 342.

"It means I'm playing and producing, and we're winning. That's about it," said Favre, whose 163rd straight start is a record for quarterbacks. "What matters is winning."

Teammates told Glenn, who had three receptions for 19 yards, that the fans "are booing you, but maybe they're booing them. They're not playing so well," he said. The receiver was traded in the offseason after a turbulent season with the Patriots.

"I anticipated it," Glenn said of the booing. "This game was on my mind for a long time."

Tom Brady threw three interceptions, was sacked twice and threw a touchdown after the Packers led 28-3. He was 17-3 as a starter before the past three games, all losses.

Ahman Green scored his first two touchdowns of the season and ran for 136 yards for Green Bay. The Packers stopped the Patriots despite missing starting defensive ends Joe Johnson and Vonnie Holiday and four defensive backs.

Even the return of top receiver Troy Brown, who missed New England's last two games with a knee injury, wasn't enough.

Steelers 34, Bengals 7

CINCINNATI -- Jon Kitna had the best game of his career against Pittsburgh last season. He followed it with the worst performance of his life.

Kitna threw three interceptions, two to Lee Flowers, and lost a fumble while getting sacked, helping the Steelers roll.

Pittsburgh took a 31-0 lead on a 99-yard kickoff return from rookie Antwaan Randle El to open the second half.

"They did us a favor out there, let's face it," Flowers said of winless Cincinnati, which has been outscored 181-51. "We don't need to get too high right now. Not bad-mouthing Kitna, but I thought he made some bad throws. It wasn't like we had to make great breaks on the ball."

Kitna agreed.

"I've been playing since fifth grade," he said. "I've never played more poorly than I did today. I've never been more disappointed in myself."

Flowers' first interception set up a 34-yard field goal by Todd Peterson that made it 10-0 and started a rapid-fire series of turnovers that decided the game.

Flowers had another interception on the Bengals' next possession, leading to Jerome Bettis' 41-yard touchdown run, his second, through a huge gap in the defense. Bettis ran 21 times for a season-high 109 yards.

In December, Kitna threw 68 times for 411 yards in Cincinnati's 26-23 overtime win over Pittsburgh.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.