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NFL roundup

©Associated Press

October 21, 2002


Browns 34, Texans 17

Browns 34, Texans 17

CLEVELAND -- Tim Couch's only big mistake was misjudging the height of the wall.

Couch, booed by Cleveland fans in his previous home game, threw a 25-yard touchdown to Quincy Morgan and the Browns sacked David Carr nine times.

After hooking up with Morgan, Couch tried to jump into the crowd to celebrate with some of the same fans who drove him to tears by booing him two weeks ago.

But Couch didn't quite make his leap, as his teammates reminded him after the game.

"They said, 'We thought you were Mr. Kentucky in basketball, but you've got no hops,' " Couch said with a laugh. "It was great to win and get the fans back on our side."

Cleveland rookie Andre Davis had a 95-yard kickoff return for a score to put Cleveland ahead to stay at 17-14. William Green scored on a 1-yard run for the Browns.

The first-year Texans had chances. But Carr twice overthrew an open Corey Bradford and Houston made too many mistakes.

Two weeks ago, Couch tearfully reacted to fans; first for booing him, then for cheering after he sustained a concussion in a loss to Baltimore.

Couch heard a few more boos when the Browns left the field tied at 7 after one half. But the former No. 1 overall draft pick won the fans over by completing 12 of 17 for 86 yards and a score after halftime.

Jets 20, Vikings 7

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Curtis Martin said he hopes Chad Pennington's performance Sunday changes the way opposing teams look at New York. Pennington had a career day, completing 24 of 29 for 324 yards.

"Some of my friends would say to me, 'Curtis, we're coming in there to shut you down,' " Martin said. "That's not the case anymore. Now when teams look at us, they know they can't put the eight-man front in there."

With Pennington opening the offense and the defense suddenly looking more aggressive, the Jets won for the first time since opening week against Buffalo.

The Vikings' Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss struggled to connect. Culpepper threw three interceptions and Moss had four catches for 86 yards.

"We have 11 players on offense," Moss said. "Somebody needs to take the pressure off of me. Everybody has to make the plays, not just me. Not just Daunte."

Pennington won his first game as a starter since taking over for Vinny Testaverde and looked like a veteran, though it was against the league's second-worst secondary.

Jets linebacker Mo Lewis intercepted Culpepper's pass on third-and-4 from the Jets 7 in the second quarter. In the third, from the Jets 24, Lewis forced Michael Bennett to fumble; Marvin Jones recovered.

Broncos 37, Chiefs 34 (OT)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Shannon Sharpe proved there's still plenty of life in his 34-year-old legs.

The Denver tight end set a league record for tight ends with 214 yards receiving. He also had two second-half touchdowns as the Broncos rallied from a 14-point deficit. Jackie Smith held the tight end mark with 212 yards for the Cardinals against Pittsburgh on Oct. 13, 1963.

Sharpe also set a franchise mark for receiving yards, breaking Lionel Taylor's mark (199 against Buffalo, Nov. 27, 1960).

Denver quarterback Brian Griese was 30-of-50 for a career-best 376 yards, with 278 in the second half.

After Sharpe beat three defenders for his first score, an 82-yarder, he couldn't resist needling Kansas City's fans. He unfastened some tape from his shoe and showed them what was written underneath.

"It says, 'Big Play Shay,' " Sharpe said. "I just wanted to let everyone know I was still back."

Jason Elam kicked a 25-yard field goal 2:57 into overtime for Denver, his third of the game.

Denver's Mike Anderson forced overtime with 21 seconds left in regulation, scoring on a 2-yard run after Kansas City's Morten Andersen missed a 43-yard try, breaking his streak of 25 field goals made, with 4:37 left. Rod Smith kept the Broncos' drive going with an 8-yard catch on fourth-and-6 from the Chiefs 29 just before the 2-minute warning.

Lions 23, Bears 20 (OT)

DETROIT -- The Lions have won as many games in six weeks as they did all of last season.

They still don't think anybody believes in them.

Jason Hanson's 48-yard field goal 4:42 into overtime won it for Detroit, which handed Chicago its fourth straight loss.

"I don't think it silences a lot of people, I really don't," said Lions running back James Stewart, who ran for a career-high 172 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries. "I really think people will still look at us as being on the bottom of the league."

Chicago has more regular-season losses than last season, when it won its first division title since 1990.

The victory was especially sweet for rookie quarterback Joey Harrington. He failed to lead fourth-quarter comebacks last week against Minnesota and in his first start against Green Bay, throwing an interception each time.

After leading 10 fourth-quarter comebacks at Oregon, Harrington has one in the NFL after completing 16 of 30 for 199 yards with no TDs or interceptions.

The Bears scored 17 unanswered points to take a 20-14 lead midway through the third quarter.

Harrington then led a 14-play drive to pull the Lions within three late in the third. Then a 12-play, 72-yard drive with no timeouts set up Hanson's tying 24-yard kick with 2 seconds left.

Cardinals 9, Cowboys 6 (OT)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- That's no misprint in the standings. Arizona is tied for first in the NFC West.

Despite scoring no touchdowns, and missing two field goals in the final minutes of regulation, the Cardinals won on Bill Gramatica's 40-yard field goal with 3:10 left in overtime.

The Cards are off to their best start since 1988, their first season in Arizona.

"To be in first place six games into the season is great," quarterback Jake Plummer said. "When those 16 games are done, that's where I want to be."

Quincy Carter threw four interceptions, two in the end zone, and the Cowboys botched an extra point.

Gramatica missed from 28 and 51 yards in the last 3:24 of regulation.

"I've got to make every kick. I don't care if it's 28 or 51," said Gramatica, a former standout at South Florida. "The team killed themselves to give me an opportunity for another shot. I'm just glad that I was able to be there for them, because they sure as heck were there for me the entire game."

Emmitt Smith gained a season-high 82 yards on 22 carries, leaving him 92 yards shy of Walter Payton's NFL career rushing mark.

Dallas' Billy Cundiff missed a 49-yard field goal with 24 seconds left in regulation. Antonio Bryant had a 78-yard catch for the game's only touchdown with 7:50 left in the third, but holder Micah Knorr fumbled the extra-point snap and the score stayed tied at 6.

Rams 37, Seahawks 20

ST. LOUIS -- Two games of handing the ball off to Marshall Faulk makes Rams quarterback Marc Bulger think his teammate belongs in the Hall of Fame right now.

"They should put him in already, the first active player," Bulger said after Faulk ran for 183 yards.

St. Louis reached the 30-point mark for the first time this season behind Faulk's four-touchdown game, his fifth.

The defending NFC champions have won their past two after an 0-5 start. Bulger, elevated to the starting job by injuries to Kurt Warner (broken finger) and Jamie Martin (knee), was 22-of-40 for 265 yards and one interception.

Faulk matched his career high for attempts (32) and touches (39), adding seven receptions for 52 yards.

"You've got to make adjustments in this business," said Faulk, who became the 15th player with 10,000 yards rushing. "The teams that make the adjustments the quickest succeed, and they have success a lot longer."

Koren Robinson caught a 79-yard touchdown for Seattle's first score and, in the fourth, went 80 yards off a quick slant.

But rookie cornerback Travis Fisher caught Robinson at the 2 by and Kim Herring intercepted an underthrown pass by Trent Dilfer in the end zone three plays later. Dilfer left after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Adam Archuleta on a 2-point conversion with 3:28 to go. Matt Hasselbeck finished for Seattle.

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