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NFL Round-up

©Associated Press

November 25, 2002

Ravens 13, Titans 12

Ravens 13, Titans 12

BALTIMORE -- Some teams find ways to win. Tennessee found ways to lose.

"We managed to lose this game just about anyway you can," coach Jeff Fisher said.

The Titans gave up a blocked punt for the lone touchdown, had four turnovers and committed a penalty that negated a touchdown. Not to mention Steve McNair's miss of Derrick Mason for what would almost surely have been the winning touchdown.

Barely a minute into the game, Baltimore rookie Ed Reed blocked Craig Hentrich's punt, picked it up and ran 11 yards into the end zone.

Then McNair, who had all four Titan turnovers, threw an interception in the end zone on third and goal from the Baltimore 4. On the next series, Andre Dyson's 28-yard interception return was negated by a roughing the passer penalty against the Titans' Keith Bulluck.

"I started to get the feeling at that point that it was going to be our day," said Baltimore quarterback Jeff Blake, who like most offensive players in this game had a bad day: 11-for-24 for 109 yards.

The Ravens led 10-6 at halftime and 13-6 entering the fourth before a Joe Nedney field goal cut it to 13-9. The Titans later drove to the Baltimore 3, but McNair missed Mason, who was open on third down. So Nedney kicked his fourth field goal to make it 13-12.

Bears 20, Lions 17 (OT)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Detroit took the wind and Chicago got the win.

Quarterback Jim Miller came off the bench to rescue the Bears, who benefitted from Detroit's unconventional overtime strategy to end an eight-game losing streak.

"The wind was a factor. They wanted us to drive the length of the field, which is exactly what we did," Miller said after Paul Edinger's 40-yard field goal gave the Bears their first win since the second week of the season.

Miller, playing with a sore right elbow, led the Bears to 10 points in the final 2:33 of regulation, and Chicago forced overtime on Edinger's 22-yard field goal on the final play.

The Lions won the coin toss to start overtime and decided to play defense first with a 17 mph wind at their backs.

"Knowing the outcome of this game, I wouldn't do it again," Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg said. "But in a similar situation, I would. I had complete confidence in our defense up to that point. The wind knocked the ball off the tee when we were kicking off. It was substantial, that was my rationale."

Chicago moved from its 35 to the Detroit 22, with third-down passes of 14 and 15 yards to Marty Booker and a 5-yarder to Dez White on fourth-and-3 from the Detroit 30.

Bears starting quarterback Chris Chandler left with a sprained ankle in the third quarter.

Patriots 24, Vikings 17

FOXBORO, Mass. -- New England outlasted a team that can't win on the road and can't hang on to the ball anywhere.

Tom Brady threw three touchdowns in the first half and the Patriots held on.

"If you've got problems in the turnover area, that's probably the worst problem to have," Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said.

Minnesota lost three fumbles and forced no turnovers, leaving its league-worst turnover differential at minus-19. The Vikings have lost 16 straight on the road since winning Thanksgiving Day 2000 in Dallas.

The Patriots led 21-0 and got the ball back at the Minnesota 31 when Richard Seymour recovered Randy Moss's fumble with 2:14 left in the half. But the drive ended at the 39 with an 8-yard sack on fourth down, and the Vikings got a 6-yard touchdown from D'Wayne Bates with 19 seconds left in the half.

The Pats scored on their first three possessions: on Brady's touchdowns of 9 yards and 1 yard to Christian Fauria and 5 yards to Troy Brown.

"I never thought it was going to be easy. This is an explosive team," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of the Vikings. "They've got some big-play players."

The Vikings cut the lead to 21-17 early in the fourth but the Patriots defense held, and Adam Vinatieri added a 34-yard field goal with 11:09 left.

Jets 31, Bills 13

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- They called him "Jelly Legs" and "Elvis." No, not Curtis Martin -- Chad Pennington.

Pennington borrowed some of Martin's moves on a 1-yard touchdown that clinched the win. He froze linebacker Eddie Robinson with an inside fake on a rollout, then trotted in on fourth down.

"It wasn't pretty. I think the move was so bad, he'd never seen it before," Pennington said of Robinson, "so he kind of fell down. It was a disgrace to the quarterback position that has Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick."

Martin, finally healed from a sprained ankle that plagued him since the opener at Buffalo, rushed for 120 yards and has consecutive 100-yard games.

Pennington was 15-for-24 (62.5 percent) for 178 yards. He entered with a league-best completion percentage of 71.

Buffalo, which trailed 24-3, got within 24-13 on Mike Hollis' 40-yard field goal in the third quarter but New York calmly marched 65 yards in 11 plays as Pennington, 5-2 as a starter, used three wideouts for big plays. Wayne Chrebet caught an 11-yard pass on third down, Santana Moss gained 22 with a spin move after the catch and Laveranues Coles caught a high throw for 15 yards. On fourth down, Pennington did his dance step into the end zone.

Steelers 29, Bengals 21

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers still don't know how to play with a huge lead. Good thing for them they were playing the Bengals.

Pittsburgh frittered away a 17-point lead for the second straight home game but rallied after Cincinnati fumbled away a punt and a late lead.

The Bengals led 21-20 until T.J. Houshmandzadeh's fumbled punt with 61/2 minutes led to rookie Jeff Reed's third field goal in his league debut. Jerome Bettis followed with his second touchdown but Reed missed the extra point.

The Bengals drove to the Steelers 5 in the final minute before Jon Kitna threw four straight incompletions, with Chad Scott knocking away a pass intended for Chad Johnson on fourth down.

Kordell Stewart replaced the injured Tommy Maddox and was 22-for-26 for 236 yards, but the Steelers stalled for more than two quarters after surging to a 17-0 lead.

"I was like a kid playing in a sandbox," Stewart said, and not just because the sandy Heinz Field turf was in terrible shape. "I was excited just to have an opportunity again."

Players from both teams said field conditions were among the worst they've seen for an NFL game. There were bare spots between the hash marks, the result of four high school playoff games played Friday on a snowy, wet day.

Raiders 41, Cardinals 20

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The schedule says this was a road victory for Oakland. With more than half the 58,814 in Raider black, it felt like home.

Rich Gannon moved the league's No. 1 offense up and down the field with little resistance in a 41-20 victory over the reeling Cardinals on Sunday.

Gannon completed 27-of-45 for 340 yards and three touchdowns, Charlie Garner rushed for 100 yards and a TD, and Tyrone Wheatley added 82 yards on 13 carries.

"We felt by watching film that we could pretty much do what we wanted," said Jerry Porter, who caught two touchdowns, "whether it be running it or passing it."

Gannon topped 300 yards passing for the eighth time in 10 games. The QB record for 300-yard games in a season is nine.

"Rich is just having an unbelievable year," said Jerry Rice, who caught seven passes for 110 yards and a TD. "He's spreading the ball around. He's making good decisions. He's just playing well overall."

The Raiders compiled a season-high 520 yards against the Cardinals, who lost their fifth straight and have been outscored 171-84.

Marcel Shipp gained 135 yards in 16 carries for Arizona in his first start. But the Raiders scored touchdowns after Jake Plummer's two first-quarter turnovers and were in control throughout.

Seahawks 39, Chiefs 32

SEATTLE -- The young Seahawks realize they'll make plenty of mistakes when they lose. Matt Hasselbeck and Orlando Huff showed they're also learning how to get it right.

Hasselbeck had his best performance of the season, passing for career highs of 362 yards and three touchdowns. He completed 25-of-36 without an interception.

"I'm comfortable, and I guess that's part of the maturing process," said Hasselbeck, in his fourth season. "Part of it is that our young guys are really playing well. I'm going to have a better day if those guys improve."

Shaun Alexander ran for 145 yards on 23 carries and a 46-yard touchdown that made it 39-25 with 1:52 left.

Kansas City's Priest Holmes ran for 197 yards and two scores on 23 carries and caught seven passes for 110 yards, including a screen that went for a 64-yard touchdown and a 17-7 lead midway through the second quarter.

The Chiefs pulled to 39-32 in the final minute when Trent Green threw a 15-yard score to Marc Boerigter with 31 seconds left.

Huff intercepted a pass by Green after the Chiefs reached Seattle's 1-yard line just before the half with the Seahawks trailing 17-14.

Hasselbeck took over from there with 59 seconds, working the clock, then capping the drive with a perfectly placed 6-yard touchdown to rookie tight end Jerramy Stevens.

Texans 16, Giants 14

HOUSTON -- The Texans aren't just beating bad teams anymore. They've improved enough to hurt ones with winning records.

Houston used a trick play, a 39-yard punt return that led to a touchdown, and two field goals by Kris Brown, the last a 50-yarder with 6:57 left, to beat New York.

"This one is going to sting," Giants quarterback Kerry Collins said. "We did not play well enough to win, but we are just going to have to come back and get a win next week."

Houston beat Dallas in its opener and later defeated Jacksonville.

"This is great. It should lift everyone's spirit," Texans center Steve McKinney said. "It lets all the guys know if we can hang around until the fourth quarter, we'll have a chance to win."

Trailing 14-13 after Collins threw a 31-yard touchdown to Amani Toomer with 13:10 to play, the Texans drove 41 yards to the Giants 32-yard line, setting up Brown's game-winner.

It still took two late interceptions, by Matt Stevens with 5:57 to play and by Jeff Posey with 1:19 left, to preserve the win.

David Carr completed 10 of 23 for 103 yards. Collins was 18-for-41 for 214 yards.

A trick play set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Wells. Facing third-and-6 from the New York 30, Carr lateraled across the field to James Allen, who threw back to Carr, who had an open field and ran to the 2.

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