From first kickoff to final field goal, just about everything a football fan can imagine happened in Week 3 of the NFL schedule.
Three overtime games. Long touchdowns by offenses, defenses and special teams. Upsets across the nation.
Oh yeah, plenty of suspect officiating calls, too.
One that the replacement officials got right, rookie Justin Tucker’s 27-yard field goal that barely sneaked inside the right upright, lifted Baltimore past New England 31-30 Sunday night in a rematch of last January’s AFC title game won by the Patriots. The officials’ decision enraged New England coach Bill Belichick, who grabbed the arm of one of the replacements as they were leaving the field.
“I’m not going to comment about that. You saw the game,” Belichick said in his postgame news conference. “What did we have, 30 penalties called in that game?”
Actually, it was 10 for 83 yards, fewer than the Ravens’ 14 for 135 yards.
Ravens 31, Patriots 30
At Baltimore, the Ravens (2-1) won their 12th straight at home behind Joe Flacco, who went 28 for 39 for 382 yards and three touchdowns, and Torrey Smith.
Smith, who was playing less than 24 hours after the death of his 19-year-old brother, had six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns for the Ravens.
“It means a lot not just for us but for my family. ... That’s for my little brother,’” Smith said.
Tom Brady completed 28 of 41 passes for 335 yards and a score for the Patriots (1-2), who hadn’t been under .500 since the opening of the 2003 season.
Titans 44, Lions 41, OT
At Nashville, Tenn., the Titans’ defense ended Music City Mayhem when it stopped backup quarterback Shaun Hill on fourth-and-1 at the Tennessee 7 after Rob Bironas put the Titans ahead with a 26-yard field goal in overtime. Hill was supposed to try to draw Tennessee (1-2) offside, but instead the ball was snapped.
The Titans blew a 20-9 halftime lead in a crazy game featuring big plays, scoring swings and some suspect officiating. Detroit scored 18 straight points, then Tennessee answered with 21 points before the Lions (1-2) scored the final 14 of regulation — in 18 seconds, a league record. Detroit recovered an onside kick and got an assist from officials who did not review a possible turnover.
Chiefs 27, Saints 24, OT
At New Orleans, Ryan Succop kicked a team-record six field goals, one to force overtime in the final seconds and another from 31 yards to lift Kansas City (1-2) and keep New Orleans winless.
Succop’s 43-yard field goal with 3 seconds left completed a methodical comeback by Kansas City after the Saints cashed in on a pair of Chiefs turnovers to go ahead 24-6 in the third quarter.
A 91-yard TD run by Jamaal Charles highlighted his 233 yards rushing and 55 yards receiving.
“We knew coming in that we could run against this defense,” Charles said. “It was an opportunity we had to take advantage of.”
The Saints have lost all their games without head coach Sean Payton and interim head coach Joe Vitt, both suspended for their roles in the team’s bounty scandal.
Jets 23, Dolphins 20, OT
At Miami, both teams tried to give this one away, and the Jets (2-1) got the victory only after Nick Folk received a reprieve.
Folk’s blocked field-goal attempt was negated by a Dolphins timeout, and his second try was a successful 33-yarder with 6:04 left in overtime.
Mark Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes for a 38-yard gain to set up the kick.
Earlier, Dan Carpenter was wide left on a 48-yard field-goal attempt that would have given Miami (1-2) the victory.
It might have been a costly game for both sides. Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis and Miami’s Reggie Bush were sidelined by left knee injuries. Each will be examined Monday.
Texans 31, Broncos 25
At Denver, Houston looked like the cream of the AFC for most of the day as Matt Schaub outplayed Peyton Manning, throwing four touchdown passes against a confused Denver defense.
Schaub finished 17 for 30 for 290 yards to help Houston move to 3-0 for the first time in franchise history.
“Boy, he played like a champ today,” coach Gary Kubiak said of his quarterback.
Six days after throwing three interceptions in the first quarter of a loss to Atlanta, Manning didn’t throw any. But just as happened last week, the Broncos (1-2) fell behind by 20 and lost by six. Manning did get the ball with 20 seconds left this time but didn’t get the Broncos close to the end zone.
Falcons 27, Chargers 3
At San Diego, the Falcons (3-0) moved to 6-0 all-time in San Diego and also are 6-0 in West Coast games under coach Mike Smith. All three of this season’s wins have come against AFC West teams in a scheduling quirk.
Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes and safety Thomas DeCoud had two interceptions and a fumble recovery for unbeaten Atlanta. Ryan completed 30 of 40 passes for 275 yards, with his first interception of the season, and a passer rating of 107.8. The Falcons’ NFL-high turnover differential is plus-10.
San Diego (2-1) saw running back Ryan Mathews make his season debut and he looked good until fumbling inside the Falcons 5-yard line, with DeCoud recovering.
Cardinals 27, Eagles 6
At Glendale, Ariz., Arizona’s defense showed why it is among the stingiest in the league.
Arizona (3-0) sacked Michael Vick five times in winning its seventh straight home game, the second-longest streak in franchise history. The Cardinals got a 93-yard touchdown return with a fumble by James Sanders off one of those sacks to end the first half.
Arizona is off to its best start in 38 years — when the Cardinals were in St. Louis.
Receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught nine passes for 114 yards and a touchdown while becoming the youngest player in NFL history to reach 700 receptions.
Philadelphia (2-1) became the first NFL team to open a season with two one-point wins, but couldn’t handle the streaking Cardinals, who have won 10 of their last 12.
Vikings 24, 49ers 13
At Minneapolis, as good as San Francisco looked in its opening two wins, it was no match for surprising Minnesota (2-1) on Sunday. Christian Ponder threw two touchdown passes to tight end Kyle Rudolph and ran for another score.
The Vikings began the game boldly with a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass by Ponder to Rudolph. They finished strong by forcing three turnovers and two punts by the 49ers (2-1) in the fourth quarter.
Playing against his former team in the regular season for the first time, Randy Moss had three catches for 27 yards. Alex Smith’s franchise-record interception-free streak ended at 249 passes.
Bengals 38, Redskins 31
At Landover, Md., the Bengals (2-1) blew a 24-7 first-half lead, but two touchdown passes by Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter won it. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns.
A 6-yard throw to tight end Jermaine Gresham broke a 24-24 tie, then Dalton hit Andrew Hawkins for a 59-yard score with 7:08 left.
Robert Griffin III’s 2-yard run cut the lead to seven points, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty amid confusion over how much time remained on the clock in the final seconds led to a third-and-50 and the Redskins (1-2) couldn’t convert on the game’s last play.
Cincinnati’s A.J. Green caught nine passes for a career-high 183 yards.
Raiders 34, Steelers 31
At Oakland, Calif., the Raiders (1-2) rallied in the renewal of a classic rivalry.
Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 43-yard field goal on the last play as Oakland scored the final 13 points after wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was knocked out and hospitalized by a scary hit.
The game turned somber early in the fourth quarter when Heyward-Bey was knocked unconscious by a helmet-to-helmet hit in the end zone by Steelers safety Ryan Mundy. No penalty was called by the replacement officials. Heyward-Bey was taken to the hospital with a neck injury.
Carson Palmer then threw his third touchdown pass and Janikowski kicked two field goals to beat the Steelers (1-2) and give coach Dennis Allen his first win.
Jaguars 22, Colts 17
At Indianapolis, the Jaguars (1-2) shocked the Colts (1-2) with 45 seconds left. Blaine Gabbert connected with Cecil Shorts III on an 80-yard touchdown pass to win it.
Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 177 yards.
The Colts took a 17-16 lead after Adam Vinatieri’s 37-yard field goal with 56 seconds left. But on the next snap, Shorts got behind Colts safety Sergio Brown and Gabbert hit him in stride.
Cowboys 16, Buccaneers 10
At Arlington, Texas, the Cowboys’ offense sputtered again and Tony Romo had three turnovers, two on plays reversed by replay.
But the Cowboys (2-1) scored twice in the first half when starting in Tampa Bay (1-2) territory after turnovers, and the defense that held Tampa Bay to 166 total yards.
Dan Bailey made field goals of 32, 26 and 22 yards, and DeMarco Murray had an 11-yard touchdown run as Dallas won its home opener.
Bears 23, Rams 6
At Chicago, the Monsters of the Midway were back.
Major Wright returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown and Chicago had six sacks of Sam Bradford while holding St. Louis (1-2) to 160 total yards.
The Bears (2-1) had just kicked a field goal to extend their lead to 13-6 in the fourth quarter when Wright came up with his big return. He caught the ball at the 45 and ran untouched to the end zone.
Bills 24, Browns 14
At Cleveland, the Browns (0-3) joined New Orleans as the only winless clubs as Buffalo overcame the loss of C.J. Spiller, the NFL’s leading rusher, to snap an eight-game road slide. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes as the Bills (2-1) turned to their passing game after Spiller was lost in the first quarter with a left shoulder injury.
Before he got hurt, Spiller scored on a 32-yard screen pass from Fitzpatrick, who also threw a 9-yard TD to T.J. Graham in the first quarter and hooked up with Stevie Johnson from 9 yards in the fourth.