Broncos beat Raiders 23-3 for 3-0 start
OAKLAND, Calif. – All that offseason disfunction in Denver is a thing of the past. Josh McDaniels and Kyle Orton have the Broncos off to a 3-0 start.
Orton threw a touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall, and rookie Knowshon Moreno ran for 90 yards and a score to lead the Broncos to a victory over the Raiders on Sunday.
McDaniels caused an immediate stir when he was hired to replace the fired Mike Shanahan as coach in Denver last offseason. He alienated Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler before trading him to Chicago for Orton, then suspended Marshall in the preseason.
But once the season started, things couldn’t have gone much better for the Broncos.
Vikings 27, 49ers 24
MINNEAPOLIS – Brett Favre threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis in the back of the end zone with 2 seconds left to lift Minnesota to a 27-24 victory over the stunned San Francisco 49ers, keeping the Vikings unbeaten.
An official review upheld Lewis’s unbelievable catch, sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy. Some of the fans had already left after two unsuccessful possessions against a stingy 49ers defense. More of them booed during the second half as the offense struggled to move the ball and Favre’s passes were off target.
Lions 19, Redskins 14
DETROIT – The Lions ended their 19-game losing streak by holding off the Redskins.
Matthew Stafford threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson in the first quarter and the two connected to draw a key penalty to set up a TD in the fourth quarter.
The Lions (1-2) had not won since Dec. 23, 2007 and their skid matched the second longest in NFL history.
Washington (1-2) pulled within five points on Jason Campbell’s second touchdown pass with 2:36 left in the game, but couldn’t prevent the Lions from picking up a first down that ran time off the clock and cost it three timeouts.
Bengals 23, Steelers 20
CINCINNATI – Carson Palmer threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 14 seconds left, completing a nearly perfect drive that gave the Bengals a victory and ended the Steelers’ nearly decade-long domination in Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh (1-2) had won its last eight games on Cincinnati’s home field. The last time the Bengals beat them at Paul Brown Stadium was 2001, when Chad Ochocinco was a rookie who rarely started and still went by the name of Johnson.
Bears 25, Seahawks 19
SEATTLE – Jay Cutler pumped his fists. He hugged his linemen. And he raised both arms triumphantly – all inside the final 2 minutes.
Exactly the scenes the Bears envisioned when they traded a king’s ransom to Denver to get him.
Cutler’s miserable Chicago debut two weeks ago became forgotten when he completed all three of his passes on Sunday’s decisive drive. The third was for 36 yards to Devin Hester with 1:52 remaining, rallying the Bears to a victory over the Seahawks.
Eagles 34, Chiefs 14
PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t need much from Michael Vick to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. They didn’t need anything from Donovan McNabb or Brian Westbrook.
Getting significant contributions from their youngsters and backups, the Eagles routed the Chiefs in Vick’s return to the NFL.
Kevin Kolb threw for 327 yards and two touchdowns, LeSean McCoy had 84 yards rushing and one TD, and DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek each had 100-plus yards receiving and one score for Philadelphia (2-1).
Jets 24, Titans 17
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – David Harris had an interception and a big sack on consecutive drives, and Mark Sanchez threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Jets stayed undefeated by holding on for a victory over the Titans.
Sanchez became the first rookie quarterback to start a season with wins in his first three games, and helped the Jets to their fourth 3-0 start in franchise history.
New York’s defense, which allowed its first touchdowns of the season, turned up the pressure in the fourth quarter and stopped Kerry Collins, who was 0 for his last 13 as the Titans fell to 0-3.
Packers 36, Rams 17
ST. LOUIS – Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, and the Packers sent the Rams to their 13th straight loss.
Rodgers was 13 for 23 for 269 yards. The Rams (0-3) have lost 30 of 35 since the start of the 2007 season.
Rodgers and Greg Jennings hooked up on passes of 50 and 53 yards that set up touchdowns for Green Bay (2-1). Rodgers had a 46-yard pass to Donald Driver that set up another score, and he scored on a 4-yard run.
Ravens 34, Browns 3
BALTIMORE – Joe Flacco threw for a career-high 342 yards, Willis McGahee scored two more touchdowns, and the Ravens cruised to a victory over the Browns.
After Baltimore (3-0) held the Browns to 78 yards while building a 20-0 halftime lead, Cleveland coach Eric Mangini pulled quarterback Brady Quinn in favor of Derek Anderson. The switch did nothing to turn around the fortune of a team that has been outscored 95-29 this season.
Quinn went 6 for 8 for 34 yards and an interception. Anderson, who lost his job to Quinn last year, was 11 for 19 for 92 yards and three interceptions.
Jaguars 31, Texans 24
HOUSTON – Maurice Jones-Drew had his first 100-yard game of the season and scored three touchdowns to lead the Jaguars to a victory over the mistake-prone Houston Texans on Sunday.
Jones-Drew scored the go-ahead touchdown on an 8-yard run early in the fourth quarter and finished with 119 yards rushing.
Houston had several chances to tie the game. The last came when Chris Brown’s goal line fumble was recovered by the Jaguars in the end zone. The Texans challenged but Jacksonville kept the ball.
Giants 24, Buccaneers 0
TAMPA, Fla. – Eli Manning threw for two touchdowns and Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw led a resurgence of a strong ground attack that was absent the previous two weeks, helping the Giants (3-0) remain unbeaten with a rout of the winless Bucs (0-3).
It was the Giants’ first shutout since a 36-0 home victory over Washington in October 2005. They hadn’t blanked an opponent on the road since beating Philadelphia 23-0 in November 1983.
Patriots 26, Falcons 10
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots finally got their offense rolling with a balanced attack as Tom Brady threw for 277 yards and Fred Taylor ran for 105 in a win over the Falcons.
One week after the Patriots were held without a touchdown in a 16-9 loss to the New York Jets, Brady threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Chris Baker and Taylor ran for an 8-yard score.
On a drizzly day, there was no need for a comeback like the one Brady led in the opener when he made up for an inconsistent offense by throwing two touchdown passes in the final 2:06 for a 25-24 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Chargers 23, Dolphins 13
SAN DIEGO – Philip Rivers had his usual big plays and a nifty little one that helped the San Diego Chargers end a seven-game losing streak against Miami.
Rivers scored on a 5-yard scramble late in the third quarter to highlight a victory over the winless Dolphins, who lost quarterback Chad Pennington to a shoulder injury early in the second half.
In the shotgun on third-and-goal, Rivers couldn’t find a receiver and the pocket collapsed, so he sprinted up the middle and into the end zone for a 10-6 lead.
Saints 27, Bills 7
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Will Smith had an interception and a sack to help New Orleans shut down Buffalo.
The Saints prevented the Bills from mustering any type of a threat through three quarters.
That’s when Pierre Thomas took over, sealing the win with two touchdown runs in the final 10 minutes. Thomas finished with 126 yards rushing, while scoring on 34- and 19-yard runs for a Saints offense had scored 45 points in each of its first two games.
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