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Cards upset Pats after missed FG Newton, Panthers keep Giants winless

FOXBOROUGH, Mass, Sept 17, (AP): The Arizona Cardinals block field goal attempts better than any other team. Just the threat of that happening could make even the most reliable kickers nervous. That may have affected Stephen Gostkowski when his 42-yard shot at a winning field goal sailed wide to the left, clinching the Cardinals’ 20-18 upset of the heavily favored New England Patriots on Sunday. “We put a lot of pressure on a lot of field goal teams,” cornerback and special-team star Patrick Peterson said. “I think he was a little scared of us, honestly. That is why he pushed it left.” Arizona led the league in blocked field goals in each of the past three seasons, then got a block in the season opener a week earlier. On Sunday, the Cardinals even got to a punt by Zoltan Mesko, the first time he’s had one blocked in the 122 kicks of his pro career.

Sure, Gostkowski is the most accurate kicker in Patriots history. And he had made all four of his field goal attempts — three of them longer than 42 yards — before Sunday’s miss on the next to last play.
The Cardinals (2-0) also played well on defense, holding the high-scoring Patriots (1-1) to one touchdown and four field goals and sacking Tom Brady four times. They also did enough on offense — touchdowns on Kevin Kolb’s 2-yard pass to Andre Roberts and Kolb’s 5-yard run and two field goals by Jay Feely — to win for the ninth time in 11 games.
None of those wins was by more than six points, so coach Ken Whisenhunt figures his players know how close they’ve come to losing and won’t get carried away with their success.
Yet the Cardinals are off to a surprisingly good start.

They beat Seattle 20-16 in the opener when they forced Russell Wilson to throw three incompletions from the Arizona 4 in the final minute. Then they handed the Patriots their first loss in their 11 home openers at Gillette Stadium and ended a five-game losing streak against New England.
The Patriots suffered a big loss when tight end Aaron Hernandez, their most versatile offensive player, hurt his right ankle in the first quarter. He left Gillette Stadium wearing a walking boot and carrying crutches. The Patriots gave no update on the injury or how much time he might miss.
Coach Bill Belichick added: “You can’t go into the game just counting on one guy, any guy. Everybody has to be ready to adjust. It’s not the first time a player has been injured in a game.”
Kolb started in place of John Skelton, who missed the game with a sprained right ankle. His numbers were hardly spectacular — 15 completions in 27 attempts for 140 yards. But he kept plays alive by rolling out.

Giants 41, Buccaneers 34
In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Eli Manning came up with a near-record performance in throwing for 510 yards, and Andre Brown scored on a 2-yard run with 31 seconds left to lift the New York Giants to a wild 41-34 victory Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Manning’s yardage total was the second most for a Giants quarterback, and tied for the eighth highest in NFL history.
He threw three first-half interceptions, and came back with a monster 295 yards passing in the second, finishing 3 yards short of Phil Simms’ team record.
The Bucs (1-1) led by 11 points before the Super Bowl champions came back and avoided an 0-2 start.

Panthers 35, Saints 27
In Charlotte, North Carolina, Cam Newton threw for 253 yards and ran for a career-high 71 yards to hand New Orleans its first 0-2 start since 2007.
One week after tying a franchise low with 10 yards rushing in a loss to Tampa Bay, the Panthers ran for 219 yards and Newton, DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert all scored on short touchdown runs. Steve Smith overcame a sore knee to finish with 104 yards receiving — the 39th 100-yard receiving game of his career — and Jonathan Stewart hauled in a 17-yard touchdown reception for the Panthers (1-1).

Eagles 24, Ravens 23
In Philadelphia, Michael Vick scored on a 1-yard TD run with 1:55 left, helping Philadelphia overcome a slew of turnovers.
Rookie kicker Justin Tucker made field goals of 56, 51 and 48 yards for the Ravens, but Joe Flacco couldn’t get Baltimore (1-1) in his range in the final minute.
Flacco overthrew Ray Rice on fourth-and-1 from the Ravens 46, and the Eagles ran out the clock.
Vick threw four interceptions at Cleveland last week, but rallied the Eagles (2-0) to a 17-16 win.
He did it again, though the replacement officials almost made a costly mistake.
Down 23-17, the Eagles started at their 20 with 4:43 left. After two completions to Brent Celek, a 19-yarder to Clay Harbor and a roughing-the-passer penalty, the ball was at the 3.

Colts 23, Vikings 20
In Indianapolis, Adam Vinatieri made a 53-yard field goal with 8 seconds left to give Andrew Luck his first NFL victory.
Minnesota (1-1) rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the final 5 minutes and tied the score on a 6-yard TD pass from Christian Ponder to Kyle Rudolph with 31 seconds left.
But that was too much time for Luck, who had thrown for two touchdowns. He started with back-to-back 20-yard completions, then drew the Vikings offside before spiking the ball with 12 seconds to go. Vinatieri, the best clutch kicker in NFL history, knocked the 53-yarder through the uprights to win it.

Dolphins 35, Raiders 13
In Miami, Reggie Bush ran for 172 yards and two touchdowns, and Miami won a home opener for the first time since 2005.
Ryan Tannehill threw his first NFL touchdown pass, ran for another and avoided any turnovers after tossing three interceptions in his pro debut a week earlier.
The Dolphins improved to 1-1, and Joe Philbin earned a sideline drenching for his first victory as a head coach. The Raiders, under new coach Dennis Allen, are 0-2 for the first time since 2007.

Texans 27, Jaguars 7
In Jacksonville, Florida, Arian Foster ran for 110 yards and a touchdown, Ben Tate added 74 yards and two scores and Houston dominated from the start.
The Texans improved to 2-0 for the third consecutive season by winning their fourth in a row against the AFC South rival Jaguars, who started 0-2 for the third time in the last five years.
Jacksonville, which has never had a winning record after dropping its first two games, was far from competitive in the latest meeting.

Bills 35, Chiefs 17
In Orchard Park, New York, C.J. Spiller scored twice and had 123 yards rushing in sparking Buffalo.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes, including a 49-yarder to Stevie Johnson, and Leodis McKelvin scored on an 88-yard punt return — the second longest in team history — in the Bills’ home opener.
Buffalo’s high-priced defense had five sacks and forced three turnovers as the Bills bounced back from a season-opening 48-28 loss to the Jets last week.

Bengals 34, Browns 27
In Cincinnati, Adam “Pacman” Jones returned Cleveland’s first punt 81 yards for a touchdown, and Andy Dalton matched his career high with three touchdown passes.
The Bengals (1-1) have won 13 of the last 16 against the Browns (0-2), who got impressive games from their rookie quarterback and running back but still couldn’t get a win.
Jones put the Bengals ahead to stay with his fifth career punt return for a touchdown. Dalton threw three TD passes for the second time in his career, including a short reception that Andrew Hawkins turned into a 50-yard score in the fourth quarter.

Steelers 27, Jets 10
In Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns and Pittsburgh smothered the Jets in the second half.
Roethlisberger completed 24 of 31 passes. He hit Heath Miller for a 1-yard score to give the Steelers (1-1) the lead late in the first half, then found Mike Wallace for a 37-yard strike early in the third quarter to break the game open.
Isaac Redman added a late 2-yard touchdown run for Pittsburgh, which had little trouble avoiding its first 0-2 start in a decade.
The Jets (1-1) did little offensively after a pair of early scoring drives. Mark Sanchez passed for 138 yards and a touchdown, but New York hardly looked like the offensive juggernaut that piled up points in a 48-28 opening-week blowout win over Buffalo.

Rams 31, Redskins 28
In St. Louis, Sam Bradford threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns and Danny Amendola caught 15 passes for 160 yards in rallying St. Louis
The Rams made their comeback after running back Steven Jackson left the game after drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the second quarter. Later, coach Jeff Fisher said Jackson left because of a groin injury.
Griffin led the Redskins (1-1) to a 21-6 lead, but the Rams (1-1) came back thanks to the pass-catching of Amendola. The receiver tied an NFL record 12 first-half receptions, and caught a 1-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 21-13 at the half. Bradford had second-half scoring passes of 34 yards to Brandon Gibson and 1 yard to Matt Mulligan.

Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7
In Seattle, Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and a 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter and Seattle’s special teams came up with two huge first-quarter plays that led to 10 points.
Michael Robinson forced Felix Jones to fumble on the opening kickoff that led to a short field goal, and Malcolm Smith blocked Chris Jones’ punt which Jeron Johnson returned for a touchdown to give Seattle (1-1) a 10-0 lead in less than 5 minutes.
Rookie Russell Wilson threw for 151 yards and directed a 90-yard scoring drive in the third quarter capped by a 22-yard touchdown strike to Anthony McCoy to give Seattle a 20-7 lead.

Chargers 38, Titans 10
In San Diego, Tight end Dante Rosario had three touchdown catches for the first time in his NFL career and San Diego’s defense harassed Jake Locker all day.
Before the game, the Chargers (2-0) retired Junior Seau’s No. 55. Seau, the hard-hitting, first-pumping leader of the Chargers for 13 seasons, committed suicide May 2.
With Antonio Gates inactive due to sore ribs, the Chargers turned to Rosario. He responded with TD catches of 11, 4 and 15 yards from Philip Rivers. He had only five career scoring catches coming in, including a game-winner against San Diego in the 2008 season opener while with Carolina.

49ers 27, Lions 19
San Francisco, San Francisco’s stingy defense denied Matthew Stafford another milestone and Vernon Davis caught touchdown passes of 21 and 23 yards from Alex Smith.
Smith completed 20 of 31 throws for 226 yards and extended his franchise-record streak of passes without an interception to 216, leading the NFC West favorite Niners (2-0) to their ninth straight win in the series.
The 49ers ran their home winning streak against the Lions (1-1) to 12 games.
Frank Gore carried 17 times for 89 yards and a 1-yard touchdown for the 49ers.
Calvin Johnson caught eight passes for 94 yards, but that was hardly enough as the Lions (1-1) never got closer than the 20 until their final drive.
Stafford finished 19 for 32 with 230 yards, one touchdown and an interception, missing a chance to become the first player in NFL history to throw for 350 yards in five straight games.
David Akers kicked field goals from 36 and 48 yards for San Francisco and Jason Hanson hit from 38, 41, 40 and 48 yards for the Lions, who scored their touchdown on Stafford’s 9-yard TD pass to Brandon Pettigrew with 1:29 remaining.
See Also Page 51

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