There was plenty of drama around the NFL on Sunday, and some of it even took place on the field as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers starred for the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers respectively.
Seven games were decided by six points or less, including five that came down to the final play of the game after Brady inspired Super Bowl champions the Patriots to a 36-33 win over the Houston Texans.
Brady connected with Brandin Cooks on a 25-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining to lift the Patriots.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson led his team on a seven-play, 49-yard drive that ended with a 36-yard field goal from Ka'imi Fairbairn with 2:24 remaining to give Houston a 33-28 lead.
But Brady marched the Patriots 75 yards on just eight plays. Two plays after the ensuing kick-off, Watson's Hail Mary from his own 46-yard line was intercepted by New England's Duron Harmon in the end zone to secure the win.
Rodgers found Jordy Nelson for a three-yard touchdown with 17 seconds to go in the fourth quarter to force overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals, who lost 27-24. He then hit Geronimo Allison on a 72-yard completion to set up Mason Crosby's game-winning 27-yard field goal for a Packers victory at Lambeau Field.
While the Bengals were unable to pull off the upset in Green Bay, the Chicago Bears shocked the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-17 in overtime at Soldier Field.
The Bears got a break before half-time when Marcus Cooper inexplicably slowed to a walk inside the five-yard line while returning a blocked punt only to have the ball slapped out of his hand. While a touchdown was taken away, Chicago maintained possession thanks to a Steelers penalty and got a short field goal.
Chicago led most of the game, but the Steelers forced overtime only to see Jordan Howard give the Bears a win in OT with a 19-yard touchdown run.
The Detroit Lions thought they had a walk-off victory over the Atlanta Falcons, but Golden Tate's last-second touchdown was overturned after a replay review showed he was down shy of the goal line. The replay review and subsequent clock runoff, because the Lions were out of timeouts, gave the Falcons a 30-26 victory.
The Eagles had a see-saw affair with the New York Giants, but Jake Elliott's 61-yard field goal as time expired lifted Philadelphia to a 27-24 win and set off a celebration at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Bears were not the only team to pull off an upset on Sunday as the New Orleans Saints, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New York Jets and the Washington Redskins all scored blow-out wins over favoured opponents.
RODGERS ENDS DROUGHT AGAINST BENGALS
The Bengals were the only NFL team Rodgers had not beaten, and by leading the Packers to victory, he also gained the first overtime win of his career in eight attempts.
By catching 10 passes for 111 yards in the loss to the Packers, Bengals receiver A.J. Green now has 501 receptions over his seven-year career.
Also reaching a milestone in defeat was Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr, who had nine catches for 79 yards and two scores in the loss to the Eagles. Beckham now has 301 receptions in just 45 games, the fewest games needed to reach 300 receptions.
The Bengals are one of five 0-3 teams in the NFL, which is not a good omen for their postseason hopes. Of the 168 teams to start a season 0-3 since 1980, only five have made the playoffs. That is bad news for the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns, the Los Angeles Chargers, the Giants and the Bengals.
After throwing for five touchdowns against the Texans, Brady now has six career games with at least five touchdown passes and no interceptions, the second most in NFL history. Only Saints quarterback Drew Brees (seven) has more.
WHO ELSE BUT BRADY?
Brady's game-winner to Cooks, who caught five passes for 131 yards and two scores, was the result of a perfect throw to the front corner of the end zone and a terrific toe-tap by Cooks.
TOM BRADY. BRANDIN COOKS.— NFL (@NFL) September 24, 2017
Rodgers knew he had a free play against the Bengals and then found a wide-open Allison to set up Crosby's winning kick.
Elliott's 61-yard boot was just inside the right upright.
Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray became the first running back in eight years to have a rushing touchdown of at least 75 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. Murray finished with 115 yards on 14 carries.
GASE HONEST IN DEFEAT, MCCOY RESPONDS TO TRUMP
Dolphins head coach Adam Gase after Miami's loss to the Jets: "They just beat the s*** out of us."
Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy on United States president Donald Trump's comments about national anthem protests: "I was bothered by the comments of our president. I can't stand and support something when the leader of our country is acting like this... Be a president. Be respectful, man. Us Americans we're together. Stop trying to divide us. That's the biggest thing and it showed today. From guys taking knees to guys touching shoulders, showing that we're all in this together. We want the best for this country no matter what race. We want the best for this country."
Jacksonville Jaguars 44-7 Baltimore Ravens
Buffalo Bills 26-16 Denver Broncos
New Orleans Saints 34-13 Carolina Panthers
Chicago Bears 23-17 (OT) Pittsburgh Steelers
Atlanta Falcons 30-26 Detroit Lions
Indianapolis Colts 31-28 Cleveland Browns
Minnesota Vikings 34-17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New England Patriots 36-33 Houston Texans
New York Jets 20-6 Miami Dolphins
Philadelphia Eagles 27-24 New York Giants
Tennessee Titans 33-27 Seattle Seahawks
Green Bay Packers 27-24 (OT) Cincinnati Bengals
Kansas City Chiefs 24-10 Los Angeles Chargers
Washington Redskins 27-10 Oakland Raiders
24. März 2018
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