Cincinnati, Ohio — Terence Newman returned a fumble 58 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:47 remaining and the Cincinnati defense came up with one more stop of Aaron Rodgers, as the Bengals rallied for a 34-30 win over the Green Bay Packers in a wild affair at Paul Brown Stadium.
A successful Bengals challenge pushed the ball back just shy of the marker and the Packers elected to go for the first down. Rookie running back Johnathan Franklin, however, was stripped of the ball just as he reached the line of scrimmage. Reggie Nelson initially picked it up, but had it knocked away by Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb. Newman, though, was right there to scoop it up and he raced untouched to the end zone.
Baltimore 30, Houston 9
Baltimore, Md. — Buoyed by momentum-swinging touchdown returns from Daryl Smith and Tandon Doss in the second quarter, the Baltimore Ravens ran away with a 30-9 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Bernard Pierce scored a touchdown for Baltimore while starting at running back for the injured Ray Rice, Justin Tucker connected on a trio of field goals, and Joe Flacco completed 16-of-24 throws for 171 yards in the victory.
Carolina 38, NY Giants 0
Charlotte, N.C. — Cam Newton threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another, while his team’s defense put forth a dominant effort of its own as the Carolina Panthers rolled to a 38-0 victory over the reeling New York Giants at Bank of America Stadium.
Newton finished with 223 yards and one interception while completing 15-of-27 passes and adding 45 yards on the ground. Brandon LaFell hauled in two of the quarterback’s scoring strikes, with DeAngelo Williams contributing 120 rushing yards on 23 carries to Carolina’s (1-2) first triumph of the season.
Dallas 31, St. Louis 7
Arlington, Texas — DeMarco Murray exploded for 175 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, while Tony Romo threw for three scores, as Dallas pounded St. Louis, 31-7, in Week 3 action. Romo finished at 17-of-24 efficiency for 210 yards for the Cowboys (2-1), who bounced back from a one- point loss in Kansas City last week.
Dez Bryant, Gavin Escobar and Dwayne Harris all posted a receiving TD, with Jason Witten leading the pack with 67 yards on five catches. Sam Bradford ended up with 240 yards passing and a score to Austin Pettis on 29-of-48 completions for the Rams (1-2), who have dropped two in a row.
Cleveland 31, Minnesota 27
Minneapolis, Minn. — Many people thought the Cleveland Browns were waving the white flag when they traded running back Trent Richardson earlier this week. Instead, the Browns pulled out all the tricks in Sunday’s 31-27 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Brian Hoyer, filling in for an injured Brandon Weeden, threw a 7-yard TD pass to Jordan Cameron with 51 seconds left to give Rob Chudzinski his first win as the head coach of the Browns.
New England 23, Tampa Bay 3
Foxboro, Mass. — Strides were clearly made over the past 10 days in the rapport between Tom Brady and his inexperienced targets. Brady threw two touchdown passes to rookie wideout Kenbrell Thompkins, helping the New England Patriots beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 23-3, at Gillette Stadium.
Brady completed 25-of-36 throws for 225 yards with one interception for the Patriots, who have opened a campaign at 3-0 for the first time since their undefeated regular season six years ago.
New Orleans 31, Arizona 7
New Orleans, La. — Drew Brees tossed three touchdown passes and ran for a score as the New Orleans Saints scored 31 unanswered points and cruised past the Arizona Cardinals, 31-7.
Brees went 29-of-46 passing for 342 yards and an interception. The Saints’ signal caller has now surpassed 300 yards passing for the eighth straight regular season game, one shy of his own NFL record of nine consecutive games.
Tennessee 20, San Diego 17
Nashville, Tenn. — Jake Locker found Justin Hunter for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds left to lift the Tennessee Titans to a 20-17 win over the San Diego Chargers.
Detroit 27, Washington 20
Landover, Md. — Matthew Stafford threw a pair of touchdowns and the Detroit Lions won for the first time ever in Washington with a 27-20 victory over the Redskins on Sunday.
It took 22 games and 76 years, but the Lions were finally able to win in the nation’s capital as Stafford threw for 385 yards on 25-of-42 attempts with an interception. Joique Bell, starting in place of an injured Reggie Bush, totaled 132 yards of offense with a touchdown, while Calvin Johnson caught seven passes for 115 yards and a score for the Lions (2-1), who bounced back from a loss in Arizona last week.
Miami 27, Atlanta 23
Miami, Fla. — Ryan Tannehill threw his second touchdown pass with 38 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, sending Miami to a 27-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the Dolphins’ home opener.
N.Y. Jets 27, Buffalo 20
East Rutherford, N.J. — A spirited defensive effort was nearly outdone by a team-record 20 penalties, but the New York Jets won a battle between rookie quarterbacks after Geno Smith’s third touchdown of the day was enough to down EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills, 27-20.
Indianapolis 27, San Francisco 7
San Francisco, Calif. — Andrew Luck’s return to the Bay Area was a smashing success, much to the chagrin of his college coach. The ex-Stanford star ran for a touchdown while putting together an efficient effort under center for an impressive 27-7 victory over the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park.
Luck completed 18-of-27 passes for 164 yards and did not turn the ball over in outplaying young counterpart Colin Kaepernick, while getting a big assist from a Colts defense that held the struggling 49ers to 254 total yards and held Kaepernick firmly under wraps.
Chicago 40, Pittsburgh 23
Pittsburgh, Pa. — Marc Trestman is making offense in Chicago fun again. It also helps having a defense that can score too. Julius Peppers returned a fumble 42 yards for a game-clinching touchdown and Major Wright brought back an interception 38 yards for a score in the Bears’ 40-23 triumph over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Chicago, which eclipsed the 30-point mark for a second time, is averaging 31.7 points per tilt through its first three games. Matt Forte ran for 87 yards and a touchdown, while Jay Cutler completed 20-of-30 passes for 159 yards and a score for Chicago (3-0), which last started 3-0 in 2010 when it lost to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.