FOXBORO, Mass. — Another sluggish start. Another nail-biting finish for the New England Patriots. Tom Brady threw two touchdowns passes 30 seconds apart inside of the two-minute warning and the AFC East-leading Patriots rallied for a 27-26 win over the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium.
New England (10-3) orchestrated its third consecutive comeback win without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was carted off the field in the third quarter after suffering what is believed to be a torn ACL. Gronkowski caught a pass from Brady up the seam before his right knee absorbed the brunt a hit by defensive back T.J. Ward.
After being tended to by medical personnel, Gronkowski was helped onto a cart. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday to confirm the injury. Cleveland quarterback Jason Campbell acquitted himself very well in a return from a concussion and seemingly had the Browns in position to win after his third touchdown pass gave them a 26-14 lead with 2:39 remaining in the fourth quarter.
But Brady quickly drove the Patriots 82 yards and capped the 11-play sequence with a 2-yard TD pass to Julian Edelman in the back of the end zone with 1:01 to play
The Patriots then recovered an onside kick at the Cleveland 40 and a pass interference penalty on defensive back Leon McFadden set New England up at the Cleveland 1 because the infraction occurred in the end zone.
On the next snap, Brady rolled to his right and found Danny Amendola for the go-ahead score with 31 seconds left.
Baltimore 29, Minnesota 26
BALTIMORE — Sometimes pundits use the phrase, “whichever team finishes with the ball will win the game.” In Baltimore on Sunday, that phrase held true during a bizarre fourth quarter that saw a total of 42 points scored.
Marlon Brown caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco with four seconds left on the clock, capping a back-and-forth final two minutes and giving the Baltimore Ravens a dramatic 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Dennis Pitta caught a 1-yard touchdown pass with 2:07 to play in the game and Flacco hit Torrey Smith for a 2-point conversion as the Ravens (7-6) took a 15-12 advantage. Minnesota wasted no time, scoring in just two plays. Matt Cassel hit Jerome Simpson for 27 yards on first down to the Baltimore 41, and Toby Gerhart broke numerous tackles as he rumbled up the middle on the following play to put Minnesota back up in front, 19-15, with 1:27 on the clock.
Blair Walsh pooched the ensuing kickoff to Jacoby Jones, who caught the short kick and raced 77 yards down the sideline to return serve with 1:16 to play.
Following two incompletions from Cassel, Cordarrelle Patterson caught a wide-receiver screen, followed a convoy of blockers and his speed did the rest as he scampered into the end zone for a 79-yard score.
The final Baltimore score was aided by an 18-yard pass interference penalty on Chad Greenway. Pitta caught an 18-yard pass two plays later and Brown ended it with a beautiful grab in the back of the end zone on the following play.
Cincinnati 42, Indianapolis 28
CINCINNATI — Andy Dalton accounted for four touchdowns — three passing and one rushing — to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Dalton threw for 275 yards on 24-of-35 passing and BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 48 yards and two touchdowns as the Bengals (9-4) won their third game in a row.
Green Bay 22, Atlanta 21
GREEN BAY — Matt Flynn threw for 258 yards and a touchdown in a solid substitute start, helping the Green Bay Packers to an elusive first win since Aaron Rodgers’ injury with a 22-21 edging of the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field.
Flynn shook off an interception that was returned 71 yards for a touchdown by the Falcons’ Sean Weatherspoon near the end of the first half to rally the Packers for 12 unanswered points, the last six coming on his 2-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Quarless with 12:01 remaining.
Matt Ryan put up 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns on a 20-of-35 completion rate for Atlanta (3-10), but was intercepted once and lost a fumble during a scoreless second half. Roddy White caught eight Ryan passes for 74 yards, with Steven Jackson recording 71 yards on 15 rushes in the loss.
NY Jets 37, Oakland 27
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Geno Smith threw for one touchdown and ran for another to lead the New York Jets to a win over the Oakland Raiders.
Smith, who was pulled from last week’s 23-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins, bounced back and completed 16-of-25 passes for 219 yards and also rushed for 50 yards on five caries. Kellen Winslow caught three passes for 61 yards and Jeremy Kerley finished with four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown for the Jets (6-7), who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Oakland started the game alternating between Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor at quarterback, but stuck with McGloin from the midway point of the second. McGloin finished 18-for-31 for 245 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Philadelphia 34, Detroit 20
PHILADELPHIA — It took a while for LeSean McCoy and the Eagles to find their footing in the snowy conditions at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. But once they did, it was smooth sledding. McCoy carried the ball 29 times for a franchise-record 217 yards and scored two of Philadelphia’s four fourth-quarter touchdowns, as the Eagles rallied for a 34-20 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Snow started falling in the hours leading up to Sunday’s tilt and remained constant for much of the game, leaving both high-powered offenses hampered. Trailing 14-6 to start the fourth, Philadelphia turned to its ground game, with McCoy scoring from 40 and 57 yards out, respectively, around a 98-yard kickoff return from Detroit’s Jeremy Ross.
Following a Detroit three-and-out, Nick Foles capped a 7-play, 71-yard march with a 1-yard TD surge and Chris Polk added a 38-yard touchdown run to cap the Philadelphia rally.
Miami 34, Pittsburgh 28
PITTSBURGH —The Pittsburgh Steelers nearly pulled off a miracle, but Antonio Brown barely stepped out of bounds on his way to the end zone on a final play that featured five laterals, and the Miami Dolphins escaped snowy Heinz Field with a 34-28 victory.
Charles Clay’s gritty 12- yard touchdown catch with 2:53 remaining put the Dolphins in front and Caleb Sturgis added a 27-yard field goal for a six-point margin before the Steelers got one final chance. Facing 4th- and-9 from his own 21 with just a few seconds remaining, Ben Roethlisberger’s pass was caught up the right sideline and the laterals began. Roethlisberger wound up with the ball again and flung it toward Brown along the left sideline near the Pittsburgh 40.
Brown eluded a couple of Miami defenders and took it all the way to the end zone for what would have been a stunning finish, but officials ruled he stepped on the sideline at the 13-yard line to end the game.
Tampa Bay 27, Buffalo 6
TAMPA — Bobby Rainey rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory over the Buffalo Bills. Mike Glennon completed 9-of-25 passes for 90 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for Tampa Bay (4-9), which has won four of its last five after dropping right in a row to start the year.
Vincent Jackson caught three passes for 70 yards and a touchdown and Timothy Wright had two catches for 21 yards and a score.
Kansas City 45, Washington 10
LANDOVER, Md — Dexter McCluster returned a punt for a touchdown and Quintin Demps did the same on a kickoff to highlight a 38-point first half that led the Kansas City Chiefs to a rout of the Washington Redskins Sunday at a wintry FedEx Field.
Denver 51, Tennessee 28
DENVER — Peyton Manning continued his run of success with 397 yards and four touchdown passes as the Denver Broncos ripped off 24 consecutive points en route to a convincing decision over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Manning set a single-game club record with 39 completions on a personal-record 59 attempts for the Broncos (11-2), who maintained their one-game edge over the Chiefs in the AFC West as well as a one-game lead over New England for the top spot in the conference with their fifth win in six games. Matt Prater connected on all three of his field-goal attempts, and set a new NFL record when he booted a 64-yard try on the final play of the first half.
Arizona 30, St. Louis 10
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carson Palmer completed 27-of-32 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown to lead the Arizona Cardinals to a win over the St. Louis Rams at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Larry Fitzgerald caught 12 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown while Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall added one rushing score apiece for the Cardinals (8-5), winners in five of their last six games.
San Diego 37, NY Giants 14
SAN DIEGO — Philip Rivers got the better of Eli Manning once again, tossing three touchdown passes to lead the San Diego Chargers to a much-needed 37-14 victory over Manning’s New York Giants.
Rivers completed a crisp 21-of-28 attempts for 249 yards without an interception in the one-sided win.
New Orleans 31, Carolina 13
NEW ORLEANS — A trip back into the comforts of its own dome was exactly what New Orleans needed. Drew Brees surgically picked apart the Carolina Panthers’ top-ranked defense and the Saints drew first blood in the first of two critical meetings between the NFC South squads in three weeks.