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Patriots, Steelers Hold on To Win, Join Jets With NFL-Best 5-1 Records

The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers improved to 5-1 by pulling out road wins yesterday, tying the New York Jets for the best record in the National Football League.

The Patriots won in San Diego 23-20, drawing even with the Jets atop the American Football Conference’s East Division as the Chargers’ Kris Brown missed a 50-yard field goal attempt with 23 seconds left. The Steelers took advantage of a controversial ruling on a late fumble to win 23-22 in Miami.

The Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints (4-3) were upset 30-17 at home by the Cleveland Browns (2-5) in Week 7 of the NFL season, while the Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens won to improve to 5-2.

The New York Giants can move to 5-2 tonight when they visit the Dallas Cowboys, who are seeking to avoid a 1-5 start after winning the NFC East title last season.

“The one thing that you know is when the New York Giants play the Dallas Cowboys, it’s a great game,” Giants center Shaun O’Hara said. “They’ve found a way to lose some games, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not a good team.”

The Minnesota Vikings equaled their four losses from last season with a 28-24 defeat last night in Green Bay. The Vikings fell to 2-4 as quarterback Brett Favre, who played 16 seasons for the Packers, threw three interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown.

There were nine interception returns for touchdowns yesterday, the most in one day in NFL history.

Interception Returns

Cleveland linebacker David Bowens scored two touchdowns after intercepting passes from Saints quarterback Drew Brees, while Washington’s DeAngelo Hall returned one of his NFL-record four interceptions 92 yards for the go-ahead score in the Redskins’ 17-14 win over Chicago.

The Patriots almost blew a 20-3 second-half lead before dropping the Chargers to 2-5.

San Diego, which had a 13-3 record last season, scored 17 points in the fourth quarter before Brown’s attempt at a tying field goal bounced off the uprights.

The Steelers beat the Dolphins on an 18-yard field goal by Jeff Reed with 2:26 remaining that came one play after a fumble by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at the goal line.

Trailing 22-20, Roethlisberger dived into the end zone on third down as the ball spilled from his grasp.

‘Bizarre’

The on-field ruling of a touchdown was overturned by video review, yet the officials said there was no clear indication of who recovered the ball in the end zone.

The Steelers got the ball back for a fourth-down play at the half-yard line and Reed’s kick sent the Dolphins to a fifth straight home loss dating back to last season.

“It was just a bizarre kind of play,” Roethlisberger, who threw two touchdown passes, said during a news conference. “You hate to win it that way but you’ll take the win.”

The Falcons defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 39-32 as Matt Ryan threw for three touchdowns -- two to Roddy White -- and the Titans downed the Philadelphia Eagles 37-19 as Kenny Britt caught three touchdown passes. White had 201 receiving yards and Britt had 225, marking the fifth time in NFL history that two receivers each recorded at least 200 receiving yards and two touchdowns on the same day.

Overtime Win

The Ravens beat Buffalo 37-34 on Billy Cundiff’s 38-yard field goal in overtime, dropping the Bills to 0-6. Buffalo is the lone winless team in the NFL after the Carolina Panthers beat the San Francisco 49ers 23-20.

Tampa Bay won 18-17 against St. Louis, Kansas City defeated Jacksonville 42-20, Seattle topped Arizona 22-10, and the Oakland Raiders routed the Denver Broncos 59-14 behind four touchdowns from Darren McFadden.

The Jets, Detroit, Indianapolis and Houston were idle during Week 7.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dex McLuskey in Dallas at dmcluskey@bloomberg.net Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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