Drew Brees threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes as the New Orleans Saints beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-10 in a matchup of the past two Super Bowl winners.
The Steelers’ loss last night in New Orleans came after the New York Jets had their five-game winning streak snapped with a 9-0 home loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The Steelers and Jets entered Week 8 of the season with 5-1 records, tied with New England for the best in the National Football League. The Patriots battered Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings 28-18 to improve to an NFL-best 6-1 and take a one-game division lead on the Jets.
“Coach always says, ‘Six games gets you nothing in this league,’ which is true,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said during a news conference. “So we’ve won six games, (but) if we have six wins at the end of the year, then we haven’t done anything. There’s a lot of football left.”
The Jets had three turnovers, a failed fake punt attempt and a missed field goal yesterday at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to lose for the first time since their opening game. The Packers recorded their first shutout in a road game since 1991.
“Mama said there would be days like this,” Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who rushed for 54 yards, told reporters. “You don’t like to have them, but they’re going to happen. This is definitely embarrassing.”
The defending Super Bowl champion Saints rebounded from a home loss to Cleveland as Brees completed 20 of 22 passes for 191 yards during the second half against the Steelers.
After the teams managed three field goals over the first three quarters, Brees threw touchdown passes to Marques Colston and Lance Moore to boost the Saints’ record to 5-3. Brees’s 8- yard scoring pass to Moore came with 2:37 left.
In Foxborough, Massachusetts, Brady threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Tate and BenJarvus Green-Ellis had two rushing scores to lead the Patriots past the Vikings.
Favre needed eight stitches to close a gash on his chin after being hit midway through the fourth quarter by Patriots defensive lineman Myron Pryor on a third-down pass play from the New England 3-yard line.
Favre, who made his 292nd straight start even though he has two fractures in his left foot, was replaced by Tarvaris Jackson. The Vikings pulled within 21-18 with 7:26 left as Jackson threw a one-yard touchdown pass on the next play and then a pass to Percy Harvin for a two-point conversion.
‘A Lot of Football Left’
The Patriots then drove 84 yards in 13 plays to take a 28-18 lead, with Green-Ellis scoring his second touchdown from two yards out with 1:56 left.
“I expect to bounce back,” Favre said. “Hopefully our guys will not go south from this. There’s still a lot of football left but it’s disappointing.”
Mason Crosby kicked three field goals, including two in the fourth quarter for the Packers (5-3), who were outgained by the Jets 360-237 in total offensive yards.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was intercepted twice, completing 16 of 38 passes for 256 yards. Brad Smith had a fumble after taking a direct snap for the Jets and Nick Folk missed a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter.
In the first quarter, the Jets attempted a fake punt on a 4th-and-18 play from their 20-yard line. Officials used instant replay to rule that punter Steve Weatherford was stopped just short of a first down after a Green Bay challenge, leading to the Packers’ first field goal.
“Getting those takeaways was a big part of us getting this game and especially getting the shutout,” Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk told reporters.
The San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos 24-16 at Wembley Stadium in the NFL’s fourth regular-season game in London. Former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith started for the first time since 2007 and threw one touchdown pass for the 49ers and also ran for another score.
Dallas, which lost quarterback Tony Romo last week to a broken collarbone, dropped to 1-6 for the season with a 35-17 home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Matt Stafford threw four touchdown passes, including three to Calvin Johnson, as the Detroit Lions beat the Washington Redskins 37-25 for their second win of the season.
The Buffalo Bills remain the NFL’s only winless team after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 13-10 when Ryan Succop kicked a 35-yard field goal with five seconds left in overtime.
Miami beat Cincinnati 22-14, San Diego outscored Tennessee 33-25, Oakland shut down Seattle 33-3, Tampa Bay beat Arizona 38-35, and St. Louis defeated Carolina 20-10 in other Week 8 games. Indianapolis hosts Houston today.