New York’s Giants and Jets are among four teams tied for the National Football League’s best record at 6-2 following Week 9 road victories.
The Giants opened a 35-0 halftime lead in a 41-7 rout of the Seattle Seahawks yesterday that extended their winning streak to five games. The Jets beat the Detroit Lions 23-20 in overtime after erasing a 10-point deficit in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter.
The New England Patriots, who had been an NFL-best 6-1, lost in Cleveland 34-14 to fall into a tie with the Jets atop the American Football Conference’s East Division. It marks the first time since 1981 that every NFL team has at least two losses through Week 9 of the season.
“This league is tough,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said during his post-game news conference. “I don’t know how many people predicted Cleveland would win that game besides myself, but they found a way to beat New England, which was the hottest team in the league.”
Baltimore and Atlanta also have 6-2 records midway through their regular-season schedules. The Ravens beat Miami 26-10 yesterday and the Falcons defeated Tampa Bay 27-21.
The Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Cincinnati Bengals tonight with a chance to improve to 6-2.
Saints, Packers Win
The defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints are 6-3 after beating the Carolina Panthers 34-3. The Green Bay Packers have a similar record after a 45-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys, who fell to 1-7 and tied a team record by allowing at least 35 points for the third straight game.
The Minnesota Vikings beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-24 in overtime, rallying from a 24-10 deficit with less than four minutes to play at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
The Buffalo Bills remain the only winless team in the NFL after a 22-19 loss to Chicago. The Bills fell to 0-3 in home games played in Toronto over the past three seasons.
The Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) stayed one game behind the Giants in the National Football Conference’s East Division by beating the Indianapolis Colts 26-24. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick threw for one touchdown and ran for another after missing the previous three games with a rib injury. The Colts (5-3) had a 13-game November winning streak snapped.
Kansas City missed a chance to start 6-2 with a 23-20 overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders, while San Diego beat Houston 29-23.
In Seattle, the Giants fumbled on their opening drive and then scored touchdowns on their next three possessions to open a 21-0 first-quarter lead.
Ahmad Bradshaw ran for two touchdowns while Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Kevin Boss had touchdown receptions for the Giants, who held a 487-162 advantage in total offensive yards.
“Things are going well but we’ve just got to make sure we stay committed to getting better,” Manning said. “We’ve got a tough schedule ahead.”
The Jets rallied from a 10-point deficit in Detroit as quarterback Mark Sanchez scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 2:46 left in the fourth quarter. He then led a nine-play, 60-yard drive to set up a tying 36-yard field goal by Nick Folk as time expired.
In overtime, Sanchez’s 52-yard pass to Santonio Holmes on the Jets’ second offensive play set up Folk’s winning 30-yard kick as New York improved to 4-0 on the road this season.
‘A Lot Easier’
“We just have to play like that from play one,” said Sanchez, who passed for 323 yards. “It would make it a lot easier to not wait until the fourth quarter to turn it on.”
The Lions (2-6) were denied their first winning streak since the 2007 season. Detroit missed an extra point in the third quarter after kicker Jason Hanson was hurt and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh hit the upright as his replacement.
The Patriots suffered their second loss as Browns running back Peyton Hillis rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns in Cleveland. Rookie quarterback Colt McCoy added a rushing score for the Browns, who host the Jets next week.
In Minneapolis, the Vikings snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 3-5 as Brett Favre passed for a career-high 446 yards and sparked a fourth-quarter comeback.
Adrian Peterson scored on a 4-yard run with 3:34 left and Favre found Visanthe Shiancoe with a 25-yard pass to tie the game with 27 seconds remaining. After Arizona punted in overtime, Favre drove the Vikings 51 yards to set up a 35-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell.
“Time will tell if that gives us a spark,” Favre said after his record-extending 293rd straight start.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has considered replacing coach Brad Childress with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, ESPN reported, without saying where it got the information. Wilf declined to comment before the game and congratulated Childress and the players as they entered the locker room afterward.
Minnesota fans had chanted “Fire Childress!” on several occasions before the Vikings rallied.
“They came expecting to see an execution,” Childress said. “It ended up being a pretty good football game.”