Titans hold off Lions, prevail in OT on Bironas FG

Posted Sept. 23, 2012, at 8:47 p.m.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rob Bironas kicked a 26-yard field goal in overtime, and the Titans stopped backup quarterback Shaun Hill on fourth-and-1 at the Tennessee 7 to pull out a 44-41 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

The Titans (1-2) blew a 20-9 halftime lead in a crazy game featuring big plays, scoring swings and some suspect officiating. Detroit scored 18 straight points, then Tennessee answered with 21 points before the Lions scored the final 14 of regulation. Detroit recovered an onside kick and got an assist from officials who did not review a possible turnover.

In overtime, Bironas’ third field goal put Tennessee ahead to stay.

The Lions (1-2) lost their second straight when coach Jim Schwartz decided not to let Jason Hanson attempt to connect on a fifth field goal. Hill, in for injured Matthew Stafford , was stopped by defensive tackles Jurrell Casey and Sen’Derrick Marks on his sneak, and Tennessee escaped with its first win of the season.

CHIEFS 27, SAINTS 24 OT: Ryan Succop kicked six field goals, one to force overtime in the final seconds and another from 31 yards to lift Kansas City to its first win and keep New Orleans winless.

Succop’s 43-yard field goal with 3 seconds left completed a methodical comeback by Kansas City (1-2) after the Saints (0-3) had cashed in on a pair of Chiefs turnovers to go ahead 24-6 in the third quarter.

Kansas City needed only one touchdown to win, a 91-yard run by Jamaal Charles, who finished with 233 yards rushing and 55 yards receiving.

The Chiefs also got a safety in the fourth quarter on Justin Houston’s third sack of the game.

Drew Brees passed for 240 yards and three touchdowns, but missed all six of his passes through the fourth quarter and overtime.

VIKINGS 24, 49ERS 13: Christian Ponder threw two touchdown passes to tight end Kyle Rudolph and ran for another score to help the Vikings hand the 49ers their first defeat.

After a dominant start to their NFC North tour by decisively beating playoff teams Green Bay and Detroit, the 49ers (2-1) were beaten in every way by a team least likely to do so.

The Vikings (2-1) began the game boldly with a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass by Ponder to Rudolph. They finished strong by forcing three turnovers and two punts by the 49ers in the fourth quarter.

Playing against his former team in the regular season for the first time, Randy Moss had three catches for 27 yards. Alex Smith’s franchise-record interception-free streak ended at 249 straight passes.

JAGUARS 22, COLTS 17: Blaine Gabbert connected with Cecil Shorts III on an 80-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds left to lift Jacksonville to its first win of the season.

Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 177 yard, but Jacksonville (2-1) needed Gabbert’s big play. The Colts (1-2) had taken the lead 17-16 after Andrew Luck drove them 48 yards in five plays to set up Adam Vinatieri’s 37-yard field goal with 56 seconds left.

But on the next snap, Shorts got behind Colts safety Sergio Brown and Gabbert hit him in stride. Shorts sprinted free, diving into the end zone for the score.

Indianapolis had a chance to win it at the end, but Luck’s pass into the end zone was broken up by Aaron Ross.

COWBOYS 16, BUCCANEERS 10: DeMarco Murray had an 11-yard touchdown run, Dan Bailey kicked three field goals and Dallas won its home opener.

A week after the Buccaneers’ big push against the Giants in their victory formation, Tampa Bay used a pair of timeouts in the final 40 seconds after a failed onside kick attempt.

The Cowboys (2-1) scored twice in the first half when starting in Tampa Bay territory after turnovers. They overcame three turnovers by Romo — two on plays reversed by replay — with a defense that held Tampa Bay to 166 total yards.

Romo’s interception on the game’s fourth play set up Tampa Bay (1-2) for Josh Freeman’s 1-yard TD to Luke Stocker.

The Cowboys drew even on Murray’s run after Sean Lee’s interception. Bailey had kicks of 32, 26 and 22 yards.

BENGALS 38, REDSKINS 31: Andy Dalton completed 19 of 27 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns for Cincinnati.

The Bengals blew a 24-7 first-half lead, but two touchdown passes by Dalton in the fourth quarter made the difference.

A 6-yard throw to tight end Jermaine Gresham broke a 24-24 tie, then Dalton hit Andrew Hawkins for a 59-yard score to give the Bengals a two-touchdown cushion with 7:08 left to play.

Robert Griffin III’s 2-yard run cut the lead to seven points with 3:35 remaining, but he threw incomplete on a third-and-50 on the game’s last play.

Cincinnati’s A.J. Green caught nine passes for a career-high 183 yards.

The Bengals improved to 2-1. The Redskins fell to 1-2.

BEARS 23, RAMS 6: Major Wright returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown and Chicago’s defense had six sacks on Sam Bradford and held St. Louis to 160 total yards.

That was enough on a day when Jay Cutler struggled, and the Bears (2-1) came away with the win after an ugly loss to Green Bay the previous week. The Rams fell to 1-2.

The Bears had just kicked a field goal to extend their lead to 13-6 in the fourth quarter when Wright came up with his big return. He caught the ball at the 45 and ran untouched to the end zone, making it a 14-point game and finally giving the Bears some breathing room.

BILLS 24, BROWNS 14: When C.J. Spiller got hurt, the Buffalo Bills lost the NFL’s leading rusher, most of their momentum and another major offensive threat.

Ryan Fitzpatrick wouldn’t let them lose the game.

Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes and the better-than-advertised Bills overcame the loss of Spiller to a shoulder injury and beat the Cleveland Browns 24-14 on Sunday to snap an eight-game road losing streak.

Fitzpatrick, doing just enough to keep Buffalo’s offense moving, finished 22 of 35 for 208 yards as the Bills (2-1) turned to their passing game after Spiller, who has been filling in for Fred Jackson, went down in the first quarter with an injury that will likely sideline him a few weeks.

The Bills won outside Buffalo for the first time since the 2011 opener at Kansas City.

“We got the monkey off our back,” Fitzpatrick said. “We always felt confident. This is a new year, a new team, but it was a good team win on the road. These are the most satisfying wins.”

As the final seconds ticked off, some of Buffalo’s players celebrated with hundreds of Bills fans who made the short drive over from Western New York.

Before he went out, Spiller, who came in leading the league with 292 yards rushing, scored on a 32-yard screen pass from Fitzpatrick, who also threw a 9-yard TD to T.J. Graham in the first quarter and hooked up with Stevie Johnson from 9 in the fourth to close the scoring.

Bills coach Chan Gailey does not expect Spiller to be back for next week’s home game against New England — and possibly longer.

“I don’t believe it’s long, long-term,” Gailey said. “If he missed a week that’s long for me. He’s going to be out for sure this week and then we’ll see.”

Spiller will undergo further testing Monday. He was not available for interviews.

For the Browns (0-3), the losing continues.

Cleveland has lost nine straight dating to last season, and one of the league’s youngest teams was not able to build off a solid performance last week in Cincinnati.

“We just didn’t get it done,” said coach Pat Shurmur, who dropped to 4-15 in two seasons. “There are no magical answers. We just didn’t get it done.”

When Spiller got hurt, the Bills appeared to be in trouble.

But Fitzpatrick made big throws when he needed to and third-string running back Tashard Choice gained 91 yards. Fitzpatrick has eight TD passes, and he has not thrown an interception since tossing three picks in the Bills’ season-opening loss to the Jets.

Fitzpatrick got great protection from an offensive line that has only allowed one sack this season. He passed around some compliments afterward, crediting his teammates for stepping up without Spiller.

“We knew we had to put our foot on the gas again and when we did, the offensive line was revved up and ready to go,” he said. “It was a heck of a job by Tashard. He got some really tough yards for us.”

The Browns were again plagued by costly penalties, dropped passes and an inability to stop the run.

Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden went 27 of 43 for 237 yards and a TD pass to fellow rookie Travis Benjamin. However, he was intercepted twice in the final 4:21 as he tried to rally the Browns.

Buffalo’s defense limited Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson to just 27 yards on 12 carries. After rushing for 109 yards last week in Cincinnati, Richardson’s longest gain was his 6-yard TD run in the second quarter.

“We wanted to stop Richardson,” Gailey said. “We talked about it and made a big deal about it. We did not want to let him get out. We wanted them to throw the football. It worked kind of like we thought it would.”

The Bills took a 10-point lead on Rian Lindell’s 37-yard field goal before the Browns pulled within 17-14 on Weeden’s TD pass to a wide-open Benjamin.

Fitzpatrick later led a 10-play, 68-ard drive, capping it by rifling his TD pass over the middle to Johnson, who got a step on cornerback Dimitri Patterson.

Spiller was injured in the first quarter when he was tackled after a long gain on a pass play.

He hit the ground with Browns safety Usama Young on his back, and Spiller was in obvious pain as Buffalo’s training staff rushed onto the field to assist him. Spiller was helped to his feet and the third-year back gingerly supported his left arm as he was walked slowly to the sideline.

He was placed on a cart and driven to the locker room for further evaluation and treatment.

At that point, Buffalo’s chances of ending its road slide seemed bleak.

But these Bills turned Cleveland’s home-field advantage into their own.

“It was tough to lose him,” said Johnson, who had seven catches for 61 yards. “We have guys who can fill the void.”

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