New England Patriots receiver and Albany native Deion Branch dances in the end zone after scoring a touchdown on a pass in the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in Pittsburgh. It was Branch's second TD catch of the year, although New England lost, 25-17.
ST. LOUIS -- Nothing in the St. Louis Rams' first six games indicated they were capable of even keeping this one close.
Maybe the crosstown Cardinals' pregame appearance with the World Series trophy inspired them to pull off a shocker of their own. A few choice words from their star player helped, too.
Steven Jackson awoke in the middle of the night on game day, deciding he'd tell teammates enough was enough and that no way the Rams were this awful. Then he led by example with two touchdowns in his first 100-yard game in three seasons, helping St. Louis earn its first win with a 31-21 upset of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
"I think the Cardinals being here was great for the city," Jackson said. "Whoever showed up (Sunday), regardless if the place was empty, (Sunday) was the day.
"We came out with a mindset we were going to fight."
Drew Brees barely kept alive his touchdown pass streak on a meaningless score in the final seconds a week after throwing five in a 62-7 rout of the winless Indianapolis Colts. Brees was intercepted twice, too, with Darian Stewart's pick and 27-yard return putting the game away with 2:51 to go.
STEELERS 25, PATRIOTS 17: Ben Roethlisberger passed for 365 yards and two touchdowns as the Pittsburgh Steelers finally found a way to beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 25-17 on Sunday.
Roethlisberger completed 36 of 50 passes and led the Steelers (6-2) on a series of clock-chewing drives, effectively keeping Brady and the NFL's top-ranked offense off the field. Pittsburgh held the ball for more than 39 minutes and survived a late rally to win its fourth straight following a 2-2 start.
Brady passed for two touchdowns -- one for 2 yards to Albany native and former Monroe star Deion Branch, who finished with 4 catches for 36 yards -- but threw for a season-low 198 yards and couldn't get into any sort of rhythm while losing to the Steelers for just the second time in his career.
The Patriots (5-2) drew within six when Brady hit Aaron Hernandez for a 1-yard touchdown pass with 2:35 remaining, but a last-gasp drive ended when Brady was sacked and the ball rolled out of the end zone for a safety with 8 seconds to play.
Ravens 30, Cardinals 27: Billy Cundiff kicked a 25-yard field goal as time expired, Ray Rice scored a career-high three touchdowns, and Baltimore pulled off the biggest comeback in Ravens history.
Using a fumble recovery and an 82-yard punt return by Patrick Peterson, Arizona scored three touchdowns during a five-minute span of the second quarter to take a 24-3 lead.
Baltimore (5-2) then went on a 24-point run and moved in front 27-24 when Rice scored his third touchdown on the opening play of the fourth quarter.
Arizona (1-6) pulled even with a 45-yard field goal by Jay Feely with 8:55 left, but the Ravens won it with a 37-yard, beat-the-clock drive in the final minute.
Vikings 24, Panthers 21: Ryan Longwell kicked a 31-yard field goal with 2:43 left, and Carolina's Olindo Mare missed from the same distance with 26 seconds left that would have tied it.
Cam Newton put the Panthers (2-6) in position with a 44-yard completion to Brandon LaFell on fourth-and-15, but Mare's kick was wide left and Minnesota (2-6) came away with the win.
Adrian Peterson had 162 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns for the Vikings.
Christian Ponder won the battle of rookie quarterbacks, completing 18 of 28 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown.
Newton threw a season-best three TD passes, but had two costly fumbles on blindside hits that led to a pair of Minnesota touchdowns in the first half.
Giants 20, Dolphins 17: Eli Manning threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz with 5:58 to play to keep Miami winless and perhaps put more pressure on embattled Dolphins coach Tony Sparano.
Manning hit 31 of 45 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns in rallying the Giants from an 11-point first-half deficit. Mario Manningham caught the other touchdown, a 7-yard play which got New York (5-2) back into the game late in the first half.
Lawrence Tynes kicked two short field goals, and New York's defense got four sacks on the Dolphins' final two drives. Corey Webster iced it game with his third interception in the last two games.
Steve Slaton and Matt Moore (13 of 22 for 138) capped the Dolphins' (0-7) first two drives with 1-yard runs.
Titans 27, Colts 10: Matt Hasselbeck threw for 224 yards and a touchdown, and Nate Washington scored twice as Tennessee kept Indianapolis winless.
Rob Bironas kicked field goals of 51 and 50 yards, and Jason McCourty recovered a blocked punt in the end zone as the Titans (4-3) snapped a two-game skid.
Colts quarterback Curtis Painter was sacked twice and threw two interceptions, which were turned into touchdowns by the Titans in their first win over the Colts since Oct. 27, 2008.
The Colts (0-8), without Peyton Manning, trailed 20-0 by halftime coming off a 62-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The Colts outgained Tennessee 399-311, but couldn't overcome 10 penalties for 66 yards.
Texans 24, Jaguars 14: Arian Foster rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown, and Houston shut down rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the NFL's worst offense.
Matt Schaub threw a TD pass and ran for another score for Houston (5-3), off to its best eight-game start. The Texans also took one more step toward the franchise's first division title and playoff berth by improving to 3-0 in the AFC South.
The Jaguars (2-6) -- who were led by 11 tackles by Dawan Landry, while Albany native and former Dougherty star Daryl Smith was second with seven -- couldn't carry momentum from their surprising 12-7 win over Baltimore on Monday night. Maurice Jones-Drew scored with 5:15 left, but the Texans used nearly the rest of regulation to set up Neil Rackers' 39-yard field goal.
Gabbert completed 10 of 30 passes for 97 yards with two interceptions.
Lions 45, Broncos 10: Detroit sacked Tim Tebow seven times and turned his two turnovers into touchdowns in snapping a two-game skid.
Cornerback Chris Houston had the fourth 100-yard interception return in team history and defensive end Cliff Avril got a sack, strip and scoop, rumbling 24 yards into the end zone with a fumble as part of Detroit's 45-point run after the Broncos (2-5) had taken a 3-0 lead on their first drive.
Matthew Stafford hardly showed any ill effects from a sprained right ankle sustained a week earlier, completing 21 of 30 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Tebow was 18 for 39 for 172 yards.
The Lions are 6-2.
Bengals 34, Seahawks 12: Rookie quarterback Andy Dalton threw a pair of first-half touchdown passes and Brandon Tate returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown.
Dalton tossed TDs of 14 yards to Jerome Simpson and a 43-yarder that dropped into the arms of A.J. Green in the second quarter to give the Bengals (5-2) a 17-3 lead.
From there, the Bengals leaned on their impressive defense that bent, but managed to keep Seattle out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.
The victory made Marvin Lewis the winningest coach in Bengals history with 65 career victories.
Bills 23, Redskins 0: Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdowns and the Bills defense had nine sacks over injury-riddled Washington in Buffalo's adopted home north of the border.
Scott Chandler caught both touchdown passes, including a 15-yarder to open the third quarter, that put Buffalo ahead 20-0. Fred Jackson had 120 yards rushing and 74 receiving in helping the Bills (5-2) get off to their first 4-0 start at "home" since 1995.
The Redskins (3-4) have lost three straight and continue to unravel due to injuries.
49ers 20, Browns 10: Frank Gore ran for both 125-plus yards and a touchdown in a fourth straight game and Michael Crabtree made his first TD reception of the season.
Alex Smith completed 15 of 24 passes for 177 yards, leading the NFC West-leading 49ers (6-1) to their fifth consecutive victory since an overtime loss to the Cowboys in Week 2.
For Colt McCoy and the Browns (3-4), it's 0-for the Bay Area. They lost two weeks ago in Oakland, then flopped across San Francisco Bay at Candlestick Park.
Gore already had 103 yards on 19 carries by halftime, then got the other 7 he needed to pass Roger Craig and move into second place on the franchise rushing list with 7,089. Gore wound up with 134 yards on 31 rries.
Eagles 34, Cowboys 7: Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes, LeSean McCoy had a career-best 185 yards rushing and two scores and Philadelphia routed Dallas.
The Eagles (3-4) dominated right from the start, improved to 13-0 after a bye under coach Andy Reid and snapped a five-game losing streak at Lincoln Financial Field that dated to last season.
The Eagles racked up 495 total yards and held the ball for 42:09. They thoroughly outplayed a defense that came in ranked seventh in the NFL.
DeMarcus Ware was one of the few players who played well for Dallas (3-4). He had four sacks, and has 12 this season.
Coming off a 253-yard rushing performance in a win over St. Louis, Cowboys rookie DeMarco Murray was held to 74 yards on only eight carries.