Best of NFL: Saints cool off Panthers in rout

Best of NFL: Saints cool off Panthers in rout
December 9, 2013, 12:15 am
Share This Post

The Saints snapped the Panthers' eight-game winning streak with a 31-13 win on Sunday night. (USA Today Images)

Updated: Monday, 12:21 a.m.

NEW ORLEANS -- It only took six days -- and a return to the Superdome -- for Drew Brees and the Saints to shake off their worst performance this season and look like legitimate contenders again.

Brees passed for 313 yards and four touchdowns and New Orleans beat Carolina 31-13 on Sunday night to regain sole possession of first place in the NFC South and snap the Panthers' winning streak at eight games.

"Love this offense. Love what Sean Payton's put together," Brees said. "I love the group of guys that I get a chance to play with," (see full recap).

Ravens stun Vikings in wild finish
BALTIMORE -- It's hard to determine which was wackier, the unrelenting snow during the first half, or the flurry of five touchdowns over the final 125 seconds during this unforgettable game between the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings.

Joe Flacco threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to rookie Marlon Brown with 4 seconds left to ice Baltimore's 29-26 victory Sunday. Brown's catch concluded a five-play, 80-yard drive that took only 41 seconds.

It came after Matt Cassel threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson with 45 seconds remaining. Just before that, Baltimore's Jacoby Jones took a kickoff 77 yards for a score, which followed a 41-yard touchdown run by Toby Gerhart, who had replaced an injured Adrian Peterson.

The zaniness began when Flacco threw a 1-yard, fourth-down pass to Dennis Pitta with 2:05 go to for a 15-12 Ravens lead.

Baltimore (7-6) has its first three-game winning streak of the season and the inside track for the second AFC wild card (see full recap).

49ers edge Seahawks in NFC West showdown
SAN FRANCISCO -- Frank Gore saw a huge hole with the clock ticking down and his team trailing, and went for it with everything he had.

Maybe not a season-saving 51-yard burst, but darn close to it.

The San Francisco 49ers are far from ready to hand over their two-year division reign -- and certainly not on their home field, where they rarely lose against the NFC West.

Phil Dawson kicked a 22-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining and the Niners held off the Seahawks 19-17 on Sunday, denying Seattle a chance to clinch the division at Candlestick Park (see full recap).

Manning, Broncos rout Titans to clinch playoff berth
DENVER -- Peyton Manning and Matt Prater were more about big numbers than the little one Sunday.

As in, an NFL-record 64-yard field goal to go along with 39 completions, 397 yards passing and, of course, 51 points.

That the temperature was only 18 degrees at kickoff and only 14 when Prater kicked his way to one of the most iconic records in the game felt more annoying than anything. Same for the opponent -- the Tennessee Titans, who fought gamely for a half before falling 51-28 on Sunday to the Broncos, who clinched a playoff berth (see full recap).

Patriots pull off shocking rally to top Browns
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- This was one impressive comeback, even for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Brady threw two touchdown passes in the final 61 seconds, helping the Patriots rally for a 27-26 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

The Patriots (10-3) cut the deficit to 26-21 on Brady's 2-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 1:01 left. Then Kyle Arrington recovered the onside kick at the Cleveland 40-yard line.

The successful recovery was set up by an unnecessary roughness penalty for a hit on Edelman. That allowed the Patriots to kick off from the 50-yard line rather than their 35. Arrington recovered after Cleveland's Fozzy Whitaker touched, but couldn't control, the ball.

Brady completed a 10-yard pass to Danny Amendola. Then Leon McFadden was called for defensive pass interference against Josh Boyce in the end zone. That put the ball at the 1 where Brady connected with Amendola again (see full recap).

Packers snap skid before date with Cowboys
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers finally found a way to win without injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Matt Flynn threw for 258 yards and the Packers' struggling defense forced a key fourth-quarter turnover in a 22-21 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday to snap a five-game winless slide.

Mike Neal's sack forced Matt Ryan to fumble. Defensive lineman Johnny Jolly scooped up the loose ball and celebrated with a little belly dance at chilly Lambeau Field.
Four plays later, Flynn found Andrew Quarless for a 2-yard touchdown pass for a 22-21 lead with about 12 minutes left for the Packers (6-6-1) (see full recap).