x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Falcons prove to be a pain in the neck for Vick and Philadelphia

Eagles quarterback has a forgettable return to Atlanta, going off injured in the third quarter, as Matt Ryan hits four touchdowns in their 35-31 win.

Michael Vick, the Eagles quarterback, is pursued by the Falcon's defensive end, Ray Edwards during Atlanta's 35-31 win against Philadelphia.
Michael Vick, the Eagles quarterback, is pursued by the Falcon's defensive end, Ray Edwards during Atlanta's 35-31 win against Philadelphia.

ATLANTA // Michael Vick wobbled off the field with an aching neck late in the third quarter, all done in his return to Atlanta as a starting quarterback.

This is Matt Ryan's city now, and he led the Falcons back with their former quarterback sitting in the locker room.

Ryan threw a career-high four touchdown passes, shaking off all the anticipation over Vick coming back to face his old team, and rallied Atlanta from a 10-point deficit for a 35-31 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Two of Ryan's TD throws went to the ageless tight end Tony Gonzalez, who went past Terrell Owens into the fifth spot on the NFL's career receiving list. Then, Ryan hooked up with Ovie Mughelli on a one-yard score that brought Atlanta to 31-28 with just over six minutes remaining.

The Falcons (1-1) completed the comeback with Michael Turner breaking off a 61-yard run, then powering over from the three with 3:24 remaining. Turner finished with 114 yards on 21 carries.

Vick threw for a pair of touchdowns but left with a neck injury after getting spun by a Falcons rusher into Eagles lineman Todd Herremans. With the Eagles No 7 staggered off the field and Mike Kafka came in for the first game of his two-year career.

Vince Young, normally the backup, was inactive because of a hamstring injury.

Kafka provided a tidy job in a tough situation, guiding the Eagles down the field on a potentially winning drive in the closing minutes. But on fourth down from Atlanta's 22, Jeremy Maclin dropped a pass over the middle that would have kept it going.

The Falcons ran off all but the last five seconds, and Kafka's desperation heave into the end zone was batted down to end the game.

Elsewhere, Aaron Rodgers threw for 308 yards and two scores, while the Green Bay Packers defence withstood another 400-yard passing day from the Carolina rookie Cam Newton to beat the Panthers 30-23.

A week after throwing for 422 yards, Newton topped himself by throwing for 432 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a four-yard touchdown with 37 seconds left to bring Carolina (0-2) within seven, but the Packers (2-0) recovered an onside kick to seal the victory.

Rodgers found Greg Jennings for a 49-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to put the Packers ahead for the remainder of the match. Then, after Clay Matthews stopped Newton on a fourth-down run inside the 5,

Rodgers found Jordy Nelson for an 84-yard touchdown to make it a two-possession game and help the Packers hang on.

While Newton had another big yardage day, the Packers' defence came up big by forcing the rookie into three interceptions — two by Charles Woodson.

Browns 27, Colts 19

At Indianapolis, Peyton Hillis ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns, Colt McCoy threw for 211 yards and a score and Cleveland ended a five-game losing streak against Indianapolis, who remain without Peyton Manning.

The Colts are 0-2 for the first time since 1998, and Manning is likely to miss two months following his third neck surgery in 20 months. The Browns rebounded with their first win for their new coach Pat Shurmur after a loss to the Bengals last week.

Saints 30, Bears 13

At New Orleans, Drew Brees threw for three touchdowns and the New Orleans' defence beat up on Jay Cutler.

Brees' scoring strikes included a 79-yarder to Devery Henderson. Darren Sproles scored on a 12-yard swing pass and Robert Meachem had a four-yard TD reception as the Saints (1-1) bounced back from an opening week loss to Green Bay.

Facing heavy blitzing and without the injured receiver Roy Williams, Cutler passed for 244 yards and a score, but was sacked six times and fumbled once.

Bills 38, Raiders 35

At Orchard Park, New York, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a six-yard touchdown pass to David Nelson with 14 seconds left to cap a wild back-and-forth fourth quarter.

The Bills scored touchdowns on all five of their second-half possessions to overcome a 21-3 first-half deficit. The teams traded leads five times over the final 14:10.

Fred Jackson scored twice and had 117 yards rushing for the Bills (2-0) in their home opener. Fitzpatrick finished 28 of 46 for 264 yards and three touchdowns.

Patriots 35, Chargers 21

At Foxborough, Massachusetts, Tom Brady threw for 423 yards six days after setting a single-game team record of 517 in leading New England.

Brady had three touchdown passes and tied for the third most yards passing in club history, going 31 of 40 with no interceptions as the Patriots (2-0) scored on each of their four first-half possessions.

Philip Rivers threw for 378 yards for the Chargers.

Cowboys 27, 49ers 24 (Over-time)

At San Francisco, playing with a fractured rib, Tony Romo hit Jesse Holley on a 77-yard completion in overtime to set up Dan Bailey's winning 19-yard field goal for Dallas.

Bailey kicked a tying 48-yard field goal as time expired in regulation after missing an early 21-yard attempt. Romo completed five of six passes on the tying drive, connecting on consecutive throws to Holley before finding him again in OT.

Redskins 22, Cardinals 21

At Landover, Maryland, Graham Gano kicked a 34-yard field goal with 1:45 remaining as Washington rallied from an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit.

The Redskins (2-0) beat the Cardinals (1-1) for the eighth time in a row. Santana Moss' 18-yard catch on fourth down with 5:17 remaining pulled Washington within two, but the two-point conversion attempt failed.

After a Cardinals punt, the Redskins got the ball back at their own 36 with 4:20 to play and drove to Arizona's 16 to set up Gano's kick.

Steelers 24, Seahawks 0

At Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 298 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers put their opening week loss to Baltimore behind them.

Mike Wallace caught eight passes for 126 yards and a score and Rashard Mendenhall ran for 67 yards and a touchdown for the Steelers (1-1), who limited the pointless Seahawks (0-2) to 164 total yards.

A week after committing seven turnovers while getting whipped by rivals Baltimore, the Steelers worked with relentless efficiency against Seattle. Roethlisberger shook off a right knee niggle to complete 22 of 30 passes, and the defence kept Seattle from taking an offensive snap on Pittsburgh's side of the field until midway through the fourth quarter.

Titans 26, Ravens 13

At Nashville, Tennessee, Matt Hasselbeck threw for 358 yards and a touchdown, and Tennessee gave new coach Mike Munchak a big win in their home opener.

With the Ravens (1-1) focused on stopping Chris Johnson, Hasselbeck attacked through the air. Kenny Britt caught nine passes for 135 yards and a TD, while Nate Washington caught seven passes for 99 yards. Rob

Bironas also kicked four field goals as Tennessee (1-1) held the ball for more than 35 minutes and outgained Baltimore 432-229 in total offence.

Texans 23, Dolphins 13 At Miami, Andre Johnson caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Matt Schaub that helped Houston get off to a 2-0 start.

Miami's sieve-like pass defence was no match for Johnson and Schaub, who threw for 230 yards and had a quarterback rating of 118.5. Johnson made seven catches for 93 yards.

Daniel Thomas rushed for 107 yards for Miami in his NFL debut, but Chad Henne went 12 for 30 and was especially erratic in the red zone.

Buccaneers 24, Vikings 20

At Minneapolis, LeGarrette Blount's four-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds left lifted Tampa Bay and completed another comeback by quarterback Josh Freeman — this time from a 17-0 half-time deficit.

Eight of Freeman's 14 career victories have come when the Bucs (1-1) went ahead in the fourth quarter or overtime. Given how overwhelmed they were before half time, outgained 284 yards to 62 during the first two quarters, this might have been the most impressive.

Lions 48, Chiefs 3

At Detroit, Matthew Stafford threw two of his four TD passes to Calvin Johnson and Detroit came away with their largest margin of victory in a regular season game.

The Lions broke the mark they set with a 44-0 win over the expansion franchise Jacksonville in 1995 and matched the record set in the 1957 NFL title game when they beat Cleveland 59-14.

The Lions (2-0) led Kansas City 20-3 at half time and 41-3 early in the fourth quarter after turning two fumbles into TDs.

Jets 32, Jaguars 3

At East Rutherford, New Jersey, Mark Sanchez threw two touchdown passes as the offence started quickly and Antonio Cromartie had two of New York's four interceptions of Luke McCown.

After having not scored an offensive TD in the first quarter in 16 games, the Jets (2-0) won the toss, elected to receive — a rarity under the defensive-minded Rex Ryan — and scored on a 17-yard catch by Santonio Holmes.

Broncos 24, Bengals 22

At Denver, Kyle Orton threw two TD passes to Eric Decker, Willis McGahee ran for another score and John Fox gained his first win as Denver's coach.

The Broncos (1-1) lost two more players to injury — giving them nine, including six starters — but still topped the Bengals (1-1) for the ninth straight time in Denver, where Cincinnati has not won since 1975.

Andy Dalton, who bruised his right wrist and forearm in Cincinnati's win at Cleveland a week earlier, threw for 332 yards for the Bengals.