Andersen's FG lifts Falcons in OT
ATLANTA — Ben Roethlisberger stood on the Pittsburgh sideline with a white towel hanging around his neck. All he could do was watch as Michael Vick and the Falcons finished off the Steelers in a game that was just too good to be settled in 60 minutes.
Remember this one. It could be a defining game for both teams this season.
Vick threw a career-high four touchdown passes and hit another long play in overtime yesterday, setting up Morten Andersen to kick a 32-yard field goal that gave Atlanta a 41-38 win that featured enough twists and turns to last an entire season.
Where to begin? Vick responded to his critics in what had been a dismal season throwing the ball. Roethlisberger was unstoppable until he got knocked out with a scary blow to the head. Hines Ward had a remarkable homecoming.
There's more. The Falcons (4-2) thought they had won in regulation on a 56-yard field goal by their No. 2 kicker, but it didn't count. The Super Bowl champion Steelers squandered a 17-7 lead, fumbling three times and getting surprised by an onside kick in the first half.
The Falcons struck for touchdowns after every Pittsburgh miscue, hanging around in a game that could have been a blowout. Finally, after six lead changes and both teams missing chances to break a 38-38 tie in the final minute, the second-oldest player in NFL history won it for Atlanta.
"We learned something about ourselves today," Falcons coach Jim Mora said. "We can hang with the heavyweight champs."
The Steelers (2-4) tied it at 38 with 3:19 remaining when fill-in quarterback Charlie Batch threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Ward, who grew up in the Atlanta area and longed to play for the Falcons.
On this day, he burned the Falcons badly, catching eight passes for 171 yards and a career-best three TDs, including a 70-yarder in which he literally ran out of his right shoe.
Even that wasn't enough. Atlanta won the coin toss for overtime and never let the Steelers have the ball. Vick converted on third-and-9 by scrambling away from Troy Polamalu and flipping a 26-yard pass to Alge Crumpler. Five plays later, the 46-year-old Andersen came on to make the winning kick, atoning for a 52-yarder that fell just short in the final minute of regulation.
"Moments like this are the main reason I'm a Mike Vick fan," Mora said. "For all the talk about what Vick can't do, I like to talk about what he can do. And he does things that no other player in the history of the game at that position has the ability to do."
Coming off a near-perfect first half the previous week against Kansas City, Roethlisberger was brilliant again before halftime, going 15 of 20 for 235 yards and three touchdowns. But Big Ben was knocked unconscious early in the third quarter on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Chauncey Davis after letting go of a pass.
COLTS 36, REDSKINS 22
INDIANAPOLIS — After being bent over awkwardly twice in the first half and once appearing hurt, Peyton Manning responded with three third-quarter touchdown passes to lead Indianapolis (6-0) past Washington (2-5).
Manning finished 25 of 35 with four touchdowns and continued climbing the NFL's career charts. His last TD pass, No. 256, sent him past Dan Fouts (254) and Sonny Jurgensen (255) into 10th in NFL history. He also passed Jim Hart for 14th on the career yardage list with a 342-yard day, giving him 34,809 career yards. Hart has 34,665.
Colts defensive tackle Montae Reagor was involved in an automobile accident en route to the game, leaving him hospitalized with a head wound.
"We don't have a prognosis yet," said Colts coach Tony Dungy after the game. "About all we know is that he was in an automobile accident and that he's in the hospital, and he's alert. He talked to his mom, he's talked to our doctors here. Other than that I'm not really sure where he is at."
Reagor was driving near the Colts' practice facility when a car turned into his path, striking the driver's side of Reagor's SUV, Indiana State Police Sgt. Jon Smithers said.
The impact pushed the SUV into the curb and caused it to flip, leaving Reagor with a head wound and his female companion with minor bumps and bruises, Smithers said.
PACKERS 34, DOLPHINS 24
MIAMI — Ranked last in the NFL in pass defense, Green Bay (2-4) intercepted Joey Harrington three times and Brett Favre threw two touchdown passes, including the clincher to David Martin with six minutes left to beat Miami (1-6).
Charles Woodson made his first interception with Green Bay and returned it 23 yards for a score. Interceptions by linebackers Brady Poppinga and Nick Barnett set up a pair of field goals. Favre's 13-yard scoring pass to Martin with 6:11 left to play gave the Packers a 34-24 lead.
BENGALS 17, PANTHERS 14
CINCINNATI — With time ticking away, Carson Palmer led a fourth-quarter 86-yard drive that culminated in his 1-yard throw to T.J. Houshmandzadeh that lifted Cincinnati (4-2) over Carolina (4-3).
Jake Delhomme had a chance to match Palmer, driving the Panthers to the Cincinnati 10. On third-and-goal, he tried to loft the ball through the wind to Keyshawn Johnson at the back of the end zone. Instead, the ball floated to safety Kevin Kaesviharn, whose interception essentially ended it with 3:50 to go.
JETS 31, LIONS 24
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Chad Pennington finished 16 of 22 for 189 yards with a touchdown and an interception, Leon Washington rushed for 129 yards on 20 carries and scored the first two touchdowns of his career, helping Hew York (4-3) hold off Detroit (1-6).
The Lions put a scare into the Jets, who led the entire game, by getting within a touchdown with 2:22 left when an outstretched Mike Furrey caught the ball in the back right-corner of the end zone. New York got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff and ran out the clock.
RAIDERS 22, CARDINALS 9
OAKLAND, Calif. — Andrew Walter threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss, ReShard Lee ran for a 1-yard score in the first quarter and Oakland (1-5) overcame five turnovers to beat Arizona (1-6) for its first win of the season.
Moss had his biggest game of the year, catching seven balls for 129 yards to help Oakland end an 11-game losing streak. Walter, who left with a hamstring injury in the third quarter, finished 17 for 30 for 263 yards in earning his first career win.