Falcons stay top with comeback 24-23 victory over Buccaneers


Published — Tuesday 27 November 2012

Last update 27 November 2012 1:10 am

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TAMPA, Florida: Matt Ryan threw for 353 yards and overcame two big turnovers by leading another late touchdown drive to give the Atlanta Falcons a 24-23 victory over Tampa Bay in the NFL on Sunday.
The win enabled the Falcons (10-1) to keep pace with Houston for the NFL’s best record.
Ryan connected with Julio Jones on an 80-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, but the Buccaneers took a 23-17 lead in the fourth after scoring a touchdown, then forcing a fumble by Ryan to set up a field goal.
Michael Turner’s 1-yard TD run put Atlanta ahead for good with 7:55 left. Connor Barth missed a 56-yard goal for Tampa Bay (6-5) in the closing minutes, ending the Bucs’ four-game winning streak.
Turner also scored a fourth-quarter touchdown that helped the Falcons overcome mistakes to beat Arizona 23-19 last week.
Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns, giving him 200 for his career, as the New York Giants routed the Green Bay Packers 38-10 to open up a two-game lead in the National Football Conference East division.
The Giants (7-4) put to rest concerns about a dormant offense as Manning connected with Rueben Randle, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks for scores, and Ahmad Bradshaw had a combined 119 yards.
Green Bay (7-4) had its five-game winning streak broken.
The San Francisco 49ers ended the Saints’ three-game winning streak with a 31-21 victory in New Orleans.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran for a 7-yard touchdown and threw for another one in his second career start for the 49ers (8-2-1) as former starter Alex Smith watched from the sidelines.
Smith had been deemed healthy enough to play after recovering from a concussion, but San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh decided to start Kaepernick after his impressive play in last week’s victory over the Bears.
The Chicago Bears beat the Minnesota Vikings 28-10 to take sole possession of first place in the NFC North division.
Jay Cutler threw for 188 yards and a touchdown after missing a game because of a concussion as Chicago ended a two-game losing streak.
The Bears (8-3) were tied with Green Bay for the NFC North lead and just a game ahead of Minnesota (6-5) coming into the game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers committed eight turnovers to lose to the Cleveland Browns for just the second time in 18 games, 20-14, and put their playoff hopes in jeopardy.
Thirty-seven-year-old Charlie Batch, starting in place of injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, was picked off three times and the Steelers (6-5) lost five fumbles, the last on the final play of the game.
Pittsburgh is now level with Cincinnati in second place in the American Football Conference North division after the Bengals handily defeated the Oakland Raiders 34-10.
Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton had three TD passes in his first game against former Bengals quarterback, Carson Palmer, who was traded to Oakland in the middle of last season.
Peyton Manning threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns as the Denver Broncos beat the woeful Kansas City Chiefs 17-9 for their sixth straight win, while the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Diego Chargers in overtime 16-13 after rallying from 10 points down with just over seven minutes to play.
In other games, Sam Bradford had a pair of 37-yard touchdown passes in the St. Louis Rams 31-17 victory over the reeling Arizona Cardinals, and Ryan Tannehill led a 65-yard drive in the final 90 seconds to set up the winning field goal kick in the Miami Dolphins’ 24-21 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
The Indianapolis Colts also beat the Buffalo Bills 20-13, while the Jacksonville Jaguars ended a seven-game losing streak with a 24-19 win over the Tennessee Titans.

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