Sunday October 23rd, 2011

Let’s face it: While there’s nothing better than NFL Sundays, it can be a little intimidating keeping up with what’s going on in every game. You can analyze the box scores or scan Twitter, but we’ll make it even easier. Here you’ll find the most important points from every day game, so you’ll be prepared no matter what comes up at the water cooler Monday morning. We’ll be updating throughout the games, so keep checking back.

[2-4] Broncos 18,  [0-6] Dolphins 15 (box score | recap)

1. Add a chapter to the Tim Tebow legacy. Down 15-0 and struggling mightily in the fourth quarter, Tebow orchestrated a remarkable comeback, capped with a QB draw for the tying two-point conversion, which set the table for an OT win. Adding to the moment was a Miami crowd that was decidedly pro-Tebow, aided by the Dolphins' odd Florida Gators tribute celebration.

2. Matt Moore, meanwhile, had a solid game going until overtime. He hit Anthony Fasano for a big fourth-quarter TD and put Miami in position to win. But in the extra session, Moore coughed one up on a sack, giving Denver the ball at the Dolphins' 36. The Broncos kicked the game-winning field goal just a couple minutes later.

3. Willis McGahee suffered a hand injury in the third quarter, which could further hamper Denver's offense -- if that's possible. McGahee has decent numbers Sunday, but he also coughed up a fumble near midfield that led to a Miami field goal.

[4-3] Texans 41, [3-3] Titans 7 (box score | recap)

1. Arian Foster destroyed the Tennessee defense, unleashing his full arsenal. Foster ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and also was the game's leading receiver, with 119 yards and a 78-yard score. Contrast that with Chris Johnson, who turned in another dud -- 10 carries for 18 yards.

2. Things got so bad in the second half for the Titans and QB Matt Hasselbeck that rookie Jake Locker actually saw some time late. Hasselbeck threw a pair of interceptions, the second of which Brice McCain took to the house to make it 41-7 Texans and end Hasselbeck's day.

3. In case Foster's day wasn't big enough, backup running back Ben Tate also topped the century mark on the ground. Tate rushed 15 times for 104 yards and picked up some carries as early as the first quarter, in an effort to keep Foster fresh.

[4-3] Jets 27, [4-2] Chargers 21 (box score | recap)

1. Welcome back, Plaxico Burress. The Jets made it a point to try to get Burress the ball early, and he responded with a three-touchdown day, finally giving Mark Sanchez the big-play target he needs to complement Santonio Holmes.

2. Two big turnovers hampered the Jets in the first half -- a Dustin Keller fumble that Donald Butler returned for a touchdown, and a Mark Sanchez interception in the end zone. Those miscues helped the Chargers grab a 21-10 halftime lead, despite being outgained by the Jets.

3. It didn't take long for Antonio Gates to make his presence felt in his return to the lineup. After missing the last three games with a foot injury, Gates caught a sparkling 2-yard touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone that saw him outleap a Jets defender and maintain possession to the ground.

[4-3] Falcons 23, [5-2] Lions 16  (box score | recap)

1. The Lions' offense simply is not carrying its weight right now. Detroit settled for three field goals and failed to put any points on the board in the fourth quarter, when one touchdown would've sent this one to overtime. Matthew Stafford finished 15-for-32 and seemed rattled all game long.

2. Scary moment for the Falcons in the third quarter, when Matt Ryan crumpled to the ground after his ankle was stepped on by one of his linemen. Ryan limped off the field after staying on the ground for a few minutes, then briefly headed to the locker room. He returned after Chris Redman subbed in for two plays.

3. Tony Gonzalez finished with five catches Sunday to bump him to No. 2 on the NFL's all-time receptions list. Gonzalez sits at 1,104 catches, which puts him two ahead of Marvin Harrison ... and 445 behind Jerry Rice.

[2-5] Panthers 33, [3-3] Redskins 20 (box score | recap)

1. Washington and Carolina traded field goals in the first half, with the Panthers' Olindo Mare nailing three and the Redskins' Graham Gano two. But Carolina's offense exploded after the break, putting 24 points on the board. The explosion included a 16-yard TD run by Cam Newton, his seventh rushing touchdown of the season.

2. Tim Hightower had a strong game going for the Redskins, with 88 yards on 17 carries, but he had to be helped off the field on a cart with an apparent knee injury in the third quarter. That came one quarter after WR Santana Moss left with a hand injury.

3. John Beck accounted for two touchdowns (one rushing, one passing) in his first start of the season, but the Redskins had some extended stretches where they struggled to move the ball -- which left them unable to keep up once Carolina's offense kicked into high gear.

[3-3] Browns 6, [2-4] Seahawks 3 (box score | recap)

1. Give this one a nomination for "Worst Game of the Year." Cleveland had more than 42 yards of possession to just 17:04 for Seattle, yet had to hold on for dear life after turning that edge into just two field goals.

2. The Seahawks were already without injured QB Tarvaris Jackson heading into Sunday, then lost starting running back Marshawn Lynch to a back injury suffered in pregame warmups. Jackson's replacement, Charlie Whitehurst, turned the ball over twice -- the second coming one play after a long Leon Washington TD return was negated by a holding penalty.

3. Peyton Hillis also sat this one out with an injury, leaving Montario Hardesty to start for Cleveland. He wound up with 99 yards rushing, but it took a whopping 33 carries -- a paltry 2.9 yards-per-carry average.

[4-3] Bears 24, [4-3] Buccaneers 18 (box score | recap)

1. If the Bears don't hand Matt Forte a big contract soon, they're making a huge mistake. Forte rushed for 145 yards Sunday and scored on a 32-yard run that had the London crowd on its feet.

2. The Bucs lost Earnest Graham to a first-quarter ankle injury. With LeGarrette Blount already out, the Bucs turned to Kregg Lumpkin on the ground. Lumpkin generated just 15 yards rushing on eight carries, and Tampa Bay went almost exclusively to the air during it second-half comeback attempt.

3. There was a wacky sequence of three straight plays late in the first quarter. Jay Cutler threw an interception to Tanard Jackson, who returned it 43 yards. On the Bucs' first play after the turnover, Josh Freeman threw a pick at the goal line to Chris Conte. The Bears started with the ball on the 1-yard line, but a handoff to Matt Forte resulted in an immediate loss, for a Tampa safety.

[3-3] Chiefs 28, [4-3] Raiders 0 (box score | recap)

1. Carson Palmer naturally will need some time to work off the rust and get in tune with his receivers, but if Sunday was any indication of where the Raiders are without Jason Campbell, it's trouble. Kyle Boller started at QB and threw three interceptions, including a pick-six. Then Palmer came in and matched him.

2. The Raiders suffered a big blow early in the game when Darren McFadden exited with an ankle injury. No matter who plays QB for Oakland, his job gets significantly tougher without McFadden's running and pass-catching abilities in the lineup.

3. Pretty amazing to think about this given how the season started, but the Chiefs are right back in the AFC West race at 3-3 and within a game of first. Their next three games? All at home, against San Diego, Miami and Denver.

[5-2] Steelers 29, [1-5] Cardinals 14 (box score | recap)

1. Remember when the Steelers' defense was reeling during their 2-2 start? They've circled the wagons in the past three weeks. On Arizona's first possession Sunday, Ryan Clark picked off Kevin Kolb, setting up a Pittsburgh TD and putting the Cardinals behind the eight-ball right away.

2. Hines Ward had to be carted off to the locker room with an ankle injury, after taking a hard hit from Adrian Wilson in the third quarter. Arizona, meanwhile, lost running back Beanie Wells to an apparent knee injury. The Steelers had the weapons to overcome Ward's absence -- hard to say the same for Arizona.

3. Ben Roethlisberger tossed the longest pass in Steelers history in the second quarter, a 95-yard, play-action bomb to speedster Mike Wallace, who made the grab and simply outran the Arizona secondary.

[3-3] Cowboys 34, [0-6] Rams 7 (box score | recap)

1. The Cowboys' leading rusher for the season coming into Sunday was Felix Jones with 255 yards. DeMarco Murray put up 253 against St. Louis with a 91-yard TD burst. That performance breaks Emmitt Smith's Dallas single-game rushing record.

2. Jason Smith suffered what appeared to be a pretty serious head or neck injury in the first quarter. Smith's facemask was removed, and trainers then put a neck brace on him and helped him onto a stretcher, before taking him off the field on a cart. Players on both teams seemed understandably shaken by the injury.

3. Small silver lining for the winless Rams: new acquisition Brandon Lloyd picked up 74 yards in his first St. Louis game and seems like he could deliver some big numbers down the stretch. QB A.J. Feeley also looked Lloyd's way twice down at the goal line in the closing seconds, but both passes fell incomplete.

[7-0] Packers 33, [1-6] Vikings 27 (box score | recap)

1. The Vikings fell just short in their upset attempt, but Christian Ponder should give Minnesota fans hope for the future. Ponder's numbers were not terrific -- 13 for 32 for 219 yards, two TD's and two interceptions. But he came out firing, helping Minnesota to a 17-13 halftime lead, and he nearly brought them back late.

2. Not to be outdone, the irreplaceable Aaron Rodgers hit his first 13 passes for 154 yards -- his 14th attempt was dropped by Randall Cobb. Rodgers finished with 335 yards passing and three touchdowns, as well as a 146.5 passer rating.

3. Minnesota took a 17-13 lead to the half and looked like it had a shot at the upset. But on Green Bay's first second-half possession, the Vikings absolutely lost Greg Jennings in coverage, leading to a 79-yard TD pass. Minnesota went three-and-out after that, and the Packers scored again to take a 27-17 lead. - Tom Mantzouranis contributed to this post.

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