Jim Harbaugh closed a 21-point gap with three late touchdown passes, leading the Indianapolis Colts to a 27-24 overtime victory Sunday over the previously unbeaten Miami Dolphins at Miami’s Joe Robbie Stadium.
Harbaugh hit TD passes of 3, 47 and 21 yards to tie the game 24-24 with 1:17 remaining.
On the first drive of the overtime, Harbaugh marched the Colts downfield to set up Cary Blanchard’s 27-yard field goal. Harbaugh finished 25-for-33 for 319 yards.
It was the second time this season Harbaugh engineered an overtime comeback. In the second game this year, Harbaugh replaced Craig Erickson with the Colts down 24-3 to lead them to victory over the Jets.
The Colts also spoiled an undefeated record for the second time this year. They handed St. Louis its first loss last week, 21-18.
Harbaugh, who seized the starting spot from Erickson after his performance in the Jets game, then hit Aaron Bailey for 21 yards to send the game into overtime.
Jaguars 20, Steelers 16
Break up the Jaguars!
Expansion Jacksonville, which won its first game a week ago, made it two in a row with a stunning victory over visiting Pittsburgh, a Super Bowl contender that had the best record in the AFC last season.
Mark Brunell, who took the quarterback job from Steve Beuerlein by coming off the bench to lead a come-from-behind 17-16 victory at Houston, threw for 189 yards and a touchdown. He also scrambled for 44 yards in the improbable victory.
Lions 38, Browns 20
Detroit’s Barry Sanders rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard dash in the Lions’ victory over slumping Cleveland.
It was the most touchdowns for Sanders since Nov. 24, 1991, when he scored four at Minnesota. Sanders, who also scored from 11 and 2 yards, now has gone over 100 yards 43 times during his NFL career.
Scott Mitchell kept visiting Cleveland (3-3) off-balance, completing 24 of 38 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns with one interception as the Lions (2-3) continued their comeback from an 0-3 start.
Giants 27, Cardinals 21, OT
Arizona linebacker Jessie Armstead intercepted Dave Krieg’s pass and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown 4:05 into overtime, giving New York a victory over visiting Arizona.
The turnover was the third in overtime and the seventh of the game. Armstead put an end to the miscues by catching Krieg’s pass in the middle of the field and running up the left sidelines almost untouched.
The loss was the third straight for the Cardinals (1-5). New York (2-4) won for the second time in three games and ended a string of five overtime losses.
Cowboys 34, Packers 24
Troy Aikman wasn’t supposed to play. He did, and the Green Bay Packers wish he didn’t.
Nursing a sore right calf muscle and lacking a solid week of practice, Aikman looked in Super Bowl form as he threw two touchdown passes to lead Dallas past visiting Green Bay.
The Cowboys (5-1) earned their sixth consecutive victory over the Packers (3-2), who boasted the NFL’s top-rated defense and were off to their best start since 1982.
Aikman said he was extremely doubtful for the game but a week of constant ice wraps, massages and electrical stimulus treatments, along with Green Bay secondary lapses, proved a perfect remedy. He hit 24 of 31 passes for 316 yards, his ninth NFL passing day of 300 yards or more and fourth against the Packers.
Bears 31, Panthers 27
Carolina (0-5) seemed so close to victory when Eric Guliford returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown with 2:37 left, giving the Panthers a 27-24 lead at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
But their hopes for a first win faded when Erik Kramer led the Bears (3-2) on a 10-play, 60-yard drive capped by Robert Green’s 1-yard TD run with 38 seconds left.
Bucs 19, Bengals 16
Michael Husted kicked Tampa Bay (4-2) into first place, hitting a 53-yard field goal with 29 seconds left.
With the Buccaneers defense forcing six turnovers, Husted finished with four field goals in six attempts, and Errict Rhett had a 2-yard scoring run in the first half.
Tampa Bay (4-2) last won four of its first six games in 1990 before losing six in a row and finishing 6-10. The victory, coupled with Green Bay’s loss to Dallas, put Tampa Bay atop the NFC Central.
Bills 29, Jets 10
Buffalo’s Bruce Smith knocked New York quarterback Boomer Esiason out of the game in the second quarter with a concussion. Thurman Thomas rushed for 133 yards, and Steve Christie kicked five field goals at Orchard Park, N.Y.
Buffalo (4-1), which won its fourth straight, played sloppy on offense much of the day, but scored 10 points during a 10-second span late in the first half. Then the Bills ran away from the Jets (1-5) in the second half.
Eagles 37, Redskins 34, OT
Philadelphia’s Charlie Garner had 120 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries, and Ricky Watters added 139 yards.
The visiting Redskins rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to send the game into overtime, but Gary Anderson’s third field goal, a 35-yarder with 10:06 gone in OT, decided another tight finish between the teams.
Vikings 23, Oilers 17, OT
Dewayne Washington’s interception of Wil Furrer set up Minnesota’s Robert Smith’s 20-yard touchdown run in the Vikings’ (3-2) victory over visiting Houston (2-4).
Furrer replaced starter Chris Chandler who hurt his throwing shoulder on Ed McDaniel’s sack with 18 seconds left in regulation.
Broncos 37, Patriots 3
John Elway didn’t need any fourth-quarter heroics to stay unbeaten against the bumbling New England Patriots and struggling Drew Bledsoe.
The Patriots’ (1-4) first prime time home game in 14 years was decided long before the final quarter as the Broncos (3-3) snapped a two-game slide and Elway improved his record against New England to 8-0.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Sunday’s best Quarterbacks Jim Harbaugh, Colts 25-33-319 Troy Aikman, Cowboys 24-31-316 Running backs Barry Sanders, Lions 18-157-3 Thurman Thomas, Bills 27-133-1 Receivers Yancey Thigpen, Steelers 6-160-0 Robert Brooks, Packers 10-124-0
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