NFL roundup: Bears stage big rally in fourth

Tim Jennings’s 25-yard interception return for a TD was a game-changing play for the Bears.
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Tim Jennings’s 25-yard interception return for a TD was a game-changing play for the Bears.

Brandon Marshall saw the grin on Jay Cutler’s face, and that was all it took to put him at ease.

The Chicago Bears were trailing again. Time was running out.

‘‘That’s when you want that type of quarterback,’’ Marshall said.


Robbie Gould kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired after Cutler rallied the Bears in the fourth quarter for a 23-22 home win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

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The Bears trailed, 19-7, in the fourth quarter when the game turned in a big way.

Chicago (6-1) took over on the Carolina 38 after Brad Nortman shanked a 6-yard punt, and Cutler connected with Kellen Davis on a 12-yard scoring pass with a little less than seven minutes left.

On Carolina’s next play from scrimmage, Steve Smith slipped on an out pattern and Tim Jennings returned his second interception of the game 25 yards to make it 20-19. The pass failed on the 2-point attempt.

Cam Newton drove the Panthers to the Chicago 27, and Justin Medlock’s 45-yard field goal hit the right upright and went through to put Carolina ahead, 22-20, with 2:27 remaining.


But Cutler moved the Bears 55 yards to the 23-yard line, going 6 of 7 before Gould nailed his winner.

‘‘[Cutler] gets up smiling,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘I'm sitting here shaking — a little bit of the cold weather, a little bit of [being] nervous — and he just starts smiling like, ‘Well, here we go.’ It just put me at ease right away. The guys feel that vibe and they play off of it.’’

For Newton and the Panthers (1-6), the vibe couldn’t be worse.

They fired their general manager last week amid turmoil about their performances, and then dropped their fifth straight game after dominating for most of the day. Carolina gained 416 yards and had six sacks against Cutler, but somehow, Chicago pulled it out.

Cutler completed 19 of 28 passes for 186 yards after having his ribs bruised by Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh last Monday night. Marshall had 98 yards receiving and Matt Forte ran for 70 yards and a touchdown for Chicago. Jennings’s runback was the sixth TD of the season for Chicago’s defense.

Broncos 34, Saints 14


Peyton Manning shook off a bleeding right thumb after banging it on an opponent’s helmet to throw for 305 yards and three scores, leading Denver to a home rout of New Orleans. It was Manning’s fifth straight 300-yard game, setting a franchise record and matching his personal best.

Willis McGahee ran for 122 yards and a score for the Broncos (4-3), who won two in a row for the first time this season and took sole possession of first place in the AFC West. Denver gained a season-high 530 yards against the NFL’s worst defense.

New Orleans (2-5) was hoping to get a boost from the return of interim head coach Joe Vitt from his six-game suspension for the team’s bounty scandal. But Drew Brees was held to 213 yards on 22-of-42 passing with two scores, the last coming with the Saints down 27 with 2:03 to go.

Manning dinged his thumb while completing a pass late in the second quarter. After the half, he warmed up with no trouble, and then went 4 for 4 to start the third quarter, moving the Broncos 93 yards and capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas for a 24-7 lead.

Lions 28, Seahawks 24

Titus Young caught his second touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford on a 1-yard slant with 20 seconds left, giving Detroit (3-4) a home victory over Seattle. Young caught his first TD midway through the second quarter and finished with nine receptions and 100 yards — both career highs.

Zach Miller had a spectacular, 16-yard touchdown catch on a toss from Russell Wilson with 5:27 left that put the Seahawks (4-4) ahead. But Seattle gave up three third-down conversions on the Lions’ final drive, and Detroit finished 12 of 16 in that category.

Stafford (34 of 49, 352 yards, 3 TDs) led the 16-play possession that started at Detroit’s 20 with 5:27 remaining. After Stafford threw away two passes to avoid sacks with no timeouts left, Young broke inside of cornerback Brandon Browner and caught the winning TD pass.

Stafford also ran for a 1-yard score that gave Detroit its first fourth-quarter lead this season.

Colts 19, Titans 13

Indianapolis beat Tennessee for the seventh time in eight meetings when Andrew Luck connected with fellow rookie Vick Ballard on a 16-yard touchdown pass 4:49 into overtime in Nashville. Luck led the Colts (4-3) on a pair of 80-yard touchdown drives, the first concluding with Delone Carter’s 1-yard run that tied the game at 13 with 3:24 left in the fourth quarter.

In overtime, on first and 10 from the Titans’ 16, Ballard took a screen pass up the left side and had his feet knocked out from underneath him as defenders tried to get him out of bounds. Ballard crossed the goal line upside down, with his head hitting the pylon. Officials reviewed the play before ruling it a score.

The Titans (3-5) had won two in a row, and nearly won this one in regulation. After Carter’s TD run, Tennessee moved down the field and Matt Hasselbeck overthrew tight end Jared Cook on what would have been a touchdown. Then Hasselbeck threw incomplete before the Titans punted with 56 seconds left.

Tennessee thought it had recovered a fumble in the final minute when Dwayne Allen was stripped of the ball at the Colts’ 28. But officials ruled Allen was down, and the Colts ran out the final seconds of regulation. Indianapolis won the overtime coin toss, took the ball, and never gave it back.

Steelers 27, Redskins 12

Ben Roethlisberger threw for three touchdowns, Jonathan Dwyer had 107 yards rushing in his second NFL start, and host Pittsburgh scored on its first four possessions and never let Washington rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III get loose.

The Steelers (4-3) look to be rounding into form in winning consecutive games for the first time this season. Roethlisberger (222 yards) spread his 24 completions to nine receivers. He marched the offense 76 yards on 12 plays to start the game, tossing a 1-yard touchdown pass to little-used tight end Leonard Pope. The Redskins (3-5) never recovered.

Dwyer, starting in place of the injured Rashard Mendenhall, became the first Steelers running back to top 100 yards in consecutive games in four years.

Pittsburgh improved to 14-1 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004. Griffin was just 16 of 34 for 177 yards — his receivers dropped 10 passes — and gained just 8 yards on six carries. The Steelers held the NFL’s top rushing offense to a season-low 86 yards.

Packers 24, Jaguars 15

Aaron Rodgers connected with Donald Driver on a 4-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to give Green Bay some breathing room in a surprisingly tough home win over Jacksonville.

Missing two of their top receivers because of injury, the Packers were helped out on special teams when Dezman Moses recorded the team’s first blocked punt return for a touchdown in 22 years.

It was the third straight win for the Packers (5-3) and 16th in their last 17 games at Lambeau Field. Rodgers was 22 of 35 for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and James Jones made up for the absences of Greg Jennings (abdominal) and Jordy Nelson (hamstring) by making seven catches for 71 yards.

The Jaguars (1-6) have lost four straight, though the NFL’s worst offense outgained Green Bay, 341-238, playing without Maurice Jones-Drew. Cecil Shorts had a career-best 116 yards on eight catches, and Rashad Jennings finished with 115 yards of offense.

Raiders 26, Chiefs 16

Carson Palmer had a pair of touchdown passes as Oakland won for the sixth straight time at Arrowhead Stadium, though it was the Raiders’ first road victory since beating the Chiefs last December.

Sebastian Janikowski was perfect on four field goal attempts and Darren McFadden rushed for 114 yards to help Oakland (3-4) win its second in a row. The Raiders turned four Kansas City turnovers into 13 points.

The Chiefs (1-6) have lost four straight, never recovering from a fumbled punt by Javier Arenas that led to Palmer’s 9-yard scoring toss to Denarius Moore with 49 seconds left in the first half, giving Oakland a 13-6 advantage.

Matt Cassel threw for 218 yards in place of Brady Quinn, who left in the first half with what the team called a ‘‘head injury.’’ Cassel was cleared to play following his own concussion suffered three weeks ago.

Browns 7, Chargers 6

Cleveland slogged its way to a second straight home victory, getting 122 yards rushing and a touchdown from rookie Trent Richardson in blustery, wet conditions. A rib injury suffered last week didn’t slow Richardson, who carried 24 times as the Browns improved to 2-6.

The Chargers (3-4) dropped their third straight. San Diego had a chance to take the lead late, but Philip Rivers’s fourth-down pass from the Browns’ 44 was batted away with 1:24 left.

Rivers, who finished just 18 of 34 for 154 yards, had a potential touchdown pass dropped by Robert Meachem in the third quarter.