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NFL Roundup: Botched punt return helps Pats rally for win

New England quarterback Tom Brady, left, fumbles after taking a hit from Denver's Derek Wolfe in the first quarter Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots rebounded from a 24-point deficit to defeat the Broncos 34-31 in overtime. Photo by USA TODAY Sports.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots rallied from a 24-point halftime deficit, failed to hold a late seven-point lead and then got an incredible break to win in overtime.

A punt by New England's Ryan Allen was waved off by Denver Broncos return man Wes Welker, who allowed the ball to hit the ground. The ball then struck Denver cornerback Tony Carter, a former Patriot, and was recovered by Patriots safety Nate Ebner at the Broncos 13-yard line. After two runs into the line, Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 31-yard field goal with 1:56 left in OT, giving New England a wild 34-31 victory Sunday night.

And into Monday morning.

Because of a stiff wind, Patriots coach Bill Belichick decided not to take the ball after New England won the overtime toss. The decision worked out.

Gostkowski's 21st consecutive field-goal attempt ended a frigid night (6 degrees wind chill at game time) that saw New England booed off the field trailing 24-0 at the half.

Quarterback Tom Brady then led the Patriots to 31 consecutive points and the lead in his latest battle with Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. However, Manning took his team 80 yards for the tying score, and the game went into overtime, where it looked as if it might end in the NFL's second tie of the day.

Then came the bounce, and the Broncos fell to 9-2.

Cowboys 24, Giants 21

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo connected with tight end Jason Witten on two touchdown passes and kicker Dan Bailey's 35-yard field goal on the final play broke a 21-21 tie to give the Cowboys a 24-21 win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

The Cowboys improved to 6-5 and their win over the Giants (4-7) snapped New York's four-game winning streak.

It also severely hurt the Giants' chances of climbing out of the hole they dug for themselves with their 0-6 start to the season.

Cardinals 40, Colts 11

The Arizona Cardinals were all smiles after a 40-11 victory over the Indianapolis Colts (7-4) at University of Phoenix Stadium.

It was the fourth consecutive win for the Cardinals (7-4), who are now fully engaged in the playoff conversation for one of the two NFC wild-card positions.

Arizona limited quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts' offense to just 239 total yards.

Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer completed 26 of 37 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns, both of them to Larry Fitzgerald in the first half when the Cardinals built a 27-3 lead.

Titans 23, Raiders 19

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kendall Wright with 10 seconds left to play, lifting the Tennessee Titans to a 23-19 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

The Titans (5-6) moved into a six-way tie for the AFC's second wild-card berth. The Raiders (4-7) lost for the third time in four games.

Chargers 41, Chiefs 38

Philip Rivers connected with wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu for a 26-yard touchdown with 24 seconds to play that gave the San Diego Chargers a 41-38 upset victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

The winning touchdown came just 58 seconds after the Chiefs had gone ahead on a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Smith to wide receiverDwayne Bowe with one minute, 22 seconds to play.

San Diego is now 5-6 on the season, while the Chiefs are 9-2 and facing a huge rematch next week against the Denver Broncos.

Buccaneers 24, Lions 21

Mike Glennon threw two touchdown passes to Tiquan Underwood, including the go-ahead 85-yard score, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the turnover-proneDetroit Lions 24-21 at Ford Field.

Glennon, the Buccaneers' rookie quarterback, had 247 yards passing and cornerback Leonard Johnson returned one of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's four interceptions for another score as the Bucs (3-8) won their third straight after starting the season 0-8.

Detroit committed five turnovers while falling to 6-5. Stafford threw three touchdown passes and wide receiver Nate Burleson, who missed the previous seven games with a broken forearm suffered during an auto accident, caught seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Steelers 27, Browns 11

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes and the Pittsburgh Steelers won their third straight game to stay in the AFC playoff race by beating the Cleveland Browns 27-11.

The Steelers are 5-6 after a 0-4 start. The Browns have lost five of six games and are 4-7.

The Browns lost more than a football game - starting quarterback Jason Campbell was knocked out of the game in the third quarter with a concussion on a strip sack by cornerback William Gay.

Ravens 19, Jets 3

Jacoby Jones' first 100-yard receiving day with the Ravens included a 67-yard touchdown and Justin Tucker kicked four field goals as the Baltimore handed theNew York Jets a 19-3 loss.

Joe Flacco completed 17 of 26 passes for 273 yards with one interception and the long toss to Jones for the Ravens (5-6), winners of eight straight over the Jets (5-6).

Jones caught four passes for 103 yards as the Ravens scored the final 19 points. Three of Tucker's field goals came in the first half.

Jaguars 13, Texans 6

The Jacksonville Jaguars recorded consecutive road wins for the first time in five years, limiting the Houston Texans to 218 yards while posting a 13-6 victory atReliant Stadium.

Jacksonville (2-9) last won successive games on the road in Weeks 3 and 6 in 2008, at Indianapolis and Denver, respectively. Josh Scobee nailed field goals of 30 and 53 yards while running back Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown while adding 60 receiving yards on six catches.

The Texans (2-9) extended their franchise-worst losing skid to nine consecutive games.

Panthers 20, Dolphins 16

Quarterback Cam Newton tossed a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen with 43 seconds remaining to rally the Carolina Panthers from a 13-point deficit to a 20-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium.

The Panthers (8-3) have won seven straight games, the longest active winning streak in the NFL.

Miami (5-6) built a 16-3 lead but failed to run the ball effectively and could not hold on, allowing the Panthers to convert fourth-down plays on two key drives late in the game.

Rams 42, Bears 21

After a bye week, St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin picked up where he left off.

The rookie ran 65 yards for a touchdown on the game's third play, igniting a 21-point first quarter explosion which led to a 42-21 win over the Chicago Bears at theEdward Jones Dome.

It was the second straight victory for St. Louis (5-6), which was coming off a 38-8 rout of the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 10 that saw Austin score three touchdowns - all on plays of 55 yards or longer.