|Bills safety Jairus Byrd takes off with his second interception, which killed a Cardinals drive in OT.|
NFL roundup: Unbeaten Falcons slip past Raiders
This story is from BostonGlobe.com, the only place for complete digital access to the Globe.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons have plenty of mistakes to work on during their bye week.
Of course, it’s sure easier to fix the problems when you’re still unbeaten.
Asante Samuel returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown in the closing minutes and Matt Bryant connected on a 55-yard field goal with one second remaining, allowing the Falcons to escape with a sloppy 23-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders Sunday in Atlanta.
Overcoming three interceptions by Matt Ryan, the Falcons (6-0) extended the best start in franchise history.
It wasn’t easy against the pesky Raiders (1-4), who bounced back from Samuel’s pick to tie the game with less than a minute to go, but left a little too much time on the clock for Atlanta’s final possession.
Ryan completed four short passes, the last of them a 13-yarder to Tony Gonzalez that got Bryant in range for his longest field goal since joining the Falcons in 2009 — and his second game-winning kick in three weeks.
‘‘He knows how to get himself prepared, how to calm himself down, how to get it through those pipes,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘He’s made a lot of clutch kicks for us through the years.’’
Bryant actually missed one early, pulling a 43-yarder wide left to break a streak of 23 converted field goals dating to last season. He bounced back to connect from 41 and 20 yards before making the one that really mattered.
‘‘Missing that one early kind of woke me up a little bit to focus even harder,’’ Bryant said.
After a mostly ugly game, the final three minutes were thrilling. Tied at 13, the Raiders were in position for a go-ahead field goal when Samuel stepped in front of Carson Palmer’s pass at the Atlanta 21 and returned it for a touchdown.
Palmer shook off that huge mistake, leading the Raiders down the field for the tying score. He connected with Derek Hagan on a 38-yard pass to the Atlanta 5, and Darren McFadden scored on a 2-yard run with 40 seconds left.
Redskins 38, Vikings 26
Playing a week after suffering a concussion, Robert Griffin III ran for 138 yards and threw for 182 to help Washington (3-3) end an eight-game run of futility at home. Griffin had a touchdown pass and two scoring runs, the second of which covered 76 yards — the longest TD rush by a quarterback since 1996 — and gave the Redskins a 12-point lead with 2:43 remaining.
After falling behind, 9-0, and being outgained, 148-7, Washington responded with 24 straight points during a stretch in which it outgained the Vikings, 225-14.
Minnesota (4-2) had won three in a row. Four field goals by Blair Walsh accounted for the Vikings’ points through three quarters before Christian Ponder (352 yards) had a pair of touchdown throws in the fourth.
Browns 34, Bengals 24
Rookie Brandon Weeden threw two touchdown passes and Sheldon Brown sealed host Cleveland’s first win since last November with a 19-yard interception return for a score. The Browns (1-5), the NFL’s last winless team, broke an 11-game losing streak that was tied for the longest in franchise history.
It was the first win in nine tries against an AFC North opponent for second-year Browns coach Pat Shurmur. The victory also closed Randy Lerner’s tenure as Cleveland’s majority owner on a positive note. His sale to Jimmy Haslam III for $1 billion is expected to be approved by the league Tuesday.
Andy Dalton threw for 381 yards for Cincinnati (3-3), with two of his three touchdowns going to A.J. Green. But Dalton also had three interceptions and lost a late fumble deep in Browns territory.
Lions 26, Eagles 23
Jason Hanson kicked a 45-yard field goal in overtime and Detroit overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to win in Philadelphia. Matthew Stafford led the Lions (2-3) to 17 points in the fourth, throwing a TD pass and running for a score.
Detroit had two shots from the Eagles 1 following a pass interference penalty with 13 seconds left in regulation. But Stafford (311 yards passing) misfired twice and Hanson kicked a 19-yard field goal to send it to overtime. The Lions then sacked Michael Vick on the first two plays of the extra quarter, forced a punt out of the end zone, and started the winning drive at midfield.
Vick’s 70-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin with 5:18 left gave Philadelphia (3-3) a 23-13 lead.
Dolphins 17, Rams 14
Ryan Tannehill threw two touchdown passes and Miami (3-3) prevailed at home despite getting outplayed. The Dolphins were outgained, 462-192, with just 19 yards on the ground, and their league-leading rush defense allowed 162 yards on 27 attempts.
St. Louis (3-3) scored its lone touchdown with 8½ minutes left, and faced fourth and 7 at the Miami 48 with 30 seconds to play. Rather than go for a first down, coach Jeff Fisher sent out rookie Greg Zuerlein to try a 66-yard field goal — which would have been an NFL record by 3 yards. The kick had enough distance but was wide left.Continued...