No one has led more late game-winning drives during the past five seasons than Matt Ryan, who has kept the Atlanta Falcons flying high with five fourth-quarter rallies this year alone.
Matty Ice did it again Sunday, throwing for 353 yards and overcoming two critical turnovers to stop host Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak with a 24-23 victory.
The Falcons (10-1) kept pace with the Houston Texans for the NFL’s best record, and Ryan had plenty of help in withstanding a challenge from the up-and-coming Buccaneers (6-5).
‘‘They are playing with a lot of confidence,’’ said Ryan, who has won seven of his past eight starts against the Bucs. ‘‘It’s always been a tough place for us to come play. They play with great effort, and I think they have a good football team.’’
Ryan teamed with Julio Jones on an 80-yard TD midway through the third quarter, but the Falcons found themselves trailing, 23-17, after the Bucs marched for a touchdown, then used a sack-fumble to set up a field goal that left Atlanta needing another strong finish.
Ryan obliged by a leading a six-play, 64-yard march that Michael Turner finished with a 3-yard TD run that put the NFC South leaders ahead for good with 7:55 remaining.
Connor Barth missed a 56-yard field goal for Tampa Bay (6-5) in the closing minutes and Josh Freeman’s desperation pass fell incomplete in the end zone on the final play.
Browns 20, Steelers 14
Chris Rainey’s fumble with 2:25 left — Pittsburgh’s seventh of eight turnovers — was recovered by Cleveland’s Phil Taylor and the host Browns damaged the playoff chances of their hated rivals.
Charlie Batch, forced to start at quarterback for Pittsburgh because of injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich, was picked off three times and the Steelers (6-5) lost five fumbles, the last on the final play of the game to help the Browns (3-8) beat Pittsburgh for just the second time in 18 tries.
Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden sustained a head injury in the final minutes and was relieved by Colt McCoy, and rookie Trent Richardson rushed for 85 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 15-yard run in the third quarter.
Ravens 16, Chargers 13
Justin Tucker kicked a 38-yard field with 1:07 left in overtime to complete a stunning comeback as visiting Baltimore beat staggering San Diego.
The Chargers led, 13-3, on Nick Novak’s 30-yard field goal with 7:51 to go and seemed headed for its first win against a team with a winning record this season.
But the Ravens converted on fourth-and-29 from their 37 when Ray Rice caught a short pass from Joe Flacco and weaved through the defense to the San Diego 33 with 1:37 to play. After a review, the ball was moved back to the 34 and the refs measured. The new spot gave the Ravens a first down by the length of the ball. Six plays later, Tucker kicked a 38-yard field goal to tie the game as regulation expired.
The Ravens (9-2) won their fourth straight and eighth in nine games and took a firmer grip on the AFC North, increasing their lead to three games over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Chargers (4-7) were pushed closer to being eliminated from the playoff picture.
Bears 28, Vikings 10
Michael Bush had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs, Jay Cutler passed for 188 yards and a TD in his return from a concussion, and host Chicago (8-3) dominated Minnesota (6-5) to end a two-game skid.
Adrian Peterson rumbled for 108 yards — his fifth straight 100-yard rushing effort — but also fumbled twice for the Vikings.
Broncos 17, Chiefs 9
Peyton Manning directed Denver (8-3) to its sixth straight win, throwing for 285 yards and two touchdowns, and Brady Quinn couldn’t get host Kansas City into the end zone for the second straight game.
Manning got help from Knowshon Moreno, who stepped in after Willis McGahee landed on injured reserve and ran for 85 yards. Manning’s TD passes went to Jacob Tamme and Demaryius Thomas.
Jamaal Charles ran for 107 yards, but the Chiefs (1-10) have not scored a touchdown since the first quarter against Pittsburgh on Nov. 12, a span of more than 11 quarters.
Jaguars 24, Titans 19
Making his first start in more than 13 months, Chad Henne threw two touchdown passes and host Jacksonville (2-9) beat Tennessee to snap a seven-game losing streak.
A week after coming off the bench and throwing for 354 yards and four touchdowns in a loss at Houston, Henne found Cecil Shorts III for a 59-yard touchdown in the third quarter and hooked up with rookie Justin Blackmon for a 7-yard score in the fourth.
The Titans (4-7) sacked Henne seven times also intercepted him once, but scored only one TD on six trips inside the Jaguars’ 25.
Colts 20, Bills 13
T.Y. Hilton returned a punt 75 yards for one TD and caught an 8-yard pass from Andrew Luck to lead host Indianapolis (7-4) past Buffalo.
Luck finished 20 of 37 for 240 yards to join the 3,000-yard club and Hilton became the first player in franchise history to catch a touchdown pass and score on a kick return in the same game.
C.J. Spiller ran 14 times for 107 yards to lead Buffalo (4-7), which has not won at Indy since 1998.
Bengals 34, Raiders 10
Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes against Oakland’s dreadful defense, and host Cincinnati (6-5) dominated its former franchise quarterback, Carson Palmer, in a game that included an on-field fight and three ejections.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 129 yards and a TD and had runs of 48 and 39 yards — the longest of his career — to set up scores.
Palmer went 19 of 34 for 146 yards with four sacks and an interception for Oakland (3-8), which has lost four straight. He was booed by the 56,503 fans — the smallest crowd of the season at Paul Brown Stadium.
A brawl broke out in the fourth quarter after a play was whistled dead and Oakland’s Tommy Kelly and Lamarr Houston ended up on top of Cincinnati’s Andrew Whitworth in the middle of a big scrum of players. All three were ejected.
Rams 31, Cardinals 17
Janoris Jenkins became the first player in Rams history and the first NFL rookie since 1960 to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same game and visiting St. Louis (4-6-1) dominated the second half to hand Arizona (4-7) its seventh loss in a row. Arizona rookie Ryan Lindley was intercepted four times in his first NFL start.