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Mare finally kicks into gear

After misfiring, he tops Ravens in OT

Olindo Mare finally came through in the clutch.

The Miami Dolphins kicker had been shaky under pressure lately, but he hit a 43-yard field goal with 8:48 left in overtime to beat the Baltimore Ravens, 9-6, yesterday at Pro Player Stadium.

Mare missed a 48-yard attempt wide right that would have put Miami ahead with 2:29 left in regulation. Last month he missed two 35-yard tries that would have beaten the Patriots.

The NFL's rushing leader, Jamal Lewis, lost a fumble to set up Mare's clincher.

The Dolphins snapped a two-game losing streak, improved to 6-4, and eased pressure on much-criticized coach Dave Wannstedt -- at least for a week.

The Ravens (5-5), who have lost two in a row, fell into a tie with Cincinnati for the lead in the AFC North. They lost because they totaled just 220 yards and committed three turnovers.

Miami limited Lewis to 88 yards on 26 carries. Lewis bobbled a handoff in OT, then kicked the ball before Zach Thomas fell on it at the Ravens' 33. Three plays later, Mare won it.

The Ravens' Anthony Wright, replacing the injured Kyle Boller, appeared in his first game since 2001, when he was with Dallas. He threw for just 112 yards, with two interceptions.

Packers 20, Bucs 13 -- Brett Favre and Green Bay made it look easy against the once-vaunted Tampa Bay defense. Playing with a broken right thumb and shrugging off five years of futility at Raymond James Stadium, Favre led a 98-yard second-half drive to give Green Bay (5-5) the victory that vaulted it back into the NFC playoff race.

Ahman Green finished the march with a 1-yard run that dealt the Bucs (4-6) their third straight loss and hurt the defending Super Bowl champions' postseason chances.

Green finished with his seventh 100-yard game of the season, gaining 109 on 21 carries despite sitting out part of the winning drive while getting his left ankle taped.

Colts 38, Jets 31 -- Edgerrin James ran for a season-high 127 yards and three touchdowns, and punter Hunter Smith raced 21 yards on a fake field goal for the go-ahead score, lifting host Indianapolis (8-2). The Jets (3-7) and Colts combined for 862 total yards of offense, 69 points, and scored on a myriad of big and strange plays -- none more important than Smith's burst late in the third quarter.

Peyton Manning was 27 of 36 for a season-high 401 yards and one touchdown, but Chad Pennington nearly rallied the Jets (3-7), completing 11 of 14 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns.

Rams 23, Bears 21 -- Marshall Faulk ran for 103 yards and St. Louis (7-3) used Jeff Wilkins's 31-yard field goal with 38 seconds left to rally in Chicago for its sixth win in seven games. Wilkins's third field goal came after the Rams moved 67 yards behind six completions by Marc Bulger, including a 21-yarder to Torry Holt.

Jerry Azumah returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards for Chicago (3-7), but the Bears couldn't get close enough for a field goal attempt.

Panthers 20, Redskins 17 -- Stephen Davis scored on a 3-yard run with 1:09 remaining to lift host Carolina over Washington, the team that released him in the offseason. Trying to shake off a nagging ankle sprain that sidelined him last week, Davis did not have the "Take that, Steve Spurrier" game he wanted for the Panthers (8-2), finishing with 92 yards on 28 carries. But after Patrick Ramsey put the Redskins (4-6) up, 17-13, with 4:19 to play on a 10-yard pass to Patrick Johnson, Davis stepped up to show Washington just what it gave up.

Eagles 28, Giants 10 -- Donovan McNabb threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns, and Brian Westbrook caught two TD passes and ran for a score, leading host Philadelphia to its fifth straight victory. McNabb completed 24 of 30 passes, helping the two-time NFC East champion Eagles (7-3) win for the seventh time in eight games. Tiki Barber had 111 yards rushing to lead the Giants (4-6), but failed to get in the end zone on a crucial fourth and goal at Philadelphia's 1 in the second quarter.

Titans 10, Jaguars 3 -- Host Tennessee snapped its string of games with 30 or more points at six, but Steve McNair threw for a touchdown and the defense held off Jacksonville at the goal line in the final minute to preserve a fifth straight victory. Jacksonville (2-8) had first and goal with a chance to force overtime, but the Titans (8-2) stopped Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala twice up the middle for losses and tackled Cortez Hankton at the 2 after an 8-yard catch. Byron Leftwich couldn't find a receiver in the end zone on fourth and 2.

Seahawks 35, Lions 14 -- Bobby Engram had an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown and caught a 34-yard scoring pass to help Seattle (7-3) hand Detroit its 21st straight road defeat. Another loss next weekend at Minnesota would tie Detroit (3-7) with the Buffalo Bills (1983-86) for the second-longest road skid in NFL history. The record is 23 games by the Houston Oilers (1981-84).

Broncos 37, Chargers 8 -- Jake Plummer made a triumphant return in Denver and San Diego's Doug Flutie fell flat in his encore. Plummer played like he had never left, hitting 23 of 34 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns after missing four games with foot and shoulder injuries. The Broncos (6-4) had 448 total yards and led, 27-0, at the half. Flutie finished 9 of 25 for 70 yards for San Diego (2-8) and fumbled twice.

Browns 44, Cardinals 6 -- Kelly Holcomb passed for 392 yards and three touchdowns and James Jackson added two scores for host Cleveland (4-6), which rolled over inept Arizona to end a three-game skid. The Cardinals (3-7) didn't cross midfield until late in the first half and finished with just 10 first downs.

Raiders 28, Vikings 18 -- Phillip Buchanon scored on a 64-yard interception return 49 seconds into the game and third-string quarterback Rick Mirer calmly directed host Oakland (3-7) past Minnesota, ending the Raiders' five-game losing streak and sending the Vikings (6-4) to their fourth straight defeat.

Saints 23, Falcons 20 -- Deuce McAllister, held to 20 yards in the first half, finished with 173 yards and two touchdowns in an overtime win for host New Orleans, which prevailed on John Carney's 36-yard field goal. The Saints (5-5) fought back from a 20-3 first-half deficit to turn back the Falcons (2-8).

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afc east standings
  W L T Pct. PF PA
Patriots 8 2 0 .800 19.6 15.5
Dolphins 6 4 0 .600 17.7 14.7
Bills 4 6 0 .400 15.9 17.0
Jets 3 7 0 .300 19.7 21.1
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