|Browns kicker Billy Cundiff celebrates his winning field goal with holder Dave Zastudil, whose punts were equally vital to Cleveland’s first victory. (Mike Groll/Associated Press)|
From the ‘Big 4-0’ to 5-0
Following milestone birthday, Favre keeps Vikings unbeaten
A day after his 40th birthday, Brett Favre threw for 232 yards and a touchdown to lead the undefeated Minnesota Vikings to a 38-10 rout of the hapless and helpless Rams yesterday in St. Louis.
Showing no signs of a letdown just six days after an emotional win over Green Bay, his former team, Favre didn’t put up big numbers and didn’t have any last-second heroics. He was simply spry and efficient, dodging defenders and winging passes in every direction in his 274th straight regular-season start.
Now Favre is 5-0 for the first time in his career.
“I hope there’s many more to come,’’ Favre said. “I’d be lying if I said I thought I’d still be playing at 40 and not miss a game at this point. I just hope I can lead this team to bigger and better things.’’
It’s a good start.
The Vikings are 5-0 for the first time in six years by winning last-second games, emotional games, games they were supposed to win.
Against the Rams, they simply overwhelmed an overmatched opponent.
Minnesota led, 14-0, by the midpoint of the first quarter, let up a bit, then methodically wore down St. Louis. Jared Allen returned one of his two fumble recoveries 52 yards for a touchdown, Adrian Peterson rumbled for a pair of scores, and the Vikings forced four turnovers for their 400th win all time (400-322-9).
Favre came out firing early. He threw for 66 yards on Minnesota’s first drive to set up Peterson’s 5-yard TD scamper around left end. He also hit Sidney Rice on a 47-yard pass early in the third quarter, then connected with Visanthe Shiancoe on a 13-yard pass that put the Vikings up, 24-3.
Favre finished 18 of 24 with one interception.
St. Louis (0-5) wore throwback uniforms from 1999, a nod to the team’s only Super Bowl victory. The Rams looked nothing like the Greatest Show on Turf, bumbling their way to three turnovers inside the 10-yard line in an NFL-worst 15th straight loss.
St. Louis has scored four offensive touchdowns this season (none rushing), allowed at least 35 points in three straight games, and has seven turnovers in its last two games while getting outscored, 73-10.
The Steelers (3-2) took a 28-13 lead in the third quarter on Roethlisberger’s 47-yard pass to rookie Mike Wallace. His other TDs went to Heath Miller and Hines Ward. Roethlisberger was 23 of 30 for 277 yards.
Detroit (1-4) pulled within 8 points on Daunte Culpepper’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Northcutt with 4:57 to go, and got the ball back at its 29 with 3:07 left and two timeouts, but three sacks and a failed heave ended the Lions’ comeback.
White finished with eight catches for a career-high 210 yards against the 49ers’ typically stingy defense. Six of those receptions were in the first half for 185 yards, as the Falcons (3-1) came out of their bye week sharp and finished with a 477-279 advantage in total yards. Matt Ryan completed 22 of 32 passes for 329 yards and two TDs and also ran for a late score.
San Francisco (3-2) was booed off the field at halftime trailing, 35-10, and suffered its worst defeat since a 41-0 loss at Kansas City on Oct. 1, 2006.
A 60-yard kickoff return by Andre Davis helped set up the Texans’ final threat. Matt Schaub quickly moved Houston (2-3) to the 1, but Chris Brown was stopped for no gain on second down, Schaub threw incomplete on third down, and Brown was denied in front of the goal line on fourth down with 40 seconds left.
Cundiff, filling in for the injured Phil Dawson, also made a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter, while punter Dave Zastudil was the Browns’ MVP. He downed seven of nine punts inside the Bills’ 20, including three inside the 5. Zastudil also initiated the game-turning play when Roscoe Parrish muffed a rolling punt. The Browns (1-4) recovered at the Bills’ 16 to set up the winning field goal.
Making his second straight start, Cleveland’s Derek Anderson went 2 of 17 for a mere 23 yards and an interception to register a 15.1 rating. The Browns’ two completions are the fewest for a winning team since the Bengals had two on Oct. 22, 2000. The Browns managed 193 yards of offense, while the Bills (1-4) had 288. But Buffalo was penalized 13 times for 75 yards, including a whopping nine false-start penalties.
Stewart’s score was set up when the Panthers (1-3) recovered a muffed punt at the Washington 12. Carolina’s Quinton Teal blocked Washington’s Byron Westbrook into returner Antwaan Randle El, ruled a legal play. The ball bounced off Westbrook’s foot and Carolina’s Dante Wesley pounced on the ball. The officials initially awarded the ball to the Redskins. They then determined the ball hit Westbrook first and gave it to Carolina, a call upheld after Washington challenged.
The Redskins (2-3) led, 17-2, early in the third quarter, after DeAngelo Hall returned an interception 45 yards to the Carolina 1, and Clinton Portis punched in his first rushing TD this season.
McNabb didn’t hesitate to run, scrambling for 13 yards on his first play from scrimmage. On the next one, he fired a perfect 51-yard TD pass to Maclin to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead. McNabb finished 16 of 21 and his rating of 157.2 was the second highest of his career. He also had a team-high 30 yards rushing.
Intent on snapping the Seahawks’ three-game losing streak, Hasselbeck completed 18 of 30 throws for 241 yards before resting in the fourth quarter. His previous four-TD game was against Arizona on Dec. 9, 2007.