On both sides of the Atlantic, Matt Forte is carrying the offense for the Chicago Bears.
Forte ran for 145 yards and a touchdown and the Bears held on to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 24-18, yesterday in the fifth annual NFL regular-season game at Wembley Stadium.
Jay Cutler threw for 226 yards and a touchdown and the Bears intercepted Josh Freeman four times for their second win in a row. The Buccaneers lost for the second time in three years in England.
Freeman threw two TD passes in the fourth quarter to pull the Bucs within 3 points with just over seven minutes left. But, after a 25-yard field goal by Chicago’s Robbie Gould, Freeman was picked off for the fourth time with 37 seconds left by D.J. Moore to end the threat.
Tampa Bay’s loss completed a miserable day for the Glazer family, owners of the Bucs and Manchester United. Earlier, the Glazers were on hand at Old Trafford as the English Premier League champions were thrashed, 6-1, by crosstown rival Manchester City. The Glazers came straight down to London for the NFL game and ended up 0-2 for the day. The Bucs lost to the Patriots, 35-7, in England two years ago.
Attendance was 76,981, short of a sellout in the 82,000-seat capacity stadium. It’s the first time since the NFL began playing regular-season games here five years ago that tickets haven’t sold out. Organizers blamed the NFL lockout, which meant the game wasn’t officially confirmed and tickets put on sale until a few months ago.
Forte, who came to London with a league-leading 908 yards running and receiving, went over the 1,000-yard mark after seven games.
Freeman finished 29 of 51 for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Cutler was 17 of 32 for 226 yards and two interceptions.
The Bucs had to rely on the pass after losing running back Earnest Graham in the first quarter to a right ankle injury. He was starting for the second straight week in place of LeGarrette Blount, who was out with a knee injury.
Falcons 23, Lions 16
Matt Ryan ran and threw for touchdowns to give Atlanta a double-digit lead in the first half, and the Falcons held on to hand host Detroit its second straight loss.
On Detroit’s final drive, a pass-interference penalty against Atlanta was overturned because instant replay showed defensive tackle Corey Peters had tipped the ball.
Matthew Stafford then threw incomplete on fourth down from the Atlanta 41. Another player fell on Stafford’s right leg and he limped off the field. He was having his knee and ankle examined, but said he would have tried to play again if Detroit’s defense got the ball back.
Instead, the Falcons ran out the clock with a first down.
Ryan’s 17-yard pass to Roddy White had put Atlanta ahead, 17-6, at halftime.
The Lions have lost their luster after their perfect start. Calvin Johnson caught his 10th touchdown pass late in the third quarter to pull Detroit within 4 points.
Matt Bryant’s third field goal gave the Falcons a 7-point lead midway through the fourth quarter on a drive extended when safety Louis Delmas was called for holding on fourth down. They had a chance to make it a two-score game on their next possession but couldn’t get past the Detroit 40.
Chiefs 28, Raiders 0
Kendrick Lewis and Brandon Flowers returned interceptions for touchdowns and Kansas City took advantage of rusty quarterback play from Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer to beat host Oakland.
Boller became the first Raiders quarterback in 13 years to throw three interceptions in the first half, including Lewis’s 59-yard score on the first drive of the game for Oakland. Palmer relieved in the second half and threw three more interceptions, including one that Flowers returned 58 yards to give the Chiefs a 28-0 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Javier Arenas and Le’Ron McClain each added touchdown runs for the Chiefs on a day the Kansas City offense didn’t have to do much at all.
After being outscored, 89-10, in lopsided losses to Buffalo and Detroit to open the season, the defending AFC West champion Chiefs have won three straight to get back into contention in the division race. While the wins came against cellar-dwellers Minnesota and Indianapolis and a banged-up Raiders team missing its leading passer, scorer, and rusher for most of the game, the Chiefs aren’t apologizing.
Neither Boller nor Palmer were able to do much besides throw interceptions. Boller was 7 for 14 for 61 yards and Palmer went 8 for 21 for 116 yards.
Cowboys 34, Rams 7
In his first extended playing time, rookie DeMarco Murray ran for a franchise-record 253 yards, including an early 91-yard touchdown that got Dallas started on its rout of St. Louis in Arlington, Texas.
Murray - a third-round pick bumped up in the rotation because of an injury to starter Felix Jones - topped the best single-game performances by NFL rushing king Emmitt Smith and fellow Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett. It’s the ninth-highest total in NFL history, and the most rushing yards by anyone in the NFL this season.
Murray’s TD was the second-longest in team history, topped only by an NFL-record 99-yarder by Dorsett in January 1983.
As impressive as Murray’s performance was, it came against the Rams, who fell to 0-6 and came in with the NFL’s worst defense against the run, allowing 163 yards per game. There were so many holes that when Murray went out with an injury, fourth-stringer Phillip Tanner finished that drive with 35 yards on four carries, including a 6-yard TD run.
Saints 62, Colts 7
Drew Brees completed 31 of 35 passes for 325 yards and five touchdowns, and host New Orleans set a franchise record for points and victory margin in a demolition of hapless Indianapolis.
Brees had two touchdown passes to Marques Colston and one to Darren Sproles in the first quarter. His fourth and fifth touchdown tosses went to second-year tight end Jimmy Graham in the third quarter.
It seemed the Saints could do whatever they wanted, also rushing for 236 yards.
Colston had seven catches for 98 yards.
Packers 33, Vikings 27
Aaron Rodgers kept Green Bay unbeaten with three touchdowns and 335 yards passing, holding off plucky Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder in the rookie’s first start to defeat Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Rodgers completed his first 13 passes and finished 24 for 30, another near-unstoppable afternoon for him. Ponder was picked off twice in the third quarter by Charles Woodson, who almost grabbed a couple more interceptions, but the rookie kept the Vikings in it the whole game after a 71-yard completion on his first play.
Mason Crosby had four field goals for the Packers, including a franchise record 58-yarder, delighting the thousands of Packers fans who made the trip across the border.
Ponder went 13 for 32, but the kid from Florida State never looked rattled - including one third-down completion when Clay Matthews leveled him as he threw, drawing a disputed late-hit call - and finished with 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Panthers 33, Redskins 20
Cam Newton ran for a touchdown and threw for another in the second half to help host Carolina beat Washington.
Jonathan Stewart also ran for a third-quarter touchdown for the Panthers, who for the first time all year found themselves playing with the lead almost the entire way.
Newton threw for 256 yards and ran for 59 more. He ran for his seventh touchdown on a 16-yard keeper in the third quarter, tying a record for most TDs rushing by a rookie quarterback since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.
Texans 41, Titans 7
Arian Foster ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and added 119 more receiving with a 78-yard TD as visiting Houston routed Tennessee to take back the AFC South lead from the Titans. Foster became the first Texan with 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game.
Matt Schaub threw for 296 yards and two TDs, and the Texans won in Nashville for the second time in three years.
Fans booed Titans running back Chris Johnson as he was stopped early and often, and finished the game with 18 yards on 10 carries.
Browns 6, Seahawks 3
Phil Dawson converted two field goals over 50 yards and had two others blocked, but gave host Cleveland a dull win over sloppy Seattle, which came in missing starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and lost running back Marshawn Lynch to a back injury during warm-ups.
The Browns didn’t reach the end zone, but Dawson bailed them out with kicks of 52 and 53 yards, his first career game with two makes over 50.
The Seahawks (2-4) managed 137 yards of offense, and had the ball for only 17:04. Charlie Whitehurst, filling in for Jackson, completed 12 of 30 passes for 97 yards.