ADVERTISEMENT

Winning the games you're supposed to win is supposedly a formula for success in the National Footbal League.

Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions came up short against opponents they were supposed to beat, at least on paper. So much for form.

The Niners were upset at Minnesota, 24-13, against a 7-point underdog.

Detroit made an amazing last-minute comeback at Tennessee, only to fall to the Titans, 44-41, in overtime.

The Saints, who are winless, lost to the supposedly hapless Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24 in overtime. K.C., a 9-point underdog after losing by big scores to Atlanta and Buffalo, rallied behind running back Jamaal Charles.

At the end of the day Sunday, only three teams were undefeated - Atlanta and the surprising Arizona Cardinals in the NFC and the Houston Texans in the AFC; only Cleveland and New Orleans are winless.?

Upset specials

Vikings 24, 49ers 13

The scoop: Christian Ponder threw two touchdown passes to tight end Kyle Rudolph and ran for another score to help Minnesota hand the 49ers their first defeat. The Vikings began boldly with a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass by Ponder to Rudolph. Alex Smith's San Francisco franchise-record interception-free streak ended at 249 straight passes.

Why the Vikings won: They took the lead on the game's first series and never lost it.



?Titans 44, Lions 41 (OT)



The scoop: Rob Bironas kicked a 26-yard field goal, his third of the game, in overtime, and Detroit backup quarterback Shaun Hill, who was filling in for the injured Matthew Stafford, was stopped on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak at the Tennessee 7 to end it. After a 72-yard fumble return with 1:18 left by Alterraun Verser had given Tennessee a 41-27 lead, Hill threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson. Detroit recovered an onside kick and Hill hit Titus Young with a 46-yard pass on the last play of regulation to send it to overtime.

Why the Titans won: They gave up 583 yards but Jake Locker's scoring bombs offset the defensive shortcomings.



Chiefs 27, Saints 24 (OT)

The scoop: Ryan Succop kicked six field goals, a Chiefs record, one to force overtime in the final seconds and another from 31 yards to lift Kansas City to its first win. Kansas City scored only one touchdown, a 91-yard run by Jamaal Charles, who finished with 233 yards rushing. Drew Brees passed for 240 yards and three touchdowns, but missed all six of his passes through the fourth quarter and overtime.

Why the Chiefs won: The Saints blew a 24-6 lead over the last 20:36 as Charles' run ignited the comeback.

?Raiders 34, Steelers 31

The scoop: Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 43-yard field goal on the last play as Oakland scored the final 13 points after wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was knocked out and hospitalized in the fourth quarter by a helmet-to-helmet hit in the end zone by Steelers safety Ryan Mundy that was not called a penalty by the replacement officials. Carson Palmer then threw his third touchdown pass for Oakland and Janikowski kicked two field goals to give coach Dennis Allen his first win.

Why the Raiders won: They forced a turnover and a punt on Pittsburgh's last two series.



?Jets 23, Dolphins 20 (OT)



The scoop: Mark Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes for a 38-yard gain to set up the Nick Folk's winning field goal from 33 yards with 6:04 left in overtime.

Why the Jets won: Miami coach Joe Philbin outsmarted himself. His timeout negated a blocked try by Folk before the winning kick.??Bengals 38, Redskins 31

The scoop: Cincinnati's Andy Dalton completed 19-of-27 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns, and A.J. Green caught nine passes for a career-high 183 yards.

Why the Bengals won: After his team blew a 24-7 lead, a poised Dalton threw touchdown passes to Jermaine Gresham and Andrew Hawkins in the fourth quarter.??Jaguars 22, Colts 17

The scoop: Blaine Gabbert connected with Cecil Shorts III on an 80-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds left to lift Jacksonville to its first win. Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 177 yards, including a 59-yard scoring run. The Colts had taken the lead, 17-16, on Adam Vinatieri's 37-yard field goal with 56 seconds left.

Why the Jaguars won: They were outgained and converted only 4-of-13 third downs, but they got two huge scoring plays from Shorts and Jones-Drew.





Ravens, 31, Patriots 30



The scoop: Rookie Justin Tucker kicked a 27-yard field goal on the last play of regulation to cap Baltimore's comeback from a 30-21 fourth-quarter deficit. Joe Flacco's 5-yard pass to Torrey Smith brought the Ravens within two points. After forcing a punt, they marched 70 yards in seven plays and were helped by a pass interference penalty.

Why the Ravens won: Flacco completed three straight passes to get the winning drive started.

The unbeatens?Falcons 27, Chargers 3

The scoop: Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes to three different receivers and safety Thomas DeCoud had two interceptions and a fumble recovery for Atlanta. Ryan completed 30-of-40 passes for 275 yards, with his first interception of the season. San Diego was the third straight AFC West team to lose to Atlanta.

Why the Falcons won: The Chargers turned the ball over three of their first six series in the first half.

?Cardinals 27, Eagles 6

The scoop: Kevin Kolb threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns and James Sanders returned one of Michael Vick's two fumbles 93 yards for a touchdown. Arizona, off to its best start in 38 years, sacked Vick five times.

Why the Cards won: Philadelphia fumbled twice and punted four times in its six first-half possessions.??Texans 31, Broncos 25

The scoop: Matt Schaub threw for four touchdowns against a confused Broncos defense to stake Houston to a big lead on the way to a 3-0 start for the first time in the franchise's 11-season history. The Texans beat Peyton Manning for only the third time in 19 tries - and for the first time ever in a road game.

Why the Texans won: Wade Phillips' defense limited Denver to three field goals the first 50 minutes of the game.





Dogs of the day?Bears 23, Rams 6



The scoop: Major Wright returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown and Chicago's defense had six sacks on Sam Bradford.



Why the Bears won: Chicago held the Rams to 160 yards.??Cowboys 16, Bucs 10



The scoop: DeMarco Murray had an 11-yard touchdown run and Dan Bailey kicked three field goals as Dallas won its home opener.



Why the Cowboys won: They limited Tampa Bay to 166 yards total offense; the Bucs converted only 3-of-15 third downs.





The Associated Press and News wire services contributed to this report.

email:?mnorthrop@buffnews.com