Followers of the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars saw their teams snatch defeat from the jaws of victory Sunday in the National Football League.
All had fourth-quarter leads against favored opponents – heavily favored, in some cases. The Cards led the Falcons in Atlanta 19-16 with 14:56 to play. The Panthers were on top of the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 21-13, with 4:03 left. The Browns regained the lead, 20-17, with 1:07 to go against the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions owned a 20-14 lead over division rival Green Bay with 4:25 to go.
All five ended up losing, three in overtime, but the most frustrated had to be the the Jaguars, the NFL’s worst team with a 1-9 record. As 15½-point underdogs, they led the once-beaten Texans, 34-20, in Houston with 12:33 left and wound up losing in overtime, 43-37.
That’s life at the bottom of the NFL. Here’s a thumbnail look at Sunday’s Week 11 games.:
Game of the day
Ravens 13, Steelers 10
The scoop: Jacoby Jones returned a punt 63 yards to put Baltimore in front, 10-7, and the Ravens’ defense hung on for the victory over AFC-North rival Pittsburgh. Byron Leftwich ran 31 yards to give the Steelers the early lead, but he completed only 18-of-39 passes for 201 yards.
Why the Ravens won: Their gritty defense kept the Steelers out of the end zone after the first series of the game.
Texans 43, Jaguars 37 (OT)
The scoop: Andre Johnson caught a screen pass from Matt Schaub and ran 48 yards for the winning touchdown in overtime after each side had kicked a field goal in the extra period.
Why the Texans won: Their defense was shredded for 21 yards per completion, but they scored on 5-of-9 possessions after halftime.
Falcons 23, Cardinals 19
The scoop: Matt Ryan overcame a career-worst five interceptions, guiding Atlanta to its only offensive touchdown in the fourth quarter in a sloppy win. The Falcons turned it over six times, but Michael Turner scored on a 1-yard run with 6:40 remaining to give Atlanta its first lead of the game. Coming off a bye, Arizona lost its sixth straight game. The Cardinals tried to bolster their anemic offense by switching quarterbacks, replacing John Skelton with rookie Ryan Lindley.
Why the Falcons won: They limited the Cardinals to seven first downs and just 178 yards total offense.
Bucs 27 Panthers 21 (OT)
The scoop: Josh Freeman threw his third touchdown pass, 15 yards to Dallas Clark in overtime to cap a comeback. Carolina appeared to have the game in hand after a 29-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Brandon LaFell put the Panthers up 21-10 with 4:34 left. However, Freeman led the Bucs 80 yards on seven plays in 50 seconds with no timeouts. He finished the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson between three defenders with 12 seconds left. Freeman went back to Jackson for a 2-point conversion on a slant route to send the game into overtime.
Why the Bucs won: They outgained the Panthers, 167-97 on the ground and averaged 5.6 per running play.
Cowboys 23, Browns 20 (OT)
The scoop: Dan Bailey kicked a 38-yard field goal with 6:07 remaining in OT came after both teams punted once in the first overtime game at Cowboys Stadium. Bailey hit a tying 32-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in regulation. Dallas rallied from a 13-0 halftime deficit and again after the Browns took a 20-17 lead on Brandon Weeden’s 17-yard pass to Benjamin Watson.
Why the Cowboys won: Dez Bryant accounted for 145 of their 320 yards total offense with 12 pass receptions.
Packers 24, Lions 20
The scoop: Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes, including a 22-yarder to Randall Cobb with 1:55 left to lift Green Bay. Mason Crosby made a 39-yard field goal with 19 seconds to go after missing two field goals earlier in the game. Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions – one of which was returned 72 yards by Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings for a score in the third quarter – and lost a fumble. Green Bay has won five straight.
Why the Packers won: They won the turnover battle, 4-1.
The chalk wins
Redskins 31, Eagles 6
The scoop: Robert Griffin III threw four touchdown passes, and Washington broke a three-game losing streak. Griffin completed 14 of 15 for 200 yards and also ran 11 times for 85 yards. Philadelphia’s Nick Foles was 21 for 46 for 204 yards in his first NFL start. Foles was starting in place of Michael Vick, who suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles have dropped six straight.
Why the Redskins won: They sacked Foles four times, intercepted him twice and allowed the Eagles only 80 yards on the ground.
Jets 27, Rams 13
The scoop: Mark Sanchez directed a turnover-free offense and Bilal Powell ran for the first two touchdowns of his career as the Jets ended a three-game losing streak. Tim Tebow had a handful of snaps but was no factor. Brandon Gibson caught a pair of short TD passes for the Rams, who tied the 49ers in San Francisco last week.
Why the Jets won: They converted two St. Louis fumbles into short (28 and 38) drives for touchdowns.
Patriots 59, Colts 24
The scoop: Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns, Andrew Luck misfired on two interceptions returned for touchdowns and the New England tied its single-game scoring record in the rout. Brady got plenty of help – touchdowns on a 68-yard punt return by Julian Edelman and on interception returns of 59 yards by newcomer Aqib Talib and 87 yards by Alfonzo Dennard.
Why the Patriots won: The Colts had their hands full defensively. It didn’t help that they gave up big-play scores on two interception returns and a punt return.
Saints 38, Raiders 17
The scoop: Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes and Malcolm Jenkins returned an interception for a score to get the New Orleans to 5-5 after an 0-4 start. The Raiders lost their third straight.
Why the Saints won: The Oakland defense was too banged up to contain the precision passing of Brees.
Broncos 30, Chargers 23
The scoop: Peyton Manning shook off an early pick-six and passed for three touchdowns, giving him 423 in his career, second all-time as the Broncos won their fifth in a row.
Why the Broncos won: The never let Philip Rivers of the Chargers get comfortable, intercepting him twice and sacking him four times, three by Von Miller who now has 13.
Dog of the day
Bengals 28, Chiefs 6
The scoop: Andy Dalton threw for 230 yards and accounted for three touchdowns and A.J. Green caught a touchdown pass in his ninth straight game. K.C. lost its seventh straight amid a quiet crowd at Arrowhead Stadium.
Why the Bengals won: They allowed the Chiefs to convert only 1 of 11 third downs.
Compiled from wire reports.