Only two of the four first-place teams in the AFC were in action Sunday – Indianapolis and Cincinnati – and both lost, tightening division races in the South and North.
Detroit won at Chicago and took advantage of Green Bay’s home loss to Philadelphia to take sole possession of first place in the NFC North.
Those were the major events in Week 10 on Sunday in the NFL unless you count the Jacksonville Jaguars’ first win of the season, a 29-27 squeaker at Tennessee.
And the two most disappointing NFL teams – the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons – kept on losing. Each dropped to 2-7.
Game of the dayPanthers 10, 49ers 9
The scoop: Bills castoff Drayton Florence’s interception in the final minute, his second in the last two games, sealed it. Graham Gano kicked a 53-yard field goal with 10:05 remaining that held up. DeAngelo Williams broke two tackles on a 27-yard touchdown run late in the first half that pulled Carolina within 9-7.
Why the Panthers won: They twice shut down Colin Kaepernick on last-ditch drives with swarming defense and became the second team this season – Seattle was the first – to keep the Niners out of the end zone.
Leaders of the pack
Broncos 28, Chargers 20
The scoop: Peyton Manning threw touchdown passes of 11, 7 and 34 yards to Demaryius Thomas and another for 74 yards to Julius Thomas in Denver’s first game since coach John Fox had heart surgery. Interim coach Jack Del Rio was in charge.
Why the Broncos won: Leading by only 7-6, they broke it open with touchdowns on three consecutive drives spanning the second and third quarters and taking only 7 minutes, 18 seconds all told.
Saints 49, Cowboys 17
The scoop: New Orleans took charge with three straight touchdowns in the second quarter, two of them on passes from Drew Brees. In his most sustained action since suffering a toe injury in Week Two, Mark Ingram of the Saints ran 14 times for 145 yards and a touchdown. Brees completed 34 of 41 for 392 yards and four touchdowns.
Why the Saints won: Missing Jason Hatcher and losing Sean Lee during the game, the Cowboys couldn’t contain Brees and the balanced New Orleans offense.
Rams 38, Colts 8
The scoop: Tavon Austin returned one punt 98 yards for a touchdown, caught TD passes of 57 and 81 yards and almost single-handedly ended the Rams’ three-game losing streak. It was the Colts’ worst loss since a 55-point thrashing at New Orleans in 2011.
Why the Rams won: They intercepted four Andrew Luck passes in the second half and held Indy to 18 yards rushing. Luck had 17 of the total.
Ravens 20, Bengals 17 (OT)
The scoop: Justin Tucker kicked a 46-yard field goal with 5:27 left in overtime after the Ravens had blown a 17-point halftime lead, giving up a touchdown on the final play of regulation. Cincinnati pulled even when A.J. Green caught a desperation pass from Andy Dalton for a 51-yard touchdown.
Why the Ravens won: They intercepted Dalton three times, including one that set up the touchdown for a 17-0 lead.
Lions 21, Bears 19
The scoop: Calvin Johnson had two second-half touchdown receptions for Detroit. Johnson broke Herman Moore’s franchise record with his 63rd career touchdown reception with 2:22 to go, giving the Lions a 21-13 lead with a 14-yard grab. Detroit swept Chicago for the first time since 2007.
Why the Lions won: They stopped Chicago’s run on a two-point conversion attempt with 40 seconds left.
Also in action
Eagles 27, Packers 13
The scoop: A week after tying the NFL record by passing for seven TDs, Nick Foles connected with DeSean Jackson for a 55-yard score in the first half and Riley Cooper for 45 and 32 yards in a 17-point second half. All five of the Eagles’ victories have come on the road. The Packers lost backup Seneca Wallace early with a groin injury. Scott Tolzien, who was activated from the practice squad last week, took over.
Why the Eagles won: Philadelphia averaged 5.5 yards per rushing attempt and 204 yards total.
Jaguars 29, Titans 27
The scoop: Maurice Jones-Drew and Jordan Todman each ran for a touchdown as the Jaguars hit their season high for points. The Titans scored twice in the final 4:15 to give the Jags a scare before Johnathan Cyprien recovered an onside kick to seal it. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who completed 22 of 33 for 264 yards and two touchdowns, played after starter Tennessee Jake Locker was lost with an injured right foot.
Why the Jaguars won: They got lots of help from four Tennessee turnovers that resulted in 17 Jacksonville points.
Cardinals 27, Texans 24
The scoop: Arizona scored on the game’s first play when John Abraham knocked the ball out of Case Keenum’s arm and Matt Shaugnessy returned it 6 yards, and Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes as Houston lost a franchise-record seventh straight.
Why the Cardinals won: They forced Houston punts on four straight series to start the second half while scoring 13 points.
Giants 24, Raiders 20
The scoop: Terrell Thomas returned an interception 65 yards to set up a go-ahead 1-yard touchdown run by Andre Brown, and the Giants won their third straight game. The Giants handed the Raiders their first 17 points on first-half turnovers.
Why the Giants won: In a game of mistakes, the Raiders made the final one, when Terrelle Pryor threw the pick to Thomas with 3:01 left in the third quarter.
Dog of the day
Seahawks 33, Falcons 10
The scoop: Russell Wilson threw a pair of touchdown passes and Marshawn Lynch ran for 145 yards as Seattle won easily after struggling for victories the last two weeks.
Why the Seahawks won: Atlanta crossed midfield only once in six first-half possessions.
News wire services contributed to this report.