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ELWAY-LED BRONCOS LEAVE CHIEFS RED-FACED AFTER 34-7 WHIPPING

DENVER -- While it hardly seems possible, John Elway actually seems to be getting better. No less an authority than Marty Schottenheimer -- tormented by Elway for 11 seasons -- says so.

Reversing their only loss of the season, the Denver Broncos used three touchdown passes from Elway and a stubborn defense to crush Schottenheimer's Kansas City Chiefs, 34-7, on Sunday.

"John is playing better right now than I have ever seen him play," said Schottenheimer, whose Cleveland Browns teams were twice beaten by Elway in AFC championship games and whose teams have won only seven of 19 meetings with the Elway-led Broncos.

Elway completed 16 of 31 passes for 286 yards. He left the game early in the final period and thus was deprived of a chance for a fourth straight 300-yard passing game.

"He was definitely hot," Chiefs cornerback Dale Carter said of Elway. "It seemed like everything was working for him. He was hard to stop."

The win enabled the Broncos (7-1) to open a two-game lead in the AFC West at the halfway point of the season.

"To finish the first half 7-1 is great, but we've got a long way to go," Elway said.

Denver, which bowed, 17-14, to the Chiefs five weeks ago, scored on its first three possessions for a 17-7 lead. Elway's third TD pass, a 25-yarder to Mike Sherrard late in the first half, made it 24-7, and Aaron Craver's 1-yard leap capped a 56-yard drive late in the third quarter.

Tight end Shannon Sharpe caught Elway's other two TD throws and finished with six catches for 99 yards.

A plodding Chiefs offense managed only 232 yards and no points.

Kansas City (5-3) got its lone score on Tamarick Vanover's 97-yard kickoff return in the first quarter.

49ers 10, Oilers 9

HOUSTON -- Steve Young wasn't able to save San Francisco this time. Seldom-used Jeff Brohm and the 49ers' defense did.

Young suffered a concussion on the third play of the game and was replaced by Brohm, who completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens with 4:27 to play, rallying the 49ers to a victory over Houston.

"This is why we're a championship team," Brohm said. "No matter who is in there, we can pull it out. I probably haven't been this exhausted in my whole career."

Defensive end Chris Doleman took over in the fourth quarter with a third-down sack as well as an interception on the final play of the game. Safety Merton Hanks broke up a fourth-down pass with 2:18 to play.

Al Del Greco kicked field goals of 38, 56 and 39 yards and had the Oilers (5-3) leading, 9-3, until Brohm finally got the 49ers (6-2) going with a 49-yard completion to running back Terry Kirby to set up the go-ahead score.

Facing third-and-7 from the Oilers 20, Brohm hit Owens on the sideline, and the receiver broke free from cornerback Darryll Lewis and danced into the end zone.

Steelers 20, Falcons 17

ATLANTA -- For the second straight week, Atlanta came close to knocking off one of the best teams in the NFL, only to fall short in the fourth quarter.

Norm Johnson kicked a 20-yard field as time ran out, giving Pittsburgh a victory over the Falcons, sending Atlanta to its eighth straight loss.

A week ago, the Falcons lost, 28-24, to defending Super Bowl champion Dallas when the Cowboys scored a touchdown with less than two minutes left.

The Falcons are within one loss of their worst start ever. That came in 1966, their first year of existence, when they lost nine in a row.

The Steelers (6-2) drove 66 yards for the winning field goal behind the rushing of Jerome Bettis. He ran for more than 100 yards for the sixth time this season, and quarterback Mike Tomczak was nearly perfect passing in the second half.

Bettis, third in the NFL in rushing going in, ran seven times for 32 yards in the winning drive, and finished with 126 yards on 26 carries. Tomczak completed all three passes for 32 yards and was 11 for 12 for 111 yards in the second half, 22 for 27 and 214 yards overall.

"In playing quality teams like Dallas and Pittsburgh, we are fighting pretty hard and have had opportunities to win the game," Hebert said. "We need to try and close the game and find a way to win."

Jets 31, Cardinals 21

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Keyshawn Johnson had a 34-yard scoring catch among his seven receptions and Adrian Murrell put the game out of reach with a 79-yard run late in the fourth quarter as New York beat Arizona (3-5) to end a franchise-record 12-game losing streak.

"We had a couple of situations that, in the previous eight games we have have screwed up and found a way to lose," said Jets coach Rich Kotite.

Murrell burst through the line off-tackle and ran straight ahead until Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams jumped on his back at the Arizona 2-yard line. Reggie Cobb scored on the next play, giving the Jets a 31-21 lead with 4:55 to play.

Murrell, who had a team-record 199 yards on 31 carries, made it 24-14 early in the final period when he scored on a 1-yard run.

In the first half, the Jets (1-8) took a 17-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal by Nick Lowery, Frank Reich's pass to Johnson and a 1-yard run by Richie Anderson. Reich had a 22 for 31 day for 254 yards and one TD, overcoming a pair of interceptions by Williams.

Giants 35, Lions 7

PONTIAC, Mich. -- New York snapped Detroit's 10-game home winning streak by forcing six turnovers against the Lions.

The Giants secondary picked off five passes and helped hold Barry Sanders of Detroit (4-4) to 47 yards on 16 carries.

Dave Brown shredded the Lions secondary, completing 15 of 27 for 221 yards, with one interception. Rodney Hampton ran effectively, gaining 76 yards on 27 carries.

The Giants (3-5) also recovered one fumble and blocked a punt for a safety.

That domination was so complete that Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell was benched in the second quarter for backup Don Majkowski. Mitchell shouted something as he walked past coach Wayne Fontes, throwing his helmet toward the bench.

"I was disappointed and upset about it," Mitchell said. "I've been in games before where I've thrown three interceptions and stayed in the game. I felt there was a lot of football to be played yet."

Mitchell hit 9 of 19 for 71 yards, with three interceptions. Majkowski was 11 for 28 for 126 yards, with two interceptions.

Ravens 37, Rams 31 (OT)

BALTIMORE -- Vinny Testaverde threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jackson with 10 seconds left in overtime as Baltimore avoided the first NFL tie in seven years.

The Ravens (3-5) won despite committing four turnovers and missing two field goals and a conversion.

The Rams (2-6) also had four turnovers, blew a 14-point lead in the second half and botched a field-goal try in overtime.

Packers 13, Buccaneers 7

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Favre, who leads the NFL with 21 touchdown passes, didn't throw for a touchdown for the first time since Nov. 5, 1995, a span of 17 games, including the playoffs, in Green Bay's win over Tampa Bay.

Favre was just 19 of 31 for 178 yards and an interception. But Edgar Bennett rushed 20 times for 93 yards and Dorsey Levens ran seven times for 21 yards and a touchdown for the Packers (7-1).

The Bucs (1-7) closed to within 13-7 when Trent Dilfer hit tight end Dave Moore with an 11-yard touchdown pass with 5:28 to play.

Seahawks 32, Chargers 13

SEATTLE -- The Seahawks, who had only eight takeaways in the first seven games, intercepted four passes from Sean Salisbury and recovered a fumble against San Diego.

The five turnovers resulted in 23 points for the Seahawks (3-5), who won for the first time in four home games.

San Diego (4-4) played without injured stars Junior Seau and Stan Humphries.

Bengals 28, Jaguars 21

CINCINNATI -- Jeff Blake threw a touchdown pass and Ki-Jana Carter ran for two scores against Jacksonville in Bruce Coslet's coaching debut for Cincinnati.

The Bengals (2-6) broke their season-long pattern of folding at the end, scoring 21 fourth-quarter points to get Coslet a win in his first game since replacing Dave Shula.

Jacksonville (3-6) tied its franchise record with five sacks of Jeff Blake.

Eagles 20, Panthers 9

PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles quarterback Ty Detmer passed for a career-high 342 yards and a touchdown in a win over Carolina.

Irving Fryar, who caught eight passes for 116 yards and four touchdowns last week, caught seven passes for 143 yards for Philadelphia (6-2).

Ricky Watters, averaging 107 rushing yards, was limited to 33 by Carolina (5-3), but he did score the Eagles' other touchdown on a 3-yard run.

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