Here's bad news for Miami Dolphins haters. They're back -- at least for now.
Olindo Mare kicked a 32-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in regulation to give the Dolphins a 27-24 win over the Carolina Panthers at Pro Player Stadium. The victory left Miami (2-1) tied with New England (2-1) for first place in the AFC East.
The game was a coming-out party for the Dolphins' Ronnie Brown, who along with Carnell "Cadillac" Williams formed the 1-2 running back punch at Auburn last year. Brown carried 23 times for 132 yards and ran for his first NFL touchdown.
Williams, meanwhile, carried 37 times for 158 yards in Tampa Bay's victory at Green Bay.
The Panthers, who had rallied from a 21-10 deficit against the Dolphins, were driving for the potential winning score when safety Lance Schulters intercepted a Jake Delhomme pass and returned it 37 yards to the 25. Five plays later, Mare kicked his game winner.
Dolphins 27, Panthers 24
Closing line: Panthers by 3.
The scoop: The Miami defense dominated, sacking Delhomme four times and holding the Panthers to a 2.3 yard average on the ground (26 carries for 61 yards). Carolina's longest running play was 9 yards. . . . The Panthers tied the game at 24-all on a 53-yard Delhomme-to-Steven Smith pass with 7:12 left. It was Smith's third touchdown reception. He caught 11 for 170 yards. . . . Miami quarterback Gus Frerotte was not sacked. He threw touchdown passes to tight end Randy McMichael and a 42-yard bomb to Chris Chambers.
Buffalo Buzz: Conspiracy theorists among Buffalo followers will have fun with this: Miami has a bye next week before its Oct. 9 visit to Ralph Wilson Stadium while the Bills must travel to San Antonio to face the Saints.
Play of game: Schulters' interception return to set up the game winner.
Quote: "We're not the worst team in the league like some people make us out to be," said Schulters.
Next game: Miami draws its bye while Carolina (1-2) has a Monday Night game at home against Green Bay (0-3).
Down to the wire
Jaguars 26, Jets 20
Closing line: Jets by 2 1/2 .
The scoop: The Jets may have serious quarterback problems. Both Chad Pennington and backup Jay Fiedler suffered right shoulder injuries in the overtime loss at Giants Stadium. . . . Pennington completed only 9 of 19 with two interceptions and four sacks. He was forced out when he reinjured his shoulder, the same one which underwent rotator cuff surgery in the offseason. Fiedler replaced him but had to leave with his injury. Pennington finished the game. . . . Jets averaged only 8.6 yards on 11 pass completions. . . . New York tied the game on a 25-yard Mike Nugent field goal with 1:14 left after an apparent touchdown pass to Wayne Chrebet was overturned on a replay.
Play of game: In the overtime, Byron Leftwich of the Jaguars hit Jimmy Smith with a 36-yard pass on third-and-12 for the winning touchdown. At first Smith was ruled out at the 2, but the call was overruled after video review, ending the game.
Next game: Jacksonville (2-1) is at home against Denver (1-1). The Jets (1-2) are at Baltimore (0-2).
Buccaneers 17, Packers 16
Closing line: Buccaneers by 3 1/2 .
The scoop: The Cadillac is rolling like no other rookie in NFL history. Williams, the first NFL rookie to start his career with three straight 100-yard games, has 434 yards rushing so far, besting Alan Ameche's mark of 410 set in 1955 for the Baltimore Colts. . . . Tampa Bay, which ended a 13-game road losing streak against the Packers, never trailed. . . . Brett Favre threw for two TDs but was intercepted three times, twice by Will Allen, the second at the Bucs' 5 with 5 minutes left. . . . Brian Griese of the Bucs threw two touchdown passes to Joey Galloway.
Play of game: Green Bay long snapper Rob Davis was off target on his snap, causing Ryan Longwell to miss an extra point.
Next game: Green Bay (0-3) is at Carolina (1-2) next Monday night, while the 3-0 Bucs host 1-1 Detroit on Sunday.
Rams 31, Titans 27
Closing line: Rams by 6 1/2 .
The scoop: Rams trailed 10-0, led 24-10 and finally had to make a defensive stand to win their home opener. . . . Marc Bulger of the Rams passed for 292 yards and three touchdowns. Torry Holt caught nine for 163 yards, including a 32-yard scoring catch. . . . The Titans drove to the Rams' 23 in the final minute and had two shots at the end zone before running out of downs.
Buffalo Buzz: Travis Henry carried three times for zero yards for the Titans and may be facing an NFL suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
Play of game: The Titans got within four points on a 39-yard field goal by Rob Bironas with 6:02 left. It came after a controversial lateral call that went against St. Louis. Bulger threw a swing pass to Steven Jackson that fell incomplete, but Peter Sirmon of the Titans scooped up the ball and returned it 41 yards to the Rams 29. The Rams challenged, but referee Tom White said there was inclusive evidence to overturn.
Next game: Tennessee (1-2) is at home against Indianapolis (3-0). St. Louis (2-1) has a bye.
Eagles 23, Raiders 20
Closing line: Eagles by 6 1/2 .
The scoop: Oakland tied the game with 2:17 left on a 27-yard pass from Kerry Collins to Doug Gabriel. However, the Eagles marched 75 yards in 11 plays to set up a 23-yard field goal by David Akers with 9 seconds left. . . . Akers kicked despite great pain. He had reinjured his hamstring on the opening kickoff. . . . The winless Raiders netted only 21 yards in 22 rushing attempts. Collins completed 23 of 42 for 345 yards, was not intercepted and was sacked just once. . . . Donovan McNabb of the Eagles completed 30 of 52 with an interception. . . . Bryan Westbrook caught six passes, one for 62 yards that set up his own 5-yard touchdown catch. He also scored on an 18-yard run. . . . Randy Moss of the Raiders had five receptions for 86 yards. Terrell Owens of the Eagles had nine catches, one a 4-yard TD pass to put Philadelphia ahead, 13-10.
Play of game: Roughing-the-passer call against DeLawrence Grant of the Raiders that kept alive the Eagles' drive to their go-ahead touchdown.
Quote: "You know its going to hurt for one second and then the game is over. My whole leg hurts right now," said David Akers.
Next game: Eagles (2-1) face a major test at Kansas City (2-0) while the Raiders (0-3) face Dallas (2-1) at home.
Cowboys 34, 49ers 31
Closing line: Cowboys by 6 1/2 .
The scoop: Drew Bledsoe hit Keyshawn Johnson for the game-winning pass for the second time in three weeks. Johnson caught a 14-yard touchdown pass with 1:51 to play as the Cowboys rallied from a 12-point fourth quarter deficit. Bledsoe completed 24 of 38 for 363 yards and passed Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana for eighth place on the NFL career yards passing list with 40,658. . . . Dallas never led until the final touchdown. . . . The Niners, playing at home, took a 21-6 lead when Tony Parrish returned one of his two interceptions 34 yards for a score. That came 61 seconds after Tim Rattay's 89-yard touchdown bomb to Brandon Lloyd.
Buffalo Buzz: Bledsoe has 850 passing yards in three games. His former team, the Bills, have 357.
Next game: Dallas (2-1) stays in the Bay Area to face Oakland. The 49ers (1-2) play Sunday night against Arizona (0-3) in Mexico City, the first NFL regular season game ever outside the U.S.
Vikings 33, Saints 16
Closing line: Vikings by 4.
The scoop: Playing at home, the Vikings intercepted Aaron Brooks twice and built a 24-0 lead and went on to their first victory. Daunte Culpepper completed 21 of 29 for 300 yards and three TDs, but still was sacked seven times. . . . The Saints got as close as 24-16 in fourth, but the Vikings finished with three of Paul Edinger's four field goals.
Buffalo Buzz: Ex-Bill Antoine Winfield of the Vikings had his 10th career interception.
Play of game: Culpepper's 53-yard bomb to Troy Williamson for a 24-0 lead in the second quarter.
Next game: Saints (1-2) play a "home" game against the Bills (1-2) in San Antonio. Minnesota (1-2) goes doming against the Falcons (2-1) in Atlanta.
Colts 13, Browns 6
Closing line: Colts by 13 1/2 .
The scoop: The Colts outgained the Browns 339-263 but put it in the end zone only once -- on a 2-yard run by Edgerrin James (27 carries for 108 yards). . . . Colts "D" sacked Trent Dilfer four times.
Buffalo Buzz: Manning and Marvin Harrison knocked ex-Bills Jim Kelly and Andre Reed out of the NFL record book. Manning and Harrison hooked up for six times for 53 yards, giving them 9,568 career yards. They went into the game needing 24 yards to pass Kelly and Reed.
Next game: Colts put their 3-0 record on the line at Tennessee (1-2). Cleveland (1-2) gets a bye.
Bengals 24, Bears 7
Closing line: Bengals by 3.
The scoop: Rookie quarterback Kyle Orton of the Bears was intercepted five times at Soldier Field as the Bengals went 3-0 to start a season for the first time since 1990. Cincinnati became the first NFL team in 34 years to intercept five passes in consecutive games. . . . Carson Palmer of the Bengals threw for three TDs, two to Chad Johnson.
Play of game: Bengals' Odell Thurman scooped up teammate Brian Simmons' fumble after an deflection/interception on the Bears' first play. Palmer hit Johnson for an 18-yard TD on the next play.
Next game: Cincinnati (3-0) hosts Houston (0-2), Chicago has a bye.
Chargers 45, Giants 23
Closing line: Chargers by 5 1/2 .
The scoop: LaDainian Tomlinson ran for three scores and passed for another and Drew Brees completed 19 of his first 22 passes as the Chargers won their first game after two losses. . . . Tomlinson scored on two short runs and hit Keenan McCardell with a 26-yard pass on the halfback option in the third quarter to make it 28-20. Brees threw touchdown passes to McCardell and Antonio Gates. . . . Eli Manning of the Giants threw TD passes to Plaxico Burress and David Tyree in the first half.
Next game: Giants (2-1) home against St. Louis (2-1). San Diego (1-2) goes to New England (2-1).
Dog of the day
Seahawks 37, Cardinals 12
Closing line: Seahawks by 6 1/2 .
The scoop: Seahawks outscored the visiting Cardinals, 27-3, in the second half, their first second-half points of the season. . . . Shaun Alexander ran for 140 yards in 22 carries and scored four touchdowns. Matt Hasselbeck completed 20 of 31 for 242 yards and Darrell Jackson had eight catches. . . . Arizona lost quarterback Kurt Warner with a groin injury with 3:56 left in the first half. He was replaced by Josh McCown.
Next game: Arizona (0-3) faces San Francisco (1-2) in Mexico City. Seattle (2-1) is at Washington (2-0).