NFL Wrap: Colts win; Bears, Lions lose

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri spent all week ignoring the critics and then drowned out the boos Sunday afternoon.

Eventually, he silenced everyone with his usual late-game magic.

Vinatieri, last week's goat, overcame a subpar day to rescue the Colts, making a 24-yard field goal with 4 seconds left to give Indianapolis a desperately needed 13-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

For Vinatieri, the November slump had lingered long enough.

He missed his first field goal ever inside the RCA Dome against New England two weeks ago.

Last week, he missed a 29-yard attempt that could have beaten San Diego. That miss prompted midweek speculation that Vinatieri might have lost his title as the NFL's best clutch kicker.

So when he lined up for a 49-yard attempt in the first quarter, fans greeted him with boos. When he pushed that kick to the right, the chorus grew louder, and when he pulled his next attempt, a 38-yarder, to the left, the decibel level rose again.

Suddenly, Vinatieri had missed four in a row, his longest streak since missing three straight in 1999.

When it mattered most, however, Vinatieri was himself. He played through the soreness in his plant foot to tie the score at 3 with a 27-yarder late in the first half, drawing mock cheers, then won it with the 24-yarder that finally brought the crowd to its feet.

The Colts snapped a 2-game losing streak and are now 8-2.
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Rex Grossman was impressive in his return as the Chicago Bears quarterback -- for 3½ quarters.

Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck passed for 337 yards and two touchdowns, and the Seahawks took advantage of Grossman's late fumble to hold on for a 30-23 victory on Sunday.

Grossman, reinstated as the starting quarterback after six games watching Brian Griese run the offense, was 24-for-37 for 266 yards passing -- his most since he threw for 282 last January in a win against Seattle in the NFC divisional playoffs.

But after not turning the ball over all day, Grossman made the mistake that Bears followers seem to expect from him, with 5:43 left.

After throws of 22 yards to Mushin Muhammad and 23 yards -- on a terrific, one-handed catch from Bernard Berrian -- got the ball into Seattle territory with Chicago down 27-20, Grossman could not find an open receiver. He took off running, but Patrick Kerney caught him from behind and ripped the ball from his right hand. Darryl Tapp recovered the fumble at the Seattle 47.

The Seahawks (6-4) turned that into Josh Brown's clinching field goal from 46 yards with 3:36 remaining.

Grossman lost for the third time in four starts this season, but he isn't the only reason Chicago is 4-6. The Bears defense, often dominant in their run to the Super Bowl last season, allowed 30 points for the fourth time in 10 games. Chicago allowed 30 points in just three games over the previous two seasons.
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Michael Strahan showed he's still got it, just days before he turns 36 and in a year he pondered retirement.

Strahan had a season-high three sacks, helping the New York Giants beat the Detroit Lions 16-10 Sunday to gain the advantage in the NFC wild-card race.

New York (7-3) broke a third-place tie with Detroit in the conference and improved its chances of making the playoffs. In the Super Bowl era, 78.4 percent of teams that won seven of their first 10 games ended up in the postseason.

The Giants lost their first two games, won six straight, then lost to Dallas for a second time before handing Detroit its first defeat at home.

The Lions (6-4) dropped back-to-back games for the first time this year, and took it hard after losing their other three games by double digits.

Detroit might need to beat the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers at home on Thanksgiving to maintain a realistic chance at making the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
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Brett Favre won the senior bowl.

And now that they're off to their best start since the Vince Lombardi era, the Green Bay Packers have another big bowl on their minds.

But even after a relatively easy 31-17 romp past fellow passing patriarch Vinny Testaverde and the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Favre and the Packers (9-1) don't want to get caught looking ahead to the playoffs and beyond.

Not with back-to-back Thursday games at Detroit and Dallas on the horizon.

It's Green Bay's best start since 1962, when Lombardi's Packers started 10-0 on their way to their eighth world title. Green Bay has a three-game lead on Detroit and can virtually wrap up the NFC North with a win Thursday.

Favre threw three touchdowns in a game that featured the oldest starting quarterbacks duo in NFL history, the 44-year-old Testaverde and 38-year-old Favre.


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