Two streaks went crashing in a wild fourth-quarter shootout between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The Bucs ended Detroit's 11-game winning streak in the Silverdome and snapped their own 15-game losing streak on the road.The wild 24-point flurry was capped by Vinny Testaverde's 14-yard touchdown pass to Ron Hall with 49 seconds left to play, giving Tampa Bay a 27-23 victory.
"You don't have a check big enough to pay for the emotions in this locker room right now," Bucs coach Sam Wyche said. "This will make for one rambunctious trip home. I'll have to talk to them on how to behave.
"It was a great game between two good football teams. It's a shame somebody has to lose that kind of game. We get a chance to beat on our chests for one more week."
Detroit (1-3) took a 16-10 lead into the final period. But the Lions have led in the fourth quarter of two of their three defeats.
"I don't understand why it is happening," coach Wayne Fontes said. "We blitzed today. We played zone. We played man coverage. We didn't play prevent at all. We mixed it up. And they still drove on us."
The Bucs (3-1) cut it to 16-13 on Ken Willis' second field goal, a 31-yarder with 8:24 remaining.
On the fourth snap of Detroit's next series, Barry Sanders fumbled Rodney Peete's handoff. The ball was scooped up by rookie tackle Santana Dotson, who broke free from a cluster of players and lumbered 42 yards for a touchdown that put the Bucs ahead 20-16.
"Somebody needed to come up with a big play," said Santana, a fifth-round draft pick out of Baylor who led the NFL with 5.5 sacks going into the game. "The ball came up to me, and I just kept my legs pumping and kept on going.
"Once I got free, I just turned on the afterburners and was in there."
Mel Gray then returned the kickoff 89 yards for a TD, putting the Lions back on top 23-20. It was the first time Detroit had returned a kickoff for a score since Alvin Hall's 96-yarder at Green Bay in 1982.
But Testaverde completed 5 of 6 passes for 52 yards, including two on third down, during a 14-play, 80-yard drive.
From first-and-10 at the Lions' 14, Detroit's defense bit on Testaverde's play-action fake to Gary Anderson, who was running right. That left Hall wide open in the left flat. Testaverde floated the ball to Hall, who ran untouched for the score.
"I saw he was wide open," Testaverde said. "I was just hoping he wouldn't drop it. Then I was hoping he wouldn't trip on the turf."
Peete completed three passes for 67 yards, which left the Lions with a first-and-10 at the Bucs' 15 - and out of time outs - with 10 seconds to play.
On the last snap of the game, Peete tossed a pass to Brett Perriman, who was trying to get out of bounds on the Tampa Bay side of the field when Milton Mack tackled him at the 3. The final three seconds ticked off the clock before the Lions could line up.
Bears 41, Falcons 31
Neal Anderson ran for two touchdowns and Jim Harbaugh threw for two more as the Bears raced to a 31-7 halftime lead and held off the Falcons at Soldier Field.
Outscored 41-0 in the second half of their last two games, Chicago was outscored 24-10 in this one, with Andre Rison catching three TD passes. But the Bears mounted a clinching, 80-yard drive with Brad Muster going the final 14 yards for a 38-21 lead.
Both teams are 2-2.
Packers 17, Steelers 3
Brett Favre, making his first career start, threw two touchdown passes after Pittsburgh special-teams mistakes, and Green Bay (2-2) handed Pittsburgh (3-1) its first loss.
Gary Anderson's field goal in the first quarter gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead but the visiting Steelers couldn't score again.
Favre capitalized on a blocked field goal attempt for a 76-yard scoring pass to Sterling Sharpe in the second quarter, then hit Robert Brooks with an 8-yarder in the fourth quarter after a muffed punt.
Vikings 42, Bengals 7
Rich Gannon ignored the pain from a chipped bone in his right hand and threw for a career-high 318 yards and four touchdown passes for the visiting Vikings (3-1). He passed for 212 yards in a 28-point first half.
Cris Carter had a career-high 11 catches for 124 yards and two TDs. Terry Allen ran for three touchdowns, and Todd Scott had three of the Vikings' four interceptions against Boomer Esiason, who was 11 for 21 for just 97 yards.
Bills 41, Patriots 7
Jim Kelly threw for three touchdowns as Buffalo scored 35 points in the second half in its second straight rout. The visiting Bills (4-0) beat Indianapolis 38-0 last week and missed their second shutout when Hugh Millen threw a 4-yard TD pass with 8:41 to play.
Thurman Thomas scored his seventh touchdown of the year on a 1-yard run and finished with 120 yards on 18 carries.
The Patriots (0-3) have been outscored 65-13.
Broncos 12, Browns 0
Neither team crossed the goal line at Cleveland Stadium, but David Treadwell kicked four field goals as the Broncos (3-1), who came in 27th in rushing, gained 188 of their 300 yards on the ground.
The Browns (1-3) sacked John Elway five times.
Second-year back Reggie Rivers clinched Denver's victory with a 48-yard run from his own 5 in the fourth quarter, helping set up Treadwell's last field goal.
Mike Tomczak became the Browns' third starter in three games, following Bernie Kosar (broken ankle) and Todd Philcox (broken thumb). The shutout was Denver's first since 1989.
Oilers 27, Chargers 0
Houston (3-1) rang up its first shutout since 1989 as the defense made the big plays the offense couldn't at the Astrodome.
San Diego (0-4) was stopped on fourth down in the second quarter, Bubba McDowell intercepted Stan Humphries' final pass of the first half, and Mike Dumas deflected a punt that set up quarterback Warren Moon's 5-yard touchdown run. He also passed 3 yards for a score.
Moon threw for only 175 yards, his lowest total since 71 against Miami on Oct. 20, 1991, yet still went over the 50,000-yard mark in his career. He wound up the game with 50,052 - 21,228 in the Canadian Football League.
Dolphins 19, Seahawks 17
Dan Marino, making his Kingdome debut, passed 15 yards to Fred Banks with 2:15 left for Miami's only touchdown, rallying the Dolphins (4-0) over the Seahawks (1-3).
Marino drove the Dolphins 80 yards in 12 plays with the help of backup quarterback Scott Mitchell. Mitchell came in and threw an 18-yard pass to Tony Martin to the Seattle 16 with 3:44 left on a third-and-10 play after Marino was knocked woozy with a concussion. Marino came back for the next play.
Pete Stoyanovich kicked field goals of 53, 31, 36 and 27 yards for the Dolphins.
Rams 18, Jets 10
Kevin Greene and Larry Kelm came up with key defensive plays, and the Rams kept the visiting Jets winless in four games.
Greene inspired the Rams when he sacked quarterback Browning Nagle for a safety just before halftime, then set up one of Tony Zendejas' three field goals with a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.
Kelms' interception of Nagle in the final period set up Zendejas' last field goal and gave the Rams (2-2) some breathing room.