Eagles, Titans, Patriots NFL#039;s hottest teams

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 17, 2003

The Kansas City Chiefs still have the NFL's best record at 9-1. But they no longer are the league's hottest team.

Philadelphia, Tennessee and New England are surging at the right time. The Eagles won their fifth straight with a 28-10 win over the New York Giants on Sunday, while the Titans also won their fifth in a row, 10-3 over the Jaguars.

In the night game, New England won its sixth straight with a 12-0 victory over Dallas.

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Kansas City lost to Cincinnati 24-19, and the 1972 Dolphins popped their champagne corks. Their status as the only unbeaten team in league history is intact for another year, thanks to the up-and-coming Bengals and Peter Warrick, who scored on a 68-yard punt return and a 77-yard touchdown catch to down the Chiefs.

Just a few weeks ago, no one gave the Eagles (7-3) a chance to make the playoffs. But now they have won seven of eight and are tied for first in the NFC East with Dallas.

Donovan McNabb threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns, and Brian Westbrook caught two TD passes and ran for a score in Philadelphia. The Giants (4-6) have lost two in a row.

McNabb, heavily criticized for his poor performance in the first six games, completed 24 of 30 passes for his fourth straight solid effort and fifth career 300-yard performance.

''From where we were after two games, everybody burning us up and trying to get us out of town, to where we are now is pretty exciting,'' McNabb said.

In Nashville, Steve McNair threw for a touchdown and the defense held off the Jaguars (2-8) at the goal line in the final minute for the victory. The Titans (8-2) have won 10 of the last 12 games in this series. They also snapped their string of games with 30 or more points at six.

Patriots 12, Cowboys 0

At Foxboro, Mass., New England got its first shutout in 130 games, doing so against former coach Bill Parcells. Bill Belichick's Patriots won this much-hyped meeting of masterminds, sparked by two long passes by a mostly ineffective Tom Brady.

New England (8-2) maintained its two-game lead over Miami in the AFC East. Dallas (7-3) dropped into a first-place tie with Philadelphia in the NFC East.

Adam Vinatieri kicked a 23-yard field goal in the first quarter and Antowain Smith scored on a 2-yard run in the second. Then the Patriots' defense dominated with three interceptions in the second half, and Vinatieri finished it with a 26-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining.

Packers 20, Buccaneers 13

At Tampa, Fla., Brett Favre played with a broken right thumb and led a 98-yard second-half drive to lift Green Bay.

Ahman Green finished the march with a 1-yard run to help the Packers (5-5) hand the Bucs (4-6) their third straight loss, hurting the defending Super Bowl champions' chances of getting back to the postseason.

Green had 109 yards on 21 carries, while Favre completed 13 of 28 passes for just 92 yards and a TD. The three-time NFL MVP was intercepted once, but was not sacked - ending Tampa Bay's league-record streak of 69 consecutive games with at least one sack.

Rams 23, Bears 21

At Chicago, Marshall Faulk ran for 103 yards and Jeff Wilkins kicked a 31-yard field goal with 38 seconds left to help the Rams (7-3) win for the sixth time in seven games.

St. Louis overcame a 14-3 halftime deficit. Jerry Azumah returned the ensuing kickoff following Wilkins' FG 38 yards for Chicago (3-7), but the Bears couldn't get close enough for a field-goal attempt, and Chris Chandler threw incomplete on the final play.

Colts 38, Jets 31

At Indianapolis, punter Hunter Smith raced 21 yards on a fake field goal for the go-ahead score.

Edgerrin James ran for a season-high 127 yards and three touchdowns, and Peyton Manning was 27-of-36 for a season-high 401 yards and one touchdown despite playing without favorite targets Marvin Harrison and Marcus Pollard.

The Jets (3-7) and Colts (8-2) combined for 862 total yards and 69 points.

Panthers 20, Redskins 17

At Charlotte, N.C., Stephen Davis scored on a 3-yard run with 1:09 remaining against his former team.

Davis had 92 yards rushing on 28 carries for the Panthers (8-2), compared to the 54 yards rushing the Redskins (4-6) managed.

Seahawks 35, Lions 14

At Seattle, Bobby Engram had an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown and caught a 34-yard scoring pass.

The Seahawks (7-3) improved to 6-0 at home and maintained a share of the NFC West lead with St. Louis. After Detroit's two home victories gave the Lions (3-7) a modest winning streak for the first time in three years, they couldn't avoid their 21st straight defeat on the road.

Saints 23, Falcons 20, OT

At New Orleans, John Carney kicked a 36-yard field goal in overtime to complete a comeback.

New Orleans (5-5) rallied from a 20-3 first-half deficit behind Deuce McAllister, who had 173 yards and two touchdowns. Jay Feely, who kicked two earlier field goals for the Falcons (2-8), missed a 54-yarder, giving the Saints another chance.

Dolphins 9, Ravens 6, OT

At Miami, Olindo Mare hit a 43-yard field goal in overtime to win it.

Mare missed a 48-yard attempt wide right that would have put Miami (6-4) ahead with 2:29 left in regulation.

NFL rushing leader Jamal Lewis lost a fumble to set up Mare's clincher. The Ravens (5-5) lost their second straight. Miami limited Lewis to 88 yards on 26 carries, just the third time this season he has failed to reach 100 yards.

Broncos 37, Chargers 8

At Denver, Jake Plummer went 23 of 34 for 253 yards and three touchdowns, while the Broncos kept Doug Flutie in check.

Denver (6-4) totaled 448 yards and took a 27-0 halftime lead after holding San Diego (2-8) to 18 yards and one first down.

Plummer played as though he had never left after missing four games with foot and shoulder injuries. Shannon Sharpe caught seven passes for 101 yards and had three touchdown receptions to surpass Jerry Smith's league record by a tight end with 61.

Raiders 28, Vikings 18

At Oakland, Calif., Phillip Buchanon scored on a 64-yard interception return 49 seconds into the game and third-string quarterback Rick Mirer helped the Raiders end a five-game losing streak.

Daunte Culpepper passed for 396 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score. But he had two fumbles and three interceptions as Minnesota (6-4) lost its fourth straight.

Texans 12, Bills 10

At Orchard Park, N.Y., backup Tony Banks came off the bench and hit rookie receiver Andre Johnson for a 46-yard touchdown, and Kris Brown made two field goals.

Banks filled in for David Carr, who hurt his right shoulder in the first quarter. The Texans (4-6) matched their win total from last year's expansion season. Buffalo (4-6) failed to score a touchdown for the third straight game.