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Extra work in wins for Houston, Dallas, Tampa Bay

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Extra work in wins for Houston, Dallas, Tampa Bay

Working overtime.

Houston, Dallas and Tampa Bay made it pay off by earning victories Sunday. Jacksonville, Cleveland and Carolina all blew leads to lose in OT.

Andre Johnson caught a screen pass from Matt Schaub and ran 48 yards for the winning touchdown with 2:01 left in the extra session of Houston's 43-37 victory over Jacksonville.

Schaub threw a career-high five touchdown passes, completed a franchise-record 43 passes and finished with 527 yards passing, second most in NFL history. Warren Moon also threw for 527 yards for the Houston Oilers in December 1990 against Kansas City.

Norm Van Brocklin holds the record with 554 for the Rams in 1951.

``When I caught the ball, and I saw how open I was, I was looking around like, `Where are the defenders at?''' Johnson said after the 43-37 win. ``I took off running, I kept looking. I thought the cornerback would come from the outside, but he wasn't there. It was just the safety, so I was just saying to myself, `I can't let him tackle me.'''

He couldn't.

Dallas needed Dan Bailey's 32-yard field goal with 2 seconds to go in regulation to tie it, then he made a 38-yarder for the 23-20 win over the Browns with 6:07 remaining. The Cowboys rallied from a 13-0 halftime deficit.

``Had it all the way,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, smiling, as he walked into the postgame locker room.

Not quite.

Nor did the Buccaneers look like winners until they actually won.

Josh Freeman threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Clark in overtime to cap a comeback. It was Freeman's third touchdown pass of the game in the Buccaneers' 27-21 victory over the Panthers.

``When we got to overtime we stepped into the huddle and everybody was ready to go and we started talking like, `Hey let's just execute one play at a time and do our jobs and try to get out of this thing with a touchdown,''' Freeman said.

Also Sunday, it was Atlanta 23, Arizona 19; New England 59, Indianapolis 24; Baltimore 13, Pittsburgh 10; Denver 30, San Diego 23; New Orleans 38, Oakland 17; Green Bay 24, Detroit 20; Washington 31, Philadelphia 6; the New York Jets 27, St. Louis 13; and Cincinnati 28, Kansas City 6.

On Thursday, it was Buffalo over Miami 19-14.

Monday night's game is Chicago (7-2) at San Francisco (6-2-1).

Off this week were the New York Giants (6-4), Seattle (6-4), Minnesota (6-4) and Tennessee (4-6).

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TEXANS 43, JAGUARS 37, OT

At Houston, Johnson caught 14 passes for 273 yards, both career highs. The Texans (9-1) won an overtime game for the first time at Reliant Stadium.

Chad Henne threw a career-high four touchdown passes in relief of injured Blaine Gabbert for the Jaguars (1-9). Rookie Justin Blackmon had 236 yards receiving.

COWBOYS 23, BROWNS 20, OT

At Arlington, Texas, Dallas overcame a critical fumble by Tony Romo that sparked a wild ending.

Bailey's winning kick came after both teams punted once in the first overtime game at Cowboys Stadium. Dallas (5-5) had rallied to go ahead 17-13 on Romo's 28-yard pass to Dez Bryant.

A fumble by Browns rookie Brandon Weeden on a sack appeared to put the Cowboys in control, but Romo gave it right back with a fumble on another sack.

The Cowboys made one goal-line stand in the final minutes, but the Browns (2-8) got another chance and went ahead 20-17 on Weeden's 17-yard pass to Benjamin Watson.

BUCCANEERS 27, PANTHERS 21, OT

At Charlotte, N.C., the Panthers (2-8) appeared to have the game in hand after a 29-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Brandon LaFell put them up 21-10 with 4:34 left in the game. But after a 40-yard field goal by Connor Barth, the Panthers were forced to punt, and Freeman led the Bucs (6-4) 80 yards on seven plays in 50 seconds with no timeouts.

He finished the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson between three defenders with 12 seconds left. Freeman went back to Jackson for a 2-point conversion on a slant route to send the game into overtime.

``We learned a lesson today that we can't just show up and win a game,'' Clark said. ``I hope guys will get it. We're lucky it's not a loss. I hope we go back and look at the film and say, `Hey we didn't play well.' Sure, we played well enough to make some plays to win at the end, but to get where we want to go, that's not good enough football.''

PATRIOTS 59, COLTS 24

At Foxborough, Mass., the Patriots used three scoring passes from Tom Brady, two touchdowns on interception returns and another on a punt return to match a team single-game scoring record.

The first matchup between three-time Super Bowl winner Brady and star rookie Andrew Luck was no match. The Patriots (7-3) won their fourth straight game and extended their lead in the AFC East to three games, although they may have lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to an arm injury.

The 59 points equals the team mark set in a 59-0 win over the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 18, 2009.

The Colts (6-4) had their four-game winning streak stopped by the NFL's best offense and one of its worst defenses.

RAVENS 13, STEELERS 10

At Pittsburgh, Jacoby Jones returned a punt for a touchdown, Justin Tucker kicked two field goals and Baltimore took control of the AFC North with a victory over Pittsburgh.

The Ravens (8-2) moved two games in front of the Steelers (6-4) by shutting down Pittsburgh's offense, which sputtered without injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Byron Leftwich, making his first start in more than three years, completed 18 of 39 passes for 201 yards and an interception. He ran for a score but was also sacked three times.

Baltimore's Joe Flacco wasn't much better, completing 20 of 32 passes for 164 yards, but the Ravens didn't need Flacco to dominate to beat the Steelers for the third straight time at Heinz Field.

BRONCOS 30, CHARGERS 23

At Denver, Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns and Von Miller had three sacks to take the league lead with 13. Denver took a three-game lead in the AFC West by sweeping the Chargers.

Manning threw for 270 yards. He got off to a slow start, throwing an interception that Eric Weddle returned for a score and an early 7-0 lead. But the Broncos (7-3) took a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter and never trailed again.

Manning won his 148th regular-season game as a starting quarterback, tying John Elway for second on the all-time list. Brett Favre has 186.

The Chargers (4-6) lost for the fifth time in six games.

SAINTS 38, RAIDERS 17

At Oakland, Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes and Malcolm Jenkins returned an interception for another score to get the Saints back to .500.

Lance Moore caught two touchdown passes and Mark Ingram ran for a score as the Saints (5-5) won for the fifth time in six games.

Brees finished 20 for 27 for 219 yards, extending his own records by throwing a touchdown in his 53rd straight game and completing 20 passes for the 46th straight game.

The Raiders (3-7) lost their third straight game under first-year coach Dennis Allen as their banged-up defense got picked apart by Brees. Oakland has allowed 135 points in those defeats, the most in a three-game span for the franchise since allowing 141 in the first three games in 1961.

``Very frustrated. Very painful loss,'' quarterback Carson Palmer said.

PACKERS 24, LIONS 20

At Detroit, Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes, including a 22-yarder to Randall Cobb with 1:55 left. That offset the woes of Mason Crosby, and even he came through at the end. After missing two field goals, he nailed a 39-yard field goal with 19 seconds to go.

Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions - one of which was returned 72 yards by Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings for a go-ahead score in the third quarter - and lost a fumble.

Green Bay (7-3) has won five straight. Detroit is 4-6.

REDSKINS 31, EAGLES 6

At Landover, Md., Robert Griffin III threw four touchdown passes, and Washington broke a three-game losing streak.

The sensational rookie completed 14 of 15 passes for 200 yards and also ran 12 times for 84 yards for Washington (4-6). He threw for scores of 6, 49, 61 and 17 yards - one in each quarter. His 93.3 completion percentage is the highest by a quarterback with at least four touchdown passes since Hall of Famer Steve Young in 1994.

Philadelphia's Nick Foles was 21 for 46 for 204 yards in his first NFL start, and his first two series ended with interceptions. The Eagles (3-7) have dropped six straight, accelerating the countdown toward the possible end of Andy Reid's 14-year tenure as coach.

JETS 27, RAMS 13

At St. Louis, Bilal Powell ran for the first two touchdowns of his career as the Jets ended a three-game slide. Chaz Schilens scored on a 25-yard reception and Nick Folk kicked a pair of 51-yard field goals for the Jets (4-6), who were outscored 58-16 the previous two games. The Jets overcame a controversial practice week with several anonymous players reportedly disparaging the ability of backup quarterback Tim Tebow, who had a handful of snaps but was no factor.

Brandon Gibson caught a pair of short touchdown passes for the Rams (3-6-1). St. Louis' defense hasn't forced a turnover in five straight games, tying the NFL's longest such slump since 1950, according to STATS LLC.

BENGALS 28, CHIEFS 6

At Kansas City, Mo., Andy Dalton threw for 230 yards and accounted for three touchdowns and A.J. Green caught a touchdown pass in his ninth straight game.

Green finished with six catches for 91 yards, Mohamed Sanu had a scoring grab and BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 101 yards and a touchdown as the Bengals (5-5) won their second straight following a four-game losing streak.

Jamaal Charles had 87 yards rushing for Kansas City (1-9), which lost its seventh straight.

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A Norwegian soccer player turned kicker, Kaare Vedvik fighting for chance on Ravens roster

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A Norwegian soccer player turned kicker, Kaare Vedvik fighting for chance on Ravens roster

Twenty-four-year-old Kaare Vedvik didn't watch his first football game until seven years ago, and now he's fighting for a spot on the Ravens' special teams roster.

Raised in Norway, Vedvik got his first glance at the game when the Super Bowl was being broadcast on Norwegian television for the first time. 

"It seemed like a really, really interesting sport," Vedvik said via The Baltimore Sun. "It was a sport I was never able to try growing up. I loved any sport that was fun, and football seemed really, really fun."

Fun enough to get the competitive soccer player to be an exchange student in the United States during his junior year of high school to test out the game of football. Vedvik returned to Norway for his senior year but impressed college recruiters enough at a Kohl's Kicking Camp in Texas that he was eventually recruited to play at Marshall University in West Virginia.

Staying in Norway would have meant giving up on sports entirely as school becomes more difficult and sports are no longer offered. Vedvik wasn't ready for that.

While at Marshall, Vedvik played in 38 games in four years as both a punter and kicker. He punted 59 times for 2,597 yards — averaging 44 yards — with 26 of them inside the 20-yard line. Vedvik once punted a 92-yarder, making it the seventh-longest punt in FBS history and the longest in 45 years. He ranked in the Top 10 for fewest punt return yards and averaged 63.6 yards-per-kickoff. 

After a private workout with Ravens special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg, Vedvik became one of 14 Ravens undrafted free agents and has impressed thus far hitting 70 and 67-yard field goals in training camp practices. And in Thursday's preseason game vs. the Rams, Vedvik hit a 56-yard field goal.

"Learning how to kick field goals, the biggest thing for me was to stop swiping across and trying to kick a straighter ball," Vedcik said. "That’s the biggest difference: In soccer, you’re trying to curve balls around a defender."

While Vedvik's chances of dethroning the most accurate kicker in NFL history in Justin Tucker and 12-year veteran punter Sam Koch are slim, he could very well make an impact elsewhere. 

“The guys who are able to do that, they’re just good athletes in general, and Kaare is a good athlete,” Tucker said of the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Norwegian. “He hasn’t played a lot of football. He has plenty of ability.”

“When he came in, he’s got such a strong leg," Koch added. "You’ve got to have a strong leg in order to get looked at. He’s got a lot of talent. It’s one of those things — bringing him in, honing his skills and seeing what he can do from here.”

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What we learned from the Baltimore Ravens' 33-7 win vs. the Los Angeles Rams

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What we learned from the Baltimore Ravens' 33-7 win vs. the Los Angeles Rams

The Ravens returned to M&T Bank Stadium for their second game on the 2018 NFL preseason schedule and gave us a lot of reasons to be excited.

Joe Flacco and his new core of receivers only needed one drive to show off, Lamar Jackson put his speed on display and Robert Griffin III gave Breshad Perriman a much-needed confidence boost.

Here's what we learned from their 33-7 win over the Los Angeles Rams. 

1. First teamers make it count

It took Joe Flacco and the first-team offense all of 4 minutes and 46 seconds to get themselves on the board. During the 10-play, 70-yard drive, Flacco connected with rookie tight end Hayden Hurst, Javorius Allen, John Brown, Michael Crabtree, and finally, Patrick Ricard for a six-yard touchdown. During the impressive drive, Flacco showed his own mobility by getting out of the pocket for a three-yard gain and a classic Flacco slide. 

Flacco connecting with three of his newest receivers is what we've been waiting to see all offseason. Even though it was just one preseason drive, it's a step in the right direction after the Ravens' 2017 offense ranked 29th in the league in passing. 

"Listen, our guys are really showing up," Flacco said at halftime. "We've had a great camp, and it was good to come out here and see it carry over into a game."

"I think once the regular season starts, this isn't going to mean anything," said Flacco postgame. "But what it does for our confidence as a group, our confidence as a team, that will carry us pretty far into the season."

2. A lot of room to grow for Lamar Jackson

Jackson followed up the Ravens' successful first drive with one of his own. The rookie hit Chris Moore for a 36-yard gain before putting his footwork on display faking out several Rams defenders en route to a 9-yard touchdown run. 

While he made improvements from his Hall of Fame Game appearance, Jackson showed he still has a lot to learn, finishing the night 7-18 for 119 yards. With two preseason games under his belt, Jackson received high praise from his head coach John Harbaugh and Flacco on which he carries himself. 

"He does seem poised for a rookie," coach John Harbaugh said. "Even on the sideline, he may not know everything ... but he comes off the field and knows exactly what he did. I think he's really going to continue to blossom for that reason. He handles situations very well."

Flacco followed up on Harbaugh's comments by calling his touchdown run "pretty impressive" and said it's been good getting to talk to him on the sideline and that "he's a confident young kid... [that's been] handling himself really well."


3. A much-needed confidence boost for Perriman

The Ravens showed their former first-round pick they still have faith in him after picking up his $649K roster bonus included in the final year of his rookie contract earlier this offseason.

During last week's Hall of Fame Game, Perriman dropped a pass from RGIII that turned into an interception. However, the duo redeemed themselves against the Rams when Griffin III threw a 32-yard bomb to the back left corner of the end zone to Perriman. 

A smiling Perriman could be found in the Ravens' locker room after the win saying the play was "definitely a confidence boost" and is just thankful to finally be healthy during the preseason for pretty much the first time in his career. 

He will have to continue to fight for his spot on the 53-man roster with the additions of Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and John Brown. 

4. Williams continues to be a threat

The 2017 third-round pick followed up his strong performance at the Hall of Fame Game – where he had a total of 41 pass-rushing snaps resulting in six hurries, one QB hit and a pass rush productivity of 17.1 according to Pro Football Focus – with another stellar performance.

During Thursday's matchup, the edge rusher out of Alabama had multiple hurries and a strip sack in the third for the first sack of the preseason.

Williams was following in the footsteps of the Ravens' first-team defense who finished their opening drive with a sack from Matthew Judon on third down to force the punt and an interception in the second from Maurice Canady. 

Ravens vs. Rams Notes

— The competition at right tackle between James Hurst and Orlando Brown Jr. is heating up. Brown Jr. played into the third quarter Thursday after getting in 60 snaps during the Hall of Fame Game. Quarterback Joe Flacco praised the third-round pick saying, "You can't ignore the fact that he's got the ability. He's just so big. He swallows people up. He has the natural ability to play that position and be a really good football player, so it's just exciting to see." 

— The Ravens got two W's last night when John Harbaugh quoted THE Michael Scott when asked about avoiding the injury bug during the preseason. Harbaugh said, "I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious." Classic. 

— While the preseason record does not matter whatsoever, the Ravens haven't lost a preseason game since Sept. 3, 2015. They now have ten days until they head to Indianapolis to face the Colts. 

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