FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts — Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 31-yard field goal for New England after a misplayed punt return by Denver, lifting the Patriots to a 34-31 overtime victory over the Broncos on Sunday.
Denver’s Tony Carter ran into Ryan Allen’s punt after it landed and Nate Ebner recovered for New England at the Broncos 13-yard line. After Tom Brady ran twice to line up the kick, Gostkowski connected for his 21st successful field goal attempt.
Brady threw for three touchdowns to lead the Patriots (8-3) back from a 24-0 halftime deficit to a 31-24 lead as New England scored on its first five possessions of the second half. Then Peyton Manning threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Demaryius Thomas for the Broncos (9-2), tying it at 31.
San Diego’s Philip Rivers threw for 392 yards and three touchdowns, the final one a 26-yarder to Seyi Ajirotutu with 24 seconds remaining to give the Chargers a 41-38 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs and end a three-game losing streak.
The Chiefs had taken the lead when Alex Smith hit Dwayne Bowe for a go-ahead score with 1:22 left. But the Chargers (5-6) still had two timeouts, and they used both as they quickly move downfield. Ajirotutu’s TD in tight coverage was just his third catch of the season.
Smith threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns for the Chiefs, who dropped their second straight after a 9-0 start.
At Green Bay, Wisconsin, backup quarterback Matt Flynn threw for 218 yards to help the Packers storm back from a 16-point deficit, but Minnesota and Green Bay could only muster field goals in overtime to finish 16-16.
Mason Crosby hit from 20 yards at 10:28 of the extra period and Blair Walsh connected from 35 with 3:54 left.
The Dallas Cowboys ended the New York Giants’ four-game winning streak and most of their playoff hopes as Tony Romo threw two touchdowns and led a drive that set up Dan Bailey’ 35-yard field goal in a 24-21 win.
The victory moved the Cowboys (6-5) into a first-place tie with Philadelphia in the NFC East and left the Giants (4-7) wondering about what they gave away in two losses to Dallas.
Matthew Stafford’s fourth interception went in and out of Calvin Johnson’s hands to rookie Johnthan Banks inside the Tampa Bay 5 in the final minute, allowing the Buccaneers to hold on for a 24-21 win over the Detroit Lions, while the Carolina Panthers defeated the Miami Dolphins 20-16 for their seventh straight win.
Late scores by rookie backup running back Benny Cunningham and defensive end Robert Quinn helped the St. Louis Rams finish off the Chicago Bears 42-21 and Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald as the Arizona Cardinals won their fourth in a row 40-11 over the Indiana Colts.
In other games, the Baltimore Ravens downed the New York Jets 19-3, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns 27-11, the Tennessee Titans edged the Oakland Raiders 23-19 and the Jacksonville Jaguars were 13-6 winners over the Houston Texans.