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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tennessee 38, Houston 36- Bironas sets mark for field goals in a game

October 21, 2007

HOUSTON (AP) -- With Vince Young on the sidelines, the Tennessee Titans couldn't finish drives. With the day Rob Bironas had, it didn't matter.

Bironas kicked an NFL-record eight field goals, including the game-winner as time expired, to lead the Titans to a 38-36 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Backup Kerry Collins led the offense while Young missed playing in his hometown because of a strained quadriceps. Collins didn't make many mistakes, but the offense couldn't capitalize in the red zone, ushering Bironas into the record book.

The record-setting kick foiled a spirited comeback by the Texans (3-4), who scored 29 points in the fourth quarter, capped by a 53-yard touchdown pass from Sage Rosenfels to Andre' Davis to take a 36-35 lead with 57 seconds to play.

The Titans (4-2) faced a third-and-10 at their 37 when Collins found Roydell Williams on a 46-yard pass that set up the winning kick.
Bironas said he didn't realize he was closing in on the mark.

"I knew we'd hit quite a few, but I try not to count," Bironas said. "I try not to know the distances when I go out there, so I'm always concentrating on making the same kick. I've never really counted. I'll remember this one, though."

Bironas' last two field goals were from 29 yards and he connected from 52, 43, 25, 21, 30 and 28 yards to break the previous record of seven field goals held by Billy Cundiff, Chris Boniol, Rich Karlis and Jim Bakken.

He doubled his field goal total for the season Sunday after kicking eight field goals in the five previous games combined. When someone pointed out that he had five field goals by halftime, he found it strange.

"I was like: `I've almost kicked as many as we've kicked the whole season,"' he said. "I'll take them when we need them."

Bironas also kicked two extra points and set the NFL record for most points by a kicker with 26. Cundiff's 23 points on Sept. 15, 2003, was the previous high.

Young was active, but didn't play and Collins got his first win as a starter in Tennessee after losing the first three games of last season. Coach Jeff Fisher said Young could have played if Collins had been injured, but that he wasn't at "full speed."
"I wasn't going to play at all because I didn't have any preparation or practicing," Young said. "I really feel like I need to practice to play. I can't just go out there and go off just off talent. That's not the type of guy I am."

Houston's offense stalled throughout the first three quarters before the furious rally began with a 7-yard touchdown catch by David Anderson early in the fourth quarter. Before that 70-yard drive, the Texans had managed just 34 yards of offense. A two-point conversion by Davis made it 32-15.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak blamed the offensive woes on himself.

"I'm just very disappointed in this guy you're looking at right here," Kubiak said. "For us to go out there and play offensively that way for that long, there's no excuse. That's my job."

Houston Starter Matt Schaub missed big chunks of the first half and the entire second half with ankle and hip injuries. Kubiak said Schaub would have an MRI on his hip but that X-rays on his ankle were negative.

Rosenfels accounted for four of Houston's six turnovers by throwing three interceptions and losing a fumble in Schaub's place.

"If we just convert on a couple of those turnovers that we got, deep in their territory and got touchdowns instead of field goals, we wouldn't have been in the situation we were in at the end," Collins said. "That's obviously going to be a point of emphasis for us and one we need to keep working on."

The Texans cut the lead to 32-22 on a 6-yard touchdown reception by Kevin Walter with about eight minutes left. The Texans forced a punt, but Anderson fumbled it and Tennessee recovered, putting a damper on Houston's comeback hopes.

Bironas seventh field goal made it 35-22 with 3:47 remaining.

But Jeb Putzier's 7-yard touchdown catch with less than two minutes remaining cut the lead to 35-29. The Texans recovered their first onside kick attempt but had to re-kick after an illegal formation penalty.

They recovered the second one, too, to set up Davis' touchdown.

Rosenfels four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter tied an NFL record. He finished 22-for-35 for 290 yards.

Chris Henry and LenDale White scored Tennessee's only touchdowns and White finished with 27 carries for 104 yards.

DeMeco Ryans sacked Collins, causing a fumble which he returned 26 yards for a touchdown that gave Houston a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

The Texans managed 24 yards and two first downs in the first half, with the second one coming on a penalty. Jacoby Jones fumbled early in the first quarter and Rosenfels threw an interception and lost a fumble before halftime.

Rosenfels replaced Schaub midway through the first half after he injured his ankle on a sack. He threw the interception to Nick Harper on his first play.

Schaub returned in the second quarter, but was knocked out of the game just before halftime by a helmet-to-helmet hit by Albert Haynesworth. Rosenfels fumbled on the next play to set up a 28-yard field goal by Bironas, his fifth of the half.

Haynesworth said he didn't think it was a helmet-to-helmet hit and said it would have been better if Schaub would have stayed in.

"Well, heck, I mean we probably would have won this game 35-7 if he stayed in," Haynesworth said. "It was good to knock him out I guess, but he's going to come back and I don't think there'll be any kind of quarterback controversy because they pay that guy a lot of money."


The Texans had just 39 yards rushing. ... Titans fullback Ahmard Hall has a broken arm and will have surgery, Fisher said.

New England 49, Miami 28

By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
October 21, 2007

MIAMI (AP) -- Tom Brady emerged from the locker room Sunday wearing a suit and tie complemented by a pocket scarf, his stylish look marred only by a few small drink stains on one side.

So he's not perfect.

But he and the New England Patriots are awfully good.

Flawless at the start and off the bench, Brady threw a team-record six touchdown passes to help the unbeaten Patriots rout the winless Miami Dolphins 49-28.

With his team comfortably ahead, Brady came out early in the fourth quarter, then re-entered and threw for New England's final score. His TD total exceeded his career high of five, set last week against Dallas.
"He's looking awesome," Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas said. "He has always been awesome. That's where it all starts for them. But he has more talent to work with now."

The Patriots, who led 42-7 at halftime, improved to 7-0 for the first time in their 48-year history.

"We've got a long way to go," Brady said. "Our goals are bigger than winning seven games this year."

Brady completed his first 11 passes for 220 yards and four scores, including throws of 35 and 50 yards to Randy Moss. His other touchdown passes covered 14 and 16 yards to Wes Welker, 30 to Donte Stallworth and 2 to Kyle Brady.

"Those guys are making the plays," Brady said. "I'm just throwing it. They're making my job awful easy."

Brady has 27 touchdown passes after seven games and is on pace for 61. The NFL record is 49 set by Peyton Manning in 2004.

The drubbing was the biggest downer yet for the Dolphins, who fell to 0-7 for the first time in their 41 seasons. They next play the New York Giants in London.

"We can't win in America," defensive end Jason Taylor said. "Maybe we can win overseas."

Miami also lost running back Ronnie Brown to a knee injury in the third quarter. Brown, who came into the game leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage, is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam Monday.

The Patriots have won all seven of their games by at least 17 points, matching a league record to start a season. They showed little letup until backup quarterback Matt Cassel entered the game with 11 minutes left.

When Taylor intercepted Cassel's second pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown to make the score 42-21, Patriots coach Bill Belichick sent Brady back in.

"I did it because of the score," Belichick said. "One more turnover, and then it's a 14-point game in the middle of the fourth quarter."

"Coach Belichick looked back over at me and goes, `Yep, you're going back in,"' Brady said. "By that time I had taken all my stuff off, so I suited back up."

Brady then drove New England 59 yards in four plays, the last a touchdown pass to Welker.

The Patriots were that relentless all afternoon, dominating even on special teams. Willie Andrews returned a kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown. The first time the Patriots punted, Chris Hanson's kick pinned the Dolphins at their 1.

Even when Miami forced New England into a third-and-18 situation, Brady hit Moss for a touchdown. Moss outfought defenders in the end zone for both of his scores, making one of the catches one-handed.

"If you want to know why we're 0-7, you look at plays like that, and it says a lot," Miami cornerback Andre Goodman said.

But the entire NFL is struggling to stop Moss, who has 10 touchdown catches in his first season with the Patriots.

"You give him a chance, he usually comes down with it," Brady said. "He's such a mismatch. He has a size and speed advantage on every defender he plays against."

Brady finished 21-for-25 for 354 yards and no turnovers. For the second game in a row, the Patriots scored their highest points total in 23 years. Their 42 points by halftime were a franchise record for a half.

Notes: S Renaldo Hill hurt his right knee on Moss' second touchdown pass. S Courtney Bryan hurt his thigh, further depleting Miami at a position plagued by injuries. ... Taylor's touchdown was the eighth of his career, breaking the modern career NFL record for a defensive lineman he shared with George Martin. ... Patriots RB Laurence Maroney returned after missing three games with a groin injury. He carried six times for 31 yards.

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