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What we learned from Sunday's NFL games

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The Detroit Lions got a potential season-saving win in Philadelphia. The New York Jets got their "ground and pound" mojo back. The young Cleveland Browns showed some promise in their first victory of the 2012 campaign. And Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers nearly was unstoppable against the Houston Texans.

Here's what else we learned on a fun Sunday of Week 6:

Detroit Lions 26, Philadelphia Eagles 23 (OT)

» Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson saved the Lions' season with a massive fourth quarter and overtime. They scored 20 points in 15 minutes. Megatron only had one catch before the final frame, while Stafford was suffering through his worst game as a pro before suddenly lighting up the Eagles for 311 yards and two touchdowns.


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» Michael Vick played a strong game, but his fourth-quarter interception was a killer. Vick keeps getting hit on almost every drop-back. Philly's offensive line is giving up crazy penetration on passing plays and runs.

» Both these teams looked too sloppy to make the playoffs. Philadelphia keeps putting the ball on the ground, and Detroit had 16 penalties.

» The Eagles deserve to be 3-3. They look the same every week. Vick makes great plays, but this isn't a sustainable offense.

-- Gregg Rosenthal


New York Giants 26, San Francisco 49ers 3

» The 49ers were a different team this week -- a vulnerable one. New York provided a blueprint for how to beat Jim Harbaugh's gang. The Giants held the 49ers to just 80 yards on the ground. If you can take away San Francisco's running attack, this team loses its compass.

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» Meanwhile, Ahmad Bradshaw ran with purpose. The Giants back didn't equal his 200 yards from a week ago, but with 116 yards, he became the first opposing player to rush for more than 100 yards against the 49ers in 23 games at home.

» Alex Smith came apart. The 49ers quarterback tossed three interceptions and made poor decisions with the ball. Eli Manning was at the other end of the spectrum. The Giants starter didn't need to throw for 400 yards. He found his receivers and led an offense that generated 19 first downs and won the time-of-possession battle.

» Finally some signs of life from Randy Moss, even if his 75 yards came long after this contest was over. Across the field -- following a week of bickering -- Giants wideout Victor Cruz got the best of cornerback Carlos Rogers on a 6-yard touchdown. Then Cruz salsa-danced on the Candlestick grass. Game over.

-- Marc Sessler


Seattle Seahawks 24, New England Patriots 23

» Tom Brady threw for 395 yards against one of the best defenses in football, yet it felt like one of his worst games of the season. He missed a number of throws, took a couple of costly intentional-grounding penalties and failed to score on two Patriots trips inside the Seahawks' 10-yard line.

On NFL Network
NFL Replay
will re-air the Seattle Seahawks' 24-23 win over the New England  Patriots in Week 6 on Tuesday, Oct. 16
at 9:30 p.m. ET.

» NFL Network schedule

» Russell Wilson played his best game of the season for a second consecutive week. After going through a long stretch of erratic play earlier this year, the Seahawks' rookie QB was lights-out in the first quarter and at the end of the game. His early big plays were improvised. His game-winning throw was a perfectly executed bomb to Sidney Rice.

» Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez didn't quite look 100 percent, but he was close enough while catching six passes for 30 yards and a touchdown.

» Not all 3-3 records are equal. The Patriots have lost three games by four combined points. They have gagged three leads, but this still looks like a better team than it was a year ago. Really.

-- Gregg Rosenthal


Buffalo Bills 19, Arizona Cardinals 16 (OT)

» A rib injury drove Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb from Sunday's matchup with a few minutes left. John Skelton replaced him and put Arizona in position to win before a wild sequence ended regulation with a missed field-goal attempt by Jay Feely.

» Despite being blown out three times, the Bills are tied for first in the AFC East. It's far from too late for them to save their season. Mario Williams had two sacks, and Buffalo showed more looks and blitzes than it did in previous weeks. Nothing like the Cardinals' offensive line to revive a team's defense.

» William Powell looks like the guy for fantasy leaguers to own in the Cardinals' backfield. He showed a lot more burst and toughness in his 13 carries than LaRod Stephens-Howling, who is better suited to a secondary role.

-- Gregg Rosenthal


Washington Redskins 38, Minnesota Vikings 26

» Robert Griffin III has changed the culture in D.C. His 76-yard touchdown run to ice the game electrified FedExField, soothing the fans in attendance still stinging from the Washington Nationals' collapse.

» There were times when Adrian Peterson appeared to be limping on his sprained left ankle, but he still managed 79 yards on just 17 carries.

» After a supremely efficient start to his season, Christian Ponder has slipped some. He now has thrown four interceptions in the past two weeks. Minnesota asked a lot by having its young quarterback throw 52 times in this setting.

-- Dan Hanzus


New York Jets 35, Indianapolis Colts 9

» This was the Shonn Greene the Jets will need if they have any aspirations to grab a playoff berth. Greene finally found a way to break into the second level, leading the Jets to their biggest rushing day of the season. Greene was tremendous, but can he build on the breakout performance?

» Andrew Luck has a bright future, but Rex Ryan's defense made him look very much like a rookie. Luck missed on a couple of throws -- including a sure TD to Coby Fleener -- and seemed confused by the Jets' scheme on several occasions.

» Antonio Cromartie isn't perfect, but he has raised his game since Darrelle Revis' injury. Reggie Wayne was largely neutralized after a monster Week 5 performance against the Green Bay Packers, and Cromartie showed exceptional hands on a second-quarter pick of Luck. Cromartie's return for a touchdown was waved off after a suspect personal foul was called on Aaron Maybin's block of Luck.

-- Dan Hanzus


Miami Dolphins 17, St. Louis Rams 14

» Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein was a revelation for the Rams through Week 5, but he came down to Earth with three misses Sunday. His final attempt was a 66-yard bomb that would've forced overtime. It had the distance to make history but stayed left.

» Sam Bradford might be running out of goodwill among Rams fans, but that doesn't mean he should be. With Danny Amendola sidelined, Bradford has limited weapons.

» The Dolphins entered the game leading the NFL in rush defense ... then proceeded to be bullied for 137 yards on the ground in the first half alone. The Rams finished with 162 rushing yards for the game.

» Wayne Hunter was manhandled on the Rams' penultimate play, leading to a costly sack of Bradford. Olivier Vernon blew past Hunter, never giving Bradford a chance to get rid of the ball. Mark Sanchez knows the feeling.

-- Dan Hanzus


Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38, Kansas City Chiefs 10

» Chiefs fans were desperate to see someone other than Matt Cassel at quarterback, but backup Brady Quinn didn't make a difference Sunday. Quinn finished 22-of-38 passing for just 180 yards with two interceptions. The Chiefs are stuck playing wildly conservative football and haven't led in regulation this season. They're wildly vanilla right now.

» We've seen too many three-and-outs this season from Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, but he's building chemistry with Vincent Jackson, and he hit Mike Williams four times for 113 yards and one touchdown. Tampa Bay's receivers dominated Kansas City in yards after the catch.

» Ronde Barber tied former Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks for the most starts (221) in franchise history. Barber celebrated with a 78-yard pick-six that put this one out of reach. It was the 12th defensive score of Barber's career.

-- Marc Sessler


Cleveland Browns 34, Cincinnati Bengals 24

» In a battle between two gingers, Brandon Weeden -- on his 29th birthday - bested Andy Dalton, going 17-of-29 passing for 231 yards and two touchdowns. One of those scoring strikes was a beauty: a towering 71-yard rope to Josh Gordon, the second-longest touchdown by a rookie receiver in Browns history.

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» Cleveland is the youngest team in football and started seven rookies Sunday, but 43 Cincinnati players are younger than Weeden. These are two developing teams, and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis prizes one rookie in particular: undrafted linebacker Vontaze Burfict, whom he called his most talented player.

» The Bengals' running game is beyond bland. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (62 yards on 16 attempts) doesn't extend carries, and the loss of Bernard Scott leaves Cincinnati too thin to change pace or wear down teams on the ground.

» Browns rookie back Trent Richardson suffered a flank injury in the third quarter. He didn't return, but it doesn't appear to have been serious.

-- Marc Sessler


Atlanta Falcons 23, Oakland Raiders 20

» Matt Ryan's MVP candidacy took a big hit with three interceptions. Atlanta's defense bailed him out time after time in this game.

» Carson Palmer is snake-bitten. Even on a day when he mostly sparkled (353 yards on 33 passes), he threw a backbreaking pick-six late in the fourth quarter.

» Darren McFadden was in and out of the game with a shoulder injury. His season-long struggles continued on the ground, and he posted just 70 yards on 26 carries for Oakland.

-- Gregg Rosenthal


Baltimore Ravens 31, Dallas Cowboys 29

» Tony Romo battled back from a ridiculous number of tough situations. His Cowboys teammates let him down with drops and penalties, but Romo's forced throw for an interception turned the momentum late in the first half.

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NFL Replay
will re-air the Baltimore Ravens' 31-29 win over the Dallas  Cowboys in Week 6 on Tuesday, Oct. 16
at 8 p.m. ET.

» NFL Network schedule

» Cowboys coach Jason Garrett is terrible when it comes to clock management. This isn't a new thing.

» Dez Bryant giveth, and Dez Bryant taketh away. He caught a career-high 13 passes, including two scores. His touchdown to cut the Ravens' lead to two points late in the game felt like a career-defining moment. Then he dropped the two-point conversion pass on the next play. He had three drops and also was called for a pre-snap penalty.

» You know the Ravens' defense isn't the same when guys like Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar are running on them in the fourth quarter. Baltimore gave up more than 200 rushing yards for the second consecutive week. DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones were banged up; Murray sprained his foot.

» The Cowboys' defense played well overall, but the unit has a habit of giving up a huge drive at the worst possible moment.

-- Gregg Rosenthal


Green Bay Packers 42, Houston Texans 24

» Aaron Rodgers was completely unstoppable. The reigning NFL MVP threw a career-high six touchdown passes against a Houston defense that suddenly looks vulnerable without injured linebacker Brian Cushing.

» Jordy Nelson entered the game with one touchdown, a sizable disappointment following his 15-score breakout for the Packers in 2011. Nelson's three scores against the Texans represented a return to form.

» Two crucial penalties helped bury the Texans during the Packers' 16-play touchdown drive that blew the game open in the third quarter. Connor Barwin gave Green Bay one first down when he jumped onto a Packers blocker's back during a 39-yard field-goal attempt by Mason Crosby. With Crosby set to jog back on the field for a short attempt minutes later, Daniel Manning was flagged for punching a Packers player at the bottom of a pile. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

» Randall Cobb is an emerging star for the Packers. We already knew he could make big plays in the return game. With Greg Jennings out, Cobb is flashing potential as Green Bay's version of Percy Harvin.

-- Dan Hanzus

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