The Kansas City Chiefs extended their unbeaten start to the season to seven games, the second-best start in the franchise’s history, as they defeated the Houston Texans 17-16.
Jamaal Charles ran for 86 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Alex Smith also ran for a score as the Chiefs eased to victory over the hapless Texans, who have now lost five consecutive matches.
Houston, who were without quarterback Matt Schaub through injury, handed a first career start to Case Keenum, who threw for 271 yards and a touchdown, but was crucially sacked by linebacker Tamba Hali, and fumbled on a potential game winning drive.
The Texans, who are now three wins behind the Indianapolis Colts in their quest to defend their AFC South title, had their miserable day completed by the loss of running back Arian Foster, who limped out of the game with a hamstring injury in the first quarter, and did not return.
With victory, Smith set the record for the most consecutive wins from a quarterback after debuting for a new franchise.
Success at home to the Cleveland Browns and away at the Buffalo Bills over the next fortnight will draw Andy Reid’s side level with the efforts of the 2003 Chiefs, who were 9-0 before finishing at 13-3 – losing 38-31 to the Colts in the divisional playoff round.
It is possible they will return from their Week 10 bye with the opportunity of surpassing that record, when they take on divisional rivals and Superbowl favourites the Denver Broncos.
However, Kansas – who went 2-14 last season – are now the league’s only unbeaten team after the Broncos' surprise 39-33 loss to the Colts saw them slip to 6-1.
Peyton Manning returned to his former side and threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns, but was outshone by his replacement – the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft – Andrew Luck, who matched his touchdown tally while managing the game superbly for the Colts.
Manning had a mixed night as he was also intercepted and fumbled for a Colts safety, while 20 of his 49 passes went incomplete. Indianapolis led by 19 points towards the end of the third quarter, but their visitors fought back superbly to set up a tense finish.
The Seattle Seahawks join the Broncos at 6-1 and top the NFC Conference, after a 34-22 success over the Arizona Cardinals, which saw Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throw for three touchdowns.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots missed the chance to move to the same record and widen the gap at the top of the AFC East as they fell to a shock overtime loss at the New York Jets.
New York trailed 21-10 at half-time, but responded with 17 unanswered points in the third quarter. Almost predictably, the Patriots came back and tied the game at 27 with 16 seconds left in regulation thanks to Stephen Gostkowski’s field goal.
You could have been forgiven for expecting the Patriots to go on to claim victory, but Nick Folk kicked a 42-yard effort with 5:07 left in overtime to grab the win for the Jets.
Folk got a second chance after he missed from 56-yards moments earlier. But Chris Jones was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for pushing a teammate forward to try to block the kick, a new NFL rule.
New England had defeated New York in six straight regular-season meetings. The loss also ended the Patriot’s 12-game winning streak against the AFC East.
In the second all AFC East clash of the weekend, the Bills defeated the Miami Dolphins 23-21 - the Dolphins third loss in a row.
Elsewhere, last year’s NFC East winners, the Washington Redskins, earned only their second win of 2013 with a 45-41 success over the Chicago Bears. Their success came despite Matt Forte’s three rushing touchdowns for the visitors, who also lost quarterback Jay Cutler to injury.
The Dallas Cowboys top that division after a 17-3 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. It was the worst possible day for the Eagles, who lost back-up quarterback Nick Foles (standing in for the already injured Michael Vick), while third choice Matt Barkley threw three interceptions.
New York’s other team, the Giants, were also winners last weekend – beating the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 to claim their first success of the year. Despite being 1-6, they are just three wins behind the Cowboys and could still come back into NFC East contention.
Only two teams are still without a win this year: the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7), who were beaten 24-6 by the San Diego Chargers, and the Buccaneers, who are 0-6 after a 31-23 defeat to the Atlanta Falcons.
Tampa Bay will at least be encouraged by the performance of rookie quarterback Matt Glennon, who threw for another two touchdowns in the defeat.
Jacksonville have the ominous task of facing the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley next weekend, with Colin Kaepernick and co coming off the back of a fourth successive win – a 31-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
The AFC North looks set to again be one of the most exciting divisions. The Bengals (5-2) moved two wins clear at the top with a 27-24 win over the Detroit Lions, but the Browns, Ravens (both 3-4) and the Steelers (2-4) have all impressed at times this season. Pittsburgh defeated Baltimore 19-17 last weekend in the all divisional clash while Cleveland lost out 31-13 to the Green Bay Packers, who have leapfrogged the Lions and the Bears to lead the NFC North.
In last weekend’s only other fixture, the Carolina Panthers defeated the St. Louis Rams 30-15. The Rams also lost quarterback Sam Bradford to injury. The controversial Tim Tebow has been rumoured as a potential short-term replacement.
Full List of Week Seven Results:
Seahawks 34 (at the) 22 Cardinals, Buccaneers 23 (at the) 31 Falcons, Bears 41 (at the) 45 Redskins, Cowboys 17 (at the) 3 Eagles, Patriots 27 (at the) 30 Eagles, Bills 23 (at the) 21 Dolphins, Chargers 24 (at the) 6 Jaguars, Rams 15 (at the) 30 Panthers, Bengals 27 (at the) 24 Lions, 49ers 31 (at the) 17 Titans, Texans 16 (at the) 17 Chiefs, Ravens 16 (at the) 19 Steelers, Browns 13 (at the) 31 Packers, Broncos 33 (at the) 39 Colts, Vikings 7 (at the) 23 Giants, Bye Week – Saints & Raiders.
Week Eight Fixtures:
Panthers (3:3) at the Buccaneers (0:6), 49ers (5:2) at the Jaguars (0:7), Browns (3:4) at the Chiefs (7:0), Dolphins (3:3) at the Patriots (5:2), Bills (3:4) at the Saints (5:1), Cowboys (4:3) at the Lions (4:3), Giants (1:6) at the Eagles (3:4), Steelers (2:4) at the Raiders (2:4), Jets (4:3) at the Bengals (5:2), Falcons (2:4) at the Cardinals (3:4), Redskins (2:4) at the Broncos (6:1), Packers (4:2) at the Vikings (1:5), Seahawks (6:1) at the Rams (3:4), Bye Week – Ravens, Bears, Texans, Colts, Chargers & Titans.
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