The New Orleans Saints needed the Washington Redskins’ kicker to miss a 23-yard field-goal attempt just to stay alive, and a freeze-frame replay reversal to get the ball in overtime.
But the Saints are living a charmed life these days, and the Redskins are as unlucky as can be. New Orleans trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter Sunday on the road and played more than four quarters without holding a lead — until Garrett Hartley kicked an 18-yard field goal 6 minutes 29 seconds into overtime for a 33-30 win.
”I believe in karma,” said Drew Brees, who led a no-timeout, 80-yard drive in just 33 seconds to tie the game late in regulation. ”And what goes around comes around. We’ve been on the other side of this deal probably too many times, and maybe it’s our time, that we start catching some of the breaks.”
The Saints are now 12-0 with the National Football Conference South title in hand.
New Orleans won a sub-40-degree game for the first time since 1995. Washington is 3-9.
Raiders Shock Steelers
Louis Murphy caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Bruce Gradkowski with nine seconds remaining, his second score in the final five and a half minutes, and the visiting Raiders scored three late touchdowns to stun the Steelers, 27-24, and deal Pittsburgh its fourth consecutive loss.
The Steelers (6-6) went ahead by 24-20 on Ben Roethlisberger’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward with 1:56 remaining, only to have Oakland (4-8) rally.
Cedric Benson returned from a two-game layoff because of an injured hip and tied a team record with his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season, setting up the Bengals’ 23-13 victory over the visiting Lions. Cincinnati (9-3) assured itself of a winning record for only the second time in 19 years. Detroit is 2-10.
Patriots Fall Again on Road
Chad Henne threw for a career-high 335 yards and directed a 51-yard drive for the winning field goal with 1:02 left, and the host Dolphins rallied past the Patriots, 22-21. Miami (6-6) kept its playoff prospects alive, and the American Football Conference East leader, New England (7-5), remained winless in five games in opponents’ stadiums this season.
Vick Returns to Atlanta
Making quite a return to the Georgia Dome for the first time since he went to prison for a dogfighting conviction, Michael Vick accounted for two touchdowns — one running, one passing — and basked in the cheers of his former home as THE EAGLES DOMINATED THE SHORT-HANDED FALCONS, 34-7.
Philadelphia (8-4) pulled two games ahead of reeling Atlanta (6-6) in the N.F.C. wild-card standings.
A.F.C. West Still in Play
Kyle Orton threw two touchdown passes and Knowshon Moreno ran for two scores as the Broncos handled the host Chiefs, 44-13. Denver (8-4) had 245 yards rushing, including 113 by Correll Buckhalter, as it pulled away from Kansas City (3-9) to stay in reach of San Diego in the A.F.C. West.
Antonio Gates set a career high with 167 receiving yards as the Chargers beat the host Browns, 30-23. San Diego (9-3) led only by 13-7 at halftime but won its seventh straight and 15th in a row in December. Cleveland (1-11) has lost seven in a row.
Small Crowd, Big Win
David Garrard threw two touchdown passes, Josh Scobee kicked three field goals and the Jaguars beat the injury-depleted Texans, 23-18, to stay in the A.F.C. wild-card hunt. Jacksonville (7-5) won for the fifth straight time at home, in front of an announced crowd of 42,079, the smallest in franchise history. Houston (5-7) has lost four in a row.
Warner Outplays Favre
Kurt Warner, back after missing a game with a concussion, threw for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns and the Cardinals’ defense stifled the visiting Vikings in a 30-17 victory. Brett Favre set an N.F.L. record for consecutive appearances, playing in game No. 283. But Favre, with three interceptions in his first 11 games, was picked off twice. Arizona (8-4) held Adrian Peterson to a season-low 19 yards on 13 carries. Minnesota is 10-2.
Jonathan Stewart rushed for 120 yards and the game’s only touchdown, and the Panthers (5-7) intercepted rookie Josh Freeman five times in Carolina’s 16-6 victory over the visiting Buccaneers. Tampa Bay (1-11) had a stretch of four trips inside the 20 with no points.
Jay Cutler threw for a meager 143 yards and a touchdown without an interception, and the Bears beat the visiting Rams, 17-9, after dropping four games in a row and six of seven. Chicago (5-7) gave up 112 yards rushing to Steven Jackson but kept St. Louis (1-11) out of the end zone for the fourth time this season.
Olindo Mare kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired to send the host Seahawks to a 20-17 victory over the 49ers. The Seahawks (5-7) kept alive hopes for a winning season but severely damaged the postseason hopes of the 49ers (5-7).
Minnesota linebacker E. J. Henderson was taken off the field on a motorized cart after his left leg twisted violently when he attempted a tackle late in the game. The exact nature of his injury was not immediately known. … The Detroit rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford hurt his nonthrowing shoulder with 3:37 to play and did not return.
PHOTOS: Brian Orakpo of the Redskins tackling Saints running back Pierre Thomas. New Orleans trailed by 10 in the fourth but won in overtime. (PHOTOGRAPH BY LUKE SHARRETT/THE NEW YORK TIMES); Chad Henne threw for a career-high 335 yards as the Dolphins rallied to beat the Patriots. (PHOTOGRAPH BY DOUG BENC/GETTY IMAGES)