Ravens, Texans and Lions show early playoff promise

Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:27pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and Detroit Lions missed the playoffs last season but on Sunday they looked serious about crashing the next postseason party as they all improved to 3-1.

Among the other games, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Indianapolis Colts signal caller Andrew Luck each threw four touchdown passes in wins over division rivals, while the Philadelphia Eagles suffered their first loss of the season.

The Miami Dolphins obliterated the winless Oakland Raiders 38-14 at London's Wembley Stadium in the first of three NFL games to be played in Britain this season.

The Raiders opened the scoring less than six minutes after the opening kickoff but then surrendered 38 consecutive points to a Dolphins team that played the inaugural International Series matchup in 2007 at Wembley.

Philadelphia, the only one of the NFL's three undefeated teams in action this week, led the San Francisco 49ers by 11 points midway through the second quarter but went scoreless the rest of the way in a 26-21 road loss.

The visiting Eagles threatened to pull ahead in the final two minutes but a pass from Nick Foles to Jeremy Maclin at the back of the end zone was incomplete.

In Houston, former first-round draft pick J.J. Watt turned the game in the Texans' favor when he returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown that gave his team the lead on the way to a 23-17 win over the Buffalo Bills.

"The way the stadium explodes, the way it changed momentum ... that's a game-changing type play," said Watt. "It was really cool. (It) was special. That's what you live for. That's why you play this game, for moments like that."   Continued...

Sep 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  New York Jets running back Chris Johnson (21) carries the ball to score a touchdown in the second half against the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports