(Reuters) - Defending Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks suffered a second straight defeat with a 28-26 loss at the St Louis Rams on Sunday while the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys continued their strong form.
The Seahawks slump to 3-3 after their loss to an inventive Rams whose special teams delivered two outstanding ‘fake’ plays.
A six-yard touchdown from running back Tre Mason, who rushed for 85 yards in the game, and a five-yard pass from quarterback Austin Davis to Benny Cunningham gave the Rams a 14-3 lead.
But the game turned decisively in St Louis’s direction when Stedman Bailey returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown as Seattle fell for a fake from Tavon Austin on the other side of the field.
The Seahawks rallied though with quarterback Russell Wilson running in a 19-yard touchdown in the third quarter and throwing two TD passes in the fourth either side of a Lance Kendricks reception in the end zone for St. Louis on a four-yard pass from Davis.
Looking to make the most of their final possession, with just a two-point deficit, the Seahawks were unable to get the ball back after a brave fake punt call from Rams coach Jeff Fisher.
Punter Johnny Hekker completed an 18-yard pass to Cunningham on fourth-and-three at the Rams 18 and the home side ran down the clock.
The Packers are already starting to look like Super Bowl material as they followed up their comeback win at Miami last week with a confident, 38-17 crushing of Carolina.
Rodgers completed 19 of 22 passes as he threw for three touchdowns and 255 yards and Green Bay (5-2) had the game pretty much wrapped up in the first quarter after taking a 21-0 lead.
But NFC North rivals the Detroit Lions are also in some rich form -- Matthew Stafford’s five-yard touchdown pass to Corey Fuller securing a 24-23 win over the New Orleans Saints after Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw an interception.
Golden Tate had 154 yards receiving for the Lions including a 73-yard touchdown pass from Stafford in the fourth as Detroit came back to force the seventh straight road loss on the Saints.
The Cowboys (6-1) put up their sixth straight win with a strong all-round performance, defeating NFC East rivals the New York Giants 31-21.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, looking confident and comfortable thanks to a magnificent offensive line, completed 17 of 23 passes and threw for three touchdowns and 279 yards.
The score was tied at 14-14 at the half but a touchdown pass from Romo to Gavin Escobar in the third and a one-yard rushing touchdown from DeMarco Murray, who ran for 128 yards on 28 carries, secured the victory for the Cowboys and left the Giants third in the division with a 3-4 record.
The Redskins were on course for a fifth straight loss until they took out Kirk Cousins and back-up quarterback Colt McCoy came in and delivered a 70-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon. Two field goals from Kai Forbath in the fourth quarter sealed the victory.
The San Diego Chargers’ five-game winning streak came to an end on a 48-yard field goal from Cairo Santos with 21 seconds on the clock, giving the Kansas City Chiefs a 23-20 win.
After losing their opening two games, the Indianapolis Colts have won their last five, the latest triumph coming with a 27-0 shutout of the Cincinnati Bengals.
It was a bad day for Ohio teams in the AFC North -- the Cleveland Browns falling 24-6 at the previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars.
Reporting By Simon Evans in Miami, editing by Gene Cherry