NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Rob Bironas kicked a 26-yard field goal in overtime, and the Titans stopped backup quarterback Shaun Hill on fourth-and-1 at the Tennessee 7 to finally pull out a 44-41 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The Titans (1-2 ) blew a 20-9 halftime lead in a crazy game featuring big plays, scoring swings and some suspect officiating. Detroit scored 18 straight points, then Tennessee answered with 21 points - on a 105 yard kickoff return by Darius Raynaud, a 71 yard pass from Jeff Locker to Nate Washington and a 72 yard fumble return by Alterraun Verner - before the Lions scored the final 14 of regulation. Detroit recovered an onside kick and got an assist from officials who did not review a possible turnover.
In overtime, Bironas' third field goal put Tennessee ahead to stay.
The Lions (1-2 ) lost their second straight when coach Jim Schwartz decided not to let Jason Hanson kick his fifth field goal. Hill, in for injured Matthew Stafford , was stopped by defensive tackles Jurrell Casey and Sen'Derrick Marks on his sneak, and Tennessee escaped.
Christian Ponder didn't flinch, even against that swarming San Francisco defense. Minnesota's quarterback has come a long way from his rough rookie season. Ponder threw two touchdown passes to tight end Kyle Rudolph and ran for another score to help the Vikings hand the 49ers their first defeat, 24-13 yesterday.
After a dominant start to their NFC North tour by decisively beating playoff teams Green Bay and Detroit, the 49ers (2-1 ) were beaten in every way by the team least likely to do so.
The Vikings (2-1 ) began the game boldly with a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass by Ponder to his favorite target Rudolph. They finished strong by forcing three turnovers and two punts by the 49ers in the fourth quarter.
Playing against his former team in the regular season for the first time, Randy Moss had a quiet afternoon with three catches for 27 yards. Toby Gerhart lost two fumbles for Minnesota in the fourth quarter, and it didn't even matter.
This bad game grew worse for the 49ers when star linebacker Patrick Willis walked gingerly off the field with assistance with an apparent injury to his right leg. Smith finished 24 for 35 for 204 yards, plus a lost fumble on a late sack.
He found tight end Vernon Davis on consecutive passes, the second one a 1-yard play-action fake, in the third quarter to pull within 17-13. The Vikings blew 17-0 and 20-0 halftime leads last September in losing consecutive home games to Tampa Bay and Detroit.
But with one third-and-goal pass by Ponder - Adrian Peterson was wide open next to Rudolph, who reached around Donte Whitner to corral it - the lead was back to 11 and the Vikings were on their way to burying that painful start to last year's 3-13 record. That drive was fueled by three 49ers penalties, including two unnecessary roughness calls, one by Dashon Goldson against Rudolph.
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