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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Record-Breaking Biggies Spark NFL Weekend

NEW YORK -- The long knife was out for San Diego, and the long gainers were out for everyone else.


The Chargers, the NFL's only unbeaten team, lost to the lowly Denver Broncos on Sunday, and Dallas maintained its lead in the NFC East with a late rally in Arizona, after quarterback Troy Aikman was knocked out with a concussion in the first period.


But big plays dominated the football landscape as the NFL's floodgates opened. Out sprang Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders and Eric Metcalf. So did Tyrone Hughes, Mel Gray and, in one of the most unusual plays in memory, Robert Bailey.


Hughes had kickoff returns of 98 and 92 yards for touchdowns as the New Orleans Saints outlasted the Los Angeles Rams 37-34. The Rams also posted long-distance scores on a 98-yard fumble runback by Toby Wright and a strange 103-yard punt return from Bailey.


Broncos 20, Chargers 15. In San Diego, California, Denver's defense, lowest rated in the league, intercepted three passes and kept the NFL's top-scoring offense without a touchdown for the first time this season. San Diego quarterback Stan Humphries left the game late with a sprained ankle.


Cowboys 28, Cardinals 21. In Phoenix, Arizona, Rodney Peete replaced injured Troy Aikman and threw two second-half touchdown passes to Michael Irvin to give the Dallas Cowboys a 28-21 win over the Cardinals.


Aikman left the game with a concussion after linebacker Wilber Marshall drilled him on the opening drive. Aikman threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Alvin Harper on the next play, but did not return after the drive.


Saints 37, Rams 34. In New Orleans, Louisiana, Hughes' combined punt and kickoff runbacks totaled 347 yards, breaking the NFL mark of 294 yards, and his kickoff returns of 304 yards also broke the old mark.


Harris' strange return happened with the Saints leading 37-27 and 4:08 left. Tommy Barnhardt punted 39 yards deep into the end zone, and the ball rolled forward without being touched. Bailey scooped it up and ran down the field, through both special teams and players from the offense and defense trotting onto the field, thinking the ball was dead.


Browns 37, Bengals 13. In Cleveland, Ohio, special teams played a big role for the host Browns (6-1), off to their best start since 1963. Metcalf returned Lee Johnson's punt 73 yards for a touchdown less than two minutes after Travis Hill recovered a blocked punt in the end zone, completing a 17-point Cleveland third quarter.


Lions 21, Bears 16. In Detroit, Michigan, Gray returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown, Sanders rushed for 167 yards (84 on one rush) and Detroit's defense forced four turnovers as the Lions (3-4) ended a three-game losing streak. Gray's runbacks gave him the NFL career mark for kickoff returns, with 7,092 yards in nine seasons.


49ers 41, Buccaneers 16. In San Francisco, the Niners (6-2) had their ninth successive win against Tampa Bay (2-5) as Steve Young threw for a score, completing 20 of 26 passes for 255 yards.


Raiders 30, Falcons 17. In Los Angeles, the Falcons (4-3) could not get their run-and-shoot untracked, while the Raiders (3-4) found a running game. Harvey Williams rushed for 107 yards, the first Raider to rush for more than 100 yards since Eric Dickerson in 1992. Falcons star receiver Andre Rison did not play in the first quarter. A team spokesman said he was "being disciplined" by coach June Jones.


Chiefs 38, Seahawks 23. In Kansas City, Marcus Allen sparked the Chiefs (5-2) with a 36-yard TD run. With the Chiefs ahead 13-7, Allen went for his 117th career touchdown, passing John Riggins for fourth on the career list.


Joe Montana threw for 270 yards and two scores for the Chiefs.


Redskins 41, Colts 27. In Indianapolis, Gus Frerotte, the 197th player taken in this year's draft and starting in place of injured first-round pick Heath Shuler, passed for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Three pass interceptions led to three more scores.


Faulk had eight catches for 127 yards, including the 85-yard TD for the Colts (3-5).


Steelers 10, Giants 6. In New York, rookie Byron "Bam" Morris rushed for 146 yards and the only touchdown in his first start, replacing Barry Foster. Earlier, Morris had two fumbles that led to the Giants' field goals.