Glendale, Ariz. — A bizarre penalty made the ending of Arizona’s wild 34-31 victory over Cincinnati even crazier.
Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 32-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining for the winner after Cincinnati tied it with two late scores Sunday night.
The winning field goal was considerably closer than it would have been because Cincinnati’s Domata Peko was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for hollering out offensive signals to try to confuse the Cardinals (8-2) as they were about to spike the ball to set up the kick.
The penalty moved the ball from the 28 to the 14.
Carson Palmer overcame two early interceptions to throw four touchdown passes and, with 57 seconds left, completed three quick passes to move the team into field goal range after the Bengals rallied to tie it at 31.
“I just made two really stupid plays,” Palmer said. “Just kind of got the jitters out and we got rolling. We caught fire in the second half.”
Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes for the Bengals (8-2), both to Tyler Eifert. The second, a 10-yarder, cut it to 31-28 with 3:44 to play. Mike Nugent tied it at 31 with a 43-yard field goal 1:03 from the finish.
Palmer, who had said during the week that this one against his former team was “not just another game,” completed 20 of 31 passes for 317 yards and has 11 TD passes in his last three games — four against Cleveland, three against Seattle and four against Cincinnati.
Dalton bounced back from a shaky start to the second half to engineer the Bengals’ comeback. He finished 22 of 39 for 315 yards.
Arizona rookie speedster J.J. Nelson caught four passes for 142 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown reception.
Cincinnati running back Giovani Bernard caught eight passes for 128 yards. Jeremy Hill had two short scoring runs for Cincinnati.
The Cardinals trailed 14-7 at the half, led 28-14 in the third quarter and 31-21 in the fourth before the Bengals rallied.
Arizona had the ball at its 16 with 58 seconds to go and Palmer quickly threw 19 yards to Nelson. He followed with passes of 18 and 20 yards to Larry Fitzgerald to move the ball to the Cincinnati 27.
“If there’s a guy you’re going to pick to throw to when it really counts, he’s the one,” Palmer said about Fitzgerald. “He just did a good job getting open.”
The Cardinals were trying to spike the ball because they were out of timeouts when the referees blew their whistles and announced the penalty against Peko.
While Dalton started the second half with six straight incompletions, Palmer moved Arizona to three third-quarter touchdowns on three possessions.
After the Bengals took the second-half kickoff and were forced to punt, Palmer threw deep to the speedy Nelson who caught it at about the 10 and scored, a 64-yard play that tied it at 14.
Cincinnati went three and out, and Arizona went 66 yards in eight plays, Palmer throwing 18 yards to John Brown for the score to give the Cardinals their first lead of the night, 21-14, with 5:32 left in the half.
Passes of 11 yards to Fitzgerald and 14 to Nelson set up Palmer’s 16-yard scoring pass to David Johnson and Arizona opened a 28-14 lead after three quarters.
Dalton had his heroics, too.
Cincinnati had it third-and-26 at the Arizona 38 when Dalton threw 22 yards to Marvin Jones. On fourth-and-4 from the 16, Dalton threw 10 yards to Mohammed Sanu, and Hill’s 1-yard run cut it to 28-21 with 11:26 remaining.
(At) Carolina 44, Washington 16: Cam Newton threw a career-high five touchdowns passes, and the Panthers improved to 10-0. Newton completed 21 of 34 passes for 246 yards and threw TD passes to five different receivers as Carolina stretched its regular-season win streak to 14 games, including eight straight at home.
The Panthers are the 16th team in the Super Bowl era to start 10-0. Of the previous 15, all made the playoffs and nine have advanced to the Super Bowl, with six winning it all.
The Panthers scored 27 points off five Washington turnovers, three of those by quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Newton became the first Carolina quarterback to throw four TD passes in the first half as the Panthers jumped to a 31-14 lead. Jonathan Stewart ran for 102 yards on 21 carries and caught a 12-yard touchdown pass. Mike Tolbert, Greg Olsen, Ted Ginn Jr. and Devin Funchess also caught TD passes.
Andre Roberts had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for the Redskins (4-6), who’ve lost nine straight on the road.
Dallas 24, (at) Miami 14: Tony Romo pulled off his latest comeback victory, returning from a collarbone injury to throw for two scores as the Cowboys won for the first time since he was hurt in Week 2. The Cowboys (3-7) snapped a seven-game losing streak, their longest in a single season since 1989. The Dolphins (4-6) increased the likelihood they’ll miss the playoffs for the seventh year in a row.
Denver 17, (at) Chicago 15: Brock Osweiler threw for two touchdowns, and the Broncos stopped Jeremy Langford on a 2-point conversion run in the final minute. Langford scored on a 2-yard run with 24 seconds left to cap a 65-yard drive. But he ran into a crowd on a conversion attempt, and the Broncos (8-2) escaped.
Osweiler completed 20 of 27 passes for 250 yards with five-time MVP Manning staying back in Denver because of injuries to his foot, ribs and shoulder. Ronnie Hillman ran for 102 yards, and the AFC West-leading Broncos (8-2) got back to winning — against former coach John Fox, too — after dropping two in a row.
Osweiler threw a 48-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas on Denver’s first possession of the game and a 10-yarder to Cody Latimer early in the fourth quarter to make it 17-9. The Bears (4-6) then drove to the Denver 4, only to have Jay Cutler’s fourth-down pass to Langford in a crowd in the end zone get broken up.
(At) Baltimore 16, St. Louis 13: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco tore ligaments in his left knee during the closing seconds. The Ravens also lost running back Justin Forsett, who broke both bones in his right forearm. Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal as time expired to end a mistake-filled game in which the Ravens rallied from a 10-point deficit.
One final miscue decided the issue: Rams quarterback Case Keenum fumbled when hit by Courtney Upshaw, and teammate Lawrence Guy recovered at the St. Louis 41 with 54 seconds to go.
Flacco moved the Ravens (3-7) to the 29 — injuring his knee along the way — before Tucker delivered the winning kick.
St. Louis (4-6) lost four fumbles and missed an extra point. In his first start of the season, Keenum went 12 for 26 for 136 yards and fumbled three times, losing two.
Baltimore won despite committing two turnovers and being penalized 10 times for 137 yards. The Ravens have lost seven games by a total of 32 points, but this close one went their way.
(At) Seattle 29, San Francisco 13: Rookie Thomas Rawls rushed for 209 yards and had two total touchdowns, while Tyler Lockett caught a pair of TD passes from Russell Wilson, and the Seahawks got back to .500. Starting in place of Marshawn Lynch, out with an abdominal injury, Rawls posted his third 100-yard rushing game of his rookie season and the second time topping 160 yards. Rawls scored on a 2-yard run in the first quarter and added a 31-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Wilson in the fourth quarter to give Seattle (5-5) a 16-point lead. Rawls finished with 255 total yards.
Lockett caught a 24-yard TD pass in the first quarter and carried a San Francisco defender into the end zone on an 11-yard grab later in the first half.
Blaine Gabbert threw for 264 yards and one touchdown, but San Francisco (3-7) couldn’t overcome the early 20-0 deficit.
Indianapolis 24, (at) Atlanta 21: Relying on a pair of 40-somethings, the Colts rallied from a pair of two-touchdown deficits. Adam Vinatieri, the oldest player in the league at 42, added another winning kick to his sterling resume, booting a 43-yarder with 52 seconds remaining. The Colts won with 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck throwing a pair of touchdown passes filling in for injured Andrew Luck.
D’Qwell Jackson tied the game with just over 10 minutes remaining on a 6-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Then, it was Vinatieri who won it for the Colts (5-5), as he’s done so many times in his brilliant career. In his 300th game, he came through with his 26th winning kick in either the final minute of regulation or overtime.
The Falcons (6-4) lost for the fourth time in five games after a 5-0 start. This one was on the offense, which totally bogged down in the second half.
(At) Houston 24, N.Y. Jets 17: T.J Yates tossed two TDs to DeAndre Hopkins, who had 118 yards receiving, and Alfred Blue caught a scoring pass from receiver Cecil Shorts. The Texans (5-5) have won three games in a row for the first time since 2012. And they did it with Yates, who threw for 229 yards in his first start since Jan. 15, 2012 in the playoffs for Houston as a rookie.
Yates, signed on Oct. 28 after Ryan Mallett was released, started in place of Brian Hoyer, out with a concussion.
The game was tied in the third quarter when the TD pass by Shorts made it 17-10. Yates and Hopkins linked up for a 20-yard score on the next possession.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played after having surgery on his non-throwing thumb on Nov. 13, got New York (5-5) within 24-17 with a touchdown run with 4 1/2 minutes left, but was intercepted on the next two drives. The Jets have lost four of five.
Kansas City 33, (at) San Diego 3: Justin Houston intercepted Philip Rivers’ pass and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown and 346-pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe leaped over the pile for a 1-yard TD.
Alex Smith won again at Qualcomm Stadium as the Chiefs (5-5) won their fourth straight game following a five-game losing streak.
The Chargers (2-8) lost their sixth straight.
Rivers had his worst game of the season, throwing for just 178 yards. Rivers attempted a pass to Danny Woodhead from the Chargers 23 and Houston intercepted it and ran it in for a 19-3 lead with 3:27 left in the third quarter.
Houston sacked Rivers four times in the 2014 season finale in which the Chargers were eliminated from the playoff race.
Smith, who led Helix High to consecutive city championships at Qualcomm Stadium, was 20 of 25 for 253 yards.