Denver — Eddy Pineiro won Chicago’s nerve-wracking kicking competition.
Now, he’s winning over Bears fans and teammates who suffered through the double-doink miss by Cody Parkey that sent them home from the playoffs.
Pineiro kicked a 53-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Bears a wild 16-14 win Sunday over the Broncos and their former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, whose gutsy 2-point call 31 seconds earlier had given Denver the lead.
“Well, that was a crazy one,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “Absolutely crazy. Just a whirlwind of emotions going back and forth.”
Like the game.
“It’s not how you draw it up,” Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. “It’s definitely not.”
The Broncos, who are off to their first 0-2 start since 1999, thought they’d survived and that time had expired when cornerback Chris Harris Jr. tackled Allen Robinson after he hauled in a 25-yard pass on fourth-and-15 from Trubisky at the Denver 35.
The clock showed all zeroes and both teams milled around on the field not knowing whether to celebrate a win or lament a loss. Then referee Adrian Hill announced there was 1 second remaining and Chicago was using its last timeout.
Pineiro’s third field goal, a day after his 24th birthday, sent the Bears (1-1) streaming back onto the field in celebration of a victory that seemed so unlikely after they’d surrendered the lead moments earlier.
“I knew deep down in my heart that it was going in,” Khalil Mack said. “You put that pressure on that guy, Eddy P., the birthday man. He came out and nailed it. That’s how you want to play ball. Kudos to everyone else sticking in there and believing. I’m glad to get the win and get the hell up out of here.”
In a whipsaw of emotion, cornerback Kyle Fuller, whose goal-line interception with five minutes left seemingly sealed Chicago’s win, surrendered a 7-yard tiptoe touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders . Sanders barely got both feet toes down in the right corner of the end zone.
That made it 13-12, and the Broncos lined up for 2. A delay pushed them back 5 yards and Fangio sent Brandon McManus out instead for the extra point from the 20-yard line and the tie. But McManus was wide right and the Bears went wild.
Hold on: a flag on Chicago.
Buster Skrine was offside and the Broncos moved up to the 1. Out came their offense again, and with an empty backfield, Joe Flacco backpedaled and hit Sanders at the goal line in front of Fuller to give Denver a 14-13 lead.
For the second straight game, the Broncos failed to get a sack, but linebacker Bradley Chubb came close, hitting Trubisky just as he got off a throw to tight end Trey Burton for 10 yards. A debatable roughing call on Chubb tacked on 15 yards and the Bears were suddenly in business at the Broncos 45.
“We had our chances to win there,” Fangio said. “Obviously, the critical penalty at the end of the game there, the roughing call was huge because it stops the clock, saves their timeout and gives them 15 yards.”
Three incompletions were followed by a 12-men-in-the-huddle infraction, however, and the Bears were facing fourth-and-15 from their 40 with 9 seconds remaining.
Trubisky stepped up and found Robinson over the middle in the nick of time. Harris’ tackle came 1 second too early for the Broncos, who saw their 13 home game September winning streak snapped.
“Tough call, tough game,” said Von Miller, who remains stuck on 98 career sacks.
►(At) Atlanta 24, Philadelphia 20: Julio Jones hauled in a short pass on fourth down and took it 54 yards to the end zone with 2:10 remaining, giving the Falcons a wild victory over the Eagles.
The Falcons (1-1) squandered a 17-6 lead against an injury plagued team that lost two of its top receivers, falling behind for the first time when Carson Wentz dove over from the 1 with 3:13 left to give the Eagles a 20-17 edge.
Philadelphia (1-1) had a chance at the end when Wentz converted on fourth-and-14, somehow getting off a pass with a rusher in his chest that Nelson Agholor hauled in between two defenders for a 43-yard completion to the 18.
But Atlanta held on, stopping Zach Ertz about a yard short of the marker on another fourth-down play inside the 10 to preserve a much-needed victory.
Jones bailed out Atlanta — and became Atlanta’s career leader in receiving yards with his winning score. On fourth-and-3 at the Falcons 46, Jones dropped behind the line to haul in Matt Ryan’s short pass, got a crunching block from left tackle Jake Matthews out on the edge and took off down the sideline, easily outrunning Rodney McLeod and Andrew Sendejo without being touched.
Jones crossed into the end zone and kept right on going, disappearing down the tunnel. He finished with five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns, also hauling in a 4-yard score that gave the Falcons their 11-point lead early in the third quarter.
►(At) L.A. Rams 27, New Orleans 9: With Drew Brees watching from the sideline with an injured hand, the Rams didn’t need a no-call to beat the Saints again.
Jared Goff passed for 283 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score, and the Rams (2-0) stopped New Orleans from scoring an offensive touchdown for the first time since 2016.
The much-anticipated matchup changed dramatically when Brees was injured late in the first quarter. His throwing hand collided with Aaron Donald’s outstretched hand while he threw an incompletion on the Saints’ second drive. The NFL’s career leader in yards passing spent the afternoon on the Coliseum sideline with his thumb heavily wrapped.
Teddy Bridgewater went 17 of 30 for 165 yards and Alvin Kamara rushed for just 45 yards for the Saints (1-1), who seemed discombobulated without their longtime quarterback. New Orleans didn’t score an offensive touchdown for only the fourth time in 13-plus seasons under coach Sean Payton, who got a lengthy contract extension before the game.
Todd Gurley rushed for 63 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season late in the third quarter of this rematch of the Rams’ 26-23 overtime win in New Orleans last January. That game turned on the infamous uncalled pass interference late in regulation by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who had six tackles in the rematch.
►Seattle 28, (at) Pittsburgh 26: Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns, including a 28-yard rainbow to DK Metcalf midway through the fourth quarter.
The Steelers lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a right elbow injury late in the first half and fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2013 despite solid play from backup Mason Rudolph, who threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes to Vance McDonald.
Roethlisberger began flexing his right arm after an incompletion late in the second quarter. He stayed in to finish the drive before jogging to the locker room. When the 37-year-old QB emerged for the second half, he was wearing a white cap while Rudolph, taken in the third round of the 2018 draft, took the first meaningful snaps of his career.
Rudolph completed 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards, the two scores and an interception, but couldn’t quite keep pace with Wilson and the Seahawks (2-0).
Wilson was 29 of 35 for 300 yards and the three TDs, becoming the fifth-fastest quarterback in league history to reach 200 career touchdown passes (114 games). Wilson also ran four times for 24 yards, most of it coming on Seattle’s final drive as the Seahawks protected a two-point lead.
A week after escaping Cincinnati with a one-point win, a game in which coach Pete Carroll said his team wasn’t particularly crisp, the Seahawks took advantage of a series of mental mistakes by the Steelers (0-2) to win in Pittsburgh for the first time in 20 years.
►Kansas City 28, (at) Oakland 10: Patrick Mahomes bounced back from the first scoreless opening quarter of his career in the regular season by throwing four touchdown passes in a near perfect second period.
The Raiders (1-1) held Mahomes in check for the opening 15 minutes before he carved up an overmatched defense with big play after big play in the second quarter for the Chiefs (2-0).
Mahomes didn’t take long to strike, finding Demarcus Robinson open on a blown coverage for a 44-yard touchdown pass on the first play in the second quarter. He didn’t slow down from there.
Mahomes finished 30 for 44 for 443 yards. Robinson had six catches for 172 yards and two scores and Kelce had seven catches for 107 yards and a TD to give the Chiefs their ninth win in the past 10 meetings in this long-time rivalry.
►Indianapolis 19, (at) Tennessee 17: Jacoby Brissett became the latest Indianapolis quarterback to top Tennessee, throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton with 4:38 left. Brissett had come up empty for Indianapolis against Tennessee, losing both games he started against the Titans in 2017. After Andrew Luck retired with a perfect 11-0 record against the Titans, Brissett picked up right where Luck left off. He passed for 146 yards and three TDs.
The Colts (1-1) also sacked Marcus Mariota four times on a day when Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s oldest player and career scoring leader but in an early-season slump, missed two extra points. It was Indianapolis’ 14th win in its last 16 games against Tennessee overall.
The Titans (1-1) missed their chance for payback against Indianapolis after losing the 2018 regular-season finale, along with a playoff berth on the line for the winner. They haven’t started 2-0 since 2008 when they won their first 10 games and last won the AFC South.
►(At) Baltimore 23, Arizona 17: Lamar Jackson kept the Cardinals guessing all afternoon, supplementing an effective passing attack with more than an occasional jaunt out of the pocket. Jackson threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 120 yards in a showdown between two of the league’s most exciting young quarterbacks.
After achieving a perfect passer rating and throwing five TD passes in a season-opening 59-10 rout of Miami, Jackson wasn’t quite as sharp through the air but far more effective with his legs. He ran 16 times (including two kneel-downs at the end), juking and twisting past defenders for key gains — especially when the Cardinals were dropping back in passing situations.
The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner outdid the 2018 Heisman winner, Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, who went 25 for 40 for 349 yards but fell short of carrying the Cardinals to a second straight fourth-quarter comeback.
Murray guided Arizona (0-1-1) on a four-play, 79-yard touchdown drive to make it 20-17 with 12:52 remaining. One week earlier, the former Oklahoma standout erased an 18-point deficit to salvage a tie against Detroit.
►(At) Houston 13, Jacksonville 12: Justin Reid stopped Leonard Fournette on a 2-point conversion attempt with 36 seconds left.
Houston led by 13-6 in the fourth quarter when Jacksonville rookie Gardner Minshew led a long drive that included an 18-yard run on fourth-and-10, and he capped it with a 4-yard TD pass to DJ Chark. Instead of trying to tie it with a kicked extra point, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone opted to go for the potential win. But Fournette was stopped by Reid. The play was upheld by video review, giving the Texans (1-1) the victory.
Early in the fourth quarter, Whitney Mercilus used a nice spin move to evade a blocker and sacked Minshew to force a fumble, recovered by J.J. Watt on the 11-yard line. Carlos Hyde had an 8-yard run on second down, but was stopped short of a first down on the next play to bring up fourth-and-1. Deshaun Watson then scrambled in from 2 yards for the touchdown to make it 13-3.
Minshew, a sixth-round pick, threw for 213 yards and a touchdown for the Jaguars (0-2) in his first NFL start filling in for Nick Foles, who broke his collarbone last week.
►Buffalo 28, (at) N.Y. Giants 14: Somewhat maligned Josh Allen ran for a touchdown, threw for another, and the Bills claimed the bragging rights of New York.
Buffalo has its first 2-0 start since 2014 and only the third in 11 mostly fruitless years.
Devin Singletary scored on a 14-yard run and Frank Gore iced the game with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone with 5:53 to play as the Bills completed the New York/New Jersey sweep at MetLife Stadium. They beat the Jets last weekend.
Allen finished 19 of 30 for 253 yards in becoming Buffalo’s first quarterback to pass for 200 or more yards in seven straight games since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly in 1992. His touchdown pass covered 14 yards to Isaiah McKenzie and his TD run was 6 yards.
Giants coach Pat Shurmur gave Buffalo bulletin-board material earlier in the week when he said he felt Allen had the potential to be an NFL starter coming out of the 2018 draft. The Bills felt it a slight for the No.7 overall pick and posted it.
Allen, who had no turnovers after making four last week, played like a quarterback with something to prove.
Saquon Barkley ran for 107 yards and a game-opening 27-yard touchdown run, but the Giants went to 0-2 for their sixth such start since 2013.
►San Francisco 41, (at) Cincinnati 17: Jimmy Garoppolo tied his career high with three touchdown passes and the 49ers completed a sweet and satisfying week in the Buckeye State.
Rather than return to the West Coast after their opening 31-17 win in Tampa Bay, the 49ers headed to Youngstown, Ohio, where they worked out on a soccer field, enjoyed a local ice cream shop and rested at a Holiday Inn. Then they started their trek west with a resounding and notable win.
The 49ers improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2012. They’ve opened the season with back-to-back road wins for the first time since 1989, when Joe Montana’s crew was coming off its second Super Bowl win over the Bengals.
The Niners piled up 573 total yards, their highest total in seven years. They’ve topped 30 points in each of their first two games for the first time since 1998. The 41 points were the most allowed by the Bengals (0-2) in a home opener.
►(At) Green Bay 21, Minnesota 16: Aaron Rodgers threw two early touchdowns on a day when the Packers honored late Hall of Famer Bart Starr at halftime.
Rodgers put on quite a show — particularly early. Rodgers completed nine of his first 10 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns and had a perfect 158.3 rating through the first quarter. He finished 22 of 34 for 209 yards.
The Packers improved to 2-0 under new coach Matt LaFleur after opening the NFL’s 100th season with a victory at rival Chicago. They also beat the Vikings (1-1) for the fifth time in the past seven games at Lambeau Field.
Kevin King intercepted Kirk Cousins late in the end zone to preserve the win.
Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook had a career-high 154 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. It was the third-year back’s second consecutive game with over 100 yards rushing.
►Dallas 31, (at) Washington 21: Dak Prescott carved up the Washington defense with his arm and his legs, completing 26 of 30 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 69 yards.
A week after putting up a perfect 158.3 QB rating, Prescott responded from an interception to lead Dallas (2-0) on consecutive touchdown drives of 97, 83 and 75 yards. He’s the first Cowboys quarterback to compile seven touchdown passes in the first two games of the season since Don Meredith in 1966.
On the verge of a contract extension that’s expected to guarantee him over $30 million, Prescott connected with three receivers on the touchdowns: Devin Smith, Jason Witten and Amari Cooper. Less than two weeks removed from ending his holdout and agreeing to a $90 million, six-year deal, Ezekiel Elliott had his workload increased to 23 carries for 111 yards and ran for a touchdown.
Washington (0-2) got a rushing touchdown from Adrian Peterson and passing TDs from Case Keenum to Paul Richardson and rookie Terry McLaurin. But their banged-up defense playing without two starters struggled to contain Prescott or cover his receivers.