MINNEAPOLIS – Christian Ponder didnt flinch against that feisty, swarming San Francisco defense.
Minnesotas flourishing young quarterback 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 on Sunday.
Its big, more for people outside this organization than us. Were already confident in what we can do, said Ponder, who went 21 for 35 for 198 yards.
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 in a wild, drawn-out fourth quarter due in part to more replacement referee blunders. Twice in a six-play span, the 49ers were allowed to withdraw a called timeout to challenge a play instead.
FALCONS 27, CHARGERS 3: In San Diego, Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes to three different receivers and safety Thomas DeCoud had two interceptions and a fumble recovery for unbeaten Atlanta. Ryan completed 30 of 40 passes for 275 yards, with his first interception of the season, and a passer rating of 107.8 for the Falcons (3-0), who improved to 6-0 all-time in San Diego.
San Diego (2-1) was the third straight AFC West team to lose to Atlanta. Ryan Mathews made his season debut for San Diego and looked good until fumbling inside the Falcons 5-yard line on a hit by Sean Witherspoon, with DeCoud recovering.
RAIDERS 34, STEELERS 31: In Oakland, Calif., Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 43-yard field goal on the last play as the Raiders scored the final 13 points after wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was knocked out and hospitalized by a scary hit, which was not called a penalty by the replacement officials. Heyward-Bey was taken to the hospital with a neck injury.
Carson Palmer then threw his third touchdown pass for Oakland (1-2) and Janikowski kicked two field goals to beat the Steelers (1-2) and give coach Dennis Allen his first win.
CARDINALS 27, EAGLES 6: In Glendale, Ariz., Kevin Kolb threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns and James Sanders returned one of Michael Vicks two fumbles 93 yards for a touchdown, and Arizona is off to its best start in 38 years.
Arizona (3-0) sacked Vick five times in winning its seventh straight home game, the second-longest streak in franchise history. Philadelphia (2-1) became the first NFL team to open a season with two one-point wins.
JETS 23, DOLPHINS 20 OT: In Miami, Nick Folk received a reprieve when his blocked field-goal attempt was negated by a timeout, and his second try was a successful 33-yarder with 6:04 left in overtime.
On the previous possession, the Dolphins Dan Carpenter was wide left on a 48-yard field-goal attempt that would have given them the victory.
New York improved to 2-1, and Miami dropped to 1-2. The Jets Darrelle Revis and Miamis Reggie Bush left the game with left knee injuries.
COWBOYS 16, BUCCANEERS 10: In Arlington, Texas, DeMarco Murray had an 11-yard touchdown run and Dan Bailey kicked three field goals as Dallas won its home opener.
The Cowboys (2-1) scored twice in the first half when starting in Tampa Bay territory after turnovers. They overcame three turnovers by Tony Romo – two on plays reversed by replay – with a defense that held Tampa Bay to 166 total yards.
BENGALS 38, REDSKINS 31: In Landover, Md., Andy Dalton completed 19 of 27 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns for Cincinnati. The Bengals (2-1) blew a 24-7 first-half lead, but two touchdown passes by Dalton – one to Jermaine Gresham, the other to Andrew Hawkins – in the fourth quarter made the difference. Cincinnatis A.J. Green caught nine passes for a career-high 183 yards.
For Washington (1-2), Robert Griffin IIIs 2-yard run cut the lead to seven with 3:35 remaining, but he threw incomplete on a third-and-5 on the games last play.
BILLS 24, BROWNS: In Cleveland, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes and Buffalo overcame the loss of running back C.J. Spiller in snapping an eight-game road losing streak. Fitzpatrick finished 22 of 35 for 208 yards as the Bills (2-1) turned to their passing game after Spiller left with a shoulder injury.
Spiller scored on a 32-yard screen pass from Fitzpatrick, who also threw a 9-yard TD to T.J. Graham in the first quarter and hooked up with Stevie Johnson from 9 yards in the fourth for a 24-14 lead.
The Browns are 0-3.