Ben Roethlisberger became the first NFL rookie quarterback to win his first seven starts since 1970, and Jerome Bettis had two short touchdown runs in leading the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Cleveland Browns 24-10 on Sunday.
The Steelers (8-1) took smashmouth football to a new extreme. Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter bloodied Browns running back William Green in a fight during pregame drills. Both were ejected before the game began.
After handing New England and Philadelphia their first losses the past two weeks, Pittsburgh figured to be due for a letdown. That will have to wait until next week -- maybe -- as the Steelers remained the NFL's hottest team with their seventh consecutive win.
Bettis, starting in place of the injured Duce Staley for the second straight week, gained 103 yards on 29 carries. He scored on touchdown runs from 5 and 1 yards in the first half.
The Steelers put the game away when Aaron Smith stripped quarterback Jeff Garcia and safety Russell Stuvaints ran it in from 24 yards.
Garcia was just 7-for-16 for 110 yards. He was sacked four times and threw an interception for Cleveland (3-6). He was replaced by Kelly Holcomb with nine minutes left.
Patriots 29 , Bills 6
In Foxboro, Massachusetts, the Patriots showed another local champion, the Boston Red Sox, that they can dominate just as well.
After Curt Schilling and Johnny Damon participated in a pregame ceremony for the winners of baseball's World Series, Tom Brady, the Most Valuable Player in two of the last three Super Bowls, threw two touchdown passes. Adam Vinatieri kicked five field goals, Corey Dillon rushed for 151 yards on 26 carries, and the Patriots picked off four passes.
The Patriots (8-1) put together their second straight impressive performance after their NFL record 21-game winning streak, including playoffs, ended on Oct. 31 at Pittsburgh. They outgained the Bills 428 yards to 125 and moved two games ahead of the New York Jets in the AFC East.
Ravens 20, Jets 17, OT
At East Rutherford, New Jersey, Matt Stover kicked a 42-yard field goal with 7:39 remaining in overtime. Last season, Stover kicked two game-winning field goals in overtime for Baltimore (6-3).
Kyle Boller got the Ravens in position for the winning score by converting a third-and-5 from the Baltimore 49 with a 21-yard pass to Kevin Johnson. Boller then completed a 10-yard pass to Travis Taylor on third-and-14 from the Jets 34 to put the Ravens in field goal range.
Boller was 19-of-33 for 213 yards with two touchdowns, both to rookie Clarence Moore. Jamal Lewis had 30 carries for 68 yards.
The Jets (6-3), losers of three of their last four games, led 14-0, but Ed Reed's end-zone interception of Lamont Jordan's halfback pass and return to the New York 36 turned things around.
Bears 19, Titans 17, OT
At Nashville, Tennessee, Alex Brown sacked backup Billy Volek in the end zone and knocked the ball loose for a safety and an overtime win.
It was only the second time an NFL game has ended in overtime on a safety. The first was Nov. 5, 1989, when Minnesota beat the Los Angeles Rams 23-21 when Mike Merriweather blocked Dale Hatcher's punt and the ball rolled out of the end zone.
The victory gave the Bears (4-5) their first three-game winning streak since the end of the 2001 season -- Chicago's last playoff appearance.