A great eight

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:05 PM ET

It's not every NFL Sunday that a six-touchdown performance by Tom Brady is upstaged -- and by a kicker no less.

If you hadn't heard of Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas before yesterday, you know him now. He is the latest Music City Miracle worker.

The heartbroken Houston Texans repeatedly felt his boot to the stomach as the former Arena Football League unknown connected on eight field goals.

For the (NFL) record, Bironas hit from 29, 52, 43, 25, 21, 30, 28 and again from 29 as time expired to give the Titans a 38-36 victory.

The last one never should have been necessary. The Titans eased off the pedal to allow Houston back in the game, surrendering a sloppy 29 points in the fourth quarter.

Many Texans fans already had left Reliant Stadium by then, but the winner capped off an unlikely six-play, 69-yard drive engineered by Kerry Collins in the final 57 seconds.

This isn't the first time Bironas has been the hero, either. Last December, his 60-yarder -- the fourth longest in league history -- allowed the Titans to knock off the eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts.

Now at 4-2 the Titans are in the mix of the AFC South, which is starting to look like a solid division.

With Brady, meanwhile, the spectacular is becoming the routine.

His 281 yards and five touchdowns in the first half alone yesterday were a showstopper, helping the Dolphins to a 49-28 win over the hapless Miami Dolphins.

Manning up

With a surging defence and the run game of Brandon Jacobs to help round out the package, Eli Manning and the New York Giants have become an interesting proposition in the NFC.

A 33-15 thrashing of the San Francisco 49ers yesterday, which included two Manning touchdown strikes, has the 5-2 Giants breathing down the necks of the Dallas Cowboys, who improved to 6-1 with a 24-14 victory over Minnesota.

Next up for the Giants is a trip to London for an International Bowl mismatch against Miami on Sunday followed by a timely bye to prepare for a showdown with the Cowboys on Nov. 11.

The Giants defence is led by the beast of a defensive end, Osi Umenyiora, who on one notable play yesterday sacked San Francisco quarterback Trent Dilfer, stripped the football, then grabbed it for a 75-yard runback and a touchdown.

Bills bust Brian

Don't look now, but Toronto's other professional football franchise, the Buffalo Bills, are alone in second in the AFC East.

Relax CFL diehards, the Bills won't officially get the green light to come north of the border until the NFL board of governors approves it tomorrow, but why not get on the bandwagon early?

With a record of 2-4, the Bills are in no danger of running down the Patriots, however.

Still, the 19-14 victory over the bumbling Baltimore Ravens at Ralph Wilson Stadium helped ease the pain of two early home guttings.

Once again, Ravens coach and supposed genius Brian Billick was anything but inside the two-minute warning.

Facing second and one from midfield, he called three pass plays for Kyle Boller and all three fell incomplete.

Quick hits

Don't count out the Chicago Bears just yet after that wild Brian Griese comeback drive in the final minute of a 19-16 win over the Eagles. Philadelphia may be done, though ... It was a rough return to the Motor City for Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia. His two sloppy fumbles cost his team any shot in a 23-16 loss to the suddenly respectable Lions (4-2) ... Patriots receiver Randy Moss is every bit as dominant as he was in his Minnesota days. Those two highlight-reel jump balls in the end zone despite tight coverage were vintage Moss.


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