American Football: Wright delivers Ravens success

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Impending fatherhood seems to have brought out the best in Anthony Wright, the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback. With his wife at home and due to deliver at any moment, Wright rallied his team from a 17-point deficit with seven minutes remaining, to beat the Seattle Seahawks 44-41 in overtime.

Wright was sensational, throwing four touchdowns, all of them to Marcus Robinson, as the Ravens came alive for the first time this season. His efforts eclipsed those of his opposite number, Matt Hasselbeck, who threw five scoring passes for Seattle only to finish on the losing side.

Wright was besieged by reporters afterwards, but had the perfect excuse for his hasty departure. "It's one of the most beautiful days of my life," he said. "My wife is waiting for me right now."

A special day for the Wright family, but one to forget for the Hasselbecks. Matt's personal efforts were in vain, then his younger brother, Tim, made his debut for the Washington Redskins, in relief of the injured Patrick Ramsey.

Under his guidance, the Redskins cruised to a 23-10 lead in the fourth quarter. Then the Dolphins made a quarterback switch of their own, Jay Feidler coming off the bench and leading Miami on two scoring drives as they came back to win 24-23.

Another unlikely hero was the Tennessee quarterback, Billy Volek, who was pressed into service when the Titans lost their starter, Steve McNair, with a leg injury. With his side trailing Atlanta by 21 points things were bleak, but Volek showed great poise to guide his side to a 38-31 win.

"It shows you what kind of man he is," said the receiver Justin McCareins, who scored two touchdowns. "He came into a tough situation and really took control."

The Cincinnati Bengals continue to impress quietly. After last week's win over Kansas City, the Bengals showed that it was no fluke by beating Santiago 34-27. Jon Kitna threw four touchdowns.

The Chiefs were taken to the brink in arctic conditions against the Oakland Raiders. But with just four seconds left the Kansas City kicker, Morten Andersen, kept his cool to convert a 35-yard field goal for a 27-24 win.

The New England Patriots had to wait even longer to avoid a surprise defeat to the Houston Texans. Trailing with less than a minute left, the Patriots took it to overtime when Tom Brady put Daniel Graham in for a touchdown.

Adam Vinatieri then had a field goal blocked, only to get a shot at atonement with a 35-yard game-winning effort with 41 seconds left to break Houston's brave resistance.

In the battle of surprise teams, the Dallas Cowboys ended a mini-slump by beating the Carolina Panthers. At the start of the season, both teams were tipped to be among the also-rans, yet they seemed bound for the play-offs with eight wins from 11 contests.

This was supposed to be a year of consolidation, but Dallas are contenders thanks to a punishing defence and some inspired efforts from quarterback Quincy Carter who threw two touchdown passes in his side's 24-20 victory.