NFL Roundup: Ravens deal blow to Giants' playoff hopes
Joe Flacco threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another as the host Baltimore Ravens dominated the New York Giants on Sunday, 33-14, to clinch the AFC North title.
Ray Rice rushed for 107 yards and added his first touchdown reception of the season for the Ravens (10-5). Baltimore rolled up a season-high 533 total yards and converted 11 of 18 third-down opportunities to snap a three-game losing skid.
Eli Manning threw for just 150 yards and a late touchdown for the Giants (8-7), who have been outscored 67-14 over their last two games to fall out of the running for the NFC East title. Washington (9-6) will host Dallas (8-7) next week with the winner taking the division crown. The Giants are left clinging to wild-card hopes.
Flacco threw for 202 of his 309 yards in the first half to stake the Ravens to a 24-7 advantage at intermission. After tossing a 6-yard touchdown to Torrey Smith, Flacco rushed in from one yard out before finding Rice over the middle for a 27-yard score just 70 seconds before halftime.
Saints 34, Cowboys 31 (OT): Garrett Hartley kicked a 20-yard field goal 4:27 into overtime as visiting New Orleans ended Dallas' three-game winning streak and delivered a blow to its playoff hopes.
After the Saints (7-8) stopped the Cowboys on the opening possession of overtime, Marques Colston caught a 9-yard pass from Drew Brees before fumbling. Jimmy Graham recovered the ball at the Dallas 2, and Hartley booted his second field goal of the game on the next play to end the contest.
Tony Romo completed 26 of 43 passes for 416 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair of 58-yarders to Dez Bryant in the second quarter. Bryant, who has at least one TD reception in each of his last seven games, had nine catches for 224 yards as Dallas (8-7) fell one game behind the Washington Redskins. The Cowboys can still win the NFC East with a victory at Washington next week but cannot reach the postseason via the wild card.
Brees was 37-of-53 for 446 yards and three scores while Colston had 10 catches for 153 yards. Darren Sproles also eclipsed the century mark in receiving yards, gaining 104 on seven receptions.
Redskins 27, Eagles 20: Robert Griffin III threw two touchdown passes in his return from a sprained knee as visiting Washington inched closer to securing its first NFC East title since 1999.
Fellow rookie Alfred Morris added his 10th rushing score with a 10-yard touchdown for the Redskins (9-6), who have won six in a row for the first time since 1996. Washington, which moved a game ahead of Dallas (8-6) and New York (8-6), will host the Cowboys next week with the division title at stake.
Dion Lewis had a 17-yard touchdown run to bring Philadelphia (4-11) to within a touchdown at 27-20. After forcing Washington to punt, the Eagles drove to the Redskins' 5-yard line before rookie Nick Foles was penalized for intentional grounding with one second remaining. A 10-second runoff was enforced, ending the game.
Bengals 13, Steelers 10: Josh Brown kicked a 43-yard field goal with eight seconds left to help visiting Cincinnati clinch a playoff spot and knock rival Pittsburgh out of the postseason.
Leon Hall ran an interception back for a touchdown and Andy Dalton went 24-for-41 for 278 yards and a pair of interceptions for the Bengals (9-6), who are making back-to-back trips to the postseason for the first time since 1981-82.
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 220 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for the Steelers (7-8), who have dropped five of their last six to fall out of a playoff spot.
Pittsburgh was driving for a chance to win when Roethlisberger was intercepted by Reggie Nelson with 14 seconds left. Dalton, who had struggled with the Steelers' pass defense all afternoon, hit A.J. Green on the right sideline for a 21-yard gain, putting Brown in position for the go-ahead field goal.
Broncos 34, Browns 12: Peyton Manning went 30-for-43 for 339 yards and three touchdowns as host Denver closed in on a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
Demaryius Thomas caught nine passes for 102 yards and a touchdown and Eric Decker added a pair of scoring receptions for the Broncos (12-3), who have won 10 straight. Denver leads the New England Patriots (11-4) by one game for the No. 2 seed with one game to play.
Brandon Weeden completed 12 of 19 passes for 104 yards before being knocked out in the third quarter with a shoulder injury for Cleveland (5-10). Trent Richardson rushed for 53 yards to pass Jim Brown (942) for the most by a rookie in franchise history.
Manning drove the Broncos 80 yards on each of their first two drives, finding Thomas for a 22-yard score to cap the first and hitting Decker with a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it a 14-3 lead on the second.
Vikings 23, Texans 6: Christian Ponder connected with Kyle Rudolph on a 3-yard scoring strike and the Minnesota defense silenced host Houston to keep its playoff hopes alive.
Ponder had his strongest game in several weeks, completing 16 of 30 passes for 174 yards as the Vikings (9-6) retained one of the two NFC wild-card spots. Minnesota will still need to win next week's season finale in Green Bay and get some help in order to qualify for the postseason.
Toby Gerhart added a 3-yard fourth-quarter TD run and the Vikings held the Texans (12-3) to 187 yards of total offense and 11 first downs en route to their third straight win. Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson added 86 yards on the ground, leaving him 102 yards shy of 2,000 for the season and 208 away from breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season record.
Colts 20, Chiefs 13: Andrew Luck struggled all day before capping a long scoring drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne with 4:08 to play as visiting Indianapolis clinched a playoff berth.
Luck tied a league record with his seventh game-winning drive of the season, moving his team 73 yards in 13 plays as the Colts (10-5) became the fourth team in history to win 10 games following a two-win season. Luck boosted his season total to 4,183 yards, eclipsing Cam Newton's (4,051) NFL rookie record.
The top overall draft pick failed to connect on 50 percent of his passes (17-of-35, 205 yards) for the fourth consecutive game but he completed his final six on the game-winning drive. Darius Butler also returned an interception for a touchdown for Indy.
The late heroics by Luck enabled Indianapolis to overcome a stellar effort by Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 226 yards and had an 86-yard touchdown run in his team's third straight loss.
Packers 55, Titans 7: Aaron Rodgers passed for 342 yards and three touchdowns and added one of Green Bay's four rushing scores as the Packers rolled up their highest point total in 29 years in a demolition of visiting Tennessee.
Ryan Grant rushed for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns and James Jones led the receiving corps with seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown for Green Bay (11-4), which is battling the San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. The 49ers play at Seattle later Sunday.
The Packers stuck first on Rodgers' 6-yard touchdown run and turned an interception into points less than 2 1/2 minutes later when Rodgers hit Randall Cobb with a 20-yard scoring pass to make it 14-0 in the first quarter. Green Bay would push it to 20-0 at the half before really opening things up after the break.
Bears 28, Cardinals 13: Jay Cutler overcome a dreadful start to throw for 146 yards and a touchdown as visiting Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak and kept its postseason hopes alive.
Matt Forte rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries before leaving with an ankle injury as the Bears (9-6) won for only the second time in seven games to keep pace with NFC North rival Minnesota in the playoff chase. Chicago also received a pair of touchdowns from its defense, with Zack Bowman recovering a fumble in the end zone and Charles Tillman returning an interception 10 yards for a score - the Bears' eighth TD off a pick this season.
The Bears need to win at Detroit next week and have the Vikings lose at home to Green Bay to secure a postseason slot. They can also reach the postseason with a win next week and two losses by Seattle, which hosts San Francisco on Sunday night.
Panthers 17, Raiders 6: Cam Newton threw for one touchdown and ran for another as host Carolina posted its third straight victory.
Newton completed 18 of 29 passes for 170 yards and also was the team's leading rusher with 60 yards on 12 carries as the Panthers (6-9) go into the final week of the season with their first three-game winning streak since the end of the 2009 campaign.
Sebastian Janikowski provided the only points for Oakland (4-11) for the second straight week with a pair of field goals. Matt Leinart was 16-of-32 for 115 yards with one interception in relief of Carson Palmer, who exited late in the first quarter with a back injury.
Chargers 27, Jets 17: Philip Rivers tossed two touchdown passes as visiting San Diego spoiled Greg McElroy's first career start by upending New York.
Tight end Antonio Gates reeled in his 82nd career score to move past Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for the most in franchise history. Danario Alexander had a 37-yard touchdown reception and Micheal Spurlock added a 63-yard punt return for a score as the Chargers (6-9) posted their second win in three outings.
Shonn Greene rushed for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns, but the Jets (6-9) were undone after allowing 11 sacks - the most by an NFL team this season.
With New York nursing a 14-10 halftime advantage, Alexander made a double move on former Charger Antonio Cromartie before Rivers hit him in stride for a touchdown on team's opening drive. Rivers later connected with Gates over the middle for a 34-yard score with 1:42 left in the quarter. The reception allowed Gates to secure his ninth straight 500-yard season.
Rams 28, Buccaneers 13: Sam Bradford threw a pair of touchdown passes less than four minutes apart early in the third quarter to power visiting St. Louis, which was ousted from postseason contention.
Bradford threw for 196 yards and had scoring passes of 80 yards to Lance Kendricks and 5 to Austin Pettis as the Rams (7-7-1) sent reeling Tampa Bay to its fifth consecutive defeat.
Steven Jackson added a 5-yard touchdown run and St. Louis intercepted four passes to secure its fourth win in five games and earn a shot at its first winning season in nine years.
Falcons 31, Lions 18: On Saturday night, Matt Ryan tied a career high with four touchdown passes as visiting Atlanta overcame Calvin Johnson's record-setting night and secured home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
Roddy White had eight catches for 153 yards and two scores for the Falcons (13-2), who built a 21-6 halftime lead and put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
Johnson hauled in 11 passes for 225 yards for the Lions (4-11), who have lost seven in a row. The sizzling performance gave Johnson 1,892 yards this year, breaking Jerry Rice's single-season record of 1,848.
Ryan and White connected for a 44-yard touchdown with just under six minutes remaining in the first quarter and hooked up again for 39-yard score with 9:54 left in the second, giving Atlanta a 14-3 lead. Julio Jones caught a 16-yard scoring strike from Ryan late in the first half.