Sunday’s NFL Capsules
Sunday, December 19, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Just call it the great escape.
DeSean Jackson scored on a 65-yard punt return on the final play of the game and the Eagles scored 28 points in the final 7:28 to stun the New York Giants 38-31 and take over first place in the NFC East.
Emphasizing his candidacy for the MVP award, Michael Vick threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the incredible late rally that all but clinched the division for the Eagles (10-4) and left Giants coach Tom Coughlin so angry he threw his notes as Jackson backed into the end zone.
Philadelphia swept the season series with New York (9-5) and only needs to win one of its final two games or have New York lose one of its two.
Atlanta clinched a playoff spot with the Giants’ loss.
On the winning play, Matt Dodge lined up to punt with 14 seconds to play and the rookie got off a line drive kick that Jackson bobbled at his 35. Once he regained control, Jackson broke threw the initial line of coverage and sped down the right sideline. It was apparent he was about to score, but instead of simply going into the end zone, he danced along the goal line before going in with zeros showing on the clock.
Eli Manning threw four touchdown passes, including an 8-yarder to Kevin Boss with 8:17 to play to help the Giants open a 31-10 lead.
Jets 22, Steelers 17
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mark Sanchez stood up to the pressure created by the Steelers’ defense and his team’s two-game losing streak, scrambling for the Jets’ first offensive touchdown in 12 quarters and leading a decisive field-goal drive as New York beat Pittsburgh.
Despite losing, the Steelers (10-4) were told by the NFL nearly an hour after the game ended that they secured a playoff spot via a series of complicated strength-of-schedule tiebreakers.
Pittsburgh also owns the division tiebreaker and will beat out Baltimore (10-4) for the AFC North title if it defeats Carolina on Thursday and Cleveland on Jan. 2.
The Jets (10-4) held on to win even as Ben Roethlisberger drove the Steelers from their own 8 to the Jets 10 in the final 2:08, only to throw incomplete on the game’s final two plays.
Roethlisberger repeatedly kept the drive going, finding rookie Emmanuel Sanders for 29 yards on third-and-24, Mike Wallace for 18 on third-and-10 and Antonio Brown for 16 on third-and-10. The Steelers had to go for a touchdown rather than settling for a field goal because Mewelde Moore was tackled in the end zone for a safety with 2:38 remaining.
Colts 34, Jaguars 24
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes and Donald Brown ran for another score as Indianapolis stayed in the playoff hunt.
The Colts (8-6) share the AFC South lead with Jacksonville (8-6) and can clinch a seventh division title in eight years by winning their last two games.
Jacksonville had a chance to secure the title with a victory, but again failed to sweep the season series. The Jags have never won two straight against Indy.
Manning was 29 of 39 for 229 yards with no interceptions for the second straight game.
Indy also ended Maurice Jones-Drew’s streak of consecutive 100-yard games at six. He carried 15 times for 46 yards, a career low against Indy.
Ravens 30, Saints 24
BALTIMORE (AP) — Ray Rice ran for 153 yards and scored two touchdowns, and Baltimore ended New Orleans’ six-game winning streak.
The Ravens (10-4) won by reviving their lagging running game and managing to hold onto a fourth-quarter lead.
Coming into the game, Rice hadn’t had a run of more than 30 yards and reached the 100-yard mark only once. He had a 50-yard run in the fourth quarter and finished with his biggest rushing total since a 154-yard game last year against Cleveland.
Rice scored on a 10-yard run and caught a 17-yard pass from Joe Flacco.
Drew Brees went 29 for 46 for 267 yards for the Saints (10-4). The defending Super Bowl champions had not lost since Oct. 24 and scored at least 30 points in five straight games.
Patriots 31, Packers 27
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Dan Connolly rumbled 71 yards with what is believed to be the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in NFL history, and Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes and New England edged Green Bay for its sixth straight win.
The Patriots, who had outscored their previous two opponents 81-10, had their hands full even with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers missing the game with a concussion. Matt Flynn threw his first three pro touchdown passes in his place.
The game went down to the final play when Flynn, with the ball at the Patriots 15-yard line, lost it and Vince Wilfork recovered for New England (12-2). Green Bay (8-6) trails Chicago by 1 1/2 games in the NFC North.
The return by the 313-pound Connolly set up Brady’s 2-yard scoring pass to Aaron Hernandez, cutting Green Bay’s lead at halftime to 17-14.
Raiders 39, Broncos 23
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jason Campbell threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Marcel Reece and Jacoby Ford scored on a 71-yard run to help Oakland overcome Tim Tebow’s two long touchdowns in his first career start and beat Denver.
Michael Bush added two short touchdown runs to keep the Raiders (7-7) in the hunt for a playoff berth for at least one more week.
Oakland trails Kansas City by two games in the AFC West and will need to win the final two games and get help in order to win the division.
The Broncos (3-11) have long been eliminated from the playoff chase, having lost nine of 10 games to tie the franchise record for losses in a season.
Tebow became the third player to throw a TD pass of at least 30 yards and run for a score of at least 40 yards in the same game.
Bills 17, Dolphins 14
MIAMI (AP) — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes and the resurgent Bills eliminated the Dolphins from playoff contention.
Buffalo looked woeful in a season-opening loss at home against Miami, but that was before Fitzpatrick took over at quarterback. He went 16 for 26 for 223 yards in the rematch.
The Dolphins, who have won only once in Miami this season, again sputtered on offense. Chad Henne threw a costly interception and kicker Dan Carpenter went 0 for 4, missing from 48, 61, 53 and 48 yards.
Buffalo (4-10) won for the fourth time in six games after starting 0-8.
Miami (7-7) is 1-6 at home and 6-1 on the road. No NFL team has ever had such a disparity, according to STATS LLC.
Bengals 19, Browns 17
CINCINNATI (AP) — Cedric Benson ran for a season-high 150 yards and a touchdown, and Cincinnati ended a 10-game losing streak that matched the longest in franchise history.
The Bengals (3-11) hadn’t won since Sept. 26, a streak longer then even “The T.Ocho Show” featuring their two attention-loving receivers. Terrell Owens was on the sideline with a knee injury for the long-awaited win.
Cincinnati took a straight-ahead approach against the Browns (5-9), who clinched their 10th losing record in 12 years since returning as an expansion team. The Browns got a TD pass from rookie Colt McCoy on a trick play and another on a botched Bengals coverage with 2:13 to go.
Only 56,542 fans showed up to see the so-called “Battle of Ohio,” the third straight Bengals home game blacked out on local television.
Lions 23, Buccaneers, 20 OT
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Dave Rayner’s third field goal, a 34-yarder with 9:51 left in overtime allowed Detroit to end the longest road losing streak in NFL history at 26 games.
Rayner kicked a 28-yarder as time expired in regulation to force the extra period. The Lions took the overtime kickoff and drove 63 yards — covering most of the distance on two big runs and a 12-yard reception by Calvin Johnson on third-and-8 — to set up the game-winner.
The Lions (4-10) won on the road for the first time since Oct. 28, 2007, when they won 16-7 at Chicago.
The Bucs (8-6) kicked two fourth-quarter field goals to go ahead 20-17 with 1:39 remaining left in regulation.
Falcons 34, Seahawks 18
SEATTLE (AP) — Matt Ryan threw for 174 yards and three touchdowns, Jonathan Babineaux recovered a fumble for a touchdown and Atlanta wrapped up an NFC playoff spot with a win over Seattle.
The Falcons (12-2) won their eighth straight game, their longest winning streak since the 1998 Super Bowl season. Ryan had touchdown throws of 3 yards to Jason Snelling, 24 to Michael Jenkins and 5 to Roddy White, who finished with seven catches.
Jamaal Anderson forced a fumble by Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck in the end zone on the first offensive play of the second half for the Seahawks (6-8). Anderson appeared to get away with a facemask penalty on the play, but Babineaux came out of the scrum with the TD.
Hasselbeck threw two interceptions and was eventually replaced by Charlie Whitehurst, but Seattle remains tied with St. Louis on top of the NFC West.
Panthers 19, Cardinals 12
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Jimmy Clausen outplayed John Skelton in a matchup of rookie quarterbacks, John Kasay kicked four field goals, and Carolina snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Clausen threw only his second TD pass of the season in his first win in eight starts. Jonathan Stewart rushed for 137 yards and the Panthers (2-12) gave coach John Fox a win in likely his final home game.
Fox, in the final year of his contract, also ensured a winning regular-season record in Carolina as he improved to 73-69 in a rare bright spot amid a miserable year.
The Cardinals (4-10) mustered 218 yards in their eighth loss in nine games. In his second start, Skelton threw an interception and lost a fumble.
Titans 31, Texans 17
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kerry Collins threw for two touchdowns and 237 yards and Chris Johnson ran for a TD and 130 yards as Tennessee snapped a six-game losing streak.
With the win and Indianapolis downing Jacksonville 34-24, the Titans (6-8) keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
The Texans (5-9) have lost seven of their last eight and never really were in this one.
Most of the attention was on Texans receiver Andre Johnson and Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan after they brawled three weeks ago in Houston’s 20-0 shutout win. The only scuffle Sunday came between a couple of linemen as Tennessee took control from the start, scoring on its first three possessions for a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Cowboys 33, Redskins 30
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — David Buehler made a 39-yard field goal with 50 seconds left, giving Dallas a win that was a lot tougher than it had to be.
The Cowboys led 27-7 early in the third quarter and 30-14 at the start of the fourth. They could have broken the game open even wider but got only field goals out of drives that reached the 20, 2 and 3, and failed to score on drives that reached the 1 and 18.
By pulling it out, Dallas improved to 4-2 under interim coach Jason Garrett, guaranteeing no worse than a break-even finish in his tenure. The Cowboys (5-9) and Redskins (5-9) are tied for third place in the NFC East.
Washington lost its fourth straight and sixth in the last seven. New starting quarterback Rex Grossman — replacing Donovan McNabb — tied his career-high with four touchdown passes, but the game ended with him throwing an interception.
Chiefs 17, Rams 13
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Matt Cassel returned to the lineup 11 days after an emergency appendectomy and threw a touchdown pass in leading Kansas City.
Jamaal Charles scored on a short run and helped clinch it with a late 80-yard burst for the Chiefs (9-5), who retained a one-game lead over the Chargers in the AFC West.
Kansas City managed 67 yards in a 31-0 loss at San Diego last week with backup Brodie Croyle starting, and ended a seven-quarter scoreless drought on Cassel’s 2-yard TD pass to Leonard Pope midway through the second quarter.
Thomas Jones became the NFL’s 25th player to rush for 10,000 yards, and scored the final touchdown on a 2-yard run with 3:26 to go, one play after Ron Bartell ran down Charles just shy of the goal line.
Charles had 126 yards on 11 carries and Jones had 62 yards on 22 carries.
The Rams fell to 6-8.