Washington 20, Jacksonville 17 (OT)
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Kevin Barnes' interception in overtime set up Graham Gano's 31-yard game-winning field goal, as the Washington Redskins hurt the Jacksonville Jaguars' playoff hopes with a 20-17 victory. Rex Grossman completed 19-of-39 passes for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Redskins (6-9), who snapped a four-game skid. Ryan Torain carried the ball 20 times for 65 yards and a score. David Garrard connected on 22-of-38 passes for 299 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for the Jaguars (8-7), who came into play Sunday tied atop the AFC South with the Colts. Jacksonville had a chance to win the division last weekend, but lost to Indianapolis, 34-24. The Colts, who hold the tiebreaker over the Jags, are currently in action against the Raiders. Jacksonville was without starting running back Maurice Jones-Drew (knee), who saw his streak of 45 straight games played come to an end.
New England 34, Buffalo 3
Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - Although the calendar may read December 26, it's Groundhog Day for the Buffalo Bills whenever they're pitted against the New England Patriots. Tom Brady added to his MVP resume with three touchdown passes, and the Patriots locked up not only the AFC East crown for the seventh time in the past eight seasons, but also the conference's top seed with a 34-3 victory over the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. New England (13-2) has won 15 straight over the Bills since a 31-0 drubbing at Buffalo during the first week of the 2003 campaign. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that season and now find themselves in an enviable position in their quest to return to the big game as the conference's representative this year. Brady finished with only 140 yards on 15-of-27 efficiency, while rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski caught a pair of eight-yard touchdown passes in the Patriots' seventh straight win since a loss in Cleveland on November 7. New England forced seven turnovers on Sunday, five of which were committed by Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick completed 18-of-37 throws for 251 yards with three interceptions. He also fumbled twice. Fred Jackson had 81 yards on 13 carries for the Bills (4-11).
Detroit 34, Miami 27
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - DeAndre Levy's interception return for a touchdown with 2:11 to play gave the Detroit Lions a 34-27 win over the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Shaun Hill went 14-for-26 with 222 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions (5-10), who rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes to win their third game in a row. Brandon Pettigrew and Jahvid Best each caught a score for Detroit, which was coming off a win at Tampa Bay last week which saw the team break a 26-game losing skid on the road. Chad Henne threw for 278 yards and a touchdown on 29-of-44 passing, but his two picks in the final quarter accounted for 10 points as the Dolphins (7-8), finished their home schedule with a mark of just 1-7. Brandon Marshall caught 10 balls for 102 yards and Davone Bess finished the game with six catches for 41 yards and a score for Miami, which has dropped its past two games and three of four.
St. Louis 25, San Francisco 17
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Sam Bradford threw for 292 yards with a touchdown and has the Rams on the cusp of the postseason in his rookie campaign, as St. Louis defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 25-17, in a pivotal NFC West clash. The Rams (7-8) simply need to win in Seattle next week to capture the division title and make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The Seahawks, currently 6-8, are in action later Sunday in Tampa Bay. Josh Brown made all three of his field goal attempts, and Steven Jackson rushed for a touchdown in the key victory. The 49ers (5-10) were still alive for the division crown coming in and opted to start Troy Smith at quarterback. Smith was intercepted once and threw for just 153 yards, most coming on a 60-yard TD to Michael Crabtree, and was benched early in the fourth quarter. Ted Ginn returned a punt for a touchdown in the loss.
Kansas City 34, Tennessee 14
Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Matt Cassell threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns on 24-of-34 efficiency to lead Kansas City to a 34-14 triumph over Tennessee at Arrowhead Stadium. Jamaal Charles carried 13 times for 77 yards and had the first two-touchdown receiving game of his career while Dwayne Bowe added six grabs for 153 yards and a score as the Chiefs (10-5) moved to the brink of clinching their first AFC West division title since 2003. If second place San Diego ties or loses to Cincinnati later this afternoon, the Chiefs will advance to the post-season for the first time since 2006. The Chiefs reached double-figures in wins for the first time since 2005 and finish their regular season next week against arch-rival Oakland at home, where they are 7-0 this season. Kerry Collins completed 14-of-37 throws for 235 yards and two touchdowns and became just the 12th quarterback in league history to throw for more than 40,000 yards. He also moved past Joe Montana into ninth place all-time with 3,411 career completions. Chris Johnson carried 14 times for 58 yards and became just the 10th running back in league history to run for 1,200 yards in each of his first three seasons.
Chicago 38, NY Jets 34
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Jay Cutler's touchdown pass to Johnny Knox late in the third quarter was the go-ahead score, and a Chris Harris interception in the final minute provided the punctuation as Chicago outlasted the New York Jets, 38-34, at Soldier Field. Cutler finished just 13-of-25, but passed for three TDs and 215 yards while also rushing for a score for the Bears (11-4), who reeled off their seventh win in eight games. Matt Forte racked up 113 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, Knox posted 92 yards and two scores on four receptions and Devin Hester also recorded a TD catch for Chicago. Mark Sanchez struck for 269 yards, one score and that costly late interception on 24-of-37 passing for the Jets (10-5), who despite the loss locked up a playoff berth. That's because Jacksonville lost at home in overtime to Washington. Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson each scored on the ground, Dustin Keller led the way with 79 yards on seven grabs and Santonio Holmes added a TD catch in defeat.
Denver 24, Houston 23
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Tim Tebow's six-yard rushing touchdown with just over three minutes to play in the game lifted Denver to a dramatic 24-23 come- from-behind win over Houston at Invesco Field. The rookie quarterback led his team back from a 17-point deficit by going 16- of-29 for 308 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his second career start for the Broncos (4-11), who halted a five-game slide and won for just the second time in 11 games. Tebow's 308 yards passing were the most for a Denver rookie quarterback since Broncos legend John Elway, who was famous for directing fourth-quarter drives to win games, threw for 345 yards against Baltimore, the team that drafted him, on December 11, 1983. "It was a very exciting win," Tebow said. "It was an opportunity to really show a lot of determination for this team. Things weren't going well early but we kept fighting, we kept believing in each other and found a way to get it done at the end." Correll Buckhalter carried 11 times for 42 yards and a touchdown and added three catches for 50 yards and a score while Brandon Lloyd made five grabs for 111 yards to post the second-highest single-season receiving yardage total in team history. Matt Schaub connected on 23-of-33 throws for 310 yards and a touchdown while Arian Foster ran for 91 yards and a score on 19 attempts for the Texans (5-10), who have lost four straight and eight out of their last nine games. Jacoby Jones made five catches for 115 yards in the absence of Andre Johnson. Owen Daniels caught eight passes for 73 yards and a score in defeat. Trailing 23-10, the Broncos moved 74 yards in 12 plays to slice their deficit to six with 10:55 to go in the game. Tebow faked a screen to the right, turned and threw back to the left to Buckhalter, who burst through the middle for a 23-yard scoring pass. Following a Texans punt, the Broncos started at their own 24 and moved down the field to take the lead for the first time and for good. Buckhalter took a short pass over the middle 22 yards to his own 46 on 3rd- and-10, before a 15-yard pass to Lloyd moved the Broncos to the Texans' 39. Later in the drive, a pass interference on Glover Quinn in the end zone put the ball at the one before a false start penalty pushed the Broncos back five yards. Two plays later, Tebow started right before reversing course and scooting out of the pocket to his left and over the goal line to make it 24-23 with 3:02 left. The Texans began a last-ditch drive at their 17 and moved to the 45 at the two minute warning. A 15-yard completion to Joel Dreessen pushed the ball to the Denver 40. After a one-yard pass to Foster, Schaub's next throw deflected off the helmet of blitzing safety Brian Dawkins and was intercepted by a diving Syd'Quan Thompson. "We had a good call for the coverage and the blitz that they were bringing," Schaub said about the interception. "If I can get it into Daniels' hands, he might score." Denver was able to run out the final 75 seconds to sew up the victory. After punting on their first two possessions of the game, the Texans put together touchdown drives on their next two touches. Foster capped a six-play, 91-yard drive with a three-yard scoring dash to make it 7-0 with 2:41 left in the opening period. Foster set up the Texans first first-quarter TD since Week 9 against San Diego with a 34-yard jaunt on the previous play. On the visitors' next series, Schaub found Daniels in the back of the end zone and the three-yard play-action pass increased the lead to 14-0 with 11:43 left before the intermission.
Green Bay 45, NY Giants 17
Green Bay, WI (Sports Network) - Green Bay kept its playoff hopes alive by picking a fresh wound, sending the New York Giants to another embarrassing loss. Only this one lasted most of the game, not just the final eight minutes. Aaron Rodgers returned from a concussion to throw for a career-high 404 yards and four touchdowns, and the Packers intercepted Eli Manning four times in a 45-17 rout on Sunday. Green Bay (9-6) can now clinch a playoff berth with a win next Sunday over the visiting Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, New York's postseason chances were dealt a serious blow. The Giants (9-6) would have made the playoffs with a victory in Green Bay. Instead, their loss handed the snowed-out Eagles the NFC East title. After missing last week's loss to New England, Rodgers tied a career high with his four touchdown passes, picking apart the Giants defense while completing 25 of his 37 throws for a 139.9 passer rating. He threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson in the first quarter to give the Packers a 7-0 lead. They would never trail after that, although the Giants would tie the game before halftime. Fullback John Kuhn scored three touchdowns -- two rushing, one receiving -- including a pair in the fourth quarter that sealed the win. Greg Jennings led all players with seven receptions and 142 yards, though he didn't catch any of Rodgers' TD passes. The Giants were humiliated for the second week in a row. After giving up four touchdowns in the final eight minutes in their loss to the Eagles -- including DeSean Jackson's buzzer-beating punt return -- the Giants turned the ball over six times against Green Bay. Manning passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off four times. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw both fumbled and the New York running backs combined for just 78 yards on 20 carries. Green Bay gained 515 yards and picked up 27 first downs. New York had 386 yards of offense, but wasted a lot of it. The Packers carried a 21-14 lead into halftime, responding to a pair of quick touchdown strikes by Manning -- including an 85-yarder to Mario Manningham -- with Kuhn's eight-yard TD run inside the 2:00 mark. The Giants, needing a strong second half, instead finished with a whimper. Bradshaw fumbled a direct snap when cornerback Charles Woodson got his hand on the ball, and the Packers turned it into a 10-point lead on Mason Crosby's 31- yard field goal. New York responded with a 38-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes to pull within 24-17. But the Packers restored their 14-point lead after Rodgers hit Donald Driver for 33 yards and Jennings for 36 to set up Donald Lee's one-yard touchdown catch with 4:44 left in the third quarter.
Indianapolis 31, Oakland 26
Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes, and the Indianapolis Colts inched closer to their second straight AFC South title with a 31-26 victory over the Oakland Raiders. Manning completed 16-of-30 passes for 179 yards and two interceptions for the Colts (9-6), who have won three in a row, including a big 34-24 win over the Jaguars last weekend. Indianapolis and Jacksonville entered play Sunday with the same record, but the Jaguars lost to the Redskins in overtime. A win by the Colts over the Titans next week gives Indy the division crown. The Colts can also secure the division title with a Jaguars loss at Houston. Dominic Rhodes carried the ball 17 times for 98 yards. Joseph Addai returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a neck injury and rushed for 45 yards and a score on 12 carries. Jacob Tamme caught seven passes for 78 yards and a touchdown for Indianapolis, which also got receiving TDs from Pierre Garcon and Blair White. Jason Campbell connected on 29-of-42 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders (7-8), who were eliminated from playoff contention after Kansas City beat Tennessee. The Chiefs won the AFC West. Darren McFadden carried the ball 11 times for 45 yards. Zach Miller caught nine passes for 66 yards and a score. Jacoby Ford returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to put Oakland ahead early. Following four punts, the Colts took over at their own 43 with 8:16 left. Manning threw three passes of over 13 yards to set up Indy at the six-yard line. Addai then scampered into the end zone to make it 7-7. The Colts bridged the first and second quarters with an 11-play, 50-yard drive. Adam Vinatieri capped the march with a 30-yard field goal for a 10-7 edge with 14:51 remaining until half. Sebastian Janikowski made field goals of 59 and 38 yards to give the Raiders a 13-10 lead with 1:55 to go.
Cincinnati 34, San Diego 20
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Carson Palmer threw for four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, on 16-of-21 passing and 269 yards to help Cincinnati squash San Diego's playoff hopes with a 34-20 decision at Paul Brown Stadium. Palmer excelled without the dynamic wide receiver duo of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens -- Ochocinco was inactive with an ankle injury while Owens underwent knee surgery earlier this week and was placed on injured reserve. Instead, the eight-year veteran did it with young receivers like third-year pro Jerome Simpson, who caught six balls for 124 yards and two touchdowns -- the first and second of his career. Rookie Jermaine Gresham registered four catches for 56 yards and a TD for the Bengals (4-11), who have won two straight on the heels of a 10-game slide. "It was a great game both offensively and defensively," Palmer said. "We just executed. We had some issues all year long where we were off here and a little bit there, but tonight we were right on." Philip Rivers threw for 256 yards on 27-of-40 passing for the Chargers (8-7), who needed a win to stay alive in the postseason race. With the loss, Kansas City clinched the AFC West and San Diego will watch the playoffs from home for the first time since 2005. "This is as good as a group of guys I've been around," said Chargers head coach Norv Turner. "We have a game to play and we're going to get ready to go play next week. We want to finish the season with some perspective into next year." Ryan Mathews carried the ball 12 times for 55 yards and a touchdown in defeat. Rivers ended the third quarter poorly after throwing an interception to Rey Maualuga, who returned the ball 47 yards to the Chargers' 21-yard line to set up the next Cincinnati score. Only four plays into the fourth quarter, Palmer connected on a laser pass to Jordan Shipley, who caught it just over the goal line for a 3-yard touchdown and a 20-10 edge.
Tampa Bay 38, Seattle 15
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Josh Freeman threw for 237 yards and five touchdowns as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers handled the Seattle Seahawks, 38-15, at Raymond James Stadium. Freeman converted 21-of-26 attempts without an interception, Kellen Winslow and Mike Williams both caught two touchdown passes, and LeGarrette Blount rushed for 164 yards on 18 carries in the win. Tampa Bay (9-6) remained in the playoff hunt but needs a lot of help to garner an NFC wild card selection, while the Seahawks (6-9) will host St. Louis next week in an all-or-nothing game to decide the NFC West title. Charlie Whitehurst threw for just 66 yards on 11-of-18 passing after replacing starting Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in the second quarter. Hasselbeck left with a hip injury he suffered on a one-yard touchdown run in the final minutes of the first quarter. He grabbed his lower back when he ran in for the score and was tended to by the Seahawks' training staff before heading to the locker room. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 53 yards on 14 carries and Leon Washington ran for a 16-yard touchdown for Seattle, which will make the postseason with a win over the 7-8 Rams next week. The Bucs, meanwhile, will need to knock off the Saints in New Orleans and get help from other teams. Hasselbeck's score with 2:50 left in the first capped a 11-play, 62-yard drive that was highlighted by Lynch's 29-yard run off right guard. Tampa Bay responded with a 46-yard Connor Barth field goal on the next drive that began a surge of 31 straight points. After the Barth field goal the Bucs took the lead when Freeman connected with Winslow in the right corner of the end zone for a 10-yard score. Freeman put the Bucs up 17-7 with 6:17 left in the half when he hit Williams for a 20-yard score. Freeman connected with Williams off his back foot on 3rd- and-10 as the Tampa Bay QB was being taken to the ground by a Seattle defender. Barth attempted a 40-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half, but the kick was blocked and recovered by the Seahawks. A Seahawks punt pinned Tampa Bay back at its own two-yard line to begin the second half, but a methodical 10-play drive widened the Bucs' margin to 24-7 when Freeman hit Winslow for his second score of the game, this time from 21 yards out.