Redskins on brink of NFC East title
The Associated Press | December 24,2012
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III throws under pressure from Philadelphia’s Brandon Graham, center, and Colt Anderson in the first half Sunday in Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA — Counted out by their own coach six weeks ago, the Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin III are on the brink of their first division title in 13 years.
Griffin threw a pair of touchdown passes in his first game back from a knee injury, Kai Forbath set the NFL record for consecutive field goals to begin a career, and the Redskins held on to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 on Sunday for their sixth straight win.
Nick Foles drove the Eagles to the Washington 5 before his intentional grounding penalty ended the game.
The Redskins (9-6) can clinch the NFC East with a victory over Dallas at home next Sunday. They haven’t won it since 1999 and last reached the playoffs in 2007.
Trying to play spoiler, the Eagles (4-11) fell short in what could’ve been Andy Reid’s last game coaching the team at home. Reid is unlikely to return to Philadelphia for his 15th season next year.
COWBOYS 31, OT
ARLINGTON, Texas — Garrett Hartley kicked a 20-yard field goal in overtime, and New Orleans damaged Dallas’ playoff hopes.
Drew Brees threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns and led a drive to the winning kick. The Saints lucked out before the winning kick when a fumble by Marques Colston rolled forward about 20 yards to the Dallas 2. Jimmy Graham recovered.
The Cowboys lost despite rallying for two touchdowns in the final 3:35 of regulation. Tony Romo, who threw for 416 yards and four scores, hit Miles Austin for the tying touchdown with 15 seconds left in regulation.
The playoff hopes for the Saints (7-8) ended with Minnesota’s win against Houston. The Cowboys (8-7) lost control of their playoff fate.
COLTS 20, CHIEFS 13
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Andrew Luck threw for 205 yards to break the single-season rookie record, and his touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne late in the fourth quarter put Indianapolis in the playoffs.
Luck surpassed Cam Newton’s year-old record of 4,051 yards passing by a rookie in the second quarter, and then came through in the closing minutes. He marched Indy to the Chiefs 7, then found Wayne in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal for the go-ahead score.
It was the seventh time Luck has rallied his team to victory in the fourth quarter.
Darius Butler returned an interception 32 yards for a TD in helping the Colts (10-5) join the 2008 Miami Dolphins as the only NFL teams to win at least 10 games after losing 14 or more the previous season. The Chiefs are 2-13.
PITTSBURGH — Josh Brown kicked a 43-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining to put Cincinnati in the playoffs and eliminate Pittsburgh from postseason contention.
Brown missed a 56-yarder earlier in the quarter, but earned a second chance when Reggie Nelson picked off Ben Roethlisberger and returned it to the Pittsburgh 46 with 14 seconds remaining. Andy Dalton hit A.J. Green for 21 yards on the next play, setting up Brown’s game-winner to put the Bengals in the playoffs for consecutive years for the first times since 1981-82.
Dalton completed 24 of 41 for 278 yards and two interceptions for the Bengals (9-6), who snapped a five-game losing streak to Pittsburgh (7-8).
VIKINGS 23, TEXANS 6
HOUSTON — Adrian Peterson rushed for 86 yards, falling far short of the 2,000-yard mark, yet helping Minnesota keep its playoff hopes alive.
Christian Ponder threw a touchdown pass, Toby Gerhart added a score and Blair Walsh kicked three field goals.
The loss kept the Texans (12-3) from clinching home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Peterson had his lowest rushing total since getting 79 yards on Oct. 14 in a loss at Washington. He has 1,898 this season and needs 208 yards to break the NFL single-season rushing record held by Eric Dickerson.
The Texans failed to score a touchdown for the first time since 2006.
PACKERS 55, TITANS 7
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, Ryan Grant scored twice and Randall Cobb set a single-season franchise record for net yardage.
The victory ensured the Packers (11-4) will at least be the NFC’s No. 3 seed. They still have a shot at the No. 2 — and the first-round bye that goes with it — if Seattle beats San Francisco on Sunday night.
It was the first time the Packers have scored more than 50 points since 2005.
Jake Locker was sacked seven times and picked off twice, and Tennessee (5-10) scored with 1:39 left to avoid the shutout.
CHARGERS 27, JETS 17
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — San Diego sacked Greg McElroy 11 times, ruining the quarterback’s first NFL start, and Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes for the Chargers.
McElroy, the third-stringer who was starting for the benched Mark Sanchez, moved the offense for the Jets (6-9) early but faced pressure all game.
With a chance to get New York back into it with less than 5 minutes remaining, McElroy was sacked by Shaun Phillips and lost the ball. Phillips recovered and San Diego (6-9) sealed the win.
Rivers had touchdown tosses of 37 yards to Danario Alexander and 34 yards to Antonio Gates.
PANTHERS 17, RAIDERS 6
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton threw for 171 yards and a touchdown and ran for 60 yards and another score as Carolina won for the fourth time in its last five games.
The Panthers (6-9) held the Raiders to 189 total yards and 12 first downs in a game featuring several shoving matches, plenty of heated exchanges and six unnecessary roughness penalties — including one that sidelined Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer for the day.
Even Newton drew a flag after bumping an official with his chest for what he perceived as the latest in a series of late hits by Raiders defenders. He was not ejected.
The Panthers built a 14-3 lead at halftime. Newton accounted for 231 of the 271 yards.
RAMS 28, BUCCANEERS 13
TAMPA, Fla. — Sam Bradford tossed a pair of touchdown passes and rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins scored his fourth TD of the season.
Bradford connected with Lance Kendricks on an 80-yard scoring play on the first play of the third quarter. The Rams (7-7-1) intercepted Josh Freeman four times, turning three of the turnovers into TDs, including Jenkins’ pick and 41-yard return early in the second quarter.
Steven Jackson rushed for 81 yards and one TD, moving within 10 yards of reaching 1,000 for the eighth consecutive season for the Rams. Tampa Bay fell to 6-9 after its fifth straight loss.
DOLPHINS 24, BILLS 10
MIAMI — Reggie Bush caught two touchdown passes and scored on a short run for Miami.
Six minutes after they won, the Dolphins (7-8) were eliminated from playoff contention when Cincinnati beat Pittsburgh.
The Bills (5-10) came into the game assured of missing the playoffs for the 13th consecutive year.
Bush’s first TD catches of the season covered 17 and 12 yards.