DOLPHINS 34, PATRIOTS 33
Kenyan Drake ran the last 52 yards as the Miami Dolphins scored on a pass and double lateral on the wild 69-yard final play Sunday to beat the New England Patriots 34-33. It was the longest touchdown to win a game with no time remaining since the 1970 merger. The Patriots were 16 seconds from clinching their 10th consecutive AFC East title when the Dolphins pulled off their stunner. Ryan Tannehill threw a 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills, who lateralled to DeVante Parker, who quickly lateralled to Drake. He found a seam and beat two Patriots to the corner of the end zone – defensive back J.C. Jackson and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was on the field as part of New England’s prevent defence. The Dolphins’ bench emptied as teammates mobbed Drake. Coach Adam Gase said his team had been practising the play all year for such a situation. Tom Brady threw for 358 yards and three scores, but the stunned Patriots (9-4) lost in Miami for the fifth time in their past six visits. The Dolphins (7-6) came from behind five times to help their slim wild-card chances.
CHIEFS 27, RAVENS 24
Harrison Butker atoned for a 43-yard miss as time expired with a 36-yard field goal in overtime, and the Chiefs stopped the Ravens on fourth down to clinch a playoff spot. The Chiefs (10-2) twice converted on fourth down before Patrick Mahomes threw a tying touchdown pass to Damien Williams with 53 seconds left. Moments later, Justin Houston strip-sacked Lamar Jackson to give Butker a chance to win the game for Kansas City in regulation. He missed that one. He didn’t miss his second chance. The Ravens (7-6) marched across midfield as they tried to answer in overtime, but Ronnie Stanley’s holding penalty put them in a bind. Jackson was sacked by Houston and Dee Ford – and wound up leaving the game – and Robert Griffin III threw two incompletions to end it. Mahomes threw for 377 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Tyreek Hill caught eight passes for 139 yards, including three in overtime to set up the eventual winning field goal.
SAINTS 28, BUCCANEERS 14
Drew Brees threw for one touchdown and ran another to help the Saints rally from an 11-point halftime deficit to clinch their second straight NFC South title. Brees shrugged off a pair of turnovers to throw a one-yard TD pass to Zach Line, then scored on a one-yard sneak as the Saints (11-2) avenged a season-opening loss to the Bucs (5-8) and also rebounded from a defeat last week at Dallas. New Orleans’ defence did its part after allowing two first-half TDs, too, sacking Jameis Winston four times and limiting the NFL’s No. 1-ranked offence to 81 yards in the second half – most of that on the final drive. Brees completed 24-of-31 passes for 201 yards and one interception. Michael Thomas had 11 receptions for 98 yards.
BROWNS 26, PANTHERS 20
Baker Mayfield outplayed Cam Newton, Jarvis Landry caught a touchdown pass and ran for another score and the Browns damaged Carolina’s playoff hopes. The Panthers dropped their fifth straight. Mayfield bravely threw a 51-yard TD pass into traffic to Landry, who had a three-yard scoring run and added a long run – on a similar call – early in the fourth quarter to set up a go-ahead touchdown. Playing the spoiler role down the stretch, the Browns (5-7-1) improved to 3-2 under interim coach Gregg Williams, who needed just five games to match former Browns coach Hue Jackson’s win total over two-plus seasons. The Panthers (6-7) suffered a loss that could haunt them for months and will increase the heat on coach Ron Rivera.
PACKERS 34, FALCONS 20
Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and set an NFL record for interception-free football, and the Packers won their first game under interim head coach Joe Philbin. Aaron Jones ran for a 29-yard score in the third quarter. The defence limited quarterback Matt Ryan after a game-opening touchdown drive to hand Atlanta its fifth straight loss and guarantee the Falcons a losing record for the first time since 2014. The Packers (5-7-1) regained some swagger with Philbin taking over for the fired Mike McCarthy. They’ve still got work to do to avoid a losing record, but at least Green Bay snapped a three-game losing streak. Rodgers was 21-of-32 for 196 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb in the left side of the end zone for a 27-7. That throw gave Rodgers 359 consecutive attempts without an interception, breaking the league record previously held by New England’s Tom Brady (358 in 2010-11).
GIANTS 40, WASHINGTON 16
Saquon Barkley rushed for 170 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown to surpass 1,000 for the season, and Eli Manning threw for three scores to effectively end Washington’s already-slim playoff hopes. Barkley gashed the Washington defence for 12.1 yards a carry to become the first Giants rookie to break 1,000, and set a single-season franchise rookie record with his 13th touchdown. The second overall pick also had four catches for 27 yards against a Washington defence that’s a shell of the unit that led the league early in the season. Manning was 14-of-22 for 197 yards in helping New York take a 34-0 halftime lead before giving way to rookie Kyle Lauletta early in the fourth quarter. Sterling Shepard, Bernie Fowler and Russell Shepard caught TD passes from Manning as the Giants (5-8) put up 40 points for the first time since Nov. 1, 2015, and won for the fourth time in the past five games.
JETS 27, BILLS 23
Sam Darnold one-upped fellow rookie Josh Allen, rallying the Jets. Elijah McGuire scored on a fourth-and-goal run from the 1 with 1:17 remaining to cap a drive during which Darnold completed 3-of-5 passes for 52 yards. The rookie quarterback particularly showed off his deft touch on a 37-yard pass to Robby Anderson, who made an over-the-shoulder catch up the right sideline. It was Darnold’s first career fourth-quarter comeback and came in his first game back after missing three with a strained right foot. He finished 16-of-24 for 170 yards with a touchdown and interception. The Jets (4-9) snapped a six-game losing streak, and bounced back a week after squandering a 16-0 lead in a 26-22 loss at Tennessee. Buffalo fell to 4-9.
CHARGERS 26, BENGALS 21
Philip Rivers threw for 220 yards and Michael Badgley kicked four field goals – including a team-record 59-yarder – as Los Angeles held off Cincinnati. Rivers completed 19 of 29 and threw a touchdown in what was not one of the team’s best games. The Chargers (10-3) had 160 yards of offence on their first two drives but had 121 the remainder of the game. Austin Ekeler rushed for 66 yards on 15 carries with Melvin Gordon missing his second straight game due to a knee injury. Keenan Allen had five receptions for 78 yards. Joe Mixon had 111 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown for the Bengals (5-8), who have dropped five straight games.
49ERS 20, BRONCOS 14
George Kittle caught an 85-yard touchdown pass on the way to 210 yards receiving and became the 49ers’ first tight end to reach the 1,000-yard milestone, leading San Francisco past sluggish, injury-plagued Denver. Kittle finished just shy of Shannon Sharpe’s NFL record by a tight end of 214 yards receiving, not having a catch nor as many chances in the second half. Kittle had seven receptions in all on nine targets. His long TD reception on a pass from Nick Mullens early in the second quarter put the Niners up 13-0 – and Denver (6-7) never found a groove in seeing its three-game winning streak snapped. The Niners improved to 3-10.
LIONS 17, CARDINALS 3
Darius Slay returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown and Detroit beat the punchless Cardinals, the Lions’ first win in Arizona since 1993. Slay stepped in front of intended receiver Trent Sherfield, picked off Josh Rosen’s pass and raced down the left sideline for the third-quarter score as the Lions (5-8) ended an eight-game losing streak in the desert. Arizona (3-10) avoided being shut out with Zane Gonzalez’s 22-yard field goal that cut the lead to 10-3 with 8:14 to play. Rosen completed four of six passes as Arizona drove to the 5-yard line, but a fade pass to Larry Fitzgerald was incomplete and the Cardinals, who fell to 1-6 at home, settled for the field goal. Fitzgerald caught five passes, all in the second half and most when the game had been all but decided, to move ahead of Jerry Rice for most receptions by a player for one team at 1,286.
RAIDERS 24, STEELERS 21
Derek Carr threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Derek Carrier with 21 seconds left before Chris Boswell slipped on a potential game-tying 40-yard field goal attempt on the final play of Oakland’s victory over Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger returned from a rib injury to lead a go-ahead touchdown drive that Carr answered for the Raiders (3-10). Big Ben then connected on a 48-yard hook-and-lateral pass play that put Boswell in position for the tying kick. But he lost his footing and sent the kick into the line, sending the Steelers (7-5-1) to their third straight loss. Carr threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes for the Raiders, leading his 16th career fourth-quarter comeback. He threw for 322 yards. Roethlisberger then returned after missing the first four drives of the second half. He finished 25-for-29 for 282 yards and two TDs, but the Steelers failed to open up ground on Baltimore in the AFC North. Pittsburgh has a half-game lead over the Ravens.
COWBOYS 29, EAGLES 23 (OT)
Dak Prescott threw his third touchdown pass to Amari Cooper on the first possession of overtime, and Dallas took a big step toward the NFC East title with a victory over Philadelphia. On third down, Rasul Douglas tipped the pass into the air, and Cooper grabbed it and had a clear path to the end zone from the Philadelphia 7. The Cowboys used almost all of the 10-minute overtime, scoring with 1:55 remaining. By winning the third overtime game in the past four seasons at A&T Stadium between these division rivals, the Cowboys (8-5) won their fifth straight game and took a two-game lead over the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles (6-7) and Washington. The Cowboys finished with 576 yards, their most since gaining 578 against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. Dallas can clinch the NFC East title with a win at Indianapolis next Sunday. Carson Wentz threw for three touchdowns, including a pair of tying scores in the fourth quarter. But he never got a chance in overtime because of the 13-play, 75-yard drive engineered by Prescott.