The Latest: Steelers get AFC berth, Packers clinch NFC North

December 13, 2020

The Latest on Week 14 in the NFL (all times EST):

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7:35 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Steelers already have a playoff berth clinched before kicking off against the Buffalo Bills.

The Steelers had four possibilities to clinch an AFC berth, and Miami’s 33-27 loss to Kansas City is the scenario that gave Pittsburgh a playoff berth. The Steelers (11-1) also can clinch the AFC North title if they beat the Bills and Cleveland loses to Baltimore on Monday night.

All the scenarios continue to fall for Buffalo as well with New England losing on Thursday, and Miami and Las Vegas losing on Sunday. Buffalo needs to beat Pittsburgh and have Baltimore lose to Cleveland on Monday night to clinch the Bills their third playoff berth in four years.

Around the rest of the NFL, the Green Bay Packers clinched the NFC North. They improved to 10-3 by beating Detroit 31-24. The Packers also needed Minnesota to lose, and Tampa Bay beat the Vikings 26-14 earlier Sunday.

With New Orleans losing, the Packers also moved into the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

New Orleans (10-3) had a chance to clinch the NFC South needing only a win over the struggling Eagles. But the Saints snapped a nine-game winning streak that was the NFL’s longest with a 24-21 loss in Philadelphia.

The Indianapolis Colts beat Las Vegas 44-27 to kept pace with Tennessee in the AFC South, though the Titans (9-4) have the divisional tiebreaker with three to play after beating the Jaguars 31-10 earlier Sunday.

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6:45 p.m.

Keenan Allen has passed Antonio Brown with the most receptions in a player’s first 100 games during the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Chargers game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Allen, who is in his eighth season, has 623 receptions in 99 games. Brown had 622 and Atlanta’s Julio Jones had 619. Allen came into the game tied for the league lead in catches with 90.

The receiver has caught nine of 10 passes thrown to him for 52 yards with a touchdown for Los Angeles.

The Chargers and Falcons are tied at 17 midway through the fourth quarter.

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6:15 p.m.

Starting quarterback Alex Smith has left Washington’s game against San Francisco because of a problem with his right leg, the one he broke in two places in November 2018, sidelining him for nearly two calendar years.

It was not exactly clear what the specific issue was for Smith, who 8 for 19 for 57 yards and an interception in the first half.

He walked to the locker room in the final minute of the second quarter, giving way to Dwayne Haskins, who knelt down to run out the clock for the half. Haskins then was at QB for Washington to begin the second half.

Washington said Smith was questionable to return.

Haskins was the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft for Washington and was the team’s starting quarterback at the beginning of this season. But he was benched for Kyle Allen after four games and hadn’t played since. When Allen was injured, Smith was given the job by coach Ron Rivera.

Seeking a fourth consecutive win, Washington led 13-7 at halftime.

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5:45 p.m.

Indianapolis has racked up 298 yards of offense and reached the Raiders’ end of the field on all five drives while taking a 20-14 halftime lead over Las Vegas.

T.Y. Hilton caught two touchdown passes from Philip Rivers, and Rodrigo Blankenship kicked two field goals, including a chip shot at the halftime gun when Vegas’ Trayvon Mullen made a touchdown-saving tackle of Nyheim Hines at the Raiders 2 with one second left.

Kenny Moore also starred for the Colts with a spectacular one-handed, diving end-zone interception in the second quarter.

Despite it all, the Raiders are only one score behind as they get the ball first in the second half. Derek Carr passed for 174 yards with touchdown throws to Foster Moreau and Nelson Agholor.

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5:20 p.m.

Seattle’s Jamal Adams has been credited with a sack after forcing Sam Darnold to run out of bounds for a loss, giving the Seahawks safety the record for most sacks by a defensive back in a single season.

Adams didn’t do much other than run the scrambling Darnold to the sideline midway through the second quarter. But it was a 1-yard loss and Adams was credited with a sack, giving him 8½ for the season.

The previous record for sacks by a defensive back was held by Adrian Wilson, who had eight in 2005. Sacks became an official stat in 1982.

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5 p.m.

The Atlanta Falcons resorted to trickery to tie the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter.

With Matt Ryan lined up at wide receiver, Russell Gage took the direct snap and threw a 28-yard touchdown to Calvin Ridley to tie it at 7. It is the second pass the third-year receiver has thrown this season. He had an incomplete toss in Week 2.

It is the first time the Falcons have had a wide receiver throw for a touchdown since Mohamed Sanu in the 2018 regular-season finale against Tampa Bay.

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4:55 p.m.

Green Bay receiver Davante Adams extended his touchdown streak to eight games, turning a short pass from Aaron Rodgers into a 56-yard touchdown to pull into a 7-all tie with the Detroit Lions in the first quarter.

Adams broke the franchise record set by Hall of Famer Don Hutson, who had a pair of seven-game streaks in the 1940s. Adams has a career-high 14 TD receptions and his single-season streak trails just the 12-game run Hall of Famer Jerry Rice had in 1987, and the nine-game stretch Cincinnati’s A.J. Green had in 2012.

On the next possession, Lions running back Adrian Peterson carried the ball for the 3,175th time to pass Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson for sixth on the NFL’s all-time list.

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4:45 p.m.

The Colts’ offense has the hot hand early in the franchise’s first game in Las Vegas.

Philip Rivers passed for 102 yards and hit T.Y. Hilton with a touchdown pass to put Indianapolis up 10-7 on the Raiders after the first quarter. Indy had 160 yards of total offense and scored on both of its drives despite left tackle Anthony Castonzo going in and out of the game due to a knee injury.

The Raiders kept it close when tight end Foster Moreau made a 47-yard touchdown catch with nine seconds left in the quarter, eluding two defenders on his way to the end zone.

The winner of the game will dramatically improve its standing in the AFC wild card playoff race.

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4:25 p.m.

The winless New York Jets are doing one thing right: they continue to score on their opening drive. The Jets went 48 yards after taking the opening kickoff and got a 45-yard field goal from Sergio Castillo to take a 3-0 lead on Seattle.

It’s the seventh straight game the Jets have scored on their opening possession, the longest active streak in the NFL and longest streak in franchise history. The Jets have five field goals and two touchdowns on those drives.

The lead was short-lived. Seattle took its opening possession and got 19-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Freddie Swain.

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4:15 p.m.

Anyone looking for an exciting finish will have to wait until the late afternoon games.

Derrick Henry ran for 215 yards and two touchdowns as the Tennessee Titans routed the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-10. Arizona beat the New York Giants on a balmy day for December 26-7.

The Dallas Cowboys thumped Cincinnati 30-7, while the Chicago Bears snapped their skid beating Houston 36-7.

Denver held off Carolina on the road 32-27 in the closest of the early afternoon games.

The Kansas City Chiefs did have to rally from a 10-point deficit to clinch their fifth consecutive AFC West title. They wound up beating beating Miami 33-27 to wrap up the early games.

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3:55 p.m.

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock has thrown his career-high fourth touchdown of the game, giving Denver a 32-20 over the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter.

KJ Hamler got behind Rasul Douglas for a 49-yard touchdown reception, his second of the game. Lock, who has thrown for 279 yards, has also thrown TD passes to Nick Vannett and Tim Patrick.

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3:40 p.m

Derrick Henry has grabbed a piece of NFL history all to himself.

The NFL rushing leader posted his fourth career game running for at least 200 yards and two touchdowns Sunday for the Tennessee Titans. That's the

Henry ran 26 times for 215 yards and two TDs in Jacksonville, also posting his ninth straight road game with at least 100 yards.

The Titans led Jacksonville 31-10 late in the fourth quarter.

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3:35 p.m.

Xavien Howard has come up with an interception for the fifth game in a row — this time against Patrick Mahomes.

The Dolphins

It was Mahomes’ third interception, increasing his season total to five. But Chiefs led 30-10 in the fourth quarter.

Howard leads the NFL with nine interceptions.

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3 p.m.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have benched Mike Glennon and turned to Gardner Minshew for the first time since Week 7.

Glennon completed 13 of 23 passes for 85 yards against Tennessee, with his final pass getting picked off by Malcolm Butler in the third quarter.

Minshew injured his right thumb against Houston in mid-October and was replaced by rookie Jake Luton following the team’s bye week. Luton was benched after three starts and replaced by Glennon, who each of the team’s last three games.

Minshew was healthy enough to practice the last two weeks, but coach Doug Marrone stuck with Glennon.

The quarterback change came with the Titans up 31-3.

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3 p.m.

San Francisco 49ers offensive line coach John Benton has tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t coach the game against Washington.

The Niners say Benton’s duties will be absorbed by the offensive coaching staff. Benton immediately went into self-quarantine and the team says it conducted the appropriate contact tracing as part of the NFL’s intensive COVID-19 protocol.

“We will continue to communicate with the league and medical professionals and take the necessary precautions in the best interest of health and safety,” the team said in a statement.

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2:55 p.m.

Broncos backup cornerback Duke Dawson was carted off the field in the first half of Sunday’s game against Carolina with a knee injury.

Dawson was rushing the quarterback when his knee buckled awkwardly as he attempted to plant his leg.

The Broncos said he will not return.

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2:30 p.m.

NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry finally has his first 100-yard rushing game in Jacksonville with 122 yards rushing on just 15 carries by halftime.

Henry topped 100 yards breaking loose on a

The Titans back also moved out of a tie with Chris Johnson for sole possession of second most 100-yard rushing games on the road with his ninth straight such performance.

Marcus Allen was the only other player with a streak of at least seven such games on the road between 1985 and 1986 with the then-Los Angeles Raiders.

The Titans led Jacksonville 17-3 at halftime.

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2:15 p.m.

The Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa has thrown his first NFL interception -- and it came on a pass bobbled by intended receiver Jakeem Grant.

The Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu came up with the pick on a long throw in the second quarter after Grant failed to make the catch.

The interception came in Tagovailoa’s sixth start and 154th pass. He was the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to not throw an interception in his first five career starts.

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2:14 p.m.

Khalil Mack is well on his way to a terrific game for the Chicago Bears.

The outside linebacker tackled Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson in the end zone with 6:04 left in the first half. Mack’s first sack since Nov. 1 resulted in a safety, and Chicago scored on the ensuing drive to open a 23-7 lead with 3:22 to go.

Mack also recovered a Duke Johnson fumble in the first quarter and deflected a Watson pass in the second quarter.

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1:35 p.m.

Patrick Mahomes is off to a rough start against Miami and the Dolphins' defense.

Dolphins linebacker

On a third-and-12 play in the first quarter, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah forced Mahomes into full retreat. The Chiefs’ quarterback tried to turn the corner around Baker but was tripped up at the 3-yard line.

The Chiefs (11-1) came in already having clinched a playoff spot. Miami (8-4) has the sixth seed in the AFC.

Mahomes also has been intercepted not once but twice by the Dolphins off deflected passes in just the first quarter.

The defending Super Bowl champ quarterback came into the game with only two interceptions all season. Byron Jones picked him off first, then

Miami leads the Chiefs 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

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1:30 p.m.

Fumbles by two Cincinnati Bengals running backs have led to a 10-0 lead by the Dallas Cowboys at the end of the first quarter.

First, Giovani Bernard fumbled for the first time in 830 carries, leading to a 34-yard Cowboys field goal. The Bengals were driving on the next series when Trayveon Williams’ fumble was recovered by Dallas linebacker Aldon Smith and returned 78 yards for a touchdown.

The game features the return of Andy Dalton to Cincinnati. Dalton was the Bengals starting quarterback for nine seasons before signing with Dallas. He became the Cowboys starter when Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5.

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12:20 p.m.

Cleveland Browns starting right guard Wyatt Teller has been activated from the COVID-19 list and is expected to play Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

Although he never tested positive for the virus, Teller was isolated from his teammates this week after he was in close contact with an infected person outside the Browns. He did not practice but participated in the team’s walk-through Sunday.

Teller’s return will mean Cleveland’s offensive line will be intact as the Browns (9-3) try to close in a playoff berth.

The Browns also waived running back Dontrell Hilliard to make room for Teller on the 53-man roster.

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