Rams improve best record in NFL, beat Lions 30-16
DETROIT (AP) — Todd Gurley ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns to help the Los Angeles Rams overcome a sputtering start to beat the Detroit Lions 30-16 Sunday and clinch the NFC West title for a second straight season.
The Rams (11-1) also moved a step closer to earning home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, taking a one-game lead over New Orleans after it lost to Dallas on Thursday night. It is a cushion Los Angeles needs because its only loss was against the Saints last month.
The Lions (4-8) have lost five of six since a surge of success gave them a winning record in late October.
Detroit’s defense held Los Angeles’ high-powered offense in check for three quarters, giving the slumping team a shot to potentially pull off a stunning upset. The Lions, though, failed to make the most of the opportunity because their offense struggled to move the ball and score.
Aaron Donald helped seal the win by forcing Matthew Stafford to fumble midway through the fourth quarter. The star defensive tackle had two strip-sacks in his last game on Nov. 19, a 54-51 win over Kansas City.
The Rams were able to lean on Gurley, who has a single-season franchise record with 15 rushing touchdowns. The standout running back also caught three passes for 33 yards.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy after the loss to one of the NFL’s worst teams.
Crosby pushed his kick wide right, with the flags atop Lambeau Field blowing in toward the field at the time of the kick.
The stunned Packers suffered a major blow to their fading playoff hopes. Sputtering Green Bay (4-7-1) has lost three straight and five of six.
Arizona (3-9) won on the road for the first time since Oct. 7 at San Francisco.
Aaron Rodgers was 31 of 50 for 233 yards and a touchdown. A couple throws looked off, especially in the first half, and receivers had a few drops.
Rookie Chase Edmonds ran for two touchdowns for Arizona. Rosen was 11 of 26 for 149 yards.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Michael Badgley kicked a 29-yard field goal on the final play to lift Los Angeles past Pittsburgh.
Badgley initially missed a 39-yard kick but Pittsburgh was called for offsides. Badgley’s ensuing 34-yard attempt was blocked, but the Steelers were again flagged jumping across the line of scrimmage before the snap. He drilled his third attempt, and the Chargers declined another Pittsburgh penalty.
Philip Rivers completed 26 of 36 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns for Los Angeles (9-3). Keenan Allen caught 14 passes for 148 yards and a score and Justin Jackson ran for 63 yards and a touchdown in place of injured starter Melvin Gordon. Desmond King added a 73-yard punt return for a score as the Chargers erased a 16-point halftime deficit.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 281 yards and two scores for the Steelers (7-4-1), who have lost two straight and are now clinging to the AFC North lead over surging Baltimore. Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for a season-high 154 yards and a touchdown. James Conner added 60 yards rushing and two touchdowns before leaving in the fourth quarter with a leg injury.
The Giants (4-8) blew a 10-point lead in the final 1:13 of regulation. They didn’t nail down the win until Janoris Jenkins knocked away a deep fourth-down pass to Taylor Gabriel after quarterback Chase Daniel fumbled on consecutive plays on the rainy afternoon to set up a fourth-and-8.
Chicago (8-4) forced overtime by getting a 21-yard field goal by Cody Parkey and a 1-yard touchdown pass from halfback Tarik Cohen to Anthony Miller as time expired in the fourth quarter. The trick-play touchdown was set up by a recovered onside kick by Daniel Brown on a play Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. did not dive for the loose ball. Then came a questionable pass interference call in the end zone against cornerback B.W. Webb with :03 to go.
The Chiefs won their first game since releasing star running back Kareem Hunt. The Chiefs (10-2) cut ties with Hunt after a months-old video surfaced on TMZ on Friday, showing him shoving and kicking a woman. No charges have been filed in the case from February, but the Chiefs let Hunt go because he misled them about the incident .
Spencer Ware replaced Hunt as starter and scored on a direct snap on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the third quarter. Mahomes did most of the rest of the damage against the Raiders (2-10) with his arm.
He connected on two short touchdown passes to Travis Kelce in the first half, then found another tight end, Demetrius Harris, on a 13-yard pass late in the third quarter one play after an apparent TD to Kelce was called off by a replay review.
Mahomes finished 23 for 38 for 295 yards and engineered a late TD drive capped by a 2-yard pass to Chris Conley after Oakland cut the deficit to three.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady passed for 311 yards and a touchdown, while Bill Belichick earned his 250th victory, including playoffs, as Patriots coach.
Brady completed 24 of 32 passes and now has 579 touchdown passes, including the playoffs, tying him with Peyton Manning for the most. He also has 508 regular-season TD passes, which ties him with Brett Favre on the career list. Manning is first with 539 and Drew Brees has 518.
James Develin added a career-high two touchdown runs.
The Patriots (9-3) have won eight of nine since starting the season 1-2. They have clinched their 18th straight winning season. It is the second-longest streak in NFL history. The record is held by the Cowboys at 20 seasons from 1966-85.
Minnesota (6-5-1) has lost two of its past three.
SEAHAWKS 43, 49ERS 16
SEATTLE (AP) — Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdowns on just four completions and finished with four TD passes. Bobby Wagner capped a blowout with a 98-yard interception return touchdown, and the Seahawks won their third straight game.
Seattle (7-5) stayed in the middle of the NFC playoff race by jumping to a 20-0 lead and cruising to its ninth straight victory over its NFC West foe. But it won’t win the division because the Rams clinched it earlier in the day with a win at Detroit.
Wilson wasn’t asked to do much in the first half, but the little he did found the end zone. He hit Jaron Brown on a 4-yard TD pass in the first quarter, found Tyler Lockett for a 52-yard score and connected with Doug Baldwin on a 1-yarder. According to Sportradar, Wilson throwing three touchdowns on four completions made for the fewest TDs/completions in a first half dating to 1991. The previous low was six.
Rashaad Penny added a 20-yard run on the first offensive play of the second half following an 84-yard kickoff return by Lockett for a 27-3 lead.
Wilson finished 11 of 17 for 185 yards and has thrown at least two touchdowns in eight straight games. It was the eighth time in the regular season Wilson has thrown four or more TD passes.
The Titans (6-6) snapped a two-game skid to keep themselves on the fringes of the AFC playoff chase.
The Jets (3-9) had one last chance to snap their own losing streak, but Malcolm Butler intercepted Josh McCown’s pass with 21 seconds left to seal Tennessee’s victory and the Jets’ collapse. New York now has lost six straight.
Mariota looked nothing like the quarterback who turned in the second-best single-game performance in NFL history last week, completing 95.7 percent of his passes in a loss at Houston. Home fans booed early and often as Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson got only his second interception this season and ran it back 31 yards for an early TD and a 10-0 lead.
It was the Jets’ first after the franchise tied a league record for futility for not forcing a turnover in five straight games. The Jets also sacked Mariota three times.
In the end, though, they fell apart
JAGUARS 6, COLTS 0
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars delivered one of the most dominant defensive performances in franchise history. The Jaguars (4-8) needed that kind of effort to make up for a lackluster offense and end a seven-game losing streak. They also snapped Indy’s five-game winning streak.
Ramsey hit Swoope near the sideline at the end of a third-and-6 play at the Jacksonville 29, and the tight end seemed to land out of bounds. But an official ruled him in and kept the clock running. The Colts were out of timeouts and could only watch the clock wind down.
Andrew Luck completed 33 of 52 passes for 248 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times after getting hit just five times in the entire month of November. He was sacked once in the previous five games.
The Colts (6-6) entered with the fourth-most points in the league, having averaged more than 33 a game over their last eight.
ATLANTA (AP) — Rookie Lamar Jackson ran for a touchdown and Baltimore’s defense turned in a dominating performance.
Justin Tucker kicked four field goals, Tavon Young scored after scooping up a fumble by Matt Ryan , and Baltimore held the Falcons to 131 total yards in its third straight win. The Ravens (7-5) have bolstered their AFC wild-card position since Jackson took over at quarterback for the injured Joe Flacco.
After two straight starts at home, Jackson got the nod for the first time on the road in the NFL. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner had some shaky moments — and left for one series to be checked for a possible concussion — but he provided enough to send the Falcons (4-8) to their fourth straight loss.
Especially the way Baltimore played defensively.
Facing a once-dynamic offense that led Atlanta to the Super Bowl only two seasons ago, the Ravens finished with a commanding 366-131 edge in total yards and held the Falcons to 2 of 9 in third-down situations. Ryan was 16 of 26 for 131 yards and went down three times on sacks. The running game continued to struggle, accounting for just 34 yards on 15 carries.
TEXANS 29, BROWNS 13
HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and the Houston Texans intercepted rookie Baker Mayfield three times, returning one for a score, to extend their franchise-record winning streak to nine games.
The Texans (9-3), who opened the season 0-3, haven’t lost since Sept. 23 to take a commanding lead atop the AFC South.
Houston raced to a 23-0 halftime lead and added two second-half field goals by Ka’imi Fairbairn to give him five for the day.
Mayfield, the top overall pick in this year’s draft, had his worst game of the season, throwing three interceptions for the first time since he was a freshman at Texas Tech in 2013. He entered the game having thrown nine touchdown passes with just one interception in the past three games as the Browns (4-7-1) won consecutive games for the first time since 2014.
He finished with 397 yards passing and had a touchdown throw in the fourth quarter after a career-best four in a win over the Bengals last week. Houston’s fearsome pass rush, led by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney didn’t sack Mayfield, but hurried and harassed him for much of the day.
Zach Cunningham made it 17-0 when he grabbed his first career interception and ran 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Officials first ruled him down at the 1, but the play was reviewed and changed to a touchdown.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jameis Winston threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns as the Bucs (5-7) won for the second straight time since Winston regained his starting job with the team mired in a four-game losing streak.
The fourth-year pro completed 20 of 30 passes. And, for the second week in a row, the 24-year-old quarterback did not turn over the ball.
Meanwhile, Andrew Adams had three of Tampa Bay’s four interceptions off Cam Newton, who came into the game saying he was playing the best football of his career. The Panthers (6-6) have lost four straight following a 6-2 start.
Winston threw TD passes of 3 yards to Adam Humphries and 13 to Chris Godwin in the first half, moving the No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 draft ahead of Josh Freeman as Tampa Bay’s career touchdown pass leader with 81.
Newton completed 28 of 41 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns, an 8-yarder to Christian McCaffrey in the first quarter and a 10-yarder to Devin Funchess that finished a 92-yard drive and trimmed a 14-point deficit to 24-17.
A week after setting a Carolina franchise record with 237 total yards from scrimmage, McCaffrey rushed for 106 yards on 10 carries and had nine receptions for 55 yards.
Godwin, starting in place of the injured DeSean Jackson, finished five catches for 101 yards.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Rookie Phillip Lindsay ran for a career-high 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Broncos adapted to a windy afternoon and got their third straight victory. The Broncos (6-6) have emerged from their bye week and knocked off the Chargers, Steelers and Bengals to stay in contention in December.
Denver handled an unseasonably warm day: 66 degrees at kickoff with wind gusts up to 40 mph that redirected kicks and throws. Case Keenum completed 12 of 21 passes for 151 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton.
Lindsay ran for TDs of 6 yards and 65 yards — the longest of his career — as Denver got up 21-3 in the third quarter and closed it out against the unraveling Bengals (5-7), who lost for the sixth time in seven games. Lindsay’s two touchdowns matched his career high.
Lindsay also became the first undrafted rookie in Broncos history to top 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in a season.
The Bengals’ season continues to implode under 16th-year coach Marvin Lewis, who has also coordinated the defense in the last three losses. The crowd of 44,392 was the smallest at Paul Brown Stadium since 2011.
Allen threw for 231 yards and ran for 135 to set a franchise record for rushing yards by a quarterback for the second week in a row. Buffalo lost despite outgaining Miami 415-175.
The Dolphins (6-6) snapped a two-game losing streak and won for only the third time since Week 3, helping their slim playoff chances. The Bills (4-8) will play their customary role of spoilers in the final weeks, assured of finishing at .500 or worse for the 16th time in the past 19 years.
Phillips had said he wanted to settle old scores after being released by the Dolphins in Week 5, but his eagerness to get the last word backfired. Miami was trying to rally from a three-point deficit when Phillips tackled Kenyan Drake for a 4-yard loss deep in Bills territory. Phillips then rose, pushed Drake’s leg away and drew a 15-yard penalty for taunting.
One play later, the Bills stopped Miami for another loss, and Phillips applauded in the direction of the Dolphins’ bench. Bills coaches then took him out of the game, and he watched from the sideline as Ryan Tannehill hit Kenny Stills with a 13-yard scoring pass for a 21-17 lead.
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