Niners see playoff hopes fading
Maybe it's time the San Francisco 49ers look behind them and not toward the top of the NFC West.
A fourth straight trip to the playoffs, let alone to the conference championship game, looks even less likely after a costly trip across the bay to play the Raiders. Oakland stunned its more successful neighbor 24-13, and now the Niners (7-6) are much closer to the bottom of their division than the top.
With wins by Arizona (10-3) and Seattle (9-4), San Francisco's odds of taking the division are shrinking. And with St. Louis moving to 6-7 with a second straight shutout, the 49ers also could be caught by the Rams.
''I don't know if shock's the word I'm going to use,'' linebacker Aldon Smith said. ''We're a competitive team, we're a good team and every week we go out I expect for us to win. So I wasn't expecting the result.''
Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes and completed 22 of 28 passes for 254 yards. He completely outplayed counterpart Colin Kaepernick as the Raiders (2-11) won their second straight home game surrounding last week's 52-0 loss at St. Louis.
Kaepernick went 18 for 33 for 174 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Five sacks gave him a league-high 43 this year.
''I'm giving everything I have every time I step on the field,'' Kaepernick said. ''I have to play better. I haven't played well.''
The weekend began with Dallas beat Chicago 41-28 last Thursday night, improving the Cowboys to 9-4. Chicago is 5-8.
On Monday night, it's Atlanta (5-7) at Green Bay 9-3).
SEAHAWKS 24, EAGLES 14
Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes, ran for another score and visiting Seattle stifled Philadelphia's high-powered offense.
Richard Sherman and Co. held the Eagles to 139 total yards, the fewest under Chip Kelly.
''It's all about matchups, and we matched up pretty well with them,'' star cornerback Sherman said.
Pete Carroll was the winner in his first NFL matchup against Kelly. In the coaches' only other meeting, Kelly's Oregon Ducks beat Carroll and USC 47-20 on Oct. 31, 2009.
The Eagles (9-4) host Dallas with first place in the NFC East at stake next week.
CARDINALS 17, CHIEFS 14
Kerwynn Williams rushed for 100 yards two days after being elevated from the Arizona practice squad and the host Cardinals rallied. Arizona won a crucial call reversal when it challenged that tight end Travis Kelce fumbled deep in Cardinals territory late in the fourth quarter.
The NFC West leaders went ahead when Drew Stanton threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown in the third quarter.
Jamaal Charles scored two first-half touchdowns on a 63-yard run and 18-yard pass from Alex Smith, but the Chiefs (7-6) were shut out in the second half.
RAMS 24, REDSKINS 0
The Rams have back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1945, giving them their first winning streak of the season.
Jared Cook caught two touchdown passes, Tavon Austin returned a punt 78 yards for a score, and the defense allowed 206 total yards.
The visiting Rams sacked Colt McCoy six times. He suffered a neck injury on the sixth sack just before the two-minute warning, so Robert Griffin III finished the game in his first appearance since getting benched two weeks ago. Griffin was sacked once during his brief stint.
The Redskins (3-10) dropped their fifth straight.
PATRIOTS 23, CHARGERS 14
At San Diego, Tom Brady threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman midway through the fourth quarter, and the Patriots (10-3) won for the eighth time in nine games. It clinched their 12th straight 10-win season for the second-longest such streak in NFL history.
The Patriots spent the week in San Diego following a loss at Green Bay in order to cut down on late-season travel. It certainly seemed to pay off for the defense: San Diego (8-5) was shut out in the second half.
New England went ahead 16-14 on Stephen Gostkowski's 38-yard field goal with 10:34 left. Brady faked a handoff and hit Edelman on a slant at about the 45 on the touchdown. Edelman broke two tackles and was gone.
BRONCOS 24, BILLS 17
At Denver, C.J. Anderson ran for three touchdowns and the Broncos overcame a rare unsteady outing by Peyton Manning.
Manning's streak of 51 straight games with a touchdown throw - three shy of Drew Brees' NFL record - ended. Yet, despite three turnovers, the Broncos (10-3) won their third straight game since changing from a pass-oriented attack to a run-heavy approach.
Manning finished 14 of 20 for 173 yards with two interceptions. His top receiver, Demaryius Thomas, was held to two catches for 11 yards, and tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) was active but didn't play for the third straight week.
Buffalo is 7-6.
COLTS 25, BROWNS 24
At Cleveland, Andrew Luck threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton with 32 seconds left, rallying Indianapolis (9-4).
Before Luck connected with Hilton, Colts running back Daniel Herron picked up 2 yards on fourth down to keep the drive alive. Luck, who threw two interceptions and spent the day being harassed by an energized Browns defense, then fired his second TD pass to Hilton.
The Colts trailed 21-7 in the third quarter, but stormed back behind Luck, who finished 24 of 53 for 294 yards.
The Browns (7-6) got two defensive touchdowns, but Cleveland's offense, led by struggling quarterback Brian Hoyer, couldn't do enough.
RAVENS 28, DOLPHINS 13
Baltimore played more than 17 minutes before picking up a first down, then overcame a 10-point deficit to win.
The visiting Ravens rallied with consecutive touchdown drives of 97 and 75 yards, and added the clinching score after a favorable replay reversal.
A gamble by coach John Harbaugh in the third quarter helped. The Ravens made a first down on fourth-and-1 in their territory, jump-starting the TD drive that put them ahead.
The victory gave Baltimore (8-5) a significant edge over Miami (7-6) in the AFC's scramble for a wild-card playoff berth.
STEELERS 42, BENGALS 21
Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes, including a 94-yarder to rookie Martavis Bryant in the fourth quarter that was the longest play from scrimmage this season.
The win turned the AFC North into a wide-open race as the Steelers (8-5) caught up and ran away with 25 points in the fourth quarter.
For division leader Cincinnati (8-4-1), it was a second straight lopsided home loss to a division rival. The Bengals fell to Cleveland 24-3 before going on the road and winning three straight to take control of the division.
Le'Veon Bell had another big all-around game, running for 185 yards, catching six passes for 50 yards, and scoring three touchdowns.
PANTHERS 41, SAINTS 10
Cam Newton passed for three touchdowns, appeared to incite a scuffle with frustrated New Orleans after he went over the pile for another score, and the visiting Panthers ended a six-game skid.
Jonathan Stewart added a 69-yard touchdown as the Panthers (4-8-1) pulled closer to NFC South leader Atlanta (5-7).
Newton's jawing and ''Superman'' celebration of his 2-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter drew a shove from linebacker Curtis Lofton. That ignited a scrum that eventually went into a tunnel beyond the end zone.
Panthers tight end Brandon Williams was ejected for punching Cam Jordan, but Carolina kept rolling.
New Orleans (5-8) lost its fourth straight home game to drop a half-game behind Atlanta.
LIONS 34, BUCCANEERS 17
At Detroit, Matthew Stafford threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns - including one off a fluky deflection late in the game. The Lions (9-4) trail first-place Green Bay by a half-game in the NFC North.
Tampa Bay (2-11) was finally eliminated from playoff contention - the NFC South's mediocrity could only keep the Bucs in it for so long. They turned over the ball three times in the second quarter against Detroit and never led.
Calvin Johnson had eight catches for 158 yards and a touchdown for Detroit, which snapped a nine-game losing streak in December.
TEXANS 27, JAGUARS 13
Arian Foster ran for 127 yards and a touchdown, and the Texans won consecutive games for the first time since Week 2.
Foster's 1-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter gave visiting Houston (7-6) a comfortable cushion in what had been a back-and-forth game.
After quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick got stuffed on third down, the Texans lined up for a field goal before calling time out and deciding to go. Foster started right and looked like he would be stopped for a loss, but he eluded a tackle, cut back the other way and high-stepped into the end zone.
The Jaguars (2-11) led 13-10 at halftime, but did little after the break.
VIKINGS 30, JETS 24, OT
Jarius Wright's 87-yard touchdown reception from Teddy Bridgewater in overtime gave the host Vikings the win.
After forcing the Jets to punt to start the extra period, the Vikings faced third-and-5. Bridgewater was blitzed and threw high on a bubble screen to his right. Wright jumped, made an off-balance grab, slipped by Jaiquawn Jarrett and outran defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson the rest of the way.
Former Vikings receiver Percy Harvin had a 35-yard touchdown reception and a 47-yard kickoff return while finishing with 124 yards on six catches. But he hurt his ankle on a hard hit by Josh Robinson late in the fourth quarter and didn't return. This was his first game in Minnesota in more than two years after playing his first 3 1/2 seasons with the Vikings (6-7), who beat the Jets (2-11) for the first time in eight matchups since 1975.
Nick Folk's fifth field goal tied the game at 24 with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
GIANTS 36, TITANS 7
Eli Manning threw for 260 yards and a touchdown, and the Giants snapped a seven-game skid.
New York (4-9) won for the first time since Oct. 5 with two rookies having big games. Odell Beckham Jr. set a team rookie record with his fourth game with 100 yards receiving this season: 11 catches for 130 yards and a TD. Andre Williams ran for a season-high 131 yards, including a 50-yard TD.
Tennessee (2-11) lost its seventh straight and for the 11th time in 12 games with a performance that had the home fans booing and even a handful wearing paper bags over their heads. This is the franchise's longest skid since losing 11 straight in 1994 as the then-Houston Oilers.
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