Sunday's NFL roundup

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Colts won't go undefeated this season.
The Colts (14-1) pulled Peyton Manning and a handful of other starters with a 15-10 lead and 5:36 left in the third quarter, and the New York Jets took advantage to rally for a 29-15 victory that ended the NFL's longest regular-season winning streak at 23.
Brad Smith opened the second half with a 106-yard kickoff return to give New York (8-7) a 10-9 lead. The Colts regained the lead at 15-10 when Donald Brown scored on a one-yard run.
But after Manning left, Marques Douglas returned a fumble from Manning's replacement, Curtis Painter, one yard for a score. The Jets sealed it with a 43-yard field goal and Thomas Jones' one-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. They will make the playoffs if they beat Cincinnati next Sunday.
It was the Colts' first loss since Oct. 27, 2008 at Tennessee, and it ended a franchise-record 13-game winning streak at home.
On the second series the starters sat out, fans started booing. The boos grew louder with each play, reaching a crescendo when Manning's replacement was hit by Calvin Pace while setting to throw and lost the ball. Douglas fell on it and rolled into the end zone for the go-ahead score with 1:29 left in the third quarter.
During the rest of the game, players like Manning and Wayne could be seen with dejected looks


Patriots 35 Jaguars 7
At Foxborough, Mass., Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes, three to Randy Moss, and the young defence put together its third straight solid game as New England beat Jacksonville.
For the Patriots (10-5), it was another encouraging outing in what had been an inconsistent season. They took the division after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2002 despite an 11-5 record. And they did it in a one-sided manner, just like most of their games in the 2007 season when they lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants 17-14 on a last-minute touchdown.
Brady bounced back after throwing for just 307 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his previous two games. He completed 23 of 26 passes for 267 yards, reminiscent of his brilliance the last time the teams met: 26-of-28 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 31-20 divisional playoff win on Jan. 12, 2008.
Jacksonville dropped its third straight game and fourth in its last five after going 6-4. New England won its third straight - outscoring the opposition 72-27 - after losing three of four.
Bengals 17 Chiefs 10
At Cincinnati, Carson Palmer's touchdown pass to Chad Ochocinco completed a 98-yard drive in the closing minutes, sending the Bengals to the AFC North championship at the end of a rough week.
The Bengals (10-5) moved into the playoffs for only the second time in the past 19 years after dealing with the death of receiver Chris Henry. The teary practices and locker-room grief seemed to show against the Chiefs (3-12), who stayed close in a mistake-filled game.
One good drive at the end was enough.
Cincinnati took over at its two-yard line with 9:21 to go and put together its longest drive of the season. On the 14th play, Palmer threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Ochocinco, who ran to the stands and touched a poster of Henry.
Packers 48 Seahawks 10
At Green Bay, Wis., the Packers qualified for the playoffs, forcing four interceptions by Matt Hasselbeck, then getting a big boost from the Carolina Panthers.
Sunday's victory, combined with the New York Giants' blowout loss to Carolina, put the Packers (10-5) back in the post-season after going 6-10 last season and getting off to a disappointing 4-4 start this year.
It was Hasselbeck's second straight four-interception game in what is shaping up as a miserable season for the Seahawks (5-10), who have scored a total of 24 points in three straight losses. Hasselbeck also was picked off four times in a loss to Tampa Bay last week.
Several Packers players, including Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings, acknowledged fans during a lap around the stadium after the game.
Panthers 41 Giants 9
At East Rutherford, N.J., Matt Moore and the Panthers turned the Giants' farewell to Giants Stadium into one of their ugliest moments in franchise history.
Playing in front of Lawrence Taylor - possibly their greatest player - and knowing they still had a shot at a fifth straight playoff berth, the Giants (8-7) embarrassed themselves against the Panthers, a team with nothing at stake. Moore threw three touchdown passes, Jonathan Stewart rushed for a career-best 206 yards and the Panthers (7-8) shredded New York's defence with scores on six of their first seven possessions before a disgusted final sellout crowd Sunday.
The Giants' post-season chances are microscopic. After stating the season 5-0, New York would have to beat Minnesota next week and hope Dallas lost its final two games, starting on Sunday night against Washington.
Moore found Carolina's Steve Smith for a 27-yard TD on the opening possession of the third quarter, but Smith suffered a broken arm and had to leave.
Steelers 23 Ravens 20
At Pittsburgh, Jeff Reed's 38-yard field goal put Pittsburgh ahead with 5:25 remaining and the Steelers finally managed to hold a fourth-quarter lead to remain in playoff contention and further jumble the AFC post-season race.
The Steelers (8-7), their season seemingly ended by a late-season five-game losing streak, won their second in a row. They go into the final weekend with a chance to sneak into the playoffs if they win at Miami and get some help.
Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes to Todd Heap, but the Ravens (8-7) - who could have clinched a wild-card spot with a victory and losses by two other contenders - now face a win-or-else game at Oakland next Sunday, although they retain the tiebreaker against the Steelers.
Buccaneers 20 Saints 17 (OT)
At New Orleans, Carnell Williams had 129 yards rushing and Connor Barth kicked a 47-yard field goal in overtime, lifting the Buccaneers to a stunning victory that prevented New Orleans from securing home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
New Orleans was heavily favoured, but instead dropped a second straight game at home after opening the season 13-0.
Williams had a 23-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and Michael Spurlock's 77-yard punt return tied it, completing a comeback from 17 points down in the first half.
The Saints had a chance to win in the final seconds of regulation, but Garrett Hartley missed a 37-yard field goal. Tampa Bay (3-12) then won the coin toss to open overtime and scored soon after.

Cowboys 17 Redskins 0
At Landover, Md., the Dallas Cowboys returned to the playoffs, dominating their 100th meeting with the Washington Redskins and setting up an NFC East title showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tony Romo threw for 286 yards, Jason Witten had a career-long 69-yard reception to set up a score, and the defence pitched the rivalry's first shutout in six years. After starting 0-2 this month, Dallas recovered to win back-to-back December games for first time since 2003.
The Cowboys (10-5) will host the Eagles (11-4) in next week's regular-season finale, with the winner taking the division crown and the loser settling for a wild card berth. The NFL has moved the kickoff time from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The Redskins (4-11), distracted by more off-the-field news, put on another embarrassing performance against a rival in prime time.
Texans 27 Dolphins 20
At Miami, Houston raced to an early 27-point lead Sunday, then held on to remain in the AFC playoff scramble.
The Texans (8-7) scored on their first five possessions and won despite being outscored 20-0 in the final 31 minutes. Houston kept alive its slim hopes of making the playoffs for the first time, while defending AFC East champion Miami (7-8) was all but eliminated.
Boos began midway through the first quarter, and the Texans made sure the jeers grew louder. At one point Houston enjoyed advantages of 15-2 in first downs and 307-46 in yards.
Miami linebacker Jason Taylor stood in front of the bench screaming at several teammates, and maybe the rant helped. The Dolphins rallied, and a field goal cut the deficit to 27-20 with 2:30 left before Houston recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock.
Falcons 31 Bills 3
At Atlanta, Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes, including a 42-yarder to Roddy White on Atlanta's first play from scrimmage.
The victory left the Falcons (8-7) in position to post back-to-back winning records for the first time in franchise history. The Falcons, in their 44th season and eliminated from the playoff chase last week, close at Tampa Bay.
Ryan was 18-of-35 passing for 250 yards. He is 13-1 as the starter at the Georgia Dome in his two seasons.
Buffalo's Terrell Owens became the sixth player in NFL history with 1,000 career receptions. It was a rare highlight for the Bills (5-10), who were held to 178 total yards, including a season-low 40 yards rushing.
Browns 23 Raiders 9
At Cleveland, Jerome Harrison had 148 yards rushing and the Browns won their third straight, extending a surprising streak that Eric Mangini can use to strengthen his case to Mike Holmgren that he deserves to remain Cleveland's coach.
With consecutive wins over Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Oakland, the Browns (4-11) have their first three-game winning streak since 2007 and only their third since 1999. Holmgren, expected to be introduced as Cleveland's team president this week, may have to factor Cleveland's late-season surge into whether he retains Mangini, once given little chance of staying after a 1-11 start.
The Browns have shown improvement. They've cut down on turnovers, penalties, showed imagination on offence and had backups emerge as playmakers - none more so than Harrison, who followed a 286-yard game last week by scoring the second time he touched the ball and setting a team record with 39 carries.
The Raiders (5-10) were reckless. They committed 13 penalties for 126 yards, had two players ejected and failed for the fifth time this season to win two straight games.
Eagles 30 Broncos 27/HL2
At Philadelphia, David Akers kicked a 28-yard field goal with four seconds remaining, lifting the Eagles.
Kyle Orton rallied the Broncos from a 27-10 deficit in the third quarter, but Donovan McNabb led the Eagles on a winning drive in the final minutes.
The Eagles (11-4) can clinch their sixth NFC East title this decade if Dallas loses at Washington in the Sunday night game. If the Cowboys beat the Redskins, the Eagles will play at Dallas for the division title next Sunday. A victory over the Cowboys coupled with one loss by Minnesota would give Philadelphia a first-round bye.
The Broncos (8-7) are trying to avoid a major collapse after starting 6-0. They are tied with four other teams for the final two wild-card spots in the AFC and do not control their chances.
Cardinals 31 Rams 10/HL2
At Glendale, Ariz., Kurt Warner threw for 196 of his 313 yards in the second quarter and the Cardinals beat the Rams for the seventh time in a row.
The Cardinals (10-5) reached 10 regular-season wins for the first time since 1976, 12 years before the franchise moved from St. Louis to Arizona.
The Rams (1-14), ravaged by injuries all season, were without the league's second-leading rusher Steven Jackson because of a sore lower back. It was the first game missed this season by Jackson, one of four St. Louis starters out because of injuries.
The Cardinals clinched their second straight NFC West title the previous week.
49ers 20 Lions 6/HL2
At San Francisco, Frank Gore scored on a one-yard run and topped the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth straight year.
Alex Smith threw a touchdown pass to Vernon Davis and the Niners (7-8) forced six turnovers to close out the home season with a victory.
San Francisco was eliminated from playoff contention with a loss last week at Philadelphia, but still can end its string of six losing seasons by winning at St. Louis.
Drew Stanton struggled in his first career start for the Lions (2-13), throwing for just 130 yards and three interceptions before being pulled for Daunte Culpepper midway through the fourth quarter. Detroit lost its fifth straight game and 20th in a row on the road, failing to score after the first drive of the game.

Organizations: NFL, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts Carolina Panthers New York Giants Philadelphia Eagles Bengals Steelers Dallas Cowboys Washington Redskins Seahawks Cardinals Browns Ravens Rams Dolphins

Geographic location: New York, Cincinnati, INDIANAPOLIS New England Jacksonville Tennessee Dallas Tampa Bay Foxborough, Mass. Miami Pittsburgh New Orleans Minnesota Washington Cleveland Green Bay Houston Oakland East Rutherford, N.J. Giants Stadium Philadelphia St. Louis Atlanta Landover San Francisco Kansas City Glendale, Ariz. Arizona Detroit

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