NFL roundup: Steelers end skid, clinch AFC North
Ben Roethlisberger led a second-half comeback Sunday as the Pittsburgh Steelers broke a three-game losing streak and clinched the AFC North title with a 28-24 win over the visiting Indianapolis Colts.
After the Steelers (12-3) trailed by 17 points in the third quarter, Roethlisberger’s 25-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster put the Steelers ahead for the first time with 7:38 left in the fourth quarter.
The Colts (10-5) had won three straight.
Roethlisberger was 34 of 49 passing for 342 yards. Diontae Johnson and Eric Ebron also had scoring catches. James Conner ran for a touchdown.
Indianapolis quarterback Philip Rivers was 22 of 35 passing for 270 yards and a touchdown to Zach Pascal. Rookie Jonathan Taylor rushed for two touchdowns.
Chiefs 17, Falcons 14
Kansas City overcame a sluggish offensive performance to clinch the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage in the AFC playoffs by edging visiting Atlanta.
Patrick Mahomes completed 24 of 44 passes for 278 yards with two touchdowns and one of the Chiefs’ two interceptions against an Atlanta defense that came in ranked 31st in the NFL against the pass. Mahomes’ 25-yard touchdown strike to Demarcus Robinson with 1:55 remaining proved to be the game-winner that enabled Kansas City (14-1) to set a franchise record for regular-season wins.
Atlanta (4-11) put Younghoe Koo in position for a 39-yard field goal to force overtime but the Pro Bowl kicker missed with nine seconds remaining. Matt Ryan completed 27 of 35 passes for 300 yards and two scores, including a 5-yard touchdown to Laquon Treadwell.
Bears 41, Jaguars 17
Mitchell Trubisky passed for 265 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another score, and David Montgomery rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown as visiting Chicago defeated reeling Jacksonville to move into sole possession of the final NFC wild-card spot.
Chicago (8-7) won its third straight game on the heels of a six-game losing streak, while the Jaguars (1-14) suffered their 14th consecutive defeat and locked up the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Trubisky finished 24-for-35 with two touchdowns and one interception. Allen Robinson had 10 receptions for 103 yards for the Bears. Jags quarterback Mike Glennon was 24-for-37 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Seahawks 20, Rams 9
Russell Wilson threw for one touchdown and rushed for another as Seattle defeated visiting Los Angeles to clinch its first NFC West title since 2016.
Wilson completed 20 of 32 passes for 225 yards, while Chris Carson rushed for a game-high 69 yards on 16 carries. Wilson’s 13-yard scoring strike to tight end Jacob Hollister with 2:51 remaining sealed the victory for the Seahawks (11-4).
Seattle’s defense also came up big, making a goal-line stand late in the third quarter as the Rams (9-6) attempted to tie the score. Los Angeles had first-and-goal at the 2-yard line, but three rushes by Malcolm Brown and a quarterback sneak by Jared Goff (24-of-43 passing, 234 yards) netted only 1 yard.
Ravens 27, Giants 13
Lamar Jackson threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns to keep Baltimore’s AFC playoff hopes alive in a victory over New York.
The Ravens (10-5) got touchdown receptions from Dez Bryant and Marquise Brown, while J.K. Dobbins added 77 yards rushing and a touchdown in the easy win. Jackson and Gus Edwards also tacked on 80 and 85 yards rushing, respectively, for the home team.
The Giants (5-10) were led by Daniel Jones, who threw for 252 yards and a touchdown to wideout Sterling Shepard. The latter led the team with nine catches for 77 yards and the score. The Giants need to win their final contest against Dallas and have Washington lose in Week 17 to clinch the NFC East division title.
Jets 23, Browns 16
New York pulled another stunning upset, this time at home against a visiting, short-handed Cleveland squad.
Sam Darnold completed 16 of 32 passes for 175 and two touchdowns to lead the Jets (2-13), who also got a passing touchdown from wideout Jamison Crowder on a trick play. The latter hauled in seven receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown through the air, while tight end Chris Herndon also grabbed a touchdown from Darnold.
The Browns (10-5) were limited to just 45 rushing yards on the afternoon. Playing without nearly their entire receiving corps due to COVID-19 and injury issues, Baker Mayfield struggled to a 28 of 53 passing line for 285 yards and no touchdowns.
Bengals 37, Texans 31
Samaje Perine capped a 75-yard drive by scoring on a 3-yard touchdown with 1:57 remaining as the visiting Cincinnati outlasted Houston.
Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen passed for a career-high 371 yards with two touchdowns and engineered the scoring march that lifted the Bengals (4-10-1) to their second consecutive victory. Cincinnati last won back-to-back games in Weeks 4 and 5 in 2018.
The Bengals racked up 540 yards, while the Texans had 488. Houston (4-11) lost its fourth straight game as David Johnson posted his first 100-yard rushing game for the Texans with 128 yards.
Panthers 20, Washington Football Team 13
Carolina took advantage of mistake-prone Washington for a victory at the expense of former coach Ron Rivera at Landover, Md.
The outcome prevented Rivera’s team from clinching the NFC East. Washington (6-9) was in position to wrap up the division because of the New York Giants’ loss earlier in the day at Baltimore.
Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., whose captaincy was removed as the result of off-field issues in advance of the game, committed three of the team’s four first-half turnovers. The Panthers (5-10) won for only the second time since mid-October.
Chargers 19, Broncos 16
Justin Herbert threw for 253 yards and one touchdown as Los Angeles held off a comeback attempt from Denver late in the game.
Herbert set the rookie record for touchdown passes with his strike to running back Austin Ekeler, which helped the Chargers (6-9) win their third straight contest. Mike Williams led the receiving corps with four catches for 54 yards.
Drew Lock was 24 for 47 for 264 yards and two interceptions for the Broncos (5-10) who have lost consecutive games. Melvin Gordon rushed for 79 yards and Noah Fant added six receptions for 65 yards through the air in the loss.
Cowboys 37, Eagles 17
Andy Dalton threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns as Dallas defeated Philadelphia and kept its NFC East title hopes alive.
The Cowboys (6-9) need a victory in Week 17 over the New York Giants coupled with a loss or tie from the Washington Football Team against the Eagles. Michael Gallup hauled in six catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns for the Cowboys, and Ezekiel Elliott added 105 yards on the ground in the win.
The Eagles (4-10-1) were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss despite 342 yards passing from Jalen Hurts. He recorded one touchdown and two interceptions. Miles Sanders rushed for 57 yards and a score, while DeSean Jackson caught one pass for an 81-yard touchdown.
Packers 40, Titans 14
Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes — three to Davante Adams — and Green Bay kept the AFC’s highest-scoring offense in check during the rout of Tennessee at snowy Lambeau Field.
Rodgers completed 21 of 25 passes for 231 yards and a meaningless fourth-quarter interception, just his fifth of the year against 44 TD passes. Adams finished with 11 catches for 142 yards. The Packers also gained 234 yards rushing, with AJ Dillon netting 124 yards and two scores on 21 attempts.
Green Bay (12-3) used a five-man defensive front to neutralize NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry, who finished with 98 yards on 23 carries. Green Bay can clinch the top seed in the NFC playoffs with a win in Chicago next week, while the Titans (10-5) can wrap up the AFC South by winning at Houston.
–Field Level Media