NFL: Week 17 Results



Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes and Jason Snelling rushed for 147 yards on 25 carries, as the Atlanta Falcons accomplished a franchise first with a 20-10 victory over Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium.

Ryan was 23-of-35 for 223 yards with two interceptions for the Falcons (9-7), who posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in the club's 44- year history.

"We talked all week about the outcome of this game being a byproduct of our preparation and I thought that our preparation was very good," said Atlanta head coach Mike Smith. "The guys went out and executed extremely well. I'm very proud of the way the defense played."

Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Josh Freeman completed 16-of-32 attempts for 174 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Cadillac Williams had 40 yards on 19 carries and added 35 yards on four receptions for the Buccaneers (3-13), who were vying for a third straight win.

"(The Falcons) won the battle on both sides of the football," said Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris. "We weren't able to run the football and weren't able to stop them."

Following a scoreless third quarter, the Buccaneers tied the game at 10 when Freeman completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant.

After Ryan and Freeman exchanged interceptions on consecutive plays from scrimmage, the Falcons regained the lead on Roddy White's 12-yard TD reception with 7:18 to go in regulation.

Atlanta cornerback Brent Grimes then picked off Freeman's intended pass to Bryant in the end zone. Matt Bryant cemented the historic win with his second 36-yard field goal with a minute to play.

It was an unsettling start for Atlanta, which coughed up the ball on the game's opening kickoff. Tampa Bay took advantage of the Eric Weems fumble as Connor Barth drilled a 48-yard field goal.

The Falcons tied the game late in the second quarter on a Bryant field goal. A two-yard touchdown grab by Justin Peelle as time expired gave Atlanta a 10-3 lead at the break.

Game Notes: Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez made three grabs for 30 yards. He entered the game needing four receptions to become the first player at his position with 1,000 for his career...White had 66 yards on six catches...Falcons running back Michael Turner was inactive for the fifth time in seven games with an ankle injury...Tampa Bay tight end Kellen Winslow caught five passes for 56 yards.


St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Frank Gore rushed for 107 yards on 23 carries with a pair of touchdowns, as the San Francisco 49ers routed the St. Louis Rams, 28-6, in the season-finale for both teams at the Edward Jones Dome.

Alex Smith finished 17-of-28 passing for 222 yards and a touchdown for San Francisco (8-8), which closed the campaign by winning three of four to end a string of six consecutive losing seasons. Vernon Davis had six receptions for 89 yards and a score, while Michael Crabtree had three grabs for 58 yards in the win.

"I am very thankful that we won the game," San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary said. "This is not the style of game that we wanted to have, this is not the way we wanted this game to go. Nevertheless, I am thankful that we were able to come back out in the second half and put some drives together and make some plays. I thought our defense played well for the most part all day."

Niners wide receiver Isaac Bruce started but did not make a catch in what was believed to be the final game of a distinguished 16-year career.

The 37-year-old veteran spent the majority of those seasons with the Rams from 1994-2007 and owns team records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches, in addition to earning four Pro Bowl nods and helping St. Louis to a win in Super Bowl XXXIV.

Josh Brown kicked two field goals for the Rams (1-15), who have dropped 13 straight at home and finished the season with eight straight losses overall to ensure themselves the No. 1 selection in the 2010 draft.

"I give them a lot of credit. They won the football game. And then to have it kind of get away like that at the end is, you know, I'm hoping we can erase those seven minutes in our mind and think about all the other things," Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "But the bottom line is we lost the football game and the season's over. We were hoping to finish on a high note and weren't able to do that."

Keith Null got the start at quarterback for St. Louis and completed only 7- of-17 passes for 57 yards before getting replaced by Kyle Boller, who finished 4-of-11 for 23 yards.

After a scoreless and uneventful opening quarter, the Rams put up the first points with four minutes left in the half.

With six minutes to play, San Francisco failed to take advantage of good field possession, then were unable to convert a 4th-and-2 from the St. Louis 35 and the hosts capitalized.

Hull hit Donnie Avery for a 20-yard gain to pick up a first down on 3rd-and-5, but the drive stalled and Brown drilled a 54-yard field goal.

Brown then missed a 45-yard attempt as time expired and the Rams took a 3-0 into the break.

San Francisco took the lead near the midway point of the third quarter, when Moran Norris plowed ahead for a one-yard touchdown, capping an eight-play, 83-yard drive to make it a 7-3 game.

Boller came in for an ineffective Null on the Rams' next series, but St. Louis went three-and-out.

With the 49ers still ahead 7-3 with 11 1/2 minutes left in the contest, Danny Amendola's 56-yard punt return set up Brown's 29-yard field goal to make it a one-point game with 9:11 remaining.

However, the Rams answered by scoring on their next two possessions. First, it was Smith connecting with Davis for a 73-yard TD, then Gore took it in from three yards out for a 21-6 St. Louis lead with 4:05 to play.

Gore added a six-yard TD run with 2:16 remaining.

Game Notes: Despite the loss, the Rams still hold a 60-58-2 edge in their regular season series with the 49ers...San Francisco defensive end Justin Smith ended with 3 1/2 sacks.



Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes and Jeff Reed kicked three field goals, as the Pittsburgh Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive with a 30-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Land Shark Stadium.

Both teams entered the contest with a slim chance of reaching the playoffs, each needing a win and some help.

The Steelers (9-7) are still barely breathing heading into later action on Sunday, but now need losses by Baltimore, Denver and the New York Jets to reach the postseason for a chance to defend their Super Bowl title. Pittsburgh was the last defending Super Bowl champion to miss the playoffs the following year, finishing 8-8 in 2006 after winning the title following the 2005 campaign.

Miami (7-9) had even slimmer hopes, needing a win and losses by four teams to make the playoffs for a second time in as many seasons under Tony Sparano. Instead, the defending AFC East champs finished with a losing record for the third time in the past four years.

The Dolphins lost a pair of quarterbacks to injury during the game. Starter Chad Henne remained on the sideline to start the second half after suffering an eye injury and watched as Pat White took a devastating helmet-to-helmet hit from Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor late in the third quarter. White had to be carted to the locker room and was seen moving his hands.

Miami still nearly rallied with Tyler Thigpen at the helm, roaring back from a 27-10 deficit in the fourth quarter to pull within three before an interception near the Pittsburgh end zone thwarted the effort.

"That game right there is a snapshot of how it's been for us," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, whose squad won its final three games. "But how the guys fought is also a snapshot of how it's been for us. They knuckled down and hung together and they did the best of their ability to fix it and won our last three ball games and gave ourselves a chance. We handled our business in here today; did all that we can do. It wasn't easy, it never is."

Thigpen came out for the Dolphins down 27-10 early in the fourth quarter and directed a 61-yard drive for a touchdown. Two Pittsburgh penalties aided the seven-play march, which ended with a 16-yard scoring run by receiver Brian Hartline.

The Dolphins got the ball right back after Pittsburgh went three-and-out and struck just three plays later when Thigpen found Davone Bess behind the Steeler secondary for a 34-yard score.

Roethlisberger fumbled on Pittsburgh's ensuing series and former Steeler Joey Porter recovered for the Dolphins at the Steeler 13. However, Thigpen was picked off by Ryan Clark at the two-yard line with just over six minutes left.

The Steelers picked up a critical first down when Roethlisberger hit Hines Ward on 3rd-and-5, then drove through the deflated Miami defense and had a touchdown nullified by a penalty before Reed kicked a 33-yard field goal to make it a six-point game with 40 seconds remaining.

Thigpen's last pass was intercepted by Taylor to end Miami's season.

The Dolphins were eliminated from playoff contention late in the fourth quarter when Houston rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat New England. The Texans were one of the four teams that had to lose for Miami to stay alive.

Pittsburgh, which also could have benefited from a Houston loss, took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards for a 7-0 lead. Roethlisberger kept the series alive with a 10-yard completion to Mike Wallace on 3rd-and-7 and added a 37-yard strike to tight end Heath Miller before capping the 12-play march with a five-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes on another third down.

Miami answered with a nine-play drive on its first series to tie it as Henne threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Lex Hilliard out of the backfield, but the Steelers immediately went back in front when Roethlisberger -- two plays after converting 4th-and-inches with a quarterback sneak -- threw a 54-yard TD pass to a wide open Wallace in the final minute of the first quarter.

The Dolphins responded with a six-minute series that ended with a 25-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter to make it 14-10 game, but Pittsburgh countered with a 22-yard Reed kick with just over 5 1/2 minutes to play in the half.

A trade of interceptions followed. Henne was picked off by Deshea Townsend on the first play after the kickoff at the Miami 41 and the Steelers failed on a gadget play, as Roethlisberger threw backward to Holmes, whose pass toward the end zone was grabbed by Miami safety Yeremiah Bell.

The Dolphins drove to the Pittsburgh 23 before going backward thanks to a bad shotgun snap and a sack in the final minute, forcing a punt.

With White under center to start the second half, the Dolphins managed just one first down on their first two possessions before the Steelers extended their lead on their second series of the third period.

Roethlisberger capped a 90-yard drive with a three-yard scoring toss to Miller in the back of the end zone. After White was hurt on the next series, the Steelers followed a Miami punt with a 21-yard Reed field goal for a 27-10 advantage just over a minute into the fourth.

White missed on both of his two pass attempts and ran for 27 yards, while Henne completed 16-of-20 throws for 140 yards in the first half.

Game Notes: Roethlisberger, who appeared to injure his arm on the fumble in the fourth quarter, finished 18-of-27 for 220 yards...Five times this season, the Steelers lost when holding a fourth-quarter lead...Thigpen completed 4-of-8 passes for 83 yards in his first action with Miami, which acquired him from Kansas City in exchange for an undisclosed draft pick after Chad Pennington was lost for the season with a shoulder injury.



Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Jerome Harrison rushed for 127 yards and a score, as the Cleveland Browns ran over Jacksonville, 23-17, to officially snuff out the Jaguars' chances of making the playoffs.

Joshua Cribbs ran for a touchdown for the Browns (5-11), who totaled 214 yards on the ground to end Eric Mangini's first year as their head coach on a four-game winning streak.

While the Browns had their second straight losing season and finished last in the AFC North, their current streak is the team's longest since it won five in a row during the 1994 season.

Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson was used sparingly, throwing for 86 yards on 7-of-11 completions, with one interception. Phil Dawson kicked three field goals in the win.

As the Browns ended their season strong, the Jaguars (7-9) limped to the finish by losing their last four. Jacksonville had a very outside shot at making the playoffs, but foremost needed to win to keep the possibility alive.

David Garrard was 22-for-39 for 202 yards, with one interception and two touchdowns to Zach Miller, one of which came on the game's final play.

Dawson's 27-yard kick put the Browns on the board just over four minutes into the game, and with 2:20 left in the first quarter, Josh Scobee's 47-yarder tied the contest.

The game remained even until Cleveland got two scores in the late stages of the half. The Browns got the ball at their own 43 and, operating without a huddle, rode Harrison and fellow running back Chris Jennings to the end zone. Cribbs capped the drive by taking the snap and evading a number of Jaguars defenders to go 14 yards up the middle for a score with 3:51 left.

Garrard was intercepted by Eric Wright on the first play of the ensuing Jacksonville drive, which led to Dawson's 21-yarder, and the Browns led 13-3 at the break.

Scobee missed a 43-yarder on the opening drive of the third, and Cleveland responded with another touchdown. The highlight of the drive was a run by Jennings, in which he started up the right side of the field. But after escaping one tackle near the line of scrimmage, he reversed course and the chase was on. Had got away from another tackle and eventually stepped out of bounds at the Jaguars' 15 for an 11-yard gain.

Harrison eventually took advantage of a couple good blocks to reach the end zone on a six-yard run, as Cleveland went ahead 20-3 with 4:03 left in the third.

The Jaguars got their first touchdown 4 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter, when Garrard found Miller wide open in the back of the end zone.

But Cleveland ate up more than eight minutes on its next drive to essentially secure the win. Dawson concluded the 14-play, 60-yard march with a 33-yarder for a 23-10 lead.

Garrard ended the game with a 15-yard touchdown strike to Miller.

Game Notes

Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 82 yards on 16 carries for the Jaguars, who entered the contest with a 5-0 record at Cleveland...Harrison ended the season with 862 rushing yards, 561 of which came in the final three games...Miller had eight catches for 69 yards, while Mike Thomas had seven grabs for 65 yards for Jacksonville.



Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Brett Favre threw four touchdown passes as the Vikings pummeled a listless Giants team, 44-7, to close out the regular- season on a high note and clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs by taking the NFC's No. 2 seed.

Favre ended with 316 yards passing on 25-of-31 attempts and notched 30-plus TD passes for the ninth time in his career -- an NFL record -- while going over 4,000 yards passing for a sixth time.

Sidney Rice caught six passes for 112 yards and two of those scores while Visanthe Shiancoe totaled 94 yards on seven receptions with a touchdown.

Adrian Peterson ran for a score and 54 yards on nine touches for Minnesota (12-4), which only clinched a trip through to the second round of the playoffs by way of Philadelphia's loss to Dallas later in the day.

The Vikings had lost three of four prior to Sunday's dismantling of New York to fall out of the driver's seat.

"It's a nice momentum boost, exactly what we needed," Favre said of the lopsided final. "That in itself doesn't guarantee any sort of draw, but it's important that we can play that way."

Eli Manning completed a high percentage of passes despite the blowout but also threw an interception and lost a fumble. He finished 17-of-23 for 141 yards.

Third-year running back Danny Ware logged his first NFL touchdown to represent the only points for New York (8-8), which was eliminated from playoff contention with last week's equally humiliating 41-9 shellacking by Carolina in the team's final game at Giants Stadium.

The Giants closed out the season with eight defeats in their final 11 games after getting out to a promising 5-0 start and are postseason spectators for the first time in five years. The incredible free fall, which included being outscored 85-16 in the season's final two weeks, was a far cry from New York's 2008 campaign where it secured the NFC's top seed for the playoffs after claiming the NFC East title with a 12-4 record.

"That's why they are in the position they're in," a frustrated Giants coach Tom Coughlin said in conceding credit to the Vikings. "One year ago today, we were in that position. The last two games have been very poor and we could never, ever accept what happened on the field. I am very disappointed."

A certain result was determined only two quarters in as Minnesota tied a franchise record for its largest lead at the half after rolling to a 31-0 advantage.

The Vikings amassed a whopping 343 yards of offense to New York's 82 over the opening 30 minutes. Twenty-six of the Giants' yards came on a meaningless dump-off to Ahmad Bradshaw on the final play of the first half.

The scoring barrage began right from the outset as Favre capped Minnesota's opening drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Shiancoe. The first quarter came to a close with the Vikings in the midst of their second scoring odyssey and Ryan Longwell kicked a 36-yard field goal moments into the fresh frame for a 10-0 game.

A 91-yard drive found the end zone in six plays a short time later as Minnesota extended its lead to 17-0. A 50-yard completion to Rice and a 27- yard hookup with Shiancoe helped set up Peterson's one-yard romp across the goal-line.

A second straight sub four-minute scoring trek pushed the lead to 24-0 after Favre found Rice across the middle on a four-yard TD strike.

Minnesota had the ball back at the Giants' 40 in short order after a turnover on the next play from scrimmage and owned a 31-0 lead shortly thereafter with Favre lofting a jump ball to the back right corner of the end zone for Rice, who came down with the 12-yard score just before halftime.

Longwell's 24-yard boot finished off the hosts' first drive of the new half for a 34-0 difference. Manning was sacked by Jared Allen and fumbled it back to the Vikings two plays later at his own eight. Minnesota moved it to the one for a fourth-down play and Brad Childress left it in the hands of Favre, who found fullback Naufahu Tahi for his fourth TD pass on the day.

Tarvaris Jackson was called in to lead the offense with the score 41-0 and led a 32-yard scoring drive that ended with Longwell's 27-yard field goal just before the close of the third quarter.

Ware's one-yard rushing score in the fourth quarter put a wrap on the scoring.

Game Notes

Jackson came on to complete 4-of-6 passes for 42 yards in relief of Favre...David Carr entered in the second half for Manning and hit on 3-of-5 passes for 26 yards...Percy Harvin had seven catches for 59 yards for the Vikings, who wound up outgaining New York 487-181...Steve Smith logged a game- high 10 receptions for 57 yards for the Giants.



Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Jonathan Stewart finished with 125 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries as Carolina downed New Orleans, 23-10, in the season finale for both teams from Bank of America Stadium.

Matt Moore was 14-of-23 for 162 yards and threw for a score for the Panthers (8-8), who won three in a row to end the season despite a slew of injuries to top players.

Dwayne Jarrett added a TD reception and 68 yards on five receptions while Muhsin Muhammad posted seven catches for 85 yards.

"We just got better as a football team," said Panthers head coach John Fox of his club's late-season resurgence. "We ran the ball well, which is what we've done all season long. We didn't get the passing game down until later. Still, it was a nice tribute for the guys to come out at home and play like they did."

Mark Brunell threw for just 102 yards and an interception on 15-of-29 passing for the Saints (13-3), who are the top seed in the NFC but finished the year with three consecutive losses.

Lynell Hamilton rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown, also racking up three receptions for 38 yards in defeat for New Orleans, which sat quarterback Drew Brees, running back Pierre Thomas, safety Darren Sharper and tight end David Thomas.

"We're comfortable in that it's the right thing to do," said Saints head coach Sean Payton on resting his key players in advance of the playoffs. "We worked hard to get ourselves in this position. Now it's our job to get mentally ready for what's ahead."

Carolina seized momentum early, as Stewart rumbled 67 yards to the end zone on the second play from scrimmage for a 7-0 Panthers edge.

New Orleans appeared to have tied the game later in the first quarter when Anthony Hargrove chased down Moore, caused him to slip and fall, then scooped up the ball in the end zone. However, replay reversed the original touchdown call on the field.

Garrett Hartley's 35-yard make early in the second put the Saints on the board, before Moore hit Jarrett for a 30-yard TD with 13 seconds left in the half.

Courtney Roby's fumble on the ensuing kickoff was recovered by the Panthers and led to John Kasay's 41-yarder as time expired for a 17-3 Panthers edge.

The Panthers' second drive of the second half proved fruitful as Kasay hit a 39-yard field goal for a 20-3 game. Kasay then drilled a 37-yarder for a 20- point spread with just over five minutes to play in the third.

Hamilton's one-yard run with seven seconds left in the quarter cut the Saints' deficit to 23-10, but two straight New Orleans drives in the fourth resulted in punts.

Brunell led the Saints to the Carolina 20 before Julius Peppers' interception with 2:28 remaining locked up the contest.

Game Notes: The Panthers outgained the Saints by a 327-213 margin...Carolina has won seven of the last nine meetings with New Orleans dating back to December, 2005...Without having thrown a pass, Brees was able to set the NFL record for pass completion percentage in a season at 70.6 percent, a shade ahead of Ken Anderson, who set the record for Cincinnati during the strike-shortened 1982 campaign.



Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Aaron Rodgers threw for 235 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score, as the Green Bay Packers dominated the Arizona Cardinals, 33-7, in an NFC playoff preview.

The Packers, who had clinched a wild card berth, are locked into the fifth seed and will travel back to Glendale next week to meet the fourth-seeded Cardinals.

Ryan Grant also rushed for a score for Green Bay (11-5), which will enter the playoffs having won seven of its last eight. The only loss in that stretch was a one-point setback at Pittsburgh on December 20.

Kurt Warner played the first quarter for the NFC West-champion Cardinals (10-6) and finished 4-of-6 for 31 yards. Matt Leinart got the bulk of playing time at quarterback and was 13-of-21 for 96 yards with two interceptions, one of which was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Charles Woodson, as Arizona had a two-game win streak snapped.



San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Billy Volek's touchdown pass to Mike Tolbert inside the final minute of regulation lifted San Diego over Washington, 23-20, at Qualcomm Stadium.

Volek finished 19-of-30 for 216 yards for the Chargers (13-3), who ended the season with their 11th consecutive victory.

Malcolm Floyd led all receivers with nine receptions for 140 yards, while Antonio Gates also recorded a TD catch for San Diego, which ended up the second seed in the AFC and will have a first-round bye.

Philip Rivers played most of the first half and was 9-of-15 for 99 yards and one touchdown.

Jason Campbell went 28-of-42 for 281 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Redskins (4-12), who finished the year dropping six of seven and posted their worst record since a 3-13 mark in 1994.

Mike Sellers and Todd Yoder each recorded a catch for a score, and Malcolm Kelly had five catches for 109 yards in a losing cause.



Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed three touchdown passes as the Buffalo Bills dominated the Indianapolis Colts, 30-7, in the regular season finale at a snowy Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Fitzpatrick finished the game 16-for-25 with 155 yards and tossed scores to Terrell Owens, Lee Evans and Fred Jackson for the Bills (6-10), who snapped a two-game losing streak to close out the season on a winning note.

Jackson finished the game with a career-high 212 yards on 33 carries while Rian Lindell hit three field goals for Buffalo, which snapped a six-game losing streak against Indianapolis.

Owens had four catches for 65 yards and now has 14,951 receiving yards for his career, which moved him into third place all-time in the NFL past Tim Brown.

"I think this game says a lot about us and our character," said Buffalo head coach Perry Fewell. "We could have given up a long time ago but we didn't. We kept fighting until the very end. We wanted to go out and win the game today and we did."

Peyton Manning played three series and led the Colts (14-2) to their only score of the game on 14-of-18 passing for 95 yards. He was again pulled early from the contest for Curtis Painter, who went 4-for-17 with 39 yards, one interception and one fumble lost.

Manning and many other starters were pulled in the third quarter of last week's game against the Jets with his team holding a 15-10 lead, only to watch on the sideline as New York scored the next 19 points to end Indianapolis' perfect season and snap an NFL-record 23-game winning streak.

"With the bye week coming up it was important to play some," said Manning. "Obviously the weather conditions weren't ideal and we knew we weren't going to play the whole game, but there was no set amount of time that we were going to play."

However, despite losses in the last two weeks of the season, the Colts have the best record in the NFL and will have a bye for the first week of the playoffs.

"My intent was to make sure that we looked sharp," said Indianapolis head coach Jim Caldwell. "We did not have a good drive to start, but then came back with a good drive. We will not look at this film, but will look forward and focus on getting ourselves ready for our next game."

Manning was picked off by Cary Harris on the Colts' first drive and it set up an 11-yard catch in the end zone by Jackson to give Buffalo a 7-0 lead with 9:25 left in the first.

Manning, though, responded with a 12-play drive that covered 72 yards and was capped on a one-yard run into the end zone by Mike Hart to tie the game with under four minutes to play in the first.

Buffalo took a 14-7 lead with just over five minutes to play in the first half when Evans' 21-yard touchdown reception capped a five-play, 51-yard drive.

Painter fumbled the ball on Indianapolis' ensuing possession and two plays later, Owens hauled in a pass for a 41-yard touchdown to give Buffalo a 21-7 lead.

Harris nabbed his second interception of the game on Painter's first pass of the next drive and it led to a 31-yard field goal by Lindell for a 24-7 lead going into the break.

Lindell's 33-yard field goal on Buffalo's first touch of the third gave the team a 27-7 lead with 7 1/2 minutes to play in the third.

Lindell added a 36-yard field goal late in the third quarter to make it a 30-7 contest.

Game Notes: The Colts had won 11 straight on the road coming into the game...Buffalo finished its season 3-5 at home...Evans finished the game with four catches for 49 yards...The Colts totaled just 157 yards in offense. 



Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Willis McGahee scored all three touchdowns for Baltimore to get the Ravens into the postseason with a 21-13 win over the Oakland Raiders.

The Ravens (9-7) needed a win to get into the postseason and McGahee put the team on his back with his 167-yard performance on 16 carries, which included a 77-yard touchdown run.

Joe Flacco went 11-for-19 with 102 yards while Dannell Ellerbe had an interception and a fumble recovery for Baltimore, which won three of its last four games.

Baltimore, a wild card team, will play on the road against either New England or Cincinnati next week.

Charlie Frye started under center for the Raiders (5-11) but injured his back and ankle and was not on the field for the start of the second half. He finished the game 18-for-25 with 180 yards and a touchdown.

JaMarcus Russell finished the game at quarterback and went 9-for-14 with 102 yards, an interception and a lost fumble for Oakland, which dropped three of its last four games.



SEATTLE -- Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans has become the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

The second-year running back ran right, cut back inside and jumped over a teammate for a four-yard gain early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game at Seattle.

Game officials tossed the ball to the Titans' sideline as Johnson joined Eric Dickerson, Jamal Lewis, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis and O.J. Simpson in the 2,000-yard club.



Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Arian Foster's second touchdown of the game with 1:54 remaining in the fourth quarter lifted the Houston Texans to a thrilling 34-27 victory over the New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium.

Foster had 119 yards on 20 carries for the Texans (9-7), who secured a winning season for the first time in the franchise's eight-year history and remain in the hunt for a wild card spot.

In order to clinch its first playoff berth, Houston needed two losses from either the Jets, Ravens and Broncos. Denver lost its game against Kansas City later Sunday, while Baltimore beat Oakland to clinch a spot in the postseason. The Jets face off against the Bengals in Sunday's nightcap at Giants Stadium.

Houston quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, which was returned for a score.

The Texans erased a 14-point fourth quarter deficit.

Tom Brady, playing with injured ribs, was 17-of-26 for 186 yards and one costly interception that set up the game-winning touchdown. The Patriots (10-6), whose status as the third or fourth seed in the AFC has not yet been determined, will next take on the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium next week in the opening round of the playoffs.

Since the Patriots had already locked up the AFC East title and were assured of playing in the opening round of the playoffs, the decision to limit key players for fear of injury was a question for head coach Bill Belichick. A potentially nightmarish scenario then unfolded on New England's first possession.

Dynamic wide receiver Wes Welker, who entered the game leading the league with a career-high 122 catches, hauled in a pass from Brady and his left knee appeared to buckle as he attempted to make a cut upfield. After remaining down for several moments, Welker limped off the field and was eventually taken to the locker room on a cart.

The Texans moved the ball effectively on their first possession of the third quarter, but Schaub's pass deflected off the hands of Jacoby Jones and was reeled in by rookie New England cornerback Darius Butler, who sprinted 91 yards for a touchdown and 20-13 Patriots advantage.

The woes continued for kicker Kris Brown, who missed his second field goal of the game -- a 38-yarder -- on Houston's next series.

Fred Taylor's 11-yard touchdown run capped a nine-play, 71-yard drive and gave New England a seemingly comfortable 27-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Houston, though, battled back as Schaub threw an eight-yard touchdown to Jones and Foster scored on a one-yard plunge, tying the game with 4:43 remaining.

"That can really get you down when you move the ball like we did in the third quarter and get nothing," said Houston head coach Gary Kubiak. "But we just tried to keep (the players) upbeat."

Texans safety Bernard Pollard, who recovered a fumble for a touchdown earlier in the game, picked off Brady on the subsequent series and rumbled to the New England 28. Four consecutive runs by Foster gave Houston the lead just past the two-minute warning.

Brian Hoyer, an undrafted rookie quarterback out of Michigan State, took over the New England offense and led the team into Houston territory. The Texans prevailed when Hoyer's pass to Julian Edelman on fourth down was off the mark.

"It's good anytime you get a chance to play some real live action," Hoyer said. "Obviously whenever you go out there you want to win. I'm disappointed we couldn't get that last drive in the end zone."

Houston found the end zone on the game's opening drive as Schaub and Joel Dreessen hooked up for a 25-yard scoring play.

The Patriots regrouped on their second series and tied the game with 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter on a four-yard touchdown run by Taylor. A Stephen Gostkowski 51-yard field goal gave New England a 10-7 lead with five minutes gone in the second quarter.

Houston marched to the New England one-yard line on the ensuing drive and rolled the dice on fourth down, foregoing a chip shot field goal. But Schaub's intended pass to Andre Johnson fell incomplete.

However, Taylor fumbled on the first play of the next series and Pollard scooped up the ball in the end zone. The Texans led 13-10 after Brown failed to convert the extra point.

Hoyer then guided the New England offense across midfield and Gostkowski drilled a 43-yarder inside the final minute.

The game remained tied at 13 after Brown's 56-yard attempt sailed wide right as the first half expired.

Game Notes: The Patriots made their first appearance at Reliant Stadium since defeating Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII...Edelman had 103 yards on 10 receptions, while Randy Moss caught five passes for 75 yards for New England...The Patriots finished with a 2-6 record on the road, which includes a win as the visitor against Tampa Bay in London...Schaub completed 24-of-39 passes...Hoyer finished 8-of-12 for 71 yards.



Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Tony Romo threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns and the Cowboys defense posted its second shutout in as many weeks, as Dallas thumped Philadelphia, 24-0, to clinch the NFC East and a home date to open the playoffs next weekend.

Romo hit on 24-of-34 pass attempts and tossed an interception while Patrick Crayton amassed 99 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Jason Witten hauled in six passes for 76 yards and a score for the Cowboys (11-5), who clinched the NFC's No. 3 seed to set up a rematch between these two teams in Dallas next weekend in the wild card round.

Dallas won its second division title in the last three seasons and threw up back-to-back blankings for the first time in franchise history, holding a normally potent Eagles offense to a mere 228 yards.

Felix Jones and Marion Barber both ran for 91 yards with Jones scoring via a 49-yard jaunt in the third quarter.

Donovan McNabb was 20-of-36 for 223 yards with Brent Celek totaling 96 yards on seven receptions for Philadelphia (11-5), which saw its first loss since a setback to San Diego on November 15 come at the most inopportune time.

With a chance to clinch the NFC's No. 2 overall seed and an opening-round bye in the playoffs, the Eagles instead tumbled all the way to the sixth and final seed of the NFC postseason bracket.

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