NFL Wire News

NFL roundup: Patriots edge Jets to pick up first-round bye

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jonas Gray scored a 1-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter Sunday as the New England Patriots came back to edge the New York Jets 17-16 and clinch a first-round playoff bye.

The Patriots (12-3) can clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC by beating the Buffalo Bills next week. The Patriots also could earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if the Denver Broncos lose to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

Tom Brady was 23 of 35 for 182 yards and a touchdown, a 3-yarder to tight end Rob Gronkowski. Wide receiver Danny Amendola had eight catches for 63 yards.

The Jets, likely playing at home for the final time under embattled head coach Rex Ryan, fell to 3-12. Quarterback Geno Smith was 17 of 27 for 210 yards and a touchdown, a 20-yarder to tight end Jeff Cumberland. He also threw a key interception and took two costly sacks.

Gray’s touchdown run was set up by an interception by linebacker Jamie Collins, who picked off Smith at the Jets’ 40-yard line with 1:19 left in the third quarter.

Steelers 20, Chiefs 12

PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger shook off a knee injury and threw for 220 yards and a touchdown as Pittsburgh clinched a playoff berth with a victory over Kansas City.

The veteran quarterback completed 18 of 25 passes in helping the Steelers (10-5) to their third straight win. They are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 following back-to-back 8-8 seasons.

The Steelers can win the AFC North title next Sunday when they host the Bengals (9-4-1) in the regular-season finale.

The Chiefs (8-7) had their playoff hopes severely damaged while losing for the fourth time in their last five games. Kansas City has to beat San Diego Chargers at home next Sunday and also hope for help from other teams in order to reach the postseason.

Panthers 17, Browns 13

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina moved closer to a playoff spot as Cam Newton’s 9-yard touchdown pass to running back Jonathan Stewart with 7:07 remaining propelled the Panthers over Cleveland.

The first-place Panthers (6-8-1) can win the NFC South by avenging a loss to the Falcons in next week’s winner-take-all showdown finale in Atlanta.

Cleveland quarterback Johnny Manziel left late in the first half with an injury and that left Newton, who is also a Heisman Trophy winner, as the player to come up with a clutch play.

Newton, who returned after a one-game absence with a back injury suffered in a Dec. 9 automobile wreck, completed 18 of 31 passes for 201 yards with one interception.

Cleveland (7-8) lost its fourth game in a row. Manziel finished 3 of 8 for 32 yards, and ran twice for 3 yards.

Falcons 30, Saints 14

NEW ORLEANS — Matt Ryan passed for 322 yards and one touchdown and Matt Bryant kicked three field goals to lift Atlanta over New Orleans and keep its NFC South title hopes alive.

The Falcons (6-9) will host Carolina next Sunday, with the NFC South championship and fourth seed in the playoffs on the line. Atlanta won the first meeting Nov. 16 at Carolina, 19-17.

The game ended in a bizarre fashion, with defensive end Kroy Biermann sacking Brees from behind and defensive end Osi Umenyiora returning the loose ball 86 yards for a touchdown. On his way to the end zone, Umenyiora turned to wave goodbye, sending the Saints to their fifth consecutive home loss and eliminating them from the playoff picture.

Texans 25, Ravens 13

HOUSTON — Kareem Jackson recorded two of three interceptions of Joe Flacco and Houston kept alive its slim playoff hopes with a win over Baltimore.

The Texans (8-7) dominated Flacco and the Ravens (9-6) from start to finish, limiting Baltimore to 211 total yards and just 3.1 yards per play.

The Ravens now need some help next week to get into the postseason. Houston needs several teams to lose next week to sneak into the playoffs.

Flacco finished 21 for 50 for 195 yards, with 135 yards coming in the fourth quarter as the Ravens mounted a futile rally.

Texans kicker Randy Bullock made a franchise-record six field goals. Bullock rescued an otherwise pedestrian Texans offense, one with their fourth quarterback — the recently re-signed Case Keenum — at the helm this season. Keenum, the Texans’ third starter this season, passed for 185 yards while completing 20 of 42 attempts.

Packers 20, Buccaneers 3

TAMPA, Fla. — Green Bay’s offense bounced back just enough to help the Packers clinch a playoff spot as they beat Tampa Bay.

The Packers rebounded from a 21-13 loss at Buffalo last week but did so largely behind their defense, which harassed Bucs quarterback Josh McCown all afternoon and allowed only 109 total yards.

Aaron Rodgers finished the game with 318 yards and a late touchdown on 31-for-40 passing. Receiver Randall Cobb reeled in 11 passes for 131 yards, and Jordy Nelson had nine receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. Eddie Lacy racked up 99 yards and a 44-yard touchdown on 17 carries as he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the season.

The Packers (11-4) close the regular season at home against the Detroit Lions (11-4) with the winner grabbing the NFC North crown.

The Bucs (2-13) have not won a game at home this season.

Lions 20, Bears 14

CHICAGO — Playoff-bound Detroit survived its own mistakes, including three first-half turnovers, to beat Chicago as Joique Bell scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 17-yard run in the fourth quarter.

The Lions (11-4) secured a playoff spot with the Philadelphia Eagles’ loss to the Washington Redskins on Saturday. Detroit will play at Green Bay next Sunday for the NFC North title.

With quarterback Jimmy Clausen making his first start in four years, replacing the benched Jay Cutler, those Detroit errors helped make the Bears competitive. Clausen completed 23 of 39 passes for 181 yards.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford overcame two interceptions and completed 22 of 39 passes for 243 yards.

Dolphins 37, Vikings 35

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami was eliminated from the AFC playoff race despite defeating Minnesota to end a two-game losing streak.

The winning points were scored on a safety with 41 seconds left. Vikings punter Jeff Locke fielded the snap on one hop, and Dolphins defensive end Terrence Fede blocked the punt out of the end zone.

Ryan Tannehill passed for 396 yards and a career-high four touchdowns for the Dolphins (8-7).

Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 19 of 26 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns for Minnesota (7-8).


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