NFL Today, Week 17


Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Baltimore will kick off the AFC wild-card playoffs next Saturday and Sunday, while Arizona is at Carolina and Detroit at Dallas in the NFC next weekend.




— Geno Smith, Jets, threw for a career-high 358 yards and three touchdowns and had a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating while going 20 of 25 passing as New York beat Miami 37-24.

— Joe Flacco, Ravens, threw for 312 yards and two TDs as Baltimore clinched a wild-card playoff spot with a 20-10 win over Cleveland.

— Eli Manning, Giants, passed for 429 yards and a touchdown in a losing cause as New York fell to Philadelphia 34-26.

— Tony Romo, Cowboys, went 22 of 34 for 299 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas’ 44-17 victory at Washington.

— Mark Sanchez, Eagles, was 23 of 36 for 292 yards for two TDs in a 34-26 win over the New York Giants.



— Lamar Miller, Dolphins, ran for a career-high 178 yards, including a 97-yard TD, and reached the 1,000-yard milestone for the first time in a losing cause as Miami fell to the New York Jets 37-24.

— Frank Gore, 49ers, rushed for 144 yards on 25 carries in a 20-17 win over Arizona to go over 1,000 yards rushing for the eighth time in 10 NFL seasons with San Francisco.

— C.J. Anderson, Broncos, ran for three TDs and Denver earned the AFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a 47-14 rout of Oakland.

— Justin Forsett, Ravens, rushed for 119 yards on 17 carries to help Baltimore to a 20-10 win at Cleveland.

— Doug Martin, Buccaneers, ran for a season-best 108 yards on 19 attempts in Tampa Bay’s 23-20 loss to New Orleans.

— DeMarco Murray, Cowboys, rushed for 100 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries in Dallas’ 44-17 win at Washington and passed Emmitt Smith for the team’s single-season mark with 1,845 yards.



— Eric Decker, Jets, caught 10 passes for a career-high 221 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown, in New York’s 37-24 win at Miami.

— Odell Beckham Jr., Giants, had 12 catches for a career-best 185 yards, including a 63-yard fourth-quarter touchdown, in New York’s 34-26 loss to Philadelphia.

— Rueben Randle, Giants, caught six passes for 158 yards in a losing cause as New York fell to Philadelphia 34-26.

— Michael Floyd, Cardinals, had eight receptions for 153 yards and two TDs in Arizona’s 20-17 loss at San Francisco.

— Andre Johnson, Texans, had a season-high 134 yards receiving and a touchdown in Houston’s 23-17 win over Jacksonville.

— Dez Bryant, Cowboys, caught two touchdown passes, giving him a team-record 16 this season, as Dallas topped Washington 44-17.



— Justin Houston, Chiefs, had four sacks to break Derrick Thomas’ franchise record with 22 in the season to lead Kansas City past San Diego 19-7.

— J.J. Watt, Texans, had three sacks, a safety and a forced fumble in Houston’s 23-17 victory over Jacksonville.

— Dwayne Gratz, Jaguars, intercepted a pass deflected by DeAndre Hopkins and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown in Jacksonville’s 23-17 loss at Houston.

— Anthony Spencer, Cowboys, returned a fumble by Robert Griffin III 5 yards for a touchdown as Dallas beat Washington 44-17.

— Bruce Irvin, Seahawks, returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown and the Seahawks wrapped up home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs with a 20-6 win over St. Louis.

— Roman Harper and Tre Boston, Panthers, each returned interceptions for touchdowns in Carolina’s 34-3 victory over Atlanta that clinched the NFC South title.


Special Teams

— Trey Burton, Eagles, returned a blocked punt by James Casey 27 yards for a score — Philadelphia’s seventh on special teams — in a 34-26 win over the New York Giants.

— Micah Hyde, Packers, returned a punt 55 yards for a TD in Green Bay’s 30-20 win over Detroit.

— Connor Barth, Broncos, kicked four field goals to help Denver breeze past Oakland 47-14.

— Zach Sudfeld, Jets, caught a lob pass from punter Ryan Quigley on a fake and rumbled 38 yards for a first down on fourth-and-12 that helped seal New York’s 37-24 win at Miami.



Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck came into the Colts’ 27-10 win at Tennessee needing only 100 yards passing to top Peyton Manning’s record of 4,700 yards passing in 2010. He passed Manning on an 80-yard catch-and-run by Reggie Wayne. Luck also became only the eighth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 40 TDs and at least 4,000 yards in a season. His 12,957 yards passing are the most of any NFL player in his first three seasons. … Dallas’ DeMarco Murray rushed for 100 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries in a 44-17 win at Washington. He ended the regular season with 1,845 yards, bettering Emmitt Smith’s 1,773 yards in 1995. … The Cowboys’ Dez Bryant caught scoring passes of 65 and 23 yards to give him 16 touchdown receptions, breaking Terrell Owens’ team record of 15 set in 2007. … Chicago’s Matt Forte had eight receptions to give him an NFL-running-back-record 102 for the season. Forte took the record from Larry Centers, who had 101 catches for Arizona in 1995. Forte also topped 1,000-yard rushing mark for the fifth time in seven years. … Ryan Tannehill became the first Miami player since Dan Marino in 1994 to throw for 4,000 yards. Tannehill finished with 392 completions this season to break Marino’s 1994 franchise record of 385. … The Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. finished with team highs of 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in only 12 games. He missed the first four with a hamstring injury. The receptions and yards were rookie team records and the TD total tied the franchise rookie mark set by Bill Pascal in 1943. … Rookie Mike Evans set a Tampa Bay record with his 12th touchdown reception. … San Francisco’s Frank Gore became the 11th player in NFL history with eight 1,000-yard seasons and 20th player to reach 11,000 yards rushing. … Denver’s Demaryius Thomas finished with a franchise-record 1,619 yards receiving, topping Rod Smith’s 1,602 in 2000.



Adam Vinatieri missed out on becoming the fifth kicker in NFL history not to miss a field goal in a season. The Colts kicker came in hitting his first 28 field goals and connected from 23 on his first attempt. But Vinatieri was wide left on a 46-yarder in the third quarter. … No Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver caught a TD pass all season, the first time in at least 50 years that has happened. … The New York Jets came in ranked last in the NFL in passing, but Smith went 20 of 25 in a 37-24 win at Miami and had a passer rating of 158.3 — the only perfect rating this year by a quarterback throwing at least seven passes, according to STATS. … The Buffalo Bills (9-7) ended their string of losing seasons, matching their record in 2004. The loss snapped several streaks: Buffalo’s 0-12 record at Gillette Stadium, and New England’s 35 home wins against AFC teams and 16 at home against any opponent. The Bills also went all season without a player rushing for 100 yards for only the fourth time in team history and first since 1979. … Tampa Bay (2-14) finished 0-8 at home and 0-6 against NFC South rivals. … Arizona’s Ryan Lindley threw his first career touchdown pass on his 229th attempt with a 20-yard completion to Michael Floyd on the Cardinals’ opening drive in a 20-17 loss at San Francisco.



For the second straight season, the road through the NFC playoffs will go through Seattle. Marshawn Lynch scored on a 9-yard run with 12:07 remaining, Bruce Irvin returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown and the defending Super Bowl champions wrapped up home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs with a 20-6 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Seattle held five of its final six opponents to fewer than 10 points. The Seahawks became the first team since the 1969-71 Vikings to lead the NFL in scoring defense in three straight seasons, finishing the season by giving up 15.9 points per game.



The Baltimore Ravens made the postseason after missing out last season, clinching a spot with a 20-10 win over Cleveland, combined with San Diego’s 19-7 loss at Kansas City. The Ravens are 10-6, the same record they had in their Super Bowl season, earned a wild card and will be seeded sixth in the AFC. “Anything can happen when you get into the playoffs,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “I won’t be surprised if in three weeks from now we’re still sitting here playing.”



San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh will not return for the final season of his $25 million, five-year contract he signed in January 2011. The announcement came Sunday after a 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals and following an 8-8 season. Harbaugh guided the 49ers to three straight NFC championship games and had a Super Bowl-or-bust mentality for this season that quickly turned sour. Harbaugh had a 49-22-1 overall record in four years with San Francisco, which might look to promote from within to replace him. Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula’s name has been mentioned.



Dallas routed Washington 44-17 to become the sixth NFL team to go 8-0 on the road since the 16-game schedule began in 1978. Four of the previous five advanced to Super Bowl.



J.J. Watt had three sacks, a safety and a forced fumble to strengthen his case for MVP and lead the Houston Texans to a 23-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Watt made it 23-17 when he sacked Blake Bortles in the end zone a few minutes later. The sack gave him 20 1/2 this season, making him the first player in NFL history with two seasons with 20 or more sacks. He also had 20 1/2 when he won Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. Watt finished the season with 29 tackles for loss and 50 quarterback hits, which both lead the NFL.



Nine quarterbacks threw at least 30 touchdown passes, the most ever in a season. The previous mark was five, set multiple times. The nine are Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (40), Denver’s Peyton Manning (39), Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (38), Dallas’ Tony Romo (34), New England’s Tom Brady (33), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (33), San Diego’s Philip Rivers (31), the New York Giants’ Eli Manning (30) and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, who had 30 entering the Steelers game against Cincinnati on Sunday night.



Despite a left calf injury, Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes to Randall Cobb and Green Bay claimed a fourth straight NFC North title with 30-20 victory over Detroit. Rodgers was carted to the locker room after tossing his first score to Cobb late in the second quarter. He hobbled back onto the field in the third quarter with the game tied at 14. He led Green Bay on a seven-play, 60-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard score to Cobb with 3:33 left in the quarter. The Packers didn’t look back from there.



New England coach Bill Belichick skipped his usual postgame news conference after the Patriots’ 17-9 loss to Buffalo so he could meet with trainers about his health. Belichick said it was “nothing serious,” and just “a couple things” for the doctors and trainers to check out. “It was no big deal,” he said. “I don’t want to get into it.”



Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne hurt a groin muscle at the end of an 80-yard catch against the Tennessee Titans. Center A.Q. Shipley was carted off the sideline after hurting an ankle late in the second quarter, safety Sergio Brown hurt a hand and guard Hugh Thornton hurt a shoulder in the second half and never returned. … Houston running back Arian Foster left the game with a hamstring injury against Jacksonville. Also, Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks was on crutches after the game and coach Gus Bradley said he’ll have an MRI on Monday. … San Diego safety Marcus Gilchrist and right tackle D.J. Fluker were escorted to the locker room after sustaining injuries in the first half of the game in Kansas City. Gilchrist hurt his elbow, though it was unclear what happened to Fluker. Chiefs defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson also left with a calf injury. … Denver special teams standout David Bruton Jr. was carted off the field after a block in the back while covering a punt against Oakland. The team said he suffered a concussion and didn’t return. Earlier in the game, left guard Orlando Franklin left the game with a concussion. … Dallas linebacker Anthony Hitchens left with a right ankle injury in the second quarter at Washington, and defensive tackle Henry Melton suffered a knee injury.



“It’s clearly an MVP performance — another MVP performance — by Aaron Rodgers.” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy on Rodgers, who returned after being carted to the locker room after a left calf injury and led the Packers past the Detroit Lions 30-20.


“I’ve been speaking on it the whole year, we’ve got to grow and mature. It’s clear as day these seeds are turning into flowers, and I’m happy, man. Coach is going to continue to give us sunshine and rain, and we’ll be all right.” — Dallas defensive end Jeremy Mincey after the Cowboys finished 8-0 on the road for the first time in team history with a 44-17 win at Washington.


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