NFL roundup: RG3 returns, pushes Redskins closer to playoffs
Counted out by their own coach six weeks ago, the Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin III are on the brink of their first division title in 13 years.
Griffin threw a pair of touchdown passes in his first game back from a knee injury, Kai Forbath set the NFL record for consecutive field goals to begin a career, and the Redskins held on to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 Sunday for their sixth straight win.
Nick Foles drove the Eagles to the Washington five-yard line before his intentional grounding penalty ended the game.
New Orleans 34, Dallas 31: Garrett Hartley kicked a 20-yard field goal in overtime, and New Orleans damaged Dallas’ playoff hopes.
Drew Brees threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns and led a drive to the winning kick. The Saints lucked out before the winning kick when a fumble by Marques Colston rolled forward about 20 yards to the Dallas 2. Jimmy Graham recovered.
Indianapolis 20, Kansas City 13:Andrew Luck threw for 205 yards to break the single-season rookie record, and his touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne late in the fourth quarter put Indianapolis in the playoffs.
Luck surpassed Cam Newton’s year-old record of 4,051 yards passing by a rookie in the second quarter, and then came through in the closing minutes. He marched Indy to the Chiefs 7, then found Wayne in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal for the go-ahead score.
It was the seventh time Luck has rallied his team to victory in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota 23, Houston 6: Adrian Peterson rushed for 86 yards, falling far short of the 2,000-yard mark, yet helping Minnesota keep its playoff hopes alive.
Christian Ponder threw a touchdown pass, Toby Gerhart added a score and Blair Walsh kicked three field goals.
The loss kept the Texans (12-3) from clinching home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Denver 34, Cleveland 12: Denver won its 10th straight game as Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes for the 72nd time of his career.
Manning finished with 339 yards on 30-for-43 passing. Von Miller was in on two sacks for the Broncos, the second of which knocked Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden out of the game with a right shoulder injury.
Chicago 28, Arizona 13: Chicago’s defense scored two touchdowns to keep the Bears’ playoff hopes alive.
Charles Tillman returned an interception 10 yards for a score, the third pick he’s brought back for a touchdown this season and the eighth overall by Chicago, one shy of the NFL record. Zack Bowman returned a fumble 1 yard for another Bears score.
Green Bay 55, Tennessee 7: Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, Ryan Grant scored twice and Randall Cobb set a single-season franchise record for net yardage.
The victory ensured the Packers (11-4) will at least be the NFC’s No. 3 seed. They still have a shot at the No. 2 – and the first-round bye that goes with it – if Seattle beats San Francisco on Sunday night.
New England 23, Jacksonville 16: Tom Brady overcame a rough start by throwing two touchdown passes for playoff-bound New England.
Brady threw two interceptions in the first quarter, the second helping the Jaguars (2-13) build a 10-0 lead.
But the Jaguars faded in the third quarter for the fourth consecutive week, lost for the 11th time in the last 12 games and set a franchise record for losses in a season.
San Diego 23, N.Y. Jets 17: San Diego sacked Greg McElroy 11 times, ruining the quarterback’s first NFL start, and Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes for the Chargers.
McElroy, the third-stringer who was starting for the benched Mark Sanchez, moved the offense for the Jets (6-9) early but faced pressure all game.
Carolina 17, Oakland 6: Cam Newton threw for 171 yards and a touchdown and ran for 60 yards and another score as Carolina won for the fourth time in its last five games.
The Panthers (6-9) held the Raiders to 189 total yards and 12 first downs in a game featuring several shoving matches, plenty of heated exchanges and six unnecessary roughness penalties – including one that sidelined Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer for the day.
Even Newton drew a flag after bumping an official with his chest for what he perceived as the latest in a series of late hits by Raiders defenders. He was not ejected.
The Panthers built a 14-3 lead at halftime. Newton accounted for 231 of the 271 yards.
St. Louis 28, Tampa Bay 13: Sam Bradford tossed a pair of touchdown passes and rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins scored his fourth TD of the season.
Bradford connected with Lance Kendricks on an 80-yard scoring play on the first play of the third quarter. The Rams (7-7-1) intercepted Josh Freeman four times, turning three of the turnovers into TDs, including Jenkins’ pick and 41-yard return early in the second quarter.
Miami 24, Buffalo 10: Reggie Bush caught two passes of 17 and 12 yards and scored on a short run for Miami.
Atlanta 31, Detroit 18: Matt Ryan got what he wanted, helping the Atlanta Falcons win a game they needed to earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
Calvin Johnson had to settle for having a record-breaking night in yet another Detroit loss.
Ryan matched a career high with four touchdown passes, two to Roddy White, and Atlanta led from start to finish in a 31-18 victory over the Lions ,
Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s NFL single-season yards receiving mark of 1,848.
Johnson also became the only player with 100 yards receiving in eight straight games and the first with 10 receptions in four games in a row in league history. He had 11 receptions for 225 yards, giving him 1,892 this season.
The Falcons (13-2) pulled away with Ryan’s fourth TD pass to wide-open tight end Michael Palmer in the fourth quarter and Matt Bryant’s 20-yard field goal with 3:05 left that gave them a 15-point lead.