Monday, Dec. 21
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8:15 p.m. EST, ESPN — The Steelers have lost two straight following an 11-0 start but can clinch their first AFC North title since 2017 with a victory or a Browns loss on Sunday. Pittsburgh has dominated the series with the Bengals (2-10-1) in recent years, winning 11 straight and 14 of the past 15 meetings.
— Tom Brady, Buccaneers, went 31 of 45 for 390 yards and two TDs as he led Tampa Bay to scores on five straight possessions after halftime — four touchdowns and a field goal — in a 31-27 comeback victory at Atlanta. Matt Ryan, Falcons, was 34 of 49 for 356 yards and three touchdowns.
— Ryan Tannehill, Titans, had the first five-TD game of his career. He ran for two TDs and finished with 273 yards passing and three more scores in a 46-25 rout of the Lions.
— Lamar Jackson, Ravens, threw three touchdown passes — he also ran for a score — to carry Baltimore to a 40-14 romp against Jacksonville.
— Deshaun Watson, Texans, was 33 of 41 with 373 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-20 defeat at Indianapolis.
— Kyler Murray, Cardinals, threw for a career-high 406 yards and three TDs in leading a 33-26 victory over the Eagles. Murray has nine games with both a passing and rushing touchdown this season, the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history.
Jalen Hurts, Eagles, like Murray a former Oklahoma QB, completed 24 of 44 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns in his second NFL start.
— Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs, threw TD passes to Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman in a 32-29 win at New Orleans.
— NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry, Titans, ran for 147 yards and a score in a 46-25 rout of Detroit.
— Undrafted rookie Salvon Ahmed and veteran Matt Breida, Dolphins, combined for 208 yards rushing to lead the Dolphins to a 22-12 victory over the Patriots. The Dolphins entered the game last in the league in yards per carry, and Ahmed became their first 100-yard rusher since 2018, totalling 122 yards and scoring a 2-point conversion on a trick play. Breida added 86 yards.
— David Montgomery, Bears, rushed for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-27 win at Minnesota. Dalvin Cook rushed for 132 yards and a score for the Vikings.
— Justin Jefferson, Vikings, had eight receptions for 104 yards and beat the single-season franchise rookie record held by Randy Moss with 73 catches.
— Dez Bryant, 32, celebrated his first touchdown since 2017 late in the first half for Baltimore, a 11-yarder. He last scored for Dallas against the Giants on Dec. 10, 2017, and sat out two straight seasons before joining the Ravens as a free agent in October.
— David Johnson, Texans, had 11 receptions for 106 yards in a 27-20 loss at Indianapolis.
— DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals, had 169 yards receiving and yet another outstanding touchdown catch for the decisive points in a 33-26 win against Philadelphia.
— Cairo Santos, Bears, converted all four of his kicks, stretching his streak to 22 straight field goals made by hitting from 42, 35, 48 and 42 yards.
— After missing three extra points and four field goals over the previous two games and nearly losing his job, Dan Bailey was perfect for the Vikings on three extra points and two field goals in a 33-27 loss to Chicago.
— Nick Folk, Patriots, made field goals of 45, 36, 45 and 42 yards in a 22-12 loss at Miami for New England's only points.
—Matt Prater, Lions, made a 53-yarder, tying the NFL record held by Sebastian Janikowski with his 58th career field goal of 50 yards or longer.
— J.C. Jackson, Patriots, made his eighth interception of the year, picking off a third-down pass at the goal line in a 22-12 loss at Miami.
— Devin White, Buccaneers, had all three of his team's sacks of Matt Ryan in a 31-27 victory at Atlanta.
— Romeo Okwara sacked Ryan Tannehill for the Lions’ first safety in 75 games, also against Tennessee on Sept. 18, 2016.
— The Jets’ defence stopped the Rams on downs at midfield with 3:54 to play and New York ran out the clock to preserve its first win after 13 losses, 23-20.
Seattle (10-4) moved into the post-season when it beat Washington 20-15. It’s Seattle’s ninth berth in 11 seasons under coach Pete Carroll.
The Patriots lost 22-12 at Miami and were eliminated from playoff contention, ending their NFL-record run of 11 consecutive post-season appearances — all by winning the AFC East. The Patriots (6-8) will finish at .500 or worse for the first time since 2000, the year they drafted Tom Brady. They fall one year short of matching the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL record of 20 consecutive winning seasons.
Indianapolis was thrilled to have punter Rigoberto Sanchez back less than three weeks after he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumour . He couldn’t contain his excitement, either. As the last player introduced before the game, he pumped his arms and blowing kisses to the crowd.
“It was really an electric moment out there,” Sanchez said.
Tennessee broke through with the first double-digit win season since 2008, ending a streak of four straight 9-7 seasons, by beating Detroit 46-25. Tennessee became the fifth team in NFL history with five straight games piling up at least 420 yards total offence and 30 points.
QB Philip Rivers, Colts, started his 238th consecutive game and tied Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez for No. 8 on the league’s career starts list.
Frank Gore rushed for a score that was his 100th career touchdown in the Jets’ first win since the 2019 season finale, 23-20 at the Rams.
Tampa Bay overcame a 17-point deficit to defeat Atlanta, 31-27. With two games remaining this week, there have been 40 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win this season, the most through Week 15 in NFL history.
STREAKS & STATS
San Francisco became the second Super Bowl runner-up in the past 13 seasons to finish with a losing record the next year, falling to 5-9 by losing at Dallas ... Jacksonville (1-13) lost its 13th straight, 40-14 at Baltimore. When the Jets ended their 13-game slide by winning 23-20 at the Rams, it boosted the Jaguars ahead in the “race” for the top overall draft selection ... Of the nine teams in NFL history to start 0-13, the Jets were the fourth to win in Week 15 ... Chicago punted only once, on the opening possession, in a 33-27 victory at Minnesota ... Tom Brady improved to 7-0 against the Falcons by leading a comeback from a 17-point deficit for a 31-27 win ... Carlos Hyde’s 50-yard TD run was Seattle’s longest rushing play of the season.
Dallas long snapper L.P. Ladouceur set an NFL record for regular-season games by a Canadian-born player, making his 251st game official on a first-quarter punt. The 39-year-old Montreal native broke kicker Eddie Murray’s record of 250 games from 1980-2000.
Jamal Adams’ sack of Dwayne Haskins in the first quarter vs. Washington gave him 9 1/2, adding to his single-season record for a defensive back since the NFL began tracking the stat in 1982. Adams also became the first DB in that time to have a sack in four consecutive games.
With punter Logan Cooke out with an illness, placekicker Aldrick Rosas was forced to handle all the kicking duties for the Jaguars. He got off a 53-yard boot on the free kick following a safety, but his first punt travelled only 30 yards and he mishandled a snap in the fourth quarter.
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, suffered an injury to his right leg at Miami. Gilmore was hurt trying to change direction covering a receiver and was helped to the locker room. ... Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire hurt his left leg as he was helped to the locker room at New Orleans. Saints receiver Tre’Quan Smith and safety Marcus Williams each left with ankle injuries. ... Seahawks rookie running back DeeJay Dallas was carted off after spraining his right ankle on kickoff coverage. Left guard Mike Iupati left with a neck injury at Washington. ... Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis, who leads Tampa Bay with four interceptions, was ruled out early in the second half with a groin injury at Atlanta. ... 49ers running back Raheem Mostert left at Dallas with an ankle injury. Safety Jimmie Ward sustained a concussion, while defensive end Dion Jordan injured a knee. For the Cowboys, safety Xavier Woods left with a chest injury, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch injured an ankle, as did defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, and receiver Michael Gallup hurt a hip. ... Eagles punter/holder Cameron Johnston was evaluated for a head injury after taking a hard hit on a blocked punt. Kicker Jake Elliott punted twice in Johnston’s place. Tight end Zach Ertz took over as the holder and the Eagles botched an extra-point attempt in the third quarter that would have given them a 27-26 lead. Tight end Richard Rodgers (shin) was carted to the locker room at Arizona, where Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams (ankle) left late in the first half. ... Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams suffered a concussion against the Rams.
“I know you guys are used to Seattle always going to the playoffs — I’m not used to this. “I’m just excited. It feels good, man. This is what you dream of.” — Safety Jamal Adams on his first trip to the post-season after a trade from the Jets to the Seahawks.
“It’s tough, but I’m not going to lose my faith and I’m not going to lose my spirit in this organization and what we can do. My confidence and my level of play and leadership is going to continue to grow.” — Texans QB Deshaun Watson following a 27-20 loss at Indianapolis that dropped Houston to 4-10.
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The Associated Press