NFL-Highlights of Sunday's National Football League games
Dec 24 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Sunday's National Football League games:
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Patriots 37, Bills 16
New England moved a step closer to wrapping up the top seed in the AFC playoffs with the victory over Buffalo.
While the Patriots (12-3) won for the 10th time in 11 games, the Bills (8-7) were dealt a serious blow in their bid to end a 17-year playoff drought.
The Patriots clinched their eighth straight 12-plus-win season, an NFL record. New England hosts the New York Jets needing only a win for the top seed, while the Bills are at Miami next week.
Patriots running back Mike Gillislee snapped a 16-16 tie with a 1-yard run late in the third quarter.
Tom Brady, guilty of a pick-six by Jordan Poyer that gave the Bills a 10-3 second-quarter lead, also threw a TD pass to Rob Gronkowski to reach 30 touchdown passes for the seventh time in his career (fourth most all time). The Bills have never won at Gillette Stadium when Brady has played a complete game.
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Rams 27, Titans 23
Those MVP rumbles for Los Angeles running back Todd Gurley got a bit louder on Sunday.
Gurley became the first player in 31 years to rush for 100-plus yards and produce 150-plus receiving yards in a single game, scoring two touchdowns as Los Angeles (11-4) clinched the NFC West title with the win over Tennessee (8-7)
Gurley ran 21 times for 115 yards while catching 10 passes for 158 yards and touchdowns of 3 and 80 yards. The last player to pull off the 100-150 double was Herschel Walker of the Dallas Cowboys in 1986.
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Chiefs 29, Dolphins 13
Quarterback Alex Smith surpassed the 4,000-yard passing mark for the first time in his 12-year career as Kansas City clinched back-to-back AFC West titles with the win over Miami (6-9).
Smith completed 25 of 39 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill led the Chiefs with six catches for 109 yards and Harrison Butker converted five of six field-goal attempts.
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Saints 23, Falcons 13
Drew Brees threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr., and Mark Ingram II ran 26 yards for a score to power New Orleans to a playoff-clinching victory over Atlanta.
The Saints (11-4) earned the playoff berth after missing the postseason the past three 7-9 seasons. The Falcons failed to score a touchdown in the first 57 minutes and fell to 9-6.
New Orleans can win the NFC South with a victory at Tampa Bay next week or a Carolina loss at Atlanta.
Brees became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to surpass 70,000 career passing yards.
He joined Peyton Manning and Brett Favre as the lone quarterbacks to reach the 70,000 milestone with a 12-yard screen pass to Ingram during the first quarter.
The 38-year-old Brees, however, hit the mark in 248 career games. It took Manning 258 games and Favre 293 to reach 70,000.
Brees is closing in on Manning's all-time passing yardage mark of 71,940. Brees threw for 239 yards to bring his career total to 70,200.
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Panthers 22, Buccaneers 19
Cam Newton picked up his own bobbled snap and ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left, lifting Carolina to a playoff-clinching victory against Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Carolina converted a fourth down on the play prior to the touchdown.
The Panthers (11-4) remain tied with the New Orleans Saints for first place in the NFC South. Carolina would hold a wild-card spot in the playoffs unless it wins next week at Atlanta while the Saints lose at Tampa Bay.
Damiere Byrd's 103-yard kickoff return was one of the highlights for the Panthers.
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Chargers 14, Jets 7
Bidding to become only the second team since the 1970 merger to make the playoffs after an 0-4 start, Los Angeles beat New York.
Though the Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up the AFC West title, the Chargers (8-7) remain alive for a wild-card spot because the Tennessee Titans lost to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Chargers have won five of their past six but looked to be dead after a 30-13 loss in Kansas City on Dec. 16. Things looked shaky against the Jets (5-10), but Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers made clutch passes, running back Melvin Gordon carved up New York's front seven, and the defense, despite giving up long runs to Bilal Powell, bent but did not break.
The Jets drove to the Chargers' 17-yard line with 3:11 to play, but Bryce Petty's fourth-and-7 pass to Robby Anderson fell incomplete.
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Redskins 27, Broncos 11
Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes in perhaps his final home start at FedExField, the defense turned in another stellar effort and Washington (7-8) defeated Denver (5-10).
Cousins will be a free agent after the season unless the Redskins elects to place the franchise tag on him or signs him to a long-term contract.
The Washington defense was stout, keeping the Broncos out of the end zone until the game's final minutes.
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Bears 20, Browns 3
Jordan Howard rushed for two touchdowns, rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky ran one in himself and Chicago (5-10) kept Cleveland winless.
If the Browns (0-15) lose next week's finale at Pittsburgh, they will join the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only NFL teams to go 0-16. With Sunday's defeat, Cleveland secured the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
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Bengals 26, Lions 17
Giovani Bernard rushed for 116 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown as Cincinnati (6-9) eliminated Detroit (8-7) from the playoffs.
Sunday's game might have been Marvin Lewis' last home game as Bengals head coach. Lewis' contract is up after this season and he is reportedly stepping down.
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