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Sunday, 14 December 2008 12:40
NFL Headline News

 INDIANAPOLIS F(AP) -The Indianapolis Colts weren't themselves Sunday. Against winless Detroit, they didn't need to be.
The Lions, seemingly on their way to the first 0-16 season in NFL history, were victimized in the fourth quarter by Peyton Manning and the Colts, falling 31-21.
Despite a litany of missed tackles and two lost fumbles, Manning kept the Colts (10-4) on track for a playoff run. And he kept the Lions (0-14) on track for a winless year.
The win was Indy's seventh straight and assured the Colts of a seventh straight season with double-digit victories. More important, it also put Indy on the cusp of earning a seventh consecutive playoff bid.
Despite Detroit's unenviable record, the game was more competitive than expected because of the Colts' continual miscues and Detroit's ability to play keepaway in the second half.
That was nearly enough for a respite, but against Manning, close is never good enough.
The two-time league MVP was 28-of-37 for 318 yards with one TD, throwing primarily to Dallas Clark. Clark set a franchise record for tight ends by catching 12 passes for 142 yards and one TD.
Detroit's Jason Hanson hit a 51-yard field goal to make it 7-3 - a league record 41st field goal from 50 yards or longer, breaking a tie with Morten Andersen.
Texans 13, Titans 12
HOUSTON (AP) - Andre Johnson atoned for one of the worst games of his career in Houston's first meeting with Tennessee this season with a career-high 207 yards and a touchdown to lead the Texans to their fourth consecutive win.
Kris Brown kicked two field goals for Houston.
It was an uninspired showing for the Titans (12-2), who have already clinched the AFC South and a first-round playoff bye, but could have secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win and a Pittsburgh loss later Sunday.
Already eliminated from contention, the Texans (7-7) are shooting for the first winning season in franchise history. Sunday marked the first time they've won four games in a row, and the victory snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Titans.
Johnson was down on himself for weeks after catching just two passes for 29 yards and dropping two would-be touchdown passes in a 31-12 loss to the Titans in September. On Sunday, Johnson got going early, with eight catches for 154 yards before halftime. It was the most first-half yards receiving in the NFL this season.
He has a career-high 1,408 yards receiving this season.
s rushing in the teams' first meeting, making him the only player to rush for more than 100 yards against the Titans this season.
Dolphins 14, 49ers 9
MIAMI (AP) - Miami had possession for less than 22 minutes, but held the opposition without a touchdown for the third game in a row and helped its playoff chances.
The 49ers ran 79 plays to 42 for the Dolphins, but Miami tight ends scored the only touchdowns on first-half passes from Chad Pennington. He threw a 61-yarder to David Martin and a 19-yarder to rookie Joey Haynos, making the first reception of his career.
San Francisco reached the Miami 21 before its final threat ended when Shaun Hill was sacked on fourth-and-10 by Joey Porter with 1:02 left.
The surprising Dolphins (9-5) won for the seventh time in eight games. They can earn their first playoff berth since 2001 by sweeping their final two games, which would be a remarkable achievement for a team that went 1-15 last year.
The 49ers (5-9), trying to play spoilers, fell short in their bid to beat an AFC East team for the third week in a row.
Jets 31, Bills 27
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - One big hit and one favorable bounce kept New York in control of its playoff destiny.
Abram Elam sacked J.P. Losman and Shaun Ellis picked up the fumble and rumbled 11 yards into the end zone with 1:54 left for the go-ahead score.
The Jets (9-5) will win the AFC East with victories in their finals two games, against Seattle and Miami.
With Buffalo (6-8) nursing a 27-24 lead and appearing close to wrapping up its first win against a division opponent, Losman was hit from behind by a blitzing Elam. The ball squirted out and bounced around before Ellis grabbed it and ran down the sideline for a touchdown.
It was a hectic scene as bodies flew everywhere near the end zone, with even referee Jeff Triplette getting knocked to the turf, bloodying his nose. He worked the rest of the game wiping his face with a towel.
Buffalo got the ball back twice, with both drives ending on interceptions.
Falcons 13, Buccaneers 10, OT
ATLANTA (AP) - Michael Turner ran for 152 yards, John Abraham had three sacks and Jason Elam kicked a 34-yard field goal in overtime.
Atlanta twice turned it over near the Tampa Bay end zone and had a huge breakdown on special teams, allowing Tampa Bay to block a punt with less than 3 minutes left in regulation. That set up Matt Bryant's tying field goal with 48 seconds left.
But the Falcons (9-5) stuffed Tampa Bay on the first possession of overtime as Abraham sacked fill-in quarterback Brian Griese on third down. After the punt, Atlanta drove for Elam's winning kick, handing the Bucs (9-5) their second straight loss and tightening the NFC South.
The Falcons pulled even with Tampa Bay behind first-place Carolina, strengthening their playoff hopes and ensuring their first winning season since 2004.
Turner had his seventh 100-yard rushing game of the season.
The Bucs had to go without starting quarterback Jeff Garcia (calf injury). Griese completed 26 of 37 for 269 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
Atlanta overcame a subpar game by Matt Ryan, who threw two interceptions and fumbled twice.
Bengals 20, Redskins 13
CINCINNATI (AP) - The Redskins lost for the fifth time in six games, unable to keep up with one of the NFL's lowliest teams. Ryan Fitzpatrick ran for a touchdown and threw for another.
The main intrigue was how the Redskins (7-7) would react to injuries that decimated their offensive line and grumbling by running back Clinton Portis that rippled through the locker room. They held a players-only meeting at midweek after Portis derisively called coach Jim Zorn a ``genius'' for benching him the previous week.
The Bengals (2-11-1) put the finishing touch on Washington's week of acrimony and attrition.
nd a dropped pass late in the game. Washington fell behind 17-0 against a team that considers it a big day when it gets a touchdown.
Fitzpatrick shocked the Redskins' hardscrabble defense by reviving an offense that hadn't reached the end zone in 12 quarters. His 79-yard screen pass to Cedric Benson gave the Bengals their longest play of the season and set up one of the scores.
Chargers 22, Chiefs 21
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The NFL's highest-rated passer would not be stopped. Philip Rivers rallied San Diego from a 21-3 third-quarter deficit, throwing two touchdown passes in the final 73 seconds.
The Chiefs (2-12), helped by a delay-of-game penalty against the Chargers, tried a 50-yard field goal on the final play, but Connor Barth's kick was wide left.
Pending the outcome of Denver's game later Sunday, the victory kept alive the slender playoff hopes of the Chargers (6-8), who came into the season as Super Bowl favorites after losing to New England in last year's AFC title game.
Rivers, who came in with an NFL-best 102.0 passer rating, was 34-for-48 for 346 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
With the sparse Arrowhead Stadium crowd ready to celebrate the Chiefs' third victory, Rivers led San Diego on an 89-yard drive, hitting Malcolm Floyd with a 4-yard scoring pass with 1:13 left, making it 21-16.
After the 2-point conversion pass failed, the ensuing onside kick bounced off the chest of KC's Dwayne Bowe, and Kassim Osgood fell on the ball for San Diego at the Chargers 39. Rivers' first play produced a 39-yard pass to Vincent Jackson to the 19. Then on third-and-1 from the 10, Jackson got open in the end zone and the Chargers seized the lead with 36 seconds left.
Jaguars 20, Packers 16
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Green Bay's slim playoff chances ended in fitting fashion - with another fourth-quarter collapse.
David Garrard threw two touchdowns passes, Maurice Jones-Drew scored twice and the Jaguars snapped a four-game losing streak.
The Packers (5-9) lost on a late drive for the third consecutive week. Carolina beat Green Bay 35-31 two weeks ago with a 55-yard drive in the final two minutes. Houston kicked a winning field goal as time expired to win 24-21 last week.
The latest one came courtesy of Garrard, Dennis Northcutt and Jones-Drew.
The Packers entered the fourth quarter with a 13-7 lead, poised to snap a three-game slide, but Garrard directed two scoring drives that gave Jacksonville (5-9) its second win in eight games.
Seahawks 23, Rams 20
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Olindo Mare's 27-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Seahawks, who broke a six-game slide. Seattle (3-11) tied the game on T.J. Duckett's 1-yard run with 2:47 to go.
The Rams (2-12) scored 17 points in the first half, more than in all but two entire games, while rolling up 243 yards. They reverted to their bumbling form the rest of the way while losing to an injury-ravaged team without Matt Hasselbeck and tackle Walter Jones.
Duckett's touchdown from about a half-yard out capped an 80-yard drive, and the Rams were hampered before getting back the ball when coach Jim Haslett unsuccessfully challenged the ruling from a scrum at the goal line.
The Rams went three-and-out on the ensuing series, leaving the Seahawks time to mount the victorious six-play, 60-yard drive. The big play was a 45-yard pass from Seneca Wallace to a wide-open Deion Branch to the 9.
 

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