|Dolphins finally end slide, Patriots move to 14-0|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 16 December 2007 23:46|
The Dolphins got their first victory of the season after 13 losses on a day when their undefeated team of 35 years ago was honored. Perhaps it was the presence of seven Hall of Famers from that team as honorary captains that finally made the difference in a 22-16 overtime victory Sunday against reeling Baltimore.
``I talked to Coach Shula, and I told him we would win,'' Miami defensive end Jason Taylor said. ``I'm glad we did. I can't lie to Coach Shula.''
And he didn't, thanks to Baltimore's Matt Stover missing a 44-yard field goal in the extra period, then Miami's Greg Camarillo turning a short completion into a 64-yard touchdown.
``I've been looking forward to this day for quite some time,'' said coach Cam Cameron after getting his first NFL win as a head coach.
For one afternoon, the Dolphins got to feel what has become a habit for New England. The Patriots beat the New York Jets 20-10 in icy, windy conditions and became the second NFL team to go 14-0. The other was the 1972 Miami club that went on to take the Super Bowl.
``As long as that zero stays in that (loss) column, I'm cool with it,'' star receiver Randy Moss said.
Also Sunday, Tampa Bay clinched the NFC North by routing Atlanta 37-7, and San Diego took the AFC West with a 51-14 romp past Detroit. Indianapolis clinched a first-round playoff bye with its 21-14 victory at Oakland. Green Bay did the same after its 33-14 victory at St. Louis.
Elsewhere, it was Philadelphia 10, Dallas 6; Jacksonville 29, Pittsburgh 22; Cleveland 8, Buffalo 0; Carolina 13, Seattle 10; New Orleans 31, Arizona 24; Tennessee 26, Kansas City 17; and Washington 22, NY Giants 10.
The weekend began with Houston's 31-13 win over Denver on Thursday night, then continued on Saturday night, when San Francisco downed Cincinnati 20-13.
The Monday night game is Chicago at Minnesota.
Dolphins 22, Ravens 16, OT
Miami snapped a 16-game losing streak and sent Baltimore (4-10) to a franchise-record eighth consecutive defeat.
Camarillo broke over the middle on third down and had two steps on the secondary when he caught a pass from Cleo Lemon near midfield. Camarillo sprinted to the end zone for his first NFL touchdown, and his jubilant teammates ran after him to create a mob scene in the corner of Dolphin Stadium.
``Man, I haven't run in the open field in a long time,'' Camarillo said. ``To see it open up, to see the end zone, to see everybody cheering, it was a great feeling.''
With their first victory since Dec. 10, 2006, the Dolphins avoided matching the worst start in NFL history, 0-14 by the 1976 expansion Buccaneers and the 1980 Saints.
Patriots 20, Jets 10
Host New England clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs even though Tom Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season. Laurence Maroney ran for 104 yards, just the fourth time this season a New England rusher surpassed 100.
On New York's second offensive play, Richard Seymour slammed Kellen Clemens to the ground in the Jets' end zone, forcing a bad throw and an interception that Eugene Wilson returned 5 yards for a touchdown. Clemens didn't return.
Coach Bill Belichick and Jets coach Eric Mangini, his former friend and protege who turned him in for using a sideline videocamera in violation of NFL rules after the season opener, had a pleasant exchange at game's end.
Belichick smiled all the way from the sideline until he reached Mangini and appeared to say, ``Great game, awesome,'' as they shook hands. Then Belichick walked away, pumping his first twice over his head.
The NFL fined Belichick $500,000 and the team $250,000 and took away their first-round draft choice next year for the illegal taping.
Buccaneers 37, Falcons 3
At Tampa, Fla., Micheal Spurlock ran back a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, the first in the franchise's 32 seasons, and Tampa Bay won the NFC South for the second time in three seasons. The Bucs (9-5) improved to 5-0 in the division after going 0-6 against NFC South rivals a year ago.
It's the fifth straight season the team winning the NFC South finished last the previous season.
Ronde Barber returned an interception 29 yards for a TD and Earnest Graham scored a touchdown rushing in a team-record sixth consecutive game.
The loss was the fifth in a row for Atlanta (3-11). It capped a tumultuous week that began with suspended star quarterback Michael Vick being sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring, a lopsided loss to New Orleans and the abrupt resignation of first-year coach Bobby Petrino.
Chargers 51, Lions 14
At San Diego, the Chargers (9-5) repeated as AFC West champions by beating the punchless Lions for their fourth straight win and eighth in 10 games.
LaDainian Tomlinson had 116 yards and two scores on 15 carries in one half. Backup Darren Sproles ran for 122 yards and two TDs after that. It was the first time in Chargers history two backs rushed for more than 100 yards in the same game.
Detroit's Jon Kitna tied his career high with five interceptions. Three came in the span of six plays in the first half, leading to 17 points, as the Lions (6-8) lost their sixth in a row.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie broke a 46-year-old Chargers record with his 10th interception of the season, tops in the NFL. Cromartie's 10 picks have come in the past nine games, and he's been a starter for the past six. Cromartie also recovered a fumble on a kickoff.
Colts 21, Raiders 14
At Oakland, Calif., the win clinched Indianapolis' fifth straight AFC South title, making the Colts the first team to post five straight 12-win seasons.
Peyton Manning threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to rookie Anthony Gonzalez with 4:49 remaining for the Colts' only offensive touchdown. The Colts (12-2) trailed 14-13 after Justin Fargas' 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter. But Manning completed all seven passes on the ensuing drive of 91 yards for the go-ahead score. Joseph Addai ran in the 2-point conversion.
T.J. Rushing's 90-yard punt return was a highlight for Indy.
The Raiders (4-10) are assured of their fifth straight double-digit loss season.
Packers 33, Rams 14
At St. Louis, Brett Favre threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns, eclipsing Dan Marino to become the NFL career leader in yards passing. Greg Jennings and Donald Lee caught scoring passes and kicker Mason Crosby was 4-for-4 from 44, 50, 25 and 46 yards for Green Bay, which secured a first-round playoff bye for the first time since 1997.
The Packers (12-2) are 6-1 on the road.
When Favre set the record on a 7-yard toss to Donald Driver on the Packers' first drive of the fourth quarter, he had thousands of fans rooting for him in every corner of the stadium. Favre was 19-for-30, throwing his 25th and 26th touchdown passes, with two interceptions.
Atari Bigby had two interceptions and Nick Barnett had two of the Packers' four sacks of Marc Bulger, back after missing two games with a concussion.
Steven Jackson had 143 yards on 23 carries for the Rams (3-11), who are 1-6 at home.
Eagles 10, Cowboys 6
Philadelphia had lost three straight and was still smarting from a nationally televised blowout loss to Dallas six weeks ago. The visiting Eagles (6-8) ended the Cowboys' seven-game winning streak and prevented them from tying the franchise record for wins in a season.
Philadelphia could've won by more when Brian Westbrook broke free for a 24-yard run with a little more than 2 minutes left. Instead of sprinting into the end zone, he stopped at the 1. Dallas (12-2) was out of timeouts, so the Eagles were able to take a knee on three straight plays rather than take any chances.
Tony Romo started 0-for-6 and wasn't doing much better when he injured his throwing hand in the third quarter. Romo was 13-for-36 for 214 yards. All three of his interceptions came on balls forced to Terrell Owens. He also was sacked four times, all on the final two drives, when his banged-up hand bothered him so much he dropped a ball while cocking to throw.
Jaguars 29, Steelers 22
At Pittsburgh, Fred Taylor scored the winning touchdown on a 12-yard run in the final 2 minutes while gaining 147 yards and the Jaguars (10-4) withstood the bad weather and Pittsburgh's fourth-quarter comeback.
The Steelers (9-5), losing at home for the first time in eight games, fell into a tie with the Browns for the AFC North lead. The Steelers own the tiebreaker. Pittsburgh's last chance of tying it ended when Heath Miller was stopped a half-yard short of a first down on fourth-and-7 pass from the Jacksonville 45 in the final minute.
The Steelers were down 22-7 after David Garrard threw three touchdown passes, only to tie it by scoring twice in 7 1/2 minutes with the help of two missed extra points by Jacksonville.
Browns 8, Bills 0
At wintry Cleveland, Jamal Lewis plowed for 163 yards and Phil Dawson somehow kicked two field goals through harsh winds. The Browns (9-5) picked up one of their biggest wins since returning as an expansion franchise in 1999 and will clinch their first playoff appearance since 2002 with a win at Cincinnati next week.
It was Cleveland's first shutout since 2005 and just the Browns' third since 1999. And Lewis moved over 1,000 yards with his fourth 100-yard game this season.
The Bills (7-7) were eliminated from making the postseason.
Panthers 13, Seahawks 10
Rookie Matt Moore, the fourth starting QB for the Panthers this season, engineered three scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
Coming in with six losses in seven games and with coach John Fox sitting on the hot seat, the host Panthers (6-8) turned in their best defensive performance of the season. Moore surprisingly outplayed Matt Hasselbeck as the NFC West champion Seahawks (9-5) had their five-game winning streak snapped.
In a game that was scoreless until the fourth quarter, Moore led the Panthers on two scoring drives, the last ending with John Kasay's 37-yard field goal with 2:59 left that gave Carolina a 6-3 lead.
On the next possession, Hasselbeck fumbled on a sack by Thomas Davis and Carolina's Richard Marshall recovered. That led to DeAngelo Williams' 35-yard touchdown run with 1:20 left that put it away.
Saints 31, Cardinals 24
At New Orleans, Drew Brees connected on 87 percent of his throws for 315 yards and two touchdowns, capping his day with a clutch, 22-yard third-down completion to Billy Miller that allowed the Saints to run out the clock. When New Orleans (7-7) last played in the Louisiana Superdome two games ago, a fumble on a botched reverse set up Tampa Bay's winning touchdown inside the final half-minute.
Brees made few mistakes, completing 26 of 30 throws while never turning over the ball. His prettiest pass was a 32-yard rainbow David Patten caught in stride along the sideline for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Brees also found Marques Colston over the middle for a 19-yard score in the first quarter that tied the game at 7. Colston finished with eight receptions for 114 yards.
Arizona fell to 6-8.
Titans 26, Chiefs 17
Vince Young passed for 191 yards and two touchdowns and Rob Bironas kicked four field goals for a much-needed victory that kept the visiting Titans (8-6) alive in the AFC wild-card chase.
With the stadium about half empty on the sunny, chilly afternoon, the Chiefs (4-10) lost their seventh in a row and closed out their most miserable home season in 30 years, going 2-6 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Roydell Williams caught four passes for 94 yards, including touchdowns of 16 and 41 yards. Bironas, who came in leading the NFL in field goals, connected from 37, 37, 30 and 25 yards for the Titans.
Redskins 22, Giants 10
Clinton Portis ran for 126 yards and a touchdown and Todd Collins led the Redskins on five scoring drives in his first start in 10 years. The win was the second straight for the visiting Redskins (7-7) and it moved them within a half-game of Minnesota for a wild-card berth.
The loss was the third straight at home for the Giants (9-5), and was costly as Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey was lost for the season with a broken left leg early in the second half.
Portis scored on a 5-yard run, Ladell Betts got in from 14 yards on a draw play and Shaun Suisham kicked three field goals on a blustery evening.