|Sunday's NFL Capsules|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 23 December 2007 19:30|
And New England still has one game left to reach an even more amazing goal: the first team to finish a regular season undefeated in 35 years.
Brady threw three touchdown passes, two to Moss, and the Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 28-7 on Sunday to improve to 15-0, the best start in league history. The old mark: Miami's 14-0 in 1972 when the season lasted just 14 games.
Today's disjointed Dolphins (1-14) couldn't protect the record of their dominant predecessors.
If the Patriots beat the New York Giants at the Meadowlands next Saturday night, then go unbeaten in the postseason to finish 19-0, they'll join the Dolphins as the only teams to post a perfect record from opening day until the clock in the championship game runs out.
Brady has 48 touchdown passes, one shy of Peyton Manning's NFL record of 49 set in 2004 and tied with Dan Marino's production in 1984.
Moss reached 21 touchdown receptions, one less than Jerry Rice's mark of 22 set in 12 games in 1987, a strike year.
The Patriots tied their NFL record of 18 consecutive regular-season wins set in 2003-04. They also broke the league mark of 70 touchdowns in one season by the 1984 Dolphins, reaching 71.
Jaguars 49, Raiders 11
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Fred Taylor's 62-yard touchdown run on Jacksonville's opening play set the tone for a rout that propelled the Jaguars into the playoffs.
Taylor finished with 111 yards as the Jaguars (11-4) won for the sixth time in seven games and clinched the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs.
So much for a letdown after last week's big win at Pittsburgh. So much for a Pro Bowl hangover. And so much for having to worry about winning at nemesis Houston in the season finale.
In fact, Jacksonville could use next week to rest several starters and prepare for the first round of the playoffs at either San Diego or Pittsburgh. Coach Jack Del Rio even got a jump on that Sunday, pulling Taylor, quarterback David Garrard and several others in the blowout.
The Raiders (4-11), who took their worst loss of the season, finally turned things over to No. 1 draft pick JaMarcus Russell. Russell was 7-of-23 for 83 yards with a touchdown - a 2-yard pass to Zach Miller with 6 seconds remaining - three interceptions and a fumble.
Giants 38, Bills 21
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - The Giants clinched a playoff berth by overcoming a Bills team inspired by Kevin Everett's return to the field where he was injured.
Brandon Jacobs scored twice and Ahmad Bradshaw had an 88-yard TD run in sloppy conditions as the usually pass-happy Giants leaned heavily on their running attack. Kawika Mitchell's 20-yard interception return produced the go-ahead points and sparked a three-touchdown fourth-quarter rally.
The Giants (10-5), who reached the playoffs for a third straight season, fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter, as the Bills came out fired up after Everett addressed the team before the game. It was the tight end's first appearance in Buffalo since he sustained a serious spinal cord injury in the Bills' season opener Sept. 9.
Everett, who is now walking on his own, watched the ugly and sloppy game from a suite near midfield.
Buffalo (7-8) forced Eli Manning to fumble five times - he lost two of them, and threw two interceptions in winds gusting over 30 mph, and the players were pelted by a persistent rain that turned into snow in the fourth quarter.
Redskins 32, Vikings 21
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Playing the kind of hard-nosed, harder-hitting defense that fallen teammate Sean Taylor was famous for, the Redskins shut down Adrian Peterson and set up two early touchdowns with interceptions to take control of their playoff fate.
Todd Collins was 22-for-29 for 254 yards and two touchdowns and Clinton Portis had 124 total yards, threw a TD pass and ran for another score for the Redskins (8-7), who can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Dallas next week.
Peterson had nowhere to go all night, gaining just 27 yards on nine carries. Tarvaris Jackson's rebound from a difficult start came too late for the Vikings (8-7), who could have clinched a playoff berth with a win.
Titans 10, Jets 6
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Titans are back in control of their chase for their first playoff berth since 2003. Pro Bowler Kyle Vanden Bosch had three of Tennessee's six sacks and Chris Brown ran for a touchdown.
The Titans (9-6) have the edge over Cleveland in tiebreakers if tied for the AFC's final wild-card berth. They still must close out the season with a victory over the defending Super Bowl champs in Indianapolis.
They went out and survived a sloppy game in which Vince Young was sacked three times and made two turnovers. LenDale White finished with 103 yards for his first 1,000-yard rushing season in his second year.
The Jets (3-12) started Tennessee native Chad Pennington for the first time since Oct. 28. He finished with 264 yards passing, and New York outgained Tennessee 296-273 on offense. But he was picked off twice, including once in the end zone by linebacker Keith Bulluck.
Bengals 19, Browns 14
CINCINNATI (AP) - Derek Anderson's consecutive interceptions set up a pair of rapid-fire touchdowns late in the first half, and he threw four in all in a loss that left the Browns scrambling for a playoff spot.
Cleveland (9-6) could have clinched with a victory over the down-and-out Bengals (6-9), who had nothing more than pride on the line and several starters out with injuries. The Browns acted more like the team playing it out: dropped passes, a botched field-goal attempt, coming up short on fourth-and-short. Ultimately, they couldn't overcome a bad game by Anderson, who had his best moments when the intrastate rivals met in a 51-45 win in September.
He tied his career high with the four interceptions, leaving the Browns scuffling with Tennessee for a wild-card berth. With Cleveland's loss, the Pittsburgh Steelers clinched the AFC North title.
One of the NFL's worst defenses allowed Kenny Watson to run for 130 yards and a touchdown for Cincinnati (6-9).
Eagles 38, Saints 23
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Donovan McNabb passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns, jeopardizing the Saints' chances for making the playoffs.
McNabb no longer showed any effects of his rehabilitation from knee surgery last year or an ankle sprain in midseason. His 40-yard scramble on the third play led to a bizarre touchdown after his fumble was recovered in the end zone by Kevin Curtis.
Drew Brees threw for 289 yards and an interception, and lost his best receiver when Marques Colston left the game in the first half with a chest contusion. Still, the Saints (7-8) were in position to tie the game at 21 on the opening drive of the second half when David Patten nearly scored on a short first-down pass.
Saints coach Sean Payton thought Patten had crossed the goal line and challenged the ruling, but the call was upheld. The Eagles then stuffed New Orleans on three straight running plays to preserve their one-touchdown lead, taking over possession at their 2.
Philadelphia (7-8) followed with a 15-play, 98-yard, seven-minute scoring drive that McNabb capped with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis. McNabb also had touchdown passes of 31 yards to Reggie Brown and 7 yards to Curtis.
Seahawks 27, Ravens 6
SEATTLE (AP) - Matt Hasselbeck shook off two interceptions to throw two touchdown passes and Shaun Alexander had his biggest rushing day since Week 4 as the Seahawks clinched the No. 3 seed in the NFC.
Hasselbeck's scores gave him a career-high 27 TD throws this season. One went to Alexander, on a screen pass of 14 yards. That gave Seattle (10-5) a 21-0 lead late in the first half.
Alexander turned a season of being booed at home into holiday cheers by gaining 73 yards on 13 carries. Alexander averaged 42 yards a game in his previous eight games before this romp against the Ravens' depleted defense. Baltimore was missing nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis, Pro Bowl defensive end Trevor Pryce and both starting cornerbacks.
The Ravens (4-11), with 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith completing 16 of 33 passes in his first NFL start, extended their franchise-record losing streak to nine games. It took Smith's 79-yard TD pass to Derrick Mason with 4:41 left for Baltimore to avoid its first shutout since Sept. 15, 2002.
49ers 21, Buccaneers 19
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Shaun Hill passed for three touchdowns to remain unbeaten as an NFL starter, and Michael Clayton landed out of bounds with his catch on a 2-point conversion attempt with 1:20 left for Tampa Bay (9-6).
Nate Clements' 62-yard interception return set up Frank Gore's TD catch with 14:11 left for the 49ers (5-10), who beat a team with a winning record for the first time this year. Darrell Jackson and Vernon Davis also caught touchdown passes for San Francisco, which also won consecutive games for the first time since the season's first two weeks.
Jeff Garcia passed for 196 yards and a touchdown against his former team before coach Jon Gruden removed him and most of the Buccaneers' playmakers late in the first half, apparently to rest the NFC South champions, who'll be the fourth seed, for a playoff game in two weeks. Luke McCown passed for 185 yards in relief for Tampa Bay, which hasn't won in San Francisco in 27 years.
McCown rallied the Bucs for a late 61-yard TD drive in 85 seconds, with Jerramy Stevens catching his second TD pass. But Clayton's foot was clearly out of bounds when he came down with a pass on the 2-point attempt, and San Francisco recovered the onside kick.
Bears 35, Packers 7
CHICAGO (AP) - Green Bay (12-3) can forget about the No. 1 seed in the NFC, which Dallas now owns.
Brian Urlacher returned an interception for a touchdown for the first time in his career, going 85 yards, and Adrian Peterson ran for 102 yards on a frigid afternoon.
Brett Favre was at his worst on a bone-chilling, windy and at times snowy afternoon, and the Packers took their second loss at the hands of their archrivals. He passed for just 9 yards in the first half and 153 overall, giving him 4,058 this season and putting him over the 4,000-yard mark for the fifth time.
He was 17-for-32 and threw two interceptions. Alex Brown picked him off on the first possession of the third quarter, setting up a touchdown that made it 21-7, and Urlacher ran his back early in the fourth period.
The Bears (6-9) blocked two punts by Jon Ryan, who also dropped a snap and booted a 9-yarder.
The Packers had gone 12 years and 929 punts without a block before Darrell McClover knocked one down in the second quarter. More damaging was Charles Tillman's block midway through the third quarter. Corey Graham recovered at the 7 and ran it in for a 28-7 lead.
Colts 38, Texans 15
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes, Joseph Addai and Clifton Dawson ran for TDs, and the Colts scored on six of their first eight possessions.
Co. finished with 458 yards, scored 38 unanswered points and won their sixth in a row.
The Super Bowl MVP was 28-of-35 for 311 yards with a rating of 132.3 before leaving late in the third quarter. Three Indy running backs - Addai, Dawson and Kenton Keith - combined to give the Colts (13-2) their first 100-yard rushing day since Thanksgiving night, and Dallas Clark broke the single-season franchise records for receptions and touchdown catches by a tight end.
Clark caught six passes for 60 yards and two TDs, giving him 57 receptions for 661 yards and 11 TDs this season. Hall of Famer John Mackey held the previous records of 55 receptions and nine TDs.
Bob Sanders, Matt Giordano and Melvin Bullitt all had interceptions. Houston (7-8) was trying to win a franchise record eighth game.
Cardinals 30, Falcons 27, OT
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Neil Rackers kicked a 29-yard field goal to force overtime, then booted one from 31 yards on the first possession of the extra session. Rackers celebrated by sliding on his knees across the grass. He had missed what would have been a game-winning 32-yarder against San Francisco earlier this season.
The Falcons (3-12), who rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead, lost their sixth in a row in a season that has included the loss of star quarterback Michael Vick in a dogfighting scandal and the abrupt departure of coach Bobby Petrino.
Kurt Warner completed 36 of 53 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns, two to Anquan Boldin, who caught 13 for 162 yards. Boldin became the fastest to reach 400 career catches in NFL history.
Chris Redman, starting for the third straight week, engineered Atlanta's comeback, going 28-for-42 for a career-high 315 yards and two scores with one extremely costly interception.
With a victory at home next Sunday against St. Louis, Arizona (7-8) would have its best record since going 9-7 and making the playoffs in 1998. It would be just the third time since 1984 that the Cardinals have not had a losing record.
Lions 25, Chiefs 20
DETROIT (AP) - The Lions took advantage of playing a team slumping more than them and avoided making NFL history.
The Lions (7-8) snapped a six-game losing streak and surpassed the most victories they've had in any of seven seasons under team president Matt Millen. Detroit also guaranteed it won't be the first team in the league to finish 6-10 after winning six of its first eight games.
Kansas City (4-11) has dropped eight straight, the franchise's worst skid since losing nine in a row in 1987.
T.J. Duckett ran for a season-high 102 yards and a touchdown, and Detroit had a 19-point lead in the first half, but the victory wasn't sealed until Chiefs receiver Samie Parker foolishly dived to the ground at the Lions 30 after getting a lateral with no time left.