Share this article

print logo

Browns, Chargers, Bucs strengthen hands Playoff chances brighten with victories

Cleveland, San Diego and Tampa Bay scored important victories in the NFL on Sunday, impacting the races for playoff berths.

The Browns, perhaps the NFL's most exciting and surprising team, defeated visiting Houston, 27-17, strengthened their wild-card hopes and are a half-game back AFC North leader Pittsburgh, which will host the winless Miami Dolphins tonight.

With the help of Denver's 37-34 overtime loss in Chicago, San Diego took sole possession of first place in the AFC West with a 32-14 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens.

Tampa Bay held off the Washington Redskins, 19-13, and now leads the NFC South by two games over New Orleans.

Top dog

Bears 37, Broncos 34

Closing line: Bears (-1 1/2 ).

The scoop: Chicago came from 14 down in the last 5:17 and won in overtime on Robbie Gould's 39-yard field goal. . . . Bernard Berrian's twisting catch, barely inbounds, for a touchdown on fourth down from the 3 allowed the Bears to tie the game with 28 seconds left. . . . Devin Hester had two more scoring returns for the Bears, both in the third quarter -- a 75-yard punt return and an 88-yard kickoff return.

Play of the game: Charles Tillman blocked a punt and Brandon McGowan recovered, giving Chicago the ball on the Broncos' 18. That led to a 4-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson to start the Bears' comeback.

Next: Bears home to Giants; Broncos at Raiders.


49ers 37, Cardinals 31

Closing line: Cards (-10 1/2 ).

The scoop: Kurt Warner fumbled in the end zone and Tully Banta-Cain recovered for the winning touchdown in overtime. . . . The 49ers, who hadn't scored a touchdown in 11 quarters, scored four in regulation including runs of 11 and 35 yards by Frank Gore. . . . Before Warner's fumble, Neil Rackers missed a 32-yard field goal that would have won it for Arizona in OT.

Play of the game: Trent Dilfer's 2-yard pass to tight end Vernon Davis with 36 seconds left in the first ended San Francisco's long TD drought.

Next: Cardinals home to Browns; 49ers at Panthers.

Browns 27, Texans 17

Closing line: Browns (-3).

The scoop: There were no last-minute or overtime dramatics for the Browns. This was pretty routine. Derek Anderson threw two touchdown passes, Jamal Lewis rushed for 134 yards and a TD and Kellen Winslow had 10 catches as the Browns won their fifth straight at home. . . . Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson (759 points) moved past Hall of Famer Jim Brown on Cleveland's career list. . . . The Browns wore throwback uniforms from the 1950s.

Play of the game: Braylon Edwards made a 9-yard reception on fourth-and-2 and withstood a monstrous hit by Houston linebacker DeMeco Ryans to set up a score just before halftime.

Quote: "I told you we were going to turn some heads." -- Winslow.

Next: Browns at Cardinals; Texans at Titans.

Chargers 32, Ravens 14

Closing line: Chargers (-8 1/2 ).

The scoop: Beginning with their loss to the Bills, the Ravens have lost five in a row, the longest losing streak in franchise history. . . . Philip Rivers, who heard boos after overthrowing receivers early in the game, threw two of his three touchdown passes to tight end Antonio Gates, and LaDainian Tomlinson passed the 10,000-yard career rushing mark for the Bolts.

Play of the game: Tomlinson's 36-yard run in the third quarter made him the 23rd player in NFL history to reach 10,000 yards.

Next: Chargers at Chiefs; Ravens home to Patriots on Monday night.

Best of rest

Seahawks 24, Rams 19

Closing line: Seahawks (-3).

The scoop: Rams quarterback Gus Frerotte fumbled the snap on fourth-and-goal at the Seattle 1-yard line with 27 seconds left, and the Seahawks escaped with their third straight victory. St. Louis (0-5 at home) had a first down at the 4 with more than a minute to play. . . . The Rams led, 19-7, at the half. . . . Frerotte was playing in place of Marc Bulger, who left the game with a concussion.

Play of the game: Josh Wilson returned a kickoff 89 yards for a Seattle touchdown in the first quarter.

Quote: "We were fortunate today. I don't think we played our best football." -- Seattle coach Mike Holmgren.

Next: Seahawks at Eagles; Rams home to Falcons.

Raiders 20, Chiefs 17

Closing line: Chiefs (-5).

The scoop: Oakland ended three bad streaks. The Raiders had lost their last 17 division games, their last nine in Kansas City and their last six this season. Oakland's last division win was over Denver, 25-24, on Nov. 28, 2004. . . . Justin Fargas ran for 139 yards and became the first Raiders back to rush for 100 yards at Arrowhead Stadium in 29 years. Remember, Oakland once had a guy named Marcus Allen and another named Bo Jackson.

Play of the game: LaMont Jordan, on what was intended to be a halfback pass, scurried in from 5 yards out when he saw the pass wasn't open but the running lanes were.

Next: Raiders home to Broncos; Chiefs home to Chargers.

Bengals 35, Titans 6

Closing line: Titans (-1 1/2 ).

The scoop: Celebrating his first touchdown since Sept. 16, Bengals receiver Chad Johnson commandeered a television camera behind the end zone, swung it around and aimed it at the field. He drew a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration. Johnson eclipsed Carl Pickens' club mark with his 531st career reception in the second quarter. He had a career-high 12 catches and scored three touchdowns . . . Tennessee lost its third straight, has faded right out of the AFC South picture and has fallen behind Jacksonville and Cleveland in the AFC wild-card race.

Quote: "Thoughts, man, just thoughts, trying to see what's going on, what's the problem, what we need to do to get back to where we need to be at." -- Titans quarterback Vince Young, who stayed on the bench for seven minutes after the game ended.

Next: Bengals at Steelers; Titans home to Texans.

Saints 31, Panthers 6

Closing line: Saints (-2).

The scoop: Drew Brees led the Saints to 21 third-quarter points, throwing for two touchdowns and running for a third. . . . The Panthers lost their fifth straight. . . . Panthers quarterback Vinny Testaverde did not play because of a stiff back, and David Carr enjoyed a rough day as his replacement. He threw seven straight incompletions to start the game.

Next: Saints home to Buccaneers; Panthers home to 49ers.

Dog of the day

Bucs 19, Redskins 13

Closing line: Bucs (-3).

The scoop: Brian Kelly picked off a Jason Campbell throw in the end zone with 17 seconds left to preserve the victory. It was the sixth Redskins turnover. Ronde Barber became Tampa Bay's all-time interceptions leader with his 32nd pick. . . . Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia injured his lower back on the first play and missed most of the game. He was replaced by Bruce Gradkowski.

Next: Buccaneers at Saints; Redskins home to Bills.

Compiled from Associated Press and News wire services

There are no comments - be the first to comment