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NFL Rewind: Dalton comes to the Bills' rescue with clutch TD pass

Now the real fun can begin.

With the regular season out of the way, 12 National Football League teams can get down to business in the post season. Yes, even the Buffalo Bills.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton became a Buffalo hero when he passed to Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard touchdown play to beat the Ravens, 31-24, at M&T Stadium in Baltimore.

It knocked the Ravens out of the AFC playoffs and put the Bills in for the first time since 1999.

When the dust had settled Sunday, the Tennessee Titans and Bills had nailed down two wild-card berths in the AFC playoffs.

In the NFC, the New Orleans Saints lost but clinched the NFC South. The Atlanta Falcons, whose win over Carolina allowed the Saints to take the division title, earned the final NFC wild-card.

So, it will be Buffalo at Jacksonville and Tennessee at Kansas City in the AFC Wild-Card games next weekend. In the NFC, Atlanta will gave the Rams in Los Angeles and Carolina and New Orleans will hook up for the third time this season.

A capsule look at Sunday's Week 17 games:

Game of the day

Bengals 31, Ravens 27

The scoop: As far as Bills fans are concerned this one was an all-time masterpiece, Andy Dalton passed 49 yards to Tyler Boyd with 44 seconds left to win it for Cincinnati, knock Baltimore out of the AFC playoffs and put the Bills in. Dalton passed for three TDs,  and Darqueze Dennard returned an interception 89 yards to give Cincinnati a 24-10 lead in the third quarter.

Why the Bengals won: After leading almost the entire game, they fell behind, 27-24 on Joe Flacco's 6-yard pass to Mike Wallace with 8:48 left. However, Dalton took his team 90 yards in 11 plays for the winner.

Goin' dancing

Patriots 26, Jets 6
The scoop: Tom Brady threw 5-yard TD passes to Brandin Cooks and Dion Lewis in the second quarter and the Jets had no offense to match that. Lewis also scored on a 3-yard run and had 133 scrimmage yards (93 rushing and 40 receiving). Rob Gronkowski has no receptions for New England playing about half the game, but he was never targetted.
Why the Patriots won: New York crossed midfield only three times in the game's first 55 minutes and ended up attempting a field goal each time.

Steelers 28, Browns 24
The scoop: Pittsburgh went with backup Landry Jones at quarterback the entire game and did not play running back Le'Veon Bell. They were saved for a standout performance by rookie Ju Ju Smith-Schuster, who caught nine passes for 143 yards and a touchdown and returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score after Cleveland had tied the game at 21 in the third quarter.

Why the Steelers won: Cleveland's last chance to win a game this season ended when Corey Coleman dropped pass on fourthand-2 from the Steelers' 27 with 1:46 to play.

Chiefs 27, Broncos 24

The scoop: Harrison Butker kicked a 30-yard field goal on the last play to win it for Denver after a 6-yard pass from Paxton Lynch to Demaryius Thomas had tied it for Denver with 2:53 left. Rookie Patrick Mahomes started at quarterback for Kansas City and completed 22 of 35 for 284 yards but no touchdowns.

Why the Chiefs won: Lynch of the Broncos was intercepted twice and lost a fumble.

 

Titans 15, Jaguars 10

The scoop: Marcus Mariota connected with Derrick Henry on a 66-yard pass play in the second quarter and Ryan Succop kicked three field goals to give Tennessee the win it needed to earn the first wild-card playoff berth in the AFC.
Why the Titans won: Although starter QB Blake Bortles and RB Leonard Fournette played the Jaguars' offense produced no touchdowns.

Cowboys 6, Eagles 0
The scoop: Dak Prescott passed 20 yards to Brice Butler with 12:19 left after 47 minutes and 41 seconds of scoreless football. For a while it threatened to be the first 0-0 tie in the NFL since 1943.
Why the Cowboys won: Eagles quarterbacks Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld had a combined passer rating of 67.4 Philadelphia was limited to 219 total yards.

Vikings 23, Bears 10

The scoop: Chicago's only touchdown came on a 59-yard punt return by Bryce Callahan. ... Case Keenum turned in a workmanlike game at quarterback for Minnesota completing 21 of 29 for 189 yards with just one TD, but no interceptions.
Why the Vikings won: The limited Chicago to 53 yards of offense in the first half and 201 overall.

49ers 34, Rams 13
The scoop: Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns and remained undefeated as a starting quarterback for San Francisco. One of the TD passes went to ex Bills receiver Marquise Goodwin.

Why the 49ers won: The Rams held back some of their starters. Sean Mannion started at quarterback in place of Jared Goff. Running back Todd Gurley was not active and receivers Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods were dressed but did not play.

Buccaneers 31, Saints 24
The scoop: Jameis Winston passed 39 yards to rookie Chris Godwin with 9 seconds left to win it. Rookie Alvin Kamara of the Saints returned a kickoff 106 yards to tie the game at 7-7 in the first quarter. Despite the loss New Orleans claimed the NFC South championship and the No. 4 seed in the playoffs because Carolina lost at Atlanta.

Why the Bucs won: They piled up 455 yards of offense including 363 passing yards by Winston.

 

Falcons 22, Panthers 10

The scoop: Atlanta edged into the playoffs as the No. 6 seed with the win and kept Carolina from claiming the NFC-South championship. The Panthers will be the fifth seed as the first wild card in the post season. Matt Bryant kicked five field goals for the Falcons. Matt Ryan threw one touchdown pass.

Why the Falcons won: Cam Newton of the Panthers threw three second-half interceptions, the last from the Atlanta 19-yard line with 8 seconds left.

Sitting this one out

Cardinals 26, Seahawks 24

The scoop: That man Phil Dawson kicked his fourth field goal of the game, from 42 yards with 2:21 to play to give Arizona the victory and end whatever playoff chances Seattle had.

Why the Cardinals won: Seattle converted only 1 of 12 third downs.

Chargers 30, Raiders 10
The scoop: Philip Rivers passed for three touchdowns including a 56-yarder to Tyrone Williams and a 62-yarder to T. Benjamin but despite the win L.A. lost a tiebreaker to the Bills and Titans.

Why the Chargers won: They scored touchdowns on three of their five first-half possessions to take a 20-10 lead.

Colts 22, Texans 13
The scoop: Frank Gore ran for 100 yards, passing the 14,000 career mark to move to No. 5 on the all-time list. Jacoby Brissett of the Colts passed for only 114 yards but he passed for one TD and ran for another and had no turnovers.
Why the Colts won: They shut out Houston in the second half. The Texans punted four times, gave up a safety and had an interception in six second-half possession.

Giants 18, Redskins 10
The scoop: Orleans Darkwa ran 75 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the game and Eli Manning passed for another first-quarter score, and the Redskins never caught up.
Why the Giants won: With Darkwa totaling 154, they had 260 rushing yards while Washington managed just 197 total yards.

Dog of the day

Lions 35, Packers 11
The scoop: Matthew Stafford passed for three touchdowns in the victory, giving him 29 for the season. One was a 74-yarder to Kenny Golladay another was 71 yards to Golden Tate.
Why the Lions won: Green Bay had four turnovers, three in Detroit territory.

News wire services contributed to this report.

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