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NFL Rewind: Still three-way fight in AFC West

 

Nobody budged in the red-hot AFC West race as Oakland, Kansas City and Denver all won, but there was some movement creating ties for the lead in NFC South and AFC South in Sunday's Week 13 games in the National Football League.

Oakland leads the West at 10-2, tied with New England for the best record in the conference, and Kansas City (9-3) and Denver (8-4) are the AFC Wild Card leaders.

Tennessee moved into a tie with Houston at 6-6 for first place in the AFC South, just by having the day off. Houston's loss in snowy Green Bay dropped the Texans out of sole possession of the division lead. If Indianapolis wins its game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Monday night, there will be a three-way tie for the division lead.

Atlanta's loss at home to Kansas City on a two-point return of an extra-points attempt, left the Falcons tied with streaking Tampa Bay 7-5.

A capsule look at Sunday's Week 13 games:

Game of the day

Chiefs 29, Falcons 28

The scoop:  Eric Berry intercepted Matt Ryan's pass attempt for a two-point conversion and returned itn 99 yards with 4:32 left to give Kansas City the victory. Berry also scored on a 37-yard interception return in the second quarter to put the Chiefs in front, 20-13. They added to their lead when Adrian Wilson ran 55 yards on a fake-point play. The Falcons rallied to take the lead, 28-27, on two 80-yard scoring drives. They went ahead on a 5-yard pass from Ryan to Aldrick Robinson before Berry stepped in front of rookie tight end Austin Hooper and raced for the winning points.
Why the Chiefs won: Atlanta had 32 first downs, converted 6 of 10 third downs  and had 418 yards total offense, but the Chiefs again made huge plays when they needed.

The contenders

Ravens 38, Dolphins 6

The scoop: Baltimore scored on four of its five first-half possessions building a 24-0 lead. The loss ended Miami's win streak at six games and dropped the Dolphins behind Denver in the American Conference wild-card race. Joe Flacco of the Ravens completed 36 of 47 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns, two to tight end Dennis Pitta. Another to Brett Perriman covered 53 yards.
Why the Ravens won: They took the lead on the opening series and never let up. Also the picked off three Ryan Tannehill passes although only one led to a Baltimore score.

Seahawks 40, Panthers 7

The scoop: Seattle ran off 30 straight points after Carolina had closed to 10-7 on a 55-yard Cam Newton to Thomas Ginn Jr., pass. Newton did not start at quarterback because he was disciplined for violating a team rule. Thomas Rawls ran for two scores and Tyler Lockett broke away for 75 for Seattle. The Seahawks rolled up more than 500 yards of offense, rare for them.

Why the Seahawks won: The Panthers aren't showing much interest these days.

 

Packers 21, Texans 13

The scoop: On a snowy field in Green Bay, the Packer broke open a tie game with two long drives for fourth quarter touchdowns. One covered 98 yards, the other 89. Houston closed to within eight on a 44-yard pass from Brock Osweiler to DeAndre Hopkins. Osweiler passed for two touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers, playing on a bad leg, passed for two of the Packers scores.
Why the Packers won: Houston coach Bill O'Brien ordered a punt from the Green Bay 36 in a tie game late in the third quarter. Green Bay drove 98 yards the other way to change the course of the game.

Patriots 26, Rams 10

The scoop: Tom Brady won his 201st game (counting playoffs) as a starting quarterback an NFL record. He has 179 regular-season wins, one fewer than Peyton Manning and seven behind Brett Favre. New England took the lead on a 43-yard run by LeGarrette Blount on its first possession and never really was in danger.
Why the Patriots won: They scored only two touchdowns, none in the second half, but the Los Angeles offense with rookie Jared Goff at quarterback was totally ineffective. The Rams had only seven first downs in the game, one in the first half when they had 25 yards of offense.

Lions 28, Saints 13

The scoop: The shootout between Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees never developed. Stafford passed for Detroit's two touchdowns. Matt Prater kicked five field goals for the Lions who were only 1 for 5 in Red Zone opportunities. New Orleans had five second half possessions and Brees threw interceptions on three of them. The NFL leader with 30 touchdown passes, Brees had none against the Lions.
Why the Lions won: Instead of their usual fourth-quarter comeback heroics, this time they put it out of reach on a 66-yard TD pass from Stafford to Golden Tate.

Broncos 20, Jaguars 10

The scoop: Rookie Paxton Lynch started in place of injured Trevor Siemian at quarterback for Denver. He was an unimpressive 12 for 24 passing for 104 yards with a long gain of 18 yards. Leading 10-3 at the break, the Broncos had only one first down in the second half, but got a touchdown on a 51-yard interception return by Bradley Roby to make it 17-3 in the third quarter.
Why the Broncos won: Jacksonville outgained Denver, 333-206, but never reached the Red Zone. The Jaguars' only touchdown was on a 22-yard run by quarterback Blake Bortles, who was intercepted twice and lost a fumble.

Steelers 24, Giants 14

The scoop: Pittsburgh led it all the way after Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers was called for defensive holding in the end zone for a safety with 3:04 left in the first quarter. The Steelers boosted their lead to 14-0 at halftime. Ben Roethlisberger passed for the two Pittsburgh touchdowns. The rest of Pittsburgh's  points, besides the two-point safety, came on field goals.
Why the Steelers won: One of two interceptions by the Pittsburgh defense, by linebacker Lawrence Timmons, and his  58-yard return set up the first Steelers TD for an 11-0 lead. Also, they pass-protected well for Roethlisberger, allowing just two sacks.

Buccaneers 28, Chargers 21

The scoop: The resurgent Buccaneers won their fourth in a row. After trailing much of the way, Tampa Bay took the lead on a 12-yard pass from Jameis Winston to tight end Cameron Brate, a Harvard man, with 9:01 left in the fourth quarter. The Bucs outscored the Chargers, 11-0, in the fourth quarter. San Diego's last possession ended in an interception by safety Keith Tandy with 2:56 left. Winston completed 20 of 30 for 280 yards.
Why the Bucs won: San Diego crossed midfield only twice after the Chargers had taken a 14-7 lead in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Melvin Gordon.

The Wannabes

Bengals 32, Eagles 14

The scoop:  Andy Dalton directed scoring drives in Cincinnati's first six possessions including all five in the first half for a 29-0 lead as the Bengals ended their losing streak at three. Dalton completed 23 of 31 for 332 yards and two touchdowns
Why the Bengals won: Besides being efficient on offense, they held the Eagles to 53 yards rushing and intercepted rookie quarterback Carson Wendt three times.

Cardinals 31, Redskins 23

The scoop: Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes, both in the fourth quarter in the Arizona victory. The first covered 25 yards to running back David Johnson to put the Cards in front, 24-20, with 11:09 left. The second to J.J. Nelson for 42 yards with 1:56 left made it an eight-point margin. Patrick Peterson's interception of a Kirk Cousins pass at the Arizona 18 with  41 seconds left sealed it.
Why the Cardinals won: A fumble by Cousins set up scoring drive of 10 yards and the first of three straight touchdowns by the Cardinals in the second half.

 

Dog of the day

Bears 26, 49ers 6

The scoop: Trailing 6-0, Chicago scored in three straight possession, one late in the first half and two to start the second. Runs by rookie back Jordan Howard capped each drive. Howard carried 32 times for 117 yards. The 49ers completed only 5 of 15 passes at snowy Soldier Field. Colin Kaepernick was 1 for 5 for 4 yards before he was replaced by former starter Blaine Gabbert, who passed for 35 and was tackled in the end zone for  a safety. It was the 11th lost in a row for San Francisco, and Chicago ended a three-game losing streak.
Why the Bears won: They outgained San Francisco, 326-147 and sacked the Niners' quarterbacks six times.

News wire services contributed to this report.

email: mnorthrop@buffnews.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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