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Upsets hit Patriots, Texans and Steelers; Chiefs and Cowboys win in OT

You never know what you’re going to get on any given weekend in the National Football League.

Sunday, there were surprises galore, some wacky endings and some gnawing defeats that damaged playoff chances.

Miami over New England, Indianapolis over Houston, the Oakland Raiders over Pittsburgh, San Francisco over Denver were the important upsets.

Dallas’ win in overtime over Philadelphia put the Cowboys two games in front in the NFC East race and left the Eagles, 6-7, in trouble for even a wild card in the NFC.

By winning, Miami and Indianapolis joined Tennessee, which won Thursday, and Baltimore, which lost in OT at Kansas City, all at 7-6 in the battle for the last AFC Wild Card. Denver’s loss at San Francisco looks costly.

The first wild card looks like it will go to Kansas City (11-2) or the Los Angeles Chargers (10-3), whichever does not capture the AFC West. The Chiefs wrapped up a playoff berth with their 27-24 win but the Bolts stayed on their tail with a win over Cincinnati.

New Orleans (11-2), the only team in the NFC South with a winning record, wrapped up that division title and now zeroes in on the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

A capsule look at Sunday’s Week 14 games:

Game of the day

Chiefs 27, Ravens 24 (OT)

The scoop: After missing two field goals in a game for the first time in his career, Harrison Butker kicked a 35-yarder with 4:42 left in overtime and Kansas City stopped the last Baltimore possession. The Ravens were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for their final plays because he suffered an ankle injury in the OT. Kansas City overcame a 24-17 deficit to tie the game on a 5-yard pass from Patrick Mahomes to Damien Williams with 53 seconds left. The score was set up on a fourth-and-9 completion from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill for 48 yards. Butker missed from 43 yards on the final play of regulation.

Why the Chiefs won: They rolled up 441 yards against the NFL’s No. 1 defense. They had four 75-yard drives for touchdowns.

The contenders

Bears 15, Rams 6

The scoop: Mitch Trubisky passed 2 yards to Bradley Sowell on the tackle-eligible play for the game’s only touchdown, and the upset kept the Bears (9-4) firmly in first place in the NFC and dropped L.A. into a tie with New Orleans for the best record in the NFC. Cody Parkey kicked two field goals and Eddie Goldman sacked Jared Goff in the end zone for a safety to give Chicago an 8-6 lead early in the third quarter.

Why the Bears won: They held the Rams to 214 yards total offense and 52 yards rushing, including only 28 by Todd Gurley.

Colts 24, Texans 21

The scoop: Andrew Luck passed for 399 yards and two touchdowns as Indianapolis ended Houston’s win streak at nine games. The Colts went three-and-punt on four straight possessions to start, and Luck threw an interception on the fifth. Indy then scored 17 points before halftime to lead, 17-9. Its only touchdown of the second half, 12 yards from Luck to Zach Pascal, turned out to be the winner. T.Y. Hilton caught nine passes for 199 yards for Indy.

Why the Colts won: Their pass rush got to DeShaun Watson for five sacks, while Luck was taken down only twice by J.J. Watt and his associates.

Dolphins 34, Patriots 33

The scoop: Miami pulled the game out on a 69-yard forward pass-double lateral play as time ran out to win it. Kenyan Drake got the score on a pitch from Devante Parker, who had received a lateral from Kenny Stills after a forward pass by Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins had time for the last play because New England coach Bill Belichick elected to kick a 22-yard field goal with 16 seconds left for a 33-28 lead instead of running off more time with a touchdown try.

Why the Dolphins won: Tannehill matched Tom Brady’s three touchdown passes and had a 155.2 passer rating.

Saints 28, Buccaneers 14

The scoop: New Orleans was in trouble, trailing 14-3, when Taysom Hill blocked a Tampa Bay punt in the third quarter, setting up the Saints’ first touchdown of the game, a 1-yard pass from Drew Brees to Zach Line. That began a run of 25 unanswered points as New Orleans pulled out the victory and clinched the division title. Michael Thomas had 11 catches for 98 yards for the Saints, giving him 102 and 1,218 for the season.

Why the Saints won: They shut out the Bucs in the second half, limiting them to 81 yards total offense.

Chargers 26, Bengals 21

The scoop: The Chargers scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, but had only four Michael Badgley field goals to show for their last eight series. L.A. never trailed but never was able to relax until time ran out on the last Cincinnati possession.

Why the Chargers won: They were outgained in a flat performance but allowed only one sustained drive by the Bengals, 79 yards for the final score, a 1-yard run by Joe Mixon, who accounted for more than half the Bengals’ offensive production with 138 scrimmage yards.

Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (OT)

The scoop: Amari Cooper caught his third touchdown pass of the game with 1:55 left in overtime to win it for Dallas. Earlier, the former Oakland Raider had TD receptions of 28 and 75 in the fourth quarter from Dak Prescott. The Eagles rallied to tie the game twice, the last time at 23-all on a 6-yard pass from Carson Wentz to Darren Sproles with 1:39 left.

Why the Cowboys won: The Eagles could not contain Cooper, who had 10 receptions for 217 yards to go with Ezekiel Elliott’s 113 rushing yards and 79 receiving yards on 12 catches.

Raiders 24, Steelers 21

The scoop: Pittsburgh was lined up to tie the game with a field goal from 40 yards on the final play but Chris Boswell lost his footing on the attempt, missed, and Oakland held on for the upset. Derek Carr passed 6 yards to Derek Carrier to put Oakland back in the lead with 21 seconds left.

Why the Raiders won: Boswell missed a 39-yard field goal try earlier. Carr completed 25 of 34 for 322 yards and two scores with no interceptions.

Wannabes

Packers 34, Falcons 20

The scoop: Bashaud Breeland’s 22-yard interception return of a Matt Ryan pass in the second quarter helped the Packers to a 34-7 lead in their first game under interim head coach Joe Philbin. Ryan passed for three touchdowns, but two came in the fourth quarter when the outcome was no longer in doubt. Aaron Rodgers of the Packers broke Tom Brady’s NFL record for most consecutive passes without an interception, setting the mark on a 24-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb. It was the 359th in a row without an interception dating to Week Four of this season, a twice-deflected pass against Buffalo. He ended the game with a streak of 368 going.

Why the Packers won: Rodgers directed two long touchdown drives to start the second half for a 34-7 lead, one was the TD pass to Cobb.

Browns 26, Panthers 20

The scoop: Baker Mayfield passed for only one touchdown, but had no interceptions and posted a 126.9 passer rating in the Cleveland victory. Free safety Damarious Randall intercepted a Cam Newton pass with 57 seconds left to seal the victory after the Browns had taken the lead by outscoring Carolina, 9-0, in the fourth quarter. It was the fifth straight loss for the sputtering Panthers. Christian McCaffrey had 101 scrimmage yards and ran for both Carolina touchdowns.

Why the Browns won: Of their 348 total yards, 225 came on chunk plays of 66, 51 (TD pass to Jarvis Landry), 51, 29 and 28 yards. Carolina had only one play longer than 25 yards.

Giants 40, Redskins 16

The scoop: New York built a 34-0 halftime lead, which included a 9-yard interception return by Curtis Riley and a 78-yard touchdown run by Saquon Barkley, who had 170 rushing in 14 carries. Another New York score followed an 18-yard interception return by Alex Ogletree to the Redskins’ 10.

Why the Giants won: They sacked Redskins QB Mark Sanchez five times and had two of their three interceptions against him in the first half.

49ers 20, Broncos 14

The scoop: The upstart Niners took a 20-0 lead into the second half before the Broncos answered with a 3-yard run by Phillip Lindsay and a 1-yard Case Keenum pass to DaeSean Hamilton.

Why the 49ers won: Denver did not cross midfield until the third quarter.

Dog of the day

Lions 17, Cardinals 3

The scoop: Detroit led only 3-0 before Darius Slay returned an interception 67 yards for a 10-0 lead with 3:03 left in the third quarter. The other Lions score came on a 1-yard run by Zach Zenner with 4:05 left.

Why the Lions won: They were outgained 279-218 in a drab affair but Slay’s pick-six more than made up for it.

News wire services contributed to this report.

 

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