Eagles clinch playoff spot
LANDOVER, Md. — Nick Foles’ magic stretched all the way back to Minnesota.
Foles did it again, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 24-0 victory over the Redskins and the defending Super Bowl champions earned the NFC’s final wild-card berth when Chicago beat the Vikings on Sunday.
The Eagles (9-7) will play at the Bears (12-4) next Sunday.
“We’re not sneaking in. We’re here to do some damage,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said.
They might have to do it without Foles, who left the game in the fourth quarter with a chest injury. Foles said he’s sore near his ribs and will know more today.
“I’m optimistic,” Foles said.
Before he gave way to Nate Sudfeld, Foles tied Philip Rivers’ NFL record by completing 25 straight passes and threw two touchdown passes. Sudfeld fired a 22-yard TD on his only pass.
It felt like a home game for the Eagles. Philadelphia fans filled FedEx Field, sang “Fly! Eagles! Fly!” and chanted “Let’s Go Bears!” There were several thousand empty seats and Redskins fans could only cheer for the Vikings to spite Eagles fans.
“I looked away,” Foles said about seeing the Bears-Vikings score on the scoreboard. “I didn’t want to know. I wanted to stay focused on winning this game.”
Some players noticed the score while others didn’t. They watched the final minutes together in the locker room and then celebrated.
“It was exciting,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “A lot of hard work that just paid off. It’s what we set out to do. Obviously on this journey we didn’t meet a lot of our goals, but one of them is to get into the postseason and we were able to do that, and so we’re excited.”
Foles, the Super Bowl MVP in Philadelphia’s win over New England last February, is 6-0 in must-win games filling in for Carson Wentz.
Colts 33, Titans 17
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Andrew Luck threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns and the Indianapolis Colts beat the Tennessee Titans for the final spot in the postseason as the AFC’s No. 6 seed.
With the Texans winning the AFC South title earlier Sunday with a victory over Jacksonville, that left the Colts and Titans playing for the second wild-card berth and a visit to Houston on Saturday.
Bears 24, Vikings 10
MINNEAPOLIS — The NFC North champion Bears refused to let up, riding Jordan Howard for 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns and a relentless defense.
With the 24-0 win by Philadelphia at Washington, the Vikings (8-7-1) watched the Eagles claim the last wild-card spot and went home wondering what happened to their offense after signing Kirk Cousins for $84 million guaranteed to be the franchise quarterback.
Tarik Cohen scored the last touchdown on a short run with 7:46 left.
Texans 20, Jaguars 3
HOUSTON — The Texans clinched the AFC South title as Deshaun Watson threw for 234 yards and ran for a touchdown, and DeAndre Hopkins had 147 yards receiving.
The Texans (11-5) won nine in a row after starting 0-3 to save their season and will make their fifth playoff appearance after winning the division for the fifth time in franchise history. Houston returns to the postseason for the third time in four years after bouncing back from last year’s 4-12 record in a season where Watson and J.J. Watt sustained season-ending injuries.
Patriots 38, Jets 3
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady threw for three first-half touchdowns and New England clinched its ninth straight first-round bye in the playoffs. The Patriots (11-5) finished the season as the NFL’s only undefeated team at home, where they’ll have at least one playoff game.
After back-to-back December losses left the Patriots with a losing record on the road, they finished with two straight home wins to avoid playing in the wild-card round for the first time since 2009.
Chiefs 35, Raiders 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs finally clinched their third consecutive AFC West title and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, and Patrick Mahomes and the rest of Kansas City’s offense continued to shatter records.
Mahomes threw for 281 yards, highlighted by a 67-yard TD pass to Tyreek Hill and an 89-yard TD toss to Demarcus Robinson. That gave the first-year starter 5,097 yards and 50 touchdown passes, joining Peyton Manning as the only QBs to hit 5,000 and 50 in the same season.
Manning had 5,477 yards and a record 55 TD passes for the Broncos in 2013.
Rams 48, 49ers 32
LOS ANGELES — Brandin Cooks and Josh Reynolds caught two touchdown passes apiece from Jared Goff, and the Rams secured a first-round playoff bye.
Cory Littleton returned one of his two interceptions for a TD as the Rams (13-3) forced four turnovers and wrapped up their winningest regular season since 2001 with a six-game sweep of their NFC West rivals.
Goff passed for 199 yards for Los Angeles, which needed a win over the Niners or a loss by Chicago to clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC postseason. The Rams didn’t mess around, playing nearly every starter except Todd Gurley and jumping to a 14-0 lead in the first five minutes before stretching it to 28-3 midway through the second quarter.
Cowboys 36, Giants 35
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Dak Prescott threw a 32-yard fourth-down touchdown pass to Cole Beasley on a play that was reversed by video replay and added a winning 2-point conversion pass to Michael Gallup with 1:12 to play.
Chargers 23, Broncos 9
DENVER — Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers recovered from a slow start for their first win in Denver since 2013.
The Chargers (12-4) are headed to the playoffs for the first time in five years, but they’ll go in as a wild-card thanks to a last-second loss to the Broncos at home in November.
Seahawks 27, Cardinals 24
SEATTLE — Sebastian Janikowski made a 33-yard field goal on the final play, wrapping up the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs and a matchup at Dallas.
Seattle (10-6) took a 24-21 lead earlier in the fourth quarter on Janikowski’s 42-yard field goal, but watched Arizona answer with Zane Gonzalez’s third field goal of the game, from 55 yards with 1:49 left to tie it. Gonzalez hit earlier from 36 and 50 yards.
Lions 31, Packers 0
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Matthew Stafford threw for 266 yards and two scores to T.J. Jones and kicker Matt Prater tossed a touchdown pass after faking a field-goal try.
With Green Bay trailing 21-0 at the half, quarterback Aaron Rodgers never returned after walking to the locker room early in the second quarter, having suffered a concussion. Both teams had long been eliminated from playoff contention.
Panthers 33, Saints 14
NEW ORLEANS — Undrafted rookie Kyle Allen passed for 228 yards and two touchdowns before injuring his shoulder against a Saints squad looking ahead to the playoffs.
Allen, a third-stringer pressed into service with Cam Newton and backup Taylor Heinicke out, also ran for a short touchdown as Carolina snapped a seven-game slide. He led the Panthers to three TDs and a field goal on the first four drives of his first NFL start. He played until the fourth quarter, when he was hit hard by Saints rookie end Marcus Davenport while releasing an incomplete pass.
Falcons 34, Buccaneers 32
TAMPA, Fla. — Matt Ryan’s first career reception went for a touchdown and the Atlanta quarterback also threw for 378 yards and two TDs.
Matt Bryant’s second field goal, a 37-yarder as time expired, provided the winning points after Jameis Winston rallied the Bucs (5-11) from a 31-20 deficit to a one-point lead with just over five minutes to go.
Bills 42, Dolphins 17
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Bills rookie Josh Allen had a career-best three touchdown passes and scored two more rushing, and defensive tackle Kyle Williams closed his 13-year career in Buffalo with a win.
Williams had a tackle for a loss and was part of a defense that forced four turnovers.