Sunday's NFL roundup: 49ers are playoff-bound after 27-24 OT win over Rams
Inglewood, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers clinched a playoff spot with a 27-24 overtime victory over the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams thanks to Robbie Gould’s 24-yard field goal with 2:45 left in overtime and a game-ending interception by Ambry Thomas.
Jauan Jennings caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo with 26 seconds left in regulation for the 49ers (10-7), who are postseason-bound for only the second time in eight years.
San Francisco rallied from a early 17-point deficit for their sixth consecutive win over the playoff-bound Rams (12-5), who won the division title anyway thanks to Seattle’s victory over Arizona.
Deebo Samuel rushed for a touchdown and threw a scoring pass to Jennings for the Niners, who made a deliberate 69-yard drive to open overtime. The Rams got the ball back, but Thomas picked off Matthew Stafford’s long throw down the Rams’ sideline.
San Francisco now has its longest winning streak in this rivalry since the 1990s.
►Las Vegas 35, Los Angeles Chargers 32: Daniel Carlson's 47-yard field goal as time expired in overtime lifted the Las Vegas Raiders past the Los Angeles Chargers 35-32 on Sunday night for their first playoff berth since 2016.
And they eliminated their AFC West rivals in the process.
Las Vegas survived Los Angeles’ late-game comeback built on a series of fourth-down conversions to force overtime. The Raiders won a fourth straight game and completed an incredible late-season run after losing five of their previous six .
Carlson, three times the AFC special teams player of the week this season, kicked five field goals in the game, including two in overtime.
Derek Carr completed 20 of 36 pass attempts for 186 yards, including two touchdowns. Hunter Renfrow hauled in two touchdown passes, while Josh Jacobs ran for 132 yards on 26 carries, including one score.
The Raiders, who had arguably more offseason and in-season distractions than any team, overcame multiple adversities and return to the playoffs for only the second time since losing to Tampa Bay in the 2003 Super Bowl.
Trailing by 15 in the fourth quarter, the Chargers scored two late touchdowns, with a a 19-play, 83-yard drive capped by Justin Herbert’s 12-yard touchdown strike to Mike Williams as regulation expired. Dustin Hopkins’ extra point sent the game into the extra period. Los Angeles converted on three fourth-down plays in the lengthy drive.
Herbert, who was under duress much of the night, completed 34 of his 64 attempts for 383 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
►Tennessee 28, Houston 25: Tennessee clinched the top seed in the AFC for the first time in 14 years, beating Houston behind Ryan Tannehill’s four touchdown passes.
The 12-5 Titans, who secured their second straight AFC South title last week, have the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the third time since leaving Houston in 1997 and first since 2008. They also have a first-round bye.
Tannehill threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter to put the Titans up 21-0 at halftime. He tied a career-high with his four TD passes.
But the Texans (4-13) came alive in the second half, scoring 18 unanswered points to get within 3 before Julio Jones caught his first touchdown pass of the season on a 3-yard grab that made it 28-18 with about seven minutes remaining.
Houston cut the lead to 3 again when Danny Amendola’s second touchdown reception of the game made it 28-25 with 4½ minutes to go. Tennessee got a first down on third-and-2 with about three minutes left and ran out the clock to secure the victory.
►Tampa Bay 41, Carolina 17: Tom Brady topped 5,000 yards passing for the second time in his career and Tampa Bay set a franchise record for regular-season victories with a win over Carolina.
Brady completed 29 of 37 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns before taking the last half of the fourth quarter off, finishing with a career-best 5,316 yards passing and a Bucs single-season record 43 TD passes for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Mike Evans caught two of Brady’s TD passes, giving him a club-record 14 scoring receptions this year. He also became the first player in NFL history to begin a career with eight consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards receiving.
Tampa Bay (13-4) broke the club record for victories in a regular season set in 2002 and also earned the No. 2 seed in the NFC with the Rams losing to the 49ers in overtime. The Bucs will host the Philadelphia Eagles next week.
Carolina (5-12) finished on a seven-game losing streak that leaves coach Matt Rhule’s future in question.
►Seattle 38, Arizona 30: Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes, Rashaad Penny ran for 190 yards and a touchdown, and Seattle spoiled Arizona's shot at the NFC West title with a win.
It was a back-and-forth game supplemented by a healthy dose of scoreboard watching. The Cardinals (11-6) were still in the running for the NFC West title with a win, especially when the 49ers beat the Rams.
In the end, the scoreboard’s results were moot. The Cardinals couldn’t take care of business against the Seahawks and will settle for the No. 5 seed after starting the season with a 7-0 record. Arizona is 4-6 since that hot start, including losing four of its last five. The Cardinals will play at the Rams in the wild-card round.
Seattle finishes 7-10 and won’t be in the postseason for just the second time in the past 10 years. Wilson, playing potentially his final game with the Seahawks, finished with 238 yards passing.
►New Orleans 30, Atlanta 20: New Orleans just missed making the playoffs, despite beating Atlanta.
The Saints (9-8) needed the Los Angeles Rams to beat the San Francisco 49ers in order to get a wild-card spot and a fifth consecutive playoff berth, but the 49ers won 27-24 in overtime.
Trevor Siemian led back-to-back scoring drives following two Atlanta turnovers late in the first half, and the Saints overcame the loss of quarterback Taysom Hill to an injury.
The Falcons (7-10) were hurt by three turnovers, including two fumbles by running back Mike Davis.
►Buffalo 27, New York Jets 10: Buffalo clinched its second consecutive AFC East title after Devin Singletary scored twice in the final 8:21 for a win over New York.
The Bills (11-6) enter the playoffs as the conference’s third seed, but had to await the outcome of the late game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders to determine who they’ll host in the wild-card playoff round next weekend.
The Bills actually moved up a spot in the conference standings, jumping ahead of Cincinnati after the Bengals (10-7) lost to Cleveland earlier in the day.
The Bills limited the the Jets to a franchise-low 53 yards of total offense and four first downs — the fewest allowed by Buffalo in franchise history. Buffalo also sacked Jets rookie Zach Wilson nine times, the most by Buffalo since getting 10 in a 23-0 win over Washington on Oct. 20, 2011.
►Pittsburgh 16, Baltimore 13: Ben Roethlisberger delayed his retirement for a few hours and probably longer, guiding Pittsburgh over Baltimore in overtime and putting the Steelers on the verge of an improbable playoff berth.
Chris Boswell made a 36-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining to win the game for the Steelers, who will now make the postseason as long as Sunday night’s Chargers-Raiders game doesn’t end in a tie. Roethlisberger set up the winning kick when he completed a 10-yard pass over the middle to Ray-Ray McCloud on fourth-and-8 from the Baltimore 41.
The Steelers (9-7-1) and Ravens (8-9) would have both been eliminated if this game had ended in a tie.
After the winning field goal, Roethlisberger held up his right fist in celebration and went slowly to the middle of the field to commiserate with Ravens linebacker Justin Houston.
Both Baltimore and Pittsburgh had slim playoff hopes coming in. The Steelers needed to win and have Indianapolis lose to Jacksonville to have any chance of extending Roethlisberger’s career with a postseason appearance. The Ravens needed a win, a loss by the Colts — and losses by the Dolphins and Chargers later in the day.
The most unlikely part of those scenarios — Indianapolis losing to lowly Jacksonville — actually happened.
►Jacksonville 26, Indianapolis 11: The Indianapolis Colts badly botched a chance to secure an AFC wild-card spot by losing at Jacksonville — their seventh consecutive road loss to the Jaguars. And they were eliminated from postseason contention when Pittsburgh beat Baltimore.
NFL rushing champion Jonathan Taylor was held to 77 yards, Carson Wentz turned the ball over twice – leading to 10 points — and Indy (9-8) did little to stop the woeful Jaguars (3-14).
With a playoff berth on the line, Indianapolis was a no-show on an 80-degree day in Jacksonville. The 15-point outcome could have been a bigger blowout had the Jags scored touchdowns instead of settling for two chip-shot field goals from inside the 5-yard line. Nonetheless, Jacksonville experienced breathing room in a game for the first time all season.
Despite the loss, the Colts could still have landed a playoff spot but needed Baltimore to beat Pittsburgh, Las Vegas to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers and New England to knock off Miami. It was an unlikely trio of events, and Indy’s fate was sealed by the Steelers’ 16-13 overtime win.
►Miami 33, New England 24: Jaylen Waddle had a touchdown grab and set the NFL record for receptions in a rookie year, Duke Johnson rushed for 117 yards and Miami finished its season by defeating playoff-bound New England.
Xavien Howard returned an interception for a touchdown and Johnson had a touchdown run for Miami (9-8), which finished with a winning record for the second consecutive season and once again didn’t have a playoff berth to show for it.
Brandon Bolden two touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving — for the Patriots (10-7), who are headed to the playoffs as a wild card.
But they were swept by the Dolphins for the first time since 2000 and the outcome handed the AFC East title to the Buffalo Bills, whose game against the New York Jets had not gone final when the Patriots-Dolphins game ended.
►Cleveland 21, Bengals 16: Case Keenum got his second win, filling in for Baker Mayfield on Sunday as Cleveland ended their dismal season with a 21-16 win over playoff-bound Cincinnati, who left quarterback Joe Burrow at home and played their backups.
Keenum threw touchdown passes to Jarvis Landry and Demetric Felton as the Browns (8-9) completed a sweep of the surprising AFC North champions. D’Ernest Johnson rushed for 123 yards, and star running back Nick Chubb only had nine carries and finished the season with with 1,259 yards.
Keenum, who replaced Mayfield and beat Denver earlier this season, connected with Landry on a 26-yard scoring pass in the first quarter. He later dumped a pass to Felton, who weaved his way to the end zone to make it 21-10.
Meanwhile, the Bengals played their “B” team. Burrow stayed in Cincinnati to get treatment on a sore right knee so he’s ready to play next week when the Bengals (10-7), who went from last place to first in the division, host a postseason game.
Cincinnati started Brandon Allen, who threw a 4-yard TD pass to Chris Evans with 2:26 left.
►Minnesota 31, Chicago 17: Kirk Cousins passed for 172 yards and three touchdowns in the second half to lead a Minnesota comeback to beat Chicago in a matchup of two eliminated teams with a head coach in danger of being fired.
Justin Jefferson had the tying score and K.J. Osborn caught the go-ahead touchdown for the Vikings (8-9), who gave coach Mike Zimmer plenty to cheer in this pad-the-stats game while outscoring the Bears 28-3 after halftime.
Bears coach Matt Nagy elected to go for it on fourth down six times, failing on all but one of them. Andy Dalton took three sacks and threw an interception, and Patrick Peterson picked him off late in the fourth quarter and turned it into a 66-yard touchdown return.
Darnell Mooney had 12 catches for 126 yards to pass the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the Bears (6-11), who are 30-35 in four seasons under Nagy without a win in the playoffs.
D.J. Wonnum and Anthony Barr each had two of Minnesota’s seven sacks of Dalton, who went 33 for 48 for 325 yards and a touchdown pass to Damien Williams that gave the Bears a 14-0 lead just before halftime.
►Washington 22, N.Y. Giants 7: Antonio Gibson ran for a career-high 146 yards, scored a touchdown and capped his first 1,000-yard rushing season by leading Washington over New York in what might have been Dave Gettleman’s final game as the Giants’ general manager.
Bobby McCain returned the first of his two interceptions 30 yards for a touchdown, and Joey Slye kicked three field goals as Washington (7-10) finished a season in which it went from division winners a year ago to an also-ran.
Third-stringer Jake Fromm threw a 22-yard fourth-quarter touchdown to Darius Slayton as the Giants (4-13) finished a miserable second season under Joe Judge with a six-game losing streak.
Washington never trailed as Slye kicked field goals of 23 and 43 yards in the first half for a 6-0 lead.