Drew Brees threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns and Alvin Kamara ran for two TDs as the New Orleans Saints kept their chase of the NFC’s No1 seed alive by rallying from a 14-point deficit to beat the Tennessee Titans 38-28.
The Saints (12-3) had to win after San Francisco beat the Rams 34-31 on Saturday night. They scored 24 straight points to keep alive their chance at one of the NFC’s top two seeds and a first-round playoff bye going into their regular-season finale at Carolina. Pro Bowl wide receiver Michael Thomas also set the NFL record for most catches in a season. The Saints receiver needed 10 to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison’s mark of 143 catches in 2002. Thomas finished with 12 catches for 136 yards.
The Titans (8-7) still have a shot at the AFC’s final playoff berth after Houston won the AFC South title beating Tampa Bay on Saturday. The Titans must beat the Texans in Houston in the regular season finale to earn their second playoff berth in three seasons.
In the day’s later kick-offs, the Philadelphia Eagles control their own destiny after beating their divisional rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. They will reach the playoffs if they beat the New York Giants next week. Elsewhere, the Oakland Raiders kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a victory over the LA Chargers, and the Denver Broncos beat the Detroit Lions. In Seattle, the Seahawks were upset by the Arizona Cardinals, who lost Kyler Murray to injury.
Cincinnati Bengals 35-38 Miami Dolphins
The Bengals secured the No1 pick in next year’s draft – just. Cincinnati (1-14) were 23 points down late in the fourth quarter on Sunday before they scored three touchdowns – including a pair of two-point conversions – in the final minutes to send the game to overtime. However, the Dolphins (4-11) scored a field-goal in overtime to secure the win.
New York Giants 41-35 Washington
Daniel Jones put together the best performance of his rookie season, throwing for 352 yards and five touchdown passes in the New York Giants’ 41-35 overtime victory against Washington.
Jones was 28 of 42 in his first action since missing the past two games with a sprained right ankle. He tossed two TDs to Kaden Smith including the game-winner and also connected with Sterling Shepard, Saquon Barkley and Cody Latimer. His career-best fifth TD pass came after Washington (3-12) tied it in the final minute of regulation. Barkley was the perfect complement for Jones and tormented a Washington secondary missing several regulars. He was responsible for 279 total yards: 189 rushing and 90 receiving and a score each way.
Baltimore Ravens 31-15 Cleveland Browns
Lamar Jackson passed for three touchdowns and rushed for 103 yards, helping the Baltimore Ravens pull away over the Cleveland Browns to secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Ravens have now won 11 games in succession. Baker Mayfield tossed one touchdown apiece to tight end Demetrius Harris and wideout Odell Beckham Jr for Cleveland (6-9), who lost for the third time in their past four games. The Browns guaranteed a sub-.500 season for the 12th year in a row.
Pittsburgh Steelers 10-16 New York Jets
Sam Ficken kicked two of his three field goals in the second half as the New York Jets pulled away from a halftime tie to upset the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers 16-10.
Sam Darnold passed for 183 yards and a touchdown to Robby Anderson as New York (6-9) reached six wins for the first time in four years. Le’Veon Bell rushed for 72 yards on 25 carries against his former team. Pittsburgh (8-7) lost their second in a row and now must beat Baltimore next week to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Jacksonville Jaguars 12-24 Atlanta Falcons
Devonta Freeman scored two early touchdowns to give the Atlanta Falcons a lead they would never relinquish in a 24-12 win over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars.
Matt Ryan completed 32 of 45 passes for 384 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for Atlanta (6-9), who have won five of their past seven games. The Falcons outgained Jacksonville (5-10) 518 to 228 and got nine tackles from linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. Gardner Minshew hit 13 of 31 passes for 181 yards with a touchdown for the Jaguars, who lost for the sixth time in seven games and clinched a last-place finish in the AFC South. The outcome may have added a little more heat to the seat of third-year coach Doug Marrone.
Carolina Panthers 6-38 Indianapolis Colts
Nyheim Hines scored two touchdowns on punt returns as the Indianapolis Colts hammered the visiting Carolina Panthers. Hines returned a first-quarter punt 84 yards for a score as the Colts built a 14-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, he ran a punt back 71 yards for the game’s second-to-last touchdown. No Carolina player came close to touching Hines for the final 55 yards of the second return. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett scored on a one-yard run to open the scoring as the Colts (7-8) snapped a four-game losing streak.