The Chiefs did the Packers (13-1) a favor yesterday, ending further talk about a perfect season before it became a serious distraction. In the end Green Bay will no doubt own home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, but after yesterday’s 19-14 loss at Kansas City, it can concentrate fully on getting healthy the last two weeks of the regular season.
“Really, what is disappointing to me is that we didn’t clinch home-field advantage,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy told the Kansas City Star. “That was always the goal. I personally always viewed the undefeated season as really just gravy.”
Romeo Crennel won in his debut as the Chiefs’ head coach, aided by quarterback Kyle Orton’s 299 yards through the air and Ryan Succop’s four field goals. The defense held Aaron Rodgers to a mere mortal 17 of 35 for 235 yards passing. Green Bay’s MVP candidate threw for one score and ran for another, but it wasn’t enough.
The Chiefs (6-8) were quick to credit Crennel.
“For a head coach to come in, play against an undefeated team that people are talking about being the greatest thing since sliced bread, it says a lot,” tight end Anthony Becht said. “It’s not luck.”
“You can’t always look at the records, because you’ve got grown men out there who are all getting paid,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “You don’t have to be better on paper. If you’re better on that given Sunday, you’ll get the win.”
On the other end of the “perfect” spectrum, the Colts (1-13) won their first game without Peyton Manning in 14 years, a 27-13 victory over the Titans (7-7). Donald Brown led the way with 161 yards rushing on 16 carries, including an 80-yard scamper that sealed the outcome. The loss put a serious dent in Tennessee’s playoff chances. The Titans will need to win its last two games and receive plenty of help along the way.
Tebow Time doesn’t work quite as well when it comes in the first quarter rather than at the end of the game. The Broncos (8-6) jumped out to a 16-7 lead before the Patriots (11-3) took advantage of turnovers and rebounded for a 41-23 victory. Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes and ran for another. Tim Tebow threw for nearly 200 yards and added 93 yards on the ground, but he was sacked four times.
Where was the Jets’ defense yesterday? The Eagles (6-8) crushed New York, 45-19, behind LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick. McCoy rushed for three scores while Vick threw for 274 yards and accounted for two touchdowns, one passing and the other rushing. Philadelphia scored 21 points off three turnovers as it jumped out to a 28-0 lead. The Jets (8-6) are tied with the Bengals for the last AFC wildcard spot. The Eagles are still alive in the playoff picture, but they’ll need help from the Jets next week and the Giants the following week.
The Redskins (5-9) looked more like a playoff team than the Giants (7-7), who dropped a full game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East with yesterday’s 23-10 loss to Washington. Eli Manning was picked off three times and didn’t get his team into the end zone until the final minutes. Hakeem Nicks dropped two sure TD passes. Still, the Giants can make the postseason with victories over the Jets and Cowboys in the final two weeks of the season.
Don’t look now but the Chargers (7-7) are within a game of the division-leading Broncos. San Diego’s defense recorded seven sacks and had three interceptions in sparking a 34-14 rout of the Ravens (10-4.) Leading 17-7 at the half, Philip Rivers led the Chargers on an 80-yard scoring drive to start the second half. Baltimore had its four-game winning streak snapped despite the return of injured linebacker Ray Lewis.
Caleb Hanie had the Bears in a 14-14 game when he rolled out, was hit, and threw the ball right into the arms of Red Bryant. The 323-pound defender returned the interception 30 yards for the go-ahead score and the Seahawks went on to a 38-20 victory. Both teams are 7-7 on the season but traveling in opposite directions.
The Cardinals (7-7) beat the Browns, 20-17, to reach .500 after a 1-6 start. Arizona’s third overtime victory was set up by a 32-yard punt return by Patrick Peterson and a 32-yard pass play from John Skelton to Larry Fitzgerald. Seneca Wallace was 18 of 31 for 226 yards in place of the injured Colt McCoy. The Browns fell to 4-10.
Three of Detroit’s biggest stars stepped up when the Lions needed them most, leading the Lions (9-5) to a 28-27 victory over the Raiders (7-7). Matthew Stafford directed a pair of late touchdown drives with key passes to Calvin Johnson, and Ndamukong Suh sealed the victory by blocking Sebastian Janikowski’s 65-yard field goal attempt. The winning drive started on the Lions’ own 2-yard line with 2:14 remaining and no timeouts. Johnson caught the game-winner from Stafford and totaled nine receptions for 214 yards.
Todd Bowles got his first win as a head coach when the Dolphins (5-9) beat the Bills, 30-23, in Buffalo. Reggie Bush rushed for a career-high 203 yards and Matt Moore tossed two touchdown passes to lead Miami. Buffalo (5-9) dropped its seventh straight game and fell into last place despite starting the season 5-2.
Drew Brees threw for 412 yards and five touchdowns as the Saints (11-3) routed the Vikings, 42-20, for their sixth straight victory. With two games still to play, Brees is 304 yards shy of Dan Marino’s single-season record of 5,084 set in 1984. Adrian Peterson returned to the lineup for Minnesota (2-12) after missing the last three games. He was held to 60 yards rushing.
The Panthers (5-9) ended the Texans’ seven-game winning streak with a surprisingly easy victory in Houston. Carolina jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead behind a couple of TD passes from Cam Newton. The Texans (10-4) were flat a week after clinching a playoff berth. They played without defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who underwent surgery during the week.
A.J. Green helped the Bengals (8-6) stay in the AFC wildcard race, highlighting a 20-13 victory over the Rams (2-12). Green had six catches for 115 yards, topping the 1,000-yard mark as a rookie. The most sacks Raiders legend Howie Long had in a season was 13, back in 1983. His son, Chris, recorded his 13th sack for the Rams yesterday.
Ben Roethlisberger will probably be a game-time decision for the Steelers, who will also be without the suspended James Harrison when they meet the 49ers in a matchup of 10-3 teams tonight in San Francisco. The 49ers have already clinched the NFC West, but they have lost two of their last three games. Alex Smith was awful against the Cardinals last week and Frank Gore hasn’t been himself since injuring his knee against the Giants more than a month ago. Take the Steelers.
It sounds like the plot to a bad horror movie. A runaway electric cart races from the end zone to midfield, bowling over the coach of the winning team and several others. No one is driving.
The incident happened Saturday during an on-field celebration following the Texas 5A Division II football championship game at Cowboys Stadium. At least one victim was transported to the hospital with an apparent leg injury. Several others who were hit or grazed by the cart lay on the field while EMTs checked them out.
It appears that a yard marker got stuck on the cart’s accelerator.
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Eight days after No. 8 Xavier was involved in its brawl with Cincinnati, the Musketeers began paying the price for their indiscretions.
Oral Roberts (8-4) led by as many as 30 points on the way to a 64-42 victory over previously unbeaten Xavier (8-1) yesterday in Cincinnati. The Musketeers were without Tu Holloway, one of the nation’s top point guards, and two other starters due to suspensions resulting from the brawl.
“We just weren’t ourselves today on both offense and defense,” coach Chris Mack said.