The showdown for the AFC North lead turned into a showcase for Joe Burrow as the Cincinnati Bengals hammered the visiting Baltimore Ravens 41-21 on Sunday.
Burrow had his best game as a pro, as he completed 37 of 46 passes for a career-high and franchise-record 525 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Tee Higgins had career highs with 12 catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow wideout Ja’Marr Chase added 125 yards receiving, and Joe Mixon added 135 scrimmage yards and two scores for the Bengals, who scored on each of their first seven possessions.
The win gave Cincinnati (9-6) sole possession of first place in the AFC North with two games to play. The Bengals swept the Ravens in both meetings this season for the first time since 2015, and did so with a combined score of 82-38.
Baltimore (8-7), which had a combined 33 players on the injured reserve and reserve/COVID lists Friday, dropped its fourth in a row. Journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson, making his first start since 2018, played well for the Ravens, who were without starting quarterback Lamar Jackson (ankle) and backup Tyler Huntley (COVID list).
Rams 30, Vikings 23
Sony Michel ran for 131 yards and a touchdown, while Brandon Powell returned a punt for a score as Los Angeles clinched a playoff berth with the victory over Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Los Angeles (11-4) overcame three interceptions by Matthew Stafford, who was 21-of-37 passing for 197 yards. Stafford did connect with Odell Beckham Jr. for the wide receiver’s fourth touchdown in the last five games, while the Rams’ Cooper Kupp continued his productive season with 10 catches for 109 yards.
Kirk Cousins had 315 yards on 27-of-38 passing with a touchdown and an interception for Minnesota (7-8), which had won four of its previous six games. Justin Jefferson had eight receptions for 116 yards.
Bills 33, Patriots 21
Josh Allen passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 64 yards to help Buffalo reclaim the AFC East lead with the win over New England in Foxborough, Mass.
Allen’s first touchdown pass of the day was the 100th of his NFL career, making him the first quarterback in history to record 100 passing TDs and 20 rushing TDs in his first four seasons. He finished 30-of-47 passing on the day.
Isaiah McKenzie had 11 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown for Buffalo (9-6), which won its second straight game while the Patriots (9-6) suffered their second straight loss following a seven-game winning streak.
Chiefs 36, Steelers 10
Patrick Mahomes passed for 258 yards and three touchdowns as Kansas City claimed its eighth straight victory and clinched a playoff berth with its sixth consecutive AFC West title by throttling visiting Pittsburgh.
The Chiefs (11-4), who came in allowing an average of 13.3 points a game during their winning streak, secured three takeaways and did not allow the Steelers (7-7-1) to score a touchdown until 2:54 remained.
Mahomes completed 23 of 30 passes, finding Byron Pringle for two scores. Pringle caught a team-high six passes for 75 yards. Kansas City added 127 yards rushing but lost Clyde Edwards-Helaire to a collarbone injury. Ben Roethlisberger never got in sync with his Pittsburgh receivers, going 23 of 35 for 159 yards. Najee Harris rushed for 93 yards on 19 carries.
Texans 41, Chargers 29
Rex Burkhead ran for a career-high 149 yards and two touchdowns as short-handed Houston damaged Los Angeles’ AFC playoff hopes with an upset at home.
Rookie quarterback Davis Mills hit 21 of 27 passes for 254 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 13-yard strike on a slant to Nico Collins with 2:32 remaining for an 11-point lead. Houston (4-11) scored its season high despite missing four starters along the offensive line due to COVID-19, as well as leading receiver Brandin Cooks.
Justin Herbert completed 27 of 35 passes for 336 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions as Los Angeles (8-7) tumbled outside the playoff field with two weeks remaining.
Bears 25, Seahawks 24
Nick Foles threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham with 1:01 remaining and completed a subsequent two-point conversion to Damiere Byrd as Chicago eliminated host Seattle from playoff contention.
The Bears (5-10) rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, pulling to 24-17 on Cairo Santos’ 35-yard field goal with 10:46 remaining. Foles was 24 of 35 for 250 yards. David Montgomery rushed for 45 yards and added a team-high 61 yards on seven receptions. He scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter.
Seattle’s Rashaad Penny rushed for 135 yards, two shy of his career-high set two weeks ago at Houston, and a touchdown. Russell Wilson was 16 of 27 for 181 yards and two touchdowns as the Seahawks (5-10) played in the snow at home for the first time since 2008.
Falcons 20, Lions 16
Matt Ryan passed for 215 yards and a touchdown as host Atlanta topped Detroit.
Cordarrelle Patterson had a rushing touchdown for Atlanta (7-8), and Kyle Pitts caught six passes for 102 yards. Linebacker Foyesade Oluokun clinched the win with an interception in the final minute.
Amon-Ra St. Brown caught nine passes for 91 yards and scored the lone touchdown for the Lions (2-12-1), who had won two of their previous three games.
Jets 26, Jaguars 21
Rookie Zach Wilson scored the longest rushing touchdown by a quarterback in franchise history to help host New York to a win over reeling Jacksonville.
Wilson completed 14 of 22 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 91 yards — including a 52-yard touchdown run. Michael Carter added 118 yards rushing and Braxton Berrios had a 102-yard kickoff return touchdown for the Jets (4-11).
Rookie Trevor Lawrence completed 26 of 39 passes for 280 yards for the Jaguars (2-13), who extended their losing streak to seven games. The Jaguars also had a chance to tie the game after Dare Ogunbowale’s 1-yard run pulled Jacksonville to within 23-21 with 5:25 remaining, but Lawrence’s pass to Jacob Hollister was incomplete on an attempted two-point conversion.
Buccaneers 32, Panthers 6
Tom Brady threw for 232 yards and a touchdown to punch his ticket to the playoffs as Tampa Bay breezed to a win over host Carolina in Charlotte, N.C.
The Buccaneers (11-4) wrapped up a postseason berth by clinching the NFC South for the first time since 2007. They relied heavily on their defense, which held the Panthers (5-10) without a touchdown.
Tampa Bay, which was shut out a week earlier by the New Orleans Saints, didn’t score until 4:13 remained in the first quarter on Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s 55-yard rush. Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 101 yards in his return from a suspension related to falsifying COVID vaccination information.
Eagles 34, Giants 10
Jalen Hurts threw for two touchdowns, Boston Scott rushed for another and host Philadelphia shook off a slow start to rout New York.
Hurts completed 17 of 29 passes for 199 yards as the Eagles (8-7) strengthened their playoff chase with their third straight win.
Quarterback Jake Fromm struggled mightily in his first career start, going 6 of 17 for 25 yards and one interception for the Giants (4-11). Fromm was replaced by Mike Glennon midway through the third quarter; Glennon finished 17 of 27 for 93 yards and one TD, with one interception.
Raiders 17, Broncos 13
Derek Carr was 20-for-25 passing for 201 yards and a touchdown, Peyton Barber ran for a score, and host Las Vegas beat Denver.
Hunter Renfrow caught a touchdown pass and Josh Jacobs rushed for 129 yards for Las Vegas (8-7), which overcame three turnovers.
Drew Lock was 15-for-22 passing for 153 yards, and Javonte Williams had a rushing touchdown for the Broncos (7-8), who had just eight first downs and 158 total yards and saw their slim playoff hopes take another hit.
Cowboys 56, Football Team 14
Dak Prescott threw for 330 yards and four touchdown passes to lead host Dallas past Washington in Arlington, Texas.
While Dallas clinched the division title earlier in the day, there was no letup in the Cowboys as they scored touchdowns on five straight possessions in the first half. Ezekiel Elliott scored two touchdowns, one on a run and the other on a reception. DeMarcus Lawrence added a deft interception and nimble 40-yard return for another score as Dallas (11-4) beat Washington (6-9) for the second time in 15 days, pushing its NFC East rival to the brink of elimination from the postseason.
Prescott completed all but one of his first 21 passes and finished 28 of 39 before retiring to the sideline in the third quarter. Washington’s Tyler Heinicke faced a swarming Cowboys defense that sacked him four times and limited Washington to 257 yards. Heinicke completed 7 of 22 passes for 121 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Trevon Diggs picked off Heinicke’s first pass of the night for his league-leading 11th interception this year.
–Field Level Media