Redskins edge Ravens, but lose Griffin III: NFL roundup
Cowboys, Vikes also stay in playoff hunt
LANDOVER, Md. — Robert Griffin III sprained his right knee in the Washington Redskins' win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, but a team spokesman said an MRI revealed that "everything is clear" in terms of significant ligament damage.
Spokesman Tony Wyllie said Griffin does not have a major knee injury and specifically ruled out a season-ending torn ACL as a result of a hit on the rookie quarterback in the final minutes of regulation in the 31-28 overtime victory.
At about the same time as Wyllie's announcement, Griffin tweeted: "Your positive vibes and prayers worked people!!!! To God be the Glory!"
By medical definition, a sprained knee means that Griffin has some damage in at least one of the several ligaments in his knee. Wyllie said coach Mike Shanahan will give more information about Griffin's status Monday.
Griffin was limping and wearing a big black brace on his knee in the locker room after the game. Instead of taking the big step onto the podium for his postgame news conference, he had to walk around the platform and use the smaller steps to get to the microphone.
He had an X-ray at the stadium, and he said doctors poking at his knee told him that his ligaments "felt good." The worst-case scenario would have been an ACL tear, like the one he had on the same knee while playing for Baylor in 2009.
"I'm not a doctor, but I know what an ACL feels like," Griffin said before leaving to have MRI. "And it doesn't feel like an ACL. ... If I felt that, I'd be pretty nervous. But we won the game, everybody's praying for me, I feel pretty good right now about the whole situation."
Last year's Heisman Trophy winner was hurt during Washington's final drive of regulation when was tackled by Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at the end of a 13-yard scramble.
"I knew as soon as I got hit. I screamed. Like a man, of course," Griffin added with a laugh. "It hurt really bad."
Griffin sat out one play, then returned for four more, completing two passes to get the Redskins deep into Ravens territory. But he was also hopping on one leg and eventually fell to the turf, no longer able to continue.
"I knew I needed to get out at that point," Griffin said. "I couldn't move. At some point, you have to do what's right for the team. And if I'm playing the rest of that game, I probably would have hurt myself even more."
While Griffin was getting treatment on the sideline, Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon with 29 seconds left. Cousins then ran in a 2-point conversion to tie the score 28-28, and the teams headed to overtime. Kai Forbath's 34-yard field goal won the game in the extra period.
Griffin completed 15 of 26 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown. He also ran seven times for 34 yards.
It was the second game this season that the No. 2 overall draft pick has been unable to finish because of an injury. He left the Oct. 7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons because of a concussion, but returned the following week.
MINNEAPOLIS - Adrian Peterson rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns and Harrison Smith returned an interception for a score to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 21-14 victory over the free-falling Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Peterson topped 100 yards before the first quarter was over, helping the Vikings (7-6) overcome another lacklustre day from quarterback Christian Ponder to get a victory that will keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
Jay Cutler threw for 260 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and couldn't finish the game for the Bears (8-5), who have lost four of their last five. He took a wicked hit to the head from Everson Griffen in the fourth quarter, remained in the game for the rest of that drive, but was replaced by Jason Campbell with 3 minutes to play.
CINCINNATI — The grieving Cowboys rallied for a significant win on Sunday, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 20-19 on Dan Bailey's 40-yard field goal as time ran out.
Dallas overcame a nine-point deficit in the closing minutes behind Tony Romo, who held his hand over his heart during a moment of silence to honour teammate Jerry Brown before the kickoff.
Brown died in an auto accident early Saturday. Defensive lineman Josh Brent, who was driving, remained in jail in Irving, Texas, charged with intoxication manslaughter.
The Cowboys (7-6) learned about Brown's death on their flight to Cincinnati on Saturday. Coach Jason Garrett told his team that the best way to honour him was to play well in a game with playoff implications for both teams.
A late comeback was just enough to beat the Bengals (7-6).
Romo threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant, then led the drive to Bailey's kick.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rookie David Wilson returned a kickoff 97 yards for one touchdown, ran for two more scores and piled up 327 all-purpose yards and Eli Manning threw four touchdown passes to lead the New York Giants to s 52-27 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The win allowed the Giants (8-5) to maintain their one-game lead in the NFC East over Washington and Dallas. The loss all but ended the playoff hopes of Drew Brees and the Saints (5-8). The win also ended the Giants' three-game losing streak against the Saints, who turned the ball over four times in losing their third straight.
Manning had TD passes of 6 yards to Martellus Bennett, 5 yards to Domenik Hixon, 25 yards to Hakeem Nicks and 10 yards to Victor Cruz. Wilson scored on runs of 6 and 52 yards and finished with 100 yards on 13 carries on the biggest day of his career.
SEATTLE - Marshawn Lynch had three touchdown runs and Seattle set a franchise record for points in a 58-0 win over the Cardinals on Sunday.
The Seahawks forced eight turnovers. Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner each had two interceptions.
Seattle (8-5) kept firm grasp on the final NFC wild-card spot and kept alive slim chances of catching San Francisco in the NFC West race. The Seahawks also picked up their first division victory and assured coach Pete Carroll of his first eight-win season in three years with them.
The 58-0 victory was the biggest shutout in Seattle's history. Leon Washington's 3-yard TD run with 2:32 left set a franchise record for points.
Arizona (4-9) was shut out for the first time since 2003 against Seattle. The effortless performance will only raise questions about Ken Whisenhunt's future as head coach. Arizona lost its ninth straight overall.
SAN FRANCISCO — Frank Gore ran for a 1-yard touchdown, reached 1,000 yards rushing for the sixth time in his career in San Francisco's win.
Gore finished with 63 yards, Anthony Dixon also had a 1-yard scoring run and Colin Kaepernick ran for a late 50-yard touchdown and threw for 185 yards in his fourth straight start since being promoted over Alex Smith.
NFL sacks leader Aldon Smith added two to his total for 19 1/2, passing Fred Dean's franchise-best single-season mark of 17 1/2 set in 1983. Smith also moved within three sacks of Michael Strahan's seasonal NFL record set in 2001 with the New York Giants.
Michael Crabtree had nine catches for 93 yards and rookie LaMichael James ran for 30 yards in a solid NFL debut for the 49ers (9-3-1).
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Sam Bradford threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson with 48 seconds left to lift the St. Louis Rams to a 15-12 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Bradford was 5 of 8 for 68 yards to cap a 14-play, 84-yard drive. St. Louis (6-6-1) continued its late-season resurgence by winning its third straight for the first time since closing the 2006 season with three victories.
The Bills (5-8) all but mathematically dropped out of playoff contention by blowing a lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter for the second time this season. They squandered a 34-28 lead in a 35-34 loss to Tennessee on Oct. 21.
Buffalo's last-gasp drive ended when Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted by linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck led Indianapolis back from a 13-point second-half deficit and Adam Vinatieri made two fourth-quarter field goals as the Colts rallied for a 27-23 victory Sunday over the Tennessee Titans.
Luck has now engineered six fourth-quarter comebacks this season for Indy (9-4).
It wasn't all Luck.
Delone Carter cut the deficit to 20-14 with a 1-yard TD run on Indy's opening possession of the second half. And after Pat McAfee's 52-yard punt went out of bounds at the Titans 1-yard line, Cassius Vaughn jumped in front of Nate Washington, picked off Jake Locker's pass and scored on a 3-yard interception return to make it 21-20.
Rob Bironas gave the Titans (4-9) a 23-21 lead with a 25-yard field goal, but VInatieri hit from 53 yards to retake the lead and from 40 to seal it.
PITTSBURGH — Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes, two to Danario Alexander, and the San Diego Chargers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-24 on Sunday.
The win was San Diego's first in 15 regular-season visits to Pittsburgh and snapped a four-game losing streak. The Chargers (5-8) dominated from the outset, never letting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger get comfortable in his first game in nearly a month.
Roethlisberger completed 22 of 42 passes for 285 yards and three second-half touchdowns. But he also threw an interception and had a botched screen pass turn into an easy San Diego score as Pittsburgh (7-6) hardly played like a team readying for a post-season run.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Cam Newton threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a 72-yard run as the Carolina Panthers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 30-20 on Sunday.
Newton piled up a career-high 116 yards on the ground as the Panthers racked up 475 total yards to avenge an early-season loss with a dominating performance against the NFC South champion Falcons.
Carolina (4-9) came in with little to play for except to gain a measure of revenge on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, whom they felt disrespected them after Atlanta's 30-28 come-from-behind win earlier this season at the Georgia Dome.
Ryan threw for 342 yards and two scores and had a costly fourth-quarter interception.
The Panthers dominated the Falcons through 2 1/2 quarters, opening a 23-0 lead and holding a 356-86 edge in total yards to snap a five-game losing streak against the Falcons.
CLEVELAND - Rookie Travis Benjamin's electrifying 93-yard punt return touchdown gave Cleveland momentum and the Browns won their third straight game, 30-7 over the emotionally drained Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Benjamin's game-changing runback helped the Browns (5-8) continue their resurgence under second-year coach Pat Shurmur, whose future in Cleveland remains uncertain. The Browns have one more win than last season, and their longest winning streak since 2009.
Trent Richardson had a pair of 1-yard TD runs for Cleveland.
Jamaal Charles ran for 165 yards, breaking off an 80-yard TD run on the game's first play for Kansas City.
It was the first road game for the Chiefs (2-11) following linebacker Jovan Belcher's suicide. The 25-year-old killed his girlfriend at their home before driving to the team's practice facility on Dec. 1 and shooting himself.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell ran for short touchdowns and the New York Jets kept their post-season hopes alive with a 17-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
The Jets (6-7) were shut out at halftime for the second consecutive week, but they didn't need to change quarterbacks to spark the offence this time around.
Instead, they just pounded the Jaguars (2-11) up the middle.
Mark Sanchez, benched last week in a 7-6 win against Arizona, was hardly a factor. Neither was backup Tim Tebow, who spent his homecoming on the sideline.
Greene scored on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter, and Powell added a 4-yarder early in the fourth. Powell's score made it 17-3 in a game that looked every bit like one featuring two of the NFL's worst offences.
Greene finished with 77 yards rushing. Powell added 78 yards on the ground.
TAMPA, Fla. — Nick Foles threw a pair of touchdown passes in the final four minutes, including a 1-yarder to Jeremy Maclin with no time remaining Sunday as Philadelphia rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-21 and end an eight-game losing streak — the Eagles' longest in 42 years.
Foles completed 32 of 51 passes for 381 yards in his fourth start in place of the injured Michael Vick. The rookie threw an 11-yard TD pass to Clay Harbor with 3:55 remaining, then led the Eagles on a 64-yard game-winning drive after the Philadelphia defence forced a Tampa Bay punt.
Doug Martin rushed for 128 yards and Josh Freeman shrugged off a slow start to throw for two second-half touchdowns to help Tampa Bay overcome a 10-0 halftime deficit and take a 21-10 lead on Martin's 4-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter.
That's when Foles, who also scored on a 10-yard run in the first half, took over.