NFL·WEEK 15 ROUNDUP

Saints stun Buccaneers again, hand Tom Brady 1st shutout loss since 2006

New Orleans' defense gave Tom Brady fits again, shutting down Tampa Bay's high-powered offense Sunday night as the Saints put the Buccaneers' division-title celebration plans on hold with a 9-0 victory over the reigning Super Bowl champions.

Rodgers leads Packers to tight win over Jackson-less Ravens to clinch division title

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, centre, was just 26 of 48 for 213 yards and one interception during Tampa Bay's 9-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

New Orleans' defence gave Tom Brady fits again, shutting down Tampa Bay's high-powered offence Sunday night as the Saints put the Buccaneers' division-title celebration plans on hold with a 9-0 victory over the reigning Super Bowl champions.

Despite playing without coach Sean Payton on the sideline, the Saints (7-7) beat the Bucs (10-4) for the seventh straight time during the regular season — fourth since Brady left New England for Tampa Bay in 2020.

The victory gave New Orleans a sweep of the season series between the NFC South rivals and boosted the Saints into playoff position. It also forced Tampa Bay to wait at least one another week to clinch its first division crown since 2007.

The Bucs, who did win a playoff game at New Orleans last January en route to winning the Super Bowl, lead the division by three games with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

With defensive coordinator Dennis Allen standing in for Payton, who missed the game after testing positive for COVID-19, the Saints stymied the NFL's No. 1 passing and scoring offence and ended Brady's streak of 255 consecutive starts without being shut out.

Brady leads the NFL in completions, attempts, yards passing and touchdown passes, but was just 26 of 48 for 213 yards and one interception — the eighth he's thrown in four regular-season games against the Saints, who didn't have any turnovers Sunday night.

Taysom Hill, meanwhile, was 13 of 27 for 154 yards and no interceptions for New Orleans, which also got field goals of 39, 35 and 42 yards from Brett Maher.

The Saints have won the NFC South every year since 2017, and despite losing star quarterback Drew Brees to retirement and his successor, Jameis Winston, to a season-ending knee injury, they're not relinquishing the crown without a fight.

Trevor Siemian came off the bench to replace Winston and lead New Orleans to a 36-27 victory in the first meeting between the fierce rivals on Oct. 31. Brady threw for 375 yards and two TDs in that one, but also lost a fumble and had one of his two interceptions returned for a touchdown in the loss.

This time, the Saints defence sacked Brady four times, forced a fumble by the 44-year-old quarterback that ruined Tampa Bay's best scoring opportunity in the second half, and also intercepted the seven-time Super Bowl winner once.

Packers clinch division title with tight win over Ravens

Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes — tying Brett Favre on Green Bay's career list — and the Packers became the first team this season to clinch a division title, wrapping up the NFC North with a 31-30 win over Baltimore.

The Ravens missed another big 2-point conversion in the final minute.

With Lamar Jackson out with a sprained ankle, Tyler Huntley nearly led Baltimore (8-6) all the way back from a 31-17 deficit. His 8-yard touchdown run with 42 seconds left pulled the Ravens within one, but Huntley's 2-point conversion pass was incomplete.

It was the third consecutive loss for Baltimore, which also fell to Pittsburgh two weekends ago on a missed 2-point conversion in the final seconds. The Ravens fell into a first-place tie in the AFC North with Cincinnati.

Ravaged this season by injuries — especially in the secondary — Baltimore faced a difficult task trying to stop Rodgers and the Green Bay receivers. The Ravens mounted enough time-consuming drive of their own to keep the game close, but the Packers had the ball first after a 14-14 halftime tie and took advantage.

Baltimore appeared to have Green Bay (11-3) stopped on a third-down incompletion, but minimal contact by Kevon Seymour was enough for a pass interference flag. Rodgers found Aaron Jones for a 9-yard touchdown on the next play.

Bills snap out of slump, hand reeling Panthers 4th consecutive loss

Josh Allen threw three touchdown passes, Devin Singletary ran for a season-high 86 yards with his quarterback mostly kept in the pocket by a sprained left foot and the Buffalo Bills beat the offensively challenged Carolina Panthers 31-14 Sunday.

Allen finished 19 of 34 for 210 yards while Singletary kept Buffalo moving on the ground and opened the scoring on a 16-yard run.

Gabriel Davis scored twice, including a 20-yard catch on a post route for a 24-8 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter — Davis had several steps on defender Rashaan Melvin on that one. Davis also scored on a 14-yard catch in the fourth quarter, and Stefon Diggs had an 11-yard TD grab in a game the Bills never trailed.

Buffalo (8-6) was at risk of its first three-game skid in three years. The Bills have won four of nine games and kept a hold of at least a wild-card spot. They can still repeat as AFC East champions, too, with a key showdown against first-place New England (9-5) next Sunday.

The Panthers (5-9) dropped their fourth straight and lost for the ninth time in 11 games. In a what-else-can-go-wrong season, Carolina was dealt a blow a little over an hour before kickoff when kicker Zane Gonzalez had to be helped off the field after hurting his quadriceps.

The injury left Carolina minus a real kicker. The Panthers passed up a field-goal attempt and failed to convert fourth-and-9 from Buffalo's 24 to end their second possession. Carolina converted one of two 2-point attempts.

Lions stun Cardinals to pick up 2nd win of season

Kyler Murray had a shaky performance and that helped the Detroit Lions stun the Arizona Cardinals 30-12 on Sunday.

The Cardinals (10-4) started the day tied for the NFL's best record and were undefeated on the road.

While the Lions (2-11-1) were mired at the bottom of the league standings before the first snap.

Arizona, coming off a loss on Monday night to the NFC West-rival Los Angeles Rams, missed its chance to get in the playoffs for the first time since 2015 with a win over a team it was favored to beat by nearly two touchdowns.

The Cardinals can still earn a postseason berth during Week 15, but they'll need some other playoff contenders to lose. And in any scenario, Murray will have to play better.

Bengals top Broncos 

Khalid Kareem snatched the ball from backup quarterback Drew Lock on second-and-goal early in the fourth quarter and the Cincinnati Bengals stayed in the thick of the logjammed AFC playoff race with a 15-10 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

The Bengals (8-6) won despite star rookie receiver Ja'Marr Chase being held to a single catch for 3 yards and Tee Higgins managing only 23 yards on two catches.

The Broncos (7-7) saw their postseason hopes whittled with their fourth home loss of the season.

Lock was in for Teddy Bridgewater, who was taken to the hospital in the third quarter for further evaluation of a head injury after he was carted off the field following a scary collision that also sent Bengals linebacker Joe Bachie from the game with a leg injury.

Bridgewater had movement in his extremities and coach Vic Fangio said he'd be held overnight for observation but was expected to be OK.

Cowboys defence stifles Giants in victory

It's been said defences win championships, and nobody in the NFL might be playing better D right now than the Dallas Cowboys.

DeMarcus Lawrence forced a fumble and made two other big plays that led to 15 points and the Dallas defence forced four turnovers for the third straight game Sunday. The Cowboys inched closer to their first playoff berth since 2018 with a 21-6 win over the New York Giants.

This has been a strange season for the Cowboys (10-4), who also got a touchdown pass from Dak Prescott and a 13-year TD run by Ezekiel Elliott in winning their third straight game, all on the road.

The offence, which also got three field goals from Greg Zuerlein, carried the team for the first six or seven games. The defence has shouldered the burden since.

Dallas would clinch a playoff berth later Sunday with a loss or tie by New Orleans or a loss by San Francisco.

49ers handily defeat Falcons

Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 235 yards and a TD, San Francisco ran for three more scores and the 49ers won for the fifth time in six games, beating the Atlanta Falcons 31-13 on Sunday.

The Niners (8-6) scored touchdowns on four straight drives to make easy work of the Falcons (6-8) to remain in wild-card position as the sixth-place team in the NFC.

Atlanta got stopped at the goal line on its first possession of the game and lost a fumble on a strip sack by Nick Bosa on the opening drive of the second half.

That helped the Niners take control as they took advantage of the good field position to drive 38 yards to take a 24-10 lead on Jeff Wilson Jr.'s 5-yard run.

Steelers keep playoff hopes alive with win over Titans

Ben Roethlisberger ran for his first touchdown in three years, Chris Boswell kicked four field goals and the Pittsburgh Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive with a 19-13 win over Tennessee on Sunday.

The Steelers (7-6-1) forced the Titans (9-5) into four turnovers and needed every one of them to win for the second time in three games.

Despite the miscues, Tennessee drove deep into Pittsburgh territory in the final moments, but wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine was tackled inches short of the first down at the Steelers 11 with 27 seconds to go.

Pittsburgh remained in the mix in the muddled AFC North despite managing just 168 yards of total offence. Roethlisberger threw for 148 yards to move past Philip Rivers into fifth on the NFL's career yards passing list, but it was his legs — and Pittsburgh's resilient defence — that provided the difference.

Dolphins rally to beat Jets improve to .500

DeVante Parker caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa with 3:37 left, Duke Johnson rushed for two scores and the Miami Dolphins extended their winning streak to six games by topping the New York Jets 31-24 on Sunday.

Johnson — basically the go-to back for Miami as a last resort because of virus-related issues throughout the week — finished with 107 yards on 22 carries for the Dolphins (7-7), who rallied from an early 10-0 deficit. It was the first two-rushing-TD game of Johnson's NFL career and the first 100-yard game from a Miami rusher this season.

Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins caught a touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter for Miami, juggling the ball before controlling it and then letting loose with a wild celebration. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound defensive lineman leaped into the stands, then did "the worm" in the end zone as teammates danced around him.

The Dolphins became the second team in NFL history to get to 7-7 after starting a season 1-7. The other team on that list — the Jets, in 1974. The season was only 14 weeks back then, so that's where the Jets' turnaround ended and did so without a playoff berth.

Playoff talk is still a long way from real in Miami this season, but the Dolphins at least remain alive with games left to play against New Orleans, Tennessee and New England.

Texans snap 3-game skid with blowout win over Jaguars

Tremon Smith returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, ending the longest drought in the NFL, and the Houston Texans beat woeful Jacksonville 30-16 on Sunday to end a three-game skid and extend their dominance in the series.

Smith somehow escaped five defenders near the 30-yard line — Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins broke his right ankle trying to make the tackle — before coasting the rest of the way. It was Houston's first kickoff return for a score since Oct. 4, 2009. Every other NFL team had enjoyed at least one since.

Rookie quarterback Davis Mills won for the first time in eight starts. He connected with Brandin Cooks twice for touchdowns, once early and again late. The second one was a 43-yarder that sealed yet another Houston victory against Jacksonville.

The Texans (3-11) won their eighth straight against the Jaguars (2-12), sweeping their rivals for the ninth time in the last 11 years.

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