Jimmy Garoppolo threw four touchdown passes, and Robbie Gould kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired as the visiting San Francisco 49ers defeated the New Orleans Saints 48-46 in an NFC showdown on Sunday afternoon with major seeding ramifications.
Garoppolo completed 26 of 35 passes for 349 yards and drove the 49ers 63 yards in the final minute after Drew Brees had given the Saints a one-point lead with his fifth touchdown pass of the day.
On fourth-and-2 from the San Francisco 33-yard line, Garoppolo threw a 39-yard completion to George Kittle that, combined with a facemask penalty on the tackle, got Gould in range. The 49ers (11-2) moved ahead of the Saints (10-3) in the race for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Seattle (10-2), which visits the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night, holds the tiebreaker over the 49ers. The two teams meet again in the regular-season finale.
Chiefs 23, Patriots 16
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 283 yards Sunday, and Kansas City clinched its fourth consecutive AFC West title by outlasting New England in Foxborough, Mass.
The result snapped New England’s 21-game home winning streak (counting postseason outcomes), tied for the longest home string in franchise history. The Patriots (10-3) lost their second straight game overall and dropped a full game behind Baltimore, which has the head-to-head tiebreaker, in the race for the AFC’s top seed.
Tom Brady drove the Patriots 68 yards to the Kansas City 5 on their final possession, but Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland broke up a fourth-and-3 pass intended for Julian Edelman in the end zone with 1:06 remaining. The Chiefs (9-4) scored 23 consecutive points after falling behind 7-0 to take control.
Ravens 24, Bills 17
Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes, and Baltimore sacked Josh Allen six times while extending its winning streak to nine games with a win over Buffalo in Orchard Park, N.Y.
The Ravens (11-2) outgained the Bills (9-4) 257-209 and remained atop the AFC standings with three games remaining in the regular season. Jackson passed for 145 yards with touchdowns of 3 yards to Nick Boyle, 61 yards to Hayden Hurst and 4 yards to Willie Snead. The scoring pass to Snead and Justin Tucker’s extra point gave the Ravens a 24-9 lead with 9:54 to play.
The Bills responded with their lone touchdown of the game on a 3-yard pass from Allen to Cole Beasley with seven minutes left. The pair connected on a two-point conversion pass moments later to draw the Bills within the final margin, but Buffalo was unable to come closer, with Allen’s pass on fourth-and-8 from the Baltimore 16 falling incomplete with 1:08 to go.
Titans 42, Raiders 21
Ryan Tannehill threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns as visiting Tennessee moved into a tie atop the AFC South with a victory over Oakland.
Rookie A.J. Brown reeled in a pair of touchdown receptions, and Derrick Henry rushed for 103 yards and two scores for the Titans (8-5), who have won six of their last seven to pull even with Houston. The division foes face each other two times over the final three weeks.
Henry had a 12-yard touchdown run to forge a tie late in the first quarter before rumbling up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown to give Tennessee a 28-21 lead with 5:36 remaining in the third. He boosted his touchdown total to 15 (13 rushing, two receiving) on the season — with nine (eight rushing, one receiving) coming in the last five games.
Broncos 38, Texans 24
Drew Lock passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns, Kareem Jackson had an interception and a fumble return for a score against his former team, and visiting Denver beat Houston.
Noah Fant had four receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown before leaving with a foot injury. Phillip Lindsay rushed for 51 yards and a score for the Broncos (5-8).
Deshaun Watson had 292 yards passing with one touchdown and two interceptions and ran for two more scores for the Texans. DeAndre Hopkins had seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown for Houston (8-5).
Steelers 23, Cardinals 17
Rookie Devlin “Duck” Hodges passed for 152 yards and a touchdown, and wide receiver Diontae Johnson scored twice as the Steelers continued their late-season run with a victory in Glendale, Ariz.
Johnson’s 85-yard punt return in the first quarter helped the Steelers to a 10-0 lead, and his 2-yard scoring reception from Hodges moved the lead back to 10 late in the third quarter. The Steelers won their third straight and seventh in the last eight to maintain a tiebreaker edge over Tennessee for the final AFC wild-card spot.
Arizona rookie Kyler Murray passed for 194 yards and two touchdowns, but he had his first career three-interception game, the final one coming on a desperation pass over the middle on fourth-and-17 with 36 seconds remaining.
Buccaneers 38, Colts 35
Despite a small fracture in his right (throwing) thumb, Jameis Winston threw for 456 yards and four touchdowns as Tampa Bay rallied from a 14-point, second-half deficit to defeat visiting Indianapolis.
Winston finished 33-for-45 and threw three interceptions — including a pick-six — but it was his fourth touchdown pass of the day that won it for the Bucs (6-7), who gained 542 total yards. The Bucs turned the ball over four times.
After Winston’s third pick set up Indy with a first-and-10 at Tampa’s 25-yard line in the fourth quarter, the Colts went three-and-out, and kicker Chase McLaughlin missed a 47-yard field goal. Winston then took the Bucs down the field 63 yards in eight plays, hitting Breshad Perriman with the game-winning 12-yard score with 3:51 to go.
Packers 20, Redskins 15
Running back Aaron Jones rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for a game-high 58 yards to carry Green Bay past visiting Washington.
Nursing a 17-9 lead, the Packers (10-3) took possession at their 11 with 9:58 remaining and turned Jones loose. On third-and-14, he lined up at receiver and caught a pass for 25 yards. On third-and-3, he ran through a tackle for a gain of 5. Jones added a 12-yard run on the drive, capped by Mason Crosby’s 33-yard field goal with 2:34 remaining.
Adrian Peterson ran for 76 yards for Washington (3-10) and became the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 14,000 yards. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin made an incredible one-handed catch for a 13-yard score with 1:17 remaining, but the Packers’ Davante Adams recovered the ensuing onside kick.
Vikings 20, Lions 7
Minnesota kept pace in the NFC North race, and Detroit kept pace for a high draft pick in April.
Kirk Cousins passed for 242 yards and a touchdown to lead the Vikings (9-4), who have won three of their past four games and remain one game behind Green Bay. Dalvin Cook rushed for 62 yards and a score.
Detroit (3-9-1) dropped its sixth straight. The Lions ended the Vikings’ shutout bid with 2:09 left in the game on a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Blough to Kenny Golladay.
Browns 27, Bengals 19
Denzel Ward returned an interception for a touchdown, Baker Mayfield and Kareem Hunt each had one rushing touchdown, and Cleveland held on to beat visiting Cincinnati.
Nick Chubb added a team-high 106 rushing yards on 15 carries for the Browns (6-7), who earned their fourth win in five games. The victory came despite a bumpy performance by Mayfield, who completed 11 of 24 passes for 192 yards and two interceptions.
Joe Mixon had 186 yards from scrimmage (146 rushing, 40 receiving) and a touchdown for the Bengals (1-12), who are winless on the road in seven games. Andy Dalton passed for 262 yards and one pick.
Chargers 45, Jaguars 10
Philip Rivers threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Austin Ekeler accounted for more than 200 yards from scrimmage as Los Angeles ended its three-game losing streak with a win in Jacksonville.
Rivers completed 16 of 22 passes, averaging nearly 20 yards per completion, as the Chargers improved to 5-8. Ekeler ran for 101 yards and had 112 yards receiving, including an 84-yard touchdown reception just 1:07 into the third quarter that was the longest scoring pass of Rivers’ 16-year career.
Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew hit 24 of 37 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown, finding tight end Nick O’Leary for a 12-yard scoring strike with 5:48 left in the third quarter. The Jaguars lost their fifth straight — with each loss coming by at least 17 points.
Jets 22, Dolphins 21
Sam Ficken made a 44-yard field goal as time expired to lead host New York to a one-point win over Miami in East Rutherford, N.J.
The kick was set up by a pass-interference penalty against the Dolphins’ Nik Needham that was not called on the field. It was ruled a penalty by video review, leaving Miami coach Brian Flores enraged. The pass interference came on third-and-18 from the Miami 46.
The Dolphins’ Jason Sanders made a franchise-record seven field goals, although he missed one due to a bobbled snap. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 270 yards and two touchdown passes for his first career win over Miami after three losses. It was also the first win for New York coach Adam Gase against his former team as the Jets (5-8) and Dolphins (3-10) split their two-game series this season.
Falcons 40, Panthers 20
Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes, and host Atlanta took advantage of mistake-prone Carolina in a rout.
It was the first game for the Panthers since Perry Fewell was bumped up from secondary coach to interim coach following the firing Tuesday of Ron Rivera, who was in his ninth season as head coach.
The Falcons (4-9) continued a late-season surge, blowing out the Panthers for the second time in four games and winning for the third time in five. Ryan was 20-for-34 for 313 yards without an interception.
–Field Level Media