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NFL roundup: Bills clinch first playoff berth since 1999

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Buffalo Bills reached the playoffs for the first time since 1999, defeating the Miami Dolphins 22-16 on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Buffalo (9-7) had to wait about 15 minutes after its game to officially make the playoffs. That came when the Ravens lost to Cincinnati, giving Buffalo a wild-card spot. The Bills will visit AFC South winner Jacksonville next Sunday.

Prior to Sunday, Buffalo had the longest active playoff drought in all four major U.S. team sports. Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners now have the longest drought, dating to 2001.

Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor took up the slack, completing 19-of-27 passes for 204 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions. He also scrambled for 35 yards.

The Dolphins (6-10) benched veteran quarterback Jay Cutler after just one series, opting for David Fales, a sixth-round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2014. Fales completed 29-of-42 passes for 265 yards.

Falcons 22, Panthers 10
ATLANTA — Matt Bryant made five second-half field goals, including a 56-yard and Atlanta secured the NFC’s final wild-card berth by beating Carolina.
The Falcons (10-6) will visit the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday while Carolina (11-5) will face fourth-seeded New Orleans next Sunday.
Atlanta’s defense made life miserable for Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. Newton was intercepted three times and finished 14 of 34 for 180 yards.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completed 28 of 45 passes.

Titans 15, Jaguars 10
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee secured its first playoff berth since 208 by getting a big day from its defense in a win over Jacksonville.
Kevin Byard secured the win by intercepting Blake Bortles with 10 seconds remaining and the Titans (9-7) clinched the first wild-card spot. They will face AFC West champion Kansas City on Saturday.
Jacksonwille (10-6) will host Buffalo on Sunday.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota connected on 12-of-21 passes for 134 yards while Ryan Succop kicked three field goals.
Bortles completed 15-of-34 passes for 158 yards as the Jaguars committed four turnovers.

Cardinals 26, Seahawks 24
SEATTLE — Phil Dawson kicked four field goals, including the game-winning 42-yarder with 2:21 left as Arizona beat Seattle, which was eliminated from playoff contention.
Blair Walsh missed a 48-yard field goal with 32 seconds remaining but the Seahawks (9-7) were eliminated when Atlanta beat Carolina to secure the NFC’s final wild-card spot.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson finished 18 of 29 for 221 yards and two touchdowns, including a 29-yard TD to Doug Baldwin that gave the Seahawks a 24-23 lead with 10:24 remaining.

Bengals 31, Ravens 27
BALTIMORE — Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes, including a 49-yard strike to Tyler Boyd with 44 seconds remaining, and Cincinnati eliminated Baltimore from the playoffs.
Boyd’s TD occurred on a fourth-and-12 play and kept the Ravens (9-7) out of the postseason for the third straight seasons.
Dalton completed 23-of-44 passes for 232 yards. Baltimore’s Joe Flacco completed 25-of-47 passes for 203 yards with two TDs.

Chargers 30, Raiders 10
CARSON, Calif. — Philip Rivers threw for three touchdowns and Keenan Allen had a pair of scores as Los Angeles beat Oakland but was eliminated from the playoffs.
Despite winning for the sixth time in seven games, the Chargers (9-7) fell short in the wild-card race in their first season in Los Angeles. The Chargers lost their first four games and missed the postseason for the seventh time in eight seasons.
Rivers completed 28-of-37 passes for 387 yards while Allen compiled 133 receiving yards on nine catches.
Derek Carr finished 19-of-28 for 243 yards for Oakland (6-10), which fired coach Jack Del Rio after the game.

Patriots 26, Jets 6
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home-field advantage in the playoffs with a victory over New York in arctic conditions at Gillette Stadium.
Dion Lewis totaled 133 yards (93 rushing, 40 receiving) and scored two touchdowns while Tom Brady completed 18 of 37 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns for the Patriots (13-3).
New York (5-11) finished last in the AFC East for the second straight season and the third time in four years.

Steelers 28, Browns 24
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh beat Cleveland to make the Browns the second 0-16 team in NFL history. The 2008 Detroit Lions also went 0-16.
The Steelers jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but the Browns came back to tie the score at 21-21. However, JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 96-yard kickoff return on the ensuing kickoff put the Steelers back up 28-21 and the Browns could only add a 51-yard field goal and fell short once again.
The Steelers (13-3) started Landry Jones at quarterback in place of Ben Roethlisberger and Jones completed 23 of 27 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown in guiding the Steelers to their 13th win of the season.

Vikings 23, Bears 10
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota had a few flaws on offense and special teams but now will have an extra week to work on them before opening the playoffs at home.
The Vikings (13-3) clinched a first-round bye with the win over Chicago and might have spelled the end for Bears head coach John Fox, who is widely expected to be dismissed after his team finished 5-11.
Vikings running back Latavius Murray had a pair of touchdowns, while quarterback Case Keenum was 21 of 29 for 189 yards and one touchdown. Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was 20 of 36 for 176 yards and was sacked once. He also gave up a safety.

Chiefs 27, Broncos 24
DENVER — Rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes directed four scoring drives and Harrison Butker hit a 30-yard field goal as time expired as Kansas City edged Denver.
Mahomes completed 22-of-35 passes for 284 yards as Kansas City (10-6) won its fourth straight games. The AFC West Champions will host Tennessee on Saturday.
Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt finished with 1,327 yards to win the rushing title over Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, who did not play.
Paxton Lynch completed 21-of-31 for 254 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumble for Denver (5-11).

Buccaneers 31, Saints 24
TAMPA, Fla. — Jameis Winston tossed a 39-yard pass to rookie wideout Chris Godwin with nine seconds remaining as Tampa Bay beat New Orleans.
Despite allowing Tampa Bay to march 95 yards down the field with no timeouts remaining, the Saints backed into the NFC South title because Atlanta beat Carolina. The fourth-seeded Saints (11-5) will host the No. 5 Panthers (11-5) next Sunday.
Winston completed 28 of 51 passes for 363 yards as Tampa Bay finished with a 5-11 record. Drew Brees finished 22 of 30 for 245 yards as New Orleans clinched its first division title since 2011.

49ers 34, Rams 13
LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns as San Francisco ended the season by beating Los Angeles for its fifth straight win.
Garopoolo helped the 49ers (6-10) gain 463 total yards of offense against a team who sat 17 starters.
Quarterback Jared Goff, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and running back Todd Gurley were among those who sat for the Rams (11-5), who will host Atlanta on Saturday. Backup Sean Mannion completed 20-of-34 passes for 169 yards.

Giants 18, Redskins 10
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York scored two touchdowns in just over two minutes with the first score coming when running back Orleans Darkwa scampered 75 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the opening drive.
The Giants then got an interception by linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, who picked off Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins’ pass intended for receiver Josh Doctson. Sheppard returned the interception 12 yards to give the Giants (3-13) the ball on the Washington 19-yard line.
Two plays later, Eli Manning connected with receiver Hunter Sharp for a 16-yard touchdown reception to make it 12-0 after the two-point conversion fell short. Manning was making his 216th appearance, which ties Hall-of-Fame defensive end Michael Strahan’s franchise record for the most games played in a Giants uniform, The Redskins finish 7-9.

Lions 35, Packers 11
DETROIT — Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes and also caught a two-point conversion as the Detroit (9-7) closed out its season routing Green Bay.
Stafford, who completed three passes of over 50 yards, went 20 of 29 through the air for 323 yards. Golden Tate caught seven passes for 104 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown reception.
Brett Hundley completed 14 of 24 passes for 172 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for Green Bay (7-9), which finished the season on a three-game losing streak.

Cowboys 6, Eagles 0
PHILADELPHIA — Quarterback Dak Prescott threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Brice Butler early in the fourth quarter and Dallas held on against Philadelphia (13-3).
Despite having already been eliminated from playoff contention, the Cowboys still finished with a winning record at 9-7.
After last week’s ineffective performance in a 19-10 win over the Oakland Raiders, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson opted to bring back starter Nick Foles against the Cowboys. He went 4 of 11 for 39 yards, one interception and a miniscule 9.3 passer rating before being replaced by Nate Sudfeld.

Colts 22, Texans 13
INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis running back Frank Gore rushed for 100 yards on 24 carries to help lead Indianapolis to the win.
The Colts limited the Texans to 209 total yards and got a safety. Each AFC South team finished with a 4-12 record.
Jacoby Brissett completed 15-of-24 passes for 114 yards and one touchdown for Indianapolis