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NFL Week 17 Game Recaps

Week 17 Football Review
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National Football League Game Capsules - sunday, december 31st

(Sunday, December 31st)

Final Score: Pittsburgh 23, Cincinnati 17 (OT)

Cincinnati, OH (MySportsbook) - Santonio Holmes' 67-yard catch-and-run touchdown in overtime lifted Pittsburgh to a 23-17 victory over Cincinnati in what could have been Bill Cowher's final game as the Steelers' head coach. The Bengals, as a result of the loss, were officially eliminated from playoff contention. Holmes ended with four catches for 124 yards and the game-winning score for the Steelers (8-8), who finished the season winning four of their last five games, but missed the playoffs after their Super Bowl season of a year ago. Carson Palmer completed 20 of his 38 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns while Chris Henry hauled in four balls for 124 yards and a score for the Bengals (8-8), who ended the season with three straight losses.

Final Score: Detroit 39, Dallas 31

Irving, TX (MySportsbook) - Jon Kitna threw four touchdown passes as the Detroit Lions killed Dallas' division championship hopes with a 39-31 victory at Texas Stadium. Kitna went 28-for-42 with 306 yards and an interception while Roy Williams hauled in six passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions (3-13), who ended their season by snapping a seven-game losing streak. Mike Furrey added 11 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown for Detroit, which snapped a three-game losing streak against Dallas. Thanks to Oakland's 23-3 defeat at the hands of the Jets, Detroit kept itself from being dead last in the NFL. Tony Romo went 23-for-32 for 321 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, and he also fumbled the ball four times, losing two of them, for the Cowboys (9-7), who finished second in the NFC East and will travel to Seattle for next Saturday's 8:00 p.m. (et) wild card playoff game. Terrell Owens had six receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown for Dallas, which backed into the playoffs by losing its last two games.

Final Score: Houston 14, Cleveland 6

Houston, TX (MySportsbook) - Chris Taylor ran for 99 yards with a touchdown as the Houston Texans defeated the Cleveland Browns, 14-6, at Reliant Stadium. Taylor carried the ball 20 times in the contest and Anthony Maddox returned a fumble 47 yards for a score, as the Texans (6-10) won three of their last five games of the season. David Carr managed the game well and finished 9-of-15 passing for 86 yards with an interception in the victory. Kicker Phil Dawson accounted for the only Cleveland points with two field goals. Charlie Frye, starting his first game since injuring a wrist in the Browns' win versus the Kansas City Chiefs on December 3, was 25-of-34 passing for 187 yards with an interception. Kellen Winslow had 11 catches for 93 yards for Cleveland (4-12), which lost its last four games. Winslow tied Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Newsome for most catches by a Browns player, with 87 in the loss. Reuben Droughns added 83 yards rushing on 19 carries in defeat.

Final Score: Kansas City 35, Jacksonville 30

Kansas City, MO (MySportsbook) - Larry Johnson broke several records, and helped get Kansas City into the playoffs, rushing 33 times for 138 yards with three touchdowns as the Chiefs beat the Jaguars, 35-30. The Chiefs snuck into the playoffs thanks to losses by Denver, Cincinnati and Tennessee on Sunday. A field goal in overtime gave the San Francisco 49ers a 26-23 win over Denver, Cincinnati lost to the Steelers, 23-17, in overtime and Tennessee was defeated by the Patriots, 40-23, earlier on Sunday. Kansas City's luck allows them to face the high-powered Colts in Indianapolis in the wild card game next Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (et). Johnson broke Jamal Anderson's record of 410 rushing attempts in a season, finishing with 416 on the season. Trent Green threw for 181 yards on a 14- of-21 passing performance, with one touchdown and two interceptions. Eddie Kennison had six catches for 144 yards and one touchdown for Kansas City (9-7). Quinn Gray replaced a benched David Garrard, and led Jacksonville (8-8) back from a 28-10 deficit, but couldn't complete the comeback as the Jags season came to an end. Gray finished 13-of-22 for 166 yards with two rushing touchdowns. Garrard's day wasn't particularly bad, as he finished 10-of-18 for 140 yards and one touchdown, but his last pass of the day was intercepted by Ty Law and set up a Chiefs touchdown.

Final Score: St. Louis 41, Minnesota 21

Minneapolis, MN (MySportsbook) - Steven Jackson rushed for 142 yards and scored four touchdowns as St. Louis routed Minnesota, 41-21, in the season finale for both clubs at the Metrodome. The New York Giants' 34-28 win over the Washington Redskins on Saturday night eliminated St. Louis from the playoff race but it certainly didn't stop the Rams from toying with a Vikings team that seemingly gave up on rookie head coach Brad Childress. Jackson ran for three scores and also took a shovel pass in for the Rams (8-8), who finished their season with three consecutive wins. Marc Bulger completed 19-of-30 passes for 248 yards and a TD for St. Louis, while Torry Holt had nine receptions for 90 yards. Rookie Tarvaris Jackson connected on 20-of-34 passes for 213 yards with a TD and two interceptions in his second career start for the disappointing Vikings (6-10), who lost eight of 10 games to end the season. He also added 34 yards on the ground and another TD.

Final Score: Carolina 31, New Orleans 21

New Orleans, LA (MySportsbook) - Jake Delhomme threw for 207 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Carolina Panthers to a 31-21 victory over the New Orleans Saints in the regular-season finale at the Superdome. The Panthers (8-8), preseason favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, completed a disappointing season with two straight wins after a four- game slide all but dashed their postseason hopes. They were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday night when the New York Giants beat Washington. New Orleans (10-6), meanwhile, is heading to the playoffs as the NFC South champion and will have a first-round bye before hosting a divisional playoff game on the weekend of January 13-14. Because the Saints had already locked up the second seed in the NFC, head coach Sean Payton played most of his regulars only one quarter -- or less. Quarterback Drew Brees led the Saints to a touchdown on his only full series, directing an eight-play, 65-yard march that ended with Reggie Bush's one-yard scoring run for a 7-0 lead. Brees threw an eight-yard pass on the first play of New Orleans' second possession, then left the field to a standing ovation. He finished the game 4- of-5 for 46 yards and in his first season with the Saints threw for 4,418 yards with 26 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. Bush had three carries for 20 yards and two receptions for 13 yards. Running back Deuce McAllister sat out for New Orleans, as did wide receivers Joe Horn and Terrance Copper, and defensive end Will Smith. Delhomme, meanwhile, returned after a three- game absence because of a thumb injury. He completed 23-of-27 passes without an interception. DeShaun Foster ran for 79 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in the victory, while Steve Smith caught seven passes for 85 yards with a pair of scores. Jamie Martin took over for Brees and completed 16- of-24 passes for 208 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Final Score: NY Jets 23, Oakland 3

East Rutherford, NJ (MySportsbook) - Chad Pennington capped an improbable regular season by completing 22-of-30 passes for 157 yards with a touchdown, as the New York Jets clinched a playoff berth with a 23-3 win over the Oakland Raiders at Giants Stadium. With the win, the Jets guaranteed themselves at least one more game this season. New York, which is 4-4 in Wild Card games, is the No. 5 seed and plays in New England on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (et). It was in Game 3 last season that Pennington hurt his shoulder and had to undergo a second torn labrum surgery. He made a remarkable comeback and played an entire 16-game season for the first time in his career. Pennington finished the regular season completing 313-of-485 passes for 3,352 yards with 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He became the fourth quarterback in Jets history to complete 300 passes in a season. Leon Washington ran the ball 15 times for 53 yards with a touchdown and Jerricho Cotchery hauled in seven passes for 53 yards for the Jets (10-6), who secured their first playoff berth since 2004, when they lost to Pittsburgh 20-17 in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game. Eric Mangini, who is the youngest head coach in the NFL, guided his to team to a six-win turnaround in his first season at the helm. Mike Nugent booted three field goals for New York, which won its final three regular-season games. Oakland quarterback Aaron Brooks, who hasn't won a game all season, was 15- of-26 for 136 yards with no touchdowns and an interception while Justin Fargas was the lone bright spot, gaining 79 yards on 17 carries. The Raiders (2-14) finished the season losing nine straight games, their worst losing streak since 13 straight setbacks to begin the 1962 campaign. Oakland also completed the campaign with no road wins. Ronald Curry finished with five catches for 47 yards for Oakland, which didn't score a touchdown in 49-of-64 quarters this season, including no touchdowns in the last 18 frames.

Final Score: Seattle 23, Tampa Bay 7

Tampa, FL (MySportsbook) - Shaun Alexander rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown to guide the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 23-7, in the regular season finale for both clubs at Raymond James Stadium. Matt Hasselbeck ended 17-of-29 for 216 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions for the Seahawks (9-7), who were already locked into the No. 4 seed. They will host Dallas in the first round of the postseason, as the Cowboys fell to Detroit on Sunday to hand Philadelphia the NFC East crown. D.J. Hackett was Hasselbeck's primary target, hauling in four catches for 63 yards and a score. The game may have meant little as far as playoff positioning, but Seattle had lost three straight and wanted to get on track before making a postseason push. Joey Galloway had eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown for Tampa (4-12), which dropped five of six to end the season. Tim Rattay went 16-of-27 for 185 yards with a TD toss, and Michael Pittman rushed for 73 yards on 12 carries.

Final Score: New England 40, Tennessee 23

Nashville, TN (MySportsbook) - Tom Brady threw for 225 yards and a score while Corey Dillon added a pair of rushing touchdowns, as New England ended Tennessee's slim playoff hopes with a 40-23 victory on the rain-soaked LP Field. Despite having already clinched the AFC East title for the fifth time in the past six seasons, Brady played into the early portion of the fourth quarter and completed 15-of-24 pass attempts. Matt Cassel then came in under center before giving way to the 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde. Testaverde capped the game's scoring with a six-yard touchdown pass to Troy Brown in the final minutes. That score was significant because it gave Testaverde a TD pass in 20 straight seasons, an NFL record. Dillon ended with 67 yards rushing while Laurence Maroney chipped in with 73 yards on the ground with a score. Reche Caldwell had a big game receiving as he hauled in four passes for 134 yards with a TD catch. The win gave New England (12-4), winners in six of its last seven games, a chance at the third seed in the AFC, but the Colts defeated Miami on Sunday to claim that spot, leaving the Patriots as the fourth seed. Rookie of the Year candidate Vince Young threw for 227 yards on 15-of-36 passing with two interceptions for the Titans (8-8), who had a six-game winning streak that erased the memory of an 0-5 start halted. Young also ran for a score.

Final Score: Baltimore 19, Buffalo 7

Baltimore, MD (MySportsbook) - Matt Stover kicked four field goals and Ray Lewis recorded six tackles, one sack and a forced fumble as Baltimore locked up the second seed in the AFC playoffs and clinched a first-round bye with a 19-7 victory over Buffalo at M&T Bank Stadium. Chris McAlister returned his career-high sixth interception of the season for a 31-yard touchdown while Steve McNair finished 23-of-35 passing for 216 yards with an interception for the Ravens (13-3), who finished the campaign with four straight wins. Baltimore will open the playoffs at home on January 13 or 14. Jamal Lewis rushed for 69 yards on 20 carries and Todd Heap had five receptions for 60 yards in the win. Lee Evans hauled in seven passes for 145 yards and a score for the Bills (7-9), who finished with their fourth losing season in the past six years. J.P. Losman completed 20 of his 35 passes for 237 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions and Willis McGahee gained just 23 rushing yards on 11 touches in defeat.

Final Score: Indianapolis 27, Miami 22

Indianapolis, IN (MySportsbook) - Peyton Manning threw a pair of touchdown passes and also ran one in as the AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts finished up the regular season with a 27-22 win over the Miami Dolphins at the RCA Dome. Manning ended 22-of-37 for 282 yards without an interception for the Colts (12-4), who are now locked into the No. 3 seed. By virtue of a Kansas City win and a surprising Denver loss to San Francisco, the Colts will host the Chiefs in the first round of the playoffs. Marvin Harrison had five catches for 74 yards with a touchdown, and Reggie Wayne hauled in six balls for 70 yards in the victory. Cleo Lemon got the nod and went 18-of-36 for 210 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Miami (6-10), which failed to make a postseason appearance for the fifth consecutive year. Ronnie Brown rushed the ball 21 times for 115 yards, while Randy McMichael caught four passes for 55 yards and a score.

Final Score: Philadelphia 24, Atlanta 17

Philadelphia, PA (MySportsbook) - A.J. Feeley threw three touchdown passes and despite most of their starters hardly playing, the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 24-17, at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles officially won the division shortly after the game started when the Detroit Lions defeated the Dallas Cowboys earlier on Sunday. After the first drive, most of Philadelphia's starters sat out the rest of the game. Feeley went 22-for-33 with 321 yards and Hank Baskett hauled in seven catches for 177 yards and a score for the Eagles (10-6), who won their last five games of the regular season to clinch their fifth NFC East title in the last six years. The Eagles play the Giants next Sunday at 4:30 p.m. (et) in Philadelphia. Michael Vick went 8-for-14 with 81 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game in the third quarter with a right ankle sprain for the Falcons (7-9), who lost their last two games and were knocked out of the playoffs. Matt Schaub finished the game under center and went 15-for-21 for 175 yards with one touchdown and one interception for Atlanta, which knew coming into the game that there was no chance of gaining a playoff spot after the Giants defeated the Redskins on Saturday night.

Final Score: San Francisco 26, Denver 23 (OT)

Denver, CO (MySportsbook) - Joe Nedney kicked a 36-yard field goal, his fourth of the contest, with 1:56 left in overtime, as San Francisco kept Denver out of the playoffs with a 26-23 victory at Invesco Field. With Denver's loss Kansas City earned the sixth seed in the playoffs and meets Indianapolis on Sunday. The Broncos would've been the fifth-seed with a win. Starting at the Denver 41, Bryan Gilmore gained 20 yards on a reverse with under 4 1/2 minutes remaining in overtime. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-8, Gilmore hauled in a 14-yard pass to the 25. After two runs by Frank Gore, Nedney split the uprights to win the game. Gore ran for 153 yards on 31 carries to become the NFC's leading rusher, surpassing Tiki Barber (1,662). He also caught two passes for 32 yards. He is the first 49er to lead the conference in rushing. Alex Smith completed 17-of-32 passes for 194 yards with a touchdown and an interception for San Francisco (7-9), which won two of its final three games. Arnaz Battle made four catches for 56 yards in the win. The 49ers gained 53 total yards on their first six possessions and 304 on their final eight. Jay Cutler was 21-of-32 for 230 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but missed most of the second quarter with a head injury. Jake Plummer was 0-for-2 with a pick. Mike Bell ran the ball 11 times for 66 yards while Tatum Bell gained 48 yards to pass the 1,000 rushing- yard plateau for the Broncos (9-7), who were aiming to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Champ Bailey intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown in the season finale.

Final Score: San Diego 27, Arizona 20

San Diego, CA (MySportsbook) - Philip Rivers passed for 231 yards with two touchdowns and Antonio Gates grabbed four passes for 56 yards and a score, as the San Diego Chargers defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 27-20, at Qualcomm Stadium in the regular-season finale for both teams. Rivers was 19-of-24 passing and was also intercepted once as San Diego (14-2) clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Rivers was taken out midway through the third quarter with the Chargers' well in front. Billy Volek, in relief of Rivers, was 1-of-2 passing for four yards. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 66 yards on 16 carries and Vincent Jackson caught three passes for 28 yards and a score for San Diego, which enters the playoffs with a 10-game win streak. Tomlinson, though, who set the single-season touchdown record earlier this season, was held out of the end zone for a second straight game. He ended the year with 31 touchdowns. Kurt Warner, who was filling in for the injured Matt Leinart, was 22-of-32 passing for 356 yards with a touchdown for the Cardinals (5-11). Edgerrin James added 66 yards on the ground on 16 carries and a touchdown. Leinart sprained his left shoulder in the Cardinals' 26-20 win over San Francisco on Dec. 24. Anquan Boldin pulled in four catches for 112 yards, while Bryant Johnson had three catches for 76 yards. Larry Fitzgerald chipped in with four grabs for 33 yards and a score.

Final Score: Green Bay 26, Chicago 7

Chicago, IL (MySportsbook) - Brett Favre threw for 285 yards and a touchdown and the Packers defense returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns, leading Green Bay to a 26-7 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Favre, playing in what might be his final game, ended 21-of-42 passing with an interception and was eventually carried off the field by teammate Donald Driver with just over a minute left. He also posed for pictures with his offensive linemen on the field after the contest. Driver had the touchdown catch and Ruvell Martin had seven catches for 118 yards for the Packers (8-8), who ended the season with four straight wins. Ahman Green added 71 yards rushing for Green Bay, which forced six turnovers. Rex Grossman struggled under center for the Bears, committing four turnovers. He went just 2-of-12 passing for 33 yards with three interceptions and fumble before being replaced in the second half. Brian Griese came on for Chicago and went only 5- of-15 for 124 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Cedric Benson was the only bright spots for the Bears (13-3), who had a four- game win streak halted. Benson ended with 109 yards rushing for Chicago, which still enters the postseason as the best team in the NFC, a position it locked up weeks ago.

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