Kansas City secured the first seed in the AFC and the only goodbye to the playoffs when Patrick Mahomes threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson with just under two minutes for a 17-14 victory over Atlanta on Sunday.
The Chiefs had to see Pro Bowl kicker Younghoe Koo miss a field goal tying attempt with nine seconds to escape.
The Chiefs (14-1) won their NFL-record seventh consecutive one-possession game and equaled a franchise record with their 10th consecutive victory. They drew any early drama out of the games involving Pittsburgh and Buffalo and will have that coveted first-round AFC goodbye when the postseason begins in two weeks.
The Falcons (4-11) took the lead when Matt Ryan hit Laquon Treadwell for a five-yard touchdown with 4:33 to play. But Mahomes kept finding Travis Kelce, who had his own record game to set up the TD pass to Robinson. And when the Falcons stormed the other way in the final seconds, the Kansas City defense forced Koo’s 39-yard kick.
Rather than heading into overtime, the Falcons headed home with their seventh loss by six points or less this season.
Mahomes finished with 278 passing yards and two touchdowns along with an interception. Kelce had seven receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown, giving him 1,426 yards on the season, breaking George Kittle’s record for an NFL tight end.
Ryan finished with 300 passing yards and two touchdowns. Calvin Ridley had five receptions for 130 yards.
Chicago Bears 41-17 Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars took care of business against Chicago on Sunday, losing their fourteenth straight game and getting one step closer to securing the top pick in the 2021 draft.
Hello, Trevor Lawrence?
Mitchell Trubisky accounted for three touchdowns, including two touchdown passes to Jimmy Graham, and the Bears defeated the Jaguars 41-17 in a game that meant as much for Jacksonville’s long-term future as it was for Chicago’s short-term fate.
The Bears (8-7), who took control of their way to the postseason when Arizona lost to San Francisco on Saturday, can reach the NFC playoffs for the second time in three years by beating Green Bay next week in House.
The Jaguars (1-14), who set a franchise record for consecutive losses, can clinch the first pick for the first time in franchise history by losing in Indianapolis next week.
Jacksonville’s latest loss ended long before time ran out. Chicago scored 28 unanswered points to start the second half, getting so far ahead that Nick Foles managed to close out the game against his former team.
New York Giants 13-27 Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson led four scoring units during the decisive first half, and the Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants 27-13 on Sunday to take control of their own destiny in the AFC playoff chase.
Baltimore’s fourth consecutive victory, combined with Pittsburgh’s victory over Indianapolis, led the Ravens to overtake the Colts in the search for the AFC wild card. With a win at Cincinnati next week, the Ravens (10-5) will earn a playoff spot for the third year in a row.
The Giants (5-10) lost their third straight game and were left with only a tiny chance of making the postseason.
Jackson led the Ravens to touchdowns on their first two possessions, then led them to field goal position in their next two series for a 20-3 lead at halftime.
That was more than enough to defeat a struggling Giants team that scored just 13 points in their previous two games and has scored just two touchdowns in the past three weeks.
Indianapolis Colts 24-28 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are champions of the AFC North. Finally.
Ben Roethlisberger overcame a month-long discomfort to throw for 342 yards and three touchdowns in the second half as the Steelers clinched the division title with an incredibly unlikely 28-24 victory Sunday.
Listless and lifeless for weeks thanks to a three-game losing streak that followed an 11-0 start, Pittsburgh (12-3) somehow rallied for the final 25 minutes against the Colts (10-5). Indianapolis missed a chance to get closer to a playoff spot when it blew a 17-point lead in the third quarter.
Roethlisberger, who looked uneven at best and ineffective at worst during Pittsburgh’s recent crash, got out of the situation. He abandoned the dink-and-dunk approach that had worked for the early part of the season, but became too predictable during a December blackout.
The 38-year-old quarterback started the comeback with a 39-yard strike to Diontae Johnson and brought the Steelers within a touchdown on a 5-yard pass to Eric Ebron. He gave Pittsburgh their first second-half lead since Dec. 7 when he heard a play that ended with Roethlisberger passing the ball between two Colts to JuJu Smith-Schuster for 25 yards with 7:38 left.
Indianapolis, so dominant during a first half in which it outscored the Steelers 206-28, had two chances to regain the lead in the fourth quarter. The first series ended with Philip Rivers throwing an interception into Pittsburgh territory. The second ended with Rivers pushing Zach Pascal sailing high on fourth down.
Cincinnati Bengals 37-31 Houston Texans
Samaje Perine capped a 75-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run with 1:57 remaining and the Cincinnati Bengals converted the first sack of the game in a 37-31 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen threw a career-high 371 yards and also threw two touchdown passes and engineered the scoring march that led the Bengals (4-10-1) to their second win. consecutive. Cincinnati last won back-to-back games in Weeks 4 and 5 in 2018.
The Bengals had 540 yards, while the Texans had 488. Houston lost its fourth consecutive game.
Houston (4-11) had taken its first lead at 31-27 when Deshaun Watson found Darren Fells for a 22-yard touchdown with 6:15 to play. Watson, who threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns, set a franchise record with his 30th scoring pass this season. But with 1:28 to play, Sam Hubbard recorded a Watson sack and Margus Hunt recovered the fumble to seal Cincinnati’s victory.
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