NFL roundup: Pagano comes back to victoryThe Indianapolis Colts made Chuck Pagano a winner in his return to the sideline.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts made Chuck Pagano a winner in his return to the sideline.
Andrew Luck threw for two touchdowns and Deji Karim swung the game with a 101-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, giving the Colts a 28-16 victory over Houston. It was Pagano’s first game back as coach since starting treatment for leukemia Sept. 26.
Indianapolis (11-5) heads into the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and on a roll. The Colts will open the postseason next weekend against the Baltimore Ravens.
Slumping Houston (12-4) won’t know its playoff seed until later Sunday. The Texans lost three of their last four games, and J.J. Watt failed to break Michael Strahan’s single-season sacks record.
BENGALS 23, RAVENS 17
CINCINNATI — Carlos Dunlap returned an interception 14 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Ravens (10-6) had already clinched their second straight AFC North title, and they will open the playoffs at home against Indianapolis, which defeated Houston on Sunday.
BRONCOS 38, CHIEFS 3
DENVER — Peyton Manning threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns to lift Denver into the No. 1 seed for the AFC playoffs.
Manning finished the season with 4,659 yards, 41 short of his career high. He finished with 37 touchdown passes, and none will be more memorable than the last two — circus catches by Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas that turned the game into a blowout.
49ERS 27, CARDINALS 13
SAN FRANCISCO — Michael Crabtree caught touchdown passes of 49 and 7 yards as the 49ers won a second straight NFC West title.
Colin Kaepernick threw for a career-best 276 yards and two TDs as the Niners (11-4-1) earned a No. 2 seed thanks to Green Bay’s loss to Minnesota.
SEAHAWKS 20, RAMS 13
SEATTLE — Russell Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s record for most touchdown passes by a rookie with 26, and his 1-yard TD run with 1:39 left allowed Seattle to finish as the only unbeaten team at home.
Seattle (11-5) entered the day with hopes of still winning the NFC West and getting a home playoff game, but those dreams were dashed when San Francisco beat Arizona. Seattle will be the No. 5 seed and face the NFC East winner — Washington or Dallas — next weekend.
PATRIOTS 28, DOLPHINS 0
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes and New England earned a playoff bye.
Stevan Ridley ran for two touchdowns as the Patriots used a ball-control offense and a defense that racked up a season-high seven sacks.
BUCCANEERS 22, FALCONS 17
ATLANTA — The Falcons couldn’t follow through with their plan to gain momentum for the playoffs as Josh Freeman threw a touchdown pass to Mike Williams and Doug Martin ran for 141 yards.
The Falcons (13-3) had little to play for as they already have home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs. Coach Mike Smith said he wanted to “finish the regular season the right way,” and he stayed with his starters through the game.
BEARS 26, LIONS 24
DETROIT — Jay Cutler threw for 257 yards and a touchdown and helped seal the game with a late scramble.
Chicago (10-6) needed a Minnesota loss to Green Bay to reach the postseason.
GIANTS 42, EAGLES 7
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There will be no Super Bowl repeat for the Giants. Not even a playoff berth despite Eli Manning’s career-high five touchdown passes.
The Giants (9-7) playoff hopes ended minutes after routing the Eagles. Chicago’s win over Detroit ended New York’s long-shot playoff chances.
STEELERS 24, BROWNS 10
PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger threw three short touchdown passes, and Pittsburgh avoided its first losing season in nearly a decade.
Antonio Brown, Leonard Pope and Plaxico Burress scored for the Steelers (8-8). Pittsburgh’s top-ranked defense forced four turnovers as the Steelers won for just the second time in the last six weeks, a slide that knocked them out of the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
BILLS 28, JETS 9
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — C.J. Spiller scored on a 66-yard catch and run in helping underachieving Buffalo, while Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez had two more turnovers.
Safety Bryan Scott also returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown for the Bills (6-10), who snapped a three-game skid. Both AFC East rivals had already been eliminated from playoff contention.
TITANS 38, JAGUARS 20
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee became the first NFL team with two players scoring twice on returns in closing out the season with two wins in its final three games.
Darius Reynaud scored on two punt returns and rookie linebacker Zach Brown returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
PANTHERS 44, SAINTS 38
NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees made more NFL history, but so did the Saints’ porous defense in a loss to Carolina.
DeAngelo Williams rushed for 210 yards, including touchdown runs of 54 and 12 yards, for Carolina (7-9), which closed the season with four straight wins. His 65-yard gain set up the first of three 1-yard scoring runs by Mike Tolbert.
CHARGERS 24, RAIDERS 21
SAN DIEGO — Micheal Spurlock returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown on wet, gloomy day in what’s expected to be Norv Turner’s final game as Chargers coach.
Turner and general manager A.J. Smith are expected to be fired because the Chargers (7-9) missed the playoffs for the third straight season. The Raiders finished 4-12.