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NFL Wrapup

The holiday weekend was a good time for a road trip.
If winning away from home is a predictor of playoff success, count Pittsburgh, Denver and Carolina among the contenders.
The Steelers and Broncos ignored wicked weather conditions in impressive victories over AFC East foes, while the Panthers pulled out a wild one in Green Bay, 35-31.
There was little home-field advantage Sunday with visiting teams going 10-2. Only Tampa Bay and Minnesota managed to send their fans home happy.
In East Rutherford, N.J., Jay Cutler threw for 357 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 34-17 victory over the New York Jets. Rookie Peyton Hillis rushed for a career-high 129 yards and a score, becoming the first to gain 100 or more yards against New York’s third-ranked run defense.
"The thing that really got me going was the ESPN analysis and they were all saying we shouldn’t get off the plane," Hillis said. "That really got me fired up."
In Foxborough, Mass., Pittsburgh dominated the second half of its 33-10 victory, outscoring the Patriots 23-0. The Steelers had all of their five takeaways and four of their five sacks after halftime, giving up 81 yards to a team that had gained more than 500 in each of its two previous games.
"We heard a lot of talk about it being a rivalry," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "It hasn’t been much of a rivalry until you win some. That’s what we talked about coming up here."
In other NFL games, it was: Miami 16, St. Louis 12; the New York Giants 23, Washington 7; San Francisco 10, Buffalo 3; Baltimore 34, Cincinnati 3; Indianapolis 10, Cleveland 6; Tampa Bay 23, New Orleans 20; Atlanta 22, San Diego 16; Kansas City 20, Oakland 13; and Minnesota 34, Chicago 14.
On Thursday, Tennessee beat Detroit 47-10; Dallas topped Seattle 34-9; and Philadelphia routed Arizona 48.
In wintry conditions at Green Bay, Wis., DeAngelo Williams scored his fourth touchdown of the game with 1:30 left after a big kickoff return by Mark Jones and a catch by Steve Smith on a deep ball from Jake Delhomme. The Panthers remained tied for the NFC South lead with the Buccaneers, who visit Charlotte, N.C. next Monday night.
"It just means we’re 9-3," Smith said of Sunday’s victory. "It’s nothing to go start making T-shirts about. It’s just a record. We’ve got a very good opponent coming in our house Monday night. That’s our next focus."Falcons 22, Chargers 16
At San Diego, rookie Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes and Michael Turner ran for 120 yards against his former team. The Falcons (8-4) remained a game behind Tampa Bay and Carolina in the NFC South.
San Diego (4-8) lost for the fifth time in six games. The Chargers came into the day two games behind Denver in the anemic AFC West.
Tomlinson, the two-time defending NFL rushing champion, was held to 24 yards on 14 carries.Vikings 34, Bears 14
At Minneapolis, with a gutty goal-line stand and one big heave by Gus Frerotte, Minnesota grabbed control of the NFC North and sent Kyle Orton and Chicago home with a humbling defeat.
Seconds after the Bears (6-6) were stopped four times at the 1, Bernard Berrian pulled in a 99-yard touchdown pass from Frerotte that carried the Vikings to sole possession of the division lead.
Minnesota (7-5) turned three turnovers into 17 second-half points. Adrian Peterson had 100 yards by halftime and finished with 131 and a TD.Chiefs 20, Raiders 13
At Oakland, Calif., Tyler Thigpen engineered a 91-yard drive capped by Larry Johnson’s 2-yard tiebreaking run early in the fourth quarter to lead the Chiefs to just their second win in their last 21 games. Kansas City had lost seven in a row.
Kansas City (2-10) scored its first touchdown on Maurice Leggett’s 67-yard fumble return on a botched fake field goal by Oakland (3-9).Colts 10, Browns 6
At Cleveland, defensive end Robert Mathis scooped up Derek Anderson’s fumble and rumbled 39 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Colts stayed in the thick of the AFC playoff chase by winning their fifth straight.
The Colts (8-4) got a 30-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri and improved to 5-0 in November.
The Browns (4-8) lost their fourth straight at home and may have lost quarterback Derek Anderson (knee) and tight end Kellen Winslow (ankle) for an extended period.Giants 23, Redskins 7
At Landover, Md., Eli Manning had his first 300-yard game of the season, Clinton Portis was held to 22 yards rushing, and the Giants put aside the Plaxico Burress mess with another dominating performance.
The Giants (11-1) have won seven straight, including six in a row against teams with winning records, and have a three-game lead in the NFC East over the second-place Dallas Cowboys with four to play. They completed a sweep of the Redskins by manhandling them in the major statistical categories, including total yards (404-320) and time of possession (35:44-24:16).
The loss dropped the Redskins (7-5) out of contention for the division title, but now they also trail Dallas in the wild-card race. Washington has lost three of four — all at home — after a 6-2 start.Buccaneers 23, Saints 20
At Tampa, Fla., Jermaine Phillips and Phillip Buchanon intercepted Drew Brees in the closing minutes and Matt Bryant kicked a 37-yard field goal with 1:55 remaining for the Bucs.
Brees, on pace to break Dan Marino’s single-season yardage record, threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns on a rainy day, but also was picked off three times — once in the end zone — and bothered by the Bucs’ pass rush all afternoon.
The victory was the fourth straight for Tampa Bay (9-3). The Bucs are 6-1 since Jeff Garcia regained the starting quarterback job, which he lost after a poor performance in a season-opening loss against the Saints (6-6).
Carnell "Cadillac" Williams scored on an 8-yard run, his first TD since a career-threatening knee injury 14 months ago.49ers 10, Bills 3
At Orchard Park, N.Y., linebacker Patrick Willis had 14 tackles and a forced fumble as the Niners all but ended the Bills’ dwindling playoff hopes. The win also prevented Arizona from clinching the NFC West and their first playoff berth in 10 years — the longest active playoff drought in the NFL.
Isaac Bruce scored on a 12-yard touchdown catch — the 90th of his career — and Joe Nedney hit a 50-yard field goal as San Francisco (4-8) won for the second time in three games and second time under interim coach Mike Singletary.
The Bills (6-6) lost for the fifth time in six games.Ravens 34, Bengals 3
At Cincinnati, receiver Mark Clayton threw a touchdown pass on a reverse, then made a spectacular one-handed catch for a 70-yard score as the Ravens (8-4) won their sixth in seven games.
The Bengals (1-10-1) managed only six first downs and were held to 155 offensive yards.Dolphins 16, Rams 12
At St. Louis, Mo., the Dolphins (7-5) made it into the end zone only once, but relied on stingy play from a defense to secure their fifth victory in six games.
The Rams (2-10) ended a string of blowout losses the previous four games behind Steven Jackson, who had 94 yards on 21 carries, but were undone by mistakes in the second half against a Dolphins team that’s quickly become competitive after going 1-15 last season.
Marc Bulger, sidelined by a concussion last week against the Bears, threw three interceptions in the second half — the clincher by Andre’ Goodman at the Dolphins 5 with 35 seconds to go.

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NFL Wrapup

The holiday weekend was a good time for a road trip.
If winning away from home is a predictor of playoff success, count Pittsburgh, Denver and Carolina among the contenders.
The Steelers and Broncos ignored wicked weather conditions in impressive victories over AFC East foes, while the Panthers pulled out a wild one in Green Bay, 35-31.
There was little home-field advantage Sunday with visiting teams going 10-2. Only Tampa Bay and Minnesota managed to send their fans home happy.
In East Rutherford, N.J., Jay Cutler threw for 357 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 34-17 victory over the New York Jets. Rookie Peyton Hillis rushed for a career-high 129 yards and a score, becoming the first to gain 100 or more yards against New York’s third-ranked run defense.
"The thing that really got me going was the ESPN analysis and they were all saying we shouldn’t get off the plane," Hillis said. "That really got me fired up."
In Foxborough, Mass., Pittsburgh dominated the second half of its 33-10 victory, outscoring the Patriots 23-0. The Steelers had all of their five takeaways and four of their five sacks after halftime, giving up 81 yards to a team that had gained more than 500 in each of its two previous games.
"We heard a lot of talk about it being a rivalry," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "It hasn’t been much of a rivalry until you win some. That’s what we talked about coming up here."
In other NFL games, it was: Miami 16, St. Louis 12; the New York Giants 23, Washington 7; San Francisco 10, Buffalo 3; Baltimore 34, Cincinnati 3; Indianapolis 10, Cleveland 6; Tampa Bay 23, New Orleans 20; Atlanta 22, San Diego 16; Kansas City 20, Oakland 13; and Minnesota 34, Chicago 14.
On Thursday, Tennessee beat Detroit 47-10; Dallas topped Seattle 34-9; and Philadelphia routed Arizona 48.
In wintry conditions at Green Bay, Wis., DeAngelo Williams scored his fourth touchdown of the game with 1:30 left after a big kickoff return by Mark Jones and a catch by Steve Smith on a deep ball from Jake Delhomme. The Panthers remained tied for the NFC South lead with the Buccaneers, who visit Charlotte, N.C. next Monday night.
"It just means we’re 9-3," Smith said of Sunday’s victory. "It’s nothing to go start making T-shirts about. It’s just a record. We’ve got a very good opponent coming in our house Monday night. That’s our next focus."Falcons 22, Chargers 16
At San Diego, rookie Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes and Michael Turner ran for 120 yards against his former team. The Falcons (8-4) remained a game behind Tampa Bay and Carolina in the NFC South.
San Diego (4-8) lost for the fifth time in six games. The Chargers came into the day two games behind Denver in the anemic AFC West.
Tomlinson, the two-time defending NFL rushing champion, was held to 24 yards on 14 carries.Vikings 34, Bears 14
At Minneapolis, with a gutty goal-line stand and one big heave by Gus Frerotte, Minnesota grabbed control of the NFC North and sent Kyle Orton and Chicago home with a humbling defeat.
Seconds after the Bears (6-6) were stopped four times at the 1, Bernard Berrian pulled in a 99-yard touchdown pass from Frerotte that carried the Vikings to sole possession of the division lead.
Minnesota (7-5) turned three turnovers into 17 second-half points. Adrian Peterson had 100 yards by halftime and finished with 131 and a TD.Chiefs 20, Raiders 13
At Oakland, Calif., Tyler Thigpen engineered a 91-yard drive capped by Larry Johnson’s 2-yard tiebreaking run early in the fourth quarter to lead the Chiefs to just their second win in their last 21 games. Kansas City had lost seven in a row.
Kansas City (2-10) scored its first touchdown on Maurice Leggett’s 67-yard fumble return on a botched fake field goal by Oakland (3-9).Colts 10, Browns 6
At Cleveland, defensive end Robert Mathis scooped up Derek Anderson’s fumble and rumbled 39 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Colts stayed in the thick of the AFC playoff chase by winning their fifth straight.
The Colts (8-4) got a 30-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri and improved to 5-0 in November.
The Browns (4-8) lost their fourth straight at home and may have lost quarterback Derek Anderson (knee) and tight end Kellen Winslow (ankle) for an extended period.Giants 23, Redskins 7
At Landover, Md., Eli Manning had his first 300-yard game of the season, Clinton Portis was held to 22 yards rushing, and the Giants put aside the Plaxico Burress mess with another dominating performance.
The Giants (11-1) have won seven straight, including six in a row against teams with winning records, and have a three-game lead in the NFC East over the second-place Dallas Cowboys with four to play. They completed a sweep of the Redskins by manhandling them in the major statistical categories, including total yards (404-320) and time of possession (35:44-24:16).
The loss dropped the Redskins (7-5) out of contention for the division title, but now they also trail Dallas in the wild-card race. Washington has lost three of four — all at home — after a 6-2 start.Buccaneers 23, Saints 20
At Tampa, Fla., Jermaine Phillips and Phillip Buchanon intercepted Drew Brees in the closing minutes and Matt Bryant kicked a 37-yard field goal with 1:55 remaining for the Bucs.
Brees, on pace to break Dan Marino’s single-season yardage record, threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns on a rainy day, but also was picked off three times — once in the end zone — and bothered by the Bucs’ pass rush all afternoon.
The victory was the fourth straight for Tampa Bay (9-3). The Bucs are 6-1 since Jeff Garcia regained the starting quarterback job, which he lost after a poor performance in a season-opening loss against the Saints (6-6).
Carnell "Cadillac" Williams scored on an 8-yard run, his first TD since a career-threatening knee injury 14 months ago.49ers 10, Bills 3
At Orchard Park, N.Y., linebacker Patrick Willis had 14 tackles and a forced fumble as the Niners all but ended the Bills’ dwindling playoff hopes. The win also prevented Arizona from clinching the NFC West and their first playoff berth in 10 years — the longest active playoff drought in the NFL.
Isaac Bruce scored on a 12-yard touchdown catch — the 90th of his career — and Joe Nedney hit a 50-yard field goal as San Francisco (4-8) won for the second time in three games and second time under interim coach Mike Singletary.
The Bills (6-6) lost for the fifth time in six games.Ravens 34, Bengals 3
At Cincinnati, receiver Mark Clayton threw a touchdown pass on a reverse, then made a spectacular one-handed catch for a 70-yard score as the Ravens (8-4) won their sixth in seven games.
The Bengals (1-10-1) managed only six first downs and were held to 155 offensive yards.Dolphins 16, Rams 12
At St. Louis, Mo., the Dolphins (7-5) made it into the end zone only once, but relied on stingy play from a defense to secure their fifth victory in six games.
The Rams (2-10) ended a string of blowout losses the previous four games behind Steven Jackson, who had 94 yards on 21 carries, but were undone by mistakes in the second half against a Dolphins team that’s quickly become competitive after going 1-15 last season.
Marc Bulger, sidelined by a concussion last week against the Bears, threw three interceptions in the second half — the clincher by Andre’ Goodman at the Dolphins 5 with 35 seconds to go.

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