NFL weekend: Seahawks dubiously clinch post-season berth

The Seahawks used a stingy defence to become the first sub-.500 division champ in league history with a 16-6 win over St. Louis on Sunday night.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson is pulled down by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb during the first half of an NFL football game in Baltimore

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson is pulled down by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb during the first half of an NFL football game in Baltimore

Rams 6 at Seahawks 16

The Seahawks used a stingy defence to become the first sub-.500 division champ in league history with a 16-6 win over St. Louis on Sunday night.

Backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst threw a four-yard touchdown pass on Seattle’s first drive, and Olindo Mare kicked second-half field goals of 31, 38 and 34 yards. The Seahawks finished as champs of the NFC West at 7-9, the first playoff team with a losing record — not including the 1982 strike-shortened season — since the merger in 1970. It was Seattle’s first division title since 2007.

Titans 20 at Colts 23

Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes and Adam Vinatieri made a 43-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Colts a 23-20 victory Sunday and their seventh AFC South title in eight years.

Manning was 27 of 41 for 264 yards and threw his 398th and 399th career TD passes. He set the NFL’s single-season record for completions with 450.

Jaguars 17 at Texans 34

Arian Foster ran for 180 yards to capture the NFL rushing title for Houston.

Foster finished with 1,616 yards rushing, the highest single-season total for an undrafted player.

The Texans (6-10) won for only the second time in their last 10 games amid speculation coach Gary Kubiak would keep his job but fire defensive assistants.

Panthers 10 at Falcons 31

Matt Ryan and Atlanta put a decisive stamp on the NFC South title and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Ryan passed for 236 yards with TDs to Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White, and Eric Weems scored on a 55-yard punt return.

Steelers 41 at Browns 9

Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes and Pittsburgh won the AFC North to secure a first-round playoff bye.

Roethlisberger, who got to rest most of the second half, threw a 56-yard TD to Mike Wallace on his first pass.

The Steelers (12-4) built a 31-3 halftime lead and rocked the rival Browns (5-11), who didn’t put up much of a fight in their finale.

Bengals 7 at Ravens 13

Ed Reed had two interceptions and Ray Lewis recovered two fumbles, part of an opportunistic defence that carried Baltimore.

Ray Rice scored on a seven-yard run and Billy Cundiff kicked two field goals for the Ravens, who forced five turnovers to offset the 395 yards in offence amassed by the Bengals (4-12).

Raiders 31 at Chiefs 10

Michael Bush rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown and short-handed Oakland beat playoff-bound Kansas City to gain a unique NFL distinction.

The Raiders (8-8) finished 6-0 in the AFC West, the first team since the 1970 merger to go unbeaten in the division and not make the playoffs. The AFC West champion Chiefs (10-6) were 2-4 in the division, and will host the Ravens in the playoffs next Sunday.

Bears 3 at Packers 10

Aaron Rodgers’ one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Donald Lee to give Green Bay the lead, and its defence held on to clinch a wild card berth.

Nothing came easy for the Packers (10-6), They trailed 3-0 at halftime and were tied going into the fourth quarter with the Bears — a team that didn’t have anything to play for in terms of playoff seeding, but still played to win with its starters.

Buccaneers 23 at Saints 13

Josh Freeman passed for two touchdowns but Tampa Bay failed to make the playoffs.

The Bucs (10-6) entered the game needing a victory and losses by both the Giants and Packers to make the post season. The Giants an Packers both won.Freeman passed for 255 yards, including a two-yard scoring strike to Dezmon Briscoe in the back of the end zone, and an 18-yard TD to Mike Williams on fourth-and-short.

Connor Barth hit three field goals, the third from 48 yards to give the Bucs a two-score lead with 4:01 to go.

Dolphins 7 at Patriots 38

Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to cap a record-setting season as New England won its eighth straight.

Brady extended his NFL records to 335 straight passes without an interception and 28 consecutive regular-season wins as a starter at home.

Bills 7 at Jets 38

Mark Brunell threw two touchdown passes in relief of Mark Sanchez, Joe McKnight ran for a career-high 158 yards and the Jets’ defence dominated.

Having already clinched a post-season spot, New York (11-5) sat a handful of stars, including LaDainian Tomlinson and Darrelle Revis, but still earned the fourth 11-win season in franchise history — and first since the 1998 team went to the AFC championship game.

Vikings 13 at Lions 20

Brett Favre stood in street clothes on the sideline in what likely was the final game of his 20-season career, watching the Lions (6-10) beat his Vikings for their fourth straight win.

The Lions tripled last season’s win total and closed with their best finish since 1995.

Shaun Hill threw for 258 yards and a touchdown for the Lions, who took a 13-0 lead and sealed the win with Maurice Morris’ four-yard TD run with 9:29 left.

Stephen McGee threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with 55 seconds left to lead Dallas over the NFC East champs.

The Cowboys (6-10) were playing for jobs next year, and the win may convince owner Jerry Jones to have interim coach Jason Garrett stay on next season. The Eagles were playing to stay healthy for next week.

Giants 17 at Redsksins 14

The Giants got the win, but they didn’t get the help they needed to make the playoffs.

Osi Umenyiora forced two of the defence’s four turnovers, and the Giants ended with a 10-6 and no playoff spot after the Packers defeated the Bears to clinch the final NFC post-season spot.

Rex Grossman threw for 336 yards for the Redskins, who finished 6-10. Washington went 2-6 at home, its worst mark since 1994.

Cardinals 7 at 49ers 38

Alex Smith threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis in what likely was the quarterback’s final hurrah with the 49ers in a matchup for last place in the awful NFC West.

Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick who becomes a free agent, threw for 276 yards and two TDs overall and the Niners (6-10) made interim coach Jim Tomsula a winner in what will probably be his only game coaching the team. Tomsula was promoted from his defensive line duties after coach Mike Singletary was fired following a loss last week.

Chargers 33 at Broncos 28

Rookie Ryan Mathews ran for three scores and Nate Kaeding kicked four field goals for San Diego.

Mathews topped 100 yards for the first time, gaining 120 yards on 26 carries and scoring on runs of 27, 12 and 31 yards.

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