Sunday’s NFL Capsules
CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — The Browns are winless no more.
Cleveland avoided that fate Saturday by beating the San Diego Chargers 20-17 for their first victory in more than a year. San Diego’s Josh Lambo missed a 45-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Browns (1-14) their first win in 377 days.
When the kick sailed right, Cleveland’s small crowd erupted in celebration and Browns players poured off their sideline as if they had just won the Super Bowl.
The Browns avoided becoming the second team to go 0-15, and no longer have to worry about joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to lose all 16 games.
Cleveland built 10-point lead in the third quarter and hung on — defensive tackle Jamie Meder blocked a potential tying field goal with 3:49 left — to give coach Hue Jackson his first win with the Browns.
The win also snapped Cleveland’s 17-game losing streak dating to last season.
JAGUARS 38, TITANS 17
JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) — Blake Bortles’ best game of the season helped the Jaguars end a nine-game losing streak.
Bortles threw for 325 yards and a touchdown, and was on the receiving end of a 20-yard trick play that sealed the win with 5:25 remaining. Rookie Jalen Ramsey returned an interception 30 yards on the ensuing play to set off a raucous — and long-awaited — celebration in Jacksonville.
Bortles and the Jaguars (3-12) played inspired football and won for the first time this season at EverBank Field. Maybe they rallied around interim coach Doug Marrone. Maybe they played for ultra-popular ex-coach Gus Bradley, who was fired six days earlier . Maybe they just wanted to avenge an embarrassing loss to the Titans (8-7) on national television in late October.
It was a debacle for the Titans, who had won three in a row and needed a victory to set up an AFC South title game next week against Houston. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota appears to be done for the season, leaving late in the third quarter with an air cast on his right ankle.
FALCONS 33, PANTHERS 16
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — Matt Ryan threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns, Tevin Coleman had 135 yards from scrimmage, including a pivotal 55-yard fourth-quarter TD run, and the Falcons moved a step closer to wrapping up a postseason berth.
The Falcons (10-5) can clinch their first NFC South title since 2012 if Tampa Bay loses or ties New Orleans later Saturday. Atlanta can also clinch a playoff berth with a Detroit loss or tie against Dallas on Monday night.
A few straggling Falcons fans chanted “MVP!” at Ryan in the game’s closing minutes while most Panthers fans had already headed for the exits.
The Panthers (6-9) were officially eliminated from playoff contention after making the Super Bowl last season.
Ryan torched the Panthers for the second time this season. He threw for 503 yards and four TDs in Atlanta’s win over Carolina earlier this season at the Georgia Dome, a victory that set the stage for the Falcons’ playoff push.
PATRIOTS 41, JETS 3
FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (AP) — Tom Brady passed for 214 yards and three touchdowns , and the Patriots moved a step closer to securing home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
A loss or tie by the Raiders against the Colts later Saturday would officially give New England the AFC’s top seed.
Malcolm Butler added two interceptions and a fumble recovery, and LeGarrette Blount had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs.
New England (13-2) took advantage of New York miscues all day, scoring on three of its first four possessions.
The Jets (4-11), who have lost six of seven, had four turnovers.
The only really good piece of news for the Jets came before the game, when Todd Bowles rejoined the team and coached from the sideline a day after a medical scare sent him to the hospital.
PACKERS 38, VIKINGS 25
GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns, while Jordy Nelson shredded Minnesota’s secondary for 154 yards and two scores.
The Packers’ fifth straight win set up a showdown next week with Detroit for the NFC North title, while extinguishing the Vikings’ faint postseason hopes.
Green Bay (9-6) built a 28-13 lead at halftime, with Rodgers accounting for all four scores. He finished 28 of 38, and shrugged off his right calf injury after scrambling for a 6-yard touchdown late in the second quarter.
Rodgers and Nelson connected for scores from 21 and 2 yards in the first half.
Playing again without running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings (7-8) had success through the air after Sam Bradford threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns, including a 71-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen in the second quarter. Thielen had a career-high 202 yards and two scores.
DOLPHINS 34, BILLS 31, OT
ORCHARD PARK, New York (AP) — Jay Ajayi ran for 206 yards and broke loose for a 57-yarder in overtime to set up Andrew Franks’ 27-yard field goal.
In winning for the ninth time in 10 games, the Dolphins (10-5) inched closer to their first playoff berth since 2008. Miami can secure the AFC’s final wild-card berth as early as Sunday if Denver loses to Kansas City.
Denver needs to win its final two games to make the postseason, and Baltimore is eliminated from the wild-card race and can only make the playoffs as the AFC North champion.
The Bills (7-8) were eliminated from contention and extended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 seasons. Buffalo’s drought is tied for the fifth longest in NFL history, and is the longest since the New Orleans Saints went 20 years before qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history in 1987.
Ajayi is the fourth player in NFL history to have at least three games with 200 rushing yards in a season. Earl Campbell, OJ Simpson, Tiki Barber are the others.
Franks forced overtime by hitting a career-best 55-yard field goal with 6 seconds remaining.
REDSKINS 41, BEARS 21
CHICAGO (AP) — Kirk Cousins threw for a touchdown and ran for two more, and the Redskins gave their fading playoff hopes a boost.
DeSean Jackson added 114 yards receiving, and Washington (8-6-1) intercepted Matt Barkley five times.
Eighth in the NFC behind Green Bay and Tampa Bay coming in, Washington scored 14 points in the first quarter after struggling early in recent games, and never really was threatened by the Bears (3-12).
Cousins, shaky against Carolina, was 18 of 29 for 270 yards. He threw a 17-yard touchdown to Chris Thompson in the first quarter and scored on a 9-yard run in the second. He also pushed in from the 1 late in the third to make it 31-14.