NFL Today, Week 16
Monday, Dec. 25
Pittsburgh at Houston, 4:30 EST. The Steelers (11-3) have won three of their past four over the Texans. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger has six touchdown passes and one interception in four games against the Texans. Houston (4-10) has lost four straight and seven of eight. QB T.J. Yates will make his second straight start with Tom Savage on IR with a concussion.
Oakland at Philadelphia, 8:30 EST. The Eagles (12-2) can clinch home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with a win. The Eagles have a first-round bye for only the sixth time since 1970 and the first since 2004. Oakland’s Derek Carr joined Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck as the only QBs with at least 100 TD passes in his first four seasons in the NFL. Pro Bowl defensive end Khalil Mack is trying for a sack in his sixth straight game for the Raiders (6-8).
—Jared Goff, Rams, was 22 for 38 for 301 yards and four touchdowns in Los Angeles’ 27-23 win over Tennessee.
—Kirk Cousins, Redskins, was 19 for 37 for 299 yards and three touchdowns and an interception in Washington’s 27-11 win over Denver. Cousins is the first quarterback in Washington history with three seasons of 25 or more TD passes.
—Jameis Winston, Bucs, was 21 for 27 for 367 yards and a touchdown in Tampa Bay’s 22-19 loss to Carolina.
—Alex Smith, Chiefs, was 25 for 39 for 304 yards and a touchdown in Kansas City’s 29-13 win over Miami
—Todd Gurley, Rams, had 22 carries for 118 yards and added 10 receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder in Los Angeles’ 27-23 win over Tennessee. He became only the third player in NFL history to put together such a performance in the same game, joining Ollie Matson (1954) and Herschel Walker (1986).
—Bilal Powell, Jets, had 19 carries for 145 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown in New York’s 14-7 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
—Dion Lewis, Patriots, had 24 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown in New England’s 37-16 win over Buffalo.
—Giovani Bernard, Bengals, had 23 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown in Cincinnati’s 26-17 win over Detroit.
—Julio Jones, Falcons, had seven catches for 149 yards in Atlanta’s 23-13 loss to New Orleans.
—Tyreek Hill, Chiefs, had six catches for 109 yards in Kansas City’s 29-13 win over Miami.
—Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals had nine catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in Arizona’s 23-0 win over the New York Giants.
—Keelan Cole, Jaguars, had six catches for 108 yards in Jacksonville’s 44-33 loss to San Francisco.
—Mike Evans, Bucs, had six catches for 107 yards in Tampa’s 22-19 loss to Carolina.
—Jakeem Grant, Dolphins, had four catches for 107 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown in Miami’s 29-13 loss to Kansas City.
—Damiere Byrd, Panthers, returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown in Carolina’s 22-19 win over Tampa Bay. It was the longest kick return in Panthers history, surpassing Kealoha Pilares’ 101-yard kick return TD in Week 11 of the 2011 season against the Lions.
—Harrison Butker, Chiefs, was 5 for 6 on field goals and added two PATs in Kansas City’s 29-13 win over Miami.
—Randy Bullock, Bengals, was 4 for 4 on field goals and added two PATs in Cincinnati’s 26-17 win over Detroit.
—Dontae Johnson, 49ers, returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown in San Francisco’s 44-33 win over Jacksonville.
—Justin Coleman, Seahawks, returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown in Seattle’s 21-12 win over Dallas.
— Robert Nkemdiche, Cardinals, ran back a fumble 21 yards for a touchdown in Arizona’s 23-0 win over the New York Giants.
—Jordan Poyer, Bills, returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown in Buffalo’s 37-16 loss to New England.
—Wesley Woodyard, Titans returned a fumble 4 yards for a touchdown in Tennessee’s 27-23 loss to the LA Rams.
—Ezekiel Ansah, Lions had three sacks in Detroit’s 26-17 loss to Cincinnati.
—Antoine Bethea, Cardinals, had two interceptions in Arizona’s 23-0 win over the New York Giants.
—Ross Cockrell, Giants, had two interceptions in New York’s 23-0 loss to Arizona.
STREAKS & STATS
DeShone Kizer threw two more interceptions and the winless Cleveland Browns committed two turnovers in the red zone on the way to a 20-3 loss to the Chicago Bears. One more loss and the Browns will join the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to go 0-16. The Browns have clinched the first overall pick in the 2018 draft. They will be the fifth team in the common draft era to pick No. 1 overall in back-to-back drafts. The previous team to do so was the 1999-2000 Browns. ... Jordan Poyer’s pick-6 of Tom Brady was the first against the Patriots superstar since Atlanta’s Robert Alford in the Super Bowl. The previous pick-6 of Brady in the regular season came in Week 13 in the 2015 season when the Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins did it. Brady has thrown an interception in five straight games for the first time since Weeks 2-6 of the 2002 season. ... Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen had five catches for 63 yards and added an interception in the team’s 14-7 win at the New York Jets. Allen, who has 93 catches for 1,260 yards this season, is the first player in NFL history to have at least 90 catches and an interception in the same season. He is also the third player in NFL history to have at least 1,000 receiving yards and an interception in the same season, joining Hall of Famer Don Hutson (1942) and Randy Moss (2009). ... The 2017 season will mark the first time in the Super Bowl era that the Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Packers, and 49ers all missed the playoffs. The previous time all five of those teams missed the postseason was in 1964. ... Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan sacked Denver’s Brock Osweiler twice and has 11 this season, becoming the first Redskins player with 10 or more in consecutive seasons since Dexter Manley and Charles Mann in 1985 and 1986. ... Carolina has 15 sacks in its past three games and has forced 10 turnovers.
The New England Patriots improved to 12-3 after beating Buffalo 37-16. The Patriots have won at least 12 games in eight consecutive seasons (2010-17), surpassing the 2003-09 Indianapolis Colts for the longest such streak in NFL history. ... New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 239 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 23-13 win over Atlanta. Brees has 70,200 passing yards and joined Peyton Manning (71,940) and Hall of Famer Brett Favre (71,838) as the only players in NFL history to reach 70,000 passing yards. Brees reached the milestone in his 248th game and is the fastest in league history to accomplish the feat. Brees, who has 4,089 passing yards this season, reached 4,000 passing yards for a 12th consecutive season, extending his NFL record. ... With the Cardinals’ 23-0 victory over the Giants, Bruce Arians moved into a tie with Ken Whisenhunt for most victories by a Cardinals coach (49). ... Kareem Hunt is the first Chiefs rookie running back with at least 10 TDs from scrimmage since Billy Jackson (11) in 1981.
The LA Rams, who defeated Tennessee 27-23, clinched the NFC West title for the first time since 2003. ... The Kansas City Chiefs, who knocked off Miami 29-13, secured the AFC West for the second consecutive season. ... The Jacksonville Jaguars, who had already clinched a playoff berth, locked up the AFC South title with Tennessee’s loss to the Rams. It marks Jacksonville’s first division title since 1999 (AFC Central). ... The New Orleans Saints, who defeated Atlanta 23-13, and the Carolina Panthers, who knocked off Tampa Bay 22-19, both clinched playoff berths.
Tennessee could be without starting running back DeMarco Murray next week when it tries to clinch a playoff spot. Murray injured his right knee with 2:23 left in the game against the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams lost left guard Rodger Saffold to a rib injury late in the game. Los Angeles safety Marqui Christian also hurt a shoulder.
Dallas played most of its game without five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith. He started against Seattle despite a right knee injury that kept him out of practice most of the week. He came out after the first series.
Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict returned after missing two games with a concussion only to hurt his right shoulder before halftime of a game against Detroit. Bengals running back Joe Mixon also returned after missing two games with a concussion. He left Sunday with an injured right ankle in the first quarter.
Buffalo lost backup running back Travaris Cadet to a right ankle injury in the second quarter. Safety Micah Hyde and cornerback Shareece Wright both left in the second half against New England.
The Jets lost defensive end Leonard Williams in the second half with a back injury.
The Giants lost their leading receiver, tight end Evan Engram, in the first period with a rib injury. New York safety Landon Collins was knocked out of the game at Arizona with a forearm injury in the third quarter.
“You’ve got to understand what rock bottom looks like before you can even climb to the top.” — Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer after his team fell to 0-15 on the season with a 20-3 loss to Chicago.
“The idea was to put it on the ground, get (the defense) to freeze for a second, and pick it up and score. I tell you when I saw that ... but the best part is it didn’t ruin my Christmas, which I appreciate.” — Carolina coach Ron Rivera joked after Cam Newton fumbled the shotgun snap after it hit his knuckles. But the ball bounced back up into his hands and he alertly picked it up and got across the goal line for the go-ahead score in the final minute for a 22-19 win over Tampa Bay.