The Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans clinched their divisions, while the Baltimore Ravens earned a playoff spot despite another lousy loss.
The jumbled NFC East? Well, that will come down to the final week of the season.
The New York Giants were humiliated 34-0 by the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, falling into a first-place tie with the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, who both won to improve to 8-6.
The Redskins did it without Robert Griffin III, who sat out with a sprained right knee and wasn’t happy about having to stand on the sideline and watch his teammates play. But fellow rookie Kirk Cousins stepped in and threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns, leading Washington to its fifth straight win, 38-21 over the Cleveland Browns.
“We’re in first place in our division now, and it was a great business trip for us,” Griffin said. “I got healthier by not playing, we won the game and put ourselves in position to control our own destiny.”
Cousins connected with Leonard Hankerson for both TDs in his first career start and the Redskins barely missed a beat without the talented and multi-dimensional RG3. Last week, Cousins came off the bench after Griffin got hurt, and delivered a performance in this one that extended Washington’s longest winning streak since 2007.
“I talked to him about being cool, calm and collected and not to freak out,” Griffin said. “He did a good job of staying poised and staying confident in there.”
At Arlington, Texas, Dallas’ Brandon Carr intercepted a pass by Ben Roethlisberger in overtime, returned it 36 yards to the 1, and Dan Bailey kicked a 21-yard field goal for a 27-24 win over Pittsburgh.
The Steelers (7-7) lost for the fourth time in five games and trail AFC North rival Cincinnati by a game for the conference’s second wild-card spot. They host the Bengals next week. Roethlisberger is 0-2 since returning from a three-game absence with shoulder and rib injuries.
At Atlanta, Matt Ryan threw three touchdowns passes in a 34-0 win and the Falcons’ defense handed the Giants their first regular-season shutout since 1996.
At Foxborough, Mass., San Francisco earned a playoff berth by withstanding a stunning comeback by Tom Brady and New England from a 28-point deficit to beat the Patriots, 41-34.
Michael Crabtree took a short pass from Colin Kaepernick and sped around cornerback Kyle Arrington for a 38-yard touchdown with 6:25 to go, then David Akers made a 28-yard field goal to clinch it. San Francisco (10-3-1) owns at least a wild-card spot and plays at Seattle next week with a chance to win the NFC West.
• Tony Romo, Cowboys, was 30 for 42 for 341 yards and two TD passes in a 27-24 overtime win over Pittsburgh. Romo surpassed 25,000 yards passing in the win and is the 64th NFL player to go over the 25,000-yard mark.
• Kirk Cousins, Redskins, was 26 for 37 for 329 yards with two TD passes and an interception in his first career start in Washington’s 38-21 win over Cleveland.
• Colin Kaepernick, 49ers, threw for four touchdowns in San Francisco’s 41-34 win over the New England Patriots.
• Adrian Peterson, Vikings, had 24 carries for a season-best 212 yards, including an 82-yard TD in Minnesota’s 36-22 win over St. Louis. Peterson has a career-best 1,812 yards rushing, leaving him 294 shy of breaking the NFL mark of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams in 1984.
• Arian Foster, Texans, finished with 27 carries for 165 yards in Houston’s 29-17 victory over Indianapolis. He has 1,313 yards rushing, giving him his third straight year with at least 1,200.
• Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson, Seahawks. Lynch had 10 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown and Wilson had nine carries for 92 yards and three touchdowns rushing in Seattle’s 50-17 win over Buffalo. Wilson is the first player in NFL history to have three touchdowns rushing and a passing touchdown in the first half of a game.
• Andre Johnson, Texans, had 11 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown in Houston’s 29-17 win over Indianapolis.
• Eric Decker, Broncos, finished with eight catches for 133 yards and a touchdown in Denver’s 34-17 win over Baltimore.
• Randall Cobb and James Jones, Packers. Cobb had six catches for 115 yards and Jones had five catches for 60 yards and three touchdowns in Green Bay’s 21-13 win over Chicago.
• Greg Toler and Rashad Johnson, Cardinals. Toler returned an interception 102 yards for a touchdown and Johnson returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown in Arizona’s 38-10 victory over Detroit.
• J.J. Watt, Texans, had three sacks in Houston’s 29-17 victory over Indianapolis. He finished with 10 tackles. He also forced a fumble for the third straight game.
• Chris Harris, Broncos, returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown in Denver’s 34-17 win over Baltimore. It was the longest regular-season interception return in Broncos history.
• Earl Thomas, Seahawks, returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown in Seattle’s 50-17 win over Buffalo.
• Everson Griffen, Vikings, returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown in Minnesota’s 36-22 win over St. Louis.
Two teams clinched division titles Sunday. The Green Bay Packers, who defeated Chicago 21-13, won the NFC North. The Houston Texans, who defeated Indianapolis 29-17, clinched the AFC South. … The Baltimore Ravens also secured a playoff berth when the Steelers lost in overtime to Dallas.
The Seahawks became the NFL’s third team to score 50 points in consecutive weeks, joining the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants, who both did it in 1950, according to STATS. … The Rams’ Steven Jackson became the 15th player to rush for 10,000 yards. Teammate Sam Bradford has been sacked in 30 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. … The Giants’ Eli Manning finished 13 of 25 for 161 yards, leaving him with a dismal 38.9 rating — his worst since a Dec. 23, 2007, win at Buffalo.
New England, which had won seven in a row, trailed 31-3 at one point and lost for the first time at home in December in 21 games, falling 41-34 on Sunday night. The Patriots also had won 21 in a row in the second half of the schedule before San Francisco somehow regrouped late in a game it seemingly had clinched long before. … The Broncos have won nine in a row. … The Redskins have won five in a row..The Bills were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention for a 13th season — the NFL’s longest active drought.
San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews broke his left collarbone in the second quarter of San Diego’s 31-7 loss to Carolina. The injury-prone Mathews broke his right collarbone in the exhibition opener and missed the first two weeks of the regular season. … Redskins right tackle Tyler Polumbus suffered a concussion, but coach Mike Shanahan had no updates on linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (shoulder) or offensive lineman Will Montgomery (knee). … Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith left the Ravens’ 34-17 loss to Denver with a concussion after hitting his head while attempting to make a leaping catch near the sideline in the third quarter.
“We’re a 9-5 football team and we feel like we’re 0-14 right now.” — Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco after Baltimore dropped its third straight in a 34-17 loss to Denver.