NFL Week 15 Roundup, Stats


Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) attempts to throw a pass, during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 22-12. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) attempts to throw a pass, during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 22-12. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)


New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick stands on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 22-12.(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after a Tampa Bay Buccaneers touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


SCOREBOARD

Monday, Dec. 21

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8:15 p.m. EST, ESPN — The Steelers have lost two straight following an 11-0 start but can clinch their first AFC North title since 2017 with a victory or a Browns loss on Sunday. Pittsburgh has dominated the series with the Bengals (2-10-1) in recent years, winning 11 straight and 14 of the past 15 meetings.

STARS

Passing

— Tom Brady, Buccaneers, went 31 of 45 for 390 yards and two TDs as he led Tampa Bay to scores on five straight possessions after halftime — four touchdowns and a field goal — in a 31-27 comeback victory at Atlanta. Matt Ryan, Falcons, was 34 of 49 for 356 yards and three touchdowns.

— Ryan Tannehill, Titans, had the first five-TD game of his career. He ran for two TDs and finished with 273 yards passing and three more scores in a 46-25 rout of the Lions.

— Lamar Jackson, Ravens, threw three touchdown passes — he also ran for a score — to carry Baltimore to a 40-14 romp against Jacksonville.

— Deshaun Watson, Texans, was 33 of 41 with 373 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-20 defeat at Indianapolis.

— Kyler Murray, Cardinals, threw for a career-high 406 yards and three TDs in leading a 33-26 victory over the Eagles. Murray has nine games with both a passing and rushing touchdown this season, the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history.

Jalen Hurts, Eagles, like Murray a former Oklahoma QB, completed 24 of 44 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns in his second NFL start.

— Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs, threw TD passes to Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman in a 32-29 win at New Orleans.

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Rushing

— NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry, Titans, ran for 147 yards and a score in a 46-25 rout of Detroit.

— Undrafted rookie Salvon Ahmed and veteran Matt Breida, Dolphins, combined for 208 yards rushing to lead the Dolphins to a 22-12 victory over the Patriots. The Dolphins entered the game last in the league in yards per carry, and Ahmed became their first 100-yard rusher since 2018, totaling 122 yards and scoring a 2-point conversion on a trick play. Breida added 86 yards.

— David Montgomery, Bears, rushed for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-27 win at Minnesota. Dalvin Cook rushed for 132 yards and a score for the Vikings.

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Receiving

— Justin Jefferson, Vikings, had eight receptions for 104 yards and beat the single-season franchise rookie record held by Randy Moss with 73 catches.

— Dez Bryant, 32, celebrated his first touchdown since 2017 late in the first half for Baltimore, a 11-yarder. He last scored for Dallas against the Giants on Dec. 10, 2017, and sat out two straight seasons before joining the Ravens as a free agent in October.

— David Johnson, Texans, had 11 receptions for 106 yards in a 27-20 loss at Indianapolis.

— DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals, had 169 yards receiving and yet another outstanding touchdown catch for the decisive points in a 33-26 win against Philadelphia.

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Special Teams

— Cairo Santos, Bears, converted all four of his kicks, stretching his streak to 22 straight field goals made by hitting from 42, 35, 48 and 42 yards.

— After missing three extra points and four field goals over the previous two games and nearly losing his job, Dan Bailey was perfect for the Vikings on three extra points and two field goals in a 33-27 loss to Chicago.

— Nick Folk, Patriots, made field goals of 45, 36, 45 and 42 yards in a 22-12 loss at Miami for New England’s only points.

—Matt Prater, Lions, made a 53-yarder, tying the NFL record held by Sebastian Janikowski with his 58th career field goal of 50 yards or longer.

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Defense

— J.C. Jackson, Patriots, made his eighth interception of the year, picking off a third-down pass at the goal line in a 22-12 loss at Miami.

— Devin White, Buccaneers, had all three of his team’s sacks of Matt Ryan in a 31-27 victory at Atlanta.

— Romeo Okwara sacked Ryan Tannehill for the Lions’ first safety in 75 games, also against Tennessee on Sept. 18, 2016.

— The Jets’ defense stopped the Rams on downs at midfield with 3:54 to play and New York ran out the clock to preserve its first win after 13 losses, 23-20.

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PLAYOFF BOUND

Seattle (10-4) moved into the postseason when it beat Washington 20-15. It’s Seattle’s ninth berth in 11 seasons under coach Pete Carroll.

BYE-BYE PATRIOTS

The Patriots lost 22-12 at Miami and were eliminated from playoff contention, ending their NFL-record run of 11 consecutive postseason appearances — all by winning the AFC East. The Patriots (6-8) will finish at .500 or worse for the first time since 2000, the year they drafted Tom Brady. They fall one year short of matching the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL record of 20 consecutive winning seasons.

COURAGEOUS RETURN

Indianapolis was thrilled to have punter Rigoberto Sanchez back less than three weeks after he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. He couldn’t contain his excitement, either. As the last player introduced before the game, he pumped his arms and blowing kisses to the crowd.

“It was really an electric moment out there,” Sanchez said.

MILESTONES

Tennessee broke through with the first double-digit win season since 2008, ending a streak of four straight 9-7 seasons, by beating Detroit 46-25. Tennessee became the fifth team in NFL history with five straight games piling up at least 420 yards total offense and 30 points.

QB Philip Rivers, Colts, started his 238th consecutive game and tied Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez for No. 8 on the league’s career starts list.

Frank Gore rushed for a score that was his 100th career touchdown in the Jets’ first win since the 2019 season finale, 23-20 at the Rams.

COMEBACKS

Tampa Bay overcame a 17-point deficit to defeat Atlanta, 31-27. With two games remaining this week, there have been 40 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win this season, the most through Week 15 in NFL history.

STREAKS & STATS

San Francisco became the second Super Bowl runner-up in the past 13 seasons to finish with a losing record the next year, falling to 5-9 by losing at Dallas … Jacksonville (1-13) lost its 13th straight, 40-14 at Baltimore. When the Jets ended their 13-game slide by winning 23-20 at the Rams, it boosted the Jaguars ahead in the “race” for the top overall draft selection … Of the nine teams in NFL history to start 0-13, the Jets were the fourth to win in Week 15 … Chicago punted only once, on the opening possession, in a 33-27 victory at Minnesota … Tom Brady improved to 7-0 against the Falcons by leading a comeback from a 17-point deficit for a 31-27 win … Carlos Hyde’s 50-yard TD run was Seattle’s longest rushing play of the season.

CANADIAN RECORD

Dallas long snapper L.P. Ladouceur set an NFL record for regular-season games by a Canadian-born player, making his 251st game official on a first-quarter punt. The 39-year-old Montreal native broke kicker Eddie Murray’s record of 250 games from 1980-2000.

SACKMASTER ADAMS

Jamal Adams’ sack of Dwayne Haskins in the first quarter vs. Washington gave him 9 1/2, adding to his single-season record for a defensive back since the NFL began tracking the stat in 1982. Adams also became the first DB in that time to have a sack in four consecutive games.

DOUBLE DUTY

With punter Logan Cooke out with an illness, placekicker Aldrick Rosas was forced to handle all the kicking duties for the Jaguars. He got off a 53-yard boot on the free kick following a safety, but his first punt traveled only 30 yards and he mishandled a snap in the fourth quarter.

SIDELINED

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, suffered an injury to his right leg at Miami. Gilmore was hurt trying to change direction covering a receiver and was helped to the locker room. … Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire hurt his left leg as he was helped to the locker room at New Orleans. Saints receiver Tre’Quan Smith and safety Marcus Williams each left with ankle injuries. … Seahawks rookie running back DeeJay Dallas was carted off after spraining his right ankle on kickoff coverage. Left guard Mike Iupati left with a neck injury at Washington. … Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis, who leads Tampa Bay with four interceptions, was ruled out early in the second half with a groin injury at Atlanta. … 49ers running back Raheem Mostert left at Dallas with an ankle injury. Safety Jimmie Ward sustained a concussion, while defensive end Dion Jordan injured a knee. For the Cowboys, safety Xavier Woods left with a chest injury, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch injured an ankle, as did defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, and receiver Michael Gallup hurt a hip. … Eagles punter/holder Cameron Johnston was evaluated for a head injury after taking a hard hit on a blocked punt. Kicker Jake Elliott punted twice in Johnston’s place. Tight end Zach Ertz took over as the holder and the Eagles botched an extra-point attempt in the third quarter that would have given them a 27-26 lead. Tight end Richard Rodgers (shin) was carted to the locker room at Arizona, where Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams (ankle) left late in the first half. … Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams suffered a concussion against the Rams.

SPEAKING

“I know you guys are used to Seattle always going to the playoffs — I’m not used to this. “I’m just excited. It feels good, man. This is what you dream of.” — Safety Jamal Adams on his first trip to the postseason after a trade from the Jets to the Seahawks.

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“It’s tough, but I’m not going to lose my faith and I’m not going to lose my spirit in this organization and what we can do. My confidence and my level of play and leadership is going to continue to grow.” — Texans QB Deshaun Watson following a 27-20 loss at Indianapolis that dropped Houston to 4-10.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

DOLPHINS 22, PATRIOTS 12

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Undrafted rookie Salvon Ahmed and veteran Matt Breida combined for 208 yards rushing Sunday to lead the Miami Dolphins to a 22-12 victory over the New England Patriots, who were eliminated from playoff contention, ending their NFL-record run of 11 consecutive postseason appearances.

The Dolphins entered the game last in the league in yards per carry, and Ahmed became their first 100-yard rusher since 2018, totaling 122 yards and scoring a 2-point conversion on a trick play.

Breida added 86 yards and the Dolphins totaled a season-high 250 against the Patriots, who were gashed for more than 150 on the ground for the fifth time this year.

The Dolphins (9-5) bolstered their wild-card chances and are assured of a winning record for only the second time since 2008.

The Patriots (6-8) will finish at .500 or worse for the first time since 2000, the year they drafted Tom Brady. They fall one year short of matching the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL record of 20 consecutive winning seasons.

Buffalo clinched the AFC East title with a win Saturday.

BUCCANEERS 31, FALCONS 27

ATLANTA (AP) — Tom Brady did it again to the Atlanta Falcons.

This time, he didn’t even need overtime.

Rallying Tampa Bay from a pair of 17-point deficits, Brady recreated his Super Bowl miracle by leading the Buccaneers on five straight scoring drives in the second half for a victory over the stunned Falcons.

The stakes weren’t nearly as high and the deficit wasn’t quite as daunting, but Brady’s latest blow to Atlanta took the Bucs (9-5) to the brink of their first playoff berth since 2007.

It sure didn’t look that way when Atlanta raced to 17-0 by halftime, or when the Falcons (4-10) restored their margin to 24-7 after Brady finally guided the Bucs to a touchdown on the first possession of the second half.

Turns out, the 43-year-old was just getting warmed up.

He certainly had plenty of experience to fall back on when it came to breaking Atlanta’s heart.

In the 2017 Super Bowl, Brady famously led the greatest comeback in championship game history, rallying New England from a 28-3 deficit late in the third quarter to a 34-28 overtime victory that secured his fifth of six titles with the Patriots.

SEAHAWKS 20, WASHINGTON 15

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Russell Wilson and the Seahawks built a big lead, and Seattle’s suddenly opportunistic defense held on to beat Washington and clinch a playoff spot.

Wilson threw for a touchdown, Carlos Hyde ran 50 yards for a score, and the Seahawks (10-4) picked off Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins twice. Shaquill Griffin and D.J. Reed each had an interception as the league’s worst passing defense played strong until the fourth quarter.

After a Haskins-led comeback from a 20-3 deficit fell short, Washington (6-8) had its winning streak snapped at four with Alex Smith out because of a calf injury. Haskins finished 38 of 55 for 295 yards, a TD pass and the two interceptions.

Wilson threw for 121 yards and a 10-yard TD pass to Jacob Hollister and ran for 52 on six carries. Hyde’s 50-yard TD run was Seattle’s longest rushing play of the season.

CHIEFS 32, SAINTS 29

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Patrick Mahomes had his full repertoire of side-arm throws, basketball-style push passes and underhanded flips on display while passing for 254 yards and three touchdowns, and Kansas City extended its winning streak to nine games.

The Kansas City defense did its part to spoil Drew Brees’ return from rib fractures and a punctured lung that had kept the record-setting passer out four games.

While Brees passed for 234 yards and three TDs, he completed less than half of his passes and was intercepted for just the fourth time this season.

The victory kept the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (13-1) in pole position to capture the AFC’s lone playoff bye as a No. 1 seed. The Saints (10-4), meanwhile, missed a chance to clinch the NFC South for a second straight week and now are longshots to capture the NFC’s top seed.

Mahomes’ scoring passes went for 5 yards each to Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman, the latter coming as the Chiefs’ agile QB back-peddled toward the left sideline to avoid pressure and released a throw to the back corner of the end zone, where Hardman was able to snag it in traffic while narrowly getting two feet inbounds.

CARDINALS 33, EAGLES 26

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kyler Murray threw for a career-high 406 yards, DeAndre Hopkins had 169 yards receiving and a stellar touchdown catch, and Arizona improved its position in the playoff race by beating Philadelphia.

Arizona (8-6) won its second straight game as it tries to make the postseason for the first time since 2015. The Cardinals are in third place in their division behind the Rams and Seahawks and would currently be the No. 7 and final seed in the NFC playoffs.

The Eagles (4-9-1) trailed 16-0 in the first quarter, but rallied to tie the game at 26 in the third quarter after quarterback Jalen Hurts ran for a 7-yard touchdown.

Arizona responded with its go-ahead touchdown drive capped by Hopkins’ spectacular 20-yard grab. Cornerback Michael Jacquet was playing tight defense on the play, but Hopkins wrestled the ball away and held on with one hand as he fell past the pylon into the end zone.

Murray completed 27 of 36 passes, with three touchdowns and one interception.

Hurts, making his second career start, completed 24 of 44 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns. He had a lot of good moments, but couldn’t lead the Eagles to any points on their last two offensive drives.

JETS 23, RAMS 20

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Sam Darnold passed for 207 yards and New York finally earned the first victory of its miserable season, holding on for a win that erased the possibility of the third winless 16-game season in NFL history.

Frank Gore rushed for an early touchdown and made a decisive third-down reception with 2:05 left for the Jets (1-13), who also ended the longest losing streak in franchise history with a strong start and a gritty finish at SoFi Stadium.

Embattled coach Adam Gase got his first win of the year only after New York blew most of a 17-point lead in the second half. The Jets’ defense stopped the Rams on downs at midfield with 3:54 to play before Darnold hit Gore with a short pass over the middle to convert a third down that allowed the Jets to run out the clock.

New York might have ruined its chances at the No. 1 overall pick in the draft because Jacksonville (1-13) is likely to win a tiebreaker based on strength of schedule. But possibly missing the chance to draft Trevor Lawrence meant nothing to the celebrating Jets, who were thrilled to avoid the ignominy of a winless year.

Darnold, the Jets’ embattled third-year quarterback, looked right at home in his first pro game in his native Southern California. The former USC Trojans star went 22 of 31 with a touchdown pass and no interceptions.

New York had a 13-3 lead at halftime after holding the Rams to 97 yards, and the Jets led 20-3 midway through the third quarter. Los Angeles chipped the deficit down to three points.

Of the nine teams in NFL history to start 0-13, the Jets were the fourth to win in Week 15.

Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee caught TD passes for the Rams (9-5) in the most humiliating loss of coach Sean McVay’s largely successful four seasons in charge.

Jared Goff passed for 209 yards for Los Angeles, which could have clinched a playoff berth with a victory over the NFL’s worst team after an extra-long week of rest. The Rams had won four of five to surge to the top of the NFC West, but their inconsistent offense was inept, while their elite defense wasn’t sharp, allowing the Jets to convert seven third downs.

The Rams still can win the division if they can beat the Seahawks in Seattle next week, but their task got exponentially harder.

COLTS 27, TEXANS 20

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Philip Rivers threw a late, tiebreaking touchdown to Zach Pascal and Indianapolis’ defense recovered a fumble in the end zone with 19 seconds left to seal a victory over Houston.

Indy (10-4) has won three straight to retain a share of the AFC South lead with Tennessee, winners over Detroit. Houston (4-10) has lost three straight and five of six in this series.

The Colts won this one in similar fashion to the teams’ meeting two weeks ago. The Texans had a chance to win that one in the final minute but Indy jumped on a bad snap to quarterback Deshaun Watson inside the red zone.

This time, Pascal caught a pass in the flat, turned up the field and stretched his arms across the goal line while hitting the pylon to give Indy a 27-20 lead with 1:47 to go.

Rivers was 22 of 28 with 228 yards and two scores. Jonathan Taylor had 16 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown.

Watson was 33 of 41 with 373 yards and two touchdowns. Coutee had five catches for 53 yards and one score before the fumble, and David Johnson had 11 receptions for 106 yards.

TITANS 46, LIONS 25

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ryan Tannehill ran for two touchdowns and threw three more, and Derrick Henry ran for 147 yards and a score to move Tennessee closer to clinching its third playoff berth in four seasons as it routed Detroit.

The Titans (10-4) did their part with their second straight victory and fourth in five games to stay atop the AFC South. With Indianapolis beating Houston 27-20, the Titans still hold the tiebreaker in the division over the Colts with two games remaining.

The Lions (5-9) lost their second straight after winning their first game under interim coach Darrell Bevell even with quarterback Matthew Stafford shaking off a rib injury to start. Stafford threw for 252 yards and a TD before being pulled for Chase Daniel after Tennessee went up 39-18 with 9:00 left.

RAVENS 40, JAGUARS 14

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore built a 26-point halftime lead against helpless Jacksonville and rolled to a victory that boosted their playoff chances and extended the Jaguars’ losing streak to 13 games.

Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score to carry the Ravens (9-5) to their third straight win following a three-game skid. Hopeful of reaching the postseason for the third year in a row, Baltimore is among several AFC teams vying for three wild-card spots.

After Jackson returned from a bout with cramps to deliver a thrilling 47-42 win in Cleveland on Monday night, the Ravens had no desire for any drama at home against Jacksonville (1-13). Baltimore got the desired result, taking a 26-0 lead in the second quarter before cruising to the finish.

Rookie J.K. Dobbins ran for 64 yards and a score, and 32-year-old receiver Dez Bryant celebrated his first touchdown since 2017 late in the first half. It added up to the kind of confidence-building blowout the Ravens were looking for as they head into the final two weeks of a harrowing season in which they’ve fought through an outbreak of COVID-19 that forced two games to be rescheduled.

BEARS 33, VIKINGS 27

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — David Montgomery rushed for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns and Chicago trampled Minnesota’s depleted defense and hung on for a victory to stay in the hunt for the expanded playoffs.

The Bears (7-7), who entered the afternoon one game behind Arizona for the new third wild-card spot in the NFC, never trailed in winning at Minnesota for a third straight year. Coach Matt Nagy improved to 5-1 against the Vikings (6-8), whose postseason chances all but vanished.

Chicago punted only once, on the opening possession. It did just about whatever it wanted with the ball until Cameron Dantzler intercepted Mitch Trubisky’s third-and-goal pass into a crowd in the end zone with 2:57 left and a 30-27 lead.

But the Bears, who were plenty vulnerable on defense themselves, delivered their second fourth-and-1 stop in Minnesota territory to get the ball right back for a field goal.

Dalvin Cook rushed for 132 yards and a score, but he was stuffed on third-and-1 before a pivotal incompletion by Kirk Cousins throwing off his back foot. Cairo Santos, who converted all four of his kicks, stretched his streak to 22 straight field goals made.

The Bears then intercepted a last-snap heave by Cousins into the end zone to drop the Vikings to 3-5 at home this year.

COWBOYS 41, 49ERS 33

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tony Pollard ran for two touchdowns with Ezekiel Elliott sidelined by an injury for the first time in the two-time rushing champion’s career, and Dallas beat San Francisco.

Four of the seven Dallas scores were set up by turnovers from the 49ers (5-9), who guaranteed themselves becoming the second Super Bowl runner-up in the past 13 seasons to finish with a losing record the next year.

The Cowboys (5-9) kept faint playoff hopes alive in a matchup of longtime rivals with a rich playoff history that was moved out of prime time with both teams starting the day in last place in their divisions.

Andy Dalton threw for two touchdowns, and Greg Zuerlein kicked a tiebreaking field goal early in the fourth quarter after the second interception by Nick Mullens, who was replaced by C.J. Beathard.

Beathard handled the last two possessions and threw a 49-yard touchdown to Kendrick Bourne on the final play on a desperation pass.

BROWNS 20, GIANTS 6

In East Rutherford, N.J., Baker Mayfield led two 95-yard touchdown drives and Cleveland moved closer to ending its 17-year playoff drought.

Mayfield was sharp all night, helping the Browns (10-4) bounce back from a 47-42 loss to Baltimore last Monday night. The Cleveland quarterback finished 27 of 32 for 297 yards with scoring passes to Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper.

Nick Chubb had a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter as the Browns became -the first team this season to have two 95-yard TD drives in a game.

Cleveland, vying for its first playoff spot since 2002 — the NFL’s longest drought — also matched its highest win total (10-6 in 2007) since the team’s 1999 expansion rebirth.

Colt McCoy was 19 of 31 for 221 yards for the Giants, who are tied with Dallas a game behind Washington for first place in the NFC East.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) attempts to throw a pass, during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 22-12. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_125958248-8cb1f50aa7044b7ab59e19ab785cdeeb.jpgMiami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) attempts to throw a pass, during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 22-12. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick stands on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 22-12.(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_125958248-f0ccfb0b3d8d48d49c0c49bd39ef045d.jpgNew England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick stands on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 22-12.(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after a Tampa Bay Buccaneers touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_125958248-1d32d0ce6e68421aa1ea576a5af1e70e.jpgTampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after a Tampa Bay Buccaneers touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

SCOREBOARD

Monday, Dec. 21

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8:15 p.m. EST, ESPN — The Steelers have lost two straight following an 11-0 start but can clinch their first AFC North title since 2017 with a victory or a Browns loss on Sunday. Pittsburgh has dominated the series with the Bengals (2-10-1) in recent years, winning 11 straight and 14 of the past 15 meetings.

STARS

Passing

— Tom Brady, Buccaneers, went 31 of 45 for 390 yards and two TDs as he led Tampa Bay to scores on five straight possessions after halftime — four touchdowns and a field goal — in a 31-27 comeback victory at Atlanta. Matt Ryan, Falcons, was 34 of 49 for 356 yards and three touchdowns.

— Ryan Tannehill, Titans, had the first five-TD game of his career. He ran for two TDs and finished with 273 yards passing and three more scores in a 46-25 rout of the Lions.

— Lamar Jackson, Ravens, threw three touchdown passes — he also ran for a score — to carry Baltimore to a 40-14 romp against Jacksonville.

— Deshaun Watson, Texans, was 33 of 41 with 373 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-20 defeat at Indianapolis.

— Kyler Murray, Cardinals, threw for a career-high 406 yards and three TDs in leading a 33-26 victory over the Eagles. Murray has nine games with both a passing and rushing touchdown this season, the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history.

Jalen Hurts, Eagles, like Murray a former Oklahoma QB, completed 24 of 44 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns in his second NFL start.

— Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs, threw TD passes to Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman in a 32-29 win at New Orleans.

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Rushing

— NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry, Titans, ran for 147 yards and a score in a 46-25 rout of Detroit.

— Undrafted rookie Salvon Ahmed and veteran Matt Breida, Dolphins, combined for 208 yards rushing to lead the Dolphins to a 22-12 victory over the Patriots. The Dolphins entered the game last in the league in yards per carry, and Ahmed became their first 100-yard rusher since 2018, totaling 122 yards and scoring a 2-point conversion on a trick play. Breida added 86 yards.

— David Montgomery, Bears, rushed for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-27 win at Minnesota. Dalvin Cook rushed for 132 yards and a score for the Vikings.

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Receiving

— Justin Jefferson, Vikings, had eight receptions for 104 yards and beat the single-season franchise rookie record held by Randy Moss with 73 catches.

— Dez Bryant, 32, celebrated his first touchdown since 2017 late in the first half for Baltimore, a 11-yarder. He last scored for Dallas against the Giants on Dec. 10, 2017, and sat out two straight seasons before joining the Ravens as a free agent in October.

— David Johnson, Texans, had 11 receptions for 106 yards in a 27-20 loss at Indianapolis.

— DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals, had 169 yards receiving and yet another outstanding touchdown catch for the decisive points in a 33-26 win against Philadelphia.

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Special Teams

— Cairo Santos, Bears, converted all four of his kicks, stretching his streak to 22 straight field goals made by hitting from 42, 35, 48 and 42 yards.

— After missing three extra points and four field goals over the previous two games and nearly losing his job, Dan Bailey was perfect for the Vikings on three extra points and two field goals in a 33-27 loss to Chicago.

— Nick Folk, Patriots, made field goals of 45, 36, 45 and 42 yards in a 22-12 loss at Miami for New England’s only points.

—Matt Prater, Lions, made a 53-yarder, tying the NFL record held by Sebastian Janikowski with his 58th career field goal of 50 yards or longer.

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Defense

— J.C. Jackson, Patriots, made his eighth interception of the year, picking off a third-down pass at the goal line in a 22-12 loss at Miami.

— Devin White, Buccaneers, had all three of his team’s sacks of Matt Ryan in a 31-27 victory at Atlanta.

— Romeo Okwara sacked Ryan Tannehill for the Lions’ first safety in 75 games, also against Tennessee on Sept. 18, 2016.

— The Jets’ defense stopped the Rams on downs at midfield with 3:54 to play and New York ran out the clock to preserve its first win after 13 losses, 23-20.

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PLAYOFF BOUND

Seattle (10-4) moved into the postseason when it beat Washington 20-15. It’s Seattle’s ninth berth in 11 seasons under coach Pete Carroll.

BYE-BYE PATRIOTS

The Patriots lost 22-12 at Miami and were eliminated from playoff contention, ending their NFL-record run of 11 consecutive postseason appearances — all by winning the AFC East. The Patriots (6-8) will finish at .500 or worse for the first time since 2000, the year they drafted Tom Brady. They fall one year short of matching the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL record of 20 consecutive winning seasons.

COURAGEOUS RETURN

Indianapolis was thrilled to have punter Rigoberto Sanchez back less than three weeks after he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. He couldn’t contain his excitement, either. As the last player introduced before the game, he pumped his arms and blowing kisses to the crowd.

“It was really an electric moment out there,” Sanchez said.

MILESTONES

Tennessee broke through with the first double-digit win season since 2008, ending a streak of four straight 9-7 seasons, by beating Detroit 46-25. Tennessee became the fifth team in NFL history with five straight games piling up at least 420 yards total offense and 30 points.

QB Philip Rivers, Colts, started his 238th consecutive game and tied Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez for No. 8 on the league’s career starts list.

Frank Gore rushed for a score that was his 100th career touchdown in the Jets’ first win since the 2019 season finale, 23-20 at the Rams.

COMEBACKS

Tampa Bay overcame a 17-point deficit to defeat Atlanta, 31-27. With two games remaining this week, there have been 40 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win this season, the most through Week 15 in NFL history.

STREAKS & STATS

San Francisco became the second Super Bowl runner-up in the past 13 seasons to finish with a losing record the next year, falling to 5-9 by losing at Dallas … Jacksonville (1-13) lost its 13th straight, 40-14 at Baltimore. When the Jets ended their 13-game slide by winning 23-20 at the Rams, it boosted the Jaguars ahead in the “race” for the top overall draft selection … Of the nine teams in NFL history to start 0-13, the Jets were the fourth to win in Week 15 … Chicago punted only once, on the opening possession, in a 33-27 victory at Minnesota … Tom Brady improved to 7-0 against the Falcons by leading a comeback from a 17-point deficit for a 31-27 win … Carlos Hyde’s 50-yard TD run was Seattle’s longest rushing play of the season.

CANADIAN RECORD

Dallas long snapper L.P. Ladouceur set an NFL record for regular-season games by a Canadian-born player, making his 251st game official on a first-quarter punt. The 39-year-old Montreal native broke kicker Eddie Murray’s record of 250 games from 1980-2000.

SACKMASTER ADAMS

Jamal Adams’ sack of Dwayne Haskins in the first quarter vs. Washington gave him 9 1/2, adding to his single-season record for a defensive back since the NFL began tracking the stat in 1982. Adams also became the first DB in that time to have a sack in four consecutive games.

DOUBLE DUTY

With punter Logan Cooke out with an illness, placekicker Aldrick Rosas was forced to handle all the kicking duties for the Jaguars. He got off a 53-yard boot on the free kick following a safety, but his first punt traveled only 30 yards and he mishandled a snap in the fourth quarter.

SIDELINED

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, suffered an injury to his right leg at Miami. Gilmore was hurt trying to change direction covering a receiver and was helped to the locker room. … Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire hurt his left leg as he was helped to the locker room at New Orleans. Saints receiver Tre’Quan Smith and safety Marcus Williams each left with ankle injuries. … Seahawks rookie running back DeeJay Dallas was carted off after spraining his right ankle on kickoff coverage. Left guard Mike Iupati left with a neck injury at Washington. … Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis, who leads Tampa Bay with four interceptions, was ruled out early in the second half with a groin injury at Atlanta. … 49ers running back Raheem Mostert left at Dallas with an ankle injury. Safety Jimmie Ward sustained a concussion, while defensive end Dion Jordan injured a knee. For the Cowboys, safety Xavier Woods left with a chest injury, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch injured an ankle, as did defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, and receiver Michael Gallup hurt a hip. … Eagles punter/holder Cameron Johnston was evaluated for a head injury after taking a hard hit on a blocked punt. Kicker Jake Elliott punted twice in Johnston’s place. Tight end Zach Ertz took over as the holder and the Eagles botched an extra-point attempt in the third quarter that would have given them a 27-26 lead. Tight end Richard Rodgers (shin) was carted to the locker room at Arizona, where Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams (ankle) left late in the first half. … Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams suffered a concussion against the Rams.

SPEAKING

“I know you guys are used to Seattle always going to the playoffs — I’m not used to this. “I’m just excited. It feels good, man. This is what you dream of.” — Safety Jamal Adams on his first trip to the postseason after a trade from the Jets to the Seahawks.

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“It’s tough, but I’m not going to lose my faith and I’m not going to lose my spirit in this organization and what we can do. My confidence and my level of play and leadership is going to continue to grow.” — Texans QB Deshaun Watson following a 27-20 loss at Indianapolis that dropped Houston to 4-10.

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