Monday, January 01, 2018 1:00 am
Bills reach playoffs for 1st time since '99
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Buffalo Bills snapped the longest current non-playoff drought in North American pro sports with a 22-16 victory Sunday over Miami coupled with Cincinnati's victory at Baltimore. The Bills hadn't made the postseason since 1999.
Buffalo (9-7) will travel to Jacksonville next weekend in a wild-card game.
The Bills' anxiety was compounded by the loss of 1,000-yard rusher LeSean McCoy with a right ankle injury. He was carted off the field in the third quarter.
The frustration of a disappointing season got the best of the Dolphins (6-10) with 6:21 left, when receiver Jarvis Landry, running back Kenyan Drake and offensive lineman Jake Brendel were ejected following a fight. Landry was cited for disrespecting an official, and Drake for throwing his helmet 20 yards in anger. Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were called against both teams.
The undisciplined Dolphins, who came into the game with the second-most penalties in the NFL, had 14 for 145 yards.
Buffalo punctuated the victory with a 1-yard touchdown run by defensive tackle Kyle Williams. Williams and his teammates celebrated the first score of his career with choreographed back flops in the end zone.
Golf great Jack Nicklaus wore Bills gear and a smile watching from the stands as his grandson, tight end Nick O'Leary, caught Tyrod Taylor's 26-yard touchdown pass.
The Dolphins scored a touchdown with 1:56 left and recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Jordan Poyer's interception sealed the win for Buffalo.
Taylor went 19 for 27 for 204 yards and one score. In six games against Miami, he has 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions.
TENNESSEE 15, JACKSONVILLE 10: In Nashville, Tennessee, Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown and used his legs to help the Titans end an eight-season playoff drought by beating the Jaguars to clinch an AFC wild-card berth.
The Titans (9-7) snapped a three-game skid and posted their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2007 and 2008.
CHARGERS 30, RAIDERS 10: In Carson, California, Philip Rivers passed for 387 yards and three touchdowns, but Los Angeles missed out on a playoff berth despite the victory. Keenan Allen scored on a 27-yard fumble recovery and a 6-yard TD catch for the Chargers (9-7), who won six of their final seven games in their relocation season.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was fired after the game.
CARDINALS 26, SEAHAWKS 24: In Seattle, Phil Dawson kicked four field goals, the last from 42 yards with 2:21 left, to lift Arizona. Seattle kicker Blair Walsh missed a 48-yard attempt with 32 seconds left.
Seattle's playoff hopes were dashed when Atlanta beat Carolina to earn the final wild-card spot in the NFC.
COWBOYS 6, EAGLES 0: In Philadelphia, Dak Prescott tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brice Butler early in the fourth quarter as Dallas prevented Philadelphia from a franchise-record 14th win.
The Eagles (13-3) rested several starters on a frigid day and played others briefly after securing the NFC's No. 1 seed last week. They'll be host to a playoff game on Jan. 13 or 14.
The Cowboys (9-7) earned their second straight winning season for the first time since five in a row from 2005-09.
GIANTS 18, WASHINGTON 10: In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass as New York (3-13) snapped a five-game losing streak.
Manning threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Sharp and Orleans Darkwa rushed for a career-high 154 yards, including a 75-yarder on the second play from scrimmage.
49ERS 34, RAMS 13: In Los Angeles, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns to lead San Francisco to its fifth straight victory.
Los Angeles (11-5), which clinched the NFC West title last weekend, rested Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Aaron Donald and other top players. The Rams will play at home next weekend, the franchise's first postseason game since the 2004 season.
SAINTS 31, BUCCANEERS 00: In Tampa, Florida, Jameis Winston threw for 363 yards, including a 39-yard scoring pass to Chris Godwin with nine seconds remaining, to help the Buccaneers snap a five-game losing streak.
The playoff-bound Saints (11-5) entered the day hoping to clinch their first NFC South championship in six years. They wound up winning the title anyway when Carolina (11-5) lost at Atlanta.
CHIEFS 27, BRONCOS 00: In Denver, Patrick Mahomes II made both his first NFL start and his first NFL relief appearance a success as Kansas City won on Harrison Butker's 30-yard field goal as time expired.
Starting in place of Alex Smith, Mahomes handed off a 24-10 lead to No. 3 QB Tyler Bray midway through the fourth quarter but came back with the score tied at 24 and less than three minutes left.