- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2008

From combined dispatches

VIKINGS 20, LIONS 16: Minnesota didn’t talk much about avoiding the embarrassment of losing to Detroit.

The Vikings didn’t have to.

“In your mind, you don’t want to be the team to lose to a winless team this late in the year,” Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen said Sunday. “That’s not the part of history that any of us in here want to be a part of.”

The Lions seem destined to be the NFL’s first 0-16 team.

Tarvaris Jackson threw a go-ahead touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, playing for the injured Gus Frerotte, and the NFC North-leading Vikings (8-5) held on for the victory.

Detroit (0-13) had chances to win, just as it did in a two-point loss at Minnesota, but couldn’t make enough plays, just as it has failed to do throughout a miserable season.

The Lions finish at Indianapolis, against New Orleans and at Green Bay.

TITANS 28, BROWNS 9: Tennessee isn’t about to be distracted by a power outage in its locker room or a struggling opponent. Not now. Not as a division champion.

Kerry Collins threw two touchdowns and Chris Johnson ran for 136 yards and a score as the Titans routed Cleveland in Nashville, Tenn., to grab the AFC South title for the first time since 2002.

The Titans have won 15 of 16 and maintained at least a two-game lead with three to play for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. The subdued celebration featured players dumping a cooler of water on coach Jeff Fisher.

TEXANS 24, PACKERS 21: Playing his first game in a month because of a knee injury, quarterback Matt Schaub marched Houston down the field to set up Kris Brown’s 40-yard field goal on the final play of the game to beat host Green Bay.

It was the second straight late defensive meltdown at home by the Packers (5-8), who came into the game holding on to playoff hopes in the mediocre NFC North.

The Texans (6-7) won despite committing four turnovers, perhaps the byproduct of a warm-weather team playing in temperatures that hovered around 3 degrees at kickoff. Schaub was 28-for-42 for 414 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in his return.

COLTS 35, BENGALS 3: Indianapolis cornerback Kelvin Hayden had a perfect read on Cincinnati.

Peyton Manning apparently was doing his homework, too. Manning threw for three scores, and Hayden returned an interception for a touchdown, leading the host Colts to their most lopsided win of the season.

Hayden picked off two passes, setting up one Indianapolis touchdown and returning the second 85 yards for another.

DOLPHINS 16, BILLS 3: Chad Pennington and Miami took advantage of an indifferent “home” crowd in Toronto, an inept Buffalo offense and the cozy indoors of Rogers Centre to stay firmly in playoff contention.

Pennington completed 23 passes, including his final 11 attempts, and also hit Anthony Fasano for a 20-yard touchdown as the Dolphins (8-5) won for the sixth time in seven games. The Dolphins’ defense did the rest, allowing only 163 yards to a Bills team playing its first of five annual regular-season games in its home away from home.

BEARS 23, JAGUARS 10: Chicago needed help after a brutal loss. Lucky for the Bears, reeling Jacksonville was in town.

Danieal Manning set the tone for a strong defensive effort with an early interception, Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen caught touchdown passes and the Bears rolled to victory on a freezing afternoon at Soldier Field.

49ERS 24, JETS 14: While New York looks to be falling apart, San Francisco is getting it together for coach Mike Singletary.

Shaun Hill passed for 285 yards and two touchdowns against New York’s porous secondary as the host 49ers sent the AFC East-leading Jets to their second straight embarrassing loss.

PATRIOTS 24, SEAHAWKS 21: Matt Cassel rallied New England when it needed him most.

New England’s fill-in quarterback calmly stared down blitzes for completions with his team’s playoff chances in the balance. Then Sammy Morris leaped into the end zone from 1 yard out on fourth down with 2:44 remaining, and the visiting Patriots rallied past Seattle.

CARDINALS 34, RAMS 10: Arizona went from chump to champ in the NFC West.

Kurt Warner threw for 279 yards, the defense scored twice and the Cardinals clinched their first division title in 33 years by beating woeful St. Louis in Glendale, Ariz.

BRONCOS 24, CHIEFS 17: Denver keeps losing players, but it finally found a way to win at home.

Jay Cutler guided the Broncos on a tiebreaking 95-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter, and host Denver’s defense stuffed Kansas City quarterback Tyler Thigpen on fourth-and-goal to beat the Chiefs.

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