- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 1, 2012

GREEN BAY, WIS. — Backup quarterback Matt Flynn threw a touchdown pass to Jermichael Finley with 1:10 left, giving the Green Bay Packers a 45-41 victory over the Detroit Lions in a wild regular-season finale in cold and windy conditions at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

With Aaron Rodgers resting for the playoffs, Flynn set Packers franchise records with 480 yards passing and six touchdowns. It was an ideal afternoon for the Packers, who got to rest Rodgers and several other big-name players without losing playoff momentum.

Flynn barely got the Packers past Matthew Stafford, who threw for 520 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions for the Lions. Detroit has lost 21 straight road games to the Packers, including the postseason.

According to STATS LLC, it was the first time in NFL history opposing quarterbacks each threw for 400-plus yards and five-plus touchdowns in a game. The teams’ combined 971 net yards passing broke the record of 906 set earlier this season in a Week 1 game between New England and Miami.

Saints 45, Panthers 17

NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees passed for 389 yards and five touchdowns, and New Orleans set a slew of NFL and club records in a blowout of Carolina.

The NFL single-season records set by the Saints, who head into the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak, included offensive yards with 7,474, team yards passing with 5,347 and first downs with 416.

Brees, who was 28 of 35, finished with a record 468 completions this season, breaking Peyton Manning’s 2010 mark of 450. He finished the season completing 71.6 percent of his passes, breaking his own 2009 NFL record 70.6 completion percentage.

Tight end Jimmy Graham had 97 yards receiving, finishing with an NFL record 1,310 for a tight end.

Chiefs 7, Broncos 3

DENVER — Tim Tebow fell short in his latest comeback bid, yet Denver still is going to the playoffs. Former Bronco Kyle Orton got his revenge in leading Kansas City past Denver, but it’s the Broncos who clinched the AFC West and are headed to the postseason. Denver celebrated the end to its six-year playoff drought once San Diego beat Oakland.

Patriots 49, Bills 21

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady led New England back from a three-touchdown deficit as it scored 49 straight points, routed Buffalo and clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Brady finished the regular season with the second most yards passing in NFL history, 5,235, after throwing for 338. Drew Brees, who last week broke Dan Marino’s record of 5,084 with the Miami Dolphins in 1984, added 389 Sunday for the New Orleans Saints and ended with 5,486.

Dolphins 19, Jets 17

MIAMI — Mark Sanchez threw three interceptions, and New York was eliminated from the AFC wild card playoff race when it lost to Miami. The Jets came into the game needing a win along with losses by three other teams to reach the playoffs. Instead, they finished the season with three consecutive defeats. The Dolphins completed their third consecutive losing season.

Chargers 38, Raiders 26

OAKLAND, Calif. — Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes, and Richard Goodman returned a kickoff 105 yards for another score as San Diego ended Oakland’s playoff hopes. The Raiders (8-8) went into the final day of the season needing to win and get help to end an eight-year playoff drought.

Titans 23, Texans 22

HOUSTON — Matt Hasselbeck threw two touchdown passes, and Tennessee edged playoff-bound Houston. The Titans earned their first winning record since 2008 in Mike Munchak’s first season.

The Texans will head into its first postseason on a three-game losing streak. Houston was locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs, and coach Gary Kubiak played mostly reserves in the second half.

Steelers 13, Browns 9

CLEVELAND — Isaac Redman replaced an injured Rashard Mendenhall and ran for a touchdown as Pittsburgh limped into the AFC playoffs with win over Cleveland, the Steelers’ 16th victory in 17 games against the Browns. Redman scored on a 7-yard run in the third quarter for the Steelers, who finished tied with Baltimore for first in the AFC North but lost the tiebreaker because the Ravens beat them twice.

Falcons 45, Buccaneers 24

ATLANTA | Julio Jones caught two touchdown passes in a span of 26 seconds, Michael Turner ran for two scores and Atlanta used a team-record 42 first-half points to cruise past Tampa Bay and clinch the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs. Josh Freeman threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in the first half as the Buccaneers closed their season with their 10th straight loss.

Titans 23, Texans 22

ST. LOUIS — Michael Crabtree caught two touchdown passes, one from kicker David Akers on a perfectly executed trick play, helping San Francisco withstand a late rally by St. Louis Rams and wrap up the No. 2 playoff seed in the NFC. The Rams made it close by scoring two touchdowns in just 13 seconds late in the fourth quarter.

Jaguars 19, Colts 13

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a season-high 169 yards, clinching the NFL rushing title and breaking Fred Taylor’s single-season franchise record, and Jacksonville defeated Indianapolis. The Colts may have been the big winners, though. Owner Jim Irsay will have the choice to draft Stanford’s Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick and give the team a young quarterback to join four-time MVP Peyton Manning.

Cardinals 23, Seattle 20 (OT)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Larry Fitzgerald’s spectacular one-handed grab set help up a 28-yard field goal by Jay Feely to give Arizona a win over Seattle, the Cardinals’ fourth overtime victory at home in the last nine weeks of the season. Arizona finished the season 8-8 after a six-game losing streak left it 1-6.

Bears 17, Vikings 13

MINNEAPOLIS — Charles Tillman’s interception return in the second quarter gave Chicago the lead for good, and the Bears stopped their five-game losing streak with a victory over Minnesota despite Jared Allen’s 3 1/2 sacks. Allen finished the season with 22 sacks, behind Michael Strahan’s mark of 22 1/2 for the New York Giants in 2001.

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