- Associated Press - Saturday, December 24, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - As Derek Carr fell to the turf with a broken leg, a celebratory day in Oakland immediately turned somber. The Raiders had suffered their most significant loss of the season.

Carr broke a bone in his right leg in the fourth quarter of the Raiders’ 33-25 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, immediately throwing a dark cloud over a resurgent season in Oakland.

Carr got hurt with Oakland leading 33-14 early in the fourth quarter when he was sacked by Trent Cole. Carr stayed on the ground for several minutes in pain as trainers came out to treat him. With the crowd chanting “M-V-P! M-V-P!” Carr limped off the field without putting any pressure on his right leg. He will have surgery on Sunday.

Carr has led a revival in Oakland since arriving as a second-round pick in 2014. After losing his first 10 games as a rookie, Carr has been a big part of the turnaround that has the Raiders in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. He threw three TD passes Sunday to give him 28 on the season and his seven fourth-quarter comebacks are the biggest reason behind Oakland’s success.

Now the team must prepare for a playoff run with Matt McGloin at quarterback. McGloin has not started a game since the end of the 2013 season with Carr starting all 47 games since he arrived.

Andrew Luck rallied the Colts (7-8) from 26 points down to just eight with 2:33 left.

JAGUARS 38, TITANS 17

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Blake Bortles’ best game of the season helped the Jaguars end a nine-game losing streak, and Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota broke his right leg in the third quarter.

Bortles threw for 325 yards and a touchdown, and was on the receiving end of a 20-yard trick play that sealed the win with 5:25 remaining. Rookie Jalen Ramsey returned an interception 30 yards on the ensuing play to set off a raucous - and long-awaited - celebration in Jacksonville.

Bortles and the Jaguars (3-12) played inspired football and won for the first time this season at EverBank Field. Maybe they rallied around interim coach Doug Marrone. Maybe they played for ultra-popular ex-coach Gus Bradley, who was fired six days earlier. Maybe they just wanted to avenge an embarrassing loss to the Titans (8-7) on national television in late October.

The Titans had won three in a row and seven of 10 entering the game. All they needed to do was beat reeling Jacksonville to set up an AFC South title game next week against Houston. Instead, they lost, and the Texans beat Cincinnati to clinch the division for the second straight year and eliminate Tennessee.

TEXANS 12, BENGALS 10

HOUSTON (AP) - Tom Savage threw for 176 yards for Houston in his first career start and Cincinnati missed a field goal as time expired, giving the Texans their second straight AFC South title.

The Bengals converted a fourth down play to keep a drive alive, but four plays later, former Texan Randy Bullock’s 43-yard attempt sailed wide right to secure Houston’s victory.

Savage helped the Texans (9-6) rally for a win over the Jaguars last week after taking over when Brock Osweiler was benched after throwing interceptions on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter.

Cincinnati (6-8-1) regained the lead when Dalton found Brandon LaFell on a short pass and he took it 86 yards for a touchdown that made it 10-6 with about 11 minutes left. Alfred Blue’s 24-yard touchdown run put the Texans back on top with about 9 minutes left, but the extra point was blocked.

BROWNS 20, CHARGERS 17

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Browns are winless no more.

Cleveland avoided that fate Saturday by beating San Diego for its first victory in more than a year. San Diego’s Josh Lambo missed a 45-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Browns (1-14) their first win in 377 days.

When the kick sailed right, Cleveland’s small crowd erupted in celebration and Browns players poured off their sideline as if they had just won the Super Bowl.

The Browns avoided becoming the second team to go 0-15, and no longer have to worry about joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to lose all 16 games.

Cleveland built 10-point lead in the third quarter and hung on - defensive tackle Jamie Meder blocked a potential tying field goal with 3:49 left - to give coach Hue Jackson his first win with the Browns.

The win also snapped Cleveland’s 17-game losing streak dating to last season.

The Chargers (5-10) lost their fourth straight and one that could sting for a while.

CARDINALS 34, SEAHAWKS 31

SEATTLE (AP) - The Arizona Cardinals continue to give the Seattle Seahawks headaches at home. This time, it will likely end up costing Seattle a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Chandler Catanzaro hit a 43-yard field goal on the final play.

Seattle (9-5-1) rallied from a 31-18 deficit, scoring two touchdowns inside the final 3 minutes to pull even at 31. Jimmy Graham had a 37-yard touchdown catch and Paul Richardson’s 5-yard TD with 1:06 left tied it. Steven Hauschka missed the extra point that could have given Seattle the lead.

Arizona (6-8-1) went 50 yards in the final minute and Catanzaro’s kick was good, delivering a huge blow to Seattle’s chances at the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

It was the Seahawks’ first home loss this season; all NFL teams have now been beaten in a home game.

FALCONS 33, PANTHERS 16

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Falcons are back on top of the NFC South, capturing their first division title since 2012.

Matt Ryan threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns, Tevin Coleman had 135 yards from scrimmage, including a pivotal 55-yard fourth-quarter TD run.

The Falcons then had to wait about 3 1/2 hours to celebrate when the Saints defeated the Buccaneers to seal Atlanta’s first playoff appearance in four years.

The Panthers (6-9) were officially eliminated from playoff contention after making the Super Bowl last season.

Ryan torched the Panthers for the second time this season. He threw for 503 yards and four TDs in Atlanta’s Week 4 win over Carolina at the Georgia Dome, a victory that set the stage for the Falcons’ playoff push.

SAINTS 31, BUCCANEERS 24

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Mark Ingram rushed for two-touchdowns and a game-sealing first down in the final minutes.

The Buccaneers (8-7) needed a win to keep pace with Green Bay (9-6) for the final NFC wild-card spot, but couldn’t keep up with the Saints’ explosive offense. And their loss handed the NFC South to Atlanta, while giving the New York Giants a wild-card berth.

Drew Brees was 23 of 34 for 299 yards and a touchdown for New Orleans (7-8), which gained 417 total yards and did not have a turnover against a with 26 takeaways - including three interceptions of Brees in the clubs’ previous meeting two weeks earlier.

This time, it was New Orleans’ defense producing turnovers; Jairus Bryd intercepted Jameis Winston twice. The first takeaway set up Ingram’s second TD, and the second stalled a promising Bucs drive into Saints territory.

Now Tampa Bay must win the season finale and hope for losses by Washington and Green Bay next week. If that happens, a complicated tie-breaker based on strength of victories will decide the final playoff spot between the Bucs and Packers.

PATRIOTS 41, JETS 3

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Tom Brady passed for 214 yards and three touchdowns , and the Patriots moved a step closer to securing home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

A loss or tie by the Raiders against the Colts later Saturday would officially give New England the AFC’s top seed.

Malcolm Butler added two interceptions and a fumble recovery , and LeGarrette Blount had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs.

New England (13-2) took advantage of New York miscues all day, scoring on three of its first four possessions.

The Jets (4-11), who have lost six of seven, had four turnovers.

The only really good piece of news for the Jets came before the game, when Todd Bowles rejoined the team and coached from the sideline a day after a medical scare sent him to the hospital.

PACKERS 38, VIKINGS 25

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Aaron Rodgers threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns, WHILE Jordy Nelson shredded Minnesota’s secondary for 154 yards and two scores.

The Packers’ fifth straight win set up a winner-take-all showdown next week with Detroit for the NFC North title, while extinguishing the Vikings’ faint postseason hopes.

Green Bay (9-6) built a 28-13 lead at halftime, with Rodgers accounting for all four scores. He finished 28 of 38, and shrugged off his right calf injury after scrambling for a 6-yard touchdown late in the second quarter and making a rare Lambeau Leap.

Rodgers and Nelson connected for scores from 21 and 2 yards in the first half.

Playing again without running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings (7-8) had success through the air after Sam Bradford threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns, including a 71-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen in the second quarter. Thielen had a career-high 202 yards and two scores.

DOLPHINS 34, BILLS 31, OT

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Jay Ajayi ran for 206 yards and broke loose for a 57-yarder in overtime to set up Andrew Franks’ 27-yard field goal.

In winning for the ninth time in 10 games, the Dolphins (10-5) inched closer to their first playoff berth since 2008. Miami can secure the AFC’s final wild-card berth as early as Sunday if Denver loses to Kansas City.

Denver needs to win its final two games to make the postseason, and Baltimore is eliminated from the wild-card race and can only make the playoffs as the AFC North champion.

The Bills (7-8) were eliminated from contention and extended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 seasons. Buffalo’s drought is tied for the fifth longest in NFL history, and is the longest since the New Orleans Saints went 20 years before qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history in 1987.

Ajayi is the fourth player in NFL history to have at least three games with 200 rushing yards in a season. Earl Campbell, OJ Simpson, Tiki Barber are the others.

Franks forced overtime by hitting a career-best 55-yard field goal with 6 seconds remaining.

REDSKINS 41, BEARS 21

CHICAGO (AP) - Kirk Cousins threw for a touchdown and ran for two more, and the Redskins gave their fading playoff hopes a boost.

DeSean Jackson added 114 yards receiving, and Washington (8-6-1) intercepted Matt Barkley five times.

Eighth in the NFC behind Green Bay and Tampa Bay coming in, Washington scored 14 points in the first quarter after struggling early in recent games, and never really was threatened by the Bears (3-12).

Cousins, shaky against Carolina, was 18 of 29 for 270 yards. He threw a 17-yard touchdown to Chris Thompson in the first quarter and scored on a 9-yard run in the second. He also pushed in from the 1 late in the third to make it 31-14.

49ERS 22, RAMS 21

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Colin Kaepernick threw a 10-yard touchdown pass with 31 seconds remaining and scrambled for a go-ahead 2-point conversion as the 49ers overcame a 14-point deficit to end a 13-game losing streak.

Kaepernick rolled to his right while looking for a receiver before tucking the ball and barreling into the end zone. That gave the 49ers a sweep in the renewal of the instate rivalry with the Rams’ return to Los Angeles this season.

Kaepernick threw for 257 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and rushed for a touchdown for the 49ers (2-13).

Kaepernick found Rod Streater on a slant pattern to cap a 10-play, 73-yard drive to make it 21-20.

Jared Goff was intercepted by Rashard Robinson with 16 seconds left as the Rams again squandered a late two-score lead for the second time in their past three home games.

Goff, the No. 1 overall draft pick, has lost all six of his starts for Los Angeles (4-11).

___

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