Rex Ryan’s top-ranked defense shut down the Cincinnati Bengals as the New York Jets clinched their first playoff berth in three seasons with a 37-0 victory at a frigid Meadowlands on Sunday.
Needing a win to keep their season alive, the Jets (9-7) set up a rematch against the Bengals (10-6) in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday at Cincinnati.
Rookie Mark Sanchez was eight for 16 for 63 yards with no turnovers before being replaced by Kellen Clemens late in the fourth quarter with the game in hand. Thomas Jones ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns and do-it-all Brad Smith had 92 yards rushing, including a 32-yard touchdown run, as the Jets set a record for rushing yards in a season.
Texans 34, Patriots 27
At Houston, rookie Arian Foster scored two touchdowns and Bernard Pollard recovered a fumble for a touchdown as the Texans briefly kept their slim playoff hopes alive before the Jets snatched it away.
The Texans, who finished with a winning record for the first time in team history, needed the Jets to lose against Cincinnati in Sunday’s night game to earn the team’s first postseason appearance in its eight-year history.
Tom Brady played most of the game despite New England (10-6) having already clinched its playoff spot.
Cowboys 24, Eagles 0
At Arlington, Texas, Tony Romo threw a pair of early touchdown passes and the defense took over from there, sending Dallas to the National Football Conference East title.
The Cowboys (11-5) earned their third straight impressive win, and the shutout also made for a major milestone in the club’s storied history: First-ever back-to-back blankings. Only twice in the previous 49 seasons had they even had two shutouts the entire season.
Donovan McNabb was 20 of 36 for 223 yards, and Philadelphia (11-5) finished with 228 total yards.
Ravens 21, Raiders 13
At Oakland, California, Willis McGahee ran for a career-high 167 yards and three touchdowns as the Ravens clinched an American Football Conference wild-card berth.
The Ravens (9-7) went into the regular season finale knowing a win would put them in the playoffs and a loss would send them home for an early winter. The Raiders (5-11) provided a stiff challenge for much of the game but were unable to pull it out in the end behind former starter JaMarcus Russell.
Titans 17, Seahawks 13
At Seattle, Chris Johnson became the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, then scored the go-ahead touchdown on a one-yard run with four minutes, 33 seconds remaining.
Johnson ran 36 times — three short of Earl Campbell’s franchise record set in 1981 against Seattle — for 134 yards and both touchdowns for the Titans (8-8).
Chiefs 44, Broncos 24
At Denver, Jamaal Charles ran for a Chiefs-record 259 yards on 25 carries and linebacker Derrick Johnson returned two Kyle Orton interceptions for touchdowns in Kansas City’s first victory in nine tries at Invesco Field.
Steelers 30, Dolphins 24
At Miami, a swarming Steelers defense sent two Miami quarterbacks to the sideline, including Pat White with a scary head injury, but the reigning Super Bowl champions were eliminated from the playoff chase.
The Dolphins (7-9), who won the AFC East in 2008, were also eliminated with two minutes left in the game when Houston beat New England. Pittsburgh (9-7) needed losses or ties by the Ravens, Broncos and Jets to reach the playoffs, but they were eliminated when Baltimore beat Oakland.