Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 281 yards with two touchdowns in less than three quarters of work, leading the Packers to a 46-16 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday and extending their perfect NFL record.
Ryan Grant had two touchdowns rushing and Charles Woodson picked off a pass against his former team as the Packers ran their record to 13-0 — moving them within three games of completing a perfect regular season. And they did it with a near-perfect performance.
Carson Palmer threw for 245 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions for the Raiders (7-6), who looked like anything but legitimate contenders in the AFC West.
The biggest concern for the Packers was an apparent left knee injury to wide receiver Greg Jennings in the third quarter.
TEXANS 20, BENGALS 19
In Cincinnati, Ohio, rookie quarterback T.J. Yates led the biggest drive in Houston history, throwing a six-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left to clinch victory over Cincinnati and seal the first ever NFL playoff berth for the franchise.
With their seventh straight win, the Texans (10-3) moved to the threshold of their first playoff berth. They clinched the AFC South title a few minutes later when Tennessee lost to New Orleans.
Cincinnati (7-6) couldn’t prevent the Texans from going 80 yards in the closing minutes, led by their third quarterback in the past four games. Yates’ six-yard throw to Kevin Walter — uncovered at the goal line — set off a celebration on the Houston sideline.
SAINTS 22, TITANS 17
In Nashville, Tennessee, Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes to Marques Colston in the fourth quarter to lead New Orleans to their fifth straight victory, beating Tennessee.
The NFC South-leading Saints (10-3) had little trouble picking up yards, but struggled to score until Brees and Colston connected on passes of 35 and 28 yards.
The Titans (7-6) twice had the ball in the final minutes with a chance to win. The first time, New Orleans stopped Tennessee’s back-up quarterback Jake Locker on fourth-and-one at the Saints 24 with 2 minutes, 18 seconds left. The second time, Jo-Lonn Dunbar sacked a scrambling Locker on third-and-goal as time expired.
Brees threw for 347 yards and joined Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas as the only quarterbacks to throw a touchdown pass in 40 straight games.
Locker replaced Matt Hasselbeck, who hurt his left calf in the second quarter.
CARDINALS 21, 49ERS 19
In Glendale, Arizona, John Skelton stepped in for the injured Kevin Kolb and threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns, helping Arizona rally and inflict just the third defeat this season upon San Francisco.
Larry Fitzgerald had seven catches for 149 yards, including a 46-yarder for a touchdown and a 53-yarder to set up the go-ahead score in the fifth victory in six games for Arizona (6-7).
Kolb left the game after a blow to the head on Arizona’s third play. Skelton, benched after throwing three interceptions in last month’s loss at San Francisco, had a 60-yard touchdown pass to Early Doucet and a three-yard toss to Andre Roberts for what proved to be the winning score early in the fourth quarter.
BRONCOS 13, BEARS 10, OT
In Denver, Colorado, Matt Prater’s 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in overtime gave Denver victory over Chicago, having kicked a 59-yarder with two seconds left in regulation to tie the scores.
It was Denver’s sixth straight win, and half of them have come in overtime since Tim Tebow was promoted to starting quarterback.
After failing to score on their first 11 possessions, the AFC West-leading Broncos (8-5) erased a 10-0 deficit in the final 2:08 of regulation.
Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas with a 10-yard touchdown pass, then got the ball back with 58 seconds left and drove Denver downfield for Prater’s kick.
The Bears (7-6) won the toss in overtime and were in field goal range when Marion Barber coughed up the football at the Broncos 34 and Elvis Dumervil recovered.
PATRIOTS 34, REDSKINS 27
In Landover, Maryland, Tom Brady threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns as New England won their fifth straight, edging Washington.
Rob Gronkowski set an NFL single-season record for most touchdown catches by a tight end, adding his 14th and 15th to move past Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis.
The Patriots (10-3) again used their bend-but-don’t-break defense. The Redskins drove to the New England five-yard line late, but Rex Grossman’s pass went off Santana Moss’ hands and was intercepted by Jerod Mayo with 22 seconds to play.
Washington (4-9) has lost eight of their past nine.
GIANTS 37, COWBOYS 34
In Arlington, Texas, Eli Manning ended New York’s four-game -losing streak in style, leading the Giants to two touchdowns in the final 3:14 in a result that brought them level with Dallas for first place in the NFC East.
Dallas appeared to tie the game with a 47-yard field goal as time expired, but New York called a timeout. Given another chance to force overtime, rookie Dan Bailey’s kick was blocked by Jason Pierre-Paul — who also had a sack for a safety and forced a fumble.
The Giants (7-6) and Cowboys are tied atop the division, but this victory gives New York the inside track. The teams will meet again in the season finale, on New Year’s Day, at the Giants’ home field.
JETS 37, CHIEFS 10
In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Mark Sanchez threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores as New York downed Kansas City and kept pace in the AFC playoff race.
The Jets got things started quickly by scoring 28 points in the first half and were helped by an inept Chiefs offense that managed just four total yards in the first two quarters.
Shonn Greene had a season-high 129 yards rushing and a score, and Santonio Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson each caught touchdown passes for the Jets (8-5), who have won three straight and improved to 6-1 at home.
Tyler Palko was sacked five times in a miserable outing by the penalty-plagued Chiefs (5-8).
FALCONS 31, PANTHERS 23
In Charlotte, North Carolina, Matt Ryan threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to rookie Julio Jones as Atlanta erased a 16-point deficit and overran Carolina.
Ryan threw for 320 yards and tied a career high with four touchdowns passing. Atlanta (8-5) avoided a costly loss to stay alive in the NFC wild card race.
For the Panthers (4-8), it was the sixth time this season they’ve lost after being ahead or tied in the fourth quarter. In October, they fell 31-17 to Atlanta despite leading 17-14 going into the fourth quarter.
Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes as the Panthers built a 23-7 halftime lead, but was intercepted twice in the second half.
CHARGERS 37, BILLS 10
In San Diego, California, Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes, two to Antonio Gates, as San Diego beat Buffalo to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Buffalo (5-8) lost their sixth straight game and were eliminated from playoff contention for the 12th straight year. The Chargers (6-7) have bounced back from their own six-game skid with back-to-back wins.
Rivers was 24 of 33 for 240 yards. Ryan Mathews gained 114 yards on 20 carries, the first time he’s had three straight 100-yard games.
RAVENS 24, COLTS 10
In Baltimore, Maryland, Terrell Suggs had three sacks and forced three fumbles for Baltimore, keeping Indianapolis winless.
Baltimore (10-3) limited the Colts (0-13) to 167 yards — 53 through three quarters. Were it not for a touchdown on the game’s final play, Indianapolis would have been held without a touchdown for the second time since the 2003 season opener.
Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes and Ray Rice ran for 103 yards and a score to help the Ravens win their fourth straight and improve to 7-0 at home. Baltimore are tied with Pittsburgh for the lead in the AFC North. The Ravens hold the tiebreaker with two wins over the Steelers.
Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky was 17 for 37 for 136 yards and an interception. He was sacked four times.
LIONS 34, VIKINGS 28
In Detroit, Michigan, Minnesota’s backup quarterback Joe Webb fumbled deep in Lions territory in the final seconds, and Detroit escaped with a much-needed victory.
Matthew Stafford threw for two scores in the first quarter to give Detroit one of their three-touchdown leads. The Lions (8-5) played without defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is serving the second game of his two-game suspension.
Webb led the Vikings (2-11) to touchdowns on his first two drives after rookie Christian Ponder was benched.
On first-and-goal from the one with nine seconds left, a replay appeared to show Webb was grabbed by the facemask, but a flag wasn’t thrown. The ball popped free at about the 11, and was batted back toward midfield by Detroit’s Stephen Tulloch. Webb ran it down and tried to pick it up, but the ball came loose again and Cliff Avril finally fell on it to end the game.
In other NFL play, it was:
‧ Eagles 26, Dolphins 10
‧ Jaguars 41, Buccaneers 14
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
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Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She