San Francisco’s David Akers kicked four field goals, including the 39-yard winner with 2:57 left, as the 49ers edged the Seattle Seahawks 19-17 on Saturday to keep alive their chances of receiving a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs.
Larry Grant sealed the win by forcing Tarvaris Jackson’s fumble that was recovered by Donte Whitner with 1:07 left. San Francisco (12-3), which already clinched the NFC West, remained in position for the No. 2 seed in the conference.
Akers set an NFL record with his 42nd field goal of the season. Frank Gore had San Francisco’s only touchdown, with a four-yard run on the visitors’ first drive of the second half.
Marshawn Lynch scored on a four-yard run with 6:41 left to give Seattle (7-8) a 17-16 lead. It was the first TD rushing allowed by the 49ers this season.
LIONS 38, CHARGERS 10
In Detroit, the hosts secured their first playoff spot in this millennium as Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes in the first half to beat San Diego.
Detroit (10-5) have won three straight after a seven-game slump to earn a wildcard spot.
The Chargers (7-8) will not be in the postseason for a second straight year after making it five times in a six-season stretch. And that might cost coach Norv Turner his job.
The Lions held San Diego scoreless until midway through the third quarter, when Philip Rivers threw an 11-yard pass to Malcom Floyd to make it 24-7.
PATRIOTS 27, DOLPHINS 24
In Foxborough, Massachussets, Tom Brady ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as New England came back from a big halftime deficit to beat Miami and clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The Patriots trailed 17-0 at halftime then scored on their first five possessions in the second half. The Dolphins contributed to their own demise, as Matt Moore lost a fumble at his 38-yard line, then threw an interception that Devin McCourty picked off at the Patriots two-yard line.
New England (12-3) won their seventh straight game. After the Texans lost to the Colts on Thursday, the Patriots needed a win or a tie to lock up one of the AFC’s top two spots.
Miami (5-10) is now 1-1 under Todd Bowles, who took over as coach when Tony Sparano was fired.
BENGALS 23, CARDINALS 16
In Cincinnati, Andy Dalton threw a pair of touchdown passes and Cincinnati withstood yet another fourth-quarter comeback by Arizona to win and remain in playoff contention.
Another small crowd at Paul Brown Stadium saw the Bengals (9-6) secure only their third winning record in the last 21 years and stay in the running for the final AFC wildcard.
Dalton threw touchdown passes to Jermaine Gresham and Jerome Simpson, who did a backflip over a defender and landed on both feet in the end zone. Dalton joined Peyton Manning (26), Charlie Conerly (22) and Dan Marino (20) as the only NFL rookies to throw 20 touchdowns.
Arizona (7-8) rallied from a 23-0 deficit and had a chance to tie it. Receiver Early Doucet was uncovered at the goal line, but tripped as he ran, letting a fourth-down pass fall incomplete with 1:11 left.
RAVENS 20, BROWNS 14
In Baltimore, Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes as Baltimore downed Cleveland and moved one step closer to winning the AFC North.
Ray Rice ran for 87 yards and caught a TD pass for the Ravens (11-4), who led 17-0 at halftime and held on against the bumbling Browns. Baltimore completed their first unbeaten season at home (8-0).