Tue, Jan 03, 2012 - Page 19 News List

49ers seal first-round bye with win over Rams

AP, East Rutherford, New Jersey

The Minnesota Vikings’ Jared Allen sacks the Chicago Bears’ Josh McCown to set a franchise record of 22 sacks for the season during their match in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

In St Louis, Michael Crabtree caught two touchdown passes, one from kicker David Akers on a perfectly executed trick play, as San Francisco wrapped up the No. 2 playoff seed in the NFC and a first-round bye with a 34-27 victory over the Rams.

Crabtree and Vernon Davis had big days for a team short of pass catchers and Tarell Brown had a pair of interceptions that led to touchdowns as the 49ers (13-3) beat the Rams (2-14) for the second time the last five games.

CHARGERS 38, RAIDERS 26

In Oakland, Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes and Richard Goodman returned a kickoff 105 yards for another score as Oakland’s playoff hopes ended.

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.

They got the assistance they needed when Denver (8-8) lost 7-3 at home to Kansas City, but were unable to do their part by beating the Chargers (8-8).

The Broncos won the division based on record versus common opponents.

STEELERS 13, BROWNS 9

In Cleveland, Isaac Redman replaced an injured Rashard Mendenhall and ran for a touchdown as Pittsburgh limped into the AFC playoffs.

Redman scored on a seven-yard run in the third quarter for the Steelers (12-4), who finished tied with Baltimore for first in the AFC North, but lost the tiebreaker because the Ravens beat them twice.

The Steelers had to survive two fumbles by Redman in the second half and a pass into the end zone by the Browns (4-12) on the final play that was batted down.

Mendenhall hurt his right knee in the first quarter on a short run and didn’t return.

His status for the postseason is unknown.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed for 221 yards on a severely sprained ankle.

BEARS 17, VIKINGS 13

In Minneapolis, Charles Tillman’s interception return in the second quarter gave Chicago (8-8) the lead, allowing the Bears to stop their five-game losing streak despite three-and-a-half sacks by Jared Allen.

Allen finished the season with 22 sacks, behind Michael Strahan’s NFL mark of 22-and-a-half for the Giants in 2001.

Joe Webb relieved Christian Ponder at quarterback for the Vikings (3-13) for the third time in the last month, but the scrambling Webb wasn’t able to keep the Vikings from matching the worst record in franchise history.

JAGUARS 19, COLTS 13

In Jacksonville, Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a season-high 169 yards, clinching the NFL rushing title and breaking Fred Taylor’s single-season franchise record in the Jaguars’ victory.

The Jaguars (5-11) became the first AFC South opponent to sweep Indianapolis (2-14) since 2002 and gave outgoing owner Wayne Weaver a victory in his final game.

The Colts may have been the big winners, though. Indianapolis locked up the top pick in April’s NFL draft, setting the stage to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

Indy would have dropped to the No. 2 spot in the draft with a victory in Jacksonville. Instead, owner Jim Irsay will have the choice to draft Luck and give the team a young quarterback to join four-time MVP Peyton Manning.

TITANS 23, TEXANS 22

In Houston, Matt Hasselbeck threw two touchdown passes as the Titans kept their playoff hopes alive.

The Titans (9-7) have their first winning record since 2008 in Mike Munchak’s first season, but their postseason fate depended on the outcome of later games in Cincinnati, Oakland and Denver. Tennessee got some early help when the Jets lost in Miami.

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