Tue, Jan 05, 2016 - Page 19 News List

Vikings beat Packers, win NFC North

THROWN AWAY:Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw interceptions on all three of his team’s final drives against the Bills. His team lost 22-17 and failed to make the playoffs

AP, GREEN BAY, Wisconsin

The Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, left, jumps over the Green Bay Packers’ Damarious Randall in their NFL game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

The Minnesota Vikings won the NFC North by holding on for a 20-13 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.

Adrian Peterson ran for a touchdown and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned a fumble 55 yards for a score as Minnesota (11-5) claimed their first division title since 2009.

The Vikings are to host the Seattle Seahawks for a wild-card playoff game next weekend. The Packers (10-6) are to travel to Washington after watching their four-year reign atop the NFC North end.

The upstart Vikings survived despite a shaky finish in hostile territory. The defense knocked away a desperation pass in the end zone from Aaron Rodgers on fourth down as time expired.

Packers kicker Mason Crosby forced a fumble on Cordarrelle Patterson’s potentially field-flipping 70-yard kickoff return with 5 minutes, 21 seconds left. However, the Packers’ next drive ended with Rodgers’ pass being intercepted in the end zone by Xavier Rhodes.

BILLS 22, JETS 17

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw interceptions on each of New York’s final three drives as the Jets’ playoff hopes were dashed.

The Jets (10-6) would have made the postseason for the first time since 2010 with a win, but the defeat, combined with Pittsburgh’s win at Cleveland, ended those hopes. New York had a five-game winning streak stopped, and the loss came against former Jets coach Rex Ryan — fired by New York and hired by the Bills (8-8) in January last year.

Fitzpatrick, who had thrown just one interception in the Jets’ winning streak, was picked off by Leodis McKelvin in the end zone early in the fourth quarter with New York driving.

The game was decided when Fitzpatrick’s side-arm pass over the middle was intercepted by A.J. Tarpley with 11 seconds remaining.

STEELERS 28, BROWNS 12

Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes and Pittsburgh’s defense dominated as the Steelers slipped into the AFC playoffs with a win over Cleveland, who fired coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer after the game.

The Steelers (10-6) had to win and needed Buffalo to defeat the New York Jets to make the postseason. Pittsburgh did its part, then earned a wild-card berth when the Bills won. Pittsburgh are to play at Cincinnati next weekend.

Roethlisberger threw for 349 yards, 187 yards to Antonio Brown, who had 13 catches and a touchdown.

The Browns finished 3-13.

DOLPHINS 20, PATRIOTS 10

Tom Brady was sacked twice and knocked down at least a half-dozen times as New England missed a chance to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.

Brady watched New England’s final offensive series from the sideline. With the Patriots eager to protect his health, he threw a season-low 21 passes, but, even so, was lucky to make it through the game in one piece.

New England (12-4) end up as a No. 2 seed after Denver defeated San Diego to earn the top seed.

The Dolphins (6-10) wrapped up a disappointing season and are expected to embark on a search for their ninth coach since 2004.

TEXANS 30, JAGUARS 6

Watt and Whitney Mercilus led the defense and Jonathan Grimes scored twice to help the Texans clinch the AFC South.

Houston are to host Kansas City next weekend in the a wild-card game.

Grimes had a 12-yard touchdown reception and added a three-yard rushing score in the second quarter to help Houston take a 20-3 lead by halftime. Kareem Jackson added a score on an interception return in the fourth quarter to pad the lead.

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