The CINCINNATI BENGALS and INDIANAPOLIS COLTS each clinched a playoff berth yesterday. The Bengals won at Pittsburgh 13-10 and the Colts earned a road win at Kansas City 20-13. All six playoff spots in the AFC have been clinched.
The BALTIMORE RAVENS, who beat the New York Giants 33-14, clinched the AFC North.
In the AFC, the HOUSTON TEXANS (AFC South), DENVER BRONCOS (AFC West), NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (AFC East) and Baltimore Ravens (AFC North) have clinched their division. Indianapolis and Cincinnati have secured Wild Card berths.
On Saturday night, the ATLANTA FALCONS secured home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a 31-18 win at Detroit.
In the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons (NFC South) and GREEN BAY PACKERS (NFC North) have clinched their division.
The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS secured a playoff spot with a 42-13 victory over the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS. Seattle and San Francisco, which has also secured at least a Wild Card berth, can still win the NFC West.
The WASHINGTON REDSKINS and DALLAS COWBOYS remain in contention for the NFC East division title. The MINNESOTA VIKINGS, CHICAGO BEARS, NEW YORK GIANTS and Washington Redskins remain in the hunt for a Wild Card berth.
YEAR OF THE ROOKIE QB: Four rookie quarterbacks – Indianapolis’ ANDREW LUCK (4,183), Cleveland’s BRANDON WEEDEN (3,385), Washington’s ROBERT GRIFFIN III (3,100) and RYAN TANNEHILL (3,059) – have already reached 3,000 passing yards this year, the most rookies to reach the mark in a season in NFL history (2011: CAM NEWTON, 4,051; ANDY DALTON, 3,398).
Luck passed for 205 yards and a touchdown in the Colts’ 20-13 win at Kansas City. Luck has 4,183 passing yards and passed CAM NEWTON (4,051 in 2011) for the most by a rookie in NFL history. Luck, who threw the game-winning touchdown pass to REGGIE WAYNE with 4:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, has seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. That is tied for the most by a quarterback in a single season since the 1970 merger. The last QB to accomplish the feat was PEYTON MANNING in 2009.
Seattle’s RUSSELL WILSON threw for 171 yards with a career-high four touchdowns and a 115.3 passer rating in the Seahawks’ 42-13 win over San Francisco. Wilson’s 25 touchdown passes this season are the second-most among rookie quarterbacks all-time, one shy of Manning’s record 26 in 1998.
COLTSTRONG: The INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (10-5) clinched a playoff spot this weekend with a 20-13 win at Kansas City. The Colts, who finished 2-14 in 2011, are the fourth team in NFL history to win 10 or more games following a season with two or fewer victories.
80 CLOSING IN ON 800: Houston wide receiver ANDRE JOHNSON caught seven passes for 97 yards on Sunday. Johnson, who has 806 career receptions, recorded his 800th catch in his 137th game, reaching the mark in the second-fewest games in NFL history. Only MARVIN HARRISON amassed 800 catches in fewer games (131).
MEGATRON: Detroit wide receiver CALVIN JOHNSON totaled 225 receiving yards on 11 catches (20.5 average) on Saturday night. With the performance, Johnson accomplished the following feats:
- Set the NFL record for receiving yards in a season with 1,892 (Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE, 1,848 in 1995).
- Recorded his 11th 100-yard receiving game in 2012, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN (11 in 1995) for the most in a season.
- Set an NFL record with eight consecutive 100-yard receiving games, surpassing CHARLEY HENNIGAN (seven consecutive in 1961) and Irvin (seven consecutive in 1995) for the longest such streak in league history.
- Registered his NFL-record fourth consecutive game with 10 or more receptions.
MANNING’S DOZEN: Denver’s PEYTON MANNING passed for 339 yards with three touchdowns for a 106.6 passer rating in a 34-12 win against Cleveland, helping the AFC West-champion Broncos improve to 12-3.
Since entering the NFL in 1998, Manning’s teams have reached 12 regular-season wins in nine different seasons, the most by a starting quarterback in NFL history.
STEADY BREES: New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 446 yards and three touchdowns in the Saints’ 34-31 overtime win at Dallas. Brees has 4,781 passing yards and is the first player in NFL history to record at least 4,500 yards in three consecutive seasons.
Over the past three seasons, Brees has 14,877 passing yards, the most in any three-year span in NFL history.
WILD WILD WES: New England wide receiver WES WELKER had 10 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ 23-16 win at Jacksonville. Welker has 18 career games with at least 10 catches and passed Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE and ANDRE JOHNSON (17) for the most such games in NFL history.
TOP TIGHT END: Dallas tight end JASON WITTEN had six catches for 60 yards in the Cowboys’ overtime loss to New Orleans. Witten has 103 receptions, the most by a tight end in a single season in NFL history (TONY GONZALEZ, 102 in 2004).