A look at seven statistical highlights from games played during the 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET windows on Saturday, December 24, the 16th week of the 2022 season.

The BUFFALO BILLS clinched their third-consecutive AFC East division title with a 35-13 win at Chicago.

The BALTIMORE RAVENS defeated Atlanta, 17-9, and combined with losses by New England and the New York Jets, clinched a playoff berth for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

The CINCINNATI BENGALS, who clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season on Thursday with the Jets’ loss, defeated New England, 22-18.

CLOSE GAMES: With five games yet to be completed in Week 16, there have been 105 games decided by a touchdown (six points) or less, the most such games through the first 16 weeks all-time.

Eight of 11 games (72.7 percent) that have been completed in Week 16 have been within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter and there have been 180 games within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter this season, the most such games through the first 16 weeks in NFL history.

COMEBACKS: The DALLAS COWBOYS and NEW ORLEANS SAINTS each overcame 10-point deficits to win on Saturday and there have been 46 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win or tie this season, the most such games in a single season all-time.

The MINNESOTA VIKINGS defeated the New York Giants, 27-24, as kicker GREG JOSEPH converted the game-winning 61-yard field goal as time expired. The Vikings recorded their 11th one-score win (eight points or fewer) this season, the most such wins by a team in a season in NFL history.

Joseph’s 61-yard game-winning field goal is tied with JAKE ELLIOTT (61 yards on September 24, 2017) for the fourth-longest game-winning field goal with no time remaining in the fourth quarter or in overtime. Only JUSTIN TUCKER (66 yards on September 26, 2021), TOM DEMPSEY (63 yards on November 8, 1970) and MATT BRYANT (62 yards on October 22, 2006) had longer game-winners.

There have been 57 games this season decided by a game-winning score in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime, the most such games through the first 16 weeks of a season all-time.

Dallas, HOUSTON and Minnesota came back to win after trailing in the fourth quarter and there have been 74 games in which a team has come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter, the most such games through the first 16 weeks of a season all-time.

Minnesota quarterback KIRK COUSINS passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns and wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON had 12 receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown in the Vikings’ Week 16 win.

Cousins has 27 touchdown passes this season and is the fifth player ever to record at least 25 touchdown passes in at least eight consecutive seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (13 seasons), DREW BREES (11), PHILIP RIVERS (11) and TOM BRADY (10).

Jefferson, currently in his third career season, recorded his 24th career game with at least 100 receiving yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (23) for the most such games by a player in his first four seasons in NFL history.

Jefferson, who had 11 receptions for 223 yards in Week 14 and 12 receptions for 123 yards in Week 15, is the sixth player ever with at least 10 receptions and 100 receiving yards in at least three consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer CALVIN JOHNSON (four consecutive games in 2012), KEENAN ALLEN (three in 2017), ANDRE JOHNSON (three in 2008), BRETT PERRIMAN (three in 1995) and MICHAEL THOMAS (three in 2019).

Jefferson has 10 games with at least 100 receiving yards this season, tied for the fourth-most such games in a single season in NFL history. Only COOPER KUPP (11 in 2021) and Pro Football Hall of Famers CALVIN JOHNSON (11 in 2012) and MICHAEL IRVIN (11 in 1995) had more.

Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES passed for 224 yards and had three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) while tight end TRAVIS KELCE had six catches for 113 yards in the Chiefs’ 24-10 win over Seattle.

The Chiefs improved to 12-3 on the season and became the third team ever to record at least 12 regular-season wins in five consecutive seasons, joining the 2010-17 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (eight consecutive seasons) and 2003-09 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (seven consecutive seasons).

Mahomes has 4,720 passing yards and 37 touchdown passes in 2022 and is the fourth quarterback all-time with four career seasons of 4,500 passing yards and 35 touchdown passes, joining TOM BRADY (five seasons), DREW BREES (four) and Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (four).

Kelce has 801 career receptions and is the fifth tight end in NFL history with at least 800 receptions, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer TONY GONZALEZ (1,325), JASON WITTEN (1,228), ANTONIO GATES (955) and Pro Football Hall of Famer SHANNON SHARPE (815).

Kelce has 35 career games with at least 100 receiving yards, the most by a tight end in NFL history.

Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN had three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in the Bills’ 35-13 win at Chicago. 

Allen recorded his 25th career game with at least one touchdown pass and one rushing touchdown, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer FRAN TARKENTON (24 games) for the fourth-most such games in NFL history. Only CAM NEWTON (45 games), Pro Football Hall of Famer STEVE YOUNG (31) and AARON RODGERS (30) have more.

Allen has totaled 173 combined passing and rushing touchdowns (135 passing, 38 rushing) since entering the NFL in 2018 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (171 touchdowns) for the most combined passing and rushing touchdowns by a player in his first five seasons in NFL history.

San Francisco rookie quarterback BROCK PURDY had two touchdown passes with a 114.6 rating while tight end GEORGE KITTLE recorded six receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns and defensive lineman NICK BOSA had two sacks and a forced fumble in the 49ers’ 37-20 win against Washington.

Purdy joins Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO as the only quarterbacks since 1950 with at least two touchdown passes and a passer rating of 100-or-higher in each of his first three career starts.

Kittle has 5,202 career receiving yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer KELLEN WINSLOW SR. (5,176 receiving yards) for the fourth-most receiving yards by a tight end in his first six seasons in NFL history. Only ROB GRONKOWSKI (5,555), JIMMY GRAHAM (5,357) and TRAVIS KELCE (5,236) have more.

Bosa has 12 games with at least one sack this season, tied for the fourth-most such games in a season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. Only DEMARCUS WARE (14 games in 2008), JUSTIN HOUSTON (13 in 2014) and CHANDLER JONES (13 in 2017) have more.

Carolina running back D’ONTA FOREMAN rushed for 165 yards and one touchdown while running back CHUBA HUBBARD recorded 125 rushing yards in the Panthers’ 37-23 win over Detroit.

Hubbard (109 rushing yards) and Foreman (104) became the first pair of teammates since Jacksonville’s MAURICE JONES-DREW and FRED TAYLOR (December 10, 2006) each with at least 100 rushing yards in the first half of the same game.

Carolina rushed for 240 yards in the first half on Sunday, the third-most rushing yards in a first half in the past 40 years. Only BUFFALO on November 22, 1992 (254 rushing yards) and JACKSONVILLE on December 10, 2006 (251) had more.

Additional notes from Sunday include:

Chicago quarterback JUSTIN FIELDS totaled 130 yards (119 passing, 11 rushing) with one touchdown pass on Saturday.

Fields had 1,011 rushing yards this season and surpassed LAMAR JACKSON (1,005 rushing yards in 2020) for the third-most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Only LAMAR JACKSON (1,206 in 2019) and MICHAEL VICK (1,039 in 2006) has more.

Detroit wide receiver AMON-RA ST. BROWN had seven receptions for 76 yards on Saturday.

St. Brown, who had 90 receptions as a rookie last season and has 96 receptions in 2022, joined MICHAEL THOMAS and ODELL BECKHAM JR. as the only players ever with at least 90 receptions and 900 receiving yards in each of their first two seasons.

New England rookie defensive back MARCUS JONES recorded a 69-yard interception-return for a touchdown against Cincinnati.

Jones, who had a punt-return for a touchdown in Week 11 and a touchdown reception in Week 13, is the fourth player in NFL history with an interception-return for a touchdown, punt-return for a touchdown and touchdown reception in a season, joining FRANK BACON (1920), Pro Football Hall of Famer BILL DUDLEY (1947) and TOMMY HARMON (1947).


BALTIMORE (AP) As coach John Harbaugh discussed Baltimore’s victory over Atlanta, a television in the back of the news conference room was showing the Cincinnati-New England game.

When the Bengals finally sealed their victory, Harbaugh’s Ravens were assured of a postseason spot.

“Are we?” Harbaugh asked before receiving confirmation. “Oh, OK. It feels great. Yeah, great. Good. Congratulations to our guys. To clinch the playoffs with two games left is pretty remarkable. It’s not something that’s done too often.”

Tyler Huntley threw a first-half touchdown pass, and the Baltimore defense kept the Falcons out of the end zone in Saturday’s 17-9 win. The Ravens (10-5) won for the second time in three games without quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has been out with a knee injury.

Baltimore won’t have to worry about a repeat of last season, when Jackson was injured and the Ravens ended up dropping their final six games to miss the postseason. The Bengals’ victory, however, came with one drawback: It kept Cincinnati a game ahead of Baltimore atop the AFC North.

Atlanta (5-10), which entered just a game behind first-place Tampa Bay in the NFC South, was eliminated from playoff contention.

Gus Edwards ran for 99 yards and J.K. Dobbins rushed for 59 for Baltimore. Huntley’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson in the second quarter was the first TD catch by a Ravens wide receiver since Week 3.

Huntley ran for a 2-point conversion that put the Ravens up 14-0 – and Baltimore’s defense has allowed more than 14 points in a game just once since the start of November. On Saturday, the Ravens held the Falcons without a touchdown on four red-zone trips.

“It was good Ravens football,” tight end Mark Andrews said. “Shout-out to the defense who had a great game. Special teams and all that. But when you get a day like this, cold weather and adverse conditions, any time you come out victorious, it’s a good win.”

Atlanta has lost four straight – including rookie QB Desmond Ridder’s first two starts – and six of seven. Ridder went 22 of 33 for 218 yards.

“I thought Desmond took another step against a pretty good defense,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “But at the end of the day, we didn’t win situational football. Baltimore did. That’s why they walked away with a win right there.”

The temperature at kickoff was 17 degrees, the lowest for a home game in franchise history. Although both teams were expected to rely on the run instead of their shaky passing games, Huntley did connect with Sammy Watkins for 40 yards and Andrews for 36. Those two drives both ended in field goals, and the Ravens led 6-0.

Atlanta went for it on fourth down near midfield, and Ridder found Drake London for a gain of 20. But Marlon Humphrey forced a fumble at the end of that play, and the Ravens took over at their own 30.

“I thought I did everything I could possibly do to secure the catch. Tried to put two hands on it,” London said. “But that’s Marlon Humphrey, one of the better cornerbacks in the league. He just punched it out.”

Baltimore then ran the ball on the first 11 plays of the ensuing drive, which ended with Huntley’s short touchdown pass.

The Ravens caught a break near the end of the first half. On first-and-goal from the 1, Ridder was called for intentional grounding – it appeared he was hit as he threw – for a loss of 13. The Falcons settled for a field goal.

On the first possession of the second half, a holding call on receiver Olamide Zaccheaus nullified a touchdown by Cordarrelle Patterson, and Atlanta kicked a field goal again.

Down 17-6 in the fourth, the Falcons had first-and-goal from the 4, but four straight runs were stopped short of the end zone. Tyler Allgeier was unable to convert on fourth down from the 1.

Atlanta pulled within eight on a field goal with 2:03 remaining, but the Falcons had let so much time run off that the kickoff brought the clock down to the two-minute warning. Atlanta did have two timeouts remaining, but the Ravens were able to get a first down and close out the win.


The Ravens have outrushed their opponent in 14 straight games, a franchise record. This time the margin was 184-115.


In addition to Jackson, the Ravens were without DE Calais Campbell (knee) and CB Marcus Peters (calf). … Atlanta TE Feleipe Franks was evaluated for a head injury.


Falcons: Host Arizona next Sunday.

Ravens: Host Pittsburgh next Sunday.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) D’Onta Foreman knew the Carolina Panthers’ offensive linemen meant business when they walked into a meeting room following Friday’s walkthrough practice. They were silent, and wearing full-length black ski masks.

To Foreman, it meant the linemen were focused – and ready to bounce back from a disappointing showing the week before.

They did just that Saturday.

Foreman ran for a career-high 165 yards and a touchdown and the Panthers racked up a franchise-record 320 yards on the ground behind a dominating performance up front to beat the Detroit Lions 37-23 and keep their NFC South title hopes alive.

Chuba Hubbard also had a career best by rushing for 125 yards for the Panthers, who had been held to 21 yards on 16 carries in a home loss to Pittsburgh six days earlier.

“Our guys were challenged,” Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks said. “We got embarrassed last week in so many fashions and they bounced back and showed their true character in how we practiced last week and, most importantly, in how we came out today and performed. Those guys up front accepted to challenge and were coming off the ball.”

Sam Darnold completed 15 of 22 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score to improve to 3-1 as Carolina’s starting QB. Raheem Blackshear and D.J. Moore also scored for the Panthers, who amassed a team-record 570 yards of offense in the coldest game ever played at Bank of America Stadium.

The Panthers had seven runs of 20 yards or more against a Lions defense that had allowed just 84 yards rushing per game over the last five weeks. Foreman and Hubbard both exceeded 100 yards rushing in the first half as the Panthers built a 24-7 lead.

Both running backs said they felt at times the Lions didn’t even want to tackle them on Carolina’s unforgiving artificial turf.

“Definitely,” Hubbard said. “We pride ourselves on just wearing on a team, and when it gets cold out here like this, not too many people want to get hit or do any tackling – and that definitely showed.”

Carolina (6-9) can clinch its first division title since 2015 with wins at Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

Detroit (7-8) came in having won six of its previous seven games to pull within a half-game of Washington in the race for the NFC’s final wild card spot entering the weekend.

Lions coach Dan Campbell called the loss “tough to swallow.”

“Ultimately, when you play that way, it falls on me,” Campbell said. “I didn’t have them ready to go. That wasn’t good enough. That was a hungry team that we played. And we didn’t look as hungry. That’s the bottom line.”

Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes to third-string tight end Shane Zylstra for the Lions.

The temperature was 20 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of 9, and the Panthers made it clear they were going to pound the ball. They ran five times for 85 yards on their opening possession and took a 7-0 lead with Blackshear scoring on a 7-yard run. Hubbard, who got the start over Foreman, carried three times for 70 yards on the drive.

The Lions countered with a 3-yard TD pass from Goff to Zylstra. Following a fumble by Goff, the Panthers proceeded to score 17 straight points to close the half by repeatedly running through gaping holes.

Darnold scored on a 3-yard quarterback keeper and Foreman added a 4-yard TD run to make it 21-7.

With 59 seconds left in the half and leading by 14, the Panthers used the running game to go 68 yards in less than a minute and set up the first of Eddy Pineiro’s three field goals.

Carolina had 364 yards by halftime, a first-half franchise record.

Panthers right tackle Taylor Moton, who came up with the idea for the ski masks, said the offensive line learned from last week’s loss.

“We were able to run the ball when and how we wanted to run it and Sam was able to stay up and stay clean and that sounds like a great day at the office to me,” Moton said.


Several Carolina players have complained about the synthetic surface at Bank of America Stadium, and Detroit’s Goff joined that chorus after the game.

“I thought the field conditions were below NFL level standard, specifically pregame,” Goff said. “It warmed up as the game wore on. I don’t what the deal is here. But they need to figure out a way to make the field not feel like cement. Why that is, I don’t know.”


Lions: RB Jamaal Williams suffered a lower-body injury but returned.

Panthers: Wilks didn’t have an update on CB Jaycee Horn’s injury after the game, but defensive end Brian Burns said Horn broke his wrist in the fourth quarter. … WR Shi Smith (foot, head) left in the third quarter.


Lions: Host Chicago on Jan. 1. The Lions beat the Bears 31-30 on Nov. 13.

Panthers: Visit Tampa Bay on Jan. 1. The Panthers beat the Bucs 21-3 on Oct. 23.


CHICAGO (AP) Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills came into the season with soaring expectations and their sights set on a deep playoff run.

They earned one big prize by clinching their third straight division title. It’s just the next step in what they hope is a path toward their ultimate goal.

Devin Singletary and James Cook ran for long touchdowns in the third quarter, and the Bills locked up the AFC East title by beating the Bears 35-13 on Saturday in one of the coldest games played in Chicago.

Allen ran for a TD and threw for another in the game’s closing minutes after breaking a tie early in the game with Hall of Famer Dan Marino for the most touchdowns in a player’s first five NFL seasons. His three TDs in the game highlighted an otherwise subpar outing, but the Bills (12-3) secured their third straight division title with their sixth win in a row.

“It’s the next progression in our goal – playoffs, division title and we know what the next one is,” Allen said.

Buffalo remained on track for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Bills and West leader Kansas City, which beat Seattle, have identical records. But Buffalo owns the head-to-head tiebreaker after defeating the Chiefs in October.

“The standard has always been playoff caliber, after you set a playoff berth, then it is championship caliber,” defensive tackle Ed Oliver said. “And championship caliber is winning your division, winning our side then obviously playing in that game (Super Bowl) and winning that game. I just feel like there are bigger things out there.”

Chicago’s Justin Fields threw for 119 yards and a touchdown. But he ran for a season-low 11 yards after joining Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson as the only QBs with 1,000 yards rushing last week with the Bills containing him and keeping him in the pocket.

“The reality of it is I’m not going to be running for like 100 yards a game,” Fields said. “When a defense does a good job of taking my legs away, take a defender with me, maybe take two with me and allow (the running backs’) legs to work.”


The temperature at kickoff was 9 with a minus-12 wind chill – only three degrees warmer than the record low for a Bears home game. It was Buffalo’s coldest road game by temperature since at least 1967.

A small gathering of bundled-up fans watched as the Bears (3-12) matched a franchise record with their eighth straight loss.


Singletary ran for 106 yards and became the first Bills player this season to hit triple-digits in a game. He scored on a 33-yard run on the opening drive of the second half to put Buffalo on top, a 2-point conversion pass from Allen to Khalil Shakir making it 14-10.

Cook added a career-high 99, including 27-yarder in the third following a fumble by the Bears’ David Montgomery gave the Bills a 21-10 lead.

Chicago’s Cairo Santos kicked a field goal early in the fourth quarter that Nicholas Morrow set up by picking off an ill-advised pass. Allen scored from the 4 with just under four minutes remaining and threw a 13-yard TD to Dawson Knox with about a minute to play.

Allen broke the tie with Marino when he hit Gabe Davis with a 19-yarder in the first quarter. He now has 174 touchdowns – 135 passing, 38 rushing and one receiving.

Allen finished with 172 yards, two TD passes and two interceptions even though he was facing a short-handed secondary. Along with the interception by Morrow, he got picked off by Kyler Gordon near the goal line in the second quarter.

“It’s not so much the cold as it was the wind,” Allen said. “It just gusts. You don’t know really where it’s coming from. Sometimes the flags are blowing one way. The next, they’re blowing the opposite way.”

Stefon Diggs caught just two passes for 26 yards. He wasn’t targeted in the first two quarters even though the Bears placed top cornerback Jaylon Johnson (ring finger) on Friday.

But even without big contributions from their star quarterback and receiver, the Bills racked up 426 yards. They ran for 254 and averaged 8.2 per carry.

Dante Pettis had a touchdown catch for Chicago. But the Bears joined the 1978 and 2002 squads as the only ones in franchise history to drop eight in a row.


The Bills were spending Christmas Eve in Chicago because of the snow in Buffalo. They were scheduled to fly to Rochester, New York, on Sunday morning.


Bills: RG Ryan Bates (knee) was hurt while blocking for Allen on a scramble late in the second quarter. He returned in the third.

Bears: Fields’ non-throwing shoulder – the same one he separated late last month – bothered him during the game. He was also hobbling at the end after someone stepped on his foot, though he said he should be “good to go.” … OL Michael Schofield III (thumb) was injured on the opening drive, but returned in the second quarter.


Bills: Visit Cincinnati on Jan. 2.

Bears: Visit Detroit on Jan. 1.


CLEVELAND (AP) Without a roof over their heads, the Saints went outside and handled the frightful weather – and the Browns.

They’re still in the playoff mix.

Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill each had touchdown runs and New Orleans left its comfortable dome and withstood Cleveland’s arctic-like conditions in a 17-10 win Saturday over the Browns, who were officially eliminated from the playoffs.

The Saints (6-9) were 0-6 in outdoor games this season before rallying to beat the Browns (6-9) in the coldest game in New Orleans history.

“I didn’t want to be a part of that,” joked Kamara, who were a scuba-like suit under his jersey. “The elements are the elements, so you just use common sense out there. It was cold. Nothing was going to stop it from being cold. On those long runs, I was really more fired up to get back to the heat on the sideline.”

Quarterback Deshaun Watson drove Cleveland to the Saints’ 15 in the final minute, but he was sacked on fourth down by Carl Granderson – one play after tight end David Njoku let a TD pass slip through his hands – with 19 seconds left, ending the Browns’ postseason hopes.

“Very disappointing,” Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett said. “It is not where we want to be. It is not where we expected to be at the beginning of the season.”

Kamara scored on a 4-yard run late in the third quarter – set up by Daniel Sorensen’s interception of Watson and 36-yard return – as the Saints, still kicking in the NFC playoff hunt, overcame a 10-0 deficit.

New Orleans came in trailing Tampa Bay by one game in the weak, wide-open NFC South. The Saints, who traveled to Cleveland a day early to acclimate to the bone-chilling weather, aren’t done yet.

“We said this game was going to be about mental toughness, and the mentally tougher team would win,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said. “Now, Friday morning was an eye opener when we went outside, but we were prepared for this.”

Cleveland is guaranteed a losing season in coach Kevin Stefanski’s third year, which was shaped by Watson’s ban.

Watson had a 12-yard rushing TD but struggled to pass in the blustery conditions (15 of 31 for 135 yards) and fell to 2-2 as a starter since returning from his 11-game suspension for sexual misconduct allegations.

The Browns’ porous rushing defense was a problem once again as the Saints, rotating Andy Dalton and Hill at quarterback and snapping it directly to Kamara, rolled up 152 yards on the ground.

“When you can line up and they know you’re going to run the ball, and you can still do it successfully, that’s big,” said Hill, who ran for 56 yards on nine carries. “That’s what we came in wanting to do.”

The temperature was 6 degrees at kickoff, making it the coldest regular-season game in Cleveland history. Only the Browns’ 1981 playoff game (1 degree) against the Oakland Raiders was worse.

It was coldest at FirstEnergy Stadium, which opened in 1999. During the first quarter, the Browns invited any fans sitting in the upper deck to move to the lower bowl and hundreds of fans accepted the offer.

The Saints had never been this cold. Their previous coldest game was 24 degrees on Dec. 26, 1993 in Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium.

Kamara’s TD was the 72nd of his career, tying him with Marques Colston for the most in Saints history.

After getting a 23-yard field goal by Wil Lutz on the final play of the first half, New Orleans took the second-half kickoff and drove 67 yards for a tying TD with Hill barreling in from the 8-yard-line to make it 10-all with 9:40 left.

Watson’s TD scamper gave the Browns a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.

With Cleveland’s offense unable to do anything productive, the defense came through as safety Grant Delpit intercepted a pass by Dalton that went off tight end Juwan Johnson’s hands and returned it 40 yards to the Saints’ 30.

Five plays later, Watson swept left on third down and scored untouched for his first rushing TD with Cleveland.

The Browns then ate up 8:44 on the clock with a drive capped by rookie Cade York’s 30-yard field goal to take a 10-0 led.


Saints: LG Andrus Peat (leg) was carted to the locker room in the first quarter, another blow to New Orleans’ offensive line after guard Cesar Ruiz went on IR earlier in the week. … S Justin Evans (shoulder) didn’t play in the second half. … WR Jarvis Landry (ankle) didn’t get to reunite with his former Cleveland native teammates after going on IR Thursday.


Saints: At Philadelphia on Jan. 1.

Browns: Visit Washington on Jan. 1.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Even as the Kansas City Chiefs squeaked out wins the past few weeks, coach Andy Reid lamented both the state of their inexperienced defense and their inability to put away struggling teams.

They showed massive improvement in both areas against Seattle on Saturday.

That youthful defense shut down Geno Smith and the slumping Seahawks offense, Patrick Mahomes threw two TD passes before running for a clinching score in the fourth quarter, and the Chiefs rolled to a 24-10 win that allowed them to keep pace with Buffalo for the best record in the AFC.

“I mentioned it the other way the last couple of weeks, that they need to get better,” Reid said of his defense, which often has five or more rookies on the field at a time. “They’re making progress and I thought they did a nice job today.”

Indeed, the Chiefs stopped the Seahawks (7-8) twice on fourth down, picked off their Pro Bowl quarterback in the end zone and dealt coach Pete Carroll’s team their fifth loss in six games along with a near-knockout blow to their playoff hopes.

Travis Kelce had six catches for 113 yards, and Kadarius Toney and Jerick McKinnon had touchdown catches, as the AFC West champion Chiefs (12-3) remain tied with the Bills – who hold the tiebreaker – with two games to go.

“We’re on a mission here in Kansas City,” Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark said, “and the goal is to finish the season strong. The last few weeks we haven’t been getting the job done as far as finishing strong. A lot of tight games.”

Kansas City has won 16 consecutive regular-season games against NFC opponents.

Kenneth Walker III was the biggest bright spot for Seattle, running for 107 yards but failing to reach the end zone. But the Chiefs mostly kept DK Metcalf in check, and Seattle didn’t reach the end zone until the closing minutes of the game.

“We just couldn’t get going and couldn’t make first downs,” Carroll said. “We got nothing going at all.”

Much like the rest of the country, the cold weather that flooded the Midwest produced some frigid temperatures – the wind chill was minus-2 at kickoff, and that was an improvement over the previous two days. In fact, it had been so cold the tarp was frozen to the field when workers tried to remove it three hours before kickoff.

That didn’t bother a half-dozen Seahawks, including DK Metcalf and his fellow wide receivers, who walked out of the tunnel bare-chested shortly afterward for their pregame warmups on the ice-covered field.

Maybe they weren’t cold, but Seattle’s offense was downright frigid.

Playing without wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who had surgery on his broken hand this week, Smith and Co. gained just 18 yards on their first 15 plays, and they were forced to punt on their first five possessions.

The Chiefs took advantage of the slow start, too. Mahomes threw a pop pass to Toney to cap a 63-yard TD drive, then a pass to McKinnon out of the backfield a few minutes later for another score. And by the time Harrison Butker drilled a 47-yard field goal late in the half, the Chiefs had jumped out to a 17-0 lead.

Even when Seattle got a field goal before halftime, much of the drive was aided by defensive penalties.

While the Chiefs struggled to extend their lead in the second half, the Seahawks proved incapable of trimming it.

They failed on fourth down at the Kansas City 34 when tight end Colby Parkinson was stood up after a catch; failed on fourth down again when Laquon Treadwell failed to run his route to the first-down marker and came up short; and failed to score at the Kansas City 22 when Smith overthrew Treadwell and was picked off by Juan Thornhill in the end zone.

The Chiefs, who have been maligned for failing to put struggling teams away, finally did it on the ensuing possession, when Mahomes hit Kelce with two long throws before sprinting to the pylon for the clinching touchdown.

“We just have to keep going. We’re on a roll,” Toney said. “We have a goal right now and we’re just trying to get to it.”


The Seahawks still have not won at Arrowhead Stadium since Nov. 21, 1999. … The Seahawks were one of three teams Mahomes had yet to beat, along with Indianapolis and Minnesota. … Mahomes extended his consecutive completions streak to 21 at the start of the game before missing his next throw. … McKinnon has six TDs in his past four games.


Seahawks: NT Al Woods (Achilles) and SS Ryan Neal (knee) were inactive. … FS Joey Blount (knee) and RB Travis Homer (ankle) left in the first quarter, and RT Abraham Lucas (thigh) in the third. … WR Marquise Goodwin also left with a wrist injury, though he was able to return to the game.


Seahawks: host the New York Jets next Sunday.

Chiefs: host the Denver Broncos next Sunday.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Greg Joseph kicked a career-long 61-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Minnesota Vikings a 27-24 victory that prevented the New York Giants from clinching a playoff spot on Saturday.

T.J. Hockenson had a career-high 13 catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns from Kirk Cousins, who threw for a third score to Justin Jefferson with 3 minutes to go that was set up by a blocked punt and gave the Vikings (12-3) an eight-point lead.

Saquon Barkley’s 27-yard rush right up the middle on fourth-and-2 for the Giants (8-6-1) with 2:01 left and the ensuing 2-point conversion pass from Daniel Jones to Daniel Bellinger tied it up.

But despite a 7-yard sack by safety Landon Collins at the Minnesota 41 that forced the Vikings to burn their final timeout with 19 seconds on the clock, Cousins found Jefferson for yet another clutch third-down completion on a bubble screen. And the NFL’s leading receiver had room to take it all the way before being tripped after a 17-yard gain. Jefferson finished with 12 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown.

Cousins spiked the ball, and on came Joseph for the on-target kick that had plenty of distance to spare to send the Vikings into a familiar sideline frenzy after yet another tense victory.

The Giants got the help they needed with losses by NFC pursuers Detroit and Seattle, but they didn’t seal the deal with the win to complete the equation of securing a wild-card spot.

Jones had 334 yards and a touchdown to Isaiah Hodgins on 30-for-42 passing, but his teammates – on offense and defense – had trouble hanging onto the ball.

Jones was picked off early in the fourth quarter at the Minnesota 18 when Hodgins hesitated for a step on his route and Patrick Peterson undercut him for the interception, but the Vikings turned the ball over on downs after that.

Bellinger lost a fumble at the Minnesota 23 in the first quarter. Richie James dropped a third-and-5 pass from the 37 that would’ve moved the sticks in the fourth quarter, forcing the Giants to settle for Graham Gano’s third field goal that cut the lead to 17-16 with 6:24 left.

Late in the third quarter, Cor’Dale Flott bobbled his interception attempt at the Giants 40. After replay review overturned the turnover call on the field, the Vikings resumed their drive and finished it in the end zone.

Hockenson made a leaping catch above safety Julian Love and cornerback Darnay Holmes that he secured with both hands all the way through the hard landing on his back. That 15-yard score gave Minnesota the lead back with 14:12 to go.

Rarely have these Vikings played a drama-free fourth quarter, though. Naturally, they wound up with another nail-baiting win, setting the NFL record with their 11th one-score victory of the season.

After their NFL-record comeback from a 33-point deficit to beat Indianapolis, the Vikings didn’t electrify the stadium like last week. They dodged the letdown that can follow a spirited win, though, unlike last month when their rally from a 17-point deficit to beat Buffalo preceded a 40-3 loss to Dallas.


Jefferson passed Randy Moss to set the single-season Vikings record for receiving yards with 1,723 and hit the 100-yard mark for the 24th time in his career. That’s the most in NFL history through a player’s first four seasons, and Jefferson is still in his third year.

Cousins became the fifth player in league history with 25-plus scoring passes in eight straight seasons, behind Peyton Manning (13), Drew Brees (11), Philip Rivers (11) and Tom Brady (10).


Giants: After the front four finally got healthy at the same time, DE Azeez Ojulari (ankle) was hurt in the second quarter and didn’t return. He has 4 1/2 sacks in the past four games. … CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee) was inactive for the fifth straight game.

Vikings: CB Cameron Dantzler (active) and C Garrett Bradbury (back) were inactive, replaced by Duke Shelley and Austin Schlottman in the starting lineup.


Giants: Host Indianapolis on Jan. 1.

Vikings: Play at Green Bay on Jan. 1.


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Joe Burrow wanted to be happier after the Cincinnati Bengals walked off the field toting a 22-18 win over the New England Patriots on Saturday.

Burrow threw three touchdown passes and the Bengals offense had nearly 500 yards. But it took the defense forcing a late turnover in the red zone to preserve the victory.

He also knows that won’t be enough for his team to ultimately accomplish its goal this season.

“We got to do a better job on offense of putting teams away,” Burrow said. “Teams that want to win the Super Bowl put them away a little earlier.”

The Bengals (11-4) won their seventh straight and remained in the driver’s seat for a second consecutive AFC North title. They clinched a playoff berth by virtue of the New York Jets’ loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, and still have a chance at the conference’s top seed and a first-round playoff bye.

Despite leading 22-0 at halftime, the Bengals still let this one come down to the wire.

The Patriots had the ball on the Cincinnati 5 with just over a minute to play when Rhamondre Stevenson was hit by Vonn Bell and fumbled, leading to Josh Tupou’s recovery. The Bengals punted it back four plays later, but the Patriots turned the ball over on downs.

“I was trying to make something happen,” Stevenson said. “Probably doing more than I was supposed to do. Probably should have just went down but ultimately, he took the ball from me and I fumbled.”

Stevenson was stopped at the line of scrimmage and pushed backward before fumbling. Referee Craig Wrolstad was asked after the game by a pool reporter if there was consideration to blowing the play dead before the ball came out.

“In order to have forward progress, the runner has to be controlled by the defense,” Wrolstad said. “He has to be held and controlled, and basically have his feet taken away. We felt that he still had his feet. So, we did not feel that he was held and controlled by the defense. He was still free to gain yardage and then also, obviously, there was still a chance that he could fumble.”

Burrow finished 40 of 52 for 375 yards and two interceptions. Trenton Irwin had two touchdown catches. Tee Higgins had eight catches for 128 yards and a TD.

The Patriots (7-8) entered the week one game outside of the final AFC playoff spot. They have lost four of five.

Mac Jones finished 21 of 33 for 240 yards and two touchdowns. New England had 10 penalties for 82 yards and managed just 285 total yards. Nick Folk also missed two extra points on a day when the game-time temperature was 17 degrees and a wind chill of 4.

Cincinnati led 22-18 and was facing third down with less than four minutes to play when Ja’Marr Chase caught a short pass from Burrow and was stripped by Matt Judon. The ball was recovered by Marcus Jones on the New England 43.

A defensive holding penalty on the Bengals and 15-yard completion from Mac Jones to Marcus Jones put the ball on the Cincinnati 31.

The frigid temperature did little to slow down the Bengals offense early, which scored on each of its first three possessions.

Cincinnati dominated the first half, compiling more first downs (22) in the opening 30 minutes than the Patriots had plays (17). New England managed just three first downs, 70 total yards and amassed 44 penalty yards.

Things changed in the second half. First an errant pass by Burrow was intercepted by Marcus Jones and returned 69 yards for a touchdown.

The Patriots offense, which was showered with boos at different points in the game, then pulled within 22-12 early in the fourth on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Mac Jones to Kendrick Bourne.

The Bengals appeared to be on the verge of responding, but kicker Evan McPherson’s field goal attempt missed wide left from 43 yards out.

The Patriots were threatening again at the Cincinnati 30 when Jones was called for intentional grounding, setting up a third-and-24. It was moved back another 5 yards following a false start.

Facing third-and-29, Jones avoided the Bengals pass rush and got off a pass that was deflected at the goal line and fell into the hands of Jakobi Meyers for a 48-yard TD. Folk’s extra point was no good, leaving the score 22-18.

Cincinnati won at New England for the first time since 1986.

“We’re going to be happy with the win because they are so hard to come by, and seven in a row, our guys have that confidence that we’re playing good football,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said.


Bengals: OT La’el Collins limped off in the first quarter with a left knee injury and was ruled out.

Patriots: ST Brendan Schooler left in the first quarter with a shoulder injury but was able to return. … TE Hunter Henry left in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return. … TE Jonnu Smith was checked out early in the fourth quarter for a head injury. … Judon walked of on his own power after being shaken up on a play in the fourth and was able to return.


Marcus Jones’ Pick-6 marked the sixth defensive TD of season for New England, tying a franchise record. It was also the Patriots’ third straight game with a defensive score, which they haven’t done since 2004.


Bengals: Host Bills in Monday night matchup on Jan. 2

Patriots: Host Dolphins on New Year’s Day.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Houston Texans have been fighting, scrapping and clawing, only to come up short too many times this season.

Not this time – not even after having to wait an extra hour to kick off.

Davis Mills threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks with 2:52 left, and the Texans snapped a nine-game skid by beating the sliding Tennessee Titans 19-14 Saturday in a game delayed because of power issues.

“We needed this one,” first-year Houston coach Lovie Smith said. “We had a (Friday) night meeting. It was about a three-game season. We’re 2-1-1 in the division, and we want to end up with the best record in our division. We finish up with two more division opponents, so those games are huge for us.”

His Texans (2-12-1) had lost five one-score games this season, including each of the past two weeks.

This kickoff was delayed by an hour in a joint agreement by the Titans, the NFL and local emergency management officials after rolling power blackouts. Tennessee had crews working at Nissan Stadium since this extreme cold front moved into the area Thursday, blowing open some windows and bursting at least 36 water pipes at the stadium.

Even with the delay, it was the coldest home game in Titans history with a temperature of 20 at kickoff and the wind chill at 6.

Smith took a nap during the delay, and the Texans weren’t bothered much by the coldest game they’ve played this season. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo had two of the Texans’ four sacks by halftime, and Houston also forced three turnovers.

“We’re not built right now to be able to overcome those things. … The margin for error is very thin,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.

Linebacker Christian Harris intercepted rookie Malik Willis at the Houston 41 with 1:33 left, and Texans safety Jalen Pitre picked off Willis’ final pass in the end zone to seal the victory.

Houston fell behind 14-10 in the third quarter but held Tennessee scoreless from there. Mills, the second-year quarterback out of Stanford, completed all nine passes for 103 yards on the two scoring drives.

“Great feeling getting a win coming off of that versus a divisional opponent,” Mills said. “Ready to go home for Christmas.”

Mills finished with 178 yards passing, none bigger than his TD toss to Cooks. The veteran receiver was happy to see his quarterback come through after all the criticism Mills has faced.

“He stays even keel no matter what is going on,” Cooks said. “He kind of tunes out the outside noise and all he is focused on is trying to help this team win.”

Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked his second field goal with 7:25 left in the game as Houston turned Henry’s fifth fumble in five games into points. Then Mills completed four passes for 69 yards, the last to Cooks in the left corner of the end zone for a 19-14 lead.

The Titans (7-8) have blown their four-game lead atop the AFC South, falling into a tie with Jacksonville. Their five-game skid is their longest since owner Amy Adams Strunk fired coach Ken Whisenhunt after a sixth straight loss in November 2015.

Henry ran for 126 yards. He put Tennessee up 7-0 with a 48-yard run that was the 12th touchdown of his career against Houston, the most against the Texans by any player in league history. He had been tied with Maurice Jones-Drew.

The Texans got their first TD when Mills scrambled to the 1 before fumbling, and teammate Rex Burkhead recovered in the end zone, tying it up at 7.

Tennessee, which set an NFL record by using 91 players in a non-strike season last year, came into this game having used a league-high 80 players. Willis got his third start this season with veteran Ryan Tannehill out with an injured right ankle again.

The Titans placed two starting offensive linemen on injured reserve this week: center Ben Jones and right guard Nate Davis. Three other starters on the line were on the injury report, and Le’Raven Clark replaced rookie right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere in the second half because of an inured ankle.


Texans offensive lineman Tytus Howard left on the first possession and didn’t return with a concussion. Tight end Teagan Quitoriano hurt a knee, and defensive back M.J. Stewart didn’t return with a concussion.

Titans linebacker Zach Cunningham hurt his elbow early in the second quarter and didn’t return a day after being activated off injured reserve. Titans linebacker Bud Dupree hurt his chest.


The Texans host Jacksonville in their home finale.

The Titans host Dallas on Thursday night.


SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Brock Purdy shook off a sluggish first half and did what he has done since taking over as starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers: He delivered big plays.

Purdy threw two more long touchdown passes to George Kittle and the 49ers beat the Washington Commanders 37-20 on Saturday for their eighth straight win.

“He’s just getting the ball to us,” Kittle said. “He’s great with the football. He puts it on target. He allows guys to run with it. He’s super savvy in the backfield, makes guys miss.

“His confidence is through the roof right now and I don’t know why it wouldn’t be.”

Purdy kept up his impressive play since stepping in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo early in Week 13, looking far better than expected for the player picked last in this year’s NFL draft.

He has thrown two TD passes in four straight games for the 49ers (11-4) and won all three of his starts as San Francisco keeps the pressure on Minnesota in the race for the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Purdy joined Hall of Famer Kurt Warner as the only quarterbacks since starts began being tracked in 1950 to win his first three starts while throwing multiple touchdown passes in each game.

“I don’t really think about getting more and more comfortable or anything like that,” he said. “I still have that same fire and drive as before when I wasn’t playing. I want to go in and I want to prove to my teammates and earn the respect every play, every snap, every drive.”

Taylor Heinicke threw two TD passes for Washington (7-7-1) but also lost a fumble and threw an interception in the fourth quarter. He was replaced after his second giveaway by Carson Wentz and coach Ron Rivera said he hadn’t decided which quarterback will start next week.

The Commanders are winless in their last three games, but still hold a half-game lead over Seattle and Detroit in the race for the final playoff spot in the NFC.

“Nothing’s changed, we’re still in the same situation we were in going into this,” Rivers said. “We control our own destiny. We win the next two, we give ourselves a chance, so that’s up to us.”

The Niners broke the game open in the third quarter thanks to some more big plays from Purdy. They took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove to the go-ahead score when Kittle got open deep for a 34-yard score that he stole away from the intended target, teammate Ray-Ray McCloud.

Kittle scored again later in the quarter on a 33-yard catch and run to make it 21-7. Kittle also had two TD catches last week, giving him a career-high eight on the season.

“He makes my job easy,” Purdy said. “He wins the man-to-man matchups with his speed and everything. You just give the dude the ball, he’ll take off.”

San Francisco capitalized on big plays all game, also scoring their first touchdown on a 71-yard end around by McCloud.

Nick Bosa and the Niners defense did the rest of the work with Bosa setting up one field goal by Robbie Gould with a strip-sack of Heinicke and San Francisco adding another after Jimmie Ward got an interception deep in Washington territory.

Wentz, playing for the first time since Week 6, threw a 20-yard TD pass to Curtis Samuel but it was too little too late for Washington.


The Commanders took advantage of a couple of tipped passes to tie the game late in the first half.

The first came when Purdy appeared to complete a throw over the middle to Jauan Jennings. But Jennings bobbled the ball and tipped it right to Darrick Forrest for an interception.

On the ensuing drive, Washington converted a third-and-5 on a pass that Jahan Dotson bobbled before catching off a ricochet.

That set up Heinicke’s 4-yard TD pass to Dotson that made it 7-7 at the break.


Both teams got stopped on fourth down in the red zone in the first half.

San Francisco drove to the 15 on its first drive before Christian McCaffrey was stopped by David Mayo for no gain on a fourth-and-1 pitch from fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

Washington got down to the 1 early in the second quarter when Antonio Gibson was stuffed on fourth down by Fred Warner and Javon Kinlaw.

The Commanders got stopped again in the third quarter on fourth and 1 from their own 34.


Commanders: LB Jon Bostic (pectoral) left in the second half and didn’t return. … DE James Smith-Williams left in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a head injury.

49ers: CB Charvarius Ward went to the locker room with nausea in the second half, but returned to the game.


Commanders: Host Cleveland on Jan. 1.

49ers: Visit Las Vegas on Jan. 1.


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Dak Prescott stepped to the podium after helping Dallas rally past the Philadelphia Eagles and immediately addressed the first reason the Cowboys needed a comeback.

“Let’s start with the interception,” the star quarterback said before a reporter could even ask a question.

Prescott finished with 347 yards passing and three touchdowns after Josh Sweat’s shocking 42-yard pick-6, Brett Maher kicked the go-ahead field goal late and the Cowboys beat the Eagles 40-34 on Saturday.

Gardner Minshew threw two scoring passes and had a TD run filling in for injured Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts, but his second interception set up Maher’s go-ahead kick.

Four days after speaking at the memorial service of his college coach, Mike Leach, Minshew had Philadelphia 19 yards from a potential winning touchdown in the final seconds, his desperation pass into the end zone on fourth-and-10 wasn’t anywhere near a receiver.

The NFL-leading Eagles (13-2) had two of their four turnovers in the final five minutes and missed a chance to clinch the NFC’s top seed in a matchup of playoff-bound division rivals.

Dallas, the defending NFC East champ, kept alive faint hopes of catching them.

One Philadelphia victory or loss by Dallas (11-4) in the final two games would wrap up home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs for the Eagles, whose five-game winning streak ended.

“We missed an opportunity,” Minshew said. “You can’t turn the ball over four times. We stress turnovers all the time. That’s what has made us successful.”

Dallas was down 10-0 after Prescott’s third pass of the game – intended for wide-open tight end Dalton Schultz – was too low. Sweat made a leaping point-blank pick, and the defensive end easily ran through Prescott’s desperate attempt at a tackle.

Prescott has thrown an NFL-worst 11 interceptions since returning in Week 7 from a five-game absence with a broken thumb. He has a five-game interception streak in the same season for the first time.

“Guess I just misjudged his length. He made a great catch,” Prescott said. “I was chasing him down, like, `Is this happening again? Oh well. Let me get back on the field, let’s get this thing back rolling.'”

Prescott rallied the Cowboys in front before halftime, but they went down by 10 again in the second half.

The deficit was seven in the fourth quarter when T.Y. Hilton’s first catch in his Dallas debut came on a 52-yarder on third-and-30. It set up CeeDee Lamb’s second touchdown on a 7-yard pass for a 34-34 tie with 5:49 remaining.

Hilton took off on a go route down the Dallas sideline, surging past Darius Slay before Prescott hit him in stride.

“I can still play. If you don’t think I can play, then that’s on you,” said the 33-year-old Hilton, who spent 10 years with Indianapolis. “I don’t have to be fast. I can be slow, I can still get open. But I’m still fast.”

On the next possession, rookie cornerback DaRon Bland took the ball away from Philadelphia receiver Quez Watkins for Minshew’s second interception, leading to Maher’s 48-yard kick for a 37-34 lead.

The Cowboys had to settle for Maher’s fourth field goal after Miles Sanders fumbled on the first play of the Eagles’ next possession.

Needing a touchdown to win, Minshew got the Eagles to the Dallas 19-yard line with a 22-yard completion to DeVonta Smith, who had two touchdown catches and 113 yards receiving.

After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Minshew threw incomplete twice. He was never sacked against the league’s No. 2 defense in sacks, but faced heavy pressure on the decisive play and had to chuck the ball deep.

Prescott had his first 300-yard game of the season, bouncing back from Sweat’s interception on his third pass to go 27 of 35.

“Adversity is something he eats for lunch,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Dak’s the same person every day, in the fire, at practice, in the class. I just think it speaks volumes of his approach.”

Minshew threw for 355 yards, completing 24 of 40 passes in his first start of the season after Hurts sprained his right shoulder in last week’s win over Chicago.

Even though the Eagles had to play without their MVP candidate, they gave Minshew the day off Tuesday to speak at the service for Leach. The 61-year-old Mississippi State coach, who died of complications from a heart condition, was Minshew’s coach at Washington State.

“There was a lot going on,” Minshew said. “I really appreciate the staff. That’s not a one-week project; that’s been going on all year.”


Lamb had 100 yards receiving in a half for the first time in his three-year career, finishing with 103 before the break on the way to 10 catches for 120 yards. Michael Gallup had the other TD catch for Dallas.


Eagles: CB Avonte Maddox (toe) and DT Jordan Davis (head) were ruled out after getting injured in the first half.

Cowboys: Rookie DE Sam Williams was inactive after being involved in a car wreck Thursday. Owner Jerry Jones said Friday on his radio show Williams was dealing with concussion symptoms.


Eagles: Two home games to finish the regular season, starting New Year’s Day against New Orleans.

Cowboys: Two road games before the playoffs, the first at skidding Tennessee on Thursday night.


PITTSBURGH (AP) Mike Tomlin wasn’t ready to go there, with all due respect.

Yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers coach understands the symmetry between Saturday night’s 13-10 win over the Las Vegas Raiders and a playoff victory over the same franchise 50 years ago, the one that ended with Steelers running back Franco Harris snagging a deflected pass and sprinting into NFL lore with what’s universally known as “The Immaculate Reception.”

Like that game five decades and one day ago, a rookie scored the winning touchdown, this time wide receiver George Pickens on a 14-yard dart from Kenny Pickett with 46 seconds remaining.

Yet the similarities end there. Harris’ play was voted the most famous in NFL history during its 100th anniversary season in 2020 and helped launch a dynasty.

What happened at frigid Acrisure Stadium on Christmas Eve of 2022 was not that.

“I’m not going to try to put it in that neighborhood,” Tomlin said with a laugh. “Not even in that city.”

Still, Tomlin can appreciate that Pickett, Pickens and all the rest of Pittsburgh’s still incredibly young offense etched what he called a “small place in Steelers lore” by putting together an impressive late drive that kept Pittsburgh’s slim playoff hopes alive while simultaneously paying tribute to Harris.

The Hall of Fame running back died on Wednesday, two days before the golden anniversary of his defining play and three days before the franchise retired his No. 32. His sudden passing turned what was supposed to be a celebration of his career into a poignant reflection on his remarkable life.

The current Steelers – all of whom were born after Harris retired in 1984 – did their best to pay tribute. Tight end Pat Freiermuth, a Penn State graduate just like Harris, suggested to Tomlin during the week that the entire team show up on Saturday night wearing replicas of Harris’ jersey.

Defensive end and co-captain Cam Heyward ran onto the field waving a massive flag with Harris’ number on it. Pickett made a dummy “Franco! Franco” call during his cadence before sneaking for a first down.

During halftime, Harris’ widow Dana Dokmanovich, and their son, Dok, joined team president Art Rooney II for a tearful ceremony that included Dokmanovich leaning into Rooney for support after he presented her with her late husband’s jersey.

“We dedicated this to Franco,” Pickett said. “Felt like he was with us tonight.”

Pickett completed 26 of 39 passes for 244 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Freiermuth caught seven passes for 66 yards and Najee Harris had 95 total yards as the Steelers (7-8) won for the fifth time in seven games.

“We’re still in the hunt,” Heyward said. “I like to think we just keep getting better and better as the weeks go on.”

Derek Carr threw for 174 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, the last one a floater down the middle of the field that was picked off by Cam Sutton with 29 seconds to go. Pittsburgh rookie Connor Heyward ran for a first down to help the Steelers run out of the clock.

The Raiders (6-9), coming off a dramatic last-play victory over New England last week, reverted to their form from earlier this season by losing their eighth one-score game of the year. They could be eliminated from the playoffs by the end of the week.

“We’ve pulled out plenty (of games) and then to lose in this fashion when you have a shot to win, you realize you’re close but close doesn’t really count in this league,” Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels said. “I obviously have to do a better job to try and close the gap.”

It was a gap the Raiders found themselves on the right side of for the first 59-plus minutes at the second-coldest home game in Steelers’ history.

Carr started crisply in the 8-degree (minus-13 Celsius) weather – the coldest home game for the Steelers since 1989 – and finished off a 14-play, 71-yard opening drive with a 14-yard touchdown strike to Hunter Renfrow.

Yet Las Vegas let the Steelers hang around, and Pickett – whose name was announced by Harris when Pittsburgh took him with the 20th overall pick in last spring’s draft – provided the first signature moment of what the Steelers hope will be a decorated career.

“I can’t say enough about (our young offensive players), all of them,” Tomlin said. “They showed poised and resolve and made the necessary plays. We move forward with a really good Christmas.”


Raiders: DE Chandler Jones exited with a left elbow injury in the third quarter after colliding with teammate Maxx Crosby and did not return. … LB Denzel Perryman went to the locker room with a left shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.

Steelers: CB Tre Norwood left in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return.


Raiders: Host NFC West champion San Francisco on Jan. 1.

Steelers: At Baltimore on Jan. 1. The Ravens edged Pittsburgh 16-14 at Acrisure Stadium on Dec. 11.


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Back in November, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Miami’s goal was to play in meaningful games in December and January.

“When you are in those months playing meaningful football, it is something unlike any other style of football that exists,” McDaniel said. “The beginning of the season pales in comparison to that environment.”

The Dolphins and the Green Bay Packers will have that type of experience when they meet on Christmas Day. Both teams are eyeing the postseason, but their scenarios to get there are quite different.

The Dolphins (8-6) will make the playoffs if they win their last three games – or just their last two, against division foes New England and the New York Jets. Miami has lost three straight, though, and wants to begin its playoff push by beating Green Bay.

Standing in their way is four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers.

“We’re about to play Aaron Rodgers, who has been in the league for years and arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play,” safety Jevon Holland said. “So what more do you have to focus on? This is a huge challenge, especially for me. … Playoffs are playoffs. I’ve never been to the playoffs so I wouldn’t know.”

The Packers (6-8) likely need to win their last three games to make the postseason. Even if they win out, they’re not guaranteed to make it.

“This is a really good football team that we’re going against,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “Obviously they’re very hungry. They’ve got a lot at stake. We’ve got a lot at stake, and it should be a playoff-type game.”

McDaniel and LaFleur know each other well, having worked together as assistants with Houston, Washington and Atlanta.

LaFleur said he sees some advantage in playing against a familiar coach.

“I think it leads to some creativity, quite honestly,” he said, “because you might see the same concept that you have that gets ran and it’s like, OK, what wrinkle can I throw off of this, so I think there’s pluses and minuses to everything.”


One of the more surprising stories of the Dolphins’ season is how little Mike Gesicki, one of the most athletic tight ends in the NFL, has been involved in the offense.

After having career highs of 73 receptions for 780 yards in 2021, Gesicki has caught 25 passes for 274 yards this year. He has only been targeted five times in the past four games and has just one catch for 5 yards during that span.

“I’ve made plays in this league for a long time and I’ve proven the player I am,” Gesicki said. “There’s probably defensive coordinators that are going in and watching our film and have to put in time – or at least used to have to put in time – to `How are we going to affect the game plan with 88 out there?’ In my opinion, yeah, I could help, but I’m just going to go about it in the most professional way I can.”

McDaniel said it’s a “failure to some degree” that he hasn’t gotten Gesicki more involved.


McDaniel said Miami’s defense is not playing to its capabilities.

“I think any person in the locker room and every coach on the coaching staff would say no,” he said. “Just because they really believe in each other.”

The Dolphins rank 27th in opponent third-down conversion percentage, and they rank near the bottom of the league in passing defense (27th), scoring defense (26th) and red-zone defense (25th).


Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill has never played on Christmas Day and has a few holiday-themed celebrations planned for Sunday.

“It’s gonna be a fun show,” Hill said. “I’m gonna give people something to watch. It’s gonna be very entertaining.”

Hill has 109 catches for 1,529 and seven TDs this season.


Green Bay’s Keisean Nixon wasn’t even the Packers’ main kick returner at the start of the season, but he now has eight kickoff returns of 30-plus yards and three of 50-plus yards to lead the NFL in both categories. Nixon has returned at least one kickoff 30-plus yards in each of his last four games, the longest such streak by any Packer since Sam Shields did it in 2010.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur acknowledged after Green Bay’s Monday night victory over the Los Angeles Rams that he should have made Nixon the main kick returner earlier in the season.

“In all my 18 years, I’ve never once, until tonight, seen an opposing team’s kicker kick away from one of our returners on purpose,” Rodgers said after the Rams game. “That’s fun. That’s pretty incredible.”


The Packers played Monday night with temperatures of 15 degrees – and the wind chill measured at 7 – just before the opening kickoff.

They’re preparing for a much different situation Sunday, though it won’t be quite as warm as usual in Miami. The forecast calls for highs in the mid-50s.

  • Despite winning four of their last five meetings, the Packers are 5-10 all-time against the Dolphins. It is Green Bay’s worst record against any active franchise.
  • The Packers shut out the Rams in the fourth quarter of their 24-12 win. Since Week 8, the Packers have allowed 20 points in the fourth quarter (including four shutouts) with only the 49ers (14) allowing fewer fourth quarter points over that span.
  • Aaron Rodgers has gone 18 consecutive starts without passing for 300 yards, six games longer than the next longest streak of his career. It is the third-longest active streak among quarterbacks with at least one start in 2022 (Justin Fields, 23, and Taylor Heinicke, 22).
  • The Dolphins are allowing 15.3 points per game at home this season, 16.2 points per game less than on the road (31.5). That is the largest difference in the NFL and the third largest by any team in the last 40 seasons (2018 Chiefs, 16.6, and 2009 Seahawks, 16.2).
  • Including last week’s loss in Buffalo, Tua Tagovailoa is now 0-4 in starts when the weather is below 50 degrees with a passer rating of 71.4. In starts with a temperature of 50 degrees or higher, Tagovailoa boasts a 17-7 (.708) record with a passer rating of 98.1
  • Packers receiver Christian Watson is tied for the league lead in total touchdowns among first-year players with nine (Kenneth Walker III, Seattle). In the Super Bowl era, the most scrimmage touchdowns by a first-year Packer is 11, by Eddie Lacy in 2013.


INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner were drafted 28 picks apart by the Seahawks in 2012.

They spent the ensuing decade becoming friends and two of their generation’s best players at their respective positions during Seattle’s decade of success.

After 10 seasons of going against each other solely in practice, Wilson and Wagner will face off in competition for the first time this weekend when Wilson’s Denver Broncos (4-10) visit the Los Angeles Rams (4-10) for Christmas.

With both of their new teams headed to early offseasons after beginning the season with much loftier ambitions, the circumstances are not exactly what either player expected in their first season after parting in Seattle.

But Wagner is still looking forward to this opportunity to settle a longstanding practice debate between these friends.

“Everything was pretty much live, and the checks and going back and forth, all of that was full speed – but the hitting wasn’t,” Wagner said with a grin. “You could never touch him. He said I would never catch him. So we’ll see.”

Wilson is back in action for the Broncos after missing last week’s game following a trip through the concussion protocol. He is on pace for his least impressive NFL season during this rocky landing in Denver, with career lows in completion percentage, yards per completion. passer rating and touchdown passes.

Meanwhile, Wagner didn’t get a Pro Bowl nod this week despite his outstanding season for the Rams, whose defense has persevered and played well despite support from the worst offense in the NFL by total yards. Wagner has been the standout of the group, leading the Rams with 118 tackles and playing superbly at the heart of the unit.

Wagner doesn’t see Wilson’s declining numbers as a reason for confidence, knowing Wilson is one of the NFL’s most electrifying playmakers when at his best. The Rams linebacker will count on his years of experience with Wilson’s overall game to help him.

“When you see somebody for 10 years, you kind of know what they like and what they don’t like,” Wagner said. “But he’s evolved as a player, and especially as he moves there, there’s little things that he does differently. But at the end of the day, once you get going and start hitting and all that other stuff, it slows down, and the concepts that he likes and the things he likes to do will come to the surface, and (I’ll) hopefully be able to help take advantage of those things.”


Baker Mayfield is slated to make his second home start for the Rams after leading them to a stunning 17-16 victory over the Raiders earlier this month in his Los Angeles debut. Mayfield’s numbers with his new team are modest, but his playmaking ability should give the Rams a chance against Denver’s solid defense.

Mayfield studied the Broncos’ defense just last month before his Carolina Panthers’ 23-10 victory over Denver with Sam Darnold behind center.

“You don’t want to just say, `I’ve already prepped for them, I know what they’re about,'” Mayfield said. “You still want to go back and run through all the new clips and see the different nuances.”


Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and special teams coach Dwayne Stukes were with the Rams when they won the Super Bowl last season. But Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett won’t be asking them for too many insights into the creative ways of Rams coach Sean McVay.

“That’s always very tricky, because the Rams know that we know,” Hackett explained. “It goes back and forth. I think that’s the chess game. In my past, I’ve gone through that and found all the answers out, and then it didn’t help us at all. You want to utilize them, but not over-utilize them.”

Evero was the secondary coach/passing game coordinator for the Rams, while Stukes served as an assistant under special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis.

“I do have a lot of love for a lot of people in that building,” Stukes said. “But at the same time, I want to go out there and dominate and I want to win.”


Wilson will attempt to get back into the groove he found in Denver’s offense two weeks ago against Kansas City. He passed for 247 yards and rushed for 57 more before being ruled out with a concussion early in the fourth quarter. The Rams’ defense has been their strength, ranking fourth in the NFL against the run.


The Broncos went inside their fieldhouse for practice Thursday after a blast of cold air sent temperatures plummeting to below zero (with wind chills around minus-30). It’s quite a contrast to what awaits in Los Angeles, where the temperature will be around 80 degrees Sunday.


The holiday game is airing on both CBS and on Nickelodeon, which will deliver a kid-tailored broadcast including unusual graphics and plenty of the network’s signature green slime, both virtual and actual.

  • The Rams have won four straight games against Denver, most recently a 23-20 victory in the 2018 season. The Broncos’ last win against the Rams in Los Angeles came in Week 6 of the 1982 season.
  • The Broncos have not allowed a passing touchdown in a league-leading seven games this season. The last NFL team to finish a season allowing zero touchdowns in at least half of their games was the 2009 Jets (nine of 16 games).
  • Russell Wilson is set to start for the Broncos this week after missing last week with a concussion. In 737 offensive plays with Wilson on the field this season, the Broncos average 5.1 yards per play compared to 4.4 yards in 152 plays without him.
  • The Rams return to Los Angeles after scoring just one touchdown in a loss to Green Bay. This season, 70.8 percent (17/24) of the Rams’ touchdowns have come at home, which trails only the Buccaneers (72.0%, 18/25).
  • Last season, Jalen Ramsey ranked eighth out of 110 qualifying players (min. 3 targets per game) in the NFL in passer rating allowed at 55.5. This season, Ramsey is allowing a 118.6 passer rating, the sixth-highest mark among 108 qualifying players.
  • The Broncos currently lead the NFL with 19 players on injured reserve, while the Rams are tied for third-most with 15. Last season, the Rams had the fifth-fewest games missed while on injured reserve.


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady and Arizona’s Trace McSorley are two quarterbacks making their Christmas Day debut on Sunday.

That’s about where the similarities end.

The Bucs (6-8) have had a tough season but are somehow still clinging to a one-game lead in the mediocre NFC South. The 45-year-old Brady will be making his 331st career start, giving Tampa Bay a wealth of experience as it tries to snap a two-game skid.

As for McSorley, he isn’t just making his Christmas Day debut, but his NFL starting debut.

The Cardinals (4-10) are limping down the stretch, turning to the team’s third-string quarterback. The 27-year-old McSorley has been pushed into a starting role after injuries to Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy.

Despite the long odds, the former Penn State standout says he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“(Brady is) the G.O.A.T. and there’s no two ways to put that, but I’ve just got to focus on what I can control,” McSorley said. “I’m going against their defense, not against him, so that’s kind of the way I try and look at it. But it is cool to kind of look back and realize that I’m starting against him the first time.”

Tampa Bay has dropped three of its past four games, including a 34-23 loss to Cincinnati last weekend. Luckily for the Bucs, the Panthers, Saints and Falcons have all had their problems, and sit one game back of Tampa Bay at 5-9.

“Any division you win, regardless of whether you’re 17-0 or whether you’re 4-13, you win the division and you have a division banner,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles said. “Then you try out for your next goal to get to the Super Bowl. Our first goal is to win the division, so we’re trying to do that. If we can win the division, then we’ll try and focus on getting playoff games and winning the Super Bowl.”

McSorley was 7-of-15 passing for 95 yards and two interceptions after McCoy left last weekend’s 24-15 loss to the Broncos with a concussion.

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said he expects a better performance now that McSorley will get all of the practice reps with first-team offense.

“I hate to use the term gamer, but he’s got a lot of moxie,” Kingsbury said. “He plays with a lot of confidence. Teammates respond to that well. He’s mobile and can move around. He had a couple of throws he’d like to have back, but he had a couple scoring drives and like I said after the game, I just want to see how he does with some reps.”


McSorley might be inexperienced, but he does have some good players around him.

Three-time All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins, running back James Conner and receiver Marquise Brown should all be on the field on Sunday, giving the Cardinals their three top playmakers for one of the few times this season.

Hopkins could still hit 1,000 yards receiving this season despite missing the first six games after being suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Conner has run for 268 yards over his past three games.

The biggest problem for the Cardinals is along the offensive line. At least three starters will be out on Sunday and it will be four depending on the status of right tackle Kelvin Beachum, who is battling knee and ankle injuries.


Brady has been among the NFL’s best at protecting the football over the course of a record-breaking 23-year career that’s included seven Super Bowl championships. The league’s all-time leading passer turned the ball over just four times in Tampa Bay’s first 11 games this season, including only two interceptions.

Over the past three games, though, he has seven giveaways, including two picks and a pair of fumbles in last weekend’s 34-23 loss to the Bengals.

“Turnovers hurt any team. It’s hurting us big time, whether it’s the quarterback, whether it’s a fumble by the running backs, whether it’s special teams or whether it’s defense not getting them,” Bowles said.


It’s a strange dichotomy for the Cardinals’ defense: Even though several individual players are having good seasons, the group is ranked dead last in the NFL in scoring defense.

Veteran defensive lineman J.J. Watt has had his best season in years with 9 1/2 sacks. Safety Budda Baker was voted to the Pro Bowl and leads the team with 102 tackles. Second-year linebacker Zaven Collins has taken a big jump from his rookie year and is second on the team with 87 tackles.

But as a whole, the Cardinals are giving up 26.6 points per game, which is 32nd out of 32 teams.


While Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans is closing in on becoming the first player in NFL history to begin a career with at least 1,000 yards receiving in nine consecutive seasons, Chris Godwin has a team-leading 81 catches for 785 yards and three touchdowns. What’s even more impressive about what he’s done is he’s less than a year removed from surgery to repair both the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his right knee. He has five-plus receptions in 11 straight games, the longest active streak in the league.

“It’s just self-determination. … He tried to get back as fast as he could. He didn’t take days off. He worked overtime, triple-time probably,” Bowles said.

  • Tampa Bay won the last matchup in November 2019 between these teams, 30-27, while both starting quarterbacks combined for 682 passing yards (Jameis Winston, 358; Kyler Murray, 324) the most combined passing yards by the teams’ starters in matchup history.
  • The Buccaneers have lost their last two games by a combined margin of 39 points. The last time Tampa Bay had a worse point differential over two games in a single season was in 2018, a -43 point differential from Week 4 to Week 6 (Week 5 was a bye week).
  • Lavonte David added a sack on Sunday against the Bengals to bring his career total to 29. He passed David Logan to claim the eighth spot on the Buccaneers all-time sack leaderboard, with Brad Culpepper and Jason Pierre-Paul (33 each) just four sacks ahead of him.
  • Arizona has won just once in its last seven games, scoring 136 points in that time. That is the fewest points scored by the Cardinals in a single-season seven-game span since scoring just 91 points from Week 10 to Week 16 in 2018.
  • DeAndre Hopkins caught seven passes against the Broncos on Sunday, the 57th game of his career with at least seven receptions. Since the start of Hopkins’ career in 2013, only Antonio Brown has more such games with 58.
  • On average, Arizona and Tampa Bay run 9.69 plays per scoring drive, which is tied for the most in the NFL this season. Both teams have also allowed just 21 10-play drives to their opponents this season, tied for the third fewest in the league.


HONOLULU (AP) Zeke Rankin kicked four field goals, including a 37-yarder for the go-ahead score with 2:05 left, and Middle Tennessee State beat San Diego State 25-23 in the Hawaii Bowl on Saturday night.

The Blue Raiders (8-5) overcame a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to turn back the Aztecs (7-6) in a game that featured six lead changes.

Rankin converted four of his five field goal attempts to tie the Hawaii Bowl record for field goals. He made kicks from 44, 49, 26 and 37 yards and missed from 42.

“What a ball game,” Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Stockstill said. “I’m just really proud of our team. We struggled offensively up front protecting us at the line of scrimmage, but we found a way on that last drive to make things happen to get us down here and Zeke made a big-time field goal. It was just a very tough, hard-fought, competitive football game.”

San Diego State took a 23-22 lead with 5:43 to play on a 52-yard field goal by Jack Browning, but Middle Tennessee State drove 55 yards in 12 plays, capped by Rankin’s 37-yard field goal to put his team ahead for good.

“We stayed positive, we stayed the course and there’s going to be adversity in every game. We faced some adversity early, but we overcame it,” Stockstill said.

Middle Tennessee State finished with 170 yards of total offense to 364 total yards for San Diego State.

Chase Cunningham was 26-of-43 passing with one interception for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Jaylin Lane finished with 10 receptions for 111 yards and a 16-yard TD grab that put the Blue Raiders back ahead 22-17 with 13:25 left to play.

Lane’s touchdown catch came two plays after Jordan Ferguson came down with an interception of a San Diego State pass that was tipped by linebacker Parker Hughes.

The Blue Raiders won despite allowing seven sacks and being held to minus-61 yards rushing. They were just 3 of 17 on third downs.

San Diego State was 4 of 16 on third downs.

“We got to play better football, especially offensively,” Aztecs coach Brady Hoke said. “I think it was a great game, it was a great bowl game to be in, especially with a really good Middle Tennessee State team.”

San Diego State led 14-13 at halftime.

It was the first meeting between the schools.


Middle Tennessee State: After being picked by league media to finish eighth (out of 11 teams) in the C-USA preseason poll, the Blue Raiders finished the season out in a strong way by winning their final four games, capped off by their sixth bowl in eight seasons and 10th overall in 17 seasons under coach Rick Stockstill.

San Diego State: The Aztecs were projected by Mountain West media to finish second in the West Division behind Fresno State. Their season saw personnel changes at offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and quarterback, which helped to spur five wins in seven games following a 2-3 start to the year.


Middle Tennessee State defensive end Jordan Ferguson entered the game one sack shy of setting the all-time school record. The redshirt senior didn’t get the record-setting sack Saturday, but still did enough to be selected as MVP of the bowl game. Ferguson tallied five tackles, including three solo stops, one tackle for loss, an interception, one pass break-up and a quarterback hurry. Ferguson also was on the receiving end of an 8-yard TD pass from Chase Cunningham in the second quarter.

“I say this about all of our players, they’re more concerned about the alphabet than they are in numbers and (Ferguson), all he wanted was a `W,’ he didn’t care about a number,” Stockstill said. “He wanted a W and he got a W. . He’s had a wonderful career, he’s a great man and he’s going to be a great NFL player.”

In the aftermath of his TD reception, Ferguson drew a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after he spiked the football in the end zone. Stockstill gave him a pass for the snafu.

“We won, I’m happy for him. . He’s an emotional guy and he apologized; He knew he was wrong, but we overcame it,” Stockstill said.


Blue Raiders’ cornerback Decorian Patterson recorded his seventh interception of the year at the 11:33 mark of the second quarter, which matches Buffalo’s Marcus Fuqua for the most in FBS this season.


NEW YORK (AP) The New York Mets and Carlos Correa’s agent are having discussions over the infielder’s physical days after similar concerns from the San Francisco Giants led to a collapse of their agreement with All-Star.

The Mets have not yet finalized a $315 million, 12-year contract agreed to earlier in the week. Correa’s 2014 ankle injury and surgery was a subject of discussions, a person familiar with the negotiations said, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no details were announced. The discussion was first reported by The Athletic.

Correa and the Mets agreed to the deal Wednesday after the Giants wouldn’t go ahead with finalizing a $350 million, 13-year agreement over concerns about the injury, people familiar with those negotiations said.

The Giants had scheduled a Tuesday news conference to announce the deal, then decided that morning to call it off. Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, then negotiated the deal with the Mets.

New York owner Steve Cohen confirmed the agreement pending a successful physical in comments to the New York Post.

Speaking Thursday after Carlos Rodon’s news conference at Yankees Stadium, Boras said Correa was having his physical for the Mets that day.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Reigning NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry will miss at least two more weeks for Golden State as he recovers from a partial dislocation of the left shoulder he suffered Dec. 14 in a game at Indiana.

The 34-year-old Curry, who is averaging 30.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists, has missed the past four games for the defending champions (15-18). The Warriors said Saturday he was re-evaluated and is making good progress, with another exam scheduled in two weeks.

The Warriors host the Memphis Grizzlies on Christmas Day in a rematch of this year’s Western Conference semifinals won by Golden State in five games.


SAO PAULO (AP) Family members of Brazilian soccer great Pele are gathering at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo where the 82-year-old global icon has been since the end of November.

Doctors said earlier this week that Pele’s cancer had advanced, adding the three-time World Cup winner is under “elevated care” related to “kidney and cardiac dysfunctions.” No other hospital statements have been published since.

Edson Cholbi Nascimento, one of Pele’s sons and known as Edinho, arrived Saturday, one day after he gave a news conference to deny he would visit his father in hospital. Edinho, who works for a soccer club in southern Brazil, had said then that only doctors could help his father.

“He (Edson) is here,” Kely Nascimento, one of Pele’s daughters, said in a posting on Instagram with a picture showing her sitting next to Edinho and two of his children at the hospital. “I am not leaving, no one will take me out of here.”

Hours later, Edinho, a former Santos goalkeeper, posted a picture showing his hand holding his father’s.

“Dad… my strength is yours,” Pele’s son said.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who is globally known as Pele, had a colon tumor removed in September 2021. Neither his family nor the hospital have said whether it had spread to other organs.

Kely Nascimento and her sister Flavia Arantes do Nascimento used their social media channels Friday night to post an undated picture of Pele apparently holding Kely with one hand as he lay on his hospital bed and Flavia slept on a couch.

“We continue to be here, in this fight and with faith. Another night together,” Kely Nascimento wrote.

The hospital has not mentioned any signs of Pele’s recent respiratory infection, which was aggravated by COVID-19.

Newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported last weekend that Pele’s chemotherapy was not working and that doctors had decided to put him on palliative care. Pele’s family denied that report.

Pele led Brazil to victory in the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups and remains one of the team’s all-time leading scorers with 77 goals. Neymar tied Pele’s record during the latest World Cup.



INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts haven’t changed the game plan.

They’re still trying to run first, still relying on a stout defense and still trying to win games despite their ever-changing circumstances.

Indy has played most of this season without three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard, will be missing 2021 NFL rushing champ Jonathan Taylor for the final three games because of an ankle injury and heads into Monday night’s matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers with its third starting quarterback, Nick Foles.

Interim coach Jeff Saturday made the move for one simple reason.

“It’s no secret, we haven’t converted in the red zone and ultimately, you’ve got to make plays in the NFL and we’re not making nearly enough explosive plays and not making plays in the red zone,” he said when announcing Matt Ryan was getting benched again. “I feel like Nick will give us a better chance to go win these last three games.”

It’s an odd move.

Indy (4-9-1) was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with Jacksonville’s win over the New York Jets on Thursday, before taking the field for its third and final prime-time game of the season. Plus, Saturday went with the 33-year-old Foles over 24-year-old Sam Ehlinger, who went 0-2 as the starter earlier this year.

The Chargers (8-6), meanwhile, have climbed to sixth in the AFC standings and are closing in on their first postseason appearance since 2018 and second since 2014. By Monday night, they’ll know if they can clinch a spot with a win or if they must wait another week.

And the Chargers might be playing their best defense of the season as they prepare to face a quarterback who has not thrown a pass all season or made a start since Dec. 26, 2021. LA’s last three opponents have scored a total of 51 points and no foe has topped 24 since Week 5.

“I feel like you have to be able to match up with a lot of different styles in the league,” coach Brandon Staley said. “Miami and Tennessee could not be more different, but your defense has to be able to change and still perform at a high level. I think I’ve been able to see more of that.”

Now they’re taking on a team in flux.

Saturday hasn’t decided how he’ll split carries between Deon Jackson, Zack Moss and Jordan Wilkins or if there will be any significant changes with Foles running the show.

What he really wants is the Super Bowl 52 MVP creating a magical final run for the Colts.

“He’s come in at different times in his career and has been fantastic,” Saturday said, noting Foles’ title-winning run with Philadelphia following the 2017 season. “I think he’s very comfortable in this position.”


The Chargers’ offense is getting closer to resembling what many expected when the season began. With the return of receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, Justin Herbert has topped the 300-yard mark in three straight games and has excelled in making plays on the run.

Still, one problem remains – second-half droughts. Los Angeles has no third-quarter touchdowns in its last nine games and has been outscored 175-109 in the second half and overtime this year.

“We have to get the explosions, stay away from negative plays and score in the red zone,” Staley said. “That is the formula. Our guys have to really attack with that mindset.”


Indy has lost four straight since Saturday won his coaching debut and the reason is no mystery – its inability to finish.

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh rallied from fourth-quarter deficits to win, Dallas scored 33 points in the fourth quarter to turn a two-point lead into a rout, and last week, the Colts blew a 33-0 halftime lead as Minnesota won 39-36 in overtime – the largest comeback in NFL history.

The key to rebounding this week just might be finding Taylor’s replacement.

“We did some good things (at Minnesota),” Moss said. “There’s obviously some things we could have cleaned up but you know, I think it was a good step for us as a team on the offensive side.”


Taylor and Chargers running back Austin Ekeler shared the league lead for total TDs (20) in 2021, and Ekeler is back on top of the AFC this season with 14. Ekeler also is closing in on a historical milestone. He needs five receptions to record the sixth 100-catch season by a running back in league history.

The Colts know all about Ekeler. When these teams last met in the 2019 season opener, he had 154 scrimmage yards as the Chargers won 30-24 in overtime.

  • The Chargers hosted and beat the Colts that last time these teams played (Week 1, 2019). The Chargers are 17-10 (.630) all-time against the Colts, including 11-4 (.733) on the road.
  • Los Angeles had 23 first downs against Tennessee on Sunday, the Chargers’ fifth game in a row with at least 20 first downs. The last time the Chargers had a longer streak of games with at least 20 first downs was in 2017 (seven games).
  • Justin Herbert completed 14-of-18 passes (77.8 percent) in the first half against Tennessee. He leads the NFL in first-half completion percentage at 71.1 percent (minimum 10 games).
  • The Colts had the largest blown-lead loss in NFL history after leading by 33 against the Vikings. From 1925 up until last week’s loss, teams were 1529-0 when holding a 29-point lead at any point in a game.
  • Matt Ryan has been the starting quarterback for the largest blown lead loss in the regular season after leading the Vikings by 33 on Saturday, as well as the largest blown lead loss in a Super Bowl after leading the Patriots by 25 in Super Bowl LI.
  • Austin Ekeler rushed for a touchdown against the Titans and is tied for the most overall touchdowns by any player in the NFL this season (14). Ekeler is the only player to have the outright team lead in rushing (nine) and receiving touchdowns (five) this year.


The Pacers picked up two big road wins just before Christmas. They will hope to continue that success after the holiday, as Indiana (17-16) hits the road once again to take on Western Conference contender New Orleans (20-12).

The Blue & Gold are riding high thanks to a pair of stellar performances from star guard Tyrese Haliburton. First, the 22-year-old dropped 33 points and made six 3-pointers in a 117-112 win on Wednesday night in Boston. He followed that up with the best game of his career on Friday in Miami, scoring a career-high 43 points and knocking down a franchise record 10 threes — including the game-winner in the final seconds — to lead Indiana to a 111-108 victory.

With All-Star voting now underway, Haliburton is building an excellent case to earn an invitation to Utah in February. The third-year guard leads Indiana in scoring at 20.7 points per game, leads the NBA in assists at 10.5 per contest, and is knocking down 40.5 percent of his 3-point attempts.

The Pelicans will pose another formidable foe for Haliburton and the Pacers. New Orleans is off to its best start in years. After a seven-game win streak, the Pelicans were 18-8 on the season and alone in first place in the West. They dropped their next four contests, but bounced back with two wins before Christmas.

New Orleans enters the holiday just a half-game behind Memphis and Denver (both of whom play on Christmas Day) for first place in the West.

The Pelicans are led by former number one pick Zion Williamson. After missing all of last season due to injury, the 6-6, 284-pound forward has been dominant this year, averaging 25.2 points on 60.3 percent shooting, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. But Williamson missed New Orleans’ last two games while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols and his status for Monday’s game against Indiana remains uncertain.

Pelicans All-Star forward Brandon Ingram is nearly a return after missing a month with a toe injury. Ingram has averaged 20.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.7 assists while shooting 46.7 percent from 3-point range over 15 games this season.

Even if neither Williamson or Ingram can go against the Pacers, the Pelicans have other capable scorers in veterans CJ McCollum and Jonas Valanciunas. 31-year-old guard McCollum is averaging 19.4 points and 6.1 assists on the year, while 30-year-old center Valanciunas is a nightly double-double threat at 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds.

Projected Starters

Pacers: G – Tyrese Haliburton, G – Buddy Hield, F – Bennedict Mathurin, F – Andrew Nembhard, C – Myles Turner

Pelicans: G – CJ McCollum, G – Herbert Jones, F – Trey Murphy III, F – Naji Marshall, C – Jonas Valanciunas

Injury Report

Pacers: Aaron Nesmith – questionable (right ankle sprain), Kendall Brown – out (right tibia stress reaction), Daniel Theis – out (right knee surgery)

Pelicans: TBA

Last Meeting

Nov. 7, 2022: Myles Turner recorded his 1,000th career block in style in one of the best all-around performances of his career. The eighth-year center tallied 37 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks to lead a young Indiana team to a 129-122 victory over New Orleans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

It was Turner’s most points ever in a regulation game. He also blocked Zion Williamson twice, the second swat making him just the fourth player ever to block 1,000 shots with the Pacers.

He went 11-for-18 from the field, 4-for-7 from 3-point range, and 11-for-11 from the free throw line in the win.

“It’s special, man,” Turner told Bally Sports Indiana’s Jeremiah Johnson after his memorable night. “This is what I do. I think I’m the best shot-blocker in the world and I’m going to stay with that confidence.”

Tyrese Haliburton finished with 20 points, four rebounds, and 13 assists in the win, matching his career high with six 3-pointers. Buddy Hield made five threes himself on his way to 20 points, five boards, three assists, two blocks, and two steals.

Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 29 points, going 12-for-23 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Williamson finished with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting, seven boards, and six assists.


With a win on Monday, the Pacers would sweep the season series with the Pelicans for the first time since 2018-19.

Pacers second-year forward Terry Taylor was named to the NBA G League All-Showcase team for his performance on assignment with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants at the annual event in Las Vegas. Taylor averaged 37 points and 10.5 rebounds over two games, going 31-for-41 from the field. He scored 46 points on 20-of-24 shooting and hit a game-winning 3-pointer in a win Thursday’s over the Oklahoma City Blue.

Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin and Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels, the sixth and eighth overall picks in the 2022 NBA Draft, both attended the NBA Global Academy.

Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)

TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)

Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (studio reporter/host)


The Pacers will be back at Gainbridge Fieldhouse after Christmas to host Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 7:30 PM ET.




























American Football Conference
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Buffalo Bills1230.8000.04202636 – 1 – 06 – 2 – 08 – 2 – 03 – 2 – 06 W
xy-Kansas City Chiefs1230.8000.04383326 – 1 – 06 – 2 – 07 – 3 – 04 – 0 – 03 W
x-Cincinnati Bengals1140.7330.03913065 – 1 – 06 – 3 – 07 – 3 – 02 – 3 – 07 W
Jacksonville Jaguars780.4670.03533314 – 3 – 03 – 5 – 06 – 4 – 02 – 2 – 03 W
x-Baltimore Ravens1050.6670.03212725 – 2 – 05 – 3 – 06 – 4 – 03 – 1 – 01 W
Los Angeles Chargers860.5710.03123404 – 3 – 04 – 3 – 06 – 4 – 02 – 3 – 02 W
Miami Dolphins860.5710.03453445 – 1 – 03 – 5 – 06 – 4 – 02 – 2 – 03 L
New England Patriots780.4671.53182913 – 4 – 04 – 4 – 05 – 5 – 02 – 2 – 02 L
New York Jets780.4671.52842823 – 5 – 04 – 3 – 05 – 6 – 02 – 3 – 04 L
Tennessee Titans780.4671.52693123 – 4 – 04 – 4 – 05 – 6 – 03 – 2 – 05 L
Pittsburgh Steelers780.4671.52643193 – 4 – 04 – 4 – 03 – 7 – 01 – 3 – 02 W
Las Vegas Raiders690.4002.53483504 – 2 – 02 – 7 – 05 – 6 – 03 – 2 – 01 L
Cleveland Browns690.4002.53233434 – 4 – 02 – 5 – 04 – 7 – 03 – 2 – 01 L
Indianapolis Colts491.3213.52453372 – 4 – 02 – 5 – 14 – 5 – 11 – 3 – 14 L
Denver Broncos4100.2864.02182533 – 4 – 01 – 6 – 02 – 8 – 00 – 4 – 01 W
Houston Texans2121.1676.02543580 – 6 – 12 – 6 – 02 – 7 – 12 – 1 – 11 W
National Football Conference
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
x-Philadelphia Eagles1320.8670.04453086 – 1 – 07 – 1 – 08 – 2 – 03 – 2 – 01 L
xy-Minnesota Vikings1230.8000.03783738 – 1 – 04 – 2 – 07 – 3 – 03 – 1 – 02 W
xy-San Francisco 49ers1140.7330.03752307 – 1 – 04 – 3 – 09 – 2 – 05 – 0 – 08 W
Tampa Bay Buccaneers680.4290.02472884 – 4 – 02 – 4 – 06 – 3 – 03 – 1 – 02 L
x-Dallas Cowboys1140.7330.04343038 – 1 – 03 – 3 – 08 – 3 – 04 – 1 – 01 W
New York Giants861.5670.03113394 – 3 – 14 – 3 – 04 – 6 – 11 – 3 – 11 L
Washington Commanders771.5000.02853133 – 4 – 04 – 3 – 14 – 6 – 11 – 3 – 12 L
Seattle Seahawks780.4671.53653793 – 4 – 04 – 4 – 05 – 6 – 03 – 2 – 03 L
Detroit Lions780.4671.53924014 – 4 – 03 – 4 – 05 – 5 – 03 – 1 – 01 L
Green Bay Packers680.4292.02873144 – 3 – 02 – 5 – 05 – 5 – 02 – 2 – 02 W
Carolina Panthers690.4002.53133375 – 4 – 01 – 5 – 05 – 5 – 03 – 1 – 01 W
New Orleans Saints690.4002.53033254 – 4 – 02 – 5 – 04 – 6 – 02 – 3 – 02 W
Atlanta Falcons5100.3333.53153504 – 3 – 01 – 7 – 04 – 6 – 01 – 4 – 04 L
Arizona Cardinals4100.2864.02923721 – 7 – 03 – 3 – 03 – 6 – 01 – 4 – 04 L
Los Angeles Rams4100.2864.02303203 – 5 – 01 – 5 – 03 – 8 – 01 – 4 – 01 L
Chicago Bears3120.2005.53033932 – 6 – 01 – 6 – 01 – 9 – 00 – 4 – 08 L


Eastern Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Boston2310.69712-511-54-014-85-51 W
Milwaukee2210.6880.514-38-74-211-66-42 L
Cleveland2212.6471.516-36-95-215-67-31 L
Brooklyn2112.6362.012-59-75-216-69-18 W
Philadelphia1912.6133.014-55-73-313-87-37 W
New York1815.5455.08-910-61-312-88-22 L
Atlanta1716.5156.011-66-104-313-124-61 W
Indiana1716.5156.09-78-91-212-85-52 W
Miami1617.4857.09-86-95-18-115-52 L
10 Toronto1518.4558.010-65-122-711-133-72 W
11 Chicago1418.4388.57-77-112-112-95-53 W
12 Washington1321.38210.58-75-143-37-132-81 W
13 Orlando1321.38210.59-94-122-47-168-22 W
14 Charlotte924.27314.04-115-133-64-172-81 W
15 Detroit827.22916.04-124-150-53-172-85 L
Western Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Denver2011.64511-39-87-216-76-43 W
Memphis2011.64513-27-93-29-88-21 W
New Orleans2012.6250.513-47-86-114-86-42 W
Phoenix1914.5762.014-55-97-016-93-72 L
LA Clippers1915.5592.511-78-83-411-116-41 L
Sacramento1714.5483.09-68-84-46-65-51 L
Utah1916.5433.012-57-113-415-95-52 W
Dallas1716.5154.012-55-112-212-65-52 W
Portland1716.5154.07-610-104-513-115-53 L
10 Minnesota1617.4855.09-87-94-49-125-52 L
11 Golden State1518.4556.012-23-164-39-83-72 L
12 Oklahoma City1419.4247.09-85-113-68-124-61 L
13 LA Lakers1319.4067.58-85-110-77-123-73 L
14 San Antonio1022.31310.55-115-102-44-184-62 L
15 Houston923.28111.56-103-131-55-173-75 L


Eastern Conference
Boston Bruins33274256251307418-0-29-4-07-1-2
Carolina Hurricanes34226650201069010-3-112-3-59-0-1
Toronto Maple Leafs34217648211118213-2-38-5-37-2-1
New Jersey Devils342210246221158710-8-112-2-13-6-1
Pittsburgh Penguins33199543181149510-3-39-6-28-1-1
Tampa Bay Lightning322011141201159712-4-18-7-07-3-0
New York Rangers35191154318116968-6-411-5-18-2-0
Washington Capitals3619134421911110211-5-18-8-39-1-0
New York Islanders351914240191129810-6-09-8-24-4-2
10 Detroit Red Wings32141173513981058-6-36-5-43-5-2
11 Buffalo Sabres321614234151271097-8-29-6-07-2-1
12 Florida Panthers351516434141141208-5-37-11-13-7-0
13 Montreal Canadiens34151633311951187-9-08-7-33-5-2
14 Ottawa Senators331416331141001068-8-16-8-25-3-2
15 Philadelphia Flyers35111772911901197-9-14-8-63-5-2
16 Columbus Blue Jackets33102122210891358-11-12-10-12-8-0
Western Conference
Vegas Golden Knights3624111492112210010-9-014-2-16-4-0
Dallas Stars35209646201259910-4-310-5-36-3-1
Los Angeles Kings3719126441612112810-5-29-7-46-2-2
Winnipeg Jets342112143211118812-5-09-7-15-5-0
Seattle Kraken321810440181131049-6-29-4-24-5-1
Colorado Avalanche3219112401696849-5-210-6-06-3-1
Minnesota Wild331912240161069511-6-18-6-17-3-0
Calgary Flames3516127391511010910-6-26-6-54-2-4
Edmonton Oilers351815238181261229-9-19-6-14-4-2
10 St. Louis Blues341616234141051246-7-110-9-15-3-2
11 Nashville Predators3214135331282988-5-36-8-23-4-3
12 Vancouver Canucks331515333131141296-9-19-6-26-4-0
13 San Jose Sharks351118628101081294-10-57-8-13-5-2
14 Arizona Coyotes32111652710871175-3-26-13-34-5-1
15 Anaheim Ducks359224227831465-8-14-14-33-6-1
16 Chicago Blackhawks328204208751225-12-23-8-22-8-0


December 25, 1894 – San Francisco, California – The first intersectional college football game was played as the University of Chicago played Stanford University. The game was most likely established between the two coaches who were together at Yale University over a decade earlier. Stanford’s coach was the Father of Football Walter Camp who used to coach the University of Chicago’s Head Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg as shared by SwannGalleries website.  I also highly recommend that you get a copy of Jennifer Taylor Hall’s excellent book “Amos Alonzo Stagg: College Football’s Man in Motion” that has some great insight on this story in even greater detail. Stagg and the Maroons traveled well and put it to the Cardinal 24-4. Stay tuned for the December 29 rematch though in a few days right here on the Pigskin Dispatch Football History Headlines for December 29.

December 25, 1905 – Wichita, Kansas – An experimental game trying never before used rules as Fairmont entertained Washburn College. After the legendary October 9, 1905 conference of President Teddy Roosevelt meeting with a braintrust of college legends such as Walter Camp, Arthur T. Hildebrand, and William Reid among others to reform football after over 18 deaths occurred as a result of action on the field during the 1905 season. According to the story on the subject several rule changes, including 10 yards for a first down and legalizing the forward pass, had long been talked about but not acted upon but now with Roosevelt’s mandate these were among the innovations needed to keep the game going by making it safer for players. Allegedly this Christmas Day game in Wichita was the laboratory to see what these revisions could do towards safety. The details are a bit murky per the article but the first forward pass may have occurred in this contest. It has long been thought that Paul Veeder of Yale to Bob Forbes in 1906 or Louis quarterback Bradbury Robinson completed the first legal pass on September 5, 1906 when he threw 20 yards to Jack Schneider  as the first completions of a pass but that might not be the case. The Kansas article goes on to say that though the game Christmas Day game in Kansas was documented by a December 26, 1905, Wichita Daily Eagle write up it didn’t really account for who or what team threw the pass first and it may not have made the “official” record list because after all the game was an experimental exhibition. Even so the fact that it was played with the new rules is monumental to Gridiron history! Some 45 years after the game, Bliss Isely who was one of the Fairmount College players in that game wrote in his 1956 article for “This Week: The National Sunday Magazine,” Bliss Isely wrote that Roosevelt didn’t want to wait for the 1906 season and that he wanted them tried out as soon as possible. The article goes on to say Isley wrote “when no big-league teams accepted the challenge,” Fairmount team manager and left guard Roy Kirk booked a game with Washburn and wired Roosevelt, telling the President that the game would be played under experimental rules. As to who tossed the ball forward legally first Mr. Isley may have the answer to that too as he said in a description of the play was Davis running right, avoiding a tackle and throwing a two-hand underhand pass to Solter, who had broken right toward the sideline. “Solter grabbed it easily and crashed ahead for a first down,” Postscript : Jan. 12, 1906, in New York, sweeping rules changes were approved. Many were the same ones used in the Washburn-Fairmount game and the rest is history!

December 25, 1971 – The Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs played in a very memorable game on Christmas Day in the AFC Divisional contest. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame it ended up being the longest NFL game ever as it went to 2 overtime sessions before Miami Kicker Garo Yepremian booted a 37 yarder to advance the Dolphins in a 27-24 thriller! Kansas City’s Ed Podolak  performed an amazing 350 yards of all-purpose yardage in the losing effort.

December 25, 1989 – Chris Doleman registered 3 sacks of the Bengals quarterback and Kicker Rich Karlis nailed five first half field goals to propel the Minnesota Vikings to a 29-21 victory over Cincinnati to secure the NFC Central Division and shut the door on the Bengals playoff chances per the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

December 25, 1993 – The final weekend of the season saw Houston Oilers matched up against the San Francisco 49ers. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame these two offenses were the top scoring units in the League on the season but it was the defenses that stood up tall that day as the Oilers escaped with a 10-7 victory!

December 25, 2004 – KC return specialist Dante Hall set the table with a 49 yard kickoff return so that Kicker Lawrence Tynes could knock through the game winning FG with 22 seconds left to lift the Chiefs to a 31-30 win over the Raiders. Tynes had missed two earlier kicks in the game per the story on Pro Football Hall of Fame.

December 25, 2002 – Las Vegas, Nevada – History was made at the Las Vegas Bowl game between New Mexico and UCLA per the website story. Katie Hnida of the Lobos became the first woman to play in a Division I-A bowl game, kicking an extra point attempt that was blocked. Ms. Hnida the next season on August 30, 2003 became the first young lady to score at the Division I-A level.

December 25, 2006 – The New York Jets win 13-10 over the Miami Dolphins during a torrential rain storm. Fourth quarter touchdowns by both teams during a break in the weather provided most of the scoring and a 30 yard field goal by Kicker Mike Nugent with 10 ticks of the clock remaining sealed the win for the Jets as told by an article on the Pro Football Hall of Fame site.

December 25, 2010 – According to the website Arizona Cardinals defensive playmakers Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler each had a pick six to lead the Cards to a 27-26 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

December 25, 2011 – Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers tosses 5 touchdown passes to prevent the Chicago Bears to earn a Wildcard spot in the playoffs in a Packers 35-21 victory per a Pro Football HOF story.

December 25, 2016 – The AFC North game that would determine the winner of the Division the Baltimore Ravens looked pretty good as they held a lead late in the fourth quarter. But according to an archived Pro Football Hall of Fame site story the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown were not done yet as with seconds left, Brown caught a pass at the Ravens one. It looked like he would be short of the goal line as Safety Eric Weddle and Linebacker C.J. Mosely was in contact with the receiver almost immediately. Somehow number 84 for the Steelers ducked and stretched to get the ball to briefly cross the stripe for the score to lift Pittsburgh to a 31-27 victory over their rivals.

Hall of Fame Birthdays for December 25

December 25, 1941 – Muenster, Texas – Texas Tech’s wide receiver David Parks was born. The National Football Foundation states that Parks was the first Red Raiders to reach the acclaim of the Associated Press All-America team as he rewrote almost every Texas Tech receiving record in his collegiate career. Some of these items were a 98 pass play, 1090 career receiving yards and 80 career receptions. The College Football Hall of Fame welcomed David Parks into their membership in 2008.

December 25, 1943 – Houston, Texas – Howard Twilley the great wide receiver from the University of Tulsa celebrated his birth. tells how  Twilley led the nation in 1964 and 1965 in receiving yardage, touchdowns and the amount of catches. These numbers earned him All-America status for both seasons as well as being voted as the runner up in the Heisman voting in 1965.  The NFF voters selected Howard Twilley to enter into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

December 25, 1945 – Foley, Alabama – The Crimson Tide’s legendary quarterback Ken Stabler was born. Ken performed one of the most memorable plays in Alabama football history when he did his famous “Run in the Mud” play against Auburn in the 1967 Iron Bowl. The “Snake” as he was called was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the 1968 NFL Draft and played 15 seasons in the League per the Pro Football HOF bio on him. Besides the Raiders, Ken spent time on the New Orleans Saints and Houston Oilers rosters too. He is best known as the leader of the Silver and Black offenses of the 1970’s though including Super Bowl XI where the Raiders took apart the Minnesota Vikings 32-14 on timely passing by Stabler who went 12 of 19 on the day with 180 yards to keep the Purple People Eaters Defense on their heels. For his career Stabler had a 0.661 winning percentage as a starter throwing 194 TD passes for well over 27,000 career yards and he even led his team to five straight Conference Championship Games. The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrined Ken Stabler in 2016. 

December 25, 1946 – Stow, Ohio – Larry Csonka the tough running back from Syracuse was born. According to the NFF website, Csonka claimed he never lifted traditional gym weights to get in shape but garnered his physical fitness by working on the family farm. Zonk was in the top twenty of the nation’s leading rushers in three straight years from 1965 through 1967 and in ‘67 he earned a unanimous All-America status. In fact Csonka broke many Orange records by great rushers like Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little and Jim Nance. Larry pulverized defensive lines registering 14 collegiate 100 yard games in his career with a 4.9 yard average carry. The College Football Hall of Fame welcomed hard-nosed runner Larry Csonka into their membership in 1989. In eleven NFL seasons had over 8000 yards rushing and a 4.3 yard average per carry. Larry Csonka ran his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. After school Larry was the first pick in the 1968 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He played in 5 Pro Bowls and was the MVP of Super Bowl VIII. He played a total of 12 seasons of professional football with the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants in the NFL and the 1975 season in the WFL.


1888       In front of 2,000 spectators, the first indoor baseball game ever played takes place at the Philadelphia State Fairground Building. The Downtowners beat the Uptowners, 6-1, with the teams using a larger-than-usual ball, a crude bat, and their bare hands.

1927       Future Hall of Famer second baseman Jacob Nelson Fox is born in St. Thomas, Pennsylvania. ‘Nellie,’ a .288 career hitter playing for the A’s, White Sox, and Astros during his 19 seasons in the big leagues, will become the last active major league player to have Connie Mack as a manager.

1958       All-time career stolen base leader outfielder Rickey Henderson is born in Chicago. The ‘Man of Steal’ will end his 25-year Hall of Fame career with 1406 thefts.

1989       Billy Martin dies in an automobile accident as a passenger on an icy road near his home in Binghamton, New York. An unconfirmed rumor, denied by George Steinbrenner, had the 61-year-old ready to become the Yankees’ manager for a sixth time, replacing Bucky Dent if the team faltered at the start of the 1990 season.

2001       Signing a one-year, $4.7 million contract to play for the Yomiuri Giants, Hideki Matsui became the highest-paid player in Japanese baseball history. The outfielder’s salary surpasses the $4 million mark the Orix Blue Wave gave Ichiro Suzuki for the 2000 season.


9 – 14 – 1 – 7 – 11 – 5 – 10 – 22 – 41

December 25, 1862 – 40,000 watch Union army men play baseball at Hilton Head, South Carolina

December 25, 1888 – First indoor baseball game played at fairgrounds in Philadelphia; 2,000 watch the Uptowners beat the Downtowners, 6-1

December 25, 1956 – Detroit’s future Hockey Hall of Fame right wing Number 9, Gordie Howe racked up a Christmas hat-trick and 3 assists in Red Wings’ 8-1 win over NY Rangers; most points he scores in a single game in entire 26-year NHL career

December 25, 1973 – Ballon d’Or: Ajax forward Number 14, Johan Cruyff wins his second award for best European football player ahead of Juventus goalkeeper Number 1, Dino Zoff and Bayern Munich striker Number 9, Gerd Müller

December 25, 1979 – Ballon d’Or: Hamburg’s English forward Number 7, Kevin Keegan won his 2nd consecutive trophy as best football player in Europe; beats Bayern Munich forward Number 11, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Ajax sweeper Number 5, Ruud Krol

December 25, 1984 – Ballon d’Or: Juventus’ French midfielder Number 10, Michel Platini is named Europe’s best football player for the 2nd consecutive time; beats Bordeaux midfielder Number 14, Jean Tigana and Verona striker Number 10, Preben Elkjær

December 25, 1990 – Ballon d’Or: Inter’s German sweeper Number 10, Lothar Matthäus is named best football player in Europe ahead of Juventus striker Number 9, Salvatore Schillaci and Inter defender Number 3, Andreas Brehme

December 25, 1995 – Dallas Cowboys running back Number 22, Emmitt Smith scored an NFL record 25th touchdown of the season in 37-13 win against Arizona Cardinals at Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe AZ

December 25, 2020 – New Orleans running back Number 41, Alvin Kamara equaled legendar runner Number 11, Ernie Nevers 1929 NFL record of 6 touchdowns in a match in the Saints’ 52-33 win over the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome