Titans rout Jaguars in AFC showdown

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The Independent Online

Finally, the Jacksonville Jaguars played a team with a winning record. With the way the Tennessee Titans handled them, questions about the Jags' superb record will become louder.

Finally, the Jacksonville Jaguars played a team with a winning record. With the way the Tennessee Titans handled them, questions about the Jags' superb record will become louder.

Not since October 3 had Jacksonville opposed a winning team. It won 11 in a row since losing to Tennessee in September, and was on the verge of securing home-field advantage for the AFC playoffs.

But Steve McNair threw five touchdown passes and Eddie George became the first runner to top 100 yards against Jacksonville this season with 102 in a 41-14 rout Sunday.

Thanks to Tennessee's victory, Indianapolis stayed in contention for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Both the Colts, who edged Cleveland 29-28, and Jaguars are 13-2, with Jacksonville home against Cincinnati and Indianapolis at Buffalo.

The Titans (12-3) can win the AFC Central by beating Pittsburgh if Cincinnati beats Jacksonville.

Tampa Bay's 29-10 victory over Green Bay secured a playoff berth for the Bucs (10-5), Detroit and Washington, which clinched the NFC East on Sunday with a 26-20 overtime victory at San Francisco.

That left four teams - Dallas, Green Bay, the New York Giants and Carolina - scrambling for the final NFC spot.

Minnesota's big-play offense lifted it into the NFC playoffs with a 34-17 win at the Giants. Buffalo closed in on an AFC spot with a 13-10 overtime triumph at New England.

Seattle tied Kansas City for the AFC West lead with a 23-14 victory.

Also, it was San Diego 23, Oakland 20; Baltimore 22, Cincinnati 0; St Louis 34, Chicago 12; and Atlanta 37, Arizona 14. The Ravens, Bears and Cardinals all saw their playoff chances disappear.

Pittsburgh beat Carolina 30-20, seriously hurting the Panthers' postseason possibilities.

On Friday, New Orleans beat Dallas 31-24. In Saturday's only game, Denver defeated Detroit 17-7.

Monday night, it's the New York Jets at Miami. Philadelphia was off.

Titans 41, Jacksonville 14

McNair hit five receivers for his TDs as Tennessee never was threatened in completing a perfect home record.

The Jaguars proved nothing and lost quarterback Mark Brunell to a sprained left knee.

Colts 29, Browns 28

Indianapolis completed the beat turnaround in NFL history, going from 3-13 to 13-2. It wasn't easy against the expansion Browns (2-14), who finished 0-8 at home.

Peyton Manning rallied Indianapolis from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter, setting up Mike Vanderjagt's 21-yard field goal with four seconds left.

Bills 13, Patriots 10, OT

Steve Christie's 23-yard field goal won it for Buffalo (10-5), which handed New England (7-8) its sixth loss in seven games. Doug Flutie completed his last 12 passes.

Vikings 34, Giants 17

The Vikings (9-6) got a touchdown pass from Randy Moss to Cris Carter, who had five catches for 131 yards despite a sore ankle. Robert Smith rushed for 146 yards, including a 70-yard scoring run as the Giants (7-8) missed several tackles. But New York still could make the playoffs with a win at Dallas next weekend

Ravens 22, Bengals 0

Despite its fourth straight victory, host Baltimore (8-7) won't be going to the playoffs.

The Bengals (4-11), seeking their first four-game winning streak since 1989, never had a chance. After scoring 44 points in each of their last two games, Cincinnati was blanked on the road for the first time since 1992.

Steelers 30, Panthers 20

In the snow at Pittsburgh, the Steelers (6-9) broke a six-game slide and put the Panthers (7-8) on the brink of elimination.

Travis Davis scored on a 102-yard fumble return and the Steelers rediscovered their running game. Jerome Bettis ran for 137 yards as Pittsburgh piled up 211 yards.

Patrick Jeffers had 88- and 43-yard touchdown catches for Carolina.

Rams 34, Bears 12

Marshall Faulk became only the second player in NFL history to amass 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in one season as the Rams (13-2) won their seventh straight. Faulk had 222 yards on 20 touches against Chicago (6-9) and needs 36 yards at Philadelphia to break Barry Sanders' total yardage mark of 2,358.

Falcons 37, Cardinals 14

At Atlanta, Arizona (6-9) saw its slim playoff chances stomped by the defending NFC champions. Bob Christian scored two touchdowns as Atlanta (4-11) controlled the ball for more than 35 minutes.

The Falcons piled up a season-high 163 yards rushing, including 102 by Byron Hanspard.

Buccaneers 29, Packers 10

Bouncing back from the worst loss in franchise history, the Bucs closed in on their first division title in 18 years and equaled a club record for regular-season victories. They can take the NFC Central title by winning at Chicago next week.

Tampa Bay's defense, embarrassed by yielding 262 yards on the ground in a 45-0 loss at Oakland, redeemed itself by forcing four turnovers and limiting the visitors to 12 yards.

Seahawks 23, Chiefs 14

The Seahawks (9-6) broke their four-game skid by the Chiefs (9-6). If Seattle wins its regular-season finale against the Jets next Sunday in New York, the Seahawks win the AFC West.

Chargers 23, Raiders 20

San Diego (7-8) rallied to score 10 points in the fourth quarter, the winning points coming on John Carney's 37-yard field goal with 8:09 remaining.

Oakland (7-8) had won four in a row vs. San Diego.

Redskins 26, 49ers 20, OT

Larry Centers caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Brad Johnson in overtime as Washington rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat San Francisco.

Johnson completed 32 of 47 passes for an NFL season-high 471 yards and two touchdowns for the Redskins (9-6), who clinched their first division crown since 1991, when they last went to the Super Bowl.

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