American Football: Tampa Bay's worst reverse on day of surprises

WITH ONLY two weeks remaining in the regular season, the race to qualify for the play-offs remains wide open following another set of unexpected results over the weekend. Only four teams have so far qualified for post-season play, with a further 16 still strongly in contention for the remaining eight spots.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have confirmed their place had they won in Oakland. Instead, they were handed the worst defeat in the franchise's 24-year history, the Raiders proving utterly dominant in a 45-0 whitewash that made a mockery of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl aspirations.

Likewise the Detroit Lions had a chance for qualification, only to suffer a 28-10 humbling in Chicago. Marcus Robinson was the chief Lion tamer - the former NFL Europe wide receiver caught a career-high 11 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns as the Bears romped home.

The Seattle Seahawks seem bent on self-destruction. Their 36-30 loss in Denver was their fourth in a row, made all the more frustrating by the fact that they scored 10 points in the final two minutes to send the game to overtime.

Their quarterback Jon Kitna then fumbled the ball, which was returned 37 yards for the winning touchdown by Denver's Glenn Cadrez.

The Dallas Cowboys lost their unbeaten home record when they were undone 22-21 in front of their fans by the lowly New York Jets, for whom John Hall converted a game-winning 37-yard field goal with less than two minutes left.

The Washington Redskins were also losers, but their 24-21 reverse in Indianapolis hardly counted as a shock. The Colts claimed their first divisional title since 1987 with the victory, and remain strong Super Bowl contenders, having won 10 games in a row. The running back Edgerrin James scored a pair of touchdowns, taking his tally for the season to 14, a record for a rookie.

Miami and Buffalo both spluttered their way to important verdicts. The Bills held off a late Arizona rally to win 31-21 in Phoenix, while the slumping Dolphins were indebted to their kicker Olindo Mare, who scored all their points in a dour 12-9 effort over lacklustre San Diego. Mare has converted 37 field goals this season, equalling the all-time league record.

Celebrations in Tennessee, where the Titans clinched their play-off spot with a 30-17 triumph over Atlanta Falcons, a result made safe when the quarterback Steve McNair scored on a three-yard run in the fourth quarter. In their first year in Nashville the franchise formerly known as the Houston Oilers are enjoying their best season since 1993.

The St Louis Rams continue to impress, barely breaking sweat in the 31- 10 disposal of the New York Giants. The win ensured that the Rams will enjoy home advantage throughout the play-offs, further strengthening the belief that they are bound for the Super Bowl. St Louis are unbeaten at home in their last eight games, having won by an average score of 35-10. "This team [the Giants] was playing well and we beat them soundly," said the Rams quarterback, Kurt Warner. "The critics can doubt us all the way to the Super Bowl if they want."

Jacksonville Jaguars, the team with the best record in the league, duly disposed of the Cleveland Browns, the worst, but the biggest drama of a routine 24-14 win saw the Cleveland offensive tackle Orlando Brown do a Paolo Di Canio by sending the referee Jeff Triplette flying with a two-handed shove.

The formidable and feisty Brown, who once turned down a contract to join the World Wrestling Federation, took exception when a penalty flag thrown by Triplette inadvertently struck him in the eye. The player was eventually escorted from the field by stadium security and now faces a bodyslam in the form of a hefty league suspension and fine.

Results and standings, Digest, page 23

sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor