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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test