Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss, left, goes up high over Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis (27) to pull in a 11 yard pass during the first quarter Sunday, Nov. 28, 2004, in Minneapolis.
AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid
MINNEAPOLIS Randy Moss made a noticeable impact in his return for the Minnesota Vikings. Most importantly, the defense made it count.
Moss caught a go-ahead touchdown pass in the third quarter, and Kevin Williams returned Byron Leftwich's fumble 77 yards for the clinching score and the Vikings beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-16 on Sunday.
On third-and-goal at the 2, Moss jumped over the shoulder of Donovin Darius, snared the ball and dropped both feet down in the back of the end zone to put Minnesota up 20-13.
Trailing 20-16 just before the 2-minute warning, with third-and-6 at the Minnesota 19, Leftwich had Jacksonville in position to take the lead after a sprained left knee kept him out of the last two games.
But rookie Kenechi Udeze sacked Leftwich from behind, the ball popped out and Williams picked it up on his way to an exhausting touchdown for the Vikings (7-4).
His hamstring finally healed, Moss had four receptions his first in six weeks for 40 yards. Daunte Culpepper completed 19 of 27 passes for 235 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He scored on a 1-yard run in the first half and committed what could've been a costly fumble in the fourth quarter.
Their lead whittled to four, the Vikings were on their way to another clock-eating touchdown drive when Culpepper was sacked by Bobby McCray at the Jacksonville 22. The fumble was recovered by Marcus Stroud with 7:46 remaining, and the Jaguars marched all the way down to the other end before Leftwich fumbled away their chance.
Fred Taylor rushed 22 times for 147 yards, yet another back giving Minnesota major problems this month. But the defense made stops when it needed to, and Udeze and Williams the Vikings' last two first-round draft picks teamed up on the big play.
Eagles 27, Giants 6
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens celebrates after catching a pass during the third quarter against the New York Giants Sunday, Nov. 28, 2004 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Eagles beat the Giants, 27-6.
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Philadelphia won a fourth consecutive NFC East title as Brian Westbrook scored two touchdowns Sunday and the Eagles' defense made life miserable for Eli Manning in a 27-6 victory over New York.
The Eagles (10-1) scored 20 second-half points and limited the Giants (5-6) to 47 yards in the final half in reaching the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. The Eagles are the third team since the 16-game schedule began in 1978 to win a division title by the 11th game, joining the Bears in 1985 and the 49ers in 1997. Chicago won the Super Bowl after the 1985 season.
Bengals 58, Browns 48
CINCINNATI Kelly Holcomb threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns and lost as Cincinnati and Cleveland played the most remarkable game in their intrastate rivalry, the second-highest scoring game in NFL history.
The 106 combined points were the most in an NFL game since the Redskins beat the Giants 72-41 on Nov. 27, 1966, for the league record. The most since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 was 99 Seattle beat Kansas City 51-48 in overtime on Nov. 27, 1983.
Holcomb's only bad throw made it decisive. Deltha O'Neal returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown with 1:43 to play, giving the Bengals (5-6) one of the most bizarre wins in their history.
Patriots 24, Ravens 3
FOXBORO, Mass. The Patriots shut down Baltimore, scoring on a fumble recovery and holding the Ravens to 124 yards. Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals, stretching his streak to 21 straight successful kicks.
Corey Dillon rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots set an NFL record by scoring first in their 16th straight regular-season game, breaking a tie for the mark set by Miami in 1978.
Falcons 24, Saints 21
ATLANTA Michael Vick threw a 27-yard scoring pass to Alge Crumpler with 1:22 remaining.
Vick accounted for all three Atlanta touchdowns. He passed for two, going 16-of-29 for 212 yards. He also ran for a touchdown, leading the Falcons (9-2) with 69 yards on 10 carries. Crumpler had four catches for 103 yards.
Atlanta is virtually assured of the third division title in franchise history, leading the other three teams in the NFC South by five games with five to play.
Chargers 34, Chiefs 31
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Nate Kaeding booted a tiebreaking 43-yard field goal with 2:24 left. Kaeding's kick gave the Chargers (8-3) their first win in Kansas City in their last eight tries and followed Donnie Edwards' interception of Trent Green's pass on the Chiefs 32.
Kansas City (3-8) seems headed for its worst season since 1988.
Steelers 16, Redskins 7
PITTSBURGH Antwaan Randle El and Jerome Bettis gave the Steelers just enough offense to keep their longest winning streak in 28 years going. The Steelers' nine-game winning streak is their longest since they won their final nine in 1976. They are 10-1 for the first time since 1975, the second of their four Super Bowl championship seasons.
Randle El, making only his second NFL start at receiver, took care of the big plays and Bettis again handled the short yardage in his fourth consecutive 100-yard game.
Randle El scampered through the Redskins' coverage team on punt returns of 60 and 43 yards to set up two first-half scores. Randle El, making a spot start for the injured Plaxico Burress (hamstring), also made two catches for 37 yards and drew a 32-yard pass interference penalty.
Bills 38, Seahawks 9
SEATTLE Willis McGahee had 116 yards rushing and four touchdowns, leading Buffalo to a rare road win in the worst loss for coach Mike Holmgren in his six seasons with the Seahawks.
Drew Bledsoe offset his three interceptions by completing two-thirds of his passes for 275 yards and a touchdown, and the Bills (5-6) snapped a six-game road slide dating to last season. It was Buffalo's first road win in five tries this season and the team's second victory in the last 12 trips.
The Seahawks (6-5) hit their lowest point this season with an abysmal performance. They lost for the second time in five home games after going 8-0 on their own field last season.
Jets 13, Cardinals 3
TEMPE, Ariz. Quincy Carter left with a head injury after the third play of the game, but returned to throw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss. Curtis Martin carried 24 times for 99 yards and Doug Brien kicked field goals of 28 and 46 yards for the Jets (8-3).
Martin and Emmitt Smith brought 30,817 career yards rushing into the game, the most by two backs playing in the same contest in NFL history. But Smith wasn't around long, injuring a toe on his left foot late in the first quarter. He played in the next series, then left for good.
Arizona (4-7) managed only a 20-yard field goal by Neil Rackers as the first half ended.
Texans 31, Titans 21
HOUSTON David Carr threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns and Domanick Davis rushed for a season-high 129 yards and a score to help the Texans rally from an 18-point deficit.
After allowing Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers to come back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a win last week, Carr and the Texans staged an impressive imitation in rallying from the largest deficit in franchise history for a victory.
The Texans (5-6) ended a three-game losing streak and swept the season series from the team they replaced in Houston. Houston also tied its win total from last season in its 11th game, a clear improvement for the third-year team.
The Titans (4-7) dropped into last place in the AFC South.
Panthers 21, Buccaneers 14
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Julius Peppers and Keary Colbert had their best games and Martin Gramatica had his worst.
Colbert caught a 40-yard touchdown pass, his second of the game, with 20 seconds to play to lift Carolina to it third straight win. The Panthers (4-7) reacted as if they had just won the Super Bowl, wildly celebrating in the end zone. That's because no victory is sweeter than one against the hated Bucs (4-7), and this one put Carolina on the fringe of the NFC wild-card chase.
Dolphins 24, 49ers 17
SAN FRANCISCO Although the Dolphins doubled their victory total, there were no real winners. The NFL's two worst teams played a game every bit as wretched as their records.
Raiders 25, Broncos 24
Kerry Collins threw for 339 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Oakland Raiders to an upset in the snow Sunday night, 25-24 over the Denver Broncos.
Collins hit Jerry Porter for three of the scores, including the winner on fourth-and-goal from the 5 with 1:49 remaining.
After Oakland took the lead, Jake Plummer drove the Broncos (7-4) 49 yards to the Raiders 25 to set up Jason Elam's field goal attempt. But the snap was high, Elam kicked the lace-side of the ball and Langston Walker blocked the kick to preserve the win for Oakland (4-7), which will surely count this as a major highlight of a difficult year.
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