Dolphins foil comeback bid, beat Patriots 24-20
MIAMI GARDENS, Florida (AP) — Tom Brady’s latest comeback bid came up short as the Miami Dolphins helped their playoff chances with a 24-20 breakthrough victory Sunday over the American Football Conference East-leading New England Patriots.
A fourth-down pass from Brady was intercepted by reserve safety Michael Thomas, in his first NFL game, in the end zone with 2 seconds left, and Miami held on to win.
The Patriots had mounted second-half rallies to win their past three games, and Brady moved them from their own 20 with 1:15 remaining to the Miami 14. But he threw three consecutive incompletions before Thomas sealed the third consecutive victory for the Dolphins (8-6), who improved to 5-2 since tackle Jonathan Martin left the team in a bullying scandal.
Brady went 34 for 55 for 364 yards and two scores. Julian Edelman made 13 catches for 139 yards, and Danny Amendola added 10 receptions for 131 yards.
Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles equaled a club record with five touchdowns in a game and gained 215 yards from scrimmage as the Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders 56-31 and clinched at least a wild-card spot.
Alex Smith threw five TD passes, going 17 for 20 for 287 yards to make the Chiefs the fourth team ever to make the playoffs a year after losing at least 14 games. Kansas City (11-3) is tied for first place in the AFC West with Denver but needs help to win the division because the Broncos swept the season series.
At Arlington, Texas, Matt Flynn threw four touchdown passes in the second half and Eddie Lacy had the winning score on a 1-yard plunge after an interception by Tony Romo gave them another chance as the Green Bay Packers rallied from 23 points down at halftime to beat the Dallas Cowboys 37-36.
Romo tossed two interceptions in the final 3 minutes, the first one giving Green Bay a chance for the go-ahead score with the Cowboys in position to run out the clock with a 36-31 lead. Lacy scored with just over 1 1-2 minutes left.
Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt for a score in a 64-second span in the first quarter as the Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 30-20.
Shaun Suisham added three field goals for the Steelers (6-8), who built a 24-point lead and hardly looked like a team playing out the string.
The injury-depleted Minnesota Vikings downed the Philadelphia Eagles 48-30 after Matt Cassel passed for 382 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another score.
With Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart out, Matt Asiata rushed for the first three touchdowns of his career and Greg Jennings caught a career-high 11 passes for 163 yards for the Vikings (4-9-1). Asiata ran for 51 yards on 30 carries.
Desmond Trufant deflected Kirk Cousins’ pass on a potential winning 2-point conversion with 18 seconds remaining as the Atlanta Falcons edged the Washington Redskins 27-26, while the San Francisco 49ers beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-14 as Vernon Davis caught a touchdown pass for the fifth straight game and Michael Crabtree scored his first TD since returning from injury.
Seattle’s Richard Sherman had two interceptions as the Seahawks blanked the New York Giants 23-0, and Jay Cutler shook off some early rustiness and threw three touchdown passes in his first start since Nov. 10 to lead the Chicago Bears past the Cleveland Browns 38-31.
In other games, the Indianapolis Colts downed the Houston Texans 25-3, the Buffalo Bills defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20, the Carolina Panthers beat the New York Jets 30-20, the St. Louis Rams were 27-16 winners over the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals edged the Tennessee Titans 37-34 in overtime.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org