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Sunday’s NFL Capsules

December 9, 2002

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ The Cleveland Browns are alive in the AFC playoff race after sweating out an officials’ review with no time left against Jacksonville.

Quincy Morgan caught a 50-yard desperation pass from Tim Couch, then waited as officials upheld the play on review to give the Browns a 21-20 victory over the Jaguars on Sunday.

Morgan fought off tight coverage from Fernando Bryant on the final play. As the two fell to the ground, Morgan cradled the ball to his body with his right hand. Side judge Bill Spyksma signaled touchdown.

The ball looked as if it might have touched the ground as Morgan hit the turf, but after a review of about 90 seconds, referee Ron Winter said there was no indisputable evidence to overturn the play.

Phil Dawson kicked the extra point for the one-point margin, and the Browns (7-6) pulled within a half-game of Pittsburgh in the AFC North. The Steelers lost to Houston 24-6.

It was a fitting finish to a rivalry that has served up a number of memorable moments. Unlike last year in Cleveland, when an official’s replay on a disputed catch by Morgan upheld a 15-10 Jaguars victory, Jacksonville fans did not throw bottles or debris onto the field.

Coach Tom Coughlin fell face-first to the ground after the play. The Jaguars (5-8) are guaranteed of not having a winning record for the third straight year, and Coughlin’s job could be in trouble.

49ers 31, Cowboys 27

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Terrell Owens made a juggling catch of a 3-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, then caught an 8-yarder with 12 seconds left, as the 49ers clinched their first NFC West title since 1997.

Although Owens’ first TD catch put the 49ers (9-4) ahead, they fell behind by 10 before Jeff Garcia brought them back.

Garcia started the rally with a four-play drive that he capped with a 23-yard strike to Tai Streets with 5:26 left. After Dallas (5-8) missed a 47-yard field goal, Garcia took over at the 37 with no timeouts and 2:16 to go.

A 3-yard keeper on third-and-2 helped keep the drive going, then he had an 11-yard pass to Owens on third-and-10 from the 19. The next play was the game-winner to Owens.

Garcia finished 36-of-55 for 276 yards with no interceptions. Owens had 12 catches for 123 yards.

Bucs 34, Falcons 10

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Brad Johnson threw for 276 yards and four touchdowns, and the NFL’s No. 1 defense shut down Michael Vick for the second time this season as the Bucs ended the Atlanta Falcons’ eight-game unbeaten streak.

The Bucs (10-3) limited the Falcons to a field goal until Vick threw a 5-yard TD pass to Alge Crumpler early in the fourth quarter.

Johnson completed 23 of 31 passes, including TD throws of 10 and 13 yards to Joe Jurevicius and 14 and 27 yards to Keenan McCardell.

The Falcons (8-4-1) lost for the first time since being dominated by the Bucs on Oct. 6, falling 1 1/2 games behind in the division. Vick completed just 12 of 25 passes for 125 yards and had 15 yards on five carries.

Raiders 27, Chargers 7

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Rich Gannon and Jerry Rice overwhelmed the San Diego Chargers’ young stars as the Raiders took take sole possession of first place in the AFC West.

Gannon, who turns 37 later this month, set an NFL record with his 10th 300-yard game of the season, throwing for 328 yards.

The Raiders and Chargers came in tied for the division lead, and the Raiders (9-4) turned the showdown into a knockdown, thanks to Gannon, Rice and a defense that handed San Diego’s Drew Brees his first career three-interception game.

San Diego (8-5) has lost four of six since its 6-1 start.

LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 57 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries and set the Chargers’ single-season rushing record with 1,375 yards. He broke Natrone Means’ 1994 record of 1,350 yards.

Chiefs 49, Rams 10

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Dante Hall returned a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown, one week after running back a punt 90 yards for a score, as the Chiefs eliminated the Rams from playoff contention.

St. Louis (5-8) lost its third straight after winning five in a row. The margin was the third-most in franchise history.

Hall, who’d done almost nothing his first two years in the NFL and battled all through training camp for a spot on the roster, is the second man in the NFL this year to score on two kick returns in a game, and the first Kansas City player to ever do it.

Priest Holmes ran for 132 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Chiefs (7-6), leaving him just two shy of the NFL record of 26, which the Rams’ Marshall Faulk set in 2000.

Texans 24, Steelers 6

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Aaron Glenn scored twice on long interception returns, and the Texans gained just 47 yards _ the fewest ever by a winning team in NFL history.

The Texans (4-9) scored the first three defensive touchdowns in their history, all off Tommy Maddox turnovers.

The Steelers (7-5-1) were 6-1-1 in their previous eight games, the NFL’s best record over that span except for Atlanta’s 7-0-1, yet they lost to a first-year team that completed only three passes and had only three first downs. The Texans won despite being outgained 422-47.

David Carr had so little time to throw he barely bothered. He was 3-of-10 for 33 yards.

Despite Maddox’s struggles, backup Kordell Stewart never got off the bench.

Eagles 27, Seahawks 20

SEATTLE (AP) _ Duce Staley ran for 100 yards and third-string quarterback A.J. Feeley threw for 190 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles held Matt Hasselbeck in check.

Feeley’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Todd Pinkston early in the third quarter gave Philadelphia (10-3) a 27-6 lead, and the Eagles held on for their fourth straight victory and seventh in the last eight games. They are 3-0 without starting quarterback Donovan McNabb, who has a broken right ankle.

Hasselbeck was pressured most of the day and completed 24 of 45 passes for 223 yards with two TDs and three interceptions for Seattle (4-9). He scrambled for 62 yards.

Patriots 27, Bills 17

FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) _ Tom Brady outplayed former teammate Drew Bledsoe for the second time this season as the Patriots took over first place in the AFC East.

New England (8-5) is a half-game ahead of Miami, which hosts Chicago on Monday night.

Buffalo (6-7) has lost four of five.

Brady completed 15 of 27 passes for 183 yards and no interceptions, while Bledsoe went 32-for-51 for 328 yards and threw four interceptions.

The Patriots led 20-0 at halftime, dominating Buffalo for the second time in barely a month. New England won 38-7 at Buffalo on Nov. 3 to start the Patriots’ current 5-1 surge.

Jets 19, Broncos 13

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Laveranues Coles went over 1,000 yards receiving and made a spectacular diving touchdown catch, keeping the New York Jets’ dim playoff hopes alive with a comeback victory.

The Broncos (7-6) lost their third straight. They were in position for a winning touchdown in the final minutes, but Brian Griese was picked off at the New York 2 by rookie John McGraw, his first career interception.

The Jets (7-6) are one game out of the AFC East lead. Denver is two games out in the AFC West, trailing two teams.

Coles finished with six catches for 126 yards.

Curtis Martin became the 16th player over 10,000 career yards rushing and scored the Jets’ other touchdown. Denver rookie Clinton Portis surpassed 100 yards for the sixth time, rushing for 103, and went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

Titans 27, Colts 17

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Despite sore ribs that kept him from practicing for a second straight week, Steve McNair threw for 237 yards and a touchdown to lead the Titans.

The Titans (8-5) swept the season series from the Colts and won for the seventh time in their last eight games. Tennessee, which also got two rushing TDs from Eddie George, improved to 4-0 in the AFC South and are in control of the division.

Indianapolis (8-5) had won four straight games, but Peyton Manning threw three interceptions.

Saints 37, Ravens 25

BALTIMORE (AP) _ Deuce McAllister ran for 127 yards and three touchdowns, and the Saints capitalized on a litany of Baltimore miscues in their win.

Quarterback Aaron Brooks left in the third quarter with New Orleans up 20-7. Saints officials described the quarterback’s injury as a ``sore shoulder,″ and did not indicate whether it was same right shoulder he bruised last week against Tampa Bay.

Brooks was replaced by Jake Delhomme.

The Saints (9-4) will almost certainly need Brooks for their planned playoff run. Baltimore (6-7) saw its flickering playoff hopes diminish even further.

Ravens quarterback Jeff Blake, who started for New Orleans in 2000 and was a backup to Brooks last year, went 18-for-39 for 316 yards.

Giants 27, Redskins 21

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) _ The Giants took advantage of five Washington turnovers to keep their minuscule playoff hopes alive.

Cornerback Ralph Brown set up two touchdowns with dazzling runbacks, Kerry Collins threw for 212 yards and two TDs, and Cornelius Griffin had three of New York’s six sacks and forced a fumble as the Giants (7-6) broke a two-game losing streak.

The Redskins (5-8) lost their second straight but rallied from a 17-0 deficit behind backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey, who entered the game when starter Danny Wuerrfel sprained his right shoulder in the third quarter. Ramsey was 12-of-27 for 204 yards.

Cardinals 23, Lions 20, OT

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) _ Bill Gramatica kicked a 42-yard field goal with 10:48 left in overtime as the Arizona Cardinals snapped a six-game losing streak. It was the 21st game this season to go to overtime, tying the 1995 league record.

The Lions (3-10) lost their fifth consecutive game overall and 15th straight on the road. Detroit lost in OT for the second time in three weeks; the Lions were beaten by a Chicago field goal 20-17 on Nov. 24.

A 41-yarder by Gramatica tied the game 20-20 with 3:20 to in regulation. The Cardinals (5-8) never led until his final field goal.

Jake Plummer completed 24 of 43 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns, despite a drastically depleted corps of wide receivers.

Panthers 52, Bengals 31

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Steve Smith scored three touchdowns _ two on punt returns _ and had a career-high 313 total yards to lead the Carolina Panthers to victory.

His scores earned him hugs and high-fives from his teammates, most of whom were slow to accept him when he returned last week from a suspension for beating up a teammate.

Rodney Peete completed 21 of 29 passes for a season-high 319 yards and three TDs for Carolina (5-8), which set a franchise record for points scored.

Smith scored on returns of 61 and 87 yards, and on a 31-yard reception.

Cincinnati (1-12) must now win two of its final three games to avoid having the worst record in franchise history.

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