KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Against the backdrop of an unthinkable tragedy, the Kansas City Chiefs gave themselves a reason to be proud Sunday — and perhaps the impetus to let the healing begin.
Brady Quinn threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, and Jamaal Charles ran for 127 yards in the Chiefs' 27-21 victory over their Carolina Panthers. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak during one of the most difficult seasons the franchise has ever experienced.
The win came just one day after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend multiple times at a residence near Arrowhead Stadium, then drove to the team's practice facility and turned the gun on himself as general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel looked on.
Pioli walked through the press box before the game and said he was doing OK, though he didn't stop to talk.
MIAMI — Tom Brady had his least efficient game of the year and even threw an interception, but New England took advantage of Miami's mistakes and clinched their fourth consecutive AFC East title.
A botched punt, roughing-the-punter penalty and fumble by Miami led to 17 New England points, and another penalty negated a Dolphins touchdown.
Brady finished 24 for 40 for 238 yards and was sacked four times. But with the Patriots nursing a 20-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter, he led a 16-play drive that took more than seven minutes and led to a field goal.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Houston Texans clinched their second straight playoff berth and set a franchise record for wins in a season.
Rookie linebacker Whitney Mercilus recovered a fumble and had two sacks, and the Texans (11-1) remain tied with Atlanta for the best record in the NFL with their sixth straight win. After needing overtime the past two games, the Texans forced six turnovers and had six sacks of Jake Locker when they weren't batting down a handful of other passes.
DENVER — Peyton Manning threw three touchdowns, including one to defensive tackle Mitch Unrein, to help Denver wrap up the AFC West.
The Broncos (9-3) won their seventh straight and the Tampa Bay (6-6) loss clinched the NFC South for Atlanta, which won on Thursday.
Manning threw for 242 yards. He now has 29 touchdown passes on the season, moving past Jake Plummer and John Elway for the most by a Denver quarterback in a single year.
ST. LOUIS — Rookie Greg Zuerlein kicked a 54-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in overtime after booting a 53-yarder as time expired in regulation.
The winning kick allowed the Rams to avoid a second tie in three weeks against the NFC West leaders.
CHICAGO — Russell Wilson connected with Sidney Rice on a 13-yard touchdown with 7:33 left in overtime to lift Seattle.
Unbeaten in five home games, the Seahawks finally figured a way to win on the road after dropping five of their first six, and knocked off the NFC North leaders in the process.
DETROIT — Andrew Luck threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery with no time left to lift Indianapolis.
With the final seconds ticking away, the rookie quarterback moved up in the pocket, flipped a short pass to Avery, and the receiver ran untouched into the end zone to complete a rally that started with Lions up 12 points midway through the fourth quarter.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — James Starks had Green Bay's first rushing touchdown in almost two months, Morgan Burnett picked off Christian Ponder twice and the Packers overcame a monster day by Adrian Peterson.
Peterson finished with 210 yards, the most he's had since blowing out his ACL and MCL last December. But the Vikings (6-6) clearly felt the absence of Percy Harvin, who missed his third straight game with a sprained ankle.
SAN DIEGO — Andy Dalton scrambled up the middle for a 6-yard touchdown with 4:11 left for the go-ahead score and Cincinnati won its fourth straight game.
On second-and-goal, Dalton pump-faked right and then ran up the middle, dived for the end zone and got the ball across.
The Bengals (7-5) remained tied with Pittsburgh in the race for the AFC's second wild-card berth.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Brandon Weeden threw for a career-high 364 yards and a touchdown as Cleveland snapped a 12-game road losing streak.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Third-stringer Greg McElroy stepped in for a struggling Mark Sanchez and led New York to its only score.
With Tim Tebow inactive as he heals from two broken ribs, coach Rex Ryan pulled Sanchez for McElroy — as the crowd at MetLife Stadium cheered wildly — late in the third quarter. McElroy led the (5-7) Jets to their only points of the day with an impressive drive, connecting with Jeff Cumberland on a 1-yard touchdown. That ended up being the winning score.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Ryan Fitzpatrick directed five straight scoring drives in helping Buffalo keep alive its slim playoff hopes.
Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes and scored on a 1-yard plunge in providing a spark to an injury-depleted offense that finished the game minus its top two receivers.