NFL Today, Week 17

NFL Today, Week 17

SCOREBOARD

Saturday, Jan. 5

Minnesota at Green Bay (8 p.m.). The NFC North rivals meet six days after the Vikings' 37-34 win gave them a playoff berth and helped keep the Packers from getting a first-round bye.

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STARS

Passing

-Eli Manning, Giants, was 13 for 21 for 208 yards and a career-high five touchdown passes in New York's 42-7 win over Philadelphia.

-Peyton Manning, Broncos, was 23 for 29 for 304 yards and three TD passes in Denver's 38-3 win over Kansas City. It was Manning's 73rd game with at least three TDs. Manning passed Brett Favre (72) for the most such games in NFL history.

-Aaron Rodgers, Packers, was 28 for 40 for 365 yards with 4 TD passes in Green Bay's 37-34 loss to Minnesota.

-Tom Brady, Patriots, finished 22 for 36 for 284 yards with 2 TD passes in New England's 28-0 win over Miami. Brady moved into second place in NFL history with a touchdown pass in 48 consecutive games, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas. And Brady became the first player to throw at least one scoring pass in all 16 games for three straight seasons.

-Colin Kaepernick, 49ers, was 16 for 28 for 276 yards with 2 TD passes in San Francisco's 27-13 win over Arizona.

-Drew Brees, Saints, finished 29 for 43 for 396 yards with four touchdown passes and an interception in New Orleans' 44-38 loss to Carolina. Brees has 5,177 yards this season, third most behind the 2011 totals of himself (5,476) and New England's Brady (5,235). Brees became the first player to eclipse 5,000 yards three times. His four TD passes gave him 43 in 2012, and he's the first player with 40 TD passes in consecutive seasons.

-Matthew Stafford, Lions, was 24 for 42 for 272 yards with three touchdown passes and an interception in Detroit's 26-24 loss to Chicago. He finished the season with an NFL-record 727 pass attempts, surpassing Drew Bledsoe's mark of 691 from 1994.

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Rushing

-Adrian Peterson, Vikings, had 34 carries for 199 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota's 37-34 win over Green Bay. Peterson finished with 2,097 yards, the second most in a season, and 9 yards shy of breaking Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson's record (2,105 in 1984). Peterson got his seventh 150-yard rushing game of the season, tied with Hall of Famer Earl Campbell (seven in 1980) for the most in a season in NFL history.

-DeAngelo Williams, Panthers, had 21 carries for 210 yards and two touchdowns in Carolina's 44-38 win over New Orleans.

-Alfred Morris, Redskins, had 33 carries for 200 yards and three touchdowns in Washington's 28-18 victory over Dallas. Morris set the franchise single-season rushing record. The Redskins clinched the NFC East title and will face the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.

-Doug Martin, Buccaneers, had 28 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown in Tampa Bay's 22-17 win over Atlanta.

-Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants, had 16 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown in New York's 42-7 win over Philadelphia.

-Matt Forte, Bears, had 24 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown in Chicago's 26-24 win over Detroit.

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Receiving

-Michael Crabtree, 49ers, had eight catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns in San Francisco's 27-13 win over Arizona.

-Michael Floyd, Cardinals, had eight catches for 166 yards and a touchdown in Arizona's 27-13 loss to San Francisco.

-Andre Johnson, Texans, had 12 catches for 141 yards in Houston's 28-16 loss to Indianapolis. He became the second player in league history with three seasons of 100 or more catches and 1,500 or more yards. The other was former Colt Marvin Harrison.

-Lance Moore and Jimmy Graham, Saints. Moore had four catches for 121 yards and Graham had nine catches for 115 yards and a touchdown in New Orleans' 44-38 loss to Carolina.

-T.Y. Hilton, Colts, had four catches for 111 yards and a touchdown in Indianapolis' 28-16 win over Houston.

-Steve Johnson, Bills, had six catches for 111 yards in Buffalo's 28-9 win over the New York Jets. Johnson is the first Bills player to surpass 1,000 yards in three straight years.

-Earl Bennett, Bears, had five catches for 109 yards and a touchdown in Chicago's 26-24 win over Detroit.

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Special Teams

-Darius Reynaud, Titans, returned punts of 81 yards and 69 yards for touchdowns in Tennessee's 38-20 win over Jacksonville.

-Deji Karim, Colts, returned a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown in Indianapolis' 28-16 win over Houston.

-Micheal Spurlock, Chargers, returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in San Diego's 24-21 win over Oakland.

-Mike Harris, Jaguars, returned a blocked punt 19 yards for a touchdown in Jacksonville's 38-20 loss to Tennessee.

-Olindo Mare, Bears, was 4 of 5 on field goal in Chicago's 26-24 win over Detroit.

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Defense

-Zach Brown, Titans, returned interceptions of 79 yards and 30 yards for touchdowns in Tennessee's 38-20 win over Jacksonville.

-Bryan Scott, Bills, returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown in Buffalo's 28-9 win over the New York Jets.

-Jonathan Vilma, Saints, returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown in New Orleans' 44-38 loss to Carolina.

-Carlos Dunlap, Bengals, returned an interception 14 yards for a touchdown in Cincinnati's 23-17 win over Baltimore.

-Justin Francis, Patriots, had three sacks in New England's 28-0 win over Miami.

-Chris Long, Rams, had three sacks in St. Louis' 20-13 loss to Seattle.

-Everson Griffen, Vikings, had three sacks in Minnesota's 37-34 win over Green Bay.

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PLAYOFF BOUND

RG3 and the Washington Redskins are heading to the playoffs as NFC East champions.

By winning their seventh straight game, the Redskins rolled to their first division title in 13 years with a 28-18 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. Next up for Robert Griffin III & Co.: a home playoff matchup next Sunday with the Seahawks - the third straight postseason game for Washington against Seattle.

``It's just a mindset change,'' the rookie quarterback said. ``When you have all these guys coming to work every day, putting it on the line, we knew we couldn't afford to lose one game, we made sure we didn't''

Thanks to Houston's late-season slump, Denver and New England will have byes when the AFC playoffs begin next week.

The Texans fell from first to third in the conference Sunday when they lost 28-16 at Indianapolis, which welcomed back coach Chuck Pagano after nearly three months of treatments for leukemia.

AFC West champion Denver won its 11th straight game, 38-3 over Kansas City to secure the top seed. New England blanked Miami 28-0 for the second spot.

Minnesota edged Green Bay 37-34 to grab the final NFC wild card, sinking the Packers to the third seed. Those teams will meet again next Saturday night at Lambeau Field.

The other NFC matchup will have Seattle (11-5), which beat St. Louis 20-13, at Washington on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Cincinnati (10-6) will be at Houston on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET, and Indianapolis (11-5) goes to at Baltimore (10-6) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the AFC wild-card rounds.

The divisional round games will be hosted by Denver on Saturday, Jan. 12, followed by San Francisco (11-4-1) at night. On Sunday, Jan. 13, Atlanta (13-3) will host the early game, followed by New England (12-4).

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BIG DEBUTS

Rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Indianapolis and Russell Wilson of Seattle each led his team to a victory on Sunday. Luck and Wilson each have 11 wins, joining Ben Roethlisberger (13 in 2004), Joe Flacco (11 in 2008) and Matt Ryan (11 in 2008) as the only rookie starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to win at least 11 games. Luck is the only rookie quarterback in NFL history with at least 4,000 yards passing (4,374) and 10 wins (11). Wilson threw 26 touchdown passes and tied Peyton Manning (1998) for the most TDs passing by a rookie in NFL history.

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MANY HAPPY RETURNS

The Tennessee Titans became the first team in NFL history with two interception return touchdowns and two punts returned for touchdowns in the same game in the Titans' 38-20 win over Jacksonville. Rookie linebacker Zach Brown had both interception runbacks (79 and 30 yards) and Darius Reynaud had both punt returns for touchdowns (69 and 81 yards).

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STATS

The Seahawks were the only team to finish undefeated at home this season. ... The Bengals had four sacks, giving them a franchise-record 51 for the season. ... Tennessee set a franchise mark for most points allowed in a season with 471, worst in the NFL this season. ... The Saints (7-9) gave up 530 yards, raising their season total to 7,042 to break the old record of 6,793 allowed by the 1981 Baltimore Colts. The Saints' Marques Colston had five catches to give him 532, tied for first in franchise history with Eric Martin. ... Thaddeus Lewis is the 18th quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999. ... Indy (11-5) completed the second-greatest turnaround in league history - winning nine more games than it did in 2011. ... The Falcons' Tony Gonzalez reached 90 catches to become the first NFL tight end with five seasons of 90 or more receptions. Falcons QB Matt Ryan's TD pass gave him a team-record 32 for the season. Steve Bartkowski threw 31 TD passes in 1980. ... 49ers running back Frank Gore ran for a 2-yard score early in the fourth quarter for his franchise-best 51st touchdown rushing, breaking a tie with mentor Roger Craig and late Hall of Famer Joe Perry.

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STREAKS

The Broncos closed the regular season with their 11th consecutive win. All 11 wins have been by at least seven points and the Broncos joined the 2005 Indianapolis Colts (13) and 1942 Chicago Bears (11) as the only teams to win at least 11 games in a row by a margin of seven points or more in a single season. ... The Rams' Steven Jackson also went over 1,000 yards rushing for the eighth straight season, becoming just the sixth player in NFL history to accomplish that feat. ... The Giants missed the playoffs this season. This marks the seventh straight season the Super Bowl champion has failed to win a playoff game the following year. ... The Bears became only the second club since the postseason expanded to 12 teams to miss out after a 7-1 start, according to STATS. The other was Washington in 1996. ... The Panthers closed the season winning four straight and five out of six. ... The Jets closed their second consecutive season with three straight losses, and capped their worst finish since going 4-12 in 2007. They've gone 14-18 since playing in successive AFC title games. ... The Bills finished fourth in the AFC East for a fifth straight time while extending their postseason drought to 13 years. ... The Lions (4-12) lost their last eight games. ... The Cardinals (5-11) ended the season with 11 losses in their last 12 games. ... The Seahawks have won seven of eight, including a five-game winning streak to close the season. They won at least 11 games for just the third time in franchise history. ... The Dolphins (7-9) finished with a losing record for the fourth straight season. ... The Patriots won their sixth straight game against the Dolphins and finished with 11 wins in their last 12 games.

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SIDELINED

The Atlanta Falcons hope they won't be without a few key defensive stars in the playoffs. Defensive end John Abraham, the Falcons' top pass rusher, left with an apparent left ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Atlanta's 22-17 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday. Abraham couldn't put his weight on the ankle as he was helped off the field. Abraham's injury came after starting cornerback Dunta Robinson suffered a head injury in the first quarter and did not return. His helmet hit Doug Martin on the running back's 3-yard gain. Robinson walked off the field and was escorted to the locker room. ... Indianapolis lost starting guard Joe Reitz in the first half of the Colts' 28-16 win at Houston with a head injury. Texans linebacker Daryl Sharpton left with a hip injury, while fellow linebacker Tim Dobbins left in the second half with what coach Gary Kubiak thought was a shoulder injury. ... Cincinnati safety Chris Crocker hurt his right thigh while trying to make a tackle in the first quarter of the Bengals' 23-17 win over Baltimore and didn't return. He said the injury wasn't serious. ... Chicago tight end Matt Spaeth left the Bears' 26-24 win over Detroit with a concussion.

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SPEAKING

``Chuck's like a dad to me. He means a lot to me. I would have much rather seen them in the AFC championship game than the first game'' - Ravens safety Ed Reed on facing Colts head coach and former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano in the first round of the playoffs next week.

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``It wasn't meant to happen, or it would've happened. Not to say it doesn't hurt, because it does.'' - Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on falling short of Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Ravens give Steve Smith a lightsaber in incredible May the 4th video

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Ravens give Steve Smith a lightsaber in incredible May the 4th video

It's not even noon and the Ravens have already won the Internet for today.

The team account tweeted out an incredible video of Steve Smith and Bengals DB Adam Jones battling for a touchdown with lightsabers, then followed it up with Obi Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker and C-3PO gathered around a hologram of Terrell Suggs dancing. 

These are PERFECT. Such attention to detail! Do you see Smith's purple lightsaber? 

For those of you wondering where the Jedi moves came from, today is May 4, also known as Star Wars Day (#MayThe4thBeWithYou, get it?). The whole Internet is geeking out over the movies today, so brace yourself (and follow the Ravens).

Three things to know about Ravens fifth-round pick Matt Judon

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Three things to know about Ravens fifth-round pick Matt Judon

We are profiling Ravens draft picks heading into the start of rookie minicamp Friday. Here are three things you need to know about fifth-round pick (146), defensive end Matt Judon of Grand Valley St.

1. Judon had 20 sacks last season, more than any player in college football at any level.

That is the main reason the Ravens drafted him -- to harass quarterbacks. Judon is an impressive athlete at 6-foot-3, 275 pounds. Size will not be a problem. Strength should not be a problem. Technique could be his biggest issue jumping to the NFL, but it’s hard to think of two better pass rushers to learn from than Ravens outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs. Judon is built more like Suggs, but both he and Dumervil have plenty of knowledge to share with Judon.

2. Don’t wonder if the jump from Grand Valley St. to the NFL will be too much for Judon.

Four other Grand Valley St. players are currently on NFL rosters -- CB Brandon Carr (Cowboys), WR Charles Johnson (Vikings), guard Tim Lelito (Saints), and OLB Dan Skuta (Jaguars).

3. Judon will have plenty of family rooting for him.

The West Bloomfield (Mich.) native has nine brothers and sisters. He will likely have some ticket requests.

Three things to know about Ravens sixth-round pick Keenan Reynolds

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Three things to know about Ravens sixth-round pick Keenan Reynolds

We are profiling the Ravens’ draft picks as they prepare to start minicamp Friday. Here are three things to know about sixth-round pick, WR Keenan Reynolds of Navy:

1. The biggest push to draft Reynolds came from assistant general manager Eric DeCosta.

DeCosta, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and coach John Harbaugh were visibly moved talking about making the phone call to Reynolds. All of them admire the way Reynolds has handled himself at Navy, both on and off the field.

When Newsome made the call, he put Reynolds on speaker phone so that everyone could hear his reaction. “Everyone in the room could be a part of telling him that we picked him,” Newsome said. “It was a special moment.”

2. Reynolds is much more than just a symbolic pick.

The Ravens believe Reynolds can stick as a punt returner, and that he has the athleticism and work ethic to become a polished slot receiver. Reynolds has many qualities inherent to top punt returners – good judgment, vision, elusiveness, sure hands, and speed. The Ravens also like that Reynolds has been working with CSN’s Brian Mitchell, a former Pro Bowl punt returner with the Redskins.

“Fortunately, we have a great relationship with Brian Mitchell,” DeCosta said. “We did our homework on him. He’s a guy that was a player of interest to us throughout the process. We kept it very quiet and, and it worked out the right way.”

 3. The Ravens are willing to wait if military obligations prevent Reynolds from playing right away.

Naval Academy graduates are obligated to a five-year military term, but Reynolds has hope of being able to play this fall. The Patriots drafted Navy graduate Joe Cardona last year as a long snapper, and he was granted permission to play. Cardona spent one day a week working at a Rhode Island naval facility. Reynolds hoped a similar arrangement could be worked out for him.

“I’m hoping and praying, and I’m confident that this potentially could be the same type of situation with myself,” Reynolds said. “It’s a blessing that the Ravens felt I was worthy to take a chance on with the military obligation and my service commitment.”