The New York Giants beat Washington to seal a playoff spot for the Lions and Packers, while the Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs
Facing an opponent with nothing to play for, the Washington blew their chance to make the playoffs with an uninspired 19-10 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.
Washington would have made the playoffs with a win as long as the Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions night game didnt end in a tie. Instead, Kirk Cousins was intercepted twice in the second half by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Washington (8-7-1) go into an offseason filled with questions.
The Packers and Lions each qualified as a result of the loss to New York (11-5), who will be the first wild card. Eli Manning played the entire game, going 17 of 27 for 180 yards despite the Giants opting for a conservative approach for much of the second half.
Cousins finished 22 of 35 for 285 yards and a touchdown, but more importantly with interceptions in the third and fourth quarters. Fittingly the game ended with another Washington turnover when tight end Jordan Reeds attempted lateral turned into a Giants touchdown.
— Tom Brady threw for 276 yards and three scores, and the Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by beating the Dolphins 35-14.
New England took a 20-0 lead in the first half, and turned away Miamis comeback bid with the help of a 77-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Julian Edelman and a 69-yard fumble return by linebacker Shea McClellin.
The Patriots (14-2), who were already assured of a first-round bye, became the ninth team since 1972 to go undefeated on the road during the regular season. The Dolphins (10-6), beaten for only the second time in the past 11 games, had already earned an AFC wildcard berth and will play their first postseason game since 2008 next weekend at Pittsburgh.
The Patriots had lost their past three games in Miami, and appeared intent from the outset on snapping that streak. By the time they led 20-0, they had advantages of 238 to 30 in yards, and 17 to one in first downs.
After Miami mounted consecutive 75-yard touchdown drives to make it 20-14, Edelman caught a short pass from Brady, benefited from a crushing downfield block by Michael Floyd and broke free to score on the longest reception of his career.
The Dolphins threatened early in the fourth quarter, but Devin McCourty forced a fumble by Damien Williams, and linebacker Shea McClellin returned it 69 yards to set up a touchdown that made it 35-14.
Brady went 25 for 33 with no turnovers. Edelman had a career-high 151 yards on eight catches.
— Tony Romo threw his first touchdown pass in nearly 14 months and the playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys played it safe in a 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Cowboys (13-3) locked up the No1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs when the Eagles (7-9) beat the Giants on 22 December. So Dak Prescott played only two series and Ezekiel Elliott watched from the sideline.
Carson Wentz tossed two TD passes to Zach Ertz to help Philadelphia finish with a two-game winning streak.
Prescott was 4 for 8 for 37 yards before giving way to Romo, who hadnt played in a regular-season game since Thanksgiving 2015 when he broke his left collarbone for the second time in less than three months. Romo broke a bone in his back in the third preseason game against Seattle this season, paving the way for Prescott to have one of the best years by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.
Romo overthrew Terrance Williams on a deep pass on his first play. His first completion was a 16-yarder to Williams on third-and-12. After Dez Bryant drew a pass interference penalty on a deep pass at the Eagles 3, Romo connected with Williams for his first TD pass since Nov. 22, 2015 against Miami.
Romo finished 3 for 4 for 29 yards.
Mark Sanchez replaced Romo and threw two interceptions to Jordan Hicks in the second quarter. The Eagles took advantage of the second one at the Cowboys 49. Wentz tossed a six-yard TD pass to Ertz to tie it at 10 going into halftime.
— The Eagles win officially eliminated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from playoff contention.
Tampa Bay did their part by beating Carolina 17-16. But the Bucs also needed plenty of help to secure an NFC playoff berth. They needed a win combined with a Green Bay loss, a Washington tie and victories by Dallas, Indianapolis, Tennessee and San Francisco to get in.
— The Browns season ended in Browns fashion, as they lost to the Steelers in overtime. They gave themselves a chance with a field goal in OT but a touchdown pass from Landry Jones left Cleveland with just one win from the season.
— Elsewhere, the Bengals beat the Ravens, the Colts edged past the Jaguars in the final seconds and the Jets eased past the Bills. Sam Bradford set a record for completion percentage over a season after the Vikings victory over the Bears, while the Titans beat the Texans, who lost Tom Savage to a concussion.