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Monday November 29th, 2021 7:45AM

The Latest: Packers half away from clinching NFC's top seed

By The Associated Press
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The Latest on Week 17 in the NFL (all times EST):

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5:55 p.m.

The Green Bay Packers are a half away from clinching the NFC's No. 1 seed and a bye week for the playoffs.

The Packers lead Chicago 21-13 at halftime, a loss that would eliminate the Bears from the playoffs.

The Titans lead Houston 17-9 at halftime with NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry running for 113 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Henry is 110 yards shy of becoming the eighth man in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards. A win by the Titans clinches the AFC South for the first time since 2008.

The Colts lead Jacksonville 20-7 at halftime needing a loss by Tennessee to win the division.

The Los Angeles Rams lead Arizona 12-7 at halftime. The Rams need a win or a Chicago loss to clinch an NFC wild-card berth. Arizona needs a win or a Chicago loss to grab a playoff berth.

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5:50 p.m.

The Saints don’t have Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray due to the running back tandem being placed on the COVID-19 reserve list earlier this week. The Saints still lead the Panthers 16-7 at halftime.

Drew Brees has completed 13 of 16 passes for 114 yards, including touchdown tosses of 18 yards to Jared Cook and 8 yards to Emmanuel Sanders. For Cook, it marked the fourth straight game he has scored against Carolina.

The Saints have an outside shot to win the NFC’s top seed if they beat the Panthers, the Packers lose and the Seahawks win.

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5:50 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has been knocked from the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the final minute of the first half by a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from safety Juan Thornhill.

Ekeler was bobbling a pass over the middle when the crown of Thornhill’s helmet colliding with his face mask.

Ekeler lay on the turf for several minutes, surrounded by teammates and trainers, before he walked off the field on his own. Thornhill was given a personal foul penalty for the helmet-to-helmet hit.

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5:45 p.m.

The Seattle Seahawks have a 6-3 halftime lead over the San Francisco 49ers after Jason Myers connected on field goals from 36 and 30 yards.

The Seahawks are in the running for the No. 1 overall seed and a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, but they must beat the 49ers and hope the Packers lose and the Saints lose or tie.

Seattle had two promising drives bog down in the red zone during the first half. Russell Wilson has completed 11 of 19 passes for 101 yards.

San Francisco’s third-string quarterback C.J. Beathard is making his second straight start. He’s 8 for 13 for 67 yards, one week after helping the 49ers beat the Cardinals 20-12.

The 49ers are playing their third straight “home” game in Arizona because of coronavirus restrictions in their home county. San Francisco lost the first two games.

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5:09 p.m.

The Green Bay Packers have set an NFL season record for second-quarter points.

Aaron Rodgers threw a 3-yard touchdown to Robert Tonyan on the first play of the period against the Chicago Bears, giving the Packers 205 second-quarter points this season. The New England Patriots had the NFL record for second-quarter points in a season with 199 in 2007, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Rodgers also matched a career-high with his 45th touchdown pass.

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5:09 p.m.

DK Metcalf has set the Seattle Seahawks single-season record for yards receiving, a mark that had stood for 35 years.

Metcalf surpassed Hall of Famer Steve Largent’s franchise record on his second reception on Sunday against San Francisco.

Largent set the record of 1,287 yards in 1985. Metcalf entered the day six yards shy of Largent’s mark and set the new record with consecutive catches of 5 and 4 yards in the second quarter.

Tyler Lockett also went over 1,000 yards for the season on a 26-yard catch to start the second quarter. It’s the second time in franchise history the Seahawks have two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season. Joey Galloway and Brian Blades accomplished the feat in 1995.

Lockett just caught his 95th pass of the season, which is also a franchise record. Bobby Engram and Doug Baldwin had the previous mark with 94.

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4:55 p.m.

Kyler Murray has hurt his ankle, and Chris Streveler led the Arizona Cardinals to a touchdown on his first drive against the Los Angeles Rams.

Murray was in for the first series and had 14 yards of offense (7 rushing, 7 passing) before the Cardinals were forced to punt near midfield. Arizona quickly got it back when Jordan Hicks intercepted John Wolford’s pass at the Rams 20 and returned it 6 yards.

Streveler, who had never thrown a pass in an NFL game, was 2 for 2 for 14 yards giving the Cardinals a 7-0 lead.

Murray is questionable to return. Arizona needs to win or have Chicago lose to Green Bay to clinch a playoff berth.

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4:53 p.m.

It’s a second straight 100-catch season for Las Vegas tight end Darren Waller with his two grabs in the first quarter against Denver.

Waller becomes the first tight end in team history to turn in back-to-back seasons with 100 or more catches and 1,000 or more yards.

He moved five catches away from breaking Tim Brown’s franchise record for most catches in a single season. Brown caught 104 passes in 1997.

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4:45 p.m.

The Kansas City Chiefs rested many of their starters to guard against injuries with the AFC’s top seed already secured, only to lose second-round draft pick Willie Gay when the linebacker hurt his ankle on their third defensive play.

The injury left the Chiefs with only two healthy linebackers in Damien Wilson and Darrius Harris. Anthony Hitchens is on the COVID-19 list and Ben Niemann is inactive with a hamstring injury.

Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are among the other players inactive for Kansas City.

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4:41 p.m.

Indianapolis quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown his 421st touchdown pass to break a tie with Hall of Famer Dan Marino for No. 5 on the NFL’s all-time list.

It came on a 6-yard scoring play to T.Y. Hilton with 10:16 left in the first quarter to give Indy a 7-0 lead over Jacksonville.

Marino retired as the career record-holder for TD passes following the 1999 season.

For Hilton, it was career TD catch No. 50 and tied him with the late Jimmy Orr for fourth on the Colts’ career list. Orr died in October. The only players ahead of Hilton on the franchise list are Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (128), Reggie Wayne (82) and Hall of Famer Raymond Berry (68).

Rivers needs 10 more passing attempts to pass Eli Manning (8,119) for No. 6 in NFL history.

Hilton and the 39-year-old Rivers both have expiring contracts after this season.

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4:40 p.m.

The Chicago Bears averted a disaster against the Green Bay Packers on the opening kickoff.

Barely.

Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby sent the kick toward the sideline, and Chicago returner Cordarrelle Patterson appeared to down the ball at the 1 as he slipped. But the officials ruled he was out of bounds when he touched it, giving the Bears the ball at their 40.

The Packers challenged the ruling, but the play was upheld.

Green Bay is looking to clinch the top seed for the NFC playoffs with its sixth consecutive victory. Chicago secures a playoff spot with a win.

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4:20 p.m.

The Baltimore Ravens are in the playoffs again, and the Cleveland Browns ended lengthy drought between berths by earning their first postseason trip since 2002.

The Ravens earned a possible trip to Tennessee in the wild-card round by routing Cincinnati 38-3. Cleveland had to hold off Pittburgh 24-22 to grab its wild-card spot.

The Titans clinched a playoff berth with Buffalo routing Miami 56-26, which left the Dolphins needing an Indianapolis loss to Jacksonville to salvage their playoff hopes. The Bills earned the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

Tennessee has its third playoff spot in four seasons. A Tennessee win in Houston would give Tennessee its first AFC South title since 2008 and the AFC's No. 4 seed.

Dallas had a chance to keep its hopes alive until Sunday night if the Cowboys could beat the Giants while needing a loss by Washington in the final game of the season. But the Giants intercepted Andy Dalton in the end zone with 1:15 left and pulled out a 23-19 victory.

Now it's the Giants waiting to see if Philadelphia loses to Washington to make New York the first six-win team to make the playoffs in a 16-game regular season as the NFC East champs.

The NFC still has three berths up for grabs along with Green Bay needing a win over Chicago or a loss by Seattle to San Francisco to clinch the No. 1 seed and first-round bye.

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3:22 p.m.

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard has matched a single-season franchise record with his 10th interception.

Howard picked off Buffalo Bills backup Matt Barkley in the third quarter.

With the interception, Howard matched the record set by Dick Westmoreland in 1967. He also became the NFL’s first player to have 10 interceptions in one season since Antonio Cromartie had that many with the Chargers in 2007.

Buffalo leads Miami 35-13 late in the third quarter.

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2:45 p.m.

Daniel Jones and the New York Giants are rolling toward the brink of playoff history.

The 5-10 Giants lead Dallas 20-9 at halftime of a game that could decide the NFC East — the winner will claim the division if Washington loses against Philadelphia later Sunday. The Cowboys would also make the playoffs with a win and a Washington tie.

New York would be the first six-win team to make the playoffs in a 16-game regular season — and after a 1-7 start no less.

The Giants’ 31st-ranked offense outgained Dallas 239-113 in the first half. Jones threw for 150 yards and two TDs, including a 33-yarder to Dante Pettis with 45 seconds left.

A week after gaining 513 yards in a 37-17 win over Philadelphia, the Cowboys were a mess offensively early. Andy Dalton misfired on a number of passes, perhaps struggling with his grip on a chilly day in New Jersey, and New York sacked him three times.

Dallas got the ball moving late, with 79 coming on its final two drives, leading to two Greg Zuerlein field goals, including a 57-yarder as the half expired.

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2:30 p.m.

The Buffalo Bills are doing their best to clinch the No. 2 seed and end Miami's playoff hopes at the same time.

The Bills lead Miami 28-6 at halftime with Josh Allen throwing three touchdowns. Buffalo is so in control of this game that wide receiver Stefon Diggs was caught flossing on the sideline, practicing dental hygiene rather than the dance.

A Miami loss leaves the Dolphins rooting for Jacksonville to snap a 14-game skid by beating Indianapolis to get into the postseason.

Baltimore has a 17-3 lead over Cincinnati early in the third quarter needing a win to grab one of the AFC's four playoff berths still available when the final day began. Cleveland is up 10-6 on Pittsburgh needing a victory for the Browns' first playoff berth since 2002.

The NFC had three playoff berths available on the final day.

The Giants lead Dallas 20-9 at halftime, and a New York win eliminates the Cowboys. The Giants then will be waiting and watching to see if Philadelphia can beat Washington to grab the NFC East title.

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2:35 p.m.

The Detroit Lions have given up a franchise-record 6,496 yards of offense through the first half while trailing Minnesota 21-16.

Fittingly, they broke the record set by their 2008 winless team when two defenders missed a tackle while safety Duron Harmon stood and watched Chad Beebe score on a go-ahead, 40-yard touchdown catch.

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2:20 p.m.

Bills receiver Isaiah McKenzie has scored three touchdowns, including one on an 84-yard punt return, to put Buffalo up 21-3 over the Miami Dolphins with 5:22 remaining in the second quarter.

McKenzie also scored on 7 and 14-yard touchdown catches in a game the that means far more for the Dolphins, who need a win to secure their third playoff berth in 18 years.

McKenzie became Buffalo’s sixth player to score an offensive touchdown and on a return in the same game. The punt-return TD was the Bills’ first since Marcus Thigpen scored against Green Bay on Dec. 14, 2014.

McKenzie’s 3-score game comes after teammate Stefon Diggs scored three times in a 38-9 win at New England on Monday night.

— John Wawrow reporting from Orchard Park, New York.

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2:20 p.m.

Matt Prater now has the NFL record for most field goals made of 50 yards or longer.

Prater made a 54-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to give Detroit a 16-14 lead over Minnesota. It was his 59th field goal from 50-plus yards, breaking a tie with Sebastian Janikowski who made 58 from that range between 2000 and 2018.

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1:53 p.m.

Josh Allen has set the Buffalo Bills' single-season record for yards passing.

Allen upped his total to 4,363 with a 6-yard completion to Devin Singletary on the opening play of the second quarter in Buffalo’s game against Miami. The third-year starter topped the mark of 4,359 yards set by Drew Bledsoe in 2002. No other Bills player has topped 4,000.

Allen finished the drive with 7-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie to put Buffalo up 7-3. That increased his season total to 4,396 yards passing. The touchdown was his 35th passing of the season, extending the single-season record he set last weekend.

Allen has gone 9 of 13 for 76 yards with a touchdown and interception in three series.

Buffalo can grab the No. 2 seed in the AFC with a victory or a Steelers loss, and the Bills can fall no further than No. 3.

— John Wawrow reporting from Orchard Park, New York.

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1:35 p.m.

Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans limped off the field late in the first quarter of the Buccaneers' regular season finale against the Atlanta Falcons.

Evans appeared to hurt his left knee trying to catch a throw to the end zone from Tom Brady, slipping on the turf. The injury occurred one play after Evans made a 20-yard reception that made him the first player in NFL history to begin a career with seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

The receiver was eventually helped to feet and limped toward the tunnel to the locker with assistance from a trainer.

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1:30 p.m.

The Baltimore Ravens scored on their first two drives against the Cincinnati Bengals to take a 10-0 first-quarter lead.

A Justin Tucker field-goal capped the first Baltimore drive, and then Lamar Jackson threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Miles Boykin to extend the lead.

The Ravens can clinch a wild-card playoff spot with a win over the Bengals.

Bengals rookie receiver Tee Higgins injured his left hamstring on a pass play that was negated because of an offensive pass interference penalty on Cincinnati’s first drive. His return is questionable.

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1:15 p.m.

Cam Newton could be playing his final game in New England, but he has earned a place in the franchise’s record book.

Newton’s 49-yard run on the Patriots’ opening drive Sunday against the Jets was the longest by a quarterback in franchise history. Steven Grogan held the previous record, twice posting 41-yard runs.

With the run Newton also passed Grogan for the single-season team record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Newton entered the game 26 yards behind Grogan, who had 539 rushing yards in 1978.

The Patriots’ drive ended with a 7-yard TD pass from Newton to James White to put the Patriots in front 7-0.

— Kyle Hightower, reporting from Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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1:15 p.m.

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb went over 1,000 yards with style.

The Pro Bowler broke free on a 47-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers to eclipse 1,000 yards for the second straight season. The Browns will make the playoffs for the first time since 2002 with a win.

Chubb, who rushed for 1,494 yards last season, missed four games earlier this season with a sprained right knee.

As a rookie, Chubb went over 1,000 yards before he was thrown for a loss late in the season finale and finished with 996.

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12:10 p.m.

The Tennessee Titans will be trying to win their first AFC South title in 12 years without a defensive lineman.

Tennessee placed rookie Teair Tart on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday hours before playing in Houston needing a victory over the Texans (4-11) to clinch the division. Tart has played seven games this season and got his first start last week in a loss at Green Bay.

The Titans also will be without four-time Pro Bowl kicker Stephen Gostkowski who was placed on the COVID-19 list Monday. But three-time punter Brett Kern was activated off that list Saturday and will be available Sunday.

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