Saturday NFL News

Bucs clinch playoff berth; Dolphins win, Cards fall

UNDATED (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be part of the NFC postseason.

The Bucs have ended a 12-season playoff drought by racking up a team-record 588 yards in a 47-7 pounding of the Lions.

Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns before sitting out the second half. He was 22 of 27 for 348 yards to help Tampa Bay go ahead, 34-0, the largest halftime lead in franchise history.

Blaine Gabbert came in and hit Rob Gronkowski for a 25-yard score on his first snap. Gabbert added another scoring strike to Mike Evans as the Bucs improved to 10-5.

The Lions played most of the game without quarterback Matthew Stafford because of an ankle injury.

The Dolphins have moved a half-game ahead of the Ravens in the battle for an AFC wild-card berth.

Jason Sanders’ 44-yard field goal with one second remaining gave the Dolphins a 26-25 victory over the Raiders.

Ryan Fitzpatrick prolonged the winning drive by completing a 41-yard TD pass to Mack Hollins while being dragged down by a facemask. The pass and penalty put the ball on the Las Vegas 26, setting up the game-winning kick.

The Raiders thought they had won it when Daniel Carlson drilled a 22-yard field goal with 19 seconds left.

Fitzpatrick was inserted into the game in the fourth quarter for an ineffective Tua Tagovailoa, who threw for just 94 yards and a touchdown for the 10-5 Dolphins.

Meanwhile, the 49ers have damaged the Cardinals’ playoff hopes.

Third-string quarterback C.J. Beathard threw three touchdown passes and Jeff Wilson ran for 183 yards as San Francisco surprised Arizona 20-12.

The Niners came up with two big defensive stops late in the fourth quarter, including Ahkello Witherspoon’s interception of Kyler Murray’s pass in the end zone.

The 8-7 Cardinals no longer control their own destiny in the playoff race. If the Bears win their final two games, they will reach the playoffs because of a tiebreaker over the Cardinals.


COVID-19 decimates Browns’ roster ahead of Jets game

UNDATED (AP) — The Cleveland Browns will be very short-handed as they try to wrap up an AFC playoff berth against the New York Jets on Sunday.

Missing will be their four wide receivers and a pair of linebackers due to positive COVID-19 tests. The Browns delayed their flight to the New York area after starting linebacker B.J. Goodson tested positive. Contact tracing led the team to put receivers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge on the list, knocking them out of the game.

Rookie linebacker Jacob Phillips may have started for Goodson until he also landed on the COVID-19 list.

The Browns will have rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills as they try to lock up their first playoff appearance since 2002. Wills had been placed on the COVID list this week after having close contact with a person outside the organization.

Elsewhere around the NFL:

— Packers center Corey Linsley has been activated from injured reserve after missing his team’s past three games with a knee injury. Linsley had started in 68 consecutive regular-season games before getting hurt in a win over the Bears on Nov. 29.

— The Jets activated running back La’Mical Perine from injured reserve after the rookie missed four games with a high ankle sprain. Perine is second on the team with 202 yards rushing.

— Phillip Lindsay’s injury-marred season is over after the Broncos placed him on injured reserve Saturday. Lindsay ran for just over 500 yards and scored just one touchdown this season despite dealing with several injuries, including turf toe, a concussion, and hip and knee ailments.