The Las Vegas Raiders have fired general manager Mike Maycock in the wake of the playoff defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Las Vegas lost 19-26 in the AFC Wild Card game on Saturday, though NFL media have reported that the Raiders had already made their decision on Maycock.

He was appointed as GM in 2019 and leaves with a 25-24 record.

The Raiders are now searching for both a GM and a head coach, after they passed up the chance to keep on interim Rich Bisaccia.

Las Vegas won their last four games to secure an unlikely wildcard spot.

Jon Gruden resigned from his post in 2021 after it was revealed that he had written racist, misogynistic, and homophobic emails between 2011 and 2018.

Derek Carr hopes the Las Vegas Raiders will name Rich Bisaccia as permanent head coach following their elimination from the NFL playoffs.

Bisaccia, previously the special teams coordinator, has served as interim head coach since October when Jon Gruden resigned.

After steading the ship he led the Raiders into the postseason with four straight wins down the stretch but the team's hopes were ended in the Wild Card round on Saturday.

The home Cincinnati Bengals held on to triumph 26-19 and celebrate a first postseason win for 31 years, leaving the Raiders still waiting to end their own drought which has run since 2002.

Carr, who only has one year left on his contract, threw an interception on fourth-and-goal with 12 seconds remaining after earlier finding Zay Jones in the end zone as his team attempted to recover from 14 points behind.

The quarterback completed 29 of 54 passes and hopes it is Bisaccia who returns in 2022 as the Raiders begin to turn their attention to next season.

"I think we can all think that he's the right guy," said Carr, per ESPN. 

"He has proven that people listen to him. Our team listens to him and I love him so much, I'm thankful for him. 

"All those things will be decisions that I don't make, I don't get to make. I just play quarterback, but with everything that went on, if you really look at what happened, all the pieces missing, everything that changed.

"Yeah, he held it together."

As well as Gruden's exit, Carr discussed the release of leading receiver Henry Ruggs III and a host of injuries suffered by Raiders receivers and offensive linemen in a tumultuous year.

"You go on and on and on and on, and that's just offense," he said.

"The fact that that staff kept everything together and kept us competitive and kept us finding ways to win football games, I think that's what our organization is about, right? 

"So, we'll see what happens. We know what we want to have happen. But, again, we're Raiders. We're going to play football, but we just hope it, obviously, we hope it's for somebody special."

Asked about his own future, Carr cited his agent's strong relationship with the team and added: "Lord knows there's been a lot of things to communicate about, right?

"When the time comes, I never want a face-to-face. I'm going to play quarterback, but my message will be talked about.

"I'm not going to go to dinner and say, 'We have to do something.' I'm not that guy. I'll let my voice be heard, but in a different way."

Star pass-rusher Maxx Crosby also spoke up for Bisaccia after the game.

"If it was up to me, I think everyone in the world knows what my decision would be," he said. "One of the best people I know.

"I love Rich. You know, I'm biased, obviously, but he's a great coach, he came in and got us to 10 wins. We came on the road, on a short week, and gave Cincinnati everything they could handle."

Bisaccia would not be drawn on his job chances, nor did he discuss the controversial Bengals touchdown which saw Tyler Boyd catch a Joe Burrow pass seemingly after a whistle had been blown by game officials.

"I'm just thinking about those guys in that locker room that played the game with their heart and soul out there like that and had a chance to win at the end," Bisaccia said.

"We just ran out of time. We did some uncharacteristic things with some penalties and gave up some drives and didn't capitalise when we had it in the red zone at times. So it just didn't go our way."

On the TD controversy, he added of the officials: "I think that's a good crew. 

"There's a lot of things that went on in the game both ways. I got enough problems with my job, I can't do the officiating, too."

The Raiders' Darren Waller had seven catches for 76 yards, while Josh Jacobs had 83 on the ground at Paul Brown Stadium.

Zac Taylor thanked the Cincinnati Bengals for their trust and patience in him after his team ended a 31-year wait for a victory in the NFL playoffs.

The Bengals held on to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 on Sunday as the Wild Card round began.

Cincinnati led by 14 points towards the end of the first half but had to wait until Germaine Pratt intercepted Derek Carr on fourth down with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter until they could be sure of a massive win.

The Bengals had their lost eight straight postseason games coming into the game, their last win coming back in the 1990 season against the Houston Oilers.

Ending that drought may not have looked likely after Taylor went 6-25-1 across his first two seasons, but the head coach received a vote of confidence from president Mike Brown after the 2020 season and oversaw an impressive turnaround.

The Bengals went from fourth to first in the AFC North in 2021 to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Joe Burrow produced a fine season at quarterback and threw for 244 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first playoff game.

"Personally, if I coached at any other organization in football, I probably wouldn't be here right now in the third year," Taylor said after the famous win over the Raiders. 

"That's the truth.

"Some of them [the players] might not understand the significance of what happened.

"The city can finally enjoy this team and take the pressure off of the last 31 years. This was significant for a lot of people.

"We've got all the faith in the world in Joe, so there's never any panic on our end.

"Had they been down seven at the end of the game and scored there to tie it, and then we'd have had to kick a field goal to win it, I promise you my heart rate would have been as easy as could be.

"We trust our players - someone is going to step up and win that game for us. I wasn't surprised when it happened."

Taylor dedicated a game ball to owner Brown and another to the city of Cincinnati, with balls being sent out to some prominent local venues after the win.

"The next one [game ball] is a new tradition we start with our first playoff win," added Taylor.

"It goes to the city of Cincinnati and we pass this thing out at bars across Cincinnati and we let the fans celebrate with us. 

"Every playoff game from here on out, the city shares in this with us."

Burrow, who connected with C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Boyd in the endzone, insisted the Bengals were not done yet.

"It's exciting, but this was expected," the QB said. "This isn't the icing on top of the cake or anything, this was the cake. So, we're moving on.

"It's exciting for the city and the state, but we're not going to dwell on that. We're moving forward, whoever we got to play next, we'll be ready to go out and execute the game plan."

Star rookie Ja'Marr Chase had game-leading totals of nine catches and 116 yards for the Bengals, adding a further 23 on the ground.

The Cincinnati Bengals claimed their first playoffs win in 31 years led by Joe Burrow's two touchdown passes as they got past the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 in Saturday's wild card game.

Burrow completed 24 of 34 passes for 244 yards with two touchdowns, although the second for Tyler Boyd was controversial after an official's whistle was heard, presumably for out of bounds, during the play yet it stood.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr made 29 of 54 passes for 310 yards and one touchdown but he threw an interception on the final play as he drove his side to the nine-yard line, with Germaine Pratt picking it off.

All three TDs came in the first half, with Burrow finding CJ Uzomah with a lazer for a first-quarter touchdown before opening up a 20-6 lead with his pass for Boyd.

Carr's 80-yard drive ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass for Zay Jones on the stroke of half-time to close the gap.

Rookie Evan McPherson went four of four to help the Bengals clinch victory, staving off the Raiders' late push to make it five straight wins.

Ja'Marr Chase was important for the Bengals too, with nine receptions for 116 yards and three rushing carries for 23 yards.

The Raiders, who have endured a difficult season, will have to wait to end their 41-year playoffs road win drought.

Sequels, necessary or otherwise, tend to be widely popular. Whether it's in the world of boxing or on the big screen, audiences are consistently drawn in by the prospect of a second act.

But they are not quite as keenly anticipated in the NFL playoffs.

When it gets to January, there is a desire to see matchups that have not been witnessed in the regular season. That is a small part of the allure of the postseason.

Yet the opening day of 'Super Wild Card Weekend' will serve up one sequel and the third and final act of an AFC East trilogy.

Even though the first playoff games of the 2021 campaign are repeats, there is reason to believe they will be compelling. Here Stats Perform previews Saturday's action.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Cincinnati Bengals

The Raiders' visit to Cincinnati sees a matchup of two quarterbacks playing in their first postseason game, albeit at markedly different stages of their careers.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr helped a team then based in Oakland to reach the playoffs in 2016, only for him to then miss out on their Wild Card defeat to the Houston Texans due to injury. Carr has made 127 career regular-season starts. Only two quarterbacks have ever had more prior to their first playoff start: Fran Tarkenton (174) and John Brodie (134).

Meanwhile, Joe Burrow led the Bengals to the playoffs in just his second season in the NFL and goes into his postseason debut in red-hot form. He has 971 passing yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions over his last two games. This is the 49th instance of a player having at least eight TD passes and no INTs over a two-game span. Burrow has the most passing yards of those 49 instances, over 100 yards more than the next closest (Ben Roethlisberger, 862 in 2014).

Burrow was the most accurate quarterback in the NFL by well-thrown percentage (min. 200 attempts) in the regular season. He delivered an accurate well-thrown ball on 86.5 per cent of attempts, though in Carr he must outduel the man third on that same list (82.1 per cent).

Should he do so, Burrow will give the Bengals their first playoff win since the 1990 campaign. They have lost eight straight playoff games, while their span without a playoff win is the longest active streak in the NFL, and the fifth-longest streak in NFL history. Only one team ever lost nine straight playoff games: the Detroit Lions, who have lost their last nine postseason games.

New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills

The Patriots and the Bills playing for the third time in a little over a month may feel repetitive, but this game actually marks a playoff first.

It is the first playoff game since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 in which the Pats and Bills have met.

Their lone playoff clash was an AFL tiebreaker in 1963, after the teams finished the season tied for first place in the Eastern Division (both 7-6-1). The Boston Patriots won that playoff game, 26-8, at Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium.

With lows of minus 16 degrees Celsius expected in Buffalo on Saturday, a low-scoring close game would not be a surprise. The Bills (289) and Patriots (303) are ranked one-two in the NFL this season in fewest points allowed. Buffalo allowed the fewest passing touchdowns (12), and New England tied Denver for the fewest rushing touchdowns allowed (nine).

Yet if the Bills come out on the right side of the ledger, recent history suggests they will do so by a double-digit margin.

The Bills won 11 games this season and all their wins were by at least 12 points. Buffalo's average victory margin (22.1 points) was the highest in the NFL (New England: 2nd at 21.4).

The Las Vegas Raiders sideline discussed settling for a tie before completing their dramatic playoff-clinching win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Concluding an incredible Week 18 in the NFL, the Raiders sealed their first playoff berth since the 2016 season as Daniel Carlson's game-winning field goal settled a 35-32 classic as time expired in overtime.

The kick sent the Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers to the postseason and knocked out the Chargers, who had earlier recovered from 15 points down in the fourth quarter.

A stunning victory for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the Indianapolis Colts earlier on Sunday opened up the possibility of both the Raiders and Chargers settling for a tie in their winner-take-all season finale and sending both to the postseason at the expense of the Steelers.

The topic had been hotly discussed leading up to the game, with Chargers coach Brandon Staley emphatically ruling out such a scenario.

But that possibility suddenly looked likely as the game remained tied in the final minute of the extra period after both teams traded field goals.

There was a final twist, though, as Josh Jacobs' 10-yard run on third down, after a controversial decision by Staley to call a timeout and stop the clock with 38 seconds left, put Carlson in position to boot the Chargers out of the postseason with a 47-yard kick. 

The Raiders acknowledged they had pondered the prospect of settling for a tie as the game progressed and thought the Chargers were doing the same given they had not called timeout on a previous Jacobs run in overtime.

"We were going to take the field goal and try to win it," said Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia.

"But we were certainly talking about it [settling for a tie] on the sideline.

"We ran the ball there [near the end of OT], and they didn't call timeout, so I think they were probably thinking the same thing." 

Bisaccia hailed the Raiders' spirit after the team won their final four games against the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Colts and Chargers by a total of just 12 points.

He said: "We just found a way to have a chance to win at the end and we have been in this situation before.

"Derek Carr has been in two-minute situations before; he's been in four-minute situations before. Our defense has had to come up with stops at the end of the game.

"So you just can't say enough about how this team prepares. I just know they believe in each other when they go out there. They don't blink."

Asked whether the Raiders would have punted or taken a knee on fourth down if Jacobs had not got them into field goal range, Bisaccia said, "I don't know – it didn't happen!" before smiling and leaving his exchange with reporters.

Staley, meanwhile, was left to explain his thinking with the timeout after the Chargers fell agonisingly short.

"We needed to get in the right grouping, we felt like they were going to run the ball, so we wanted to get our best 11 personnel run defense in," said Staley.

"Make that substitution so that we could get a play where we would deepen the field goal."

"I had never been rooting for a tie more in my life,'' added Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who racked up 64 pass attempts, completing 34 for 383 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

"That's the unfortunate part of being so close.''

The Raiders will face the Cincinnati Bengals on Wild Card weekend when the Steelers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

Carr, who threw for two touchdowns, will finally play in a playoff game for the first time after starting 127 games in the regular season.

"I'm excited, thinking about the next team we play, and then everything hurts," he said.

"It feels cool, it's awesome, but we've got to play a team that already beat us [the Bengals], so it's going to be tough.

"I just have this weird feeling in my heart like, 'The job's not done.' Like my favourite player, Kobe [Bryant], said, 'Job's not done'."

The Las Vegas Raiders sealed their first playoff berth since the 2016 season as Daniel Carlson's game-winning field goal settled a 35-32 classic and sent them and the Pittsburgh Steelers to the postseason and knocked out the Los Angeles Chargers.

A stunning victory for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the Indianapolis Colts earlier on Sunday opened up the possibility of both the Raiders and Chargers settling for a tie in their winner-take-all season finale and sending both to the postseason at the expense of the Steelers.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley emphatically ruled out such a scenario earlier in the week and it appeared as if a stalemate would not be a possibility when the Raiders led by 15 in the fourth quarter.

But Chargers Pro Bowl quarterback Justin Herbert led them back to set up overtime and the game remained tied in the final minute of the extra period after both teams traded field goals.

There was a final twist, though, as Josh Jacobs' 10-yard run on third down, after an inexplicable decision by Staley to call a timeout and stop the clock, put Carlson in position to boot the Chargers out of the postseason, which he did with a 47-yard kick. 

The Raiders will face the Cincinnati Bengals on Wild Card weekend when the Steelers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

Las Vegas surged into a 10-0 first-quarter lead but a pair of touchdowns from Austin Ekeler flipped things in the Chargers' favour.

A scoring drive that saw the Chargers allow the Raiders to convert on third down and 23 and Las Vegas benefit from a contentious pass interference penalty enabled the hosts to respond through Josh Jacobs' touchdown plunge before half-time.

Staley paid the price for a dubious decision to go for it on fourth down from Los Angeles' own 18-yard line as the Raiders tacked on a third-quarter field goal.

The Chargers' hopes were circling the drain after Hunter Renfrow caught his second touchdown pass and Herbert was intercepted by former Charger Casey Hayward, the Raiders then adding another field goal to make it 29-14.

But Herbert connected on a 23-yard dart to Josh Palmer and succeeded with the subsequent two-point conversion, before leading the Chargers on a Herculean 19-play drive that ended with him hitting Mike Williams for a 12-yard score as time expired to force overtime.

Carlson restored the Raiders' advantage with his leg, only for the Chargers to respond in kind after a drive on which they became the first team in 30 years to convert sixth fourth downs in the same game.

Yet Herbert's remarkable efforts were undone as poor run defense and worse clock management teed up Carlson to end the Chargers' season.

The 18th and final round of the NFL regular season is upon us and there remains plenty of intrigue in a frantic scramble to make it to the playoffs.

Five teams from the AFC are competing for two postseason berths, while one spot is up for grabs in the NFC. 

Away from the Super Bowl picture, there are a number of other intriguing subplots ahead of an action-packed weekend.

Stats Perform previews some of the standout games and the best of the rest.


Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) @ Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)

The winner of this contest is guaranteed a playoff spot, while there is also a scenario whereby a tie could see both advance. Interestingly, six of the previous seven games in Oakland/Las Vegas have been decided by three points or fewer.

The Raiders beat the Colts on a last-second field goal last week to prevail 23-20 – their fifth win of the season by four points or fewer, tied with the Packers and the Titans for the most in the NFL.

Justin Herbert set the single-season passing touchdowns record for the Chargers last week with his 35th of the campaign. He now requires 172 yards this week to also take the passing-yards record.

The Chargers' 34-13 win against the Broncos was their fourth victory in a win while scoring 30 points or more. They have averaged 33.9 points per game in wins this season, second most in the NFL behind the Bills (35.1).

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

The Steelers have won three in a row against the Ravens, with all three of those victories being decided by less than a touchdown, the most recent coming by a 20-19 scoreline last month.

Last week's 12-point win over the Browns was the Steelers' largest of the season, though not since 1969 have they gone a full campaign without winning by at least 13 points.

The Ravens are coming off the back of a 20-19 loss to the Rams, their league-leading eighth game decided by three or fewer points this season – no team in NFL history has had more than nine games decided by three or fewer points.

Najee Harris rushed for 188 of the Steelers' 190 rushing yards against the Browns and accounts for 77.9 per cent of his side's rush yards this season, the highest share of any player in the NFL.

 

Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) @ Denver Broncos (7-9)

The Chiefs will be looking to respond to their defeat against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 17 when they take on the Broncos, whom they have defeated in 12 successive meetings – the league's joint-longest active winning streak along with the New England Patriots against the New York Jets.

Despite last week's defeat, the Chiefs have scored at least 30 points in four successive games, which is the longest-running streak in the NFL and one short of their all-time record of five set in 2004 and 2018.

Kansas lead the way in the NFL with 391 first downs this season and, with nine more this weekend, will become the fifth team in the last 70 years with 400 or more first downs in a season.

The Broncos were defeated by the Chargers last time out to ensure a losing season for the fifth straight year, an unwanted run they last went on from 1963 to 1972 with 10 straight losing seasons.

Elsewhere...

The Jaguars require a victory against the Colts to avoid becoming the fourth team in the last 30 years to have consecutive seasons with two or fewer wins. The Colts have lost three games this season by exactly three points – the Seahawks are the only team this season that has failed to win a single game by three or fewer points with more losses in such games (0-5).

The Rams can clinch their third NFC West title in six seasons season since moving back to Los Angeles with victory over the 49ers. However, the Niners have won each of their last five meetings with the Rams.

The Falcons have three successive wins against the Saints in Atlanta and are seeking a fourth in a row for the first time since between 1991 and 1994. Following defeat to the Bills last week, the Falcons have alternated between wins and losses over their last seven games.

The Bills can clinch their second consecutive division title with victory against the Jets, following on from a previous run of 24 straight seasons without finishing top. All 10 of Buffalo's wins this season have come by 12 points or more.

Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley will not countenance a "complicit" tie should such a result benefit both his team and the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

The AFC playoff picture is an intriguing one heading into Week 18 and a favourable result at Allegiant Stadium could take both teams into the postseason.

If the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens, and the Jacksonville Jaguars – fresh from a 50-10 blowout defeat to the New England Patriots – upset the 9-7 Indianapolis Colts, the scenario in Nevada becomes straightforward.

Should those results fall into place, a tie between the Raiders and Chargers would send both to the playoffs at the expense of the other remaining challengers.

However, Staley is not prepared to engage in any such approach regardless of the bigger picture come kickoff.

"That's a pretty loaded scenario," he told The Rich Eisen Show. "That is an all-time coffee shop scenario. I feel like I'm with my buddies at the University of Dayton.

"I think we all respect the game and the NFL shield and the integrity of this game far too much to be complicit in something like that. This game matters too much to too many people, and we want to play our best and be proud of the result one way or another.

"We're going to do everything we can to go win this game, and play the way we're capable of playing. I hope all the fans and everybody who loves the NFL will be proud of the game on Sunday.

"What makes it so special is the competition and the level of integrity and respect that it stands for."

The Chargers and Raiders head into the contest evenly matched, both standing at 9-7 with Las Vegas on a three-game winning streak.

Matthew Stafford inspired the Los Angeles Rams to move one step closer to securing their second straight NFC West title with a 20-19 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The defeat for the Ravens, who were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for the third straight game, leaves them perilously close to slipping out of the Wild Card hunt after their fifth consecutive loss.

Justin Tucker's field goal had put the Ravens up 19-14 with 4:33 left but Stafford launched a game-winning 75-yard drive to overhaul the deficit.

Stafford completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Higbee and a 24-yarder to Cooper Kupp, before finding Odell Beckham Jr twice in a row, with the latter being the decisive TD.

The Rams QB finished with 26 of 35 passes for two touchdowns but also two interceptions, including a Chuck Clark first-quarter pick six, as well as a sack.

Clark's TD was the Ravens' only for the game, as QB Tyler Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards.

Rams running back Sony Michel had 19 carries for 74 yards including a TD along with wide receiver Kupp with six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Over a month ago the Ravens had been 8-3 and looking good for the AFC top seed but now they are scrapping for a playoffs spot after a series of narrow defeats and desperate for Jackson's return.

Carlson field goal gives Raiders edge in Wild Card race

The Las Vegas Raiders claimed a crucial last-gasp win from Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal in the AFC Wild Card race with a 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz cleared protocols for the game but completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, while running back Jonathan Taylor had one TD from 20 carries for 108 yards, with the defeat marking the first this season when he has rushed more than 100 yards.

The Raiders pipped the Colts in the final quarter, trailing 17-13 at the final break with QB Derek Carr hitting Hunter Renfrow on a fourth-down play for a TD, before Michael Badgley squared the game with a 41-yard field goal, only for Carlson to win it with one from 33 yards as time expired. The Raiders improve to 9-7, pulling ahead of the 9-7 Colts in the AFC Wild Card race.

 

Bengals clinch maiden AFC North title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first-ever AFC North title as Evan McPherson kicked a late 20-yard field goal to secure a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, while QB Joe Burrow threw 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Burrow got the better of opposing QB Patrick Mahomes who completed 26 of 35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs, who have already won the AFC West title, moved to 11-5.

 

Brady cool after Brown meltdown

Tom Brady was cool in a crisis after Antonio Brown stormed off the field as the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to win 28-24 over the New York Jets.

Brady completed 34 of 50 attempts for 410 yards and three touchdowns, including leading them on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to clinch the victory.

The game was marred after Brown's meltdown, storming off the field in the third quarter with the Bucs 24-10 down, with head coach Bruce Arians confirming "he is no longer a Buc" after the game.

Matthew Stafford inspired the Los Angeles Rams to move one step closer to securing their second straight NFC West title with a 20-19 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The defeat for the Ravens, who were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for the third straight game, leaves them perilously close to slipping out of the Wild Card hunt after their fifth consecutive loss.

Justin Tucker's field goal had put the Ravens up 19-14 with 4:33 left but Stafford launched a game-winning 75-yard drive to overhaul the deficit.

Stafford completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Higbee and a 24-yarder to Cooper Kupp, before finding Odell Beckham Jr twice in a row, with the latter being the decisive TD.

The Rams QB finished with 26 of 35 passes for two touchdowns but also two interceptions, including a Chuck Clark first-quarter pick six, as well as a sack.

Clark's TD was the Ravens' only for the game, as QB Tyler Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards.

Rams running back Sony Michel had 19 carries for 74 yards including a TD along with wide receiver Kupp with six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Over a month ago the Ravens had been 8-3 and looking good for the AFC top seed but now they are scrapping for a playoffs spot after a series of narrow defeats and desperate for Jackson's return.

Carlson field goal gives Raiders edge in Wild Card race

The Las Vegas Raiders claimed a crucial last-gasp win from Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal in the AFC Wild Card race with a 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz cleared protocols for the game but completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, while running back Jonathan Taylor had one TD from 20 carries for 108 yards, with the defeat marking the first this season when he has rushed more than 100 yards.

The Raiders pipped the Colts in the final quarter, trailing 17-13 at the final break with QB Derek Carr hitting Hunter Renfrow on a fourth-down play for a TD, before Michael Badgley squared the game with a 41-yard field goal, only for Carlson to win it with one from 33 yards as time expired. The Raiders improve to 9-7, pulling ahead of the 9-7 Colts in the AFC Wild Card race.

 

Bengals clinch maiden AFC North title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first-ever AFC North title as Evan McPherson kicked a late 20-yard field goal to secure a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, while QB Joe Burrow threw 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Burrow got the better of opposing QB Patrick Mahomes who completed 26 of 35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs, who have already won the AFC West title, moved to 11-5.

 

Brady cool after Brown meltdown

Tom Brady was cool in a crisis after Antonio Brown stormed off the field as the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to win 28-24 over the New York Jets.

Brady completed 34 of 50 attempts for 410 yards and three touchdowns, including leading them on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to clinch the victory.

The game was marred after Brown's meltdown, storming off the field in the third quarter with the Bucs 24-10 down, with head coach Bruce Arians confirming "he is no longer a Buc" after the game.

The Baltimore Ravens are in danger of letting their season get away from them after a four-game losing run and things do not appear to get any easier with the Los Angeles Rams visiting on Sunday.

John Harbaugh's men have a positive recent record against the Rams though, and will need to properly utilise the impressive form of Mark Andrews.

The Indianapolis Colts can clinch their playoff spot with a win against the Las Vegas Raiders, while a potentially fascinating encounter in the race for the playoffs between the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos will take place at SoFi Stadium.

Stats Perform takes a look at the standout statistics ahead of the penultimate week of the NFL's regular season.

Los Angeles Rams (11-4) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-7)

The Rams have lost four straight games against the Ravens (outscored 120-29 in those games) and are 2-5 all-time against them - Baltimore the only franchise in the league the Rams have never won a road game against (0-3).

Rams running back Sony Michel ran for 131 yards and a touchdown in last week's win against the Minnesota Vikings, two yards from tying a career-high set in 2018 with the New England Patriots. He has 423 yards in his last four games after a combined 305 in his first 11 games.

The Ravens lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 41-21 last week, allowing 525 passing yards, the most in franchise history. They also finished with just 39 rushing yards of their own, their fewest since a franchise-low 11 in 2016.

Andrews had eight catches for 125 yards and a touchdown last week. He now has three straight games with at least 100 receiving yards and at least one touchdown. He is the only Raven to ever have three such games in a row, and just the second tight end in NFL history (Jimmy Graham in 2013).

Las Vegas Raiders (8-7) @ Indianapolis Colts (9-6)

The Raiders were 7-2 in their first nine games against the Colts but have gone just 2-6 since then (dating back to 2004). They won 31-24 in their last trip to Indianapolis in 2019 but lost at home the following season.

After beating the Broncos last week, the Raiders have won back-to-back games despite scoring 17 points or fewer in each. It is the first time they have done so since 1991 – those victories came against the Broncos and the Colts.

The Colts beat the Arizona Cardinals 22-16 last week, improving to 8-2 in their last 10 games after starting the season 1-4. Their 31.2 points per game since Week 6 leads the NFL.

Jonathan Taylor had 108 rushing yards in his last outing, his ninth display this season with at least 100 yards – the Colts have won all nine of those games. Indianapolis has not won a game in which he has been held under the century mark this season.

Denver Broncos (7-8) @ Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)

The Broncos beat the Chargers 28-13 in Week 12, their largest win over them since a 23-7 triumph in the 2005 season. Fourteen of the last 21 games between these teams have been decided by one possession (eight points or fewer).

Drew Lock is expected to start at quarterback again after starting his first game of the season last time out. Since the start of 2020, Lock has the lowest completion percentage among the 29 quarterbacks with 500 or more pass attempts (57.6 per cent).

The Chargers allowed 189 rushing yards in a 41-29 loss to the Houston Texans, who entered the game ranked last in the NFL in rushing yards per game. The Chargers are allowing 140.3 rushing yards per game, on pace for their worst mark since the 1987 strike season (144.7).

Justin Jackson had a career-high 162 scrimmage yards against the Texans while filling in for Austin Ekeler. He has 261 scrimmage yards in his last two games, which Ekeler has done just once in a two-game span this season (264 yards from Weeks 4-5).

Elsewhere...

Atlanta Falcons (7-8) QB Matt Ryan will look to add to his 3,555 yards thrown overall this season when he faces the Buffalo Bills (9-6). It is his 12th consecutive season with at least 3,500 passing yards. He joins Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Tom Brady in an exclusive club to achieve the passing milestone in that many straight campaigns.

The Patriots (9-6) have lost at least two December games in each of the last four seasons (3-2 in 2018, 2-3 in 2019, 1-3 in 2020, 1-2 in 2021). New England, who host the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13), have more December losses over the last four seasons (7-10) than in the previous 15 seasons combined (56-9, 2003-2017).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4) star Brady is 30-7 as a starter against the New York Jets (4-11) in his career (including postseason). That is the second-most wins by any QB against a single opponent behind only his own record against the Bills (33). Brady is 7-0 in his last seven against the Jets, winning by an average of 23.3 points. 

The Kansas City Chiefs - who can clinch the AFC's top seed if they avoid defeat against the Bengals and the Tennessee Titans lose in Miami - have lost their last five games in Cincinnati, with their last win there coming in September 1984.

Derek Carr was afraid he might have squandered the Las Vegas Raiders' last chance to win Monday when he threw an interception deep in Cleveland territory with the Browns leading by a point. 

The quarterback pleaded with his defense afterward to get him the ball back, vowing to win the game if they did, and that's exactly what happened. 

After Las Vegas forced a three-and-out, Carr drove the Raiders downfield and set up Daniel Carlson for a 48-yard field goal that gave the visitors a 16-14 victory as time expired. 

"After that interception, I told the guys 'Please, I promise we’ll win it, just get the ball back,'" Carr told reporters. "And the defense did, and we were able to go back down the field and win the game." 

Carr was trying to hit Zay Jones deep down the field when Greedy Williams picked it off, and Jones was frustrated on the sidelines after the play, but Carr made sure the receiver knew there was still football to be played. 

"I went to him right after that pick and I said, 'I'm coming right back to you and we're gonna win this game,'" Carr said. "I knew I needed him, and I wanted him to know, not only do I need you, but I believe in you." 

Sure enough, Jones was Carr's main target on the game-winning drive, catching a 12-yard pass for a key third-down conversion, then seeing a 17-yard reception called back by a holding penalty before a 15-yard connection in the closing seconds set up Carlson for the winning kick. 

"I trust him," Carr said of Jones. "I'm just happy that we got the ball back not for my own sake, but so that he could get the ball back in his hands. He won the game for us. It was awesome." 

Victory was especially sweet for the Raiders after several players had publicly aired their displeasure with the NFL moving the game back two days due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Browns facility. 

Cleveland were missing eight starters, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, not to mention head coach Kevin Stefanski, but the Raiders desperately needed a win having lost five of their previous six games. 

The victory left them at 7-7 and level with the Browns, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos in the AFC playoff picture, but they own the tiebreaker over those teams for the 10th spot and are within a game of the six teams ahead of them. 

"It's been a long time coming to win a game like that in the end," said Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia. "We understand the situation we're in and what the playoff race looks like."

The Raiders kept their playoff hopes alive Monday as Daniel Carlson's 48-yard field goal on the game's final play gave Las Vegas a 16-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns. 

Carlson's third field goal of the game was a devastating blow to the Browns, who were on the brink of what would have been a remarkable victory despite playing without eight starters and head coach Kevin Stefanski in a game pushed back two days due to COVID-19 concerns. 

But the home side were left to lament what might have been after Derek Carr engineered the 28th game-winning final drive of his career to put Carlson in range for the winning kick. 

The quarterback got the Raiders off to a hot start, completing his first nine passes of the game as Las Vegas rolled to a touchdown on their opening possession, but the visitors could not find the end zone again as Cleveland's defense stiffened. 

In the meantime, the Browns got their offense on track after star running back Nick Chubb was limited to just 14 yards on six carries in the first half. 

Chubb got the Browns on the scoreboard with a four-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter and played a key part in the drive that set up third-string quarterback Nick Mullens' six-yard TD pass to Harrison Bryant that put the Browns up 14-13 with 3:45 to play. 

The Browns (7-7) intercepted a long heave from Carr on the ensuing Raiders possession but could not run out the clock, giving Las Vegas one last chance at a desperately needed win. 

The Raiders (7-7) had lost five of six games entering Monday, including an ugly 48-9 defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs in their previous game, and another defeat would have put them on the brink of elimination from playoff contention. 

John Johnson III was the only Cleveland Brown activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, leaving the team without their first and second-choice quarterbacks.

Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum have both been in health and safety protocols ahead of the delayed game against the Las Vegas Raiders, which had been set to be played on Saturday until the Browns' coronavirus outbreak prompted a reschedule.

Neither player was able to return in time to face the Raiders, although safety Johnson's involvement comes as a boost.

Nick Mullens therefore comes in for his first start as a Brown, having been waived by the Philadelphia Eagles at the start of the year – after leaving the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent – but restricted to the role of spectator until now.

Mullens made 16 starts across 19 games in three years with the Niners but had a miserable 5-11 record when deputising for Jimmy Garoppolo as a starter.

An injury-hit San Francisco had to rely on Mullens for eight starts in 2020, when he threw for 2,437 yards, 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Mullens was successful with 78.4 per cent of his pass attempts last season, matching Mayfield's output as Cleveland's starter in 2021.

However, the much-maligned Mayfield is able to push the ball downfield with his 8.95 air yards per attempt, ranking sixth in 2021 among NFL quarterbacks with 50 attempts or more. In 2020, Mullens' 6.59 air yards were the fifth-fewest among the same group.

Keenum, who has had 48 attempts this year, throws an accurate ball with 80.4 per cent of passes for just 6.78 air yards. He deputised for Mayfield in the Week 7 win over the Denver Broncos – the only game Mayfield has not started in the past three seasons – but is also out.

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