Randy Bullock's last-gasp 44-yard field goal has completed the Tennessee Titans' brilliant come-from-behind 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday.

The Titans trailed 10-0 at half-time but fought back with two second-half touchdowns from D'Onta Freeman and A.J. Brown, on his return from a chest injury, to take the lead.

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed 26 of 35 passes for 322 yards, threw his only TD pass for Brandon Aiyuk to square the game in the fourth quarter before Bullock's late field goal with four seconds left after the Titans expertly managed the clock.

The result means the Titans can clinch the AFC South division if the Arizona Cardinals beat the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

The 49ers were left to rue costly Garoppolo errors, having thrown two interceptions as well as over-throwing a golden opportunity for a TD.

Ryan Tannehill managed the clock brilliantly after Aiyuk squared the game up with 2:20 left, with the Titans quarterback going on a 23-yard run in the decisive drive.

Tannehill threw 22 of 29 passes for 209 yards while Brown finished with 11 receptions for 145 yards.

The result leaves the 49ers with an 8-7 record to sit third in the NFC West.

Ian Book is used to the big stage.

As the starting quarterback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Book played in one of the most high-profile environments in college football.

But more often than not during his career in South Bend, Indiana, the cards were stacked in his favour.

On Monday Night Football in Week 16, they will be firmly against him, with Book asked to make his first NFL start against the Miami Dolphins after both Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian were reportedly placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

It means that the Saints' playoff hopes hinge largely on Book's ability to rise to the occasion against one of the hottest teams in the NFL.

The Dolphins have won six straight games to move to 7-7, catapulting themselves into the playoff race in the AFC.

And, with Miami's defense ranked sixth in the NFL with 80 opponent negative plays forced, Book is sure to come under plenty of fire.

The Saints will likely, therefore, look to make use of Book's mobility, perhaps with a similar gameplan to the one they would have drawn up for Hill.

Book rushed for 1,031 yards across his final two seasons with Notre Dame, good for 10th in the FBS in that span.

In his final collegiate season in 2020, Book had a pickable pass percentage of 2.12, the sixth-best among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts.

However, though, he excelled at avoiding turnover-worthy plays in college, the Saints may look to decrease the risk factor substantially.

A healthy dose of running back Alvin Kamara should be anticipated. His big-play rate of 19.5 per cent as a receiver is the third-best for backs with at least 50 targets.

Kamara's versatility should be a significant help to Book, as will the coaching of Sean Payton, who has his team in the hunt despite a raft of injury issues, and the play of a defense that shut out Tom Brady last week. 

Book is a player used to having it all on his shoulders at the collegiate level, however, for the Saints to move to 8-7 on Monday, they will surely try to attempt to take the pressure firmly off their fourth-round pick.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson saw his chances of playing in Sunday's key divisional game against the Cincinnati Bengals decrease when he missed practice again on Thursday.

Former NFL MVP Jackson missed the Ravens' 31-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 15 due to an ankle injury that he sustained in the December 12 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Jackson did not practice at all last week before missing the Packers' game, having been carted off against the Browns.

And it is backup Tyler Huntley who is taking first-team reps again this week, with offensive coordinator Greg Roman acknowledging the missed practice time for Jackson was becoming a concern.

Baltimore, who have lost three games in a row, are second in the AFC North behind the Bengals as both teams hold 8-6 records with three regular-season games remaining.

"We're taking it day-to-day," Roman told reporters about Jackson.

"I'm not sure of the availability at this moment but I think it does become a concern for any player when they miss time. 

"You really want them out there working on their craft, but these things happen. It is a fact of life in the NFL and you have to work through them. 

"Before the Denver game, he missed Wednesday and Thursday, and I thought he played a great game. So, he has the capability to do that. We have all the confidence in him and Tyler."

Roman added he was preparing a flexible gameplan in case Jackson is able to play in a more limited capacity than usual.

"If he can't move very well, then we'll certainly lean on other things than trying to have him move too much," the OC said.

Jackson has thrown for 2,882 yards and 16 touchdowns this season along with a career-high 13 interceptions. The 24-year-old has also rushed for two scores – the lowest of his career – on 133 carries in 2021.

The Ravens have won five of their seven meetings with the Bengals since 2018, although they were crushed 41-17 by their rivals in Week 7 this year.

Each of the Ravens' three consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Browns and Packers have come by either one or two points. 

Per Stats Perform data, only two other teams in NFL history have lost three consecutive games by two points or less - the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2002 and the Chicago Cardinals in 1932.

Dalvin Cook has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings sit second in NFC North after improving to 7-7 with a 17-9 victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday, but have suffered a major blow ahead of their clash with Los Angeles Rams in Week 16.

Mike Zimmer's side face the 10-4 Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, however, they will now likely have to turn to Alexander Mattison to lead their rushing attack in a pivotal game.

Cook's absence would rob the Vikings, who currently occupy the third and final NFC Wild Card spot with three games left, of a back who leads the NFC, and ranks third in the NFL, with 1,067 rushing yards.

Cook, who has 226 carries and six scores on the season, joins numerous Pro Bowlers who have been added to the COVID-19 list this week, including the likes of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.

Mattison, who was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, is the favourite to replace Cook as the starter, though Kene Nwangwu and Wayne Gallman are on the active roster and could see a share of the workload.

Mattison has three starts this season, in which he has totalled 26 carries for 112 yards, 25 carries for 113 yards, and 22 carries for 90 yards.

The Vikings have also activated wide receiver Dan Chisena from the COVID-19 list, while they have signed running back A.J. Rose Jr. to the practice squad.

The NFL's updated COVID-19 protocols have made it easier for players to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list, provided they are vaccinated, asymptomatic, and test negative twice within one day.

Players who are not vaccinated are subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine, which leaves uncertainty whether Cook will be back in time to face the Green Bay Packers in Week 17.

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is set to miss Sunday's clash with the Houston Texans after being added to the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said that Ekeler was "day-to-day" having been placed on the list, along with wide receiver Jalen Guyton

The 26-year-old has 1,347 total yards from 235 touches this season with 17 touchdowns (10 rushing and seven receiving).

The Chargers have been hit the recent COVID-19 surge with star linebacker Joey Bosa and defensive back Kemon Hall also on the reserve/COVID-19 list along with several others.

Bosa is unvaccinated and has been added to the reserve/COVID-19 list for a second time.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni has tested positive for COVID-19 and is set to miss their Week 16 clash with the New York Giants.

The Eagles announced that Sirianni returned a positive test on Wednesday after he self-reported symptoms earlier that day.

Sirianni had been on the sidelines on Tuesday as the Eagles won 27-17 over the Washington Football Team.

"I wasn’t feeling great this morning when I woke up and just got tested and obviously we are where we are right now,” Sirianni said during a virtual news conference. "Feeling OK, feeling a little better now."

Sirianni was not the only NFL head coach to test positive on Wednesday, with the New York Jets confirming the same for Robert Saleh, while Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton both returned positive tests last week.

If Sirianni is not cleared from the NFL's protocols by Sunday's game, passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo will act as head coach.

Sirianni has guided the Eagles to a 7-7 record in his first season in charge, with the side in playoffs contention.

The Indianapolis Colts have dominated selection for the Pro Bowl with seven players named for the game due to be played on 6 February in Las Vegas for the first time.

Colts' MVP contender running back Jonathan Taylor was among five players confirmed earlier this week but he was joined by six other team-mates as the full NFC and AFC rosters were revealed on Wednesday.

Indianapolis also had center Ryan Kelly, guard Quenton Nelson, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard, cornerback Kenny Moore II and special teams long snapper Luke Rhodes all selected, with the Colts enjoying a run of five wins in six games to sit second in the AFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady had already been named earlier this week for a record 15th Pro Bowl, with Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray and Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers joining him as NFC QBs.

The selected AFC quarterbacks were Los Angeles Chargers' Justin Herbert, Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson and Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs and Chargers had six players selected in total, while the Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and Bucs all had five representatives.

Four rookies were selected in Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts, Chargers offensive tackle Rashawn Slater and Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.

The NFC and AFC rosters are determined by a vote of the fans, players and coaches.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's status for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals is unclear after failing to practice on Wednesday.

Jackson missed the Ravens' 31-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 15 due to an ankle injury that he sustained in the December 12 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

The Ravens QB did not train at all last week before missing the Packers' game, having been carted off against the Browns.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh would not be drawn on Jackson's availability, simply stating he was "wait and see" when asked about the star quarterback.

“I’m hopeful for him, and I know he’s doing everything he can to get back and play for us,” Ravens receiver Marquise Brown told the team website.

Jackson has thrown 16 touchdowns this season on 246-of-382 passing for 2,882 yards and a career-high 13 interceptions. The 24-year-old has also rushed for two scores – the lowest of his career – on 133 carries in 2021.

Baltimore, who have lost three games in a row, are second in the AFC North behind the Bengals with both holding 8-6 records with three regular-season games remaining.

Only three weeks remain in a fascinating 2021 NFL season that continues to prove extremely tough to call.

That unpredictability has extended to the fantasy season and has been exacerbated by a string of coronavirus outbreaks that have impacted several teams and forced changes to the Week 15 schedule.

So, with most fantasy leagues either at the semi-final or final stage, which players can be relied on in Week 16?

Stats Perform has identified four offensive players and a defense who are deserving of trust at this pivotal stage of the campaign.

Quarterback: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers

Brady was visibly angry as he and the Buccaneers were shut out by the New Orleans Saints in primetime last week, but the odds of the Panthers doing the same appear extremely slim.

In two games against Carolina last season, Brady completed nearly 69 per cent of his passes for 558 yards, four touchdowns and an interception, averaging 7.54 yards per pass attempt.

With the Panthers limping towards the finish line, Brady looks a certainty for a bounce-back effort here, even with wide receiver Chris Godwin ruled out for the season amid a spate of injuries to the Bucs' offense.

Running Back: Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns @ Green Bay Packers

The Packers are in the driver's seat for the number one seed in the NFC but, though they are one of the NFL's most well-rounded teams, a weakness in run defense has become apparent of late.

Indeed, the last two games have seen Green Bay give up 280 yards on the ground and for the season the Packers are allowing a yards per carry average of 4.53, the eighth-highest in the NFL.

Cleveland may be approaching the last-chance saloon in terms of playoff hopes, yet the Browns possess a ground game capable of exploiting the Packers' deficiencies against the run. The Browns' average of 4.9 yards per rush is the third-highest in the NFL while star running back Nick Chubb leads all players at his position with 17.4 per cent of his carries going for 10 yards or more.

Wide Receiver: Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers @ Houston Texans

A recipient of double-digit targets in six of his last seven games, the heavy workload Allen has received is a recipe for a huge day in Week 16.

The Texans are surrendering the seventh-most yards per pass play in the NFL, while the Chargers - for all their controversial fourth-down issues last week against the Kansas City Chiefs -- are 10th in yards per play through the air with Justin Herbert leading an explosive offense.

Simply put, Allen is a no-brainer start in fantasy.

Tight End: Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals

Regardless of whether it is Lamar Jackson or Tyler Huntley at quarterback, Andrews is likely to be the top target for the Ravens' passing attack in a critical AFC North showdown.

Over the last two games, he has 21 receptions for 251 yards and three touchdowns, a bright spot in successive defeats for Baltimore.

Only five teams have produced more plays of 10 yards or more than the Ravens (193) and Andrews is the lead contender to be on the end of the majority they draw up against a stingy Bengals defense.

Defense: Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

The Eagles' Christmas present comes in the form of getting to face either Mike Glennon or Jake Fromm as they look to take another step towards securing a Wild Card berth.

Philadelphia's defense has given up fewer than 300 total yards in each of their last three games. Glennon has seven interceptions in his four games this year while Fromm would be making his first career start. Whichever Giants backup the Eagles go up against, their defense is set up for another strong week.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are poised to sign running back Le'Veon Bell after an injury to regular starter Leonard Fournette.

Fournette sustained a hamstring injury in the Super Bowl champions' surprise 9-0 loss to divisional rivals the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

He is expected to be placed on injured reserve and miss the rest of the regular season but should return in time for the playoffs.

Per reports from NFL.com and ESPN, the Bucs – who have a 10-4 record – will now turn to Bell, who will support Ronald Jones in filling the void left by Fournette.

Bell has been without a team since being released by the Baltimore Ravens last month and will sign pending a physical examination, which will take place on Wednesday.

The two-time first-team All-Pro played in just five games for the Ravens this season, rushing for 83 yards and two touchdowns.

He is best known for a successful five-year spell with the Pittsburgh Steelers to start his career.

After taking a year out of the NFL amid a contract dispute with the Steelers, he went on to join the New York Jets and also spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020.

The man he is replacing, Fournette, sits in a tie for ninth in the NFL with eight rushing touchdowns in 2021, while his 812 yards on the ground put him 11th.

Fournette is also yet to fumble in 171 attempts this season.

The Bucs will look to bounce back from their loss to the Saints with another divisional game as they play on the road against the Carolina Panthers on Boxing Day.

Tom Brady's team remain three games clear of the Saints atop the NFC South in their ongoing bid to repeat as Super Bowl winners.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp had "no idea" he had set a team record in the win over the Seattle Seahawks.

In a game pushed back from Sunday to Tuesday due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Rams' camp, Kupp caught nine passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-10 win for Los Angeles.

In the process, the 28-year-old set a Rams single-season record of 122 receptions, while his 14 touchdown receptions rank as the second-most in a campaign in the franchise's history, with only Elroy Hirsch recording more (17 in 1951).

Kupp, however, was not aware of the feat.

"I had no idea," Kupp told reporters.

"Obviously that's a great honour considering the receivers that have come through this organisation."

Kupp leads the NFL in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards (1,625), and Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is thrilled to have such an in-form team-mate to pick out.

"He's a great player, he's having a fantastic season," Stafford said.

"I'm happy that I get a chance to play with a guy like that."

The Rams' win takes them to 10-4 for the season, tied for first place in the NFC West with the Arizona Cardinals heading into the final three regular-season games.

Los Angeles had placed a total of 29 players on their reserve/COVID-19 list over the previous 10 days, and coach Sean McVay admitted it had been a challenging week.

"I am tired right now. This has been emotionally and physically exhausting," McVay said.

"We'll get some rest, and then we'll get back at this thing tomorrow."

The Rams face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Matthew Stafford found Cooper Kupp with two second-half touchdown passes to lift the Los Angeles Rams past the Seattle Seahawks 20-10 in Tuesday's re-scheduled NFC West clash.

Kupp recorded his fifth two-touchdown game of the season, finishing with nine receptions for 136 yards to help the Rams improve their record to 10-4.

Stafford completed 21 of 29 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, while Sony Michel rushed for 92 yards from 18 carries for the Rams.

With both sides fielding COVID-19-depleted teams, it was the Seahawks who went ahead in the third quarter after neither could score a touchdown in the first half, with Deejay Dallas bulldozing his way into the end zone.

But the Rams levelled it up at 10-10 with 6:31 left in the third when Stafford found Kupp, who broke the record for most receptions in a single season in Rams history, moving past Isaac Bruce (119) to 120.

The pair linked up again for the decisive play in the final quarter, with Stafford nailing a 29-yard play down the middle to Kupp who had found a small pocket of space, capping an 88-yard drive.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who made 17 of 31 passes for 156 yards, could not find a way back late, sacked by Aaron Donald before a fine block by corner back Jalen Ramsey on an attempt for DK Metcalf.

Hurts stars on Eagles return

The Philadelphia Eagles withstood a late challenge from the depleted Washington Football Team to win 27-17 and improve to a 7-7 record, keeping alive their playoffs' hopes.

Jalen Hurts returned from an ankle injury to run for two touchdowns and pass another for Greg Ward Jr to secure victory.

Hurts, who completed 20 of 26 passes for 296 yards and rushed for 38 yards from eight carries, set the single-season franchise record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 10.

There were celebrations in the Atlanta Falcons' draft war room back in April when the team picking before them, the San Francisco 49ers, made Trey Lance their quarterback of the future.

Atlanta's delight was not related to any unfavourable opinions on Lance. The Falcons' jubilation was because the Niners' decision allowed them to enact their plan to select tight end Kyle Pitts the fourth overall selection, turning him into the highest-drafted player at his position in NFL history.

Yet the Falcons' Week 15 performance only served to raise further questions concerning whether those celebrations were misguided as they were crushed 31-13 on the road by the surging and right now seemingly playoff-bound 49ers.

There has been plenty of discourse about the merits of San Francisco selecting Lance and then having him sit for a year behind an often-volatile veteran in Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Whether that approach pays dividends in the long term remains to be seen, yet San Francisco's dominant success in a crucial matchup in the playoff race should intensify the scrutiny on a Falcons team whose vision for the future appears conspicuous by its absence.

The Pitts problem

It was easy to see why the Falcons were so enamoured with Pitts. A monstrous athlete blessed with wide receiver speed and a near 6ft 6in and 245-pound frame, Pitts was viewed as perhaps the finest tight end prospect to enter any draft because of his ability to separate from coverage, dominate at the catch point and make things happen with the ball in his hands.

With 847 receiving yards to his name, Pitts is on course for a 1,000-yard season but has just one touchdown, the superiority he was expected to show in the red zone as yet failing to materialise.

The separation has also not been as consistent as perhaps anticipated. Pitts has registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, 62.8 per cent of the time. That is above the average of 60.2 per cent but only 31st among tight ends with at least 10 targets in 2021.

Pitts is above average in terms of burn yards per target (11.3) and burn yards per route (2.8), while he is producing a big play on 34.4 per cent of his targets, putting him seventh among tight ends with at least 25 targets.

Tight end is a position where rookies typically tend to struggle, so in that context, Pitts' numbers are impressive. Still, his impact to this point can hardly be considered worthy of his draft slot.

Pitts is not to blame for failing to live up to expectations that were always likely to be too high, the former Florida Gator put in a difficult position by a franchise unsure of its direction.

Playoff contention a pipe dream

The acquisition of Pitts suggested the Falcons believed they were in a position to contend in the NFC with 2016 MVP Matt Ryan at quarterback and a talented offensive mind in Arthur Smith hired as their head coach.

But his selection was followed by a move that flew in the face of any such belief as the Falcons traded future Hall of Fame receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans.

That deal was in part motivated by the Falcons being pressed up against the salary cap limit, as well a desire from Jones for a change of scenery and his increasingly troubling injury history.

Though the trade was justifiable, it extinguished any notion of Atlanta wanting to build around Ryan and contend, and the Falcons' inconsistent and underwhelming 2021 campaign has delivered a reminder that the idea of them competing at the sharp end of the NFC was always ambitious.

Atlanta entered Week 15 still firmly in the mix for the playoffs at 6-7 but with a point differential of minus 108. After their blowout loss to the Niners, that has dropped to minus 126, the fourth-worst in the NFL.

The Falcons rank 21st in yards per play on offense and 25th in yards per play allowed on defense, with their struggles on both sides of the ball linked to sub-par play in the trenches.

Prior to the 49ers game, the Falcons ranked 28th in Stats Perform's pass protection win rate and last in pass rush win rate. Against San Francisco, they allowed 19 quarterback pressures and registered just four.

This is a bottom-half team that has been masquerading as a playoff challenger. Such a season would have been more acceptable had they used their premium pick on a quarterback in a class seen as an excellent one at the position. Having opted not to do so, the Falcons are mired in NFL no man's land.

No moving on from Matt... for now

The Falcons could theoretically get out of Ryan's contract this offseason but a dead cap charge of over $40million means they would only save a little over $8m against the salary cap.

A parting of the ways is more plausible in 2023 when the Falcons would save $28million by moving on from a quarterback who would then be entering his age-38 season.

Ryan is not the problem for the Falcons, but he is also not the answer.

He is delivering an accurate, well-thrown ball on 81.2 per cent of his attempts, the eighth-best rate among quarterbacks with at least 100 passes, and is doing so despite losing Jones and Calvin Ridley, who has taken a break from the game to focus on his mental health, from his supporting cast.

At the same time, Ryan is averaging 7.16 air yards per attempt, the sixth-fewest in the NFL (min. 100 attempts). Ryan may be limited by those around him, but he is also not performing at a level to elevate that group.

That mix has the Falcons in quarterback purgatory, and their path to exiting that unenviable position is not clear. The 2022 quarterback class is, at least on the surface, well short of the standard of the 2021 vintage, and Ryan – while no longer a member of the league's elite – still has the requisite talent to win enough games to ensure the Falcons will not be in a position to draft a top signal-caller in 2023.

In Pitts, the Falcons have a weapon widely viewed as a possible generational talent, but the decision to select him means they are now stuck with a quarterback not good enough to help them contend but too good for Atlanta to be able to tank to land his successor. Hindsight is always 20-20, but the Falcons' short-sighted choice not to draft Ryan's heir apparent makes a route to the top hard to foresee.

Chicago Bears pass-rusher Robert Quinn hit out at the "crazy" officiating in the NFL after a close defeat to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Bears went down 17-9 on Monday as the Vikings kept themselves in the NFC playoff picture.

It was an eighth defeat in nine games for Chicago, while the Vikings have now had 11 consecutive games decided by eight points or fewer, one shy of the NFL record.

Chicago coach Matt Nagy was flagged by the referee in between the first and second quarters after Bears safety Deon Bush was penalised for hitting Tyler Conklin's head on an incomplete pass.

This had been deemed as "forcible contact" against Conklin, much to Nagy's chagrin, with the coach venting his frustration towards referee Scott Novak.

"I saw what happened," Nagy told reporters. "Our guys are fighting their asses off to get off the field, and I saw what happened. So, I explained my opinion on it. And I don't regret it."

Novak claimed Nagy's complaints "crossed the line", but Quinn, earlier named a Pro Bowler for a third time, defended his coach.

"Some of these calls are starting to get a little crazy," he told reporters.

"These refs seem like they're controlling the game a little too much. So, when a play is clean and they're throwing a flag for something that they thought they could change a game [with] just by one flag.

"Let guys play ball. If this was a couple of years ago, half of this stuff wouldn't even be called. But now they got so many of these stupid rules, they dang near in a ref's hands [and] could change the game in any given moment.

"I think they need to go check the refs they hire and not our coach."

The Vikings, too, had complaints, after linebacker Eric Kendricks was ejected in the final quarter for hitting the head of Chicago quarterback Justin Fields.

"I didn't get a good explanation, really. They came over late and said they thought he had an elbow to a head," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. 

"I thought I saw it pretty cleanly, and I thought the quarterback slid and kept his head up, and Eric was going down and kind of raised his head to try to avoid it, and I thought they bumped heads."

Minnesota are second in the NFC North, behind the Green Bay Packers (11-3), while Chicago (4-10) sit third.

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."

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