Colts, Bengals make playoffs with wins

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 23, 2012
One year after putting together the NFL's worst record, the Indianapolis Colts are headed to the playoffs. Joining them on Sunday were the Cincinnati Bengals, finishing out the field in the AFC. The Colts (10-5) equaled the 2008 Miami Dolphins as the only teams to win at least 10 games after losing 14 or more the previous season. Top overall draft pick Andrew Luck completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne late in the fourth quarter for a 20-13 victory at Kansas City. Cincinnati qualified for a second straight postseason berth for only the second time in franchise history, edging archrival Pittsburgh 13-10. The Bengals have never gone to the playoffs in successive years that did not involve a strike-shortened season. Luck finished with 205 yards passing to break Cam Newton's year-old rookie record of 4,051 yards in a season. He also extended his rookie record for fourth-quarter comebacks to seven by leading his team downfield in the closing minutes. ''Mission accomplished. That's all I can say,'' Colts interim coach Bruce Arians said. ''Without getting emotional again, knowing that (coach Chuck Pagano) is going to be back Monday, the work week shouldn't be as stressful.'' Pagano has been sidelined since a loss to Jacksonville in Week 3. For the Bengals (9-6), Andy Dalton hit A.J. Green with a 21-yard pass in the final moments, setting up Josh Brown's 43-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining. The loss eliminated the Steelers from contention. ''A lot of people talked about we hadn't been in in back-to-back seasons in 30 years,'' Green said. ''I don't worry about that stuff. I've been here two years and we made the playoffs all two years. That's all we can control.'' Minnesota's 23-6 win at Houston prevented the Texans from earning home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. AFC South champion Houston (12-3) still can get that by winning at Indianapolis in the season finale. New England has won the AFC East, Denver the West. Baltimore clinched the North by beating the New York Giants 33-14, sending the defending Super Bowl champions to the brink of elimination. Washington's 27-20 win at Philadelphia, combined with New Orleans beating Dallas 34-31 in overtime means the Redskins (9-6) will win the NFC East by beating the Cowboys next week. But Dallas (8-7) takes the division by winning that game at Washington, which the league has flexed to prime time. ''They know what it means,'' coach Mike Shanahan said. ''They've been working toward this opportunity to win the division. Any time you win the division, everybody knows you have a home game in the playoffs. We talked about that from Day 1. They knew what we had to do to get there. We haven't accomplished anything yet.'' Green Bay clinched at least the third seed in the NFC when it routed Tennessee 55-7. The NFC North champs (11-4) still could wind up second overall in the conference and get a bye and moved into the No. 2 slot when Seattle romped over San Francisco 42-13. ''We have momentum going for us, particularly what we've done over the last nine weeks, 10 weeks,'' coach Mike McCarthy said of Green Bay's nine wins in the last 10 games. ''So we wanted to take the next step as a football team and I felt we were able to accomplish that today.'' The 49ers (10-4-1) will win the NFC West by beating Arizona next weekend. Seattle (10-5) earned at least a wild-card spot and finishes at home against St. Louis. On Saturday night, NFC South winner Atlanta won 31-18 at Detroit to clinch home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs. Minnesota (9-6), Chicago (9-6), the New York Giants (8-7) and Washington could wind up with the final NFC wild card. Dallas can't get a wild card. --- Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

Report: Porzingis avoided ligament damage in ankle

Brooks Koepka meltdown includes whiff, stomping head off driver

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker