AFC-NFC: Cruz, Bradshaw lead Giants to win in Big Apple battle
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Victor Cruz set two franchise receiving records, and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for two touchdowns as the Giants kept their playoff hopes alive by winning the New York-area bragging rights with a 29-14 victory over the Jets on Saturday.
After a week of trash talk about who ruled the city, neither team did much to boast about. But the Giants (8-7) did more than the Jets (8-7) and can win the NFC East with a victory next week against Dallas.
The Jets’ playoff hopes took a serious hit, and they will need to win at Miami next week and get help from several other teams.
Cruz, who had three catches for 164 yards, broke Amani Toomer’s single-season mark for yards receiving – and the team’s record for longest touchdown reception, a 99-yarder that gave the Giants the lead for good in the second quarter.
CINCINNATI (AP) – Andy Dalton threw a pair of touchdown passes, and Cincinnati withstood yet another fourth-quarter comeback by Arizona that kept the Bengals in playoff contention.
Another small crowd at Paul Brown Stadium saw the Bengals (9-6) secure only their third winning record in the last 21 years and stay in the running for the final AFC wild card.
Dalton threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham and a 19-yarder to Jerome Simpson, who did a somersault over a defender and landed on both feet in the end zone. Dalton joined Peyton Manning (26), Charlie Conerly (22) and Dan Marino (20) as the only NFL rookies to throw 20 touchdowns.
Arizona (7-8) rallied from a 23-0 deficit and had a chance to tie. Receiver Early Doucet was uncovered at the goal line but tripped as he ran, letting a fourth-down pass fall incomplete with 1:11 left.
STEELERS 27, RAMS 0
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Rashard Mendenhall ran for 116 yards and a touchdown and backup quarterback Charlie Batch played efficiently in place of an injured Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers (11-4) kept their hopes of an AFC North title alive even with Roethlisberger’s sprained left ankle forcing him to watch the game from the sideline as the team’s third quarterback.
Pittsburgh hardly needed him. The defense had little trouble dominating the NFL’s lowest-scoring offense.
LIONS 38, CHARGERS 10
DETROIT (AP) – The Lions made the playoffs for the first time since 1999 as Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes in the first half.
Detroit (10-5) has won three straight after a seven-game slump to earn a wild-card spot.
According to the Chargers (7-8), they will not be in the postseason for a second straight year after making it five times in a six-season stretch.
The Lions held San Diego scoreless until midway through the third quarter.