OAKLAND, Calif. - Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes, LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 56 yards to win his second straight rushing title, and the San Diego Chargers spoiled JaMarcus Russell's first career start with a 30-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders yesterday.
By ending the season with six straight wins, the Chargers (11-5) beat out Pittsburgh for the No. 3 seed.
Russell, the No. 1 overall draft pick, got off to a slow start by throwing an interception on his first play and losing a fumble in the end zone that led to a touchdown by Jyles Tucker midway through the third quarter.
Russell was 23 for 31 for 224 yards in his first start.
Tomlinson was limited to 15 carries to make sure he is fresh for the playoffs. But that was enough for L.T. to finish the season with 1,474 yards rushing, 133 ahead of Minnesota rookie Adrian Peterson.
Broncos 22, Vikings 19
DENVER - Jason Elam kicked a 30-yard field goal less than a minute into overtime to give Denver (7-9) the win over Minnesota (8-8), ending the Vikings' playoff hopes.
Minnesota, which scored 16 points in the final 5 minutes, 18 seconds to erase a 19-3 deficit, won the overtime coin flip, but on the Vikings' second snap, Tarvaris Jackson was sacked and fumbled.
Elvis Dumervil recovered at the Minnesota 12, and the Broncos' field goal unit rushed onto the field for their fourth game-winner of the season.
Bears 33, Saints 25
CHICAGO - Devin Hester sprinted 64 yards for a TD with a punt return - his NFL-record sixth kick runback for a score this season to break his own mark set a year ago - and also caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Orton as Chicago (7-9) beat New Orleans (7-9) to eliminate the Saints from the playoff picture.
Drew Brees set a single-season NFL record for completions, passing the previous mark of 418 set by Rich Gannon in 2002. He needed just 11 entering the game.
Browns 20, 49ers 7
CLEVELAND - Joshua Cribbs returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown, Jamal Lewis rushed for 128 yards and rookie quarterback Brady Quinn made his long-awaited NFL debut as Cleveland (10-6) beat San Francisco (5-11).
Tennessee's win over Indianapolis last night, however, eliminated the Browns from playoff contention.
Ravens 27, Steelers 21
BALTIMORE - Musa Smith ran for 83 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start, helping Baltimore (5-11) past Pittsburgh (10-6) to earn its first victory since Oct. 14 and end a nine-game losing streak.
The Steelers had already clinched the AFC North title.
Packers 34, Lions 13
GREEN BAY, Wis. - Green Bay (13-3) pounded Detroit (7-9) while resting several key players for the playoffs.
Brett Favre extended his quarterback-record consecutive starts streak to 253 games.
Texans 42, Jaguars 28
HOUSTON - Andre' Davis returned two kickoffs for touchdowns to lead Houston (8-8) over Jacksonville (11-5), which rested many starters with its playoff spot secure.
Bengals 38, Dolphins 25
MIAMI - Miami (1-15) allowed 316 yards passing by Carson Palmer, gave up a touchdown on a fumble return and staggered to the end of the worst season in franchise history in the loss to Cincinnati (7-9).
It's uncertain whether coach Cam Cameron will return for a second year.
Falcons 44, Seahawks 41
ATLANTA - Chris Redman set a career high with four touchdown passes, including two to Alge Crumpler, and Atlanta (4-12) rode three fourth-quarter TDs to a win over NFC West champ Seattle (10-6).
Panthers 31, Bucs 23
TAMPA, Fla. - DeAngelo Williams rushed for 121 yards and two second-half touchdowns, helping Carolina (7-9) beat NFC South champion Tampa Bay (9-7) with the retiring 44-year-old Vinnie Testaverde taking the last snap.
Cardinals 48, Rams 19
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Larry Fitzgerald caught 11 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns, and Arizona finished an 8-8 season with a romp over St. Louis (3-13).
Jets 13, Chiefs 10
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Mike Nugent kicked a 43-yard field goal, after having a 33-yarder negated by a penalty, 5:13 into overtime to give New York (4-12) the victory over Kansas City (4-12).
NFL Single Season Pass Completions
Player, Team Year No.
Drew Brees, N.O.. . . 2007 443
Rich Gannon, Oak.. . . 2002 418
Warren Moon, Hou.. . . 1991 404
Drew Bledsoe, N.E.. . . 1994 400
Tom Brady, N.E. . . . 2007 398
Peyton Manning, Ind.. . . 2002 392
Dan Marino, Mia.. . . 1994 385
Dan Marino, Mia.. . . 1986 378
Warren Moon, Min.. . . 1995 377
Kurt Warner, StL. . . 2001 375
Drew Bledsoe, Buf.. . . 2002 375