Update on the latest in sports:

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 28, 2014 at 6:03 p.m.



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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers are NFC North champs for the fourth consecutive year.

Aaron Rodgers shook off a calf injury to throw for a touchdown and run for another in the second half of a 30-20 triumph over Detroit. Rodgers rallied the Packers after leaving the game with an injured calf late in the first half.

Rodgers hobbled back on to the field in the third quarter with the game tied at 14. He put the Packers ahead to stay with his second TD pass of the day to Randall Cobb, then scored on a one-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to put the Packers ahead 28-14. Rodgers was 17 of 22 for 226 yards and no interceptions.

Eddie Lacy had 100 yards on 26 carries for the 12-4 Packers, who wrapped up a first-round bye in the playoffs.

The Lions settle for a wild-card berth after falling to 11-5 despite Matthew Stafford's three scoring strikes.

ATLANTA (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have claimed the NFC South with a winner-take-all rout in Atlanta.

Roman Harper and Tre Boston returned interceptions for touchdowns as Carolina's defense led a 34-3 victory over the Falcons. Harper scored on a 31-yard return in the second quarter and Boston helped clinch the win with his 84-yard interception return late in the third quarter. A 33-yard fumble return by Thomas Davis set up another touchdown.

Cam Newton threw for a touchdown and ran for another. Newton also had a game-high 51 rushing yards on six carries.

Carolina ended the regular season on a four-game winning streak to finish 7-8-1. The Panthers are the first team to make the playoffs with a losing record since the 7-9 Seahawks of 2010.

Matt Ryan had 260 passing yards for the 6-10 Falcons.

SEATTLE (AP) — Not only did the Seattle Seahawks clinch the NFC West title, they also grabbed home-field advantage and a first-round bye with a 20-6 triumph over St. Louis.

The game was tied 6-6 until Marshawn Lynch scored on a 9-yard run with 12:07 remaining, 6 1/2 minutes before Bruce Irvin returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown. The two fourth-quarter TDs allowed the 12-4 Seahawks to cap a six-game win streak to end the regular season.

Russell Wilson was 17 of 25 for 239 yards and one interception for the Seahawks.

Seattle blanked the Rams after Greg Zuerlein's 52-yard field goal with 4:18 left in the first half.

The Rams finished 6-10.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers were winners in what likely was Jim Harbaugh's last game as their coach.

Colin Kaepernick (KAP'-ur-nik) threw a go-ahead 3-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Miller late in the third quarter of the Niners' 20-17 win over Arizona. Anquan Boldin caught a 76-yard TD pass and went over 1,000 yards receiving. Frank Gore ran for 144 yards on 25 carries to go over 1,000 yards rushing for the eighth time in 10 NFL seasons.

The game was rendered meaningless for 11-5 Cardinals once Seattle beat St. Louis. The Seahawks claimed home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs and the NFC West title, causing the Cards to settle for a wild-card berth.

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens earned a wild-card berth in the AFC playoffs, rallying to defeat the Cleveland Browns 20-10 while getting the help they needed halfway across the country.

Joe Flacco threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to revive a sluggish offense just in time for the 10-6 Ravens, who reach the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.

Flacco's 2-yard TD throw to Kamar Aiken with 3:44 remaining clinched it.

Flacco went 8 for 9 for 161 yards and two touchdowns during a 17-point fourth quarter. He finished 22 for 36 for 312 yards, and the two TD passes gave him a career-high 27 for the season.

Baltimore got the help they needed when Kansas City beat San Diego 19-7.

The Ravens struggled despite playing against a Browns team that had lost four straight and was starting rookie quarterback Connor Shaw. Cleveland wrapped up the season with a 7-9 record.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City beat San Diego 19-7 to eliminate the Chargers from playoff contention, moments before the Chiefs were eliminated themselves by games happening elsewhere.

The Chiefs needed Cleveland to beat Baltimore and Jacksonville to beat Houston, and neither of those outcomes transpired.

San Diego needed merely to beat Kansas City to reach the postseason, but it didn't happen.

Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston piled up four sacks to finish with 22 on the season, breaking Derrick Thomas's franchise record. Cairo Santos had four field goals.

The Chargers' Philip Rivers threw for 291 yards, but was picked off twice.

Both teams finished 9-7.

DENVER (AP) — Denver crushed Oakland 47-14 to wrap up a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

C.J. Anderson had three touchdown runs as the AFC West champs finished 12-4. Anderson had 87 yards on 13 carries, while Ronnie Hillman added 56 yards on the ground.

Peyton Manning completed 21 of 37 passes for 273 yards, although he failed to throw a TD pass for the second time in four weeks after throwing one for 51 consecutive games.

Oakland's offense didn't score until Derek Carr's TD pass midway through the third quarter. The Raiders' other TD came on Keith McGill's 18-yard fumble return in the first quarter.

The outcome allowed Oakland to wrap up the third pick in the NFL draft.

HOUSTON (AP) — J.J. Watt had three sacks and a safety and Andre Johnson had 134 yards receiving and a touchdown to lead Houston to a 23-17 win over Jacksonville.

Watt bolstered his MVP credentials with 20 1-2 sacks this season, making him the first player in NFL history with two seasons of 20 or more sacks.

Johnson gave Houston a 21-17 lead with an 8-yard reception early in the fourth. Watt sacked Blake Bortles in the end zone for a safety a few minutes later.

The 9-7 Texans had a shot at making the playoffs, but Baltimore beat Cleveland 20-10 to claim the final AFC wild-card spot.

The Jaguars finished 3-13.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Andrew Luck threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns before sitting out the second half in a season-ending 27-10 win over Tennessee.

The 11-5 Colts tuned up for the post-season by bouncing back from their worst performance of the season -- a 42-7 loss to Dallas.

Indianapolis wound up outgaining the Titans 378-192 as the AFC South champs swept their division a second straight season for the first time in franchise history.

Indianapolis will host the loser of Cincinnati-Pittsburgh in a wild-card game barring a tie in that game Sunday night.

The 2-14 Titans suffered a tenth straight loss to finish their worst season since 1994.

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant broke franchise records as the Dallas Cowboys prepped for the playoffs with a 44-17 win over Washington.

Murray rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries, passing Emmitt Smith for the team single-season mark. Murray's 1,845 yards bettered Smith's 1,773 from 1995.

Bryant caught scoring passes of 65 and 23 yards for the NFC East champs to give him 16 touchdown receptions on the season. That breaks breaking Terrell Owens' team record of 15 set in 2007.

Dallas finishes the season with a 12-4 record, while Washington winds up 4-12.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Kyle Orton threw for one touchdown, Anthony Dixon ran for another and Buffalo finished its first winning season in 10 years with a 17-9 win over going-through-the motions New England.

The AFC top-seeded Patriots used quarterback Tom Brady for only the first half and held out tight end Rob Gronkowski and five other starters.

The victory snapped a pair of streaks: Buffalo's 0-12 record at Gillette Stadium and New England's 35 straight home wins against AFC teams.

It was a price the 12-4 Patriots were willing to pay to protect key players.

The 9-7 Bills were eliminated from the playoffs last week.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Drew Brees (breez) threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston with 1:57 remaining to lead New Orleans to a 23-20 win over Tampa Bay. The Saints overcame a 13-point, second half deficit to finish a disappointing 7-9.

Brees shrugged off three interceptions to throw for 281 yards. His only TD pass gave the Saints their first lead.

Doug Martin rushed for a season-best 108 yards and rookie Mike Evans set a Tampa Bay record with his 12th touchdown reception for the 2-14 Buccanners, who are on course to land to top pick in the NFL draft.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Mark Sanchez threw two touchdowns and the Philadelphia Eagles' special teams scored their seventh touchdown of the season in a 34-26 victory over the Giants.

Backup tight end Trey Burton returned a blocked punt 27 yards for a score in the third quarter, and Nate Allen iced the game with a late interception. The 10-6 Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak that knocked them out of playoff contention last week. The 10 wins matched their total last season when they won the NFC East.

Rookie Odell Beckham Jr. had 12 catches for a career-best 185 yards, including a 63-yard fourth-quarter touchdown that got the Giants within 31-26. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the 6-10 Giants, who have missed the playoffs for the third straight season. That might have assured that this was the final game for Giants coach Tom Coughlin (KAWF'-lihn).

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Teddy Bridgewater threw the go-ahead 44-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen in the third quarter, guiding the Minnesota Vikings past Chicago 13-9.

The loss put one more blemish on a forgettable 5-11 season for the Bears.

Blair Walsh kicked two field goals, Audie Cole had 11 tackles in his first start of the season and the 7-9 Vikings ended coach Mike Zimmer's first year on a winning note.

Jay Cutler returned from a one-game benching with 172 yards on 23-for-36 passing without a fumble or an interception. But he rarely threw long and the offense was off all afternoon.

The Bears finished with their worst record in 10 years, in perhaps the last game for coach Marc Trestman.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The New York Jets won their season finale, which might not be enough to save coach Rex Ryan's job.

Embattled Geno Smith had his best game in a rocky season, throwing for a career-high 358 yards and three touchdowns to help Ryan and the Jets beat Miami 37-24.

Smith's performance negated a 97-yard run by Lamar Miller, the longest play from scrimmage in Dolphins history. The Jets rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit, and Ryan ordered a fake punt with four minutes left that sealed the victory and drop the Dolphins to 8-8.

With the 4-12 Jets sitting out the postseason for the fourth consecutive year, owner Woody Johnson is widely expected to fire Ryan, and perhaps general manager John Idzik.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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