Jets Beat Redskins to Keep Pace With AFC Teams in NFL’s Playoff Hunt

Shonn Greene scored three touchdowns as the New York Jets beat the Washington Redskins to keep pace for a National Football League wild card playoff spot.

The Jets won 34-19 to improve to 7-5, leaving them tied with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos in the American Football Conference. They’re two games behind New England in the AFC East after the Patriots beat Indianapolis 31-24 to improve to 9-3 and drop the Colts to 0-12 for the first time since 1986.

The Jets came into today’s contest having lost four in row to Washington, with their only win in nine previous meetings coming 18 years ago. New York won last week ending a two-game losing run, while Washington began the game after ending a six- game losing skid a week ago.

It was 7-7 through the first quarter at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after Washington’s Roy Helu and the Jets’ Greene scored.

Graham Gano made field goals from 33 and 23 yards for the Redskins and Nick Folk made it 13-13 with one quarter to play with field goals from 45 yards and a season-best 51 yards for New York.

Gano restored Washington’s three-point advantage with seven minutes, 56 seconds to play with his third field goal of the game, from 46 yards.

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez found Santonio Holmes on a 30-yard play with his 19th touchdown pass of the season to make it 20-16 to New York with 4:49 to play.

On their next possession, Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman fumbled after a sack by Aaron Maybin, and Greene got his second touchdown on a 9-yard run to make it 27-16 to the Jets with 3:48 to play.

Fourth Field Goal

Gano then kicked his fourth field goal, from 43 yards, to make it 27-19 with 2:04 remaining. Five seconds later, Greene capped the scoring with a touchdown run from 25 yards.

The Colts were tied 3-3 with the Patriots until three minutes before halftime at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, when Rob Gronkowski caught an 11-yard pass for a touchdown from New England quarterback Tom Brady.

Gronkowski got two more scores and Benjarvus Green-Ellis drove into the end zone from 1 yard out as the Patriots opened a 31-3 lead after three quarters.

Indianapolis then scored three times, first on a 5-yard run by Donald Brown, then on a 33-yard pass to Pierre Garcon from quarterback Dan Orlovsky, in his first start since 2008. Orlovsky also threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Garcon with 40 seconds remaining.

The Broncos (7-5) made it six wins in seven starts behind quarterback Tim Tebow with a 35-32 victory over the Minnesota Vikings (2-10). The Titans are also 7-5 after a 23-17 win against the Buffalo Bills (6-6).

Denver, Oakland Tied

Denver made two field goals in the final 1:33 and is now tied with Oakland atop the AFC West after the Raiders lost for the first time in four games, 34-14 to the Miami Dolphins (3-9). Miami has now won four out of five games after opening the season with seven defeats.

Tebow, who began the game ranked the lowest in the NFL for passing accuracy at 45.5 percent, found Demaryius Thomas with 41 and 21-yard scoring passes in the third quarter.

After Percy Harvin scored a 48-yard touchdown pass from Christian Ponder to put Minnesota up 29-21, Willis McGahee scored on a 24-yard run for Denver and Tebow ran for a two-point conversion to tie the game with 8:52 left.

Field goals from 39 yards by Minnesota’s Ryan Longwell and 46 yards by Denver’s Matt Prater made it 32-32 before Prater kicked a 23-yard field goal as time expired.

Steelers Win

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who began the day tied atop the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens, beat the Cincinnati Bengals 35-7 to improve to 9-3. The Ravens today visit the Cleveland Browns, who have lost their past six games between the division rivals. At 7-5, the Bengals fall into a tie for the AFC’s final wild card playoff berth with the loss.

The Kansas City Chiefs (5-7) ended a four-game winless run with a 10-3 win over the Chicago Bears (7-5).

The Detroit Lions (7-4) can move ahead of the Bears alone in second place behind the unbeaten Green Bay Packers in the National Football Conference North division by handing the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints (8-3) their first defeat in four games tonight.

The Houston Texans won in their first game with third- string quarterback T.J. Yates, beating the Atlanta Falcons 17-10. Yates took over as the starter when backup Matt Leinart was lost for the season after breaking a collarbone against Jacksonville a week ago. Houston (9-3) has won six straight games as it chases its first playoff berth since joining the NFL in 2002.

The Falcons drop to 7-5 with their first defeat in three games. The Saints lead the NFC South with an 8-3 record ahead of tonight’s game against the Lions.

Rookie quarterback Cam Newton rushed for three touchdowns, giving him a league-record 13 this season, as the Carolina Panthers won two games in a row for the first time this year to improve to 4-8. Carolina won 38-19 to send the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8) to their sixth straight loss.

The previous mark of 12 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season was set by former Patriot Steve Grogan in 1976.

Also today, the New York Giants (6-5) seek to end a three- game losing run and keep pace with the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (7-4) at home against the Packers (11-0).

Division Title

A victory for Green Bay, coupled with a loss for the Lions, will secure the NFC North title for the Super Bowl champion.

The Packers’ winning run began in the next-to-last week of the 2010 regular season with a 45-17 win over the Giants, which ensured New York missed the postseason for a second straight year.

The Cowboys visit the Arizona Cardinals (4-7) seeking a fifth straight victory, while the San Francisco 49ers, who lead the NFC West with a 9-3 record, visit the St. Louis Rams (2-9), who are last in the division, in the day’s other game.

Week 12, which began Dec. 1 with a 31-14 win for the Seattle Seahawks (5-7) over the Philadelphia Eagles (4-8), wraps up tomorrow with the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8) hosting the San Diego Chargers (4-7).

To contact the reporter on this story: Dex McLuskey in Dallas at dmcluskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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