No shame Seattle is unlikely champ
Posted: Monday, January 3, 2011 4:47 pm
By: By The Associated Press
Yep, those were championship hats the Seattle Seahawks were wearing.
Nope, they aren’t ashamed one bit.
The Seahawks became the first NFL division winner with a losing record — that dates to 1933 folks — when they beat St. Louis 16-6 on Sunday night. At 7-9, they are NFC West champions, while two 10-6 clubs (Tampa Bay and the New York Giants) are out of the postseason.
Apologize for their fortune? Forget it.
“It just shows that no matter what happens through an awkward year, if a team sticks together they can have a shot at the end to accomplish what they talked about in the beginning,” safety Lawyer Milloy said. “We know it wasn’t pretty getting here, but what we talked about was right there at the end and we took advantage of it. Nobody can take that away from us.”
Indianapolis tied an NFL record with its ninth straight playoff berth by beating Tennessee 23-20 on Adam Vinatieri’s 43-yard field goal as time expired. The Colts (10-6), host the wild-card Jets (11-4), who routed Buffalo 38-7, next Saturday night.
Atlanta secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, winning the NFC South by defeating Carolina 31-10. The Falcons (13-3) get a bye next week, as do the NFC North champion Bears (11-5), who fell at Green Bay 10-3, giving the Packers (10-6) a wild-card spot.
Green Bay visits Phil-adelphia (10-6), the NFC East champ, next Sunday after AFC West winner Kansas City (10-6) hosts Baltimore (12-4).
Along with Atlanta, teams with byes are New England, which finished a league-best 14-2; Pittsburgh (12-4); and Chicago.
Seahawks 16, Rams 6
At Seattle, both teams finished 7-9 in the mild, mild West, with Seattle getting the nod thanks to a 4-2 division record. St. Louis was 3-3.
Making his second career start, backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst threw a four-yard TD pass on Seattle’s first possession, and Olindo Mare kicked three second-half field goals.
Lions 20, Vikings 13
At Detroit, Brett Favre stood in street clothes on the sideline in what likely was the final game of his 20-season career, watching the Lions (6-10) win their fourth straight.
The Vikings (6-10) closed out a lost season by putting the three-time MVP quarterback on the inactive list because of a concussion, with rookie Joe Webb making his second start.
After the game, Favre said it was time for him to call it a career.
Packers 10, Bears 3
At Green Bay, Wis., Aaron Rodgers’ 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Donald Lee gave the Packers the lead, and their defense held on to clinch a wild card.
The Packers trailed 3-0 at halftime and were tied going into the fourth quarter with the Bears, who didn’t have anything to play for in terms of playoff seeding, but still played to win with their starters.
Patriots 38, Dolphins 7
At Foxborough, Mass., Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to cap a record-setting season as New England won its eighth straight.
The game meant nothing in the standings. Still, Brady played into the third quarter and finished with 36 touchdowns passing and four interceptions.
Cowboys 14, Eagles 13
At Philadelphia, Stephen McGee threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with 55 seconds left.
Michael Vick and nearly every starter didn’t play in a game that had no effect on Philadelphia’s playoff positioning.
The Cowboys (6-10) were playing for jobs next year, and the win might convince owner Jerry Jones to have interim coach Jason Garrett stay on next season.
Giants 17, Redskins 14
At Landover, Md., Giants co-owner John Mara said coach Tom Coughlin will return after a game in which end Osi Umenyiora caused two of the defense’s four takeaways for the visiting Giants. Umenyiora tied an NFL record with 10 forced fumbles in a season.
49ers 38, Cardinals 7
At San Francisco, Alex Smith threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis in what likely was the quarterback’s final hurrah with the 49ers.
Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick who will become a free agent, threw for 276 yards and two TDs overall and the Niners (6-10) made interim coach Jim Tomsula a winner in what will probably be his only game coaching the team. Tomsula was promoted from his defensive line duties after coach Mike Singletary was fired following a loss last week.
Larry Fitzgerald had a 10-yard TD reception from John Skelton among his 11 catches for Arizona (5-11).
Chargers 33, Broncos 28
At Denver, rookie Ryan Mathews ran for three scores and Nate Kaeding kicked four field goals for San Diego. Mathews topped 100 yards for the first time, gaining 120 on 26 carries and scoring on runs of 27, 12 and 31 yards.
The Broncos (4-12) closed out the season with more than 11 losses for the first time in club history, but secured the No. 2 overall pick in the April draft behind Carolina.
San Diego (9-7) missed the playoffs after winning the AFC West title the past four years.