SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Chargers must have been looking ahead to their game against Indianapolis, because they sure weren’t paying enough attention to the Miami Dolphins.

Gus Frerotte threw two touchdown passes to Chris Chambers in the third quarter and the Dolphins shocked San Diego 23-21 on Sunday, ending the Chargers’ five-game winning streak and severely damaging their playoff hopes.

This was the most winnable of the last four games for the defending AFC West champion Chargers (8-5), who came into the day tied for second in the division with Kansas City, one game behind Denver. The Chargers’ next two games are on the road, at undefeated Indianapolis and Kansas City, before they finish at home against Denver. Antonio Gates caught an 8-yard TD pass from Drew Brees with 15 seconds left, but the Dolphins recovered the onside kick.

Bengals 23, Browns 20

CINCINNATI – With Carson Palmer well off his game, a reliable running back and a trustworthy kicker kept the Bengals’ playoff momentum going.

Rudi Johnson ran for a season-high 169 yards, and Shayne Graham kicked a 37-yard field goal on the final play for a 23-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns that kept Cincinnati in firm control of the AFC North.

Cincinnati (10-3) reached double-digits in victories for the first time since 1988, its last Super Bowl season.

An offense that scored 117 points in the last three games with a high-tech, no-huddle offense showed it can also grind one out the old-fashioned way, a handy thing for cold playoff games.

With Palmer struggling to complete throws in a northerly wind, Johnson became the focal point. The burly running back carried a season-high 30 times and did most of the work in a 43-yard drive to Graham’s winning kick.

Broncos 12, Ravens 10

DENVER – Denver’s march toward the playoffs looked more like a crawl. Against the bumbling Baltimore Ravens, though, there wasn’t much need to be perfect.

Kyle Johnson made a tiptoe catch for a touchdown, Champ Bailey set a franchise record with an interception in his fifth straight game and Al Wilson made a big hit on the goal line to lift the Broncos to a 12-10 victory over Baltimore.

It was a game that won’t wind up anywhere near the “Best Of” files for the Broncos (10-3), but it was a win – increasing their lead to two games in the AFC West and tying them with Cincinnati for the second-best record in the AFC.

Jake Plummer threw for 236 yards and the touchdown to Johnson. Tatum Bell was held to 63 yards and Mike Anderson had only 21. A better team would have taken advantage of Denver’s flat effort on this day, but Baltimore (4-9) certainly doesn’t qualify as that. Kyle Boller threw for 251 yards and turned it over three times – two interceptions and one lost fumble – yet despite all that, the Ravens trailed by only two after Mark Clayton caught a 39-yard touchdown with 1:52 left.

Titans 13, Texans 10

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Not even an extra play with no time left on the clock can help the Houston Texans.

Kris Brown hooked a 31-yard field goal short and wide left even as Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher was trying to call a timeout, and the Titans held on for a 13-10 victory over the hapless Texans.

Rob Bironas kicked a 21-yard field goal with 10 seconds left that gave Tennessee (4-9) the sweep of its AFC South rival for the division cellar, the Titans’ third sweep in the four seasons since the Texans replaced them in Houston.

The Texans (1-12) lost for the sixth straight in yet another game they had plenty of chances to win. After blowing a 24-3 lead against St. Louis and a late lead last week against Baltimore, Brown had a 37-yard field goal blocked by Tank Williams with 3:48 left.

Jerome Mathis gave the kicker another shot with a 50-yard return of the kickoff. A penalty on Reynaldo Hill at the end of Mathis’ return set Brown up for a kick to force overtime from the Tennessee 13 – except the kicker jerked the ball left.

Jets 26, Raiders 10

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Brooks Bollinger threw for one touchdown and set a team record for yards rushing by a quarterback, Houston scored the first touchdown of his career and John Abraham had two sacks that caused fumbles, helping the Jets break a seven-game losing streak and win 26-10.

Marques Tuiasosopo, starting in place of an ineffective Kerry Collins, struggled mightily, throwing two interceptions while losing two fumbles and was sacked six times. Former Jets back LaMont Jordan, the understudy to Martin for four years, also failed to deliver many big plays for the Raiders (4-9), finishing with 49 yards on 14 carries. Houston had 74 yards on 28 carries and the 2-yard score. Bollinger showed his scrambling skills, gaining 56 yards, eclipsing the old mark of 53 set by Richard Todd on Dec. 14, 1980 against New Orleans.

He also was 14-of-26 for 119 yards.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.