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Pagano wins for Colts in emotional return


February 20. 2013 12:14AM
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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts made Chuck Pagano a winner in his return to the sideline.


Andrew Luck threw for two touchdowns and Deji Karim swung the game with a 101-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, giving the Colts a 28-16 victory over Houston. It was Pagano's first game back as coach since starting treatment for leukemia Sept. 26.


Indianapolis (11-5) heads into the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and on a roll. The Colts will open the postseason next weekend against the Baltimore Ravens.


BENGALS 23, RAVENS 17

CINCINNATI — Carlos Dunlap returned an interception 14 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.


The Ravens (10-6) had already clinched their second straight AFC North title, and they will open the playoffs at home against Indianapolis.


BRONCOS 38, CHIEFS 3

DENVER — Peyton Manning threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns to lift Denver into the No. 1 seed for the AFC playoffs.


Denver (13-3) won its 11th straight and leaped past Houston for the top seed after the Texans lost to Indianapolis 28-16 earlier in the day.


The Chiefs gained only 119 yards all day and finished their season 2-14. They will get the top pick in April's draft.


VIKINGS 37, PACKERS 34

MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Peterson came within 9 yards of Eric Dickerson's rushing record, finishing with 199 yards and powering Minnesota into the playoffs.


The result forced a rematch with the Packers next weekend in a wild-card game — this time at Lambeau Field.


Peterson rushed for 36 yards on the last drive, plenty for rookie Blair Walsh's 29-yard field goal as time expired to put the Vikings (10-6) in the postseason. The Packers (11-5) fell to the NFC's No. 3 seed.


49ERS 27, CARDINALS 13

SAN FRANCISCO — Michael Crabtree caught touchdown passes of 49 and 7 yards as the 49ers won a second straight NFC West title.


Colin Kaepernick threw for a career-best 276 yards and two TDs as the Niners (11-4-1) earned a No. 2 seed thanks to Green Bay's loss to Minnesota.


Frank Gore ran for a 2-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter for his franchise-best 51st touchdown rushing.


SEAHAWKS 20, RAMS 13

SEATTLE — Russell Wilson tied Peyton Manning's record for most touchdown passes by a rookie with 26, and his 1-yard TD run with 1:39 left allowed Seattle to finish as the only unbeaten team at home.


PATRIOTS 28, DOLPHINS 0

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes and New England earned a playoff bye.


Stevan Ridley ran for two touchdowns as the Patriots used a ball-control offense and a defense that racked up a season-high seven sacks.


BUCCANEERS 22, FALCONS 17

ATLANTA — The Falcons couldn't follow through with their plan to gain momentum for the playoffs as Josh Freeman threw a touchdown pass to Mike Williams and Doug Martin ran for 141 yards.


The Falcons (13-3) had little to play for as they already have home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs.


BEARS 26, LIONS 24

DETROIT — Jay Cutler threw for 257 yards and a touchdown and helped seal the game with a late scramble.


Chicago (10-6) needed a Minnesota loss to Green Bay to reach the postseason.


STEELERS 24, BROWNS 10

PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger threw three short touchdown passes, and Pittsburgh avoided its first losing season in nearly a decade.


Antonio Brown, Leonard Pope and Plaxico Burress scored for the Steelers (8-8). Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense forced four turnovers as the Steelers won for just the second time in the last six weeks, a slide that knocked them out of the playoffs for the first time since 2009.


BILLS 28, JETS 9

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — C.J. Spiller scored on a 66-yard catch and run in helping underachieving Buffalo, while Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez had two more turnovers.


The Bills finished last in the AFC East for a fifth straight season amid speculation about coach Chan Gailey's job security.


TITANS 38, JAGUARS 20

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee became the first NFL team with two players scoring twice on returns in closing out the season with two wins in its final three games.


Darius Reynaud scored on two punt returns and rookie linebacker Zach Brown returned two interceptions for touchdowns.


PANTHERS 44, SAINTS 38

NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees made more NFL history, but so did the Saints' porous defense in a loss to Carolina.


DeAngelo Williams rushed for 210 yards, including touchdown runs of 54 and 12 yards, for Carolina (7-9), which closed the season with four straight wins. His 65-yard gain set up the first of three 1-yard scoring runs by Mike Tolbert.


Brees passed for 396 yards, giving him 5,177 this season. That makes him the first player to eclipse 5,000 yards three times.


CHARGERS 24, RAIDERS 21

SAN DIEGO — Micheal Spurlock returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown on wet, gloomy day in what's expected to be Norv Turner's final game as Chargers coach.


Turner and general manager A.J. Smith are expected to be fired because the Chargers (7-9) missed the playoffs for the third straight season. The Raiders finished 4-12.




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