By Milt Northrop
News sports reporter
Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings fell short of the league rushing record and Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions didn’t reach 2,000 receiving yards, but there still was enough drama Sunday on the final day of the National Football League regular season.
Washington and San Francisco wrapped up titles in the NFC, and Minnesota nailed down the final wild-card spot in the NFC. The Sunday night Dallas at Washington game determined the NFC East champion and the final playoff spot.
Three of the four top seeds for the playoffs were determined.
Denver clinched home field throughout the AFC playoffs by defeating hapless Kansas City, 38-3. Houston blew the other first-round bye in the AFC by losing at Indianapolis, 28-16, while New England was defeating Miami, 28-0.
Atlanta already had a bye and home field clinched in the NFC so its home loss to Tampa Bay affected nothing. However, San Francisco’s rout of Arizona and Green Bay’s loss at Minnesota assured the Niners of the No. 2 seed in the conference playoffs.
Peterson ran a career-high 34 times for 199 yards in the Vikings’ 37-34 victory over Green Bay, but fell 9 yards short of the NFL record of 2,105 by Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams in 1984.
Johnson had 72 yards on five receptions in a 26-24 loss to the Chicago Bears in Detroit, but he needed 108 to reach 2,000.
Game of the day
Redskins 28, Cowboys 18
The scoop: Robert Griffin III ran 10 yards for the go-ahead touchdown and Alfred Morris completed a 200-yard rushing performance with two second-half touchdowns as Washington claimed the NFC East title and the final NFC playoff berth.
Why the Redskins won: Their defense led by ex-Bill London Fletcher intercepted Tony Romo three times, including a devastating pick by Rob Jackson with less than three minutes remaining.
Broncos 38, Chiefs 3
The scoop: Peyton Manning and the Broncos enjoyed a predictable runaway for Denver’s 11th win in a row. Manning threw three touchdown passes in a game for the 73rd time in his career and Denver coach John Fox won his 100th career game.
Why the Broncos won: They held the Chiefs to 119 yards total offense.
49ers 27, Cardinals 13
The scoop: Michael Crabtree caught touchdown passes of 49 and 7 yards and finished with a career-high 172 yards, leading San Francisco to a second straight division title.
Why the 49ers won: Arizona didn’t score a touchdown until there was 1:59 left in the game.
Seahawks 20, Rams 13
The scoop: 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 broke a 13-13 tie. St. Louis’ defensive effort didn’t make it easy. The Rams sacked Wilson six times.
Why the Seahawks won: Wilson hit Golden Tate on a 44-yard pass, the key play in Seattle’s 90-yard winning drive.
Buccaneers 22, Falcons 17
The scoop: Doug Martin’s 40-yard run late in the third period that made it 22-10 was the difference. Riverside High grad Mike Williams (6 catches, 65 yards) caught an 8-yard TD pass from Josh Freeman for the first Tampa Bay touchdown.
Why the Bucs won: Atlanta converted only 3 of 14 third downs.
Bengals 23, Ravens 17
The scoop: Carlos Dunlap returned an interception 14 yards for a touchdown to make it 23-14 with 6:06 left in the fourth quarter.
Why the Bengals won: Baltimore’s Ray Rice and Joe Flacco played only two series, and WR Anquan Boldin was not active.
Colts 28, Texans 16
The scoop: Andrew Luck threw for two touchdowns in Chuck Pagano’s first game as coach since starting treatment for leukemia Sept. 26. J.J. Watt of Houston failed to break Michael Strahan’s single-season sacks record, finishing with 20.5.
Why the Colts won: Houston owned the lead (16-14) for only 12 seconds before Deji Karim returned a kickoff 101 yards for a score. Then Luck hit T.Y. Hilton on a 70-yard bomb for another score.
Vikings 37, Packers 34
The scoop: Minnesota claimed a wild-card playoff spot on a 29-yard field goal by rookie Blair Thomas as time expired after Green Bay had rallied from a 20-7 halftime deficit to tie the game.
Why the Vikings won: They outgained Green Bay, 217-72, on the ground, which was no surprise.
Patriots 28, Dolphins 0
The scoop: Tom Brady and his teammates were sharp after two mediocre performances. New England used a ball-control offense and a defense that racked up a season-high seven sacks. Rob Gronkowski, who had missed the previous five games after breaking his left forearm, scored on a 23-yard pass from Brady.
Why the Patriots won: They limited Miami to 47 yards rushing.
On the bus
Bears 26, Lions 24
The scoop: Jay Cutler threw for 257 yards and a touchdown and helped seal the game with a late scramble for 19 yards that helped Chicago run out the clock.
Why the Bears won: Detroit turnovers led to three short scoring drives by the Bears for 13 points as Chicago built a 20-3 lead.
Panthers 44, Saints 38
The scoop: Drew Brees made more NFL history, passing for 396 yards, giving him 5,177 this season. That makes him the first player to eclipse 5,000 yards three times. His four TD passes gave him 43, and he’s the first player with 40 TD passes in consecutive seasons. DeAngelo Williams of the Panthers rushed for 210 yards, including touchdown runs of 54 and 12 yards. The Saints gave up 530 yards, raising their season total to 7,042 to break the record of 6,793 allowed by the 1981 Baltimore Colts.
Why the Panthers won: An interception by Charles Godfrey and a 69-yard punt return by Armanti Edwards set up TDs that gave Carolina a 34-24 lead.
Steelers 24, Browns 10
The scoop: Ben Roethlisberger threw three short touchdown passes, and Pittsburgh (8-8) avoided its first losing season in nearly a decade. Pittsburgh’s top-ranked defense forced four turnovers. Cleveland’s third-string quarterback, Thaddeus Lewis, passed for 204 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his first NFL game.
Why the Steelers won: Browns fumbles led to the two second-half touchdowns by Pittsburgh, breaking a 10-10 tie.
Titans 38, Jaguars 20
The scoop: Tennessee became the first NFL team with two players scoring twice on returns. Darius Reynaud scored on two punt returns (69 and 81 yards) and rookie linebacker Zach Brown returned two interceptions (79 and 30 yards) for touchdowns.
Why the Titans won: It was 14-all before Reynaud broke his first scoring return. His second and Brown’s second pick-six made it 35-14 just 2:57 into the third quarter.
Chargers 24, Raiders 21
The scoop: What may have been Norv Turner’s last game as San Diego coach was spiced up by a double ejection. San Diego linebacker Takeo Spikes and Oakland running back Mike Goodson were ejected following a skirmish in the second quarter. Micheal Spurlock returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and the Chargers never trailed on a wet, gloomy Sunday. Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor made his first career start and threw his first career touchdown pass and scored on a 3-yard run.
Why the Chargers won: They scored on four of their first seven possessions, then held on.
Dog of the day
Giants 42, Eagles 7
The scoop: Eli Manning threw a career-high five touchdown passes although he had only 205 passing yards in the rout that may have been coach Andy Reid’s final game for Philadelphia (4-12).
Why the Giants won: New York scored touchdowns on five of its six possessions in the first half.
News wire services contributed to this report.