Thursday 18 December 2014

American Football: Giants crash out but Cutler heroics can't rescue Bears

Published 01/01/2013 | 05:00

Super Bowl champions the New York Giants have failed to make the play-offs despite beating the Philadelphia Eagles 42-7.

The Giants (9-7) needed to beat the Eagles (4-12) and have other results go their way, but Chicago's win in Detroit ensured Tom Coughlin's side could not qualify for the post-season.

Jay Cutler threw for 257 yards and a touchdown and helped seal the game with a late 19-yard run for the Bears in their 26-24 win over the Lions, but their play-off hopes were later crushed. Chicago (10-6) still needed Minnesota to lose to Green Bay to reach the post-season, but the Vikings edged the Packers 37-34 to earn a wild card.

Adrian Peterson rushed for 26 yards on the final drive, getting Minnesota (10-6) within straightforward field-goal range for rookie kicker Blair Walsh to send the Vikings into the play-offs for the first time since the 2009 season. Peterson finished with 2,097 yards – eight short of Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2,105. Green Bay and Minnesota will meet again next weekend in a wild-card game.

Washington were crowned NFC East champions and claimed the last NFC berth courtesy of a 28-18 victory over Dallas in their winner-takes-all regular-season finale.

Defeat would have sent the Redskins out of the post-season, but quarterback Robert Griffin III ran for 63 yards and a touchdown while fellow rookie Alfred Morris found the end zone three times and finished with 200 yards. The result earned Washington (10-6) their first division title since 1999 and meant the Cowboys (8-8) missed the play-offs for the third year running.

In Chuck Pagano's first game back as coach since starting treatment for leukaemia in September, the Colts (11-5) headed into the play-offs as the number five seeds by beating the Texans (12-4) and costing them the chance of a first-round bye.

NFL POST-SEASON – Saturday – AFC wild card: Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) at Houston Texans (12-4), 9.30pm.

NFC wild card: Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at Green Bay Packers (11-5) (Sunday, 1am). Sunday – AFC wild card: Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at Baltimore Ravens (10-6), 6.0pm. NFC wild card: Seattle Seahawks (11-5) at Washington Redskins (10-6), 9.30.

Irish Independent

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