Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton scrambles from New Orleans Saints defensive linemen Cameron Jordan (94) and Tyrunn Walker (75) in the first half Sunday. (Mike McCarn / Associated Press / )
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon with 23 seconds left Sunday to lift the Carolina Panthers to a 17-13 win over the New Orleans Saints and clinch the team's first playoff berth since 2008.
Carolina (11-4) can wrap up the NFC South and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win next Sunday at Atlanta.
The Panthers intercepted Drew Brees twice and sacked him six times to avenge a 31-13 loss two weeks ago.
Still, the Panthers needed some last-minute big plays from Newton to seal the win. After being held to 116 yards passing for the game's first 59 minutes, Newton led the Panthers 65 yards in 32 seconds for the go-ahead score.
The Saints (10-5) can still clinch a playoff berth if Arizona loses to Seattle.
New Orleans' road woes persist. The Saints have dropped five of their last six games away from the Superdome.
LANDOVER, Md. -- Tony Romo threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray on fourth down with 1:08 remaining, giving the Dallas Cowboys a 24-23 win over the Washington Redskins and setting up a winner-take-all regular season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles next week for the NFC East title.
After a one-point, meltdown loss to the Green Bay Packers the previous week, the Cowboys nearly pulled a repeat - blowing a second-half lead after committing turnovers on back-to-back drives.
But Romo recovered and rallied the Cowboys from a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit. He hit Murray after a long scramble as Dallas snapped a two-game skid - as well as a four-game losing streak in the month of December.
The Cowboys (8-7) host the Eagles next week for the division crown. The Redskins (3-12) have lost seven straight.
CINCINNATI -- Linebacker Vincent Rey returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown as Cincinnati's defense set up another fast start, and Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes as the Bengals pulled away to a 42-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
The Bengals (10-5) remained perfect at home and could clinch an unprecedented third straight playoff appearance if Miami lost to Buffalo. They could clinch the AFC North title if Baltimore lost at home to New England later Sunday.
Something about Paul Brown Stadium brings out the best in Dalton. In his past four home games, Dalton has thrown for five, three, three and four touchdowns. The Bengals have topped 40 points in each of their past four home games, a club record.
The Vikings (4-10-1) had knocked off playoff contenders Chicago and Philadelphia in the past three weeks. Even with Adrian Peterson back from a foot injury, they couldn't keep up.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Kyle Williams had two sacks as the Buffalo Bills set a single-season record and put a dent into the Miami Dolphins' playoff chances with a 19-0 win.
Fred Jackson had 111 yards rushing and scored on a 9-yard run, while the Bills limited the Dolphins to a season-low 103 yards offense and six first downs. The Bills (6-9) closed their home schedule with seven sacks for 56 this season, breaking their previous high of 50 during a 14-game season in 1964.
Dan Carpenter sealed the win by hitting four field goals, including a 45-yarder.
The Dolphins (8-7) had a three-game winning streak snapped and are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. Miami needs help from other teams to have a shot, and closes the season hosting the New York Jets next weekend.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes to David Nelson and ran for another score as the New York Jets topped the Cleveland Browns 24-13 on Sunday in their home finale.
With Rex Ryan's job status uncertain, it could have been the coach's last game in front of the home fans, and Smith helped make it a good one with a solid performance. The rookie quarterback had his first game with at least two TD passes since October and committed no turnovers.
Smith finished 20 of 36 for 214 yards and ran for 48 more. Chris Ivory had 109 yards on 20 carries for the Jets (7-8), who were eliminated from playoff contention last week.
Jason Campbell was intercepted twice as the Browns (4-11) lost their sixth straight. The offense was sluggish with star tight end Jordan Cameron sidelined with a concussion.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Zac Stacy rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown, and two other rookies also had big games for the St. Louis Rams in their 23-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Stedman Bailey scored on a 27-yard reverse, and Alec Ogletree forced two fumbles.
Robert Quinn had three of the seven sacks of Mike Glennon to give him an NFC-high 18, breaking Kevin Carter's franchise record of 17 sacks in 1999. The Rams (7-8) wore throwback jerseys from the '99 Super Bowl title season.
Ogletree stripped Bobby Rainey early in the second quarter, and Bailey scored his first career touchdown on the next snap on the reverse to put the Rams up for good at 14-7.
The Buccaneers (4-11) managed just 170 total yards, setting a season low for the second straight week. Vincent Jackson had five catches for 98 yards.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Nate Washington scored on a 30-yard reception in the fourth quarter, Tennessee got a much-needed defensive stop late and the Titans ended a three-game losing streak with a 20-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Titans (6-9) overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half and won for just the third time since September.
Washington made several key plays, none bigger than when he slipped behind Alan Ball for the go-ahead score. He finished with six catches for 117 yards.
The Jaguars (4-11) were in position to take the lead after that, but Ropati Pitoitua stuffed Maurice Jones-Drew on a fourth-and-1 play at the Tennessee 20 with 5:21 remaining.
It was the seventh fourth-down attempt in a fairly entertaining game, one of three on this weekend's NFL schedule with no playoff implications. The highlight of the game came when Jacksonville got retiring center Brad Meester his first career reception.