Vikings remain in NFC playoff picture

The Minnesota Vikings remain in control of the NFC's final NFL playoff spot after easing past the Miami Dolphins 41-17.

Running back Dalvin Cook had a career performance, totalling 136 yards and two touchdowns on a season-high 19 carries for Minnesota on Sunday.

Latavius Murray helped in the backfield as the Vikings committed to the run. He added 68 rushing yards and a score on 15 of Minnesota's season-high 40 attempts on the ground.

The Vikings opened the game by converting each of their first three drives into touchdowns to take a commanding 21-0 lead after the first quarter.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs, one of his favourite targets, to help get that early lead and later found Aldrick Robinson for a score. Cousins finished 14-of-21 passing for 215 yards. He also had one interception.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill ended the game completing 11 of his 24 passes for 108 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Miami's scores came from a 50-yard interception return by Minkah Fitzpatrick and a 75-yard rushing touchdown by Kalen Ballage.

The loss was the Dolphins' third in their last five games and their chances at an AFC wild-card bid continue to slip away.

 

Injury report

Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller left his team's game against the New York Jets in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return on Saturday.

Jets offensive lineman Brett Shell suffered a leg injury in the second half and left the game.

DeAndre Hopkins scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:15 to play in the clash against the Jets but came up limping on the play. He had to be helped to the sideline. Hopkins did come back in for one more possession.

Denver Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby sustained a cut to his mouth and did not return to the team's loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Dolphins running back Frank Gore left Sunday's game against the Vikings with a foot sprain and was later ruled out.

Jacksonville Jaguars safety Ronnie Harrison suffered a knee injury against the Washington Redskins and fellow defensive back Jarrod Wilson also sustained an ankle injury. ​

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones was ruled out against the Chicago Bears with a knee injury

Bears safety Eddie Jackson sprained his right ankle in Chicago's NFC North-clinching win against the Packers.

 

By the numbers

The six sacks tallied against Deshaun Watson on Saturday brought his total count to 52 this season. That is the most a quarterback has been sacked through 14 games since Detroit Lions signal-caller Jon Kitna was sacked 55 times in 2006.

The Browns' drive to open the second half against the Broncos took 9:11 and gained 43 yards. Not since 2005 has a drive taken longer and gained fewer yards. It ended in a Baker Mayfield fumble.

Atlanta Falcons veteran Julio Jones became the fifth player in NFL history with three career 1,500-receiving yard seasons, joining Jerry Rice, Antonio Brown, Marvin Harrison and Andre Johnson.

Packers' Aaron Rodgers had an impressive streak going, but his 402 pass attempts without an interception came to an end against the Bears. It was the longest a quarterback went without a pick in league history.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen picked up his sixth rushing touchdown of the season. Allen now leads all play-callers and became the first rookie quarterback with six scores on the ground since Dak Prescott in 2016.

 

Quotables

Jets safety Jamal Adams on Sam Darnold, after the rookie quarterback went 24-of-38 passing for 253 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to the Texans: "He's a bad man. The future is bright for him."

The Dallas Cowboys were shut out for the first time since 2003 following a 23-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. After the game, running back Ezekiel Elliott​ was embarrassed: "We can't go out there and do that. We cannot. That is not us, at all. It's embarrassing. We've got to be better than that, way better."

 

Week 15 NFL scores

Thursday's game

Los Angeles Chargers 29, Kansas City Chiefs 28

Saturday's games

Houston Texans 29, New York Jets 22
Cleveland Browns 17, Denver Broncos 16

Sunday's games

Chicago Bears 24, Green Bay Packers 17
Buffalo Bills 14, Detroit Lions 13
Baltimore Ravens 20, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12
Atlanta Falcons 40, Arizona Cardinals 14
Cincinnati Bengals 30, Oakland Raiders 16
Tennessee Titans 17, New York Giants 0
Minnesota Vikings 41, Miami Dolphins 17
Washington Redskins 16, Jacksonville Jaguars 13
Indianapolis Colts 23, Dallas Cowboys 0
San Francisco 49ers 26, Seattle Seahawks 23 (OT)
Pittsburgh Steelers 17, New England Patriots 10

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