The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first division title since 1990, Carson Palmer set a team record for touchdown passes and Deltha O’Neal set a record for interceptions.
No, they’re not the Bungles anymore.
Palmer threw three touchdown passes in the first half to build a 17-point lead and Cincinnati coasted to a 41-17 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday in Detroit, claiming the AFC North.
Cincinnati won its fourth straight game, adding to a sensational season after 14 straight years without a winning record.
Palmer was 28 of 39 for 274 yards with three touchdowns, matching a season high, and two interceptions. He has thrown 30 TD passes this season, breaking Ken Anderson’s team record of 29 set in 1981.
O’Neal picked off one of three Jeff Garcia interceptions, giving him a team-record 10 on the season.
Steelers 18, Vikings 3
Ben Roethlisberger ran for a touchdown, and Pittsburgh forced three turnovers and a safety in a victory over Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Willie Parker rushed 14 times for 81 yards for the Steelers, who won their second consecutive game and put themselves in prime position for an AFC wild card.
Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson threw two costly red-zone interceptions – the last one in the end zone with 23 seconds left in the first half. Minnesota was past the Pittsburgh 20-yard line four times, managing only Paul Edinger’s 20-yard field goal. He had a 32-yarder blocked in the third quarter.
Panthers 27, Saints 10
Former Saints backup QB Jake Delhomme led Carolina back into first place in the NFC South, throwing for a touchdown and running for another as the Panthers defeated New Orleans in Baton Rouge, La.
Delhomme’s fourth victory against his former team came in the same week the Saints benched quarterback Aaron Brooks after 82 straight starts. His replacement, seldom-used Todd Bouman, struggled, finishing with four interceptions and a lost fumble.
Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith ran for a 20-yard score on an end-around in the first quarter and caught Delhomme’s 15-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Jaguars 10, 49ers 9
David Garrard ran for a touchdown, Josh Scobee kicked one field goal and the Jaguars edged lowly San Francisco in Jacksonville, Fla.
Jacksonville won for the sixth time in seven games – all of the victories coming against teams with losing records – and now can return to the postseason for the first time since 1999 with a victory against Houston or Tennessee to end the season.
Eagles 17, Rams 16
Philadelphia QB Mike McMahon threw three interceptions, but also tossed the game-winning TD pass to long snapper Mike Bartrum on the first play of the fourth quarter as the visiting Eagles edged St. Louis.
The game matched two of the NFC’s biggest disappointments, and lived up to that billing. The Eagles won for the second time in eight games, a far cry from their Super Bowl appearance last year, and sent the Rams to their fifth loss in six games.
Dolphins 24, Jets 20
For the second time in three games, quarterback Sage Rosenfels came off the bench, and Miami came from behind to win.
Replacing injured Gus Frerotte to start the second half, Rosenfels threw a 50-yard completion for the go-ahead touchdown, and the Dolphins earned their fourth win in a row by beating New York in Miami.
The injury-plagued Jets, playing their final away game, finished 0-8 on the road for the first time. The only other time they went winless on the road was in 1964, when they were 0-7.
Texans 30, Cardinals 19
Backup running back Jonathan Wells, filling in for injured Domanick Davis, rushed for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Houston broke a six-game losing streak with a victory over visiting Arizona.
Houston is now tied with San Francisco for the worst record in the NFL. The Texans face San Francisco in the season finale on New Year’s Day.
Browns 9, Raiders 7
Phil Dawson’s last-second kick and an instant replay reversal were enough to give Cleveland rookie Charlie Frye his first NFL win.
Dawson kicked a 37-yard field goal two plays after Reuben Droughns’ apparent fumble was overturned by replay, giving the Browns a victory over Oakland in Oakland, Calif.
Frye, a third-round pick out of Akron, calmly engineered the last-minute drive that helped Cleveland snap a three-game skid.
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