The Buffalo Bills captured their first AFC East title in a quarter-century Saturday when 24-year-old quarterback Josh Allen threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more in a 48-19 rout of the Broncos in Denver.
The Bills (11-3) scored twice in a 17-second span in the third quarter to ice their fourth straight victory that ended the New England Patriots’ 11-year reign atop the division. Buffalo’s last AFC East title was in 1995.
The Broncos (5-9) have their fourth consecutive losing season for the first time since they had 10 straight sub-.500 campaigns from 1963-72. They also became the first team to go five years without making the playoffs following a Super Bowl title.
Allen threw for 359 yards, hitting Stefon Diggs 11 times for 147 yards before a foot injury in the fourth quarter, and Cole Beasley eight times for 112 yards.
Allen also tied Jack Kemp’s record of 25 career touchdown runs with his second TD scamper, a 1-yard keeper to the right that was set up by Andre Roberts’ 55-yard return of Taylor Russilino’s short second-half kickoff.
Russolino missed a 51-yard field goal and two extra points on a windy day that didn’t affect Bills kicker Tyler Bass, who made both field-goal attempts and all six extra points.
Packers 24, Panthers 16: Aaron Jones rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown as Green Bay reached the end zone on its first three series before hanging on to beat Carolina in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Aaron Rodgers threw for a season-low 143 yards but produced a touchdown pass – his 40th of the season – and a touchdown run for the Packers. Rodgers is the first player in NFL history to throw at least 40 touchdown passes in three separate seasons; he had 45 during his 2011 MVP campaign and 40 in 2016.
Green Bay (11-3) won its fourth straight and took a half-game lead over New Orleans (10-3) in the race for the NFC’s best record. The Packers own the tiebreaker over the Saints . Under the NFL’s new 14-team playoff format this year, only the No. 1 seed in each conference earns a first-round bye.
The Panthers (4-10) have lost eight of their past nine games.
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