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Bills' Losman passes latest test

December 18, 2006|From the Associated Press

J.P. Losman's passing and a stout defensive effort helped the Buffalo Bills defeat the Miami Dolphins, 21-0, on Sunday at Orchard Park, N.Y., keeping their playoff hopes alive.

Overcoming wet and blustery conditions, Losman threw three touchdown passes and the Bills limited the Dolphins to 212 yards.

It was the fifth win in seven games for the Bills (7-7), their first shutout since a 2003 season-opening 31-0 win over New England and their first against the Dolphins since a 29-0 win in November 1987.

"It's an awesome feeling," Bills linebacker London Fletcher said. "Obviously, we didn't think we would shut them out. But to get the type of victory that we got today says a lot about the character of this team."

The Dolphins (6-8) were eliminated from postseason contention.

The game turned in the opening minutes of the second half when Jason Taylor forced a Losman fumble, the quarterback's only miscue, giving Miami the ball at the Bills 44.

Trailing, 7-0, the Dolphins immediately gave the ball away when a pass by Joey Harrington was intercepted by Nate Clements, his 23rd career interception and ninth against Miami.

Losman responded by capping a 55-yard drive, connecting with Josh Reed on a 27-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Losman completed 13 of 19 passes for 200 yards and matched a career-high with three touchdown passes.

In registering a career-low 0.0 passer rating, Harrington finished five for 17 for 20 yards and two interceptions before being replaced by Cleo Lemon early in the fourth quarter.

The Dolphins went three and out on five of six possessions -- the other ending in a Harrington pass interception -- spanning the second and third quarters.

"We lost the game on three big plays," Taylor said. "I'm not going to buy into this, 'They kicked our butt up and down the field.' They just got a few big plays on us."

The game was played in a persistent rain and with winds gusting to 25 mph. The game-time temperature was 54 degrees.

Baltimore 27, Cleveland 17 -- Kyle Boller, playing in place of injured Steve McNair, threw two touchdown passes, including one of 77 yards to Demetrius Williams that ended a tie and propelled the host Ravens.

Jamal Lewis ran 22 times for 109 yards and a touchdown for the Ravens (11-3), who are assured a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2003. The Ravens will win the AFC North if Cincinnati losses to Indianapolis tonight.

The Browns (4-10) tied the score, 17-17, on a 14-yard pass from Derek Anderson to Braylon Edwards with 6 minutes 29 seconds to play in the third quarter.

Denver 37, Arizona 20 -- Jay Cutler threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns at Glendale, Ariz., to get his first NFL win as a starter and help the Broncos (8-6) end a four-game losing streak.

Matt Leinart was 20 for 35 for 214 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions for the Cardinals (4-10). He was sacked three times and was hit as he threw on several other occasions.

Another rookie, Mike Bell, had two one-yard touchdown runs, and Jason Elam kicked three field goals to contribute to Denver's highest-scoring performance this season.

Pittsburgh 37, Carolina 3 -- Willie Parker rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown and Ben Roethlisberger threw for a score and ran for another at Charlotte, N.C.

The Steelers (7-7) also blocked a punt and returned another for a touchdown to win their third consecutive game and keep alive their playoff hopes. The Panthers (6-8) lost their fourth game in a row.

Chris Weinke, starting for the second consecutive week in place of injured Jake Delhomme, threw for 170 yards for the Panthers (6-8) but was sacked five times.

The Steelers, who started 2-6, have given up 13 points in the last three games.

New York Jets 26, Minnesota 13 -- Chad Pennington and the Jets (8-6) stayed in the playoff chase for at least one more week and knocked the host Vikings (6-8) just about out of it.

Pennington passed for 339 yards and one touchdown, and Laveranues Coles had 12 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown for the Jets before leaving because of an apparent back injury late in the fourth quarter.

Brad Johnson was benched for the third time this season by the Vikings, who have lost six of eight.

Green Bay 17, Detroit 9 -- The Packers' Brett Favre surpassed Dan Marino's record for career completions but threw three passes that were intercepted.

It was the second home victory this season for the Packers (6-8). The Lions (2-12) are winless in seven games on the road.

Favre connected on a 21-yard pass to receiver Carlyle Holiday just before halftime for his league-record 4,968th completion. But Favre threw two passes that were intercepted in the red zone.

New England 40, Houston 7 -- After a six-week stretch in which they were 3-3 with 19 turnovers, the Patriots committed no turnovers and intercepted four passes at Foxborough, Mass.

The Patriots (10-4) lead the AFC East and can clinch the title with a win at Jacksonville on Sunday.

The Texans (4-10) were outgained, 147 yards to 76, in the first two quarters.

On the kickoff after Houston's touchdown, Ellis Hobbs ran 93 yards for his first NFL touchdown and a 34-7 New England lead.

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