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NFL Bottom Ten: Carolina in a conference unto itself

Meanwhile, Seattle has chance to win division despite a losing record.

December 30, 2010|By Steve Harvey, Special to the Los Angeles Times

The Cincinnati Bungles (4-11) finally discovered a winning combination Sunday — a lineup that includes neither Chad Ochocinco nor Terrell Owens. With both wide receivers sidelined by injuries, a relaxed Carson Palmer threw four touchdown passes and the Bungles routed San Diego, 34-20.

For Carolina (2-13), however, it was losing as usual. In fact, the Panters are making such a joke of the Bottom Ten race that officials reformulated the standings into the Carolina Conference and the Rest-of-NFL Conference.

Elsewhere, in the Third-String Quarterback Bowl, John Skelton led No. 7 Arizona over Stephen McGee and visiting Dallas (5-10). Cardinals officials refused to reduce the price of tickets for the game.

Looking ahead, if No. 2 Seattle (6-9) knocks off St. Louis this weekend, it will become the first NFL division champion with a losing record. Pete Carroll's latest book should be retitled "Win Forever — As Long as You're in the NFC West."

CAROLINA CONFERENCE

Wreck (Record); Last Loss; Next Loss

Carolina (2-13); 3-27, Pitts; Atlanta

REST-OF-NFL CONFERENCE

Wreck (Record); Last Loss; Next Loss

1. San Francisco (5-10); 17-25, St. Louis; Arizona

2. Seattle (6-9); 15-38, Tampa Bay; St. Louis

3. Buffalo (4-11); 3-34, New England; N.J. Jets

4. Houston (5-10); 23-24, Denver; Jacksonville

5. Cleveland (5-10); 10-20, Baltimore; Pittsburgh

6. Cincinnati (4-11); 7. Arizona (5-10); 8. Dallas (5-10); 9. Miami (7-8); 10. N.J. Giants (9-6).

Rout of the weak: Pittsburgh (11-4) over Cleveland (5-10).

Crummy game of the weak: St. Louis (7-8) at Seattle (6-9).

Fantasy flops: Running back LaDainian Tomlinson (N.Y. Jets), 13 carries, 28 yards.

Worst fake punt ever: On fourth and three against Chicago, the Jets trotted out their punting team — but left quarterback Mark Sanchez in the backfield. The Bears weren't fooled. Sanchez took a direct snap and threw an incomplete pass.

steveharvey9@gmail.com

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