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Bears defense helps clinch NFC North

Saints running back Reggie Bush hurdles to avoid 49ers’ Mark Roman during the first half in New Orleans.

AP Photo

CHICAGO — Devin Hester ran into the record book again. Ricky Manning Jr. returned an interception for a touchdown, and the Chicago Bears claimed their second straight NFC North title.

Hester tied an NFL record with his fourth touchdown return, and Manning ran back an interception 54 yards to lead Chicago to a 23-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on a frigid Sunday afternoon.

Chicago has a five-game lead on the Vikings with four games remaining, and also has the NFC’s best record by two games.

Jets 38, Packers 10

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Chad Pennington and the Jets took apart the Packers’ defense and stoked their hopes of an improbable playoff run.

Pennington put together three touchdown drives of 70 yards or more in the second quarter and the Jets (7-5) cruised.

New York built a 31-0 halftime lead as snow flurries floated to the ground and boos showered down from the stands. Pennington, who was 25-of-35 for 263 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, connected with eight receivers. Cedric Houston carried 22 times for a career-high 105 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers are 4-8.

Falcons 24, Redskins 14

LANDOVER, Md. — The Falcons, the NFL’s leading rushing team ran for 256 yards, led by Jerious Norwood (107), Warrick Dunn (87) and Michael Vick (59). The victory put the Falcons (6-6) back in the serious hunt for a playoff berth. The Redskins (4-8) have lost three of four.

Cardinals 34, Rams 20

ST. LOUIS — Marcel Shipp scored three touchdowns, Edgerrin James had 115 yards rushing, and Matt Leinart won for the second time in seven pro starts, capitalizing on the Rams’ season-high 126 yards in penalties.

Titans 20, Colts 17

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rob Bironas kicked a 60-yard field goal — the franchise’s longest ever — with 7 seconds left, and the Titans beat the Colts for the first time since December 2002 and posted their second straight amazing comeback.

The team that tied for the NFL’s second-biggest comeback in the final 10 minutes last week against the New York Giants struck again against the Colts (10-2), who had lost only four of their previous 36 games.

Chargers 24, Bills 21

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — LaDainian Tomlinson had 178 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns, helping the Chargers (10-2) extend their winning streak to six. It was Tomlinson’s sixth straight 100-yard game and seventh of the season.

With a 51-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Tomlinson joined Eric Dickerson as the second NFL player to reach 1,200 yards rushing in each of his first six NFL seasons. The two scores gave Tomlinson 26 for the year, inching him within two of matching the single-season record set by Seattle’s Shaun Alexander last year.

Patriots 28, Lions 21

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Corey Dillon had three short touchdown runs as the Patriots overcame 10 penalties, four turnovers and a safety. New England didn’t lead in the second half until Dillon scored on a 4-yard run with 2:33 left.

Mike Vrabel’s interception, his second of the game, sealed the victory against the Lions (2-10), who have the NFL’s worst record over the last six years at 23-69.

Saints 34, 49ers 10

NEW ORLEANS — Reggie Bush tied Joe Horn’s franchise record by scoring all four of the Saints’ touchdowns and gained 168 total yards.

Most of Bush’s gains were modest, but his stunning acceleration, fancy footwork and leaping ability were evident in all of his touchdowns and numerous drive-sustaining plays. He finished with 131 yards on nine receptions and 37 yards on 10 rushes.

Browns 31, Chiefs 28

CLEVELAND — Derek Anderson, the Browns’ backup quarterback threw two touchdown passes in the final nine minutes of regulation and ran 33 yards in overtime to set up Phil Dawson’s 33-yard field goal.

Anderson had never thrown an NFL pass and had taken only one snap before Sunday. However, he replaced injured starter Charlie Frye and rallied the Browns (4-8), who capped a dysfunctional week with only their second December win at home since 1999.

Jaguars 24, Dolphins 10

MIAMI — David Garrard threw for 229 yards and two scores as the Jaguars (7-5) won for only the second time on the road and ended a four-game winning streak by the Dolphins (5-7), likely ensuring Miami will miss the playoffs for the fifth year in a row.

Garrard led Jacksonville on touchdown drives of 95 and 91 yards, while Miami’s Joey Harrington threw two costly interceptions and was sacked four times.

Texans 23, Raiders 14

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Houston Texans didn’t complete a pass in the second half, finished the game with negative yards passing and somehow found a way to win. Demarcus Faggins scored on a 58-yard fumble return and Houston (4-8) used two long returns and a pair of fumbles by Randal Williams to set up 16 more points in the second half.

Seahawks 23, Broncos 20

DENVER — Josh Brown tied an NFL single-season record with his fourth winning field goal in the final minute, nailing a 50-yarder with 4 seconds left to give the Seattle Seahawks a 23-20 win over the stumbling Denver Broncos on Sunday night.

Rookie defensive lineman Darryl Tapp returned Jay Cutler’s first interception 25 yards for a touchdown and the Seahawks (8-4) took advantage of five turnovers to send the Broncos (7-5) to their third straight loss.

Seattle started its winning drive from its 14 with 2:31 left after the Broncos had tied it at 20 on Cutler’s 71-yard touchdown toss to fellow rookie Brandon Marshall, who broke three tackles on the play.

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