The Cleveland Browns ended the longest playoff drought in the NFL with a thrilling 24-22 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Needing a victory to secure their first post-season berth since 2002, the Browns found the end zone early through running back Nick Chubb.
Both team’s offences stalled in the second quarter, with Cleveland taking a 10-6 lead into half-time before the Browns exploded in the third.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 4, 2021
The visitors picked up two touchdowns to open up a 15-point margin, but the Steelers were not going to let their opponents stroll to the finish line.
Mason Rudolph, replacing Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, threw for two touchdowns in the fourth to cut the deficit to two, but Cleveland were ultimately able to run out the clock.
Meanwhile the Arizona Cardinals had their playoff hopes dashed by a monstrous Los Angeles Rams defence in an 18-7 defeat.
Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray missed most of the game after suffering an ankle injury on the opening drive, leaving the team’s fate in the hands of backup Chris Streveler.
Aaron Donald and the Rams defence were not going to let him off lightly, with half of Los Angeles’ points coming on the defensive side of the ball.
Arizona’s loss was good news for the Chicago Bears, who qualified for the playoffs despite being beaten by the Green Bay Packers 35-16.
Aaron Rodgers led from the front for Green Bay, finishing with four touchdowns and 240 yards as wide receiver Davante Adams broke the team’s record for most receptions in a season.
Mitchell Trubisky threw for 252 yards but was unable to find the end zone, with running back David Montgomery picking up the Bears’ only touchdown early in the first quarter.
Tom Brady also threw for four touchdowns as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers overcame a spirited Atlanta Falcons team 44-27.
The win clinched Tampa Bay’s first playoffs appearance in 13 years.
Lamar Jackson looked every bit the reigning MVP in Baltimore’s 38-3 demolition of Cincinnati.
The Ravens quarterback threw for three touchdowns and ran for 97 yards as the Bengals gave up a team-record 404 yards on the ground.
The New England Patriots ended their lacklustre season on a high, defeating the New York Jets 28-14.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 3, 2021
Josh Allen was unstoppable for Buffalo, leading the Bills to a 56-26 win against the Miami Dolphins.
The Seattle Seahawks did just enough to repel the San Francisco 49ers 26-23.
The Los Angeles Chargers upset the Kansas City Chiefs 38-21 behind Justin Herbert’s three passing touchdowns.
In the rest of the day’s action: the New Orleans Saints cruised to a 26-point victory over the Carolina Panthers, the Las Vegas Raiders beat the Denver Broncos 32-31 on a late two-point conversion, Washington held on for a six-point win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Tennessee Titans outscored the Houston Texans 41-38, the Indianapolis Colts handed the Jacksonville Jaguars their 15th straight loss, the Minnesota Vikings eked out a 37-35 win over the Detroit Lions and the New York Giants downed the Dallas Cowboys 23-19.