The Kansas City Chiefs are certain to be top seeds in the AFC as the Pittsburgh Steelers produced an impressive comeback in Week 16 of the NFL season.
Despite stuttering of late, Pittsburgh will now win the AFC North after a come-from-behind victory during Sunday’s six-game early schedule.
Wins for the Baltimore Ravens and the Chicago Bears leave both franchises at the front of the queue to reach the postseason, and while the Cleveland Browns remain in the hunt, too, they blew a big opportunity as they went down to the New York Jets.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ playoff hopes had long since ended, but the franchise can now plan for their long-term future after a 14th straight loss means they will have the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
There was a record-breaking outing for Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, while the evergreen Frank Gore reached a major milestone.
The AFC runs through Arrowhead pic.twitter.com/eoTWTB6xq6
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 27, 2020
RECORD-BREAKING KELCE STARS FOR CHIEFS
So now it is official: Kansas City are number one in the AFC, the defending champions securing a bye with a 14th victory in the regular season.
It was far from straightforward, however, as they scrapped to a 17-14 triumph over the Atlanta Falcons, who saw Younghoe Koo miss a late field-goal attempt that would have forced overtime.
Atlanta had led 14-10 until the Chiefs claimed the lead just prior to the two-minute warning, Patrick Mahomes hitting Demarcus Robinson for a 25-yard touchdown. The score was enough to make sure of Kansas City’s 10th comeback win of the campaign.
Kelce also caught a touchdown pass as he made NFL history, surpassing George Kittle’s single-season receiving yardage record for a tight end. It was his 11th TD reception on the year, matching the franchise record for the position, set by Tony Gonzalez back in 1999.
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2020
BIG BEN CHIMES IN DURING COMEBACK
It seemed the Steelers were in danger of a fourth successive loss when they trailed the Colts 24-7 in the third quarter, only to sensationally respond with 21 unanswered points.
An offense that had failed to reach 20 points in their four previous outings suddenly came to life, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing touchdown passes to Diontae Johnson, Eric Ebron and JuJu Smith-Schuster to complete a remarkable comeback.
As for the Browns, they are still yet to officially end their long playoff drought after a shock loss on the road.
Running back Gore became just the third player to reach 16,000 rushing yards in NFL history – a feat only previously achieved by Emmitt Smith (18,355) and Walter Payton (16,726) – as the Jets held firm in a dramatic finish, a Baker Mayfield fumble on a fourth-down scramble ending a potential game-tying drive for Cleveland.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 27, 2020
RAVENS SOAR, BEARS ROAR
The Ravens appear to be rolling into the postseason after stretching their winning streak to four games – another against Cincinnati next week and they will seal a wildcard berth.
Lamar Jackson threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-13 victory against the fading New York Giants. The NFL’s reigning MVP also ran for 80 yards, helping Baltimore reach 100 yards rushing on the ground for the 38th consecutive game.
The Bears are also now in control of their own destiny. After the Arizona Cardinals lost on Saturday, Chicago thrashed the Jaguars 41-17 to improve to 8-7.
All they need do to make the playoffs is defeat divisional rivals Green Bay in Week 17. Jacksonville, meanwhile, can start planning for that first-round choice next April.
Week 16 scores
New York Jets 23-16 Cleveland Browns
Baltimore Ravens 27-13 New York Giants
Cincinnati Bengals 37-31 Houston Texans
Chicago Bears 41-17 Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs 17-14 Atlanta Falcons
Pittsburgh Steelers 28-24 Indianapolis Colts