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NFL Week 18 highlights: Pats-Bills, Vikings-Bears, Bucs-Falcons, more

By newadmin / Published on Sunday, 08 Jan 2023 19:54 PM / No Comments / 3 views

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The 2022-23 NFL regular season comes to a close Sunday with a jam-packed Week 18 slate — and we’ve got you covered from start to finish with every must-see moment from around the league.

The stakes are high, as there is one more playoff berth up for grabs in both the AFC and the NFC.

Related: 2022 NFL playoff picture: Which teams are in, who’s still in the hunt

Here are the top plays from Sunday’s slate!

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

All comes down to this 

The Patriots can clinch the AFC’s third wild-card spot with a win Sunday. The only thing standing in their way? The Bills, which took the field for the first time since safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during Monday Night Football.

For Damar!

After having just one team practice this past week, the Bills came up huge on their first play of the game. Nyheim Hines took the kickoff 96 yards to the house, bringing Bills fans to their feet.

Knotted up

Jakobi Meyers came up big for New England late in the first quarter, reeling in Mac Jones‘ pass in the corner of the end zone for a jaw-dropping 2-yard score to tie things up.

Bills in business

Buffalo tight end Dawson Knox came up with the go-ahead touchdown for the Bills early in the second quarter, as the home team took a 14-7 lead.

No quit

The Pats knotted things up once again after Jones tossed his second score of the first half, this time to DeVante Parker.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Starting strong

Tom Brady found tight end Kyle Rudolph for an 8-yard score on the Buccaneers‘ opening drive to take an early lead over the Falcons, 7-0.

Tie game!

Falcons rookie tight end MyCole Pruitt came up with his third touchdown of the season late in the first quarter to knot things up. It was also rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder‘s first passing score of his NFL career.

Then, Atlanta took a three-point lead, 10-7, to close out the first quarter after adding a field goal on their next drive. Tampa Bay returned the favor with a field goal of its own midway through the second quarter to tie things up once again.

Heating up

Just ahead of the break, Russell Gage reeled in a short touchdown pass from backup QB Blaine Gabbert, who checked in for Brady after the veteran signal-caller was taken out of the game, as the Bucs are already locked into the playoffs.

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

Hot start!

After the Bears went three-and-out on their opening drive, the Vikings capitalized on their first possession. Kirk Cousins connected with Adam Thielen on a short touchdown pass to put the road team on top early, 6-0.

Ground game strong

After Dalvin Cook went down with an apparent injury in the second quarter, backup Alexander Mattison punched one in for the Vikings to extend their lead to 13-0.

Not how they drew it up

Tim Boyle checked in for backup QB Nathan Peterman and immediately threw an interception on his first drive for Chicago. The turnover resulted in three quick points for the Vikings after a short field goal, extending the shutout to 16-0.

Shutout avoided

The Bears picked up their first points of the day on a reverse play from wide receiver Velus Jones Jr., who took off 42 yards for the score late in the second quarter. It was a 10-point game, 16-6, after a failed two-point attempt.

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

Star power

Andy Dalton hit superstar first-year receiver Chris Olave for a smooth 25-yard touchdown on the Saints‘ opening drive, good for a quick 7-0 lead over the Panthers.

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

On a roll

The Texans jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead over the Colts after Davis Mills found Brandin Cooks for a touchdown on Houston’s first possession. Then, a costly Indianapolis fumble resulted in a short field goal for the road team.

Keeping it close

A wide-open Michael Pittman Jr. reeled in a short touchdown pass from Sam Ehlinger to keep the Texans within arm’s reach, 10-7, late in the first quarter.

Chaos!

The Texans fumbled early in the second quarter, coughing up the ball in the red zone. 

The Colts recovered, but things quickly took a turn. On the next play, Ehlinger’s pass was picked off by Houston’s Jonathan Greenard and returned 39 yards to the house. Just like that, The Texans took a double-digit lead, 17-7.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

Finding a rhythm

The Bengals‘ opening possession against the Ravens was a lengthy 17-play drive that resulted in a field goal after Joe Burrow & Co. came up just short — but not for a lack of effort.

Cincinnati extended its lead to 10-0 to close out the first quarter, thanks to a goal-line score from Joe Mixon.

Making history

The Bengals defense came up with its second interception of the game on the first play of the second quarter. The turnover resulted in six points, as Burrow tossed his 35th touchdown of the season — a Bengals single-season record.

Baltimore on the board

The Ravens punched in a touchdown, courtesy of Kenyan Drake, just ahead of the break to make it a 10-point game, 17-7.

Misfortune strikes

The Ravens unraveled in the final minute of the first half, as third-string QB Anthony Brown fumbled the ball at the goal line, and Joseph Ossai recovered the ball in the end zone for the Bengals. Just like that, it was 24-7 headed into halftime.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Denied!

The Steelers were this close to taking an early lead at home, but the Browns defense had other plans. Najee Harris was denied at the goal line, and lost the ball in the process, which Cleveland scooped up.

Browns bounce back

Browns tight end David Njoku came up with the first score of the day, cashing in for a 10-yard score late in the second quarter to give Cleveland a 7-0 edge.

Bombs away!

Kenny Pickett put the Steelers on the board late in the second quarter, connecting with George Pickens for a 31-yard score to tie the game. Then, the home team added a field goal just ahead of the break to extend its lead, 10-7.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

Plot twist!

Meanwhile, in Miami …

OROY?

The JetsDolphins game remained scoreless midway through the second quarter until Miami knocked in a field goal on its fourth drive of the game after one turnover on downs and two punts.

The road team gained some momentum thanks to the fancy footwork from star rookie Garrett Wilson, who joins Saints wideout Olave as the first pair of receivers from the same school (Ohio State) to top 1,000 yards as rookies in NFL history.

The big gain helped move the Jets downfield and knock in a game-tying field goal just ahead of halftime.

Stay tuned for updates!

COMING UP:

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Commanders (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

Dallas Cowboys

DAL

Washington Commanders

WAS

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

Los Angeles Rams

LAR

Seattle Seahawks

SEA

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

Arizona Cardinals

ARI

San Francisco 49ers

SF

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET)

Los Angeles Chargers

LAC

Denver Broncos

DEN

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (4:25 p.m. ET)

New York Giants

NYG

Philadelphia Eagles

PHI

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (8:20 p.m. ET)

Detroit Lions

DET

Green Bay Packers

GB


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