Eagles rip Raiders for top seed, rampant Steelers claim bye

AFP
Jake Elliott kicks a 48-yard field goal with 22 seconds left, and the Philadelphia Eagles clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs with a sloppy 19-10 win over the Oakland Raiders
AFP
Reuters

Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott (second left) kicks a 48-yard field goal out of the hold of punter Donnie Jones with 27 seconds left against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on December 25, 2017. The Eagles won 19-10.

Rookie Jake Elliott kicked a decisive 48-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining on Monday as the NFL-best Philadelphia Eagles beat the Oakland Raiders 19-10 to clinch a top playoff seed.

The Eagles, who added a defensive touchdown on a final-play fumble recovery to boost their winning margin, improved to 13-2 and will have a home-field edge throughout the National Football Conference playoffs as a result of the Christmas home triumph.

In the other holiday matchup, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger threw two TD passes and the Steelers clinched a first-round National Football League playoff bye with a 34-6 drubbing of the Houston Texans.

The Steelers matched New England atop the American Football Conference at 12-3 but Pittsburgh can only take the top-seed spot by beating Cleveland (0-15) next Sunday and have the Patriots lose to the New York Jets (5-10).

In Philadelphia, Nick Foles flipped a 17-yard TD pass to Jay Ajayi to put Philadelphia ahead but the Raiders equalized at 7-7 at half-time on Derek Carr's 63-yard TD pass to Amari Cooper.

Italian kicker Giorgio Tavecchio booted a 25-yard field goal for Oakland but Elliott made a 35-yard field goal to pull Philadelphia level 10-10.

Tavecchio missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt with 7:58 remaining and Carr threw an interception to Philadelphia's Ronald Darby with 49 seconds remaining to set up Elliott's crucial kick.

In Houston, Roethlisberger was looking forward to Pittsburgh's first opening-round playoff bye since 2010, one that will allow injured receiver Antonio Brown to heal before their postseason run starts.

"It'll be nice for AB and some other guys who are banged up," Roethlisberger said. "To get feeling healthy is a great feeling."

Pittsburgh's Chris Boswell kicked a 34-yard field goal 4:16 into the first quarter to open the scoring in Houston.

Roethlisberger flipped a five-yard TD pass to Justin Hunter only 3:45 later to give the Steelers a 10-0 edge.

Roosevelt Nix scored on a one-yard run to cap an 11-play, 80-yard march that put Pittsburgh ahead 17-0 and Boswell added a 36-yard field goal to lift the Steelers ahead 20-0 at halftime.

Le'Veon Bell added a 10-yard TD run to stretch Pittsburgh's lead but Houston's DeAndre Hopkins answered with an acrobatic three-yard TD grab, tipping the ball with his right hand before catching it with his left.

A two-point conversion pass attempt missed, leaving the Steelers ahead 27-6.

Roethlisberger responded with a 17-yard TD pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster to complete his 136th regular-season victory as "Big Ben" matched a club record in his 200th Steelers appearance.

Reuters

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Justin Hunter (right) makes a reception for a touchdown as Houston Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson defends during the first quarter of their NFL game at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on December 25, 2017. The Steelers won 34-6.


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