Indianapolis Colts safety Khari Willis is retiring from the NFL after three seasons to pursue a full-time career in the ministry.

Willis, who turned 26 in May, announced his intentions on Wednesday in an Instagram post.

"With much prayer and deliberation, I have elected to officially retire from the NFL as I endeavour to devote the remainder of my life to the further advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," he wrote.

"I thank all my family, friends and those who have supported me on this journey thus far and I look forward to your continued support through the next phase of my life.

"I am both humbled and excited to pursue the holy call that God has for my life which brings me much joy and purpose."

A fourth-round pick of the Colts in the 2019 draft, Willis became a permanent starter midway through his rookie season and started 33 regular-season games for the team as well as one playoff contest.

The Michigan State product totalled 214 tackles, 3.5 sacks and four interceptions – one he returned 50 yards for a touchdown in 2020 – in 39 career games.

"We're thankful and appreciative of Khari's contributions to the Colts both on and off the field over the last three seasons," Colts coach Frank Reich said in a statement.

"Khari's character, leadership and professionalism will be missed in our locker room, as will his play on Sundays. I admire and respect his decision to transition into the next stage of his life and ministry and my prayers will always be with him."

Willis did not attend the Colts' voluntary offseason training activities or the recent mandatory minicamp with what Reich said was an excused absence, and Indianapolis' offseason moves suggest the team was preparing for his potential departure.

The Colts signed veteran safety Rodney McLeod in April and selected Maryland safety Nick Cross in the third round of this year's draft.

Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich said Darius Leonard was scheduled to have back surgery on Tuesday, but the All-Pro linebacker is expected to be ready for the season opener. 

Leonard also underwent an ankle operation in June after making 122 tackles in 2021 and being named to the All-Pro Team for the third time while earning his third Pro Bowl selection. 

The 2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is expected to miss the beginning of training camp next month. 

"Not sure on the timetable now, but in my mind as long as he’s ready for the regular season, I'm not concerned," Reich said. 

Since being drafted by Indianapolis with the fourth pick of the second round (36th overall) in 2018, Leonard is second in the NFL with 538 tackles and tied for second in the league with 17 forced fumbles. 

Leonard’s 11 interceptions since the beginning of the 2018 season are the most by any linebacker in the NFL.

Stephon Gilmore is on the move again and this time the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is joining the Indianapolis Colts.

Cornerback Gilmore will receive a two-year contract worth $23million, of which $14million is guaranteed, ESPN and NFL.com reported on Friday.

It means his stay with the Carolina Panthers has proved short-lived, after he left the New England Patriots to move to Charlotte last October.

Gilmore visited the Colts on Wednesday, with the 31-year-old five-time Pro Bowl star leaving Carolina after playing just eight games for the franchise.

The 10th overall pick in 2012, when he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, Gilmore moved to New England in March 2017 and helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl in his second season.

Gilmore was crucial in that Super Bowl success, with his interception clinching New England's 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, a year after they were beaten in the championship game by the Philadelphia Eagles.

He took Defensive Player of the Year honours in 2019, and after playing 11 games in the following season he moved on to the Panthers.

Sidelined by a torn quad initially, Gilmore was activated in Week 8 and started three of the remaining games as Carolina finished the 2021 season with seven straight losses.

New Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota acknowledges he has "big shoes to fill" with the team after stepping in to replace Matt Ryan.

Former NFL MVP Ryan was traded to the Indianapolis Colts this week, with Mariota – who spent the last two seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders – then brought in on a two-year, $18.75million deal.

Mariota, the number two overall pick in the draft for the Tennessee Titans back in 2015, is relishing the opportunity to compete for a starting job again after backing up Derek Carr in Las Vegas.

But he is aware his task to make the job his own and replace four-time Pro Bowler Ryan, whose contract had hindered Atlanta's attempts to build for the future, is a big one.

"Those are big shoes to fill, no doubt," Mariota about Ryan. 

"For me, something I definitely learned over the course of my career is that you can't compare yourself to other people. 

"What Matt did here, what he's accomplished here, is truly greatness.

"For me, I just have to kind of carve my own path. I appreciate what he's done, what he's been for this organisation, and the best thing that I can do is try to put my best foot forward and be the best player that I can be.

"These last couple of years for me was a great reset. I got a chance to take a step back, learn, and I feel like I have and these experiences have created a lot of value for me.

"It really came down to the opportunity. Obviously, there's a chance for you to play, a chance for you to start right away.

"Really, for me, at this point in time of my career, that's what I was looking for. No matter what the situation is, I have to my best to lead these guys and help these guys become the best of their abilities.

"That doesn't necessarily mean I'm the starter, but I know that with Art [Smith], he's always going to be honest with me and I can really put forth my best foot forward and see what I can do."

 

Falcons head coach Smith was Offensive Coordinator with the Titans when Mariota lost his starting job in 2019, being benched for Ryan Tannehill.

Mariota, 28, explained he had learned a lot since then, having felt physically and mentally drained at the time.

He added: "During my time in Tennessee, we went through a lot of different things. I went through coaching changes, went through a broken ankle, some of these things that people would call adversity.

"At that point in time in my career in 2019, I was tired. I was just kind of tired of all the turnover, was tired of being beat up, and I wasn't playing well.

"At the end of the day, this is a performance-based business, and when you're not playing well, things happen, and I understood that.

"Art always honest. Even to the point where in 2019 when things weren't going well for me, he always shot me straight. As a player, I truly appreciate that. 

"He's always been focused on making sure I can get better, he is somebody that's always been there for me.

"I knew what I was getting into, what kind of culture he's building here, so that's why I'm excited to be here because I really do believe in Art and what he's doing.

"I've learned a lot over the course of the last, even really three years going back to that season in 2019. 

"I was both mentally and physically beat up. I think this is a great opportunity for me to kind of showcase what I've learned over the course of the last couple years. 

"I have been around guys like Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr – guys that have played at a really high level. I'm excited for this opportunity."

Matt Ryan never expected to leave the Atlanta Falcons and says his trade to the Indianapolis Colts is "bittersweet".

The Falcons confirmed Ryan's departure to the Colts on Monday, with the 36-year-old traded for a third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Ryan spent 14 seasons with Atlanta after arriving in 2008, with no player in the NFL throwing for more passing yards than the quarterback's 59,735 over that period.

He completed 67 per cent of his passes in 2021, his highest completion rate since 2018, for 3,968 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Prior to 2021, Ryan threw for 4,000 yards in 10 consecutive seasons, the high point coming in 2016 when he led the Falcons to the Super Bowl.

But with his time at Mercedes-Benz Stadium now over, the 2016 MVP is excited to begin a new journey with the Colts, who parted with Carson Wentz after just one season.

As part of a full page advert in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published on Wednesday, Ryan said: "Thank you, Atlanta.

"From the moment I landed here, late at night just hours after having been drafted, I felt at home. 

"The team welcomed me, balancing the typical indoctrinations of a rookie with the generous acceptance of wise and experienced veterans. 

"The city supported me, bringing enthusiasm to games but also to the more casual interactions we had day-to-day, I knew how lucky I was.

"When my first NFL pass ended with a touchdown, I admit that I felt like this was all meant to be. 

"I was immediately determined to do as right by Atlanta as Atlanta was doing by me. I carried that determination with me through every season that followed.

"Sports are sports, and there is a reason why we play the game every week. Winners are not preordained, and every drive does not end in a touchdown. 

"Success become all the sweeter, not only because I knew it was not guaranteed, but because I was enjoying it with teammates and fans who worked hard to earn it.

"There were of course disappointments, large and small. That did not shake my faith in this team, or in my determination to deliver. This disappointments became motivations."

Across his 14 years in Atlanta, Ryan was a four-time pro bowler, won the MVP award and set multiple franchise records, including the most career touchdowns.

"I have long thought and often said I would retire as a Falcon. But the changes and growth continue," he added.

"As excited as I am about the this next step in my career, this is a bittersweet moment. I have spent more than a decade playing for you, the fans of Atlanta. 

"You have made all of this worth it, and all of this means something more than what could ever be reflected in a statistic. 

"I appreciate each and every one of you, and I thank you, so sincerely, for the life you have given me all of these seasons.

"I am also very grateful to the coaches and teammates I have played with over the years. 

"There are too many to list here, but I hope each of you know how much you have shaped me as a player and as a person. I look forward to crossing paths, on the field and off.

"It seems impossible to sum up 14 years, and to adequately express my feelings about them. 

"As much as I have learned about change, though, I know this: Nothing can change what this time has meant to me. So, again. Thank you, Atlanta."

The Atlanta Falcons have moved quickly to replace the outgoing Matt Ryan by signing quarterback Marcus Mariota in free agency.

The Falcons confirmed Ryan's departure to the Indianapolis Colts on Monday, with the 36-year-old traded for a third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Mariota – who was the second overall draft pick in 2015 – signs on a two-year contract in Atlanta having left the Las Vegas Raiders, where he was back-up to Derek Carr.

The 28-year-old is already familiar with Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, with whom he worked when Smith was tight ends coach and then offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans.

Mariota mostly acted as an alternative rushing option for the Raiders in 2021, with his last significant game time coming in Week 15 of the 2020 season when he threw for 226 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Los Angeles Chargers. He also had nine carries for 88 yards and a touchdown in a 30-27 Raiders defeat.

It is expected the Falcons will still bring in another QB, so it remains to be seen whether Mariota is Ryan's long-term replacement or merely a stopgap. Atlanta have the eighth pick in this year's draft.

The Falcons previously had been interested in Deshaun Watson, who instead joined the Cleveland Browns in a trade with the Houston Texans.

It is widely thought negotiations for Watson played a role in Ryan leaving the team, although Falcons owner Arthur Blank released a statement following confirmation of his trade to the Colts, thanking the player and explaining the decision. 

"Matt Ryan has been the epitome of a franchise quarterback during his time here in Atlanta," Blank wrote.

"He has represented this organisation with great class, professionalism and leadership, both on and off the field, over the past 14 years.

"It is difficult to overstate what he has meant to me personally, our organisation, his team-mates and our fans. From his first day in the building, Matt has given his all in the pursuit of winning a championship for Atlanta.

"This business is not without its difficult decisions, and while this is one of the most difficult decisions we have faced as a club, we feel it is in the best long-term interests of both the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan.

"On behalf of the entire Falcons organisation, I wish him success as he continues his career and know that he will bring the same dedication and professionalism to his next club."

The Indianapolis Colts hope they have found the quarterback that can help them contend in the AFC, after striking a deal with the Atlanta Falcons for Matt Ryan.

According to multiple reports, the Colts will send a third-round pick to the Falcons in exchange for the 2016 MVP.

It comes after the Colts parted with Carson Wentz, whom they acquired last year, after just one season, trading him to the Washington Commanders in a deal that saw the two franchises swap second-round picks and Indianapolis acquire a pair of third-rounders.

The Colts are viewed by many as having a roster ready to challenge for a deep playoff run, yet their inability to find an answer at quarterback following Andrew Luck's shock retirement in 2019 has prevented Indianapolis from reaching such heights.

Philip Rivers helped them to the playoffs in the 2020 season but retired after one year with Indianapolis. It was hoped Wentz's past relationship with Colts head coach Frank Reich would revitalise his career, yet a dismal end to the 2021 campaign in which they missed the playoffs after a blowout loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18 helped convince Indianapolis to move on swiftly.

Ryan appears to have a much better chance of proving to be the solution for the Colts. Though Atlanta missed the playoffs last year with a 7-10 record, Ryan completed 67 per cent of his passes, his highest completion rate since 2018, for 3,968 yards and 20 touchdowns. He did, however, throw 12 interceptions.

He remains a very accurate quarterback, delivering a well-thrown ball on 80.7 per cent of his throws in 2021, according to Stats Perform data, tied for the sixth-best rate among QBs with at least 200 attempts.

No player in the NFL has thrown for more passing yards than Ryan's 59,735 since he entered the NFL as a first-round pick of the Falcons in 2008.

Prior to 2021, Ryan threw for 4,000 yards in 10 consecutive seasons, the high point coming in 2016 when he led the Falcons to the Super Bowl.

He threw for a career-high 4,944 receiving yards, averaging 9.3 yards per attempt, 38 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

However, that season ended in bitter defeat as the Falcons gave up a 28-3 lead in their Super Bowl LI loss to the New England Patriots. The Falcons have won just one playoff game since.

Given his achievements, a third-round pick seems like scant compensation for the 36-year-old, with the Falcons agreeing to a trade that will see them incur the largest dead cap hit in NFL history ($40.52million).

The Falcons, who decided against taking a quarterback with the fourth overall pick in last year's draft, are believed to be interested in signing former second overall pick Marcus Mariota as an immediate replacement for Ryan. Malik Willis, one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 class, was born in Atlanta and could be a developmental option for the Falcons with the eighth pick in this year's draft.

Atlanta had been interested in Deshaun Watson even before dealing Ryan, but he instead joined the Cleveland Browns in a trade with the Houston Texans.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has officially requested a trade, saying "the relationship is too far gone to mend".

Mayfield has been with the Browns since being selected with the number one overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, after the team had finished with a record of 0-16 the prior year.

In the four years since arriving in Cleveland, the Browns have won no fewer than six games in each season, including an 11-5 campaign in 2020 that produced the franchise's first playoff appearance in 18 years.

Speaking with ESPN's Adam Schefter, Mayfield, added: "It is in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on."

The request comes just days after Mayfield made a lengthy social media post thanking the city of Cleveland as he referenced "uncertainties", while adding there was no hidden meaning or firm decision to leave.

It is reported that Mayfield's preferred destination would be the Indianapolis Colts, however, he might not have it his way as the Browns are initially "not accommodating his request", per ESPN's Jake Trotter.

The Colts have a competitive roster with a clear need at QB having traded Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders.

Mayfield's post and subsequent trade request follows reports that the Browns met with Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson about his interest in joining the organisation, before ultimately getting rebuffed. 

Reports after that development suggested Cleveland's preference was to continue with Mayfield, who struggled with a shoulder injury last year, as their starting QB for the 2022 season.

But while the choice to go public will apply pressure to the Browns to get a deal done, Mayfield is ultimately under contract.

With no replacement lined up, it is unlikely Cleveland - who traded for wide receiver Amari Cooper this offseason - are willing to head into week one without an established, quality starter. 

The Las Vegas Raiders have agreed a deal to sign four-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Chandler Jones, with Yannick Ngakoue set to head to the Indianapolis Colts in a trade.

According to multiple reports, Jones will join the Raiders on a three-year deal worth roughly $51million.

It follows a stellar six-season spell in Arizona, which saw him record double-digit sacks in five campaigns.

Since 2015, his final year with the New England Patriots, only Aaron Donald (89) has more sacks to his name than Jones (84). No player has forced more fumbles than Jones (27) in that span.

Though he is now 32, Jones showed little sign of slowing down for the Cardinals last season, registering 10.5 sacks as Arizona returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2015 campaign.

His move to the Raiders sees him reunite with Josh McDaniels, the two having crossed paths during their time in New England, where McDaniels was the offensive coordinator before taking the job in Las Vegas this offseason.

Jones will immediately step in for Ngakoue, who finished last season with 10 sacks, his first time reaching double digits since 2017 with the Jacksonville Jaguars (12), and will hope to do the same for a Colts team that was 20th in pass rush win rate, according to Stats Perform data, in 2021.

Heading the other way is cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, a former second-round pick of the Colts coming off a statistically impressive season.

Ya-Sin allowed a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 46.8 per cent of targets last season. The average for corners with at least 25 targets was 51.3.

He allowed 5.92 burn yards per target, the fewest among corners (min. 25 targets) and 0.90 burn yards per snap (third fewest), illustrating the limited separation Ya-Sin allowed receivers.

Between the arrivals of Jones and Ya-Sin, a defense that allowed the eighth-fewest yards per pass play (5.91) in the NFL last season will hope to produce sterner showings against opposing aerial attacks under new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

The Washington Commanders have agreed a trade with the Indianapolis Colts to acquire quarterback Carson Wentz.

According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Colts will receive a package of draft picks that is thought to include two third-round selections.

Wentz spent just one season with the Colts, who last year traded a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional second-round pick that later became a first-rounder to land him in a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

However, an unsatisfactory end to the season, which saw the Colts miss the playoffs with a shock loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on the final Sunday of the regular season, led to questions about Wentz's future, with coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard non-committal on whether he would remain with the team.

Indianapolis ultimately came to the decision to cut their losses and move on, with Washington landing Wentz having reportedly offered three first-round picks for Russell Wilson before he was traded from the Seattle Seahawks to the Denver Broncos.

The Chicago Bears are set to appoint Matt Eberflus as their new head coach, according to widespread reports.

Chicago have been looking for a new head coach since firing Matt Nagy, along with general manager Ryan Pace, earlier in January.

Their dismissals came on the back of another disappointing season, with Chicago finishing 6-11 for 2021.

The Bears appointed former Kansas City Chiefs executive Ryan Poles as the team's new general manager on Tuesday, and it seems that Eberflus, who has spent the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator at the Indianapolis Colts, will be the new coach.

Chicago considered the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and former Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, but NFL Network reported they settled on 51-year-old Eberflus as their preferred candidate.

It has also been reported that Quinn has told teams he wishes to stay at Dallas.

General manager Chris Ballard says there are no guarantees Carson Wentz will be the Indianapolis Colts' starting quarterback for the 2022 NFL season.

Wentz, who joined Indianapolis from the Philadelphia Eagles ahead of the 2021 campaign, endured a nightmare as the Colts missed out on the playoffs by losing 26-11 to the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend.

He was sacked six times in a second successive defeat that brought Indianapolis' season to a halt with a 9-8 record.

Ballard on Thursday stated that it is too early to say what changes could be made after the Colts' failure to feature in the postseason.

"When we made the decision, after Philip [Rivers] retired and we made the decision to make a move on Carson, at the time of the decision we felt good about it and I still don't regret the decision at the time," Ballard said.

"Sitting here today, just so y'all know, I won't make a comment on who is going to be here next year and who is not going to be here next year. That's not fair to any player."

Ballard added: "I'd like to quit Band-Aiding it. I'd like for Carson to be the long-term answer or find somebody who will be here for the next 10-12 years.

"Sometimes it doesn't work out that way. I can dream about it, wish about it, do everything I can to figure out the solution, but you do the best with what you can do at the time."

Ballard suggested Wentz had been too eager to create moments of magic.

He said: "Make the layups. Make the layups. Make the layups. Carson wants to win. He has a will to win.

"Sometimes when you carry the burden where you think you have to make a big play all the time. Sometimes let the team help you, make the layups, make the layups."

Ballard stressed that Wentz is by no means the only player under scrutiny.  

"At the end of the day, I think we have a lot of really good players and really good pieces," Ballard said. "You have to get stability at the quarterback position.

"That position has to play up to his potential to help the team win. I'm not blaming this all on Carson. I'm not, because everybody else has to do their job, too.

"But the hyper-importance of that position, it's real. You have to get consistency there. The years we've gotten it we've been pretty good, and we thought we had it until the end of the season. Something we have to continue to work through."

Wentz ranked 18th in the league for completions (322) in the regular season, from 516 attempted passes (a completion percentage of 62.4, the 25th best in the NFL).

His tally of 27 touchdown passes was bettered by only nine other quarterbacks, though Wentz' total was six fewer than ninth-placed Kirk Cousins in that regard. His seven interceptions tied for 29th in the competition.

Wentz threw for 3,563 yards, the third-best total of his NFL career.

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich says his side has been left with a "scar" after missing the playoffs following Sunday's shock 26-11 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Indianapolis needed only to beat a two-win Jaguars team to secure their place in the postseason but were humbled, allowing the Pittsburgh Steelers to clinch a playoffs spot.

Quarterback Carson Wentz was sacked six times in a game the Jaguars led the entire way, with the Colts having not won in Jacksonville since 2014.

The Colts finished the season with back-to-back defeats to slip to a 9-8 record and second in the AFC South behind the Conference-leading Tennessee Titans.

"It was hard to imagine after the Arizona game, we get to 9-6, we feel like we’re one of the two or three teams to beat, a team everybody’s talking about," Reich told reporters on Monday.

"When you think about how all this was going to end, certainly, no one including myself, really, ever thought it would end like it did the last two weeks.

"That’s something that can’t be undone. It’s part of our record. It’s part of my record. … It’s a scar."

Reich revealed that he met with team owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard for several hours after the Jaguars defeat.

“It was a good conversation, a supporting conversation, but also demanding and wanting answers, [with Irsay] wanting to hold us accountable,” Reich said.

He added: "‘We’re going to get better.' … We walked out of there saying, ‘We’ve got a lot of the right pieces in place.'"

The Jacksonville Jaguars helped the Pittsburgh Steelers virtually secure a playoff place as they stunned the Indianapolis Colts in their regular-season finale.

Indianapolis needed only to beat a two-win Jaguars team to secure their place in the postseason.

History, however, was against Frank Reich's team, the Colts having not won in Jacksonville since the 2014 season.

And the Jags' home hoodoo over the Colts continued as Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz imploded in a 26-11 defeat.

Wentz was sacked six times in a game the Jaguars led the entire way, rookie first overall pick Trevor Lawrence throwing multiple touchdowns for the first time since Week 1.

The dagger effectively came when Lawrence capitalised on Wentz's lone interception, the former Philadelphia Eagle picked by Jags linebacker Damien Wilson in the third quarter.

Lawrence then successfully handled a high snap from center, rolled to his right and lofted a three-yard pass to Marvin Jones Jr, who made a leaping grab in the back of the endzone.

The Colts were eliminated from the playoffs after the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens in overtime. The Steelers will qualify unless the Los Angeles Chargers' game with the Las Vegas Raiders ends in a tie.

Despite the win, the Jaguars claim the number one pick in the 2022 draft by virtue of the Detroit Lions' win over the Green Bay Packers, who rested players for much of the game.

Titans take one seed

The Kansas City Chiefs kept the pressure on the Titans with their win in Denver on Saturday, but Tennessee did not waste the opportunity to clinch the one seed, though they received a scare from the lowly Houston Texans.

Tennessee surged to a 21-0 lead, only for the Texans to respond with 18 unanswered points of their own. Ryan Tannehill's fourth touchdown pass, on which he hit Julio Jones for the receiver's first touchdown as a Titan, gave them breathing room that proved enough as they hung on for a 28-25 win after Danny Amendola's second touchdown reception frayed the nerves.

Watt ties sack record as Steelers stay alive

Ben Roethlisberger bid a tearful farewell to Heinz Field in the Steelers' home finale on Monday, but his likely final season in the NFL looks like being extended into the Wild Card round.

The Steelers fought back from 10-3 down to lead 13-10 on a Roethlisberger pass to Chase Claypool and, though Justin Tucker's field goal forced overtime, the leg of Chris Boswell had the final say, giving the Steelers a 16-13 victory in a game that saw T.J. Watt tie Michael Strahan's single-season sack record as he took his tally to 22.5.

With Chargers head coach Brandon Staley saying they would not play for a tie that would punch the postseason ticket for them and the Raiders, the Steelers' spot seems virtually assured.

Matthew Stafford inspired the Los Angeles Rams to move one step closer to securing their second straight NFC West title with a 20-19 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The defeat for the Ravens, who were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for the third straight game, leaves them perilously close to slipping out of the Wild Card hunt after their fifth consecutive loss.

Justin Tucker's field goal had put the Ravens up 19-14 with 4:33 left but Stafford launched a game-winning 75-yard drive to overhaul the deficit.

Stafford completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Higbee and a 24-yarder to Cooper Kupp, before finding Odell Beckham Jr twice in a row, with the latter being the decisive TD.

The Rams QB finished with 26 of 35 passes for two touchdowns but also two interceptions, including a Chuck Clark first-quarter pick six, as well as a sack.

Clark's TD was the Ravens' only for the game, as QB Tyler Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards.

Rams running back Sony Michel had 19 carries for 74 yards including a TD along with wide receiver Kupp with six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Over a month ago the Ravens had been 8-3 and looking good for the AFC top seed but now they are scrapping for a playoffs spot after a series of narrow defeats and desperate for Jackson's return.

Carlson field goal gives Raiders edge in Wild Card race

The Las Vegas Raiders claimed a crucial last-gasp win from Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal in the AFC Wild Card race with a 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz cleared protocols for the game but completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, while running back Jonathan Taylor had one TD from 20 carries for 108 yards, with the defeat marking the first this season when he has rushed more than 100 yards.

The Raiders pipped the Colts in the final quarter, trailing 17-13 at the final break with QB Derek Carr hitting Hunter Renfrow on a fourth-down play for a TD, before Michael Badgley squared the game with a 41-yard field goal, only for Carlson to win it with one from 33 yards as time expired. The Raiders improve to 9-7, pulling ahead of the 9-7 Colts in the AFC Wild Card race.

 

Bengals clinch maiden AFC North title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first-ever AFC North title as Evan McPherson kicked a late 20-yard field goal to secure a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, while QB Joe Burrow threw 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Burrow got the better of opposing QB Patrick Mahomes who completed 26 of 35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs, who have already won the AFC West title, moved to 11-5.

 

Brady cool after Brown meltdown

Tom Brady was cool in a crisis after Antonio Brown stormed off the field as the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to win 28-24 over the New York Jets.

Brady completed 34 of 50 attempts for 410 yards and three touchdowns, including leading them on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to clinch the victory.

The game was marred after Brown's meltdown, storming off the field in the third quarter with the Bucs 24-10 down, with head coach Bruce Arians confirming "he is no longer a Buc" after the game.

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