Miami pulled off a miracle against New England. Kansas City needed overtime to take down Baltimore. Dallas outlasted Philadelphia, while Pittsburgh was shocked in Oakland. And bad losses for the Panthers and Redskins have both teams nearly out of the playoff picture.
All that and more in Week 14's biggest takeaways from NFL Nation.
The Saints (10-2) appear to have gotten their mojo back with a 25-0 run over the final 20 minutes at Tampa Bay on Sunday. The offense completely flopped for six-plus quarters -- in Tampa and in Week 13 at Dallas -- before a late explosion on Sunday. Combined with how well the Saints' defense has been playing over the past month, New Orleans is still in contention for the NFC's No. 1 seed as the Saints head toward another date with a division rival next Monday night at Carolina. -- Mike Triplett
The Bucs (5-8) couldn't have put together a better game plan to stop Drew Brees and the Saints, and it was working, as they held New Orleans to three points in the first half. But the Bucs' offensive line let them down with penalties and protection issues.QB Jameis Winston struggled to connect with receivers. Cairo Santos missed two field goals. Things really started to unravel after a blocked punt by the Saints' Taysom Hill -- New Orleans scored 25 unanswered from there. "The blocked punt switched that momentum," Bucs wide receiver Adam Humphries said. "We didn't respond well to that adversity." -- Jenna Laine
The Chiefs (11-2) can win with grit rather than flash. That should serve them well in a difficult two-game stretch that begins with Thursday night's home game against the Chargers. The Chiefs might not be able to overwhelm the Chargers and Seahawks, their Week 16 opponents, with offensive might. But they have the will to overcome what's put in front of them, as they showed in Sunday's win against the Ravens. -- Adam Teicher
Chiefs rally to win in OT behind Mahomes' big day
The Kansas City Chiefs rally to beat the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 in overtime as Patrick Mahomes throws for 377 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
The Ravens (7-6) are now tied for the AFC's No. 6 seed, but they feel they made a statement in taking the Chiefs to overtime. Lamar Jackson threw multiple touchdown passes for the first time in his career, and the NFL's No. 1 defense held Kansas City to a season low in points. Baltimore has to have the mentality that it needs to win out in order to end a three-year playoff drought, starting with Sunday's home game against the Bucs. -- Jamison Hensley
Indianapolis' victory to end Houston's nine-game winning streak coupled with Baltimore's overtime loss to Kansas City has the Colts (7-6) in a four-way tie for the final playoff spot with three games to go. "Right now, what we're focused on is next week [against Dallas]," Colts coach Frank Reich said. "That's all that matters. We talked about it before this last game; we do have a goal of going 4-0 in the fourth quarter [of the season]." -- Mike Wells
The Texans (9-4) missed an opportunity to gain ground in the AFC playoff race. Deshaun Watson and the Texans' offense were not consistent, playing "terrible" on first down, according to coach Bill O'Brien, and going 5-of-13 on third down. Houston's nine-game win streak ended, but the Texans can clinch the AFC South with a victory on Saturday against the Jets and losses by the Colts and Titans. -- Sarah Barshop
"There's a lot of fight left in this squad." That's what Aaron Rodgers said after the Packers' victory over the Falcons in the first game of the post-Mike McCarthy era. Indeed, they showed more spark than a week earlier during a listless performance in the loss to Arizona that ended up being McCarthy's final game. But while the Packers are 1-0 in the Joe Philbin era, they're still just 5-7-1 and barely alive for the playoffs with three games to go. -- Rob Demovsky
The Falcons simply aren't getting the message from their coach after dropping their fifth straight and falling to 4-9 on the season. Dan Quinn preached winning the turnover margin, executing better on offense and playing disciplined football after last week's loss to the Ravens. Well, Matt Ryan had a pick-six, there was a botched snap fumbled over to the Packers, and the Falcons had 13 penalties for 101 yards. Now they can't even finish .500. -- Vaughn McClure
The Dolphins are making a playoff push, and they keep finding a way to win despite mounting injuries. "There's no quit in me and there's no quit in this team," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. Miami is 7-6 and tied for the No. 6-seed in the AFC, and despite a difficult road game at Minnesota upcoming, the Dolphins have proven they shouldn't be counted out. -- Cameron Wolfe
Belichick: 'Obviously that's a real disappointing ending'
Bill Belichick admits that even though the game came down to one play, the Patriots made multiple mistakes throughout.
A questionable coaching decision of putting the Hail Mary unit on the field for a final 69-yard Dolphins' scoring play contributed to a shocking loss, which had players saying in the locker room saying the team's character would be tested heading into next Sunday's game at Pittsburgh. Could a crushing loss like this sink the Pats? "I certainly don't believe so," captain Matthew Slater said. -- Mike Reiss
Football is starting to be fun again in Cleveland. Baker Mayfield has thrown for more than 500 yards and two touchdowns in his past six quarters, and the Browns' win over Carolina gives them three wins in four games. At 5-7-1, do the Browns dare think playoffs? "Always thinking playoffs, man," cornerback T.J. Carrie said. "That's why you play the game." -- Pat McManamon
The Panthers (6-7) have three games remaining, but it's time to start looking ahead to next season after Sunday's loss to Cleveland. While they're still mathematically alive for a wild-card spot, a five-game losing streak with New Orleans up next and twice in the last three weeks makes any hope seem slim. This simply is not a sound team fundamentally. Losses to lower-echelon teams such as the Browns, Lions and Buccaneers during this skid reinforce it. While coach Ron Rivera's job doesn't appear in imminent danger, it doesn't bode well that the defense continues to make the same mistakes with him calling plays. -- David Newton
Saquon Barkley proved Sunday that the Giants' offense should revolve around him. They scored 40 points without Odell Beckham Jr. in the lineup during a demolition of the Redskins. It was in large part because of Barkley, who had 170 rushing yards, including a 78-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. That opened up the passing game and allowed the Giants (5-8) to reach 40 points for the first time since 2015. "We have to keep doing that," wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. It also made it clear the Giants' offense operates best around Barkley. -- Jordan Raanan
The Redskins (6-7) have lost four consecutive games and are in playoff contention on paper only. They will be starting their fourth quarterback this season in Week 15 at Jacksonville. Their defense has shown no sign of turning its bad play around and looks nothing like the unit that started strongly. The Redskins have hit free-fall mode, and if they don't turn it around, no one in the organization -- from president on down -- should be spared speculation about their future. -- John Keim
Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold provided a glimmer of hope amid the Jets' miserable 4-9 season, delivering the first fourth-quarter comeback win of his career. He made plays with his arm and legs, leading two long touchdown drives to snap a six-game losing streak. This was his signature win. -- Rich Cimini
Darnold outduels Allen in battle of rookie QBs
Sam Darnold leads a fourth-quarter comeback and Josh Allen is picked off twice as the Jets beat the Bills 27-23.
Rookie quarterback Josh Allen is setting records with his legs -- on Sunday, he became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to run for at least 100 yards in back-to-back games -- but as the No. 7 overall pick said after a loss to the Jets, the records don't matter if Buffalo (4-9) isn't winning games. The Bills' offense needs more than Allen and likely won't get reinforcements until the offseason. -- Mike Rodak
The Chargers earned their 10th victory of the season, setting up an AFC West showdown against the Chiefs on Thursday night. Los Angeles has lost nine straight against Kansas City. However, the Bolts have a shot to return Melvin Gordon, who has missed the past two games with a sprained right knee. Gordon's replacement, Austin Ekeler, finished with 94 total yards from scrimmage, including a 5-yard touchdown run, in his team's win over the Bengals. -- Eric D. Williams
The Bengals looked like a different team against the Chargers, playing more aggressively and putting on one of their best defensive performances in weeks. But with a winning season out of the cards, it's certainly too late for moral victories. The Bengals proved they were capable of playing much better than they have throughout the second half of this season, but it's too little, too late. -- Katherine Terrell
In a season that's offered little in the way of luck, the 49ers finally have some working in their favor. The Niners beat the Broncos in a game that will mean little in the grand scheme of things, but because the Raiders beat the Steelers, the 49ers still remain firmly in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft (though Arizona is now back in the picture). For a team in need of difference-making talent, the importance of picking first can't be overstated. And to get a confidence-building win while still maintaining that possibility ... well, that qualifies as a good day in Niners Land. -- Nick Wagoner
The Broncos promised they wouldn't have a letdown. They said they couldn't afford it. They even said they finally were ready to show what kind of team they were with their three-game win streak in hand. The Broncos didn't keep their promise against the 49ers. The loss to San Francisco on Sunday was filled with everything the Broncos had hoped they had left behind this season: penalties, mistakes and inconsistent play. They say they have some fight left in them, but the proof will be in what they do against Cleveland in six days. -- Jeff Legwold
The Cowboys are in position to clinch a playoff spot with a win next week against the Colts. At the midway point of the season, the Cowboys were 3-5, but they have won five straight, their longest win streak since an 11-game run in 2016, and could be a hard out if they make the postseason. "We never wavered, we never blinked," QB Dak Prescott said. "We knew the team we had in training camp and we knew the team we had when we were 3-5. And we didn't stop. We never want to stop." -- Todd Archer
Prescott on OT win: 'A lot of ups, a lot of downs'
Dak Prescott says the Cowboys' backs were against the ball, but they kept fighting to pull off an overtime win vs. the Eagles.
Familiar issues finally knocked the Eagles off the high wire. They were sluggish on offense to start the game and let down late defensively, putting them at 6-7 on the year and dropping their playoff chances to 5.1 percent, per ESPN FPI. With a game at the Rams up next, things are looking bleak for the defending Super Bowl champions. -- Tim McManus
Did the Raiders lose by winning? At least when it comes to securing the top pick in the NFL draft, potentially. But so what. To quote Herm Edwards, you play to win the game. By beating an ancient AFC rival in the Steelers in such heart-stopping fashion and keeping Ben Roethlisberger winless in Oakland at 0-4, the Raiders showed improvement. And with three first-round picks, they still control the draft. -- Paul Gutierrez
With a brutal three-game stretch vs. New England, at New Orleans and at home against Cincinnati looming, the only certainty with the Steelers' playoff push is they're at their best with the ball in Ben Roethlisberger's hands. At least the Steelers are brutally honest in regard to their three-game losing streak, including Sunday's loss to 3-10 Oakland. Safety Sean Davis called the locker room "sick," and coach Mike Tomlin promised the Steelers will "look at all aspects of what we're doing." -- Jeremy Fowler
The Lions kept their faint playoff hopes alive in beating Arizona on Sunday, improving to 5-8. With losses by Carolina, Washington and Philadelphia, Sunday's win at least gives Detroit a chance if it wins its final three games against Buffalo, Green Bay and Minnesota. But it'll take a lot of work and a good deal of help. -- Michael Rothstein
Another game, another slew of offensive issues for the Cardinals. Any momentum built with their big win in Green Bay last week was squandered in a loss to the Lions, which dropped Arizona officially out of playoff contention at 3-10. From here on out, the Cardinals' focus will be securing the No. 1 pick in the draft. -- Josh Weinfuss
The Titans found a way to get production from Derrick Henry as he rushed for a career-high 238 yards, including a 99-yard TD run. Running the football effectively in addition to playing suffocating defense is the formula for winning games in December. Being able to do both is a good sign for the Titans, who have to win next week on the road against the Giants to stay on pace for a wild-card spot. -- Turron Davenport
The Jaguars have lost four in a row and six of the past seven to the Titans, and they can't compete physically with Tennessee. How else to explain Henry's 238 yards and four rushing touchdowns, and the fact that the Jaguars managed just 60 rushing yards and gave up four sacks? The Jaguars' offensive and defensive lines were dominated, and that has been the case the past four times they've played. -- Mike DiRocco