Raiders edge Browns, Vikings win to boost NFL playoff bids

Washington (AFP) – Daniel Carlson kicked a 48-yard field goal on the final play Monday to give Las Vegas a 16-14 victory at Cleveland and boost the Raiders' NFL playoff hopes.


Raiders quarterback Derek Carr completed 25-of-38 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown, and drove Vegas 41 yards on eight plays in the dying seconds to set up Carlson's winning effort.

The Raiders improved to 7-7 while the Browns fell to 7-7, leaving both clubs one game out of the last American Conference (AFC) playoff spot.

"We still have a chance. We're still in it," Carr said. "We're playing meaningful games in December and I'm thankful for that."

In Monday's other game, Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes, and the Minnesota Vikings improved to 7-7 by defeating host Chicago 17-9, moving into the seventh and final National Conference (NFC) playoff spot based on tie-breakers.

"We'll take it and move on," Cousins said. "We understand we have to get right back to work. They don't get any easier from here."

The Raiders-Browns contest was postponed from Saturday due to a major Covid-19 outbreak in the Browns, who were forced to start third-stringer Nick Mullens at quarterback with starter Baker Mayfield and backup Case Keenum sidelined by Covid-19.

Cleveland was also without coach Kevin Stefanski after he tested positive for the virus. Assistant Mike Priefer served as acting head coach.

Mullens directed a 14-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, capping the march by scrambling before flipping a 6-yard touchdown pass to Harrison Bryant on a fourth-down play.

Chase McLaughlin's extra point put Cleveland ahead for the first time at 14-13.

Cleveland's Greedy Williams intercepted a Carr pass on the next Raiders possession, but the Vegas defense forced a punt to give the visitors one final chance.

A Raiders holding penalty wiped out a 27-yard reception, but Carr marched Vegas in position for a last kick. Carlson booted the ball between the uprights, but a Cleveland timeout just before the snap negated the play. Forced to kick again, Carlson again right-footed the ball down the middle, and the Raiders finally tasted victory.

"Our defense did a great job getting me another chance," Carr said. "This team is defined off adversity. We've been through a lot so nothing really fazes us. As long as we had the ball we had a chance to win.

"I'm just glad we got to play."

Cleveland's Nick Chubb, who ran 23 times for 91 yards, scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with 4:33 remaining in the third quarter to pull the Browns within 10-7, but Carlson answered with a 40-yard Vegas field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter.

Carr threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Edwards, and Carlson kicked a 29-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 10-0 halftime edge.

At Chicago, Cousins threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Justin Jefferson, and Greg Joseph added a 37-yard field goal to give Minnesota a 10-0 lead, but Carlos Santos kicked a 34-yard field goal to pull the Bears within 10-3 at halftime.

Cousins tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette in the third quarter, and Chicago (4-10) couldn't reach the end zone until Jesper Horsted caught a 19-yard pass from Justin Fields on the game's last play.

Tuesday will feature two more NFL games postponed due to Covid-19 issues, with Seattle at the Los Angeles Rams and Washington at Philadelphia.

Bad news for KC, Bucs

The Kansas City Chiefs, atop the AFC at 10-4, became the latest NFL club to be hit by Covid-19, with tight end Travis Kelce, kicker Harrison Butker and defensive back Charvarius Ward placed on the virus list Monday.

Reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay suffered worse news Monday with wide receiver Chris Godwin ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Godwin leads the Buccaneers with 98 catches for 1,103 and five touchdowns.