sport

Steelers alive, Dolphins sunk

The Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins were eliminated from play-off contention in week 17 of the NFL regular season - but the Pittsburgh Steelers are very much alive and kicking.

A 20-7 victory over divisional rivals Cleveland means the Steelers finish with an 8-8 record, at least guaranteeing they don't suffer their first losing season since 2003.

However, they could yet make the play-offs after the clash between the other two teams in the NFC North saw

The Dolphins, meanwhile, missed the chance to claim a wild card berth when they lost 20-7 to the New York Jets. The defeat is Miami's second in the row, a run that has cost them the chance to make their first post-season appearance since 2008.

The Jets - who finish level with Miami on 8-8 - saw rookie quarterback Geno Smith throw for 190 yards and rush for a further 44, while they picked off his Miami counterpart Ryan Tannehill three times.

Panthers roar

The Carolina Panthers clinched the NFC South title - and a first-round bye to boot - with a nervy 21-20 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Cam Newton throwing for two touchdowns as they had to hang on at the death.

Their defense also had a huge day, Greg Hardy managing four of their nine sacks of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez had four catches for 56 yards in his final game before retirement.

The Houston Texans lost for a 14th straight game in a row, securing the number one pick in next May's draft in the process, as they went down 16-10 to the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans snapped a five-game losing streak of their own at home thanks mainly to Chris Johnson, the tail-back rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown. Tennessee scored 16 straight points to turn around an early 7-0 deficit.

Quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 282 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first player in league history to top 8,000 yards in his first two NFL seasons, as the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-10 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The New York Giants got the better of the Washington Redskins 20-6 despite losing starting QB Eli Manning and receiving duo Rueben Randle and Hakeem Nicks to injury during the contest.

And finally, the Minnesota Vikings made sure they finished life in their Metrodome home on a winning note, beating the Detroit Lions 14-13 thanks to a pair of touchdown catches by rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

The Vikings' current facility will be torn down in January to make way for a new domed venue on the same site. The team will spend the next two seasons playing their home games at the University of Minnesota.