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NFL review: Jerome Simpson flips out for Bengals

flipping out We’re not quite sure yet what score the Russian judge gaveJerome Simpson, but as far as the Bengals are concerned he got aperfect 10 for his catch, run and flip over a defender for a19-yard TD in Cincinnati’s win over Arizona. Here’s how it happened: With 2:46 left in the first half, Simpson ran a crossing routefrom right to left. The 6-2, 190-pound Simpson caught a pass fromAndy Dalton near the sideline at about the 15 and turned toward theend zone. With Daryl Washington in his way at the goal line,Simpson left his feet at the 1, and with the ball in one hand did aperfect flip over Washington, who stands in at 6-2, 230, and stuckhis landing in the end zone. “Yeah, that one was probably one of the most surprising of allmy plays in my career,” Simpson said. “Just because it was prettyawesome, I think. It was off instinct and just helped my team.” Rookie wonder Cam Newton showed again why he was worth the No. 1 overall pickfor the Carolina Panthers in this year’s draft. He broke the rookierecord for passing yards (3,739) held by a QB with a pretty goodrésumé — Peyton Manning — and Newton still has one game to go. Newton passed for 171 yards and three TDs against Tampa Bay andadded a 49-yard TD run up the middle in which he outraced smallerdefensive backs to the end zone. Newton, who led Auburn to the national championship last season,now has 3,893 passing yards and 20 TDs to go along with 674 yardsrushing and 15 TDs on the ground. It could have been more on Saturday, but Carolina coach RonRivera pulled Newton and the other key starters early in the fourthquarter. Speaking of rookie QBs, Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton (TCU) threw twoTD passes to give him 20 for the season and joined Manning (26),Charlie Conerly (22), Dan Marino (20) and Newton as the only NFLrookies to throw for 20 touchdowns. Tebow touch Only Tim Tebow can throw four interceptions and lose his secondstraight game but still have the inside edge to make the playoffsin the AFC West. The Broncos, who were thumped 40-14 in Buffalo, dropped into atie with the Raiders at 8-7 and are a game ahead of the Chargers.But all Denver must do to win the West is beat the Chiefs at homenext week because the Broncos hold the tiebreaker over Oakland andSan Diego. “Everything is still on the table,” Tebow said. “We have to goand execute and play a little better. Hopefully, we can get in thetournament.” Tebow had the worst performance of his two-year career bythrowing four interceptions — all in the second half and tworeturned for touchdowns 18 seconds apart. (One of those was byClayton High’s Jairus Byrd.) Tebow finished 13 of 30 passing for185 yards with one touchdown and rushed for 34 yards and anotherscore. “My confidence is just fine,” Tebow said. “I have to do a betterjob of not giving them opportunities. I tried to make somethinghappen, and I tried to force it.” Painful win Let’s see, the Vikings lost Adrian Peterson to a horrific kneeinjury, quarterback Christian Ponder got knocked out with aconcussion and the team was eliminated from a chance at the No. 1pick in the draft. Yet, why was this man smiling? “I can enjoy my Christmas now,” coach Leslie Frazier said. He took comfort in the fact the team overcame the loss ofPeterson and Ponder to beat Washington 33-26 and stop a six-gamelosing streak. The win does mean, however, that at 3-12 the Vikingscan pick no higher than third in the draft. Of more immediate concern is Peterson’s status. Peterson said he knew “it was something bad” the moment he washit by safety DeJon Gomes at the end of a 3-yard gain on the firstoffensive play of the second half. The X-rays were negative, butPeterson was scheduled for an MRI late Saturday after the teamreturned to Minnesota. A torn ACL, the worst case scenario, probably would sidelinePeterson for some nine months and make it difficult for him toreturn for the start of next season. “Any time you take a blow tothe knee like that, you’re concerned about the ACL, MCL,” Petersonsaid. “I’m trying to stay as positive as I can.” Dream team The Eagles aren’t going to make the playoffs —they wereeliminated from contention when the Giants beat the Jets earlier inthe day — but they finished off their domination of the NFC Eastwith a 20-7 win over Dallas. Philadelphia, which became theself-proclaimed ‘Dream Team’ after several big offseason signings,is 4-1 in the NFC East but only 7-8 overall. bye time Here’s how the race for the top two seeds and the bye weeksstand: AFC: With a 17-point rally, the Patriots beat the Dolphins andare 12-3 and have clinched a bye. They get the top seed with a winnext week vs. Buffalo. Baltimore (11-4) and Pittsburgh (11-4) arein contention for the other bye. NFC: The Packers (13-1), who play Sunday night, would have tolose twice to give up the top seed. The 49ers (12-3) can get theNo. 2 seed with over the Rams in St. Louis next Sunday.

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