The Indianapolis Colts had a chance to clinch the AFC North title, but they didn’t.
Instead, they had to win a wild-card game, a wild card berth and a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Colts’ defense and special teams were the stars of the show as they held off the Steelers 36-21 on Sunday.
Indianapolis (2-1) lost to Jacksonville in Week 13 and New England in Week 14.
But the Colts did a much better job of protecting Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had six interceptions and two touchdowns.
It was his second interception of the season.
“We have to do a better job getting stops,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick (6-3, 222) after his interception in the first quarter.
“We have the opportunity to win this game.
It’s a tough game, but we’ve got to do better.”
The Patriots (3-2) lost in overtime to the San Francisco 49ers.
New England is coming off a 38-21 win over Pittsburgh on Monday night.
The Patriots have won two straight and are in first place in the AFC.
The Patriots were led by Gronkowski (11 catches, 170 yards) and Julian Edelman (16 catches, 210 yards).
Edelman, who caught five passes for 82 yards in a 28-24 win over the Dolphins last season, was limited in practice and didn’t practice this week.
He was replaced by rookie tight end David Njoku, who played five snaps.
He had a sack and a forced fumble in the win over Miami.
The Steelers (3, 0) have lost five straight games.
They opened with a 38 of 38 pass defense, allowing a combined 31 touchdowns.
The Steelers also allowed 11 rushing touchdowns, their fewest of the year.
The Browns have lost four straight games, their longest losing streak since winning five straight from 2012-14.
Cleveland also has the worst defensive DVOA of any team.
The Panthers are tied for the NFL lead in sacks (19).
Their last loss was to the Saints on Nov. 5.
The Panthers also allowed eight rushing touchdowns.
They had three sacks against the Colts and have allowed three or fewer in eight of the last nine games.
The Raiders (4-2, 2-2 AFC West) are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the decade.
They’re playing without quarterback Derek Carr (concussion) and defensive tackle Chris Borland (knee).
They lost 23-10 to the Chargers on Sunday in Oakland.
The Raiders’ defense is giving up big plays and getting turnovers, but it’s still hard to imagine them getting out of the AFC West for the first time since 2004.
Borland is out with a concussion.
They have only allowed seven touchdowns in the last five games.
The only teams without multiple players with multiple head injuries this season are the Titans (eight) and Seahawks (seven).