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Winners, losers and more: Pocket heroes

James C Black
Yahoo Sports

Tony Romo has spent a bulk of the season being compared to Brett Favre. Yet, with the game on the line Sunday, it was Joe Montana that the Dallas Cowboys quarterback more closely resembled.

Reminiscent of Montana pointing out John Candy in the stands during the game-winning drive of Super Bowl XXIII, Romo kept a smile on his face as he engineered Dallas' final series – even after his fumble near midfield almost cost the Cowboys a shot of winning. Less than a minute later, Romo was smiling in celebration as the Cowboys miraculously came back to beat the Detroit Lions 28-27 and win their first NFC East title since 1998.

It didn't matter that Dallas spotted the Lions 10 quick points and trailed all day long. Or that Terrell Owens (three catches, 21 yards) was a non-factor. Or even that the Cowboys seemingly had squandered their best opportunity at a comeback the possession before when Jason Witten, who scored the game-winner, fumbled at Detroit's 1-yard line. Romo has created an aura this season that no deficit or challenge is too great to overcome, and Detroit left the door open to be "Buffaloed" with each miscue and blown opportunity.

Find out who else were among the big winners and losers of Week 14:

WINNERS

If there really was any debate going into the finally month of the season as to who deserves the 2007 MVP trophy, it was decided with 3:49 left at Gillette Stadium. That's when Tom Brady threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day – and 45th of the season – during the New England Patriots' 34-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only does that put him within very reachable grasp of tying Peyton Manning's mark of 49 next week against the New York Jets – in a game where the Pats will look to put up at least 49 points – but Brady now has an insane touchdown-to-interception ratio of 9:1. Best of all for the Pats: They're now a win or an Indianapolis Colts loss from not having to leave the Northeast through the AFC playoffs.

Who needs a bushel of touchdowns from the quarterback when the defense is good for a score every week? Clearly, that's the Minnesota Vikings' philosophy these days. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who scored the team's first touchdown of the season, had an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown on the game's opening play during Sunday's 27-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. The Vikings now have scored eight defensive touchdowns this season, and they set an NFL record Sunday with three interceptions in one game by defensive tackles.

Is there a reality show with more drama than a New York Giants game? As if "which Eli Manning will show up today," isn't enough, the Giants continue to play the "how healthy is Plaxico Burress?" game. But when it comes to the Philadelphia Eagles, the latter question doesn't seem to matter. Burress, apparently most in pain on slant patterns, zig-zagged his way past the Eagles secondary for 136 yards and a touchdown during a 16-13 victory. Of course, the Giants had to hold their breaths until David Akers' 57-yard field goal attempt bounced off the right upright with one second remaining.

Did Patrick Kerney recently discover some clause in his contract regarding sacks? Kerney, with 4½ sacks through nine games, has now registered a trio of quarterback takedowns in three of the past four games. The latest came as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Arizona Cardinals 42-21 to win the NFC West.

The Green Bay Packers illustrated on Sunday why they still are a legitimate threat to reach Super Bowl XLII, even if they have to travel to Dallas for the NFC title game. With Ryan Grant (29-156, one TD) having another superb game, the Packers seemingly have established the much-coveted "balance" on offense. And cornerback Charles Woodson's return is understatedly huge. However, the determining factor could be special teams, where the Packers got two touchdowns from Will Blackmon – the second following a fumble on a punt – during a 38-7 victory over the Oakland Raiders to clinch the NFC North.

Did Norv Turner make his best call of the season in the waning moments of regulation against the Tennessee Titans? With the San Diego Chargers down seven and with the ball at Tennessee's 2 with nine seconds left, Turner had them line up in an I-formation as if calling a run on third down. Titans rookie Michael Griffin was caught with Antonio Gates on single coverage on the outside and lost that battle as Philip Rivers connected with the tight end for the game-tying score. LaDainian Tomlinson's game-winning run in overtime means the Chargers can clinch the AFC West with a win at home against Detroit next week.

Not only did the Buffalo Bills have two guys (Robert Royal and Lee Evans) each with a pair of touchdown catches, but they also had two rushers (Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch) go over the century mark. More importantly, their 38-17 win over the Miami Dolphins kept them just one game back – along with the Titans – of the Cleveland Browns for the final AFC wild-card spot.

LOSERS

So much for that often-repeated stat about the Dolphins losing six games by three points this season. After falling behind 21-0 to the Bills on Sunday en route to a 21-point loss, the Dolphins now have dropped their last two games by a combined 78-30.

Any more pearls of wisdom, Anthony Smith? It's unclear how many times the second-year Steelers safety was victimized, but it's obvious that Brady didn't have too tough of a time against the Troy Polamalu-less secondary.

How many more quarterbacks do the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers intend to roll out this season? Andrew Walter, Oakland's on-and-off again starter in 2006, replaced a struggling Josh McCown against the Packers to become Oakland's fourth signal-caller this season. Shaun Hill, who hadn't thrown a pass during his six-year career, became San Francisco's third when he took over for an ailing Trent Dilfer (concussion) late in the first half.

Herm Edwards has watched a promising season fall to pieces as the Kansas City Chiefs dropped their sixth straight game – a 41-7 loss to the Denver Broncos.

JUST WONDERING …

What more beyond making the playoffs will Derek Anderson have to do to ensure the Browns bring him back as next year's starting quarterback?

How long until Antonio Cromartie (league-high ninth interception of the season against Tennessee) is discussed as the best corner in the game?

If the Lions, losers of five straight after a 6-2 start, will win another game this season.

How does an offense commit a delay of game following a change of possession? Is it any mystery that the guilty team here is the Raiders?

If there's anything Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard enjoys more than starting against an NFC team. He's now 6-0.

Wasn't Jabar Gaffney (7-122, one TD) one of the receivers from last season the Pats were looking to replace?

If anyone from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers assisted Greg White (three sacks) in trying to slow down mighty Houston Texans quarterback Sage Rosenfels (27-of-36, 209 yards, three TDs).

How did Packers corner Al Harris not come up with that throw that resulted in Jerry Porter's touchdown grab?