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  1. Bucs

Lions' loss at Dallas keeps Bucs' playoff hopes alive

Published Dec. 27, 2016

ARLINGTON, Texas — Dez Bryant threw his first career touchdown between two scoring catches, Ezekiel Elliott ran for two TDs and the Cowboys kept Detroit from clinching a playoff spot with a 42-21 win over the Lions on Monday night.

Detroit's loss kept the Bucs mathematically alive in the wild-card race. Tampa Bay has to beat the Panthers and have a lot of other things go its way. The Lions are currently the sixth NFC wild card and host the Packers next week in a battle for the NFC North title.

With home-field advantage already wrapped up, the Cowboys (13-2) didn't let up in their seventh straight home win while matching their franchise record in victories.

Late in the third quarter, Bryant took a reverse pitch from Dak Prescott and tucked the ball as if planning to run before pulling up and tossing a lefty lob to Jason Witten in the end zone for an easy 10-yard score and a 35-21 lead.

Witten, the normally stoic 14th-year tight end, flashed Bryant's celebratory "X'' when the often-exuberant receiver made the signal in his direction after the touchdown.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford lost in a visit to his hometown team again, after a wild-card defeat two years ago.

Elliott, the NFL rushing leader, had a 55-yard touchdown run in the first half and finished with 80 yards on 12 carries.

BENGALS: Tight end Tyler Eifert went on injured reserve (back).

DOLPHINS: Starting tailback Jay Ajayi, who injured a shoulder last weekend, will be available Sunday, coach Adam Gase said.

49ERS: Running back Carlos Hyde has a torn MCL in his left knee and will miss the season finale.

JETS: Quarterback Bryce Petty has a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder and was placed on injured reserve.

TEXANS: Coach Bill O'Brien is sticking with Tom Savage at quarterback on Sunday against the Titans.

TITANS: Quarterback Marcus Mariota is set to have surgery Wednesday for his broken right leg.