Randy Moss stared at the scoreboard after his third touchdown catch and saw a fan wearing a Randy Moss mask on the screen.
The real Moss stood on the sideline with a huge grin as he made his parting-of-the-defense motion, sweeping his arms from his chest to his sides.
”That was very entertaining,” Moss said Sunday after the New England Patriots clinched the American Football Conference East title with a 35-7 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Foxborough, Mass. ”I had a lot of my teammates wanting me to mess with the guy. So he put a little humor into it, and I enjoyed it.”
After his previous home game, a 20-10 victory against Carolina, several Panthers questioned his effort. So did Patriots fans during the week that followed. But on Sunday, they chanted, ”Randy, Randy, Randy.”
And Moss, who has sold the mask on his Web site, clearly appreciated it.
”My last performance here wasn’t really too hot,” he said, adding about Sunday’s game that ”everybody had fun.”
Everybody but the Jaguars (7-8), who were still among seven teams with at least a slim chance of earning one of the two A.F.C. wild-card playoff berths.
The Patriots (10-5) won the A.F.C. East for the seventh time in nine years after missing the playoffs last season.
With both teams seeking to stay alive in the A.F.C. playoff race, THE VISITING TEXANS BEAT THE DOLPHINS, 27-20, after scoring on their first five possessions and surviving Miami’s comeback attempt.
The Texans (8-7) built a 27-0 lead and won despite being outscored, 20-0, in the final 31 minutes. They kept alive their slim hopes of making the playoffs for the first time.
The defending A.F.C. East champion Dolphins (7-8) remained barely alive in the playoff race.
”It’s unacceptable for us to play like this when the season is on the line,” said Miami running back Ricky Williams, who left with a right shoulder injury in the third quarter and played only one snap after that.
Cowboys Lock Up Berth
Tony Romo threw for 286 yards and Jason Witten had a career-long 69-yard reception to set up a score as the Cowboys beat the host Redskins, 17-0, to return to the playoffs and set up a Week 17 showdown with the Eagles for the National Football Conference East title.
The victory eliminated the Giants from playoff contention. Dallas (10-5) will host Philadelphia (11-4) on Sunday, with the winner taking the division crown and the loser settling for a wild-card berth.
Dallas and Washington met for the 100th time. The Cowboys hold a commanding 59-39-2 lead in the rivalry.
David Akers kicked a 28-yard field goal with four seconds remaining, lifting THE EAGLES TO A 30-27 VICTORY OVER THE VISITING BRONCOS. Kyle Orton rallied the Broncos from a 27-10 deficit in the third quarter, but Donovan McNabb led the Eagles on a winning drive in the final minutes.
The Broncos (8-7), who started 6-0, need help from other teams to make the playoffs.
Packers Clinch Wild Card
The Green Bay defense forced four interceptions by Matt Hasselbeck as THE PACKERS BEAT THE VISITING, SEAHAWKS, 48-10, and clinched an N.F.C. playoff berth.
The victory, combined with the Giants’ loss to Carolina, put Green Bay (10-5) back in the postseason after they went 6-10 last season.
Carnell Williams rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown, and Connor Barth kicked a 47-yard field goal in overtime, lifting THE VISITING BUCCANEERS TO A 20-17 UPSET OF THE SAINTS that, for the time being, prevented New Orleans from securing home field throughout the N.F.C. playoffs.
Kurt Warner threw for 196 of his 313 yards in the second quarter, and THE HOST CARDINALS WENT ON TO BEAT THE RAMS, 31-10. The Cardinals (10-5) reached 10 regular-season wins for the first time since 1976.
Bengals Win Division
Carson Palmer’s touchdown pass to Chad Ochocinco completed a 98-yard drive in the closing minutes, sending THE BENGALS TO A 17-10 VICTORY OVER THE VISITING CHIEFS that clinched the A.F.C. North title five days after Cincinnati players buried their teammate Chris Henry.
The Bengals wore Henry’s No. 15 on their helmets.
”I’m not jumping for joy or glee, just thinking about 15 once that clock hits zero,” Ochocinco said. ”That was everybody’s mind-set, to go out and win this one for him.”
The Bengals (10-5) reached the playoffs for the second time in the past 19 years. Already Eliminated
Jerome Harrison had 148 yards rushing as THE BROWNS BEAT THE VISITING RAIDERS, 23-9, giving Cleveland (4-11) its first three-game winning streak since 2007 and its third since 1999. On the final play of the first half, Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 61-yard field goal, the fourth longest in league history.
Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes, and THE HOST FALCONS WERE NEVER CHALLENGED IN THEIR 31-3 WIN OVER THE BILLS. In the second quarter, Buffalo receiver Terrell Owens became the sixth N.F.L. player with 1,000 career receptions.
Frank Gore scored on a 1-yard run and topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the fourth straight year, and THE HOST 49ERS BEAT THE LIONS, 20-6, and moved one win from avoiding a seventh straight losing season.
Miami inside linebacker CHANNING CROWDER left after the second play against Houston with a right foot injury and did not return. … St. Louis was without the league’s second-leading rusher, STEVEN JACKSON, because of a sore lower back.
PHOTO: Cowboys receivers Miles Austin (19) and Roy Williams after Williams scored in a 17-0 win over Washington to clinch a playoff spot.(PHOTOGRAPH BY MOLLY RILEY/REUTERS)