Dolphins back to being big fish
Miami Dolphins put last season woes behind them to claim AFC East division crown.
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2008 08:06 GMT

Davon Bess dives in for the Dolphins as Dwight Lowery fumbles [GALLO/GETTY]
The Miami Dolphins continued their Cinderella season, joining the Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers and San Diego Chargers in grabbing division titles on the final day of the NFL regular season.

The Dolphins, the league's worst team a year ago, rode the quarterbacking of New York Jets reject Chad Pennington to a 24-17 victory over his former team to claim the AFC East Division crown and a playoff berth.

The win on Sunday was the ninth in 10 games for the Dolphins, who will face the Baltimore Ravens in next week's AFC wild-card game at Miami.

Baltimore beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-7 to take the other wild-card place.

Big boot

Minnesota's Ryan Longwell booted a 50-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to beat the visiting New York Giants 20-19 and earn the Vikings the NFC North championship and a playoff spot.

They will host the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday's NFC wild-card contest after the Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys 44-6.

Carolina wrapped up the NFC South title and the No 2 NFC seed behind the Giants with a 33-31 triumph at New Orleans on John Kasay's 42-yard field goal with a second to play.

The win gave the Panthers a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Giants had already earned a bye.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who threw for four touchdowns, narrowly missed the NFL single-season record for passing yards when he finished with 386 yards.

He needed 402 yards to surpass former Miami quarterback Dan Marino's 1984 record of 5,084 yards.

Second after Marino 

Brees still became only the second NFL player to throw for more than 5,000 yards during a regular season.

The Chargers were the last team to claim a division crown with their 52-21 victory over the Denver Broncos.

The Chargers, the AFC West winners, will host the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC wild-card game on Saturday.

Saturday's NFC wild-card contest will match the Arizona Cardinals and the Atlanta Falcons at Phoenix.

The Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers will have AFC first-round byes with the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers gaining them in the NFC.

Divisional playoffs are set for January 10-11 with conference championships scheduled for January 18.

The Super Bowl is on February 1 in Tampa, Florida.

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