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NFL Roundup: Bengals secure AFC North; Cardinals upset Cowboys; Antonio Brown's bizarre exit

There was no shortage of drama on NFL Sunday between Antonio Brown's mid-game exit, Joe Burrow and the Bengals' division win and more.

CINCINNATI — The word eventful doesn't really do justice to the NFL Sunday we just had in Week 17. 

The sports world stopped when Tampa Bay Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown took off his jersey and shirt and left the field in the middle of the Bucs-Jets game as play was going on. 

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals ended Kansas City's 8-game win streak to secure the AFC North. The Tennessee Titans also ended Miami's big win streak and concluded their chances at a playoff spot. The Titans are sitting the top seed in the AFC after big wins back-to-back against the 49ers and Dolphins.

As the Green Bay Packers coasted to an easy win over the Kirk Cousins-less Vikings on Sunday Night Football, they locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the playoffs. That win also clinched a playoff berth for the Philadelphia Eagles, currently the 7-seed in the NFC.

Let's check out some of the top storylines from Sunday's NFL action.

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Cardinals pull off major upset over Cowboys

Coming into Sunday, everyone was very down on the Arizona Cardinals, who started 10-2 and then lost three-straight games, and very high on the Dallas Cowboys, who haven't lost since Thanksgiving. 

The Cowboys closed as nearly a touchdown favorite over the Cardinals before Sunday's contest at AT&T Stadium.

But it was the Cardinals who came out on top 25-22, thanks to a strong defensive effort over the first three quarters of the game. 

Arizona held Dallas to just seven points over the first three quarters before Dak Prescott and Dallas began to charge back into the game. The Cowboys had no run game, finishing with less than 50 yards on the ground. Star wide receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb were held in check all game as well.

Kyler Murray limited mistakes, going for 263 yards and two touchdowns through the air as he extended his undefeated streak at AT&T Stadium since high school to 8-0.

"Coming home, I can't lose coming home," Murray said after the game. "That's just how I feel. I'm not worried about two weeks from now. We got Seahawks next week, divisional game at home. The guys will come ready to play."

The Cardinals and Cowboys go into the final weekend as the fourth and fifth seeds in the playoffs, which would mean a first-round meeting — once again at AT&T Stadium since Dallas won its division. 

Neither team will have a chance at a first round bye as the Packers locked that up, however, some shifting can still happen. The Los Angeles Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. The 49ers need to win the game to make the playoffs. While the Rams need to win the game to win the NFC West division over the Cardinals.

If the Cardinals win their game against the Seahawks and the 49ers defeat the Rams, the Cardinals will sneak up to the No. 3 seed. 

Bengals secure AFC North in huge win over Kansas City

Maybe the best game of the day was in Cincinnati. The Bengals and Chiefs went for an all-out shootout in the first half of their matchup as they put up 52 combined points. 

The second half was much more tame as the Bengals defense completely shutdown the Chiefs, allowing just three second-half points from the high-powered offense as the Bengals would go on to win 34-31 in a bizarre finish that saw them run out the clock and kick a field goal thanks to penalties that prevented Mahomes from getting another shot on the field.

Rookie Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase thrust himself back into the Rookie of the Year favorite talk as he went for a staggering 266 receiving yards and three touchdowns. 

Joe Burrow was more than impressive for a second-straight week as he went 30-for-39 with 446 yards and four touchdowns. 

With the win, the Bengals won the AFC North for the first time since 2015. It was just two seasons ago that Cincinnati went 2-14 to get Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They then selected Chase with the fifth-pick in the 2021 draft after going 6-10. Now, they're suddenly a 10-win team.

The Bengals are currently the No. 3 seed in the AFC. They take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 18 as they try to hold on to that position rather than falling to No. 4 if the Bills take care of the Jets.

It was one more taste of adversity for the Chiefs, who were on an 8-game win streak coming into Sunday's game after starting the season 3-4. The Chiefs will likely be the two-seed in the AFC for the playoffs, if they can defeat the Broncos next week. The Titans must beat the Texans in Week 18 to secure the No. 1 overall seed.

Antonio Brown exits field in bizarre fashion, cut from Bucs

"Antonio Brown is no longer a Buc," Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians said following Tampa's comeback victory over the Jets on Sunday.

In the second half, Antonio Brown was on the sideline as the Bucs offense was on the field, took off his jersey and pads, his shirt and gloves and ran across the field through the end zone, giving the peace sign to fans as he exited MetLife Stadium.

That ends a wild year for Brown and the Bucs. Earlier this year, he was suspended three games for faking a COVID-19 vaccination card.

The Bucs brought him back after talk that they could cut him. 

But now, that relationship appears over.

Brown was just 8 catches, 55 yards and a receiving touchdown away from $1.2 million in performance bonuses. 

While some on social media speculated on Sunday that the Bucs were holding him out so they wouldn't have to pay those bonuses, the opposite is being reported Monday morning. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport said on Good Morning Football that Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and the offensive staff was trying to get Brown into the game, but he refused, saying he wasn't healthy with his ankle.

Arians and the offensive staff was reportedly convinced Brown was healthy enough to play. As he refused to go in, they reportedly told Brown if he wasn't going to go into the game when they told him to, then he could not be there. At that point, they allegedly threw him off the sideline with intentions to cut him from the team.

Brown has not yet spoken out on the issue and the Bucs have not publicly addressed specific reasons why Brown left the field. 

"It's a difficult situation," Tom Brady said after the game. "Everybody should do what they can to help him in ways that he really needs it. We all love him. We care about him deeply. We want to see him be at his best. Unfortunately, it won't be with our team. ... I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things that are happening."

The Bucs were down two touchdowns to the Jets at one point before coming back to win 28-24. 

That moves Tampa to 12-4 on the year. They currently hold the 3-seed in the NFC playoffs behind the Rams, who play the 49ers in Week 18. The Bucs play the 5-11 Panthers. 

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