SAM FARMER / ON THE NFL

Call it a 'Mission Bay Miracle' as Chargers reach playoffs

San Diego, naturally.

Black Sunday night

Most postseason firings occur on the day after the season ends — known as "Black Monday" — but the Cleveland Browns couldn't wait.

They fired Rob Chudzinski after a season-ending loss to Pittsburgh, ending his tenure after one 4-12 season. That news came after the New York Jets announced Rex Ryan would be back for a sixth season.

While it's unusual to give a coach just one year, it's not unprecedented. Mike Mularkey got only a year as Jacksonville's coach last season, and before him Oakland's Hue Jackson and Seattle's Jim Mora were one and done.

"We needed to see progress with this football team. We needed to see development and improvement as the season evolved and, unfortunately, we took a concerning step backward in the second half of the year," the Browns said in a statement that announced the firing.

Pittsburgh has had three coaches since 1969. Cleveland will have had three coaches since 2012.

Among the other coaches who could be fired Monday are Detroit's Jim Schwartz, Washington's Mike Shanahan, Tennessee's Mike Munchak, Oakland's Dennis Allen, Minnesota's Leslie Frazier and Tampa Bay's Greg Schiano.

Broken record

Another Sunday, another broken record for Peyton Manning.

In throwing for 266 yards against Oakland, Manning set the NFL single-season record for yards passing with 5,477 — one more than Brees had when he set the record in 2011.

Manning also threw four touchdown passes, extending to 55 the NFL single-season record he broke last week.

He is the first player to set records in both yards passing and touchdowns since Miami's Dan Marino in 1984.

We're (sort of) No. 1

The Houston Texans are best at being the worst.

They locked up the first overall pick in the 2014 draft Sunday with a 16-10 loss at Tennessee, meaning they lost their final 14 games — along with coach Gary Kubiak, who was fired Dec. 6.

The No. 2 pick goes to St. Louis via Washington. The Redskins traded that pick to the Rams as part of the 2012 deal to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III. So the Rams traded the No. 2 pick two years ago and received Washington's picks in the first round (sixth) and second round (39th) in 2012, first (22nd) in 2013 . . . and the No. 2 pick in May.

Not a bad deal for St. Louis.

In the bag

Carolina is the first team since the 2003 Eagles to earn a first-round bye despite starting the season 0-2. An improved defense was partly responsible for that, and the Panthers recorded a franchise-record nine sacks in a 21-20 victory at Atlanta that locked up the NFC South and the No. 2 seed.

CHICAGO

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