INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL MONDAY
EMAN SCHOOL AT INDIANAPOLIS RIVERSIDE (2-2)
HAMMOND SCIENCE & TECH (2-5) AT KOUTS (6-3)
INDIANAPOLIS INTERNATIONAL (2-6) AT BETHESDA CHRISTIAN (6-0)
KIPP INDY LEGACY AT INDIANAPOLIS HERRON (3-3)
LEBANON (8-5) AT FRANKFORT (3-4)
MEDORA (2-6) AT BLOOMINGTON LIGHTHOUSE (4-4)
PIKE CENTRAL (2-7) VS. NORTH CENTRAL (FARMERSBURG) (6-3)
LINTON-STOCKTON (12-1) VS. SHAKAMAK (5-6)
INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL TUESDAY
ARGOS (8-1) AT NORTH MIAMI (3-6)
BARR-REEVE (7-6) AT WASHINGTON CATHOLIC (0-8)
BETHANY CHRISTIAN (5-5) AT SOUTH BEND CAREER (2-9)
BETHESDA CHRISTIAN (6-0) AT TIPTON (8-3)
BLUE RIVER (5-4) AT UNION (MODOC) (0-7)
BREMEN (4-3) AT ELKHART CHRISTIAN (5-2)
CANNELTON (1-9) AT CLOVERPORT (KY.)
CARROLL (FORT WAYNE) (0-8) AT DEKALB (3-5)
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN (8-6) AT INDIANAPOLIS SHORTRIDGE (2-8)
CULVER (3-6) AT CASTON (5-4)
EAST CHICAGO CENTRAL (0-7) AT BOWMAN ACADEMY (0-6)
EASTERN HANCOCK (7-2) AT RANDOLPH SOUTHERN (3-6)
EMINENCE (0-7) AT CLAY CITY (5-6)
EVANSVILLE CENTRAL (5-3) AT EVANSVILLE BOSSE (6-3)
EVANSVILLE NORTH (5-6) AT EVANSVILLE HARRISON (3-6)
EVANSVILLE REITZ (5-2) AT BOONVILLE (4-6)
FORT WAYNE NORTH (7-7) AT FORT WAYNE CANTERBURY (1-7)
GARY WEST (2-6) AT LOWELL (0-10)
HAMMOND CENTRAL (8-5) AT PORTAGE (10-2)
HOMESTEAD (9-4) AT FORT WAYNE BLACKHAWK (11-0)
IRVINGTON PREP ACADEMY (3-5) AT INDIANA DEAF (5-4)
LAKE CENTRAL (5-5) AT HIGHLAND (4-7)
LAPORTE (6-4) AT GRIFFITH (1-6)
MISHAWAKA (6-2) AT JIMTOWN (5-5)
MOORESVILLE (6-1) AT CHRISTEL HOUSE MANUAL (4-5)
MOUNT CARMEL (ILL.) AT NORTH POSEY (6-3)
NORTH NEWTON (3-4) AT KANKAKEE VALLEY (7-3)
NORTH WHITE (5-3) AT TRI-COUNTY (2-8)
NORWELL (8-3) AT FORT WAYNE WAYNE (1-7)
OWEN VALLEY (3-5) AT NORTHVIEW (7-3)
PIKE CENTRAL (2-7) AT VINCENNES LINCOLN (0-10)
PURDUE POLY ENGLEWOOD (4-9) AT INDIANAPOLIS WASHINGTON (8-3)
RIVER FOREST (3-7) AT MORGAN TWP. (7-2)
SHELBYVILLE (2-8) AT COLUMBUS EAST (1-8)
SOUTH BEND CLAY (3-7) AT OREGON-DAVIS (1-6)
SOUTH CENTRAL (ELIZABETH) (4-7) AT WEST WASHINGTON (2-9)
SOUTH RIPLEY (6-5) AT OLDENBURG ACADEMY (3-6)
SOUTH SPENCER (7-2) AT EVANSVILLE DAY (2-8)
SOUTHWOOD (5-5) AT OAK HILL (7-3)
TELL CITY (1-10) AT HANCOCK COUNTY (KY.)
TRINITY GREENLAWN (6-3) AT LAKEWOOD PARK (2-6)
VICTORY COLLEGE PREP (1-12) AT INDIANA HOME SCHOOL
WARSAW (7-3) AT PENN (8-1)
WASHINGTON TWP. (2-5) AT WESTVILLE (6-5)
WOOD MEMORIAL (0-8) AT PERRY CENTRAL (5-6)
JAY COUNTY (8-2) AT ADAMS CENTRAL (3-4)
BLUFFTON (2-8) AT HERITAGE (2-6)
SOUTH ADAMS (3-6) AT WOODLAN (7-6)
GREENWOOD (6-5) VS. EDINBURGH (11-0)
GREENWOOD CHRISTIAN (6-7) VS. WHITELAND (7-6)
FRANKLIN (3-7) AT INDIAN CREEK (3-7)
INDIANAPOLIS LUTHERAN (8-1) AT SOUTHPORT (5-5)
BEECH GROVE (7-3) AT DECATUR CENTRAL (5-4)
BREBEUF JESUIT (8-2) AT FRANKLIN CENTRAL (3-6)
INDIANAPOLIS RONCALLI (4-5) AT NORTH CENTRAL (INDIANAPOLIS) (6-3)
SPEEDWAY (2-6) AT PARK TUDOR (3-3)
BEN DAVIS (8-2) VS. LAWRENCE NORTH (7-2)
PERRY MERIDIAN (4-7) AT WARREN CENTRAL (6-5)
LAWRENCE CENTRAL (5-6) AT PIKE (7-1)
CENTRAL NOBLE (11-0) AT ANGOLA (3-5)
WEST NOBLE (5-4) AT LAKELAND (2-8)
EASTSIDE (11-0) AT FAIRFIELD (5-4)
HAMILTON (0-9) AT GARRETT (3-9)
INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL MONDAY
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN (5-11) AT EMINENCE (6-6)
CHRISTIAN ACADEMY (5-9) AT PORTLAND CHRISTIAN (KY.)
CLAY CITY (1-15) AT OWEN VALLEY (8-11)
EVANSVILLE CHRISTIAN (1-11) AT CANNELTON (5-9)
GARY WEST (7-3) AT LAKE STATION (9-5)
GREENCASTLE (2-14) AT CLOVERDALE (7-9)
HIGHLAND (11-4) AT BOWMAN ACADEMY (4-6)
ILLIANA CHRISTIAN (4-12) AT HAMMOND NOLL (5-10)
INDIANAPOLIS HOMESCHOOL AT WARREN CENTRAL (7-8)
JENNINGS COUNTY (12-3) AT WHITELAND (6-10)
MONROVIA (5-12) AT EDGEWOOD (15-4)
MORRISTOWN (8-7) AT SOUTHWESTERN (SHELBYVILLE) (7-7)
TELL CITY (3-12) AT HANCOCK COUNTY (KY.)
WEST WASHINGTON (11-4) AT ROCK CREEK ACADEMY (7-5)
INDIANAPOLIS SCECINA (7-7) AT INDIANAPOLIS TINDLEY (7-5)
INDIANAPOLIS SHORTRIDGE (4-11) AT PURDUE POLY ENGLEWOOD (14-3)
PROVIDENCE CRISTO REY (0-11) AT INDIANAPOLIS CHATARD (7-8)
INDIANAPOLIS TECH (4-11) AT INDIANAPOLIS RITTER (6-10)
CHRISTEL HOUSE MANUAL (3-9) AT HERITAGE CHRISTIAN (9-9)
INDIANAPOLIS HERRON (2-9) AT COVENANT CHRISTIAN (4-11)
INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL TUESDAY
ANDERSON (6-10) AT MUNCIE CENTRAL (8-4)
ATTICA (0-11) AT NORTH VERMILLION (9-7)
BARR-REEVE (6-12) AT WASHINGTON CATHOLIC (2-9)
BEN DAVIS (10-6) AT COLUMBUS NORTH (10-5)
BETHANY CHRISTIAN (6-9) AT SOUTH BEND CAREER (0-14)
BETHESDA CHRISTIAN (9-2) AT PARK TUDOR (10-5)
BLACKFORD (11-4) AT ALEXANDRIA (11-4)
BLUE RIVER (14-2) AT UNION (MODOC) (6-7)
BOONE GROVE (9-6) AT CALUMET (0-14)
BOONVILLE (7-9) AT SOUTH SPENCER (12-3)
BORDEN (9-7) AT FLOYD CENTRAL (6-10)
BREBEUF JESUIT (6-6) AT TRI-WEST (11-6)
CANNELTON (5-9) AT CLOVERPORT (KY.)
CASTON (11-4) AT BENTON CENTRAL (19-0)
CENTERVILLE (3-11) AT SHENANDOAH (4-8)
CHARLESTOWN (12-5) AT EASTERN (PEKIN) (10-7)
CISSNA PARK (ILL.) AT SOUTH NEWTON (1-10)
COLUMBUS EAST (13-3) AT BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE (16-1)
COVENANT CHRISTIAN (DEMOTTE) (12-3) AT MARQUETTE CATHOLIC (7-8)
DELPHI (8-7) AT CLINTON CENTRAL (7-7)
DUGGER UNION (1-10) AT EASTERN GREENE (14-3)
EASTERN HANCOCK (13-2) AT NEW CASTLE (8-7)
ELKHART (9-8) AT VALPARAISO (12-3)
ELKHART CHRISTIAN (2-10) AT SOUTH BEND CLAY (2-12)
EVANSVILLE MATER DEI (10-7) AT EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL (12-3)
EVANSVILLE REITZ (8-6) AT EVANSVILLE NORTH (12-2)
FOREST PARK (14-2) AT CORYDON CENTRAL (15-2)
FORT WAYNE CANTERBURY (2-12) AT LAKELAND CHRISTIAN (9-6)
FORT WAYNE WAYNE (9-5) AT EAST NOBLE (3-13)
FOUNTAIN CENTRAL (6-10) AT COVINGTON (5-9)
FRANKFORT (1-15) AT ROSSVILLE (0-15)
FRANKLIN CENTRAL (4-11) AT MOORESVILLE (10-8)
GIBSON SOUTHERN (9-5) AT JASPER (4-12)
GOSHEN (7-9) AT SOUTH BEND ST. JOSEPH (12-7)
GREENSBURG (5-12) AT BROWN COUNTY (3-14)
HENRYVILLE (6-9) AT AUSTIN (5-9)
HOBART (7-8) AT CHESTERTON (8-6)
INDIANAPOLIS LUTHERAN (4-9) AT SOUTHWESTERN (SHELBYVILLE) (7-7)
INDIANAPOLIS RONCALLI (8-9) AT GUERIN CATHOLIC (8-7)
IRVINGTON PREP ACADEMY (1-8) AT INDIANA MATH & SCIENCE (6-8)
JAC-CEN-DEL (13-4) AT LAWRENCEBURG (12-6)
JIMTOWN (2-14) AT CONCORD (6-10)
KNOX (10-9) AT SOUTH CENTRAL (UNION MILLS) (17-0)
LACROSSE (12-4) AT KOUTS (12-4)
LAKEWOOD PARK (6-9) AT FORT WAYNE NORTHROP (8-5)
LANESVILLE (17-1) AT TRINITY LUTHERAN (11-5)
LAPORTE (3-12) AT PLYMOUTH (9-7)
LAVILLE (8-8) AT NORTH JUDSON (3-12)
LEBANON (8-7) AT KOKOMO (9-5)
LIBERTY CHRISTIAN (7-8) AT PHALEN ACADEMY
MACONAQUAH (10-5) AT PIONEER (12-4)
MADISON (10-6) AT SILVER CREEK (16-1)
MADISON-GRANT (10-6) AT TAYLOR (7-10)
MARION (2-15) AT MISSISSINEWA (5-12)
MARSHALL (ILL.) AT TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (2-14)
MARTINSVILLE (3-12) AT TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (2-14)
MILAN (4-13) AT RISING SUN (6-10)
MISHAWAKA MARIAN (14-3) AT HOMESTEAD (15-1)
MITCHELL (11-6) AT BLOOMINGTON NORTH (8-9)
MORGAN TWP. (8-8) AT WASHINGTON TWP. (12-2)
MOUNT VERNON (FORTVILLE) (10-6) AT NOBLESVILLE (14-3)
MUNSTER (6-6) AT CROWN POINT (13-2)
NEW HAVEN (0-13) AT FORT WAYNE LUERS (9-7)
NORTH CENTRAL (FARMERSBURG) (14-4) AT SULLIVAN (13-4)
NORTH DAVIESS (4-11) AT SHOALS (5-9)
NORTH DECATUR (11-6) AT MORRISTOWN (8-7)
NORTH MONTGOMERY (11-6) AT GREENCASTLE (2-14)
NORTH NEWTON (7-7) AT FRONTIER (5-6)
NORTH POSEY (6-6) AT HERITAGE HILLS (7-7)
NORTH WHITE (12-4) AT CLINTON PRAIRIE (10-7)
NORTHEAST DUBOIS (12-3) AT SOUTHRIDGE (8-8)
OLDENBURG ACADEMY (5-9) AT HAUSER (8-8)
OREGON-DAVIS (4-10) AT JOHN GLENN (10-6)
OWEN VALLEY (8-11) AT NORTHVIEW (15-2)
PAOLI (11-7) AT SCOTTSBURG (10-7)
PARKE HERITAGE (12-5) AT SOUTH VERMILLION (4-12)
PIKE CENTRAL (4-12) AT LOOGOOTEE (5-11)
PORTAGE (8-7) AT EAST CHICAGO CENTRAL (3-10)
PROVIDENCE (5-11) AT NEW WASHINGTON (8-8)
PROVIDENCE CRISTO REY (0-11) AT INDIANAPOLIS RIVERSIDE (2-11)
RICHMOND (6-9) AT CONNERSVILLE (6-11)
RIVERTON PARKE (3-12) AT SOUTH PUTNAM (8-8)
ROCK CREEK ACADEMY (7-5) AT SHAWE MEMORIAL (6-6)
RUSHVILLE (10-8) AT SHELBYVILLE (8-9)
SHERIDAN (11-3) AT LAPEL (11-6)
SOUTH DECATUR (3-12) AT CROTHERSVILLE (2-9)
SOUTH KNOX (9-7) AT WOOD MEMORIAL (6-9)
SPRINGS VALLEY (9-7) AT CRAWFORD COUNTY (6-10)
TECUMSEH (10-6) AT MOUNT VERNON (POSEY) (4-12)
TIPPECANOE VALLEY (10-6) AT NORTHWOOD (2-18)
TIPTON (15-1) AT EASTERN (GREENTOWN) (2-15)
TRADERS POINT CHRISTIAN (1-8) AT SHERIDAN (11-3)
TRI (12-4) AT NORTHEASTERN (6-10)
TRI-COUNTY (6-8) AT SEEGER (14-3)
TRITON CENTRAL (15-3) AT NEW PALESTINE (9-7)
TWIN LAKES (14-4) AT RENSSELAER CENTRAL (12-4)
UNIVERSITY (12-2) AT SEEGER (14-3)
WABASH (5-11) AT EASTBROOK (12-2)
WAWASEE (8-9) AT COLUMBIA CITY (16-0)
WEST LAFAYETTE (10-6) AT LAFAYETTE CENTRAL CATHOLIC (14-3)
WEST VIGO (8-9) AT CLOVERDALE (7-9)
WESTERN (11-6) AT HAMILTON HEIGHTS (13-4)
WESTERN BOONE (5-8) AT CRAWFORDSVILLE (4-11)
WHITE RIVER VALLEY (4-11) AT ORLEANS (3-13)
WHITING (2-11) AT HAMMOND CENTRAL (1-16)
WINAMAC (5-12) AT TRITON (10-7)
ZIONSVILLE (13-5) AT MCCUTCHEON (9-8)
JAY COUNTY (13-2) AT ADAMS CENTRAL (8-8)
BLUFFTON (6-10) AT HERITAGE (8-9)
SOUTH ADAMS (8-5) AT WOODLAN (13-3)
DALEVILLE (4-11) VS. WAPAHANI (11-5)
COWAN (4-10) AT YORKTOWN (3-12)
WINNER GAME 1 AT INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL (9-8)
CENTRAL NOBLE (10-6) AT ANGOLA (9-7)
WEST NOBLE (5-11) AT LAKELAND (9-9)
EASTSIDE (10-7) AT FAIRFIELD (14-2)
HAMILTON (1-8) AT GARRETT (16-1)
JACKSONVILLE 26 INDIANAPOLIS 11
PITTSBURGH 16 BALTIMORE 13 OT
CLEVELAND 21 CINCINNATI 16
DETROIT 37 GREEN BAY 30
TENNESSEE 28 HOUSTON 25
MINNESOTA 31 CHICAGO 17
WASHINGTON 22 NY GIANTS 7
SEATTLE 38 ARIZONA 30
NEW ORLEANS 30 ATLANTA 20
BUFFALO 27 NY JETS 10
SAN FRANCISCO 27 LA RAMS 24 OT
MIAMI 33 NEW ENGLAND 24
TAMPA BAY 41 CAROLINA 17
LAS VEGAS 35 LA CHARGERS 32 OT
SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED
The NFL announced tonight the schedule of sites, dates, and times for Super Wild Card Weekend on January 15-17.
With the addition of a Monday night game to the 2021 playoffs, Super Wild Card Weekend will now have two Wild Card games on Saturday (4:30 PM and 8:15 PM ET), three on Sunday (1:00 PM, 4:30 PM, and 8:15 PM ET), and one on Monday (8:15 PM ET).
SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND
Saturday, January 15
AFC: 4:30 PM (ET) 5 Las Vegas at 4 Cincinnati (NBC, Peacock, Universo)
AFC: 8:15 PM (ET) 6 New England at 3 Buffalo (CBS, Paramount+)
Sunday, January 16
NFC: 1:00 PM (ET) 7 Philadelphia at 2 Tampa Bay (FOX, FOX Deportes)
NFC: 4:30 PM (ET) 6 San Francisco at 3 Dallas (CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime Video)
AFC: 8:15 PM (ET) 7 Pittsburgh at 2 Kansas City (NBC, Peacock, Telemundo)
Monday, January 17
NFC: 8:15 PM (ET) 5 Arizona at 4 Los Angeles Rams (ESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes)
The Divisional Playoffs schedule will be announced next weekend.
The 2021 NFL Playoff field:
|American Football Conference||National Football Conference|
|1.||Tennessee Titans (12-5), AFC South champion||1.||Green Bay Packers (13-4), NFC North champion|
|2.||Kansas City Chiefs (12-5), AFC West champion||2.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4), NFC South champion|
|3.||Buffalo Bills (11-6), AFC East champion||3.||Dallas Cowboys (12-5), NFC East champion|
|4.||Cincinnati Bengals (10-7), AFC North champion||4.||Los Angeles Rams (12-5), NFC West champion|
|5.||Las Vegas Raiders (10-7)||5.||Arizona Cardinals (11-6)|
|6.||New England Patriots (10-7)||6.||San Francisco 49ers (10-7)|
|7.||Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)||7.||Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)|
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
#13 OHIO STATE 95 NORTHWESTERN 87
INDIANA 73 MINNESOTA 60
PURDUE FORT WAYNE 76 ROBERT MORRIS 70
MEMPHIS 87 CINCINNATI 80
CLEVELAND STATE 86 YOUNGSTOWN STATE 80 OT
OAKLAND 86 MILWAUKEE 65
COLORADO 78 WASHINGTON 64
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
#1 SOUTH CAROLINA 74 #21 KENTUCKY 54
#2 STANFORD 66 GONZAGA 50
#5 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 76 MIAMI, FLORIDA 64
#7 TENNESSEE 70 OLE MISS 58
#8 MICHIGAN 76 RUTGERS 47
#9 TEXAS 93 TEXAS PAN-AMERICAN 58
#10 MARYLAND 87 MINNESOTA 73
#11 UCONN 63 CREIGHTON 55
#13 LSU 76 AUBURN 48
#15 GEORGIA 72 ALABAMA 68
#16 GEORGIA TECH 67 VIRGINIA 31
#17 DUKE 74 SYRACUSE 65
#19 NORTH CAROLINA 71 VIRGINIA TECH 46
#22 IOWA 95 NEBRASKA 86
PURDUE 69 MICHIGAN STATE 59
FLORIDA 97 #25 TEXAS A&M 89 2OT
BOSTON COLLEGE 80 CLEMSON 74
FLORIDA STATE 87 WAKE FOREST 46
COLORADO 71 UCLA 63
INDIANA STATE 73 BRADLEY 57
COLORADO STATE 90 SAN JOSE STATE 64
ILLINOIS STATE 87 EVANSVILLE 68
NORTHERN IOWA 58 LOYOLA CHICAGO 54
VALPARAISO 71 DRAKE 61
ARKANSAS 83 MISSOURI 73
ILLINOIS 68 WISCONSIN 47
MISSISSIPPI STATE 70 VANDERBILT 63
OHIO STATE 74 NORTHWESTERN 61
BOISE STATE 71 UTAH STATE 47
OREGON 88 CALIFORNIA 53
NEW MEXICO 75 SAN DIEGO STATE 72
BROOKLYN 121 SAN ANTONIO 119 OT
LA CLIPPERS 106 ATLANTA 93
WASHINGTON 102 ORLANDO 100
TORONTO 105 NEW ORLEANS 101
MINNESOTA 141 HOUSTON 123
DENVER 99 OKLAHOMA CITY 95
DALLAS 113 CHICAGO 99
GOLDEN STATE 96 CLEVELAND 82
PORTLAND 103 SACRAMENTO 88
MEMPHIS 127 LA LAKERS 119
ST. LOUIS 2 DALLAS 1
ANAHEIM 4 DETROIT 3
TOP NATIONAL SPORTS NEWS/HEADLINES
ROETHLISBERGER, STEELERS ON VERGE OF PLAYOFFS AFTER OT WIN
BALTIMORE (AP) Calm as can be on what could have been his final pass, Ben Roethlisberger was right on target, finding Ray-Ray McCloud over the middle on fourth down to set up Pittsburgh for the winning field goal in overtime.
“He’s the same when everybody else gets funny,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “Everybody else gets a little tight, he’s the same guy.”
Roethlisberger delayed his retirement for a few hours and probably longer, guiding Pittsburgh to a 16-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday that left the Steelers on the verge of an improbable playoff berth. Chris Boswell made a 36-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining to win the game for Pittsburgh, which stood to make the playoffs as long as Sunday night’s Chargers-Raiders game didn’t end in a tie.
The Steelers (9-7-1) didn’t sound too worried about that possibility.
“I’m just happy for Ben,” Boswell said. “We’re sending him to the playoffs. This team deserves it.”
Both Baltimore and Pittsburgh had slim playoff hopes coming in. The Steelers needed to win and have Indianapolis lose to Jacksonville to have any chance of extending Roethlisberger’s career with a postseason appearance. The Ravens needed a win, a loss by the Colts – and losses by the Dolphins and Chargers later in the day.
The most unlikely part of those scenarios – Indianapolis losing to lowly Jacksonville – actually happened. The crowd in Baltimore, which included plenty of towel-waving Pittsburgh fans, roared its approval when highlights of that game were shown. The Jaguars prevailed 26-11 and were in control for much of the second half.
“We knew we had to take care of our business first and foremost,” Roethlisberger said. “It took extra time but we found a way to do it.”
The Steelers and Ravens (8-9) would have both been eliminated if their game had ended in a tie, so it was no surprise when Pittsburgh went for it on fourth-and-8 from the Baltimore 41 with 2:28 left in OT. McCloud made the catch for a 10-yard gain.
After the winning field goal, Roethlisberger held up his fist in celebration and went slowly to the middle of the field to commiserate with Ravens linebacker Justin Houston.
Latavius Murray put the Ravens ahead 10-3 with a 46-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, but Baltimore lost its sixth straight game to end the season. Five of the losses in that skid were by three points or fewer.
The Ravens were without star quarterback Lamar Jackson, who missed a fourth straight game with an ankle injury.
Roethlisberger admitted before last week’s home game against Cleveland that all signs pointed to retirement after this season. With one more home game, Pittsburgh fans turned that matchup against the Browns into a memorable celebration of his career.
“I think last week was so much more emotional, it took it all out and just made me feel like, `Let’s go play,'” Roethlisberger said. “At no point during this game did I think, `Man, this is it, it’s almost over.’ It just didn’t feel like that.”
It looked as if this would be the end for Roethlisberger when Baltimore led 10-6 and was driving in the fourth quarter, but Tyler Huntley threw an interception in the end zone.
The 39-year-old Roethlisberger threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool with 2:54 remaining to give Pittsburgh a 13-10 lead.
“You’ve got to pay respect where respect is due. We made it hard on him and he kept coming,” Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell said. “He made the plays he needed to. Big Ben, he’s a legend for making the plays in critical moments. He’s a warrior.”
Justin Tucker tied it with a 46-yard field goal.
T.J. Watt of the Steelers tied Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22 1/2 sacks, reaching that milestone late in the second quarter.
“It’s definitely a cool thing,” Watt said. “I don’t know if any of it’s really hit me.”
That was the biggest highlight of a first half that didn’t really live up to the standards of past Ravens-Steelers clashes.
After halftime, however, it became clear that Indianapolis was in real danger of losing, and suddenly the stakes in Baltimore went up. Pittsburgh kicked a field goal on fourth-and-2 to make it 10-6 in the third. Then Cameron Sutton of the Steelers intercepted Huntley in the end zone in a huge missed opportunity for the Ravens.
Pittsburgh squandered a chance of its own in the first quarter, recovering a fumble by Huntley at the Baltimore 39 but managing only a field goal. A false start on running back Benny Snell on fourth-and-1 forced the Steelers to settle for three points.
Watt’s sack helped force the Ravens to kick a field goal in the final seconds of the second. He was also credited with a forced humble earlier.
In the first quarter, Huntley lost the snap, fell on the ball, then tried to get up with it and lost it. Although that took place behind the line of scrimmage, it was not considered a sack for Watt.
Pittsburgh WR Diontae Johnson (ribs) and RB Najee Harris (elbow) were injured but returned. CB Arthur Maulet was evaluated for a concussion. … Baltimore RB Devonta Freeman went out with a rib injury, and receiver Tylan Wallace hurt his thigh on an unsuccessful fake punt. LB Tyus Bowser injured his ankle in the fourth. CB Tavon Young injured his hamstring.
The Steelers wait to find out if they make playoffs. If they do, they would play at Kansas City.
The Ravens head into the offseason.
BROWNS CLOSE SEASON WITH 21-16 WIN OVER BURROW-LESS BENGALS
CLEVELAND (AP) Joe Burrow skipped Cincinnati’s last trip of the regular season. He and the Bengals have reservations to go somewhere more special – the playoffs.
Case Keenum got his second win while filling in for Baker Mayfield on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns ended their dismal season with a 21-16 win over the Bengals, who left Burrow at home and played their backups ahead of next weekend’s first-round game.
Burrow stayed back to rest a sore right knee, so the Bengals’ star quarterback, who took Cincinnati from worst to first in his second season, would be as healthy as possible for his first postseason appearance.
“We finished the season on a really good note and with a lot of confidence,” coach Zac Taylor said. “These (playoff) games are special. You’ve earned this opportunity, and it’s the best versus the best.
“Our guys are going to be ready for it.”
Keenum threw touchdown passes to Jarvis Landry and Demetric Felton as the Browns (8-9) completed a sweep of the surprising AFC North champions.
D’Ernest Johnson rushed for 123 yards and a score, and star running back Nick Chubb only had nine carries and finished the season with with 1,259 yards.
Keenum, who replaced Mayfield and beat Denver earlier this season, connected with Landry on a 26-yard scoring pass in the first quarter. He later dumped a pass to Felton, who weaved his way to the end zone to make it 21-10.
Meanwhile, the Bengals (10-7) played their “B” team. Burrow stayed in Cincinnati for treatment and Taylor sat several other starters.
“No perfect decision there,” Taylor said when asked why he mostly his sat skill-position players. “We felt like we needed to be healthy next week. There were so many things out of our control with the seedings at stake that we felt it was better to rest them.”
Burrow said he would have played if there was more on the line, but Taylor wasn’t taking any chances and started Brandon Allen, who threw a 4-yard TD pass to Chris Evans with 2:26 left.
The Bengals also sat wide receiver Tee Higgins, and running back Joe Mixon was out after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
Bengals star rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase only played two series, and caught two passes for 26 yards.
“We feel good right now,” Chase said. “Everybody is feeling good, getting back on their feet. Everybody is getting healthy. You know, staying prepared. So we’re just getting ready for the upcoming game we’ve got at home.”
The Bengals’ first six possessions ended with a punt, and they scored their only TD when reserve linebacker Trayvon Henderson scooped up a fumbl e by Keenum and ran 29 yards in the second quarter.
Mayfield spent the day watching from the sideline, his injury-marred year having ended Monday when he was sacked nine times in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 26-year-old who played for months with a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder, is set to undergo shoulder surgery on Jan. 19. Barring a shift in their plans, the Browns expect Mayfield to return as the starter in 2022 since he’s under contract after the team picked up his fifth-year contract at $18.9 million. He had his exit interview with coach Kevin Stefanski on Friday.
That doesn’t mean Cleveland won’t look for an option other than Mayfield, who is eligible for a long-term extension.
Chase had an undeniable impact on the field. It landed him in the record book.
With a 24-yard reception in the first quarter, Chase passed Chad Johnson’s team record (1,440) for the most yards receiving in a single season.
He finished 18 yards short of the NFL rookie record for a single-season held by Houston’s Bill Groman (1,473 in 1960).
Browns DE Jadeveon Clowney finished with a flurry, recording two sacks and forcing a fumble. He’s open to re-signing with Cleveland after getting nine sacks – his most since 2018.
Bengals: Backup S Ricardo Allen suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit. … CB Vernon Hargreaves III (ankle) was carted off, returned and went out again. … Reserve DT Josh Topu (knee) went out in the third. … K Evan McPherson (groin) was inactive. Elliott Fry was elevated from the practice squad and made a 36-yard field goal.
Browns: Rookie LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (leg) didn’t return after getting hurt in the third quarter. …. WR Rashard Higgins (illness) was active, but did not play. … DT Jordan Elliott (right knee) got hurt in the fourth.
Bengals: A first-round playoff game and another attempt at winning their first postseason game since 1990.
Browns: A deep dive into all that went wrong in one of the franchise’s most upsetting seasons.
RODGERS FINE, SITS 2ND HALF, TOP SEED PACKERS LOSE TO LIONS
DETROIT (AP) Aaron Rodgers got off the field unscathed, giving Green Bay a win of sorts in a game it lost on the scoreboard.
Rodgers threw two touchdown passes in the first half and sat out the second half with nothing at stake as the Detroit Lions beat the top-seeded Packers 37-30 Sunday.
“The win obviously would be nice, but the most important thing was to get out there,” he said.
Backup Jordan Love threw two late interceptions, sealing a defeat that didn’t affect Green Bay’s playoff positioning.
The NFC North champion Packers (13-4) rolled into the Motor City after already clinching the conference’s No. 1 seed and its only first-round bye.
“I might have a better perspective tomorrow,” Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur said. “We’re all competitors and we don’t like losing.
“I am happy in the fact that we got out fairly healthy.”
Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP who may win the award for a fourth time, was 14 of 18 for 138 yards.
He threw a 1-yard pass to Allen Lazard to cap a 13-play, 74-yard drive that took 7:18 off the clock to open the game and a 29-yard pass to the fourth-year receiver late in the second quarter for another score.
Rodgers replaced his helmet with a baseball cap at halftime and watched the rest of the game from the sideline out of harm’s way after getting roughed up at times by the hard-charging Lions.
“I hold my breath every time he gets hit,” LaFleur said.
The Lions (3-13-1) closed coach Dan Campbell’s first season with plenty of pride and some nothing-to-lose plays.
“I’m really proud of our guys to go out there and finish on a bright note,” Campbell said. “When you are late in the season and you don’t have the wins, it isn’t easy to come out and grind every day, especially when you aren’t 100%, but these guys kept going.”
With the win, though, Detroit lost a shot at having the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft that was possible because Jacksonville toppled Indianapolis.
The tricky Lions tied it 7-all late in the first quarter when seldom-used Tom Kennedy ended up with the ball on a reverse and threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Kalif Raymond.
Detroit took a 24-13 lead early in the third on a reverse flea-flicker with Jared Goff throwing a 36-yard touchdown pass to Brock Wright.
“We wanted to empty the chamber,” Goff said.
Love threw a go-ahead, 62-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Deguara with 4:49 left in the fourth, but the Packers could not hold on for the win.
D’Andre Swift scored on a 14-yard run with 1:54 left to put Detroit back ahead.
C.J. Moore intercepted Love’s pass at the Green Bay 36 on the ensuing possessions after it was deflected by linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, setting up Riley Patterson’s field goal to put the Lions up by a touchdown.
Love threw a second interception with 21 seconds left after his pass went off rookie receiver Amari Rodgers’ hands.
Green Bay’s Devante Adams had six catches for 55 yards, giving him a single-season franchise record of 1,553 yards receiving that Jordy Nelson set in 2014.
“He just texted me when I was walking in here right now,” Adams told reporters after the game, saying his former teammate congratulated him.
Detroit’s Amon-Ra St. Brown had eight receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown, setting team rookie records with 90 receptions and 912 yards. The fourth-round pick from USC closed the season with at least eight catches in six straight games, setting an NFL rookie record.
“He’s better than gold, and I’m glad we’ve got him,” Campbell said.
Packers: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling left the game with a back injury. … OT David Bakhtiari, a 2020 All-Pro, started and played for first time since tearing his left ACL on Dec. 31, 2020 and having two surgeries. C Josh Myers started after getting removed from IR on Saturday. The rookie second-round pick from Ohio State had been out since had a knee injury on Oct. 17 at Chicago.
“Like I told (Bakhtiari) and Josh, there’s no substitute for football shape and it will be good for them to be out there,” LaFleur said.
Lions: OT Taylor Decker (foot) and C Evan Brown (ankle) were injured during the game.
Packers: practice, rest and prepare to play in two weeks.
TITANS CLINCH AFC’S TOP SEED WITH 28-25 WIN OVER TEXANS
HOUSTON (AP) After a great first half, the Tennessee Titans were clinging to a 3-point lead in the fourth quarter Sunday, having allowed the Houston Texans to score 18 unanswered points.
With the AFC’s top seed on the line, veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill knew he had to do something to rally his team.
“I told the guys: ‘We need to make a play. We need our best right now,'” Tannehill said.
Tannehill then orchestrated an eight-play, 85-yard drive capped by his fourth touchdown pass of the day, winning 28-25 and clinching that top AFC spot for the first time in 14 years and a first-round bye.
“That was my mindset that we needed our best football,” said Tannehill, who tied a career high for TD passes in a game. “I needed to be great in that critical moment, and we were able to make those plays.”
The 12-5 Titans, who secured their second straight AFC South title last week, have the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the third time since leaving Houston in 1997 and first since 2008.
“These things don’t happen too often,” safety Kevin Byard said. “We’ve got guys in the locker room who have never been a one-seed and been in the league 10-plus years. We’ve definitely got to relish in this moment and understand that this is big time.”
Tannehill threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter to put the Titans up 21-0 at halftime.
But the Texans (4-13) came alive in the second half to get within 3 before Julio Jones caught his first touchdown pass of the season on a 3-yard grab that made it 28-18 with about seven minutes remaining.
Tannehill’s big day – 23 of 32 for 287 yards – came after he threw a career-high four interceptions in a 22-13 loss the first time Tennessee played Houston this season on Nov. 21.
“He came up with some huge plays,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “I thought he was in command most of the day executing the stuff.”
In the fourth quarter, the Texans capped an eight-play, 82-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown catch by Danna Amendola early in the fourth quarter. Davis Mills connected with Amendola again on the 2-point conversion to cut the lead to 21-18.
Houston cut the lead to 3 again when Amendola’s second touchdown reception of the game made it 28-25 with 4 1/2 minutes to go. Tennessee got a first down on third-and-2 with about three minutes left and ran out the clock to secure the victory.
Houston coach David Culley was encouraged by how his team finished after a slow start.
“This football team has always played hard,” Culley said. “We haven’t always played smart, but we’ve played hard. Today I think we played hard and we played smart.”
Amendola had seven receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns in his first game since Nov. 28.
The Titans took a 7-0 lead when Tannehill threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Firkser with about 7 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter. A.J. Brown made it 14-0 when he grabbed a 14-yard pass from Tannehill with about 90 seconds before halftime.
The Titans forced a punt and Lonnie Johnson intercepted Tannehill in the end zone on a long pass on the next drive. But Eric Murray was called for pass interference to negate the interception and move the Titans 45 yards to the Houston 4.
Tannehill’s third touchdown pass came on the next play when he connected with Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for a 4-yard score to extend the lead to 21-0 at the break. It was the first time a Titan has thrown three touchdown passes in a quarter since Steve McNair did it in 2005 against the 49ers.
Vrabel raved about the play of Tannehill to keep the team on track after losing star running back Derrick Henry to a broken foot on Halloween.
“His toughness continues to show up,” Vrabel said. “That’s what you have to have in this league to play quarterback.”
Houston cut the lead to 21-7 when Mills found Chris Moore on a 28-yard pass on a flea-flicker with about 10 minutes left in the third quarter. And the Texans got a 31-yard field goal from Ka?imi Fairbairn late in the third quarter to get within 21-10.
Houston DE Jonathan Greenard injured his foot in the second quarter and didn’t return. … WR Brandin Cooks left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury.
Mills threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns to give him 2,604 yards passing this season to move past David Carr (2,592) for most yards passing by a rookie in franchise history.
“That’s actually pretty cool,” he said. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had.”
Titans: Have the AFC’s only bye next week before opening the playoffs in two weeks.
Texans: Face an offseason in which they are expected to finally trade quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson did not play this season amid a trade request and 22 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment or assault.
VIKINGS BEAT BEARS 31-17; FUTURES UNCERTAIN FOR NAGY, ZIMMER
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had no interest in reflection, still stung by several narrow losses in his eighth year that kept his team out of the playoffs and rendered irrelevant this season-ending win over Chicago.
Down the hall, Bears coach Matt Nagy was more introspective in defeat. With both of them in danger of being fired, though, the conclusion was the same. The decision isn’t theirs, and the record doesn’t lie.
Kirk Cousins passed for 172 yards and three touchdowns in the second half to lead a Vikings comeback to beat the Bears 31-17 on Sunday in a pad-the-stats game between eliminated teams.
Afterward, Zimmer stopped for a photo with co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson, his longtime colleague, before waving to fans as he walked off the field. Zimmer, who has two years remaining on his contract, said he had not been informed about his status for 2022.
The victory gave Zimmer a 72-56-1 record in eight years, including 2-3 in the playoffs. The Vikings have missed the postseason in three of the past four years.
“I appreciate the way this team goes about their business, the way they work, the way they represent the team, the way they represent the organization, the way they come out to practice every day, the way they go in the weight room, go in the meetings,” Zimmer said.
Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn had touchdown catches in the fourth quarter for the Vikings (8-9), who outscored the Bears 28-3 after halftime.
“Bittersweet to end this way, but it kind of is what it is, you know?” linebacker Anthony Barr said. “It’s been a pleasure being a Viking for the last eight years. I’m not too sure what the future holds, but whatever it is, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Minnesota.”
Barr and D.J. Wonnum each had two of Minnesota’s seven sacks of Andy Dalton, who went 33 for 48 for 325 yards and a touchdown pass to Damien Williams that gave the Bears a 14-0 lead.
Darnell Mooney had 12 catches for 126 yards to pass the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the Bears (6-11), who are 30-35 in four seasons under Nagy without a win in the playoffs.
“I’ve never been in this position before. I continue to just go about business like normal. I mean that,” Nagy said. “I know this, whatever is supposed to happen will happen. I’m a positive person.”
FOURTH DOWN FAILS
Nagy elected to go for it on fourth down six times, with only one conversion. Andy Dalton took sacks on three of the first four of those plays for 35 lost yards, with two of those on fourth-and-1. He also threw a fourth down interception late in the fourth quarter, when Patrick Peterson picked him off for a 66-yard touchdown return.
The Bears had seven possessions over the first three quarters and reached at least the Minnesota 35 on each one, but they had one touchdown and three field goals by Cairo Santos to show for it.
On their first drive of the second half, Dalton scrambled on third-and-8 for what was initially ruled a touchdown. The replay review reversed the call with his knee down just short of the goal line. Then Barr chased Dalton down for a 15-yard loss after he looped around behind the line of scrimmage looking for an open receiver.
Dalton, the 11-year veteran, made his sixth start of the season. Rookie Justin Fields landed on the COVID-19 reserve list this week.
“There’s a good thing going here right now, and there’s a really good franchise quarterback that’s here that’s going to be good for a long time,” said Nagy, whose boss, general manager Ryan Pace, is also uncertain to return. “Both Ryan and I were a part of that.”
COUSINS AND COMPANY
The Vikings netted 15 yards on their first 15 plays, but Cousins found his first spark with a 40-yard completion to rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette to set up a field goal on the final play of the first half.
Smith-Marsette had 103 yards and a touchdown, and Jefferson finished with 107 yards – leaving him 17 yards short of setting the single-season franchise record. Randy Moss set the 16-game mark with 1,632 yards in 2003.
The crowd chanted “Let’s go, Justin!” when the Vikings took the ball for the last time, booing when they knelt down to end the game rather than giving Jefferson another chance at the record.
Cousins passed the 4,000-yard mark for the sixth time in seven seasons as a starter.
Bears: DT Akiem Hicks (ankle), who created the usual havoc for Minnesota’s offense in the previous matchup on Dec. 20, was out for a seventh game this season.
Vikings: LB Eric Kendricks sat out on COVID-19 reserve. DT Michael Pierce (illness) missed his second straight game and was inactive nine times this season. CB Mackensie Alexander (ankle) and CB Kris Boyd (ribs) were both out.
Bears: Already locked into third place, Chicago will play the following third-place finishers in 2022: Houston and San Francisco at home and at New Orleans or Atlanta. The entire AFC East and NFC East divisions are also on the schedule for all NFC North teams. The Bears sent their first-round draft pick to the New York Giants for last year’s trade up to get Fields.
Vikings: By finishing second, Minnesota will face Indianapolis and the Los Angeles Rams or Arizona at home and play at New Orleans or Atlanta.
WASHINGTON BEATS GIANTS ON GIBSON TD RUN, MCCAIN’S 2 INTS
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) After a final month marred by COVID-19 issues, a fight on the field, a tragic automobile accident involving a passenger in a car driven by a fellow player and a losing streak, the Washington Football Team had something to feel good about after its last game.
Antonio Gibson ran for a career-high 146 yards, scored a touchdown and capped his first 1,000-yard rushing season by leading Washington to a 22-7 victory over New York on Sunday in what might have been Dave Gettleman’s final game as the Giants’ general manager.
Coach Ron Rivera’s major regret after Washington (7-10) ended a season that saw his team go from a division champion to an also-ran was the late four-game losing streak. His team was in position to make a playoff run if it could string some wins.
“If we had, we could be waiting to see what happens later on today,” Rivera said. “And that’s unfortunate. The best thing about it was the way guys rallied around each other, came out and played for one another and really set the tempo and the tone going into the offseason and into next season.”
Bobby McCain returned the first of his two interceptions 30 yards for a touchdown, and Joey Slye kicked three field goals for Washington.
Gibson carried the load with his cutback runs on stretch plays. He finished the season with 1,037 yards, highlighted by a game-clinching 18-yard TD after New York got within 12-7 in the fourth quarter on Jake Fromm’s first NFL touchdown pass.
“I’m putting it out there on the field,” Gibson said. “I feel like with what I’m doing, I can be in this league for a long time as I want to be one of the greats. I got a long road ahead of me. I’ve just got to keep pounding.”
Fromm’s 22-yard touchdown to Darius Slayton was the only highlight for the Giants (4-13), who finished a miserable second season under Joe Judge with a six-game losing streak.
Gettleman’s four-year tenure as GM is likely over after a fourth-straight double-digit losing season. This one was marked by injuries, including one that sidelined quarterback Daniel Jones the last six weeks.
Neither Gettleman nor the team’s ownership spoke after the game.
Judge’s status depends on what co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch want. He has a group that plays hard, but just doesn’t have enough talent – particularly on the offensive line.
Judge plans to meet with them this week. He refused to speculate on his future. He declined to discuss a hypothetical on working with a new general manager. He was blunt about the season, which came after the team went 6-10 in his first year and missed the playoffs by a game.
“Ultimately, it wasn’t good enough,” Judge said. “And my focus right now is already on next season immediately and changing everything. We have to make every necessary adjustment.”
Slye’s field goals of 23 and 43 yards gave Washington a 6-0 halftime lead and McCain’s interception return made it 12-0 in the third quarter. Washington failed on a 2-point try.
Fromm’s first NFL TD pass got New York within five points early in the fourth quarter, but Washington came right back behind its running game (226 yards) and Gibson.
A year after winning the NFC East with a 7-9 record, Washington’s biggest issues in the offseason will be deciding to draft a quarterback or stick with Taylor Heinicke and to hope defensive lineman Chase Young recovers from his ACL injury.
“It’s out of my control now,” said Heinicke, who was 9 of 18 for 120 yards. “Whatever happens, happens, whether it’s the draft, free agency.”
The Giants, who last made the playoffs in 2016, have a lot of work – and likely lots of turnover – ahead.
“The thing I know about the league is there’s always changes,” Giants defensive back Logan Ryan said. “Change is inevitable in this league and the roster is going to change.”
How much the front office and coaching staff changes remains to be seen.
The Giants’ offense was so inept, the biggest cheers the unit got were when referee Adrian Hill announced backup tackle Korey Cunningham was reporting as eligible. It happened about a dozen times, and Hill announced it two or three times – which each time got the fans going. New York finished with 177 yards in total offense.
NO SAFETY THIS WEEK
With their offense doing nothing for the second straight week, Judge had no intention of giving up a safety for the second straight week. The Bears got one last week, tackling Devontae Booker on a handoff near the goal line.
Faced with a second-and-11 from their own 2 in the second quarter, Judge had Fromm run consecutive quarterback sneaks, the last on third-and-9 from the 4. It gave Riley Dixon room to punt and avoided another safety.
Washington: S Kamren Curl left in the third quarter with a knee injury.
Giants: RG Will Hernandez aggravated an ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return.
Washington: Finally gets a new nickname on Feb. 2.
Giants: Face changes after a fifth straight losing season. They have made the playoffs once since winning the Super Bowl in February 2012.
SEAHAWKS WIN 38-30 TO SPOIL CARDINALS SHOT AT NFC WEST TITLE
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes, Rashaad Penny ran for 190 yards and a touchdown, and the Seattle Seahawks spoiled a shot at the NFC West title for the Arizona Cardinals by beating them 38-30 on Sunday.
It was a back-and-forth game supplemented by a healthy dose of scoreboard watching. The Cardinals (11-6) were still in the running for the NFC West title with a win, especially when the 49ers beat the Rams.
In the end, the scoreboard’s results were moot. The Cardinals couldn’t take care of business against the Seahawks and will settle for the No. 5 seed after starting the season with a 7-0 record.
Arizona is 4-6 since that hot start, including losing four of its last five. The Cardinals will play at the Rams in the wild-card round.
Seattle finishes 7-10 and won’t be in the postseason for just the second time in the past 10 years. Wilson, playing potentially his final game with the Seahawks, finished with 238 yards passing.
The Cardinals trailed 17-10 at halftime but James Conner scored two touchdowns in the third quarter – one on a 20-yard pass from Murray and another on a 1-yard run. The second touchdown was set up by Jalen Thompson’s interception that he returned to the Seahawks 1-yard line.
The Seahawks responded late in the third quarter when a wide-open Freddie Swain caught a 25-yard touchdown pass to tie it. The Cardinals went three-and-out on their ensuing drive and punter Andy Lee fumbled on fourth down, giving the Seahawks possession at the Arizona 10.
Seattle’s Travis Homer caused the fumble, putting pressure on Lee, which caused him to drop the ball. Wilson scrambled for a 4-yard touchdown three plays later for a 31-24 lead.
Meanwhile, the scoreboard watching was equally as intense.
The Rams jumped to a 17-0 lead in the first half but the 49ers rallied to force overtime before winning. That game was tied at 17 right about the time Conner dived into the end zone for his 20-yard score that tied this game 17-17. Conner, the Pro Bowl selection who has scored 18 touchdowns this season, was back in the lineup after missing two games with a heel injury.
But the bad news started to pile up for the Cardinals in the final minutes. Not only did they lose, Conner took a hard hit to the ribs in the fourth quarter that knocked him out of the game.
The Cardinals’ defense scored a touchdown on the second play of the game when Chandler Jones sacked Wilson and forced a fumble. Zach Allen picked it up and ran 16 yards for a 7-0 lead just 12 seconds in.
Seattle recovered quickly, immediately driving downfield and tying the game when Wilson hit Tyler Lockett for a 43-yard touchdown.
SACKS VS SEATTLE
Jones’ strip-sack of Wilson was no surprise considering the opponent. The 31-year-old edge rusher has played some of his best football against the Seahawks with 17 1/2 career sacks in 12 games.
Cardinals receiver A.J. Green caught his 700th career pass with a 6-yard catch in the first quarter. Green joins teammate DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown and Julio Jones as the only active receivers with more than 700 career catches and 10,000 career yards.
Seahawks: Star LB Bobby Wagner (knee) was among five players on the inactive list. … S Quandre Diggs was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with a leg injury.
Cardinals: Seven players were on the inactive list, including RB Chase Edmonds (ribs/toe), WR Rondale Moore (ankle), CB Marco Wilson (shoulder) and DL Jordan Phillips (knee). … CB Kevin Peterson was evaluated for a concussion. … RT Kelvin Beachum (back) left the game in the second half. … RB Jonathan Ward (knee) also left in the fourth quarter. Eno Benjamin was the team’s only healthy option at running back by the end of the game.
Seahawks: The season is over. Wilson’s future with the franchise will be the offseason’s big topic.
Cardinals: Time to prepare for the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. Arizona’s not trending in the correct direction, losing four of its past five games as it heads to Los Angeles for the wild-card round.
SAINTS MISS WILD-CARD SPOT DESPITE 30-20 WIN OVER FALCONS
ATLANTA (AP) The New Orleans Saints just missed making the playoffs on Sunday, despite beating the Atlanta Falcons 30-20.
The Saints (9-8) needed the Los Angeles Rams to beat the San Francisco 49ers in order to get a wild-card spot and a fifth consecutive playoff berth, but the 49ers won 27-24 in overtime.
Trevor Siemian led back-to-back scoring drives following two Atlanta turnovers late in the first half, and the Saints overcame the loss of quarterback Taysom Hill to an injury.
The Falcons (7-10) were hurt by three turnovers, including two fumbles by running back Mike Davis.
With about six minutes left in the first half, the Saints were up 7-6 when Hill left the game a left-foot injury that happened on a 1-yard run. Hill went into the Saints medical tent on the sideline before being escorted to the locker room.
Siemian took over and threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith.
A pair of Atlanta turnovers helped the Saints extend the 14-6 lead. Paulson Adebo intercepted Matt Ryan’s pass for Russell Gage, setting up Brett Maher’s 37-yard field goal.
On the Falcons’ next play, Davis fumbled when he was hit by Malcolm Jenkins, and Saints linebacker Kwon Alexander made the recovery. Siemian’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Johnson with only 2 seconds remaining gave the Saints a 24-6 halftime lead.
Siemian, who started in the Saints’ 27-25 home loss to the Falcons on Nov. 8, completed 9 of 15 passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
Alvin Kamara ran for 146 yards on a career-high 30 carries for the Saints, topping his combined 102 yards in his last three games with his first 100-yard game since Dec. 12, when he had 120 yards against the New York Jets.
The Falcons had no answer in their running game. Davis led Atlanta with only 30 yards rushing on six carries.
Davis’ second lost fumble, forced by Alexander and recovered by Shy Tuttle came in the fourth quarter, setting up Maher’s third field goal in four tries.
A rare highlight for Atlanta came on Qadree Ollison’s 19-yard scoring run in the third quarter.
Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts returned from a hamstring injury and fell short in his bid to pass Mike Ditka’s record for most yards receiving by a rookie tight end. Ditka had 1,076 yards in 14 games for Chicago in 1961 and Pitts, who had only two catches for eight yards on Sunday, finished with 1,026 yards.
After playing the 2021 season on a one-year, $3 million contract, Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson is bound for free agency. He could be attractive for many teams after proving he can be productive as a runner, receiver and return specialist.
Patterson made it known Sunday he’s open to re-signing with Atlanta. He wrote on one of his cleats: “Why not retire in Atlanta?”
BLANK MISSES FIRST GAME
Arthur Blank missed his first regular-season game since becoming the Falcons owner in 2002 after testing positive for COVID-19. The Falcons say the 79-year-old Blank is fully vaccinated, has mild symptoms and “is doing well and in great spirits.”
The Falcons announced Davis was questionable to return with injured ribs following his second lost fumble.
Saints: New Orleans turns its attention to the offseason after missing out on a wild-card spot.
Falcons: Atlanta shifts its focus to the offseason and the NFL draft. General manager Terry Fontenot must prioritize needs, including edge rusher, offensive line, running back, wide receiver and quarterback.
BILLS CLINCH AFC EAST TITLE WITH 27-10 WIN OVER JETS
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) The Buffalo Bills clinched their second consecutive AFC East title after Devin Singletary scored twice in the final 8:21 in a 27-10 win over the New York Jets on Sunday.
The Bills (11-6) enter the playoffs as the conference’s third seed, but had to await the outcome of the late game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders to determine who they’ll host in the wild-card playoff round next weekend.
Buffalo would face the Chargers if LA beats Las Vegas. If the Raiders win, Buffalo would face the division-rival Patriots.
The Bills actually moved up a spot in the conference standings, jumping ahead of Cincinnati after the Bengals (10-7) lost to Cleveland earlier in the day.
The Bills limited the the Jets to a franchise-low 53 yards of total offense and four first downs – the fewest allowed by Buffalo in franchise history. Buffalo also sacked Jets rookie Zach Wilson nine times, the most by Buffalo since getting 10 in a 23-0 win over Washington on Oct. 20, 2011.
The outcome, however, wasn’t decided until the final quarter on an afternoon in which wind gusts of up to 30 mph played havoc with the passing and kicking games.
In a game the Bills never trailed, Singletary broke things open by scoring on a consecutive drives 4:28 apart.
Singletary put the Bills up 20-10 by scoring on a 1-yard run to cap a seven-play 51-yard drive with 8:21 remaining. He followed that by catching a 5-yard TD pass from Josh Allen.
It was Singletary’s second consecutive two-touchdown outing, which gives him six in his past four games.
The Bills clinched their first division title at home since 1995. Security officials guarded against fans from rushing the field by dismantling the goalposts in the west end, while also guarding the goalposts on the other side of the field.
Allen was 24 of 45 for 239 yards and two touchdowns, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs on Buffalo’s game-opening drive.
The Bills won their fourth straight game and won consecutive division titles for the first time since a four-year run spanning 1988-91. Buffalo overcame an inconsistent middle-of-the-season stretch during which it lost five of eight.
The focus now turns to the Bills’ fourth playoff berth in five years since the arrival of coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane. Last year, the Bills made their deepest playoff run in 27 years in losing to Kansas City in the AFC championship game.
The Jets (4-13), under first-time head coach Robert Saleh, completed their sixth consecutive losing season – and fifth with five or fewer wins in extending their playoff drought to a franchise record-matching 11th consecutive year. It’s also the longest active streak in the NFL.
Credit the Jets for not running for the bus in having long ago been eliminated from playoff contention. While their offense sputtered, the Jets defense held Buffalo to 13 points and forced five three-and-outs through three quarters.
The Jets’ offense was also depleted by injuries in missing receivers Elijah Moore (quadriceps), Corey Davis (core muscle) and Braxton Berrios (quadriceps), and then lost Jamison Crowder in the second quarter to a calf injury.
Wilson finished 7 of 20 for 87 yards, with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Keelan Cole, which cut the score to 10-7 with 3:51 left in the second quarter. The No. 2 draft pick finished the season not throwing an interception over his final five games.
FINALLY, A PUNT
Matt Haack finally got a chance to punt. His 42-yarder midway through the second quarter was his first punt since a 40-yarder with 10 minutes remaining in a 31-14 win over Carolina on Dec. 19.
The Bills went the next two games not attempting a punt and were in position to become the NFL’s first team since at least 1945 to go three consecutive games without attempting a punt. Haack’s next two punts, following consecutive three-and-outs, went 21 and 23 yards into winds gusting at between 20 and 30 mph.
Jets: Season over.
Bills: Host wild-card playoff game next weekend.
49ERS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH BY HOLDING OFF RAMS 27-24 IN OT
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers clinched a playoff spot with a 27-24 overtime victory over the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams on Sunday thanks to Robbie Gould’s 24-yard field goal with 2:45 left in overtime and a game-ending interception by Ambry Thomas.
Jauan Jennings caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo with 26 seconds left in regulation for the 49ers (10-7), who are postseason-bound for only the second time in eight years.
San Francisco rallied from a early 17-point deficit for their sixth consecutive win over the playoff-bound Rams (12-5), who won the division title anyway thanks to Seattle’s victory over Arizona.
Sixth-seeded San Francisco will play at Dallas next week, while the fourth-seeded Rams will host the Cardinals in the first playoff game in SoFi Stadium history.
Deebo Samuel rushed for a touchdown and threw a scoring pass to Jennings for the Niners, who made a deliberate 69-yard drive to open overtime. The Rams got the ball back, but Thomas picked off Matthew Stafford’s long throw down the Rams’ sideline.
San Francisco now has its longest winning streak in this rivalry since the 1990s.
Cooper Kupp caught a go-ahead TD pass from Stafford with 2:26 to play for the Rams, whose five-game winning streak ended.
Stafford passed for 238 yards and three touchdowns while winning the first division title of his 13-year NFL career, but Los Angeles is headed into the postseason on a decidedly down note.
The Rams went ahead 24-17 on Kupp’s 4-yard TD catch, and the teams traded punts before Garoppolo led the Niners on an 88-yard drive in 61 seconds, capped by Jennings’ score over the middle. San Francisco won the toss and capitalized.
Garoppolo played through an injured right thumb and improved to 6-0 against the Rams, but Samuel made the most impressive throw of the day when he hit Jennings with a wobbly 24-yard TD pass over the baffled Rams defense for the tying score late in the third quarter.
Jalen Ramsey kept the Rams in the game with a diving interception of a tipped ball in the end zone with 7:42 to play when San Francisco was in range for a go-ahead field goal.
Kupp became the fourth player in NFL history to lead the league in receptions, yards receiving and TD catches this season after finishing with seven receptions for 118 yards. He made two huge catches on the Rams’ go-ahead drive, but didn’t get another touch.
Los Angeles dominated possession in the first half and led 17-0 on Higbee’s leaping 15-yard TD catch 6:44 before halftime, but San Francisco drove for its first points on Gould’s field goal at the halftime gun.
The Niners went 75 yards immediately after halftime, capped by Samuel’s 16-yard TD run. San Francisco’s second drive began with 10 consecutive runs before Samuel hit Jennings.
CAM THE RAM
Cam Akers ran the ball five times and caught three passes in his season debut for Los Angeles. The second-year pro tore his Achilles tendon shortly before training camp, but made an exceptionally quick recovery.
The 49ers played without star left tackle Trent Williams, who couldn’t return from an elbow injury incurred last week. Backup guard Colton McKivitz started at left tackle.
Niners punter Mitch Wishnowsky was sidelined in the first half by a concussion, forcing Gould to punt. Safety Talanoa Hufanga went out in the first half with a knee injury.
Rams safety Jordan Fuller injured his right foot early in the fourth quarter.
49ers: Visit Dallas.
Rams: Host Arizona.
DOLPHINS TOP PATRIOTS 33-24 IN REGULAR-SEASON FINALE
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Jaylen Waddle had a touchdown grab and set the NFL record for receptions in a rookie year, Duke Johnson rushed for 117 yards and the Miami Dolphins finished their season by defeating the playoff-bound New England Patriots 33-24 on Sunday.
Xavien Howard returned an interception for a touchdown and Johnson had a touchdown run for Miami (9-8), which finished with a winning record for the second consecutive season and once again didn’t have a playoff berth to show for it.
Brandon Bolden two touchdowns – one rushing, one receiving – for the Patriots (10-7), who are headed to the playoffs as a wild card. But they were swept by the Dolphins for the first time since 2000 and the outcome handed the AFC East title to the Buffalo Bills, whose game against the New York Jets had not gone final when the Patriots-Dolphins game ended.
New England needed a win over Miami to keep AFC East hopes alive. The Patriots have played in wild-card games before under coach Bill Belichick – but have never been to the playoffs in the Belichick era as a wild card. All 17 of the previous playoff appearances in his years there have come after a division title.
That streak didn’t end easily, though.
New England needed only eight minutes to cut a 27-10 fourth-quarter deficit to 27-24. Mac Jones connected with Bolden for an 18-yard score on a screen to get New England within 10, and the Patriots got a stop to get the ball back.
Jones started the next possession by finding Jakobi Meyers for a 39-yard gain with 4:40 left to put the Patriots deep in Miami territory, Damien Harris rumbled in from a yard out a couple of minutes later and just like that the Patriots were within three.
Miami took over with 2:53 remaining, on its 25, with no timeouts and Tua Tagovailoa having thrown for the grand total of 2 yards in the second half.
He wound up sealing matters with his feet, not his arm. Facing third-and-8 from his 42 with just inside of two minutes to go and New England poised to get the ball back, Tagovailoa scrambled for 11 yards.
And soon, game over.
Johnson rushed for more yards than Tagovailoa passed for (109) and it didn’t matter. Miami found a way.
Jones completed 20 of 30 passes for 261 yards for New England. The Patriots got the ball back with 3 seconds left, needing 98 yards for a score, and Miami’s Sam Eguaoven was credited with recovering a fumble that became a game-ending touchdown.
It was 14-0 Miami in a flash. Waddle entered Sunday three catches from breaking Anquan Boldin’s NFL rookie record of 101 grabs set in 2003 – and the Dolphins got him that in their first four plays. He capped the drive with his sixth touchdown of the year, catching a 7-yard pass from Tagovailoa to opening the scoring.
Howard jumped in front of a pass by Jones and returned it 37 yards on the third play of the ensuing New England possession, putting the Dolphins up two scores and they never would trail. It was 17-7 at halftime, Johnson rumbled in early in the fourth for a 27-10 lead and it looked as if Miami had the job done.
Looks were deceiving, but the Dolphins held on.
New England lost OL Isaiah Wynn to an ankle injury in the second quarter. He walked up the tunnel leading to the locker room without much difficulty. RB Rhamondre Stevenson (head) and DB Sean Davis (shoulder) also had first-half injury issues for the Patriots and DL Christian Barmore was hurt on the Tagovailoa scramble with 1:48 remaining. For the Dolphins, S Eric Rowe limped off in the third quarter with a back injury and didn’t return.
Miami became only the second team to win both of its AFC East meetings against New England in the past 21 years. Buffalo did it in 2020; before that, Miami and the New York Jets both did it in 2000.
Patriots: Wild-card game next weekend.
Dolphins: Quarterback speculation season begins.
BUCS BEAT PANTHERS 41-17, EARN NO. 2 PLAYOFF SEEDING IN NFC
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Tom Brady topped 5,000 yards passing for the second time in his career and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers set a franchise record for regular-season victories with a 41-17 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Brady completed 29 of 37 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns before taking the last half of the fourth quarter off, finishing with a career-best 5,316 yards passing and a Bucs single-season record 43 TD passes for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Mike Evans caught two of Brady’s TD passes, giving him a club-record 14 scoring receptions this year. He also became the first player in NFL history to begin a career with eight consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards receiving.
Tampa Bay (13-4) broke the club record for victories in a regular season set in 2002 and also earned the No. 2 seed in the NFC with the Rams losing to the 49ers in overtime. The Bucs will host the Philadelphia Eagles next week.
Carolina (5-12) finished on a seven-game losing streak that leaves coach Matt Rhule’s future in question. The Panthers are 10-23 in two seasons under the former Temple and Baylor coach, who signed a seven-year contract to move to the NFL in 2020.
The victory capped a tumultuous week for the Bucs, who terminated the contract of oft-troubled receiver Antonio Brown, who left the team in the middle of the previous Sunday’s 28-24 come-from-behind victory over the New York Jets.
Tampa Bay trailed that game by two touchdowns when Brown removed his jersey, shoulder pads and undershirt before doing some jumping jacks and waving to fans at MetLife Stadium as he made his way to the locker room.
The player later said he was cut for refusing to play through an ankle injury. Coach Bruce Arians countered that Brown ‘s bizarre exit came after the receiver declined to re-enter the game because he upset about not having the ball thrown to him often enough.
Brady rallied the defending champs to a victory over the Jets and had to overcome another slow against Carolina, which drove 75 yards after the opening kickoff to take a 7-0 lead on Sam Darnold’s 2-yard TD pass midway through the first quarter.
The Panthers squandered an opportunity to go up by double digits, turning the ball over on downs at the Tampa Bay 1 before the Brady turned the game around with an eight-play, 92-yard touchdown drive in the final minute of the first half.
Completions of 37 yards to Evans, 19 yards to Rob Gronkowski and 24 yards to Breshad Perriman helped Brady move into position to give his team a 10-7 halftime lead with a 1-yard TD pass to Le’Veon Bell.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s 2-yard TD run early in the third quarter built the lead to 17-7. Evans caught TD passes of 3 and 20 yards, and receiver Scotty Miller scored on a 33-yard run in the fourth quarter for the Bucs.
Darnold completed 29 of 42 passes for 219 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the Panthers.
Brady joined Drew Brees as the only players in league history with multiple 5,000-yard seasons. He threw for 5,235 yards and 39 TDs in 16 games for New England in 2011.
Panthers: CB Rashaan Melvin left with a head injury in the first half and did not return.
Buccaneers: WR Cyril Grayson (hamstring) left in the first half and did not return. … RB Ronald Jones (ankle), OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) and CB Richard Sherman (Achilles) were inactive. The Super Bowl champs also were without LB Shaquil Barrett, LB Lavonte David and RB Leonard Fournette, who are recovering from injuries not expected to keep them sidelined during the playoffs.
Panthers: First order of business in offseason figures to be decision on whether coach Matt Rhule keeps his job.
Buccaneers: Entered Sunday as the No. 3 seed in the NFC, but moved up to No. 2 with Rams losing to the 49ers in overtime. The Bucs will host the Philadelphia Eagles next week.
CARLSON’S FG AS OT EXPIRES SENDS RAIDERS INTO POSTSEASON
LAS VEGAS (AP) Daniel Carlson’s 47-yard field goal as time expired in overtime lifted the Las Vegas Raiders past the Los Angeles Chargers 35-32 on Sunday night for their first playoff berth since 2016.
And they eliminated their AFC West rivals in the process, while helping Pittsburgh advance.
Las Vegas survived Los Angeles’ late-game comeback built on a series of fourth-down conversions to force overtime. The Chargers tied it with a 12-yard TD pass from Justin Herbert to Mike Williams as time expired in regulation.
Then each team made overtime field goals before Carlson won it. Carlson, three times the AFC special teams player of the week this season, kicked five field goals in the game.
The Raiders won a fourth straight game and completed an incredible late-season run after losing five of their previous six.
Derek Carr completed 20 of 36 pass attempts for 186 yards, including two touchdowns. Hunter Renfrow hauled in two touchdown passes, while Josh Jacobs ran for 132 yards on 26 carries, including one score.
The Raiders, who had arguably more offseason and in-season distractions than any team, overcame multiple adversities and return to the playoffs for only the second time since losing to Tampa Bay in the 2003 Super Bowl.
Had the teams tied, the Steelers would have been eliminated. Instead, Las Vegas goes to Cincinnati on Saturday to open the wild-card round, and Pittsburgh plays at Kansas City on Sunday night.
Trailing by 15 in the fourth quarter, the Chargers scored two late touchdowns, with a a 19-play, 83-yard drive capped by Herbert’s strike to Williams. Dustin Hopkins’ extra point sent the game into the extra period. Los Angeles converted on three fourth-down plays in the lengthy drive.
Herbert, who was under duress much of the night, completed 34 of his 64 attempts for 383 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Las Vegas dominated early while taking a 10-0 lead.
Carlson booted a 24-yard field goal on the Raiders’ first possession, and after being forced to punt on its second drive, Las Vegas’ Divine Deablo recovered a fumble on special teams at the Los Angeles’ 23-yard line. Six plays later, Carr found Renfrow for a 12-yard touchdown.
Los Angeles responded behind a heavy dose of Austin Ekeler, who ran for 53 yards on nine carries and had two touchdowns in the first half. Ekeler ran 14 yards for one score and hauled in a 14-yard screen pass to give the Chargers a 14-10 lead.
Though the Chargers outgained the Raiders 180-142 in the first half, 85 yards in penalties against Los Angeles tied for the most in the first half by a Raiders opponent in the past 11 seasons. The biggest was a 41-yard defensive pass interference call against Chris Harris Jr. with 49 seconds left in the half.
Jacobs punched it in from the 1 on the next play to put Las Vegas back in front, and the Raiders’ defense stymied the Chargers’ final drive of the half.
Chargers: season over, need to sign key free agents and upgrade secondary.
Raiders: travel to Cincinnati for the first round of the AFC playoffs.
DENVER BRONCOS FIRE COACH VIC FANGIO AFTER 3 LOSING SEASONS
DENVER (AP) The Denver Broncos are looking for a new head coach to lead them out of a six-year playoff drought and a half decade of losing seasons that marks the most protracted plunge by a Super Bowl champion in NFL history.
The Broncos fired Vic Fangio after he went 19-30 over three years, including 7-10 this season despite having one of the easiest schedules and the highest-paid defense in the league.
Had Fangio’s dogged determination, unpretentious personality and first-rate professionalism led to better results on the field, he wouldn’t have been let go Sunday morning by team president/CEO Joe Ellis and first-year general manager George Paton.
Paton sounded more like a man hiring Fangio than firing him when he declared, “He’s the best coach I’ve ever been around. And I don’t take that lightly. His attention to detail, his toughness, his work ethic and his football mind is unparalleled.”
“He put his heart and soul into this job,” Ellis concurred. “I’ve never seen a coach work harder. At the end of the day, we’re judged on one thing, and that’s winning.”
Fangio .387 winning percentage includes a 6-11 mark at home over the past two seasons, the worst two-year stretch in Denver since the team went 4-10 in 1967-68. His teams were just 5-13 against the AFC West.
The Broncos are the first team in league history to follow a Super Bowl championship with six straight non-playoff seasons, half of which came under Fangio’s watch.
Fangio, 63, burnished his reputation as a defensive master during his first head coaching gig in Denver, yet his teams struggled mightily on offense under obdurate coordinator Pat Shurmur and on special teams under Tom McMahon.
Fangio isn’t expected to be out of work long. He will be a strong candidate for a defensive coordinator job in the new round of coaching changes this month.
The Broncos’ head coach opening is the third in the NFL. The Jaguars (Urban Meyer) and Raiders (Jon Gruden) fired their head coaches amid scandal during the season.
Ellis, who will step down later this year, said Paton will have “full authority to select the next head coach.”
Paton said, however, he would consult both Ellis and John Elway, the outgoing president of football operations whose contract expires in 2022.
Paton said he would put out feelers to potential candidates on Monday and that he had no prerequisites regarding offensive or defensive roots or whether they have head coaching experience.
“Obviously, we want the best football coach,” he said. “Not worried about what side of the ball, not worried about a play caller. We want leadership. That’s our No. 1 priority.
“We need someone to take over the whole operation,” Paton said. “We’re not just focused on one side of the ball even though we need to upgrade” an offense that averaged just 19.49 points per game in the six seasons since averaging 30 points a game during the Peyton Manning era.
The new head coach will be the Broncos’ fifth in nine years, something Ellis said pointed to organizational failings rather than any coaching deficiencies.
“A lot of us here are responsible and we share in that accountability over what has happened here over the last several years,” Ellis said. “It’s not just the coaching. There are a lot of fingerprints on this throughout our entire operation. And they include my fingerprints.”
Both Ellis and Paton insisted the uncertain ownership issue facing the franchise won’t deter the Broncos from hiring the best coaching candidate.
There is expected to be an ownership transfer of the $3.5 billion franchise later this year once a court case regarding right of first refusal is cleared, ending a long simmering family feud that boiled over following Hall of Fame owner Pat Bowlen’s death in 2019.
Fangio released a statement in which he thanked the organization and fans and praised Paton as one of the NFL’s top GMs: “Broncos fans, you have a great one in George.”
Fangio said he appreciated the team’s “fight and character you showed each and every week” and suggested the franchise has a solid foundation and is on the cusp of winning again.
Paton agreed but said there’s plenty of work left to do, including finding a premier passer. And he decided to add a head coaching search to his long to-do list in 2022, someone who can keep Denver’s defense top notch while adding excitement to a dull offense and discipline to a notoriously sloppy special teams.
Fangio’s creative schemes helped the Broncos thwart some of the best young quarterbacks even with depleted defenses. The long list of QBs who have had some of the toughest days of their careers against Fangio’s teams include Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes and, just last month, Joe Burrow.
The Broncos averaged better than 10,000 no-shows over their final six home games, including nearly 15,000 Saturday when they lost 28-24 to Kansas City.
Losing has “become systemic here,” Ellis lamented. “And that’s got to change.”
Asked Saturday about his poor record against division opponents, Fangio said, “Well those other three teams have top-shelf quarterbacks, which is obvious to everybody.”
Equally clear is the Broncos’ inability to find their own elite QB, churning as they have through 10 starting quarterbacks since Manning’s retirement after Denver’s win in Super Bowl 50.
That includes Teddy Bridgewater, who went 7-7 before missing the final three games with a concussion, and Drew Lock, who went 0-3.
Thanks to his trade of Von Miller to the Rams, Paton has 11 draft picks, including five in the top 100, to either restock his roster or use as chips to acquire a veteran via a trade. He’ll also have more than $50 million in cap space to sign free agents.
Job No. 1 was going to be finding the right quarterback, but now that’s superseded by landing the right head coach.
“You can’t keep recycling coaches and expect to sustain a winning culture,” Paton said. “But we’re going to get it right. And we’re going to get it right with this search, I can guarantee you that.
NFL NEWS: SEVEN FROM SUNDAY
A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 9, the 18th week of the 2021 season.
NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Six of the 13 teams to qualify for the playoffs with one game remaining are new to the postseason in 2021, having missed the playoffs a year ago: Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, New England, Philadelphia and San Francisco. One or both of the Las Vegas Raiders or Los Angeles Chargers can join this group on Sunday Night Football.
Since 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before.
NEW DIVISION WINNERS: The AFC North (Cincinnati) and NFC East (Dallas) were both won by teams that missed the postseason in 2020. The Los Angeles Rams (NFC West) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC South) are also new division winners in 2021.
At least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 18 of the past 19 years.
In each of the past 44 seasons (1977-2021, excluding 1982, when divisional play did not occur), at least one team has won its division the season after missing the playoffs.
The TENNESSEE TITANS won the AFC South for the second-consecutive season and finished as the AFC’s No. 1 seed. The Titans will have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS, who won the AFC West for the sixth-consecutive season, finished as the AFC’s No. 2 seed.
The BUFFALO BILLS, who won the AFC East for the second-consecutive season, finished as the AFC’s No. 3 seed.
The CINCINNATI BENGALS, who completed a worst-to-first turnaround by winning the AFC North the year after finishing in last place, finished as the AFC’s No. 4 seed. It marks 17 of the past 19 seasons in which at least one team finished in first place the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.
The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who clinched a playoff berth for the 11th time in the past 12 seasons, can finish as the AFC’s No. 5 or No. 6 seed depending on the result of Sunday Night Football between the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS and LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (8:20 PM ET, NBC).
With a win by the Los Angeles Chargers win on Sunday Night Football, the Patriots would be the No. 5 seed in the AFC, the Chargers would be the No. 6 seed and the PITTSBURGH STEELERS would be the AFC’s No. 7 seed.
With a win by the Las Vegas Raiders, the Raiders would be the No. 5 seed in the AFC, the Patriots would be the No. 6 seed and the Steelers would be the AFC’s No. 7 seed.
Should Sunday Night Football end in a tie, the Chargers would be the No. 6 seed and the Raiders would be the No. 7 seed in the AFC playoffs.
The GREEN BAY PACKERS won the NFC North for the third-consecutive season and finished as the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The Packers will have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
The TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, who clinched the NFC South for the first time since 2007, finished as the NFC’s No. 2 seed and will host the No. 7 seed PHILADELPHIA EAGLES on Super Wild Card Weekend. Philadelphia clinched a playoff berth for the fourth time in the past five seasons.
The DALLAS COWBOYS, who won the NFC East for the first time since 2018, finished as the NFC’s No. 3 seed and will host the No. 6 seed SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS on Super Wild Card Weekend. San Francisco clinched a playoff berth for the second time in the past three years.
The LOS ANGELES RAMS, who clinched the NFC West for the first time since 2018, finished as the NFC’s No. 4 seed and will host the No. 5 seed ARIZONA CARDINALS in the Wild Card round. Arizona clinched its first trip to the postseason since 2015.
FANTASTIC FINISHES & SURPRISE WINS: There have been 33 games decided by a game-winning score on the final play this season, the most in a season all-time.
With one game remaining in Week 18, there have been 48 games with a game-winning score in the final minute of regulation or in overtime this season, tied with the 2003 season (48) for the third-most in a season all-time. Only 2013 (49) and 2015 (49) had more.
With one game remaining in Week 18, there have been 56 games with a game-winning score in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime this season, tied with 2003 (56) and 2013 (56) for the second-most in a season all-time. Only 2015 (57) had more.
The DETROIT LIONS (2-13-1 entering Week 18) defeated Green Bay (13-3 entering Sunday), the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-14 entering Sunday) defeated Indianapolis (9-7 entering Week 18) and the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-10 entering Week 18) defeated Arizona (11-5 entering Sunday) this week.
There were 15 games won by a team over an opponent with at least four more victories this season, tied with 2009 (15), 1991 (15) and 1978 (15) for the third-most such games in a season all-time. Only 2003 (16) and 2000 (16) had more.
Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY completed 29 of 37 attempts (78.4 percent) for 326 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 130.4 rating in the Buccaneers’ Week 18 win over Carolina. Tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI had 137 receiving yards while wide receiver MIKE EVANS had 89 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in the victory.
Brady finished the 2021 season with a career-high 5,316 passing yards, surpassing his previous high (5,235 passing yards in 2011 with New England) for the third-most passing yards in a season all-time. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (5,477 passing yards in 2013) and DREW BREES (5,476 in 2011) had more.
Brady joins DREW BREES (five seasons) as the only players ever to record at least 5,000 passing yards in multiple seasons.
Brady recorded 485 completions this season and surpassed DREW BREES (471 completions in 2016) for the most in a season in NFL history.
Evans had 1,035 receiving yards this season and became the first player ever with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first eight seasons.
Gronkowski has 32 career games with at least 100 receiving yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer TONY GONZALEZ (31 games) for the most such games by a tight end in NFL history.
Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS passed for 138 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for a 135.6 rating on Sunday.
Rodgers, who finished with 4,115 passing yards this season, became the sixth quarterback ever to record at least 4,000 passing yards in 10 different seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (14 seasons), TOM BRADY (13), DREW BREES (12), PHILIP RIVERS (12) and MATT RYAN (10).
Rodgers, with a 111.9 passer rating, will lead all qualified passers in passer rating for the fourth time in his career (2011-12, 2020-21) and join Pro Football Hall of Famers STEVE YOUNG (six times) and ROGER STAUBACH (four) as well as KEN ANDERSON (four) as the only players to lead the league in rating at least four times since 1970.
Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON passed for 238 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 110.7 rating and added a rushing touchdown in the Seahawks’ Week 18 win at Arizona.
Including the postseason, Wilson has 113 career wins, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (112 wins) for the most wins, including the postseason, by a quarterback in his first 10 seasons in league annals.
Wilson had 3,113 passing yards this season and became the second quarterback ever to record at least 3,000 passing yards in each of his first 10 seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING.
Wilson has 292 career touchdown passes and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (291 touchdown passes) for the second-most touchdown passes by a quarterback in his first 10 seasons all-time. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (306) had more.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver COOPER KUPP totaled seven receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown on Sunday and led the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and touchdown receptions (16).
Kupp is the fourth player since 1970 to lead the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions in the same season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (1990), STERLING SHARPE (1992) and STEVE SMITH SR. (2005).
Kupp’s 1,947 receiving yards are the second-most in a single season all-time, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer CALVIN JOHNSON (1,964 receiving yards in 2012).
Kupp’s 145 receptions are the second-most in a season in league annals, trailing only MICHAEL THOMAS (149 receptions in 2019).
Kupp recorded 11 games with at least 100 receiving yards this season, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers MICHAEL IRVIN (11 games in 1995) and CALVIN JOHNSON (11 in 2012) for the most such games in a season all-time.
Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. WATT recorded one sack in the Steelers’ Week 18 overtime win at Baltimore.
Watt registered 22.5 sacks during the 2021 season, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL STRAHAN (22.5 sacks in 2001) for the most sacks in a season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.
Other notable performances from Sunday include:
Arizona quarterback KYLER MURRAY passed for 240 yards and one touchdown on Sunday.
Murray, who has 70 touchdown passes and 20 rushing touchdowns since entering the league in 2019, is the first player with at least 70 touchdown passes and 20 rushing touchdowns in his first three seasons in NFL history.
Minnesota wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON had five receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown in the Vikings’ Week 18 win over Chicago.
Jefferson has 3,016 receiving yards – the most receiving yards by a player in his first two seasons all-time – in 33 career games and became the third-fastest player ever (33 games) to reach 3,000 receiving yards. Only ODELL BECKHAM JR. (30) and CHARLIE HENNIGAN (31) reached the mark in fewer games.
Miami rookie wide receiver JAYLEN WADDLE recorded five receptions, including his sixth touchdown reception of the season, in the Dolphins’ Week 18 win over New England.
Waddle recorded 104 receptions this season and surpassed ANQUAN BOLDIN (101 receptions in 2003) for the most receptions by a rookie all-time.
COMMISSIONERS TO REPORT ON CFP EXPANSION TALKS TO PRESIDENTS
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The administrators who manage the College Football Playoff will report on the progress of expansion talks to a presidential oversight committee on Monday.
The CFP management committee wrapped up about seven hours of meetings over two days on Sunday. Executive Director Bill Hancock said only that the group had made progress, but gave no indication on whether a consensus was reached on a new format.
The board of managers, made up of 11 university presidents and chancellors representing each conference and Notre Dame, ultimately must approve any recommendation made by the league commissioners.
“There’ll be a statement after the presidents meet,” Hancock said.
The 10 conference commissioners that make up the management committee, along with Notre Dame’s athletic director, all support expanding the playoff from four teams. The process bogged down throughout the fall and has now lingered into the winter as they wrangle over how and when.
“They’re narrowing in on some details,” Hancock said.
A proposal for a 12-team playoff has been on the table since June. There was hope initially an agreement could be reached soon enough to have it implemented for the 2024 season, two years before the current CFP contract with ESPN expires.
Unanimous consensus among the management committee members is needed to alter to the current deal.
Hancock has said if the commissioners could not come to a consensus on a new format by these meetings, ahead of the Monday’s national title game at Lucas Oil Stadium between No 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia, expansion could not happen until after the current 12-year deal is complete.
“I don’t want to characterize anything as out or in, you’re just going to have to stand by,” Hancock said.
The host cities for the championship games for the final two seasons of the current agreement, 2024 and ’25, have yet to be announced.
Hancock said he would like to have those sites locked in soon, but to do so the CFP needs to first have firm dates and that requires a decision on whether the format will remain at four or expand.
“So it could be a while before we’re able to tell you who the cities, before we know who the cities are,” Hancock said.
MORANT’S DAZZLING BLOCK LIFTS GRIZZLIES TO 9TH STRAIGHT WIN
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies set a franchise record with their ninth straight win, getting 16 points and a breathtaking block from Ja Morant in a 127-119 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.
Desmond Bane had 23 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 21 and Memphis won for the 12th time in 13 road games.
Morant’s block came in the first quarter, when he soared from behind Avery Bradley as he tried for a layup, caught the ball with both hands and smacked it off the glass about halfway up the backboard.
Morant also threw down an alley-oop dunk off a lob from Bane in the third quarter, nearly hitting his head on the rim a night after sitting out against the Clippers with left thigh soreness.
LeBron James scored 23 of his 35 points in the first half. He made 14 of 19 shots and added seven assists. He passed Oscar Robertson (9,887 assists) for seventh most assists in NBA history.
The Grizzlies snapped the Lakers’ four-game winning streak and a stretch in which the Lakers had won five of six.
Memphis’ largest lead was 29 points, and the Lakers cut that to seven late in the fourth quarter.
Dane had 13 of his points in the first half. Jackson added 12 rebounds.
The Grizzlies outscored the Lakers 38-25 in the second quarter, building a 65-52 halftime lead.
Grizzlies: F Dillon Brooks (left ankle sprain), Yves Pons (left ankle soreness) and C Steven Adams (health and safety protocols) were out.
Lakers: Kendrick Nunn (right knee bone bruise) missed the game. … Flea, the bassist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and a longtime Lakers fan, wore a signed Talen Horton-Tucker jersey while competing in a skills challenge at halftime. Horton-Tucker had 13 points off the bench.
Grizzlies: Hosts Golden State on Tuesday night.
Lakers: At Sacramento on Wednesday night.
SMITH SETS PGA TOUR RECORD AND OUTLASTS RAHM AT KAPALUA
KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) No one ever finished more under par in PGA Tour history than Cameron Smith, and he never could appreciate it until his final birdie putt Sunday in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Not with Jon Rahm, the No. 1 player in the world, on his heels every step of the way. Not with Matt Jones making a pair of eagles and a 50-foot birdie putt in a span of five holes to stay in the game at Kapalua.
In the best scoring conditions Kapalua has seen in the 24 times it has hosted the winners-only start to the new year, Smith was relentless all the day down to the 3-foot birdie putt the Aussie made on the 18th hole for an 8-under 65 and a one-shot victory over Rahm.
“Mate, it was intense,” Smith said. “It was pretty crazy. I felt like I needed to make a birdie to kind of keep up with him or stay in front.”
Smith finished at 34-under 258, and some context is in order.
Only three players in tour history had finished at 30 under or lower. Ernie Els set the record of 31 under at Kapalua in 2003 and won by eight shots. Jordan Spieth shot 30 under in 2016, also winning by eight. Dustin Johnson shot 30 under at Liberty National in 2020 and won by 11.
Smith won by one.
“Unreal round,” Smith said. “Something I’ll never forget.”
It was a testament to four days of warm sunshine and not even enough win to move a palm frond, with soft fairways from heavy rain before the elite field arrived on the western edge of Maui, and greens that were never more pure.
Rahm never shot worse than 66, and he was one of three players to tie the Plantation course record with a 61 in the third round. He made 32 birdies for the week, tying the PGA Tour record for a 72-hole event shared by Paul Gow at the B.C. Open and Mark Calcavecchia in the Phoenix Open, both those events in 2001.
“I have every reason to be smiling,” Rahm said about his score. “It’s a bittersweet moment.”
Rahm, playing for the first time since Oct. 15, did all he could and Smith never gave him an opening. They started the final round tied for the lead. Smith pulled ahead with a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 4 and a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth.
Rahm closed within one shot with a 15-foot birdie on the 11th.
They matched birdies and pars on the same holes the rest of the way. Rahm closed with a 66 to finish at 33-under 259.
“This golf course only has one defense and that’s the wind,” Rahm said. “If people are shooting between 20 and 26 under with 20-mile-an-hour winds, what do you expect us to do when there’s absolutely no wind?”
Jones tried to join the race, holing out for eagle on the 13th, making a 4-foot eagle putt on the 15th and holing a 50-foot birdie putt on the 17th. A final birdie allowed Jones to post the third score of 61 – Justin Thomas also tied the record on Saturday – to finish third.
Jones was at 32-under 260, one shot better than the previous record, two shots short of winning.
“If you told me I would have shot 32 under I would have been more than happy to sit in the clubhouse and let everyone play and see what happens,” Jones said.
Smith picked up his fourth PGA Tour victory – two were team titles in New Orleans – and became the sixth player to have won at both Hawaii stops on the PGA Tour. He won the Sony Open in Honolulu two years ago in a playoff.
He also moved to No. 10 in the world, his highest ranking, and one of his goals for the year that he ticked off in the first week.
Rahm easily kept his No. 1 ranking and did little wrong in his return from the longest break of his professional career. He had a 20-foot birdie putt to tie for the lead on the 17th, his last good chance to catch Smith, that narrowly missed.
On the par-5 closing hole, Smith came up just short of the green. His putt from 90 feet slowed to a stop about 3 feet from the hole. That meant Rahm had no choice but to hole a 50-foot eagle putt from just off the green, and it just missed on the high side.
The previous record for low score to par without winning was Bryson DeChambeau, who finished at 27 under in the BMW Championship at Caves Valley last year and lost to Patrick Cantlay in a playoff.
Cantlay, playing for the first time since the Ryder Cup, closed with a 67 to finish at 26-under par. That was only good for fourth place this week.
TOP INDIANA SPORTS NEWS/HEADLINES
JAGUARS CLOWN COLTS 26-11, PREVENT INDY FROM MAKING PLAYOFFS
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Indianapolis Colts got clowned in Jacksonville. This one was more embarrassing than any other loss to the Jaguars, too.
Indy badly botched a chance to secure an AFC wild-card spot with a 26-11 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday in the “clown game,” the team’s seventh consecutive road loss to the Jaguars.
A debacle few saw coming left the Colts (9-8) with an outside shot at making the playoffs for the third time in four years, but those slim hopes ended when Pittsburgh beat Baltimore in overtime. Now, Indy returns home with a two-game skid and facing a long offseason that doesn’t even include a first-round draft pick.
The Jaguars (3-14), meanwhile, got a much-needed celebration that ended an eight-game losing streak. And they still managed to lock up the No. 1 pick for a second straight season.
“Feels good to end on a high note after all this turmoil that we went through the whole season,” Jaguars defensive end Dawuane Smoot said. “A lot of distractions, a lot of things. It’s good to just get back in and really just get that W.”
NFL rushing champion Jonathan Taylor was held to 77 yards, Carson Wentz was sacked six times and turned the ball over twice – leading to 10 points – and Indy did little to stop the usually clawless and often clueless Jaguars.
“Never expect to be sitting here having this moment right now, not like this,” Indy coach Frank Reich said.
The Colts looked more like the ones who should have been decked out in giant bow ties, face paint and colorful wigs and suspenders. With a playoff berth on the line for the second time in eight days, Indianapolis was a no-show on an 80-degree day in Jacksonville.
The 15-point outcome could have been a bigger blowout had the Jags scored touchdowns instead of settling for two chip-shot field goals from inside the 5-yard line.
“Oh, man, it was huge,” Jags cornerback Shaquill Griffin said. “We’re not sure what’s going to happen with the staff, the coaches, the players, but understand you’ve got one more chance to put it on tape. Leave no doubt, because you never want to be that guy leaving the season saying, `Man, I just wish this play I would have did a little bit more.’
“You don’t want to go into the offseason like that. It will haunt you forever.”
This one will haunt the Colts, who finished with 233 yards. It was their lowest total since getting 205 at New Orleans in December 2019.
Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence capped his best game with an incredible play late in the third quarter. He kept a high snap from going over his head, gathered it, rolled right to evade an unblocked defender and then delivered a perfect pass to Marvin Jones in the back of the end zone for a 2-yard score.
Lawrence completed 23 of 32 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, his first game with multiple TD passes since the season opener.
“I really wanted to finish the year off with confidence,” Lawrence said.
His performance gave disgruntled Jaguars fans hope for the future, even the ones dressed as clowns.
Only a few dozen fans – a couple hundred at most – wore clown attire to protest owner Shad Khan’s decision to keep general manager Trent Baalke. But their message became clear when one woman not wearing any clown gear was selected to answer a trivia challenge on the stadium big screens. Instead of choosing answers A, B or C, she responded “D, fire Baalke,” and cheers and chants erupted around TIAA Bank Field.
A plane flew a “(hash)Klowntown banner” around the stadium before the game. One fan held a “Trent Baalke kicked me” sign. Another sign directed at Khan and players read, “It’s not you. It’s Baalke.”
Baalke’s draft class has been underwhelming and his free-agent signings produced no game-changers. His overall reputation is less than stellar, with the last five head coaches he has worked with having been fired: Urban Meyer (2021), Doug Marrone (2020), Chip Kelly (2016), Jim Tomsula (2015) and Jim Harbaugh (2014).
Wentz completed 17 of 29 passes for 185 yards, with a garbage-time touchdown and an interception. He also fumbled. He had another throw nearly picked off by safety Daniel Thomas, but officials huddled and ruled the ball touched the ground.
“It sucks, honestly, walking off kind of in disbelief,” Wentz said. “It hurts right now. A lot of reflection to come over the next handful of days, unfortunately. But, yeah, it’s not a good feeling right now.”
Jones finished with seven catches for 88 yards and a touchdown for the Jaguars, triggering a $500,000 incentive in his contract by reaching 70 receptions. Smoot also landed a $250,000 incentive by reaching six sacks.
“My wife, she told me don’t come home if I don’t get the sack, so I’m coming home (with it),” Smoot said.
The Colts lost CB Rock Ya-Sin on the opening drive, a huge loss considering they were already without starter Xavier Rhodes. The Jaguars picked on backup Isaiah Rodgers and practice-squad callup Anthony Chesley.
Colts: Head into the offseason after blowing their playoff opportunity.
Jaguars: Continue their coaching search.
HOOSIERS HANDLE MINNESOTA
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Disrespect?
The Minnesota Gophers weren’t about to let Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson beat them Sunday afternoon.
That meant pack the paint and dare guards Rob Phinisee and Xavier Johnson to thrive from the perimeter.
Hold that thought.
Cream ‘n Crimson comfort turned tense during a second-half stretch that turned a 12-point lead into a one-point deficit.
The Hoosiers blinked, but didn’t buckle.
They got tough when it mattered most, dominating crunch time (a 25-11 edge over the final 11 minutes), delivering offensive balance (five Hoosiers scored in double figures) and turning the Gophers offense to rubble (no field goals in the last three minutes).
The result — a 73-60 victory to get the Hoosiers to 12-3 overall, 3-2 in the Big Ten, with an 11-0 Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall record.
“I call it wining basketball,” coach Mike Woodson said. “(Minnesota) came back from being down and took the lead. Our defense picked up after that. We had the lapse and picked it up.
“The last three to four minutes we were solid.”
Were they ever.
Let’s start with Johnson and Phinisee.
Johnson, the Pitt transfer, had a team-leading 14 points. He made two three-pointers and added five assists, three rebounds and one turnover.
Phinisee had 13 points, four assists, three rebounds and one turnover. He made four three-pointers, not bad for a guy who had made only eight all season off 27.9 percent shooting before Sunday.
“Coming off the bench,” Phinisee said, “I saw how they were guarding X. Teams usually guard us the same, so I came in ready and knocked down shots.”
Added Woodson: “Both played extremely well considering all the yelling and screaming I was doing out there.”
Johnson and Phinisee played together down the stretch, something that has happened occasionally this season.
“It’s effective a lot,” Johnson said. “We get a lot of stops with me and him on the floor because it’s hard to beat us off the dribble. We both pick up 94 feet and love to play defense because we know it gets the team going.”
Phinisee, once a starter, has adjusted to his off-the-bench role. Johnson continues learning to play point guard to Woodson’s demanding standards.
“I’m trying to give all them confidence,” Woodson said, “but I’m still trying to coach them. There’s some tough love.
“(For Phinisee), shooting is a big part of it, but it’s just leading.
“Rob has been through the grind of the Big Ten. He knows the ins and outs. He’s a senior. I expect him to lead. He can’t live in the past. He has to break past that. It’s like, ‘Hey man, here’s the ball. It’s OK to be good.'”
Minnesota spent the first half conceding three-point shots to Phinisee and Johnson. They combined for 22 points (including 6-for-12 three-point shooting) in the opening 20 minutes.
“Coach builds our confidence and tells us to shoot if we’re wide open,” Phinisee said. “I made shots this game.”
Added Woodson: “I’m not telling them not to shoot. Minnesota forced our hand in terms of shooting threes.
“They were saying Trayce and Race won’t beat us. When teams do that, our perimeter guys have to step up and make shots. They did that.”
That includes guard Parker Stewart, who made a pair of three-pointers and who finished with 12 points, his most since scoring 12 against Notre Dame in mid December.
In the closing minutes, Minnesota went small and Woodson took advantage with 6-9 Trayce Jackson-Davis and 6-8 Race Thompson.
Jackson-Davis finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds. It was his 28th career double-double and second straight.
Thompson finished with 10 points and five rebounds.
“When they did that,” Woodson said, “we have to spoon feed the ball inside. That’s what we did. Race had a guard guarding him. Get it inside and make them stop us.”
With the Gophers double teaming Jackson-Davis, that left Thompson one on one.
“If they’re not going to double Race,” Woodson said, “I’ll take my chances with him. He’s worked on his game. I’m good with that.”
Jackson-Davis, coming off a 27-point effort against Ohio State, had no trouble with letting others be the offensive focal point.
“It’s called trust,” Woodson said. “It’s not going to be him every night. Teams double team him. They packed it in, and he made the correct passes and guys benefited it by making shots.
“That was no surprise. If I coached against him, I would double him, too, and get it out of his hands.”
Minnesota (10-3, 1-3), despite road wins at Pitt and Mississippi State, and a victory over Michigan, arrived vulnerable. It had lost at home to Illinois 76-53 five days earlier.
Coach Ben Johnson, seeing what Jackson-Davis had done to Ohio State, wanted to avoid a repeat.
“(The Hoosiers) feed him and feed him,” Johnson said. “We wanted to make a concerted effort to double and heavy crowd him. We were going to have to live with all the shots (from Johnson and Phinisee). That’s the gamble you have to play. You pick your poison with a guy as dominant as Trayce is inside.”
IU guards ruled the first half. Johnson set the tone by scoring the Hoosiers’ first five points, including a three-pointer, but Minnesota pushed ahead 12-7.
It didn’t last.
The Hoosiers took their first lead, at 22-21, on Phinisee’s second three-pointer. Add a rebound, an assist and a steal and it was a decisive eight-minute burst that kept him in the game the rest of the half.
A Michael Durr basket, followed by ones from Jackson-Davis and Trey Galloway to give the Hoosiers a 28-25 lead. Phinisee’s third and fourth three-pointers, plus Johnson’s second, and then his two throws (IU’s only attempts of the half), pushed the Hoosiers to a 39-29 halftime advantage.
IU quickly got the ball inside to Jackson-Davis for a basket at a 12-point lead to start the second half.
Johnson pushed and passed to an open Stewart for a three-pointer as IU stayed ahead 44-34.
Then Minnesota made its move.
It went on a 13-2 run to take a 47-46 lead before a pair of Thompson free throws put the Hoosiers back in front by a point with 12 minutes left.
Miller Kopp drained a three-pointer. Galloway scored. Jackson-Davis made a hook shot to offset a pair of Minnesota free throws, a basket and a banked-in three-pointer.
IU led 57-54 with 7:18 left.
Thompson scored, then scored again. Johnson drove for a basket. Thompson scored yet again. The lead was 11 as the clock ticked under three
The Gophers were finished.
In its last eight games, the Hoosiers have held opponents to 61 or fewer points seven times. The other game — a loss at Wisconsin — was 64.
“If we hold teams to 60 points and under, it gives you a chance to win a lot of game,” Woodson said. “Our guys believe that. We have to continue to grow in that area.”
Now IU hits the road for games against Iowa and Nebraska. It is 0-3 away from Assembly Hall.
“We’ve got to break the ice on the road,” Woodson said. “Once we break through, it will open up a lot that we can compete and win in the Big Ten.”
INDIANA WRESTLING DEFEATED AT NO. 2 PENN STATE
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. ––– Indiana Wrestling suffered a 29-11 defeat to No. 2 Penn State on the road Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center. The loss drops the Hoosiers’ dual record to 2-2 on the season and 0-2 in the Big Ten.
• Graduate student and No. 19 ranked Brock Hudkins (133) had perhaps his most dominant win of the season, earning an 18-3, tech fall victory at the 5:30 mark over Baylor Shunk.
• Right after Hudkins’ win, No. 26 ranked junior Cayden Rooks (141) pulled off a smooth, 9-4 win by decision over Brandon Meredith.
• Sophomore Derek Gilcher (157) owned a defensive battle over Tony Negron, winning by a 4-1 decision.
• After Gilcher’s win, Indiana held an 11-6 lead at the half.
• The win for Hudkins pushes keeps his season record perfect at 7-0. This was also his first tech fall victory of the season.
• Rooks’ win snapped a two-bout losing streak and got him his first win of the Big Ten season.
• It was the first dual victory of the season and first Big Ten dual win in Gilcher’s career as a Hoosier.
• Indiana will have over a week off from competition before a three-match home stand. The Hoosiers will host Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17 in Bloomington.
NO. 15 WRESTLING FALLS AT NO. 1 IOWA
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The No. 15 Purdue wrestling team fell at top-ranked Iowa on Sunday, suffering a 36-4 dual loss at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Freshman Matt Ramos earned the lone win of the evening, while senior Parker Filius took the nation’s No. 2 wrestler at 141 pounds to the brink as Purdue fell to 7-2 overall and 1-1 in conference action.
Ramos got up early and rolled over Iowa’s Jesse Ybarra at 133 pounds, hitting a six-point move in the first period on his way to an 11-1 major decision. After an early 6-0 lead, Ramos continued to score with takedowns in the second and third, improving to 12-3 overall and 9-0 in duals this season.
Filius suffered a 7-6 defeat to No. 2 Jayden Eierman at 141 pounds, but the Hawkeye senior needed a riding-time point to eke out the win. Eierman struck first, taking a 2-1 lead after the first, but Filius responded with a second-period reversal an went to the third tied 4-4. Eierman escaped to start the third, and Filius countered with a takedown to take a 6-5 lead. The Hawkeye escaped again to tie the score and Filius ran out of time as 1:26 of riding time proved the difference.
Iowa scored bonus points in four straight matches from 149 to 174 to stretch out its lead and then closed with two decisions and a fall to finish the dual. The Hawkeyes improved to 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten with the win.
Purdue hosts its Big Ten dual opener on Saturday, hosting Michigan State for a 7 p.m. ET dual in Holloway Gymnasium, which will stream live on B1G+.
No. 15 Purdue 4 – No. 1 Iowa 36
125: Drake Ayala (IOWA) def. No. 5 Devin Schroder (PUR), D 6-1
133: Matt Ramos (PUR) def. Jesse Ybarra (IOWA), MD 11-1
141: No. 2 Jaydin Eierman (IOWA) def. No. 25 Parker Filius (PUR), D 7-6
149: No. 12 Max Murin (IOWA) def. Trey Kruse (PUR), MD 10-2
157: No. 12 Kaleb Young (IOWA) def. Cooper Noehre (PUR), MD 12-4
165: No. 1 Alex Marinelli (IOWA) def. Hayden Lohrey (PUR), TF 22-7 (7:00)
174: No. 2 Michael Kemerer (IOWA) def. No. 21 Gerrit Nijenhuis (PUR), TF 17-1 (5:42)
184: No. 18 Abe Assad (IOWA) def. No. 23 Max Lyon (PUR), D 6-3
197: No. 5 Jacob Warner (IOWA) def. No. 15 Thomas Penola (PUR), D 3-0
285: No. 6 Tony Cassioppi (IOWA) def. Michael Woulfe (PUR), Fall 1:14
SECOND HALF SURGE LIFTS PURDUE OVER SPARTANS
EAST LANSING, Mich. – It was a tale of two halves and a Boilermaker win. The Purdue women’s basketball team rallied to beat Michigan State 69-59 on the road Sunday afternoon, giving head coach Katie Gearlds her first career win on the road in the Big Ten.
The Boilermakers (11-4, 2-2) outscored the Spartans (8-7, 2-2) by 13 in the second half, committing just four turnovers over the final 20 minutes.
Brooke Moore led the way scoring with a career-high 22 points off the bench. The senior was 8-of-12 on the afternoon. Rickie Woltman finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Madison Layden added 12 points, but her biggest contribution came on the defensive end. The sophomore stymied Spartan standout Nia Clouden, who entered Sunday ranked seventh in the nation with 22.5 points per game, to just seven points. Clouden did not have a field goal in the final three quarters and no points in the second half.
TUESDAY’S MEN’S BASKETBALL GAME AT MICHIGAN POSTPONED
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue men’s basketball game at Michigan, scheduled for Jan. 11, in Ann Arbor, has been postponed due to continued internal COVID-19 protocols within the Michigan program.
On Friday night (Jan. 7) following medical testing, Michigan fell below the Big Ten Conference roster minimum with fewer than seven scholarship players available, causing its game with Michigan State on Saturday (Jan. 8) to be postponed. Michigan still fell below the minimum for Tuesday’s game with the Boilermakers.
The programs will coordinate with the Big Ten Conference office to reschedule the game.
Purdue’s next action will come Friday, when it hosts Nebraska at Mackey Arena at 6:30 p.m. ET.
STRONG START SENDS SYCAMORES TO SECOND CONFERENCE WIN
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Marie Hunter scored a career-high 22 points Sunday afternoon, pacing a balanced Indiana State offense past Bradley inside the Hulman Center, 73-57.
Hunter also pulled down 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season, while Natalia Lalic added 13 points. Arianna Smith tied her career high with 11 points off the bench with Caitlin Anderson and Mya Glanton adding nine and eight, respectively.
Indiana State broke an early 8-all tie with a 16-0 run and never looked back. The Sycamores led wire-to-wire, extending their lead to as many as 21 in the third quarter after a pair of Smith free throws. ISU had a double-digit lead for the final 33:26 of the contest and used consistent pressure to force 20 Bradley turnovers.
Lalic was the hot hand for the Sycamores in the first quarter, scoring 11 points in the opening period. The Adelaide, Australia, native was responsible for Indiana State’s first eight points and connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the quarter. A Glanton putback with 5:50 left in the quarter kickstarted a 16-0 Sycamore run that set the tone for the rest of the game. Six different Indiana State players scored during the run, which broke open what was a tie game. By the end of the quarter, ISU built a 24-11 lead and kept its foot on the gas pedal.
Indiana State continued to build on its lead in the second quarter, using its defense to stifle Bradley to just one field goal in its first four possessions of the quarter. Del’Janae Williams got in on the scoring with a driving layup as the Sycamores got contributions from everyone on the offensive end. Bradley cut the ISU lead to 11 late in the quarter on an Isis Fitch 3-pointer, but the Sycamores responded with baskets by Essy Latu and Smith, closing the half on a 7-1 run to take a 41-24 lead into the locker room.
Bradley came out of the locker room on fire, hitting four of its first five shots to cut the Indiana State lead to 10 with 7:18 left. That, however, was the closest the Braves got for the remainder of the contest, as a Williams layup kickstarted a 10-2 run to push ISU’s lead to 53-35. Williams, Hunter and Anderson all contributed to the Sycamore scoring run, which forced a Bradley timeout and put momentum back on ISU’s side. A Smith putback late in the quarter extended the ISU lead to 20 for the first time in the game and while Bradley tried to make a late run, the Sycamores maintained control with a 61-42 lead heading into the final period.
Neither team shot the ball well to begin the fourth quarter, but the defensive intensity was still there for Indiana State. The Sycamores forced Bradley into a 2-for-7 mark with a pair of turnovers in the first four minutes of the quarter, while Hunter continued to cause issues for the Braves with baskets on back-to-back possessions to push Indiana State’s lead back up to 20. Bradley scored the last four points of the game, but by then the outcome was already decided, as the Sycamores wrapped up their second MVC win of the season.
Inside the Statistics
Indiana State recorded its ninth game of the season with 20 or more turnovers forced. The Sycamores have forced 15 or more turnovers in all 14 games this season and lead the Missouri Valley Conference in turnovers forced.
The Sycamores won the rebounding battle for the second straight game Sunday. Indiana State was plus-10 on the boards (37-27).
ISU had a season-low 10 turnovers Sunday. The Sycamores are 2-0 when committing less than 15 turnovers.
The Sycamores have shot 40 percent or better from the floor in 12 of the last 13 games after shooting 31-of-67 (.463) against Bradley.
Indiana State had 22 bench points, marking the fifth time in the last six game that the Sycamores had 20 or more bench points.
News & Notes
Indiana State is 2-1 in MVC play for the first time since the 2018-19 season. The Sycamores matched last season’s conference win total with Sunday’s victory over Bradley.
Marie Hunter’s double-double was the second of her career, with her last one coming in a win over Evansville last season.
Sunday’s 22-point performance was the first 20-point game of Hunter’s career.
Indiana State is 5-0 this season when holding opponents under 60 points. Head coach Chad Killinger is 204-31 in his career when opposing teams fail to reach the 60-point mark.
ISU improved to 30-9 all-time against Bradley in Terre Haute.
Indiana State closes its three-game homestand Thursday evening against Evansville at 6 p.m.
MASTODONS TRAVEL TO MOON TOWNSHIP AND BACK WITH A WIN
MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Purdue Fort Wayne picked up a 76-70 Horizon League victory on Sunday (Jan. 9) afternoon in the Mastodons’ first ever trip to Robert Morris.
Four Mastodons finished in double-digits with Jalon Pipkins leading the way with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He also had five assists and four steals, tying a season high for both categories.
Bobby Planutis totaled 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting. The ‘Dons were up just two points with under two minutes left in the game when he connected on a corner 3-pointer to put the ‘Dons up 68-63 with 1:48 left. 20 seconds later he made a pair of free throws to ice the game.
Jarred Godfrey totaled 15 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. He now owns 1,349 career points. He is tied with Kason Harrell for eighth place in program history in scoring.
Ra Kpedi continued to perform like one of the best offensive rebounders in the nation. He finished with 13 points and five offensive boards.
The Colonials shot 51.0 percent (25-of-49) to the Mastodons’ 47.3 percent (26-of-55). The difference came in turnovers. The Mastodons forced 16 while committing only eight. The ‘Dons turned those 16 turnovers into 17 points.
The ‘Dons led 39-30 at the half and stretched their lead to as many 14 points in the second half. The Colonials cut it to a one possession game in the second half, but never held a lead in the game. The final tie of the contest came at 9-9.
Michael Green III scored a game-high 20 points for Robert Morris. The Colonials fall to 2-13 (0-6 Horizon). The ‘Dons get back to .500 at 7-7 (3-3 Horizon).
Purdue Fort Wayne welcomes Detroit Mercy on Thursday (Jan. 13) to the Memorial Coliseum. It will be the first of four straight home games for the ‘Dons.
JAGUARS RETURN HOME TO HOST UIC ON MONDAY
INDIANAPOLIS – The IUPUI basketball team will have a quick turnaround when the Jaguars host UIC (4-8, 0-3 HL) at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Monday night (Jan. 10) at 7:00 p.m.. The game comes on the heels of the Jaguars’ 72-58 loss at Wright State on Saturday.
UIC has had three of its past four scheduled games canceled due to COVID protocols, all sandwiched around its own 90-72 loss at Wright State. Both teams come in seeking a first Horizon League victory this season.
A short-handed IUPUI (1-11, 0-3 HL) squad fought hard at WSU on Saturday, but ultimately succumbed to the league’s hottest team. The Jags built an early five-point lead and hung close throughout until a 14-1 WSU run in the second half put the game away. Senior Azariah Seay continued his solid play with a team-high 16 points and five boards while Bakari LaStrap matched his career-high with 11 points and five assists off the IUPUI bench. Boston Stanton III also hit for a new career-high, tallying 10 points in 26 minutes of action.
B.J. Maxwell turned in seven points and seven boards and Nathan McClure had five points, six boards and a career-high six steals. Defensively, the Jaguars allowed Wright State to shoot 58 percent after halftime and 40 percent from three-point range after holding the Raiders to 38 percent in the opening stanza. Tanner Holden led Wright State with 20 points.
IUPUI swept last season’s series with the Flames, defeating UIC 89-69 on Feb. 12 and following up with an 88-81 home victory the following day.
“I was really proud of the team. A lot of times, you can go into a game and people seem defeated going into the game. (Today), guys were upbeat and understood that we were short coming into the game, but they fought. Wright State’s a great team – one of the best teams in this league and they’ve been that way consistently. I thought the game was a little closer than what the final score was and how we played and what we did, but I was really proud of them,” head coach Matt Crenshaw said following Saturday’s loss at Wright State.
UIC is 4-8 on the season, which includes road wins at Valparaiso and Central Michigan. The Flames are paced by Damaria Franklin, who leads the team in scoring (16.7 ppg), rebounds (8.1 rpg), steals (17) and is tied for the team lead in threes made (21). He is joined in double-digits by Kevin Johnson (11.8 ppg) and Zion Griffin (11.8 ppg). Collectively, UIC is being outscored by 2.7 points per game and is shooting 43.3 percent from the floor and 29.9 percent from three. UIC’s opponents are shooting 46 percent overall and 32 percent from beyond the three-point line.
UIC leads the all-time series by a 9-3 margin, despite IUPUI winning both meetings last season, both in Indianapolis. IUPUI is 2-4 in the six meetings all-time in Indy and the series dates back to February 1980. UIC won the first five meetings in the all-time series from 1980 to 2018 before IUPUI finally scored a road win on Jan. 4, 2019.
IUPUI will kickoff a two-game road trip at Green Bay on Thursday, Jan. 13 with an 8:00 p.m. Eastern tip on ESPN+.
THREE FINISH IN DOUBLE-FIGURES AS ACES FALL TO HOT-SHOOTING REDBIRDS
EVANSVILLE – Despite a ferocious comeback in the second quarter, the University of Evansville women’s basketball team dropped its weekend-ending matchup with Illinois State, 87-68, on Sunday afternoon inside Meeks Family Fieldhouse in Evansville.
The Aces were led by three in double-figures as junior Abby Feit, freshman Kodie Myszka, and senior Myia Clark all reached the 10-point mark on the afternoon. Feit finished with a team-high 17 points, hitting a pair of threes and grabbing five rebounds. Myszka recorded a new career-high on the day, scoring 12 points, including eight in the first quarter, on an efficient 5-of-8 shooting performances. For the second-straight game, Clark reached the double-digit mark, scoring 11 against the Redbirds, including six at the charity stripe. Illinois State was led by a pair of 20+ point scorers in Mary Crompton (22 points) and DeAnna Wilson (21).
From the outset, the contest was played at a fast pace, a quality that would seem to suit the Aces well as both teams poured-in the points early. After the Redbirds missed their first three shots, Illinois State found its rhythm, knocking-down six straight to take a 14-6 lead near the midway point of the first quarter. Evansville would continue to score right with Illinois State for much of the first period, holding its deficit at seven at 24-17.
Evansville flipped the script on the Redbirds in quarter two, finding its offense, especially from beyond the arc. A 10-point advantage at 30-20 with 6:27 left in the half would be as large as Illinois State could build its lead before the Aces mounted a run. A three by redshirt sophomore Celine Dupont sparked the Evansville run and a layup and foul by Feit with 1:09 left in the period proved as a highlight of the spree as the Normal, Illinois natives’ shot and subsequent free-throw put the Aces in front, 36-34. Before the half was through, Evansville’s pressure continued to cause problems, generating another turnover to help get a stop to close the half as the Aces closed the quarter on a 19-4 run, giving UE the 39-34 lead at the break.
Coming out of the locker room, Illinois State looked to answer right back and retake the lead, doing so just shy of the five-minute mark in the third quarter on a triple by Mary Crompton that started a string of three-straight made threes by Crompton, giving the Redbirds a 54-50 lead, an advantage they would never relinquish. As Evansville continued to try and push back, efficiency proved to be the key as Illinois State shot 19-30 (63.3%) from the field in the second half en route to an 87-68 win.
The Aces return to the court on Thursday with a trip to Terre Haute, Ind. to take on Indiana State at 5 PM (CT).
VALPO VISITS LOYOLA FOR NATIONAL TV DATE ON TUESDAY
Valparaiso (8-8, 1-3 MVC)
at Loyola (11-2, 2-0 MVC)
Game No. 17 – Tuesday, Jan. 11, 8 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (4,486) – Chicago, Ill.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will compete in the first of consecutive nationally-televised contests this week on Tuesday night by making the short trip to Rogers Park to battle Loyola on CBS Sports Network. This marks Valpo’s third road game in the team’s first five Missouri Valley Conference dates with the three away tilts coming against the teams picked in the top three in the league’s preseason poll. Tuesday may be the toughest test yet as the Ramblers were just outside the Top 25 (28th AP, 29th USA Today Coaches’) in the Jan. 3 polls and may advance further when this week’s polls are released prior to Tuesday’s game. Please note that all spectators are required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon entering Gentile Arena.
Last Time Out: After trailing by 16 points with 8:08 remaining, Valpo battled back to get to within two with 1:22 to go on Saturday night against Southern Illinois, but the Beacons went 0-for-5 from the field in the final 40 seconds, misfiring on five efforts to tie or take the lead in a 63-60 setback. That came after Valpo had scored on seven straight possessions starting at the six-minute mark. After missing the previous two games due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Thomas Kithier posted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Kobe King scored 13 of his 18 points after halftime including eight in the final four minutes. Ben Krikke used 10 first-half points en route to a 16-point performance on 7-of-12 shooting.
Following the Beacons: Television – CBS Sports Network – John Sadak (play-by-play) and Bob Wenzel (analyst)
Valpo Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Aaron Leavitt (analyst)
Twitter updates – @ValpoBasketball
Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Matt Lottich: Matt Lottich (91-86) is in his ninth season overall at Valparaiso University and sixth as the head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2021-2022. The 2020-2021 season saw Valpo improve its Arch Madness seeding for the fourth straight year as the program continued to make positive strides in each season as a Missouri Valley Conference member. The team earned a first-round bye in the State Farm MVC Tournament for the first time since joining the prestigious league. Valpo upset previously-undefeated Drake, the nation’s No. 25 team, 74-57 on Feb. 7, 2021 at the ARC, the fourth win over an AP Top 25 team in program history and second under Lottich. The Bulldogs were one of three undefeated teams in the nation prior to that setback, joining Gonzaga and Baylor. Just two years removed from finishing in last place and being knocked out in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as a first-year Valley member, Lottich’s team did more than hold its own in 2019-2020, ascending into a tie for sixth in the league standings before finishing as the conference tournament runner-up. Valpo became the first team in the history of Arch Madness to reach the title game after playing in the opening round. Lottich, hired as the 22nd head coach of the Valpo men’s basketball program in April 2016, graduated from Stanford University in 2004 and New Trier High School (Illinois) in 2000.
Series Notes: Loyola leads the all-time series 43-16 including a 9-1 edge in matchups that have occurred since Valpo joined the Missouri Valley Conference. The Beacons are 0-8 against the Ramblers in regular-season MVC matchups with Valpo’s lone win coming 74-73 in overtime in a March 6, 2020 MVC quarterfinal in St. Louis. Eron Gordon beat the buzzer with a game-winning layup to close out OT as part of Valpo’s improbable run to the MVC title game. Four out of the last five matchups between these two nearby foes have been decided by three points or fewer. Valpo is 8-21 all-time when visiting Loyola and 0-4 in road Valley matchups with the Ramblers. The last time Valpo went on the road to beat Loyola was Feb. 19, 2013 (85-76), the final Horizon League collision between the two teams before Loyola departed for The Valley. Two of the most heartbreaking games in recent Valpo memory have come at Gentile Arena. Last season, Goodnews Kpegeol appeared to tie the game and send it to overtime with a last-second put-back, but he was called for a foul and the nationally-ranked Ramblers escaped with a 54-52 victory. The year prior, Valpo came from 14 points down with 7:54 remaining to create an opportunity to tie or take the lead in the game’s final possession. The visitors had the ball with 11 seconds remaining down 70-68, but Loyola’s Marquise Kennedy came up with a steal on the final play of the night, and the ball rolled into the Valpo backcourt as time expired.
After starting point guard Trevor Anderson missed Saturday’s game with an injury, no Valpo player has started every game this season. Anderson was the only Beacon to start each of the first 15 contests.
Valpo has used seven different starting lineup combinations this season including unique lineups in each of the last four games.
The only three players who have played in all 16 contests are Kevion Taylor, Sheldon Edwards and Eron Gordon.
Gordon has played in all 79 Valpo games since the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
The latest player to the join the starting lineup is true freshman Preston Ruedinger, who made his first collegiate start on Jan. 8 vs. SIU. Ruedinger became the second nonscholarship player to start a game for Valpo during the Matt Lottich Era as John Kiser started on March 4, 2017 vs. Milwaukee at the Horizon League Tournament in Detroit as a freshman walk-on before earning a scholarship prior to his sophomore campaign.
Thomas Kithier showed little sign of rust in his return to the court on Jan. 8 vs. Southern Illinois after missing the previous two games due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Kithier enjoyed his second collegiate double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds against the Salukis, his first such effort since a 28&11 game on Nov. 13 vs. UIC.
The Michigan native reached double figures in scoring for the fifth time this season and enjoyed his second straight 12-point output. Over his last two games, Kithier is 10-of-13 shooting for 76.9 percent.
The 10 rebounds marked Kithier’s third double-figure effort on the boards this season and first since Nov. 23 vs. Coastal Carolina at the Nassau Championship in The Bahamas. Kithier has squeezed six or more caroms in seven straight outings and in 10 of his 14 games this season.
His performance on the boards in his return to action provided a needed lift in that area for the Beacons, who outrebounded SIU 33-29 for the team’s best rebounding margin against a DI foe this season.
After missing the first nine games of the season in order to gain NCAA eligibility, Kobe King is averaging a team-high 15.4 points per game in seven contests (six starts).
Most recently, King finished with 18 points on Jan. 8 vs. SIU, doing the bulk of his damage in the second half. He scored 13 second-half points including eight in the final four minutes of the game.
Also on Jan. 8 vs. SIU, King tied a rebounding career high that was set in the previous game. He did not reach nine rebounds in any of his first 68 career games, but now he’s pulled down nine boards in consecutive contests (Jan. 5 at UNI, Jan. 8 vs. SIU).
King has scored 17 points or more in four of his first seven games in a Valpo uniform. He has reached double figures in six of seven including four straight.
King has gotten to the free-throw line regularly of late with 18 free-throw attempts over his last two games. He has double as many free-throw attempts over the last two games as he did in his first five appearances (nine total).
King also established a career high with three steals in the Jan. 8 game vs. SIU.
Half of Valpo’s eight defeats this season have come by four points or fewer, including the Jan. 8 63-60 loss vs. Southern Illinois.
The setback to the Salukis continued a string of close matchups between those two squads, as the teams have played in three straight one-possession games with both of last year’s showdowns also coming down to the wire.
Valpo’s last two trips to Loyola have resulted in two-point losses. Four of the last five matchups have been decided by three points or fewer.
Milestone Met: During the Jan. 8 game vs. Southern Illinois, Kevion Taylor surpassed 1,800 points for his collegiate career (split between D-I and D-II). He became just the 32nd active player at all levels of NCAA college basketball to reach the 1,800-point threshold. Taylor became just the 16th active player in the NCAA (all three divisions) with 1,800 points and 600 rebounds.
Taylor Tossing in Treys
Kevion Taylor has made multiple 3-pointers in 12 out of 16 games this season. He’s hit at least one triple in all 16 contests. The 16 straight is the longest stretch of games with a made 3 for a Valpo player since Javon Freeman-Liberty’s 19 in 2019-20.
Taylor is the first Valpo player since at least the start of the 1989-90 season (nearly all the way back to the addition of the 3-point line) to make a 3 in each of his first 16 games of a season. He surpassed the program’s previous longest season-opening streak of 14 by Larry Barker in 1994-95. Three other Valpo players made a 3 in each of the first 13 games of a season – Bryce Drew (1995-96), Casey Schmidt (1992-93) and Mike Jones (1989-90).
Taylor is currently on a streak of seven straight games with multiple made 3s after opening the season with a stretch of five in a row with multiple triples. The last time Valpo had a player make multiple 3s in seven straight was Javon Freeman-Liberty (9, 2019-20).
Overall, he has made a 3 in 79 consecutive contests dating all the way back to Dec. 15, 2018 while playing for Winona State in a game at Concordia St. Paul. The highest of the NCAA records (Division I, Division II or Division III) for consecutive games with a made 3 is 93 and belongs to Daniel Park of D-II Rollins from Jan. 26, 1994 to Feb. 28, 1997. However, Taylor’s streak would not be recognized in the NCAA record book should it reach that point since it is split between Division I and Division II.
If Taylor’s streak came in all D-I games, it would rank third in Division-I history. The D-I record is held by Mack Smith, who Valpo played against on Dec. 5 at Western Michigan. Smith set the record while at Eastern Illinois. Second is Corey Bradford of Illinois (88).
Valpo has featured incredible balance among its scorers this season with six players averaging in double figures through 16 games – Kobe King, Ben Krikke, Sheldon Edwards, Kevion Taylor, Trevor Anderson and Thomas Kithier.
The last time Valpo finished a season with five or more players averaging in double figures was the 2007-2008 campaign – Shawn Huff, Jarryd Loyd, Urule Igbavboa, Brandon McPherson and Samuel Haanpaa.
Valpo hasn’t had six players finish a season averaging in double figures since at least 1988-89.
Valuing the Rock
Valuing possessions and capitalizing on giveaways have been strengths for the Beacons this season as they rank at or near the top of the conference in turnovers per game (10.8), turnover margin (+2.1), assist/turnover ratio (1.3) and steals per game (7.4).
The Beacons tied a season low with six turnovers on Jan. 8 vs. Southern Illinois, matching their effort on Nov. 22 vs. Jacksonville State in the Bahamas. That marked the second straight season Valpo has committed just six turnovers in a game against Southern Illinois as they held the turnover total to six in a 66-65 victory on Feb. 21 of last season.
Valpo has won the turnover battle in nine of the last 10 games including eight straight prior to Jan. 5 at UNI.
The eight straight games winning the turnover battle was the team’s longest such streak over the last 28 seasons, surpassing a seven-game streak from the 2015-16 campaign.
The Jan. 5 game at UNI represented a rare aberration from the norm as Valpo committed 18 turnovers, its second most this season behind 19 on Nov. 17 at Stanford.
The Beacons have given it away 10 times or fewer in 10 of their 16 games this season.
Valpo is 7-4 when winning the turnover battle and 1-4 when losing it this season.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Jan. 8: Southern Illinois 63, Valpo 60
Kobe King (18) and Thomas Kithier (12) were joined in double figures by Ben Krikke, who scored 10 of his 16 points prior to halftime.
Krikke has been in double figures in three straight games and nine times in his 13 contests this season. Of his nine double-figure outputs, seven have featured more than 15 points.
Valpo nearly erased all of a 16-point deficit with 8:08 remaining, getting to within two with 1:22 to go before missing the team’s final five shots of the contest.
Had Valpo completed the rally, that would have come as no surprise as the Beacons have come from double figures down to win 18 times during the Matt Lottich head coaching era (sixth season) including twice this season (Tulane and Eastern Michigan).
The Beacons struggled to knock down 3-point shots, going just 5-of-22 for 22.7 percent. That marked the team’s lowest 3-point shooting clip since the Nov. 9 season opener vs. Toledo and second-lowest of the season.
The 60 points matched a season low (Nov. 17 at Stanford).
Winning both the rebounding battle and turnover battle helped Valpo create 10 more shot attempts than Southern Illinois, the first time Valpo was +10 against a DI foe in field goal attempts this season. However, the Salukis shot 55.6 percent to Valpo’s 40 percent.
Valpo is 1-5 this season when missing either Trevor Anderson, Ben Krikke or Thomas Kithier. When all three play, Valpo boasts a 7-3 mark.
Scouting the Ramblers
Received votes in the AP and USA Today Coaches’ polls on Jan. 3 and could have a chance to crack the Top 25 in the Monday, Jan. 10 polls prior to Tuesday’s game.
Rallied to beat Bradley 78-71 in overtime on Saturday, overcoming a 16-point second-half deficit.
Have won 29 straight games on their home court and 22 home games in a row in Valley play.
Earned a 79-74 win over San Francisco in a neutral-site game on Thursday, Jan. 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The nonconference battle between two of the nation’s top mid-majors was a last-minute schedule addition when both schools had opponents unable to compete due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Ryan Schwieger is averaging a team-high 12.5 points per game, while Lucas Williamson (12.1 ppg) and Aher Uguak (10.1 ppg) are also in double figures.
Went 26-5 overall and 16-2 in MVC play last season en route to a Sweet 16 appearance.
Picked second behind Drake in this year’s MVC preseason poll.
|COLLEGE BASKETBALL||TIME ET||TV|
|WRIGHT STATE AT NORTHERN KENTUCKY||6:00PM||ESPN+|
|ARMY WEST POINT AT COLGATE||6:00PM||ESPN+|
|BOSTON UNIVERSITY AT AMERICAN||7:00PM||CBSSN|
|HOLY CROSS AT LEHIGH||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|BUCKNELL AT LOYOLA (MD)||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|SACRAMENTO STATE AT NORTHERN ARIZONA||8:00PM||ESPN+|
|COLLEGE FOOTBALL||TIME ET||TV|
|CFP CHAMPIONSHIP: GEORGIA VS. ALABAMA||8:00PM||ESPN|
|MILWAUKEE AT CHARLOTTE||7:00PM||NBATV|
|UTAH AT DETROIT||7:00PM||ATTSN-RM|
|SAN ANTONIO AT NEW YORK||7:30PM||MSG|
|INDIANA AT BOSTON||7:30PM||NESN|
|PHILADELPHIA AT HOUSTON||8:00PM||NBCS-PHI|
|BROOKLYN AT PORTLAND||10:00PM||YES|
|CLEVELAND AT SACRAMENTO||10:00PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|TAMPA BAY AT NEW JERSEY||7:00PM||MSG+|
|BOSTON AT WASHINGTON||7:00PM||NESN|
|SEATTLE AT COLORADO||9:00PM||ROOT SPORTS|
|OTTAWA AT EDMONTON||10:00PM||SPORTSNET|
|NY RANGERS AT LOS ANGELES||10:30PM||MSG+|
TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY
1907 John McGraw saves the day when he prevents a runaway team of horses from injuring two West Coast women. The fiery Giants manager’s heroic deed of stopping the wayward steeds occurs in the City of Angels.
1928 Giants owner Charles Stoneham, displeased with Rogers Hornsby’s abrasive style and gambling habits, trades his second baseman to the Braves for backstop prospect Shanty Hogan and journeyman fly chaser Jimmy Welsh. During Rajah’s one-year stay in Boston, his third team in three seasons, the future Hall of Fame infielder will lead the major leagues in hitting with a .387 batting average along with an astounding .498 on-base-percentage while playing and managing the seventh-place club.
1934 The late Bill Veeck Sr., a former sportswriter who won three pennants (1918, 1929, and 1932) during his reign in Chicago’s front office, is replaced by William Walker as the Cubs’ president. The 56-year-old baseball executive, whose son will become a Hall of Fame major league owner, died of leukemia during the World Series last season.
1945 The BBWAA does not elect a new member for the Hall of Fame this year. Frank Chance (72.5), Rube Waddell (62.3), and Ed Walsh (55.5), all of whom will be inducted by the Veterans’ committee in 1946, get the most votes but fall short of the necessary three-fourths of the ballots to be selected.
1950 George Susce is relieved of his duties by Cleveland general manager Hank Greenberg when the bullpen coach’s son declines an offer to sign with the Tribe, deciding instead to play for less money with Louisville, a farm team of the Red Sox. George Jr., who will make his major league debut against the Yankees in 1955, compiles a 22-17 record in 117 games during his five seasons with Boston and Detroit.
1950 The Phillies officially abandon using the nickname of Blue Jays, a moniker that never caught the fancy of the Philadelphia fandom. The unpopular choice, selected in a 1944 contest from 634 entries received from over 5,000 letters from every state, included the Bell Ringers, Keystones, Minutemen, and Valley Forgers, appeared as a logo on a sleeve patch for the following two seasons.
1957 Commissioner Ford Frick allows Bing Crosby, part of an eleven-man syndicate that made a successful bid to buy the Tigers, to keep his token stock in the Detroit club although he is part owner of the Pirates. The famous crooner, who became one of the Bucs’ owners in 1946, presently has a 16% share of the Steel City club.
1983 “The Yankee pin stripes belong to New York like Central Park, like the Statue of Liberty, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, like the Metropolitan Opera, like the Stock Exchange, like the lights of Broadway, etc.” – RICHARD S. LANE, ruling against the Yankees’ bid to play their first home games in Denver. Acting Justice Richard S. Lane of State Supreme Court in Manhattan bars the Yankees from playing their season’s opening series against the Tigers at Denver’s Mile High Stadium. George Steinbrenner sought to move the three games, fearing the renovations to the Bronx ballpark would not be completed on time, but the judge dismisses the rescheduling the games to Colorado, citing the owner ignored the obvious solution of playing the contests at Shea Stadium, the home of the Mets located seven miles away, or at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium.
1991 In one of the worst trades ever made in baseball history, the Orioles send pitchers Curt Schilling and Pete Harnish along with outfielder Steve Finley to the Astros for first baseman Glenn Davis. Davis, who averaged 27 home runs in six seasons playing in the Astrodome, will hit only 24 dingers in three injury-filled years as Schilling becomes one of the most dominant hurlers in the game, and Harnish and Finley develop into solid major league performers.
2001 To authenticate autographed and game-used merchandise sold by its licensees, Major League Baseball hires Arthur Andersen, an accounting company, to assure the authenticity of approximately 40,000 items this season. The memorabilia will have a tamper-proof hologram and an ID number with a company official observing the physical removal of the object taken from the player or event.
2001 As part of its 100th Anniversary festivities, the Indians present three-time All-Star Jim Thome with his very own bobblehead doll. The first baseman is one of seven current Cleveland players who will be part of the bobblehead doll promotional giveaways to celebrate the club’s centennial this season.
2002 The Yankees sign White Sox free-agent southpaw David Wells to a two-year, $7-million contract to rejoin the team after trading him in 1999 to the Blue Jays, along with Graeme Lloyd and Homer Bush, for Roger Clemens. The 38-year-old left-hander known as Boomer, who missed most of the second half of last season due to back surgery, posted a 34-14 record, including a perfect game in 1998, during his first two-year tenure with the team.
2002 “In light of this disclosure and your apparent unwillingness to reveal other financial information that you assert supports your decision to eliminate two baseball teams, I regret that I must call on you to resign as commissioner of major league baseball.” – JOHN CONYERS, JR., U.S. Representative (D-MI), citing a conflict of interest. Representative John Conyers Jr., the House Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, said he would back off asking Bud Selig to resign if the commissioner dropped his threat to eliminate teams this season. In a two-page letter to the Michigan lawmaker, Selig was unequivocal in his response, stating that the suggestions were wholly unacceptable.
2006 Bruce Sutter, joining Hoyt Wilhelm (1985), Rollie Fingers (1992), and Dennis Eckersley (2004), becomes the fourth relief pitcher to be voted into the Hall of Fame and the first hurler elected without a career major league start. The split-fingered fastball, which will eventually lead to career-ending injuries.
|AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|XYZ-TENNESSEE TITANS||12||5||0||.706||0.0||419||354||7 – 2 – 0||5 – 3 – 0||8 – 4 – 0||5 – 1 – 0||3 W|
|XY-KANSAS CITY CHIEFS||12||5||0||.706||0.0||480||364||7 – 2 – 0||5 – 3 – 0||7 – 5 – 0||5 – 1 – 0||1 W|
|XY-BUFFALO BILLS||11||6||0||.647||0.0||483||289||6 – 3 – 0||5 – 3 – 0||7 – 5 – 0||5 – 1 – 0||4 W|
|XY-CINCINNATI BENGALS||10||7||0||.588||0.0||460||376||5 – 4 – 0||5 – 3 – 0||8 – 4 – 0||4 – 2 – 0||1 L|
|X-LAS VEGAS RAIDERS||10||7||0||.588||0.0||374||439||5 – 4 – 0||5 – 3 – 0||8 – 4 – 0||3 – 3 – 0||4 W|
|X-NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS||10||7||0||.588||0.0||462||303||4 – 5 – 0||6 – 2 – 0||8 – 4 – 0||3 – 3 – 0||1 L|
|X-PITTSBURGH STEELERS||9||7||1||.559||0.0||343||398||6 – 2 – 1||3 – 5 – 0||7 – 5 – 0||4 – 2 – 0||2 W|
|INDIANAPOLIS COLTS||9||8||0||.529||1.0||451||365||4 – 5 – 0||5 – 3 – 0||7 – 5 – 0||3 – 3 – 0||2 L|
|MIAMI DOLPHINS||9||8||0||.529||1.0||341||373||6 – 3 – 0||3 – 5 – 0||6 – 6 – 0||4 – 2 – 0||1 W|
|LOS ANGELES CHARGERS||9||8||0||.529||1.0||474||459||5 – 4 – 0||4 – 4 – 0||6 – 6 – 0||3 – 3 – 0||1 L|
|CLEVELAND BROWNS||8||9||0||.471||2.0||349||371||6 – 3 – 0||2 – 6 – 0||5 – 7 – 0||3 – 3 – 0||1 W|
|BALTIMORE RAVENS||8||9||0||.471||2.0||387||392||5 – 4 – 0||3 – 5 – 0||5 – 7 – 0||1 – 5 – 0||6 L|
|DENVER BRONCOS||7||10||0||.412||3.0||335||322||4 – 5 – 0||3 – 5 – 0||3 – 9 – 0||1 – 5 – 0||4 L|
|NEW YORK JETS||4||13||0||.235||6.0||310||504||3 – 6 – 0||1 – 7 – 0||4 – 8 – 0||0 – 6 – 0||2 L|
|HOUSTON TEXANS||4||13||0||.235||6.0||280||452||2 – 7 – 0||2 – 6 – 0||4 – 8 – 0||3 – 3 – 0||2 L|
|JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS||3||14||0||.176||7.0||253||457||3 – 6 – 0||0 – 8 – 0||3 – 9 – 0||1 – 5 – 0||1 W|
|NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|XYZ-GREEN BAY PACKERS||13||4||0||.765||0.0||450||371||8 – 0 – 0||5 – 4 – 0||9 – 3 – 0||4 – 2 – 0||1 L|
|XY-TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS||13||4||0||.765||0.0||511||353||7 – 1 – 0||6 – 3 – 0||8 – 4 – 0||4 – 2 – 0||3 W|
|XY-DALLAS COWBOYS||12||5||0||.706||0.0||530||358||5 – 3 – 0||7 – 2 – 0||10 – 2 – 0||6 – 0 – 0||1 W|
|XY-LOS ANGELES RAMS||12||5||0||.706||0.0||460||372||5 – 3 – 0||7 – 2 – 0||8 – 4 – 0||3 – 3 – 0||1 L|
|X-ARIZONA CARDINALS||11||6||0||.647||0.0||449||366||3 – 5 – 0||8 – 1 – 0||7 – 5 – 0||4 – 2 – 0||1 L|
|X-SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS||10||7||0||.588||0.0||427||365||4 – 4 – 0||6 – 3 – 0||7 – 5 – 0||2 – 4 – 0||2 W|
|X-PHILADELPHIA EAGLES||9||8||0||.529||0.0||444||385||3 – 5 – 0||6 – 3 – 0||7 – 5 – 0||3 – 3 – 0||1 L|
|NEW ORLEANS SAINTS||9||8||0||.529||1.0||364||335||3 – 5 – 0||6 – 3 – 0||7 – 5 – 0||4 – 2 – 0||2 W|
|MINNESOTA VIKINGS||8||9||0||.471||2.0||425||426||5 – 3 – 0||3 – 6 – 0||6 – 6 – 0||4 – 2 – 0||1 W|
|WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM||7||10||0||.412||3.0||335||434||3 – 5 – 0||4 – 5 – 0||6 – 6 – 0||2 – 4 – 0||1 W|
|SEATTLE SEAHAWKS||7||10||0||.412||3.0||395||366||3 – 5 – 0||4 – 5 – 0||4 – 8 – 0||3 – 3 – 0||2 W|
|ATLANTA FALCONS||7||10||0||.412||3.0||313||459||2 – 6 – 0||5 – 4 – 0||4 – 8 – 0||2 – 4 – 0||2 L|
|CHICAGO BEARS||6||11||0||.353||4.0||311||407||3 – 5 – 0||3 – 6 – 0||4 – 8 – 0||2 – 4 – 0||1 L|
|CAROLINA PANTHERS||5||12||0||.294||5.0||304||404||2 – 6 – 0||3 – 6 – 0||3 – 9 – 0||2 – 4 – 0||7 L|
|NEW YORK GIANTS||4||13||0||.235||6.0||258||416||3 – 5 – 0||1 – 8 – 0||3 – 9 – 0||1 – 5 – 0||6 L|
|DETROIT LIONS||3||13||1||.206||6.5||325||467||3 – 5 – 0||0 – 8 – 1||3 – 9 – 0||2 – 4 – 0||1 W|
X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT, Y – CLINCHED DIVISION, Z – CLINCHED HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
|W||L||PCT||CONF GB||HOME||ROAD||DIV||CONF||LAST 10||STREAK|
|1 CHICAGO||26||11||.703||—||14-4||12-7||4-2||17-7||9-1||1 L|
|2 BROOKLYN||25||13||.658||1.5||11-10||14-3||6-1||18-8||5-5||1 W|
|3 MIAMI||25||15||.625||2.5||12-4||13-11||6-1||16-7||7-3||2 W|
|4 MILWAUKEE||26||16||.619||2.5||13-7||13-9||6-2||18-12||7-3||1 L|
|5 PHILADELPHIA||22||16||.579||4.5||8-8||14-8||3-6||14-10||7-3||6 W|
|6 CLEVELAND||22||18||.550||5.5||11-9||11-9||4-1||14-9||4-6||1 L|
|7 TORONTO||20||17||.541||6.0||12-10||8-7||5-5||12-11||7-3||6 W|
|8 CHARLOTTE||21||19||.525||6.5||11-5||10-14||5-3||13-9||5-5||2 W|
|9 WASHINGTON||20||20||.500||7.5||10-7||10-13||5-5||14-13||5-5||1 W|
|10 BOSTON||19||21||.475||8.5||12-8||7-13||5-5||13-11||4-6||1 W|
|11 NEW YORK||19||21||.475||8.5||9-11||10-10||4-6||13-17||6-4||1 L|
|12 ATLANTA||17||22||.436||10.0||8-9||9-13||4-3||10-12||3-7||2 L|
|13 INDIANA||15||25||.375||12.5||12-10||3-15||2-7||8-20||3-7||1 W|
|14 DETROIT||8||30||.211||18.5||5-13||3-17||2-6||6-18||4-6||1 W|
|15 ORLANDO||7||34||.171||21.0||2-15||5-19||1-9||4-26||1-9||9 L|
|W||L||PCT||CONF GB||HOME||ROAD||DIV||CONF||LAST 10||STREAK|
|1 GOLDEN STATE||30||9||.769||—||18-3||12-6||7-1||16-6||6-4||1 W|
|2 PHOENIX||30||9||.769||—||17-5||13-4||5-4||20-7||6-4||1 L|
|3 UTAH||28||12||.700||2.5||14-7||14-5||9-0||18-4||7-3||2 L|
|4 MEMPHIS||28||14||.667||3.5||14-8||14-6||4-2||21-9||9-1||9 W|
|5 DALLAS||22||18||.550||8.5||11-8||11-10||8-2||18-10||7-3||6 W|
|6 DENVER||20||18||.526||9.5||9-7||11-11||3-5||13-11||6-4||2 W|
|7 LA LAKERS||21||20||.512||10.0||14-11||7-9||2-5||12-14||5-5||1 L|
|8 MINNESOTA||20||20||.500||10.5||11-10||9-10||4-4||15-13||5-5||4 W|
|9 LA CLIPPERS||20||21||.488||11.0||13-12||7-9||3-5||12-17||4-6||1 W|
|10 SAN ANTONIO||15||24||.385||15.0||7-10||8-14||1-4||8-15||4-6||2 L|
|11 PORTLAND||15||24||.385||15.0||13-11||2-13||1-4||8-18||4-6||1 W|
|12 SACRAMENTO||16||26||.381||15.5||10-13||6-13||4-6||11-19||3-7||4 L|
|13 NEW ORLEANS||14||26||.350||16.5||8-11||6-15||2-4||9-16||5-5||1 L|
|14 OKLAHOMA CITY||13||26||.333||17.0||8-13||5-13||1-5||10-19||3-7||4 L|
|15 HOUSTON||11||30||.268||20.0||7-12||4-18||1-4||4-17||1-9||2 L|
EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH CONFERENCE QUALIFY FOR THE PLAYOFFS.
X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT, Y – CLINCHED DIVISION, Z – CLINCHED CONFERENCE
|1 FLORIDA PANTHERS||35||23||7||5||51||22||137||106||18-3-0||5-4-5||6-3-1|
|2 CAROLINA HURRICANES||33||24||7||2||50||24||115||73||11-3-1||13-4-1||8-1-1|
|3 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING||37||23||9||5||51||21||122||109||12-4-3||11-5-2||6-3-1|
|4 NEW YORK RANGERS||36||23||9||4||50||21||106||91||10-3-2||13-6-2||5-4-1|
|5 WASHINGTON CAPITALS||36||20||7||9||49||18||122||97||10-3-5||10-4-4||4-3-3|
|6 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS||33||22||8||3||47||22||112||83||14-4-1||8-4-2||6-2-2|
|7 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS||34||20||9||5||45||19||112||89||10-5-2||10-4-3||9-1-0|
|8 BOSTON BRUINS||31||18||11||2||38||17||92||81||9-6-1||9-5-1||6-3-1|
|9 DETROIT RED WINGS||36||16||16||4||36||15||99||122||12-5-2||4-11-2||3-6-1|
|10 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS||33||16||16||1||33||13||106||118||11-5-1||5-11-0||3-6-1|
|11 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS||35||13||15||7||33||13||90||119||6-7-3||7-8-4||4-3-3|
|12 NEW JERSEY DEVILS||36||14||17||5||33||13||105||126||9-7-3||5-10-2||4-6-0|
|13 NEW YORK ISLANDERS||28||10||12||6||26||10||64||80||4-5-3||6-7-3||5-2-3|
|14 BUFFALO SABRES||34||10||18||6||26||8||91||119||6-10-2||4-8-4||2-5-3|
|15 OTTAWA SENATORS||29||9||18||2||20||8||79||107||5-9-0||4-9-2||5-4-1|
|16 MONTREAL CANADIENS||34||7||23||4||18||6||73||123||5-10-1||2-13-3||1-7-2|
|1 NASHVILLE PREDATORS||36||23||11||2||48||22||112||95||10-5-0||13-6-2||8-1-1|
|2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS||38||23||14||1||47||20||135||113||12-9-1||11-5-0||6-3-1|
|3 ST. LOUIS BLUES||36||21||10||5||47||19||126||98||14-3-2||7-7-3||7-2-1|
|4 ANAHEIM DUCKS||38||19||12||7||45||16||116||106||12-5-4||7-7-3||4-4-2|
|5 COLORADO AVALANCHE||31||21||8||2||44||20||135||101||13-2-1||8-6-1||9-1-0|
|6 CALGARY FLAMES||33||17||10||6||40||15||104||83||4-3-4||13-7-2||3-6-1|
|7 MINNESOTA WILD||33||21||10||2||44||17||122||102||11-3-1||10-7-1||5-4-1|
|8 LOS ANGELES KINGS||35||17||13||5||39||15||97||93||11-8-2||6-5-3||6-3-1|
|9 SAN JOSE SHARKS||36||19||16||1||39||18||102||112||9-7-1||10-9-0||5-5-0|
|10 EDMONTON OILERS||34||18||14||2||38||16||113||111||10-6-0||8-8-2||2-6-2|
|11 WINNIPEG JETS||33||16||12||5||37||15||99||99||10-6-1||6-6-4||5-4-1|
|12 DALLAS STARS||32||17||13||2||36||15||92||94||13-3-1||4-10-1||4-6-0|
|13 VANCOUVER CANUCKS||34||16||15||3||35||13||89||95||8-7-1||8-8-2||8-1-1|
|14 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS||35||12||18||5||29||9||83||119||6-7-3||6-11-2||3-4-3|
|15 SEATTLE KRAKEN||33||10||19||4||24||10||92||122||6-11-2||4-8-2||2-6-2|
|16 ARIZONA COYOTES||33||7||23||3||17||7||72||128||3-12-1||4-11-2||2-7-1|
EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH CONFERENCE QUALIFY FOR THE DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF FORMAT. THE TOP THREE TEAMS FROM EACH DIVISION MAKE UP THE FIRST SIX SPOTS. THE TWO REMAINING TEAMS WITH THE HIGHEST POINTS, REGARDLESS OF DIVISION, QUALIFY FOR THE FINAL TWO WILD CARD SPOTS.
X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT, Y – CLINCHED DIVISION, Z – CLINCHED CONFERENCE