*************THE SCOREBOARD**************



  2. PENN


  5. PERU







  4. PENN




  10. WABASH











  2. TRI







  7. LAPEL


  2. TRI
  10. KOUTS

***********TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL***********













************TOP 25 WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL***********











#12 UCLA 61 USC 60

#15 ARIZONA 79 #18 OREGON 71

#24 ST. JOHN’S 71 XAVIER 52
























************NFL WEEK 17************


















NFC:    4:30 PM (ET)                 7 SEATTLE AT 2 SAN FRANCISCO (FOX, FOX DEPORTES)



AFC:    1:00 PM (ET)                 7 MIAMI AT 2 BUFFALO (CBS, PARAMOUNT+)



























************TOP NATIONAL HEADLINES*************

************COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS********



BULLDOGS BATTLE TCU FOR CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Top-ranked Georgia enters the CFP National Championship Game with a 14-0 mark following its 42-41 victory over No. 4 Ohio State at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta. The Bulldogs are aiming to become the first team in the CFP era to win back-to-back national championships. A year ago, Georgia was seeded No. 3 and beat No. 2 Michigan 34-11 in a semifinal and then No. 1 Alabama 33-18 for the championship. Also, the Bulldogs will be looking to become just the third FBS team in the modern era to cap a perfect 15-0 season with a national title as Clemson did it in 2018 and then LSU in 2019 when it beat the Tigers. Georgia has won 16 straight games going back to last season’s CFP semifinal/Capital One Orange Bowl win over Michigan. The school record is 17 in a row set from 1945-47. The Bulldogs are now 4-1 in the CFP in Kirby Smart’s seventh season at the helm. In just his second season in 2017, the Bulldogs reached the CFP and won a thrilling semifinal over No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl Game (54-48 in double overtime). Then, the Bulldogs were stunned by No. 4 Alabama 26-23 in overtime in Atlanta to miss out on a crown. Georgia has won three consensus national championships in its history, claiming the title in 1942, 1980 and 2021. SERIES HISTORY WITH THE HORNED FROGS Georgia owns a 4-0 advantage against TCU with a pair of wins in bowl games and two during the regular season in Athens. The most recent meeting came in the 2016 Liberty Bowl to wrap up Kirby Smart’s first season at the helm. Georgia posted a 31-23 win in Memphis. Before that, Georgia claimed a pair of victories during the Vince Dooley era, winning 38-10 in Athens in game two of the 1988 season and 34-3 in Athens in game four of the 1980 national championship season. The first meeting with TCU came in the 1942 Orange Bowl in Miami, a 40-26 Bulldog triumph. The victory gave Georgia a 9-1-1 season under Wallace Butts and with a team that featured All-America halfback Frank Sinkwich, who played most of the year with a broken jaw. His performance in the Orange Bowl is still considered by many as one of the best in the postseason. He accounted for 382 yards of total offense (139 rushing, 9-for-13 passing for 243 yards and 3 TDs). Sinkwich would become Georgia’s first Heisman Trophy winner the next season. SENIORS MAKING HISTORY After capturing the SEC Championship with a 50-30 win over No. 14 LSU in Atlanta on Dec. 3, Georgia erased a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to top No. 4 Ohio State in the CFP Semifinal. The Bulldog senior class has established a school record for most career victories with a 48-5 mark. That mark included just nine regular season games and a bowl triumph during the COVID-shortened season of 2020. The 2021 Bulldog class that finished their career as national champions tallied a 45-8 mark.

PILING UP THE POINTS * Georgia is averaging 39.4 points/game, which is ninth nationally. In the SEC Championship Game victory over #14 LSU, the Bulldogs scored 50 points with 549 yards of offense to help capture the program’s 14th SEC title. One game later, Georgia won the CFP Semifinal over #4 Ohio State 42-41 with 533 yards. * The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 551-207 this season, including 303-98 in the opening half. * The Bulldogs are 75 of 77 in the Red Zone (a national leading 97 percent) this year with 52 touchdowns and 23 field goals. * In the win over #4 Ohio State, redshirt sophomore Arian Smith had career highs of three catches for 129 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown catch. Sophomore AD Mitchell had three catches for 43 yards during a performance that included the eventual game-winning score with :54 left. He has been limited to just five games this year due to an ankle injury. * Georgia jumped out to a 24-6 halftime lead on 306 total yards versus No. 1 Tennessee and eventually posted a 27-13 victory. * Georgia’s offense generated 49 points against No. 11 Oregon in the 2022 season opener. The Bulldogs tallied 571 yards of offense on 62 plays, scoring touchdowns on their first seven possessions. Georgia had a season-high 579 yards of offense vs Vandy. * Redshirt sophomore Ladd McConkey is second on the team with 53 catches for 674 yards (12.7 avg.) and five scores. He had a career-long 70-yard touchdown run at Mississippi State. McConkey is also the primary punt returner with 16 for 197 yards, including a career-long 39 yarder versus Georgia Tech.

DEFENSE SETTING THE TONE * The Bulldogs rank fifth nationally in Scoring Defense, giving up just 14.8 points per contest. The defense has posted 26 scoreless quarters, including holding five teams scoreless in the opening half this year. * Georgia has held six teams to a season low in points, including No. 1 Tennessee (13) and No. 11 Oregon (3). * After missing time with a knee injury, junior DL Jalen Carter, a Lombardi Award finalist, has been a force. In the last seven games, he has accounted for 25 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. * Georgia shut down No. 1 Tennessee to the tune of 13 points after the Vols came in averaging a national best 49.4 points per contest. The 13 points was the lowest scored under head coach Josh Heupel. The Vols did not get a touchdown until 4:15 left in the contest. UT was just 2-of-14 on third downs (14 percent). * Georgia posted its second shutout of the year with a 55-0 win over VU. This marked the 10th shutout in the Kirby Smart era (since 2016), the FBS’ most during that span. * Georgia is allowing teams to convert on third downs only 27 percent of the time and that ranks second nationally. * The 2022 Bulldog defense kept No. 3 Oregon to only a field goal in the season opener. This marked the first time Oregon had failed to score a touchdown in a game since 2017. Late in the fourth quarter, Georgia had an impressive goal line stand late that ended at the two yard line following a 19-play, 87-yard drive that lasted 8:47. * Georgia’s first touchdown allowed this year came at South Carolina in game three with 53 seconds remaining in the game. * The Dogs have only allowed six rushing TDs this year.


ABOUT THE GAME:  TCU will make its first College Football Playoff National Championship appearance when it faces Georgia on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The Horned Frogs are playing in the Los Angeles area for the first time since the 2011 Rose Bowl, when they defeated Wisconsin 21-19 to cap a 13-0 season and finish with a No. 2 national ranking. TCU is looking to win its third national title and first since 1938. The 1938 team was led by Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Davey O’Brien. TCU quarterback Max Duggan was the 2022 Heisman runner-up while also becoming the first Horned Frog to win the Davey O’Brien Award. TCU is looking to become just the fifth team, and first since Michigan State in 1962, to win a national championship after having a losing record the previous season. 4The Horned Frogs are the third team since 1998 to play in a national title game after being unranked in the Preseason Associated Press poll. TCU is the first Big 12 team to win a CFP game. The Horned Frogs are also the first Big 12 member to play for a national championship since Texas in 2009. TCU has tied a program record with its 13 wins, equaling the 2010 team. 4A TCU victory would make Sonny Dykes just the second college football head coach in history, joining George Washington Woodruff for Penn in 1892, to win 14 games in his first season. 4Dykes is just the eighth head coach with a CFP victory. TCU’s six wins over ranked opponents ties Tennessee for the national lead. TCU will play outside the state of Texas for just the fifth time this season and second since Oct. 29 at West Virginia. TALKING HORNED FROGS TCU was the first Big 12 team to be 12-0 since Texas in 2009. The Horned Frogs were also the first Big 12 member to go 9-0 in conference play since Oklahoma in 2016. TCU is the first school from the state of Texas to make the College Football Playoff and just the second team (Michigan, 2021) to be in the CFP after starting the season unranked. Five of TCU’s wins were against teams it lost to by at least two scores last season, including four by at least three scores. 4TCU is the first team since 1975 to win seven straight games by 10 points or less. 4Sonny Dykes became the first head football coach in TCU and Big 12 history to start 12-0 in his first season. He’s just the fourth head coach nationally since 1996 to accomplish the feat. 4The Horned Frogs are just the third team since 1960 (Stanford, 2012; Iowa, 1960) to win four consecutive games over ranked opponents in a calendar month. 4TCU’s four consecutive games with a win over a ranked opponent ties for first nationally since 1996. 4TCU has eight more wins than it had all of last season. Only Tulane (+10) has a bigger improvement.

SERIES NOTES 4TCU and Georgia are meeting for just the fifth time and first since the 2016 Liberty Bowl, when the Bulldogs won 31-23 in Head Coach Kirby Smart’s first season. Georgia holds a 4-0 series lead. Georgia won both games (1980, 1988) in Athens as well as taking a 40-26 victory in the 1942 Orange Bowl. HOMECOMING: TCU running back Emari Demercado, who has his master’s degree, is an Inglewood, Calif., native who grew up walking distance from SoFi Stadium. Demercado rushed for a career-high 150 yards in the CFP Semifinal win over Michigan. FAMILIAR FACE 4TCU defensive lineman Tymon Mitchell played his first three seasons at Georgia, including five games on last year’s national championship team. 4Mitchell is fourth on TCU this season with 3.0 sacks. He has played in all 14 games with 19 tackles. GIVING BACK Jordy Sandy is donating $20 to Fort Worth’s Hope Center for Autism for every punt inside the 20-yard line. Sandy has a 9-year-old cousin with autism back home in Australia. He has totaled $320 with 16 punts inside the 20 this season. TCU SUPPORT 4Since it began Big 12 play in 2012, TCU has had over $400 million in donor-funded athletics facilities upgrades. The most recent project was the $113 million Legends Club & Suites which opened in Fall 2020 on the east side of Amon G. Carter Stadium.

************NFL NEWS*************


ATLANTA (AP) Desmond Ridder had almost a full season to plan how he would celebrate his first touchdown pass.

After finally throwing the long-awaited TD in the final game of the regular season, Ridder forgot all those plans. Luckily, veteran running back Cordarrelle Patterson had Ridder’s back and remembered to grab the ball for the Atlanta Falcons’ rookie.

Ridder’s first two touchdown passes powered the Falcons to a 30-17 win over the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday after Tom Brady added to his imposing list of records.

Ridder completed a four-game audition to close the season. Before Sunday, he had impressed coach Arthur Smith with his poise but had no TD passes in his first three starts.

Ridder ended the drought by rolling to his right and lobbing a 2-yard scoring pass to tight end MyCole Pruitt in the first quarter. When asked if he remembered the plan he had made to celebrate his first TD pass, Ridder smiled and shook his head.

“No, it was just pure emotion,” Ridder said. “Me and Pruitt were just screaming in each other’s face and I was looking for the ball and I saw CP run over and go grab it for me. He knew I was waiting on that, too.”

On a day the Buccaneers had little to play for other than staying sharp for the playoffs, Brady left the game in the second quarter and had to watch the remainder of his first career loss to the Falcons from the sideline.

Brady was in the game long enough to break his own NFL record for most completions in a season.

Brady had been 11-0 in his career against Atlanta, including New England’s 34-28 win over the Falcons in the Super Bowl following the 2016 season. Led by Brady, the Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit.

The Falcons haven’t been allowed to forget the epic Super Bowl collapse, but they can now claim to be responsible for Brady’s first losing final record in a regular season.

Brady and Tampa Bay’s other healthy regulars started even though the Buccaneers (8-9) clinched the NFC South title by beating Carolina 30-24 last week and were locked in as the NFC’s No. 4 seed in the playoffs.

Brady said “It’s a big challenge” to take a losing record into the playoffs.

“It’s going to be hard, but we’re battle tested,” Brady said. “We’ve had some tough games. Some we came back from. Some we haven’t. But like I said, close won’t be good enough for going forward for anybody.”

Brady had winning records in 21 consecutive regular seasons with New England and Tampa Bay before this season.

Rookie Tyler Allgeier rushed for 135 yards on 24 carries to end the fifth consecutive losing season for Atlanta (7-10) under second-year coach Arthur Smith.

Brady began the day needing nine completions to top his 2021 single-season record of 485. He set the mark on a 5-yard pass to Russell Gage, the former Falcons receiver, early in the second quarter.

“These are all team records in my opinion,” Brady said. “I’ve always said that.”

Brady already holds many NFL career passing records, including for yards, completions and touchdowns.

Brady completed 13 of 17 passes for 84 yards with a touchdown, giving him 490 completions for the season. Brady capped Tampa Bay’s opening drive with an 8-yard scoring pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph.

Ridder threw a 3-yard scoring pass to Olamide Zaccheaus late in the third quarter for a 20-17 lead. Patterson added a 2-yard scoring run.

Gabbert’s 3-yard scoring pass to Gage gave the Bucs a 17-10 halftime lead.


Allgeier finished his season with 1,035 rushing yards, a team record for rookies. Drake London passed the Falcons’ record for receptions in a season for a rookie. Kyle Pitts had 68 receptions in 2021. London had six catches for 120 yards and finished the season with 72 receptions.


Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles used backup Blaine Gabbert behind Brady before second-year quarterback Kyle Trask made his NFL debut in the fourth quarter. Gabbert completed 6 of 8 passes for 29 yards with a TD. Trask completed 3 of 9 passes for 23 yards.


Falcons and Buccaneers officials and coaches, including Smith and Bowles, paid tribute to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin by wearing ” Love for Damar ” shirts with Hamlin’s No. 3. Hamlin remained hospitalized on Sunday but continued making progress in his recovery after having to be resuscitated on the field in a game at Cincinnati on Monday.


The Buccaneers’ offense lost two starters in the first quarter. Center Robert Hainsey left the game with a hamstring injury. Wide receiver Mike Evans was ruled out with an illness. Rudolph was ruled out with a knee injury in the third quarter. Safety Keanu Neal suffered a hip injury in the third quarter.

Falcons left guard Matt Hennessey left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter.


Buccaneers: Will host NFC wild-card game next weekend.

Falcons: Will shift focus to making roster decisions and preparing for the NFL draft before opening their 2023 season at home against the Carolina Panthers.


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) The echoes of “Let’s Go Buffalo!” pregame chants were still reverberating through an emotionally charged Bills stadium celebrating injured safety Damar Hamlin, when another roar suddenly erupted as Nyheim Hines returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.

Some three hours later, and after Hines returned another kickoff 101 yards for a go-ahead score in a 35-23 win over the New England Patriots, the fans were on their feet chanting “Hamlin! Hamlin! Hamlin!” and Bills players holding up three fingers in honor of the injured safety’s No. 3 jersey.

Whatever questions the Bills faced regarding being capable of playing six days after being left stunned and saddened in watching Hamlin having to be resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati were answered before the game was 14 seconds old.

“I can’t remember a play that touched me like that I don’t think in my life. It’s probably No. 1,” quarterback Josh Allen said. “It’s just spiritual. … You can’t draw that one up or write that one up any better.”

“OMFG!!!!!!” Hamlin posted on his Twitter account from his hospital bed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he has spent the week progressively recovering.

“HINES FREE” he tweeted again after Hines’ second score. Coach Sean McDermott said the team reached Hamlin by phone and had him count down the team’s final huddle in the locker room.

Acquired by Buffalo in a trade with Indianapolis two months ago, Hines became the NFL’s 11th player to return two kickoffs for scores in a game, and first since Seattle’s Leon Washington in 2010.

“We as a community, I feel like we needed this win,” said Hines, before recalling the message Hamlin’s father, Mario, delivered to the team on Wednesday in urging them to play. “He said, that’s what Damar wanted, he would want us to push forward, and to win against New England.”

While Hines sparked the win, much of the Bills focus remained on the 24-year-old Hamlin, who addressed the team by videoconference on Friday, in which he told them: “Love you boys.”

Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White, who at times this season questioned if he’d ever recover from a knee injury sustained in November 2021, had difficulty holding back his emotions after earning his first interception of the season.

Apologizing for using a profanity in referring to how difficult last week was, White noted how Hamlin texted his defensive secondary teammates by apologizing for what he put them through emotionally.

“For him to check on us?” White said. “I just want to hug the (heck) out of him.”

Bills receiver John Brown, who scored on a 42-yard touchdown, honored assistant trainer Denny Kellington by handing him the ball. It was Kellington who is credited for his quick on-field response in performing CPR to get Hamlin’s heart beating again.

In the past year filled with adversity striking Buffalo, from a deadly snowstorm over Christmas to a fatal mass-shooting at a supermarket in May, the Bills showed their resilience by uplifting their community. Overcoming the sudden shock and mental distress of Hamlin collapsing on the field, the win secured Buffalo (13-3) the AFC’s No. 2 seed.

The Bills will now host their division rival Dolphins in the wild-card round next weekend.

The loss, coupled with Miami beating the New York Jets, eliminated the Patriots (8-9) from the playoffs for the second time in three years, and just the fourth time in 23 seasons during Bill Belichick’s coaching tenure.

And leave it to receiver Stefon Diggs, who made a point to visit Hamlin in the University of Cincinnati Medical Center immediately following the game in Cincinnati was suspended, to seal the victory with a 49-yard touchdown catch from Josh Allen to put Buffalo ahead 35-23 with 8:51 remaining.

The sold-out crowd – many of them wearing No. 3 Hamlin shirts and jerseys, and holding up red hearts in the player’s honor – erupted as one as Allen walked off the field with his hands raised.

On the ensuing kickoff, which went for a touchback, Bills special teams players all raced into the end zone and motioned to the crowd. The fans, as one, stood up and let out a massive roar.

Allen finished 19 of 31 for 254 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

The Patriots needed only a win to clinch a playoff berth, but wound up stumbling in closing the season by losing five of their last seven.

“Proud of the way our guys competed and prepared. In the end, collectively, players, coaches, we just weren’t good enough today,” said Belichick, whose 19 playoff appearances remain tied with Don Shula on the NFL coaching list.

“Today we missed some opportunities, and gave up four big plays. Those were the things that made a difference in the game.”

Mac Jones finished 26 of 40 for 243 yards and three touchdowns, including two to DeVante Parker, and three interceptions – all coming in the second half.

Jones’ final two interceptions came on consecutive drives in the final six minutes.

Facing third-and-19 at the Buffalo 22, Jones’ deep pass over the middle went off the hand of tight end Hunter Henry, and was picked off by linebacker Matt Milano.

On New England’s next possession, Jones’ pass went off the hands of Damien Harris, and into the hands of linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.


Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty had an interception and recovered Devin Singletary’s fumble. The interception was the 35th of McCourty’s 13-year career, moving him one behind Ty Law and Raymond Clayborn, who are tied for first on the franchise list.

The 35-year-old McCourty made his 205th start for New England in what could be his final game for the franchise.


Patriots DT DaMarcus Mitchell did not return after sustaining a concussion.


Patriots: Season over.

Bills: Host Miami Dolphins in AFC wild-card game.


CHICAGO (AP) The Minnesota Vikings wanted nothing more than to wash away the bitter taste from a blowout loss and head into the postseason on a sweeter note.

This was more like it.

Kirk Cousins threw for 225 yards and a touchdown in the first half and watched the rest of the way as the NFC North champion Vikings tuned up for the playoffs by beating the Chicago Bears 29-13 on Sunday.

Cousins led three scoring drives as the Vikings (13-4) grabbed a 16-6 halftime lead. They remained in control the rest of the way after getting blown out at Green Bay the previous week. It was the first time since Week 1 that Minnesota won by more than one score, and the team finished the year outscored by opponents 427-424.

“You don’t feel good all week and you’re disappointed and it kind of carries with you,” Cousins said. “And to be able to come back out on the field and compete and play a cleaner game and be sharp, I think it does help. But I don’t think you ever forget what happened last Sunday or what happened in Week 2 against the Eagles.”

The Bears (3-14), who held out star Justin Fields, set a franchise record with their 14th loss and extended one by dropping their 10th game in a row. Only the 1969 team that went 1-13 had a worse record.

Chicago also got a big win by landing the No. 1 pick in the draft. The loss combined with Houston prevailing 32-31 at Indianapolis put Chicago in the top spot for the first time since 1947.

“Whoever comes in, we’re going to change things around,” safety Jaquan Brisker said. “So have his mentality right. Whoever we get, hopefully it’s somebody great. It’s time to turn it around.”

Cousins bounced back from a rough outing, completing 17 of 20 passes while posting a sparkling 130.2 rating. He hit K.J. Osborn for a 66-yard completion on Minnesota’s first possession, setting up a 4-yard touchdown to Adam Thielen, and led two more scoring drives.

Nick Mullens came on in the third quarter and was 11 of 13 for 116 yards and an interception. Osborn had 117 yards on five catches. Justin Jefferson added four receptions for 38 yards, boosting his team-record totals to 128 and 1,809 on the season.

Alexander Mattison ran for a career-high two touchdowns, scoring from the 1 in both the second and third quarters.

“Offensively, I thought we stacked good plays,” coach Kevin O’Connell said. “Even when there were some exotic kind of (defensive back) pressures to try to stop some of our run game, we were able to overcome those things.”


Fields’ pursuit of the NFL single-season rushing record for a quarterback ended when the Bears announced during the week he would miss the game because of a strained hip and Nathan Peterman would start in his place.

Peterman completed 11 of 19 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown in his fifth career start and first since 2018 with Buffalo.

Tim Boyle played the second quarter and came back into the game late in the fourth. He threw two interceptions and completed just 2 of 8 passes.

Velus Jones Jr. had a 42-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Bears finished with 118 yards rushing, giving them a franchise-record 3,014 on the season and surpassing the previous mark of 2,974 in 1984.

“We didn’t have the season we wanted to, but it’s about everybody coming back to work and putting their all into this organization for the Bears,” Jones said. “Everybody take a mental break this offseason, but get back to work and better yourself.”


The Vikings, plagued by slow starts, needed just four plays on their first possession of the game to grab a 6-0 lead.

Cousins hit a wide open Osborn for a 66-yard pass to the 4, then connected with Thielen for a TD. Greg Joseph’s extra point sailed wide right – his sixth miss in 44 attempts.

Minnesota added to the lead early in the second quarter when Mattison scored from the 1 to cap a 12-play drive.

Boyle, who played for Green Bay when Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was the Packers’ quarterbacks coach, took over on Chicago’s fourth possession. He threw a long pass on third down that Patrick Peterson picked off with no receivers near him and returned 28 yards to the 35. Joseph kicked a field goal to make it 16-0.


Vikings: O’Connell said LB Za’Darius Smith (personal matter) and S Harrison Smith (sore knee) to be available next week. Za’Darius Smith traveled separately from the team to Chicago. O’Connell wasn’t sure if Garrett Bradbury (back) would be. … CB Chandon Sullivan (knee contusion) and RB Dalvin Cook (cleat to the leg) got banged up, but should be ready for next week.

Bears: DB Elijah Hicks (concussion) left in the third quarter. … WR Equanimeous St. Brown (knee) was also hurt.


Vikings: Will host a wild-card game next weekend.

Bears: All eyes will be on general manager Ryan Poles – particularly with the No. 1 pick – as he tries to surround Fields with the talent he needs and improve a shaky defense.


CINCINNATI (AP) The Cincinnati Bengals built a big lead and came out flat in the second half, but held off the division rival Baltimore Ravens to close the season on an eight-game winning streak.

Their reward? Hosting the Ravens again in the first round of the playoffs next week.

Joe Burrow threw for a touchdown and Joe Mixon ran for another as the Bengals took advantage of four Ravens turnovers to win 27-16 on Sunday.

The two-time AFC North champion and defending AFC champion Bengals (12-4) returned to the field where, six days earlier, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest. The frightening episode led to their game against the Bills being suspended and later canceled.

On Sunday, the Bengals beat a Ravens team that rested some key players ahead of the postseason and avoided a coin flip to determine the site of their playoff game against Baltimore.

NFL owners approved the coin-flip scenario because the cancellation deprived the Ravens of an opportunity to win the division. Baltimore needed to win and have Denver beat the Los Angeles Chargers later Sunday to prompt the coin toss. The Bengals were unhappy about it and mocked the rule change with a coin-flip celebration after Mixon’s TD.

Cincinnati’s chances at the No. 2 seed in the AFC ended when Buffalo beat New England. Burrow finished 25 of 42 for 215 yards and a touchdown, although he struggled after halftime.

“Certainly, some things that we can clean up, that we can do better, particularly on offense, but I’m just proud of the way that these guys found a way to win in January – that’s all that matters,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “(We) finished the second half of season 8-0, the right way, and so these guys got a lot of confidence right now headed into the playoffs.”

The Ravens (10-7) fought gamely behind rookie third-stringer Anthony Brown, who got the start after throwing just five passes all season. But rather than go all-out for the slim chance of getting a home playoff game, Ravens coach John Harbaugh ensured the Bengals will see a somewhat different team when sixth-seeded Baltimore returns to Paycor Stadium next weekend.

Baltimore was without its two top quarterbacks. Lamar Jackson hasn’t practiced since his knee injury in a Dec. 4 game against the Broncos, and it’s unclear whether he will be available for the playoffs. Backup Tyler Huntley has also been banged up and was inactive on Sunday. The Ravens also rested two of their biggest offensive weapons, Mark Andrews and J.K. Dobbins.

“I’m looking forward to next week and seeing these guys again,” Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith said. “It will be for all the marbles. I don’t look at it any differently. Just excited to get back out next week.”

Cincinnati scored two first-half touchdowns after intercepting Brown and got another when he fumbled while being sacked in his own end zone.

Brown went 19 of 44 for 286 yards in his first NFL start.

Kenyan Drake scored for Ravens on a 4-yard run in the first half. Justin Tucker kicked three field goals.

On the Ravens’ first play from scrimmage after the Bengals opened with a field goal, Brown lofted a long pass into the arms of Cincinnati safety Jessie Bates III. Burrow then went 7 for 11 on a drive capped by Mixon’s 1-yard plunge.

Cornerback Mike Hilton picked off Brown on Baltimore’s next possession, giving the ball to the Bengals at the Ravens 30. Three plays later, Burrow hooked up with Ja’Marr Chase for a 26-yard TD.

Then, with Ravens operating in the shadow of the goal line after a Cincinnati punt, Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson sacked Brown in the end zone. The ball squirted out and Joseph Ossai fell on it for a touchdown 30 seconds left in the half, pushing the Cincinnati lead to 24-7 at halftime.

Brown completed a 47-yard catch-and-run to Sammy Watkins late in the game, but Bates ripped it free while making the tackle and safety Vonn Bell recovered the fumble.


The Bengals are hoping their listless second half doesn’t spill over into next week. The Bengals managed only 90 total yards and field goal in the second half while punting five times and turning the ball over on downs and via a Burrow fumble.

“I was just missing throws I usually hit, that I usually always hit, so I got to be better,” Burrow said.

The Bengals were outgained by the Ravens 386 yards to 257. Cincinnati had just 55 yards rushing.


The week started with the Bengals praying that Hamlin would survive. Devastation turned to relief later in the week as the Bills safety showed positive signs of recovery.

“This was a strange game, strange week,” Taylor said. “Our players did everything they could to handle it the right way, so now we get a chance to put this one behind us and just focus on the playoffs.”


Ravens: RB Gus Edwards left the game in the first half with a possible head injury and entered the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Bengals: LG Alex Cappa departed with a left ankle injury in the third quarter.


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) After just one successful field goal of 50-plus yards all season, it was only fitting that the Miami Dolphins’ playoff hopes came down to a 50-yard kick.

“I felt like I owed it to the guys,” said Jason Sanders, whose booming go-ahead kick with 18 seconds helped Miami squeak past the New York Jets 11-6 on Sunday to clinch a postseason berth for the first time since 2016.

Miami (9-8) snapped a five-game losing streak, and then had to wait a few minutes for Buffalo to defeat New England 35-23 to make the Dolphins’ playoff appearance official. “We’re In” was displayed on the videoboard at Hard Rock Stadium.

“Jason Sanders, to come through the way he did and have all the points, you have to be built different for that,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. “I’m very, very happy with the entire locker room, the entire building, and I feel they wanted no part of this season to be over, and it’s not.”

Miami will play at Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs next weekend. The AFC East rivals split the season series, with each winning at home.

The Jets (7-10) ended the season with six straight losses, finishing a disappointing collapse for Robert Saleh’s squad. New York failed to score a touchdown in its final three games.

“Next year, we’re going to be in December football and the challenge is going to be finish,” Saleh said. “Not just be satisfied with December football, but finishing December football.”

On the Jets’ last-ditch effort with time running out, they lateraled the ball a few times before Elijah Moore fumbled, the ball was recovered by Garrett Wilson and he was ruled to be tackled in the end zone for a safety.

“Everybody gave it their all,” Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “Comparing last year to now, there’s so much improvement, so much building to talk about.”

The Jets reached midfield with 7:28 left on a 27-yard penalty after a defensive pass interference call on Dolphins cornerback Kader Kohou. That drive ended in a punt by an offense that finished with just 187 total yards.

The Jets had tied it with about 12 minutes left on a 35-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein. Joe Flacco led the team down the field on a 14-play, 75-yard drive.

Flacco completed 18 of 33 passes with 149 yards for the Jets in the place of Mike White, who is dealing with broken ribs.

In their most important game of the season, the Dolphins’ offense was limited with veteran left tackle Terron Armstead inactive and rookie Skylar Thompson at quarterback. But Thompson, with no turnovers and 152 yards passing, did just enough to get the first win of his career.

“Hasn’t always been perfect, but I believe everything that I went through set me up and prepared me for this moment,” Thompson said. “I had so much confidence coming into this game because looking back at this year, it was like, `What have I not experienced?’ I’m ready for this.”

Thompson started his second game of the season after replacing the injured Teddy Bridgewater in last Sunday’s loss at New England. Bridgewater, who dislocated the pinkie finger on his throwing hand, was in for Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa remains in the concussion protocol after sustaining his second known concussion of the season on Christmas against Green Bay. McDaniel did not say whether Tagovailoa might be available against the Bills.

Miami punted on two of its first four drives. The other two ended in a turnover on downs and a 37-yarder by Sanders.

Miami got close to the end zone midway through the third quarter, set up by tough runs of 14, 11 and 21 yards by Raheem Mostert. The Dolphins lost 11 yards on first down at the Jets 13, however, Thompson couldn’t connect with Tyreek Hill in the end zone on third-and 16, and the Dolphins settled for a field goal.

Hill was limited by an ankle injury sustained in the first half, but he only briefly left the game. He caught two passes on five targets for 23 yards, his fewest in a game this season.

Mostert and Jeff Wilson combined for 143 yards rushing, and tight end Mike Gesicki led the Dolphins with 46 yards receiving, including a 32-yard catch in the fourth quarter.

Garrett Wilson had 89 yards on nine catches for the Jets. Wilson had a 9-yard catch overturned in the fourth quarter after Miami’s first successful challenge of the season. New York ended up punting on the drive, and Sanders’ winning kick came a couple drives later.


After Miami’s game went final, the video board immediately switched to the Bill-Patriots game.

McDaniel said he didn’t immediately realize the Bills won until a member of the Dolphins’ staff grinned knowingly at him.

“You don’t want it to always be this hard within the game or within the season, but at the same time, for you to do anything special, you have to go through adversity,” McDaniel said.


Jets: S Tony Adams was shaken up after taking a big hit that knocked his helmet off in the third quarter. He was later ruled out with a concussion.

Dolphins: Hill was in and out of the game with his ankle injury. . OL Liam Eichenberg left in the third quarter with an arm injury. . Mostert left in the fourth quarter with a thumb injury and did not return. . DL Brandon Shell left in the fourth quarter with ankle and knee injuries.


Dolphins: Miami will face Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs.

Jets: Enter the offseason with a big question mark at quarterback after Zach Wilson’s rough second NFL season.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) If Steve Wilks has coached his last game for the Panthers, he can walk away knowing his players didn’t quit on him.

Eddy Pineiro kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired, and Carolina closed out its season with an opportunistic 10-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

“The guys showed up today,” said Wilks, who went 6-6 as an interim coach after Matt Rhule’s firing. “We’ve dealt with so much adversity through the course of the year, and for those guys to circle the wagons once again and find a way to come together and win the football game is extremely impressive.”

The Saints finished with some wide statistical advantages, outgaining Carolina 304 yards to 203, but the game remained tight until the end because of New Orleans’ inability to score on four possessions inside the Panthers 40-yard line.

“We should have beat the brakes off somebody and didn’t,” Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said after New Orleans saw its three-game winning streak snapped. “Not to finish the way we wanted is going to be irksome for a while.”

The Saints (7-10) were in position to win when safety Daniel Sorensen intercepted Sam Darnold near midfield and returned it to the Carolina 35 with 1:36 to go. But New Orleans failed to move the ball on three plays and Wil Lutz missed a 55-yard field goal attempt – his second miss of the game.

Darnold moved Carolina (7-10) into field goal range in the closing minute with a first-down scramble, followed by just his fifth completion of the game – a 21 yarder to former LSU receiver Terrace Marshall Jr.

Darnold finished 5 of 15 for 43 yards and was intercepted twice, winning despite having a quarterback rating of 2.8. But the Panthers rushed for 171 yards, led by Chuba Hubbard’s 69 yards on 21 carries.

“It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done at the end and that’s what matters,” Darnold said. “I’m just really proud of our resiliency.”

Carolina scored its only TD on a fumble by Darnold that was recovered in the end zone by Panthers lineman Michael Jordan.

New Orleans’ Andy Dalton was 15 of 25 for 171 yards and one touchdown to Chris Olave. Alvin Kamara rushed for 107 yards.

The Saints took a 7-0 lead on Olave’s 25-yard TD catch on the game’s opening drive, but New Orleans squandered three subsequent scoring chances in the opening half.

“The way we started this game, it’s exactly how you want to start,” Dalton said. “We had opportunities at other points in the game, too, and didn’t take advantage of them, didn’t make the play when we needed to. … The score should have looked a lot different.”

Lutz missed a 44-yard field goal attempt. Kamara’s run was stuffed on fourth and 1. And after Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Darnold near the goal line, New Orleans turned it back over when Olave fumbled inside the Carolina 25-yard line.

The Panthers, who’d been outgained 234 yards to 60 in the first half, opened the second half with a 14-play, 82-yard drive to tie it at 7 on Jordan’s recovery.

Under first-year coach Dennis Allen, the Saints ended a season with a 10 in the loss column for the first time since 2005 – the year before his predecessor, Sean Payton, was hired. (The Saints did have five 7-9 seasons between 2007 and 2016.)

“We’re going to evaluate everything,” Allen said. “Nobody’s making any decisions on anything 30 minutes after we walked off the field.”


Panthers running back D’Onta Foreman and Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport each were ejected in the third quarter for throwing punches after the whistle, moments after Davenport had tackled Foreman for no gain. Foreman had 12 carries for 67 yards. Davenport was in on three tackles.


Panthers: Marquis Haynes appeared to hurt his ankle in the first half. Left tackle Brady Christensen was taken to the locker room on a cart in the first half.

Saints: Rookie offensive tackle Trevor Penning, getting his first career start, limped off with an apparent leg injury with 1:33 to go.


Panthers: Begin the offseason with uncertainty over who’ll be the coach in 2023 and a decision to make about whether to stick with Darnold at QB.

Saints: Head into Allen’s first full offseason with six offensive and defensive starters, as well as several regulars on all three units, entering free agency. The club’s future at QB also is uncertain.


PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Steelers spent the second half of the season digging their way out of a deep hole, but they finally encountered one obstacle they couldn’t overcome.

The out-of-town scoreboard at Acrisure Stadium.

Just as the clock hit zero to finish off a 28-14 victory over Cleveland on Sunday, Pittsburgh’s slim but for weeks seemingly zombielike playoff chances vanished when the Miami Dolphins kicked a late field goal and tacked on a safety to beat the New York Jets and earn the AFC’s seventh and final postseason spot.

The Steelers wanted a chance at carrying the momentum they’ve built over the last two months into next week’s wild-card round. Instead, they’ll spend Monday cleaning out their lockers and pointing toward 2023.

“I think it will take a little bit of time to kind of understand and come to terms with it because I feel like we were starting to play some really (darn) good football,” Pittsburgh outside linebacker T.J. Watt said. “But that’s the business. We didn’t get it done this year.”

Not after a 2-6 start that included Watt tearing his left pectoral in Week 1 and missing seven games and rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett enduring a rocky indoctrination into the NFL.

Pittsburgh put together a solid second half as Pickett learned on the job, going 7-2 after its bye week to assure coach Mike Tomlin of a record 16th straight non-losing season.

Tomlin has coached 258 regular season games with the Steelers. His teams have been mathematically alive for the playoffs in 257 of them, including a rousing finale against the Browns in which they sacked Deshaun Watson seven times and picked him off twice.

The help Pittsburgh needed to sneak into the postseason, however, didn’t materialize.

“When you leave it to other teams, anything can happen,” said cornerback Levi Wallace, who picked off Watson late in the first half to set up a field goal by Chris Boswell that gave the Steelers a lead they would not relinquish.

Cleveland was hoping to sweep the Steelers for the first time since 1988 and finish ahead of them in the standings for the first time since 1989. Instead, the Browns (7-10) couldn’t protect Watson and wound up at the bottom of the AFC North while losing at least 10 games for the 17th time since the franchise re-entered the league in 1999.

“It’s tough to win seven games and finish the season like that,” said Watson, who went 3-3 as a starter after serving an 11-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. “We’ve got to reflect on the season, watch the tape. There might be changes.”

While Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is expected to return, he might have to shake up his staff. Defensive coordinator Joe Woods’ job could be in jeopardy as the unit was inconsistent overall and awful against the run, even with Myles Garrett – whose 16 sacks tied his own club record – having another spectacular season.

Watson connected on 19 of 29 passes for 230 yards with two touchdowns and the two interceptions. Nick Chubb ran for 77 yards and caught a touchdown pass to join Jim Brown as the only players in Browns history to exceed 1,500 yards rushing in a season.

“That locker room fought like crazy,” Stefanski said. “We got guys that wanted to put everything into this one.”

Maybe, but it didn’t look like it at times.

The Steelers ran for 148 yards – including 84 yards and a touchdown by Najee Harris – and Pickett overcame a bumpy start to complete 13 of 29 for 195 yards and a touchdown. Pittsburgh ran off 20 straight points – 10 of them directly after interceptions of Watson – after spotting Cleveland an early touchdown.

The Browns drew within 20-14 on a 2-yard flip from Watson to Chubb with 10:20 to go. The Steelers responded with a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard plunge by fullback Derek Watt with 4:39 to play.

Cleveland’s last two plays of the season ended with Watson on his back.

Yet Pittsburgh’s postgame celebration lasted as long as it took for the Steelers to glance at the scoreboard.

“We wanted a shot at the playoffs, but didn’t work out that way,” Pickett said. “So, a little bit of mixed feelings.”


Browns: LB Reggie Ragland left in the first half with a shoulder injury. … CB Denzel Ward did not play in the second half due to a shoulder injury. Ward was questionable during the week. … T Jedrick Wills went to the sideline in the final minute with a leg injury.

Steelers: WR Gunnar Olszewski injured his left leg on a jet sweep in the third quarter. … TE Pat Freiermuth left with a left leg injury in the fourth quarter.


Former Browns quarterback and Ohio native Bernie Kosar said he was fired from the team’s radio broadcast team on Sunday. Kosar said earlier in the week he placed a bet on the Browns to win the game. Ohio made sports betting legal on Jan. 1.


DENVER (AP) If this was a sign of what’s to come in 2023 in Denver, Russell Wilson and the Broncos faithful can breathe easier this offseason.

Wilson rediscovered some of his magic Sunday, throwing for three touchdowns and a trio of bull’s-eye deep balls that each covered more than 50 yards in the Broncos’ 31-28 win over the playoff-bound Los Angeles Chargers.

“Today he looked like he was having more fun,” Chargers leading tackler Drue Trainquill said. “He hit a few deep shots outside of the pocket, which is vintage Russ. That’s what he’s known for. I thought he did a good job, put the ball where it needed to be put and his receivers got open for him.”

Especially Jerry Jeudy, the man who stood up for Wilson last week when the online vitriol was seemingly running at its peak. On Sunday, Jeudy gained 193 yards from scrimmage with five catches for 154 yards and three runs for 39 more. The highlight was a 57-yard catch during a three-play, 75-yard drive that took 20 seconds and sent the teams into halftime tied at 17.

Again, he had high praise for Wilson.

“I saw the same Russ that didn’t give up even though we didn’t have the season that we wanted,” Jeudy said after the Broncos (5-12) dodged the franchise’s first 13-loss season and its first winless run in the AFC West in a non-strike year since divisional play began in 1970.

The Chargers (10-7) played most of their starters for most of the game, even though they knew before kickoff they were locked into the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs with a first-round game at Jacksonville on Saturday night.

“I know everyone on this team wanted to go out and compete today,” said Justin Herbert, who threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns in his 27th consecutive start with 20 or more completions, the third-longest streak since the merger.

Herbert played three quarters and left with the Chargers trailing 31-20. Backup Chase Daniel threw a touchdown pass and passed for a 2-point conversion after a muffed punt at midfield.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley had many of his stars on the bench by the time the Broncos salted away the win by driving from inside their own 5-yard line to midfield in the final 3:14.

“These aren’t easy decisions,” Staley said. “And hindsight is perfect for everybody on the outside. But these games are not easy to manage. They’re not. Because you don’t have that many players. We did it to the best of our ability.”

Staley’s decision to keep his players sharp in an otherwise meaningless game might prove costly, however.

Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams was carted off the field with a back injury and linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. suffered a stinger. Also, Joey Bosa, who just returned from a groin injury last month, was limping along the sideline following his cameo that featured a sack.

“Joey was taken out like the rest of the guys that we were trying to phase out in the game,” Staley responded when asked if Bosa was hurt again.

Justin Simmons capped his best season yet with a pair of forced fumbles and the Broncos handed interim head coach Jerry Rosburg his first win after four decades as an assistant.

Rosburg, 67, took over two weeks ago when Nathaniel Hackett was fired. Although he hedged a bit after the game, he hinted all last week that he’ll return to the hyperbaric oxygen therapy venture he was involved with before GM George Paton lured him out of retirement this season to serve as a senior assistant to Hackett.

And the Broncos will continue their search for their fifth head coach since they won Super Bowl 50 seven years ago. On deck are interviews with Jim Harbaugh and Sean Payton and the process is expected to take three weeks.


After struggling all season under Hackett, Wilson had his best two games of the season with Rosburg in charge, including last week’s 27-24 loss at Kansas City.

Wilson found running back Tyler Badie from 24 yards out to give Denver a 24-17 lead on the opening drive after halftime and added a 24-yard TD throw to Courtland Sutton that made it 31-20.

Wilson promised that whoever the new coach is, he’ll find a different Wilson in Denver, one who started to find his way at the end of a lost season.

“I fell short in of my own standards and my own level of expectations and I just wanted to recapture that,” Wilson said. “… And over the last few weeks, I feel like we found that again.”


Broncos CB K’Waun Williams left in the first half with a concussion, and WR Freddie Swain left with a hip injury after hauling in a 54-yard pass in the second half.


Chargers: Headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2018 and will face the surging Jaguars, who have won five in a row.

Broncos: Will be speaking after Jan. 17 with Payton, who’s still under contract with the Saints for two more years, and Harbaugh, among several others as they pick up the pieces from their sixth straight losing season.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) Jalen Hurts walked into the Linc wearing a Michael Jordan “I’m Back” T-shirt from the former Chicago Bulls’ star’s first unretirement.

Yeah, Hurts is back – and now, so are the Eagles as a Super Bowl threat.

Hurts returned from a sprained right shoulder and threw for 229 yards under a conservative game plan, and the Philadelphia Eagles clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a 22-16 win over the New York Giants on Sunday night.

“It’s really tough being out,’ Hurts said. “I was pushing myself to be available and it wasn’t an easy thing.”

Hurts wasn’t asked to do much against New York’s B-team – with the Giants’ No. 6 seed already secured, they rested the bulk of their starting lineup – and he won without the explosive plays, the head-first rushes on fourth down, the scrambles that turn into 20-yard gains, the type of breakout plays that had defined his season. They weren’t needed.

His mere presence was the emotional boost the Eagles needed after the stumbles each of the last two weeks.

The Eagles rebounded from two straight losses behind backup QB Gardner Minshew to clinch the NFC East, the top spot in the conference and home field throughout the playoffs. The team also gets a bye, one more pivotal week of rest for Hurts.

Hurts received a roaring ovation and “MVP!” chants as he ran out of the tunnel during pregame introductions. The Eagles had clearly missed their QB, who had grown into an MVP front-runner until he was hurt on a hard tackle against Chicago.

Hurts was 20-of-35 passing in a game that had a preseason feel – the Eagles were only 1 of 5 in the red zone – and played the entire game. The Eagles also earned the No. 1 seed in the 2017 season and won the Super Bowl. They have 5-1 odds to win it this year, per FanDuel Sportsbook, trailing only Kansas City and Buffalo.

Hurts completed a 35-yard pass to A.J. Brown on the Eagles’ first play of the game and showed no ill-effects from the sprained right shoulder suffered three weeks ago. The Eagles played at half-speed against the Giants backups and refused to risk Hurts’ health – they did not have a called rushing play for him. The dynamic QB that ran for 747 yards and 13 touchdowns entering the game mostly stayed in the pocket, the Eagles clearly wary Hurts could take another hard hit on his shoulder.

“I know he was hurting,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “He was hurting bad.”

The Eagles didn’t get much offensively but really didn’t have to against a Giants (9-7-1) team that had already secured the No. 6 seed in the NFC and rested the bulk of their starters. Saquon Barkley and his 1,312 yards rushing took a seat. So did starting QB Daniel Jones.

The Giants, who play at Minnesota next Sunday, instead passed over No. 2 QB Tyrod Taylor and started practice squad regular Davis Webb.

Webb, in his first career start, rushed for a 14-yard touchdown in the fourth that made it 19-9. He tossed a 25-yard TD pass to Kenny Golladay late in the fourth that made it 22-16. He threw for 168 yards on 23-of-40 passing.

Hurts, whose 35 total touchdowns this season tied the franchise record set by Randall Cunningham in 1990, had a TD pass in the third quarter wiped out because of a penalty and then threw his sixth interception of the season on the next play.

This game for the Eagles was all about stabilizing themselves and reclaiming the swagger and confidence they had earlier this season as they steamrolled behind Hurts to a 13-1 record. Hurts likely wouldn’t have played had the Eagles beaten either Dallas or New Orleans in each of the last games and clinched the No. 1 seed. Instead, it was the Eagles playing with everything to lose while the nine-win Giants were secure in their spot.

“It’s the NFL, so the guys you have on the team, you have confidence in,” Giants rookie coach Brian Daboll said. “I thought our guys competed all the way to the end.”

Jake Elliott kicked field goals of 32, 52 and 39 yards in the first half. Boston Scott ran for an 8-yard touchdown – a whopping 10 of his 17 career TDs are against the Giants – and the Eagles took a 16-0 lead into halftime.

Elliott added field goals of 54 and 22 yards in the second half. Graham Gano kicked a 24-yarder in the third for the Giants.


Brown had four catches for 95 yards and finished with 1,496 for the team’s season record. Mike Quick held the yards receiving mark of 1,409 in 1983 in the 16-game season.

“It means a lot to leave my footprint on this organization,” Brown said. “There were a lot of great receivers before me. For me to do it the first year, it means the world. I told Mike thank you for everything he has done for the game.”

Quick is a radio analyst for the Eagles. “Just as he told me before the game, he said the first pass is going to come to me and I’m going to break your record,” he said.

DeVonta Smith set the Eagles’ season record for receptions with 95 (and 1,196 yards receiving). He had seven receptions against the Giants. Irving Fryar had 88 catches in 1996.

The 14 wins are also the most in a season for the Eagles.


Eagles: enjoy the spoils of an off week.

Giants: head to Minnesota to play the Vikings next Sunday.


Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers are peaking at just the right time and now know they won’t have to go on the road for at least a few more weeks.

Purdy threw three touchdown passes for his sixth straight game with multiple TDs and the 49ers clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs with a 38-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Purdy overcame two sacks by J.J. Watt in the final game of the star defensive end’s stellar career and connected with George Kittle twice and Christian McCaffrey once on TD passes to lead the Niners (13-4) to their 10th straight win to end the regular season.

“I feel great. I feel like everyone else is feeling great,” Purdy said. “When you’re on a roll, you’re on a win streak, you feel like the groove and how we’re playing together, it feels really good when we’re on it. I think a lot of us are real with ourselves, too, and feel like we still haven’t played to our full potential yet.”

San Francisco beat out Minnesota on a tiebreaker for the second seed, assuring the 49ers won’t have to go on the road before the NFC title game. The Niners weren’t able to secure a first-round bye because Philadelphia beat the New York Giants.

San Francisco will host Seattle in the wild-card game Saturday.

“I felt real good about our team when we won the division there about a month ago,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I feel better about them now because we’ve gotten better since that point. We’ll be ready to go.”

The play of Purdy is a big reason why as he has become the second rookie QB in NFL history with at least six straight games with multiple TD passes and the Niners have scored at least 33 points in five of six games since he replaced an injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13.

“That’s awesome,” Kittle said. “It’s fun. More touchdowns for everybody. It’s been really fun. It has to do with our run (game) has been great. It opens up our pass game. But Brock’s been fantastic in the passing game.”

The Cardinals (4-13) ended the season going in the opposite direction with seven straight losses to tie a franchise record for losses in a season.

The game started well for Arizona when fourth-string quarterback David Blough connected on a 77-yard TD pass to A.J. Green off a trick play on the second play from scrimmage.

About the only other highlight for the Cardinals was the two sacks by Watt, giving the three-time Defensive Player of the Year 120 1/2 in the regular season and playoffs in his 12-year career.

“I said I wanted to go out playing good ball, and I’m playing good ball,” Watt said. “I know I still can. I just choose not to, that’s all.”

McCaffrey answered Arizona’s quick score when he caught a short pass from Purdy and turned it into a 21-yard score to extend his touchdown streak to six straight games.

The first of two interceptions by Tashaun Gipson Sr. set up the 49ers’ second touchdown when Elijah Mitchell ran it in from 5 yards out in his first game back from injured reserve.

Mitchell added another TD run in the third quarter as he tunes up for the playoffs.

Purdy found Kittle from 4 yards out with 19 seconds left in the half to make it 21-13 on Kittle’s 10th TD catch of the season. The two connected again late in the third quarter, giving Kittle seven TD catches from Purdy in the last four games.

Purdy finished 15 for 20 for 178 yards.


Watt took a ceremonial bow in the first quarter after bringing down Purdy – the 50th QB he has sacked in the regular season or playoffs.

Watt announced his decision to retire late last month and responded with three sacks in his final two games to reach 12 1/2 on the season.


The Niners allowed a long TD pass for a second straight game and that has been one of the few issues that has plagued one of the stingiest defenses in the NFL this season.

The TD pass to Green was the sixth pass play of at least 50 yards this season allowed by San Francisco, tied with Green Bay for the most in the NFL and one more than the Niners allowed in the last two years combined.


Cardinals: Blough left in the third quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and didn’t return. He left after losing a fumble on a sack by Jordan Willis for his third turnover of the game.

49ers: LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (neck) left in the first half and didn’t return.


Cardinals: The offseason.

49ers: The Niners will try to got 3-0 against an opponent for the first time in franchise history when they host Seattle on Saturday.


SEATTLE (AP) Within minutes of the Seattle Seahawks winning to maintain their playoff hopes, the video boards inside Lumen Field flashed a message:

“Go Lions.”

For the Seahawks, that became “thank you Lions” several hours later after Detroit helped send Seattle back to the postseason.

Seattle will be the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs after beating the Los Angeles Rams 19-16 in overtime on Sunday and getting the help it needed with Detroit beating Green Bay later Sunday night in the final game of the NFL regular season.

“As the game went on, you could just feel Detroit was playing really well and they had a legitimate chance. You could just tell,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after learning he’d be in the playoffs for the 10th time in 13 seasons in Seattle. “It was so much fun for everybody. I was hoping there could be a party tonight.”

The Seahawks will face division foe San Francisco on Saturday in the wild-card round of the playoffs, but only after several hours of stress that started with their own nail bitter against the Rams.

Jason Myers kicked a 32-yard field goal midway through overtime to give Seattle (9-8) the victory after he hit the upright from 46 yards on the final play of regulation.

But given another shot in overtime, the Pro Bowler connected on his fourth field goal of the game and the Seahawks’ playoff chances stayed alive long enough for Detroit to help.

“You just do your part. That’s what I’ve been preaching to the guys the last couple of weeks,” Seattle safety Quandre Diggs said. “We do our part and let the rest handle itself. … If we’re in or we’re not, I think we can hold our head up high and understand we did some great work and we did what a lot of people didn’t expect us to do.”

Seattle (9-8) concluded an overachieving regular season with two straight victories and a winning record, defying preseason prognosticators who thought the Seahawks could be among the worst teams in the league.

Carroll had a different perspective immediately after the win. In his view, the Seahawks should not have been in the position of needing help to make the postseason.

“Where you all thought we did all these cool things and all these things, I didn’t feel like that. I feel like we missed our chance,” Carroll said. “We had five, six games there that could have gone one way or another and then we wouldn’t be here talking about what’s going on with Detroit right now.”

Geno Smith had a shaky performance, throwing two interceptions to Jalen Ramsey. But he threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett early in the third quarter and made several key lays late to put Seattle in position to win.

Smith finished 19 of 31 for 214 yards and rookie Kenneth Walker III rushed for 114 yards for Seattle.

Baker Mayfield was 13 of 26 for 147 yards and was intercepted on the only possession of overtime for the Super Bowl champion Rams (5-12), whose nightmarish, injury-riddled title defense mercifully came to an end.

Seattle went three-and-out to start the extra session, but the Rams failed to capitalize. On Los Angeles’ second play, Mayfield had Van Jefferson wide open deep but underthrew him slightly, allowing Diggs to sprint across the field for the pick. It was the first turnover of the game for the Rams.

“That dude was wide open. In my mind I was thinking the worst,” Diggs said. “I felt like I was 25 again running and jumping in the air. It was one of those plays they drew it up perfect, got us in the coverage they wanted and I was going to go out and make a play.”

Smith immediately hit Lockett for a 17-yard completion and Walker had a 20-yard run to move Seattle into field goal range. Given a second chance at a game-winner, Myers came through with his 34th field goal in 37 tries this season.

It was an underwhelming performance in a must-win game by the Seahawks, especially in the first half. Smith was intercepted by Ramsey on the first play of the game and Seattle didn’t reach the end zone until his TD toss to Lockett after halftime.

Cam Akers rushed for 104 yards for the Rams to conclude the season with three straight 100-plus-yard games.

Rams coach Sean McVay avoided all questions after the game that centered on his future in Los Angeles. He said on Friday he’s interested in a future broadcasting career but remains focused on the Rams.

“I’m not thinking about that right now. Nothing’s changed from kind of where we left things off on Friday,” McVay said.


Rams safety Russ Yeast suffered a pulmonary contusion and was taken to a hospital for further examination. McVay said Yeast was stable and expected to spend the night in Seattle.


Lockett became the second player in Seahawks history with four consecutive seasons of at least 1,000 yards receiving, joining Hall of Famer Steve Largent. Lockett topped the 1,000-yard mark on his TD catch early in the second half.

Smith set single-season franchise records for attempts (572), completions (399), yards (4,282) and completion percentage (69.8%).

Ramsey had his first game with two or more interceptions with the Rams. His last game with multiple interceptions came on Nov. 18, 2018 while playing for Jacksonville against Pittsburgh.


Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner was an opponent at Lumen Field for the first time in his career. Unlike Russell Wilson’s return in Week 1, which was filled with boos, Wagner was greeted with a standing ovation from fans when he walked out for the coin toss as the only Rams representative. Seattle fans chanted “Bobby!” as he stood at midfield giving hugs to some of his former Seattle teammates.

Wagner finished with seven tackles and one tackle for loss.


LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Dak Prescott insisted the Dallas Cowboys were worried solely about their game against Washington and had no idea what was going on in Philadelphia with the other result they would need to win the division.

“Zero awareness of what was going on over there,” he said. “Couldn’t get off on the right foot.”

That’s an understatement. Prescott completed just 14 of his 37 passes for 128 yards, threw another interception that was returned for a touchdown and the Cowboys laid an egg in their final regular-season game, losing 26-6 to the Washington Commanders on Sunday.

Despite playing their starters with coach Mike McCarthy pledging they were playing to win, the Cowboys limped into the playoffs and a wild-card showdown at Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Monday night with Prescott on a career-long seven-game interception streak.

“That wasn’t us,” guard Zack Martin said. “Do this again, we’ll be sitting at home next week.”

Beyond getting picked off by Kendall Fuller on the pick-6, Prescott was wildly inaccurate and the Dallas offense had just 169 total yards and went 4 of 17 on third down before he was replaced by Cooper Rush in garbage time.

“This is not about one guy,” McCarthy said. “You can’t look at our offensive performance and blame it on one guy. Plenty to go around.”

Prescott used choice words to describe perhaps his worst game of the season and was at a loss to explain what went wrong. He finished the season tied with Houston’s Davis Mills for the most interceptions in the league with 15.

“That stinks,” Prescott said. “Fourteen completions, yeah, not good enough. Period.”

This was not exactly how the Cowboys (12-5) figured things would go with a chance, albeit small, to win the NFC East if Philadelphia lost at home to the also playoff-bound New York Giants, who were resting several regulars and starting a third-string quarterback.

While the Eagles took care of their business to lock up the division title and earn the conference’s top seed and a first-round bye, Dallas lost to Washington’s third QB to start a game the season: a rookie making his NFL debut.

Sam Howell threw a touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin among his 11 of 19 passing for 169 yards and ran for another among his 35 yards rushing. The fifth-round pick out of North Carolina became the first Washington rookie QB to throw and run for a TD in a game since Robert Griffin III in 2012.

“It is about the QB making plays they’re supposed to make, and every now and then when you need a big play, make a big play,” coach Ron Rivera said. “That’s what we need to get to.”

Howell also connected on a 52-yard completion with McLaurin, who set a career high for receiving yards in a season. Eliminated from playoff contention last week after Carson Wentz threw three interceptions in a loss to Cleveland, the Commanders (8-8-1) ended a four-game winless stretch and avoided a third consecutive losing season in as many years with Rivera in charge of football operations.

“We feel like we’re headed in the right direction,” Rivera said.


Prescott and the Cowboys offense weren’t solely to blame. Punter Bryan Anger dropped a snap early that set up the first Commanders touchdown, KaVonte Turpin fumbled a punt return and kicker Brett Maher missed an extra point.


The Cowboys’ struggles on the ground since losing offensive tackle Terence Steele continued. They rushed for just 64 yards and put Prescott in some obvious throwing situations.

Tony Pollard returned after missing Dallas’ previous game against Tennessee with a thigh injury and rushed for 19 yards to surpass 1,000 for the season. Pollard finished the regular season as the Cowboys’ leading rusher, the first time anyone other than Ezekiel Elliott has had that distinction since the three-time Pro Bowl back was picked fourth in the 2016 draft.


The Commanders retired Hall of Fame quarterback Sonny Jurgensen’s No. 9 during a halftime ceremony, the fourth player in franchise history to get that honor. Jurgensen played the final 11 seasons of his 18-year career with Washington and went on to spend roughly another four decades on the team’s radio broadcast.


Cowboys: CB DaRon Bland left early in the fourth quarter with a chest injury, and a team spokesperson said he’d be re-evaluated. … LB Leighton Vander Esch was out with a neck injury and C Tyler Biadasz with an ankle injury.

Commanders: DT John Ridgeway left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. … RB Brian Robinson Jr. (knee), OT Cornelius Lucas (ankle) and DT Jonathan Allen (knee) were all inactive. CB Benjamin St-Juste and S Kam Curl (ankle) and RB Antonio Gibson (knee/foot) went on injured reserve.


Cowboys: Look to avoid a second consecutive one-and-done playoff appearance.

Commanders: Go into another offseason looking for a starting quarterback, whether it’s Howell or someone else.


GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Aaron Rodgers will have the entire postseason to ponder his future.

The four-time MVP and the Green Bay Packers won’t be participating in the playoffs.

Rodgers was intercepted by Kerby Joseph on what might have been the final pass of the future Hall of Famer’s career, and Green Bay lost 20-16 to the Detroit Lions on Sunday night in a game the Packers needed to win to reach the playoffs.

Although he is under contract for next season, the 39-year-old Rodgers has said he doesn’t know whether he will continue playing.

“It’s a little raw right now. It’s just a little bit after the game, so I want to take the emotion out of it and have the conversation and see where the organization’s at and see how I feel after some time has passed,” Rodgers said.

After winning four straight games and receiving plenty of help from other teams, the Packers had control of their postseason fate heading into the final game of the NFL regular season. But they fell short against the Lions, who had been eliminated from the playoffs earlier Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams 19-16 in overtime.

“Basically we found out in pregame warmup or coming off, and I’m telling you, we were unfazed,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “We knew what we were coming in here for, and it was to gain some respect and show what we’re capable of no matter what happened. We knew the only way to do that is to win. So our guys were locked in, they were unaffected by that, because we knew what the objective was.”

Seattle (9-8) instead earned the NFC’s last playoff spot and will play Saturday at San Francisco (13-4). The Packers (8-9) missed the playoffs for the first time in Matt LaFleur’s four seasons as coach.

Rodgers went 17 of 27 for 205 yards with one touchdown and became the eighth NFL player to have at least 5,000 career completions.

After the final seconds ticked off the clock, Rodgers walked off the field, gazing into the stands, side by side with Randall Cobb, perhaps soaking up the sights and sounds

“At some point the carousel comes to a stop and it’s time to get off, and I think you kind of know when that is,” Rodgers said. “And that’s what needs to be contemplated. It is time? Also, what’s the organization doing? That’s part of it as well. But the competitive fire is always going to be there. I don’t think that ever goes away.”

Jamaal Williams’ second 1-yard touchdown run of the night against his former team put the Lions (9-8) ahead with 5:55 remaining. Williams had 17 touchdown runs to break the Lions’ single-season record that Barry Sanders had set in 1991.

Green Bay only got as far as its own 33 on its next series before Joseph picked off Rodgers’ deep throw on third-and-10 with 3 1/2 minutes left.

Detroit held onto the ball for the remainder of the game. Facing fourth-and-1 from the Green Bay 15, the Lions passed up a field-goal attempt and got a clinching first down on Jared Goff’s 9-yard pass to D.J. Chark. Goff also had connected with Chark for a first down on fourth-and-2 during the Lions’ go-ahead drive.

The Lions rebounded from a 1-6 start by winning eight of their last 10 games.

“The hard part of this is that it’s over for this season, because it is a special group,” Campbell said. “But, hey, if you’ve got to go down on that one, if it’s the last one of for the season, man, what better way to go out than that for 2022.”

Playing to extend their season, the Packers frequently lost their composure.

Linebacker Quay Walker was ejected during the Lions’ go-ahead drive after pushing Lions team physician Sean Lynch, who was attending to an injured Detroit player. That was the second ejection of the season for the rookie first-round pick, who also got tossed from a loss at Buffalo for shoving Bills practice-squad tight end Zach Davidson.

Detroit’s Michael Badgley made a field goal to close the first half after a personal foul on Green Bay’s Rasul Douglas turned what would have been a 48-yard attempt into a 33-yarder.

“I’ve got a much higher standard for our players than to do silly things like that,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “I mean, we’ve had a guy get ejected twice. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in my career. And we’ve got to be much more mentally tough.”

Green Bay led 9-6 after a first half that featured five field goals and numerous wasted chances. Then, on the Packers’ first possession of the second half, Mason Crosby’s 53-yard field-goal attempt hit the crossbar and bounced backward. Crosby had gone 3 of 3 on field-goal attempts in the first half.

The Lions took over and moved ahead for the first time in the game. Goff threw a 43-yard pass to Khalif Raymond to set up Williams’ TD from 1 yard out.

The Packers answered on their next series. Rodgers connected with Christian Watson for a 45-yard completion that set up his 13-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard.

On the Packers’ final possession, Rodgers threw two incompletions before Joseph intercepted him for the third time this season. Joseph had two of the Lions’ three picks in a 15-9 victory on Nov. 6 and had another potential interception on Sunday that was nullified by a penalty.

This marks the third straight season the Packers have ended their season by losing at Lambeau Field. They had the NFC’s top regular-season record each of the last two years but fell to San Francisco in the divisional playoffs last season and to Tampa Bay in the conference championship game a year earlier.

This season there won’t be any playoff games involving the Packers, at Lambeau Field or anywhere else.


The Lions played without cornerback Jeff Okudah (elbow) and defensive tackle Michael Brockers (ankle). Packers CB/KR Keisean Nixon left in the fourth quarter to get evaluated for a concussion.


HOUSTON (AP) Lovie Smith fought until the bitter end to help the Houston Texans to a win in the finale of a dismal season, with his fate likely already sealed.

Hours later he was out of a job.

Smith was fired as coach of the Texans on Sunday night after just one season in which the team went 3-13-1.

It’s the second straight season in which the Texans have fired a coach after one year. They parted ways with David Culley last January after he went 4-13 in his only season.

“I’m constantly evaluating our football operation and believe this is the best decision for us at this time,” general manager Nick Caserio said in a statement announcing the team parting ways with Smith. “It is my responsibility to build a comprehensive and competitive program that can sustain success over a long period of time. We aren’t there right now, however, with the support of the (team owner) McNair family and the resources available to us, I’m confident in the direction of our football program moving forward.”

Smith was asked about his future after Sunday’s win at Indianapolis and seemed confident that he’d return next season.

“We understand the totality of the season,” he said. “Do I expect to be back? Yeah, I expect to be back, absolutely.”

The Texans had the league’s worst record for most of the season, but won two of their last three games, capped by Sunday’s win over the Colts that cost the team the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. The 32-31 victory over Indianapolis gave Chicago the top pick and left Houston to choose second in April’s draft.

Davis Mills connected with Jordan Akins on a 28-yard touchdown pass with 50 seconds left Sunday against the Colts. Mills then found Akins again for the 2-point conversion to put the Texans on top for good.

Smith was asked about the win ruining Houston’s chance to get the top pick in the draft.

“So, you’re saying, hey, guys, playing this last game, all that you’ve been working for all your life, you play to win, forget that, lose the game on purpose,” Smith said. “I think that would be a hard one to get by. They wouldn’t expect me to say that. I didn’t. Each week our game plan to be to win the game. It’s kind of simple as that. That’s what we followed through on today.”

The 64-year-old Smith was one of the few Black coaches in the NFL along with Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles and Miami’s Mike McDaniel, who is biracial. The league requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching positions, but has long fallen short of its goal to increase the number of Black coaches in a league where the majority of players are Black.

Culley, who is also Black, spent more than 40 years as a college and NFL assistant before being hired to coach the Texans.

The Texans move to cut ties with two coaches – each after just one season — was met with swift criticism. Both coaches were working with rosters devoid of any stars and lacking much established talent. They also had to contend with an inexperienced young quarterback in Mills with Deshaun Watson sitting out last season after requesting a trade before his sexual misconduct allegations surfaced and then being traded to Cleveland before this season.

Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, the first Black coach to win a Super Bowl who compiled a 148-79 record in 13 seasons as an NFL coach, questioned who would want to take Houston’s head coaching position moving forward.

“What are the Texans doing,” Dungy tweeted Sunday night. “What kind of operation is this where you don’t have any convictions about supporting the coaches you hire. Who is going to want to coach there if you might only get one year to implement your plans. Two years in a row is ridiculous.”

Robert Griffin III, the second overall pick of the 2012 draft who led Washington to a division title, tweeted: “The Houston Texans have fired Lovie Smith after 1 year. Using 2 Black Head Coaches to tank and then firing them after 1 year shouldn’t sit right with anyone.”

And, Fred Taylor, who played 13 years in the NFL, directed his ire at the Texas, posting on Twitter that hiring Smith was done to save face after they received criticism following reports that they planned to hire Josh McCown, a former NFL quarterback with no coaching experience.

“Hiring Lovie Smith to an extremely untalented Texans team was only done to save face, checklist the Rooney rule, and erase the racial accusations it faced less than a year ago,” Taylor tweeted. “And to fire him less than a year into rebuilding its franchise shows they are full of crap. Crazy!

It is the third time since the merger that a team has fired its head coach in consecutive years after just one season. The 49ers fired Monte Clark, Ken Meyer and Pete McCulley in consecutive seasons from 1976-78 before the team fired Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly in 2015 and 2016.

Smith was promoted to head coach after serving as the team’s defensive coordinator for one season. The 2022 season was his 12th as a head coach, and he has a 92-100-1 record in his career that included nine seasons with the Bears and two with Tampa Bay.

Texans owner Cal McNair said in a statement that he and Caserio informed Smith of the move Sunday night and thanked him for his “contributions over the last two seasons.”

“We are grateful for his leadership and character, and we wish him the best moving forward,” McNair said. “While we understand the results have not been what we had hoped for, we are committed to building a program that produces long-term, sustainable success. Our fans and city deserve a team that they can be proud of. I will work alongside Nick Caserio throughout this process and I’m confident we will find the right leader for our football team.”

His firing will give the Texans a fourth head coach in as many years. Culley was hired after coach Bill O’Brien was fired after losing the first four games in 2020 in his seventh season in Houston.

This is the second time the Texans have fired a coach after just one year. Dom Capers was the team’s first coach and spent four seasons at the helm before being let go. Gary Kubiak took over, and he was fired in his eighth season.

This season was Houston’s third with a losing record after the team went 4-12 in 2020. That season came after they won AFC South in the previous two seasons.


A look at seven statistical highlights from games played during the 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET windows on Sunday, January 8, the 18th week of the 2022 season.

NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Six of the 13 teams to qualify for the playoffs with one game remaining are new to the postseason in 2022, having missed the playoffs a year ago: Baltimore, Jacksonville, the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, Minnesota and the New York Giants. The Seattle Seahawks can join this group with a Detroit victory over Green Bay on Sunday Night Football.

Since 1990 – a streak of 33 consecutive seasons – 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 South (Jacksonville) and NFC North (Minnesota) were both won by teams that missed the postseason in 2021. The Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East) and San Francisco 49ers (NFC West) are also new division winners this season.

At least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 19 of the past 20 years.

In each of the past 45 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.

AFC PLAYOFF SEEDS: The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS, who won their seventh-consecutive AFC West division title, finished as the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

The Chiefs will have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs unless they face Buffalo in the AFC Championship Game, as both teams could have been the number one seed and hosted the game had all AFC clubs played a full 17-game regular season. In that scenario, the AFC Championship Game will be played at a neutral site.

The BUFFALO BILLS, who won the AFC East for the third-consecutive season, finished as the AFC’s No. 2 seed and will host the No. 7 seed MIAMI DOLPHINS on Super Wild Card Weekend. The Dolphins earned their first playoff berth since 2016.

The CINCINNATI BENGALS, who won their second-consecutive AFC North division title, finished as the AFC’s No. 3 seed and will host the No. 6 seed BALTIMORE RAVENS on Super Wild Card Weekend. The Ravens clinched a spot in the postseason for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, who completed a worst-to-first turnaround by winning the AFC South the year after finishing in last place, finished as the AFC’s No. 4 seed and will host the No. 5 seed LOS ANGELES CHARGERS on Super Wild Card Weekend. The Chargers clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2018.

In 18 of the past 20 seasons, at least one team finished in first place the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.

NFC PLAYOFF SEEDS: The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, who won the NFC East for the first time since 2019, finished as the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The Eagles will have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, who clinched the NFC West for the first time since 2019, finished as the NFC’s No. 2 seed and will host either the GREEN BAY PACKERS or SEATTLE SEAHAWKS on Super Wild Card Weekend.

If Green Bay defeats Detroit on Sunday Night Football, Green Bay will be the No. 7 seed. If Detroit defeats Green Bay, Seattle will earn the No. 7 seed. Should Detroit-Green Bay end in a tie, Seattle would qualify for the postseason.

The MINNESOTA VIKINGS, who won the NFC North for the first time since 2017, finished as the NFC’s No. 3 seed and will host the No. 6 seed NEW YORK GIANTS on Super Wild Card Weekend. The Giants earned their first playoff berth since 2016.

The TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, who clinched back-to-back NFC South division titles for the first time in franchise history, finished as the NFC’s No. 4 seed and will host the No. 5 seed DALLAS COWBOYS on Super Wild Card Weekend. The Cowboys clinched a postseason berth for the second-consecutive season.

CLOSE GAMES: With one game yet to be completed in Week 18, there have been 121 games decided by a touchdown (six points or less) and 202 games within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter this season, both the most such games in a single season in NFL history.

COMEBACKS: JACKSONVILLE overcame a 10-point deficit to win on Saturday and there have been 52 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win or tie this season, the most such games in a single season all-time.

FANTASTIC FINISHES: Four teams – CAROLINA, HOUSTON, MIAMI and SEATTLE – recorded game-winning scores in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime in Week 18. There have been 66 games this season decided by a game-winning score in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime, the most such games in a single season in NFL history.

Houston, Jacksonville and Seattle each came back to win after trailing in the fourth quarter and there have been 84 games this season in which a team has come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter, the most such games in a single season all-time.

Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN passed for 254 yards and three touchdowns while running back NYHEIM HINES recorded kickoff-return touchdowns of 96 and 101 yards in the Bills’ 35-23 win over New England.

Allen, who had 4,283 passing yards and 35 touchdown passes this season, is the sixth player in NFL history with at least three career seasons with 4,000 passing yards and 35 touchdown passes, joining AARON RODGERS (six seasons), TOM BRADY (five), PATRICK MAHOMES (four), Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (four) and DREW BREES (four).

Allen, who also had seven rushing touchdowns this season, is the first player in NFL history with three career seasons with 35 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns.

Hines is the first player since LEON WASHINGTON (Week 3, 2010) with two kickoff-return touchdowns in the same game.

Hines, who had two punt-return touchdowns in Week 16 of the 2019 season with Indianapolis, is the first player in NFL history to have a game with two kickoff-return touchdowns and a game with two punt-return touchdowns in his career.

Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY completed 13 of 17 pass attempts (76.5 percent) and threw his 25th touchdown pass of the season on Sunday.

Brady recorded 490 completions this season, surpassing the mark he set last year (485) for the most completions in a season in NFL history.

Brady has 17 career seasons with at least 25 touchdown passes and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (16 seasons) for the most such seasons in NFL history.

Minnesota wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON led the NFL with 1,809 receiving yards in 2022 and became the sixth player in NFL history with at least 1,800 receiving yards in a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer CALVIN JOHNSON (1,964 receiving yards in 2012), COOPER KUPP (1,947 in 2021), JULIO JONES (1,871 in 2015), Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (1,848 in 1995) and ANTONIO BROWN (1,834 in 2015).

Jefferson led the league with 128 receptions this season, the seventh-most receptions in a season in NFL history.

Additional notes from Sunday include:

The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES led the NFL with 70 sacks this season, tied with the 1987 CHICAGO BEARS (70 sacks) for the third-most sacks by a team in a season in NFL history. Only the 1984 CHICAGO BEARS (72 sacks) and 1989 MINNESOTA VIKINGS (71) had more.

The Eagles led all teams with 32 rushing touchdowns this season, tied with the 2003 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (32 rushing touchdowns) and 2006 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (32) for the second-most rushing touchdowns by a team in a season in the Super Bowl era. Only the 1976 PITTSBURGH STEELERS (33 rushing touchdowns) had more.

The PITTSBURGH STEELERS improved to 9-8 this season with their Week 18 victory over Cleveland.

Pittsburgh secured a .500-or-better record for the 19th consecutive season, tied with the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2001-19) for the second-longest such streak in NFL history. Only the DALLAS COWBOYS (21 consecutive seasons from 1965-85) have a longer streak.

San Francisco rookie quarterback BROCK PURDY recorded three touchdown passes and defensive lineman NICK BOSA had a sack in the 49ers’ 38-13 win over Arizona.

Purdy is the third rookie quarterback ever to win each of his first five career starts, joining BEN ROETHLISBERGER (won first 13 starts in 2004) and MIKE KRUCZEK (first six in 1968).

Purdy is the second rookie in NFL history with at least two touchdown passes in six consecutive games, joining JUSTIN HERBERT (seven consecutive games in 2020).

Purdy became the third player in NFL history with at least two touchdown passes in each of his first five career starts, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO and BILLY VOLEK.

Bosa became the fourth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to record at least one sack in 13 games within a single season, joining DEMARCUS WARE (14 games in 2008), JUSTIN HOUSTON (13 in 2014) and CHANDLER JONES (13 in 2017).

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns while running back AUSTIN EKELER had four receptions on Sunday.

Herbert had 4,741 passing yards this season and is the first player in NFL history with at least 4,500 passing yards in two of his first three career seasons. He passed for a career-high 5,014 yards last season.

Herbert had 25 touchdown passes this season and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING as the only players in NFL history with at least 25 touchdown passes in each of their first three seasons.

Herbert has 45 career games with a touchdown pass and surpassed with Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (44 games) for the most such games with at least one touchdown pass by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history.

Ekeler led all running backs with a career-high 107 receptions this season, tied with CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY (107 receptions in 2018) for the second-most receptions by a running back in a season in NFL history. Only McCaffrey in 2019 (116 receptions) had more.

Cincinnati wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE recorded 87 receptions for 1,046 yards this season after registering 81 catches for 1,455 yards as a rookie in 2021.

Chase has 2,501 career receiving yards and is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 2,500 receiving yards in his first two seasons, joining JUSTIN JEFFERSON (3,016 receiving yards), ODELL BECKHAM JR. (2,755), Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (2,726) and BILL GROMAN (2,648).

Chase is the fourth player in NFL history with at least 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons, joining ODELL BECKHAM JR., JUSTIN JEFFERSON and MICHAEL THOMAS.

Miami wide receivers TYREEK HILL (1,710 receiving yards) and JAYLEN WADDLE (1,356) combined for 3,066 receiving yards this season and surpassed Denver’s EMMANUEL SANDERS and DEMARYIUS THOMAS (3,023 receiving yards in 2014) for the third-most combined receiving yards by a pair of teammates in a season in NFL history. Only Detroit’s HERMAN MOORE and BRETT PERRIMAN (3,174 in 1995) and the St. Louis Rams’ TORRY HOLT and Pro Football Hall of Famer ISAAC BRUCE (3,106 in 2000) had more.

Carolina guard MICHAEL JORDAN recovered a fumble in the end zone in the Panthers’ 10-7 win at New Orleans.

Carolina is the third team since 2000 to win a game in which their only touchdown was scored by an offensive lineman, joining CHICAGO on December 9, 2018 (BRADLEY SOWELL touchdown reception) and DETROIT on December 17, 2000 (JEFF HARTINGS fumble-recovery touchdown).

************TOP MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS************


CINCINNATI (AP) Jarace Walker scored a game-high 21 points, J’Wan Roberts added 14 points and 11 rebounds and No. 2 Houston defeated Cincinnati 72-59 on Sunday.

The Cougars, who defeated the Bearcats in each of the last two American Athletic Conference tournaments, extended their winning streak to seven straight over their soon-to-be Big 12 Conference foe.

Both Houston and Cincinnati are scheduled to leave the AAC for the Big 12 on July 1.

Cincinnati guard Landers Nolley II knocked down his first four shots – all from 3-point range – to keep the Bearcats (11-6, 2-2), within striking distance. Nolley scored zero points the rest of the way.

Houston, powered by Walker, went on a 12-3 run and never looked back. The 6-foot-8 freshman had 11 points at halftime and the Cougars led 35-28 at the break.

Houston scored seven points off six first-half turnovers for the Bearcats and owned a 16-8 advantage in the paint at intermission.

The Cougars opened the second half with five quick points, including a 3 by Jamal Shead, prompting Cincinnati coach Wes Miller to call a timeout.

The Bearcats then committed another turnover that resulted in a breakaway dunk by Walker.

Cincinnati pulled to within 10 (58-48) with 5:41 to play. Houston led by as many as 20.

Marcus Sasser, the AAC Preseason Player of the Year, finished with 16 points for the Cougars, who extended their overall winning streak to seven games.

Mika Adams-Woods led the Bearcats with 19. Viktor Lakhin added 16.


Houston: Hosts South Florida on Wednesday night.

Cincinnati: Hosts East Carolina on Wednesday night.


COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Jahmir Young is proving he can score in the Big Ten.

And even at 6-foot-1, the Maryland guard is a rebounding threat, too.

Young had 30 points and 11 rebounds, and the Terrapins opened the second half with an 18-2 run on their way to an 80-73 victory over No. 24 Ohio State on Sunday. Young matched his career high in scoring, which he set last season while playing at Charlotte.

“We practiced for almost two-and-a-half hours. I mean, we got after it yesterday,” coach Kevin Willard said. “I had no doubt that we were going to score the basketball. It was just good to be home.”

The Terrapins (11-5, 2-3 Big Ten) rebounded after losing at Michigan and Rutgers by a combined 49 points. Ohio State (10-5, 2-2) missed its first seven field-goal attempts of the second half in the game’s decisive stretch.

“We had to regroup. We went into the locker room down five,” Young said. “We didn’t have a lot of deflections going into the second half, so coming out we just had to make sure to make an emphasis on that – trying to get deflections, trying to speed them up and turn them over.”

Ohio State turned the ball over four times in the first couple minutes of the second half.

“I think their changing defenses bothered us,” coach Chris Holtmann said. “We’ll get better with that.”

Brice Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes with 22 points and Justice Sueing added 21, but they were the only Ohio State players in double figures. Maryland had five, even with Young handing so much of the scoring.

Donta Scott and Hakim Hart had 12 points apiece, and Julian Reese and Donald Carey scored 10 each for the Terps. Young’s two highest-scoring games since joining Maryland are this game and a 24-point effort against Illinois last month.

“He’s a good player. I thought he was really hard to contain,” Holtmann said. “Kevin did a good job putting him in spots.”

Maryland led 60-46 after Reese scored inside, but he was given a technical foul following some post-basket chatter, and Ohio State responded with a 13-2 run.

It was tight after that, but the Terps had enough answers offensively down the stretch. Down six in the final minute, Sueing missed an open 3-pointer from the left corner, and that was pretty much it for the Buckeyes’ comeback chances.

Maryland finished with 14 offensive rebounds – Young had five – and outscored Ohio State 34-22 in the paint. Zed Key, the Buckeyes’ 6-foot-8 forward, missed the game after injuring his shoulder earlier in the week.

“We missed his physicality, we missed his ability to post him and play through him at times,” Holtmann said. “But take nothing away from Maryland. They beat us.”


Ohio State: The Buckeyes came into the game averaging 80.1 points and a plus-7.9 margin on the boards. That formula didn’t come together in this one. Ohio State was outrebounded 40-26.

Maryland: The Terps had lost five of seven since starting 8-0 in Willard’s first season at the helm, but this was a strong performance against one of the league’s better teams.

“We haven’t pressed a lot because we haven’t scored a lot, so it’s kind of like, we almost forgot what to do,” Willard said. “All of a sudden we started scoring.”


Gary Williams, who coached both of these teams and won a national title at Maryland in 2002, was in attendance for the game.


A two-point loss to top-ranked Purdue earlier in the week may not have been enough to knock Ohio State out of the Top 25, but this defeat probably will.


Ohio State: The Buckeyes host Minnesota on Thursday night.

Maryland: The Terps play at Iowa next Sunday.


PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Payton Sandfort more than doubled his season average with 22 points, Filip Rebraca had a double-double and Iowa ended Rutgers’ five-game winning streak with a 76-65 victory on Sunday.

Sandfort, who was 4 of 28 from the field, including 1 of 14 from 3-point range, in the first four Big Ten Conference games, lit up the Scarlet Knights, particularly in the second half.

The sophomore guard was 6-of-8 shooting, 4 of 5 behind the arc, and 6 of 7 from the foul line. He scored 14 points, going 3 of 3 from distance, after intermission. He had been averaging 8.3 points, but just 3.3 in league.

The Hawkeyes stretched a 42-30 halftime lead to 54-36 when Kris Murray hit a 3-pointer at the 15:41 mark. Shortly after that Rutgers reeled off 12 straight points. Sandfort then scored the next 11 Iowa points, the first nine on 3-pointers, and a Connor McCaffery 3 made it 69-57 with 4:01 to play.

Rutgers got back within 71-65 and had the ball with under a minute left but couldn’t connect while Iowa made 5 of 7 free throws.

Murray had 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting with three 3s and Rebraca had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Iowa (10-6, 2-), which was coming off a win over No. 15 Indiana after losing three straight.

The Hawkeyes were 7 of 14 on 3-pointers in the second half while going 2 of 11 inside the arc.

Cam Spencer had 13 points for Rutgers (10-5, 3-2) and Caleb McConnell had 12. The Scarlet Knights had three wins in the last week, starting with a win at No. 1 Purdue last Monday.

Rebraca scored 12 points in the first half when Iowa shot 52% and took a 42-30 lead. The Hawkeyes scored the first eight points of the game and the last eight of the half, six by Sandfort. He was fouled on a 3-pointer and then drilled his free throw that made it a 12-point game.

Rutgers goes to Northwestern on Wednesday and Michigan is at Iowa on Thursday.

Connor McCaffery, son of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, was helped to the locker room with 19.5 seconds to play after clipping his head on the shoulder of a Rutgers player setting a screen in the back court. Patrick McCaffery stepped away from the team earlier in the week to deal with anxiety.

**************TOP NBA NEWS************


DETROIT (AP) James Harden had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a comfortable 123-111 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

“I hate to you use this example, but when he’s playing like this, it’s like having a scoring Magic Johnson on the floor,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “When he runs our team with this kind of pace and he scores and gets assists, we’re really good.”

Tyrese Maxey added 23 points and Montrezl Harrell scored 20 for the Sixers, who have won four of five.

“Our defense was pretty good, we took care of the ball and I think everyone competed hard,” Maxey said. “Even someone like Paul Reed comes in and gets nine points and eight offensive rebounds. He plays with so much energy that the other team can’t keep up.”

Killian Hayes scored 25 points for Detroit, which has alternated wins and losses in its last seven games after a six-game losing streak.

“That’s a team playing for a championship and we shot ourselves in the foot,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We had 22 turnovers – the same number we had in the last game against them. We can’t give them points like that.”

Isaiah Stewart finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Bojan Bogdanovic had 20 points.

“Stew is the heart of this team,” Casey said. “He’s not going to be perfect, but you know what you are going to get from him every night.”

The Sixers led 71-54 at halftime, thanks to Harrell’s 16 points and Harden’s 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Harden only needed 27 seconds in the second half to complete his triple-double, setting up Tobias Harris’ basket to put Philadelphia up by 19.

Maxey had 11 points in the third to help stay in control. The Sixers outscored the Pistons 29-28 in the quarter to take a 100-82 lead into the fourth.

Detroit narrowed the gap to 116-103 with 3:42 left, Rivers to call a timeout. The Sixers scored the next five points and cruised to the win.

“The end showed how deep we are,” Rivers said. “Matisse (Thybulle) had six steals, Paul had eight offensive rebounds, Danuel House Jr. comes in and hit a couple 3s. Our whole room has bought it.”


Sixers: Harden became the 27th NBA player to score 24,000 career points, passing the mark on a layup with 6:28 left in the third quarter.

Pistons: Detroit played without two of its three rotation bigs, Jalen Duren (ankle) and Marvin Bagley III (hand). That prevented Casey from his usual tactic to go big with his starting lineup and small with the second unit.


The teams play against on Tuesday in Philadelphia.


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Desmond Bane had 24 points and nine assists, Tyus Jones added 21 points and the Memphis Grizzlies, playing without leading scorer Ja Morant, defeated the Utah Jazz 123-118 on Sunday.

Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and five blocks as Morant was a late scratch with right thigh soreness. That led to Jones running the first unit for Memphis. Jones also had six assists as Memphis won its sixth straight.

“It’s just next man up. Be ready when your name is called,” Jones said of filling in for Morant. “Being ready for your opportunity. No excuses. Just play ball.”

Lauri Markkanen led the Jazz with 21 points, while Kelly Olynyk added 19 points. Each also had eight rebounds. Jordan Clarkson had 17 points before he was ejected late in the third quarter, and Malik Beasley added 15 points. Rookie Walker Kessler finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.

In addition to Morant, Memphis was without center Steven Adams, sidelined with a non-COVID illness. That took the Grizzlies’ leading scorer and top rebounder off the floor.

For Bane, it was a continuation of trying to get back in shape after missing 17 games with a right big toe sprain. The win was his seventh game back, and he estimates he has a few more before his cardio is where he wants it.

“I’m getting there slowly but surely,” said Bane, who was 4 of 7 from 3-point range. “I’m still a little ways away. But I mean, the feel, the rhythm, I think it’s starting to come.”

There were times when the Jazz made a run, cutting into the Grizzlies’ lead, which reached 16 points early in the third quarter, but settled into single digits late. Utah just didn’t seem to have that late push to overcome the Memphis advantage.

“There were a few possessions where we had our chances,” said guard Mike Conley, who finished with seven points and eight assists. “We just turned it over and gave them easy opportunities in transition.”

Utah has struggled of late, losing seven of eight.

A 43-point second quarter gave the Grizzlies a 66-52 lead at the half. Despite shooting 51% in the first periods, Utah was hampered by a dozen turnovers.

Things got testy late in the third quarter when Clarkson was called for a Flagrant 2 against Bane, leading to Clarkson’s ejection. That contributed to Memphis carrying a 98-90 lead. As Clarkson left the court, he raised his arms encouraging the Memphis fans to continue their boos.

For Utah, the loss is the latest in dealing with the ebbs and flows of the season. Utah played well early, but the road has been difficult lately.

“We have a long view with our team right now in terms of there’s 39 games to go,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “Losing hurts in the moment, but we have to maintain our approach and try to control what we can control.”


Jazz: Defeated Memphis twice in a two-game set in Salt Lake City in October. … Kessler, the 22nd pick in the 2022 draft, already matched his career high with five blocks in the first quarter. … G Collin Sexton missed his fourth game with hamstring injury maintenance. … Talen Horton-Tucker, who scored 12 points in Saturday’s loss to Chicago, sat out with a right ankle sprain.

Grizzlies: Are now 6-0 on the opening night of a back-to-back. … F Brandon Clarke missed his fourth game with left hip soreness. … Jackson Jr. has multiple blocks in 10 straight games and 13 of his last 15. … Bane made his 400th career 3-pointer in the first quarter. …Are 16-3 at home this season.


Jazz: Host Cleveland on Tuesday.

Grizzlies: Host San Antonio on Monday.


HOUSTON (AP) D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points and Anthony Edwards added 21 as the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame a big early deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 104-96 Sunday night for their fourth straight win.

Minnesota scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to take an 88-81 lead. Rudy Gobert had four points in that span and Taurean Prince added a 3-pointer. Houston missed six shots and had a turnover to help the Timberwolves go on top.

Kenyon Martin Jr. had a dunk for Houston’s first points of the quarter, but Minnesota scored the next six points to push the lead to 94-83 with about six minutes to go.

An 8-2 run by Houston, with 3s by Kevin Porter Jr. and Martin, got the Rockets within five points a couple of minutes later. But Gobert got a dunk for the Timberwolves, starting a 6-0 spurt that made it 102-91 with about two minutes left to secure the victory.

Minnesota coach Chris Finch raved about the maturity Edwards has shown in recent games by staying focused when things aren’t going well.

“That’s when his competitiveness comes out,” Finch said. “He knows that he’s going to make mistakes . he’s still learning his reads. But having said that, he cares and that’s what it all comes from.”

Minnesota’s winning streak comes after the team dropped its previous six games. Finch was asked about the difference in his team in this stretch.

“We’re just doing a much better job of hanging together when things are tough,” he said.

He credited his team’s defense in the second half for coming out on top Sunday night and said Gobert was the key to the improvement in that area.

“He was really good at affecting shots in the second half,” he said.

Porter had 25 points and Alperen Sengun added 18 for the Rockets, who dropped their seventh in a row. Jalen Green had a tough game, making just four of 15 shots overall, including just one of six 3-point attempts to finish with nine points.

The Rockets led by as many as 20 points early, but the Timberwolves cut the lead to 62-58 by halftime.

“We have to understand that this league is all about sustaining your play,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said. “And we are a wildly inconsistent team where we have highs and lows and we’re working to either maintain the highs or just find a middle ground.”

Edwards made the first five points of the second half to put Minnesota up 63-62. Porter made a 3 for Houston before the Timberwolves scored the next seven points, with a 3 by Russell, to extend the lead to 70-65.

Porter made a 3 to end the run before both teams went on a scoring drought, with neither scoring for almost 2 1/2 minutes. Jabari Smith Jr. scored the next points on a jump shot with about six minutes left in the quarter and his free throw a few second later put Houston on top 71-70.

A basket by Prince gave the Timberwolves a one-point lead later in the third quarter. But Houston scored the last five points of the period to take an 81-77 lead into the fourth.


Timberwolves: Gobert had 18 points and 11 rebounds. … Jaden McDaniels had 12 points and nine rebounds. . Minnesota outrebounded Houston 44-29.

Rockets: Martin had 12 points off the bench. . Eric Gordon added 11 points with four assists. . Houston made just 11 of 36 3-pointers.


Prince had 14 points in his third game back after missing 21 games with a shoulder injury. He has scored at least 10 points in each game since returning, and Finch said the veteran has given the team a boost.

“He’s huge,” Finch said. “He was really good for us throughout the game. He made a couple of clutch shots for us.”


Timberwolves: Visit Detroit on Wednesday night.

Rockets: Play consecutive games at Sacramento on Wednesday and Friday to start a four-game trip.


DETROIT (AP) James Harden had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a comfortable 123-111 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Tyrese Maxey added 23 points and Montrez Harrell scored 20 for the Sixers, who have won four of five.

Killian Hayes scored 25 points for Detroit, which has alternated wins and losses in its last seven games after a six-game losing streak. Isaiah Stewart finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Bojan Bogdanovic had 20 points.

The Sixers led 71-54 at halftime, thanks to Harrell’s 16 points and Harden’s 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Harden only needed 27 seconds in the second half to complete his triple-double, setting up Tobias Harris’ basket to put Philadelphia up by 19.

Maxey had 11 points in the third to help stay in control. The Sixers outscored the Pistons 29-28 in the quarter to take a 100-82 lead into the fourth.

Detroit narrowed the gap to 116-103 with 3:42 left, forcing Doc Rivers to call a timeout. The Sixers scored the next five points and cruised to the win.


Sixers: Harden became the 27th NBA player to score 24,000 career points, passing the mark on a layup with 6:28 left in the third quarter.

Pistons: Detroit played without two of its three rotation bigs, Jalen Duren (ankle) and Marvin Bagley III (hand). That prevented coach Dwane Casey from his usual tactic to go big with his starting lineup and small with the second unit.


The teams play against on Tuesday in Philadelphia.


TORONTO (AP) Pascal Siakam scored 27 points, Scottie Barnes had 22 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 117-105 on Sunday.

Gary Trent Jr. scored 19 against his former team and Fred VanVleet and O.G. Anunoby each had 14 as the Raptors halted a five-game losing streak against Portland.

Toronto won for the second time in nine home games, and the fourth time in its past 15 overall.

Barnes bounced back after scoring only seven points in Friday’s loss to the Knicks.

“Much better,” coach Nick Nurse said. “Both Scottie and Pascal played much more in rhythm tonight.”

Damian Lillard scored 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter but Portland’s road losing streak reached seven.

The Trail Blazers made a season-worst 24 turnovers, leading to 29 points for Toronto.

“For us to win this game, we had to take care of the ball and take good shots,” Portland coach Chauncey Billups said. “Twenty-nine points is just too much.”

The Blazers have lost the turnover battle in four of their past five games, losing each time.

“They continue to be our Achilles’ heel,” Billups said.

Jusuf Nurkic had 14 points and 18 rebounds, Anfernee Simons scored 22 points and Josh Hart had 18. Portland has lost three straight and seven of nine.

Jerami Grant scored 14 points as all five Portland starters reached double figures, but the Blazers got just three bench points.

After going winless on a three-game trip at Minnesota, Indiana and Toronto, the Blazers play 10 of their next 11 at home, where they have gone 9-6.

Still, Hart wasn’t convinced a change of scenery would cure Portland’s problems.

“We’ve got to play better,” Hart said. “The arena doesn’t matter. We’ve got to play better.”

After hosting Orlando Tuesday, the Blazers play Cleveland, then have two against Dallas.

“We’re playing some tough, tough teams,” Billups said.

Toronto led 92-76 with 10:40 left in the fourth but Portland cut it to 97-94 on Lillard’s basket with 6:17 remaining. VanVleet answered with back-to-back 3-pointers, giving Toronto a 103-94 edge with 5:45 left to play.

Siakam scored 13 points in the first and Toronto closed the quarter on an 11-2 run to lead 34-27.

Portland missed eight straight field goal attempts to start the second and fell behind 48-29, before Hart ended the drought with a dunk. The Blazers made nine of their final 12 attempts in the second, cutting the gap to 58-53 at halftime.

Toronto restored its double-digit cushion with a 14-0 run to start the second half. Siakam scored 10 points in the third and the Raptors took an 89-74 lead to the fourth.


Hours before the game, Portland’s Hart posted a tweet asking why his ESPN+ subscription wasn’t working. Minutes later, Hart posted another tweet after realizing he couldn’t access the service because he was in Canada. Hart was trying to watch his favorite soccer team, London’s Chelsea, who lost 4-0 to rivals Manchester City.


Trail Blazers: G Gary Payton II, who made his season debut Jan 2, was held out for the third straight game because of a sprained right ankle. Payton had been listed as probable but felt discomfort while warming up. Payton missed the start of the season while recovering from offseason core muscle surgery. . F Justise Winslow (sprained left ankle) missed his seventh straight game. . Rookie G Shaedon Sharpe, from London, Ontario, played in Canada for the first time. . Recorded assists on eight of nine made baskets in the first quarter.

Raptors: Trent failed to extend his career-best streak of scoring 20 or more points to a seventh game. . Signed G-F Joe Wieskamp to a 10-day contract Saturday. Wieskamp played 29 games with San Antonio last season. . Barnes had nine rebounds.


Trail Blazers: Host Orlando on Tuesday night.

Raptors: Host Charlotte on Tuesday night.


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks 120-109 on Sunday night.

It was supposed to be a showdown between two of the league’s top scorers in Gilgeous-Alexander and Dallas guard Luka Doncic, but Doncic – the NBA’s scoring leader with 34 points per game – sat out with a sore left ankle. Doncic had 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists Saturday in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Even with Doncic out, the Thunder knew they couldn’t afford to take it easy.

“It’s a testament to their maturity and their commitment level,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said of his players. “And really, it’s (a) zero and zero mindset, it’s a 48-minute game, it’s being where your feet are inside of the game.”

Gilgeous-Alexander, a guard who entered the night fourth in the league with 30.9 points per game, made 11 of 17 field goals and 11 of 13 free throws. Christian Wood, who led the Mavericks with 27 points and 16 rebounds, said his team knew the scouting report on Gilgeous-Alexander and it didn’t matter.

“He’s a great player,” Wood said. “He’s been having a great season all year. He was getting left, getting downhill, getting to his spots, creating for others when he got to his spots, getting a lot of and-ones, getting to the free throw line.”

It was Oklahoma City’s third straight double-digit win at home to start the new year. The Thunder beat Boston 150-117 on Jan. 3 and Washington 127-110 on Friday.

Spencer Dinwiddie had 21 points and eight assists for the Mavericks, who have lost five of eight.

Oklahoma City led 69-55 at halftime, then Gilgeous-Alexander took over in the third quarter. He drove to the hoop, was fouled and somehow flipped the ball in with 28 seconds left in the period. His free throw gave the Thunder a 94-82 lead. His floater at the buzzer rattled in to push Oklahoma City’s edge to 96-83. He scored 17 points in the quarter on 7-for-10 shooting from the field.

The Thunder put it out of reach in the fourth. A steal by Gilgeous-Alexander led to a dunk by Lu Dort that put Oklahoma City ahead 116-98 with 4:26 to play.

Daigneault said the Thunder turned the tide with defense.

“Second-quarter defense was great, second-half defense was pretty good,” he said. “I thought they earned the stuff they got in the second half.”


Mavericks: Made 6 of 10 3-pointers in the first quarter to take a 34-33 lead. They made 8 of 29 3s the rest of the game … Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 19 points, but he made just 6 of 18 field goals. … Coach Jason Kidd was issued a technical foul in the fourth quarter.

Thunder: Shot 54.3% from the field in the first half and made 9 of 15 3-pointers. … Reserves outscored Dallas’ 35-27 … G Josh Giddey played just 26 minutes because of foul trouble. He finished with 10 points, five rebounds, five assists and five fouls.


Oklahoma City has turned in three consecutive dominant second quarters at home.

The Thunder outscored Boston 40-21 in the second, then outscored Washington 33-25 and Dallas 36-21.


Giddey has struggled with 3-pointers in his short career, but the second-year guard has found his stroke lately. The career 29% 3-point shooter has made 9 of 18 from beyond the arc in his past four games and brought his season percentage up to 35.5%.


Mavericks: Visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Thunder: Visit the Miami Heat on Tuesday.


LOS ANGELES (AP) Trae Young scored 30 points and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Clippers 112-108 on Sunday night, sending reeling Los Angeles to its season-worst sixth straight loss.

De’Andre Hunter added 20 points for the Hawks, who blew a 17-point, first-half lead before rallying from 11 points down in the fourth to pull out the win.

“We just got to keep building on it. We can’t take no steps back,” Hunter said.

Atlanta coach Nate McMillan earned his 750th career victory, putting him fourth all-time among active coaches.

“That’s a big mark and I’m happy he got it with us,” Young said.

Trailing 102-91, Young keyed a 17-4 run that he capped with two free throws to tie it before his basket gave Atlanta a 108-106 lead.

Kawhi Leonard answered with a layup that tied it for the second time in the final 1:16.

Young scored for a 110-108 lead before Leonard and Marcus Morris missed 3-point attempts on the same possession. Young got fouled and made both free throws to close out the win. He had 14 points in the decisive fourth.

Leonard led the Clippers with 29 points. Ivica Zubac had 17 points and 18 rebounds on a night when Paul George missed his second straight game with right hamstring soreness.

“Tonight, we had a conscious effort of playing the right way so I can live with the results,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We did some good things to get back in the game after being down. I liked our fight. Seeing what we did I was encouraged.”

The Clippers trailed by 17 in the second after giving up 41 points. They rallied in the third behind Morris’ three 3-pointers in a 21-4 spurt that put them back in front.

That set the stage for the fourth, when they raced out to an 11-point lead before the Hawks took over the final six minutes.

Atlanta ran off 11 straight points to tie it up, 102-all, on Dejounte Murray’s basket. Young hit a 3-pointer and made three free throws in the run.

The Clippers dissolved with misses and turnovers down the stretch.

“We got some decent shots but then we had some turnovers, too. That led to some easy baskets for those guys,” Lue said. “We got to keep working. No one is going to feel sorry for us.”

The Clippers clawed back in the third, outscoring the Hawks 21-4, including 13 in a row, to take an 83-79 lead. Morris opened and closed the run with 3-pointers and hit another one in between. Los Angeles led 87-85 going into the fourth.

The Hawks exploded for a 41-point second quarter, punctuating the closing seconds with consecutive dunks. John Collins slammed down an alley-oop pass from Young. Hunter stole the ball from John Wall and scored on a driving dunk to send the Hawks into halftime leading 66-52.

“That was a big key for us, getting out in transition and running and just playing fast paced,” Young said.

Atlanta broke open a one-point game with runs of 13-0, 7-0 and 7-0 in the second while the Clippers fell behind by 17 points. Jalen Johnson scored nine points in the Hawks’ first big spurt, including two 3-pointers.

“The first half we were just flowing. Everybody was touching the ball, everybody was getting shots, everybody was playing defense. We just had a good rhythm,” Hunter said.


Hawks: Improved to 8-13 on the road. … Had lost five of previous six. … Clint Capela (right calf strain) remains out.

Clippers: Luke Kennard (right calf soreness) sat out.


Hawks: Host Milwaukee on Wednesday in one of just five home games in January.

Clippers: Host Dallas on Tuesday.

********************TOP NHL NEWS**************************


WASHINGTON (AP) Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson made their season debuts and the Washington Capitals beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 1-0 on Sunday night.

It marked the first time Backstrom and Wilson took the ice at Capital One Arena since the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs in May. Both underwent major procedures in the offseason – Backstrom had hip resurfacing surgery and Wilson had ACL surgery.

“You know, after an injury, it’s a little bit different. You’re expecting your body to show up but you never really know. I tried to put in all the work I could, and it held up, we got through it,” Wilson said. “It felt better as the game went on. The guys battled for Nicky and I to get it done, and Kuemps played really well, and it’s nice to get the first one out of the way. But it was a really cool experience.”

Following nearly eight months of rehabilitation, both were cleared to make their long-awaited returns and were integrated quickly into the top six. Backstrom slotted in as the first-line center between Alex Ovechkin and Conor Sheary while Wilson played on the second-line right wing with Dylan Strome and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Both also got time on the power play, with Backstrom running the half-wall on the top unit and Wilson getting a look on the second unit.

“It meant the world, and obviously I missed this and with not knowing what my future was going to hold, just coming back and playing, it feels great,” Backstrom said. “I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

Darcy Kuemper continued his strong play between the pipes as he made 37 saves and held off the swarming Blue Jackets for his fourth shutout of the season and second in five games.

Despite the Capitals getting two of their stars back in the mix, the ice wasn’t exactly tilted in their favor, as Columbus, coming off a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, dominated in shots on goal and limited Washington’s chances at 5-on-5 and on the man advantage. However, Erik Gustafsson’s goal just 2:43 minutes into the game secured the win for the Capitals.

“Good teams can find a way (to win) in a lot of different ways. Tonight was one of them,” Kuemper said.

Elvis Merzlikins made 18 saves for Columbus, who have now dropped 10 of the last 12 games.

“That’s a game you want to win so badly, I think. That was one of the games for 60 minutes we put it all together … that’s the unfortunate part,” Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke said. “Sometimes you got to tip your cap to the goalie, and we just got to take what the game gave us and move on from that.”

NOTES: Gustafsson scored his seventh goal of the season, all of them in the last 11 games. … Garnet Hathaway and Gavin Bayreuther dropped the gloves in the first period … Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch for the first time in his Capitals tenure, as he and Nicolas Aube-Kubel sat out with Backstrom and Wilson returning.


Blue Jackets: Visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Capitals: Visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday in the first half of a home-and-home series.


CHICAGO (AP) Maxi Domi scored at 1:04 of overtime and had an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 Sunday night for their second straight win.

Lukas Reichel batted in his his first NHL goal and had two assists, and Philipp Kurashev and Colin Blackwell also scored for the last-place Blackhawks, who ended a five-game losing streak against Arizona on Friday and are 3-13-0 in their last 16 games.

“It was dream come true,” said Reichel, who took five shots in his 14th NHL game and third this season. “The first NHL goal is a pretty special moment for me and I want to keep buzzing.

“The last game too, I had so many chances and it didn’t go in, but you’ve got to work hard for it and keep going.”

Alex Stalock made 44 saves in third straight start and sixth in eight since returning from a concussion.

Elias Lindholm had a power play goal and an assist, Nazem Kadri scored his team-leading 16th goal during a man advantage and Jonathan Huberdeau connected at even strength for Calgary. Tyler Toffoli added two assists as the Flames came back from a two-goal deficit to tie it after coach Darryl Sutter replaced starting goalie Jacob Markstrom with Dan Vladar just 35 seconds into the second period.

Markstrom allowed three goals on 11 shots and Vladar stopped 13 of 14 shots.

“Should win,” Sutter said. “Take one penalty, score two power-play goals and only give up a handful of shots. Should win the game.”

In the extra period, Domi drove down the slot, stumbled then got back on his feet to tuck a shot past Vladar to give the Blackhawks consecutive victories for the first time since a four-game winning streak in October.

“In the first period I thought we really took it to them,” Domi said. “In second we fell off a little bit, but Stalock was unbelievable once again. … In overtime anything can happen. That was a fun one to win, for sure.”

Reichel assisted on the game-winner.

“He’s only going to get better every day,” Domi said. “He had an awesome game tonight. He was a huge part of this win.”

The Blackhawks played a second straight game without star forward Patrick Kane, who has a lower-body injury but is expected to return this week.

Reichel opened the scoring 2:39 into the game from the edge of the crease when he batted in a rebound of Seth Jones’ shot from the point.

Lindholm tied it during a power play at 8:49, firing a rebound of Toffoli’s shot into an open net.

Blackwell put Chicago back ahead 2-1 just over 2 minutes later, popping in a rebound.

Reichel set up Kurashev to complete a 2-on-1 break 35 seconds into the second period to make it 3-1 – and earn his second career assist. That ended Markstrom’s night.

Huberdeau scored from the slot off a faceoff 27 seconds later to pull the Flames within one and Kadri tied it with a power-play goal from the slot at 9:50 as Calgary outshot Chicago 16-4 in the second period.


Coach Luke Richardson said Kane probably would return for the Blackhawks’ next game, against Colorado on Thursday.

“I think it will give him the proper rest and he’ll feel more comfortable,” Richardson said. “Skating’s good. It’s the wear and tear and banging of the game that we’re concerned about. If it just catches the wrong way, it could catch on him and he’s probably going downwards in progression. A couple more days (off) this week will really make a difference.”

Kane sat out the third period of a loss to against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, then missed Friday’s 2-0 win over Arizona.


Chicago drafted Reichel, a 20-year-old German, in the first round, 17th overall, in 2020. … With Kane out, Blackhawks D Caleb Jones played on the wing. … Flames F Brett Ritchie was placed on injured reserve (upper-body) on Saturday. Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr, recalled from Calgary of the AHL, didn’t dress Sunday.


Flames: At St. Louis on Tuesday night.

Blackhawks: Host Colorado on Thursday night.


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Brayden Schenn burst out of the St. Louis penalty box, joined the rush and scored the insurance goal 12 seconds later.

The banged-up Blues sure haven’t given up on this season.

Brandon Saad extended his goal streak to a career-best four straight games, Schenn scored twice in the third period, and Thomas Greiss made 36 saves for his first shutout of the season to lead the Blues past the Minnesota Wild 3-0 on Sunday night.

“They know that we’ve lost a lot of players here, but we’ve got guys who are coming up and doing the job,” Blues coach Craig Berube said.

Saad set up the first goal by Schenn, who contested his tripping call on Kirill Kaprizov with 8:12 remaining and the Blues leading by one. Schenn added an empty netter in the closing seconds.

Greiss, making his first start for Jordan Binnington in eight games since Dec. 20, stopped a whopping 24 shots in the third period.

The Blues, who have been ravaged this season by injuries and most recently lost captain Ryan O’Reilly and prolific scorer Vladimir Tarasenko, improved to 8-3-3 in their last 14 games. They went 3-1 on this four-game road trip and reached the midpoint of the 82-game schedule on a strong note. The Blues lost 5-4 in Montreal on Saturday.

“It was a great response,” Greiss said.

Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson, who had 21 saves, did more than enough to keep his team competitive through two sluggish periods. The Wild lost for the first time in eight games this season against an opponent on the second half of a back-to-back set of games.

“The third period is more like how we used to play on nights where we win the game,” Gustavsson said. “Just need to try and find a way to do it in the first and second period, too.”

The Wild played without primary goalie Marc-Andre Fleury because of a personal matter. Fleury took the 6-5 overtime loss in Buffalo on Saturday. Gustavsson’s status was in question, too, after an illness forced him out of the net in the final minutes of the 5-1 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday.

When Mason Shaw’s high stick drew blood on Steven Santini, the Blues were awarded a 4-minute power play. They cashed in less than halfway through the man advantage.

“That always gives you a little bit of a boost and confidence. That might not have been our best lineup, but Greisser had a hell of a night,” Saad said. “I think we just capitalized on our chances when we got them.”

The Blues have a power-play goal in nine of their last 11 games.

Greiss was at his best in the final minute of the first period, when he kicked aside a snapshot by Matt Boldy off the rush and seconds later came out of the crease to deny Kaprizov.

“We can obviously still clean up some things, but we’re getting great goaltending right now and guys are stepping up and playing hard and playing together as a team and really buckling down. And that’s what you need when you have guys out of the lineup,” Schenn said.

The game got worse for the Wild before it got better. Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek both left with injuries in the second period, leaving the team with only nine forwards for several shifts. Both Hartman and Eriksson Ek returned for the third period.

“You’ve got to grind through that,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “We have to find ways to win when we don’t have our perfect setup.”


Blues: Return home for two games against Calgary on Tuesday and Thursday.

Wild: Travel to New York to play the Rangers on Tuesday and the Islanders on Thursday.

*******************TOP MEN’S GOLF NEWS*****************


KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) Jon Rahm left Maui with a trophy he wasn’t expecting, all because of a collapse from Collin Morikawa no one saw coming.

Rahm started the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions seven shots behind. He bogeyed his first hole. He was six shots back at the turn to Morikawa, who had yet to make a bogey the entire week at Kapalua.

“Bit of a crazy day, I’m not going to lie,” Rahm said.

A wild hour featured a seven-shot swing in four holes when Rahm ran off three straight birdies and an eagle and Morikawa, playing two groups behind him, made three straight bogeys on holes the rest of the field collectively played in 44-under par.

It ended with Rahm making one last birdie for a 10-under 63 and a two-shot win over Morikawa (72), who went from a sure victory to a footnote in PGA Tour history as the ninth player to lose a six-shot lead going into the final round.

“It’s going to hurt, but I’ve got to get over it because we’re still in the very early parts of the season,” Morikawa said.

So began the bold new year on the PGA Tour of elevated tournaments that average $20 million in prize money in a bid to bring the best together more often and reward them amid the challenge of Saudi-funded LIV Golf.

Rahm is riding a big wave, winning for the third time in his last five starts worldwide.

“In my mind, I feel like since August I’ve been the best player in the world,” he said.

For Morikawa, it was an epic wipeout even by Maui’s standards.

He still was three shots ahead when he bladed a 25-yard bunker shot over the 14th green and made bogey. On the par-5 15th, his 5-wood leaked just enough right to go down the slope and leave his a daunting chip, up the hill with the strong grain of grass into him. He muffed the chip and took bogey. And then on the 16th, his wedge wasn’t long enough and rolled off the false front of the green some 70 feet from the pin for a third straight bogey.

“He still shot 63,” Morikawa said. “He definitely made the birdies when he needed to. But I also made bogeys. When you’re getting bogeys at that time of the tournament they’re costly. I definitely felt the weight of that.”

He wound up tying a PGA Tour record for losing the largest 54-hole lead at six shots. Eight other players have done that, most recently Scottie Scheffler at the Tour Championship last year. That event has a staggered start to par based on FedEx Cup standings. For regular stroke play, the last occasion was Dustin Johnson in 2017 at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

Morikawa looked to be in a state of shock as he walked down the 17th fairway, leading by as many as seven shots during the final round and suddenly finding himself two shots behind and running out of hope.

Rahm was surprised, too. He knew he was back in the game, and as he walked down the 17th fairway and looked at the video board, he saw his picture on the screen with a “1” next to his position – not even a “T1” to indicated a tie.

Rahm said he looked over at caddie Adam Hayes and said, “What’s going on?”

It was the second such collapse by Morikawa in a little more than a year. He closed out 2021 at the Hero World Challenge and had a five-shot lead with a chance to reach No. 1 in the world with a victory. He shot 76 and finished fifth.

Masters champion Scheffler had a chance to return to No. 1 this week if he finished in a two-way tie for third or better. He had to settle for a 70 and tied for seventh.

Rahm finished at 27-under 265, and it was a small measure of redemption. Last year he finished at 33-under par at Kapalua which was a PGA Tour record that lasted only a few seconds. Cameron Smith finished at 34 under to win by one.

Rahm now is 60 under in his last two appearances at Kapalua. The victory was his ninth on the PGA Tour and 17th worldwide, and assures he will be back on Maui to start 2024.

He won $2.7 million from the $15 million purse at Kapalua, the first of the “elevated” events on the PGA Tour schedule. He also gets 25% of his Player Impact Program bonus money – he finished No. 5 in the PIP for $6 million.

The Spaniard now has won in each of his seven full years on the PGA.

Tom Hoge had a 64 and tied for third with Max Homa (66). Hoge headed for the airport to go to Los Angeles to watch his school, TCU, playing for the national championship against Georgia. Hoge then will go back to Hawaii for the Sony Open.

****************TOP MLB NEWS***************

CHICAGO (AP) Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks says he has non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hendriks announced Sunday on Instagram that he was diagnosed in recent days. The three-time All-Star was scheduled to begin treatment on Monday.

“Hearing the word “Cancer” came as a shock to my wife and I, as it does to millions of families each year,” he wrote. “However, I am resolved to embrace the fight and overcome this new challenge with the same determination I have used when facing other obstacles in my life.”

Hendriks said he is “confident” he will “make a full recovery and be back on the mound as soon as possible.”

“I know with the support of my wife, my family, my teammates and the Chicago White Sox organization, along with the treatment and care from my doctors, I will get through this,” he said.

The five-year survival rate for non-Hodgkin lymphoma is 73.8%, according to the National Cancer Institute. Some forms are aggressive while others are slow growing.

General manager Rick Hahn said in a statement the White Sox don’t expect to have an update on Hendriks’ status prior to opening day.

“Our thoughts and reactions at this time are for Liam the person, not Liam the baseball player,” he said. “I know the entire Chicago White Sox organization, our staff, his teammates, and certainly White Sox fans, will rally in support of Liam and Kristi during the coming months. Knowing everyone involved, especially Liam, we are optimistic he will pitch again for the White Sox as soon as viable. In the meantime, we all will do everything in our power to support our teammate and his family as they face this challenge, while also respecting their privacy.”

Hendriks was third in the majors with 37 saves and made his third All-Star team last season. He led the American League with a career-high 38 saves in 2021, after leaving Oakland to sign a $54 million, three-year contract with the White Sox.

Hendriks has 115 saves and a 3.81 ERA over 12 seasons with Minnesota, Toronto, Kansas City, Oakland and Chicago.

**********TOP INDIANA RELEASES************


No one in the Colts locker room late Sunday afternoon cared their team had just secured a top-five pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

What mattered to the players who took off their jerseys and pads for the last time in the 2022 season was the result of the game they just played: A gutting 32-31 loss to the Houston Texans, the team’s seventh in a row and one which brought finality to a 4-12-1 season.

“We had a losing season. I’m pretty pissed off, to be honest,” defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said. “Obviously high expectations, and for our season to go the way it did, and to obviously end the way it did, I mean, it sucks.”

And for interim head coach Jeff Saturday, he was still processing the disappointment of Sunday’s loss – and was not in the headspace to begin looking ahead to the interview process of the Colts’ coaching search that’ll commence this month.

“I’ve given zero thought to any of that,” Saturday said.” I told those guys when I walked in the locker room the first time, and it has not changed, was to serve them the best I could. And I feel for those guys. They’re the ones that lay it out on the line every week.”

The last game of the Colts’ season, though, ended in a fashion that’s become all too familiar. The Colts battled throughout a back-and-forth game, but self-inflicted mistakes – a lost fumble and two Sam Ehlinger interceptions, one of which was a pick-six – breathed life into the Texans. And when a play needed to be made, Houston quarterback Davis Mills’ last-ditch heave to the end zone on fourth and 20 cruelly sailed just over the hands of safety Rodney Thomas II and into the arms of tight end Jordan Akins; Akins’ reception converted the game-winning two-point conversion on the next play.

That was it: Self-inflicted mistakes and coming up one play short. The Colts finished 2022 with a 4-6-1 record in one-score games.

“No doubt in my mind, this roster we had is a very talented roster,” wide receiver Parris Campbell said. “Obviously every man in this room did not think this would be the outcome.”

There were bright spots, though. Linebacker Zaire Franklin set a new franchise record with 166 tackles. Running back Zack Moss rushed 18 times for 114 yards – a new career high – and rumbled for an impressive, physical touchdown. Buckner played hard, with three quarterback hits and two tackles for a loss. Safety Rodney McLeod Jr. had a pick-six.

And after Thomas notched his team-high fourth interception of the season, he honored his close friend, Damar Hamlin, in his celebration.

Thomas, though, was disappointed in his role in how the ended after coming millimeters away from a game-clinching play.

“Nothing but heart, nothing but grit, nothing but fight. coming out of this team,” Thomas said. “That’s why it’s killing me the end of the game happened the way it was. Just gotta make the play.”

After the game, Franklin – a three-time team captain – made his way around the home locker room at Lucas Oil Stadium, making sure to deliver a message to every player on the team. From rookie left tackle Bernhard Raimann to veteran wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. to Thomas, Franklin delivered words of respect and encouragement to a group of guys who fell short of their goal in 2022, but will turn the page to the 2023 season in the coming weeks.

“Think about last year, (we were) 9-6, need one (win), have two games to get one to get into the playoffs and we squander that opportunity,” Franklin said. “Fast-forward the next year, the team that fans had clown masks at the game (the Jaguars) won the division. That’s how fast things can turn in both ways.

“Even though it was a tough year for us and we’ve gone through a lot of turmoil, it’s the NFL. All you gotta do is get hot and get rolling, get the right situations in place and let’s keep it moving. Understanding that the pendulum swings either way. Don’t take it for granted and take advantage of every opportunity we have.”


Prior to Sunday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said his team would need to rely on team-oriented, high-energy play to come out with a win.

In game 41 – the halfway point of the Pacers’ 2022-2023 season – that gritty play Carlisle wanted to see proved the difference.

Tied at 107 points, with 53 seconds left in the game, Pacers shooting guard Buddy Hield blocked a 3-point attempt by Hornets All-Star LaMelo Ball and was fouled on a loose ball. After Hield split the free throws to give the Blue & Gold the lead, the Pacers’ Aaron Nesmith stole the ball on the next possession.

The Pacers hit seven of eight free throw attempts in the final 31 seconds, and Pacers center Myles Turner had a crowd-roaring block at the rim on the Hornets’ Mason Plumlee, to clinch a 116-111 win at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

“There’s no panic in this team,” Carlisle said after the game. “They’re a group of believers.”

Indiana (23-18) has now won six of its last seven games and eight of the last 10. At home, the Pacers are 15-7 and have won six straight.

Turner led five Pacers that scored in double figures with 29 points – including 12 in the fourth quarter – while Hield had 21, rookie Andrew Nembhard scored 19 and point guard Tyrese Haliburton had 16 points to go along with 13 assists. Turner also had nine rebounds and four blocks in the game.

P.J. Washington topped the Hornets (11-30) with 22 points, Terry Rozier added 19  and Plumlee scored 18 and pulled down 13 rebounds.

In the opening half, the two quarters couldn’t have gone much different for the Pacers.

After scoring just 15 points on 30.4 percent shooting in the first quarter, the Pacers made 47 percent of their shots in the second frame while holding the Hornets to 27 percent shooting to lead 47-45 at intermission.

All five of Indiana’s starters scored a bucket in the first 4:30 of play, and the Pacers led 15-14 with 6:10 left in the first quarter, but the Blue & Gold then went ice cold.

In the last 5:21 of the opening quarter, the Hornets scored 14 unanswered points to lead 27-15. In the final 6:09 of the first quarter, the Pacers shot 0-for-10.

Overall, the Pacers went 7-for-23 on shooting (0-for-10 3-point) while the Hornets made 11 of 21 attempts (1-for-6 3-point) in the first 12 minutes.

In the second quarter, the Pacers outscored the Hornets 32-18.

Jalen Smith stopped the bleeding for the Pacers with 11:18 left in the half, hitting a 3-pointer, to make it 29-18.

The Pacers finally got their offense rolling midway through the second quarter, going on a 14-3 run – on five points by Nembhard and four from Turner – to narrow the deficit to 37-35 with 5:23 left in the half.

After tying the game at 41, a pair of baskets by Haliburton and dunk by Hield – off a steal from Nembhard — put the Pacers ahead by one possession at the break.

Ball, who leads the Hornets in scoring average, picked up his fourth foul 20 seconds into the third quarter, but then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give his team the lead back. Ball would foul out on the key foul on Hield in the waning seconds.

Two 3-pointers from Nembhard, a trey by Hield and offensive putback by Turner put the Pacers back ahead at 63-60 with 6:36 left in the third quarter, but the Hornets wouldn’t back down.

In the final 3:13 of the third quarter, the Hornets strung together a  9-0 run to take a 79-73 lead into the final frame

The Pacers tied the game at 85, after Hield scored seven points on two 3-pointers, Nembhard hit a three and Smith scored inside, with eight minutes left in the game.

While the Hornets led by as many as six, the Pacers climbed back to tie the game at 100 with 3:03 left in the game. From there, the Pacers were able to come up in the clutch.

Like Carlisle, Turner credited the home crowd with helping the team down the stretch.

“When we’re at home, and we just hear the fans and how loud they get after we make play after play after play, it just all builds on each other,” Turner said. “You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due for (the crowd). I mean, I think that just naturally amps us up and it gets us to continue to get the stops.”

Overall, the Hornets made 38 of 88 shots (11-for-33 3-point) while the Pacers made 38 of 87 attempts (13-for-38 3-points).

Charlotte outrebounded Indiana 49-41 but had 18 turnovers to the Pacers’ 16. The Pacers finished with 14 steals in the game and seven blocks.

Indiana will play at the New York Knicks on Wednesday. The Pacers will complete their season series with the Hornets on March 20 in Charlotte.

Inside the Numbers

Hield shot 4-for-12  from 3-point range in the game. He has now hit multiple 3-pointers in 18 straight games and has made four or more 14 times.

Nembhard finished with a game-high +/- of 25. Turner had a +/- of 20.

Despite not making a 3-pointer in the first quarter, the Pacers finished with 11 made threes.

Haliburton now had 22 double-doubles this season.

All 10 starters in the game scored in double figures.

Oshae Brissett had a season-high 10 rebounds for Indiana.

Nembhard had a career-high four steals in the game.

Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin, who leads all bench players in scoring in the NBA, finished with a career-low four points.

Indiana’s bench was outscored 22-16 – the fewest bench points by the Pacers in a game this season.

You Can Quote Me On That

“We look forward to the moments when it’s crunch time and we come together and make big plays. It’s an exciting, special year at Gainbridge.” – Turner on the team coming up clutch

“I think it all just comes down to what we have in this locker room. I think Rick does a great job of being the head of the snake with this. … We have a group of guys that are ready to go to war every night.” – Turner on the win

“Just trust, trust, trust, trust. I’m telling you, man, there’s just no there’s no ego in this locker room. Not at all.” – Turner on why the team is winning close games lately

“I’m trying to just find my balance of when to be aggressive and when to just understand when to make a play to kind of keep the ball moving. I think in the last couple of games, I’ve found a little better balance.” – Nembhard on being more aggressive

“This team is totally different. It’s got a totally different spirit and totally different love for each other and a totally different commitment to each other.” – Carlisle on the better start ot this season compared to last year

“Tough games is where you grow. You know, this was a tough game. One of those bend but don’t break games.” – Carlisle on the win

“There’s some guys that step on the floor and bring a presence and energy and confidence to the game. I coached Jermaine O’Neal here for a stretch of four years, and Jermaine had that. It was something that kind of quietly was uplifting to his teammates. Myles is in his prime. I mean, he’s playing the best he’s ever played. He’s a bonafide, certified leader in our locker room. He does it the right way. He does it with actions and not words, and yet when he talks people listen. I’m just real happy for him, he’s a great guy. And down the stretch, I mean, he was tremendous, right? You can’t say it enough.” – Carlisle on Turner

Stat of the Night

Turner shot 4-for-6 in the fourth quarter and made three of four free throw attempts for 12 of his 29 total points. He also had four blocks and nine rebounds.


Sunday’s game marked the midway point for the Pacers’ season. Last year, the team had a record of 15-26 at this point before finishing 25-57.

Indiana owns an all-time record of 72-51 over the Hornets and are 47-16 when playing them in Indianapolis.

Pacers reserve point guard T.J. McConnell injured his shoulder in the third quarter and didn’t return to the game.

Indianapolis native and Butler University men’s basketball legend Gordon Hayward did not play against the Pacers due to an injury.

Up Next

The Pacers travel to New York to take on Julius Randle and the Knicks on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 PM ET.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Jalen Hood-Schifino and Trayce Jackson-Davis had games to remember Sunday afternoon.

The No. 15/19 Indiana Hoosiers did not.

Northwestern (12-3 overall, 3-1 in the Big Ten) used a 25-6 edge in points off turnovers at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall en route to an 84-83 victory. It was the Wildcats’ first win over a ranked Hoosier team in history. They have won seven of their last eight games, two over ranked teams.

“We’ve got to keep practicing and working,” coach Mike Woodson said. “Nobody is going to feel worry for the Indiana Hoosiers. We have some guys out. The other guys in uniform have to step up and play.”

Despite a career-high 33 points from Hood-Schifino and a near triple double from Jackson-Davis, IU lost its second straight game to fall to 10-5 overall, 1-3 in the Big Ten. That followed a 91-89 loss at Iowa Thursday night when it blew an early 21-point lead.

“We have a long way to go,” Hood-Schifino said, “but we’ll get there.”

Added Jackson-Davis: “We have to regroup. “We have to have guys step up. We came out strong at Iowa, but laid an egg here. You can’t have that. We have to come out strong. I have to do a better job of leading that.”

Specifically, Jackson-Davis added, he has to make sure freshmen such as Malik Reneau and CJ Gunn, and junior Jordan Geronimo, are ready for the challenge.

“I have to talk to them. Some of these guys have not been put in this position before. They’ve got to learn fast. They have all the physical skills. I have to do a better job of getting them mentally ready to go.”

Northwestern built leads as large as 17 in the first half, 13 in the second half. It also was 19-for-28 from the line to the Hoosiers’ 10-for-14, although much of that disparity came late with IU had to foul.

“Northwestern played a hell of a game,” Woodson said. “It was a dogfight trying to get back, and we could never get back.”

This was a big disappointment for a team that began with Big Ten title aspirations. Turning it around, Woodson said, “Ain’t rocket science.’

“We have to work harder. (Iowa and Northwestern) worked harder than we did.

“My job is to get them to play harder. That might cure a lot of problems.”

Hood-Schifino’s 33 points were the most by an IU freshman since Eric Gordon had 33 in 2007. He was 12-for-17 from the field, 5-for-7 on three-pointers. He added three rebounds and three assists. The only negative were his six turnovers.

“He’s one of our best players,” Jackson-Davis said. “He will have the ball in hands. We need him to make plays. Without him, it could have been a 10- to 15-point game.”

Added Hood-Schifino: “We have to stop turning it over. We have to be better with the ball, especially with me.”

Jackson-Davis’s 24 rebounds were the most by a Hoosier since Steven Downing had 25 in 1971. He added 18 points, eight assists and four blocks. He also altered multiple shots. He played all 40 minutes despite back issues.

As it was against Iowa when he played 38-plus minutes, resting wasn’t an option.

“It’s the Big Ten,” Jackson-Davis said. “I get treatment; I play the games. That’s what I do. If I have to play all 40 minutes, I’ll play 40. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Added Woodson: “When you’re down 17 and searching, you don’t want your best player sitting next to you. He gave us all he had.”

Jackson-Davis’ performance made a big impression on Hood-Schifino.

“He’s giving it to us every night. He played his heart out. Coming up short is tough, but this is a grown-man’s league. We have to clean up the little things. Play tougher.”

IU was without senior forward Race Thompson, who is sidelined indefinitely with a leg injury suffered at Iowa. Geronimo replaced him in the starting lineup.

Defense that had been so strong last season and early this season has struggled. In its last four games against Power 5 conference teams, IU has given up at least 84 points.

Part of the reason, Woodson said, is the absence of starters Xavier Johnson at point guard and Thompson.

“Two starters are sitting on the sidelines,” Woodson said. “That’s why we’re struggling. I’m reaching to find who will replace that.”

Reaching includes playing zone, a big change for a coach known for his man-to-man preference.

“We played more zone today than I’ve ever played as a coach,” Woodson said. “I am trying to change it up.

“We gave up 84 points. You won’t beat very many teams in the Big Ten giving up that many.”

Northwestern followed the blueprint of recent opponents by straight-line driving, which opened three-point shots, which the Wildcats hit. They were 7-for-19 on three-pointers.

“We were not playing our defense,” Jackson-Davis said. “We were not doing our coverages. Coach Woodson had a great game plan and we didn’t follow it. When you don’t listen to the coaches, it hurts you. They were getting any shot they wanted.”

Hood-Schifino carried IU early with seven points, but three Hoosier turnovers – including a pair of Northwestern steals – pushed the Wildcats to a 19-9 lead after six minutes.

That forced Woodson to call a timeout. He replaced Geronimo with Malik Reneau, who quickly scored. Northwestern came right back with its fourth and fifth three-pointers to surge ahead 25-13. The Wildcats had a 9-0 advantage in points off turnovers.

Then Jackson-Davis forced a missed Northwestern layup, grabbed the rebound, ran down the court and scored. He quickly followed with a pair of free throws. The Wildcats countered with a three-pointer and a dunk for a 34-17 lead.

Woodson called another timeout, this time putting in Gunn, who also quickly scored. Reneau followed with a basket. Jackson-Davis blocked a shot, which set up a Miller Kopp three-pointer. The crowd roared. Northwestern coach Chris Collins called a timeout. IU trailed 34-24.

The Hoosiers closed within five three times before a Northwestern dunk ended the half for a 41-34 score. Hood-Schino had 12 points. Jackson-Davis has 10 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and a block.

Northwestern scored the first six points of the second half to restore its double-digit lead.

Behind the hot-shooting Hood-Schifino, IU stayed within range. A Tamar Bates three-pointer (set up by a Hood-Schifino assist), cut the lead to 65-57 with nine minutes left.

The Wildcats used free throws and layups to push ahead by 13. Four straight points from Bates made it a 76-67 score with 2:20 left.

The Hoosiers set up full-court pressure. Northwestern missed three free throws. Jackson-Davis scored inside. Hood-Schino hit a three-pointer. IU trailed 79-75 with 25 seconds left, and then 81-77 on another Hood-Schifino basket with 17 seconds left, then 83-80 on Hood-Schifino’s final three-pointer.

Northwestern guard Boo Buie’s free throw with 1.9 seconds left (it was the last of his 26 points) created the winning margin when Trey Galloway ended the game with a three-pointer.

Next up is a Wednesday trip to Penn State.

“Nobody will deliver you wins,” Woodson said. “We have to go to Penn state and see what we’re made of.”


EVANSTON, Ill. – Senior forward Mackenzie Holmes posted her third-straight double-double as No. 6/7 Indiana cruised past Northwestern, 72-50, on Sunday afternoon in Welsh-Ryan Arena.


The Hoosiers (14-1, 4-1 B1G) opened up the game on a 7-0 advantage and only further built their lead as freshman guard Lexus Bargesser hit Holmes in the post for a pair to lead 12-4 with 5:42 to play.

Four players scored four points or more in the first quarter, paced by seven from freshman guard Yarden Garzon to take a 20-12 lead after one.

Holmes would open the second quarter with three-straight buckets, as she scored 14 of Indiana’s 20 points in the frame. It would lead by as many as 18 before the break, as Holmes capitalized on an offensive rebound. Halftime featured a 40-24 lead for the Hoosiers.

Northwestern (8-7, 0-5 B1G) narrowly edged IU in the third, as seven of their 16 points came at the line in the quarter, going 7-for-9 at the charity stripe. Indiana was able to limit the Wildcats to just 15.7 percent in the fourth quarter, closing out the game with four points each from junior guard Sydney Parrish and graduate student guard Grace Berger.


Holmes posts her third-straight double-double and sixth of the season with a team-high 24 points and 13 rebounds. She now owns 16 double-doubles all-time and is 10th on the all-time double-doubles list in school history.

Holmes eclipsed 1,500 career points in the win, the 15th player in school history to record over 1,500 points and now has 1,522 career points and 14th all-time in school history.

Berger returns for the first time since Nov. 25 after dealing with a knee injury. She scored 16 points, pushing her career total to 1,609, which is 10th all-time in school history. She also had five assists and two steals in 27 minutes.

Parrish also ended her day in double figures with 12 points, eight rebounds and a team-high four steals.

The Hoosiers went 19-for-21 at the line on the afternoon including a 6-for-7 effort by Berger.

It marks the third-straight win in the series against the Wildcats and back-to-back wins at Welsh-Ryan Arena for the first time since wins on Dec. 31, 2007 and Feb. 19, 2009

Indiana outscored the Wildcats 20-12 in the first and second quarters.


Indiana head coach Teri Moren

“Road wins are never easy. On a day like today where we did not shoot the ball extremely well from behind the arc which is uncharacteristic of our team. We still made enough plays and found ways to win. It certainly helped that Mackenzie Holmes was so good today. I thought Mackenzie was really good to get us going. It was a great blessing to have Grace Berger back and back in the lineup. She just makes everyone else around her better. We did get unto some early foul trouble which was a little frustrating because I thought from the onset we were rolling. Sydney Parrish got into some foul trouble, and it messed up our rhythm offensively, but I am proud of the way we shot from the free-throw line today. That is always a good thing. Our assists were down. Everything was a little but down except for our rebounds, but sometimes you just have to grind it out and find ways to win. Our defense I thought held us and did what it needed to do. It was keeping Northwestern at bay. Proud of our group because we have been on the road in the Big Ten at Michigan State and didn’t handle ourselves in the right kind of way and I though today we did that on a day where we didn’t shoot particularly right.”


IU is back in Bloomington on Thursday when it hosts No. 13/14 Maryland. Tip is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Zach Edey scored 30 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and helped a furious 12-0 run to start the second half as No. 1 Purdue rallied to defeat Penn State 76-63 before a sold-out crowd at the Palestra on Sunday night.

Fletcher Loyer scored 17 points while Braden Smith added 15 to help the Boilermakers improve to 15-1 overall.

“We had some good looks at the basket and good looks from the perimeter,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “Fletcher got some really good looks in the second half after not getting good ones in the first.”

Despite Jalen Pickett’s 26 points, Penn State (11-5, 2-3 Big Ten) fell to 0-13 lifetime when facing the top-ranked team in the nation.

“We have to be better,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry said.

Edey, a 7-foot-4 junior center, was a nightmare from the start for the Nittany Lions. He scored Purdue’s first six points of the game, drew double teams most of the night and was able to move the ball from the low block.

Pickett scored 18 of his points in the first half, ending the session with an up and under shovel past Edey’s outstretched arms, giving the Nittany Lions a 37-31 advantage at the halftime buzzer.

“They were hitting really tough shots, and they were knocking them down in the first half,” Edey said. “They hit those scoop shots, so we just kept playing how we wanted to play and things would get better.”

Purdue took the game over in the second half, shooting 66.7% from the floor (18 of 27). Edey scored 18 of his points in the second half while Loyer had 14 in the second half.

“We just kept sticking to what we wanted to do,” Edey said. “We have really good shooters, and they were going down for them. But we started to knock shots down, that opened up some things in the post and we took advantage of it after that.”

The Nittany Lions shot just 11 for 30 from the floor in the second half and 2 of 10 from beyond the 3-point arc. After the game, Shrewsberry expressed frustration about the officiating, which combined to award just three foul shots to the Lions and 10 overall.

“You get frustrated after a while because it’s not a one-time thing – it’s an every-time thing,” said Shrewsberry, who drew a second-half technical foul. “We shot three free throws. It was a really physical game and the game didn’t warrant 10 free throws. Both teams were fouling and if we want to be the best league in the country, then we need the officials to be the best in the country.

“This has nothing to do with Purdue, man. Purdue kicked our (butts) in the second half. That was all them. But I’m always going to fight for my guys.”


Purdue: Any team that will face the Boilermakers will have a matchup issue against Edey, who is dominating in the middle and able to move gracefully in the paint when needed.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions’ bid to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011 would have received a huge boost with a win over Purdue. They have two games against ranked teams in the next nine days — at home against No. 15 Indiana and a trip to No. 14 Wisconsin on Jan. 17 — that would go a long way to helping Penn State’s resume.

(Postgame Notes)

Purdue improved to 15-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten Conference with a 76-63 win over Penn State in front of 8,722 fans at The Palestra in Philadelphia.

Purdue became the ninth No. 1-ranked team to play in The Palestra’s illustrious history. No. 1-ranked teams are now 8-1 in The Palestra.

The win marked Penn State’s first loss at The Palestra after defeating Michigan State and Iowa previously.

Purdue is now 4-1 in the Big Ten for the first time since the 2017-18 season. It marks the fourth time in the Painter era that Purdue has started 4-1 or better in league play (2022-23, 2017-18, 2010-11, 2007-08).

The victory was No. 399 for Matt Painter in his 18th year at Purdue. He needs just one win to become the fifth coach in Big Ten history with 400 wins at a Big Ten school (Tom Izzo, Bob Knight, Gene Keady, Lou Henson). It was also his 198th conference win.

Purdue outscored Penn State 45-26 in the second half after trailing 37-31 at halftime. Purdue shot 18-of-27 (.667) from the field in the second half.

Purdue is now 3-0 in road games in the Big Ten and 4-0 overall in road games. It’s the longest road game win streak since the 2017-18 team won seven road games in a row.

Purdue’s 15-1 start is the best 16-game start in school history (1987-88, 1993-94, 2010-11).

Purdue trailed at halftime in all three games this week, posting a 2-1 record. Purdue outscored its opponents 123 to 90 in the second half over the last three games.

Purdue has won five straight games against Penn State, and 14 of the last 15 meetings. Purdue is 28-4 against Penn State in the last 32 meetings.

The win was Purdue’s sixth quad-1 win, second nationally behind Kansas (7).

After starting 0-of-7 from 3-point range against Ohio State, Purdue has made 21-of-42 (.500) of its last 3-point attempts. Over the last two games total, Purdue is 21-of-49 (.429) from long range after shooting just 23.1 percent from deep in the previous five games.

Purdue has held 28 straight opponents under 75 points, the third-longest streak in America (North Texas – 48; Houston – 31).

Since the start of last season, Purdue owns a 44-9 record (.830), the fourth-most wins in America in that span.

With the win over Penn State, Purdue has won 53 straight games when shooting at least 50.0 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from 3-point range and 70.0 percent from the free throw line (last loss — March 3, 2004). The Boilermakers shot 55.4 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from 3-point range and 85.7 percent from the free throw line.

The victory was Purdue’s 100th win since the 2016-17 season against KenPom top-100 teams, ranking fourth nationally in top-100 wins in that span (Kansas, Villanova, Michigan).

Zach Edey recorded his second 30-10 game of the season with 30 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocked shots. He is the fifth Purdue player in school history with two games of at least 30 points and 13 rebounds in a season and the first since Glenn Robinson (1993-94). Others include Robinson, Dave Schellhase, Terry Dischinger and Wilson Eison. 

Edey surpassed 600 career rebounds in the win, the second-quickest player to reach 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 100 blocked shots in a career, reaching the marks in 80 career games (Joe Barry Carroll – 75 games).

Edey recorded his eighth straight double-double, the fifth-longest streak in Purdue history (12 – Terry Dischinger; 11 – Dave Schellhase; 9 – Caleb Swanigan; 9 – Terry Dischinger).

His 13 double-doubles this season are the third most for a Purdue player in the last 40 years (Caleb Swanigan – 28; Glenn Robinson – 18; Brad Miller – 14).

Braden Smith scored 15 points with seven assists and six rebounds. In his last two games, both road wins in tough environments, Smith is averaging 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists, having 13 assists against two turnovers, while shooting 11-of-21 from the field and 6-of-12 from 3-point range.

Fletcher Loyer had 17 points with two rebounds and two assists, going 4-of-7 from deep. In the last three halves, Loyer has 28 points while going 6-of-9 from long range.

Purdue’s freshman starting backcourt of Smith and Loyer accounted for 32 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot with just one turnover in 67 minutes. The duo shot 11-of-22 from the field and 7-of-13 from deep.

The duo of Smith and Loyer is now averaging 22.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game, having 102 assists against 43 turnovers (2.37 ratio).


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue wrestling lost in its first Big Ten Conference action of the season to the No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday in Holloway Gymnasium, falling by a score of 37-6. Fifth-year senior Parker Filius and redshirt-senior Kendall Coleman were the lone Boilermakers to come away with wins on the afternoon.

No. 15 Filius (13-4) was the first to get points on the board for the Boilermakers at 141 with a comfortable 6-2 win over No. 17 (133) Cullan Schriever. Pushed to the edge of the mat, rather than go out, Filius broke Schriever’s control over his leg and wrestled for a takedown of his own to score first. He would add another two in the first period and ride well in the third to take the decision in his return from injury.

Coming off his finals appearance at Southern Scuffle last weekend, Coleman (20-2) put another one in the win column at 157 pounds with a 3-2 decision over Caleb Rathjen. A straight power double-leg gave him a takedown in the first 20 seconds of the match, but it was a cagey affair the rest of the way with escapes accounting for the remainder of the points.

The Boilermakers (4-4, 0-1 B1G) were ready for the fight early, as redshirt sophomore Matt Ramos held an 8-2 lead over No. 1 Spencer Lee and redshirt freshman Dustin Norris got the first takedown against Brody Teske at 133, but both matches would flip in favor of the Hawkeyes. Head coach Tony Ersland was forced to forfeit the heavyweight match due to injuries to both 285-pounders on the roster.

Purdue will look to bounce back next weekend in a match just across the border in Champaign with Illinois on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET in the State Farm Center. The match will be streamed on B1G+.

Purdue 6 – #2 Iowa 37

125: #1 Spencer Lee (IOWA) over #9 Matt Ramos (PUR) (Fall 2:56)

133: Brody Teske (IOWA) over Dustin Norris (PUR) (MD 16-4)

141: Parker Filius (PUR) over #17 (133) Cullan Schriever (IOWA) (Dec 6-2)

149: #5 Max Murin (IOWA) over Trey Kruse (PUR) (TF 22-7 5:37)

157: #3 Kendall Coleman (PUR) over Caleb Rathjen (IOWA) (Dec 3-2)

165: Aiden Riggins (IOWA) over Stoney Buell (PUR) (Dec 9-4)

174: #16 Nelson Brands (IOWA) over Cooper Noehre (PUR) (Dec 4-0)

184: #8 Abe Assad (IOWA) over Ben Vanadia (PUR) (Fall 4:15)

197: #6 Jacob Warner (IOWA) over Hayden Filipovich (PUR) (MD 16-4)

285: IOWA won by medical forfeit. (For.)


VILLANOVA – The Butler women’s basketball team took a 10-point loss at Villanova on Sunday afternoon. The Bulldogs made seven 3-pointers in the setback, which moves their overall record to 6-10. Reigning BIG EAST Player of the Year Maddy Siegrist was the difference in the outcome. She led the Wildcats with 36 points and 13 rebounds.

How It Happened

Siegrist scored 36 points in a full 40-minute performance on Sunday afternoon to guide Villanova to their 14th win of the season. She shot 15-for-24 from the field and added a game-high 13 rebounds. Maddie Burke was also an impact player for the ‘Cats. She made a team-high three 3-pointers to net 13 points.

The Bulldogs used a new starting five unit that included Kendall Wingler and Trinity White. Wingler stepped up with a team-high 16 points in 34 minutes of playing time. White joined her in double figures with 10 points while adding three rebounds and two assists.

Rachel McLimore had five of Butler’s first seven points today and would end the contest with nine. The Bulldogs were outscored 15-7 in the first quarter, but would go 3-for-3 from behind the arc in the second frame to jumpstart their offense.

Butler trailed Villanova by 11 at the half, but would push forward to outscore the Wildcats 23-20 in the third. Siegrist had 30 points after three quarters but that didn’t stop the Bulldogs from getting within six points with less than a minute to play.

The game took a turn over the first two minutes of the fourth quarter. Villanova outscored Butler 7-2 and would hold onto a 10-point lead the rest of the way.

Postgame Parkinson Quotes

“Although it’s been difficult having people in and out of the lineup, I was really pleased with how we competed,” Parkinson stated. “Kendall was very efficient offensively and Trinity did some nice things for us today as well. For Villanova, Siegrist was awesome and she showed why she is such a great player.”

Stat of the Game

Butler shot 46.7 percent from 3-point range (7-for-15).

Inside the Box Score

– Kendall Wingler led Butler in scoring for the first time this season with 16 points

– Wingler went 2-for-3 from behind the arc and made four of her five free throw attempts

– White had 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting for BU

– Sydney Jaynes filled up the box score with seven points, a team-high five rebounds and a team-best three assists

– Kelsy Taylor led the team with two steals while contributing with three points and four boards

– BU shot 44.2 percent from the floor

– Seven different ‘Dawgs secured at least three rebounds on Sunday

– Six different Bulldogs accounted for their seven made 3-pointers

– Jordan Meulemans returned to action for the first time since Dec. 18

– Meulemans had three points in 28 minutes

– Wingler and White jumped into the starting lineup for the first time this season

– Shay Frederick was inactive at Villanova

Up Next

Butler will play at Georgetown on Wednesday, Jan. 11. The 7 PM tip at McDonough Arena will stream on FloSports.com


CLEVELAND, Ohio – The IUPUI women’s basketball team snapped their four-game win streak after a loss to Cleveland State on the road on Sunday, 92-59. Jazmyn Turner, Rachel Kent and Nakaih Hunter all scored in double figures for the Jags.

Cleveland State came out looking for revenge after the Jags have won the past 11 matchups including the 2022 Horizon League Championship game this past season. The Vikings took a 21-6 lead in the first quarter which IUPUI was unable to recover from.

IUPUI doubled their points in the second quarter scoring 12 but the Vikings did not let off the gas as they extended their lead 46-18. The Jags showed a spark coming out of halftime outscoring Cleveland State 22-20, but it still wasn’t enough as the Vikings finished out the fourth quarter with the lead, 92-59.

Three Jaguars scored in double figures with Turner leading the offense with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. Hunter was just shy of her first career double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds while Kent added 11 points, three rebounds and two assists. Destiny Perkins totaled eight points and two assists.

Cleveland State shot 55.4 percent from the floor compared to IUPUI’s 38.2 percent. Turnovers also hurt the Jags as the Vikings forced 20 turnovers.

IUPUI will next travel to Robert Morris to continue #HLWBB play on Saturday, January 14 for a 1:00 PM tipoff.


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — After three consecutive wins to begin play in what is a chaotic ACC, No. 4 Notre Dame (12-2, 3-1) fell at No. 22 North Carolina (10-5, 1-3) on Sunday, 60-50.

It was a physical game on both ends of the floor, with 39 total fouls between the teams. Notre Dame had what was by far its worst shooting game of the year, finishing with just a 28.1 percent success rate. The Irish had not been held under 40 percent this year. They were uncharacteristically off from behind the arc, going just 2-22.

Center Lauren Ebo posted a career-high 19 rebounds, including 11 in the first half and 7 offensive boards. She finished with 7 points and also tied her career high in the steals category (3).

Guard Sonia Citron added a 13th game to her double-digit scoring streak with 13 points, the longest such streak on the team. Citron and Olivia Miles were the only Irish players with 10+ points. Miles had 15 with 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

UNC’s superstar Deja Kelly had 14 points on the evening, but it was freshman Paulina Paris who stole the show for the Tar Heels. She went 6-9 from the floor, finishing with 16 points off the bench. The rookie hit three of four shots from 3-point range.

Notre Dame will head back to South Bend to face Wake Forest (11-6, 2-4) on Thursday. The game will tip off at 7:00 p.m. ET on ACCNX.


Belmont (11-6, 4-2 MVC)

at Valparaiso (6-11, 0-6 MVC)

Game No. 18 – Tuesday, Jan. 10, 6 p.m. CT

Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will play the second matchup against an opponent for the first time this season by battling Belmont on Tuesday night. This marks the Bruins’ first game at the Athletics-Recreation Center since joining the Missouri Valley Conference. The two teams will close out the regular season series despite the fact that Valpo has yet to play five MVC programs this year.

Last Time Out: Bradley used a pair of 11-0 runs and all told a 22-2 spurt in the first half to take control of an 88-66 victory over Valpo on Saturday afternoon in Peoria. Ben Krikke remained a Beacon bright spot with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Four Valpo players reached double figures but Bradley sustained its home dominance and extended its home-court winning streak to 16.

Following the Beacons: Streaming – ESPN+ – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Jamie Stangel (analyst) 

Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App – Zach Collins (play-by-play)

Twitter updates – @ValpoBasketball

Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.

Head Coach Matt Lottich: Matt Lottich (103-107) is in his seventh season as the head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2022-2023. Twice during his tenure, Valpo has upset Top-25 opponents, defeating Drake and Rhode Island at the ARC. Valpo has four wins over AP Top 25 teams in program history, and two have come under Lottich. In 2019-2020, Valpo became the first team in the history of Arch Madness, the annual Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis, to reach the title game after playing in the opening round by winning three games in three days. 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.

First Meeting – Belmont 76, Valpo 64 (Dec. 1): Valpo cut what had been a 15-point lead to six with seven minutes remaining thanks to a 9-0 run, but host Belmont closed out a 76-64 victory on its home court to open league play on Dec. 1. Kobe King scored a game-high 21 points, while Ben Krikke added 18 and Jerome Palm turned in a near double-double of 11 points and nine rebounds. Drew Friberg went off for 20 points and drilled six 3s to lead Belmont.

Series Notes: The first matchup between the two teams this season – a Belmont victory in Nashville to open league play – marked the continuation of a head-to-head series that began in 1997-1998. Valpo owns a 9-3 advantage in a dozen all-time matchups. The two teams played a rare nonconference home-and-home within the same season in 2015-16, when Valpo won 61-57 at the ARC and lost 85-81 in Nashville. Valpo has won all six all-time home matchups with the Bruins.

Kobe on Verge of Milestone

Kobe King has an opportunity to reach a significant career milestone on Tuesday night vs. Belmont at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Entering the game, he has scored 989 career points, just 11 points away from reaching the 1,000-career point milestone.

King has scored 603 with the Brown & Gold after registering 386 over his three seasons at Wisconsin.

If he reaches the milestone, King would become the second Valpo player to do so this season. Ben Krikke achieved the feat in the Nov. 13 home-opening victory over Western Michigan.

Prior to this year, the last Valpo player to join that esteemed group was current graduate assistant Tevonn Walker exactly five years prior to Krikke’s milestone – Nov. 13, 2017 vs. Trinity Christian.

Double Figure Streak

The only player in the Missouri Valley Conference who has scored in double figures in each of his team’s games this season is Kobe King, who has scored 10+ in 17 straight.

In each of the last two games, King has needed second-half flurries to reach the 10-point threshold. He was held to just two points in the opening half on Jan. 4 vs. UNI, but poured in 12 after the break to push his streak to 16. He scored eight of his 12 points after halftime on Jan. 7 vs. Bradley.

King has scored in double figures in 36 of his 40 games in a Valpo uniform.

The former Wisconsin Mr. Basketball has scored 15 points or more in 11 of his 17 games this season. He has five 20-point outputs this year and has scored 15 or more points in 21 of his 40 games with the Beacons.

King is up to 41 career double-figure scoring efforts including his tenure at Wisconsin.

At the end of last season, King became Valpo’s second All-Newcomer Team choice since joining the league and first since Bakari Evelyn in 2017-18.

He appeared on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays after a three-quarter court buzzer-beater on Dec. 11 vs. Charlotte, a play that ranked No. 9 on the popular countdown that evening.

Krikke on the All-Time Scoring List  

Ben Krikke cracked the top 20 on Valpo’s all-time scoring list when he scored the first basket of the game on Dec. 18 vs. Elon, and moved up to 19th on Jan. 4 vs. UNI.

Krikke enters the Jan. 7 game at Bradley with 1,280 career points after recently surpassing Lance Barker (1991-1995; 1,196) for 20th and Darryl Ashby (1974-78; 1,247) for 19th.

Chuck Kriston (1960-63) is 18th at 1,287, meaning Krikke is seven points away from moving up another place.

Sharing is Caring

Over the last two games, Valpo has handed out 32 assists on 46 made baskets with 69.6 percent of their baskets being assisted. Prior to the Jan. 4 game vs. UNI, 48.5 percent of Valpo’s baskets were assisted this season and 41.7 percent in conference play.

As a team, Valpo tallied 18 assists on 25 made baskets on Dec. 4 vs. UNI, tying a season high reached on three prior occasions – Nov. 13 vs. Western Michigan, Dec. 18 vs. Elon and Dec. 21 vs. Stonehill.

The 18 assists were Valpo’s most in a conference game since 18 on Jan. 2, 2022 vs. Illinois State (W 81-76, OT) and the program’s most in a regulation conference game since Feb. 6, 2021 vs. Drake (19).

The Beacons followed by obtaining 14 assists on 21 made baskets in the Jan. 7 game at Bradley.

In the Jan. 4 game vs. UNI, forward Ben Krikke gave out a team-high six assists, shattering his previous career high of five set on Jan. 26, 2021 vs. Bradley.

Krikke had nine total assists in 15 games this season prior to the six-helper outburst against the Panthers.

Among Conference & National Leaders

Valpo has two of the top three players in the MVC in terms of field goals made and two of the top 40 nationally. Ben Krikke leads the conference and ranks ninth in the nation with 126 made field goals, while Kobe King ranks third in the conference and 38th nationally with 103.

Valpo is one of two teams in the country with two players in the top 40 nationally in terms of field goals made, joining Marshall.

Krikke and King also represent two of the league’s top seven players in terms of scoring average. Krikke’s 18.0 points per game rank third in The Valley with King not far behind at 16.6 ppg, seventh.

In league-only games, Krikke is averaging 19.5 points per outing, second only to UNI’s Bowen Born (22.7 ppg).

Valpo is the only team in the conference with two players who rank in the top 10 in the league in scoring average.

Notes Wrapping Up Jan. 7 – Bradley 88, Valpo 66

Valpo made 18 free throws, its third highest total of the season behind Trinity Christian (19) and Incarnate Word (20).

The Beacons attempted a season-high 26 free throws. This was the team’s most charity tosses in a game since Feb. 12 of last season at Missouri State (27).

Krikke tallied 13 points and five rebounds in the opening half while knocking down five of his seven field-goal attempts. He went on to lead the team with 17 points, while Kobe King (12), Quinton Green (12) and Connor Barrett (10) all joined him in double figures.

All of Barrett’s damage came after halftime as he went 3-for-3 shooting to achieve his second double-figure scoring output of the year.

Redshirt senior Joe Hedstrom scored six points and went 4-for-4 at the free-throw line.

Bradley had five players score in double figures, the first time five or more opposing players scored 10+ points in a game since Dec. 10 at Ole Miss.

Scouting the Bruins

The Bruins are coming off a 74-61 victory over Missouri State on Saturday to cap a 2-0 week that also featured a 77-71 triumph at UIC.

In their first season of MVC action, Belmont also owns home victories over Bradley (63-60) and Valpo but lost at Illinois State (87-77) and at Southern Illinois (63-45).

Led in scoring by Ben Sheppard (18.1 ppg) with Cade Tyson (13.4) and Drew Friberg (13.1) also averaging in double figures.

Picked to finish sixth of 12 in the MVC preseason poll.


INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/

EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/

WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/

FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/

ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/

ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index

TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index

BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/

DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/

HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/

MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/

HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/

OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx

ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index

IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/

IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/

IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/

PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/

INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx

GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/

ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/

GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/

HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php

TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/

VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index



American Football Conference
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Kansas City Chiefs1430.8240.04963697 – 1 – 07 – 2 – 09 – 3 – 06 – 0 – 05 W
xy-Buffalo Bills1330.8130.04552867 – 1 – 06 – 2 – 09 – 2 – 04 – 2 – 07 W
xy-Cincinnati Bengals1240.7500.04183226 – 1 – 06 – 3 – 08 – 3 – 03 – 3 – 08 W
xy-Jacksonville Jaguars980.5290.04043505 – 3 – 04 – 5 – 08 – 4 – 04 – 2 – 05 W
x-Los Angeles Chargers1070.5880.03913845 – 3 – 05 – 4 – 07 – 5 – 02 – 4 – 01 L
x-Baltimore Ravens1070.5880.03503155 – 3 – 05 – 4 – 06 – 6 – 03 – 3 – 02 L
x-Miami Dolphins980.5290.03973996 – 2 – 03 – 6 – 07 – 5 – 03 – 3 – 01 W
Pittsburgh Steelers980.5291.03083464 – 4 – 05 – 4 – 05 – 7 – 03 – 3 – 04 W
New England Patriots890.4712.03643474 – 4 – 04 – 5 – 06 – 6 – 03 – 3 – 01 L
New York Jets7100.4123.02963163 – 5 – 04 – 5 – 05 – 7 – 02 – 4 – 06 L
Tennessee Titans7100.4123.02983593 – 5 – 04 – 5 – 05 – 7 – 03 – 3 – 07 L
Cleveland Browns7100.4123.03613814 – 4 – 03 – 6 – 04 – 8 – 03 – 3 – 01 L
Las Vegas Raiders6110.3534.03954184 – 4 – 02 – 7 – 05 – 7 – 03 – 3 – 03 L
Denver Broncos5120.2945.02873594 – 4 – 01 – 8 – 03 – 9 – 01 – 5 – 01 W
Indianapolis Colts4121.2655.52894272 – 6 – 02 – 6 – 14 – 7 – 11 – 4 – 17 L
Houston Texans3131.2066.52894200 – 7 – 13 – 6 – 03 – 8 – 13 – 2 – 11 W
National Football Conference
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xyz-Philadelphia Eagles1430.8240.04773447 – 2 – 07 – 1 – 09 – 3 – 04 – 2 – 01 W
xy-San Francisco 49ers1340.7650.04502778 – 1 – 05 – 3 – 010 – 2 – 06 – 0 – 010 W
xy-Minnesota Vikings1340.7650.04244278 – 1 – 05 – 3 – 08 – 4 – 04 – 2 – 01 W
xy-Tampa Bay Buccaneers890.4710.03133585 – 4 – 03 – 5 – 08 – 4 – 04 – 2 – 01 L
x-Dallas Cowboys1250.7060.04673428 – 1 – 04 – 4 – 08 – 4 – 04 – 2 – 01 L
x-New York Giants971.5590.03653715 – 3 – 14 – 4 – 04 – 7 – 11 – 4 – 11 L
x-Seattle Seahawks980.5290.04074015 – 4 – 04 – 4 – 06 – 6 – 04 – 2 – 02 W
Detroit Lions980.5290.54534275 – 4 – 04 – 4 – 07 – 5 – 05 – 1 – 02 W
Washington Commanders881.5001.03213434 – 5 – 04 – 3 – 15 – 6 – 12 – 3 – 11 W
Green Bay Packers890.4711.53703715 – 4 – 03 – 5 – 06 – 6 – 03 – 3 – 01 L
Carolina Panthers7100.4122.53473745 – 4 – 02 – 6 – 06 – 6 – 04 – 2 – 01 W
New Orleans Saints7100.4122.53303454 – 5 – 03 – 5 – 05 – 7 – 02 – 4 – 01 L
Atlanta Falcons7100.4122.53653866 – 3 – 01 – 7 – 06 – 6 – 02 – 4 – 02 W
Los Angeles Rams5120.2944.53073844 – 5 – 01 – 7 – 03 – 9 – 01 – 5 – 02 L
Arizona Cardinals4130.2355.53404491 – 8 – 03 – 5 – 03 – 9 – 01 – 5 – 07 L
Chicago Bears3140.1766.53264632 – 7 – 01 – 7 – 01 – 11 – 00 – 6 – 010 L

*******NBA STANDINGS*******

Eastern Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Boston2812.70015-513-74-015-86-42 W
Brooklyn2713.6751.013-514-85-220-79-12 W
Milwaukee2514.6412.516-59-94-313-104-61 L
Cleveland2615.6342.518-48-117-317-86-41 W
Philadelphia2415.6153.516-68-94-316-107-31 W
Indiana2318.5615.515-78-112-216-98-22 W
New York2218.5506.010-1012-82-413-95-54 W
Miami2120.5127.511-99-115-18-125-51 L
Chicago1921.4759.011-98-124-316-117-33 W
10 Atlanta1921.4759.011-88-134-313-144-61 W
11 Washington1723.42511.010-77-164-310-146-42 L
12 Toronto1723.42511.012-105-132-811-164-61 W
13 Orlando1525.37513.010-125-132-57-185-51 W
14 Charlotte1130.26817.55-146-163-65-193-71 L
15 Detroit1132.25618.55-146-180-64-193-72 L
Western Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Denver2613.66716-310-107-319-98-22 W
Memphis2613.66716-310-104-212-107-36 W
New Orleans2416.6002.517-57-117-316-106-42 L
Dallas2318.5614.016-67-126-217-78-21 L
Sacramento2018.5265.511-99-94-59-94-62 L
Golden State2020.5006.517-43-164-312-86-42 L
LA Clippers2121.5006.511-910-123-411-133-76 L
Phoenix2021.4887.014-76-147-017-101-96 L
Minnesota2021.4887.012-98-126-413-134-64 W
10 Portland1920.4877.09-610-144-613-133-73 L
11 LA Lakers1921.4757.510-89-131-78-136-45 W
12 Utah2023.4658.012-78-163-416-143-72 L
13 Oklahoma City1822.4508.513-95-133-610-126-42 W
14 San Antonio1327.32513.58-135-132-55-203-71 L
15 Houston1030.25016.56-144-161-85-221-97 L

******NHL STANDINGS******

Eastern Conference
Boston Bruins40324468301568819-0-313-4-18-0-2
Carolina Hurricanes402587572212710812-4-113-4-67-2-1
Toronto Maple Leafs412597572514110814-3-411-6-36-3-1
New Jersey Devils4025123532513610611-10-214-2-14-5-1
Washington Capitals4323146522314011813-6-310-8-37-1-2
Tampa Bay Lightning3824131492313311215-4-19-9-06-4-0
New York Rangers412212751211341139-7-413-5-36-2-2
Pittsburgh Penguins3920136461912811710-4-410-9-23-5-2
New York Islanders4122172462212911412-6-010-11-25-4-1
10 Buffalo Sabres372015242191491279-8-211-7-08-2-0
11 Florida Panthers4118194401713314110-6-38-13-14-6-0
12 Detroit Red Wings381615739151141299-8-37-7-43-6-1
13 Ottawa Senators3918183391712012411-9-17-9-25-4-1
14 Philadelphia Flyers401518737151101338-10-17-8-66-4-0
15 Montreal Canadiens401621335121091528-10-08-11-32-7-1
16 Columbus Blue Jackets3912252261110015210-12-12-13-12-8-0
Western Conference
Vegas Golden Knights4227132562414012012-10-015-3-25-4-1
Dallas Stars4124116542414411012-4-312-7-36-3-1
Winnipeg Jets4026131532613210316-6-010-7-16-4-0
Los Angeles Kings4323146521914214612-7-211-7-47-2-1
Seattle Kraken3822124482213912210-8-212-4-26-3-1
Minnesota Wild3922143471912611212-8-110-6-26-3-1
Calgary Flames4119148461812612312-7-27-7-66-2-2
Edmonton Oilers4121173452114413710-11-211-6-14-4-2
Colorado Avalanche382015343171121109-7-311-8-05-4-1
10 St. Louis Blues412018343171321487-8-213-10-15-3-2
11 Nashville Predators381814642161081159-6-39-8-36-2-2
12 Vancouver Canucks391719337151341538-10-19-9-24-6-0
13 San Jose Sharks411221832111261554-11-68-10-22-5-3
14 Arizona Coyotes391321531121081457-4-26-17-33-6-1
15 Anaheim Ducks4112254289961698-11-14-14-34-5-1
16 Chicago Blackhawks39102542410861447-14-23-11-23-7-0

*******FOOTBALL HISTORY*******

January 9, 1962 – The NFL issued a rule that prohibited the grasping of face masks on any player. According to the footballzebras.com website a head protector became mandatory in 1943 in the NFL. Face masks were optional until 1955 when the NFL rules makers could still petition the NFL commish to be allowed to go without one. In 1956 the rule arrived where grasping the face mask of anyone except for the runner was illegal. This 1962 face mask rule brought the revision to pretty close what we see today that if a face mask is grasped on any player it is a 15-yard penalty and if flagrant, the offending player is disqualified.

January 9, 1967 – The Pro Football Hall of Fame tells us that New Orleans’ franchise officially adopted the name of the “Saints”. The NFL awarded the 16th franchise to the City of New Orleans on November 1, 1966, “All Saints Day.” We have more on the start of this franchise on our November 1 post.

January 9, 1977 – Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California – Super Bowl XI was played. This is the earliest date of the year that any Super Bowl was played and judging by the current format of playing in February, it will probably always remain the earliest played one. The matchup was the Minnesota Vikings and the Oakland Raiders who both advanced through their respective Conference Championships that we discussed back on our December 26 post. After a scoreless first quarter the Raiders opened up the scoring by rattling off 16 unanswered points before the half. That was really all they needed according to Pro-Football-Reference.com as the Raider defense stepped up and limited the Vikings to a mere 14 points. Oakland running back Pete Banaszak scored twice on short dives and DB Willie Brown registered a 75 yard pick six to seal the deal as the Oakland Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings, 32-14 to capture the Lombardi. The game MVP was Raiders Wide Receiver Fred Biletnikoff, who hails from Erie, PA and attended Florida State, had four catches for 79 yards in the game.

January 9, 2000 – Miami Dolphins Quarterback Dan Marino has his final NFL victory in the AFC Wildcard game. The Dolphins defeated the Seattle Seahawks by the score of 20-17 according to the Pro-Football-Reference.com website. The last game for Marino was the following week when the Jacksonville Jaguars steamrolled the Fins 62-7.

January 9, 2012 – Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans – At the14th BCS National Championship #2 Alabama upended their SEC rival #1 LSU, 21-0 per the Onthisday.com.

January 9, 2017 – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa – The College Football National Championship Game. The College Football Playoff website called the game the “unprecedented rematch.” The Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide would battle for the second consecutive year in the Title game. The year prior was an exciting one as Alabama eked past Clemson 45-40. According to ESPN.com this game in 2017 had all the build up and more that the original matchup had and it lived up to its billing. Clemson rallied from a two score deficit early to get back in the game and then played sound defense to limit Bama to a season low 376 yards of offense. The Tigers also got Alabama off the field as Nick Saban’s crew went only 2-15 on third downs. 21 points in the final stanza by Clemson in a quarter that saw three lead changes brought the college season finale to a climax. With one second remaining Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson flicked a two yard pass to Hunter Renfrow to move #2 Clemson past #1 Alabama, 35-31!


January 9, 1909 – Canton, Massachusetts – The fine center from Harvard University Ben Ticknor who played for the Crimson in the late 1920’s.

January 9, 1916 – Auburn, New York – Jerome “Brud” Holland the great end from Cornell was born. This guy’s bio on the footballfoundation.org earns my respect. Brud came from a big family that had 12 kids. Money was tight and as an African-American wanting to attend Cornell and play football he had to work hard. Brud is said to have worked his way through college by tending furnaces and working as a dishwasher and yet still found time to do his studies and achieve straight A’s! An oh yeah he played a mean game of football too! He made the All-America team twice in his collegiate career. His most productive game had to be the 1937 contest against Colgate where he caught a touchdown pass and scored on two end-around plays! The NFF placed the name of Brud Holland into their College Football Hall of Fame in 1965. You just know that a fella as ambitious as Brud was going to do something great in his life. Well in fact he did as he was the president of Hampton Institute, president of Delaware State, U.S. ambassador to Sweden from 1970 through 1972, charmed the American Red Cross, was the chairman Salvation Army, as well as the chairman of Planned Parenthood, and was the first African American director of the New York Stock Exchange! Wow! That is an accomplished life!

January 9, 1934 – Montgomery, Alabama – The stellar quarterback from the University of Alabama, Bart Starr was born.

January 9, 1956 -Satanta, Kansas – Kansas State Linebacker Gary Spani celebrated his birth. Gary may very well be considered the greatest college football player ever from Kansas State according to the National Football Foundation. Spani was an All-America selection in 1977 and was voted the MVP of the Japan Bowl as well as the East -West Shrine game and was even a finalist in the Heisman voting! Gary was all over the field especially in his senior year when he averaged an amazing 17 tackles per game! The doors were open wide at the College Football Hall of Fame to welcome Gary Spani in 2002. After his career at K State Gary was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He was a Chiefs defensive star for nine seasons and retired as the leading tackler in KC franchise history. Spani was selected as the Miller/NFL “Man of the Year” Award in 1983.


1903       Frank Farrell and Bill Devery purchase Baltimore’s defunct American League franchise for $18,000, planning to relocate the club to New York. The Manhattan team, who will play at Hilltop Park in the northern part of the island borough, will first be known as the Highlanders before being officially renamed the Yankees in 1913.

1952       The Marines announce their plan to recall Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams, who missed three years in the majors due to serving in WW II, back to active duty. The fighter pilot, who will fly 39 missions over Korea and survive a crash-landing after being shot down by the enemy, will play briefly at the start of the season but will not return to the Boston lineup full-time until late in the 1953 season.

1960       In the first episode of Home Run Derby ever aired, Mickey Mantle overcomes an 8-2 deficit to beat Giants superstar Willie Mays, 9-8, when he goes deep in the bottom of the ninth at LA’s Wrigley Field. The ‘Say Hey Kid,’ who had hit four homers before the Yankee slugger stepped up to the plate, agrees to double their $500 side bet when he is ahead by five runs in the seventh, enabling his opponent to walk away with both the winning and losing share of the contest.

1961       Ending two months of negotiations, the Twins of the American League agree on a $500,000 indemnity payment to the American Association for entering the minor league’s territory in Minnesota. The settlement paves the way for the team, formerly known as the Senators, to move from Washington, D.C., and play their home games in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.

1982       While being driven to the airport by his brother Billy, Tony Conigliaro suffers a massive heart attack, resulting in irreversible brain damage that will leave the 36-year-old unresponsive until he dies in 1990. The former Red Sox outfielder, whose career was shortened in 1967 when a Jack Hamilton’s pitch smashed into his left cheekbone, dislocating his jaw and damaging the left eye’s retina, had been in Boston to interview for a broadcasting job with the team.

1984       Pascual Perez is arrested in his native Dominican Republic for possessing cocaine and will remain in jail, missing the start of the season. The Braves’ 26-year-old All-Star right-hander maintains his innocence, claiming an unknown woman gave him the package.

1989       Reds catcher Johnny Bench and Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski, foes in the classic 1975 World Series, are elected to the Hall of Fame. The perennial All-Star backstop is named on 96.4% of the BBWAA ballots, making Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron the only players to receive a higher percentage of the writers’ votes.

1990       The BBWAA elects Jim Palmer (three-time AL Cy Young Winner) and Joe Morgan (two-time NL MVP) to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. The Orioles’ right-hander compiled a 268-152 (.638) record, spending his 19-year career in Baltimore, and the Cincinnati diminutive second baseman finished his 22-year tenure in the big leagues batting .271, playing with five different teams, including the Big Red Machine.

1990       “No one on either side of the table is pleased by the prospect, but the issue of deadlines is part and parcel of labor negotiations.” – CHARLES O’CONNOR, the owners’ chief labor negotiator, addressing the possibility of spring training lockout. The owners announce a spring training lockout of major league players beginning on February 15th unless there is a new collective bargaining agreement. The 32-day work stoppage will occur as scheduled, settled when the owners agree to the following: Raise their annual pension fund contribution to $55 million. Reach an agreement for salary arbitration for 17 percent of the players with two or three years of experience. Approves an increase of the minimum salary to $100,000.

2001       The Expos agree to a one-year, approximately $2 million contract with French-language Reseau des Sports and TSN to telecast 55 games (46 on RDS, 12 on TSN, and three on both). The pact ends the year-long local television blackout, which resulted in the departure of respected play-by-play announcer Dave Van Horne and the loss of Labatt Brewery’s sponsorship, which cited the lack of local TV rights as a factor in ending its 15-year relationship with the club.

2001       The Indians, to fill the void created by Manny Ramirez’s departure to Boston, sign Juan Gonzalez to a one-year, $10-million deal. After hitting .289 with only 67 RBIs in a disappointing injury-plagued season, the two-time American League MVP leaves the Tigers after turning down a $143 million, eight-year contract extension to stay in Detroit last year.

2002       When he signs a $27 million deal to remain with the Astros, Billy Wagner, who has saved 146 games since breaking in with the team in 1995, becomes one of baseball’s highest-paid relievers. The 30-year-old will get $8 million each of the next three seasons with a $9 million club option for 2005 with a $3 million buyout.

2002       Postseason spark plug Craig Counsell (.275, 4, 38) signs a three-year, $7.25 million deal with the Diamondbacks. The NLCS MVP, who the Dodgers cut in 2000, played the infield in 141 games for the World Series champion Diamondbacks last season.

2005       Carlos Beltran (.267, 38, 104) becomes the tenth $100-million player in major league history when the 27-year-old native of Puerto Rico agrees to a seven-year deal for $119 million with the Mets. The five-tool outfielder, who had his market value increase with his postseason performance with the Astros, goes to New York after Houston refuses to include a no-trade clause in their generous offer to keep him on the club.

2006       The Red Sox sign 37-year-old Giants’ free-agent J.T. Snow to a one-year, $2 million contract. The six-time Gold Glove winner acquired to share playing time at first base with Kevin Youkilis will be released by Boston in June after appearing in only 38 games for his new team.

2008       The Mayo Smith Society names Magglio Ordonez as the annual King Tiger Award winner for his contributions on and off the field. The international organization for Detroit fans revived the honor in 2004, a tradition started and maintained by various fan clubs from 1961 to 1980.

2012       The Baseball Writers’ Association of America elects former Reds infielder Barry Larkin as its only player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in July. The Cincinnati shortstop, who received 86.4 percent of the scribes’ votes, will be joined by Ron Santo, selected posthumously last month by the Golden Era committee.

2020       Former Walmart Inc. chief executive David Glass, who owned the Royals for 19 years before selling the franchise last season to Cleveland Indians vice-chairman John Sherman, dies of complications from pneumonia at the age of 84. Although Kansas City won two AL pennants and a World Series during his ownership, the fans disliked him due to his bottom-line management style, similar to his role as the CEO of the largest retailer in the United States.

******SPORTS IN NUMBERS*******

4 – 32 – 12 – 33 – 13 – 99 – 8 – 15 – 5 – 25 – 22 – 10

Number 4 in your program for January 9 is early NBA player Dino Martin who on this day in 1947 beceame the first player to score 40 points while with the Providence Steamroller as they won a 91-68 win over Cleveland Rebels at Rhode Island Auditorium.

Jersey Number 32 belongs to Freshman Bevo Francis of the 1953 Rio Grande College basketball team, who scored 116 pts in a single basketball game! Bevo did the same feat again that season too.

January 9, 1954 – Bert Olmstead, Number 15 of the Montreal Canadiens, tied the NHL record of 8 points in a single game

Cincinnati Bearcats first year, varsity guard, the great Oscar Robertson wearing the Number 12, scored 56 point is a game while his opponent’s entire team,Seton Hall, only scored 54 points on January 9, 1958.

January 9, 1972 – Led by future Lakers star Number 33, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks beat LA Lakers, 120-104, ending LA’s consecutive win streak at 33, the longest winning streak in major league sports history

January 9, 1977 – Super Bowl XI, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA: Oakland Raiders beat Minnesota Vikings, 32-14; MVP was Number 25, Fred Biletnikoff, Oakland, WR

Number 4 also represents the sweater number on one Bobby Orr that was retired by the Boston Bruins on January 9, 1979.

January 9, 1989 – Catcher Johnny Bench (Number 5) and Carl Yastrzemski (Number 8) were elected to become Baseball Hall of Fame inductees

January 9, 1990 – MLB legends Jim Palmer (Number 22) and Joe Morgan (Number 8) were selected to enter into the Baseball Hall of Fame

January 9, 1991 – Chicago Bulls, Number 23, Michael Jordan scores a game-high 40 points to lead the Bulls to a 107-99 win over Philadelphia at the Spectrum; reaches the 15,000 point mark of his career

January 9, 1998 – Hockey News Magazine selected Number 99, Wayne Gretzky as the best NHL player ever

January 9, 2000 – Miami Dolphin QB, Number 13, Dan Marino won his last career NFL game (20-17 vs Seattle)

January 9, 2012 – FIFA Ballon d’Or: Barcelona forward, Number 10, Lionel Messi wins award for a record 3rd consecutive year; Japanese midfielder Number 10, Homare Sawa wins women’s award

***********TV MONDAY**********