NFL SCOREBOARD

Pittsburgh 28 Indianapolis 24

Cincinnati 37 Houston 31

Baltimore 27 NY Giants 13

Chicago 41 Jacksonville 17

Kansas City 17 Atlanta 14

NY Jets 23 Cleveland 16

LA Chargers 19 Denver 16

Carolina 20 Washington 13

Dallas 37 Philadelphia 17

Seattle 20 LA Rams 9

Green Bay 40 Tennessee 14

NFL WEEK 17 SCHEDULE

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills1:00 PMCBS
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals1:00 PMCBS
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns1:00 PMCBS
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions1:00 PMFOX
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans1:00 or 4:25 PMCBS
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts1:00 or 4:25 PMCBS
New York Jets at New England Patriots1:00 PMCBS
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants1:00 PMFOX
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers1:00 PMFOX
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers4:25 PMFOX
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears4:25 PMFOX
Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos4:25 PMCBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs4:25 PMFOX
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams4:25 PMCBS
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers4:25 PMFOX
Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles8:20 PMNBC

NBA SCOREBOARD

Indiana 108 Boston 107

Dallas 124 LA Clippers 73

Orlando 120 Washington 113

Cleveland 118 Philadelphia 94

New York 130 Milwaukee 110

Golden State 129 Chicago 128

Phoenix 116 Sacramento 100

LA Lakers 127 Minnesota 91

BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL SCHEDULE MONDAY

ALL TIMES EASTERN
Decatur CentralatFranklin7:30 pm
Franklin CountyatIndianapolis Scecina6:30 pm
Indianapolis CathedralatFort Wayne Luers5:00 pm
Purdue Poly NorthatIndianapolis Manual7:30 pm
Shawe MemorialatCannelton7:30 pm
WashingtonatEvansville Bosse7:30 pm
Edinburgh Tournament
Jac-Cen-Delvs.South Decatur10:00 amFirst round
Hauservs.Hagerstown12:00 pmFirst round
South PutnamatEdinburgh2:00 pmFirst round
Indianapolis Lutheranvs.North White4:00 pmFirst round
Loser Game 1vs.Loser Game 26:00 pmConsolation
Loser Game 3vs.Loser Game 48:00 pmConsolation
Winner Game 1vs.Winner Game 26:00 pmSemifinal
Winner Game 3vs.Winner Game 48:00 pmSemifinal
Lakeland Christian Tournament
Bethany ChristianatLakeland Christian9:00 amPool A
Granger Christianvs.Adams Central10:30 amPool B
Clinton ChristianatLakeland Christian12:00 pmPool A
Covenant Christian (DeMotte)vs.Granger Christian1:30 pmPool B
Clinton Christianvs.Bethany Christian3:00 pmPool A
Adams Centralvs.Covenant Christian (DeMotte)4:30 pmPool B
Michigan City Tournament
Westvillevs.New Prairie6:30 pmFirst round
South Bend ClayatMichigan City8:00 pmFirst round
Perry-Spencer Classic
Corydon CentralatTell City6:00 pm
Perry Centralvs.Perry Central8:00 pm
Wabash Valley Tournament
KoutsatTerre Haute South12:00 pmConsolation
Cloverdalevs.Kouts6:00 pmConsolation
Bloomington Southvs.South Vermillion6:00 pmQuarterfinal
Northviewvs.Sullivan7:30 pmQuarterfinal
Edgewoodvs.West Vigo6:00 pmQuarterfinal
Greencastlevs.Parke Heritage7:30 pmQuarterfinal
Linton-StocktonatTerre Haute North1:30 pmConsolation
North Central (Farmersburg)atTerre Haute North7:30 pmConsolation

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE

MONDAY, DEC. 28
ALL TIMES EASTERN
AvonatNoblesville1:30 pm
ElkhartatJimtown7:30 pm
Evansville CentralatEvansville Harrison2:00 pm
Franklin CentralatBrownsburg7:30 pm
Indianapolis HerronatProvidence Cristo Rey6:00 pm
Indianapolis TindleyatPurdue Poly Englewood7:30 pm
Lafayette Central CatholicatWinamacppd.
LanesvilleatTecumseh8:00 pm
LogansportatWinamac6:30 pm
New AlbanyatHeritage Christian5:00 pm
River ForestatHighland8:00 pm
Shawe MemorialatCannelton6:00 pm
South PutnamatOwen Valley7:30 pm
South VermillionatNorthview7:30 pm
Springs ValleyatPerry Central12:30 pm
Switzerland CountyatCrothersville6:00 pm
Union (Modoc)atWapahani7:30 pm
Wayne Trace (Ohio)atWoodlan7:30 pm
Lakeland Christian Tournament
Granger Christianvs.Central Christian9:00 amPool B
Bethany ChristianatLakeland Christian10:30 amPool A
Granger Christianvs.Covenant Christian (DeMotte)12:00 pmPool B
Clinton ChristianatLakeland Christian1:30 pmPool A
Central Christianvs.Covenant Christian (DeMotte)3:00 pmPool B
Clinton Christianvs.Bethany Christian4:30 pmPool A
Lebanon Tournament
Perry Meridianvs.Hamilton Heights10:00 amFirst round
Decatur Centralvs.Lowell12:00 pmFirst round
Westernvs.Franklin County4:00 pmFirst round
Lafayette JeffatLebanon6:00 pmFirst round
Loser Game 1vs.Loser Game 24:00 pmConsolation
Winner Game 1vs.Winner Game 26:00 pmSemifinal
North Central (Farmersburg) Classic
TBAvs.West Vigo10:00 am
ShakamakatNorth Central (Farmersburg)11:30 am
West Vigovs.Shakamak5:00 pm
TBAatNorth Central (Farmersburg)6:30 pm
Tabernacle Classic
Columbus ChristianatMartinsville Tabernacle10:00 am
Bethesda Christianvs.Bloomington Lighthouse1:00 pm
Bloomington LighthouseatMartinsville Tabernacle4:00 pm
Trinity Lutheran Tournament
Indianapolis ChatardatTrinity Lutheran10:00 amFirst round
Edgewoodvs.Brownstown Central12:00 pmFirst round
Loser Game 2vs.Loser Game 14:00 pm3rd place
Winner Game 2vs.Winner Game 16:00 pm1st place

COLLEGE BOWL SCHEDULE

Cheez-It BowlMiamiOklahoma StateDec. 29
Alamo BowlTexasColoradoDec. 29
Duke’s Mayo BowlWake ForestWisconsinDec. 30
Music City BowlMissouriIowaDec. 30
Cotton BowlFloridaOklahomaDec. 30
Armed Forces BowlMississippi StateTulsaDec. 31
Liberty BowlWest VirginiaTennesseeDec. 31
Arizona BowlSan Jose StateBall StateDec. 31
Texas BowlArkansasTCUDec. 31
Peach BowlCincinnatiGeorgiaJan. 1
Citrus BowlNorthwesternAuburnJan. 1
Rose Bowl (CFP semi)AlabamaNotre DameJan. 1
Sugar Bowl (CFP semi)ClemsonOhio StateJan. 1
Gator BowlNC StateKentuckyJan. 2
Outback BowlIndianaOle MissJan. 2
Fiesta BowlIowa StateOregonJan. 2
Orange BowlTexas A&MNorth CarolinaJan. 2

Four bowl games were canceled late on Sunday: the Military Bowl, Guaranteed Rate Bowl, Independence Bowl, and Birmingham Bowl.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL RPI RANKINGS

RankSchoolRPIPrev
1St. Bonaventure 2-00.84791
2Boise State 6-10.76002
3Houston 7-00.73595
4Missouri 6-00.72554
5Gonzaga 7-00.71509
6Temple 1-10.71176
7UCF 3-20.70513
8Georgia State 6-10.70397
9Michigan 7-00.69658
10Mercer 7-10.691811
11West Virginia 7-20.691412
12Rutgers 6-10.688910
13Texas 7-10.671214
14Alabama A&M 2-00.662015
15Villanova 8-10.659216
16Louisville 6-10.650113
17Dayton 4-10.649318
18SMU 5-00.648820
19Clemson 6-10.648019
20Illinois 7-30.647825
21New Mexico 3-20.646821
22Baylor 6-00.646723
23Akron 3-10.645924
24Ohio State 7-20.644717
25Florida 3-10.643822

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL NET RANKINGS

RankSchoolVotesPrev
1Gonzaga 7-0()1
2Kansas 8-1()2
3Dayton 4-1()3
4San Diego State 6-1()4
5Baylor 6-0()5
6Duke 3-2()6
7Michigan State 6-2()7
8Louisville 6-1()8
9BYU 9-2()9
10Florida State 5-1()10
11Creighton 7-2()11
12Oregon 6-1()12
13Villanova 8-1()13
14Arizona 6-1()14
15Seton Hall 6-4()15
16Ohio State 7-2()16
17West Virginia 7-2()17
18Maryland 5-3()18
19Butler 2-3()19
20Houston 7-0()20
21Kentucky 1-6()21
22Texas Tech 7-2()22
23Wisconsin 8-1()23
24Michigan 7-0()24
25Colorado 6-1()25

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL RPI RANKINGS

RankSchoolRPIPrev
1Louisville 5-00.74951
2North Carolina State 8-00.74022
3Maryland 5-10.73803
4Syracuse 5-10.72094
5Missouri State 4-20.71835
6South Carolina 5-10.71677
7Texas A&M 8-00.71216
8Stanford 7-00.70489
9Georgia 8-00.70238
10Arizona 7-00.699610
11Utah Valley 2-00.692911
12Kentucky 7-10.688712
13Houston 4-10.687713
14Wake Forest 4-30.684314
15UConn 5-00.680116
16Northwestern 4-00.675915
17Kent State 3-20.670317
18Kennesaw State 3-00.668418
19UC Davis 1-00.667519
20Georgia Tech 4-10.664721
21Cal Poly 4-20.662720
22Oregon 7-00.658523
23Michigan State 7-00.654522
24Ohio State 4-00.646625
25Iowa 5-10.642624

AP SPORTS HEADLINES:

NFL NEWS: SEVEN FROM SUNDAY

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 27, the 16th week of the 2020 season.

  • The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS defeated Atlanta, 17-14, to clinch the first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Chiefs are the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the second time in the past three seasons (2018).

    The PITTSBURGH STEELERS overcame a 17-point deficit to defeat Indianapolis, 28-24, to clinch the AFC North division title for the first time since 2017.

    Pittsburgh clinched the AFC North division title after missing the postseason in 2019. In each of the past 43 seasons (1977-2020, excluding 1982, when divisional play did not occur), at least one team has won its division the season after missing the playoffs.

    On Friday, the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Minnesota, 52-33, to clinch the NFC South division title for the fourth-consecutive season.

    The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 20-9, to clinch the NFC West division title for the first time since 2016.

    On Saturday, the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS defeated Detroit, 47-7, to clinch their first playoff berth since 2007.

    The DALLAS COWBOYS overcame an 11-point deficit to defeat Philadelphia, 37-17, on Sunday.

    With two games remaining this week, there have been 42 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win this season, the most through Week 16 in NFL history, and nine games in a which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 17 points to win, trailing only the 2011 season (11 games) for the most ever in a single season.

  • Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT passed for 253 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions for a 97.2 rating in the Chargers’ 19-16 win over Denver.

    Herbert has 28 passing touchdowns this season and surpassed BAKER MAYFIELD (27 touchdown passes in 2018) for the most touchdown passes by a rookie in NFL history.

    Herbert has 4,034 passing yards and became the fourth rookie in league history with at least 4,000 passing yards, joining ANDREW LUCK (4,374 passing yards in 2012), CAM NEWTON (4,051 passing yards in 2011) and JAMEIS WINSTON (4,042 passing yards in 2015).

  • Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE had seven receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs’ Week 16 win.

    Kelce has 1,416 receiving yards this season and surpassed GEORGE KITTLE (1,377 receiving yards in 2018) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

    Kelce, who had 103 receptions in 2018, has 105 receptions this season and is the first tight end in NFL history with at least 100 receptions in two different seasons.
  • Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. WATT registered two sacks and a forced fumble in the Steelers’ Week 16 victory. The Steelers, who lead the NFL with 52 sacks this season, are the first team since the NEW YORK GIANTS (1985-88) to register at least 50 sacks in four consecutive seasons.

    Indianapolis quarterback PHILIP RIVERS registered his 420th career touchdown pass on Sunday, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (420 touchdown passes) for the fifth-most in NFL history.

    Four rookies – Pittsburgh’s CHASE CLAYPOOL (10 touchdowns), Washington’s ANTONIO GIBSON (11), Jacksonville’s JAMES ROBINSON (10) and Indianapolis’ JONATHAN TAYLOR (10) – each have at least 10 touchdowns this season. 2020 is the third season in the Super Bowl era with at least four rookies each recording at least 10 touchdowns, joining the 2008 (five rookies) and 2018 (four) seasons.

  • Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON had two touchdown passes with zero interceptions for a 111.5 rating and added 80 rushing yards in the Ravens’ 27-13 win over the New York Giants.

    The Ravens have rushed for at least 100 yards in 38 consecutive games (2018-20), tied with the DETROIT LIONS (38 games from 1935-39) for the second-longest such streak in NFL history. Only the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (43 games from 1974-77) have a longer streak.

  • New York Jets running back FRANK GORE reached 16,000 career rushing yards in the Jets’ 23-16 win over Cleveland.

    Gore is the third player in NFL history with at least 16,000 career rushing yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers EMMITT SMITH (18,355 rushing yards) and WALTER PAYTON (16,726).

  • Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT had 139 scrimmage yards (105 rushing, 34 receiving) in the Cowboys’ Week 16 win.

    Elliott, who has 1,256 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns this season, is the fourth player with at least 1,200 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns in each of his first five seasons in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers RANDY MOSS and LADAINIAN TOMLINSON as well as RICKY WATTERS.

    Philadelphia rookie quarterback JALEN HURTS passed for 342 yards and one touchdown and added 69 rushing yards on Sunday.

    Hurts, who passed for 338 yards and rushed for 63 yards in Week 15, joins MICHAEL VICK (Weeks 4-5, 2011) as the only quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards and 50 rushing yards in consecutive games in NFL history.

    Hurts, who had 106 rushing yards in Week 14 and 63 rushing yards in Week 15, joins LAMAR JACKSON (first five starts) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 rushing yards in each of their first three career starts in the Super Bowl era.

  • Other notable performances from Sunday include:

    • Philadelphia wide receiver DESEAN JACKSON had an 81-yard touchdown reception on Sunday.

      Jackson has five career receiving touchdowns of at least 80 yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers LANCE ALWORTH (five), BOB HAYES (five) and JERRY RICE (five) as well as DERRICK ALEXANDER (five) for the most touchdown receptions of at least 80 yards in NFL history.

    • Chicago linebacker ROQUAN SMITH registered two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the Bears’ 41-17 win at Jacksonville.

      Smith is the fourth linebacker since 1990 with at least two interceptions and an opponent fumble recovery in a single game, joining CHAD GREENWAY (September 20, 2009), BRODERICK THOMAS (November 1, 1992) and MIKE VRABEL (December 3, 2006).

CINCINNATI BEATS HOUSTON 37-31

Samaje Perine ran for two touchdowns, including a 3-yard score late, to give the Cincinnati Bengals their first road win in more than two years with a 37-31 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The Texans were driving after Perine’s second score when Deshaun Watson was sacked by Sam Hubbard, who forced a fumble that Margus Hunt recovered. The Bengals added a field goal after that to seal the victory.

It’s the first road win for second-year coach Zac Taylor and the first time the Bengals (4-10-1) won away from Cincinnati since a 37-36 victory at Atlanta on Sept. 30, 2018.

The Bengals have won two games in a row for the first time this season after upsetting the Steelers 27-17 on Monday night.

The Texans led 31-27 after Darren Fells carried two defenders into the end zone at the end of a 22-yard reception with about six minutes to go.

Perine, who had a season-high 95 yards rushing, gave Cincinnati the lead when he bulled into the end zone for the go-ahead score with less than two minutes to go.

Brandon Allen returned after missing last week’s game with a knee injury and threw for a career-high 371 yards with two touchdowns for the Bengals.

Watson threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns and David Johnson ran for a season-high 128 yards and had a rushing touchdown and a TD reception as the Texans (4-11) tied a season high with their fourth straight loss.

Cincinnati took a 27-24 lead on a 48-yard field goal by Austin Seibert early in the fourth quarter.

Perine put the Bengals up 17-10 when he ran 46 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. It looked as if he would be stopped early in the run, but he spun away from a defender and cruised into the end zone.

The Texans tied it on a 4-yard touchdown run by Johnson on their next possession. That score was set up by a 38-yard run by Johnson two plays earlier.

Cincinnati regained the lead when rookie Tee Higgins grabbed a 20-yard reception in the corner of the end zone and managed to keep both feet inbounds for the touchdown with about six minutes left in the third.

Their lead was brief as the Texans tied it again on a 2-yard scoring run by Johnson late in the third quarter. Johnson powered that possession with a 48-yard run on the second play of the drive.

The Bengals took an early lead when Allen found Drew Sample wide open for an 8-yard touchdown on their first drive.

Watson threw a 50-yard pass to Brandin Cooks on Houston’s next possession to give the team a first down at the 7. But the offense stalled after that and the Texans settled for a 21-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.

The Bengals had a chance to add to their lead in the second quarter, but Seibert’s 49-yard field-goal attempt was wide left. He got another chance later in the second and his attempt from 35 was good to give Cincinnati a 10-3 lead.

A 25-yard TD reception by Cooks with two minutes left in the first half tied it at 10 at halftime.

COLTS LOSE TOUGH ONE AT PITTSBURGH

Their once-promising season on the brink of a full-out collapse, the Pittsburgh Steelers headed to the locker room for halftime at Heinz Field on Sunday still searching for the team that began the season with 11 straight victories.

Ben Roethlisberger believed it was still in there somewhere. Even as the losses in December piled up. Even as the offense spent weeks stuck in neutral. Even as attrition pecked away at one of the NFL’s best defenses.

And even as the Steelers spent the first half against Indianapolis seemingly in a full-out sprint to get to the offseason as quickly as possible.

“Sometimes you need a little shock to yourself to believe again,” Roethlisberger said.

One 39-yard rope from the player who has symbolized the team’s erratic play perhaps more than any other provided that jolt. It revived Pittsburgh’s floundering season and delivered the Steelers the AFC North title.

Listless and lifeless for the better part of a month, Roethlisberger threw three second-half touchdowns – starting with a third-quarter strike to a fully horizontal Diontae Johnson – as the Steelers rallied past stunned Indianapolis 28-24 to win their first division title since 2017.

The 38-year-old Roethlisberger, who looked every bit his age and then some during Pittsburgh’s recent slide, snapped out of it while completing 34 of 49 passes for 342 yards. He ditched the dink-and-dunk approach that had worked during the early portion of the season but became far too predictable during his team’s December swoon.

The reward is at least one home playoff game. The Steelers (12-3) sported T-shirts that read “Won Not Done” during a celebration fueled equally by joy and relief. The swag had been at the ready for a few weeks only to be shelved as losses to Washington, Buffalo and, shockingly, Cincinnati piled up.

Yet head coach Mike Tomlin stressed there was no time to panic, believing his team was close.

“It’s a fine line between drinking wine and squashing grapes and sometimes it was very subtle,” Tomlin said.

Maybe, but the difference between the team that went into the locker room bullied and the one that outscored the Colts 21-0 over the final 18:16 was not. The defense kept Philip Rivers, rookie running back Jonathan Taylor and Indianapolis out of the end zone in the second half. Johnson, who leads the NFL in drops season, sparked the rally with a diving grab as he sailed across the goal line.

“We’ve all had our struggles of late,” Tomlin said. “This is a fighter’s business. This is a competitor’s business. I expect all to smile in the face of adversity and he did.”

Pittsburgh scored on its next two possessions, a 5-yard flip from Roethlisberger to Eric Ebron and a 25-yard dart in between two defenders from Roethlisberger to JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Indianapolis, so dominant during a first half in which it outgained the Steelers 206-28, had two chances to reclaim the lead. The first drive ended with Rivers throwing an interception deep in Pittsburgh territory. The second ended with Rivers’ heave to Zach Pascal sailing high on fourth down.

Indianapolis could not have clinched a playoff berth with a victory anyway after Miami and Baltimore won. Still, it would have made the path significantly easier. Now, not so much.

“We gave them (the Steelers) life,” Rivers said. “We’ve been on the other side of those. They were the aggressor as it got to be a 10-point game, a 3-point game and I don’t mean that from a play-calling standpoint, it just had that feel like `oh boy,’ and we were trying to hang on.”

Rivers finished 22 of 35 for 270 yards with a touchdown and a pick. Taylor ran for 74 yards and two touchdowns but basically disappeared over the final two quarters.

“Very disappointed,” Indianapolis coach Frank Reich said. “When we had everything to play for, we just didn’t have all the answers in the second half of a game we had to have. I’m not doubting the coaches or the players. We had a bad game, a bad half and we weren’t able to finish it off. We’ve got to learn from it, get better next week and get some help.”

Help didn’t look necessary after Taylor’s two first-half touchdowns against a defense that looked overmatched helped the Colts forge a 24-7 lead heading into the final stages of the third quarter.

One throw from Roethlisberger turned the momentum and – the Steelers hope – the arc of their season.

CLEVELAND SUFFERS TOUGH LOSS AT NEW YORK

Baker Mayfield coughed up the ball – and the Cleveland Browns’ chances to wrap up a playoff spot.

After a 23-16 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, the Browns will need to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at home next Sunday if they’re going to end the NFL’s longest playoff drought.

“I failed this team,” said Mayfield, who answered one question during his postgame Zoom call and left. “I put three balls on the ground, two of them that they recovered and the other on fourth down – just hold onto the damn ball. Plain and simple. I have to hold onto the damn ball.”

On fourth-and-1 with the short-handed Browns (10-5) driving for the potential tying score, Mayfield tried to push forward for the first down but lost the ball when Tarell Basham smacked into him. Kareem Hunt recovered, but by rule, Mayfield was the only one who could advance the ball – and the quarterback was short of the first down.

The call was upheld by video review, and the Jets (2-13) got the ball with 1:18 left and sealed their second straight victory after an 0-13 start.

“This one’s on me,” Mayfield reiterated. “But here’s the thing: This one is going to sting for a day or two. But we got the Steelers to win and get in.”

It was a rough week for the Browns, who haven’t been in the postseason since 2002 and entered without seven players because of COVID-19 issues – including Jarvis Landry and three other wide receivers, and rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills. Cleveland had to call up several players from the practice squad and coach Kevin Stefanski ran a walk-through in a parking lot near the team’s hotel to get some of the new players up to speed on the game plan.

“It’s pretty much 2020 – all in 24 hours,” Mayfield said. “It’s not an excuse.”

Despite being short-handed, the Browns nearly erased a 20-3 deficit. But the Jets were able to hang on.

“It had nothing to do with the guys we didn’t have,” Stefanski said. “We got flat-out beat, flat-out outcoached with the players we had, myself included.”

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Cleveland had third-and-6 from its 15 when Basham sacked Mayfield and knocked the ball out and John Franklin-Myers recovered. Sam Ficken’s 34-yard field goal with 2:52 remaining gave New York a 23-16 lead.

Ficken sent the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, giving Cleveland the ball at the 40. The Browns got down to the 16, until the defense came up big again to end it.

“This team doesn’t have any quit in them,” Jets center Connor McGovern said.

New York clinched the second overall pick in April’s draft. Jamison Crowder caught a touchdown pass and threw one to Braxton Berrios, and Sam Darnold was 16 of 32 for 175 yards, including TD passes to Crowder and Chris Herndon.

The Jets took a 7-3 lead with some rare razzle-dazzle with 34 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Ty Johnson took the handoff from Darnold and flipped the ball to Crowder, who rolled to his right and zipped a pass downfield to a wide-open Berrios – who had been lined up as the tailback – for a 43-yard touchdown.

New York got the ball right back when Frankie Luvu sacked Mayfield and popped the ball away – and right into the hands of Folorunso Fatukasi.

The Jets took advantage when Darnold found Herndon wide open in the back of the end zone. Ficken’s extra point was blocked by ex-Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, but New York was out to a stunning 13-3 lead early in the second quarter.

After the Jets made it 20-3 on Crowder’s 30-yard touchdown catch, New York had a chance to extend the lead, but Ficken’s 50-yard field goal try was blocked – again by Richardson.

Mayfield then marched the Browns downfield, and Nick Chubb’s 1-yard run made it 20-10.

Cleveland made it back-to-back touchdown drives with Hunt running it in from 4 yards out. But Parkey hit the left upright, and the Browns trailed 20-16 with 12:38 remaining.

“You win next week and you’re in,” Stefanski said. “What’s ahead of us is everything we set out to do this season.”

BALTIMORE ROLLS TO VICTORY

A very difficult football season for the Baltimore Ravens took a positive turn during a wonderful afternoon that started in exceptional fashion and ended with an ideal combination of events.

Lamar Jackson directed four scoring drives during the decisive first half, and the surging Ravens beat the New York Giants 27-13 Sunday to gain control of their own fate in the AFC playoff chase.

Soon after Baltimore’s fourth straight victory, Pittsburgh put the finishing touch on a win over Indianapolis and the New York Jets completed their upset of Cleveland.

That thrust the Ravens (10-5) past the Colts and Browns in the AFC wild-card hunt, which means Baltimore will earn a playoff berth for the third year in a row by winning at Cincinnati next week.

“I was watching the scoreboard the whole game,” Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said. “Obviously, that’s good for us. Hopefully we take advantage of that.”

It’s been a rough go for the Ravens, who last month dealt with an outbreak of COVID-19 that sidelined Jackson during a three-game skid that left Baltimore needing help to qualify for the postseason.

That aid arrived in earnest on Sunday.

“Now it’s in our hands,” linebacker Matthew Judon said.

The Giants (5-10), meanwhile, lost their third straight and walked off the field with only a miniscule chance of making the postseason.

“We just have to execute fundamentally better,” first-year coach Joe Judge said. “We’ve got to do some things earlier in the game as coaches and players to start faster.”

Jackson guided the Ravens to touchdowns on their first two possessions, then took them into field-goal position on his next two drives for a 20-3 halftime lead.

That was more than enough to defeat a struggling Giants team that totaled only 13 points in its previous two games and has scored just two touchdowns over the past three weeks.

Daniel Jones started at quarterback for New York after missing two of the past three games with hamstring and ankle injuries. His passing numbers – 24 for 41 for 252 yards – were reflective of the heavy pressure he received from Baltimore’s relentless rush.

The Ravens had six sacks, and Jones was flushed out of the pocket on several other occasions.

“They deserve credit,” Jones said of the Ravens. “They were pressuring and found different ways to bring it. I got to do a better job of seeing it and getting (the ball) out in those situations.”

Jackson, the reigning NFL MVP, completed 17 of 26 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 80 yards as part of a rushing attack that eclipsed 100 yards for the 38th consecutive game.

Gus Edwards rushed for 85 yards and rookie J.K. Dobbins gained 77 yards on the ground before leaving with a chest injury.

The Ravens opened the game with an 82-yard drive that consumed more than eight minutes and ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Marquise Brown.

“It was important,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I know they’ve got a good defense. For us to take the ball down the field was very good execution. Lamar was really on point and different guys made plays.”

New York’s first possession went quite differently. The Giants twice jumped offside and Jones nearly threw an interception during a three-and-out.

“It’s frustrating. We got to get off to a better start,” said receiver Sterling Shepard, who scored New York’s lone touchdown with a fourth-quarter catch. “We’re not the team that can afford to get off to a start like that, especially against a team like Baltimore.”

The Ravens went up 14-0 by moving 65 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Dobbins – his fifth straight game with a score.

For an encore, Jackson directed a 13-play drive that chewed up another eight-plus minutes before Justin Tucker kicked a short field goal for a 17-0 lead.

The Ravens cruised through the second half, taking a 27-6 lead early in the fourth quarter on an 8-yard touchdown catch by Dez Bryant.

CHICAGO CLOSE TO PLAYOFF SPOT WITH WIN

Jimmy Graham disappeared into a tunnel following his second touchdown catch of the day. He re-emerged after what seemed like forever and found a group of Chicago teammates waiting to celebrate.

It was symbolic of the Bears’ season. The team that lost its sixth consecutive game earlier this month has now won three in a row and is on the verge of making the expanded NFC playoffs.

Mitchell Trubisky accounted for three scores, including two TD passes to Graham, and the Bears pounded Jacksonville 41-17 Sunday in a game that meant as much to the Jaguars’ long-term future as it did to Chicago’s short-term fate.

The Bears (8-7), who gained control of their postseason path when Arizona lost to San Francisco on Saturday, can make the playoffs for the second time in three years by beating Green Bay at home next week.

“With where we’re at right now as a team, it’s definitely different,” Chicago coach Matt Nagy said. “Green Bay is a hell of a football team and there’s a reason why they’re sitting right now as the No. 1 seed. For us, we’ve got to worry about us. …

“We’re guaranteed one more game, nothing else. If we do well in that one game, then we’ll have an opportunity for more. But we can’t worry about that. We just worry about us.”

The Jaguars (1-14), meanwhile, set a franchise record by losing their 14th consecutive game and locked up the top pick for the first time in franchise history when the New York Jets beat Cleveland 23-16 a few minutes later.

Hello, Trevor Lawrence!

Bears fans could be seen in every direction at TIAA Bank Field, and the visiting team gave them plenty to cheer about with 28 straight points to start the second half. Numerous Jaguars fans celebrated, too, clearly wanting Lawrence to land in Jacksonville.

It sure seems like a reality for the small-market team that’s spent the better part of the last two decades searching for a franchise quarterback. The potential game-changing moment came on the same day the Jags reached a new low for losing.

The Bears’ playoff chances appeared to be a long shot following a sixth straight loss. But they responded by winning three in a row, thanks mostly to a suddenly potent offense.

Chicago scored 30 or more points for the fourth consecutive week, the first time the Bears have accomplished the feat since 1965. This one came courtesy of a strong second half. Trubisky started the scoring spree with a 6-yard run and later connected with Graham for the second time.

David Montgomery and rookie Artavis Pierce also scored on the ground.

“It does give us confidence,” Trubisky said. “It all starts with an expectation, just having a high expectation for us in this offense that, `This is what we’re capable of and nothing less is going to be acceptable.'”

Trubisky completed 24 of 35 passes for 265 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. His performance was far from perfect. His interception came in the end zone late in the first half – he inexplicably scrambled and threw into a crowd – with the Bears in field-goal range, and he nearly had another early in the third.

But safety Jarrod Wilson dropped the ball and then dropped to the ground to do 10 pushups.

Allen Robinson finished with 10 catches for 103 yards against his former team. Robinson spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Jaguars.

Graham had four receptions for 69 yards.

Former Bears quarterback Mike Glennon made his fourth start of the season for Jacksonville after competing with Gardner Minshew in practice and had two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Glennon nearly had a third turnover, but nose tackle Bilal Nichols dropped a ball at the line of scrimmage that hit him in the chest.

“It was definitely an interesting week,” Glennon said. “But no excuse for anything like that. We came out pretty well. It was a 10-10 ballgame, but then a poor decision by me before the half and then they got three points and it seemed like it went kind of downhill from there. Unfortunately, we couldn’t kind of recover from there.”

CHIEFS CLINCH TOP SPOT IN AFC

All season, the prolific Kansas City offense had been putting the Chiefs in position to capture the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

It took their defense – and some good fortune – to finally clinch it.

Patrick Mahomes threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson with just under two minutes to go Sunday, then watched his defense force Younghoe Koo’s 39-yard field-goal try to tie the game. And when the Pro Bowl kicker faded it right with 9 seconds remaining, the Chiefs had escaped, 17-14.

Not to mention the Chiefs got their club-record 10th straight win and and the AFC’s lone first-round playoff bye.

“The defense played their tail off to give us a chance,” Mahomes said later, “and the offense found a way to score when we needed to. That’s just the championship swagger to know how to win a game even when you don’t play well.”

Mahomes finished with 278 yards passing and two touchdowns along with an interception for the reigning Super Bowl champions, who won their league-record seventh straight one-possession game. Travis Kelce had seven catches for 98 yards and a score, giving him 1,426 yards for the season, breaking George Kittle’s record for an NFL tight end.

“The real record I’m proud of,” Kelce said, “is this is the first time the Chiefs have ever been 14-1.”

The Falcons (4-11) certainly made it tougher than most people expected. They took the lead when Matt Ryan hit Laquon Treadwell for a 5-yard touchdown with 4:33 to go, then answered Mahomes’ touchdown pass to Robinson by marching right down field again. But after forcing Ryan into throwing three straight incompletions, they watched Koo head onto the field – and promptly miss for only the time this season.

Instead of heading to overtime, the Falcons headed home with their seventh loss in a one-possession game.

“I told him afterwards, `The next time you’re in that situation, you’re going to nail it,’ and to not doubt that for a second,” Ryan said. “It’s part of the game and you have to move forward.”

Calvin Ridley had five catches for 130 years for the Falcons. Hayden Hurst added five catches for 47 yards and a score.

“They put up a great effort,” Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris said, “but we didn’t come here to get a pat on the back by anybody. We came here to win the football game. That’s the only goal you have when you come to play these games.”

Both defense played well in a first half that ended 7-7.

The Falcons’ Keanu Neal picked off a pass from Sammy Watkins when the Chiefs tried an audacious fourth-down play, using the wide receiver on a reverse to throw a pass to Mahomes across the field. The pick gave Atlanta the ball at its own 2-yard line, and Ryan found Hurst 98 yards later to give the Falcons the early lead.

The Chiefs’ offense finally got on track in the closing minutes of the first half. They never faced third down in going 78 yards for a tying score. Mahomes zipped a short TD pass to Kelce, who earlier became the first tight end in NFL history and first player in Chiefs history with multiple 100-catch seasons when he hauled in his second pass of the game.

The stunning display of defense continued for both teams in the second half.

Falcons linebacker Foyesade Oluokun kept the game scoreless when he deftly stepped in front of Kelce at the goal line for an interception. The Chiefs answered by allowing 15 yards and forcing back-to-back punts in the third quarter.

Kansas City finally took its first lead on Harrison Butker’s 53-yard field goal with 14:08 left in the game.

The Falcons squandered their first chance to match the points when Brandon Powell coughed up the ball deep in Kansas City territory. But they made their second opportunity count on Ryan’s 5-yard flick to Treadwell that capped an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.

Like so many times this season, the Falcons let it slip away.

“I’m proud of the guys – 14-1 is nothing to shake your head at,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “When it’s all said and done, you have a bye coming up after your next game. There’s only two teams that will have that this year.”

CHARGERS WIN THIRD STRAIGHT

Justin Herbert set the rookie record for most touchdown passes in a season and the Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Denver Broncos 19-16 on Sunday for their third straight win.

Michael Badgley tied a career high with four field goals, including the winning kick with 41 seconds remaining.

Herbert’s 9-yard screen pass to Austin Ekeler in the second quarter was his 28th touchdown throw of the season, surpassing the 27 that Baker Mayfield had for Cleveland in 2018.

Herbert, the sixth overall pick in the April draft and third QB taken, completed 21 of 33 passes for 253 yards. He also became the fourth player to throw for over 4,000 yards as a rookie, joining Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Jameis Winston.

Badgley came into the game making three of his last seven on field goals, but was perfect on all four of his attempts Sunday. After Brandon McManus tied it at 16 with 2:47 remaining with a 52-yard field goal, the Chargers (6-9) drove to the Broncos 19, and the third-year kicker won it from 37 yards.

Badgley also was good from 37 yards to cap the opening drive. Nasir Adderley put Los Angeles in great field position by returning the opening kickoff 53 yards. Badgley also split the uprights from 43 yards late in the second quarter to extend LA’s lead to 13-0 at halftime. He added a 25-yarder 10 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it 16-3.

Denver (5-10) tied it with scores on three straight possessions.

McManus was good from 50 yards to bring the Broncos within 10. After the Chargers went three-and-out, Drew Lock scored on a 1-yard keeper for Denver’s first rushing touchdown in seven games.

And after Badgley’s late field goal, the Broncos got to midfield. But Lock’s desperation pass on the final play was intercepted by Mike Williams near the goal line.

Lock completed 24 of 47 passes for 264 yards. Melvin Gordon, who spent five seasons with the Chargers before signing with Denver in the offseason, had 79 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Denver had opportunities to score on its first two drives but came away empty. The Broncos took nearly eight minutes on their first possession and drove to the Chargers 16 before Lock was intercepted by Casey Hayward Jr. in the end zone. The ball deflected off the hands of Denver receiver DaeSean Hamilton.

McManus then had a 37-yard field goal attempt bounce off the left upright, his first miss inside 40 yards since 2017.

PANTHERS SPOIL WASHINGTON’S PARTY

Dwayne Haskins turned the ball over three times before getting benched, Steven Sims muffed a punt return that turned into a Panthers touchdown and Washington blew its first chance to clinch the NFC East by losing to Carolina 20-13 Sunday.

Haskins was 14 of 28 with a fumble and two interceptions after starting in place of injured veteran Alex Smith, despite violating COVID-19 protocols last week. After being stripped of his captaincy and fined $40,000 for partying without a mask, he was stripped of the ball by Marquis Haynes in the first quarter and picked off by Tahir Whitehead and Tre Boston in the second.

Meanwhile, Washington’s defense allowed two Panthers touchdown drives and 202 yards in the first half alone. Had there been fans at FedEx Field, they would have booed Washington off the field at halftime.

Down 14 early in the fourth quarter, coach Ron Rivera pulled Haskins and handed the ball to Taylor Heinicke for his first NFL action since 2018 with Carolina. Heinicke was 12 of 19 for 137 yards in relief and threw a 29-yard TD pass to J.D. McKissic with 1:50 left.

With Rivera looking to get into the playoffs by beating his former team, the scene was instead eerily reminiscent of four years ago when Jay Gruden-coached Washington lost a potential win-and-in Week 17 matchup against the Giants, who like Carolina had nothing to play for.

New York’s loss earlier Sunday at Baltimore put the NFC East squarely in focus for Washington (6-9), which now must beat Jalen Hurts and the Eagles next week to wrap up the NFL’s weakest division.

Carolina (5-10) snapped a three-game skid behind 197 yards passing from Teddy Bridgewater and an opportunistic performance on defense and special teams. With Christian McCaffrey out again, Curtis Samuel had five catches for 106 yards and was the Panthers’ leading rusher with 52 yards on seven carries.

DALLAS STILL ALIVE FOR PLAYOFF SPOT

From the gruesome ankle injury that ended their star quarterback’s season to the sudden death of their conditioning coach, the Dallas Cowboys faced difficulties few NFL teams could match in this pandemic-altered year.

They still have a chance going into Week 17.

Andy Dalton threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns, two to Michael Gallup, and the Cowboys stayed alive in the playoff race with a 37-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

The Cowboys (6-9) won their third consecutive game and can finish alone in first place in the NFC East thanks to Washington’s 20-13 loss to Carolina, which guaranteed the NFL’s worst division won’t have a team with a winning record.

Dallas can overtake Washington (6-9) with a win at the New York Giants and a Washington loss to the Eagles on the final weekend of the regular season. The Giants (5-10) can get in by beating the Cowboys if Washington loses.

“If you gave up five, six weeks ago, we wouldn’t even want you on our side,” said running back Ezekiel Elliott, who returned after missing a game because of injury for the first time in his career and finished with 105 yards.

“We’re competitors. The whole team is. We weren’t out of it. Gotta win next week and need a little help from the guys we just played.”

The Eagles (4-10-1) led 14-3 in the first quarter after DeSean Jackson’s 81-yard touchdown catch in his first game in two months coming off an ankle injury, and they would have controlled their playoff fate against Washington with a win.

Instead, Philadelphia and Jalen Hurts couldn’t keep the offense rolling while giving up points on five consecutive Dallas possessions. The defending NFC East champion was eliminated from the postseason with its sixth loss in seven games.

“It’s disappointing,” defensive back Jalen Mills said. “Even from the start of the offseason, we feel and we know that we are a playoff team. It is what it is.”

The top three Dallas receivers each had a catch of at least 50 yards. Rookie CeeDee Lamb’s 52-yard touchdown put the Cowboys up 27-17 early in the third quarter, Gallup’s 55-yarder on a screen set up a field goal between his two TDs, and Amari Cooper had a 69-yard catch before another of Greg Zuerlein’s three field goals.

Dalton, who was 22 of 30 while surpassing 300 yards for the first time since replacing the injured Dak Prescott five weeks into the season, gave the Eagles life late in the third quarter by forcing a deep throw to Lamb that Darius Slay intercepted.

But that opportunity fizzled when coach Doug Pederson elected to go for it on fourth-and-15 from the Dallas 33 early in the fourth quarter and Zach Ertz was stopped well short on an underneath throw.

Hurts had two turnovers with Philadelphia in scoring range later in the fourth quarter. Anthony Brown intercepted the rookie at the goal line, and Hurts fumbled at the end of a run on a close call that was held up on review. Hurts had a second interception with the game well out of reach in the final minute.

“It’s not always the team with the best record in the regular season … it’s the hottest team,” said Dalton, who is 4-4 as Prescott’s replacement. “You’ve just got to get a chance. Once you make it to the playoffs, that’s when you have your opportunity to make a run.”

A month ago, the Cowboys were blown out by Washington on Thanksgiving two days after conditioning coach Markus Paul collapsed in the team’s weight room. Paul died the day before the game.

Prescott’s injury is the biggest for an offense that has endured plenty, particularly on the offensive line. Now, coach Mike McCarthy still has something on the line not long after his Dallas debut looked like a lost and wrecked season.

“Coach just told us that in the locker room, he was like, `You guys have strained for this, you’ve worked for this through all the ups and downs that we’ve had this season,'” said Gallup, whose touchdowns were from 21 and 7 yards. “Just to have it happen like it’s happening, just a great feeling.”

Making his third start since the benching of Carson Wentz, Hurts led an offense that generated 285 yards in the first half before stalling while the Cowboys surged to the lead.

Hurts was 21 of 39 for 342 yards with 69 yards rushing, joining Lamar Jackson as the only QBs in the past 70 years with at least 50 yards rushing in each of his first three starts.

SEATTLE WRAPS UP DIVISION TITLE

The Seattle Seahawks claimed the NFC West title with a 20-9 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, with Russell Wilson throwing a 13-yard TD pass to Jacob Hollister with 2:51 left for the clinching score.

Seattle (11-4) earned its first division title since 2016 and its fifth since Pete Carroll arrived in 2010 behind a stellar defensive effort and a clutch late drive engineered by Wilson.

Seattle’s quarterback scored on a 4-yard run on the opening drive of the second half for a 13-6 lead. But the final drive was Wilson at his best: Wilson was 5 for 5 for 59 yards on the drive, hitting four different receivers.

Wilson connecting with Hollister was a bit of redemption for the tight end who was stopped inches short of the same end zone on the final play a year ago in Week 17 against San Francisco. That gave the division title to the 49ers.

Wilson finished 20 of 32 for 225 yards. But unlike earlier in the season when it was Wilson that staked Seattle to a 5-0 start, this victory was carried by the defense. Seattle flustered Jared Goff, shut down the Rams’ run game, and held Los Angeles (9-6) to a season low in points.

The Rams became the fifth straight opponent held under 20 points by Seattle, something accomplished only four other times in franchise history and not since 2014 – the last time the Seahawks reached the Super Bowl.

Goff was 23 of 42 for 224 yards and a baffling first-half interception that cost Los Angeles points. Darrell Henderson Jr. rushed for 62 yards before leaving in the third quarter with an ankle injury.

The Rams can still reach the playoffs with a win over Arizona in Week 17, but the past two weeks have changed the tenor of their season. Last week’s shocking loss to the then-winless New York Jets cost the Rams control of the division. Now, Los Angeles risks missing the playoffs entirely if it loses to the Cardinals and Chicago beats Green Bay next Sunday.

PACKERS TROUNCE TITANS

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams created a picturesque atmosphere as they connected for three touchdown passes on a snow-covered Lambeau Field.

The Green Bay Packers teammates would love the opportunity to produce plenty of similar scenes next month by staying home throughout the NFC playoffs.

Rodgers threw four touchdown passes as the Packers trounced the Tennessee Titans 40-14 for their fifth consecutive victory Sunday night.

“It’s tough to play in the cold,” said Rodgers, who went 21 of 25 for 231 yards with an interception. “It’s tough to play at Lambeau. I think we proved that tonight.”

Playing in the cold at Green Bay is tough for road teams, anyway. The Packers showed they can thrive on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

The Packers (12-3) already have clinched the NFC North title and can earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs if they win at Chicago (8-7) or Seattle (11-4) loses at San Francisco (6-9) next week.

This game showcased why the Packers want to make sure the playoffs go through Lambeau after losing on the road in three of the last six NFC championship games. With snow falling throughout the first half and continuing to cover much of the field the rest of the game, Green Bay moved the ball at will all night.

“People definitely don’t want to play in the cold,” Adams said. “It’s tough, man. It’s tough. It makes you a little bit less physical. It takes your speed away. If you don’t get to practice in this and get used to the temperature, the snow and all of that stuff, as you’ve seen, it can obviously take a toll. I think that team (Tennessee) is a really, really solid team that played with a lot less speed than they typically do.”

Green Bay ran wild behind 124 yards and two touchdowns from A.J. Dillon and 94 yards from Aaron Jones. Dillon, a second-round pick from Boston College, had run for just 115 yards all season during a rookie year in which he spent over a month on the COVID-19 reserve list.

Tennessee (10-5) squandered an opportunity to clinch its first AFC South championship since 2008. The Titans still can clinch a division title by winning at Houston (4-11) next week.

NFL TO EXPAND SEASON TO 17 GAMES

The NFL is planning to expand the regular season to 17 games in 2021, a move that would add a contest to the schedule for each team for the first time since 1978, sources told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

An official announcement isn’t expected soon as the league must first negotiate at least one new media contract for the added tilts, but sources said that “it’s going to happen.”

The 17-game slate would generate new revenue for the NFL and could soften an anticipated drop in the salary cap ahead of next season, Rapoport and Pelissero add.

The league is expected to reduce the preseason to two or three games as a result. Each club would still have one bye week, extending the regular season to 18 weeks and pushing back the Super Bowl into the second week of February.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement signed in March, team owners and the NFLPA decided a 17-game schedule could start as early as 2021. Though there was always support for the move at some point, the projected revenue loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic reportedly increased urgency from both parties.

The expansion would open up potential new neutral-site and international contests, as the NFL has been exploring possible matchups in Canada, China, Brazil, and Japan in addition to Mexico and the United Kingdom.

NFL TEAMS REACHING OUT FOR COACHING POSITIONS

It appears a few NFL clubs are attempting to lure Urban Meyer out of retirement.

At least two teams have reached out to the legendary college football head coach to see whether he’d be interested in interviewing for a job in the same capacity, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Despite retiring in 2018 due to health concerns, Meyer hasn’t dismissed proposals and is considering jumping to the pros, Schefter adds.

The former Ohio State boss would be one of the most sought-after candidates for NFL coaching vacancies. Meyer captured three national championships and five Power 5 conference titles during his time in the college ranks.

The 56-year-old reportedly had been rumored for a handful of other positions over the last two years but never strongly considered returning to the sideline until now.

There are currently three NFL teams with head-coaching vacancies: the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, and Detroit Lions.

INDIANA GETS PAST BOSTON 108-107

With Indiana down one in the final seconds Sunday, coach Nate Bjorkgren asked Domantis Sabontis to bail out the Pacers.

The All-Star forward delivered. He put the ball on the floor, drove hard toward the basket, muscled in the go-ahead layup and drew a foul with 8.4 seconds to play.

Sure he missed the free throw, but Indiana’s defense forced an errant 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left and held on for a 108-107 victory over Boston.

“Coach is a genius. He has a different play for everything,” Sabonis said. “He trusts every single one of us and that makes it easier for the players. We all trust him and just try to execute as best we can.”

So far, Sabonis has thrived in Bjorkgren’s new system.

He followed Saturday’s triple-double, with 19 points, 10 rebounds and five assists – his third double-double in three games and No. 100 in his career.

And Sabonis had plenty of help, too.

Malcolm Brogdon scored a season-high 25 points and T.J. Warren added 17 as the Pacers improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2013-14, sweeping their first back-to-back of the season – barely.

“Yes, it was designed that way,” Bjorkgren said after drawing up the play for Sabonis during Indiana’s final timeout. “But I thought the other four guys really moved and shifted the defense, too, and that helped open it up for Domas.”

The Celtics spent most of the second half playing catch up before finally taking a 107-106 lead when Robert Williams III stole an inbound pass and found Marcus Smart for a breakaway layup with 11.8 seconds to go.

After a missed free throw Sabonis, Boston called timeout to set up a play and Jayson Tatum’s long 3 was off the mark. Tatum finished with 25 points and Jaylen Brown had 18 as the Celtics lost their second straight.

“We definitely beat ourselves tonight and there was still an opportunity to win the game,” Brown said. “We gave it up at the end. We’ve got to come back and be better, be more physical and more solid on defense.”

HAYWARD LEADS CHARLOTTE TO WIN

Gordon Hayward gave Hornets fans a little taste of why owner Michael Jordan felt strongly about luring him to Charlotte with a four-year, $120 million contract last month.

Hayward, acquired in a sign-and-trade with Boston, had 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Charlotte handed the Brooklyn Nets their first loss of the season, 106-104 on Sunday night.

Hayward did a little bit of everything, making 12 of 20 shots while setting up his team with good scoring opportunities and helping the Hornets out of some potentially bad possessions with solid plays before the shot clock expired.

“He brings us calm and poise out there,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “He settles us when we need a good possession, an efficient possession. He is able to create that.”

The 6-foot-7 small forward said he’s just starting to get comfortable with his new teammates after a limited training camp and missing two preseason games with a broken finger.

“We are constantly building that chemistry,” Hayward said. “We didn’t have as much time as we wanted to get to know each other. We are starting to figure each other out. When I do, that will ultimately help me be a better playmaker.”

Terry Rozier added 19 points, including two clutch free throws, and P.J. Washington finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Hornets, who limited the Nets to 42.7% shooting from the floor.

Kevin Durant led the Nets with 29 points, and Kyrie Irving chipped in with 25 points.

CLEVELAND NOW 3-0

Andre Drummond scored 24 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and made three steals as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their third straight game to start the season, 118-94 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

Collin Sexton added 22 points and Darius Garland had 14 points and seven assists for Cleveland, which finished with the second-worst record in the NBA last season at 19-46. The Cavaliers are 3-0 for the first time since winning six in a row to begin 2016-2017.

“We want it. We want it bad,” said Drummond, who is averaging 20.3 points and 14.7 rebounds per game. “We play hard each and every time, and guys are ready when their number is called. We have a long season ahead of us and we’ll celebrate tonight, but we’ll be ready for our next game.”

Tobias Harris had 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Philadelphia, which fell to 2-1 and played without center Joel Embiid (back tightness). Ben Simmons scored 15 points and Dwight Howard had nine points and four fouls filling in for Embiid.

“Joel was planning on going, but when he went out on the floor, he had some stiffness,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “He was such a late scratch, we couldn’t even add another big man to the active list.”

Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love (right calf strain) left in the second quarter and did not return. Love missed the season opener with the same injury and will undergo an MRI on Monday.

Cleveland, which shot 52.7% from the field, took its largest lead at 108-76 on Cedi Osman’s driving layup with 8:30 left. Osman scored 14 points off the bench and Larry Nance Jr. had 13 points and five assists.

“I still don’t think we’ve put our best four quarters together yet, but that’s our goal,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Playing agenda-less basketball, that’s what the guys have bought into.”

Drummond, who has three double-doubles, netted 15 points and 10 rebounds in the first half as Cleveland carried a 64-50 advantage into the break.

The Cavaliers forced 22 turnovers, six by Simmons, and turned them into 35 points.

HALL OF FAMER PHIL NIEKRO PASSES

Phil Niekro threw a pitch that baffled hitters and catchers.

Heck, he didn’t even know where it was going most of the time.

But the knuckleball carried Niekro to more than 300 wins, earned him a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame and left him with a nickname that stuck for the rest of his life.

Knucksie.

The longtime stalwart of the Atlanta Braves rotation died after a long fight with cancer, the team announced Sunday, becoming the seventh member of the Hall of Fame to pass away in 2020. He was 81.

The Braves said Niekro died Saturday night in his sleep. He lived in the Atlanta suburb of Flowery Branch, where a main thoroughfare bears his name.

Niekro won 318 games over his 24-year career, which ended in 1987 at age 48 after he made one final start with the Braves. The right-hander was a five-time All-Star who had three 20-win seasons with Atlanta.

Dale Murphy, who won two straight NL MVP awards as a teammate of Niekro’s, was among those who mourned his death.

“Knucksie was one of a kind,” Murphy wrote on Twitter. “Friend, teammate, father and husband. Our hearts go out to Nancy Niekro, the kids and grandkids. So thankful for our memories and time together. We’ll miss you, Knucksie.”

Niekro also pitched for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays late in his career.

Incredibly, he had 121 wins after his 40th birthday.

“We are heartbroken on the passing of our treasured friend,” the Braves said in a statement. “Knucksie was woven into the Braves fabric, first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta. Phil baffled batters on the field and later was always the first to join in our community activities. It was during those community and fan activities where he would communicate with fans as if they were long lost friends.”

A statue of Niekro delivering his trademark pitch is located outside of Truist Park, the Braves’ stadium.

Niekro joined Lou Brock, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan and Tom Seaver as Hall of Famers who died in 2020 – the most ever to pass away in a calendar year, according to spokesman Jon Shestakofsky.

“These names, and these men, will be remembered forever in Cooperstown,” he said.

Niekro was remembered by the Hall as “master of the knuckleball and a great mentor, leader and friend.”

Niekro didn’t make it to the big leagues until 1964, when he pitched 10 games in relief for the then-Milwaukee Braves. He made only one start over his first three years in the big leagues but finally blossomed as a starter in 1967 – the Braves’ second year in Atlanta – when he went 11-9 and led the National League with a 1.87 ERA.

With a fluttering knuckleball that required catchers to wear an oversized mitt, Niekro went 23-13 as the Braves won the first NL West title in 1969. He was runner-up to Seaver for the Cy Young Award, the closest he ever came to capturing pitching’s premier prize though he finished in the top six of the balloting four other times.

Niekro also had 20-win seasons in 1974 and 1979, despite pitching for a team that fell on hard times after its appearance in the inaugural NL Championship Series, where the Braves were swept in three games by New York’s Amazin’ Mets.

Niekro also led the league in losses for four straight seasons, losing 20 games in both 1977 and ’79.

He finished with a career record of 318-274 and a 3.35 ERA. Niekro was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.

His younger brother, Joe, also had a long baseball career with an arsenal that included the knuckleball. He won 221 games over 22 years in the big leagues, making the Niekros baseball’s winningest set of siblings, with a total of 539 victories, just ahead of Gaylord and Jim Perry.

Joe Niekro died in 2006 at age 61.

Phil Niekro pitched a no-hitter in 1973 but his most memorable game with the Braves came in 1982, when the team started the season with 13 consecutive wins and improbably won the NL West title by a single game to send Niekro to the playoffs for only the second time in his career.

On the final weekend of the season, the 43-year-old Niekro pitched a three-hit shutout and hit a two-run, eighth-inning homer that led Atlanta to a crucial 4-0 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Niekro finished 17-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 35 starts, but he didn’t get a decision in his only start of the NL Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals as the Braves were again swept in three straight games. He never made it to the World Series.

Niekro picked up his 300th win in 1985 while pitching for the Yankees. He reached the milestone by shutting out the Blue Jays 8-0.

Philip Henry Niekro was born in Blaine, Ohio, and learned the knuckleball from his father, who played for a coal-mining team in eastern Ohio.

“He was a very good pitcher,” Niekro told ESPN in an interview after his playing days were over. “He hurt his arm one spring, didn’t warm up good enough, couldn’t throw a fastball anymore. Another coal miner taught him how to throw the knuckleball.”

The elder Niekro passed it on to his son.

“He threw it to me one day.” Phil Niekro recalled. “I asked him what it was. He showed me how to hold it. Didn’t know what it was, didn’t know anything about it except that I liked it.

“I never knew how to throw a fastball, never learned how to throw a curveball, a slider, split-finger, whatever they’re throwing nowadays. I was a one-pitch pitcher.”

After going 11-10 with a 3.97 ERA in 1983, Niekro had an acrimonious split from the Braves, who wanted to focus on their younger pitchers.

But Niekro was far from done. He won 16 games each of the next two seasons with the Yankees and even made the All-Star Game for the final time. He picked up 11 more wins with Cleveland in 1986 before his knuckler finally ran out of steam.

Niekro started 1987 with the Indians, was traded to Toronto in August and was let go by the Blue Jays after getting roughed up in three starts. He decided to retire but only after returning to Atlanta to make his final start in a Braves uniform.

Niekro lasted just three-plus innings, giving up six hits, six walks and five runs before he left the mound for the final time to a raucous ovation from the crowd at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

While the knuckler was his trademark, Niekro was an all-around athlete. He won five Gold Glove awards and was a decent hitter for a pitcher, wracking up seven homers and 109 RBIs.

Niekro remained active in the Braves organization after his retirement, taking part in alumni activities and often serving as a special instructor at spring training. He also managed the Colorado Silver Bullets, a barnstorming women’s baseball team sponsored by Coors.

Niekro is survived by his wife, Nancy, sons Philip, John and Michael, and two grandchildren, Chase and Emma.

Longevity was the hallmark of Niekro’s career, which was spent largely in obscurity pitching for Braves teams that rarely managed a winning season.

The knuckleball put little stress on his right arm, so he made at least 30 starts every season from 1968-86 – excluding the strike-shortened 1981 campaign – and finished with 245 complete games in his career.

He was even able to make infrequent relief appearances, earning 29 saves.

In 1979, at age 40, Niekro made a career-high 44 starts, completing 23 of them. He went 21-20 with a 3.39 ERA for a dismal Braves team that finished 66-94.

He remains the last pitcher to both win and lose 20 games in a season.

In this era where teams value velocity above all other traits, the knuckleball has essentially become extinct.

“There’s nobody around who can teach how to throw a knuckleball,” Niekro said in the ESPN interview. “There’s very few pitching coaches that I worked with that actually came out on the mound and told me what I was doing wrong with the knuckleball. Because they just didn’t know.

“I was on my own.”

VILLANOVA COACH HAS COVID

Villanova coach Jay Wright has tested positive for COVID-19 and the No. 5 Wildcats have paused basketball activities.

Wright says in a statement issued Sunday by Villanova that he another staff member tested positive. Wright says he has been experiencing mild symptoms.

Villanova’s game against Xavier scheduled for Saturday has been postponed, but the school outside Philadelphia says no determination has been made for games beyond this week. The next game on the Wildcats’ schedule is Jan. 5 at DePaul.

Earlier this month, Wright got St. John’s to agree to postpone a Big East matchup scheduled for Dec. 30 so the Villanova players could be off over the holidays, with Wright saying they “needed a break.”

SYRACUSE WOMEN PAUSE ALL BASKETBALL ACTIVITIES

Syracuse University has paused all women’s basketball-related activities Sunday and contact tracing is underway after a positive COVID-19 test was confirmed within the program.

The 22nd-ranked Orange women have also canceled a game against Morgan State scheduled for Monday night. The team is adhering to all public health guidelines. Syracuse’s next scheduled game is Thursday at home against North Carolina.

Syracuse men also has been on pause since Monday. The Orange men halted team activities after a home game a week ago against Buffalo. One of the Bulls tested positive after the game.

The Orange women weren’t the only ones to go on pause. Mississippi also has coronavirus issues within the Rebels’ women’s basketball program.

Their game against No. 5 South Carolina on Thursday night has been postponed. The fifth-ranked Gamecocks last played Dec. 17 against Temple. They’re next game is scheduled for Jan. 4 at Alabama. South Carolina said in a release that game could not be played due to a combination of positive COVID-19 tests, contact tracing and quarantining individuals according to SEC protocols. There has been no makeup date announced for the contest.

FEDERER WITHDRAWS FROM OPEN

Roger Federer is withdrawing from the Australian Open while he continues preparing to return to action after two operations on his right knee, his agent told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Tony Godsick – Federer’s long-time representative and CEO of their management company, TEAM8 – said he is working on putting together a 2021 tennis calendar for the 20-time Grand Slam champion, who plans to get back on tour soon after the year’s first major tennis tournament.

“Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open. He has made strong progress in the last couple of months with his knee and his fitness. However, after consultation with his team, he decided that the best decision for him in the long run is to return to competitive tennis after the Australian Open,” Godsick said in a statement released to the AP.

“I will start discussions this coming week for tournaments that begin in late February and then start to build a schedule for the rest of the year,” Godsick said.

The start of the Australian Open’s main draw was delayed by three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic and is now scheduled to begin on Feb. 8 at Melbourne Park.

The 39-year-old Federer is currently training in his usual offseason home of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

He hasn’t played a tournament match since late January at the 2020 Australian Open, where he was clearly injured while losing in straight sets to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

Just weeks later, Federer announced he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He later had a second procedure.

NFL STANDINGS

American Football Conference
East Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Buffalo Bills1130.7860.04073406-1-05-2-08-2-04-0-04 W
Miami Dolphins1050.6671.53782825-3-05-2-07-4-03-2-02 W
New England Patriots680.4295.02893014-2-02-6-05-5-02-2-02 L
New York Jets2130.1339.52294291-7-01-6-01-10-00-5-02 W
 
West Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xyz-Kansas City Chiefs1410.9330.04523246-1-08-0-010-1-04-1-010 W
Las Vegas Raiders780.4677.04024472-6-05-2-05-6-03-2-03 L
Los Angeles Chargers690.4008.03464054-4-02-5-05-6-02-3-03 W
Denver Broncos5100.3339.02924142-5-03-5-04-7-01-4-02 L
 
North Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Pittsburgh Steelers1230.8000.03942887-1-05-2-09-2-04-1-01 W
Baltimore Ravens1050.6672.04303005-3-05-2-06-5-03-2-04 W
Cleveland Browns1050.6672.03843975-2-05-3-06-5-02-3-01 L
Cincinnati Bengals4101.3007.53083863-4-01-6-14-7-01-4-02 W
 
South Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
Tennessee Titans1050.6670.04504015-3-05-2-07-4-04-1-01 L
Indianapolis Colts1050.6670.04233485-2-05-3-06-5-03-2-01 L
Houston Texans4110.2676.03464232-5-02-6-03-8-02-3-04 L
Jacksonville Jaguars1140.0679.02924641-7-00-7-01-10-01-4-014 L
 
National Football Conference
East Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
Washington Football Team690.4000.03153153-5-03-4-04-7-03-2-02 L
Dallas Cowboys690.4000.03764504-4-02-5-05-6-02-3-03 W
New York Giants5100.3331.02573382-5-03-5-04-7-03-2-03 L
Philadelphia Eagles4101.3001.53203983-3-11-7-04-7-02-3-02 L
 
West Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Seattle Seahawks1140.7330.04333487-1-04-3-08-3-03-2-03 W
Los Angeles Rams960.6002.03542895-2-04-4-08-3-02-3-02 L
Arizona Cardinals870.5333.04033494-4-04-3-06-5-02-3-01 L
San Francisco 49ers690.4005.03533641-6-05-3-04-7-03-2-01 W
 
North Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Green Bay Packers1230.8000.04743537-1-05-2-09-2-04-1-05 W
Chicago Bears870.5334.03563353-4-05-3-06-5-02-3-03 W
Minnesota Vikings690.4006.03934403-5-03-4-04-7-03-2-03 L
Detroit Lions5100.3337.03424821-6-04-4-04-7-01-4-03 L
 
South Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-New Orleans Saints1140.7330.04493306-2-05-2-09-2-05-0-01 W
x-Tampa Bay Buccaneers1050.6671.04483284-3-06-2-07-4-03-2-03 W
Carolina Panthers5100.3336.03433692-5-03-5-04-7-01-4-01 W
Atlanta Falcons4110.2677.03693702-6-02-5-02-9-01-4-04 L
 

X – Clinched Playoff Spot,  Y – Clinched Division,  Z – Clinched Home Field Advantage

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia21.6671-01-11-02-12-11 L
Brooklyn21.6671-01-11-01-12-11 L
New York12.3331.01-10-10-11-21-21 W
Boston12.3331.01-10-10-11-21-22 L
Toronto02.0001.50-10-10-22 L
 
Central Divison
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Cleveland301.0002-01-01-03-03-03 W
Indiana301.0002-01-01-03-03-03 W
Milwaukee12.3332.01-00-20-21-21 L
Detroit02.0002.50-10-10-10-10-22 L
Chicago03.0003.00-30-10-20-33 L
 
Southeast Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Orlando301.0001-02-03-03-03-03 W
Atlanta201.0000.52-01-02-02 W
Miami11.5001.51-00-10-10-11-11 W
Charlotte12.3332.01-10-11-11-21 W
Washington03.0003.00-20-10-20-30-33 L
 
Western Conference
Northwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Oklahoma City101.0001-01-01 W
Minnesota21.6671-01-11-01-12-11 L
Utah11.5000.50-11-01-11-11-11 L
Portland11.5000.51-10-11-11-11 W
Denver02.0001.50-20-20-22 L
 
Pacific Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
LA Clippers21.6670-12-01-02-12-11 L
Phoenix21.6671-01-11-12-12-11 W
Sacramento21.6671-11-01-12-12-11 L
LA Lakers21.6672-10-12-12-12 W
Golden State12.3331.01-21-21 W
 
Southwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
New Orleans21.6671-01-11-01-02-11 W
San Antonio21.6671-01-11-11-12-11 L
Dallas12.3331.01-21-21-21 W
Houston01.0001.00-10-10-11 L
Memphis02.0001.50-20-10-10-22 L

NCC BOYS BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
McCutcheon2-  04-  063.558.05.5Won 4
Lafayette Jeff1-  07-  080.947.033.9Won 7
Logansport1-  05-  260.747.912.9Won 2
Tech2-  13-  569.877.9-8.1Lost 2
Marion1-  13-  269.064.84.2Lost 1
Kokomo1-  12-  458.264.8-6.7Lost 1
Harrison0-  14-  265.351.314.0Lost 1
Anderson0-  11-  256.358.0-1.7Lost 2
Central0-  10-  447.071.8-24.8Lost 5
Richmond0-  22-  454.062.3-8.3Lost 1

THIS WEEK

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Bowman at Lafayette Jeff, 5:30 pm

Brownsburg at Central, 7:30 pm

Guerin Catholic at Kokomo, 7:30 pm

Homestead at Marion, 7:30 pm

McCutcheon at Connersville, 2:30 pm

Tech vs. New Haven, noon, Huntington

Fishers vs. Tech, 8 pm, Huntington

Logansport vs. St. Joseph, 11:45 am, LaPorte

Logansport vs. LaPorte, 4:45 pm, LaPorte

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Anderson at Carmel, 4:30 pm

Plainfield at McCutcheon, 2:30 pm

Saturday, Jan. 2

Calumet at Harrison, 8 pm

Hamilton SE at Marion, 7:30 pm

LaPorte at Lafayette Jeff, 4:30 pm

Central at Jay County, 7:30 pm

Zionsville at Kokomo, 7:30 pm

TEC BOYS BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Lincoln2-  03-  462.766.7-4.0Won 1
Northeastern1-  05-  270.754.016.7Won 1
Winchester1-  03-  261.450.211.2Won 3
Centerville1-  11-  435.253.6-18.4Lost 1
Union County1-  11-  445.264.0-18.8Lost 2
Tri0-  01-  255.358.3-3.0Lost 1
Union City0-  11-  347.552.8-5.3Lost 1
Hagerstown0-  10-  538.657.0-18.4Lost 6
Knightstown0-  20-  440.055.5-15.5Lost 12

THIS WEEK

Monday, Dec. 28

Hauser vs. Hagerstown, noon, Edinburgh

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Knightstown at Wapahani, 7:30 pm

Seton Catholic at Winchester, 7:30 pm

Tri at Anderson Prep, 7:30 pm, ppd.

Union County vs. Twin Valley South (Ohio), 4:30 pm, Preble Shawnee

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Lincoln at Blue River, 7:30 pm

Centerville at North Decatur, 10:30 am, North Decatur

Saturday, Jan. 2

Seton Catholic at Hagerstown, 7:30 pm

Union City at Knightstown , 6 pm

Wes-Del at Tri, 7:30 pm

Winchester at Bluffton, 7:30 pm

MID-EASTERN BOYS STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Shenandoah2-  06-  166.649.916.7Won 1
Monroe Central2-  05-  258.747.111.6Won 5
Eastern Hancock1-  06-  064.549.814.7Won 6
Wapahani1-  04-  261.549.012.5Won 3
Randolph Southern1-  11-  359.562.3-2.8Lost 2
Daleville2-  23-  355.757.8-2.2Lost 1
Blue River1-  23-  352.061.5-9.5Lost 2
Wes-Del1-  34-  463.459.83.6Lost 3
Cowan0-  13-  253.252.01.2Won 3
Union (Modoc)0-  20-  647.378.2-30.8Lost 10

THIS WEEK

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Knightstown at Wapahani, 7:30 pm

Randolph Southern at Morristown, 10 am, Morristown

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Lincoln at Blue River, 7:30 pm

Wes-Del at Eastern Hancock , 7:30 pm

Blackford vs. Shenandoah, 11 am, New Castle

Saturday, Jan. 2

Cowan at Borden, 4:30 pm

Eastern Hancock at Daleville , 7:30 pm

Heritage Christian at Shenandoah, 7:30 pm

Wapahani at Blue River , 7:30 pm

Wes-Del at Tri, 7:30 pm

EASTERN INDIANA BOYS STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Connersville2-  05-  250.739.011.7Won 2
Lawrenceburg1-  02-  254.864.0-9.3Lost 2
Franklin County1-  02-  356.453.23.2Lost 1
Greensburg0-  04-  082.057.025.0Won 22
East Central0-  03-  356.255.50.7Lost 1
South Dearborn0-  12-  254.858.3-3.5Won 1
Batesville0-  10-  648.858.5-9.7Lost 7
Rushville0-  20-  443.063.8-20.8Lost 10

THIS WEEK

Monday, Dec. 28

Franklin County at Scecina, 6:30 pm

Tuesday, Dec. 29

McCutcheon at Connersville, 2:30 pm

East Central vs. Englewood, 4:15 pm, Southwestern

South Dearborn vs. New Washington, 11:30 am, Morristown

Waldron vs. Lawrenceburg, 1 pm, Morristown

Rushville vs. Loogootee, 2 pm, North Daviess

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Franklin County at Oldenburg, 7:30 pm

Thursday, Dec. 31

Columbus North at Connersville, 1:30 pm

Saturday, Jan. 2

Greensburg at Columbus East, 7:30 pm

Whiteland at Batesville, 10 am, Batesville

HOOSIER HERITAGE BOYS STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
New Palestine2-  05-  269.060.68.4Won 1
Delta1-  04-  150.045.84.2Lost 1
Greenfield1-  14-  352.050.61.4Lost 1
Mount Vernon0-  03-  177.062.814.3Won 3
Shelbyville0-  02-  249.352.0-2.8Won 1
Pendleton Heights0-  00-  342.375.0-32.7Lost 11
New Castle0-  12-  457.360.7-3.3Lost 1
Yorktown0-  23-  352.050.21.8Lost 2

THIS WEEK

0 pm

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Hamilton SE at Pendleton Heights, 7:30 pm

New Castle at Mount Vernon , 7:30 pm

Shelbyville at Franklin, 7:30 pm

Sheridan vs. Greenfield, 10 am, Alexandria

Rising Sun vs. Yorktown, noon, North Decatur

Saturday, Jan. 2

Benton Central at New Castle, 5:30 pm

Mooresville at Greenfield, 7:30 pm

Shelbyville at Yorktown , 7:30 pm

PIONEER BOYS BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
North Division
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
University1-  05-  256.346.99.4Won 3
Burris0-  03-  555.667.1-11.5Lost 1
Seton Catholic0-  01-  258.776.7-18.0Lost 1
Anderson Prep0-  00-  253.566.5-13.0Lost 12
Liberty Christian0-  14-  366.961.35.6Lost 2
South Division
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Central Christian1-  04-  263.051.711.3Won 1
Greenwood Christian1-  03-  356.859.0-2.2Lost 1
International0-  02-  170.363.07.3Lost 1
Park Tudor0-  01-  255.047.08.0Won 1
Bethesda Christian0-  23-  260.045.414.6Lost 2

THIS WEEK

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Anderson Prep at Liberty Christian, 7:30 pm

Bishop Chatard at Central Christian, 7:30 pm

Seton Catholic at Winchester, 7:30 pm

Tri at Anderson Prep, 7:30 pm, ppd.

Park Tudor at North Central, 5 pm, North Central

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Avon at Park Tudor, 5:30 pm

Elwood at Liberty Christian, 7:30 pm

Greenwood Christian at North Putnam, 7:30 pm

International at Seton Catholic, 6 pm

Owen Valley vs. University, 11:45 am, Blgtn. North

Park Tudor vs. Avon, 6:30 pm, North Central

Saturday, Jan. 2

Liberty Christian at Huntington North, 1:30 pm, ppd.

Seton Catholic at Hagerstown, 7:30 pm

NCC GIRLS BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Anderson4-  05-  560.050.19.9Won 1
Harrison2-  04-  080.036.543.5Won 4
McCutcheon1-  03-  258.250.47.8Lost 1
Richmond3-  15-  340.136.14.0Won 3
Kokomo1-  24-  446.150.1-4.0Lost 3
Lafayette Jeff0-  10-  526.262.4-36.2Lost 6
Marion0-  10-  624.774.0-49.3Lost 8
Logansport0-  22-  434.253.7-19.5Won 1
Central0-  22-  747.652.2-4.7Lost 1
Tech0-  21-  615.158.9-43.7Lost 5

THIS WEEK

Monday, Dec. 28

Logansport at Winamac, 6:30 pm

Lafayette Jeff at Lebanon, 6 pm, Lebanon

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Anderson at Harrison, 7:30 pm

McCutcheon vs. LaPorte, 2 pm, Lake Central

McCutcheon at Lake Central, 6 pm, Lake Central

Tech vs. Park Tudor, 10 am, Brebeuf Jesuit

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Harrison at North White, 7:30 pm

Marion at Central , 7:30 pm

Saturday, Jan. 2

Marion at Hamilton Heights, 1:30 pm, ppd.

Central at Daleville, 1:30 pm

Westfield at Anderson, 1:30 pm

TEC GIRLS BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Northeastern2-  07-  163.546.017.5Lost 1
Winchester2-  05-  164.336.228.2Won 4
Tri2-  05-  357.844.413.4Won 2
Union City2-  17-  661.253.77.5Lost 2
Union County1-  18-  246.137.28.9Won 1
Lincoln1-  22-  827.254.3-27.1Lost 6
Hagerstown1-  35-  739.538.70.8Won 2
Centerville0-  21-  723.554.3-30.8Lost 1
Knightstown0-  21-1125.157.8-32.8Lost 9

THIS WEEK

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Northeastern at Union County , 7:30 pm

Winchester at Eastern Hancock, 7:30 pm

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Northeastern at Whiteland, 7:30 pm

Tri at Union City , 7:30 pm, ppd.

Saturday, Jan. 2

Morristown at Union County, 7:30 pm

Northeastern at National Trail (Ohio), 1:30 pm

Winchester at Hamilton Heights, 1:30 pm

MID EASTERN CONFERENCE GIRLS STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Blue River5-  012-  069.839.630.3Won 12
Shenandoah5-  110-  365.938.527.5Won 7
Eastern Hancock3-  19-  357.737.020.7Won 4
Cowan2-  25-  644.243.21.0Lost 3
Randolph Southern2-  24-  536.441.2-4.8Won 1
Daleville2-  23-  735.956.0-20.1Won 1
Wes-Del1-  54-  930.149.5-19.5Lost 2
Wapahani0-  23-  443.444.3-0.9Won 2
Monroe Central0-  20-  628.570.2-41.7Lost 7
Union0-  33-  439.041.0-2.0Lost 2

THIS WEEK

Monday, Dec. 28

Union at Wapahani , 7:30 pm

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Monroe Central at Eastern Hancock , 7:30 pm

Winchester at Eastern Hancock, 7:30 pm

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Blue River at Rushville, 6 pm

Delta at Cowan, 7:30 pm

Elwood at Daleville, 7:30 pm

Southern Wells at Wapahani, 10 am, Wapahani

Saturday, Jan. 2

Monroe Central at Randolph Southern © , 7:30 pm

Central at Daleville, 1:30 pm

EASTERN INDIANA GIRLS STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Greensburg4-  06-  156.041.914.1Lost 1
Lawrenceburg4-  08-  348.933.115.8Lost 1
East Central2-  07-  162.541.421.1Lost 1
Rushville1-  27-  550.343.17.3Won 1
Connersville1-  24-  533.147.1-14.0Won 1
Batesville1-  24-  639.047.9-8.9Won 1
Franklin County0-  34-  844.449.3-4.9Lost 3
South Dearborn0-  40-1029.065.5-36.5Lost 11

THIS WEEK

Monday, Dec. 28

Western vs. Franklin County, 4 pm, Lebanon

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Rushville at South Ripley, 7:30 pm

Lawrenceburg vs. Jennings County, 2 pm, Scottsburg

East Central vs. Greenwood Christian, 4 pm, Scottsburg

Charlestown vs. Lawrenceburg, 6 pm, Scottsburg

East Central at Scottsburg, 8 pm, Scottsburg

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Blue River at Rushville, 6 pm

East Central at Jac-Cen-Del, 7:30 pm

Triton Central at South Dearborn, 7:30 pm

Batesville vs. TH North, 10:30 am, Franklin

Southport at Greensburg, 10 am, Greensburg

Saturday, Jan. 2

East Central at Bedford NL, 3:30 pm

Rushville at Seymour, 1:30 pm

South Dearborn at Edinburgh, 1:30 pm

HOOSIER HERITAGE GIRLS STANDINGS

ALL TIMES EASTERN
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Pendleton Heights4-  06-  461.652.09.6Won 1
Mt. Vernon1-  05-  350.340.310.0Won 2
New Palestine4-  17-  447.939.68.3Lost 2
Yorktown1-  16-  255.142.412.8Lost 1
Greenfield2-  24-  737.442.2-4.8Won 2
Shelbyville1-  34-  754.556.5-2.1Lost 3
New Castle0-  20-  638.861.8-23.0Lost 12
Delta0-  43-  840.649.8-9.2Lost 4

THIS WEEK

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Jay County at Yorktown, 7:30 pm

Mt. Vernon vs. Norwell, 11 am, New Castle

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Delta at Cowan, 7:30 pm

New Castle at Pendleton Heights , 1:30 pm

Shelbyville at Edinburgh, 7:30 pm

Greenfield at Franklin, 10:30 am, Franklin

New Palestine vs. Noblesville, noon, Greensburg

Saturday, Jan. 2

Delta at New Castle , noon

Mooresville at Greenfield, 6 pm

Yorktown at New Palestine , 1:30 pm

Shelbyville vs. TBA, TBA, Valparaiso

BIG 10 MEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ConferenceOverallvs
 W-LPctHmRdW-LPctHmRdNt Top 25
Northwestern3-01.0002-01-06-1.8575-11-00-02-0
19 Michigan2-01.0001-01-07-01.0006-01-00-00-0
Wisconsin2-01.0001-01-08-1.8897-01-10-02-0
18 Illinois3-1.7502-01-17-3.7005-02-20-11-2
11 Rutgers2-1.6671-01-16-1.8575-01-10-01-1
Purdue2-1.6672-00-17-3.7005-00-22-11-1
Minnesota1-1.5001-00-18-1.8898-00-10-01-1
Iowa1-1.5001-00-17-2.7787-00-10-11-1
23 Ohio State1-2.3331-00-27-2.7785-01-21-01-0
12 Michigan State0-2.0000-10-16-2.7505-11-10-01-1
Maryland0-2.0000-10-15-3.6255-10-20-00-1
Indiana0-2.0000-10-15-4.5562-10-23-10-3
Penn State0-2.0000-10-13-3.5002-21-10-01-1
Nebraska0-2.0000-10-14-5.4444-30-20-00-3

MAC MEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ConferenceOverallvs
 W-LPctHmRdW-LPctHmRdNt Top 25
East
Akron1-01.0001-00-03-1.7503-00-00-10-0
Bowling Green1-01.0001-00-05-2.7143-12-10-00-1
Buffalo1-1.5000-01-13-3.5001-01-21-10-0
Kent State0-00-00-03-1.7502-01-10-00-1
Ohio0-1.0000-00-14-3.5712-00-32-00-1
Miami (OH)0-1.0000-10-03-3.5003-10-20-00-0
West
Toledo2-01.0001-01-07-3.7004-02-21-10-0
Ball State2-01.0000-02-04-3.5712-02-30-00-0
Western Michigan1-1.5001-10-02-5.2862-30-20-00-1
Central Michigan0-1.0000-00-14-4.5003-01-30-10-0
Eastern Michigan0-1.0000-10-01-2.3331-10-10-00-1
Northern Illinois0-2.0000-10-11-6.1431-30-30-00-1

ACC MEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ConferenceOverallvs
 W-LPctHmRdW-LPctHmRdNt Top 25
24 Virginia Tech1-01.0001-00-07-1.8755-10-02-02-0
Syracuse1-01.0000-01-06-1.8575-01-10-00-1
Louisville1-01.0000-01-06-1.8575-01-10-00-1
North Carolina State1-01.0001-00-05-1.8334-00-11-01-0
21 Florida State1-01.0001-00-05-1.8335-10-00-00-0
20 Duke1-01.0000-01-03-2.6002-21-00-00-2
Pittsburgh1-1.5000-11-05-2.7143-22-00-00-0
Wake Forest0-00-00-02-01.0002-00-00-00-0
16 Virginia0-00-00-04-2.6673-00-01-20-1
Clemson0-1.0000-00-16-1.8573-00-13-00-0
Miami (FL)0-1.0000-10-04-2.6674-20-00-00-0
17 North Carolina0-1.0000-00-15-3.6252-00-23-10-2
Georgia Tech0-1.0000-00-14-3.5712-21-11-01-1
Notre Dame0-1.0000-10-03-4.4292-21-10-10-3
Boston College0-1.0000-10-02-5.2861-10-11-30-1

BIG EAST MEN’S STANDINGS

ConferenceOverallvs
 W-LPctHmRdW-LPctHmRdNt Top 25
Villanova3-01.0001-02-08-1.8892-03-03-12-0
13 Creighton3-1.7501-12-07-2.7785-12-10-01-1
Seton Hall3-1.7502-11-06-4.6004-12-20-10-1
22 Xavier1-1.5001-00-18-1.8897-01-10-00-1
Providence1-1.5000-01-15-3.6252-02-11-20-0
Butler1-1.5001-00-12-3.4002-10-10-10-1
St. John’s1-3.2501-10-26-4.6005-10-21-10-1
Marquette1-3.2500-21-15-5.5004-31-20-02-1
Georgetown1-3.2501-10-23-5.3753-30-20-00-2
DePaul0-00-00-01-01.0001-00-00-00-0
UConn0-1.0000-10-03-1.7502-10-01-00-1

HORIZON MEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ConferenceOverallvs
 W-LPctHmRdW-LPctHmRdNt Top 25
Wright State3-01.0001-02-05-1.8332-13-00-00-0
Cleveland State3-01.0001-02-03-3.5001-02-30-00-1
Milwaukee2-01.0000-02-03-1.7500-03-10-00-0
UIC2-01.0002-00-05-2.7144-11-10-00-0
Robert Morris1-01.0000-01-02-2.5001-11-10-00-0
Northern Kentucky1-1.5001-10-03-4.4293-10-30-00-0
Youngstown State1-2.3330-01-24-2.6672-02-20-00-0
Oakland1-2.3330-01-21-9.1000-01-70-20-2
IUPUI0-00-00-01-01.0001-00-00-00-0
Purdue Fort Wayne0-3.0000-30-01-3.2501-30-00-00-0
Detroit0-3.0000-30-01-6.1430-41-20-00-1
Green Bay0-3.0000-20-10-7.0000-30-40-00-1

BIG 10 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ConferenceOverallvs
 W-LPctHmRdW-LPctHmRdNt Top 25
25 Michigan State2-01.0001-01-07-01.0006-01-00-00-0
15 Northwestern2-01.0001-01-04-01.0003-01-00-00-0
19 Indiana2-01.0001-01-04-2.6673-11-10-00-1
14 Maryland1-01.0000-01-05-1.8332-01-02-11-1
Purdue2-1.6671-11-05-2.7144-21-00-00-1
Iowa1-1.5001-00-15-1.8334-01-10-00-0
Rutgers1-1.5000-11-05-1.8333-12-00-00-1
Nebraska1-2.3331-00-23-3.5003-00-30-00-1
17 Michigan0-00-00-05-01.0003-02-00-00-0
16 Ohio State0-00-00-04-01.0004-00-00-00-0
Penn State0-1.0000-10-03-2.6003-10-10-00-1
Illinois0-1.0000-00-12-2.5002-10-10-00-0
Wisconsin0-2.0000-10-13-2.6003-10-10-00-0
Minnesota0-3.0000-20-11-4.2001-30-10-00-2

MAC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ConferenceOverallvs
 W-LPctHmRdW-LPctHmRdNt Top 25
East
Bowling Green2-01.0002-00-06-1.8574-02-10-00-0
Buffalo2-01.0002-00-05-2.7143-02-20-00-0
Kent State2-01.0001-01-03-2.6002-01-20-00-1
Ohio1-1.5000-01-13-2.6002-01-20-01-0
Akron0-2.0000-10-13-2.6002-11-10-00-0
Miami (OH)0-2.0000-00-21-5.1671-00-50-00-2
West
Central Michigan2-01.0002-00-04-2.6673-01-20-00-1
Toledo1-1.5000-11-05-1.8334-11-00-00-0
Eastern Michigan1-1.5000-01-14-3.5710-13-11-10-1
Ball State1-1.5000-11-03-3.5000-23-10-00-0
Northern Illinois0-2.0000-20-02-5.2860-31-21-00-0
Western Michigan0-2.0000-00-21-3.2501-00-30-00-0

ACC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ConferenceOverallvs
 W-LPctHmRdW-LPctHmRdNt Top 25
North Carolina State3-01.0002-01-08-01.0006-02-00-01-0
Georgia Tech2-01.0001-01-04-1.8003-11-00-00-0
Louisville1-01.0000-01-05-01.0002-02-01-01-0
Clemson3-1.7502-01-18-1.8896-02-10-00-0
22 Syracuse2-1.6670-02-15-1.8332-03-10-00-0
Florida State2-1.6672-00-13-1.7503-00-10-00-0
North Carolina2-2.5002-00-27-2.7787-00-20-01-0
Virginia Tech1-1.5001-00-16-1.8576-00-10-00-0
Miami (FL)1-2.3331-10-14-2.6674-10-10-00-2
Wake Forest1-2.3331-00-24-3.5711-01-22-11-2
Pittsburgh1-2.3331-00-23-3.5003-10-20-00-0
Notre Dame1-2.3331-10-13-4.4293-20-20-00-1
Duke0-1.0000-10-03-1.7503-10-00-00-1
Virginia0-2.0000-10-10-5.0000-30-20-00-0
Boston College0-3.0000-20-14-3.5714-20-10-00-2

BIG EAST WOMEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ConferenceOverallvs
 W-LPctHmRdW-LPctHmRdNt Top 25
UConn4-01.0002-02-05-01.0003-02-00-00-0
Marquette3-01.0002-01-06-1.8572-14-00-00-0
18 DePaul2-01.0001-01-05-2.7144-11-00-11-2
Villanova2-1.6671-11-07-1.8754-13-00-00-1
Providence2-1.6671-01-14-4.5002-12-30-00-0
Creighton1-3.2500-11-22-6.2501-21-40-00-2
Seton Hall0-1.0000-10-02-2.5002-20-00-00-1
Georgetown0-1.0000-00-10-1.0000-00-10-00-1
Xavier0-2.0000-10-13-3.5002-11-20-00-1
Butler0-2.0000-20-00-3.0000-20-10-00-1
St. John’s0-3.0000-10-23-5.3752-11-40-00-0

HORIZON WOMEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

ConferenceOverallvs
 W-LPctHmRdW-LPctHmRdNt Top 25
Milwaukee4-01.0002-02-07-1.8753-04-10-00-0
IUPUI4-01.0004-00-06-1.8574-02-10-00-0
Northern Kentucky4-01.0002-02-04-4.5002-12-30-00-1
Wright State3-1.7501-12-03-3.5001-22-10-00-1
Oakland3-1.7502-01-13-4.4292-11-30-00-2
UIC1-3.2501-10-22-5.2861-11-40-00-0
Detroit1-3.2500-21-11-7.1250-41-30-00-0
Youngstown State0-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-0
Green Bay0-2.0000-20-01-4.2001-20-20-00-0
Cleveland State0-2.0000-00-20-2.0000-00-20-00-0
Robert Morris0-4.0000-00-40-4.0000-00-40-00-0
Purdue Fort Wayne0-4.0000-20-20-6.0000-30-30-00-0

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1978

Coach Woody Hayes, irate after Charlie Bauman, Clemson’s middle guard, intercepted an Ohio State pass tonight in the final two minutes of Clemson’s 17-15 Gator Bowl victory, went after Bauman after he was run out of bounds on the Ohio State sideline. Hayes grabbed Bauman and touched off a brief bench emptying melee.

It was not clear whether Hayes had landed any punches, but Bauman said after the game, “I was hit, I don’t know by who.” When asked again a few minutes later, Bauman said, “I’m not saying anything.” Jonathan Brooks, a Clemson defensive end, said: “A lot of players said Woody hit him. It looked like he did. I was in the middle of a whole bunch of people trying to get out of there.” It took officials several minutes to clear the field. Hayes received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Buckeye coach did not appear at a press conference after the game, sending George Hill, his defensive coordinator, in his place. Hill said: “I didn’t see it. I was there, but still couldn’t see. Whatever it was was certainly unfortunate.”

Bauman’s interception spoiled a dazzling performance by Ohio State’s freshman quarterback, Art Schlichter, who completed 16 of 20 passes for 205 yards. The triumph by Clemson made Danny Ford, who took over when Coach Charley Pell accepted the head coaching job at the University of Florida after the regular season, a success in his first game as head coach. The loss was the fourth Bowl defeat in the last five years for the Buckeyes. Ford refused to criticize Hayes. “I’ve got an idea what happened,” he said, “but I’m not saying. I think my players conducted themselves on the field with class.”

Obed Ariri’s 47-yard field goal and Cliff Austin’s 1-yard touchdown plunge had given Clemson a 17-9 third-quarter lead, and Schlichter had scored on a 2-yard run to cut Clemson’s lead to 17-15. But Clemson’s Jim Stuckey and Eddie Geathers dropped Schlichter on a 2-point conversion try with 8:11 left in the game, and the Tigers’ defense later held off an Ohio State rally and finally ignited Hayes’s temper. Steve Fuller completed 9 of 20 passes for Clemson, although he fumbled three times – the last one setting up Ohio State’s ill-fated final drive at midfield.

Woody Hayes’s punch was the most shocking episode of a coach or manager attacking a player in American sports history. He was dismissed the next day after 28 years as the Ohio State coach. Hayes, 65, led the Buckeyes to three national championships (1954, ’57 and ’68) and four undefeated seasons.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1926       Bob O’Farrell is named to replace Rogers Hornsby as the Cardinal manager. The ‘Rajah,’ who guided the Redbirds to a World Championship as the team’s player-manager last season, was traded to the Giants eight days ago for Frankie Frisch and Jimmy Ring.

1944       Buddy Lewis wins the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in the Burma War Theater. During World War II, the Senator third baseman flew more than 500 missions for the U.S. Army Air Force as a transport pilot.

1957       After Representative Kenneth B. Keating indicates Congress should reopen its sports hearing, CBS announces they will not broadcast major league games into any area during the time of a scheduled minor league game. The television network has entered an agreement with six teams – Indians, Orioles, Phillies, Reds, White Sox, and Yankees – to telecast major league games nationally on Sundays next season.

1957       In a swap of first basemen, the Reds deal fan-favorite Ted Kluszewski to the Pirates for Dee Fondy, who will retire at the end of the season after hitting just .218 for Cincinnati. ‘Big Klu’ will play a season-and-a-half for his new team before being sent to the White Sox, where he will play a pivotal role for the eventual American League champions in 1959.

1983       Free-agent Warren Cromartie signs a $2.5 million contract with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. The 30 year-old former Expo outfielder, considered to be the best American player to date to leave the majors in his prime to play in Japan, will compile a .321 batting average along with 171 home runs and 558 RBIs during his seven seasons with the Nippon team.

1994       In the century’s fourth-largest trade, the biggest since 1957, the Astros and Padres exchange a dozen players. Houston sends Ken Caminiti, Andujar Cedeno, Steve Finley, Roberto Petagine, Brian Williams, and a player to be named later (Sean Fesh) for Derek Bell, Doug Brocail, Ricky Gutierrez, Pedro Martinez, Phil Plantier, and Craig Shipley.

1998       The Tigers acquire two players when the team signs free-agent Gregg Jefferies to a two-year contract and trades outfield prospect Luis Gonzalez to the Diamondbacks for Karim Garcia. The 31 year-old California native will finish his controversial 14-year major league career in Detroit with a lifetime .289 batting average.

2001       Outgoing New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announces the Yankees and Mets have reached a tentative agreement with the city to build a pair of $800 million, retractable-roof stadiums. Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg, concerned if the Big Apple can afford the largest private-public venture in baseball history, will have the final word on the $1.6 billion cost of the proposed new ballparks agreements.

2005       The White Sox and starter Jon Garland (18-10, 3.50) sign a three-year, $29 million contract. The deal to stay with the 2005 World Series champions, which takes him off the profitable free-agent market next year, avoids salary arbitration and keeps the 26 year-old right-hander in the city he loves.

2005       The Diamondbacks send Troy Glaus and highly touted infield prospect Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays in exchange for Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson and starter Miguel Batista. Toronto’s active off-season, in which the team has also signed starter A.J. Burnett, closer B.J. Ryan, and first baseman Lyle Overbay, convinced the third baseman to waive his limited no-trade clause.

WORLD SERIES HISTORY-1905

New York Giants (4) vs Philadelphia Athletics (1)

After refusing an invitation to play the Boston Americans the 1904 World Series, the New York Giants agreed to participate in the 1905 Fall Classic in an effort to win back it’s fan approval. Many were upset by the Giants’ “no thanks” attitude of the previous year and it was clearly visible in their regular season attendance. This time, John T. Brush and company were eager to take on the American League champion Philadelphia Athletics after an National League race in which the Giants won one-hundred five games. The Series would be contested under guidelines drawn up by the Giants’ owner, seeking to stabilize an event he earlier had cancelled. Besides outlining a revenue formula, the John T. “Brush Rules” called for a best-of-seven format.

The Giants were extremely confident going into their first combined post-season championship for obvious reasons. Their pitching rotation read like an All-Star ballot and featured Christy Mathewson (thirty-one victories), Joe McGinnity (twenty-one) and Red Ames (twenty-two) and also included Dummy Taylor (fifteen) and Hooks Wiltse (fourteen). New York wound up using only two of its “big five” as starters in the Series, but that twosome proved more than enough. The Athletics were not as fortunate and were still reeling from the late-season loss of standout lefthander Rube Waddell.

In the opening game, lefthander Eddie Plank, a twenty-five game winner for the Athletics, was matched up against the Giants ace Mathewson. Recalling memories of the first World Series, it remained a pitcher’s duel until the fifth inning when the Giants offense finally broke through for two runs. Game 1 was all Mathewson – on both sides of the ball. At the plate, he contributed a single in the fifth that ignited New York’s scoring drive and a key sacrifice in the ninth. On the mound, he completed a four-hit, 3-0 victory and did not walk a single batter. For Game 2, Athletic’s manager Connie Mack called on righthander Chief Bender to even the score. He obliged the legendary skipper with support from Bris Lord’s run-scoring singles in the third and eighth innings. In the end, Bender out-dueled the Giants’ Joe McGinnity for a 3-0 victory. The Series was now tied and an interesting trend had developed with two shutouts in two games.

With two day’s rest, Game 1 winner Christy Mathewson was given the start for Game 3. Once again, the righthanded sensation dominated the contest and held Philadelphia to only four hits and one walk. First baseman Dan McGann was the Giants’ big gun in a 9-0 romp, collecting two singles and a double and driving in four runs. New York was now ahead, but the Athletics refused to roll over and entered the following contest with a renewed vigor. Game 4 represented the ultimate pitcher’s duel and to this day, is still considered one of the best match-ups ever on the mound during a World Series. This time McGinnity and Plank hooked up in a contest that allowed only nine hits and one run. Philadelphia matched the Giants play in every aspect of the game and only lost due to a crucial infield error. The 1-0 triumph increased New York’s Series lead to three games to one.

Once again, Mack decided to go with Chief Bender to halt the Giants in Game 5, while McGraw decided to stick with a winner and brought Mathewson back for a third performance. Pitching on only one day of rest, the Giant’s workhorse was again up to the challenge allowing only six hits with no walks. His counterpart was almost as good yielding only five hits, but allowing two runs. The 1905 New York Giants suddenly found themselves the champions of a contest that they had previously boycotted and had a newfound respect for their American League rivals who made them earn it.

Mathewson was clearly the most valuable player of the 1905 Fall Classic although the award had not yet been established. In the space of six days, he pitched three shutouts and permitted only fourteen hits. The Giants’ ace struck out eighteen and walked one in twenty-seven innings. Besides Mathewson and McGinnity, the only other Giants pitcher to see action was Ames, who worked all of one inning (as a reliever in Game 2). Pitching was the most noteworthy aspect of the Series with five shutouts in five games.