NFL SCOREBOARD

Buffalo 56 Miami 26

Baltimore 38 Cincinnati 3

Cleveland 24 Pittsburgh 22

Minnesota 37 Detroit 35

New England 28 NY Jets 14

NY Giants 23 Dallas 19

Tampa Bay 44 Atlanta 27

New Orleans 33 Carolina 7

Green Bay 35 Chicago 16

Las Vegas 32 Denver 31

Tennessee 41 Houston 38

Indianapolis 28 Jacksonville 14

LA Chargers 38 Kansas City 21

LA Rams 18 Arizona 7

Seattle 26 San Francisco 23

Washington 20 Philadelphia 14

NBA SCOREBOARD

Boston 122 Detroit 120

Washington 123 Brooklyn 122

LA Lakers 108 Memphis 94… Desmond Bane 13 points.

Denver 124 Minnesota 100

Utah 130 San Antonio 109

Chicago 118 Dallas 108

LA Clippers 112 Phoenix 107

Golden State 137 Portland 122

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#5 Houston 74 SMU 60

#16 Michigan 85 #19 Northwestern 66

#21 Minnesota 77 #25 Ohio State 60

Northeastern 66 Elon 58

New Hampshire 62 Maine 58

UMass Lowell 74 New Jersey Tech 60

Charleston 66 Delaware 59

George Washington 75 Duquesne 73

Hofstra 82 William & Mary 73

Hartford 77 Binghamton 74

Siena 78 Monmouth 77

Army 75 Colgate 73

Sacramento 85 Fresno Pacific 54

Evansville 70 Northern Iowa 64

Lafayette 82 Lehigh 70

Missouri State 70 Indiana State 66

North Carolina A&T 73 South Carolina State 66

North Dakota State 78 Western Illinois 67

Rhode Island 85 St. Joseph’s 77 OT

South Dakota 79 Denver 57

Oral Roberts 86 Omaha 75

Vermont 74 Albany 66

Navy 63 Bucknell 60

Drake 73 Southern Illinois 55

Georgia Tech 70 Wake Forest 54

Morgan State 80 James Madison 73

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#1 Stanford 68 Arizona State 60

#3 North Carolina State 76 Boston College 57

#6 Arizona 69 California 33

#11 UCLA 73 #8 Oregon 71

#9 Texas A&M 92 Florida 67

#10 Arkansas 91 Missouri 88

#16 Michigan 84 #15 Northwestern 63

#19 Texas 74 Iowa State 59

#25 Michigan State 71, Purdue 64

Iowa 107 Illinois 68

Nebraska 53 Rutgers 50

Minnesota 88 Wisconsin 83 OT

Notre Dame 69 Georgia Tech 67

BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL THIS WEEK

NCC

Monday, Jan. 4

Liberty Christian at Anderson, 8 pm, Anderson

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Fishers at Lafayette Jeff, 7:30 pm

Marion at Bishop Luers, 7:30 pm

Friday, Jan. 8

Harrison at Tech , 7:30 pm

Kokomo at Logansport , 7:30 pm

Lafayette Jeff at Central, 8 pm

McCutcheon at Central Catholic, 7:30 pm

Richmond at New Castle, 7:30 pm

Saturday, Jan. 9

Northrop at Kokomo, 7:30 pm

South Side at Marion, 7:30 pm

Lake Central at Harrison, 7:30 pm

McCutcheon at Richmond , 7:30 pm

Central at Noblesville, 7:30 pm

Western at Logansport, 7:30 pm

TEC

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Seton Catholic at Union County, 7:30 pm

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Winchester at Monroe Central, 6 pm, Monroe Central

Lincoln vs. Centerville, 7:30 pm, Hagerstown

Thursday, Jan. 7

Knightstown vs. Shenandoah, 6 pm, Tri

Blue River at Tri, 7:30 pm, Tri

Union (Modoc) at Union City, 6 pm, Union City

Northeastern at Hagerstown, 7:30 pm, Hagerstown

Friday, Jan. 8

Union County at Franklin County, 7:30 pm

MEC

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Winchester at Monroe Central, 6 pm, Monroe Central

Thursday, Jan. 7

Knightstown vs. Shenandoah, 6 pm, Tri

Blue River at Tri, 7:30 pm, Tri

Winner Game 1 at Randolph Southern, 6 pm, Randolph Southern

Union (Modoc) at Union City, 6 pm, Union City

Friday, Jan. 8

Cowan at Daleville , 7:30 pm

Eastern Hancock at Wapahani , 7:30 pm

Saturday, Jan. 9

Burris at Wapahani, 7:30 pm

Wes-Del at Tri-Central, 7:30 pm

EASTERN INDIANA

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Batesville at South Ripley, 7:30 pm, South Ripley

Thursday, Jan. 7

Lawrenceburg at South Dearborn, 6 pm, South Dearborn

Friday, Jan. 8

Connersville at Greensburg , 7:30 pm

East Central at Rushville , 7:30 pm

Union County at Franklin County, 7:30 pm

Saturday, Jan. 9

East Central at Ross (Ohio), 7:30 pm

New Castle at Connersville, 7:30 pm

Shelbyville at Greensburg, 7:30 pm

PIONEER

Monday, Jan. 4

Lapel at Anderson Prep, 8 pm, Anderson Prep

Liberty Christian at Anderson, 8 pm, Anderson

Tuesday, Jan. 5

International at Englewood, 6:30 pm

Seton Catholic at Union County, 7:30 pm

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Park Tudor at Lawrence Central, 7:30 pm

Thursday, Jan. 7

Covenant Christian at University, 7:30 pm

Friday, Jan. 8

Central Christian at Christel House, 7:30 pm

Faith Christian at Bethesda Christian, 7:30 pm

Park Tudor at Metropolitan, 7:30 pm

Cristo Rey at Seton Catholic, 7:30 pm

University at Tindley, 7:30 pm

Saturday, Jan. 9

Greenwood Christian at Shortridge, 3 pm

Indiana Deaf at Bethesda Christian, 6:30 pm

Manual at Central Christian, 7:30 pm

Burris at Wapahani, 7:30 pm

HOOSIER HERITAGE

Monday, Jan. 4

Alexandria at Pendleton Heights, 8 pm, Pendleton Heights

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Westfield at Mount Vernon, 7:30 pm

Friday, Jan. 8

Greenfield at Mount Vernon , 7:30 pm

New Palestine at Delta , 7:30 pm

Richmond at New Castle, 7:30 pm

Tipton at Yorktown, 7:30 pm

Saturday, Jan. 9

Mount Vernon at Whiteland, 7:30 pm

New Castle at Connersville, 7:30 pm

Shelbyville at Greensburg, 7:30 pm

Southport at New Palestine, 7:30 pm

GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL THIS WEEK

NCC

Monday, Jan. 4

Liberty Christian at Anderson, 5:30 pm, Anderson

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Marion at Kokomo, 6 pm

Central at Yorktown, 7:30 pm

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Maconaquah at Kokomo, 7:30 pm

Marion at Southwood, 7:45 pm

Zionsville at Harrison, 7:30 pm

Thursday, Jan. 7

McCutcheon at Benton Central, 7:30 pm

Friday, Jan. 8

Harrison at Tech, 6 pm

Kokomo at Logansport, 6 pm

Lafayette Jeff at Central, 6:30 pm

Richmond at Marion, 7:30 pm

Saturday, Jan. 9

Northrop at Kokomo, 6 pm

McCutcheon at Richmond, 5 pm

Northwestern at Logansport, 1:30 pm

Twin Lakes at Harrison, noon

TEC

Monday, Jan. 4

Knightstown at Centerville, 7:30 pm, ppd.

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Union County at Connersville, 7:30 pm

Randolph Southern at Union City, 6 pm, Union City

Lincoln vs. Centerville, 6 pm, Hagerstown

Thursday, Jan. 7

Northeastern at Hagerstown, 6 pm, Hagerstown

Friday, Jan. 8

Knightstown at Tri, 7:30 pm, Tri

Winner Game 1 at Winchester, 6 pm, Winchester

Saturday, Jan. 9

Eastern Hancock at Union County, 7:30 pm

MEC

Monday, Jan. 4

Shenandoah at Union, 6:30 pm

Wes-Del at Wapahani, 7:30 pm

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Eastern Hancock at Blue River, 7:30 pm

Wapahani at Daleville, 7:30 pm

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Randolph Southern at Union City, 6 pm, Union City

Thursday, Jan. 7

New Castle at Wapahani, 7:30 pm

Friday, Jan. 8

Cowan at Daleville, 6 pm

Wes-Del at Eastbrook, 7:30 pm

Blue River vs. Shenandoah, 6 pm, Tri

Union at Monroe Central, 6 pm, Monroe Central

Saturday, Jan. 9

Eastern Hancock at Union County, 7:30 pm

Burris at Wapahani, 1:30 pm

EASTERN INDIANA

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Franklin County at Rushville, 7:30 pm

Greensburg at East Central, 7:30 pm

Batesville at South Ripley, 7:30 pm, South Ripley

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Union County at Connersville, 7:30 pm

Lawrenceburg at South Dearborn, 6 pm, South Dearborn

Saturday, Jan. 9

Greensburg at Franklin County, 7:30 pm

New Palestine at Connersville, noon

Rushville at East Central, 7:30 pm

HOOSIER HERITAGE

Monday, Jan. 4

Alexandria at Pendleton Heights, 5:30 pm, Pendleton Hts.

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Eastbrook at Delta, 7:30 pm

Guerin Catholic at Shelbyville, 7:30 pm

Mt. Vernon at Mooresville, 7:30 pm

Central at Yorktown, 7:30 pm

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Fishers at New Palestine, 7:30 pm

Thursday, Jan. 7

Mt. Vernon at Mississinewa, 7:30 pm

New Castle at Wapahani, 7:30 pm

University at Yorktown, 7 pm, ppd.

Saturday, Jan. 9

New Palestine at Connersville, noon

Shelbyville at Yorktown, noon

SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED

​​FOR FIRST TIME EVER, WILD CARD PLAYOFFS FEATURE: TWO DAYS OF TRIPLEHEADER NFL ACTION

The NFL has announced the schedule of sites, dates, and times for Super Wild Card Weekend on January 9-10.

The addition of a third Wild Card team in each conference and the subsequent expansion of the playoffs has resulted in a Super Wild Card Weekend of NFL action. For the first time ever, there will be three games on Saturday, January 9, and three games on Sunday, January 10, to be played at 1:05 p.m., 4:40 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. ET on each day.

SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

Saturday, January 9

AFC:    1:05 PM (ET)  Indianapolis at Buffalo (CBS)

NFC:    4:40 PM (ET)  Los Angeles Rams at Seattle (FOX)

NFC:    8:15 PM (ET)  Tampa Bay at New York Giants or Washington (NBC)

Sunday, January 10

AFC:    1:05 PM (ET)  Baltimore at Tennessee (ESPN/ABC)

NFC:    4:40 PM (ET)  Chicago at New Orleans (CBS, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime)   

AFC:    8:15 PM (ET)  Cleveland at Pittsburgh (NBC, Telemundo, Peacock)

The Divisional Playoffs schedule will be announced once all Wild Card games have been played.

The 2020 NFL Playoff field:​

​American Football ConferenceNational Football Conference
1.Kansas City Chiefs (14-2), AFC West champion1.Green Bay Packers (13-3), NFC North champion
2.Buffalo Bills (13-3), AFC East champion2.New Orleans Saints (12-4) NFC South champion
3.Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4), AFC North champion3.Seattle Seahawks (12-4), NFC West champion
4.Tennessee Titans (11-5), AFC South champion4.NY Giants/Washington, NFC East champion
5.Baltimore Ravens (11-5)  5.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)
6.Cleveland Browns (11-5)6.Los Angeles Rams (10-6)
7.Indianapolis Colts (11-5)7.Chicago Bears (8-8)​

NFL NEWS: SEVEN FROM SUNDAY

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 3, the 17th week of the 2020 season.

HIGHEST SCORING SEASON: With one game remaining, the 2020 season has had the most total points (12,658) and touchdowns scored (1,469) in a single season in NFL history.

NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Seven of the 14 teams to qualify for the playoffs are new to the postseason in 2020, having missed the playoffs a year ago: Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Rams,  Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, as well as either the New York Giants or Washington Football Team.

Since 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before.

NEW DIVISION WINNERS: The AFC North (Pittsburgh) and NFC East (New York Giants or Washington) will be won by teams that missed the postseason in 2019.

At least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 17 of the past 18 years, including the 2020 season.

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.

The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS won the AFC West and finished as the AFC’s No. 1 seed. The Chiefs will have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

The BUFFALO BILLS, who won the AFC East, finished as the AFC’s No. 2 seed and will host the No. 7 seed INDIANAPOLIS COLTS on Super Wild Card Weekend. Indianapolis clinched its second playoff berth in the past three seasons.

The PITTSBURGH STEELERS, who won the AFC North, finished as the AFC’s No. 3 seed and will host the No. 6 seed CLEVELAND BROWNS in the Wild Card round. Cleveland clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2002.

The TENNESSEE TITANS, who won the AFC South, finished as the AFC’s No. 4 seed and will host the No. 5 seed BALTIMORE RAVENS in the Wild Card round. Baltimore clinched a playoff berth for the third-consecutive season.

The GREEN BAY PACKERS won the NFC North and finished as the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The Packers will have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, who won the NFC South, finished as the NFC’s No. 2 seed and will host the No. 7 seed CHICAGO BEARS in the Wild Card round. Chicago clinched its second playoff berth in the past three seasons.

The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, who won the NFC West, finished as the NFC’s No. 3 seed and will host the No. 6 seed LOS ANGELES RAMS in the Wild Card round. The Rams have clinched a playoff berth in three of the past four seasons.

The WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM visits the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES on Sunday Night Football. With a Washington win, it would earn the No. 4 seed and the franchise’s first NFC East division title since 2015. With a Washington loss, the NEW YORK GIANTS would win their first division title since 2011 and be the No. 4 seed in the NFC.

The winner of the NFC East will host the NFC’s No. 5 seed, the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, on Super Wild Card Weekend.

Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS passed for 240 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 147.9 rating and wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS had a touchdown reception in the Packers’ 35-16 win at Chicago.

Rodgers led the NFL with a career-high 48 touchdown passes this season, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (48 touchdown passes in 1984) for the fifth-most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history.

Rodgers led the NFL with a 121.5 passer rating, the second-highest single-season mark by a quarterback in NFL history, trailing only his 122.5 rating in 2011.

Rodgers is the first quarterback in NFL history with a passer rating of 100-or-higher in 14 games within a single season in NFL history.

Rodgers had 12 games with at least three touchdown passes this season, tied with TOM BRADY (12 games in 2007) for the most such games in a single season in NFL history.

Adams led the NFL with 18 touchdown receptions, tied for the third-most touchdowns by a wide receiver in a single-season in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers RANDY MOSS (23 touchdowns in 2007) and JERRY RICE (23 touchdowns in 1987) had more.

Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN passed for 224 yards and three touchdowns with one interception for a 122.3 rating while wide receiver STEFON DIGGS had seven receptions for 76 yards in the Bills’ 56-26 win over Miami.

Allen, who had 4,544 passing yards with 37 touchdown passes and eight rushing touchdowns in 2020, is the first player with at least 4,500 passing, yards, 35 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns in a single season in NFL history.

Diggs led the NFL with 127 receptions this season, the sixth-most receptions in a single season in league annals. Only MICHAEL THOMAS (149 receptions in 2019), Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (143 in 2002), JULIO JONES (136 in 2015) and ANTONIO BROWN (136 in 2015 and 129 in 2014) had more.

Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT passed for 302 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 134.1 rating and added one rushing touchdown in the Chargers’ 38-21 win at Kansas City.

Herbert recorded the most touchdown passes (31), most completions (396) and second-most passing yards (4,336) by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.

At 22 years and 299 days old, Herbert surpassed LAMAR JACKSON (22 years, 356 days in 2019) as the youngest quarterback with at least 30 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history.

With Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES (38 touchdown passes, age 25), Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN (37 touchdown passes, age 24), Houston’s DESHAUN WATSON (33 touchdown passes, age 25) and Herbert (31 touchdown passes, age 22), 2020 is the first season in league history with four quarterbacks under the age of 26 to each throw at least 30 touchdown passes in the same season.

Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON had three touchdown passes and rushed for 97 yards while rookie running back J.K. DOBBINS rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns in the Ravens’ 38-3 win over Cincinnati.

The Ravens rushed for a franchise-record 404 yards on Sunday, the fourth-highest single-game total since 1950. Only the NEW YORK GIANTS (423 rushing yards on November 19, 1950), CINCINNATI BENGALS (407 rushing yards on October 22, 2000) and CHICAGO BEARS (406 rushing yards on September 6, 1955) had more.

Jackson, who had 36 touchdown passes and seven rushing touchdowns last season, had 26 touchdown passes and seven rushing touchdowns in 2020 and joined DESHAUN WATSON (2018-19) as the only quarterbacks with at least 25 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns in consecutive seasons in NFL history.

Jackson, who rushed for 1,206 yards in 2019, had 1,005 rushing yards in 2020 and became the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards in multiple seasons.

Dobbins recorded a rushing touchdown in six consecutive games (Week 11, Week 13-17), tied for the third-longest such streak by a rookie running back in the Super Bowl era. Only MAURICE JONES-DREW (eight games in 2006) and CURTIS DICKEY (seven games in 1980) had a longer streak.

Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns with one interception for a 117.8 rating while wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN had 11 receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 44-27 win over Atlanta.

Brady made the 299th regular-season start of his career and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (298 starts) for the most regular-season starts by a quarterback in NFL history.

Brady, who had 50 touchdown passes in 2007, recorded 40 touchdown passes in 2020 and became the fifth quarterback with at least 40 touchdown passes in multiple seasons in NFL history, joining AARON RODGERS (three seasons), DREW BREES (two), PEYTON MANNING (two) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (two).

Brown recorded his 22nd career game with at least 10 receptions, tied with ANDRE JOHNSON (22 games) for the most games with at least 10 receptions in NFL history.

Brown has 11 career games with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers DON MAYNARD (11 games) and TERRELL OWENS (11) for the fifth-most such games in league annals. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers JERRY RICE (22 games), RANDY MOSS (15), MARVIN HARRISON (13) and DON HUTSON (13) have more.

Tampa Bay wide receiver MIKE EVANS registered 46 receiving yards on Sunday. Evans, who had 1,006 receiving yards this season, is the first player in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first seven seasons.

Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY rushed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in the Titans’ 41-38 win at Houston.

Henry led the NFL with 2,027 rushing yards in 2020 and is the eighth player in league annals to rush for at least 2,000 yards in a season.

Henry, who led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards in 2019, is the first player since Pro Football Hall of Famer LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (2006-07) to lead the league in rushing yards in consecutive seasons.

Henry is the first player in NFL history with five career games with at least 200 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Minnesota rookie wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON had nine receptions for 133 yards in the Vikings’ 37-35 win at Detroit.

Jefferson had 1,400 receiving yards in 2020 and surpassed ANQUAN BOLDIN (1,377 receiving yards in 2003) for the most receiving yards by a rookie in the Super Bowl era.

Jefferson is the fourth rookie with at least seven games of 100-or-more receiving yards in history, joining BILL GROMAN (nine games in 1960), ODELL BECKHAM JR. (seven games in 2014) and HARLON HILL (seven games in 1954).

Indianapolis rookie running back JONATHAN TAYLOR rushed for 253 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 28-14 win over Jacksonville.

Taylor’s 253 rushing yards were tied with DEMARCO MURRAY (253 rushing yards on October 23, 2011) for the second-most rushing yards by a rookie in a single game in NFL history. Only ADRIAN PETERSON (296 rushing yards on November 4, 2007) had more.

New England quarterback CAM NEWTON passed for 242 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 127.4 rating and had his first-career touchdown reception in the Patriots’ Week 17 win.

Newton is the fifth quarterback with at least three touchdown passes and a receiving touchdown in a single game in NFL history, joining RAY BUIVID (December 5, 1937), JIM MCMAHON (September 29, 1985), FRANK RYAN (October 30, 1960) and DESHAUN WATSON (December 1, 2019).

New England wide receiver JAKOBI MEYERS had a 19-yard touchdown pass in the Patriots’ 28-14 win over the New York Jets.

Meyers, who also had a touchdown pass in Week 10, is the fourth wide receiver with two touchdown passes in a single season in the Super Bowl era, joining ODELL BECKHAM JR. (2018), ROD GARDNER (2003) and ANTWAAN RANDLE EL (2010).

Miami cornerback XAVIEN HOWARD led the NFL with 10 interceptions this season and became the first player with at least 10 interceptions in a single season since ANTONIO CROMARTIE (10 interceptions) in 2007.

THE COLTS ARE IN AFTER WIN OVER JACKSONVILLE

Jonathan Taylor rushed for a franchise-record 253 yards and two scores, capping the Indianapolis Colts’ 28-14 playoff-clinching victory over Jacksonville on Sunday with a 45-yard touchdown run with 3:35 to go.

Philip Rivers threw for another score and the Colts defense shut out the Jaguars over the final quarter to help preserve the victory.

Indianapolis (11-5) will make its first postseason appearance since 2018 and its second since 2015. The Colts will be the No. 7 seed and face Buffalo on the road.

Jacksonville (1-15) lost its final 15 games and will have the No. 1 overall draft pick in April.

Taylor was sensational, carrying 30 times while joining Hall of Famer Edgerrin James as the only players in franchise history to run for 200 yards in a game. James set the franchise record of 219 yards at Seattle in October 2000. James also rushed for 204 yards at Chicago in November 2004.

And Taylor’s big day came when the Colts needed it most after blowing a 17-point, third-quarter lead the previous week at Pittsburgh. That loss meant Indy needed one of four teams – Baltimore, Cleveland, Miami or Tennessee – to lose just to have a chance at making the postseason. So when the Bills clinched the conference’s No. 2 seed with a 56-26 rout of the Dolphins, the Colts were back in the playoff hunt.

This time, Taylor made sure Indy took full advantage of the opportunity.

He sprinted 56 yards on Indy’s third play to set up Rivers’ 6-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton. After a short field goal made it 10-0, Taylor scored on a 1-yard run to make it 17-0 early in the second quarter. Eventually, the Colts extended the lead to 20-0.

Jacksonville finally answered with a 9-yard TD pass from Mike Glennon to Laviska Shenault Jr. with 27 seconds left in the first half. Shenault’s 8-yard TD reception cut the deficit to 20-14 midway through the third quarter.

But Taylor clinched it with the long TD run.

RAVENS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT WITH WIN OVER CINCINNATI

As one of the NFL’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks sidelined star players, and injuries hit others, the Baltimore Ravens didn’t look like a playoff team in late November.

But as quarterback Lamar Jackson came roaring back, so did Baltimore.

After a Dec. 2 loss to Pittsburgh with Jackson on the COVID-19 list, the Ravens rebounded and won the next four. That set them up to earn a wild card with a victory in the finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, who finally had some momentum after winning two straight.

The Ravens left no doubt they belonged in the postseason with a 38-3 rout of the Bengals on Sunday, with Jackson throwing three touchdown passes and becoming the first quarterback in NFL history with two seasons of more than 1,000 rushing yards.

The Ravens (11-5) ran for a club record 404 yards – the fourth team since 1950 to raing more than 400 in a single game – and amassed 525 overall in advancing to the playoffs for the third straight season. The Ravens took the fifth seed in the AFC with Miami’s loss at Buffalo and will play the AFC South champion next weekend.

“It’s pretty cool,” Jackson said. “Now we have to win or go home. That’s what it’s been the last few weeks. We have to win to keep going.”

Rookie J.K. Dobbins rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yard scoring romp in the third quarter.

“It’s a bunch of guys that are happy, but we’re still hungry,” Dobbins said. “We’re glad to get this win and get in, but we know what the ultimate goal is, and that’s what’s on our minds right now.”

Jackson rushed for 97 yards and threw for 113 before taking a seat in the third quarter. He has run or passed for at least one touchdown in 36 straight starts, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Baltimore scored on its first two drives, a 34-yard Justin Tucker field goal followed by a 43-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Miles Boykin. The Ravens extended the lead to 17-0 when Jackson capped a clock-eating 93-yard drive with an 18-yard TD pass to Marquise Brown.

Austin Seibert booted a 38-yard field goal to get the Bengals their only points of the afternoon.

Dobbins scored on a 4-yard burst in the third quarter, set up by rushes of 18, 6 and 20 yards by Jackson. Jackson threw another scoring pass to Brown before departing for a rest, and Dobbins broke for the long run before Baltimore backed off.

Cincinnati’s Brandon Allen, who threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Texans last week, was just 6 for 21 for 48 yards with two interceptions.

For the Bengals (4-11-1) – the only AFC North team not in the playoffs – it was a demoralizing end to another disappointing season.

“We’re a better team than what we showed today,” said Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor, who is 6-25-1 in his two seasons running the team. “We ran into a team that’s playing as good of football as we’ve seen all year. They were certainly peaking at the right time.”

CLEVELAND ENDS PLAYOFF DROUGHT

Squeezing the game ball in his left hand, Baker Mayfield looked at the giant scoreboard showing highlights of Cleveland’s glory days.

In the stands, masked fans hugged, high-fived and took one last look at the final score – Cleveland 24, Pittsburgh 22 – just to make sure.

The Browns, winless just three seasons ago and so bad for so long, are in the playoffs.

The NFL’s longest postseason drought is over.

“I am really just happy for our fans,” said first-year coach Kevin Stefanski. “They deserve this. They have been waiting for this and we are happy to deliver that to them.”

Mayfield threw a touchdown pass and had several big runs in the second half as the Browns made the playoffs for first time since 2002 on Sunday, surviving a late Mason Rudolph-led rally to beat the rival Steelers, who sat quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and several other starters.

After nearly two decades of dysfunction, bad draft picks, coaching changes and front-office purges, the Browns (11-5), who went 0-16 in 2017, are still playing in 2021.

It wasn’t easy. They nearly blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, but stopped Pittsburgh’s 2-point conversion attempt, recovered an onside kick with 1:22 left and then ran out the clock.

A week of COVID-19 disruptions concluded in celebration as the Browns wrapped up their big reward: a third matchup this season against the AFC North champion Steelers, in Pittsburgh next weekend.

“We’re not satisfied,” Mayfield said. “We expected to be here. … All we wanted was a chance, and now we have one.”

Nick Chubb rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown for the Browns, who were up 24-9 early in the fourth before Rudolph brought back the Steelers (12-4).

Instead of Roethlisberger, who is 23-2-1 in his career against the Browns, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin started Rudolph and left defensive stars T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward along with center Maurkice Pouncey back in Pittsburgh.

Big Ben and the boys will be back in a week.

“I wasn’t worried about next week,” Tomlin said. “I was worried about this game and rightfully so.”

Rudolph’s 2-yard TD pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster with 1:23 left pulled the Steelers within 24-22. But the backup QB badly overthrew rookie Chase Claypool on the 2-point attempt, and Browns tight end Stephen Carlson fell on the ensuing kick under a pile of bodies.

The Browns only had to run out the clock to secure the win and Mayfield, who earlier had a key 28-yard run, scampered for 3 yards on 3rd-and-2 with 1:10 left.

Before the scoreboard clock in FirstEnergy Stadium ticked off its final seconds, most of the 12,000 fans – there were some Terrible Towel wavers – cheered wildly and Browns players danced off the sideline and onto the field.

“This is what we imagined,” said defensive star Myles Garrett, who didn’t win a game during his 2017 rookie season.

The Browns and their passionate fan base endured 197 losses, 14 double-digit-loss seasons and seven coaches since the last playoff appearance.

Stefanski’s team barely practiced this week because of COVID-19 positive tests and protocols and went into its most important game in years without six players, including top cornerback Denzel Ward, and three assistant coaches.

The Browns were clinging to a 10-9 lead in the third quarter when Rudolph, under extreme pressure, floated a pass across the field that was intercepted by reserve cornerback M.J. Stewart.

Cleveland capitalized with wide receiver Jarvis Landry taking an inside handoff and scoring on a 3-yard run to put the Browns up 24-9. Landry, forced to sit out the first game of his career as a COVID-19 close contact last week, celebrated his score by rifling the ball against the padded end zone wall.

For the moment he got to Cleveland in 2018, Landry’s goal was to get the Browns back to the postseason.

“I’m just excited to play football this time of year,” he said. “I don’t care who we play.”

TITANS WIN SOUTH

The Tennessee Titans won the AFC South on Sunday. All it took was Derrick Henry surpassing 2,000 yards rushing and rookie Sam Sloman’s 37-yard field goal that bounced off the upright and through for a 41-38 victory over the Houston Texans.

Henry ran for a career-high 250 yards in the victory that gave Tennessee (11-5) its first AFC South title since 2008 and is the fifth straight loss for the Texans (4-12). The Titans needed the air game to set up Sloman’s winner, though: a 52-yard reception by A.J. Brown moments after a 51-yard field goal by Houston tied it with 18 seconds left.

Tennessee will host Baltimore (11-5) next weekend.

Henry finished the regular season with a franchise-record 2,027 yards rushing to become the eighth player in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards. He passed Chris Johnson, who had 2,006 yards in 2009.

Henry had touchdown runs of 52 and 6 yards in his third straight 200-yard rushing game against the Texans.

Tennessee had a 3-point lead early in the fourth quarter when Tannehill was sacked on fourth-and-11 to give the Texans the ball at their 37. Houston took its first lead when Deshaun Watson found Pharaoh Brown on a 7-yard pass that made it 35-31 with about 10 minutes remaining.

The Titans then capped a long drive with a 5-yard TD run by Ryan Tannehill with less than two minutes remaining. Henry reached 2,000 yards with a 6-yard run early in that drive.

Tannehill threw for 216 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores. Watson threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.

A 6-yard run by Henry extended the lead to 24-9 early in the third quarter. But Watson connected with Brandin Cooks on a 38-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 24-15 after a missed extra point.

A 5-yard scramble by Tannehill made it 31-15 later in the third. Henry had a 45-yard run two plays earlier to set up the score.

Cooks grabbed a 20-yard TD reception on Houston’s next drive, but the 2-point conversion failed, leaving Houston down 31-21. Henry fumbled on Tennessee’s next drive at its 28. Watson’s 1-yard TD pass to David Johnson cut the lead to 31-28 late in the third.

Henry had put the Titans on top 10-3 when he dashed 52 yards early in the second quarter. Houston managed two field goals, but Tennessee extended the lead to 17-6 when Tannehill threw a 4-yard pass to Brown in the second quarter. Henry set up that score with a 28-yard run.

Houston added a field goal just before halftime to get within 17-9.

BUFFALO DENIES MIAMI A PLAYOFF SPOT

Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills were intent on not easing into the playoffs.

And that left coach Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins hoping they can somehow back into the postseason.

In a season-ending game in which the Dolphins had far more riding on the outcome, the Bills put an empathic stamp on their breakthrough year with a 56-26 rout on Sunday.

Rather than taking care of their own business by clinching a playoff berth with a win, the Dolphins’ postseason hopes now rest on whether the 1-14 Jacksonville Jaguars can upset the Indianapolis Colts later in the day. With a win or a tie, the Colts would clinch a playoff berth and eliminate Miami.

“We’re just worried about today, that’s where my mind is – our performance today. It’s not on anything other than that,” Flores said. “It wasn’t good enough. Right now, I’m disappointed we didn’t play well today.”

Not even close.

The Dolphins (10-6) didn’t get results they needed to clinch their third playoff berth in 18 years, after Cleveland beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore routed Cincinnati. And the team unraveled in all three phases in being exposed by a Bills team showing no signs of relenting in racking up the second-most points in team history.

After falling behind 3-0 on Jason Sanders 49-yard field goal, Buffalo responded by scoring four times in the second quarter to build a 28-6 lead at halftime. And the Bills didn’t let up in the second half.

Rather than rely on Cleveland beating Pittsburgh, Buffalo wrapped up the AFC’s No. 2 playoff seed with the win.

“It just shows that this is a different Buffalo Bills football team. We don’t have to get in on anybody’s back,” left tackle Dion Dawkins said. “This is all our doing. And it feels good to kick that front door out and sweep the East.”

Allen threw three touchdown passes and Isaiah McKenzie scored three times, including returning a punt return 84 yards. The defense even got on the scoreboard with Josh Norman returning the first of three Tua Tagovailoa’s interceptions 16 yards for a touchdown.

Allen finished 18 of 25 for 224 yards passing in playing just the first half before being replaced by Matt Barkley. Allen upped his total to 4,544 yards passing, to eclipse the team’s single-season record of 4,359 set by Drew Bledsoe in 2002.

Buffalo matched a franchise record with 13 wins, set in both 1990 and ’91, while also completing its first season sweep of division rivals.

The young, rebuilding Dolphins might have finished with double-digits wins for just the second time in 11 years, but fell well short at Buffalo.

“Nobody wants to get beat like that,” Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard said.

“They’ve got a lot of weapons. Josh Allen, man, is a great quarterback doing some great things with the guys he’s got around him,” he added. “I feel like we’ve got something here. Everybody believes in Flores. Even though we came up short, I feel like the future is bright for us.”

Maybe not so bright yet at quarterback.

Tagovailoa finished 35 of 58 for 361 and three interceptions – one more than he had all season – over the span of four second-half possessions.

He closed the season with a 6-3 record, and didn’t have Ryan Fitzpatrick to bail him out as the veteran backup did in rallying Miami to a last-second 26-25 win at Las Vegas last weekend. Fitzpatrick didn’t travel with the team after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

“That’s not the way we wanted to go down. There are a lot of things to learn from,” Tagovailoa said. “All I can do is continue to grow, continue to get better.”

The Dolphins’ usually stout defense, which entered the game leading the NFL in allowing just 18.8 points per game, instead allowed the fourth-most points in franchise history, including the playoffs.

The Bills backups on offense combined for three touchdowns in the second half. Rookie running back Antonio Williams scored two TDs rushing in his NFL debut, a day after being called up from Buffalo’s practice squad.

Barkley went 6 of 13 for 164 yards, including a 56-yard TD pass to Gabriel Davis, and an interception.

GREEN BAY GRABS TOP SPOT IN NFC

Aaron Rodgers threw for four touchdowns, breaking his franchise record for scoring passes in a season, and the Green Bay Packers clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC by beating the playoff-bound Chicago Bears 35-16 on Sunday.

The Packers (13-3) earned a bye while winning their sixth in a row and beat Chicago (8-8) for the 19th time in 22 games, counting the postseason.

The Bears are headed to the playoffs for the second time in coach Matt Nagy’s three years despite the loss because Arizona fell to the Los Angeles Rams. Chicago will be at New Orleans (12-4).

Rodgers joined Peyton Manning (2004 and 2013) as the only players to throw for at least 45 touchdowns in multiple seasons. He now has 48, surpassing his previous high of 45 in his first MVP season of 2011.

Rodgers completed 19 of 24 passes for 240 yards without an interception and had a 147.9 rating. He also improved to 21-5 against Chicago, counting the postseason.

Davante Adams broke Sterling Sharpe’s record for receptions in a season and tied his mark for touchdown catches in a year. Adams had six receptions to bump his total to 115 and surpass Sharpe’s mark of 112 in 1993. His 6-yard score late in the game gave him 18 TD’s, matching Sharpe’s team record in 1994.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught a 73-yard touchdown.

Aaron Jones ran for a score in the closing minutes. And the Packers beat Chicago again after pounding the Bears at Lambeau Field to start their win streak.

The Bears jumped back into contention by winning three straight against struggling teams after dropping six in a row. But against Green Bay, the result was a familiar one.

Mitchell Trubisky went 33 for 42 with 252 yards and an interception.

Rookie Darnell Mooney set career highs with 11 catches and 93 yards before leaving early in the fourth period with an ankle injury. He was hurt when he was tackled going out of bounds after a catch.

David Montgomery ran for 69 yards and a touchdown and caught nine passes for 63 yards. Cairo Santos made all three field goals, extending his streak to a franchise-record 27.

The Packers were leading by five early in the fourth quarter when the Bears opted to go on fourth-and-1 at the 25 rather than kick a field goal. Trubisky’s pass to Allen Robinson got broken up. Green Bay then went 76 yards, with Jones scoring from the 4 to make it 28-16 with 3:47 remaining.

Adrian Amos then intercepted Trubisky at midfield and returned it to the Chicago 26, leading to a 6-yard touchdown catch for Adams.

BRADY LEADS TAMPA WITH 399 YARDS

Tom Brady threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns Sunday, helping the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinch the fifth seed in the NFC with a 44-27 regular season-ending win over the Atlanta Falcons.

The victory, which means the Bucs (11-5) will face the NFC East champion, Washington or the Giants, on the road in the club’s first postseason game in 13 years, may have come with a steep cost.

Star receiver Mike Evans was carted to the locker room with a left knee injury late in the first quarter and did not return.

Brady threw touchdown passes of 29 and 4 yards to Chris Godwin. The six-time Super Bowl champion also tossed scoring passes of 25 and 30 yards to Antonio Brown, finishing with a Tampa Bay single-season record 40 in his first season with the Bucs.

Brady also joined Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino as the only players with multiple seasons of at least 40 TD passes. Rodgers has done it three times, the others twice.

Evans was injured one play after a 20-yard reception made him the first player in NFL history to begin a career with seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. The 6-foot-5, 231-pound receiver was helped to his feet and tried to walk off with assistance from a trainer. Unable to put his weight on the knee, he finished the trip to the locker room on a cart and was later taken for a MRI.

Matt Ryan completed 29 of 44 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns for the Falcons (4-12), who finished a distressing season that claimed the jobs of former coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after an 0-5 start.

Ryan scored on a 1-yard sneak and also threw scoring passes of 19 yards to Russell Gage and 1 yard to Hayden Hurst. The latter trimmed Atlanta’s deficit to 30-27 before Brady put the game away with two late drives.

Brown had his most productive day since joining the Bucs midway through the season with 11 catches for 138 yards. Godwin had five receptions for 133 yards, while Evans had three catches for 46 yards before leaving the game.

SAINTS HOLD ONTO #2 SEED

While the Saints didn’t get the first-round bye in the NFC playoffs they coveted, they proved again they can win big games without star players.

And that could come in handy in the postseason.

Drew Brees threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns, the Saints had five interceptions and New Orleans routed the Carolina Panthers 33-7 on Sunday without their top two running backs and fullback to wrap up the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.

The Saints (12-4) will host the seventh-seeded Chicago Bears in the wild-card round next weekend.

“We have had various guys go down in a key positions,” Brees said. “We were dealt kind of a crazy hand this week, but it says so much about our team and how we were able to respond.”

Brees sat out five games this season with broken ribs, wide receiver Michael Thomas has missed nine games with an ankle injury and on Sunday the entire Saints running back room was out due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

That meant converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery had to fill in for Alvin Kamara, who tied an NFL record with six TDs in Week 16 vs. the Vikings. He proved up to the task, rushing for 105 yards on 18 carries as the Saints became the first team to sweep the NFC South by going 6-0 since the division was formed in 2002.

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said that’s a tribute to coach Sean Payton.

“How he’s handled Drew, Michael (Thomas) and Alvin being out. … He says we’re not going to go into panic mode – and that is a credit for him,” said Sanders, who had 63 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Payton acknowledged there were a lot “moving parts” this week after coaches learned about the COVID-19 tests late in the week.

“It’s happened to other teams,” Payton said. “I was real proud of how some guys stepped up.”

Carolina’s Teddy Bridgewater was benched midway through the third quarter after throwing his second interception in the end zone into double coverage. The former Saints QB finished 13 of 23 for 176 yards and was replaced by P.J. Walker, who was intercepted three times.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said he took Bridgewater out because he felt he was lacking velocity on his throws and wasn’t pushing off his ankle, which he injured earlier in the game.

“I didn’t think he looked real healthy to me,” Rhule said.

The Panthers (5-11) were also without their top two running backs Christian McCaffrey and Mike Davis due to injury and managed just 74 yards rushing.

Now that the Saints are in the postseason, veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins said players need to be extra careful to avoid coming into contact with COVID-19.

“That will come with some sacrifices and being smart and isolating ourselves,” Jenkins said. “… We are trying our best to limit our exposure because we have what we want right in front of us.”

In the past, the Saints would have earned a first-round bye, but the NFL’s decision to add an extra playoff team in each conference this year means New Orleans will need an extra win to reach the Super Bowl.

“We wanted to end the season continuing to ascend,” Brees said.

RAMS KNOCK OUT CARDS, EARN PLAYOFF SPOT

John Wolford’s NFL debut started with an interception on his first throw. It ended with the inexperienced quarterback fearlessly leading the Los Angeles Rams back to the playoffs.

And though Wolford capably did his part, everybody in the Rams’ jubilant locker room realized they owed this achievement to a dominant defense that scored as many points as the Rams’ offense – and a couple more than the Arizona Cardinals – in Los Angeles’ 18-7 victory Sunday.

Troy Hill returned an interception 84 yards for a touchdown to lead yet another overwhelming defensive performance by the Rams (10-6), who earned their third postseason berth in four years under coach Sean McVay. They will play at Seattle on Saturday at 4:40 p.m. EST.

Wolford passed for 231 yards and rushed for 56 more, producing many moments of excitement in place of injured Jared Goff. While he got more comfortable with each series, Wolford realized he had the luxury of being backed by a defense that has remedied the flaws of LA’s inconsistent offense all year long.

“The defense played unbelievable,” said Wolford, who went 22 for 38. “And we got a block on special teams. Guys were fired up. We had energy throughout the entire game. It was a team win all across the board. I just love this organization, and I’m happy they gave me a shot.”

The Rams would have reached the playoffs even with a loss because Green Bay beat Chicago while a few minutes were left at SoFi Stadium. Despite failing to score an offensive touchdown for the second straight game, Los Angeles still snapped its two-game skid heading to the postseason with its eighth consecutive win over Arizona (8-8).

Aaron Donald’s group scored nine points on Hill’s pick-6 and a safety while holding the Cardinals to 214 yards and shutting them out for the final 55 minutes. Coordinator Brandon Staley’s unit finished the regular season allowing the fewest points (296) and total yards (4,511) in the NFL.

“I was really impressed with (Wolford), but I was proud of this team,” McVay said. “I just can’t say enough about the defense. … They’ve been unbelievable all year. They’ve really been the strength of this team, and I thought they showed up in a big way.”

Kyler Murray passed for 87 yards after sitting out for most of the first three quarters with an ankle injury for the Cardinals, who missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. Arizona would have clinched a postseason spot with a victory.

“Not being able to play in a majority of this game stinks,” said Murray, who got injured on a tackle during Arizona’s opening drive. “I know we are a playoff team, but we hurt ourselves and we held ourselves back.”

Chris Streveler passed for 105 yards in his first significant NFL action, throwing a TD pass to Jonathan Ward. Murray’s backup also threw that crucial interception shortly before halftime to Hill, who tipped the ball to himself and rambled for his third touchdown in six games – and the second pick-6 against Arizona this season for a six-year veteran who had never scored before this stretch.

“We just became best friends this year,” Hill said of the end zone.

Murray’s first drive after returning ended in a blocked field goal by A’Shawn Robinson, and the Cards never got in scoring range again.

WASHINGTON WINS NFC EAST

Just call the Washington Football Team division champs.

Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes and Washington beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 Sunday night to capture the lowly NFC East.

“This one’s special just because of how hard it was,” said Washington coach Ron Rivera, who overcame a form of skin cancer during the season. “How tough everything was, how it’s been on the guys, the organization. There’s a great group of young men in there and we’re trying to do things the right way. It’s really a cool thing to come out and get the division.”

The Washington franchise, which changed its nickname in July after years of protests about it, became the first team in the Super Bowl era to reach the playoffs following a 2-7 start. Washington earned the NFC’s No. 4 seed and will host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) in a wild-card game next Saturday night. A loss would’ve given the New York Giants (6-10) the division title.

It didn’t hurt the visitors that Eagles coach Doug Pederson switched to third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld early in the fourth quarter, which didn’t go over well with Giants players posting their reaction on Twitter. Sudfeld hadn’t thrown a pass since 2018 and was picked on his second attempt. He also lost a fumble.

Hurts’ passer rating of 25.4 was the lowest by an Eagles starting quarterback since Nick Foles posted a 9.3 rating in the final regular-season game in 2017. Foles ended that season as the Super Bowl MVP.

“Yes, I was coaching to win,” Pederson said. “Yes, that was my decision solely. Nate has been here four years and I felt he deserved an opportunity to get some snaps.”

Led by Smith and Rivera, Washington (7-9) is the third team to win a division title with a losing record during a full 16-game season. Seattle (2010) and Carolina (2014) previously did it and each won a playoff game.

Smith threw a 13-yard TD pass to Logan Thomas in the second quarter to give Washington a 17-14 lead it never relinquished after Jalen Hurts scored on a pair of 6-yard TD runs for Philadelphia (4-11-1).

JETS FIRE GASE AS EXPECTED

The New York Jets have fired coach Adam Gase, ending a frustrating and disappointing tenure after just two loss-filled seasons.

Hired by the Jets in January 2019, Gase went 9-23 with New York, including an 0-13 start that was the worst in franchise history – overshadowing even the 1996 squad that went 0-8 on the way to a 1-15 finish, and is generally recognized as the team’s worst.

The move was announced by the team a few hours after New York lost 28-14 at New England on Sunday to end the season 2-14 – the second-worst record in franchise history.

“While my sincere intentions are to have stability in our organization – especially in our leadership positions – it is clear the best decision for the Jets is to move in a different direction,” Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement issued by the team.

The 42-year-old Gase came to New York with high hopes in the organization that he would be the perfect fit to help quarterback Sam Darnold take the next step in his development and boost the Jets’ offense.

Instead, none of that materialized.

Darnold regressed in his third season before being sidelined twice because of an injured right shoulder, while the offense – ravaged by injuries early – was mostly inept. The Jets struggled until late in the season to put a consistently competitive offense on the field. Gase even handed off offensive play-calling duties to coordinator Dowell Loggains for a stretch to try to spark things.

Gase shouldered the blame for not helping Darnold enough to develop, and also acknowledged he felt as though he let down the Jets and Johnson.

“At the end of the day, it’s about winning,” Gase said last month. “We haven’t done that. For (Johnson) not to feel a playoff feel of being competitive in December, it’s disappointing to me that we haven’t been able to do that for him.”

Frustrated fans, many of whom weren’t excited by his hiring in January 2019, flocked to social media and sports radio nearly all season pleading for Gase to be fired.

Despite all that, several players – Darnold included – insisted Gase and his staff were putting the players in position to succeed, but they simply weren’t executing on the field. Gase never saw eye to eye with star running back Le’Veon Bell, who was unceremoniously released on Oct. 13. The coach also fired Gregg Williams after the defensive coordinator’s curiously overaggressive call cost the Jets their first win against Las Vegas on Dec. 6.

The team otherwise managed to stick together, though, and was able to end the season on a relative high note with two wins in the last three games. But those late victories also cost the Jets the No. 1 overall pick in the draft in April – and likely a chance at taking Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

They’ll instead pick second, but Gase won’t be around to help general manager Joe Douglas.

TEXAS QB ENTERING NFL DRAFT

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is passing on a fifth season with the Longhorns to enter the NFL draft.

Ehlinger announced the decision in a video Sunday, a day after Texas fired coach Tom Herman and replaced him with Steve Sarkisian.

“I’m so proud to have been your quarterback for four amazing years,” Ehlinger said in the video. “I love this university and I love Longhorn nation. May God bless all of you, and hook ’em.”

Ehlinger finished his Texas career with 11,436 yards passing and 94 touchdowns in 46 games, 43 of them starts. He also ran for 1,907 yards and 33 touchdowns.

CURREY SCORES 62 IN WARRIORS WIN

Stephen Curry twirled an arm in the air to acknowledge a small cheering section of family members in a near-empty arena, then gleefully disappeared down a tunnel to celebrate his best scoring night yet.

Curry let it fly from way out under pressure with a minute-plus left for another perfect swish on the way to a career-high 62 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat Portland 137-122 on Sunday night to split the two-game set with the Trail Blazers.

“I love it. I love everything about what this game offers, the competitiveness and the fire,” Curry said. “I never run from it. Just excited to be in that atmosphere where I get to play at the highest level and do what I do.”

Curry delivered the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season early in his 12th campaign, finishing 18 for 31 and 8 of 16 on 3-pointers after beginning with a 21-point first quarter. He had his 10th career 30-point half to help the Warriors take a 66-54 at the break, then doubled his total exactly with his teammates telling him his count at every chance.

“He was making every shot within like 10 seconds and we couldn’t even keep up,” rookie James Wiseman said.

One small blemish in his brilliant night: Curry had his streak of free throws snapped at a franchise-record 80 in the first. The run dated to March 29, 2019, vs. Memphis.

“And then he just choked. It’s just incredible,” cracked coach Steve Kerr, who jokingly offered the game ball to Wiseman before handing it over to the most deserving recipient.

Against Portland, Curry made a career-high 18 of his most attempts yet at 19. No fear, the 6-foot-3 Curry even took it right at imposing 7-footer Jusuf Nurkic.

“He did a little bit of everything,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.

Curry boogied. He smacked the floor and screamed in delight. The 32-year-old two-time MVP closed his eyes and showed off a open-mouthed grin as brother-in-law and teammate Damion Lee poured water over his head – this kind of night was a long time coming after a broken left hand limited Curry to five games in the coronavirus-shortened 2019-20 season.

“When you have something to be excited about you kind of feed off your own energy,” said Curry, who says the “great ones” learn how to block out the critics and embrace the expectations.

“He came out looking like a man on a mission,” Draymond Green said.

Damian Lillard scored 32 points for Portland, and CJ McCollum added 28. McCollum shot 2 for 8 from deep after his 25 3-pointers over the initial five games left him and Curry as the only players to ever do so.

After Portland’s 25-point win Friday night, the Warriors were embarrassed and determined to be more aggressive and defend better after the Blazers came out firing to finish 20 of 43 from deep – and they looked more energetic on the defensive end. Portland shot 14 of 43 on 3s Sunday.

Curry did it all on the other end. When he sat down for good in the waning seconds and received hugs from teammates, the piped in crowd noise seemed extra loud in an arena devoid of real fans.

“It’s just a privilege to coach him, it really is,” Kerr said.

“Sheeeesh (at)StephenCurry30!!” injured Splash Brother Klay Thompson posted on Twitter with a fire emoji. “Welcome to the club big bro (hash)62.”

Green had eight assists and scored one point playing his second game of the season with his minutes increased from just below 18 to 28. He was sidelined the first four games by a right foot injury after being delayed starting training camp because he had the coronavirus.

FINAL NFL REGULAR SEASON STANDINGS

American Football Conference
East Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Buffalo Bills1330.8130.05013757-1-06-2-010-2-06-0-06 W
Miami Dolphins1060.6253.04043385-3-05-3-07-5-03-3-01 L
New England Patriots790.4386.03263535-3-02-6-06-6-03-3-01 W
New York Jets2140.12511.02434571-7-01-7-01-11-00-6-01 L
 
West Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xyz-Kansas City Chiefs1420.8750.04733626-2-08-0-010-2-04-2-01 L
Las Vegas Raiders880.5006.04344782-6-06-2-06-6-04-2-01 W
Los Angeles Chargers790.4387.03844264-4-03-5-06-6-03-3-04 W
Denver Broncos5110.3139.03234462-6-03-5-04-8-01-5-03 L
 
North Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Pittsburgh Steelers1240.7500.04163127-1-05-3-09-3-04-2-01 L
x-Baltimore Ravens1150.6881.04683035-3-06-2-07-5-04-2-05 W
x-Cleveland Browns1150.6881.04084196-2-05-3-07-5-03-3-01 W
Cincinnati Bengals4111.2817.53114243-5-01-6-14-8-01-5-01 L
 
South Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Tennessee Titans1150.6880.04914395-3-06-2-08-4-05-1-01 W
x-Indianapolis Colts1150.6880.04513626-2-05-3-07-5-04-2-01 W
Houston Texans4120.2507.03844642-6-02-6-03-9-02-4-05 L
Jacksonville Jaguars1150.06310.03064921-7-00-8-01-11-01-5-015 L
 
National Football Conference
East Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Washington Football Team790.4380.03353293-5-04-4-05-7-04-2-01 W
New York Giants6100.3751.02803573-5-03-5-05-7-04-2-01 W
Dallas Cowboys6100.3751.03954734-4-02-6-05-7-02-4-01 L
Philadelphia Eagles4111.2812.53344183-4-11-7-04-8-02-4-03 L
 
West Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Seattle Seahawks1240.7500.04593717-1-05-3-09-3-04-2-04 W
x-Los Angeles Rams1060.6252.03722966-2-04-4-09-3-03-3-01 W
Arizona Cardinals880.5004.04103674-4-04-4-06-6-02-4-02 L
San Francisco 49ers6100.3756.03763901-7-05-3-04-8-03-3-01 L
 
North Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xyz-Green Bay Packers1330.8130.05093697-1-06-2-010-2-05-1-06 W
x-Chicago Bears880.5005.03723703-5-05-3-06-6-02-4-01 L
Minnesota Vikings790.4386.04304753-5-04-4-05-7-04-2-01 W
Detroit Lions5110.3138.03775191-7-04-4-04-8-01-5-04 L
 
South Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-New Orleans Saints1240.7500.04823376-2-06-2-010-2-06-0-02 W
x-Tampa Bay Buccaneers1150.6881.04923555-3-06-2-08-4-04-2-04 W
Carolina Panthers5110.3137.03504022-6-03-5-04-8-01-5-01 L
Atlanta Falcons4120.2508.03964142-6-02-6-02-10-01-5-05 L
 

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

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia51.8333-02-12-05-15-13 W
Boston43.5711.52-12-20-13-34-31 W
New York33.5002.01-12-20-23-33-31 W
Brooklyn34.4292.52-31-11-02-33-42 L
Toronto14.2003.51-10-31-11-11-41 L
 
Central Divison
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Indiana42.6673-21-02-04-24-21 L
Cleveland42.6672-12-11-14-24-21 W
Milwaukee33.5001.02-01-31-02-33-31 W
Chicago34.4291.51-32-10-22-33-41 W
Detroit15.1673.01-30-20-11-31-51 L
 
Southeast Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Orlando42.6671-23-03-03-14-22 L
Atlanta42.6671-13-13-24-21 L
Miami23.4001.52-10-20-11-22-31 L
Charlotte24.3332.01-21-21-22-42 L
Washington25.2862.50-42-10-21-52-52 W
 
Western Conference
Northwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah42.6671-23-02-14-24-22 W
Portland33.5001.01-12-20-13-33-31 L
Oklahoma City23.4001.50-32-00-10-22-31 W
Denver24.3332.01-31-11-02-42-41 W
Minnesota24.3332.01-21-21-11-32-44 L
 
Pacific Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
LA Clippers52.7142-13-12-05-25-21 W
Phoenix52.7142-13-11-25-25-21 L
LA Lakers52.7142-23-00-15-25-23 W
Golden State33.5001.51-12-21-13-31 W
Sacramento33.5001.52-11-21-13-33-32 L
 
Southwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
New Orleans42.6672-02-21-02-14-22 W
Houston22.5001.02-00-22-22-22 W
San Antonio24.3332.01-31-11-11-42-44 L
Dallas24.3332.01-11-31-22-41 L
Memphis24.3332.00-32-10-10-22-41 L