BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Anderson 90 Anderson Prep 37
Winchester 56 Monroe Central 49
Lincoln 61 Centerville 53
Pendleton Heights 56 Frankton 52
Knightstown vs. Shenandoah, 6 pm, Tri
Blue River at Tri, 7:30 pm, Tri
Winchester at Randolph Southern, 6 pm, Randolph Southern
Union (Modoc) at Union City, 6 pm, Union City
Northeastern at Hagerstown, 7:30 pm, Hagerstown
|WEDNESDAY’ S GAMES|
|Gary 21st Century||105||Lighthouse CPA||69|
|Lawrence Central||60||Park Tudor||58|
|Greene County Invitational|
|Bloomfield||80||White River Valley||62|
|Eastern Greene||60||Pike Central||32|
|Madison County Tournament|
|Anderson||90||Anderson Prep Academy||37|
|Randolph County Tournament|
|Ripley County Tournament|
|Wayne County Tournament|
|Cambridge City Lincoln||61||Centerville||53|
GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Lafayette Jeff 60 Indianapolis Tech 11
Maconaquah 55 Kokomo 33
Southwood 63 Marion 36
Zionsville at Harrison postponed
McCutcheon at Benton Central
Anderson vs. Lapel at Pendleton
Union County 37 Connersville 35
Union City 68 Randolph Southern 44
Lincoln 44 Centerville 28
Northeastern at Hagerstown
New Castle at Wapahani
|WEDNESDAY’ S GAMES|
|Decatur Central||50||Providence Cristo Rey||21|
|Evansville Memorial||73||Evansville Central||31|
|Evansville North||64||Evansville Bosse||37|
|Fort Wayne Snider||72||Fort Wayne Luers||46|
|Fort Wayne Wayne||55||Whitko||44|
|Fountain Central||42||Clinton Central||33|
|Hammond Clark||36||Bowman Academy||26|
|Indianapolis Roncalli||75||Franklin Central||38|
|Lafayette Jeff||60||Indianapolis Tech||11|
|Lawrence Central||71||Indianapolis Attucks||18|
|Morgan Twp.||61||Rensselaer Central||30|
|Terre Haute North||64||South Vermillion||17|
|Warren Central||49||New Palestine||37|
|Randolph County Tournament|
|Union City||68||Randolph Southern||44|
|Switzerland County||57||Rising Sun||24|
|Wayne County Tournament|
|Cambridge City Lincoln||44||Centerville||28|
INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL POLLS
- North Central
- Bedford North Lawrence
- Crown Point.
- East Central
- Hamilton Southeastern
- Caroll (Fort Wayne)
- Evansville Memorial
- Silver Creek
- Mishawaka Marian
- Fort Wayne Concordia
- South Bend Washington
- Linton – Stockton
- Triton Central
- Lafayette Central Catholic
- South Putnam
- Clinton Prairie/Caroll-Flora
- Trinity Lutheran
- Blue River
- Morgan Twp./Greenwood Christian
HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING
Connersville 30 Richmond 24
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
#11 Houston 70 Wichita State 63
#9 Tennessee 79 Arkansas 74
#21 Duke 83 Boston College 82
#10 Michigan 82 #16 Minnesota, 57
#2 Baylor 76 Oklahoma 61
#22 Virginia 70 Wake Forest 61
#7 Creighton 89 Seton Hall 53
Louisville 73 #19 Virginia Tech 71
LSU 94 Georgia 92 OT
VCU 66 George Mason 61
Chattanooga 73 Samford 68
UNC Greensboro 84 Wofford 75
Incarnate Word 75 Northwestern State 67
Butler 63 Georgetown 55
Abilene Christian 66 Houston Baptist 63
Central Arkansas 83 New Orleans 79
Nicholls 76 Lamar 69
Sam Houston State 66 Houston Baptist 63
Xavier 69 St. John’s 61
Ole Miss 72 Auburn 61
South Carolina 78 Texas A&M 54
Utah State 77 New Mexico 45
St. Bonaventure 83 St. Joe’s 57
Boise State 78 Air Force 59
Tulsa 61 S. Florida 51
Pittsburgh 63 Syracuse 60
Richmond 80 Rhode Island 73
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
#22 Northwestern 80 Wisconsin 55
#18 S. Florida 66 Wichita State 48
Ball State 93 Toledo 78
Oklahoma 75 Texas Tech 74
Buffalo 73 Eastern Michigan 68
Iowa 92 Minnesota 79
Oklahoma State 78 TCU 53
Stephen F Austin 100 Texas A&M-CC 41
Southeast Louisiana 71 Sam Houston State 67
Lamar 66 Nicholls 40
Air Force 76 Boise State 52
Villanova 78 Seton Hall 71
Bowling Green 73 Western Michigan 48
Tulsa 62, Cincinnati 57
Central Michigan 83 Akron 58
Tulane 62, Cincinnati 57
Ohio 72 Miami Ohio 63
Temple 66 East Carolina 57
Western Carolina 74 PIE Lions 66
Indiana 114 Houston 107
Philadelphia 141 Washington 136
New York 112 Utah 100
Milwaukee 130 Detroit 115
Phoenix 123 Toronto 115
LA Clippers 108 Golden State 101
Orlando 105 Cleveland 94
Charlotte 102 Atlanta 94
Boston 107 Miami 105
Oklahoma City 111 New Orleans 110
Sacramento 128 Chicago 124
Defense Down the Stretch Lifts Butler MBB Over Georgetown, 63-55
Butler closed the game on a 10-0 run to post a 63-55 win over Georgetown Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Freshman Chuck Harris led the Bulldogs with 18 points.
A stellar defensive effort by the Bulldogs held Georgetown to 24-percent shooting in the second half, which allowed the Bulldogs to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit.
“Our transition defensive was not good in the first half; we didn’t get back and get set,” said Butler coach LaVall Jordan. “We challenged our guys at halftime to make sure that they saw our halfcourt defense. We ran harder, talked more and our shot discipline on the offensive end helped our defense. And obviously having (Aaron Thompson) back makes a huge difference.”
Thompson returned to the Butler line-up after missing the team’s last five games with a knee injury. He played a large role in holding Georgetown’s Jahvon Blair to 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Blair entered the game as the BIG EAST’s fourth-leading scorer at 19.0 points per game.
Butler scored the final 10 points of the game while holding Georgetown scoreless for the final 4:29 of the contest. Overall the Hoyas made only one of their final 14 attempts of the game.
Harris hit four three-pointers and led the Bulldogs with five assists against no turnovers. He was one of four in double figures as Jair Bolden had 13 points, followed by Bryce Golden and Bryce Nze with 10 points apiece. Thompson had eight points in his return, steering the Butler offense. Markeese Hastings came off the bench to post career-highs of four points and a team-best seven rebounds.
Butler committed only six turnovers, which helped to overcome a 44-32 Georgetown rebounding advantage.
Jamorko Pickett led the Hoyas with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but shot only 4-of-13 from the field. Qudus Wahab had nine points and 12 rebounds. Georgetown committed 15 turnovers.
With the result, Butler improves to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in BIG EAST play. Georgetown falls to 3-7 (1-5 BIG EAST).
Dickinson-led No. 10 Michigan routs No. 16 Minnesota 82-57
Hunter Dickinson has deflected credit for his sensational season to teammates and coaches, refusing to bask in glory after scoring in double digits in every game and being the leading scorer for an undefeated team.
After his latest impressive performance, he credited Michigan strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson for helping him get ready for the season and to thrive during it.
Dickinson scored a season-high 28 points as the 10th-ranked Wolverines pulled away and beat No. 16 Minnesota 82-57 on Wednesday night to remain unbeaten.
The 7-foot-1, 255-pound freshman center said Sanderson pushed him a lot in the summer to get stronger and hasn’t let up.
“The thing that has helped me the most is lifting in the season,” Dickinson, who attended DeMatha Catholic in Maryland, said to reporters on a Zoom call. “In high school, I didn’t really lift at all. I’m going to lift right now after this.”
Michigan coach Juwan Howard said when he came back to the school he attended – and was a member of the Fab Five in the early 1990s – hiring Sanderson was the first decision he made on the staff he wanted around him.
“He’s a huge part of our team’s success,” said Howard, who is in his second season as a head coach after playing in the NBA and working as an assistant coach with the Miami Heat.
The Wolverines (10-0, 5-0 Big Ten) had a 19-point edge in the second half against the Golden Gophers (10-3, 3-3) after leading by just six points after a sloppy first half.
Dickinson led the way before and after halftime, making 12 of 15 shots and grabbing eight rebounds. Entering the game, he was making 72% of his shots.
“I’ve never seen a kid shoot those type of percentages,” coach Richard Pitino said. “Everything just kind of dies into the basket.”
Minnesota made just 32% of their shots, and only Marcus Carr scored in double figures. Carr, though, was 5 of 16 from the field and was held to 14 points after entering the game averaging 22-plus points.
“Michigan had a lot to do with it.” Pitino said. “They were very, very good defensively. They were very physical defensively. They were taking us out of our stuff. They were pressuring the ball. So give them credit, they did a great job on us.
“And defensively, we didn’t do a great job on them. So, it’s a bad combination.”
Isaiah Livers scored 14 points and Franz Wagner had 12 points for the Wolverines, who made 57% of their shots. Michigan finished with 13 turnovers after a flurry of giveaways in the first half allowed the Gophers to stay close for 20 minutes.
No. 2 Baylor is 10-0 after 76-61 win over Oklahoma
No. 2 Baylor is a perfect 10, pushing Scott Drew past his father.
MaCio Teague scored 17 points, Matthew Mayer had 16 and both keyed significant runs in the first half as the Bears improved to 10-0 for only the fifth time in team history with a 76-61 win over Oklahoma on Wednesday night.
Drew got his 372nd career victory victory, one more than his father, former Valparaiso coach Homer Drew, had in his 22 seasons as a head coach. Scott Drew has 352 wins in 18 seasons with the Bears, after 20 wins in one season at Valpo.
“He’s a coach, he knows who deserves the credit, and that’s the players and the staff, administration,” Scott Drew said after a congratulatory video message from his father was played after the game. “Head coaches get to benefit from that.”
The Bears’ season-opening, 10-game winning streak, all by at least 11 points, includes their first three Big 12 games. It is their third 10-0 start in 10 seasons (2011-12, 2016-17) after the previous two came in 1911-12 and 2000-01.
Teague had eight points with two 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the game, helping push Baylor to an early 16-2 lead. Mayer had consecutive baskets 33 seconds apart to ignite a half-ending 14-2 run after the Sooners (6-3, 2-2 Big 12) had moved within five late in the first half.
“Obviously got off to a horrible start. … They made a bunch of shots and obviously we weren’t getting into them enough to make those shots more difficult,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Definitely disappointed by the way we finished the first half.”
Austin Reaves had 19 points and Alondes Williams 11 for the Sooners, who played their third consecutive Top 25 opponent after beating then-No. 9 West Virginia 75-71 on Saturday. They next go to sixth-ranked Kansas.
Brady Mannex, in his 100th career start for Oklahoma, had all 10 of his points after halftime. He was 0-for-4 shooting in the first half when he took a hard fall onto his lower back that left him on the floor for several minutes.
Kur Kuath’s third basket in less than 2 1/2 minutes – two dunks and a tip-in – got Oklahoma within 28-23 with five minutes left in the first half. After Drew called timeout, the Bears finished the half with a 14-2 run.
“Basketball is such a game of momentum and spurts. Sometimes you just need to get in a timeout … and come back a little more focused,” Drew said. “We did that, and the substitutions gave us new energy, new life.”
Mayer had quick back-to-back baskets that were followed by freshman LJ Cryer’s deep 3-pointer. Both had entered on the timeout.
“I’ve entered every game with that mindset so far this season,” Mayer said of his aggressive approach.
Brogdon’s late 3 helps Pacers shake off Rockets, 114-107
The Indiana Pacers needed Malcolm Brogdon to play a bigger role when T.J. Warren injured his foot.
Brogdon has thrived in it.
He scored 35 points, his second career high in three games, and made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:22 left to lead the Indiana Pacers past the Houston Rockets 114-107 on Wednesday night.
“I think he’s comfortable with the offense, comfortable with coach (Nate Bjorkgren), he knows where to get his shots and when to be aggressive,” two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo said. “He’s playing great for us right now. We’re going to need him to do that all year.”
Brogdon has logged more than 40 minutes in each of the past three games, and on Wednesday he even played the leading role on defense against the usually high-scoring James Harden.
Harden finished with 15 points, his second straight sub-20-point performance as the Pacers won their second straight and beat Houston at home for the first time since January 2017.
“My team trusts me with the ball, my coaches trust me with the ball,” Brogdon said. “These shots were already made this summer, these shots were already made in preseason.”
But the Pacers won this one with defense, too.
After Harden scored on a late layup to make it 107-106, Brogdon answered with the go-ahead 3, Domantas Sabonis scored on a putback to extend the margin to four and Brogdon sealed the victory with two free throws with 29.9 seconds to go.
Indiana scored the final eight points.
Justin Holiday had a season-high 20 points for Indiana, while John Wall scored a season-best 28 points in his fourth game with the Rockets. Harden also had 12 assists for Houston – not enough to avoid a second straight loss.
“They were really good at driving the ball into the paint and that was one of the things for us this game, was to protect the paint,” coach Stephen Silas said. “They had 60 points in the paint, so that tells you how well we did. But the 8-0 run, we had a turnover in there. We’ve just got to be better.”
Sixers top Wizards despite Beal’s record-tying 60 points
Bradley Beal sank his free throw in the final seconds to reach a milestone, a Washington record-tying 60 points.
Dominant again, Joel Embiid had already made it a moot point.
Embiid scored 38 points and the NBA-leading Philadelphia 76ers overcame Beal’s first career 60-point game in a 141-136 win over the Wizards on Wednesday night.
The Sixers are an NBA-best 7-1 in coach Doc Rivers’ first season in Philadelphia.
“They pay me to take over the game, and they pay me to dominate,” Embiid said.
Beal scored 57 points through three quarters and seemed poised to not only smash the 60-point mark, but complete Washington’s rally from 21 points down.
Embiid snuffed that out in the fourth, scoring 11 points to just three for Beal.
“I put it on myself to close it out,” Beal said. “I’ve got to be better.”
Beal was stuffed on a layup and missed a 3-pointer inside the final minute, nearly coming up short of joining Golden State’s Stephen Curry as 60-point scorers this season. Curry scored a career-high 62 points on Sunday night.
Beal, who once scored 53 and 55 points in consecutive games, sank a free throw with 4.4 seconds left to hit the mark. He went 20 of 25 from the floor, made 7 of 10 3-points and went 13 of 15 from the line to match former Wizard Gilbert Arenas for the franchise single-game mark.
“There’s no reason anybody should drop 60 on us,” Embiid said.
Beal was sensational from the start, going 11 of 16 (four 3-pointers) from the floor in the first half for 32 points and joined Michael Jordan (34 points in 2001) and Arenas (33 points in 2006 and 30 in 2007) as Wizards to score 30 in half over the last 20 years.
Pritchard’s putback pushes Celtics past Heat, 107-105
Rookie guard Payton Pritchard wasn’t there last season when the Boston Celtics lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
He helped Boston get a measure of revenge Wednesday.
Pritchard’s putback with two-tenths of a second left capped a wild finish, and the Celtics – who strongly considered not playing the game in response to the latest Jacob Blake decision and the scene at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday – beat the Heat 107-105 in the first matchup this season of last year’s East finalists.
“To be honest … I didn’t think we were playing,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who emerged from a pregame team meeting to call his wife about a half-hour before game time and tell her the same. “And then coaches left the room, players finished talking and chose to play.”
Jayson Tatum scored 27 points and Jaylen Brown had 21 for the Celtics, who wasted an early 17-point lead and a 10-point lead in the final minute before winning.
“Sports is often used as a way to lift people up and spread some joy,” Brown said.
Jimmy Butler had 26 points for Miami, which got 16 points from Duncan Robinson, 15 points from Bam Adebayo and 14 from Goran Dragic.
The teams knelt for the national anthem in response to the decision earlier in the week to not charge the police officer who shot Blake last year – as well Wednesday’s developments at the Capitol, where a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump delayed Congress from certifying the results of November’s election.
“Tip your hat to all the pros in both locker rooms,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s legitimate that everybody does have a lot on their mind and heavy hearts, disappointment, discouragement, all of these different emotions.”
The Celtics went on a late 13-0 run to go up 10 with 1:17 left – only to see the Heat score 10 points in 55 seconds to tie the game on a pair of 3-pointers by Robinson, one while getting fouled, and another from Dragic.
“Obviously, there, the urgency is heightened,” Robinson said. “It just shows how capable we are.”
Marcus Smart missed a layup on Boston’s last possession, but Pritchard swooped in for the rebound and gamewinner. Miami’s last-ditch try was knocked away as time expired and the Heat have now alternated losses and wins in all seven games this season.
“We’ve got to figure this out before it’s too late,” Adebayo said.
Hayward’s career-high 44 lead Hornets power Hawks, 102-94
Gordon Hayward scored a career-high 44 points and the Charlotte Hornets recovered after trailing for the first time in the fourth quarter and beat the Atlanta Hawks 102-94 on Wednesday night.
The Hornets led by double figures most of the game before Atlanta claimed its first lead, at 86-85, on John Collins’ three-point play with 5:22 remaining. Hayward answered with a jumper and his own three-point play and the Hornets never trailed again.
Hayward said it was a true career high – the most points he had scored at any level.
“I never scored 40 in high school,” Hayward said before giving credit to his teammates. “People were finding me all night.”
Hayward made 15 of 25 shots, including 4 of 9 from behind the arc.
“I was proud of Gordy,” said Charlotte coach James Borrego. “He understood we needed pressure taken off our offense tonight, and he took the pressure.”
Collins led Atlanta with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Huerter had 19 points. Trae Young, averaging 28.6 points, scored only seven points while making 2 of 9 shots from the field. De’Andre Hunter added 17 points.
The Hawks entered the game fourth in the league in scoring, but with Young struggling they couldn’t find their scoring touch against the Hornets.
The Hawks have lost three consecutive games.
“Tonight was nasty,” said Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce. “There’s no shaking that. I’m thankful our guys were able to get back and take the lead and show the resiliency we need in this league.”
Pierce said he wasn’t worried about his team.
“Our guys, they’re high-confidence,” Pierce said. “They’re learning each other. They’re high-character guys. They’ll be fine.”
Charlotte pushed its lead to double figures in the opening period and stretched it to 24 points late in the first half before settling for a 59-40 halftime lead.
Suns drain 21 3-pointers, beat Raptors 123-115
Devin Booker scored 24 points, Jae Crowder added 21 and the Phoenix Suns made 21 3-pointers on the way to a 123-115 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
The Suns made at least 20 3-pointers in a game for the fourth time in franchise history and hit from long range all night, making nine in the first half and 12 more in the second. Crowder led the way with six 3s while Cameron Johnson added four.
The Suns have won five of their past six and improved to 6-2, which is tied for tops in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Lakers. Phoenix has continued the momentum it gained at the end of last season, when it won all eight games in the NBA’s Florida bubble and nearly qualified for the playoffs.
Crowder was an under-the-radar signing for the Suns during the offseason after helping Miami reach the NBA Finals last year. The veteran forward has scored at least 15 points in four of eight games.
Suns coach Monty Williams said Crowder is useful because he can contribute scoring without being the focal point of the offense. He’s quickly found his role with the Suns, providing tough defense and sliding into spaces where he can make shots.
“I just think Jae figures it out,” Williams said. “He’s one of those guys who knows how to space and knows how to read the defense when they close out.”
Johnson scored 16 to lead the Suns bench, which poured in 42 points. Dario Saric added 15 points and Cameron Payne tied a career high with 10 assists.
“We just play really hard,” Payne said. “We try our best to play hard and find each other in the right spots.”
The Suns finished 21 of 40 (52.5%) from 3-point range.
“Give them credit – they kept stepping into them and kept making them for the most part,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “The 3-point defense hurt us tonight.”
Pascal Siakam scored 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting and Kyle Lowry added 24 points for the Raptors, who fell to 1-6 and had their six-game winning streak against Phoenix snapped. The Raptors shot nearly 50% from the field but couldn’t keep up with the Suns.
Fast start helps Bucks breeze past Pistons 130-115
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 25 points and Khris Middleton added 23 as the Milwaukee Bucks rolled past the Detroit Pistons 130-115 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory.
The Bucks and Pistons faced off in Milwaukee for the second time in three nights. The Bucks (5-3) beat the Pistons 125-115 on Monday and have won their last nine regular-season meetings with Detroit.
Even without fans in the stands, the Bucks own a perfect 4-0 record at Fiserv Forum, where they’re outscoring teams by an average margin of 23.5 points.
“We miss our fans, but we’re still playing at Fiserv,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It’s comfortable. Our day-to-day routine and rhythm, we’re trying to keep as much of that in place. Hopefully we can continue to make this a great place for us.”
Milwaukee was ahead 82-56 at halftime, led by as many as 34 in the third quarter and coasted to the win.
Jerami Grant had 31 points for the Pistons (1-7) to lead all scorers. Pistons rookie Saddiq Bey had 20 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 6 of 10 from 3-point range.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey said his team hurt itself by starting slowly in the first and third quarters.
“We didn’t start the right way,” Casey said. “Subsequently, we had a 15-point loss.”
Brook Lopez scored 17 points, Bobby Portis had 16, rookie Jordan Nwora provided 11 and Jrue Holiday added 10 for the Bucks.
Wayne Ellington scored 12 and Derrick Rose had 10 for the Pistons. Rose left the game early with a bruised right knee.
The game got a bit testy in the closing minutes with physical play that included Antetokounmpo falling to the floor after tangling with Detroit’s Isaiah Stewart. Antetokounmpo went to the Pistons’ bench after the game and exchanged words with Stewart before they were separated.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence declaring for NFL draft
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has made it official – he’s heading to the NFL.
Lawrence, the 6-foot-6 QB with the power arm and flowing hair, released a video on social media Wednesday announcing he was leaving school and declaring for the NFL draft.
“I really feel like I’m a man now and I’m ready to take on those challenges,” Lawrence said. “Super excited for life ahead. I’m grateful for Clemson and I’m going to miss it.”
Lawrence had said in September he planned to play his junior season, graduate in December and move on to the NFL. However, in October, Lawrence discussed keeping his options open, which included possibly returning for another year of college as discussions of the No. 1 pick intensified between the then winless New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars finished 1-15 and have the top pick in the draft and are expected to take Lawrence.
He finished 34-2 in his college career, leading Clemson to three Atlantic Coast Conference titles and the national title after the 2018 season. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy race Tuesday night to Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney had often called Lawrence the best player in college football, no matter who won awards.
“There will be a lot of people trying to live up to the standard that he set as a quarterback for a long time in this game,” Swinney said before the Tigers’ 49-28 Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State that ended their season a game short of the national title contest.
Lawrence was the epitome of cool and confident almost from the moment he arrived at Clemson in January 2018. It took four games as a freshman before he became the starting quarterback and never surrendered the position – except for two games this season he missed after testing positive for COVID-19.
Lawrence led the Tigers to the national title in 2018, dismantling powerhouse Alabama 44-16 as he threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns to complete a 15-0 season.
Clemson and Lawrence looked they would make it two in a row a year ago before falling to LSU 42-25 to end a 29-game win streak in the national championship game.
Jets interview Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy for coaching job
The New York Jets kicked off their coaching search by interviewing Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on Wednesday.
With six vacancies around the league, the 51-year-old Bieniemy is one of the most popular candidates after helping the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes win the Super Bowl last year and directing the NFL’s No. 1 offense this season. Bieniemy also interviewed with Atlanta and Detroit earlier this week.
Teams are speaking to coaching and general manager candidates through virtual interviews rather than in-person visits in early round discussions because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the second time Bieniemy has interviewed with the Jets, with the first coming in 2019 before they hired Adam Gase. In two years, Gase went 9-23, including a 2-14 season that included a franchise-worst 0-13 start. Gase was fired last Sunday night after New York’s season finale at New England.
General manager Joe Douglas, who is leading his first coaching search, said Tuesday the team would “cast a very wide net” as it tries to find someone who can help lead the Jets back to respectability. They haven’t made the postseason since 2010, the longest playoff drought in the NFL after Cleveland and Tampa Bay earned berths this season.
Bieniemy is a former running back who played with the Chargers, Bengals and Eagles over nine NFL seasons after being a second-round pick out of Colorado in 1991. He began his coaching career as the Buffaloes’ running backs coach in 2001 before serving in a similar role with UCLA and the Vikings.
Bieniemy returned to his alma mater for two years as Colorado’s offensive coordinator in 2011 before joining Andy Reid’s staff with the Chiefs as the running backs coach. He was promoted to Kansas City’s offensive coordinator in 2018 after Matt Nagy left to become the Bears coach.
“I don’t know of anybody who is a better leader of men,” Reid said of Bieniemy during a Zoom call Monday with reporters. “He’s going to be honest with you, straightforward, and he knows the offense – those are all important things to be a head coach.”
Under Bieniemy, Mahomes has become one of the NFL’s most dynamic and productive players and the Chiefs’ offense has thrived. Kansas City has finished no worse than sixth in yards and points per game in Bieniemy’s three seasons in charge of the offense.
“Someone needs to have that picture in their mind that Eric Bieniemy can go and lead their organization,” Reid said. “Owners don’t like problems, I know that. They’re paying coaches to lead a team and not have a load of worry thrown in your lap, and I know he can do that for somebody.”
Seahawks’ Jamal Adams says no question he’ll play vs. Rams
Jamal Adams said Wednesday there’s no question he’ll play in his first career playoff game Saturday despite a shoulder injury.
Adams was emphatic he would be on the field for the Seahawks’ NFC playoff opener against the Los Angeles Rams after leaving Seattle’s Week 17 win over San Francisco in the second half with a shoulder injury.
Adams appeared angry and dejected on the sideline after being examined by Seattle’s medical staff Sunday. By Wednesday, he was jovial and excited to play.
“Look, as long as these legs are moving man, as long as my faith is with the man upstairs, which is very strong, I’m gonna be out there,” Adams said. “So there was never no doubt in my mind that I wasn’t playing so let’s get that out there. I’m full-go.”
Adams missed four games earlier in the season because of a groin injury. He said he played with one arm during the first meeting with the Rams in November after injuring his right shoulder in the opening minutes of the game.
This time it’s his left shoulder. Adams declined to specify what was injured on the play when he was blocked by San Francisco’s Jerick McKinnon.
“Just a little lucky hit. It happens,” Adams said. “Just blitzing and he caught me. Nice little hit so I got to give it to him, but at the end of the day it’s not going to slow me down.”
Adams led Seattle with 9 + sacks in the regular season, the most by a defensive back since sacks became an official stat in 1982. He is the first defensive back to lead his team in sacks since 2011.
JJ Watt tells Deshaun Watson Texans wasted year of his career
The Houston Texans completed a 4-12 season, which comes after they won the AFC South in four of the previous five seasons. The team and its fans have not been used to that kind of losing lately, and JJ Watt is not happy about things.
Video shown on “Inside the NFL” showed Watt apologizing to Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson for the team “wasting” a year of his career.
“We should have 11 wins,” Watt says in the video.
Watt knows that Watson is a talented quarterback and that the team underperformed this season. Watt has also taken issue with the team’s culture and attitude.
Watson is 25, and while he led the NFL in passing yards, the team’s record disappointed. The Texans are hoping to hire Nick Caserio as their new GM to turn things around. Maybe Watson doesn’t quite feel that way yet.
Chan Gailey resigns as Dolphins offensive coordinator
A fake report about Chan Gailey being fired by the Miami Dolphins circulated earlier this week, but it turns out the offensive coordinator is actually leaving the team.
The Dolphins announced on Wednesday that Gailey has resigned. Head coach Brian Flores thanked him for his contributions.
“I want to thank Chan for all of his hard work and dedication in what was a unique year,” Flores said. “He played an important role on the staff and in the development of our young roster. I wish him all the best.”
Gailey was in his second stint as OC of the Dolphins. He announced his retirement after spending the 2015 and 2016 seasons with the New York Jets, but he returned to work with Flores in Miami. Gailey had previously served as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills, among other NFL and college jobs.
The Dolphins finished 10-6 this season and have plenty to build on going forward. Some were critical of the way rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was used, as Miami’s offense seemed overly conservative at times. It’s possible that contributed to Gailey’s decision to step down.
A report from a fake Adam Schefter Twitter account claimed on Monday that Gailey had been fired. Even ESPN was fooled by it.
Sean Payton proposed plan for having 50,000 fans at Saints playoff game
The New Orleans Saints typically have one of the strongest home-field advantages in all of sports, but that may not be the case in the postseason this year due to the ongoing pandemic. Sean Payton is still trying to keep that advantage alive, however.
The Saints are planning to allow 3,000 fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome when they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Payton would love to see that number increase by about 47,000, and he told reporters on Wednesday that he proposed a plan for making it happen.
“I brought up the idea of testing 50,000 people and quarantining them in a hotel and having the most safest Superdome known to man, scientifically,” Payton said, via Luke Johnson of The New Orleans Advocate. “Bus them, they’ve tested every day, and you’ve got a COVID-free facility.”
Many assumed Payton was making a joke or being sarcastic, but apparently he was serious. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the Saints actually looked into the possibility.
Several NFL teams allowed fans to attend games during the regular season, and there were no known COVID-19 outbreaks associated with any of those events. That is one reason why even teams like the Buffalo Bills, who had no fans at Bills Stadium all season, have decided to allow a limited number of fans at their playoff game this weekend.
Even the coach of a Saints rival said earlier this year that he would prefer to have fans at the Superdome. Unfortunately, 50,000 is not going to happen just yet.
NFL PLAYOFFS-WHAT TO LOOK FOR
MORE TEAMS, MORE GAMES, MORE WILD: 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 PM, 4:40 PM, and 8:15 PM ET on each day.
Seven of the 12 teams in action this weekend are new to the postseason in 2020, having missed the playoffs a year ago: the CHICAGO BEARS, CLEVELAND BROWNS, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, LOS ANGELES RAMS, PITTSBURGH STEELERS, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS and WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM. Two of those teams – Pittsburgh (AFC North) and Washington (NFC East) – won their division.
Since 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Additionally, 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.
Each of the 12 teams playing this weekend hope to earn their first of four wins needed to capture the Lombardi Trophy. Winners in the Wild Card round have won the Super Bowl nine times.
The Wild Card round participants to win the Super Bowl:
|SEASON||TEAM||SUPER BOWL RESULT|
|1980||Oakland Raiders||Defeated Philadelphia in Super Bowl XV, 27-10|
|1997||Denver||Defeated Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII, 31-24|
|2000||Baltimore||Defeated New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, 34-7|
|2005||Pittsburgh||Defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL, 21-10|
|2006||Indianapolis||Defeated Chicago in Super Bowl XLI, 29-17|
|2007||New York Giants||Defeated New England in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14|
|2010||Green Bay||Defeated Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV, 31-25|
|2011||New York Giants||Defeated New England in Super Bowl XLVI, 21-17|
|2012||Baltimore||Defeated San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII, 34-31|
— SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND –
HIGHEST SCORING TEAMS IN ACTION: Five teams averaged at least 30 points per game in 2020 – the GREEN BAY PACKERS (31.8), BUFFALO BILLS (31.3), TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (30.8), TENNESSEE TITANS (30.7) and NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (30.1) – the most such teams in a single season in NFL history.
Four of these teams will be in action on Super Wild Card Weekend, with Green Bay earning the first-round bye in the NFC. Each of the past four Super Bowl matchups have featured two teams that each ranked in the top five in points per game during the regular-season.
|SUPER BOWL||TEAM||PPG (RANK)||TEAM||PPG (RANK)||RESULT|
|LIV||Kansas City||28.2 (5th)||San Francisco||29.9 (2nd)||KC 31, SF 20|
|LIII||New England||27.3 (4th)||L.A. Rams||32.9 (2nd)||NE 13, LAR 3|
|LII||Philadelphia||28.6 (t-2nd)||New England||28.6 (t-2nd)||PHI 41, NE 33|
|LI||New England||27.6 (3rd)||Atlanta||33.8 (1st)||NE 34, ATL 28 (OT)|
— SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND —
PLAYOFF VETERANS: Four of the seven all-time postseason leaders in passing yards are active in the 2020 postseason, including three appearing on Super Wild Card Weekend: Tampa Bay’s TOM BRADY (11,388 postseason passing yards), Pittsburgh’s BEN ROETHLISBERGER (5,256) and New Orleans’ DREW BREES (4,967). Green Bay’s AARON RODGERS (5,027 passing yards) will make his first 2020 postseason appearance in the Divisional round.
The quarterbacks with the most career postseason passing yards in NFL history:
|Tom Brady||New England||11,388*|
|Peyton Manning||Indianapolis, Denver||7,339|
|Brett FavreHOF||Green Bay, Minnesota||5,855|
|Joe MontanaHOF||San Francisco, Kansas City||5,772|
|Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay||5,027*|
|Drew Brees||San Diego Chargers, New Orleans||4,967*|
|*Active in 2020 postseason|
With a Pittsburgh victory against Cleveland on Sunday night (8:15 PM ET, NBC, Telemundo, Peacock), Roethlisberger would tie Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRY BRADSHAW (14 wins) and JOHN ELWAY (14) as well as PEYTON MANNING (14) for the third-most playoff wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history. Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY is the all-time postseason leader in wins with 30 and makes his playoff debut in a Buccaneers’ uniform on Saturday night at Washington.
The starting quarterbacks with the most career postseason wins in NFL history:
|Tom Brady||New England||30*|
|Joe MontanaHOF||San Francisco, Kansas City||16|
|Peyton Manning||Indianapolis, Denver||14|
|Brett FavreHOF||Green Bay, Minnesota||13|
|*Active in 2020 postseason|
Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON – who has led the Seahawks to the postseason in eight of his first nine seasons in the league – tied for second in the NFL with a career-high 40 touchdown passes in 2020 and recorded at least four touchdown passes in five games, the second-most in the league this season.
With at least four touchdown passes against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday (4:40 PM ET, FOX, FOX Deportes), Wilson can surpass TOM BRADY (26 touchdown passes) for the most career postseason touchdown passes by a player in his first nine seasons in NFL history.
The players with the most career postseason touchdown passes in their first nine seasons in NFL history:
|Tom Brady||New England||26|
|Brett FavreHOF||Green Bay||25|
|*In ninth season|
— SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND —
RUSHING INTO THE POSTSEASON: For the second consecutive season, the BALTIMORE RAVENS and TENNESSEE TITANS will meet in the postseason (Sunday, 1:05 PM ET, ESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes, Freeform), after Tennessee defeated Baltimore in the Divisional round last year. It will mark the first time that two teams will meet in consecutive postseasons since Carolina played both Arizona and Seattle in 2014 and 2015.
Baltimore (191.9 rushing yards per game) and Tennessee (168.1) were the top-two ranked rushing teams in 2020 and their meeting on Sunday will be the fourth postseason game featuring the top-two ranked rushing offenses in the regular season since 1970. The top-ranked rushing team won two of the previous three meetings.
The postseason games featuring the top-two ranked rushing offenses in the regular season since 1970:
|PLAYOFF ROUND||NO.1 RUSHING OFFENSE||NO. 2 RUSHING OFFENSE||RESULT|
|2020 Wild Card||Baltimore Ravens||Tennessee Titans||???|
|Super Bowl XXIII||Cincinnati Bengals||San Francisco 49ers||SF 20, CIN 16|
|1972 AFC Championship||Miami Dolphins||Pittsburgh Steelers||MIA, 21, PIT 17|
|1970 Divisional||Dallas Cowboys||Detroit Lions||DAL 5, DET 0|
Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY led the NFL with 2,027 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns this season, the fifth-most rushing yards by a player in a single season in league history. In last year’s postseason meeting against Baltimore, Henry rushed for 195 yards, his third-career postseason game with at least 150 rushing yards.
Baltimore running back J.K. DOBBINS ranked third among rookies in rushing yards (805) and rushing touchdowns (nine) this season and has recorded a rushing touchdown in six consecutive games (Week 11, 13-17).
With a rushing touchdown on Sunday, Dobbins would tie CURTIS DICKEY (seven games in 1980) and STAN FRITTS (seven games in 1975) for the second-most consecutive games with a rushing touchdown by a rookie in NFL history, including postseason. Only MAURICE JONES-DREW (eight games in 2006) had a longer streak.
The rookies with a rushing touchdown in the most consecutive games, including the postseason, in NFL history:
|Curtis Dickey||Baltimore Colts||1980||7|
— SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND —
SEARCHING FOR PLAYOFF TREASURES: Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY is the league’s all-time postseason leader in starts (41), completions (1,025), passing yards (11,388) and touchdown passes (73), with 12 of his 73 postseason touchdowns to tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI.
With a touchdown pass from Brady to Gronkowski at Washington on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, NBC, Universo), the pair will surpass the Pro Football Hall of Fame combination of JOE MONTANA and JERRY RICE (12 touchdowns) for the most postseason touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver pairing in NFL history.
The quarterback-receiver pairings with the most postseason touchdowns in NFL history:
|Tom Brady||Rob Gronkowski||12*|
|Joe MontanaHOF||Jerry RiceHOF||12|
|Brett FavreHOF||Antonio Freeman||10|
|*Active in 2020 postseason|
Additionally, with a touchdown reception on Saturday night, Gronkowski will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN STALLWORTH (12 touchdown receptions) for the second-most touchdown catches in postseason history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (22) has more.
The players with the most career postseason receiving touchdowns in NFL history:
|Jerry RiceHOF||San Francisco, Oakland Raiders||22|
|Rob Gronkowski||New England||12*|
|*Active in 2020 postseason|
Tampa Bay wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN enters the postseason after recording season highs in catches (11), receiving yards (138) and receiving touchdowns (two) in Week 17. Dating back to the 2014 postseason, Brown has recorded at least 75 receiving yards in six consecutive playoff games.
Brown has eclipsed the 100 receiving yard mark five times in his postseason career. With at least 100 receiving yards on Saturday night, he will tie JULIAN EDELMAN (six games) and Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN (six games) for the second-most postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (eight games) has more.
The players with the most career postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history:
|Jerry RiceHOF||San Francisco, Oakland Raiders||8|
|Julian Edelman||New England||6|
|*Active in 2020 postseason|
— SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND —
BAKER’S DEBUT: Cleveland quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, will be making his postseason debut against Pittsburgh on Sunday night (8:15 PM ET, NBC, Telemundo, Peacock). Mayfield recorded a career-high 95.9 passer rating in 2020 and joined ANDREW LUCK and PEYTON MANNING as the only players with at least 3,500 passing yards and 20 touchdown passes in each of their first three seasons in NFL history.
With a victory on Sunday, Mayfield would become the first quarterback that was selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft to win his first career postseason start since ALEX SMITH in 2011.
|PLAYER (DRAFT YEAR)||FIRST POSTSEASON START|
|Alex Smith (2005)||2011 Divisional vs. New Orleans|
|Michael Vick (2000)||2002 Wild Card at Green Bay|
|Vinny Testaverde (1987)||1994 Wild Card vs. New England|
|Troy AikmanHOF (1989)||1992 Divisional vs. Philadelphia|
|Steve YoungHOF (1984)||1992 Divisional vs. Washington|
|Jim PlunkettHOF (1971)||1980 Wild Card vs. Houston Oilers|
|Steve Bartkowski (1975)||1978 Wild Card vs. Philadelphia|
|Terry BradshawHOF (1970)||1972 Divisional vs. Oakland Raiders|
— SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND —
TOP DEFENSE: The LOS ANGELES RAMS allowed the fewest points per game (18.5) in the NFL this season. Since 2002, seven teams with the top regular-season scoring defense have advanced to the Super Bowl.
The teams with the top scoring defense in the regular season to advance to the Super Bowl since 2002:
|SEASON||TEAM||SUPER BOWL RESULT|
|2002||Tampa Bay||Defeated Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII, 48-21|
|2003||New England||Defeated Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII, 32-29|
|2008||Pittsburgh||Defeated Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII, 27-23|
|2010||Pittsburgh||Lost to Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV, 31-25|
|2013||Seattle||Defeated Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII, 43-8|
|2014||Seattle||Lost to New England in Super Bowl XLIX, 28-24|
|2016||New England||Defeated Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, 34-28|
|2020||Los Angeles Rams||???|
Los Angeles linebacker LEONARD FLOYD had five sacks and a fumble recovery in two games against Seattle this season, recording at least two sacks in each game.
With at least two sacks against Seattle on Saturday (4:40 PM ET, FOX, FOX Deportes), Floyd would become the first player in NFL history to record at least two sacks against one team three times in a single season.
NFL PLAYOFF GAME NOTES
NFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (11-5) AT BUFFALO BILLS (13-3)
WILD CARD // SATURDAY, JAN. 9, 2021 // 1:05 PM ET // BILLS STADIUM // REFEREE: BRAD ALLEN
First meeting in postseason
REGULAR SEASON HISTORY:
LEADER: Bills lead all-time series, 37-32-1
STREAKS: Bills have won 2 of past 3
LAST GAME: 10/21/18: Bills 5 at Colts 37
LAST GAME AT SITE: 12/10/17: Bills 13, Colts 7 (OT)
COLTS earned playoff berth for 2nd time in past 3 seasons (2018) & won 11 games for 1st time since 2014. • FRANK REICH makes 2nd postseason appearance as HC. • INDIANAPOLIS had 3 players named to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: C RYAN KELLY, LB DARIUS LEONARD & G QUENTON NELSON. • COLTS OFFENSE allowed 21 sacks in 2020, tied-2nd fewest in NFL. • INDIANAPOLIS DEFENSE allowed 90.5 rush yards per game, 2nd-fewest in NFL & 2nd-fewest in franchise history.
QB PHILIP RIVERS passed for 4,169 yards & 24 TDs vs. 11 INTs for 97 rating in 2020, his 12th-career season with 4,000+ pass yards, tied 2nd-most in NFL history. Has 13 TDs vs. INT for 116.2 rating in 6 career starts vs. Buf. Has 105+ rating in 4 of his past 5 on road. Has 6 TDs vs. INT for 93.2 rating in his past 4 postseason starts. • RB JONATHAN TAYLOR led rookies in scrimmage yards (1,468), rush yards (1,169) & TDs (12), all 3rd-most by rookie in franchise history. Aims for 5th in row with rush TD & 3rd in row with 2+ rush TDs. Has 684 scrimmage yards (114 per game) & 6 TDs (5 rush, 1 rec.) in 7 road games this season. RB NYHEIM HINES had career-high 862 scrimmage yards & 7 TDs (4 rec., 3 rush). • WR T.Y. HILTON had 5 rec. TDs in 2020, his 8th-career season with 5+ TD catches, most in NFL since 2012. Had 2 rec. TDs in his last game vs. Buf. (10/21/18). Has 85+ rec. yards & TD catch in 2 of his past 3 on road. Aims for his 3rd in row in postseason with 60+ rec. yards. WR ZACH PASCAL set career highs in catches (44) & rec. yards (629). Has rec. TD in 2 of past 3. TE JACK DOYLE had rec. TD in his last game vs. Buf. (12/10/17). • LB DARIUS LEONARD led team with 132 tackles & is 1 of 4 in NFL with 120+ tackles in each of past 3 seasons. Had 17 tackles & FR in last meeting. Has 27 tackles, FF, FR & PD in 2 career postseason games. DE JUSTIN HOUSTON had 2 TFL & sack in his last game vs. Buf. (11/26/17 with KC). Has sack & PD in 2 of his past 3 in postseason. DT DEFOREST BUCKNER led team with 9.5 sacks. Has 2+ sacks in 2 of past 3. Had 9 tackles, 2 sacks & FR in only career game vs. Buf. (10/16/16 with SF).
BILLS won AFC East for 1st time since 1995 & won 13 games for 1st time since 1991. • SEAN MCDERMOTT makes 3rd postseason appearance as HC. • BUFFALO had 5 players named to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: QB JOSH ALLEN, WR STEFON DIGGS, LB TREMAINE EDMUNDS, KR/ PR ANDRE ROBERTS & CB TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE. • BILLS OFFENSE ranked 2nd in NFL with 31.3 points per game & tied-2nd with 396.4 yards per game. • BUFFALO DEFENSE ranked tied-3rd in NFL with 26 takeaways.
QB JOSH ALLEN passed for 4,544 yards & 37 TDs, both franchise records. Ranked tied-3rd among QBs with 8 rush TDs & is only QB in NFL history with 8+ rush TDs in each of 1st 3 seasons. Aims for 6th in row with 2+ TD passes & 4th in row with 120+ rating. Had 22 TDs (17 pass, 5 rush) vs. 6 INTs for 103 rating in 8 home games this season. Passed for 264 yards & rushed for 92 yards with TD catch in only career postseason game. • RB DEVIN SINGLETARY recorded 950+ scrimmage yards (956) for 2nd-consecutive season. Had 134 scrimmage yards (76 rec., 58 rush) & 6 catches in only career postseason game. • WR STEFON DIGGS led NFL with 127 catches & 1,535 rec. yards, both most in franchise history & 6th-most catches in single season in NFL history. Aims for 9th in row with 7+ catches & 6th in row with 75+ rec. yards. Has 50+ rec. yards in 3 of his past 4 postseason games. WR COLE BEASLEY set career highs in catches (82) & rec. yards (967). Has 5+ catches in 3 of his past 4. WR JOHN BROWN had TD catch in Week 17. Had 50 rec. yards in last playoff game. WR GABRIEL DAVIS tied-2nd among rookies with 7 rec. TDs, 2nd-most by rookie in franchise history. • CB TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE led team with 11 PD & 3 INTs. Aims for his 4th in row with PD. Has INT in 2 of his past 3 at home. Had FF in his last postseason game. S JORDAN POYER tied for lead among safeties with career-high 118 tackles in 2020. Aims for his 3rd in row in playoffs with 5+ tackles. LB TREMAINE EDMUNDS led team with 119 tackles, his 3rd-consecutive season with 115+ tackles. Had 12 tackles, sack & FR in only career postseason game.
TV: CBS/CBS All Access (1:05 PM ET): Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn (field reporter) NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: John Sadak, Ross Tucker SIRIUS: 82 (Ind), 83 (Buf) | XM: 226 (Ind), 225 (Buf), 88 (National)
NFL PREVIEW: LOS ANGELES RAMS (10-6) AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (12-4)
WILD CARD // SATURDAY, JAN. 9, 2021 // 4:40 PM ET // LUMEN FIELD // REFEREE: JOHN HUSSEY
LEADER: Rams lead all-time series, 1-0
STREAKS: Rams won only meeting
LAST GAME: 1/8/05: Rams 27 at Seahawks 20
LAST GAME AT SITE: 1/8/05
REGULAR SEASON HISTORY:
LEADER: Seahawks lead all-time series, 25-20
STREAKS: Rams have won 2 of past 3
LAST GAME: 12/27/20: Rams 9 at Seahawks 20
LAST GAME AT SITE: 12/27/20
RAMS clinched playoff berth for 2nd time in past 3 seasons (2018). • SEAN MCVAY guided LAR to SB LIII appearance after 2018 season. • LOS ANGELES had 2 players selected to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: DL AARON DONALD & CB JALEN RAMSEY. • RAMS were only team with 2 players (WR COOPER KUPP & WR ROBERT WOODS) with 90+ catches each & 1 of 2 teams (PITTSBURGH) with 2 players (Donald & LB LEONARD FLOYD) with 10+ sacks each in 2020.
QB JARED GOFF passed for 3,952 yards & 20 TDs in 2020. Led LAR to SB LIII appearance (2018 season). Has 1,863 pass yards (310.5 per game) in his past 6 vs. Sea. Has 35+ completions & 350+ pass yards in 3 of his past 4 on road. QB JOHN WOLFORD had 287 total yards (231 pass, 56 rush) in 1st career start in Week 17. • RB CAM AKERS (rookie) has 80+ scrimmage yards in 4 of his past 5. Aims for his 3rd in row on road with TD. RB MALCOLM BROWN has 3 rush TDs in his past 3 vs. Sea. • WR ROBERT WOODS tied his career-highs in receptions (90) & rec. TDs (6) in 2020. Has 26 receptions for 314 yards (78.5 per game) in 4 career playoff games. Aims for his 5th in row in postseason with 5+ catches & 10th in row vs. Sea. with 4+ catches. WR COOPER KUPP had 92 receptions for 974 yards & 3 TDs in 2020. Had 8 catches for 69 yards & TD in only career postseason game (1/6/18 – NFC-W vs. Atl.). Has 5+ catches in 5 of his past 6 vs. Sea. Aims for his 5th in row on road with 8+ receptions. • DL AARON DONALD tied-2nd in NFL with 13.5 sacks. Leads NFL with 85.5 sacks since 2014 & surpassed HOFer DERRICK THOMAS (85) for 3rd-most sacks by player in 1st 7 seasons since 1982. Has 4 TFL in 4 career postseason games. Has 13 sacks & 20 TFL in 14 career games vs. Sea. LB LEONARD FLOYD had career-high 10.5 sacks in 2020. Had 5 sacks & FR in 2 games vs. Sea. in 2020 & aims for his 3rd in row vs. Sea. with 2+ sacks. Was 1 of 3 in NFC with 3 games of 2+ sacks in 2020. CB TROY HILL led NFL with 3 defensive TDs in 2020.
SEAHAWKS clinched NFC West for 1st time since 2016. • PETE CARROLL led Sea. to SB XLVIII championship after 2013 season. • SEATTLE had 7 players selected to 2021 Pro Bowl roster, tied most in NFL: S JAMAL ADAMS, ST NICK BELLORE, S QUANDRE DIGGS, WR DK METCALF, LS TYLER OTT, LB BOBBY WAGNER & QB RUSSELL WILSON. • SEAHAWKS were 1 of 3 teams (CAROLINA & KANSAS CITY) with 2 players (WR TYLER LOCKETT & Metcalf) each with 1,000+ rec. yards.
QB RUSSELL WILSON had career-high 40 TD passes & 4thcareer 4,000+ yard (4,212) season in 2020. Became 3rd QB with 30+ TD passes in 4 consecutive seasons. Has 26 TDs (23 pass, 3 rush) vs. 11 INTs for 96.7 rating in 15 career postseason starts. Has 18 TDs (16 pass, 2 rush) vs. 3 INTs for 107.8 rating in 9 career home starts vs. Rams. • RB CHRIS CARSON has 75+ scrimmage yards in 4 of his past 5. Has 420 scrimmage yards (105 per game) & rec. TD in 4 career games vs. LAR. Is 1 of 5 RBs with 9+ TDs in each of past 3 seasons. RB CARLOS HYDE had 6 rush TDs in his past 5 vs. LAR. • WR DK METCALF had career-high & franchise-record 1,303 rec. yards in 2020. Has 5+ receptions in 5 of his past 6. Has 9 rec. TDs in his past 9 at home. WR TYLER LOCKETT had career-high & franchise-record 100 receptions & had 2nd-consecutive 1,000- yard season (1,054) in 2020. Has rec. TD in 2 of his past 3 at home vs. LAR. Has 120+ rec. yards in 2 of his last 3 postseason games. WR DAVID MOORE had career-high 6 rec. TDs in 2020. • LB BOBBY WAGNER had 9th-consecutive 100+ tackle (138) season. Has 137 tackles (9.1 per game), 4 PD & 2 INTs in 15 career postseason games. LB K.J. WRIGHT was only player with 10+ TFL (11) & 10+ PD (10) this season. Has 5+ tackles in 13 of his 14 career postseason games. DE CARLOS DUNLAP had 5 sacks & 6 TFL in 8 games with Sea. this season. DT JARRAN REED had 2 sacks in Week 16 meeting. S JAMAL ADAMS had career-high 9.5 sacks, most by DB in single season since 1985. S QUANDRE DIGGS had career-high 5 INTs, tied with HARRISON SMITH for most in NFC.
ON THE AIRWAVES TV: FOX/FOX Deportes (4:40 PM ET): Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (field reporter), Tom Rinaldi (field reporter) NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ryan Radtke, Mike Holmgren SIRIUS: 82 (LAR), 83 (Sea) | XM: 226 (LAR), 225 (Sea), 88 (National)
NFL PREVIEW: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (11-5) AT WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (7-9)
WILD CARD // SATURDAY, JAN. 9, 2021 // 8:15 PM ET // FEDEXFIELD // REFEREE: SCOTT NOVAK
LEADER: All-time series tied, 1-1
STREAKS: Washington won last meeting
LAST GAME: 1/7/06: Washington 17 at Buccaneers 10
LAST GAME AT SITE: First postseason game at site
REGULAR SEASON HISTORY:
LEADER: Washington leads all-time series, 11-10
STREAKS: Washington has won 3 of past 4
LAST GAME: 11/18/18: Washington 16 at Buccaneers 3
LAST GAME AT SITE: 10/25/15: Washington 31, Buccaneers 30
TAMPA BAY: 6-9
TAMPA BAY: 30.8
TAMPA BAY: 22.2
TAMPA BAY: 384.1
BUCCANEERS earned 1st playoff berth since 2007. • BRUCE ARIANS makes playoff debut with TB, his 3rd career postseason appearance as HC (3 games with Az.). • TAMPA BAY had one player selected to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: LB JASON PIERRE PAUL. • BUCCANEERS OFFENSE ranked 3rd in points per game (30.8) & allowed 4th-fewest sacks (22) in 2020. • TAMPA BAY DEFENSE allowed fewest rush yards per game (80.6) & ranked tied-4th in sacks (48).
QB TOM BRADY is postseason all-time leader in starts (41), completions (1,025), pass yards (11,388), pass TDs (73) & Super Bowl titles (6). Ranked tied-2nd in pass TDs (franchise-record 40) & 3rd in pass yards (4,633) in 2020 & became 5th QB in NFL history with 2+ seasons (2) of 40+ TD passes. Aims for his 6th start in row vs. Was. with 285+ pass yards & 2+ TD passes. • RB RONALD JONES set career-highs in scrimmage yards (1,143), rush yards (978) & rush TDs (7) in 2020. Has rush TD in 2 of his past 3 on road. RB LEONARD FOURNETTE has 286 scrimmage yards (95.3 per game) & 4 rush TDs in 3 career playoff games. Aims for his 3rd in row in postseason with 75+ rush yards & rush TD. • WR MIKE EVANS ranked 4th in NFL in rec. TDs (13) this season. Had 1,006 rec. yards in 2020 & is 1st player in NFL history with 1,000+ rec. yards in each of his 1st 7 seasons. Has 15 receptions for 373 yards (186.5 per game) & 3 rec. TDs in 2 career games at Was. WR CHRIS GODWIN has rec. TD in 4 of his past 5 on road. Is 1 of 5 WRs with 7+ TD catches in each of past 3 seasons. WR ANTONIO BROWN has 51 receptions for 837 yards (83.7 per game) & 4 rec. TDs in 10 career playoff games. TE ROB GRONKOWSKI has 12 career postseason rec. TDs, tied-2nd most in NFL history. • LB LAVONTE DAVID had 8th-career 100+ tackle (117) season. Has 23 FFs since 2014, tied-most in NFL. LB JASON PIERRE-PAUL has 12.5 sacks, 4 FFs & 2 FRs in 13 career games vs. Was. Has 4 TFL & 4 PD in 4 career postseason games. DT NDAMUKONG SUH has 5 sacks in 6 career postseason games.
WASHINGTON earned 1st division title since 2015. • RON RIVERA makes playoff debut as Was. HC, his 5th career postseason appearance as NFL HC. (7 games with Car.). • WASHINGTON had two players selected to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: G BRANDON SCHERFF & rookie DE CHASE YOUNG. • WASHINGTON’S DEFENSE ranked 2nd in total yards allowed per game (304.6), 2nd in pass yards allowed per game (191.8), 4th in points allowed per game (20.6), tied-5th in interceptions (16) & 6th in sacks (47).
QB ALEX SMITH has 1,745 pass yards (249.3 per game) & 15 TDs (14 pass, 1 rush) vs. 2 INTs for 97.4 rating in 7 career postseason starts (with SF & KC). Team is 5-0 in his past 5 starts in 2020. Had TD vs. 0 INTs for 100.5 rating in his last game vs. TB (11/11/18). • RB ANTONIO GIBSON (rookie) had 11 rush TDs, tied-most among rookies (JONATHAN TAYLOR) this season. Has rush TD in 3 of his past 4 at home. RB J.D. MCKISSIC ranked 2nd among RBs in receptions (career-high 80) & rec. yards (career-high 589) & joined LARRY CENTERS (81 catches in 2000) as only Was. RBs with 80+ receptions in single season. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with rec. TD. Had TD catch in his last postseason game (1/5/19 – NFC-W w/ Sea.). • WR TERRY MCLAURIN led team with 87 receptions & 1,118 rec. yards, first Was. WR with 80+ receptions & 1,100+ rec. yards in single season since PIERRE GARCON (2013). Was 1 of 3 NFC WRs (DAVANTE ADAMS & DEANDRE HOPKINS) with 9+ games (9) of 7+ receptions in 2020. TE LOGAN THOMAS led NFC TEs with career-high 72 receptions & ranked 2nd with 670 rec. yards. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with 7+ catches. • DE CHASE YOUNG led all rookies in sacks (7.5) & TFL (10). Has FR in 3 of his past 4. Aims for his 3rd in row with sack. DE MONTEZ SWEAT led team with career-high 9 sacks. Has sack in 3 of his past 4. LB JON BOSTIC led team with career-high 118 tackles. S KAMREN CURL was only rookie DB with 85+ tackles (88) & 3+ INTs (3) in 2020. Has 7+ tackles in 8 of his past 9. CB KENDALL FULLER led team with 4 INTs in 2020. Had INT in his last postseason appearance (SBLIV w/ KC).
TV: NBC/Universo (8:15 PM ET): Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Kathryn Tappen (field reporter) NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Ron Jaworski SIRIUS: 82 (TB), 211 (Was) | XM: 226 (TB), 225 (Was), 88 (National)
NFL PREVIEW: BALTIMORE RAVENS (11-5) AT TENNESSEE TITANS (11-5)
WILD CARD // SUNDAY, JAN. 10, 2021 // 1:05 PM ET // NISSAN STADIUM // REFEREE: JEROME BOGER
LEADER: All-time series tied, 2-2
STREAKS: Titans have won 2 of past 3
LAST GAME: 1/11/20: Titans 28 at Ravens 12
LAST GAME AT SITE: 1/20/09: Ravens 13, Titans 10
REGULAR SEASON HISTORY:
LEADER: Titans lead all-time series, 11-10
STREAKS: Titans have won 2 of past 3
LAST GAME: 11/22/20: Titans 30 at Ravens 24 (OT)
LAST GAME AT SITE: 10/14/18: Ravens 21, Titans 0
RAVENS earned playoff berth for 3rd-consecutive season. • JOHN HARBAUGH makes 9th postseason appearance. Led Baltimore to SB XLVII championship in 2012. • BALTIMORE tied NFL-high with 7 players named to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: T ORLANDO BROWN, DE CALAIS CAMPBELL, LS MORGAN COX, CB MARLON HUMPHREY, LB MATTHEW JUDON, FB PATRICK RICARD & K JUSTIN TUCKER. • RAVENS OFFENSE led NFL with 3,071 rush yards. • BALTIMORE allowed 18.9 points per game, 2nd-fewest in NFL.
• QB LAMAR JACKSON passed for 2,757 yards & 26 TDs vs. 9 INTs for 99.3 rating & rushed for 1,005 yards & 7 TDs in 2020, becoming 1st QB in NFL history with 1,000+ rush yards in multiple seasons. Passed for 186 yards & TD vs. INT & rushed for 51 yards in Week 11 meeting. Passed for 365 yards & rushed for 143 yards in 2019 Divisional meeting. Aims for 3rd in row in postseason with 50+ rush yards. • RB J.K. DOBBINS ranked 3rd among rookies with 805 rush yards & 9 rush TDs. Has rush TD in 6 straight games, tied 3rdlongest streak by rookie in SB era. Had 85 scrimmage yards (70 rush, 15 rec.) & rush TD in Week 11 meeting. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. AFC South with 80+ scrimmage yards & rush TD. RB GUS EDWARDS aims for 4th in row with 70+ scrimmage yards. • WR MARQUISE BROWN set career highs in catches (58), rec. yards (team-high 769) & rec. TDs (team-high 8). Has 15 career rec. TDs, tied with TORREY SMITH for most by player in 1st 2 seasons in Bal. history. Had 7 catches for 126 yards in 2019 Divisional meeting. Aims for his 4th in row on road with TD catch. TE MARK ANDREWS had 5 catches for 96 yards & TD in Week 11 meeting. Has 5+ catches in 2 of his past 3 on road. • S MARCUS PETERS led team with 4 INTs this season. Has 3 TFL, 2 PD & INT in 2 career postseason games vs. Ten. CB MARLON HUMPHREY led team with 8 PD & led NFL with career-high 8 FFs. LB MATTHEW JUDON had 6 sacks in 2020. Had sack in Week 11 meeting & has sack in 3 of 4 career games vs. Ten., including postseason. LB PATRICK QUEEN led team & ranked 3rd among rookies with 105 tackles.
TITANS won AFC South for 1st time since 2008 & earned playoff berth in consecutive seasons for 1st time since 2007-08. • MIKE VRABEL makes 2nd postseason appearance. Led Tennessee to AFC Championship Game in 2019. • TENNESSEE had 2 players named to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: WR A.J. BROWN & RB DERRICK HENRY. • TITANS OFFENSE ranked 2nd in NFL with 396.4 yards per game & has totaled 400+ yards in 6 of past 7. • TENNESSEE ranked 4th in NFL with 30.7 points per game.
QB RYAN TANNEHILL passed for 3,819 yards & career-high 33 TDs & rushed for career-high 7 TDs in 2020. Had 106.5 rating & is 1 of 5 QBs with 105+ rating in each of past 2 seasons. Passed for 259 yards & 2 TDs vs. INT for 104.1 rating in Week 11 meeting. Passed for 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 109.5 rating & rushed for TD in 2019 Divisional meeting. Aims for 3rd in row in postseason with 2+ TD passes, 0 INTs & 105+ rating. Had 25 TDs (22 pass, 3 rush) vs. 2 INTs for 118.5 rating in 8 home games this season. • RB DERRICK HENRY led NFL with career-high 2,027 rush yards & 17 rush TDs, becoming 8th player in NFL history with 2,000+ rush yards in single season. Has 150+ scrimmage yards & rush TD in 3 of his past 4. Rushed for 133 yards & TD in Week 11 meeting. Had 195 rush yards in 2019 Divisional meeting. Has 200+ scrimmage yards in 2 of his past 3 in postseason. • WR A.J. BROWN set career highs in catches (70), rec. yards (1,075) & rec. TDs (11) in 2020. Has 5+ catches & rec. TD in 3 of past 4. Had 4 catches for 62 yards & TD in Week 11 meeting. WR COREY DAVIS had 5 catches for 113 yards in Week 11 meeting. Had TD catch in 2019 Divisional meeting. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with 110+ rec. yards & TD catch. TE JONNU SMITH aims for his 3rd in row vs. Bal. with TD catch, including postseason. • CB MALCOLM BUTLER led team with 14 PD & tied for team lead with 4 INTs. Has PD in 2 of his past 3 vs. Bal. Has 37 tackles & 8 PD in 11 career postseason games. S KEVIN BYARD led team & ranked 4th among safeties with career-high 111 tackles. Has 6 PD & 4 INTs in 4 career games vs. Bal, including postseason. LB HAROLD LANDRY had sack in 2019 Divisional meeting.
NFL PREVIEW: CHICAGO BEARS (8-8) AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (12-4)
WILD CARD // SUNDAY, JAN. 10, 2021 // 4:40 PM ET // MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME // REFEREE: ALEX KEMP
LEADER: Bears lead all-time series, 2-0
STREAKS: Bears have won past 2
LAST GAME: 1/21/07: Saints 14 at Bears 39
LAST GAME AT SITE: First postseason game at site
REGULAR SEASON HISTORY:
LEADER: Saints lead all-time series, 17-13
STREAKS: Saints have won past 6
LAST GAME: 11/1/20: Saints 26 at Bears 23 (OT)
LAST GAME AT SITE: 10/29/17: Saints 20, Bears 12
BEARS clinched playoff berth for 2nd time in past 3 seasons (2018). • MATT NAGY makes 2nd postseason appearance as Chi. HC. • CHICAGO had 2 players selected to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: LB KHALIL MACK & RS CORDARRELLE PATTERSON. • BEARS rank tied for 6th in NFL with 31.2 points per game since Week 13 & have scored 25+ points in 5 of their past 6. • CHICAGO went 6-3 in games started by QB MITCHELL TRUBISKY in 2020.
QB MITCHELL TRUBISKY passed for 303 yards & TD vs. 0 INTs for 89.6 rating in only career postseason start (1/6/19 – NFC-W vs. Phi.). Passed for 251 yards & 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 86.3 rating in his last start vs. NO (10/20/19). Aims for his 3rd in row on road with 95+ rating. • RB DAVID MONTGOMERY ranked 5th in NFL with career-high 1,508 scrimmage yards (1,070 rush, 438 rec.) & had career-high 10 TDs (8 rush, 2 rec.) in 2020. Is 5th RB in Chi. franchise history with 1,500+ scrimmage yards & 10+ TDs in single season. Was 1 of 3 RBs (DALVIN COOK & DERRICK HENRY) with 7+ games (7) of 110+ scrimmage yards & TD. • WR ALLEN ROBINSON led team with career-high 102 receptions & had 1,250 rec. yards, his 3rd-career 1,000+ yard season. Had 10 receptions for 143 yards & TD catch in only postseason game (1/6/19 – NFC-W vs. Phi.). Had 6 receptions for 87 yards & rec. TD in Week 8 meeting. WR DARNELL MOONEY ranked 5th among rookies with 61 receptions. TE JIMMY GRAHAM ranked 2nd among NFC TEs with 8 rec. TDs in 2020. Had 386 receptions for 4,752 rec. yards & 51 TDs in 5 seasons (2010-14) with NO. • LB KHALIL MACK led team with 9 sacks. Is 1 of 2 (AARON DONALD) with 8+ sacks in each of past 6 seasons. Has 3 TFL in 2 career postseason games. Had sack & FF in Week 8 meeting. LB ROQUAN SMITH had career-high 139 tackles & ranked 2nd in NFL with career-high 18 TFL. Had INT in only career playoff game (1/6/19 – NFC-W vs. Phi.). Had 11 tackles, 2 TFL & PD in Week 8 meeting. LB DANNY TREVATHAN had 4th-career season with 100+ tackles (112). S EDDIE JACKSON had FF in Week 8 meeting.
QB DREW BREES has 4,967 pass yards (310.4 per game) & 34 TDs vs. 12 INTs for 99.6 rating in 16 career postseason starts. Passed for 280 yards & 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 109.8 rating in Week 8 meeting. Had 14 TDs (12 pass, 2 rush) vs. 2 INTs for 100.8 rating in 7 home starts this season. • RB ALVIN KAMARA led NFL with 21 TDs (16 rush, 5 rec.) & ranked 3rd in scrimmage yards (1,688). Led all RBs with career-high 83 receptions. Had 9 receptions & 163 scrimmage yards (96 rec., 67 rush) in Week 8 meeting. Has 100+ scrimmage yards in 3 of his last 4 postseason games. RB LATAVIUS MURRAY is 1 of 2 RBs (TODD GURLEY) with 5+ TDs in each of past 6 seasons. • WR MICHAEL THOMAS has 38 receptions for 493 yards (98.6 per game) & 3 rec. TDs in 5 career postseason games. Had 9 receptions for 131 yards in his last game vs. Chi. (10/20/19). Aims for his 3rd in row vs. Chi. with 7+ catches & 75+ rec. yards. WR EMMANUEL SANDERS had 11 receptions for 98 yards & TD catch in his last game vs. Chi. (9/15/19 w/ Den.). Is 1 of 3 WRs (T.Y. HILTON & JULIO JONES) with 500+ rec. yards in each of past 9 seasons. TE JARED COOK has 22 rec. TDs since 2018, 2nd-most among TEs. • DE CAMERON JORDAN is only player with 7+ sacks in each of past 9 seasons. Has 5.5 sacks, 8 TFL & 4 PD in 9 career postseason games. Aims for his 3rd in row in postseason & 3rd in row vs. Chi. with sack. DE TREY HENDRICKSON tied-2nd in NFL with career-high 13.5 sacks. LB DEMARIO DAVIS has 3 PD, 2 TFL & INT in 3 career postseason games. Was 1 of 5 LBs with 100+ tackles (119) & 10+ TFL (10) in 2020.
ON THE AIRWAVES TV: CBS/Nickelodeon/Amazon Prime Video (4:40 PM ET): Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter) NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton SIRIUS: 82 (Chi), 83 (NO) | XM: 226 (Chi), 225 (NO), 88 (National)
NFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: CLEVELAND BROWNS (11-5) AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (12-4)
WILD CARD // SUNDAY, JAN. 10, 2021 // 8:15 PM ET // HEINZ FIELD // REFEREE: SHAWN SMITH
LEADER: Steelers lead all-time series, 2-0
STREAKS: Steelers have won past 2
LAST GAME: 1/5/03: Browns 33 at Steelers 36
LAST GAME AT SITE: 1/5/03
REGULAR SEASON HISTORY:
LEADER: Steelers lead all-time series, 75-60-1
STREAKS: Steelers have won 2 of past 3
LAST GAME: 1/3/21: Steelers 22 at Browns 24
LAST GAME AT SITE: 10/18/20: Steelers 38, Browns 7
BROWNS earned postseason berth for 1st time since 2002 & won 11 games for 1st time since 1994. • KEVIN STEFANSKI makes postseason debut as HC. • CLEVELAND had 3 players named to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: G JOEL BITONIO, RB NICK CHUBB & DE MYLES GARRETT. • BROWNS OFFENSE ranked 3rd in NFL with 148.4 rush yards per game in 2020, most by Cle. since 1978 (155.5). • BROWNS DEFENSE ranked tied-6th in AFC with 38 sacks, 3rdconsecutive season with 35+ sacks.
QB BAKER MAYFIELD passed for 3,563 yards & 26 TDs vs. career-low 8 INTs for career-high 95.9 rating in 2020. Joined ANDREW LUCK & PEYTON MANNING as only players in NFL history with 3,500+ pass yards & 20+ TD passes in each of 1st 3 seasons. Passed for 196 yards & TD vs. 0 INTs for 97.1 rating in Week 17 meeting. Has 13 TDs vs. INT for 117.1 rating in his past 5 on road. Makes 1st-career postseason start. • RB NICK CHUBB rushed for 1,067 yards & career-high 12 TDs, becoming 1st Cle. RB with 1,000+ rush yards in consecutive seasons since JAMAL LEWIS (2007-08). Aims for his 7th in row with rush TD. Rushed for 108 yards & TD in Week 17 meeting. Aims for his 5th in row vs. Pit. with 75+ scrimmage yards. RB KAREEM HUNT rushed for TD in only career playoff game (1/6/18 vs. Ten., with KC). Chubb (1,217) & Hunt (1,145) were only pair of RB teammates each w/ 1,000+ scrimmage yards in 2020. • WR JARVIS LANDRY aims for his 6th in row with 5+ catches & 50+ rec. yards. Aims for 4th in row on road with TD catch. Had 11 catches for 102 yards in only career postseason game (1/8/17 vs. Pit., with Mia.). WR RASHARD HIGGINS had career-high 599 rec. yards in 2020. Had rec. TD in last road meeting. Aims for 3rd in row on road with 75+ rec. yards. TE AUSTIN HOOPER had TD catch in Week 17 meeting & has rec. TD in 2 of past 3. • DE MYLES GARRETT led team with 12 sacks in 2020. Aims for his 4th in row at Pit. with sack. Has sack in 5 of his past 6 on road. LB B.J. GOODSON led team with career-high 91 tackles. Had 9 tackles & 0.5 sacks in last road meeting. CB DENZEL WARD tied2nd in NFL with career-high 18 PD. Aims for 4th in row with PD.
STEELERS won AFC North for 1st time since 2017. • MIKE TOMLIN makes 9th postseason appearance. Led Pittsburgh to SB XLIII championship in 2008. • PITTSBURGH had 5 players named to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: G DAVID DECASTRO, S MINKAH FITZPATRICK, DT CAMERON HEYWARD, C MAURKICE POUNCEY & LB T.J. WATT. • STEELERS OFFENSE allowed 14 sacks in 2020, fewest in NFL and fewest by Pit. in SB era. • PITTSBURGH DEFENSE led NFL with 56 sacks.
QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER passed for 3,803 yards & 33 TDs vs. 10 INTs for 94.1 rating in 2020, his 10th-career season with 3,500+ pass yards. Passed for 162 yards & TD vs. 0 INTs for 100.9 rating in last home meeting. Had 18 TDs vs. 3 INTs for 99.9 rating in 8 home games this season. Aims for his 3rd in row in postseason with 300+ pass yards. Ranks 5th in NFL history with 5,256 career postseason pass yards (250.3 per game). • RB JAMES CONNER rushed for 101 yards & TD in last home meeting. Has 314 scrimmage yards (157 per game) & 3 rush TDs in 2 career home games vs. Cle. Had rush TD in 5 of his 6 home games this season. RB BENNY SNELL had career-high 4 rush TDs in 2020. Aims for 3rd in row at home vs. Cle. with rush TD. • WR JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER had career-high 9 rec. TDs in 2020. Aims for 3rd in row with TD catch. Aims for his 5th in row at home with 7+ catches. Had rec. TD in only career postseason game (1/14/18 vs. Jax.). WR DIONTAE JOHNSON set career highs in catches (88), rec. yards (923) & rec. TDs (7). Had 96 rec. yards in Week 17 meeting. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with 70+ rec. yards & TD catch. WR CHASE CLAYPOOL led rookies with 9 rec. TDs this season, tied-most by rookie in franchise history. Had 5 catches for 101 yards & TD in Week 17 meeting. • LB T.J. WATT led NFL with career-high 15 sacks & 23 TFL. Has sack in 6 of 7 career games vs. Cle. Aims for his 5th in row at home with sack & 3rd in row at home with FF. DE STEPHON TUITT had career-high 11 sacks in 2020. Aims for 4th in row with sack. S MINKAH FITZPATRICK led team with 4 INTs. Had INT-TD in last home meeting. Aims for his 4th in row vs. Cle. with PD.
ON THE AIRWAVES TV: NBC/Telemundo/Peacock (8:15 PM ET): Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (field reporter) NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan & Tony Boselli SIRIUS: 82 (Cle), 211 (Pit) | XM: 226 (Cle), 225 (Pit), 88 (National)
COLLEGE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME NOTES
(OHIO STATE SI)
Head Coach: Ryan Day
Record at Ohio State: 23-1
Career Record: Same
Career vs. Alabama: 0-0
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Record at Alabama: 164-23 (14th)
Career Record: 255-65-1 (25th)
Career vs. Ohio State: 2-2
Ohio State and Alabama meet in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship game Monday, Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. (EST) on ESPN. Ohio State is 7-0 overall and is coming off a CFP semifinal win over Clemson, 49-28, Jan. 1 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Alabama is 12-0 and fresh off a 31-14 victory over Notre Dame in the CFP semifinal at the Rose Bowl, a game that was played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Ohio State is 3-2 all-time in its four CFP appearances (2015, 2017, 2019, 2021). Alabama is 7-3 in the CFP and has been in six of the seven playoffs. Ohio State won the initial CFP in 2014-15, defeating No. 1 Alabama, 42-35, in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and No. 2 Oregon, 42-20, in the championship game at AT&T Stadium. It was the school’s eighth national championship. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has guided the program into consecutive CFP appearances for the first time in school history. The Buckeyes are 23-1 overall under Day, including a 10-1 record against AP Top 25 ranked teams and a 5-1 mark vs. Top 10 teams.
Ohio State is seeking national championship No. 9 in this, its 131st season of football:
2014 CFP – 14-1 (Urban Meyer)
2002 BCS – 14-0 (Jim Tressel)
1970 NFF – 9-1 (Woody Hayes)
1968 AP – 10-0 (Woody Hayes)
1961 FWAA – 8-0-1 (Woody Hayes)
1957 Coaches/FWAA – 9-1 (Woody Hayes)
1954 AP – 10-0 (Woody Hayes)
1942 AP – 9-1 (Paul Brown)
Ohio State is playing in its fifth national championship game – CFP or BCS – in the last 19 years:
2020 – CFP Ohio State vs. Alabama
2015 – CFP Ohio State 42, Oregon 20
2008 – BCS LSU 38, Ohio State 24
2007 – BCS Florida 41, Ohio State 14
2002 – BCS Ohio State 31, Miami 24 2OT
Ohio State is 25-26 all-time in bowl and post-season games. Ohio State is 63-27 all-time in night games, including a 48-22 record in away games and at neutral sites. The Buckeyes are 22-13-3 all-time vs. current members of the SEC. The program has 39 Big Ten championships. f 931 all-time wins are second all-time in FBS history. 84 first-round NFL Draft picks rank No. 1 all-time. f Ohio State is second nationally with 22 National Football Foundation Scholar Athletes. The program has produced 88 unanimous or consensus All-Americans.
Alabama became the first team in SEC history to go 10-0 against conference foes in the regular season this year and had the fifth undefeated regular season under head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide won each of its 10 regular season games by 15 or more points before a 52-46 win over Florida in the SEC championship game. Alabama topped Notre Dame, 31-17, in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in Arlington, Texas. The Crimson Tide’s offense features two Heisman Trophy finalists: QB Mac Jones and WR DeVonta Smith. Among Alabama’s top defensive players is CB Patrick Surtain II, a finalist for the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back. f Alabama head coach Nick Saban has plenty of Ohio ties: he was the Buckeyes’ defensive backs coach from 1980-81 under Earl Bruce and later the head coach at Toledo for one year in 1990. From 1991- 94, he served as the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator. Saban was 2-1 against Ohio State while the head coach at Michigan State from 1995-99 and is 0-1 against the Buckeyes at Alabama.
Ryan Day’s Ohio State Buckeyes are 10-1 vs. Top 25 ranked teams and 5-1 vs. Top 10 teams:
vs. No. 2 Clemson – W, 49-28
vs. No. 14 Northwestern – W, 22-10
vs. No. 9 Indiana – W, 42-35
at No. 18 Penn State – W, 38-25
vs. No. 3 Clemson – L, 23-29
vs. No. 10 Wisconsin – W, 34-21
at No. 10 Michigan – W, 56-27
vs. No. 9 Penn State – W, 28-17
vs. No. 13 Wisconsin – W, 38-7
vs. No. 25 Michigan State – W, 34-10
vs. No. 15 TCU – W, 40-28
2020 Record/SEC Record 12-0/10-0
CFP/AP/Amway Coaches Poll 1/1/1
Head Coach Nick Saban
Record at Alabama (Years) 169-23 (14th)
Career Record (Years) 260-65-1 (25th)
Overall: Fifth Meeting (Alabama leads, 3-1) At Neutral Sites: Alabama leads, 3-1 Current Streak: Ohio State, Won 1 Last Meeting: Jan. 1, 2015 – CFP Semifi nal – Sugar Bowl (L, 35-42) Series Notes: Alabama and Ohio State will meet for the fi fth time overall and the second time in the history of the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide holds a 3-1 lead in the series with the Buckeyes’ lone win coming in the most recent meeting. The two programs squared off in the CFP Semifi nal at the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015, with OSU claiming a 42-35 win on the way to becoming the eventual national champions. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 2-2 in his career against Ohio State, including a 2-1 record at Michigan State. OSU head coach Ryan Day has not faced Alabama.
TOUGH TO GET SABAN’S TIDE TWICE: During his tenure at Alabama, head coach Nick Saban has suffered 23 total losses. Of those 23 losses, the Crimson Tide and Saban have had the opportunity to face the team that beat them at a later date on 20 occasions. In those 20 rematches, Alabama owns an 18-2 mark when avenging its previous loss. The only two times the Crimson Tide has fallen in back-to-back games against the same opponent is LSU (2010-2011) and Ole Miss (2014-2015). Alabama has not had the opportunity to bounce back from a loss against Clemson (2018) and Utah (2009). The 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will pit the Crimson Tide against Ohio State, who defeated UA when the two teams last met in 2014. So far this season, the Tide avenged a 2019 loss at Auburn with a dominant 42-13 win on Nov. 28, 2020, and followed that up with an even more impressive win one week later at LSU by a score of 55-17 to bounce back from a 2019 loss to the Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
SABAN VS. THE B1G TEN: Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is a combined 31-17-1 (.643) in 49 career games against Big Ten opponents. That record includes a 23-15-1 mark at Michigan State, a 1-1 record at LSU and a 7-1 record while at Alabama.
SABAN VS. NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Alabama head coach Nick Saban owns an impressive 92-20 (.821) career mark against non-conference opponents across his four stops as a collegiate head coach. Saban’s career total includes a 61-7 (.897) record while in Tuscaloosa, a number that includes only two losses to non-conference opponents during the regular season, both of which came in 2007 (14-21 vs. Florida State (Jacksonville) and 14-21 vs. ULM).
BEATING THE BEST: The Crimson Tide is 65-17 (.793) against the Associated Press Top 25 since the start of 2008. Alabama is 5-0 against the Top 25 this season, including a 41-24 win over then-No. 3 Georgia on Oct. 17; a 52-24 win over then-No. 13 Texas A&M on Oct. 3; a 42-13 victory in the Iron Bowl against then-No. 22 Auburn; a 52-46 win over then-No. 11 Florida in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 19; and most recently a 31-14 victory in the College Football Playoff Semifinal over No. 4 Notre Dame on New Year’s Day. The Tide finished 2-2 against ranked opponents in 2019, one year removed from going 5-1 against ranked opponents in 2018. Alabama was tasked with a gauntlet schedule in 2017 that featured 10 teams ranked in the AP Poll, going 9-1 and outscoring those opponents by an average score of 38.0-17.3. AGAINST THE TOP 10: Alabama owns an 81-77-1 all-time record against teams ranked in the top-10 of the Associated Press Poll. Among the 114 teams who have squared off with top-10 opponents at least 10 times in their program’s history, the Crimson Tide is the only one with a winning record. Since the start of the 2008 season, the Crimson Tide has posted a 32-11 (.744) overall record against top-10 teams, including a 17-5 (.773) mark versus the top 10 since the inception of the College Football Playoff. In Saban’s five national championship seasons at Alabama, his teams have gone 17-2 against top-10 opponents.
ALABAMA vs. AP TOP 25 IN 2020: Following the Jan. 1 win over No. 4 Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl, Alabama became the only team in the country with five wins against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at the time of kickoff. The Crimson Tide also has four wins against teams ranked in the final iteration of the AP poll heading into bowl season. In addition, Alabama is the only team in the nation with four wins against teams currently in the AP Top 11. The Crimson Tide first defeated then-No. 13 Texas A&M, 52-24, in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 3 before taking down then-No.3 Georgia, 41-24, two weeks later at Bryant-Denny Stadium and then-No. 11 Florida, 52-46, in Atlanta. Most recently, UA defeated the Fighting Irish 31-14 in Arlington, Texas.
ALABAMA IN THE AP POLL: Alabama’s No. 1 ranking in the Dec. 20 Associated Press Top 25 Poll marked the 212th consecutive week that the Crimson Tide has appeared in the poll. That streak is the longest active streak in college football. The 212 weeks more than doubles second-place Clemson with the Tigers appearing in the poll for 101 consecutive weeks. Ohio State previously held the second-longest streak behind the Crimson Tide but did not appear in the Week 2 iteration of the poll. Prior to their absence, the Buckeyes had appeared in the AP rankings for 132 straight weeks. Alabama’s 212 straight weeks tops the Crimson Tide’s previous program long streak of 71 straight weeks under head coach Gene Stallings in the mid-1990s. ALABAMA IN THE AP SINCE 2008: Alabama began the 2008 season at No. 24 in the Associated Press Preseason Poll. The Crimson Tide opened the year with a dominant 34-10 win over then-No. 9 Clemson in Atlanta. Since that win over the Tigers, UA has not been ranked lower than No. 17 in 209 polls that have followed. According to College Poll Archive, the Tide has now spent 96.2 percent of the 12-plus years ranked in the top 10, bettering No. 2 Ohio State (76.4 percent) over that stretch. A whopping 86.8 percent of that time Alabama has been ranked in the top five. The next best team is the Buckeyes at 47.2 percent. The Crimson Tide has also been ranked No. 1 a total of 98 times since 2008, or 46.2 percent of the time. Only 13 other teams have earned the No. 1 ranking over that time, with the second-most appearances coming from Clemson at 23.
SABAN LEADS IN WINS VS. TOP-FIVE TEAMS: Alabama’s 31-14 win over No. 4 Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff Semifinal on Jan. 1, 2021, was Nick Saban’s 26th career victory against a team ranked in the top five of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, the most in college football history. Saban’s 26-14 career record in top-five contests gives him a .650 winning percentage, which is also college football’s best. Following Saban on the all-time victory list are Bobby Bowden (18/.378 winning percentage), Barry Switzer (15/.516), Woody Hayes (15/.516), Steve Spurrier (15/.429) and Lou Holtz (15/.419). Saban’s record includes seven wins in the College Football Playoff: No. 3 Michigan State (38-0) and No. 1 Clemson (45-40) in 2015; No. 4 Washington (24-7) in 2016; No. 1 Clemson (24-6) and No. 3 Georgia (26-23) in 2017; No. 4 Oklahoma (45-34) in 2018; and a 31-14 win over the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish this season. Alabama also went 3-0 in BCS National Championship Games (vs. Texas, 37-21, 2009; vs. LSU, 21-0, 2011; vs. Notre Dame, 42-14, 2012).
SABAN vs. AP TOP 25: The Crimson Tide’s 31-14 win over No. 4 Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff Semifinal on Jan. 1, 2021, was Nick Saban’s 89th career win and 66th at Alabama vs. the Associated Press Top 25. Saban moved past Joe Paterno (86) for the most career wins against the AP Top 25 when he defeated then No. 22 Auburn earlier this season on Nov. 28. Florida State legend Bobby Bowden ranks third all-time (82) while Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant is fourth at 66. Former Duke, Florida and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is fifth at 64. Saban’s winning percentage against AP ranked teams (89-42, .679) tops Bryant (.592), Bowden (.557), Spurrier (.529) and Paterno (.512).
30-OR-MORE IN 25 STRAIGHT: Alabama is the current FBS leader for scoring at least 30 points in consecutive games with 25 following the Tide’s 31-14 win over No. 4/4/4 Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff on Jan. 1, 2021. What’s more impressive over that streak is the fact that Alabama produced 35-or-more points in 27 of the 28 games. That 25-game streak is the second-longest in Major College Football history with only UCF having a longer run of 31 games from 2017-19.
35-OR-MORE IN 24 STRAIGHT: The Crimson Tide scored 52 points in the Dec. 19 matchup against then-No. 7/11/11 Florida on Dec. 19 inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That total marked the 24th straight game that Alabama’s offense had scored 35-ormore points, which is the longest streak in major-college football history. Oregon scored at least 35 points in 15 consecutive games from Nov. 5, 2011 through a Nov. 17, 2012 loss to Stanford by a score of 17-14. UA’s streak ended in the College Football Playoff matchup with No. 4/4/4 Notre Dame when the Tide totaled 31 points in the win. Prior to the contest with the Fighting Irish, Alabama’s last game of not posting 35-or-more points came in the Tide’s 44-16 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2019.
SCORING 38-PLUS ON THE ROAD: Included in Alabama’s 23 straight games of 35-or-more points is a streak of nine straight road games with 38-plus points scored thanks to the Tide’s 52-point effort over Arkansas on Dec. 12. That streak passes the current Ohio State team’s eight consecutive games of 38-plus. The Crimson Tide is now tied with Oregon for the longest stretch of 38-or-more points on the road in the Associated Press Poll Era (since 1936). The Ducks posted a nine-game streak from 2011-13. 50 IN
FIVE DURING THE REGULAR SEASON: Alabama’s high-powered offense averaged 49.5 points per game during the 10-game regular season. A big reason for that high points per game total is the fact that the Crimson Tide posted five 50-point games against Southeastern Conference competition. With those five games, Alabama became the first team in league history to record five such games in a single-season in conference play since the formation of the league in 1933. The Tide followed that up by posting 52 points against another SEC opponent in then-No. 7/11/11 Florida in the 2020 SEC Championship on Dec. 19.
|New York||5||3||.625||2.0||2-1||3-2||0-2||4-3||5-3||3 W|
|Oklahoma City||3||4||.429||0.5||0-3||3-1||0-1||1-2||3-4||1 W|
|LA Lakers||6||2||.750||—||2-2||4-0||0-1||6-2||6-2||4 W|
|LA Clippers||6||3||.667||0.5||2-2||4-1||3-0||6-3||6-3||1 W|
|Golden State||4||4||.500||2.0||2-2||2-2||1-1||2-2||4-4||1 L|
|New Orleans||4||4||.500||—||2-2||2-2||1-0||2-2||4-4||2 L|
|San Antonio||3||4||.429||0.5||1-3||2-1||1-1||2-4||3-4||1 W|