TCU 87 #18 TEXAS A&M 75





















































































14 . PENN







OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: East Chicago Central (3-4), Fairfield (9-0), Fort Wayne Northrop (4-1), Fort Wayne Snider (5-2), Garrett (7-1), Hamilton Southeastern (5-4), Jac-Cen-Del (8-0), Jennings County (7-2), Lowell (8-1), Mishawaka (3-3), Northridge (6-2), Norwell (8-1), South Central-Union Mills (8-0), Triton Central (7-1), Vincennes Rivet (6-0), Waldron (8-0), Washington (7-1), Winchester (7-0).



CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Atlanta linebacker Mykal Walker has no explanation why the Falcons have played so well on the road this season and struggled at home.

“For me personally, I don’t see any difference between playing on the road or at home,” Walker said. “But now we’ve got to make the home field a home-field advantage. For us, we know what we’ve got to do now — and that’s go 4-0 the rest of the way.”

Matt Ryan threw for 190 yards and a touchdown, Walker returned an interception of Cam Newton 66 yards for a touchdown and the Falcons improved to 6-2 away from home with a 29-21 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Cordarrelle Patterson ran for 58 yards and a touchdown as Atlanta (6-7) kept its playoff hopes alive. The Falcons now have to find a way to win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where they are 0-5.

“The guys made a commitment to shut down the run game,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said, referring to his team allowing 203 yards rushing in a 19-13 loss to the Panthers on Oct. 31. “Defense did a nice job getting three takeaways. We played great complementary football.”

Newton lost his third straight start since his re-signing with Carolina.

He ran for a 12-yard touchdown on Carolina’s first possession, but turned the ball over twice and was replaced twice during the game by P.J. Walker, including midway through the fourth quarter. The Panthers (5-8) had three giveaways in all and have lost eight of their last 10 games under second-year coach Matt Rhule.

Newton called the turnovers “game killers.”

“To jeopardize the game the way I did today is inexcusable,” said Newton, who has lost his last 11 starts as Carolina’s starting QB dating back to 2018.

With the Panthers trailing 20-14 midway through the third quarter, Newton appeared to trip over center Pat Elflein’s foot after taking the snap. He tried to reach out to hand off to running back Chuba Hubbard, but fumbled and Atlanta recovered.

The Falcons took advantage with tight end Hayden Hurst, just back from short-term injured reserve, hauling in a wide-open 3-yard touchdown pass in the flat for a 26-14 lead.

“We are looking for things to not be catastrophic,” Rhule said. “To put a snap on the ground on a second-and-1, that’s what really bothers you about that. … We just want to go to the ground there.”

Atlanta seemed in control and was working the clock when third-string running back Qadree Ollison fumbled at midfield, giving the Panthers some life. Walker cashed in with a 5-yard pass to Robby Anderson to cut the lead to 29-21 with 3:11 left.

The Panthers needed a stop on Atlanta’s next possession, but Ryan hooked up with Kyle Pitts for a 24-yard gain on a third-and-14 on a busted coverage; two Carolina players collided. The Falcons then ran out the clock.

“It can’t happen,” Rhule said. “It’s our base, Day One coverage. We had them. He should be caught and tackled, and it should be fourth down going back down the field to score.”

Newton’s other big mistake came in the first half when he fired over the middle for running back Ameer Abdullah, but Walker undercut the route and took the ball to the house. Newton said he never saw Walker.

Afterward, Walker pretended to rock the football back and forth like it was a baby. He became a father for the first time last Tuesday.

“Cam Newton and LeBron James were my favorite players growing up,” Walker said. “My first interception. My baby was born five days ago. … I’m on cloud nine right now.”


The Falcons are among five teams in the NFC tied at 6-7 and firmly in the wild-card hunt.

“I’ve got an understanding of where we’re at,” Ryan said. “I don’t think you obsess over it. We understand where we’re at this time of the year.”


Rhule said the plan was to play Walker more this week in certain situations, including two-minute drives because he has more experience in that portion of the offense than Newton, who arrived last month.

“We wanted to play P.J.,” Rhule said. “We felt P.J. was going to do some good things for us in the game.”

As for a starter next week at Buffalo, Rhule indicated he was sticking with Newton, but added “I know that we have to play better at that position. We can’t have multiple turnover games from the quarterback position.”


The Panthers continued to struggle at home, where they have lost five straight. They have not won at Bank of America Stadium since Sept. 19. “It’s not what we expected – and it’s disappointing,” defensive end Brian Burns said.


Falcons: Safety Erik Harris (chest) and linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee (knee) both left in the third quarter and did not return.

Panthers: No injuries reported.


Falcons: at San Francisco next Sunday.

Panthers: at Buffalo next Sunday.


CLEVELAND (AP) Myles Garrett wasn’t going to let this season escape his grasp – or get away from the Browns.

Displeased with an overall lack of focus during practice last week, Cleveland’s star defensive end spoke up and challenged his teammates, urging them to do more, pushing them to be better.

Garrett backed up his words.

He scored his first career TD and Baker Mayfield threw two touchdown passes as the Browns stayed in the thick of the AFC playoff race, surviving Baltimore’s late comeback for a 24-22 win Sunday over the Ravens, who lost superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson with a sprained right ankle.

Garrett stripped Ravens backup QB Tyler Huntley, scooped up the fumble and rambled 15 yards for a TD in the first half as the Browns (7-6) built a 24-3 lead and held off the injury-riddled Ravens (8-5).

Following Friday’s practice, Garrett made some pointed comments toward his teammates that some interpreted as trouble inside Cleveland’s locker room. Instead, it seemed to be a message of inspiration.

“That’s the type of player Myles is,” said cornerback Denzel Ward, who made a tackle to stop Baltimore’s final drive. “He’s a leader for our team. That’s what he’s got to do. He challenged everybody. Even though he challenged us, Myles, he’s going to come in and back it up, though, as well.

“He’s going to go out there, make plays. We needed it.”

Garrett said he didn’t worry about any negative feedback about his remarks. His teammates knew they were well intentioned.

“I’ve got to stand there for what I want out of this team and what we want to achieve and if I have a vision, I want everybody to be part of it and I’m going to lead it,” he said.

Healthier than he’s been in weeks following Cleveland’s bye, Mayfield connected with Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper on first-half scores as the Browns avoided fading out of the playoff picture.

Of course it helped that Jackson went down on the first play of the second quarter and didn’t return.

The 2019 NFL MVP was unable to put any weight on the ankle, a frightening and concerning sight for the AFC North-leading Ravens, who have been overrun by injuries this season.

Coach John Harbaugh said Jackson will undergo further examination on Monday.

“When Lamar went down, I started becoming more aware of the situation,” said Huntley, who started for an ill Jackson on Nov. 21 at Chicago. “I knew at that moment I had to lock in. And after that fumble, I was very locked in because I couldn’t make any more mistakes.”

Huntley spent much of the second half scrambling from trouble, but he kept Baltimore close and the Ravens, who trailed 24-6 at half, pulled within 24-22 on Huntley’s 8-yard TD pass to Mark Andrews with 1:17 to go.

Baltimore then recovered an onside kick, but couldn’t convert on fourth-and-6 as Ward tackled receiver Rashod Bateman well short of the marker and the Cleveland crowd could finally exhale.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker made field goals of 50, 42 and 55 yards.

The Browns opened their 21-point lead late in the second quarter when Garrett set Cleveland’s single-season sacks record in style – scoring on the play.

With the Ravens at their own 20, Garrett got around left tackle Alejandro Villanueva and knocked the ball free from Huntley. Garrett scooped it up and went down the left sideline for the score.

“It was a great play,” said Browns end Jadeveon Clowney, who had a key late sack. “I was trying to tip it to myself. I saw him come up there and get it and I was like, `You’ve got the whole trifecta – the sack, the fumble recovery and the touchdown.’

“Great play by a great player.”

Moments after his TD, Garrett was shown on the giant scoreboard, the star shook his head and said, “I’m not done.”

Neither are the good-one-week-bad-the-next Browns, whose postseason chances would have been badly damaged with a loss.

“We don’t want to be going into the building these last four games for nothing,” Clowney said. “We know we’ve got something to keep playing for right now.”


Andrews had 11 catches for 115 yards and broke Baltimore’s single-season record for yards receiving by a tight end, surpassing Todd Heap’s 855 in 2005. … Huntley went 27 of 38 for 270 yards – 225 after halftime. … Baltimore was 1 of 12 on third-down conversions, but 3 of 4 on fourth down.


Garrett broke the club sacks record he came in sharing with Reggie Camp (14, 1984). The Browns have players with higher numbers, but the league didn’t count sacks as an individual statistic until 1982.


Ravens: DT Calais Campbell (thigh) was hurt in the first quarter and didn’t return. … WR Tylan Wallace (concussion) got hurt in the second quarter.

Browns: RB Kareem Hunt hurt his left ankle while making a third-down catch in the first quarter. It was Hunt’s second game back after missing five with a calf injury. … Mayfield was checked for a concussion and cleared in the third quarter. Backup Case Keenum replaced him for one play.


Ravens: Host the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 19.

Browns: Are home against Las Vegas on Dec. 18, the first of two consecutive Saturday games.


HOUSTON (AP) Seattle’s Tyler Lockett and Hall of Famer Steve Largent share a birthday and were both born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The pair now has another thing in common after Lockett’s big game Sunday helped the Seahawks (5-8) to a 33-13 win over the Houston Texans (2-11).

Lockett had 142 yards receiving to give him 1,023 yards this season. He joins Largent as the only players in franchise history to have at least 1,000 yards receiving in three straight seasons.

“It’s funny how things work out,” Lockett said.

Russell Wilson threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns to help the Seahawks win consecutive games for the first time this season. It was Wilson’s 89th game with two TD passes or more, passing Dan Marino (88) for second-most such games in a player’s first 10 NFL seasons. Hall of Famer Peyton Manning is first with 92.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll earned his 150th regular-season win a week after the Seahawks (5-8) beat San Francisco 30-23. He did it in front of a sparse crowd that appeared to have more Seattle fans than Houston followers. Neon green shirts peppered the stands and chants of “Seahawks, Seahawks,” echoed through the stadium throughout the game.

“It felt like a home game,” said left tackle Duane Brown, who was traded to Seattle in 2017 in his 10th season in Houston.

Wilson threw a 55-yard TD pass to Lockett in the second quarter and his 1-yard pass to Gerald Everett and 2-point conversion to Lockett made it 27-13 with about 7 1/2 minutes left.

Carroll was effusive in his praise for Lockett.

“This was another masterpiece today,” Carroll said. “The body control, the explosiveness … just such a graceful, beautiful athlete.”

Carroll likened Lockett to Lance Alworth, who had a Hall of Famer career with San Diego and Dallas from 1962-72. Wilson weighed in on the comparison.

“I don’t think there’s anyone like Tyler Lockett,” he said. “He’s a smaller player, but he plays big. (Our) connection is really remarkable.”

Rashaad Penny ran for a career-high 137 yards with two touchdowns. He scored Seattle’s first touchdown on a 32-yard run in the first quarter and his 47-yard scamper extended the lead to 33-13.

“We’re so happy to see that,” Carroll said. “We’ve been waiting. Thrilled to see he really got loose.”

Rookie Davis Mills threw for a career-high 331 yards and a touchdown starting in place of Tyrod Taylor, who was benched after the Texans (2-11) were shut out 31-0 by the Colts last week. He looked great early, completing his first 14 attempts to set a franchise record.

But he struggled after that, completing 19 of 35 passes to fall to 0-7 as a starter as the Texans were shut out in the second half.

“He took care of the ball. That’s what he’s supposed to do,” coach David Culley said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the ball in the end zone in the second half, and that’s what we have to do better. Not just him, but our entire offense has to be able to do that.”

Mills put the Texans up early when he found rookie Brevin Jordan on a 5-yard touchdown pass on the first drive.

The Seahawks were down 7-3 when Penny’s first touchdown gave them the lead. Justin Reid was in position to tackle him, but Penny stiff-armed him and dashed to the end zone.

Houston tied it with a field goal midway through the second quarter, and there was less than a minute left in the second quarter when Wilson threw his strike to Lockett. Jason Myers’ extra point was no good to leave Seattle up 16-10.

Lockett landed face down on the turf after his score and remained there for a few seconds acting as if he was swimming to celebrate.


Seahawks: DT Bryan Mone sprained his knee in the second quarter and didn’t return. … CB Gavin Heslop was carted off the field late in the fourth quarter with a left leg injury. Carroll said the injury was serious and he is expected to spend the night in Houston. … Carroll said DB D.J. Reed has a bruised chest.

Texans: WR Davion Davis injured his ankle in the first quarter and didn’t return. … LB Kamu Grugier-Hill was carted off with a knee injury early in the third quarter. … Reid left in the third quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. … RB Rex Burkhead left in the third quarter with a groin injury. … DB Desmond King left in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.


The Texans cut the lead to three at halftime when Ka?imi Fairbairn set a franchise record with a 61-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. The kick bested 57-yard field goals made by both Kris Brown and Neil Rackers. Fairbairn’s previous career-long field goal was 55 yards.


Texans: visit Jacksonville next Sunday.

Seahawks: visit the Rams next Sunday.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Las Vegas Raiders were last seen in Kansas City taking a victory lap around Arrowhead Stadium in their team buses, and they decided it was wise to stomp on the Chiefs’ logo at midfield shortly before kickoff Sunday.

They probably regret both of those ideas.

Patrick Mahomes threw his first two touchdown passes in nearly a month, Clyde Edwards-Helaire added two more scores on the ground, and the Chiefs’ suddenly stingy defense forced five turnovers in rolling to a record-setting 48-9 victory over the Raiders that kept them comfortably atop the AFC West.

“You don’t want people coming into your stadium and trying to disrespect things you’ve built,” Mahomes said. “So for us, there was a little more motivation to go against a really good football team that we have a rivalry against.”

Derek Gore’s 51-yard TD run with 7:19 left in the fourth quarter allowed Kansas City (9-4) to eclipse the largest margin of victory in a series that began in 1960 and has been played 126 times. The previous record was 35 points in 1964.

Tyrann Mathieu had an interception and fumble recovery, Mike Hughes forced two fumbles and returned another 23 yards for a touchdown, and the reigning AFC champions built a 35-0 first-half lead before cruising to their sixth consecutive win.

They’ve won eight of their last nine against the Raiders (6-7), outscoring them 89-23 in two meetings this season.

“I think everybody was clicking,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who improved to 15-3 against the Raiders. “The neat part is we have a chance to be even better. We just have to keep the foot on the pedal as we go.”

Reid also joined Marty Schottenheimer and Hank Stram as the only coaches to win 100 games in Kansas City.

Derek Carr had 266 yards passing, much of it going to Hunter Renfrow, who caught 13 of 14 targets for 117 yards and a score. But Renfrow also had one of the Raiders’ four fumbles, as did Josh Jacobs, who was held to 24 yards rushing.

“I don’t have a lot of words for it,” Raiders coach Rich Bissacia said. “It started with a fumble the first play of the game. As it went on, we missed more and more tackles. We had more dropped passes. Penalties on defense, gave up explosive plays. Struggled to protect the quarterback. Struggled to run the football. And on top of that, missed a PAT.”

Indeed, the Kansas City dominance began with the game’s first play, when Jacobs was shoved back about 3 yards and lost the ball in the process. Hughes alertly picked it up and waltzed 23 yards to give the Chiefs a 7-0 lead.

The real onslaught began a few minutes later.

Mahomes capped a five-play, 80-yard drive with a 23-yard pass to Darrel Williams, the first touchdown pass thrown by him since the last of his five in mid-November in Las Vegas. After a quick punt, he marched the Chiefs another 80 yards in seven plays, and Edwards-Helaire scooted into the end zone to make it 21-0.

Then the Chiefs’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award got into the act.

Mathieu was there to pick off Carr when his pass slipped through Foster Moreau’s hands, and the Chiefs needed a mere nine plays before Mahomes hit Josh Gordon in the end zone. It was the first TD scored by the oft-troubled wide receiver since Sept. 8, 2019, when he caught a pass from Tom Brady for New England in a game against Pittsburgh.

On the next drive, Mathieu was in the right spot when Renfrow coughed up the ball for the Raiders’ third turnover of the first half. The Chiefs breezed downfield again and Edwards-Helaire’s second TD run made it 35-0, putting the game out of reach before the teams even hit the halftime locker room.

After that, it was a matter of the Chiefs driving home a simple point: Don’t disrespect us in our house. The Raiders took a celebratory victory lap in their buses after a win at Kansas City last season, and then there was Sunday’s gesture before the game.

“I would have been upset, too, if I was them,” said Raiders linebacker K.J. Wright, adding the pregame huddle at midfield was a spur-of-the-moment idea. “They responded to their anger. We didn’t respond when they did that.”


The Chiefs should have had another scoop-and-score by Armani Watts midway through the fourth quarter, when Carr was clocked from behind by Alex Okafor. The ball came loose but the officials whistled that Carr was down. Referee Brad Allen sheepishly reversed the call after a video review, but it still cost Kansas City a touchdown.


Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed remained in his hometown of Minden, Louisiana, after his oldest brother was killed in a stabbing Friday night. T’Qarontarion Harris was 32. With both of Sneed’s parents in prison, Harris was largely responsible for raising him as a child. Sneed had played more snaps this season than any other Chiefs defensive player.

“He’s on my mind a lot,” Mathieu said. “Most of us can relate to that, losing people. We just wanted to play well for him today, for his family. I thought we did that. We started the game with a little L’Jarius energy and we kept that going.”


Raiders: CB Trayvon Mullen was helped off the field in the third quarter. He’d been out since Week 4 with a toe injury.

Chiefs: CB Rashad Fenton (knee) was active but did not play in anticipation of a short week before facing the Chargers.


The Raiders visit the Browns on Saturday. The Chiefs visit Los Angeles on Thursday night.


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Five straight losses didn’t sit well with the New Orleans Saints. So they took it out on the skidding New York Jets, and things felt just about normal again.

Alvin Kamara ran for 120 yards and a touchdown in his return from a four-game absence, and the Saints snapped their longest skid under Sean Payton with a 30-9 victory Sunday.

“This has been a tough stretch for this team,” said quarterback Taysom Hill, who had two TD runs. “It’s been a foreign thing, losing so many games. … It’s nice to get this win.”

And having Kamara back in the backfield was key for the Saints (6-7).

“He gave us some real good juice and energy, and he always does,” Payton said.

After missing four games with a sprained knee, Kamara looked fully healthy again while carrying the ball 27 times in his fifth career 100-yard rushing performance. He also caught four passes for 25 yards.

“Man, just having his presence on the field and having the ability to hand him the ball,” Hill said, “he just does so much for this team just being there.”

After injuring his right middle finger in the Saints’ previous game, Hill was 15 of 21 for 175 yards, and ran for 73 yards on 11 carries. He got hit on his hand during the game and said the injury affected him at times.

“It was OK,” he said. “Overall, I thought we were able to manage it.”

Brett Maher added three field goals and the Saints defense stifled Zach Wilson and New York’s short-handed offense as the Jets (3-10) were eliminated from playoff contention. They have missed the postseason 11 straight years, tying the franchise’s longest drought set from 1970-80. It is also the longest active skid in the NFL.

“It’s going to flip,” coach Robert Saleh insisted. “This crappy part is part of the process, but at the same time it’s not discouraging by any sense of the imagination because we’ve got a lot of young guys getting a lot of good playing time.”

New York was missing wide receivers Corey Davis (groin) and Elijah Moore (quadriceps) and running backs Michael Carter (high ankle sprain) and Tevin Coleman (concussion) – and it showed. The Jets went just 3 of 14 on third down and had only 256 yards of offense.

Wilson, coming off his best performance, missed receivers short at times and overthrew them at others. There were also several drops, including three in the first half by running back Ty Johnson.

“Just right from the beginning, I’ve got to be more accurate,” said Wilson, who was 19 of 42 for 202 yards.

After not getting a first down on their first three possessions, Wilson got one right away with an 18-yard scramble. He converted another a few minutes later with a 14-yard pass to a sliding Braxton Berrios on fourth-and-7. But the drive stalled and Eddy Pineiro, the Jets’ third kicker in as many games, booted a 36-yard field goal to tie it at 3 – prompting some mock cheers from the MetLife Stadium crowd.

A few minutes later, an interference penalty by Justin Hardee on a punt by the Jets put the Saints at their 46 to start.

On his fourth straight carry, Kamara made a pretty juke to slip a tackle attempt by Bryce Hall and then zipped into the end zone for a 16-yard TD that gave New Orleans a 10-3 lead. Kamara had 35 yards on four carries on the drive.

Pineiro ended the first half with a 46-yarder to make it 10-6. The Jets got down to the Saints 24, but consecutive penalties on wide receiver Denzel Mims – illegal hands to the face and illegal formation – hindered the drive.

“The penalties were killer, obviously,” Saleh said.

With the Jets trailing by two scores, they went for it on fourth-and-6 from their 49 and Wilson’s pass to Keelan Cole went off the receiver’s outstretched hands as Marcus Williams disrupted the play.

That gave the Saints the ball and Hill capped the drive with a 2-yard TD run. He finished his day with a 44-yard touchdown scamper – the longest of his career – with 1:07 remaining. But his teammates razzed him for not sliding so late in the game.

“I knew we needed one more first down, and you get up in the open field and it was third-and-long,” Hill said with a smile. “I should have slid. I don’t have anything else for you.”


Jets RB Austin Walter was active, but didn’t play because of a non-COVID-19 illness, the team announced midway through the second quarter. … DE Ronnie Blair was promoted from the practice squad Saturday, but inactive for the game also because of a non-COVID-19 illness.


The Jets held a moment of silence before the game in honor of former wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who died Thursday night in his suburban Atlanta home at 33.

Thomas played the last of his 10 NFL seasons with the Jets in 2019, catching 36 passes for 433 yards and a touchdown in 11 games. The Jets showed a picture of Thomas in his New York jersey on Sunday with the words: “In Memory of Demaryius Thomas. 1987-2021.”


Saints: Take on Tom Brady and the NFC South-rival Buccaneers in Tampa Bay next Sunday night.

Jets: Head to Miami next Sunday to take on the AFC East-rival Dolphins, who won the first meeting last month.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) It took the Tennessee Titans a month to find themselves. This version looks pretty comfortable atop the AFC South.

After two turnover-filled debacles and a bye week, the Titans ended up on the other side of a turnover-fest and got back in the win column Sunday. It surely helped that they faced woeful Jacksonville and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

The opportunistic Titans took advantage of four interceptions to beat the Jaguars 20-0 and earn their first home shutout in more than two decades.

Rashaan Evans, Jayon Brown, Kristian Fulton and Buster Skrine picked off passes from Lawrence, who hadn’t thrown three or more interceptions in a game since his NFL debut.

“At the end of the day, we know what kind of team we are,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “And I felt like the last two losses we had, we kind of got away from that a little bit. … It wasn’t necessarily about the Jaguars and their team. It was more about us know what we needed to do and playing to our strengths.”

Tennessee dominated Jacksonville’s offensive line, sacking Lawrence three times and prompting four holding calls and a false start. All the interceptions were a direct result of pressure, but not blitzes.

“There’s no better indication of success in this league than turnover margin,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “You can say what you want, but you can look it up over 20 years. It’s real critical that we realize that that’s how we have to play.”

The Titans (9-4) turned the ball over a combined nine times in consecutive losses to Houston and New England. They spent the bye week focusing on better ball security and responded with a clean game on offense and plenty of celebrations on defense.

It was the team’s first shutout since 2018 at the New York Giants and its first at Nissan Stadium since Christmas Day 2000, a 31-0 drubbing of Dallas.

Jacksonville (2-11) provided the perfect remedy for Tennessee’s two-game skid. The Jaguars extended a number of streaks of their own while failing to score in a game for the fourth time in franchise history and first time since 2009.

The Jaguars lost their fifth straight overall, eighth straight in Nashville, ninth consecutive in AFC South play and 15th in a row on the road.

“Losing sucks,” said Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, who was previously shut out once in his coaching career, 31-0 against Clemson in a national semifinal following the 2016 season. “That’s all I can tell you. It eats at away at your soul. You got to regroup.”

This one comes after reports attributed to unnamed sources saying there’s mounting angst between Meyer and his staff.

“So what’s the answer? Start leaking information or some nonsense? No. No, that’s nonsense. That’s garbage,” Meyer said. “I’ve been very blessed. I’ve not really dealt with that. I’ve not dealt with, `Well, did you hear what he said?’ What? No. Let’s improve on offense and get our quarterback in a position to be successful. That’s our focus.

“What someone’s brother said, or someone said someone said, that will occupy very little of my time. And if there is a source, that source is unemployed. I mean, within seconds, if there’s some source that’s doing that.”


The Titans moved closer to clinching the AFC South for the second straight year. They have no one left on their schedule with a winning record. And, if they continue playing clean football, could be a factor in the AFC despite being without star running back Derrick Henry.

D’Onta Foreman, filling in for Henry, had his first rushing touchdown in four years. Ryan Tannehill, the main culprit of the team’s recent turnovers, didn’t commit one despite getting sacked four times and ran for a score. He completed 20 of 31 passes for 191 yards.


Titans receiver Julio Jones retuned to the lineup for the first time in more than a month but didn’t do a whole lot. He didn’t need to, either.

Jones, who missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, was activated from injured reserve Saturday and caught four passes for 33 yards. He has missed six games this season because of injuries.


Jaguars running back Carlos Hyde was evaluated for a concussion late in the game. Titans guard Rodger Saffold left briefly in the first quarter with a shoulder injury and again in the third. Titans FB Tory Carter injured an ankle.


Jaguars: Host Houston next Sunday. The Texans have won seven straight and 13 of 15 in the series.

Titans: Play at Pittsburgh next Sunday. The Steelers (6-6-1) have extra time to prepare after losing at Minnesota on Thursday night.


LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Beating Washington looked far from a guarantee for the Dallas Cowboys after their big lead shrunk, but coach Mike McCarthy is plenty confident winning a close game is good for his team.

Micah Parsons sacked Taylor Heinicke twice and forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, helping the Cowboys make good on McCarthy’s “We’re going to win this game” guarantee by holding on to beat Washington 27-20 Sunday and snap their rival’s winning streak at four.

Dallas led 24-0 and 27-8 before Kyle Allen replaced Heinicke and led a 73-yard TD drive and Cole Holcomb intercepted Dak Prescott and ran it back for a pick-6. Washington’s comeback bid came to an end when Allen fumbled with 2:24 remaining.

“There’s so much value in those moments,” McCarthy said. “To get where we want to go, we need to thrive in those situations. Now we created some of it today, don’t get me wrong, but there’s still benefit in adversity football.”

The Cowboys staked themselves to such a big lead thanks to a big first-half showing by their defense. Dallas forced four turnovers and had five sacks.

Doran Armstrong recovered the fumble Parsons forced and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown, and Randy Gregory picked off Heinicke and forced Allen to fumble on a sack the day after he was activated off injured reserve. Armstrong and his teammates celebrated his TD with some of the many Cowboys fans in attendance for what felt like a home game for the leaders in the NFC East, complete with custom benches on the visiting sideline.

“They were great benches,” Prescott said. “They were heated, so they did the deed and did what we needed them to, so I guess that’s why we brought them in.”

In the aftermath of McCarthy saying, “We’re going to win this game – I’m confident in that,” his team sputtered late but took care of business. Prescott threw a touchdown pass to Amari Cooper and two interceptions, Ezekiel Elliott ran 12 times for 45 yards through a knee injury and the Cowboys (9-4) distanced themselves from Washington (6-7) in the NFC East.

“We got high standards and high expectations for ourselves,” said Prescott, who was 23 of 39 for 211 yards. “Got going pretty early, got a big lead, but we’ve got to be able to finish it off and not let them back in the game.”

Tensions boiled over with 10:29 left when Washington rookie William Bradley-King – promoted off the practice squad in the morning because of COVID-19 absences – shoved Prescott near the Cowboys sideline. Elliott shoved Bradley-King, and Dallas right tackle La’el Collins was ejected for his role in the skirmish.

With blue and white jerseys outnumbering burgundy and gold at FedEx Field, the Cowboys made themselves at home by ordering heated benches with the silver star logo and team wordmarks. Owner Jerry Jones made a point this week to say the D.C. area is his team’s biggest concentration of fans outside Texas.

By far the biggest crowd to witness a Washington home game this season saw Heinicke get sacked four times and exit with a left knee injury. Heinicke finished 11 of 25 for 122 yards, a 43-yard TD pass to Cam Sims and a diving 2-point conversion after his miserable first half.

Antonio Gibson fumbled for the sixth time this season, Allen was 4 of 9 for 53 yards and Washington’s streak came to a screeching half after allowing 18 points in the first quarter – more than it was giving up per game over the past month.

“The Washington Football Team versus Dallas should be a big game like it was today,” coach Ron Rivera said. “We’ve just got to play better.”


Parsons had two sacks and became the first rookie since Jevon Kearse in 1999 and third in NFL history to have at least one in six consecutive games. One came on third and another on fourth down.

“Third and four down is when you hunt,” Parsons said. “Those are the money downs.”


With Tony Pollard inactive because of a foot injury, Elliott got the lion’s share of the carries before the game turned into a blowout. Zeke surpassed 1,000 scrimmage yards for the sixth consecutive season and came back in the fourth when the game got close again.

“That was me being conservative,” McCarthy said. “He was fine. He wanted to go back in. That was me being overcautious.”


With Allen replacing Heinicke, Washington has now had at least three quarterbacks throw a pass for the fourth consecutive season. The most recent time the organization had one QB all season was Kirk Cousins in 2017.

But there’s no controversy. Rivera said of Heinicke, “If he’s healthy, he’s our starter.”


Cowboys: LT Tyron Smith limped off late in the third quarter with a left ankle injury.

Washington: WR Terry McLaurin was evaluated for a concussion after his head bounced off the turf trying to make a catch early in the third quarter. … LT Charles Leno left late in the second quarter with a back injury. … C Tyler Larsen was carted off in the fourth with a left leg injury. … TE Sammis Reyes left with a concussion.


Cowboys: Visit the New York Giants next Sunday.

Washington: Visits the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.


DENVER (AP) The grief-stricken Denver Broncos honored the late Demaryius Thomas by wearing his number on their helmets, his jersey on their backs and his memory in their hearts.

They knelt in tribute to his number 88 painted on their sideline and didn’t bother fighting back the tears during a moment of silence or the string of highlights shown on the scoreboard Sunday.

It was through their play that they best celebrated their fallen friend and retired receiver who died at his Georgia home on Thursday at age 33.

“The best way to honor his legacy is to go out and play great football,” quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said after the Broncos routed the Detroit Lions 38-10, a thrashing capped appropriately with an 88-yard touchdown drive.

“He probably was out there with us,” said choked-up receiver Tim Patrick.

After the moment of silence and a video tribute, the Broncos (7-6) took the field with just 10 men in honor of Thomas. As the crowd chanted, “DT! DT!” the Lions (1-11-1) declined the delay of game penalty.

“That was for DT,” said Lions coach Dan Campbell. “That’s who I did that for.”

Broncos coach Vic Fangio, who called his counterpart Saturday to tell him about the planned missing man formation, called it “a classy move on his part. And the Detroit Lions, they’re a classy organization.”

Running backs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon each scored a pair of touchdowns and Dre’Mont Jones had a monster game that included two sacks of Jared Goff.

Like so many of their fans, several Broncos arrived at the stadium wearing No. 88 jerseys and kicker Brandon McManus donned custom cleats featuring Thomas’ famous mile-wide smile during the game.

About an hour before kickoff, local artist Armando Silva delivered a portrait of Thomas he painted in the parking lot to the Broncos’ locker room. That was followed by a pregame moment of silence and a video tribute featuring Thomas’ 80-yard touchdown catch from Tim Tebow in overtime against the Steelers on Jan. 8, 2012.

Notorious slow starters, the Broncos scored touchdowns on their first two drives, Williams on a 5-yard run in which he carried safeties Dean Marlowe and Jalen Elliott across the goal line with him, and Gordon on a 1-yard run after a three-and-out by Detroit.

The first quarter ended with the Broncos holding a 14-0 lead, an 11-0 advantage in first downs and a yardage disparity of 135 to minus-1.

Their fortunes also flipped when the teams switched sides, however, and Goff quickly drove the Lions downfield and hit Kalif Raymond for the score from 7 yards out.

The Lions pulled to 14-10 on Riley Patterson’s 36-yard field goal, but the Broncos went into the locker room up 17-10 on McManus’ 52-yarder as the first half expired.

The Lions, coming off their first win but hit hard by COVID-19 last week – they had seven players on the virus list Sunday – coughed up the football on the second snap of the third quarter when Shelby Harris punched the ball from Godwin Igwebuike’s grasp and linebacker Jonathon Cooper recovered at the Detroit 30.

Five plays later, Williams caught a 10-yard TD pass from Bridgewater, stretching Denver’s lead to 24-10.

Jones had a dominant series on Detroit’s next drive, dropping Goff for a 9-yard loss on his second sack, stuffing Igwebuike for a 3-yard loss and batting down Goff’s pass on fourth-and-2.

“That was probably the greatest series of my of my career, like middle school included,” Jones said. “That was sweet for me.”

The Broncos took over at the Lions 33 and Gordon ran it in from 14 yards out. Albert Okwuegbunam’s 4-yard TD catch capped an 88-yard drive late in the fourth quarter.

Denver’s defense also had a goal line stand with safety Kareem Jackson breaking up Goff’s pass to tight end Shane Zylstra on fourth-and-goal from the 4.

Midway through the fourth quarter, safety Justin Simmons picked off a pass and immediately darted to a blue circle on Denver’s sideline, placing the ball in the middle of “88” stenciled in white paint.

“All I thought of,” said Simmons, “was heading over there to DT and giving him the football.”


Gordon, who missed last week’s loss at Kansas City with shoulder and hip injuries, gained 111 yards on 24 carries – 48 hours after saying he knew Broncos fans didn’t want him back after this year because they’re enamored with Williams, who ran for 73 yards on 15 attempts to go with his 10-yard TD grab.


With D’Andre Swift (shoulder) still sidelined, RB Craig Reynolds was among a slew of players called up from Detroit’s practice squad and he ran for 83 yards on 11 carries Sunday.


The Lions lost CB Jerry Jacobs (knee) and LB Alex Anzalone (ankle) in the game. Broncos ILB Kenny Young was evaluated for a concussion.


The Lions host the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 19. Detroit has the league’s worst record, and Arizona (10-2) has the NFL’s best mark entering its Monday night game against the Rams. “I believe we can play with anybody,” Goff said.

The Broncos host the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 19.


INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) Even without two of their top players, Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers were able to get wins in consecutive games for the first time since early October.

Now comes their biggest test of the season.

Herbert threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns in Los Angeles’ 37-21 victory over the New York Giants. The Chargers improved to 8-5 and are a game behind the Kansas City Chiefs going into Thursday night’s pivotal AFC West matchup.

“It’s one week at a time for us. Coach (Brandon) Staley did a great job of emphasizing that all week, and I feel like the guys were focused,” said Herbert, who completed 23 of 31 passes. “They were dialed in this week and took care of business, and now we move on to the next one. We’re facing a really good Chiefs team on Thursday, so it’s going to take a lot from us.

“As long as we keep building, we keep getting better, I think we can play some really good football.”

The game was tied at 7 after the first quarter before the Chargers broke it open with 30 straight points.

Los Angeles won despite missing wide receiver Keenan Allen and safety Derwin James. Allen tested positive for COVID-19 last Monday while James injured his hamstring during practice on Friday. He was added to the injury report with a questionable designation on Saturday.

Joshua Palmer and Jalen Guyton both picked up the slack without Allen in the lineup. Both had TD receptions in the second quarter.

Palmer, who had five receptions for 66 yards, had a 12-yard score to give the Chargers a 14-7 advantage. Herbert, who completed 23 of 31 for 275 yards, then connected with Guyton on the 59-yard bomb with 17 seconds left in the half. Guyton, who made three catches for 87 yards, blew by Logan Ryan and Xavier McKinney.

“The kid has arm talent and ripped it down the middle of the offense, 95% of the quarterbacks don’t make that throw. It was 59 yards on a rope,” Ryan said.

Herbert reached a trio of milestones in the win. He is the first player to reach 30 touchdown passes in his first two seasons; has the most completions by a player through his first two seasons (734); and is the second-fastest player to reach 8,000 career yards (28 games).

Herbert also had a 1-yard TD pass off play-action to Jared Cook early in the fourth quarter to make it 37-7.

“There were some things in the fourth quarter that I’m not comfortable with, but for three-and-a-half quarters I’m really comfortable with that type of performance,” Staley said. “I really liked the way we competed in the game today. I felt like we played with a lot of purpose. I felt like it was a complete performance.”

Mike Glennon, starting for the second straight week with Daniel Jones out with a neck injury, was 17 of 36 for 191 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Giants (4-9), who have dropped three of their last four. He also ran for a score.

Glennon had a 3-yard TD pass to Eli Penny late in the first quarter to tie the game at 7. New York added a pair of scores in the final 15 minutes on Glennon’s 18-yard pass to Saquon Barkley and Glennon’s 7-yard scramble, plus a 2-point conversion.

“I’m encouraged the way the team fought, but it wasn’t good enough to have success,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “Simply put, you have to go out and execute. There were too many opportunities we didn’t take advantage of.”


Austin Ekeler opened the scoring with his 16th touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run. It was Ekeler’s ninth rushing score of the season.

Ekeler finished with 12 carries for 67 yards along with two catches for 17 yards. He hurt his ankle in the third quarter and did not return.


Penny’s touchdown was set up by Kyle Rudolph’s 60-yard reception, the longest catch of Rudolph’s 11-year career and the Giants’ longest play this season.

From the Giants 35, Glennon fired a pass to Rudolph near midfield. Rudolph caught it at the Chargers 47 and went up the left sideline, stiff-armed Trey Marshall at the LA 20, but was tackled by Marshall and Michael Davis at the 5-yard line.

The Giants’ previous longest play was a 54-yard pass from Jones to Barkley against New Orleans. Rudolph’s gain is the second play of at least 25 yards in the three games since Jason Garrett was fired as offensive coordinator.


Giants: DL Leonard Williams suffered an elbow injury during the second quarter. Judge said Williams will have an MRI the next couple days.


Giants: host Dallas next Sunday.

Chargers: host Kansas City on Thursday night.


CINCINNATI (AP) The San Francisco 49ers took what the Bengals gave them and stayed in the playoff race.

Mistake-prone Cincinnati, however, made its path to the postseason more difficult.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk and the 49ers beat Cincinnati 26-23 in overtime Sunday. Garoppolo completed five passes in the overtime drive, including a pair to tight end George Kittle, who was again San Francisco’s offensive star.

“They made some amazing plays, George Kittle with some big catches,” Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard said. “We felt like we were going to win that game.”

On the final play, Aiyuk dived to the pylon and was initially ruled short, but a replay gave him the touchdown and San Francisco (7-6) a critical win.

“I looked at the ref and he seemed pretty sure I was not in,” Aiyuk said. “A lot of challenges hadn’t been going my way the last couple of weeks, so I was a little bit nervous. When I saw the replay, I knew I was in.”

Evan McPherson hit a 41-yard field goal on the opening possession of overtime to give the Bengals (7-6) a brief lead, their first of the day.

San Francisco’s Robbie Gould missed a 47-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in regulation that would have won it.

That came after Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow found Ja’Marr Chase for two fourth-quarter touchdowns – the first on fourth-and-5 from the Niners’ 17 – to claw back from a 20-6 deficit and tie the game with 1:19 left.

Deebo Samuel rushed for another score for San Francisco.

The Bengals had trouble getting out of their own way in the first half and lost their second straight, squandering a chance to take advantage of losses by AFC North foes Baltimore and Pittsburgh this week.

Two fumbled punts by Cincinnati returner Darius Phillips led to 10 first-half points for the 49ers. A taunting call against Bengals safety Vonn Bell extended the second of those Niners drives, which ended in a 14-yard TD pass from Garoppolo to Kittle that gave San Francisco a 17-6 halftime lead.

“Can’t beat yourself,” Hubbard said. “Can’t make the mistakes we have been making the last few weeks and win games.”

Garoppolo was 27 for 41 for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Burrow was 25 for 34 for 348 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked five times after going down a season-high six times in the 41-22 loss to the Chargers on Dec. 5.

Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins had five catches for 114 yards. Chase had five for 77 yards and the two late TDs.

The 49ers currently are the sixth seed in the NFC race, and the Bengals dropped to the ninth seed behind the Browns, who beat the Ravens on Sunday.

“If we just keep winning, we don’t have to look at anybody else,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said.


Kittle had 13 catches for 151 yards and a TD. That came after a great individual performance a week ago, when he caught nine passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-23 loss to Seattle. That was the first multi-touchdown game of his career. He has six TDs in his last six games.

“We tried everything,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “He’s one of the best tight ends, we knew that. I promise you, we tried like hell to stop him.”

Said Garoppolo: “George showed up today.”


San Francisco managed to string together three straight wins last month before losing to Seattle on Dec. 5, and then turned around to beat the Bengals. Cincinnati hasn’t been able to win more than two in a row this season and has lost the last two.


San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa had two sacks of his LSU buddy Burrow, giving him a career-high 14 for the season for 114 yards. … Bengals running back Joe Mixon went over 1,000 rushing yards for the season, and Chase eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards. … Burrow said he had about 85% velocity with a sore pinky finger on his throwing hand that he had dislocated a week ago.


49ers: LB Azeez Al-Shaair left with an elbow injury in the third quarter and didn’t return.

Bengals: DE Trey Hendrickson suffered a back injury in the second quarter and was ruled out. … RT Riley Reiff left with a left ankle injury in the fourth quarter and didn’t return.


49ers: host Atlanta next Sunday.

Bengals: at Denver next Sunday.


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) A change of uniforms hasn’t affected Tom Brady’s mastery of the Buffalo Bills.

The 44-year-old quarterback beat his former AFC East rivals for the 10th straight time Sunday, becoming the NFL’s all-time completions leader and throwing his 700th touchdown pass for the winning score in Tampa Bay’s 33-27 overtime victory. The Buccaneers are on the brink of their first division title in 14 years.

In his first game against the Bills since moving to Tampa Bay in 2020, Brady threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also scored on a quarterback sneak set up by the 7,143rd completion of an unmatched 22-year career that includes seven Super Bowl titles.

The Bucs (10-3) won it on Breshad Perriman’s 58-yard catch-and-run with 5:31 left in OT – the 700th TD pass of Brady’s career, including playoffs.

“It was pretty cool. I’d rather it not come down to that, but in the end they all count the same,” Brady said. “We’ve got to learn from it and move on. Next week we’re playing for a division championship and that’s pretty exciting.”

Despite blowing a 21-point halftime lead, the reigning Super Bowl champs won their fourth straight game to retain a four-game lead over New Orleans and Atlanta in the NFC South, which Tampa Bay hasn’t won since 2007.

“We did a three-and-out in overtime, and when you give No. 12 on the other side that opportunity, you know, he has a chance to win the game at any time,” Bills center Mitch Morse said.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Buffalo running back Devin Singletary added. “It’s the only way I can put it.”.

Brady, who ruled Buffalo and won 17 AFC East titles during a two-decade stint with the New England Patriots, improved to 33-3 against the Bills. He broke Drew Brees’ record for most completions in a career late in the second quarter and finished 31 of 46 with no interceptions.

Josh Allen shrugged off a slow start to throw for 308 yards and two touchdowns for Buffalo. He also rushed for 109 yards and a TD, becoming the fourth player in league history to throw for over 300 yards and also rush for 100-plus in the same game.

Allen also left Raymond James Stadium with his left foot in a walking boot. He will undergo tests on Monday, coach Sean McDermott said.

“Finished the game. I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal,” Allen said. “It’s pretty sore. It’s football.”

Since starting 4-1, the Bills (7-6) had hardly resembled the team that won its first division title since 1995 and enjoyed its deepest playoff run in 27 years before losing to Kansas City in the AFC championship game last January.

They are 3-5 over their last eight games and have lost two in a row for the first time this year, jeopardizing their playoffs hopes with four weeks remaining in the regular season.

The Bucs, who have won four straight on the heels on a two-game skid, exposed the Bills offensively and defensively before Allen and the league’s No. 1 ranked defense got back on track after halftime.

Buffalo’s red-zone issues contributed to falling behind, with the offense settling for a field goal on a drive inside Tampa Bay’s 5 with the Bills trailing 10-0 in the second quarter.

A tendency to be overly reliant on Allen was a hindrance, too, with the absence early of a rushing attack that actually involved running backs. Buffalo ran just four times for 43 yards in the opening half, with Allen logging all the carries. The first rushing attempt by a running back came early in the third quarter, when Matt Breida took the snap on a fake punt and lost 3 yards on fourth-and-2 from the Bills 45.

Singletary’s first carry went for 29 yards on Buffalo’s next possession, launching a long drive Allen finished with an 18-yard TD run, making it 24-10. Turns out, the Bills quarterback was just getting started.

Allen moved his team within striking distance with TD passes of 15 yards to Dawson Knox and 4 yards to Gabriel Davis, trimming the deficit to 27-24 with just under five minutes remaining in regulation.

Buffalo got the ball back with 3:05 left and put together a 70-yard drive to force overtime with a 25-yard field goal in the closing seconds.


Bills: WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee) was hurt in the first half and did not return. … Reserve RB Taiwan Jones (knee) was hurt in the first quarter.

Buccaneers: They played without S Jordan Whitehead, inactive for the second straight week with a calf injury. … RB Giovani Bernard (hip) sat out the second half. CB Jamel Dean (illness) also didn’t play after halftime.


Bills: host Carolina on Sunday. They’ll play three of four games against opponents that currently have a losing record.

Buccaneers: Tampa Bay can clinch its first NFC South crown since 2007 when its hosts three-time defending division champ New Orleans next Sunday night.


GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) After an extraordinary second quarter in which the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears exchanged body blows, the NFL’s oldest rivalry returned to normal, with Aaron Rodgers once again delivering a knockout punch.

Rodgers threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns to continue his mastery of the Bears as the Packers won 45-30 on Sunday night.

The reigning MVP went 29 of 37, throwing two TD passes to Davante Adams and one each to Allen Lazard and Aaron Jones. Rodgers has 61 career touchdown passes against the Bears, the most all-time against Chicago and one more than his predecessor, Brett Favre.

“It does mean a lot to me,” Rodgers said. “It really does. The majority of stats don’t mean much, but this rivalry does mean a lot to me because I’m almost an adult in Green Bay – I’ve lived here for 17 years and started for 14. I know how much this rivalry means to our fans, and to be a part of it has been really special.”

The Packers trailed 27-21 at halftime but scored the first 24 points of the second half.

Green Bay (10-3) took a four-game lead over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North and moved closer to its third straight division title. Chicago (4-9) has lost seven of eight.

“It’s a tale of two halves,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “For us to be able to come out that first two quarters and do what we did, that was fun, that’s good football.”

The Packers are 23-5 against the Bears in games Rodgers had started. Rodgers yelled, “I still own you!” to the Soldier Field crowd after his fourth-quarter touchdown run in a 24-14 victory on Oct. 17.

This time, Rodgers played through a broken toe that has limited his practice time over the last month.

“It feels worse,” Rodgers said. “I don’t know what kind of setback I had tonight, but we’ll look at it tomorrow. Definitely took a step back tonight.”

This may be Rodgers’ last opportunity to experience the rivalry with his future in Green Bay uncertain beyond this season. He said he wasn’t thinking about that.

“You guys love bringing up the question of next year and stuff,” said Lazard, who appeared for his postgame Zoom session wearing an “I still own you!” T-shirt. “I think in our locker room, especially him, we don’t pay attention to that stuff. We just stay in the moment, stay focused. He’s done a great job, a tremendous job this year, of just being a leader, being resilient and exuding that calmness throughout the entire locker room.”

Chicago led after a wild second quarter that featured a combined 45 points, the fourth time since 1991 that teams have combined to score at least that many points in a quarter.

But the Bears couldn’t keep it up. Spurred by a halftime talk from Preston Smith, the Packers shut down Chicago the rest of the way. The Bears’ only second-half points came on Cairo Santos’ field goal with 1:22 left.

“P just came in yelling at us,” Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas said. “He was just like, `That’s (bull).’ We don’t play like that.”

Chicago’s Justin Fields went 18 of 33 for 224 yards with two touchdown passes, but he also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. Jakeem Grant scored twice for the Bears, including a 97-yard punt return.

Jones scored a pair of touchdowns less than a minute apart to put the Packers ahead for good.

He capped the opening drive of the second half with a 3-yard run that gave Green Bay a 28-27 lead. On the Bears’ next series, Smith sacked Fields and forced a fumble that Rashan Gary recovered at Chicago’s 23-yard line.

On the next play, Jones caught a pass from Rodgers at about the 13 and ran into the left corner of the end zone to make it 35-27.

Chicago took a 10-0 lead in the first 20 minutes. The scoring really picked up after that as the teams combined for five touchdowns in a span of 5:18.

Green Bay scored on Rodgers’ 2-yard pass to Lazard on fourth-and-goal, Douglas’ 55-yard interception return and Rodgers’ 38-yard strike to Adams. Chicago’s touchdowns came on a 54-yard completion from Fields to Damiere Byrd and Grant’s punt return.

Douglas joined Hall of Famer Herb Adderley as the only Packers to score on interception returns in back-to-back games. Grant’s punt return was the longest for any Bears player since at least 1960, which is as far back as the team’s data on that statistic goes.


Bears: LT Jason Peters injured his ankle in the first quarter. … CB Xavier Crawford left to get evaluated for a concussion. … S DeAndre Houston-Carson went to the locker room in the third quarter with an arm injury. … DL Khyiris Tonga injured his shoulder. … LB Roquan Smith hurt his hamstring in the second half. … DL Akiem Hicks (ankle) missed a fourth straight game.

Packers: RT Billy Turner injured his knee in the second quarter and didn’t return. … WR Malik Taylor had an abdominal injury. … WR Equanimeous St. Brown left to get evaluated for a concussion. … TE Dominique Dafney injured an ankle.


Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was honored during a halftime ceremony recognizing his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Bears: Host Minnesota on Dec. 20.

Packers: At Baltimore on Sunday.


There have been 28 games decided by a game-winning score on the final play this season, the most through Week 14 all-time. Tampa Bay earned a 33-27 overtime victory against Buffalo as quarterback TOM BRADY found wide receiver BRESHAD PERRIMAN for a 58-yard touchdown pass while San Francisco defeated Cincinnati, 26-23, in overtime as quarterback JIMMY GAROPPOLO connected with wide receiver BRANDON AIYUK on a game-winning 12-yard touchdown pass.

With two games remaining in Week 14, there have been 39 games with a game-winning score in the final minute of regulation or in overtime this season, tied with the 2003 season for the fourth-most at this point of a season all-time. Only 2015 (42), 2013 (42) and 2012 (40) had more.

There have been 17 overtime games this season, tied with the 2015, 2010 and 1983 seasons for the fifth-most overtime games at this point of a season all-time. Only 2002 (21 overtime games), 2012 (20), 2003 (20) and 1995 (20) had more.

Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY passed for 363 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for a 105.6 rating and added a rushing touchdown in the Buccaneers’ Week 14 overtime victory.

Brady, the league’s all-time leader in passing yards (83,338) and passing touchdowns (617), has 7,156 career completions and surpassed DREW BREES (7,142) for the most completions in NFL history.

Brady has 4,134 passing yards this season, his 13th career season with at least 4,000 passing yards and he surpassed DREW BREES (12 seasons) and PHILIP RIVERS (12) for the second-most such seasons all-time. Only Pro Football Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (14 seasons) has more.

Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN passed for 308 yards and two touchdowns and added 109 rushing yards with one rushing touchdown on Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Allen is the third quarterback all-time with at least 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in a single game, joining CAM NEWTON (340 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in Week 15, 2015) and RUSSELL WILSON (313 passing yards and 106 rushing yards in Week 7, 2014).

Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES completed 20 of 24 pass attempts (83.3 percent) for 258 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for a 139.2 rating in the Chiefs’ 48-9 win over Las Vegas.

Kansas City, which allowed seven points in Week 9 and nine points in both Week 11 and Week 13, is the first team since the 2014 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (Weeks 12-13, Weeks 15-17) to allow fewer than 10 points four times in a five-game span.

Mahomes has 10 career games with a passer rating of 130-or-higher (minimum 20 attempts) and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (nine games), DESHAUN WATSON (nine) and RUSSELL WILSON (nine) for the most such games by a quarterback in his first five seasons all-time.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT passed for 275 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 133.1 rating in the team’s 37-21 win over the New York Giants.

Herbert, who is 23 years and 277 days old, has 8,158 passing yards and 61 touchdown passes in his first two seasons.

Herbert is the fourth-youngest player to reach 8,000 passing yards in NFL history. Only JAMEIS WINSTON (22 years, 361 days), SAM DARNOLD (23 years, 212 days) and DREW BLEDSOE (23 years, 236 days) reached the mark at a younger age.

Herbert is the second-youngest player to reach 60 career touchdown passes in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (23 years, 78 days) reached the mark at a younger age.

Herbert, who had an NFL rookie record 31 touchdown passes last season, has 30 touchdown passes this season and is the first player ever with at least 30 touchdown passes in each of his first two seasons.

Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON passed for 260 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for a 115.2 rating in the Seahawks’ 33-13 win over Houston.

Wilson has 89 career games with at least two touchdown passes and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (88 games) for the second-most such games by a quarterback in his first 10 seasons in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (92 games) has more.

San Francisco tight end GEORGE KITTLE recorded 13 receptions for 151 yards and one touchdown in the 49ers’ Week 14 overtime win.

Kittle, who had 181 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in Week 13, is the first tight end in NFL history to record at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in consecutive games.

Kittle became the fourth tight end ever with at least 13 receptions in three career games, joining ZACH ERTZ (four games), JASON WITTEN (four) and Pro Football Hall of Famer KELLEN WINSLOW SR. (three). Previously, Kittle had 15 receptions in Week 4 of the 2020 season and 13 receptions in Week 15 of the 2019 season.

Dallas rookie linebacker MICAH PARSONS had two sacks and a forced fumble in the Cowboys’ 27-20 win at Washington.

Parsons has recorded a sack in each of his past six games and is the third rookie to record a sack in six-or-more consecutive games since 1982, joining JEVON KEARSE (eight consecutive games in 1999) and MIKE CROEL (six in 1991).

Parsons, who has 12 sacks and three forced fumbles this season, is the fifth rookie with at least 12 sacks and three forced fumbles since 2000, joining MARK ANDERSON (2006), DWIGHT FREENEY (2002), JULIUS PEPPERS (2002) and TERRELL SUGGS (2003).

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

New Orleans running back ALVIN KAMARA had four receptions, 145 scrimmage yards (120 rushing, 25 receiving) and a rushing touchdown in the Saints’ 30-9 win over the New York Jets.

Kamara, who has 362 receptions since entering the NFL in 2017, surpassed ROGER CRAIG (358 receptions) for the most receptions by a running back in his first five seasons in NFL history.

Kamara has 67 career touchdowns (47 rushing, 19 receiving, one kickoff return), tied with ADRIAN PETERSON (67 touchdowns) for the fifth-most touchdowns by a running back in his first five seasons all-time. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (80 touchdowns) and EMMITT SMITH (75), as well as SHAUN ALEXANDER (72) and TODD GURLEY (70) have more.

Denver running back MELVIN GORDON rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 38-10 win over Detroit.

Gordon has seven rushing touchdowns this season and is the sixth player in league annals with at least seven rushing touchdowns in six consecutive seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers JIM BROWN (nine consecutive seasons), LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (nine) and EMMITT SMITH (seven), as well as ADRIAN PETERSON (seven) and SHAUN ALEXANDER (six).

Cincinnati rookie wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE had five receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns while defensive end TREY HENDRICKSON had a sack on Sunday against San Francisco.

Chase, who has 1,035 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches in 2021, is the fifth rookie in the Super Bowl era with at least 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (1998), ODELL BECKHAM JR. (2014), MIKE EVANS (2014) and JOHN JEFFERSON (1978).

Hendrickson has a sack in nine consecutive games and joined CHRIS JONES (11 consecutive games in 2018) as the only players with a sack in at least nine consecutive games within a single season since 1982.

Atlanta rookie tight end KYLE PITTS registered five receptions for 61 yards in the Falcons’ 29-21 win over Carolina.

Pitts has 54 receptions for 770 yards this season and became the fifth rookie tight end all-time with at least 50 receptions and 750 receiving yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer MIKE DITKA (1961), KEITH JACKSON (1988), JEREMY SHOCKEY (2002) and CHARLE YOUNG (1973).

Carolina quarterback CAM NEWTON had a rushing touchdown on Sunday, his fourth-consecutive game with a rushing touchdown this season.

Newton, who has the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (74) in NFL history, is the first quarterback all-time with a rushing touchdown in each of his first four games of a season.


NEW YORK (AP) Khris Middleton scored 24 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo had his first triple-double of the season to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 112-97 victory over the short-handed New York Knicks on Sunday.

One of seven Bucks in double-digit scoring, Antetokounmpo had 20 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Bobby Portis Jr. added 19 points, Rodney Hood had 14, Jrue Holliday chipped in 13, Grayson Allen contributed 12 and Pat Connaughton netted 10.

“We’re seeing different guys come in and make plays and make shots,” Allen said. “Different guys are going off each night or there will be stretches when somebody hits some big shots. Tonight it was (Portis) for a stretch, then (Hood) coming in and getting 14 off the bench. That’s huge.”

Milwaukee (18-10) never trailed as it won its second straight game and 10th out of 12 overall.

“We talk a lot about being unselfish and making the right play, having high-IQ guys that are willing to make the right pass,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It was a good team effort.”

New York (12-15) has lost three in a row and seven of 10.

In his first NBA start, Quentin Grimes scored 27 for the Knicks and set a team record for the most 3-pointers made in a game by a rookie with seven. Grimes’ 27 points were the most points by a Knicks rookie in a game since 1996-97.

“I always prepare myself for a moment like this,” Grimes said. “But it was definitely a surreal moment and I was just trying to soak it all in.”

Derrick Rose and Kevin Knox scored 18 points apiece, and Immanuel Quickley finished with 11.

The third of four regular-season matchups between the Eastern Conference franchises reinforced why the Bucks and Knicks exist on significantly different plains in the NBA strata.

Milwaukee came out firing on all cylinders, with the Bucks leading 9-1 4:07 into the game and 26-16 at the end of the first quarter. The lead was stretched to 54-33 after Portis’ 3-point play with 4:28 left in the second quarter. At halftime, Milwaukee had a 61-48 advantage.

“Turnovers in the first half really hurt us,” said New York coach Tom Thibodeau, whose team committed nine turnovers in the first two quarters, which led to 20 points for Milwaukee. “You give a team like that points like that, it’s hard to make up.”

But the Knicks fought back behind Grimes and Rose in the third quarter. Grimes scored 12 points, all on 3s, Rose had 10 and New York cut the deficit to nine on three separate occasions.

That was as close as it would get. Milwaukee outscored New York 6-1 over the final 1:26 of the quarter and pushed the advantage to 19 after Antetokounmpo’s floater with 5:49 left in the game.

“We just have a great team,” Hood said.


Bucks: Like he has against seemingly every team in the league, Antetokounmpo has enjoyed great individual success playing against New York. Entering the matinee, Antetokounmpo averaged 21. 9 points, 9.8 rebounds and four assists in 28 career games – including 25 starts – against the Knicks. He started quickly Sunday, having a hand in Milwaukee’s first nine points (four points, two assists) and finished the first quarter with eight points, four rebounds, and two assists.

Knicks: Starting swingman R.J. Barrett and key reserve Obi Toppin missed the game because they are in the league’s health and safety protocols, and the team announced before the game that starting point guard Alec Burks was out due to personal reasons. Thibodeau started Rose in place of Burks and Grimes replaced Barrett. “It was tough,” Julius Randle said about the absences. “But a lot of people in the league, teams in the league have to deal with it. So next man up.”


University of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, who won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, was in attendance at Madison Square Garden. Young was shown on the video board during a stoppage in play late in the third quarter and received an ovation from the sellout crowd of 19,812.


Bucks: Visit Boston on Monday night.

Knicks: Host Golden State on Tuesday night.


DETROIT (AP) Kevin Durant scored an NBA season-high 51 points in the Brooklyn Nets’ 116-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

With James Harden resting, Durant scored at least 10 points in all four quarters.

“I knew I probably needed to pick up a little more of the scoring tonight,” said Durant, who had his seventh 50-point game of his career. “We were turning the ball over more than we should, and I was doing as much of that as anyone, so I figured I better just keep shooting.”

Patty Mills added 18 points for the Nets, who outscored Detroit 30-13 in the fourth quarter.

“It was fun just to watch K.D. when he’s playing like that,” Mills said. “Being a part of it is even better. You don’t see many games like he had tonight.”

Cade Cunningham had 26 and Frank Jackson added 25 for Detroit, which lost its 12th straight. The Pistons’ last win was Nov. 17 against the Pacers, and they still haven’t won back-to-back games this season.

“We didn’t get this win, but we are moving in the right direction,” Jackson said. “I know it doesn’t look like that, given all the losses, but we’re working hard and getting better.”

Detroit also was missing leading scorer Jeremi Grant, who is sidelined indefinitely by a thumb injury.

“We have to play with the guys we have,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We can’t think about `What if Jeremi could play?’ We gave ourselves a chance to win the game, but we have to finish one of these out.”

Hours after Durant was fined $25,000 for using multiple expletives at a fan who yelled “Durant, stop crying,” on Friday during a game in Atlanta, he also bested Stephen Curry’s 50-point total for the league high this season, which Curry did Nov. 8 against Atlanta.

The Pistons led 91-86 after three quarters despite 38 points from Durant, who scored seven in the Nets’ 11-0 run to start the fourth. He picked up his fifth foul with 8:46 to play, but stayed on the floor as the Nets expanded the lead to 105-92 midway through the quarter.

“I saw the look in his eyes and knew he didn’t want to come out,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “He was just incredible tonight. Not only does he score 51, but he had (nine) assists and (seven) rebounds. He even had a couple blocks and played incredible defense in the fourth quarter.”

The Nets led 60-57 at the half behind Durant’s 22 points. Detroit outshot Brooklyn 47.8% to 38.5% in the first half, but struggled with turnovers and on the glass.

Durant also set the record on Sunday for points scored at the Little Caesars Arena, which opened in 2017. He bested Blake Griffin’s 50 in 2018, Kyrie Irving’s 45 in 2020 and James Harden’s 44 last season. Irving and Harden also had their games for the Nets, while Griffin now plays for them.

“I got Blake’s record? That’s great,” Durant said with a laugh. “I didn’t know he got 50 here, but this is a new building, so I’m sure that will get broken pretty quickly.”


Nets: Griffin only scored one point and was booed by Pistons fans every time he touched the ball. … Durant came into the game averaging 25.2 points in 23 career games against Detroit – his second-worst against any team. He had only reached 40 against the Pistons once, scoring 42 with the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 16, 2014.

Pistons: Detroit honored Hall of Famer Dave Bing for his selection to the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team. Bing, who played his first nine seasons for the Pistons, later served as Detroit’s mayor. … The 12-game losing streak is Detroit’s longest since a 13-game stretch from Nov. 15-Dec. 9, 2014.


Nets: Host the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.

Pistons: Visit the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.


SAN ANTONIO (AP) Jakob Poeltl had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Derrick White added 24 points, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the New Orleans Pelicans 112-97 on Sunday night.

San Antonio outscored New Orleans 29-15 in the final quarter while shooting 60 percent from the field in the fourth.

“Coach (Gregg Popovich) preaches .5 basketball, just quick decisions,” Spurs forward Doug McDermott said. “Don’t hold it for too long. If you have a shot, shoot it. If not, move it, cut and just continue to move. I thought the fourth quarter especially we were playing unselfish. Seemed like we got everything we wanted just because we were moving the ball.”

San Antonio point guard Dejounte Murray added 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his fourth triple-double of the season. White added nine assists and eight rebounds as San Antonio won for the fifth time in nine games.

The Spurs’ backcourt combined to shoot 14 for 30 and combined to commit just three turnovers while playing 34 minutes each.

“(White is) kind of ridiculous right now,” Popovich said. “Man, oh man, when he and DJ (Murray) and Jakob play like that, you have an opportunity to win basketball games. They were just relentless defensively and on the boards.

“Those three led the way and everyone else joined in. It was a great team effort.”

Brandon Ingram had 27 points to lead New Orleans, while Jonas Valanciunas added 17 points and 12 rebounds. The Pelicans have lost four of six as they try to rebound from a nine-game skid during the first few weeks of the season.

San Antonio regrouped after being drubbed 127-111 by Denver on Saturday, especially during a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter that put the Spurs up 90-82. San Antonio would extend its lead to 101-89 with 6 minutes remaining on McDermott’s 16-foot jumper.

The Spurs lead the Western Conference with an average of 53.8 points in the paint and they returned to that comfort zone with 66 points – 14 more than New Orleans.

“They knocked us on our heels,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “Lot of drive kicks, drive kicks. This is what they do. They get in the paint, they play together, they had 31 assists.”

After closing within a point on numerous occasions, New Orleans took its first lead at 50-49 with 1:03 remaining in the first half on Ingram’s 11-footer. The Pelicans’ largest lead was two points.

Poeltl had a huge impact on quelling those rallies, grabbing seven offensive rebounds and keeping New Orleans from taking others with tips or blocking out on both ends.

“He’s one of the best at it,” Green said. “Maybe the best in the league at offensive rebounding. Has great timing, shot goes up, he’s a quick leaper. We talked to the guys about being able to withstand his ability to offensive rebound but he had a really good night.”


McDermott has built a reputation as one of the league’s better 3-point shooters, but he had two wraparound layups in the first half that helped the Spurs build momentum.

McDermott had 13 points, shooting 6 for 11 from the field and 1 for 4 on 3-pointers. His driving layups came off of backdoor cuts that led to bounce passes from Poeltl and Tre Jones.

“I feel like I’m more than just a spot-up shooter, so I like to try and get to the rim once in a while and keep the defense honest,” McDermott said. “Obviously, I want to try to get the 3 up if I can, but if they’re overplaying me like that, I like to back cut. I trust my ability to finish at the rim.”


Pelicans: Star forward Zion Williamson suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from offseason surgery to repair a fracture in his right foot. The team didn’t give a timeline. . New Orleans is 6-13 against Western Conference opponents. . The Pelicans’ last victory in San Antonio was Feb. 28, 2018.

Spurs: San Antonio was 0-3 against Southwest Division teams prior to beating New Orleans. . Johnson’s 3-pointer with 3:04 remaining in the first quarter gave the Spurs 80,000 points at the AT&T Center. San Antonio has limited opponents to under 73,700 points since moving to the AT&T Center in 2002. . Johnson has made 3-plus 3-pointers four times in 25 games this season, surpassing his total in the previous two seasons. . Murray entered Sunday with 93 deflections, sharing the league lead with Toronto’s Fred VanVleet. Fellow Raptor Gary Trent Jr. was third with 91 deflections.


Pelicans: At Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

Spurs: Host Charlotte on Wednesday.


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Jalen Brunson had 18 points and nine rebounds while starting in place of injured star Luka Doncic, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 103-84 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.

It was the first time this season the Mavericks won without Doncic in the lineup.

Doncic experienced a flareup of a previous ankle injury in Friday’s game against Indiana and is being held out for back-to-back games. Dallas had been 0-4 without the All-Star guard this season.

“We just tried to find ways to be productive without one of the best players in the game,” Brunson said. “It’s tough, but we just kept playing off each other, keep being aggressive and finding each other. We tried to play with pace and get easy baskets whenever we can.”

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd pointed to Brunson’s five-point run after the Thunder closed to 60-54 midway through the third quarter as a key sequence and praised Brunson’s ability to adapt to his role in the absence of Doncic.

“It’s a luxury to have him come off the bench, but he can start. He’s a true pro,” Kidd said. “He helped us play with pace tonight and did a great job running the offense when we just had one day to put all that in.”

Maxi Kleber scored 16 points off the Mavericks’ bench and fellow reserve Moses Brown added 15 against his former team. Kristaps Porzingis had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Brown entered two minutes into the game when starter Dwight Powell lost a contact lens and took advantage of the opportunity to get a quick basket and a blocked shot.

“I thought that kind of gave us some energy,” Kidd said. “He deserved more minutes and the more minutes he gets, the better he gets. He earns them. He just gets his teammates cheering for him.”

Brown finished last season with the Thunder and admitted he felt comfortable playing on a familiar court.

“It was definitely a great experience getting to see my old coaches and teammates. I definitely had a lot of fun out here,” Brown said.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 18 points.

The Mavericks (13-13) jumped out to a 7-0 advantage but Oklahoma City (8-18) came back to hold its only lead in the final minute of the first quarter as Gilgeous-Alexander scored five straight points.

Dallas got a 3-pointer on its last possession of the period from Trey Burke to take a 28-27 lead after the first and expanded it to 10 at halftime. The Thunder got as close as six in the second half, but Brunson’s spurt pushed the lead back to double digits and Oklahoma City never challenged the rest of the way.


Thunder: Lu Dort sprained his ankle late in the first half and didn’t return. Theo Maledon, who didn’t play in the first half, replaced Dort in the lineup to start the second half. Dort had 10 points before exiting.

Mavericks: Brunson scored in double figures for the seventh straight game. … Brown was 5 for 6 from the field.


Mavericks: Host the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

Thunder: Host the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped a five-game losing streak with a 116-111 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.

Anthony Edwards had 24 points for Minnesota, which also ended an eight-game losing streak in Portland.

“Everybody was so uptight, so this win made everybody take a deep breath, calm down,” Edwards said. “So now we’re good. We’re back to ourselves.”

The loss was Portland’s fifth straight. Anfernee Simons had a season-high 26 points off the bench for the Blazers, and Damian Lillard returned from an abdomen injury to score 24 points and grab 11 rebounds.

Minnesota led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter but Portland chipped away at the lead and went up 100-93 with 7:51 left in the game when Nassir Little followed a 3-pointer with a two-handed dunk.

D’Angelo Russell’s 3-pointer tied it at 104 and Towns’ basket gave Minnesota a 106-104 lead with 3:04 left.

Larry Nance Jr. dunked for the Blazers but Jarred Vanderbilt answered with a dunk for the Timberwolves. After Edwards made free throws, Patrick Beverly’s layup stretched Minnesota’s advantage to 112-106 with less than a minute to go and Portland couldn’t catch up.

“I just felt like we were kind of antsy all night,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. “I was hoping they would calm down as the game went on, but we weren’t – we didn’t really calm down.”

Portland had played without Lilliard for five games because of lower abdominal tendinopathy. And the Blazers were still without CJ McCollum, who has a collapsed lung, and Cody Zeller, who has a right patellar fracture and will be evaluated in a week.

For the Timberwolves, Russell was questionable going into Sunday’s game with right ankle soreness. He started after a three-game absence and finished with 18 points.

“He was fantastic. He hit some big shots when we needed him to,” Towns said about Russell. “They adjusted their defense a little in the fourth quarter and we got it to the right man. He was great at making the shots when we needed them.”

Malik Beasley’s 3-pointer and a free throw from Towns gave Minnesota a 33-26 lead going into the second quarter, but back-to-back three pointers for the Blazers closed the gap. Portland pulled in front 38-36 on Lillard’s 3, but Minnesota went into the half ahead 56-55.

A 12-0 run early in the third quarter put Minnesota up 68-56. The Blazers drew within 74-72 on Lillard’s 3-pointer. Portland took a 92-89 on Simons’ 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter.

“I think we did a great job of making it difficult for them to get some clean looks. We made them take some really tough shots and on the flip side we just got it to the right man,” Towns said.


Lillard said the Blazers spoke after the game in the locker room about the situation they’re in.

“My thing to the guys was like, I’ve been here before, we’ve been here before. It’s not ideal. You don’t want to keep telling yourselves in the locker room, ‘Alright, We’ve got to keep pushing, it’s going to get better.’ You know, it’s a situation that we have to make better,” Lillard said. “We have to do things better. And that starts with me.”


Timberwolves: Minnesota’s longest losing streak this season was six games, stretching from Oct. 30 to Nov. 10. … It was the first of four meetings between the two teams. Minnesota won last year’s series 2-1. … The Timberwolves forced 19 Blazer turnovers.

Trail Blazers: The five-game losing streak is Portland’s longest of the season. … Billups shook up the starting lineup, giving Larry Nance Jr. the nod over Robert Covington.


Timberwolves: Visit Denver on Wednesday night.

Trail Blazers: Host Phoenix on Tuesday night.


LOS ANGELES (AP) LeBron James finished playing back-to-back road games in the Midwest on Friday, flew to Phoenix on Saturday to watch his son play, and then dropped a triple-double on the Orlando Magic back in LA on Sunday night.

What’s this soon-to-be 37-year-old’s secret, other than spectacular talent and decades of hard work?

“Sleep,” James said. “Sleep, and inspiration from my son and his team. … I slept last night from 12 to 8. I got up, ate breakfast, and then I went back to sleep from 8:30 to 12:30. That’s pretty good, right?”

The well-rested James scored 14 of his 30 points during Los Angeles’ spectacular third quarter, and he added 11 rebounds and 10 assists while the Lakers rolled past Orlando 106-94 for their fifth victory in seven games.

“He’s exemplifying finding joy through hustle,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “The effort he’s playing with is inspiring our whole group.”

Talen Horton-Tucker scored seven of his 19 points as Los Angeles utterly dominated a close game out of halftime, scoring 23 consecutive points while holding the Magic to 2-for-23 shooting in the third quarter with their field goals scored nearly 10 minutes apart. Los Angeles rode that 36-10 advantage in the third to its second straight win and moved two games above .500 for the first time in four weeks.

Russell Westbrook had 19 points and James secured his 101st career triple-double in the final minutes as the Lakers won their second straight with second-leading scorer Anthony Davis sidelined by left knee soreness.

James also had three exciting blocked shots in an all-around effort that showed the four-time MVP is still a formidable force – and the Lakers still could be a championship threat if they can somehow stay healthy.

“When he’s aggressive and making the right plays and reads, our team is different,” Westbrook said. “This was another game where he imposed his will. … (The blocked shots) are just big for us, and I know it’s big for him to show he’s still doing what he’s been doing year after year. It’s great to see.”

Cole Anthony scored 21 points for the Magic, who went 0-5 on their West Coast trip despite rallying in the fourth quarter.

Franz Wagner added 20 points and seven rebounds, but the Magic responded to Saturday night’s last-second loss to the Clippers with a solid first half and a catastrophic third quarter in their 12th loss in 13 games. Orlando dropped to 5-23 despite hitting 13 3-pointers.

James scored 13 points in the first four minutes after halftime, slicing up Orlando’s defense with 3-pointers and dunks alike while also making two crowd-pleasing blocks at the rim. With his final assist late in the fourth quarter, he got his second triple-double of the season and second in three games.

“Tonight, LeBron James happened,” Orlando coach Jahmal Mosley said. “He came out and hit two 3s quickly. We missed a couple of chippies, and it fueled their break. … They just turned up the defensive pressure. I know we did get some good looks. Shots just didn’t happen to fall. Those shots go in, it slows down the run, but those misses led to easy transition baskets.”

Neither team took a substantial lead in a first half highlighted by James’ spectacular chase-down block of R.J. Hampton’s layup attempt in the second quarter. The Magic hit nine 3-pointers during the first half in another significant step for one of the NBA’s worst-shooting and lowest-scoring teams.

“We see where we’re trying to go as a team, and for a lot of us, we understand it doesn’t happen overnight,” said Wendell Carter Jr., who scored 16 points. “I’ve seen it with the team I’ve been on (Chicago) before I came here. It’s a process. Things don’t happen overnight with a young team. There’s going to be ups and downs, but as long as we’re learning from mistakes, I like it.”


Magic: Terrence Ross added 15 points. … Gary Harris was limited to six points in 33 minutes on just five shots.

Lakers: Horton-Tucker added a career-high six steals. … Dwight Howard made his third start of the season against the team that drafted him in 2004 and employed him for eight years before he became an NBA vagabond. The center, who turned 36 last Wednesday, had five points and four rebounds.


Vogel said examinations of Davis’ knee found it structurally sound, and the team anticipates him returning to action soon. The oft-injured Davis has missed only three games this season.


Los Angeles’ 23 straight points comprised its longest run of the season, and the Lakers turned a small halftime deficit into a 25-point lead while holding Orlando without a field goal for 9:48. The Magic’s 2-for-23 shooting in the third was the worst percentage in a quarter by a Lakers opponent since 1999.


Magic: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

Lakers: At the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.



Forget individual.

For Jordan Geronimo, it was time to acknowledge teammate accomplishment.

Yes, Indiana’s sophomore forward was wrapping up a career performance — his first college double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds (five more points and five more rebounds than he’d ever had before) — but in the final moments of Sunday’s 81-49 victory over Merrimack, Geronimo made sure to congratulate Logan Dumbcomb for his first career point, rebound and block.

It was a highlight in a game full of them for the 6-6, 220-pound Geronimo, who was an off-the-bench, 20-minute monster with a consistency he hasn’t shown all season. He was 5-for-8 from the field, and grabbed every rebound within reach, and a few that weren’t.

“Rebounding is important to me,” he said. “Rebounding is one of the things necessary to a game. You get extra possessions.

“The ball is up, I’m going to try to get it regardless of the situation.

“All these little things matter. I was given this body to get rebounds. I’m going to use it.”

Geronimo did that, and more.

“It’s keeping the right mindset,” he said. “My teammates keep telling me to play strong and with a lot of energy. That’s my game. I just kept going. I didn’t stop.”

That’s exactly what coach Mike Woodson pushes Geronimo to do.

“He has improved. If he continues to work, he will continue to improve. My job is to push him and steer him in the right direction.”

Geronimo came in averaging 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds.

“He’s very athletic,” Woodson said. “He’s a decent defender. He can rebound in traffic and block shots.

“We’re trying to get him to do other things. We want him to be patient on offense. Shoot when it’s time to shoot it. He took a shot that wasn’t Jordan. I let him know it.”

IU (8-2) also got dominant inside play from Race Thompson (14 points, seven rebounds) and Trayce Jackson-Davis (16, 9), who exploited Merrimack’s 2-3 zone and lack of Big Ten-caliber size.

“With (Merrimack’s zone),” Woodson said, “the holes were there. If we got the ball in to them, they basically were one on one with their defenders. I told them — why kick it out? Try to score.”

And if they missed, someone was there to rebound. IU finished with a 54-16 rebound edge.

“When you play a 2-3 zone, it’s hard to rebound out of it,” Thompson said. “We know we can get offensive rebounds out of the 2-3. We also had them in size a little bit.”

The rebound dominance was exactly what Woodson expected.

“We were a bigger team,” he said. “We should out-rebound this team. We played all of our bigs and were pounding it inside. I expected it.”

It was a dominant performance to follow last Wednesday’s loss at Wisconsin, when the Hoosiers blew a 22-point lead.

Add the road loss to Syracuse and its 2-3 zone, and Indiana showed growth in attacking that kind of defense.

“We’ve seen a lot of zones,” Thompson said. “We’re getting better. We work on it every day. The more we work on it, the better we get.”

Merrimack (4-8) hit three early three-pointers for a quick 9-6 lead. The Hoosiers pushed their way to a 10-point lead. The Warriors closed within two points behind their three-point shooting (they hit six of them) before IU ended the half with a 36-30 lead.

Jackson-Davis led with 12 points and five rebounds.

IU’s strong second-half start restored the double-digit lead, and then doubled it behind a heavy dose of Thompson and Jackson-Davis that included a 13-0 run.

Merrimack was finished.

We’re learning how to win,” Woodson said. “We’re trying to build a team and put different pieces in place. I don’t know how long it will take.

“We lost two games, winnable. We’re still a work in progress. We’re still learning each other. We have to continue to work.

“I’ve seen some good play, some bad play. We have to keep improving.”

IU won’t play again until Saturday, when it faces Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. The Irish (4-4) are coming off an upset win over No. 10 Kentucky.

“Wisconsin was a tough loss,” Thompson said. “We found ways to get better. It’s a confidence boost before playing Notre Dame.”


BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Trevion Williams had a season-high 22 points to go with 12 rebounds and a career-best nine assists to help No. 1 Purdue North Carolina State 82-72 in overtime Sunday in the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational.

Jaden Ivey added 22 points for the Boilermakers (9-1), who had to rally from 13 down midway through the second half to win this one. And Purdue never led in regulation, taking its first lead Sasha Stefanovic’s 3-pointer 15 seconds into the extra period.

“You’re not pleased with the position that you’re in,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said, “but you’re pleased about being able to dig yourself out of a hole.”

Stefanovic also hit a driving layup with 21.5 seconds left to force the overtime, ultimately helping Purdue bounce back from a last-second loss at Rutgers in the program’s first-ever week atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.

Freshman Terquavion Smith scored a season-high 21 points for the Wolfpack (7-3), who had a prime chance to earn the program’s first win against a top-ranked opponent in nearly nine years.

Dereon Seabron added 18 points, including a driving basket over Williams that pushed N.C. State to a 66-64 lead with 31.7 seconds left in regulation — only to see Stefanovic answer with the OT-forcing basket.

The Wolfpack shot just 3 for 10 in overtime as Purdue pushed ahead. That included Ivey blocking a driving shot by Seabron in OT.

The frustration built for the Wolfpack until coach Kevin Keatts picked up a technical foul with 43.2 seconds left and the Boilermakers on their way to a win.

“It was a heck of a battle all the way to the end,” Keatts said. “And the message to our guys was, ‘Hey, you’re playing the No. 1 team in the country and you’re fighting all the way to the end.’ We had our chances, but we can play with anyone in the country.”


Purdue: The Boilermakers’ first ever stay at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 was likely to be short even before Sunday after losing on a near-midcourt shot at Rutgers. They flirted with a second loss with that top ranking in four days before shooting 58.1% after halftime to finally wrestle control away of this one, improving to 3-0 against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack entered this game just 6-28 against No. 1-ranked teams in the AP poll, with most of those meetings coming against instate neighbors Duke or North Carolina in the ACC. The program’s last win against a top-ranked team remains an 84-76 home win against the Blue Devils in January 2013.

(Postgame Notes)

No. 1-ranked Purdue improved to 9-1 with a come-from-behind 82-72 overtime victory over North Carolina State at the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Boilermakers rebounded from a last-second loss to Rutgers on Thursday night.

Purdue is now 3-0 this season against the ACC, the most victories in a season in school history against the ACC. Purdue has never posted an unbeaten regular-season record against the ACC (min. 3 games).

Matt Painter tied Branch McCracken and Bo Ryan for sixth place on the Big Ten’s career wins list (all games) with 364. Ward “Piggy” Lambert is fifth with 371 victories.

Purdue trailed 54-41 with just over nine minutes to play, but outscored Rutgers 41-18 over the last 14 minutes (including overtime) to earn the victory. The 13-point, second-half comeback in the last 10 minutes was the largest since overcoming a 13-point deficit against Georgia State with 8:13 to play on Nov. 18, 2016.

Purdue’s first lead came on the Boilermakers’ first possession of overtime, on a Sasha Stefanovic 3-pointer.

Purdue started the game 3-of-14 from the field, but finished the contest by making 27 of its last 46 shots (.587). The Boilermakers were 15-of-26 (.577) in the second half.

The Boilermakers have shot at least 50.0 percent in eight of 10 games this season.

Purdue’s 50 points in the paint were its most since scoring 52 points in the paint against Norfolk State on Dec. 21, 2016.

Trevion Williams became the first player in college basketball since at least 2009-10 to have at least 22 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 blocks and 2 steals in the same game. Just one player has had at least 3 blocks with the above numbers. Williams had 16 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks in the second half and overtime.

Williams surpassed 1,100 career points and is now 1-of-12 players in school history to have 1,100 career points and 700 career rebounds.

Jaden Ivey scored 22 points with 7 rebounds and is now averaging 16.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in the last 7 games. He is shooting 15-of-34 (.441) from 3-point range in that span.

Stefanovic had 12 points, all coming in the second half and overtime. His runner with 20 seconds left tied the game at 66 and forced overtime.

ALSO: William Berg, a 7-1 prospect from Luleå, Sweden, committed to Purdue.


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Shooting a blistering 63.3%, the Purdue women’s basketball team ran away to a 101-68 win over Denver on Sunday afternoon at Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers scored 100 points for the first time since 2013. Now at 7-4 on the year, Purdue matched its win total from the 2020-21 season.

The Boilermakers put seven players in double figures and hit 13 3-pointers, two shy of the single-game program record. Cassidy Hardin set career highs with 25 points and seven 3-pointers. Abbey Ellis and Jeanae Terry both finished with 14, while Rickie Woltman tallied 12 points in her first start at Mackey Arena.

Madison Layden rounded out the entire starting lineup in double-digit scoring with 10 points. Off the bench, Broome Moore and Jayla Smith added 11 each, as Purdue’s bench outscored the Denver (5-6) bench 26-13.

Purdue’s 63.3% field goal percentage was the ninth-best in program history. The Boilermakers shot 70% in the first half and 56.7% in the second half. Led by Hardin, Jeanae Terry and Abbey Ellis all with five assists, Purdue dished out 23 helpers on 38 made field goals.

For the second straight game, Purdue set a blistering pace offensively, shooting 70% and knocking down nine triples in the opening 20 minutes. Purdue scored 28 points in the first quarter, the most this season and tied for 10th most in an opening frame in program history.

The Boilermakers limited the first-half giveaways to seven but only allowed four points, while the defense poured in 10 points on six Denver turnovers. Purdue dished out an assist on 14 of their 21 made field goals in the first 20 minutes.

Hardin drained five of her 3-pointers in the first half and Ellis tallied 12, as Purdue built up an 18-point lead at the break.

Following back-to-back triples from Hardin to start the third, Denver matched with six straight points to cut the gap to 18. That was the final time the lead was under 20. Purdue rolled off a 12-2 run in the middle of the third to extend the lead to 28. The Boilermakers added a 14-4 run in the fourth to take the lead to its largest point of 35.

The Boilermakers finished with 29 points on 16 Pioneer turnovers, while Purdue surrendered just eight points on 12 turnovers. Eight different players dished out an assist to bring the Boilermakers within one of their season high.


Hardin went 7-for-11, all 3-point attempts, on her career day. Her seven 3-pointers are tied for fourth in program history. She set a career high in points (25), assists (5), steals (3), field goals (7), 3-pointers (7) and free throws (4). Per, Hardin is the 11th player in the NCAA over the last 12 seasons to record seven 3-pointers, five rebounds and five assists without committing a turnover. She was one of two to accomplish the line in under 30 minutes on the floor. 


Purdue’s 13 3-pointers marked its fourth game with double-figure triples. The single-game record was set in 2011-12 at Minnesota and matched in 2013-14 against Central Michigan. In addition to Hardin’s seven, Ellis and Layden added a pair, while Moore and Smith each connected from the outside. Prior to this season, Purdue had made 12 3-pointers in a game just eight times. Under head coach Katie Gearlds, the Boilermakers have hit the mark three times.


Head coach Katie Gearlds …

It’s been a minute for us to shoot the ball like that. Cass has been getting good looks for us all year. We spent a little time in the gym together over the last couple of days to get in a rhythm and see the ball go through the basket. It’s amazing how it translates. The ball moved for us. 23 assists on 38 made field goals are pretty good numbers for us.


• The Boilermakers lead the all-time series with Denver 2-0. Purdue is a perfect 16-0 against the Summit League.

• Jeanae Terry finished with a game-high plus-35 in 28 minutes of action, the highest by a Boilermaker this season.

• Purdue’s 101 points were the most since a 109-performance against Central Michigan on Dec. 28, 2013.

• The Boilermakers were 13-of-26 from behind the arc for a season-high 50% clip.

• Brooke Moore and Cassidy Hardin have combined for 17 3-pointers over the last two games.

• The Boilermakers’ 29 points in the third quarter tied for the fifth most in a third in Purdue history.

• Rokia Doumbia hauled down a team-high seven rebounds.

• Layden finished in double figures for a team-leading eighth time this season.

• Eleven games into the season, Purdue already has 92 triples, 107 away from the single-season record set in 2013-14.


The Boilermakers will be off for the week for finals before a 2 p.m. tilt next Sunday against Miami (OH) at Mackey Arena.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill – The Butler women’s basketball team took a 78-66 setback at Illinois on Sunday afternoon. Trinity White led the offense with 21 points. Celena Taborn and Zoe Jackson each added 10.

How It Happened

Butler attacked from behind the arc early in the contest. White hit a deep 3-pointer to open up the BU scoring and Kendall Wingler would add a triple to give BU six points at the first media timeout.

Illinois went on a 7-0 scoring run to double Butler up at 12-6. BU was able to fight back with a Tenley Dowell 3-pointer followed by three-straight points from Alex Richard to make the game 15-12. BU would miss a shot with nine seconds left in the quarter and Illinois pushed the ball up the floor to beat the buzzer, giving the home team a 17-12 advantage at the break.

Butler got the ball at the start of the second quarter and Wingler would dial up from long distance on the first possession to give BU some momentum. Trinity White scored four-straight points to knot the score at 19-19 and her second 3-pointer of the day would give BU a 22-21 lead at the media timeout.

Butler outscored Illinois 10-4 over the first five minutes of the second quarter. The final five minutes however would belong to the Illini. A 10-0 scoring run would regain the lead for the home team. Richard scored on the left block to interrupt the scoring spree. Richard’s fifth point pushed the scoreboard to 31-24 at the half.

The second half got off to a great start for Butler. The Bulldogs were responsible for the first five points thanks to a 3-pointer by Wingler followed by a nice drive by White. Zoe Jackson then got going offensively with five points. The ‘Dawgs battled back to tie the game at 37-37 after a Sydney Jaynes bucket. The field goal would force Illinois to call a timeout with 6:27 to play in the third.

The game took a turn over the next two minutes of action. De’Myla Brown scored 10-straight points for the Illini to give Illinois a 49-41 lead. She hit back-to-back 3-pointers forcing Butler to call their first timeout of the contest.

Brown would cool off for the remainder of the third, but Adalia McKenzie would keep the lead for Illinois. McKenzie scored 10 points to give Illinois a 10-point cushion heading into the fourth.

Each team saw their offense take a step in the right direction in the second half. BU scored 24 points in the third after just scoring 24 total in the first half. Six different Bulldogs scored a field goal in the third.

The four overtime game against Denver on Friday night may have impacted Sunday’s matchup as well. Illinois led by 11 at the final media timeout and that lead would last late into the action. Butler continued to use full-court pressure at the State Farm Center, but Illinois would exit the arena with a 78-66 victory.

Adalia McKenzie would lead all scorers with 23 points. Brown ended the game with 16 points off the bench.

Stat of the Game

Bench points favored Illinois 26-7.

Inside the Box Score

– Celena Taborn scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds

– Alex Richard posted nine points and eight rebounds

– Kendall Wingler hit three 3-pointers for nine points

– Butler went 16-for-20 from the free throw line

– Taborn and Sydney Jaynes each had two blocks

Up Next

Final exams are next week for the Butler student-athletes. The next game on the schedule is the final non-conference matchup of the season. The Bulldogs will host the Evansville Purple Aces on Dec. 22.


MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State men’s basketball team returned to the friendly confines of Worthen Arena on Sunday as IU Kokomo came to town. The Cardinals ended a two-game skid with an 85-58 victory. BSU was led by Tyler Cochran with 19 points as the Cardinals recorded four players in double digits.

With the victory, the Cardinals improved to 4-5 on the year, while the Cougars fell to 12-3 on the season.

Cochran led the way with 19 points and added a game-high two steals to go along with his two rebounds and two assists. Cochran has now scored in double figures in four of the last five games. Miryne Thomas posted a 13-point performance and chipped in with three rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal. Luke Bumbalough added 12 points, tied for a team-high five assists and one steal. Bumbalough has now scored in double figures in six straight contests. Payton Sparks was the final player in double digits with 12. He led the team with a game-high seven rebounds, tied for the team lead with five assists and had the team’s only other block.

After the teams traded 3-point baskets to start the game, Ball State went on a 7-2 run and took a 10-5 advantage early in the first half. The Cougars managed to come back and tie the game at 15-15 with 15:02 left in the first half.

The Cardinals started to pick up the intensity and went on a 7-3 run and regained the lead, 22-15. After a jumper by IU Kokomo, Ball State went on an 11-4 run. During the run, Jalen Windham came up big with three 3-pointers. Ball State was able to extend its lead to 43-27 after a 10-6 run, where five different players scored two points each.

The stifling Cardinal defense held the Cougars to just five points in the final five minutes in the first half. Ball State took a 53-40 lead into the break.

The BSU defense picked up where it left on in the first half, as Thomas blocked the first shot of the second half. Sparks and Thomas combined for seven points, four and three respectively, as Ball State opened the second on a 7-0 run and extended its lead to 30, 60-30.

The Cougars scored four unanswered and made the score 60-34, in favor of the Cardinals. BSU responded with a 15-6 run that lasted 7:05. BSU held a 75-40 lead with 9:14 left in regulation. During the run, Sparks came up big on the defensive end with an emphatic rejection. With 7:53 left in the game, Bumbalough drained a 3-pointer which gave Ball State a 36-point lead, 78-42, the largest of the game.

IU Kokomo scored the game’s next eight points, led by Trequan Spivey with two 3-pointers.

Mickey Pearson Jr. ended the scoring drought for the Cardinals with a 3-ball and put BSU on top, 81-50, with 4:38 left in the contest.

The Cougars ended the game outscoring the Cardinals 6-4 in the final two minutes, but Ball State went on to win comfortably, 85-58.

As a team, the Cardinals shot 50 percent from the field on 33-of-66 and 12-of-28 from behind the arc for 44.4 percent. The stingy Cardinal defense held the Cougars to 26.3 percent from 3-point range. BSU forced 15 turnovers and capitalized with 27 points off those turnovers. Ball State held a 36-26 advantage in points in the paint. The Cardinals bench outscored the Cougars bench, 24-10. BSU finished the game with 11 of the 13 players scoring points.

Spivey led IU Kokomo with a game-high 21 points. He added four rebounds and three assists. Dorian Porch added a double-digit performance with 10. Zach Rinehart brought down a game-high nine rebounds.

Ball State takes to the road for a contest in Normal, Illinois, as the Cardinals are set to battle Illinois State on Saturday, Dec. 18. The tip is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET.

From the Coach – Head Coach James Whitford

“I thought our guys played a good game. We had a lot of respect for IU Kokomo. Any team that is 12-2, is 12-2 for a reason. I thought they were really well coached. I really respected them coming in, watching their game film. I thought our guys played the right way. We played really unselfishly on offense, 19 assists and 11 turnovers, spoke for the way we played. Tyler (Cochran) did a really good as a point guard. I thought Miryne (Thomas) really looked like a leader out there. He did a really good job of feeding Payton (Sparks). He played the game the right way and took what came to him. It was good to get a game that wasn’t as tough. It’s good to be able to reset, but I don’t care who you play it’s all about getting better and playing the right way.”

From the Student-Athletes – Redshirt Senior Forward #0 Miryne Thomas

“It was something we talked about as a group, within the players. As a leader, I told the team the last time we put our jerseys on we got kicked in the mouth and tonight it’s time for us to be the ones kicking. It was just something we brought up to bring the right intensity into the game. As a team, we say the go to man is the open man. We try to key on having good possessions down the stretch.”

From the Student-Athletes – Junior Guard #23 Tyler Cochran

“We always come into the game with the mentality of how we can get our team better. Sometimes you see it breakdown, but we’re still trying to figure out how to flow as a team. We just need to make the best of the offensive possession each time down the court. With this team, everybody loves to share the ball, everybody is looking for each other, and hopefully after this game we continue to pick it up.”


NOTRE DAME, Ind.  — “The Ring of Honor is only the beginning. There will also be a statue out front.” University Vice President James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick ended Muffet McGraw’s Ring of Honor ceremony with those words and to a loud roar of applause from the Irish faithful in attendance at Purcell Pavilion on Sunday afternoon.

Shortly after, the No. 22 Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (9-2) rolled to a 78-41 victory over the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons (4-6). It marked the third time this season the Irish defense held an opponent to 50 points or less. In addition, the Irish remain undefeated in Ring of Honor games, moving to 7-0.

Six different Irish players scored double figures: Maya Dodson (12 pts), Maddy Westbeld (11 pts), Olivia Miles (12 pts), Anaya Peoples (10 pts), Abby Prohaska (10 pts) and Sonia Citron (12 pts). Miles and Peoples came close to double-doubles with eight and nine rebounds, respectively. Mabrey and Miles tied for team high in assists with five each.

The Notre Dame offense didn’t get rolling until 4:32 in the first, but once things began to click, the Irish never looked back. From 4:32 to the end of the quarter, the Irish outscored the Mastodons 16-2 to go up 16-7. The quarter ended with Citron driving the court and beating the buzzer with a swift move for the layup.

The Irish recorded eight made field goals in the second quarter. What’s interesting to note is that they all came from different players: Marshall, Brunelle, Mabrey, Dodson, Westbeld, Miles, Peoples and Prohaska. The Notre Dame defense then did its part, giving the home squad a 34-22 halftime lead.

The Irish outscored the Mastodons 22-13 in the third. Dodson and Westbeld were each in double figures by the end of the period with 13 and 12 points, respectively. The Irish shot 10-of-17 and continued to spread the wealth with seven different scorers.

Miles and Peoples kicked off the fourth on a combined 11-0 run over the first three minutes before outpacing Purdue Fort Wayne 22-6 in the quarter. The Irish ultimately shot 47.8 percent in the game and registered 50 points in the paint.

The Irish will have a week off for final exams before an ACC matchup with Pitt on Sunday, Dec. 19. That matchup will tip inside Purcell at 2 p.m. ET on ACCNX. The Irish look to go 2-0 in league play before regular ACC play kicks off after the Christmas break.


FARGO, N.D. – Indiana State basketball is set for a road matchup with North Dakota State Monday night in Fargo. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. ET from Scheels Center. The game will air on ESPN Plus as well as on the radio on 105.5 The Legend in the Wabash Valley and on worldwide.


» Monday will mark just the second meeting all-time between the two programs. Indiana State leads the series, 1-0, after winning the December 3, 2019 meeting, 71-60, in Terre Haute. Tyreke Key paced the Sycamores with 27 points as he went 8-of-15 from the field with a pair of 3-pointers and was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line in what was the 1,500th program win at the time.


» Push the Sycamores to .500 on the season

» Give ISU a 2-0 lead in the series

» Give Indiana State two wins in-a-row

» Be the second true road win for the Sycamores in 2021-22


» For the first time in 12 years, the Indiana State basketball is under new leadership as first-year head coach Josh Schertz takes over the reins of the program. Schertz takes over after a 13-year run at NCAA Division II Lincoln Memorial University where he had a career record of 337-69 (.831) en route to four national coach of the year honors. Schertz led the Railsplitters to 10 NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, won 14 total conference championships and three Southeast Regional titles, and had five seasons of 30-or-more victories.


» North Dakota State enters Monday at 6-4 overall and winners of four of their last six games. The Bison are led by Rocky Kreuser as the big man nearly averages a double-double with a 14.1 point and 8.1 rebound average. Grant Nelson averages 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds while Jarius Cook rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10 points a game.

» The Bison are averaging 68.5 points per game while holding opponents to 64.1 points and 41 percent from the floor. NDSU has a +6.0 rebound margin against its opponents and averages 39.3 boards per contest.


» Cameron Henry has been the wheel that keeps Indiana State basketball moving so far this season. The guard has either made or assisted on 36 percent of all Indiana State field goals. Henry is averaging 14.7 points and four assists per game. His assists average ranks second in the MVC while ISU’s 14.2 assists per game ranks second in The Valley.


» Cameron Henry continues to dominate the court — scoring in double-figures in eight games for Indiana State — including a pair of double-doubles. Over three games at the Myrtle Beach Invitational, Henry put up All-MVC like numbers. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 17.3 points, nine rebounds and 5.7 assists per game while going for a career-high 25 points against Oklahoma in the semifinals. For his performance, he was named to the All-Tournament Second Team.


» You have to see it in person to truly appreciate the offensive awareness of Xavier Bledson. The guard is second on the team with 22 assists in just six games, recording multiple assists in all games he has seen action including a season-high seven assists at Ball State. To go with his passing, Bledson is also averaging double-figure scoring at 10.8 points per game, scoring 15 points or more in three games.


» After posting career highs across the board during 2020-21, Cooper Neese has picked up where he left off. The junior is averaging 15.4 points to lead ISU. Neese has scored in double-figures in eight games this season, scoring 15 or more in seven games. His 21 makes from distance leads ISU and ranks 10th in the MVC.


» Indiana State ranks second in the MVC with 14.2 assists per game while sitting third with a 1.17 assist-to-turnover ratio. Five players have recorded over 10 assists with Cameron Henry leading the way by a large margin with 36.


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Riley Ott of the Purdue Fort Wayne women’s basketball team led all scorers in the Mastodons’ 78-41 loss at No. 22/23 Notre Dame on Sunday (Dec. 12).

Ott, whose hometown of La Porte is 26 minutes from Notre Dame’s campus, scored 21 points against the Fighting Irish, just one shy of her career-high.

Purdue Fort Wayne held relatively close with the national power Fighting Irish until the third quarter, when Notre Dame closed the period on an 8-0 run. To open the third, the Mastodons got two triples from Amellia Bormenschenkel. This put the Mastodons within nine.

Purdue Fort Wayne was at its best in the second quarter, never letting Notre Dame score more than four consecutive points. The ‘Dons were 6-of-12 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the 3-point line. Ott scored eight and Aubrey Stupp got five.

To open the game, the Mastodons jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the Irish thanks a triple from Stupp and a layup from Ott. This was one of the Mastodons’ seven 3-pointers; they finished shooting 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. The ‘Dons were 4-of-8 in the first half.

A 22-6 fourth quarter ballooned the Notre Dame lead to its final line. Notre Dame had six players in double-figures, with three at 12 each. The ‘Dons held the Fighting Irish to just three 3-pointers, their lowest of the season. This included a loss at No. 2 UConn.

Purdue Fort Wayne falls to 4-6 and Notre Dame improves to 9-2. The Mastodons return home for their next game on Monday, December 20, when they welcome Indiana State.


INDIANAPOLIS – In their penultimate home game of the season, the UIndy men’s basketball team posted their second largest win of the season.  The Hounds downed Saint Mary-of-the-Woods 86-41 behind six players posting double figures.  Sophomore Kendrick Tchoua posted his second double-double of the season.


The Hounds led for the full 40 minutes as Jesse Bingham opened the game with a corner three.  Midway thru the first half Tchoua notched a fast break lay up to give UIndy their first 10-point lead of the game.  The Hounds shot 53.3% from the floor in the first frame to take a 45-19 lead to the locker room for their largest halftime lead of the season.

UIndy opened the second half with a 21-0 scoring run, their biggest run of the game.  The Pomeroy’s were held scoreless for nearly eight minutes of play.  The Hounds hot offense continued in the second half, shooting 51.5% and outscoring Saint Mary-of-the-Woods 41-22.  Tchoua posted 11 points in the second half alone, shooting 5-of-6 and grabbing six rebounds.


Tchoua’s second double-double of the season contained 18 points and 13 rebounds.  The sophomore scored 11 points in the second half alone, shooting 5-of-6 from the floor.  Additionally, a season-high six Greyhounds scored in double figures led by Tchoua (18), Bingham (16), Aaron Etherington (12), Julian Steinfeld (12), Dee Montgomery (11) and Sean Peeters (10).  UIndy has had at least three players post double figures in every game this season.


– The Hounds held the Pomeroy’s to a .274 shooting percentage, the lowest of UIndy’s opponents this season.

– For the second time this season, UIndy recorded 10+ steals, tonight grabbing 10.  UIndy previously tallied 12 against Ohio Valley.

– UIndy posted a season-high 11 blocks led by Steinfeld with five.


The Hounds return to action on Sunday, December 19 on the road against Northern Michigan.  UIndy will be back at home on New Year’s Eve against East West University.


INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 24 Marian men’s basketball team took down Saint Ambrose for the second time this season, earning a 76-55 victory over the Fighting Bees on Sunday afternoon. The Knights move to 9-2 after their fifth-straight victory.

Both squads struggled to score in the opening minutes, with Saint Ambrose taking a 3-0 lead out of the gates with three made free-throws. Marian took their first lead after a Christian Stewart three-pointer, and Hayden Langkabel added his own trifecta to put the Knights ahead 8-4 after an 8-1 run. Saint Ambrose tied the contest at 8-8 a few moments later, but Stewart added a couple more three-pointers and Christian Harvey made a basket for a Marian 8-0 run. Nolan Foster answered a Saint Ambrose basket to give the Knights an 18-10 lead with 9:50 remaining in the first half.

Sean Jenkins put the Knights up 13 points after hitting one of two free throws, then followed that with a layup to keep Marian up 25-12. The Fighting Bees clawed their way back into the game, going on a 9-1 run to get within five points with under five minutes left before halftime. The Knights would respond with a 10-1 run to get their lead back to double digits. Luke Gohmann, Foster, and Stewart combined for three-straight scores to put Marian up 11 points. Tyrie Johnson and Jacob Wiley also added a couple of buckets in the final two minutes, giving the Knights a 36-22 advantage at halftime. Stewart led Marian with 11 points at the break as the Knights shot 52.5 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from three-point range in the opening 20 minutes.

The Marian offense hit their stride to begin the second half, rattling off 14 points in the first four and a half minutes. The Knights outscored Saint Ambrose by six points in this stretch with Wiley being the main contributor, scoring seven points on a three-point play and two layups. The Fighting Bees continued to score in an effort to keep the game within reach, but Marian continued to creep away. Malek Edmonds scored on back-to-back possessions to give Marian a 20-point lead with 13:29 remaining. A couple of Harvey free throws kept the lead at 20 points, then a quick 6-0 run put the Knights ahead 65-40 with 9:05 left in the contest.

Saint Ambrose outscored Marian over the final nine minutes, but did not make up nearly enough ground. Maximus Gizzi and Jenkins kept Marian ahead by well over 20 points after two-pointers with six minutes remaining. Marian took their largest lead of 28 points after a breakaway layup by Harvey, making the score 73-45 with 4:09 left. The Fighting Bees ended the contest on a 10-3 run as Marian closed out the victory with a 76-55 final score.

The Knights shot 52.5 pecent from the floor and ended with a 41.2 three-point shooting percentage. Stewart led the Knights with 14 points and Wiley finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Edmonds, Harvey, and Jenkins also contributed 10 points for the Knights, respectively. Marian held Saint Ambrose to 37.3 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from behind the arc.

Marian will head to the Sunshine State for their next contest in a week’s time. Marian will face Florida National for a 2 PM tip-off on December 19 in their final game before Christmas.

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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS760.5383.53293012-4-05-2-05-5-01-4-01 W
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS580.3855.52722622-4-03-4-02-6-02-2-02 W
GREEN BAY PACKERS1030.7690.03282726-0-04-3-08-2-03-1-02 W
MINNESOTA VIKINGS670.4624.03443334-2-02-5-04-4-02-1-01 W
CHICAGO BEARS490.3086.02313322-4-02-5-02-6-02-2-02 L
DETROIT LIONS1111.1158.52133541-5-00-6-11-7-01-4-01 L
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS1030.7690.04102976-0-04-3-06-3-02-1-04 W
ATLANTA FALCONS670.4624.02453531-5-05-2-03-6-02-3-01 W
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS670.4624.03042852-4-04-3-04-5-01-2-01 W
CAROLINA PANTHERS580.3855.02572822-5-03-3-03-6-02-1-03 L

BROOKLYN198.7048-511-34-015-57-32 W
PHILADELPHIA1512.5564.06-69-60-59-76-41 W
BOSTON1314.4816.06-47-103-38-84-63 L
TORONTO1214.4626.55-97-54-310-85-51 W
NEW YORK1215.4447.05-97-63-38-133-73 L
MILWAUKEE1810.6439-49-65-013-78-22 W
CHICAGO1710.6300.58-49-62-210-75-52 L
CLEVELAND1612.5712.07-79-52-110-67-33 W
INDIANA1216.4296.09-63-101-37-125-53 W
DETROIT422.15413.02-112-111-53-130-1012 L
MIAMI1611.5938-48-73-110-55-52 W
WASHINGTON1512.5561.08-47-83-410-94-61 L
CHARLOTTE1513.5361.58-47-95-210-85-51 W
ATLANTA1313.5002.58-55-83-27-86-41 L
ORLANDO523.17911.52-83-150-52-161-95 L
UTAH197.7319-410-35-010-28-27 W
DENVER1313.5006.07-46-92-28-74-61 W
MINNESOTA1215.4447.57-95-61-28-94-61 W
PORTLAND1116.4078.510-51-111-36-122-85 L
OKLAHOMA CITY818.30811.04-94-90-26-112-82 L
PHOENIX214.84012-29-23-214-49-12 W
GOLDEN STATE215.8080.514-27-35-112-37-31 L
LA CLIPPERS1512.5567.011-74-51-410-105-53 W
LA LAKERS1513.5367.510-75-61-47-96-42 W
SACRAMENTO1116.40711.05-86-84-38-115-52 L
MEMPHIS1611.59310-66-53-213-67-32 W
DALLAS1313.5002.56-67-77-211-64-61 W
SAN ANTONIO1016.3855.56-84-81-35-126-41 W
HOUSTON818.3087.57-61-121-34-137-32 L
NEW ORLEANS821.2769.04-94-122-46-135-51 L

FLORIDA PANTHERS27185440171017514-1-04-4-46-3-1
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS2919824019937512-4-17-4-17-2-1
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING271764381589748-3-29-3-27-2-1
BOSTON BRUINS241482301369627-4-17-4-15-3-2
DETROIT RED WINGS2813123291278969-3-24-9-15-4-1
BUFFALO SABRES27815420773976-8-22-7-21-7-2
OTTAWA SENATORS25816117767935-9-03-7-14-6-0
MONTREAL CANADIENS296203156621024-10-12-10-22-7-1
WASHINGTON CAPITALS281756401597719-2-48-3-26-3-1
CAROLINA HURRICANES271971391985587-3-012-4-15-5-0
NEW YORK RANGERS271863391779688-3-110-3-28-2-0
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS271485331380706-5-28-3-37-2-1
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS2614111291286869-3-15-8-04-5-1
NEW JERSEY DEVILS261011525974867-5-33-6-22-6-2
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS2610124241065884-6-26-6-22-7-1
NEW YORK ISLANDERS23711519750701-5-26-6-32-5-3
MINNESOTA WILD28198139161068210-2-09-6-18-2-0
NASHVILLE PREDATORS2817101351681758-5-09-5-17-3-0
ST. LOUIS BLUES2815853513967910-3-25-5-35-2-3
COLORADO AVALANCHE2516723415109849-2-17-5-17-2-1
WINNIPEG JETS271395311282769-4-14-5-44-5-1
DALLAS STARS2513102281269709-2-14-8-17-3-0
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS271015222762865-6-15-9-15-5-0
ARIZONA COYOTES275202125481012-9-13-11-13-7-0
ANAHEIM DUCKS301695371494829-4-27-5-36-2-2
CALGARY FLAMES281576361387624-3-411-4-25-4-1
EDMONTON OILERS2616100321490809-5-07-5-04-6-0
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS27161103215958510-6-06-5-06-4-0
SAN JOSE SHARKS2815121311575777-5-18-7-06-4-0
LOS ANGELES KINGS2612104281170688-6-24-4-24-4-2
VANCOUVER CANUCKS291215226972857-7-15-8-16-4-0
SEATTLE KRAKEN27915321977986-8-13-7-25-3-2